Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

The Ford Fusion is Dead – For Now, Anyway

Sedan to be replaced by a ute-like alternative.

by on Jul.12, 2018

The Ford Fusion sedan will disappear in a few years, but will be replaced by some sort of crossover or wagon bearing the same name.

Ford is taking the first big step towards a future without passenger cars, confirming it will kill off the current sedan version of the midsize Fusion line. But the nameplate will live on, insiders hinting it will be replaced by some sort of crossover or sport wagon.

In April, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced the automaker would drop the U.S. versions of such familiar nameplates as the Taurus, Fiesta and Focus, as well as Fusion, a controversial move reflecting the sharp decline in conventional passenger car sales as millions of American motorists switch to pickups, SUVs and other light trucks.

Stay in the Loop!

Fusion is the one model that will remain in the U.S. market, but when it is replaced, around the beginning of the next decade, it will be in a very different form. While company officials have not yet disclosed what that will be, indications are that we will see something closer to a tall wagon or hatchback, some sources suggesting the redesigned Fusion will be along the lines of the Subaru Outback, rather than a more SUV-like crossover-utility vehicle. (more…)

Electra Meccanica Charging Ahead with New 3-Wheel EV

Canadian company produces single-passenger battery-electric.

by on Jul.12, 2018

Electra Meccanica is producing its one-passenger electric vehicle called the Solo.

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp., one of the emerging companies building electric vehicles, has launched production of its new three-wheeled EV.

The first single-passenger, all-electric Solo rolled off the assembly line in Canada and arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new vehicle will now undergo consumer testing and verification in anticipation of commencing commercial manufacturing in September 2018 with the goal of delivering 5,000 Solos to customers by September 2019.

Insight!

“This is a hugely significant day for Electra Meccanica and our talented design, engineer and production teams,” said Jerry Kroll, the company’s chief executive officer. (more…)

Despite Sales Slump, Genesis on Target, Says U.S. Chief

Upturn linked to new products, standalone dealers, says Raphael.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Genesis steps things up by taking a shot at the vaunted BMW 3-Series with the new G70.

It’s not often that a senior brand executive is pleased to see his sales slide by more than 50 percent, but Erwin Raphael says the sharp year-over-year decline Genesis reported last month is pretty much right on target.

Two years after it was spun off by Hyundai as a standalone luxury brand, Genesis is in the midst of some major changes that will determine its long-term success. That starts with the upcoming launch of the 2019 G70, which targets the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series, as well as the first Genesis SUV expected to join the line-up next year.

Insight!

The Korean marque is also getting ready to launch its own standalone dealer network in the coming months, one that will see the number of Genesis outlets in the U.S. drop by more than 85 percent. But, as with sales, bigger numbers aren’t always better when you’re launching one of the first new luxury brands in decade, insists Raphael, the executive director of Genesis Motor America.

(more…)

FBI Arrests Apple Secrets Thief While Leaving for China

Former employee had been hired by XMotors.

by on Jul.11, 2018

CEO Tim Cook has been coy about Apple's self-driving car program, but it was the victim of proprietary information theft.

In what looked like something out of a James Patterson novel, FBI agents swooped in and arrested a former Apple employee who was boarding a plane for China after earlier swiping a passel of corporate secrets about Apple’s autonomous vehicle technology.

Xiaolang Zhang was a person of interest in an investigation about the theft of information from Apple by the FBI. He had already interviewed several times by Apple.

News You Can Trust!

He booked a last-minute flight to China on July 7, and then was arrested at the San Jose International Airport by FBI agents. Zhang has been charged with theft of trade secrets, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Jose. (more…)

McLaren Fills in Holes in New Longtail’s Story at Goodwood

New 600LT debuts at speed fest in Great Britain.

by on Jul.11, 2018

The new 600LT boasts a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque and a 0-62 mph time of 2.9 seconds.

About two weeks ago, McLaren offered up some of its plans for a new, track-ready car named the 600LT, just the fourth longtail edition in the company’s history.

However, the original announcement was a little light on details that speed fans enjoy, such just how fast is the new model. While it was known that the new sport series model is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo putting out 592 horsepower and 457 foot-pounds of torque.

Product News!

Now, just before it makes its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren unveiled some performance numbers. The 3.8-liter delivers “astonishing levels of performance,” according to the automaker. (more…)

Mercedes, Bosch Team to Launch Self-Driving Car Service

Set to debut in late 2019 in Silicon Valley.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Initially, Daimler will use the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan for the pilot ride-sharing project.

Mercedes-Benz is teaming up with German mega-supplier Bosch to launch a new ride-sharing service in Silicon Valley next year that will rely on self-driving vehicles.

The project marks the latest entry into the fast-expanding field that, by some estimates, could eventually account for as much as a quarter or more of the miles Americans travel by automobile. Other planning to launch ride-sharing services using self-driving vehicles include General Motors, Google spin-off Waymo and Uber, the country’s largest ride-sharing service.

Making Sense of the Brave New World!

While Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG is referring to the vehicles it will use as “automated shuttle(s),” customers will be able to ride in style. When the project initially gets underway during the second half of 2019, it will rely on modified versions of the luxurious S-Class Sedan. Eventually, the goal is to switch to a production version of the edgy Mercedes concept vehicle, the F 015.

(more…)

BMW Inks Three New Deals in China

Automaker shifting some ute production from South Carolina to China.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Baidu Vice President Zhenyu Li, left, and Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, celebrate a new deal.

BMW has signed three new agreements with key partners in China that it says will bolster the company’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market.

The BMW Group and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor inked an agreement to produce Mini electric vehicles through a new 50:50 joint venture, Spotlight Automotive Limited, dedicated to the development and production of electric vehicles in China.

We Keep You In the Know!

In addition, the BMW Group also expanded its successful BMW Brilliance Automotive partnership. In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand’s success in its largest market. As part of the expanded venture, BMW is now expected to move some production from its massive assembly plant in South Carolina to China.  (more…)

Tesla Model 3s for Everyone! Invitation to Order No Longer Needed

EV maker opens ordering process to everyone.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Tesla opened up the ordering process for the Model 3 to everyone, not just those with invitations.

Looking to generate more sales — and perhaps more importantly, the cash from reservation deposits — Tesla opened the sale of its entry-level sedan, the Model 3, to anyone who wants to go online and order one.

Prior to now, buyers needed an invitation to purchase the Model 3. Now anyone can go online and place an order; however, the big catch is the $2,500 deposit required at the time the order is placed. The buyer will get a delivery date after the deposit is accepted. The website currently states delivery can be take three to five months.

News Now!

The deposit is non-refundable, which is different than what earlier, invite-only orderers were allowed. Reports suggest that nearly a quarter of the 400,000 potential buyers who plunked down deposits have cancelled their orders. (more…)

Gas Prices Continue Their Summer Ascent

California voters get chance to approve new gas taxes.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise, on average, across the U.S. during the summer driving season.

A California proposition to require voter approval of fuel and vehicle taxes will be on the November ballot now that the secretary of state has certified the requisite number of petition signatures.

As drafted, Proposition 6 would apply retroactively to recently enacted taxes and put all future gas tax increases to voters California, which has the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. Approval of the proposition could reduce state revenue by as much as $5 billion annually, according a report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Gas Price News!

Gasoline prices in California are routinely the most expensive in the lower 48 states and currently top $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA. (more…)

Italian Design House Pinfarina Reveals 1st Teaser of New Electric Luxury Car

“World’s newest car brand” also appoints first Board of Directors.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Automobili Pininfarina revealed PF0 concept design images ahead of private client viewings of the all-electric ultra-luxury hypercar.

Italian design house Pininfarina has gone through plenty of changes in recent years, starting with a financial meltdown and its acquisition by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra. In April, the renamed Automobile Pininfarina announced plans to become a luxury auto brand focused on electric vehicles, and it’s now offering up a teaser image of what it will officially debut less than two months from now.

The rendering you see here of what will be called the PF0 was accompanied by an announcement that Pininfarina has appointed its first Board of Directors. That includes long-time automotive insider Michael Perschke, who will serve as the start-up carmaker’s chief executive officer. Former Volvo exec Per Svantesson has been named Automobili Pininfarina’s chief operating officer.

Plug In!

“Automobili Pininfarina is a pioneering new business created to service the most discerning clients in the world,” said Perschke, in a prepared statement “Our product portfolio will launch with an innovative, zero-emissions hypercar that represents the progression we aim to make at the pinnacle of the luxury and sports car market.” (more…)