Archive for November, 2017

Nissan Gets its Kicks With New SUV

New crossover is “gateway” to the maker’s expanding line-up.

by on Nov.29, 2017

Nissan unveiled its new Kicks crossover vehicle targeted at millennials moving up a vehicle.

Nissan hopes buyers will get their Kicks on Route 66 – as well as I-405, the New York Throughway and pretty much everywhere else – in the maker’s newest sport-utility vehicle.

The 2018 Nissan Kicks becomes the latest in an expanding line-up of crossover models the Japanese maker has been rolling out and arrives at what would seem the perfect time, with utes now accounting for nearly half of the overall U.S. new vehicle market.

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Targeting millennials and others who might otherwise opt for an entry-level sedan or hatchback, the Nissan Kicks targets “buyers moving up,” and, said U.S. sales and marketing chief Dan Mohncke, will be “the new gateway to our CUV line-up.”

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Exclusive: Major Changes Coming for Electrified BMW’s i Brand

Specialty models like i3, i8 will be phased out, head of brand reveals.

by on Nov.29, 2017

BMW mobility chief Klaus Froehlich with the new i8 Roadster, Next Vision concept and i3s.

BMW is using this week’s L.A. Auto Show to reveal its new i8 Roadster, the latest in a dedicated line-up of plug-based models that also includes the new i3s battery-electric city car.

But the debut marks something of a swan song for BMW i – at least in the form the brand was initially conceived. The original goal was to use it to market a line-up of specially designed plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric, or BEV, models. But in a major shift reflecting the rapid evolution of battery technology, the head of BMW’s electric mobility program told TheDetroitBureau.com, those dedicated models will be “phased out.”

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“For us, electrification is the new normal,” explained Klaus Froehlich, during a conversation at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Going forward, he continued, Going forward, “We will not do dedicated architectures. Instead “all fully-electric models will be (badged) BMW i.”

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Hyundai Ups its Game With New Kona Crossover

Little ute, big expectations.

by on Nov.29, 2017

Hyundai is looking to close a big gap in its product portfolio with the new Kona crossover.

Hyundai has a big gap in its small-car line-up, one it aims to fill with the debut of its new Kona crossover making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

One of eight new or substantially refreshed CUVs Hyundai plans to launch by 2020, the Kona fills a yawning gap below the current Tucson and Santa Fe models. And it finally lets Hyundai Kona take on competitors like the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and the upcoming Ford EcoSport in what is expected to be one of the U.S. market’s fastest-growing segments over the next few years.

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“We’re confident it will set new standards for its segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class-leading available safety features,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning for Hyundai Motor America. (more…)

Lexus RX 350L: Bigger is Better for the King of Midsize Luxury CUVs

New stretch version to offer six and seven-seat options.

by on Nov.29, 2017

Lexus added a third row of seats to its popular RX sport-utility vehicle for the 2018 model year.

When it comes to midsize luxury SUVs, the Lexus RX has long been the big dog on the block, and it’s about to get bigger, Toyota’s luxury brand debuting a stretched, three-row model at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.

The move should come as no surprise. If anything, one might wonder why it has taken so long for the luxury brand to bring out a three-row version of the RX, the best-selling midsize ute on the market. Since it was first introduced 20 years ago, the standard-edition RX has become the go-to vehicle for suburbanites looking for an alternative to a minivan.

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Growing 4.3 inches longer than the familiar RX, Lexus aimed to blend “function and fashion,” and says it will give buyers a number of options with the three-row RXL, including both six and seven-seat packages, as well as both a conventional gas model, the RX 350L, and the hybrid-powered RX 450hL. (more…)

Honda, Ford Among Finalists for North American Car, Truck, Utility Vehicle Awards

Winners revealed at the Detroit show in January.

by on Nov.29, 2017

Honda's new 2018 Accord is one of the three car finalists for North American Car of the Year.

And so the countdown begins. After a nearly year-long trial by fire, nine cars, trucks and utility vehicles have risen almost to the top as the finalists for North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year were revealed during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday morning.

Honda scored twice, nabbing honors in both the car and utility vehicle categories with its Accord and Odyssey models. The Japanese automaker is one of only a handful of manufacturers to score two final wins from NACTOY. Ford, meanwhile, has two finalists in the truck category, one wearing the Lincoln badge.

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Now in its 24th year, NACTOY is widely considered one of the most credible automotive awards programs as it is based on the judgement and votes of 60 U.S. and Canadian journalists who will have, this year, compared nearly 100 all-new or significantly refreshed models. (more…)

VW Confirms 2020 U.S. Launch of All-Electric SUV

Crossover will be based on I.D. Crozz concept.

by on Nov.29, 2017

Volkswagen plans to bring an all-electric sport-ute to the U.S. in 2020 based on the ID Crozz.

As it continues to shift away from diesels to battery-electric vehicles, Volkswagen has confirmed plans to introduce a new all-electric SUV in 2020 that will target the U.S. market.

Based on the I.D. Crozz concept first unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show last April, the new ute will be one of 30 battery-electric vehicles the German maker plans to introduce worldwide by 2025. VW said last week it is investing over $40 billion to support that push, as well as the development of autonomous and fully driverless vehicles.

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The launch of the I.D. Crozz-based SUV and a battery-electric microbus dubbed the I.D. Buzz “will help Volkswagen to kick off an EV revolution in the United States,” said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. (more…)

Infiniti Takes Wraps Off of new QX50 in Los Angeles

New ute features breakthrough engine and helps round out SUV portfolio.

by on Nov.29, 2017

The all-new Infiniti QX50 is expected to be one of the pivot factors in driving the brand's sales beyond 200,000 units annually.

Infiniti unveiled its new mid-sized sport-utility vehicle, the 2019 QX50, ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new QX50 is expected to become a key part of its product line.

Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division vice president, described the QX50 as a luxury crossover with cutting edge technologies, standout design and unrivaled interior space, riding on an entirely new platform.

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“The 2019 QX50 is the most important vehicle we have ever launched, and it embodies everything the brand stands for: Beautiful design, advanced technology and empowering performance. As a luxury mid-size crossover, it’s the right vehicle at the right time in one of the world’s fastest growing segments,” Meunier said. (more…)

Live from the LA Auto Show!

The 2017 show starts up with sports car debuts and SUV unveilings.

by on Nov.29, 2017

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the kickoff to the U.S. auto show season, and now the show in the City of Angels is winding down for the media and auto execs. This year’s show was dominated by sport utes and crossovers of all shapes and sizes.

Though the show may be nearly over, TheDetroitBureau.com continues to generate news from L.A., so keep checking back throughout the day as news is always breaking.  (more…)

All New Yet Surprisingly Familiar: Jeep Formally Unveils 2018 Wrangler

The archetypal SUV is now lighter, more fuel-efficient, more capable.

by on Nov.29, 2017

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler family shown alongside some classic Wrangler of the past.

It takes a second to realize that the Jeep Wrangler sitting on the stand at the Los Angeles Convention Center is new from the ground up. And that’s not by accident. When you’re redesigning an icon, Jeep officials explained, you have to respect tradition.

But don’t let looks fool you. A closer inspection reveals that the 2018 Jeep Wrangler isn’t just a light update. It really is a complete remake of the ultimate off-roader, a vehicle that traces its heritage back to the revolutionary off-roader that crisscrossed battle-scarred Europe and Asia during the dark days of World War II.

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“Wrangler is instantaneously recognizable anywhere around the world,” said Michael Manley, the head of the Jeep brand, during a preview of the new ute ahead of its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The challenge, he said, was to make it even better, addressing the issues that even the most dedicated Wrangler loyalists hoped to improve.

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Lincoln Brings New Nautilus SUV to the Surface

Luxury brand unveils new mid-size SUV in Los Angeles.

by on Nov.29, 2017

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus gives Ford's luxury brand a mid-sized SUV it can compete with.

The next new vehicle from the Lincoln brand will be a mid-sized sport utility vehicle, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus, which will reach showrooms next summer featuring the latest in driver-assistance technology as well as a new design.

With the introduction of Nautilus, Lincoln will round out a fresh and strong lineup of utility vehicles that meet the demands of affluent customers in both North America and Asia, noted Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra during a preview at the new Dream Hotel in Hollywood during the run up to the opening of the annual Los Angeles Auto Show.

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“We’re excited to add Nautilus to our Lincoln family of luxury SUVs, along with a new name that better reflects the ideas and attitudes of our clients” said Galhotra, who noted the current version of a mid-sized SUV from Lincoln, the MKX, is on track to post its best sales since the pre-recession year of 2007.   (more…)

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