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Cadillac May Move Sales, Marketing Ops Out of Detroit

by on Aug.22, 2014

Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's new boss, will be making some tought product and personnel decisions in the months ahead.

As part of an ambitious campaign to grow the brand and expand its line-up, Cadillac is giving serious thought to moving some of its key team members out of Detroit, with a new base in New York one of the possibilities, several well-placed sources have confirmed for TheDetroitBureau.com.

Such a move would be designed to give what one source called “breathing room” between the luxury brand’s sales, marketing and research staff and the rest of GM. But the move has “not been finalized,” another insider cautioned, a spokesman saying there are currently “no changes” to announce.

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Cadillac would be the latest location brand to relocate in a bid to enhance its autonomy from its parent. The most recent was Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan Motor Co., which several years ago moved its headquarters to Hong Kong as part of an effort to transform itself from a niche, second-tier luxury brand largely focused on the U.S. market to a truly global player.

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Ford Plans to Take on Toyota Prius with New Hybrid Line

New “dedicated” hybrid line expected to debut in 2019.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Ford will take dead aim at the segment leader, the Toyota Prius, with its new "dedicated" hybrid.

Already one of the most ambitious players in the battery-based vehicle market, Ford Motor Co. wants to take a run at hybrid market leader Toyota with a new gasoline-electric model it will launch in 2018, according to a new report.

The as yet-unnamed model will be directly targeted at the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, and will use a dedicated design, unlike other Ford hybrids that are pitched as optional alternatives in conventional vehicles.

Auto Insight!

A report by the Reuters news service says the new model will be produced in a plant near Detroit, likely the factory in Wayne, Michigan that currently produces a mix of other Ford battery-cars, including the Focus EV, and the C-Max, which is offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations in the U.S.

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Porsche, GMC – and the Chevrolet Corvette – Top 2014 Ideal Vehicle List

GM and Ford score most segment wins.

by on Aug.21, 2014

The new Chevrolet Corvette was the single most "Ideal Vehicle" according to owners.

For the second consecutive year, Porsche has been named the “Ideal Vehicle” brand by American consumers, though the individual vehicle that tops the list is the all-new Chevrolet Corvette.

General Motors, in fact, had more top-ranked models in the 2014 Ideal Vehicle Awards, or IVA, than any other manufacturer but Ford Motor Co. this year. And despite the Detroit maker’s ongoing recall issues, its GMC truck marque was named the “Most Ideal Popular Brand” in a survey conducted by California consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.

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Significantly, a quarter of the top-ranked models in the 2014 IVA are all-new or, like the ‘Vette, have been completely redesigned for 2014.

“Winning an IVA in their first year of release shows that these newly redesigned vehicles have hit the mark with their owners, but it also shows that the designers did their research to know how to best meet the needs and expectations of their core group of buyers,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific.

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Sport Hybrid Gives Muscle Honda CR-Z Long Needed

Hatchback gets supercharged boost from HPD performance division.

by on Aug.21, 2014

The supercharger package for the Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid adds some chassis and appearance upgrades to the hp boost from the new blower.

(This story has been updated to include torque numbers, and information about fuel economy changes.)

Long in promise, short in performance, that’s been the widely voiced complaint about the Honda CR-Z since the hatchback hybrid was first introduced four years ago this month. But the Japanese maker plans to correct that problem with the help of its Honda Performance Development, or HPD, division.

The street performance division has come up with a new dealer-installed supercharger package that will deliver a more than 50% boost to the standard-issue CR-Z pony count. The performance punch won’t come cheap, however, Honda setting the price for the 2015 CR-Z Sport Hybrid kit at $5,495 – plus dealer installation fees.

A Real Performer!

“The CR-Z was the first hybrid to prove that efficiency doesn’t have to come at the cost of sportiness and fun,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “With HPD street performance accessories, including the new supercharger kit, the CR-Z will surprise everyone again with even higher levels of performance directly inspired by our on-track racing efforts.”

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GM’s Reuss Confims Cadillac’s Plans for Flagship Sedan

A book-end for a rapidly expanding product line-up.

by on Aug.20, 2014

The Cadillac Elmiraj concept is expected to have a strong influence on the new flagship, though it will go with a sedan body style.

Cadillac will finally bring to market a full-size luxury flagship sedan late next year, Mark Reuss, the global product development chief for General Motors confirmed.

The new model, as TheDetroitBureau.com previously reported, is expected to go up against some of the toughest competitors in the luxury automotive market, including the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the best-selling premium sedan. Industry analysts expect the new model to showcase Caddy’s distinctive Art & Science design language while also offering an array of new comfort, performance and safety features.

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“What we do there has got to be a symbol of excellence,” Reuss said during a media scrum following a GM event for student interns. “This is a car that Cadillac needs that will define this brand in terms of innovation and excellence.”

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Millennials Move from Cars to SUVs – Just Like Their Parents

Compact cars lose their luster as Gen Y ages.

by on Aug.19, 2014

The Ford Explorer Sport is the perfect vehicle for conquering the concrete jungle.

Ford's Explorer is one of its more popular models with Gen Y as Millennials turn away from compact cars.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Millennials would rather sit at home playing videogames and texting, and if they do buy a car, they’re likely to opt for something small, preferably with a battery.

As is so often the case, however, the prevailing sentiment is wrong, as several new studies reveal. Not only are Millennials buying cars in ever-larger numbers, but they’re opting for roomy crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, much like their parents.

Crossing Generations!

One likely explanation, according to Chris Travell, a vice president at Maritz Research, is that they want vehicles that can carry more of their stuff.

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Infiniti Prepping Flagship Concept for Paris Motor Show

A long-awaited Q45 replacement?

by on Aug.19, 2014

Infiniti offers a tease of a concept coming to Paris.

The cryptic statement reveals little beyond suggesting that Infiniti has something big coming. But TheDetroitBureau.com has learned that the maker is readying a new concept vehicle for the upcoming Paris Motor Show that could fill the yawning gap left open since the brand’s old flagship sedan, the Q45, went away.

The concept vehicle is expected to flag the grand changes coming at Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, while also underscoring that the brand hasn’t lost direction or momentum despite the recent departure of its global chief, Johan de Nysschen who is just reporting for duty this week as the new head of Cadillac.

Global Perspective!

“This will show people the vision lives on and we have a bright future,” said one of several sources who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com on background only.

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Another Saab Story: New Owners Narrowly Sidestep New Bankruptcy.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden now seeking partners.

by on Aug.19, 2014

NEVS was able to restart the Saab plant for only a matter of months, producing about 6 cars daily.

It might seem like a comedy routine if it weren’t so deadly serious; the company that bought filed Swedish automaker Saab out of bankruptcy itself averted its own financial collapse this past week and is now frantically seeking a new partner to keep the operation going.

A Chinese-controlled coalition, National Electric Vehicle Sweden hasn’t produced a car at Saab’s Trollhattan plant since May and was being threatened by an unpaid supplier ready to force it into bankruptcy  – echoing what happened to the Dutch firm that previously tried to rescue Saab.

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“The company does not have enough liquid cash today to pay all outstanding debt, but NEVS’ assets are larger than its debt,” the new Saab owner confirmed in a statement. “NEVS cannot say exactly when, but NEVS’ suppliers will get paid.”

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Renovo Reveals 500-hp Electric SuperCar

Silicon Valley start-up aims to redefine the battery car.

by on Aug.18, 2014

The Renovo Coupe can launch from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds thanks to its 500-hp drivetrain.

It may, at first glance, look like a Shelby American, and your eyes wouldn’t be deceiving you. It’s what’s under the skin that transforms that already serious piece of performance machinery into an even more notable entry into the automotive pantheon.

Making its debut over the weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, what start-up Renovo Motors bills as “America’s First All-Electric Supercar” is likely to shock folks who associate battery-electric vehicles with the likes of the Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

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The modified coupe has been outfitted with a 500-horsepower battery-powered driveline that transforms it into the Renovo Coupe, a rear-wheel-drive electric supercar capable of launching from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.4 seconds. The price tag, is equally likely to take your breath away, however, at a hefty $529,000

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Cruising Down Memory Lane

Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise turns 20.

by on Aug.16, 2014

A "flamed" hot rod, one of from 40,000 to 60,000 classic muscle cars, hot rods, sports cars and other collectibles expected at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

For Bob Wissman, standing on the corner of Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, Michigan is a trip down Memory Lane. As a teenager in the 1960s, even before he was old enough to drive, he’d hitchhike along Metro Detroit’s main drag, hoping to catch a ride in a Ford Mustang, a Pontiac GTO or, if he was lucky, a Chevrolet Corvette.

Woodward Ave. was Ground Zero for muscle car fans and, back then, you’d even catch some executives, like General Motors’ legendary maverick John DeLorean, showing up late at night to street test a new performance car against their competitors.

The Last Word!

The days of cruising are long past – well, not entirely. As summer enters its dog days, the echoes of screeching tires and the resonant roar of big V-8s can be heard up and down Woodward Avenue, a crescendo building by the day as the Motor City gets set to celebrate its heritage with the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

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