Archive for the ‘China’ Category

No More What If: Mazda Bringing Out a Faster Miata

Engineers squeeze out a 17% power increase.

by on Jun.20, 2018

The 2019 Mazda Miata gets a bunch of new safety tech, but more importantly: a 17% boost in power.

The Mazda Miata has always been a “but what if…” car.

The “what if?” What if it had more power? It’s a roadster and that generally means that the car is more about the experience of driving rather than how far back are you being pressed into your seat when you push the go pedal to the floor.

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Well, Mazda’s heard enough “what ifs” apparently since it it’s now upping the power in the latest iteration of the MX-5, known casually as the Miata. Mazda’s engineers enriched Miata’s SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine with the goals of improved response, performance, feel and efficiency.  (more…)

Cadillac Culling Sedan Line-Up, New Plant Investment Emphasizing Shift to SUVs

ATS, XTS going away as passenger car sales slide.

by on Jun.18, 2018

Cadillac is planning to end production of the slow-selling ATS by 2021.

General Motors will invest $175 million in a Lansing, Michigan assembly plant to support production of two new Cadillac sedans, but in the process, Caddy is expected to dump drop the slow-selling ATS compact coupe and XTS full-size sedan.

Early in the new decade, those two models, as well as the midsize Cadillac CTS, will be replaced by just two all-new sedans, the automaker said. The cutback reflects both the overall U.S. market shift from passenger cars to utility vehicles and, more specifically, the poor sales performance of those three Caddy models.

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It is not clear when the three current sedans will be dropped, but Cadillac isn’t expected to have the two replacement models ready to roll out of GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant until late in 2021, according to a spokesman. They will likely debut as 2022 models. (more…)

Byton Taking Second Byte at the Apple with New Concept

New model predicted to be available in 2021.

by on Jun.15, 2018

Byton introduced its second EV concept, the K-Byte, at CES Shanghai.

With a newly gained $500 million in its pocket, electric carmaker Byton rolled out the new K-Byte, an autonomous electric vehicle concept, at CES Shanghai.

The K-Byte is the company’s second concept. At CES 2018, it debuted its first-ever vehicle, a crossover-style EV that now gets the moniker M-Byte.

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The new K-Byte would seem to be just another of a slew of newly minted autonomous battery-electric concepts that have been unveiled in the last 12 months, but this one is a little different. Byton officials claim it will be capable of Level 4 autonomy when it hits the road in 2021. (more…)

Electrifying Jaguar I-Pace Sets a Benchmark Even Tesla Will Have to Clear

Performance, handling, style and spaciousness come together to redefine the BEV.

by on Jun.14, 2018

Whether on a track or a back country road the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is a real game-changer.

I have seen – and driven – the future, and it is electric.

And I found it in a place you normally wouldn’t go looking, Faro, in the heart of Portugal’s Algarve region. When my plane touched down there, earlier this week, I was looking forward to some pleasant driving time. It’s beautiful countryside with lots of winding, lightly traveled mountain roads that pass through pastoral villages almost lost in time. As for the vehicle I’d crossed the ocean to test out, the new Jaguar I-Pace was, if nothing else, distinctively styled, both inside and out. Whether it would deliver that sometimes intangible concept we describe as “fun-to-drive” was going to be the real question.

When the first mass market battery-electric vehicles came to market early in this decade, about the most you could say for them was that they were environmentally friendly. They were slow, stodgy and required you to keep a constant eye on the range gauge lest you find yourself stranded miles from home. Tesla kicked it up a big notch by offering range comparable to a gas-powered vehicle and, with the optional Ludicrous Mode, blindingly fast acceleration. That said, the Models S, X and 3 each have their shortfalls. For most of us, they’re still not quite serious alternatives to conventional vehicles.

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The I-Pace, on the other hand, changes the equation. It is easy to fall back on clichés when trying to describe Jaguar’s first all-electric model, but it truly is electrifying, and by virtually every measure, it not only sets a benchmark for future battery-electric vehicles but also shows that BEVs can pose a direct challenge to conventional gas-powered models when it comes to not only design, interior space, comfort and utility, but performance and handling, as well.

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Volvo Hopes to Electrify Customers – and Investors

All-electric models now expected to generate half its sales by mid-2020s, with 1/3 self-driving.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with the marque's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo took a lead in the push into electrification last year, announcing it would use some of battery-based drive system on all future products, whether mild, conventional or plug-in hybrids, or pure battery-electric. And, last January, it gave us a hint of what that first BEV would be with the debut of its 40.2 concept.

The production version will follow in 2019 and, if Volvo’s latest forecast is any indication, so will plenty of other all-electric models, as the Swedish automaker now says it wants them to generate half of its sales by mid-decade.

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The mid-term plan Volvo is laying out is nothing if not ambitious. It also predicts that half of the Chinese-owned automaker’s sales will come from self-driving vehicles, and that half of its volume will come through its Care by Volvo subscription service, rather than conventional sales and leasing. Oh, and add a goal of boosting volume – and profitability – to match other premium manufacturers.

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First Drive: 2019 Lexus ES 350

Bigger, faster, roomier — better.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The new Lexus ES is bigger, more powerful and has more tech than its predecessor.

Lexus has built its reputation on the quality, reliability and durability of its luxury cars and utility vehicles. But now, with the new vehicles such as the ES, Lexus is reaching out to match its German and Japanese competitors in styling and overall performance.

For one thing, the new 2019 ES 350 is impressive looking all the way around. The new exterior sheet metal is clean and gives the car a sportier and more up-to-date appearance that should wear well over the years. The front fascia on the new 2019 Lexus ES also more refined and just looks better than the previous generation and car just looks handsome when it is sitting at the curb or in motion.

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Each of the three variants of the ES – the standard, the new F-Sport and the hybrid – are separated by design details but overall the differences, to my eye, are relatively minor. (more…)

Kia Shows Off Latest Niro Model: the EV

New EV expected to compete with Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The Kia Niro EV made its public debut at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea.

Kia Motors is giving the public a look at what many in the media have already seen: the Niro EV. Introduced at the 2018 Busan auto show in South Korea, the new battery-electric Niro is a reminder that the mainstream EV market is getting more and more crowded.

The original concept was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show with the production version being shown to the media in South Korea last month, helping to round out the Niro line-up, which already has gas-powered and hybrid models.

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“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally-sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV. It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corp. (more…)

Chinese Automakers Eyeing International Roles

GAC, Geely looking to make an impact globally.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Shufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion, and expects to partner with them on electrification..

Guangzhou Automotive Corp. or GAC, one of the largest automotive enterprises in China, still plans to move ahead with plans to export vehicles to the United States in 2019 or 2020, a top GAC executive told the annual Global Automobile Forum in Chongqing, China.

Meanwhile Li Shufu, the entrepreneur who developed Holding Group and recently bought 9.9% of Daimler AG, said he expects to collaborate in the future with the German automaker.

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Li Shao, GAC vice president, said GAC is fully committed to becoming an international company. The objective of becoming an international company was one of the company’s objectives when it was first organized back in the 1980s, Li said. But very from the very beginning, GAC’s management understood it had a great deal to learn if it wanted to succeed and it also had to do well in China, Li said. (more…)

Tesla CEO Musk Survives 1st Big Challenge as Chairman as Model 3 “Quite Likely” to Meet Target

Shanghai, European plants could be announced within weeks.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk beat back challenges to his role, while 3 board members were voted back in.

Elon Musk stared down a group of dissident shareholders on Tuesday, surviving the first serious challenge to his dual role as chairman and CEO of the California automaker, while three of his hand-picked board members also fended off challenges.

Musk, who has developed an almost cult-like following among investors and electric vehicle fans alike, has faced an unusual degree of scrutiny in recent months as a result of mounting losses, struggles with production of the Model 3 sedan and a series of widely reported crashes involving Tesla vehicles. But despite some opposition, the company’s annual shareholders meeting was largely focused on promises about great things to come.

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Musk promised that after months of what the CEO has dubbed “production hell,” the pace is picking up at the Fremont assembly plant and that production will “quite likely” reach his 5,000 vehicle-a-week target by the end of June. Meanwhile, he and members of his senior management team outlined other developments to come, including the launch of additional production plants that could substantially boost global demand.

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Audi Expanding Its SUV Line-up with New Q8

New sport-ute sets tone for brand's design language going forward.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Audi's new 2019 Q8 sport-utility is lower and wider than the Q7 giving it a more coupe-like feel.

Audi revealed a brand-new luxury SUV called the Q8 in the home of specialized bigger and better sport-utility vehicles: China.

The 2019 Audi Q8 bowed at the Audi Brand Summit in Shenzhen, China. The new ute aims to attract customers moving from passenger cars into bigger vehicles. The five-passenger Q8, which was originally a concept shown in Detroit in 2017, is lower and wider than the Q7 giving it a more car-like ride and feel.

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Unsurprisingly, the new Q8 is the new basis of the company’s exterior and interior styling language, Audi notes. On the exterior, the coupe-like feel of the ute is accentuated by the sloping roofline that ends in gently inclined D-pillars and the pronounced wheel arches pay homage to the vehicle’s quattro DNA.  (more…)

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