Archive for March, 2015

Cadillac Aims to “Reinvent” Premium Luxury Segment with New CT6

Bigger, yet lighter, the CT6 aims to redefine a once-dominant brand.

by on Mar.31, 2015

The Cadillac CT6 makes its official debut the night before the opening of the 2015 NY Auto Show.

With the official unveiling of its new CT6 sedan, Cadillac is setting out to “reinvent the premium luxury segment, global president Johan de Nysschen declared Tuesday evening. But the debut of the big sedan is also about reinventing the once-dominant Cadillac brand itself.

In the works since late 2009, shortly after parent General Motors emerged from bankruptcy, the Cadillac CT6 will go up against some of the world’s toughest competitors, vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8. But Caddy officials insist they went to play the game on their own terms as they begin an $8 billion product program that will more than double the breadth of the brand’s current line-up.

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The process began with the debut of the small ATS and mid-range CTS, and now moves to the premium segment where Caddy hasn’t been a significant player in years. “The challenge, us to reinvent the large luxury segment, a category Cadillac once called its own,” said de Nysschen, during a preview ahead of the official opening of the New York Auto Show.

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Volkswagen Makes Splash with Beetle Concepts in NYC

German maker debuts Alltrack version of Golf

by on Mar.31, 2015

Volkswagen showed off four Beetle concepts at this year's New York Auto Show.

Volkswagen dove right into this year’s New York Auto Show with the Beetle Convertible Wave and three other concepts and a look at the all-wheel drive future of the Golf.

The German maker knows its customer base and listened when introduced the Golf SportWagen and it’s taking heed again with the new Alltrack version, which will hit showrooms next year as a 2017 model.

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“We have heard from dealers and customers that they want to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from all-wheel drive,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We are delighted to introduce the SportWagen Alltrack in 2016 in the U.S.” (more…)

New Jaguar XF Gets Larger, Lighter, Faster

Coupe-like sedan takes aim at major German luxury brands.

by on Mar.31, 2015

A Jaguar XF appears to float above the ground during its official NY unveiling on Tuesday in NY.

After offering a tease of the new XF during a daring tightrope drive across the Thames River in London, Jaguar has again taken the wraps off the new mid-lux sedan during a New York Auto Show preview – this time revealing some intriguing details.

The new “aluminum-intensive” model gets much larger inside, resolving long-running complaints about its previously cramped interior. At the same time, it gets lighter and, Jaguar promises, significantly faster.

Power!

“In creating the all-new XF, as a design team, we have been driven by discipline, the discipline of simplicity,” proclaimed Jaguar chief of design Ian Callum, adding that, “Every exterior line on the XF has a clear purpose – nothing is superfluous.”

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Battle to Make Tractor-Trailers Safer: Speed v Tires

Tires rated only to 75 mph, but trucks often exceed that speed.

by on Mar.31, 2015

The tires used by tractor-trailers are only rated for 75 mph. If driven faster than that, they can rupture.

The nation’s big rigs are often exceeding the 75 mph speeds that their tires are designed to handle, often with disastrous results. The problems may expand as many states consider raising speed limits beyond 70 mph.

According to the Associated Press, 14 states, most of them west of the Mississippi River, now have speed limits of 75, 80, even 85 mph in part of Texas. While car tires are rated to handle speeds up 112 mph, truck tires haven’t been raised to the same performance level.

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In large measure, most trucks are limited to 65 or 70 mph by governors put in place by fleet owners. However, the many of the state transportation agencies approved the new highway speeds without consulting the tire makers or industry advocacy groups. (more…)

Americans Love Car Dealers. Or They Don’t. Surveys Give Conflicting Answers

But consumers clearly want change in the buying process.

by on Mar.31, 2015

Dealers could be facing a retail revolution.

Americans love their car dealers. Or they want them to go away. Or perhaps just change a little bit. Apparently, you can find a new study to reflect your old sensibilities. But most do want to change the buying process, if nothing else, to make it quicker and easier.

One study, concludes that Americans want dealers to stick around. They’re largely doing their initial research online but still want a test drive and the chance to haggle over pricing. A second study, released earlier in the month, is less upbeat about the current retail system, suggesting that a growing number of buyers would be happy to buy online, or over the phone, and just have their vehicles delivered to home or office – maybe by drone.

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The more upbeat study, conducted by website AutoTrader.com, found that 84% of respondents still want to purchase their vehicle in person. Intriguingly, even Millennials were adamant about coming in to kick the tires – as were women, in general

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Michelin Goes From Track to Street

Formula E tires could soon deliver better mileage and performance for average motorist.

by on Mar.31, 2015

Formula E racers shown charging through the 1.3-mile Miami street circuit last month.

Rain or shine, drivers will switch on their engines for the sixth round of the Formula E race series in Long Beach, California this weekend.

No matter what the weather, the 20 drivers in the battery-car racing program will ride the same set of rubber – in sharp contrast to the better-known Formula One series where teams can choose from an assortment of different tires customized for wet or dry pavement. In fact, the strict, green-minded rules of Formula E mean that drivers will likely be using some of the same tires that were on the car during the previous race in Miami.

Burn Rubber!

That may pose some challenges for those drivers, considering Formula E cars will can launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2.8 seconds and reach speeds of nearly 150 mph. But it also could be good news for the average motorist, as the technology that makes it possible to handle such extremes on track should  translate into better tires for the street, according to officials at Michelin, the official tire supplier for the Formula E series.

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NY to Wrap Up Auto Show Season with Some Big Debuts

As many as two dozen new models set for Big Apple introduction.

by on Mar.31, 2015

The new Cadillac CT6, which made an unexpected appearance in an Oscar commercial, debuts at this year's New York International Auto Show.

A long auto show season that began with last year’s gathering in Paris is getting set to wrap up with the annual New York International Auto Show. And things will be going out with a bang, rather than a whimper.

Automakers have been building momentum as the devastating Great Recession fades into the rearview mirror, bringing out a growing array of products targeting every conceivable niche. And that means that the Big Apple will see plenty of debuts – some of them extremely significant, including new flagship models coming from both Lincoln and Cadillac.

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All told, at least two dozen completely new or significantly updated models will make their appearance during the two-day media preview, with several others, such as the 2016 GMC Terrain, will wait until the public days of the show to roll out. (more…)

Automakers Poised to Enjoy Big Year in 2015

Sluggish start being offset by confident consumers.

by on Mar.31, 2015

The Ford F-150 assembly should continue humming along in 2015, according to analysts.

With the big New York Auto Show set to open this week, carmakers have every reason to be optimistic about their prospects for the month ahead based on preliminary data.

The economy remains on track to grow 3% this year, up from 2.4% in 2014, according to a new analysis by IHS Global Insight. At the same time, Consumer Sentiments as measured by the University of Michigan monthly survey of consumers.

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Motor vehicle sales are expected to have picked back up to a 17-million annualized pace in March as the weather improved, IHS noted. (more…)

GMC Updates Terrain for NY Auto Show Debut

Compact ute gaining momentum even as it preps an update.

by on Mar.31, 2015

The 2016 GMC Terrain gets a bold new grille, new front and rear fascias, and LED running lights.

While GMC may be taking a low-profile approach to the 2015 New York International Auto Show, with no official news conference on the media preview schedule, that doesn’t mean the truck brand doesn’t have anything to show off.

Showgoers will find a heavily updated version of the popular GMC Terrain waiting for them later this week when the turnstiles start spinning at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. It follows the launch earlier this year of the sibling 2016 Chevrolet Equinox.

Keep on Truckin'!

“Terrain is a popular choice in the growing compact SUV segment, introducing drivers to GMC’s professional grade design and features,” said Duncan Aldred, GMC vice president of GMC marketing, in a statement. “The changes for 2016 provide consumers with even more reasons to consider Terrain as it continues to be a smart choice for customers seeking versatility, style and technology.”

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Cadillac and Lincoln Set to Go Head-to-Head in NY with New Flagships

But the real challenge comes from European, Japanese luxury brands.

by on Mar.30, 2015

Lincoln digs into its history to come up with an all-new Continental flagship concept sedan.

It’s been a busy year for luxury automakers who have unleashed a flood of new products at shows around the world in recent months. And the season will wrap up with the unveiling of such new models as the popular Lexus RX crossover, as well as the $205,000 Range Rover SVAutobiography at the New York Auto Show this week.

But two of Detroit’s two luxury brands are likely to capture much of the spotlight in the Big Apple as they roll out new flagship sedans that Cadillac and Lincoln hope will begin the process of rebuilding their once-lofty rolls in the high-line automotive market.

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Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand has been giving a select group of journalists a sneak peek at the new Continental sedan ahead of the NY Auto Show’s two-day media event. Cadillac has been only a wee bit more secretive about its own new flagship, dubbed the CT6.

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