Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Lexus Mulls Addition of Subscription Service

Luxury brand follow lead of Volvo, Porsche and Cadillac.

by on Mar.21, 2018

Lexus is considering offering a subscription service much like that of Cadillac, Volvo or Porsche ... and soon Lincoln.

Subscription services are still something of a novelty in the car business but more brands, including Lexus, are contemplating offering them in the not too distant future.

“There’s nothing to announce,” said Michael Moore, Lexus senior manager of product marketing. “But it’s certainly something we’re looking at.”

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Moore noted Lexus is continuously reviewing its retail approach in effort to make it better ensure that it can exceed customer expectations. (more…)

Toyota Will “Pause” Testing of Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads

Hyundai adding “caution” to its program; Boston mayor wants autonomous tests halted in city.

by on Mar.20, 2018

In light to Uber's autonomous vehicle killing a pedestrian, other companies are revisiting their testing plans and procedures.

Reaction has been quick in the wake of a fatal Phoenix crash involving a prototype autonomous vehicle operated by ride-sharing service Uber, at least one major automaker saying it will temporarily “pause” testing of its own self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Though police in the suburb of Tempe say preliminary evidence indicates the Uber-modified Volvo SUV was not at fault in the death of a pedestrian Sunday night, the incident has raised flags that could slow the race to put self-driving technology on the road.

Safety News!

While Toyota issued a statement noting that it “cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” the automaker added in a statement that, “Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads.” (more…)

Jeep Design, Mopar Letting It All Hang Out for Moab

Seven new concepts ready for Easter Safari.

by on Mar.20, 2018

The Jeep Sandstorm concept is one of seven that Jeep will be taking to the 52nd Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

Jeep is making its yearly trek out to Utah for the Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari with seven concept utes in tow that reveal what the brand and its Mopar aftermarket sibling can do with a Jeep.

The brand has been bringing out concept vehicles for nearly a decade, seeking to inspire and be inspired by the thousands of enthusiasts who flock to this event — this year is the 52nd annual edition — to show off the capability of their Jeeps and learn from others how to make what they’ve got even better.

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“Pushing the limit is something the Jeep brand is no stranger to and these seven new, exciting and capable concept vehicles are the latest example of that,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand, FCA. (more…)

2019 Fusion to Be Ford’s “Most Technologically Sophisticated Sedan Ever”

But is the Fusion nameplate going to be around much longer?

by on Mar.20, 2018

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi will boost its EV-mode range from 21 to 25 miles.

There’s been plenty of speculation in recent months about the long-term fate of the Ford Fusion but, at least for now, it will remain an anchor of the automaker’s sedan line-up and get some major new technologies for 2019.

The emphasis will be on safety, the 2019 Fusion introducing Ford’s new Co-Pilot360 driver assistance suite, company officials revealed during a background session ahead of the midsize model’s official debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. They also confirmed a big increase in EV-mode range for the plug-in hybrid version of the Fusion.

Stay Plugged In!

“The 2019 Fusion will be the most technologically advanced Ford sedan ever,” said Corey Holter, Ford’s Car Group Marketing Manager, during a media briefing in Detroit on Tuesday.


Long-Term Outlook for US Auto Sales — Stable

Only a major event would impact sales.

by on Mar.20, 2018

New vehicle sales are expected to stabilize in the 16.8 million to 17 million unit range.

Barring a sudden shock such as a financial crisis like the one in 2008 or another foreseen disruption of the economy in the U.S. or other parts of the world, the auto industry appears headed for a long period of stability, according to an updated forecast by IHS Markit.

Sales appear to have reached a very sustainable plateau quite similar to the that started in the early 1990s and survived the bursting of the “” bubble and 9/11, Peter Nagle, an IHS analyst noted in a briefing for reporters in Detroit. The long period of steady, stable sales could stretch out to 2025.

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Sales in the U.S. market have been slowing since the middle of 2016, he added. “We’re entering a replacement cycle but at a very level even as the plateau tilts slightly downward.  IHS expects total sales in the U.S. to reach 17 million this year and tail off to 16.8 million in 2019. (more…)

VW Charged Up About EV Racer Heading to Pikes Peak

“It’s about time we settled the score.”

by on Mar.19, 2018

VW hopes to leave the competition in the dust when it takes the I.D. R up Pikes Peak.

Volkswagen has put in an order for a whopping $25 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries and related technology, as we reported last week. A small share of that will be going into its new electric motorsports program which is charged up and ready to challenge Pikes Peak a few months from now.

These pics preview the new I.D. R electric race car that VW plans to use as its first entry into the grueling Pikes Peak International Hill Climb since 1987. I.D. is the new sub-brand the German automaker will begin rolling out late in the decade, with a total of 20 full-electric models due out by 2025, so it’s no surprise the hill climb car will share that badge.

Motor Sports News!

“We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family,” said Frank Welsch, the Volkswagen board member overseeing its electrification efforts. “Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars.”


Self-Driving Uber Test Vehicle Kills Pedestrian

Company halts all autonomous testing.

by on Mar.19, 2018

An Uber Volvo XC90 was involved in a minor crash, getting flipped onto its side, during a test program near Phoenix last year.

Company’s testing autonomous vehicles and self-driving technologies have one giant fear, a fatality. That fear became a reality last night for Uber as one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The incident occurred when the vehicle was in autonomous mode; however, there was a safety engineer behind the wheel, which is standard Uber practice. There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time.

Autonomous News!

According to a USA Today report, the woman, who has not yet been named, was crossing outside the designated crosswalk at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said. (more…)

VW Adding Two-Row Atlas to Line-Up

Five-seat SUV "concept" set to make NYIAS debut.

by on Mar.19, 2018

Bound for the Big Apple - Volkswagen gives us a first look at the 5-seat version of the Atlas.

It may have been late to the SUV party but Volkswagen seems determined to catch up with a rapidly expanding line-up of new models.

The latest offering will make its debut at this month’s New York International Auto Show – albeit in concept form. And with a two-row version of its largest crossover, VW appears to be ready to chase another niche in the booming utility vehicle market.

Auto Show News!

“The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.


Lincoln Launching New Aviator in New York

Ford's luxury brand introducing another SUV.

by on Mar.19, 2018

The new Lincoln Aviator will debut at the New York International Auto Show.

On the heels of the announcement last week by the Ford Motor Co. that it plans to spend $7 billion to bring new SUVs to showrooms, Lincoln is preparing to show off the production ready version of the all new Lincoln Aviator at the New York International Auto Show.

The Lincoln Motor Co. offered few details about the launch, but said the debut a production preview of the all-new Lincoln Aviator will happen Wednesday, March 28 in New York.

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The Aviator, going on display in New York, is the first of two all-new utilities that Lincoln will bring to market in the next two years as it grows its utility portfolio and commits to electrification across its lineup globally.  (more…)

Buick, Infiniti Top J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index

Industry overall posts major gains in service arena.

by on Mar.16, 2018

The new QX80 helped Infiniti to the top of the latest J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index.

In an unexpected and potentially critical move, Infiniti unseated Lexus as the top-ranked brand in J.D. Power’s annual Customer Satisfaction Index, while Buick ranked tops among mass-market brands.

But the auto industry on the whole managed to post big improvements, reflecting an increased focus on keeping customers happy when it comes to receiving service at franchised dealers, according to the annual Power study.

Pushing the Envelope!

Keeping customers happy is critical, said Chris Sutton, Power’s vice president of U.S. automotive retail practices. “Satisfied customers tend to stay with a brand and bring others with them,” said Sutton, adding that, “Anything less opens the door for customers to shop elsewhere.” (more…)