Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Car Crashes on the Rise in “Pot-Legal” States

New study suggests a 6% jump in collisions.

by on Oct.18, 2018

A new study suggests that states where recreational marijuana is legal, car crashes are up 6%.

With all of the talk about blue waves and red waves coming in the November election, a couple of new studies show that Americans may want to direct their attention to the “green” wave: recreational marijuana.

Several states have measures on ballots to make the recreational use of marijuana legal, just as the aforementioned studies show that vehicle crashes are up as much as 6% in states where it is already legal.

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Crashes are on the rise in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows.  (more…)

BMW Officially Pulls Wraps Off Flagship X7 SUV

“Hey, BMW.”

by on Oct.17, 2018

The new 2019 BMW X7 is ready to take on whatever Mother Nature sends its way.

BMW has been dropping plenty of big hints in recent months as it prepared to launch an all-new flagship. And now, we’re finally getting a look at the production version of the 2019 X7.

As the name might suggest, you can think of the big ute as the SUV counterpoint to the Bavarian brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. And it reflects the massive shift in the global luxury market as highline buyers by the millions switch from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, mirroring what’s happened in mainstream segments.

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The 2019 BMW X7 is more than just a stretched version of the familiar X5. It’s not only nine inches longer but loaded with the sort of luxury features you’d expect on a 7-Series – or the also-new 8-Series. It also introduces BMWs new voice assistant infotainment system which, like Amazon’s Alexa, is always listening for its wake words, “Hey, BMW.” (more…)

Porsche Adds GTS Variants to Panamera Line-up

New models fill gap between top and bottom offerings.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Porsche added the GTS Sport Turismo, left, and GTS to give Panamera fans a couple of sportier options.

Porsche is adding two new models to its Panamera line-up: Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models, positioned between the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo variants, giving customers seeking a sportier driving experience, said Porsche officials.

As compared to the previous Panamera GTS with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8, the current engine — a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with output of 453 horsepower from 6,000 to 6,500 RPM and peak torque of 457 lb.-ft. from 1,800 to 4,500 rpm — offers an increase of 13 hp and an additional 73 lb.-ft. of torque.

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The engine, which sends power to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission via the standard Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system, allows both the Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The former reaches a top track speed of 181 mph, and 179 mph for the latter. (more…)

Tesla Locks Down Site for 1st Chinese Assembly Plant

U.S. Senate, meanwhile, considers extending tax credits for Tesla, GM buyers.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Tesla Inc. has reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build an assembly plant in China.

After suffering a series of setbacks in recent weeks, things may be moving in the right direction for Tesla this week, and on a variety of fronts.

For one thing, the automaker has inked an agreement with the Shanghai government that will let it move forward on plans to set up a plant in the booming Chinese battery-car market, its first outside the United States.

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Closer to home, the U.S. Senate is  now considering a proposal that would extend the tax credits that have helped Tesla attract potential customers. Under current law, the incentives – worth up to $7,500 for an EV buyer – begin to phase out once a carmaker has sold 200,000 electric vehicles. Tesla recently passed that threshold, and General Motors is expected to reach that cap before the end of 2018. Industry analysts warn both companies could lose market momentum if they can’t offer the tax credits. (more…)

Ford, VW Looking at Potentially Major Alliance

Rumors of big deal begin to circulate.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Ford Motor Co. entered into a MoU with Volkswagen AG to work on some undetermined projects.

Like many an automotive manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. has been forming alliances with erstwhile rivals such as General Motors in a bid to reduce development costs and speed new products to market. But one potential partnership has been generating widespread buzz in industry circles, observers wondering just how far Ford might take things with German giant Volkswagen AG.

The two companies inked an MoU, or memorandum of understanding, announcing they will explore a number of possible projects, including the joint development and production of commercial vehicles.

Insight!

But industry analysts are now suggesting such a partnership could reach far beyond the commercial vehicle market, some even wondering whether there could be full-fledged merger or, at the least, an equity swap, in their future. (more…)

Gas Prices Remain High Despite Drop in Consumption

Hurricane Michael and a pipe rupture impact pricing.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Gas prices jumped due to recent weather and infrastructure events, but the rise has leveled off this week.

An unseasonal rise in the cost of gasoline this autumn appears to have leveled off this week, according to AAA.

At $2.89, the national gas price average is 2 cents cheaper than it was a week ago amid consumer gasoline demand declining for a third week. But the price of gasoline, on average, is 4 cents more than a month ago and 42 cents more expensive than in October 2017.

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The majority of states have seen gas prices decrease on the week with the exception of a handful of states, some of which were impacted by fuel disruptions on the west coast and in the southeast. (more…)

Ford Treks into New Territory With China-Only Ute

New SUV starts rolling off assembly line in China.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Ford's new entry-level sport-utility, the Territory, is the first of a wave of 50 new or redesigned products for China.

Ford Motor Co.’s late arrival in the Chinese car market is well documented, and the automaker’s been attempting to make up for lost time for the past few years with varying degrees of success — until last year, when sales took a double-digit nose dive.

However, the automaker is looking to affect a dramatic change by attacking the the highest demand area for buyers in China, which was also Ford’s weak spot: sport-utility vehicles.

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The company has been teasing its new Territory midsize SUV for some time, but now it’s on the road and looking to lead Ford on a trek to strong sales and even stronger profits. The new Territory – the ute, not profitability – was developed in partnership with its joint-venture partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corp. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volvo V60

New midsize wagon offers luxury and comfort with Volvo safety.

by on Oct.16, 2018

The new Volvo V60 offers stereotypical Volvo safety with plenty of performance and luxury.

Selling station wagons to American motorists has been an uphill battle, maybe even tougher than selling ice in Alaska given the pace of climate change.

But Volvo, which throughout the years has made its share of iconic station wagons, is launching a new one, the V60, into the teeth of the onslaught of utility vehicles that has nearly wiped out the entire segment.

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The second-generation Volvo V60 is an impressive vehicle that demands attention even in face of the tsunami of new SUVs that boosted motorists of all backgrounds into the command seating positions. The V60 is handsome, nicely balanced and very well-equipped with some of the latest technology and safety features, such as a new system that can mitigate the force of a head-on collision.  (more…)

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)

Porsche May Add Battery-Electric Macan Next, Hints CFO

Battery models set to generate 50% of Porsche sales by 2025.

by on Oct.16, 2018

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

Porsche is not only just getting ready to roll out its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan, but also it apparently sees the opportunity to electrify more of its line-up, with battery-powered products generating more than half its sales by 2025.

The automaker revealed one possibility at the Geneva Motor Show last winter, a concept battery-SUV dubbed the Mission E Cross Turismo that is essentially a high-riding version of the original Mission E concept that will become the Taycan sports car when it goes into production next year. Alternatively, the performance division of Volkswagen Group could electrify the smaller of its two current crossovers, the Macan. And still models will follow, according to Porsche’s chief financial officer.

Electrifying!

“There is no final decision yet, but you can expect that this will be the case because we need a large-volume model that is fully electric. This idea will then progress further with the next generations of the Panamera and Cayenne model lines,” CFO Lutz Meschke told reporters during a tour of the company’s product development center. (more…)

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