Archive for November, 2018

Mini Unveiling New John Cooper Works Model at L.A. Auto Show

Fun brand also showing off four new customized models.

by on Nov.20, 2018

The new Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition will make its debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

With the recent focus on “hot hatches,” it would be fair to assume that ever-popular Mini would be among the leaders in the segment. Not only is it fair, but also it’s correct with the brand’s John Cooper Works edition vehicles.

At this year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show next week, Mini’s going to roll out a series of new vehicles looking to generate some excitement, especially within the “need for speed” crowd.

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Starting with the Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition, which will make its North American premiere starting Nov. 28. Joining that is the Mini John Cooper Works GP – first shown as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year – ready for launch in 2020.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Mainstay of brand's line-up only getting better with age.

by on Nov.20, 2018

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 will be offered in a variety of versions, including the new Hybrid.

The Toyota RAV4 has been around for more than two decades but its recent performance has been nothing short of spectacular as its sales have doubled in the past five years, which is most impressive for a vehicle in various iterations has been around for more than 20 years.

However, the competition is intense. Toyota’s market share it can rightfully claim it created in the segment is under siege from rivals from North America, Europe and Asia.

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But Toyota isn’t sitting still either. With the 2019 RAV4, it is substantially changing the character of compact utility vehicle with more power, a new exterior look and an impressive hybrid version that Toyota expects to account for significant sales volume that is quite likely to surpass that of the Prius.

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First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2.7L

Can a small engine really power a big truck?

by on Nov.19, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado features a new 2.7-liter turbo four with cylinder deactivation.

It takes a big engine to make a big truck owner happy — or so went the conventional wisdom among full-size pickup manufacturers until recently.

That strategy has been changing rapidly, in large part reflecting the arrival of some surprisingly peppy, albeit downsized, turbocharged powertrain packages, such as those from Ford’s EcoBoost family. More than half of all F-150s now go out the showroom door with a six under the hood. Now, we’re beginning to see not only competitive V-6 options, but even four-cylinder alternatives, such as the new 2.7-liter Chevrolet is unleashing with the arrival of the 2019 Silverado.

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An engine of that size, with or without a turbocharged kick, might have seemed entirely unlikely just a few years ago, but a day of driving the Silverado 2.7L through the desert badlands outside Phoenix last week proved that big things really can come in small packages. (more…)

Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

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Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)

New NAFTA Faces Tough Road to Approval in Congress

Dems want tougher rules on Mexico, Reps want LGBT protections out.

by on Nov.19, 2018

President Donald Trump's success to NAFTA is facing serious trouble with Democrats and Republicans and may not get passed in its current form.

The new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that President Donald Trump hailed as a major breakthrough back in August appears headed for serious trouble.

Forty Congressional Republicans have stated they will not vote for the agreement because it includes protections for the LGBT community, according to Politico. The protection for the LGBT community was included in the proposed tentative NAFTA 2.0 at the insistence of negotiators from Canada.

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The Republicans are the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives, but campaign means the LGBT section means that the Trump administration cannot pass NAFTA 2.0 without Democratic votes. (more…)

Toyota Plugs In For Performance

Most powerful RAV4 is a hybrid; could a performance Prius follow?

by on Nov.19, 2018

The RAV4 is now Toyota's best-seller and for 2019 the hybrid becomes its most powerful model.

No car company has done a better job marketing hybrids to the American public than Toyota. Though sales have slipped a bit over the last several years in the face of cheap gas, Toyota’s Prius remains the country’s best-selling hybrid-electric-vehicle, one of many HEVs the carmaker now offers.

That list includes a new hybrid version of the RAV4, the sport-utility vehicle getting a complete makeover for 2019. The electrified version of the compact sport-utility vehicle is, as one would expect, the most fuel-efficient version of the new RAV4. But, in an unusual move, Toyota has also made the hybrid the fastest and most powerful.

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That’s a significant shift in direction for Toyota which long seemed to believe that one couldn’t combine performance and fuel economy. But it now appears to be responding to a broader industry shift that sees electrified powertrain technology being used to enhance a vehicle’s fun-to-drive factor. (more…)

U-M Economists Predicting Solid Auto Sales for 2018

Next year's results expected to drop slightly.

by on Nov.19, 2018

U-M economists are predicting a solid sales year for 2018 with 2019 being slightly lower.

Robust demand for fleet sales will push light vehicle sales into the 17.1 million units per year range in 2018, according to the annual economic forecast by economists from the University of Michigan.

The influential U-M forecast, which is used by car makers and suppliers to help preparing forward-looking production schedules, also predicted that light vehicle sales will decline slightly in 2019, to 16.9 million units in each of 2019 and 2020 as interest rates rise and the economy cools gradually during that time frame.

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“While the U.S. economy is expected to expand 2.9% for the year after a strong 3.5% growth rate in the third quarter, the effects of federal spending and tax cut boosts will start to diminish in 2019 before fading out in 2020,” the forecast noted. (more…)

Carlos Ghosn Fired by Nissan, Reportedly Arrested for Misconduct

Investigation triggered by whistleblower, automaker confirms.

by on Nov.19, 2018

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested Japan as part of an investigation about falsifying income and misusing company assets.

One of the most visible faces of the global auto industry has been fired and reportedly arrested, Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn accused of financial misconduct.

Once so popular after helping save the then-struggling automaker, Ghosn inspired a widely read Japanese comic book. But on Monday, Tokyo media reported, he was brought in before Japanese prosecutors who are questioning the executive about claims he both falsified income statements and misused company assets. A second senior executive is also facing allegations of corruption.

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“Based on a whistleblower report, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Nissan) has been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving the company’s Representative Director and Chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly,” the automaker said in a statement. (more…)

Rivian Offers Short Video Sneak Peek at New Vehicles

New R1T and R1S star in new short film promoting the company's debuts.

by on Nov.16, 2018

Rivian's new R1T electric truck is blazing a trail to its debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

It wasn’t long ago that when an electric vehicle was going to be announced it was big news. Now, the declaration of a new EV, even a new company making EVs, requires a bit of flair to get attention.

Rivian Automotive went for the flair with the release of video of its new Rivian R1T and the all-new 3-row 7-passenger SUV will be named Rivian R1S “all-electric adventure vehicles.” They’ll debut at the upcoming Los Angeles International Auto Show.

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The 57-second video, entitled “The Electric Adventure Begins,” actually doesn’t reveal either of the vehicles until the end, and even then it’s a far away shot of the fast moving vehicle on a dirt road, kicking up dust. (more…)

Ford Issues Recalls for More Than 38K Vehicles

Actions cover sport-utilities and pickups.

by on Nov.16, 2018

The Expedition is part of the recall of more than 37,000 large SUVs.

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 38,000 SUVs and pickups as part of four individual recalls covering problems involving seats, airbags, fuel system components and transmissions.

The largest is for 2018 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigators. The action covers large utes that have second row center bench seats. In that instance, the seats could be missing reinforcement brackets in the seat track assembly.

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If not properly secured, the rear seat may come loose. As of this moment, the company is unaware of any incidents or injuries. There are approximately 37,801 vehicles in North America, with 34,946 in the United States and federalized territories, 1,900 in Canada and 955 in Mexico. (more…)