Archive for February, 2016

McLaren Expanding Line-up to Include 570GT

Maker showing latest iteration in Geneva.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The 570GT gets the same 562 horsepower twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 as its 570S sibling for 2017.

McLaren continues to rise from the ashes with the second of what is expected to be three vehicles in the 570 family – the 570GT – just in time for the Geneva Motor Show.

Actually, it’s the third of three, but only the 570GT and 570S are sold in the U.S. The 570GT gets the same 562 horsepower twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 as its sibling, the 570S, but it also gets a new roof and rear, including a spoiler and an aerodynamic package.

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However, the best upgrade may be the “touring deck.” The “deck” is really more of a “boot,” the universal term for “trunk” by English-speaking Europeans. The side-hinged glass door gives the owner access to a good-sized cargo area (7.8 cubic feet) behind the seats in the two-person cabin. (more…)

EPA Looking at Claims Mercedes Rigged Diesels

But no formal investigation, government says.

by on Feb.29, 2016

In 2012, Mercedes launched a U.S. S-Class diesel for the first time since 1995.

Barely a week after a Seattle law firm filed a class action lawsuit against luxury carmaker Daimler AG, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Monday that it is looking into claims the automaker’s diesel vehicles were illegally rigged to pass American emissions standards.

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The agency says it wants data but cautions that it has not yet opened a formal investigation. Parent of Mercedes-Benz denies allegations and says it is fully cooperating with the government.

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Bugatti Lifts Covers on 261-mph Chiron Ahead of Geneva Debut

Limited-edition ultracar aiming to regain world speed record.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The new Bugatti Chiron.

The long-awaited successor to the Bugatti Veyron has made its debut a day ahead of its official unveiling at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and whether you’re talking price, power or performance, the numbers are staggering.

To run by the basics, the new Bugatti Chiron will punch out 1,500 horsepower, launch from 0 to 60 in less than 2.5 seconds, and top out at 261 mph, enough to put it on target for a new world speed record. Oh, and did we mention the starting price of $2.6 million?

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“The Chiron is the quintessential ultimate super sports car: ultra-modern, incredibly fast, agile and powerful with a stylistically demanding design and the highest possible levels of comfort,” says Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer. “This combination is not offered by any other market player and gives Bugatti its unique market position.”

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Ford Pumps Up Fiesta with ST200 Edition

Hot hatch upgrade debuting in Geneva.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The new Ford Fiesta ST200 can make up to 217 horsepower in its overboost mode.

Ford is heating up the hot hatch wars with the Geneva Motor Show debut of the new Fiesta ST200.

Already one of the sportiest entries in the subcompact class, the new Ford Fiesta ST200 gets a big pump in performance out of its 1.6-liter EcoBoost enging, generating up to 212 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in overboost mode.

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“The ST200 takes this special drivers’ car to a new level of power and performance,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “I think it’s a future classic in the.”

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Nissan Spending $3.5B on Share Buyback

Automaker looking to raise stock price with effort.

by on Feb.29, 2016

Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn hopes to raise the automaker's share price with a $3.5 billion buyback of stock this year.

Nissan Motor Co. announced plans to repurchase $3.5 billion worth of its own shares before the end of 2016 to enhance return to shareholders, the company said in a statement.

“Return to shareholders is one of Nissan’s key objectives. We took this decision considering our financial status and outlook to continuously generate significant free cash flow,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan president and chief executive officer commented, adding the company was making an effort to balance the it’s financial strength and needs deriving from future business strategies.

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The move is expected to bolster the value of Nissan’s individual shares, which like those of other global automakers have lagged in recent weeks in the face of uncertainty about the overall health of the global economy. (more…)

Tesla Wins First Round in Fight with GM

Bill forcing Tesla to use dealers tabled until summer.

by on Feb.26, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk won the first battle with General Motors in Indiana about franchise dealer laws.

Round one of the fight between Tesla and General Motors over the EV maker’s ability to sell cars in Indiana without a dealer network has gone to Elon Musk.

Indiana lawmakers essentially tabled a bill put forth by State Representative Kevin Mahan that would have required Tesla to establish franchised dealers. GM helped Mahan craft the bill.

The Last Word!

However, a state Senate committee voted to send the bill to a “summer study” session, which put it on ice, allowing Tesla to carry on business as usual. (more…)

Federal Judge Demands Fix for VW Diesel Problem

Deadline set for March 24.

by on Feb.26, 2016

Judge Charles Breyer want VW to speed up diesel repairs, settlements with owners.

A federal judge in San Francisco is giving Volkswagen a month to come up with an acceptable fix that would bring 600,000 polluting diesel vehicles into compliance with U.S. emissions laws.

The announcement by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer comes as the maker begins repairs of more than 10 million other diesel vehicles it sold outside of the United States. But so far, the German maker hasn’t been able to come up with a solution that will satisfy the Environmental Protection Agency, which first revealed last September that VW had cheated on diesel emissions tests.

The Last Word!

“Six months is long enough” to come up with a solution, said Judge Breyer, who will oversee hundreds of lawsuits filed against the German maker that were recently consolidated before his court. “This is an ongoing problem.”

(more…)

Acura Considers Option for Brawnier NSX Type-R

“Plenty of room” to boost performance of new supercar.

by on Feb.26, 2016

The 2017 Acura NSX.

Acura began taking orders this week for the all-new 2017 NSX, marking the return of the 2-seat supercar after a decade’s absence.

The new model isn’t just an update of the old NSX. Acura has opted for a unique new hybrid drivetrain pairing a twin-turbo V-6 with three electric motors. The package delivers a solid 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque, enough to hit 60 in well under four seconds, according to preliminary tests.

A Real Performer!

But in a world where even 600 horsepower has become almost commonplace, Acura insiders told TheDetroitBureau.com that they’re looking at ways to bump power and performance up another notch or two – and that could mean the introduction of an even more extreme Acura NSX Type-R within the next several years.

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Ford Powers Up Production of EcoBoost Engine Family

$145 mil program targets Cleveland Engine Plant.

by on Feb.26, 2016

A worker assembles a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 at Ford's Cleveland Engine Plant.

Even with cheap gas, motorists have been migrating away from traditional engine choices, and that’s convinced Ford to pump $145 million into the Cleveland Engine Plant producing one of its key alternatives, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine used in a variety of models such as the big F-150 pickup.

Ford plans to make the turbocharged engine – which serves as an alternative to traditional V-8s – available on a wider line-up of vehicles in the coming years. It’s taking a similar approach with other members of the EcoBoost family which include engines as small as a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder package.

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“Ford customers have embraced EcoBoost’s unbeatable combination of power and efficiency, with more than 60% of F-150 customers choosing trucks powered by EcoBoost,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of The Americas Joe Hinrichs, said in a statement.

(more…)

Auto Loan Delinquencies on the Rise

Leasing, longer-term loans on the rise in U.S.

by on Feb.26, 2016

Fitch Ratings is warning that the subprime delinquency rate is on the rise.

Even with sales booming, the auto industry got another warning about easy credit as Fitch Ratings reported that delinquencies on U.S. subprime auto-related asset backed securities have reached a level not seen since the 2008-2009 recession.

The underperforming loans, which have been bundled into securities sold to investors, come from recent vintages driving the increase, according to Fitch. A recent report from Experian also noted rising level of delinquencies in car loans.

Picking up on the Trends!

Earlier this week, analysts from J.D. Power & Associates, while predicting strong sales for February, noted consumers are opting for leasing and long-term loans at record levels. So far in February, leases and loans of 72 months or longer combined to represent 65.1% of all retail sales, a record level for any month. The previous record was set in January 2016 at 64.3%, according to John Humphrey, J.D. Power & Associates top analysts. (more…)