Archive for the ‘U.S./North America’ Category

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…)

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…)

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.

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“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…)

Teslaquila Coming to a Party Near You? Trademark Filing by Musk Says Likely Yes

Flame throwers. Surf boards. Tequila? Maybe.

by on Oct.15, 2018

Is this Tesla CEO Elon Musk's latest short-term brainchild to make some cash or could it be a viable enterprise.

Tesla. SpaceX. The Boring Co. Teslaquila? In late spring, Tesla CEO Elon Musk poked fun at Tesla critics in a playful tweet suggesting he had seen the writing on the wall and drown his sorrows in several bottles of “Teslaquila.”

That soon could be reality. Not the passing out part, but the tequila named after the company could after he filed an “intend to use” trademark application Monday for a tequila called Teslaquila.

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Neither Musk nor Tesla officials have elaborated on the filing, but the application implies a “good faith intention” to use the trademark in the future. Now Musk has a history of creating “businesses” on a whim, such as Not a Flamethrower flamethrowers, Tesla surfboards and others. (more…)

GM Offers First-Ever Extended Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

Company claims it could raise resale values.

by on Oct.15, 2018

GM's new extended warranty is accepted at all GM dealers across the U.S.

The difference between buying one new vehicle or another can often come down to the tiniest of things, but General Motors is now offering a big thing that it hopes will make a big difference: an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty.

The company is offering what it is calling the first ever true extended bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers Chevrolet and GMC products for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, while Cadillac and Buick owners can get a six-year or 75,000-mile warranty.

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“One of the best things about buying a new vehicle is the peace of mind that comes with the warranty,” said Ken Mac, director of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Protection.  (more…)

US-China Trade War May Cost BMW $600M Next Year

Automaker's SUV exports cut off due to tariffs.

by on Oct.15, 2018

An early version of the 2019 X5 rolls down the BMW assembly line in Spartanburg, SC. The plant isn't shipping utes to China and that could cost the company big.

BMW expects its earnings to drop by almost $600 million next year if the trade war between the U.S. and China remains frozen in place, the German automaker’s CFO Nicolas Peter said during an interview with Automobilwoche, one of Germany’s leading automotive magazines.

Tariffs between the United States and China have cut exports of sport-utility vehicles from its U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to China, resulting in a hit to earnings of just below 300 million euros, Peter said, according to an extract of an article.

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“If the tariffs remain in 2019, it could have a full-year impact of half a billion euros,” Peter added.  (more…)

Next-Gen Mercedes GLE Hybrid Will Go 62 Miles Electric Only

If it hits the target, it would set a new benchmark.

by on Oct.12, 2018

For 2019, the GLE hybrid will travel 62 miles in electric-only mode as compared with 10 miles in the current model.

Mercedes-Benz’s push into electrified vehicles isn’t limited to its EQ line-up expected to debut next year some time, it’s looking to amp up many of its next-gen offerings of current vehicles, such as the GLE.

The next-generation of the GLE hybrid, which will be a 2020 model coming out next fall, will be able to travel 62 miles in electric-only mode, according to Automotive News Europe. The current hybrid travels just 10 miles on batteries only.

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Ola Kallenius, head of Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Car Development, told the publication that the move is to help meet increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards around the world. (more…)