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What’s Coming to the 2017 L.A. Auto Show?

An array of utility vehicles, a handful of sedans – and a breakthrough gas engine.

by on Nov.27, 2017

The BMW i8 roadster gets a soft top and a more powerful drivetrain with a longer-range battery

This week marks the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the nation’s first big car show of the 2018 model-year. Over a dozen manufacturers will roll out new products in Tinseltown, some making their global debuts, others appearing for the first time in North America.

While there are a few surprises in store, a number of manufacturers have already offered insight into what they’ll introduce at the L.A. Convention Center. That includes Jeep, which will lift the covers off the much-anticipated new Wrangler sport-utility vehicle. No surprise, in fact, that utes will dominate the show’s schedule, though we’ll see some intriguing products on the passenger car side, including the third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS and, for mainstream buyers, the new Mazda6.

LA Auto Show News!

The Los Angeles show has a tradition of focusing on green technology and there’ll be plenty of alternative tech to check out, including the new roadster version of BMW’s plug-in hybrid i8, as well as the new Infiniti Q50 which introduces the first variable-compression turbo engine.

Here’s a look at some of the most important introductions we’ll be seeing this week:

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Uber Under Fire as It Belatedly Admits Hackers Stole Data

Ride-sharing service paid off hackers, waited a year to reveal theft affecting 57 million riders and drivers.

by on Nov.22, 2017

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has faced one problem after another since his arrival at the company.

Just when it looked like Uber had put the worst of a very bad year behind it, things have taken yet another turn for the worse, the ride-sharing giant acknowledging that hackers stole personal data from around 57 million user and driver accounts.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Uber officials went on to acknowledge they paid the data thieves $100,000, allegedly to destroy the information they had accessed, and then kept the news secret for a year. With memories of how consumer data firm Equifax kept its own breach quiet for months, Uber is coming under intense criticism, with regulators in the U.S. and Europe already threatening investigations.

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Consumer News!

“You may be asking why we are just talking about this now, a year later. I had the same question,” wrote Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a blog. “None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” added Khosrowshahi joined the embattled firm in August following the ouster of founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick who was embroiled in a variety of scandals.

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Are You the New Infiniti QX50?

Luxury marque teases “most advanced car ever” ahead of LA Auto Show.

by on Nov.21, 2017

Infiniti teases an important new offering it will reveal at the LA Auto Show next week.

Well, we do know we’ll see the Infiniti QX80 at the Los Angeles Motor Show next week, after it made a world debut at the Dubai Auto Show earlier in November. But that doesn’t tell us much about the curious teaser Nissan’s luxury brand sent out today.

We’ve already been told that the vehicle whose grille and headlight we see will be the brand’s “most advanced car ever,” but it almost certainly isn’t a sedan or coupe. The nose is just too tall and upright. So, that would suggest the automaker means a car-based crossover.

Filling in the Blanks!

“As with all Infinitis,” the latest release tells us, in the words of global design boss Alfonso Albaisa, “we have been inspired by our desire to drive, expressed with power and artistry. With this all-new model, inspiration comes from striking the perfect balance between lust and logic. At a glance, seamless and sculptural, getting closer to the car reveals an ingenious blend of proportion and space.”

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India’s Mahindra Opens Off-Road Vehicle Plant Near Detroit

A U.S. auto plant could be next "logical step."

by on Nov.21, 2017

A crowd gathers by the obligatory ceremonies at the new Mahindra plant just outside Detroit.

Mahindra Automotive North America has set up an off-road vehicle assembly line in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills – a move that soon could be followed by the Indian manufacturer’s entry into the U.S. automotive market.

The subsidiary of Mumbai-based Mahindra & Mahindra has been promising to set up shop in the States for more than a decade, going as far as lining up a dealer network before pulling back. The 150,000-square-foot facility is located not far from the headquarters of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and scores of automotive suppliers, and it becomes the first new auto plant in the Detroit region in a quarter century.

Global News!

Mahindra didn’t reveal the vehicle it plans to build at a news conference Wednesday, but Group Chairman Anand Mahindra told reporters it “will take us into a whole different orbit.” He also hinted at future plans. “I think a very logical step after that would be to get on-road.”

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Uber Buying Up to 24,000 Autonomous Volvo XC90s

Uber’s technology could allow fully driverless operation.

by on Nov.20, 2017

An autonomous Volvo XC90 used by Uber in San Francisco. The original test was cut short when Uber refused to get a state permit.

Uber will purchase as many as 24,000 XC90 sport-utility vehicles from Volvo as part of its push to become an autonomous and, eventually, a fully driverless ride-sharing service.

The Swedish automaker previously provided a small number of XC90 s for autonomous pilot programs Uber operated in several cities, including San Francisco and Phoenix. The non-exclusive and non-binding deal would take things a giant step forward and allow Uber to launch autonomous operations on a commercial level starting in 2019.

Tech News!

“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances, adding that he was “thrilled” to expand the ride-sharing service’s alliance with Chinese-owned Volvo.

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Mercedes Gives a Glimpse of New CLS

A hard act to follow.

by on Nov.20, 2017

A first teaser shot reveals some notable changes to the nose of the next Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Few cars have had a bigger impact on automotive design than the original Mercedes-Benz CLS which introduced the concept of coupe-like sedans that seemingly every automaker has now copied.

First launched for the 2005 model-year, Mercedes took a cautious approach with the gen-2 CLS, opting for evolution over revolution. Now, an all-new remake will be making its debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, and we’ve gotten two teaser images offering some hints of what to expect.

Auto Show Previews!

We’ve done a little work with Photoshop to pull some details out of the shadows and reveal a bit more about the face of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. But what you see is what we got in terms of the interior detail shot. And if that’s any indication of what to expect, it’s likely the CLS cabin where we’ll be some of the most dramatic updates to the new CLS.

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And For My Next Trick: Tesla’s Musk Suggests New Roadster May Be Able to Fly

Pushing the envelope or seeking a diversion amidst financial struggles.

by on Nov.20, 2017

Tesla CEO unveiled the new Roadster last week.

What happens when the head of your car company also runs a rocket business? If that person happens to be CEO Elon Musk he hints that the new, $200,000 Roadster Tesla unveiled last week also may be able “to fly for short hops” if a buyer opts for a “special upgrade.”

Musk isn’t the only one who envisions flying cars. A number of firms are working on that concept, including European aerospace giant Airbus. But the Sunday tweet by the Tesla CEO adds another twist to the tale of a company that not only is building cars but batteries, stationary power systems and solar cells. Musk is also the boss at SpaceX, the rocket company that has been supplying the International Space Station and soon plans to start launching humans into space under contract for NASA.

Behind the News!

Whether the latest tweet is serious is a question generating plenty of buzz across the Internet. While Musk’s many fans seem to believe he’s capable of just about anything, skeptics are asking whether the hint of a flying Tesla Roadster might be meant to divert attention away from the carmaker’s struggles – which include a disastrous third-quarter loss and ongoing problems getting the new Model 3 into volume production.

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VW Investing Over $40b on EVs, Autonomous Vehicles

German automaker ups ante in increasingly costly tech battle.

by on Nov.17, 2017

The VW I.D. Crozz concept will become a production battery-electric SUV.

Volkswagen AG said Friday it will spend over 34 billion Euros, or $40 billion between now and 2022 on electrified powertrain technology, autonomous vehicles and other futuristic concepts, aiming to leapfrog key competitors like General Motors and Toyota.

VW already announced plans to offer electrified variants of every model sold by its dozen passenger car brands, including 50 all-electric models, between now and 2025. It also is developing electrified commercial vehicles.

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“We are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world’s number-one player in electric mobility by 2025,” Chief Executive Matthias Müller said. “The entire automotive industry is facing fundamental changes in the coming years, which will provide great opportunities, but also require us to put in tremendous efforts.”

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Musk Promises New Tesla Roadster Will Be World’s Fastest Production Car. “Period.”

“A hardcore smackdown” for gas-powered sports cars.

by on Nov.17, 2017

Is this going to be the fastest production car ever?

Forget the Dodge Demon. Don’t bother with the new 5,000 hp Devel Sixteen. If what Elon Musk revealed late Thursday night has any bearing on reality, the world of performance is about to change. “Period.”

Officially, Tesla had promised the evening would finally bring the twice-delayed unveiling of the company’s new Semi truck, an 18-wheeler meant to offer a clean alternative to traditional diesel rigs. But CEO Musk had something in his back pocket, and when the trailer of one of those big trucks opened up, out popped a sleek, cherry red 2+2.

Charge!

“People have been asking us when we’re going to make a new Roadster,” said Musk. “We’re making it now.”

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Toyota Teases “Future Adventure Concept” Coming to LA Auto Show

New Toyota FT-AC follows up on recent FT-4X concept and signals replacement for FJ Cruiser.

by on Nov.16, 2017

The teaser pic suggests a more classic SUV design for the Toyota FT-AC concept.

Toyota and its high-line Lexus brand will be putting the spotlight on SUVs at the upcoming LA Auto Show – to no one’s surprise considering utes now account for half of the overall American new vehicle market.

Lexus has already given us a hint of its new RXL, a three-row version of the ever-popular RX line, and now it’s Toyota’s turn to tease us, the Japanese giant releasing this carefully lit front view of what it has dubbed the FT-AC.

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Auto Show News!

Short for “Future Toyota Adventure Concept,” it picks up where Toyota left off last April with the FT-4X concept, and the retro-styled FT-AC appears to signal what may be heading our way to fill the slot left open by the demise of the old FJ Cruiser.

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