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Automakers Exploring Alternatives to Conventional Car-Buying Process

Ford paints one option with Canvas subscription service.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Ford's Canvas subscription service delivers a Mustang to a customer in California.

More than 17 million Americans drove off dealer lots with new vehicles last year, and the vast majority of them purchased their new cars, trucks and crossovers the same way motorists have for the past century.

There are alternatives, like leasing, but automakers are exploring even more radical options, some borrowed from the emerging world of online retailing. Ford, for one, said this week it is looking for ways to grow the subscription service, Canvas, that it launched a year ago. That subscription-based service might best be described as a hybrid blend of car buying and car rental, letting a motorist get a vehicle for as long as they want but then return it with just seven days’ notice.

The Last Word!

“As car ownership evolves, we see Canvas as part of our suite of products that address changing customer needs in mobility,” said Ford Credit Executive Vice President of Marketing David McClelland. “Canvas is building subscription products that are relevant to consumers today, and it’s building technology for the future, including billing and fleet management, with a nimble approach to product development.”


Lexus Celebrates 10 Years of High-Performance

“Another chapter to the F Performance story.”

by on Feb.06, 2018

Lexus is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the RC F with a limited edition model debuting in Chicago.

Lexus folks like to use the word, “passion” when describing the brand these days, and they’re wont to point to new models like the LC 500 sports coupe, as well as the more aggressive styling – complete with oversized spindle grille – found on models like the latest LS sedan.

But long-time followers of the luxury brand might recall that Lexus started shifting gears a full decade ago, with the launch of the original V-8-powered IS F model. And we’re getting a first look at two special-edition anniversary models meant to celebrate the special occasion. Both, of course, carry the “F” badge that Lexus uses for its sportiest products.

Product News!

“Today, Lexus adds another chapter to the ‘F’ performance story with the introduction of the 2019 Lexus GS F and 2019 RC F 10th anniversary special editions that will be displayed for the first time in the U.S. at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show,” the automaker announced, referencing the media preview that will blow into the Windy City later this week. (more…)

GM Exploring Options for Additional Battery-Electric Vehicles

Chevrolet Bolt EV lands another big award – but GM needs to move even faster to retain its lead.

by on Feb.10, 2017

GM President Dan Ammann says the company will produce more electric vehicles in the near future, but was short on specifics.

Fresh off another victory for the new Chevrolet Bolt EV – which was named the car of the year by syndicated TV show Motor Week – General Motors is exploring options for adding still more battery-electric models to its line-up.

While company officials are vague about both the details, numerous sources say that GM wants to maintain the lead it established by introducing the Bolt, the world’s first long-range, mainstream-priced battery-car. The electric crossover has garnered a series of awards since its launch late last year, including North American Car of the Year.

Beyond the Headlines!

“We will obviously need a much broader portfolio,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann, talking to after a keynote speech at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. “We see opportunities as electric vehicles take hold.” (more…)

Mopar Marks 80th Anniversary with Debut of Limited Edition Challenger

Mopar '17 Dodge Challenger is eighth in ongoing series.

by on Feb.10, 2017

Mopar chief Pietro Gorlier shows off the two versions of the Mopar '17 Dodge Challenger.

Mopar is celebrating its 80th anniversary in style, rolling out a customized version of the Dodge Challenger at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

The Mopar ’17 Dodge Challenger is the latest in a series of limited-edition muscle cars from the parts division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Only 160 of them will be offered, split evenly between two distinctive color schemes.

Product News!

“Since its birth in 1937, Mopar has evolved from the name of an antifreeze product to a global customer-care brand,” said Pietro Gorlier, the head of the parts brand. “The Mopar ’17 Dodge Challenger, our latest limited-edition vehicle, is a testament to this philosophy, showcasing how Mopar assists owners in personalizing all FCA U.S. vehicles.” (more…)

Fiat Chrysler, Braun Redefine Mobility

New wheelchair-accessible Pacifica features new technology.

by on Feb.10, 2017

Fiat Chrysler and BraunAbility showed off their latest vehicle, a wheelchair-accessible Chrysler Pacifica.

Today’s buzzword in the auto industry is mobility. It’s an oversimplified way of talking about the maker’s plans for ride-sharing, car-sharing and alternate forms of getting folks from one place to another.

Fiat Chrysler’s latest iteration of its Pacifica minivan reminds there’s been a “mobility” movement in place for some time and it was on display at the Chicago Auto Show.

Auto Show News!

FCA and BraunAbility are partnering to design a wheelchair-accessible Chrysler Pacifica minivan that gives wheelchair users a vehicle with better access, improved technology and styling — the benefits from the long-standing quality of the world’s best-known automotive mobility manufacturer while retaining the style and capability of one of the top minivans on the road. (more…)

GM’s Amman Says Maven is Moving Along

GM President tells Econ Club that car business is strong.

by on Feb.09, 2017

General Motors President Dan Ammann keynotes the Economic Club of Chicago's meeting during the recent Chicago Auto Show.

Maven the internal start-up company that General Motors created last year to help it navigate the changes that are re-shaping the automobile industry is already showing substantial promise in its first year of operation, GM President Dan Ammann told the Economic Club of Chicago.

Ammann noted that Chicago was one of the first cities where Maven, GM’s new personal mobility brand, was launched and it has already connected to hundreds of customers in the Chicago, which is one of GM’s key market in the U.S.

Auto Show News!

Each month Maven is growing by double-digits in Chicago, where it has more than 1,400 subscribers for its car-sharing fleet. In addition, Maven has lined up 1,700 Lyft drivers for its Express service, which allows Lyft drivers to lease a new vehicle from GM to use as they pick up and drop off customers using its ride-sharing business. (more…)

Nissan Adds a Royal to the Family: New Titan King Cab

New six-person cab comes with Cummins diesel option.

by on Feb.09, 2017

Nissan's North American chief Fred Diaz shows off the new 2017 Nissan Titan King Cab during the Chicago Auto Show.

This year’s Chicago Auto Show appears to be a series of “look what we did to our truck to make it better than their truck” announcements.

Well, Nissan wasn’t left out, introducing its six-person “King Cab” option available on its new Titan with wide-opening rear doors and available “rear seat delete” option that is ideal for commercial use with its flat floor and secure in-cab storage space.

Product News!

“The launch of the new King Cab body is the last step in a journey that began in December 2015 with the debut of the breakthrough Titan XD, which continues to carve out a unique white space between competitors’ heavy-duty and half-ton trucks,” said Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan North America Inc., in a statement. (more…)

Hyundai Hops into Hot Hatch Hullabaloo with New GT

New Elantra GT provides improved performance.

by on Feb.09, 2017

Hyundai is jumping into the hot hatch segment with the new 2018 Elantra GT.

Like so many other makers, Hyundai’s recent new product focus has zeroed in on electric vehicles. However, industry observers all seem to agree that the South Korean maker needs to fill the truck gap in its line-up.

So, of course, if the company’s got a new vehicle in to unveil at the Chicago Auto Show, it’s only natural that it’s a … small, sporty car!

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The automaker is taking the wraps off the new 2018 Elantra GT. Described as “lower, wider and longer” the new model is more aggressive on the outside and roomier on the inside. The new hatchback is set to hit dealerships this summer, officials said. (more…)

Three New Toyota Models Let “Families on the Go Rough it in Style”

Chicago Auto Show debut for RAV4 Adventure, Tundra and Sequoia TRD

by on Feb.09, 2017

Toyota's picked up on the idea that truck and ute buyers like to customize their vehicles a bit. The new Sequoia TRD offers that chance.

This story includes updated information.

This year’s Chicago Auto Show is all about new niche products, and Toyota has a gaggle of them to show off: rugged yet lavishly equipped versions of three of its popular light truck lines.

The RAV4 Adventure and TRD versions of the Sequoia sport-utility vehicle and Tundra pickup are all aimed at families who want to “rough it in style,” the automaker explains. They all feature improvements in off-road capabilities and performance, as well as design tweaks meant to give them a sportier and more rugged appearance.

In the Know!

That’s in keeping with what other manufacturers are bringing to this year’s Chicago Auto Show. There are more products than ever for American car buyers to choose from, but automakers also are offering more niche variants, whether sporty, upscale or just distinctive in styling. (more…)

Nissan Dresses Up New Titan for Winter

Pickups get sporty new look from Motorsports division.

by on Feb.08, 2017

Nissan Motorsports got its hands on a new Titan and turned it into the Pro-4X just in time for Chicago.

It’s winter and for many parts of the country that means a slew of outdoor activities and fortunately for Nissan Titan owners, the maker’s motorsports division has a load of new offerings designed to allow them to plunge right into their cold-weather fun.

The company is showing off those items on its new Titan, building modified display vehicles for the Chicago Auto Show. It marks the second year in a row that Nissan provided a “winterized” version of its vehicles. Last year, it showed off upgrades for its SUV line-up.

Truck News!

This year’s Titan models – the Super Black 2017 Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab and a Titan XD PRO-4X – are outfitted with Nissan Genuine Parts and Accessories, along with available aftermarket parts. (more…)