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AMG Working on F1-Inspired Hypercar

AMG R50 could be on the road within two years.

by on Oct.04, 2016

Mercedes and AMG won't be left out of the hypercar game. The maker revealed a hint of its entry dubbed the R50.

For those who think the Mercedes-AMG GT or one of its variants isn’t quite fast enough, there’s reason to hope for the future.

The high-performance arm of Mercedes-Benz is working up something that will kick things up several notches, confirming long-standing rumors of a hypercar borrowing much of its basic technology from the German automaker’s dominant Formula One program.

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Known internally as the R50, AMG gave some clues as to what’s coming at the Paris Motor Show. For one thing, it won’t be just for weekend warriors who want to pretend their F1 drivers and head for a day on the track. It will be a road car “you could drive every day,” according to AMG Chief Executive Tobias Moers. (more…)

Ferrari Reveals Aperta, its Fastest-Ever Convertible

Aperta debuts alongside turbo V-8 Lusso.

by on Oct.03, 2016

Ferrari debuted its fastest convertible ever: the LaFerrari Aperta at this year's Paris Motor Show.

Ferrari has a pair of new offerings on display as the first consumer stream into the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile, including the fastest-ever convertible, a ragtop version of its flagship LaFerrari.

The maker also rolled out a more affordable version of its wagon-like model, dubbed the GTC4Lusso T, a turbo V-8 replacing the original V-12 powerplant.

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The debut of the two models came as a bit of counter-programming at a Paris Motor Show that largely focused on battery-power and other green and futuristic technologies. Mercedes-Benz, for example, introduced the Generation EQ electric vehicle concept and said a production version would anchor a new sub-brand called Mercedes-EQ. (more…)

Dramatic Auto Industry Change Opens Opportunities for Renault-Nissan-Daimler Alliance, CEOs Agree

Three makers partnering on connected, autonomous and electrified automobiles.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche, left, and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn agree that new opportunities are coming.

The automotive world is at the vanguard of “more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the past 20,” suggested Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, during a Paris Motor Show news conference.

Some of the most significant changes will involve connected and autonomous vehicles, as well as the push towards electrified powertrains, said Dieter Zetsche, chairman and CEO of Daimler AG, which seven years ago formed its own partnership with Renault-Nissan. Automakers can also add the growing interest in ride- and car-sharing to the growth areas.

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“We are not afraid of these changes,” added Ghosn. “We seem them as opportunities.” But they also make cooperation among traditional rivals all the more important because “No automaker can go it alone in this environment.” (more…)

Could Renault-Nissan Top Toyota in Global Sales

“Not an objective,” but increasingly likely, says CEO Ghosn.

by on Sep.30, 2016

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition of Mitsubishi could make his company tops in auto sales globally next year.

For much of the last decade, Toyota Motor Co. has won the global sales sweepstakes, though it is being chased by an increasingly aggressive Volkswagen AG. But now, a wildcard has entered the race, and CEO Carlos Ghosn said it’s a strong possibility that his Renault-Nissan Alliance could soon brush outside those two rivals.

The Euro-Japanese partnership lagged more than a million units behind its two rivals last year, so it would need a turbo-boost to take the lead. And that just might happen in 2017 as the Nissan side of the alliance completes its planned acquisition of struggling Japanese automaker Mitsubishi.

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Would that push the Renault-Nissan Alliance over the top? “Yes,” Ghosn responded to a question during a Paris Motor Show news conference. “We may become number one, even thought that is not our objective.” (more…)

Mercedes Generation EQ Concept Moves Battery Power “into the Fast Lane”

Show car introduces new battery-based EQ brand.

by on Sep.29, 2016

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche helps reveal the Generation EQ concept vehicle in Paris.

Anyone who thinks battery power is just for a select niche of techies and greenies might come away with a very different opinion after touring this year’s Paris Motor Show. And if the message still doesn’t come across, just ask Daimler AG Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche, who assured a media audience that the Mercedes-Benz brand is moving electric vehicles “into the fast lane.”

The automaker previously committed to putting 10 plug-in hybrids and several pure battery-electric models into production over the next several years. But the Mercedes Generation EQ concept making its debut at the Mondial de l’Automobile takes things a step further. It will launch an all-new electrified brand, dubbed EQ, to challenge the likes of America’s Tesla and arch-rival BMW’s “i” brand. Future products will be badged “Mercedes-EQ, Zetsche told TheDetroitBureau.com

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“The emission-free automobile is the future,” said Zetsche. “And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”

(more…)

BMW Serves Up X2 Concept, New Gran Turismo, i3 in Paris

Maker's X2 concept mixes urban flair with functionality.

by on Sep.29, 2016

BMW put its X2 Concept, where urban chic and functionality meet, on display at the Paris Motor Show.

BMW hit this year’s Paris Motor Show with a trio of vehicles aimed at showing that good things come in small packages: the Concept X2, 3 Series Gran Turismo and new i3 electric vehicle.

The Concept X2 is a compact concept aimed to offer a sporty, urban alternative to the German maker’s X line-up of utility vehicles, or as they call them SAVs: sport activity vehicles.

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It certainly does stand apart with large wheels but the familiar “two-box design” reminds that this is a “functional” vehicle, like its X siblings. (more…)

Kia Brings Rio to Paris

Maker ready to make impact in Europe's biggest market.

by on Sep.29, 2016

Kia's new Rio subcompact, which competes in Europe's toughest market, features a new exterior design.

Kia, which has used a combination of eye-catching design and new technology to win over customers, rolled out a updated version of its Rio subcompact passenger car during previews for the Paris Auto Show.

The new Kia Rio, one of the ambitious South Korean automaker’s key vehicles – it accounts for 16% of the company’s global sales – made its world debut in Paris at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile.

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The fourth generation offers B-segment buyers, with new design both inside and out, a package of practicality and convenience, safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling in keeping with the automaker’s efforts to improve its suspensions and chassis in the wake of some intense criticism. (more…)

Lexus Downsizes with New UX SUV Concept

High-tech ute abandons conventional mirrors, offers hologram-style gauges.

by on Sep.29, 2016

The styling renaissance continues at Lexus with the debut of the UX Concept.

Long known for its staid and unexciting designs, Lexus has been pushing the styling envelope during the last several years, and the new UX crossover-utility vehicle making its public debut at this year’s Paris Motor Show is no exception.

The ute, which is already triggering a fair bit of controversy, offers a more downsized option than what’s available in the current Lexus line-up, something that could play well in Europe, in particular. That’s reflected by the fact that the concept vehicle was designed at ED2, the brand’s design studio in the South of France.

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“The biggest challenge for any designer is always to create something new and original, yet with relevance to both the customer and the brand. Overall, this is a product which gives another hint of the potential for Lexus’ design approach to satisfy those criteria,” said Simon Humphries, the president of ED2. (more…)

Volkswagen Identifies a New Direction with I.D. Battery-Car

An “iconic design study with the potential to define history.”

by on Sep.29, 2016

The Volkswagen I.D. makes its Paris debut.

(This story has been updated from the official Paris Motor Show launch.)

Volkswagen appears to have clearly identified a problem – and come up with a solution. With its reputation for building clean, high-mileage diesels in tatters due to its emissions scandal – and with regulators around the world pushing for a shift to zero-emissions alternatives – it is planning a major push into battery-electric technology.

The German maker is offering up a look at the first at what it says will be 30 battery-based models scheduled to reach market during the next decade: the new Volkswagen I.D. This Golf-size EV will likely give some serious competition to the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt when it reaches market in 2020.

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The VW I.D. pushes the concept of long range to a new level, the maker suggesting it will run anywhere from 400 to 600 kilometers – 250 to 375 miles – per charge. That would mean even a motorist could travel even longer than with most of today’s gasoline vehicles on a full tank.

“The I.D. stands for a new era of electric cars,” declared VW brand chief Herbert Diess, during the Paris unveiling. (more…)

Opel Charges into Paris with Long-Range Ampera-e

Range of up to 250 miles promised for Chevy Bolt near-twin.

by on Sep.29, 2016

The Opel Ampera-e is part of the flood of electric vehicles coming from European makers.

European automakers are powering up, and this year’s Paris Motor Show hints at the flood of new battery-based models we’ll be seeing major manufacturers roll out during the next few years.

That includes the new Opel Ampera-e, a slightly revised Euro version of the Chevrolet Bolt battery-electric vehicle we’ll see in U.S. showrooms before the end of this year. Thanks to more lenient European testing procedures, the Ampera-e is expected to deliver 250 miles per charge, or about 12 more than its U.S. near-twin.

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“The Ampera-e, with its outstanding range, makes electric mobility fully feasible for everyday use and also lots of fun,” said Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann. (more…)