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Ford Wants a Premium for All-New Ranger Pickup

Base model to start at $4,000 over Chevrolet Colorado.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Ford will offer a wide range of Ranger body styles, beds and powertrain configurations.

After a lengthy absence, the Ford Ranger is about ready to return to the U.S. market and shoppers now can price and build their own version of the midsize pickup at a special micro-site the Detroit automaker has launched.

Set to reach showrooms early next year, Ford will be offering a wide array of body styles, bed and powertrain options, ranging from the base, 4×2 SuperCab XL with a six-foot box, up to the more lavishly equipped 4×4 SuperCrew Lariat with a five-foot cargo box.

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But the heavily updated version of the global Ranger launched earlier in the decade won’t come cheap. The 2019 pickup will carry a starting price of $24,300 $1,095 in delivery fees. That’s about $4,000 more than its cross-town competition, the base, extended cab version of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado starting at $20,500. And for truck buyers on a tight budget, the aging Nissan Frontier starts at just $18,900.

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New Mustang Hits – With a Bullitt

We follow the tracks of the legendary Steve McQueen chase in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt.

by on Aug.06, 2018

Two icons: the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt emerges from the fog by the Golden Gate Bridge.

(ED: We’ve corrected a few typos and added more on the Bullitt’s six-speed gearbox.)

The streets of San Francisco are eerily quiet on this early morning with the heavy fog that’s rolled in off the Pacific making it possible to imagine traveling back to another time, 50 years ago, when police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt burned rubber going after the bad guys in one of cinema’s most famous chase scenes.

It helps, of course, that we’re riding in the latest iteration of the Ford Mustang Bullitt, the limited-edition pony car meant to celebrate that iconic film and the car driven by star Steve McQueen. Like the original, our coupe is finished in Dark Highland Green, and it’s got a few other touches lifted from the original Bullitt Mustang, including the cue ball shifter knob. But Lt. Bullitt could have only dreamed about having the latest, 475 horsepower version of Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood, as well as the magnetic ride control suspension that would make those legendary hilltop jumps a wee bit less jarring.

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Temptation is there, but we’ve been asked to take things a little easy this grey morning. No jumps, no drifting, high-speed turns. After all, there’s no film crew on hand, nor the necessary permits and police escort holding back the crowds. No big deal, we’ve already pushed the limits driving through some of the back roads carving through redwood country south of Fog City.

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Could Ford Be Working Up a Sub-Ranger Pickup?

One option would be to go with a car-based package.

by on Aug.01, 2018

The Ford Courier pickup shared platforms with the automaker's Fiesta subcompact.

Several sources are reporting that Ford Motor Co., long reluctant to undercut its full-size F-Series pickup family, could soon have small trucks in its line-up, with a model even smaller than the upcoming Ranger to follow by as early as 2022.

Exactly what it would look like and where it would fit into the spectrum isn’t clear but Automobile magazine’s sources suggested Ford might be looking at a product like the old Courier pickup built in Brazil that was based on the same platform as the prior-generation Fiesta subcompact.

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Whether there’d be a market for something the size of the old Ford Courier is far from certain, though several automakers appear to be looking at their options, notably including Hyundai which has been slowly moving forward with a production version of the well-received Santa Cruz concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015.

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Detroit Auto Show Moving to June in 2020, Adding Major New Features

Sponsors aim to revive what's been North America’s leading car show.

by on Jul.23, 2018

Toyota Pres. Akio Toyota is shown here revealing the 2019 Camry during this year's NAIAS.

The North American International Auto Show will move from January to June in 2020, a new timeslot that organizers are betting will help revive the flagging momentum of what had long been one of the industry’s most important annual events.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association had signaled its intention of abandoning its traditional, mid-winter schedule, though a switch to October was also under study. But that would have conflicted with other shows in Europe and Asia, the dealer group’s Executive Director Rod Alberts told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

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In a background briefing ahead of today’s official announcement, Alberts said one of the advantages of a summer event is the ability to add new functions that expand beyond the confines of Detroit’s sprawling Cobo Hall convention center. “We realized we have to change the show (and) showcase Detroit, too,” said Alberts, who has been running the DADA for the past 28 years.

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Ford Pulls Out of Geneva Motor Show

Automaker joins Volvo in not attending show.

by on Jul.03, 2018

Ford has a history of making news at the Geneva Motor Show, like the introduction Focus RS.

The list of automakers pulling out of auto shows just got one name longer: Ford is skipping the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said the show’s timing didn’t fit its launch schedule and wouldn’t represent good value. It’s the second major automaker that has pulled out of the show, Volvo being the first.

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“It costs a sizeable amount of money,” a Ford of Europe spokesman told Automotive News Europe. “If you’re not going make a return on the investment in terms of media attention or people on the stand, why do it?” (more…)

Detroit Auto Show to Announce New Time Slot

Event organizers to announce July or October shift for 2020.

by on Jun.29, 2018

Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show are planning to move it from January to either June or October.

The North American International Auto Show plans to end its winter blues, sponsors confirming they will announce next month whether they will move from the current January timeslot to either June or October.

For years one of the most important auto shows in the world – particularly from a media perspective — the NAIAS has fallen on hard times in recently. While public attendance has grown, the number of new product debuts fell this past year to less than half of past peaks and a growing number of manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, have announced they’ll be no-shows in 2019.

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“We will have more details on what we plan to do on July 24,” Max Muncey, spokesman for the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, told TheDetroitBureau.com, confirming that the DADA will confirm whether the auto show is moving to the new spring or autumn date. (more…)

Is Dodge Viper Set for Another Revival?

All-new version could make an appearance as early as 2019.

by on May.29, 2018

Early versions of the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe and the Viper Roadster.

The original Dodge Viper was an icon of the 1990s, even though it never came close to matching the sales of America’s other domestic sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. Shortly after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, Chrysler finally pulled the plug on the snake, but after merging with Fiat, brought it back to life four years later, albeit to a largely indifferent market.

Fiat Chrysler has not only pulled the plug on the Viper but is in the process of converting its Detroit assembly plant into a conference center and museum. But could the Dodge Viper rise from the grave, Lazarus-like, for a second time? That appears to be a distinct possibility, at least according to several new reports.

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“A new Viper is happening,” at least according to one of those sources, Car and Driver, though, if true, we could see some distinct changes made to the once-popular snake that could take some loyalists by surprise, starting with the replacement of the distinctive V-10 engine that has been a hallmark of the nameplate since the first Viper Roadster debuted more than a quarter century ago. (more…)

Audi Out: Follows Growing Group of Automakers Abandoning Detroit Auto Show

NAIAS still studying possible date change to revive flagging fortunes.

by on May.11, 2018

Audi has traditionally used the NAIAS for major intros, like the Q8 Concept it debuted in 2017.

Already hit by key defections, the organizers of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit learned Thursday that Audi will also be a no-show in January 2019 – though the luxury arm of Volkswagen Group said it will “continue to evaluate” a return at a later date.

A once-regional event, the NAIAS became the most significant auto show in the U.S., and one of the world’s most widely watched, when it added the “International” designation in 1989. At its peak around the start of the new millennium, Detroit could count on virtually every manufacturer to participate, with some years seeing more than 70 new cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers debut.

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As the industry plunged into recession, things began to change. Some manufacturers, such as Nissan, pulled out temporarily, but others decided to abandon the Motor City event entirely. That included some of the most exclusive marques, like Ferrari, as well as mainstream and luxury brands like Mazda, which was a hold out this past January. Volvo had no corporate presence, though its local dealers did roll a few vehicles into Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center. Now, it seems, the exodus is turning into a rout. Audi follows Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche in planning to stay home next January. (more…)

Car of the Year? Even Honda Accord Falls into a Black Hole as Sedan Sales Continue to Wither

Slumping sedan sales putting a chill on spring sales.

by on May.02, 2018

It may be new for 2018, but U.S. buyers have had only a tepid response to the latest Honda Accord.

Few recent product launches generated more buzz than the debut of the 2018 Honda Accord. Long one of the U.S. market’s best-selling nameplates, the 10th-generation sedan quickly racked up a slew of awards, including North American Car of the Year.

But despite all the rave reviews, Honda is struggling to retain momentum for the Accord. American motorists purchased just 21,751 of the sedans in April, a 19.3% year-over-year decline. And even when adjusting for the fact that April 2018 had two fewer sales days than the year before, the dip was 12.5 percent. And Honda isn’t alone. The completely redesigned 2018 Toyota  Camry, a Car of the Year runner-up, suffered a 5.0% drop in volume in April.

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“They’re both brand new vehicles and award winners, but I’m not sure that has any impact now,” said Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting. “Consumer tastes are changing. Everybody wants SUVs and CUVs.”

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Elio Motors Secures $2.5M in New Funding from Overstock

Once in production, plans call for Elio to be sold through Overstock.

by on Apr.24, 2018

Elio Motors just took in $2.5 million in new cash from a new investor.

Rarely has a three-wheeled anything, much less a car, engendered as much goodwill — and second (and third, fourth …) chances financially – as the Elio.

The quirky three-wheeled car initially introduced nearly five years ago has secured $2.5 million in new funds through a private stock placement with Overstock.com. The shares are worth $2.75 each, but as a private stock, it cannot be traded or sold.

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Elio Motors officials say the company intends to use the proceeds of the new investment to fund capital expenditures and repay certain outstanding debt and accounts payable. Since it’s a private placement, Elio will enter into a registration rights agreement with Overstock. (more…)

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