Archive for December, 2017

Musk Gives Twitter Users a Peek Behind the Curtain

Popular CEO fields questions via Twitter, reveals upcoming Tesla updates.

by on Dec.29, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk held court on Twitter recently, promising everything from a pickup truck to improved Autopilot.

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk went “all Oprah” on Twitter yesterday. He asked his followers for input on how to improve the company’s vehicles and as the answers came back he basically rubber stamped approvals like Oprah gives out cars.

The charismatic EV company leader received more than 13,000 responses to his query, which also sought back on his other companies, such as SpaceX, SolarCity and The Boring Co., but most centered on what Tesla mavens wanted to see in the future.

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He responded to about a dozen, promising one respondent that the company will “make a pickup truck right after Model Y.” He added that he is “dying to build it,” so when the company debuts the Model Y, the truck could be part of that unveiling, based on the last event. (more…)

China Bans Production of 553 Vehicle Models

Government looks to make dramatic improvements to air quality.

by on Dec.29, 2017

China is taking dramatic steps to improve the air quality in its largest cities.

China continues to crack down on the causes of air pollution in its largest cities with the latest measure being the banning of production of 553 vehicles starting in January.

The halt begins Jan. 1, the China Vehicle Technology Service Center said, according to Bloomberg News. While many of the vehicles affected are vehicles produced by Chinese manufacturers, also on the list are models from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet.

Global Auto News!

The move reflects the seriousness of the problem and the government’s determination to get it resolved. In recent months, the government has cut back steel production, restricted coal use and rolled out a plan to eliminate internal combustion engines in cars by 2040. (more…)

Nissan Hints a Revival of Xterra May Be in the Works

Could it be based off the same platform as next-gen Frontier pickup?

by on Dec.29, 2017

The Nissan Xterra drove off into the sunset in 2015.

All things go in cycles, even when it comes to booming demand for utility vehicles. Make that CUVs, or crossover-utility vehicle, which have all but bumped traditional sport-utes off the market.

But there are signs a revival of classic, body-on-frame SUVs just might be a-coming, with Ford readying a reborn Bronco, Toyota promising to follow the FT-AC Concept with a production model, and Jeep betting big on the all-new remake of the classic Wrangler – currently one of the few true SUVs left on the market.

Market Trends!

Could Nissan be ready to toss its own hat back in the ring, however, with an all-new version of the Xterra, which it pulled from the U.S. market in 2015? Apparently yes, according to a senior Nissan executive.


Nissan Set to Debut Leaf Grand Touring Concept

GT will share Tokyo stage with Leaf NISMO concept next month.

by on Dec.29, 2017

The two-tone Nissan Leaf Grand Touring Concept will debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Much as Toyota has done with its Prius hybrid, Nissan appears ready to create an entire “family” of Leaf battery-electric vehicles.

The second-largest Japanese automaker plans to pulls the wraps off the Leaf Grand Touring Concept during the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon next month – where it will share the stage with the Nissan Leaf NISMO Concept that was first unveiled at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.

Electrifying News!

Nissan isn’t saying what it might have in mind for the GT show car, but it has been hinting that it wants to offer more than a single variant of the newly redesigned, generation-two Leaf. Among other things, it plans to introduce an optional battery pack later in 2018 that will boost the EVs range from 150 to “200- miles.”


General Motors Catches Break in New Ignition Ruling

Judge says expert testimony cannot be used.

by on Dec.28, 2017

GM caught a break in a new ruling about litigation related to its faulty ignition switches.

General Motors Co. may have just gotten a significant break related to private lawsuits filed about its faulty ignition switches on thousands of its small vehicles courtesy of a new ruling from the district court judge handling the lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the plaintiffs in two bellwether cases, according to Reuters, where airbags deployed may not use expert testimony corroborating a theory how the defective switches were involved in crashes.

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Some of the lawsuits allege that the switches, which account for 124 deaths and hundreds of injuries, could have moved from the “run” position to the “accessory” position and then back to “run” allowing the airbags to deploy, but too late to be effective. (more…)

McConaughey Hyping New Lincoln Navigator

Actor brings unique style to latest ad.

by on Dec.28, 2017

Matthew McConaughey is back and behind the wheel of the new Lincoln Navigator in the brand's latest commercial starting in January.

Ford’s luxury division, Lincoln finally produced a new Navigator full-size luxury sport-utility vehicle. However, this big profit generator will be promoted by a familiar face: Matthew McConaughey.

The actor, known for movies like Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Lincoln Lawyer, has been the spokesperson for the luxury brand for several years now and his early ads attracted quite a bit of attention, not all of it positive.

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McConaughey will star in two ads for the Navigator with the first debuting on Twitter and YouTube, and then air on television during the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1. (more…)

Alfa’s Next SUV Will Be Bigger, Hybrid-Powered

Making “a little big bigger.”

by on Dec.28, 2017

Auto Express used a bit of Photoshop magic to give a hint of what the larger Alfa SUV might look like.

Alfa Romeo’s next SUV will not only be the brand’s biggest model ever but also its first hybrid, according to the Italian automaker’s chief technical officer.

With the Stelvio, Alfa’s first ute, clicking with buyers around the world, the brand is betting the next, as yet-unnamed SUV will continue to power its global revival plan. But it will be just one of three new models set to debut during the next couple years.

Fueling Up on News!

“The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little bit bigger?” asked CTO Roberto Fedeli, in an interview with Britain’s Auto Express magazine. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

A worthy competitor in an increasingly crowded segment.

by on Dec.28, 2017

The new Hyundai Elantra GT Sport is ready to run with the others in the "hot hatch" segment.

As a challenger brand, Hyundai has never been shy about pushing into new segments so the fact the South Korean automaker elected to take one of the company’s most popular models and turn it into a “hot hatch” should not come as a big surprise.

The result of the effort is the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, a nifty hatchback that I thought clearly lived up to the GT nomenclature that has been hung on the car.

Product News!

The fact is the 2018 Elantra GT Sport spices up the Hyundai’s strong and popular Elantra line. (more…)

Analysts Predicting December Sales Slide

This year expected to be fourth-best sales result ever.

by on Dec.28, 2017

New vehicle sales in December are expected to decline 7%, according to analysts.

Despite dropping millions of dollars on advertising during the holidays, analysts estimate that sales of new vehicles in December 2017 will drop 7% year-over-year with virtually every major manufacturer seeing its sales drop.

However, manufacturers can take comfort from the fact that this December will be the best sales month of 2017. This year will end at 17.1 million units sold, which is a 2% drop from last year, but still the fourth-largest sales total in history.

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“December should be the biggest sales month of the year, and despite our expectations for significant year-over-year declines, the projected SAAR of 17.6 million would be the third-highest of the year,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  (more…)

Make Your Own Mini With New Personalization Program

Brand offers buyers a chance to put their stamp on a new vehicle.

by on Dec.27, 2017

The new Mini Yours Customised program, Mini owners can personalize their new Minis.

For decades, Mini owners have been customizing their cars with all kinds of lights, roll bars, roof racks and other adornments, not to mention specialized graphics and paint colors, but now the brand has a way to make your vehicle, well, yours.

The Mini Yours Customisation (British brand, British spelling on this one!) program that allows owners to special order parts of their cars with designs, including names, created by the owner.  Customers can design personalized inlays for the side scuttles, trims for the passenger side in the interior, LED door sills and LED door projectors, or welcome mats.

Product News!

For those looking to take the personalization of their Mini to the next level can select and design the upgrade parts at the new Online Customiser specially developed for the new options. From start to finish, it takes just a couple of weeks, the company says. (more…)