Archive for the ‘Asia Pacific’ Category

Bye-Bye Beetle

Volkswagen unveils Beetle Final Edition, with "no immediate plans" for a replacement.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The last of the VW Beetles come in two "final edition" colors and styles, including convertible models.

The end is near – for the Volkswagen Beetle, that is, the automaker all but confirming rumors that 2019 will mark the last time the once wildly popular little car will roll off an assembly line.

Also known in various places as the Bug, and even the Kafer, it has had an incredible run, with only a brief stretch out of production, the Beetle has been a fixture on the road since 1938, when it was unveiled as part of Adolph Hitler’s plan to create a “people’s car,” or “volkswagen,” that was cheap and easy to produce. With nearly 22 million build since then, it is the longest-running model ever, though Toyota’s Corolla claims to beat it as the best-selling nameplate in automotive history.

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“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Lexus ES Becomes World’s 1st Car to Replace Sideview Mirrors with Cameras

But you’ll have to go to Japan to buy one for now.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The new Lexus ES will become the first car to offer cameras to replace side mirrors — in Japan.

If you’re driving in Japan in the coming months and catch a new 2019 Lexus ES rolling up from behind in your rearview mirror you might notice something odd: the sideview mirrors might seem oddly small.

That’s because the ES has become world’s first mass production automobile to offer optional sideview cameras, replacing standard mirrors. It’s a concept carmakers have been toying with for years and could become commonplace in the not-too-distant future, experts say, with Audi set to offer a similar feature on its first all-electric model, the e-tron.

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“The digital mirrors will make their debut on the new ES, which will go on sale in late October,” explained a news release from Toyota’s luxury brand. (more…)

Lexus Makes it Official: New UX Debuts as Millennial Focused Entry Crossover

“Creative Urban Explorer” to launch at $32,000,

by on Sep.12, 2018

Lexus is looking to court the first round of millennial buyers hard with the new UX crossover.

The Baby Boomers built Lexus into one of the powerhouse brands of the American luxury car market, but there comes a time to move on, it seems, and the high-line arm of Toyota Motor Corp. is shifting focus to millennials with the official debut of its new UX “Urban eXplorer.”

The smallest model in an expanding line-up of crossover-utility vehicles, the base, 2019 Lexus UX 200 will start at $32,000 when it rolls into U.S. showrooms in December, with the hybrid UX 250h tacking on another $2,000.

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“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.” (more…)

Vietnam’s First Car Company Intent on Breaking the Rules

Putting the "fast" in VinFast.

by on Sep.11, 2018

VinFast is Vietnam's first automaker and it breaking plenty of rules to get its first vehicle on the road.

Despite the monsoon-level rain, workers scramble through the mud and debris. They don’t have time to waste. Little more than a year ago, nearly half the 827-acre site was still under water, but before the end of the year, the first pilot cars are expected to start rolling off the assembly line rising on the edge of Haiphong Harbor.

Vietnam is about to get its first car company, and it’s called VinFast for a reason. The first retail-ready models are expected to reach showrooms by mid-2019, barely two years after the company was founded.

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“We’re doing in 24 months what most OEMs need up to 60 months to do,” said Jim DeLuca, the former General Motors executive who was lured out of what he describes as “a comfortable retirement” last year to serve as VinFast’s chief executive officer. (more…)

Hey! BMW Introducing New AI-Enabled In-Car Assistant

New digital assistant available in March 2019

by on Sep.06, 2018

BMW has developed its own in-car, AI-enabled digital assistant. The system's functions can be accessed by simply saying, "Hey BMW!"

“Hey Google!” appears to have more competition as BMW follows the lead of Mercedes-Benz, Ford and other automakers by making an AI-enabled assistant available in its vehicles with a simple call out: “Hey BMW!”

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is a new proprietary in-car AI assistant that uses an always on-call technology platform. It is an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW” and has the ability to control vehicle settings, navigation and entertainment systems as well as explain vehicle functions and even conducting a conversation.

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The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will debut in 2019 and mark the start of a new era in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information through voice control, the automaker noted. (more…)

Toyota Recalling 1m Hybrids Worldwide Over Fire Risk

Prius, Prius plug-in and C-HR models targeted.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A problem with the Prius wiring harness could lead to a short-circuit and possible fire.

Toyota is issuing a worldwide recall for three of its hybrid models due to a potential fire risk.

The service action covers the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, as well as the newer Prius plug-in hybrid and the C-HR hybrid SUV. According to the automaker, The problem involves a wiring harness that has been linked to at least one incident in which a short-circuit caused smoke to pour out of a vehicle in Japan.

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According to Toyota, the problem occurs the wiring harness can come into with the cover of the hybrid power control unit. If dust accumulates on either the cover or the wiring harness, the insulation on the wires can wear down over time and eventually result in a short-circuit.

(more…)

Bugatti Reveals 1,500-Horsepower, $5.78-Million Divo

For folks who think the Chiron just isn’t quick enough.

by on Aug.24, 2018

The Bugatti Divo is a 1,500-horsepower beast that costs a mere $5.78 million.

While it may boast a top speed of 261 mph, there apparently are people – very, very wealthy people – who think the Bugatti Chiron isn’t fast enough.

So, for those folks, the French arm of the Volkswagen Group is rolling out the Bugatti Divo, all $5.78 million of it. The ultra-exclusive hypercar is making its debut this weekend on the Monterey Peninsula, ahead of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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The 1,500 horsepower Divo isn’t a ground-up project, starting out as a Chiron that has been fed plenty of steroids. But it is lighter and boasts far better handling, Bugatti officials promise, especially during aggressive cornering maneuvers. On a straight road, however, it actually loses a bit of speed, topping out at a mere 236 mph. (more…)

KKR Looking at Taking Over FCA’s Magneti Marelli

Acquisition price could be high as $6.5 billion.

by on Aug.23, 2018

Selling off Magneti Marelli could accelerate the development of EVs and AVs FCA CEO considers critical to FCA's success.

KKR & Co., one of the leading specialists in leveraged buyouts that turn public companies private, is in talks to acquire the auto parts business of Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., according to a number of published reports.

FCA announced last spring it planned to put Magneti Marelli up for sale after a lengthy study initiated by the late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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The appeal of selling off Magneti Marelli, which has been part of the Fiat automotive empire for almost 100 years, is that it would provide an infusion of cash that could help shore up the company’s balance sheet at a time when it is looking for new funds to finance projects ranging from the automaker’s expansion in China to financing the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. (more…)

Trump Wants Boycott of Harley-Davidson

President tweets support of motorcycle boycott.

by on Aug.13, 2018

President Donald Trump has once again turn his focus on Harley-Davidson, with support of a boycott of the American motorcycle maker.

President Donald Trump is attempting to rally Harley-Davidson owners to boycott the company if it moves any of its production overseas.

In a tweet, Trump said that “many” Harley owners were going to boycott the company. The company earned the president’s ire after it announced plans to build some motorcycles at overseas locations to avoid the steel tariffs put in place by the Trump administration as well as the retaliatory taxes enacted by the European Union in responses.

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The company said it would lose as much as $100 million annually due to the move, which would raise the price of the motorcycle by more than $2,200. It also noted that all bikes sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S. (more…)

More Japanese Companies Guilty of Falsifying Emissions Tests

Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha latest offenders.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Suzuki's Toshihiro Suzuki apologized to customers after it was discovered the company certified emissions tests on vehicles that actually failed.

Three more Japanese automakers admitted to using falsified emissions data to inspect their new vehicles after a government-ordered review of procedures by the automotive and motorcycle industries.

Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. each told Japan’s Transport Ministry they certified products after they’d failed emissions tests. They follow Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru Corp. in admitting to the improper inspections.

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Japan’s transport ministry ordered 23 Japanese auto and motorbike manufacturers to examine their inspection procedures in July following similar mistakes made by other companies at final product quality checks. (more…)