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Infiniti Goes Forward into the Past with Retro-Futuristic Prototype 9.

Modern take on old racer integrates future electric drivetrain.

by on Aug.14, 2017

The Infiniti Prototype 9.

Grand prix racer or classic Indy 500 entry? You might get to wondering when you get your first look at the Infiniti Prototype 9, especially if that happens out at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance next weekend.

But despite going to the world’s most famous classic car event to reveal one-seat racer, this is not a competitor to one of the original Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. What Infiniti is calling “a journey back in time,” is actually a completely modern take, down to its fully electric drivetrain.

Classic News!

“Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today,” says Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s Senior Vice President, Global Design.

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Roadkill Nights Comes on Strong

Fan crowd Woodward Avenue to catch event.

by on Aug.14, 2017

Thousands of Dodge and muscle car fans flocked to Pontiac, Michigan, for Roadkill Nights.

Despite some rain showers that left a quarter mile of Woodward Avenue’s asphalt too wet for the final heats, “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” again drew a large crowd of car buffs, young and old to Pontiac, a suburb north of Detroit.

“I’m a gear head,” said Cameron Milavec, 18, of New Baltimore, Michigan, who drove in with a group of friends as evening settled over Pontiac’s M1-Concourse, the 87-acre “playground for automobiles,” which has become the venue of choice for the event with its noise and smoking tires and fast cars.

News You Can Trust!

“We’re into diesels,” said Milavec, who explained both he and his pal, River Lamb, 18, also of New Baltimore, own diesel-powered heavy-duty pickups as they watched the last-ditch effort to dry off the track under bright floodlights for what would have been the final heats of the day. (more…)

Toyota, Intel, Others Form “Big Data” Consortium

Move aimed to support era of smart, autonomous vehicles.

by on Aug.11, 2017

The Toyota FCV Plus cconcept is the sort of futuristic vehicle that will consumer lots of data.

More and more American homes are being wired up for super-high-speed Internet service to handle the demands for gaming, streaming video and home automation devices. But with the age of connected and autonomous vehicles soon expected to become a reality, one of the big challenges will be to create a mobile “big data” ecosystem.

Tomorrow’s cars will need to not only talk to one another but access incredibly detailed, real-time 3D maps constantly updated to show both traffic and disruptions like road work. That could require a flow of information rivaling what goes in and out of a high-tech home, but without the wired data pipeline.

Tech News!

To address the challenges this will create, Toyota is setting up a new consortium with tech giants Intel and Ericsson, Japanese telecomm firm NTT DoCoMo, and auto parts firm Denso. Toyota also says it will leave the new Automotive Edge Computing Consortium open for other “relevant” tech and automotive companies to join.

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Acura Offers a Peek at Refreshed 2018 RLX

A "transformational" redesign.

by on Aug.10, 2017

The new "diamond pentagon grille" highlights the changes to the 2018 Acura RLX.

After years of struggle trying to define itself in a crowded luxury market, Acura has finally begun to gain some traction, though most of that has been on the SUV side of its line-up. So, there’s a lot riding on the updated 2018 RLX the Japanese maker will roll out during the week-long extravaganza anchored by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance next week.

Like the recently restyled Acura TLX, the bigger RLX will draw heavily on the design cues first revealed in the form of the Acura Precision Concept first seen at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. That includes the new “diamond pentagon grille,” sculpted hood and LED strips framing the updated headlamps of the 2018 update.

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The Journal of Record!

“This redesign…is transformational, creating road presence and styling that better reflect underlying performance capabilities of the vehicle,” said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president & general manager – and its former design chief.

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First Drive: Jaguar F-Type 4-Cylinder

Sound off...and sound on.

by on Aug.10, 2017

The 4-cylinder version of the Jaguar F-Type joins the U.S. line-up later this year.

We’ve spent the last several hours climbing up a mountainside in the northern reaches of Norway behind the wheel of a new Range Rover Velar. Now, as we creep back down to level ground, it’s time to go from the sublime to the ridiculous…or is it the other way around?

As much fun as the new Range Rover has been over the last couple days, we can’t wait to check out the way the Jaguar F-Type will maneuver through the twisting Norwegian countryside, its narrow, but well-paved roads tracing the curves of the local rivers, lakes and fjords. Making things more interesting: our two-seater is the new, four-cylinder version of the F-Type.

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Reviews You Can Trust!

We fell in love with the sports car the moment the convertible version first rolled out, the coupe adding even more to its handling bona fides. But perhaps nothing enhanced the visceral passion quite like the raw, guttural roar of the F-Type’s supercharged V-8. Will the new, turbocharged 4-cylinder Ingenium engine deliver anywhere near the thrill?

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Toyota Delaying Launch of New Mexican Plant

Operations now set to begin in 2020.

by on Aug.10, 2017

Toyota will now produce its midsize Tacoma pickup truck at the new Mexican plant.

Toyota will push back by a year the planned opening of a new assembly plant in Mexico, a delay resulting from its decision to shift production for two key models.

The factory in Guanajuato, in central Mexico, was to have produced the popular Toyota Corolla. Instead, it will now build the Tacoma pickup. The Corolla, meanwhile, will move from a Toyota factory in Canada to a new plant Toyota is opening in the United States.

Industry News!

“With the production model change to the Tacoma pickup, the start of production will consequently be in the first half of 2020,” rather than the originally scheduled production launch in 2019, a Toyota spokesman explained. “However, we will make our utmost effort to advance the timing in order to minimize the impact to suppliers and the local community.”

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Chevy Has Big Plans for Bigger Traverse

GM’s largest brand wants to boost sales, drive up transaction prices.

by on Aug.09, 2017

The Chevrolet Traverse tied with its siblings, the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, as the most American vehicle on the market in a recent study.

When Chevrolet unveiled the all-new 2018 Traverse earlier this year, it revealed a three-row ute that is larger in just about every dimension. The question is whether it will grow larger in the column that matters most to Chevy’s bookkeepers.

Compared to the midsize SUV segments dominant nameplates, like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer, the Traverse has been a relative afterthought. But Chevy is hoping that the significant upgrades it’s making will sharply boost demand in the coming year, especially at a time when utility vehicles continue to gain momentum even as the overall U.S. automotive market slips into the doldrums after three years of record sales.

The Inside Story!

Officials with General Motors are so confident about the new model, in fact, that they’re studying ways to squeeze more utes out of the Lansing, Michigan plant Traverse shares with midsize offerings from the Buick and GMC brands, the brand’s marketing chief told TheDetroitBureau.com during a briefing on the all-new 2018 model.

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Flood of Long-Range Electric Cars Set to Plug Into U.S. Market by 2020

Many will target affordable niches

by on Aug.09, 2017

Mercedes will introduce a new battery sub-brand and launch it with a version of the Mercedes-EQ Concept.

With last month’s launch of the Tesla Model 3, U.S. consumers now have two “affordable” long-range battery-electric vehicles to choose from. Those with a bit more money in the bank can also opt for the more expensive Tesla Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

There are plenty of other electric vehicles in U.S. showrooms today, though most, like the current-generation Ford Focus Electric, can manage barely 100 miles per charge. The Mitsubishi MiEV, which will vanish at the end of the 2017 model-year, can only make it 59 miles before having to plug in again, according to the EPA.

We'll Keep You Plugged In!

But the new model-year not only will bring us the new Model 3 but a complete makeover of the Nissan Leaf, which will nearly double its range to at least 200 miles per charge. And that’s just for starters. By 2020, virtually every major automaker is expected to have at least one long-range model in its showrooms. Many of them will be in affordable – that is, under $40,000 base MSRP – segments, with plenty more in premium niches.

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As Many as 20 Models May Vanish During ’18 Model-Year

Even a few SUVs are heading off to the scrapyard.

by on Aug.08, 2017

While the ax is largely falling on sedans, coupes and ragtops, a couple light trucks will go away after 2017, including the Volkswagen Touareg SUV.

Every model year brings a flood of new and updated products, but you’ll also see a number of older, typically slower-selling models drive off into the sunset. And that’s certainly going to be the case as we head into 2018.

But the coming model-year seems to be a particular tough one, especially when it comes to passenger cars, which continue to lose momentum to SUVs, pickups and other light trucks. That said, even a few utes will be heading off to the scrapyard in 2018, notably including the Touareg, Volkswagen’s first SUV.

Product News!

We’ve pulled together a list of 17 models that we know are going to be gone by the end of the current model-year, but while their manufacturers have yet to give official word, several other entries seem likely to vanish, as well, including the little Ford Fiesta and C-Max models. And General Motors is reportedly reviewing six more models that could be culled from its line-up in the near future, very possibly before the end of the 2018 model-year.

Here are 17 products we know for sure won’t be around in 2018:

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Mazda To Launch Breakthrough Homogeneous Compression Engine

Skyactiv-X said to combine best of diesel, gas engines, including hybrid level mileage.

by on Aug.08, 2017

Mazda reportedly will use the new HCCI engine technology in the next Mazda3 model.

Just days after Mazda announced plans to partner with Toyota on the development and production of new battery-electric vehicles, the smaller automaker said it is getting ready to launch a new breakthrough gasoline engine that could give hybrids a run for the money.

Known as a homogeneous charge compression ignition, or HCCI, engine, what Mazda plans to call the Skyactiv-X has been a long-held goal of many major manufacturers for decades. It essentially combines the best aspects of gas and diesel engines to deliver, among other things, extremely good mileage with low emissions.

Breaking News!

“We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine,” Mazda R&D head Kiyoshi Fujiwara told reporters in Japan on Tuesday. “Electrification is necessary but,” he added, “the internal combustion engine should come first.”

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