Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Weakening Sales Worry Automakers Gathered for NY Auto Show

Industry execs fear a Trump “grenade," but automakers are creating some of their own problems.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Toyota's U.S. sales chief Bob Carter expressed concern about the potential impact of actions by the Trump administration could have on sales this year.

U.S. auto sales suffered a severe chill over the winter. Demand was widely expected to slip slightly after posting an unexpected increase in 2019, but the market has been surprisingly weak and many of the industry officials gathered for this week’s media preview at the New York International Auto Show fear the situation could get worse.

In particular, there was a clear sense of concern that President Donald Trump could be “pulling the pin out of the grenade,” as Bob Carter, head of U.S. sales for Toyota put it, escalating the various trade wars to the point that it could send American car sales into a tailspin.

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The harsh weather that swept through much of the country in January and February clearly took some of the blame for the way demand tumbled during the first quarter. But even a climactic reprieve in March did little to improve the situation, and sales for the first three months of the year were off by 4%. Only four brands finished the quarter in the black – and even then, only on the retail side. (more…)

Hyundai Venue Completes Korean Carmaker’s SUV Roll-Out

Targeting buyers who’d love to get out of a used car.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Hyundai keeps growing its sport-utility offerings. The new Venue, its smallest SUV, made its debut at the NYIAS.

Hyundai was one of the few automakers to use the Great Recession to its advantage, actually picking up sales and market share while the rest of the U.S. auto industry plunged to levels unseen in decades. Ironically, the Korean carmaker took an unexpected tumble as the rest of the market turned around, unprepared to adapt to the sudden shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

Hyundai isn’t about to let that happen again, the automaker using this year’s New York International Auto Show to roll out the seventh, and newest, member of its rapidly expanding utility vehicle line-up, the 2020 Hyundai Venue. In sharp contrast to the recently added Palisade, its biggest and most lavish CUV, the subcompact Venue targets a mostly younger buyer on a tight budget.

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“About one-third of (used car) buyers started out looking for a new vehicle but couldn’t afford it,” said Brian Smith, Hyundai Motor America’s chief operating officer, during the Venue’s NYIAS debut. “That’s a perfect opportunity for a vehicle like this.” (more…)

VW’s New Concept Could be a U.S. Reality — But Not a Truck

SMV Concept shown at Auto Shanghai hits China in two years.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Klaus Bischoff, VW design chief, shows off the SMV Concept at Auto Shanghai. It comes to China in two years.

Though much of the news surrounding Volkswagen and new products in the U.S. focuses on the possibility of a pickup, a new concept shown thousands of miles away at Auto Shanghai may reveal what’s coming next instead: a large SUV.

VW showed off the SMV Concept, which it plans to build and sell in China within the next two years. It appears to be larger than the Atlas, which VW sells in China under the moniker Teramont. However, the SMV is based on the same flexible MQB modular architecture used by Atlas.

Auto Show News!

The automaker didn’t release any specifics about the concept. However, aside from the MQB architecture it shares with the Atlas, it will also share the Atlas powertrain. In China, it comes with a 2.0-liter TSI engine or a more powerful 2.5-liter VR6 putting out 295 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. (more…)

California Start-Up Plans to Launch $149,000 Chinese-Made EV Sports Car

Qiantu K50 will be modified for American market.

by on Apr.18, 2019

The Qiantu K50 will be produced in China, but sold in the U.S. through Mullen at a cost of $149K.

A California start-up wants to sell a Chinese-made battery-electric sports cars to American drivers, the Qiantu K50 by Mullen scheduled to make its debut in the U.S. market sometime in 2020.

With its classic, supercar silhouette, the K50 is expected to join an array of electric vehicles destined for U.S. shores that will either be produced in China or come from American factories operated by Chinese companies, such as Karma and Byton.

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The new sports car, perhaps more importantly, will be part of a wave of new entries likely to reshape the perception of electric vehicles, from slow and stodgy to sleek, fast and fun-to-drive. (more…)

Kia Ups the Performance Quotient with Stinger GTS

Sports sedan adds AWD and drift mode.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Kia's new Stinger GTS package allows drifters to go all out while still having all-wheel drive.

For a brand traditionally known for affordable, albeit plain-vanilla products, Kia delivered a major shock when it rolled out the Stinger sports sedan two years ago. Stinger quickly nabbed a string of awards and was a finalist for North American Car of the Year.

Now, the Korean carmaker wants to increase Stinger’s appeal with performance-oriented buyers, introducing a new version, the GTS, which adds a new all-wheel-drive system, dubbed D-AWD, that can let a driver drift to their hearts content.

Performance News!

Set to reach showrooms later this year, the Kia Stinger GTS will remain one of the most affordable vehicles in its segment, with a base price of $44,995 for the rear-wheel-drive version, and $47,495 with D-AWD. (more…)

Audi Tweaks Subscription Service Pricing Plan

German automaker introduces Core Collection in Dallas.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Audi of America CFO Matt Carpenter notes the new pricing tier continues the company's mission of expanding mobility products to consumers.

Audi is experimenting with new wrinkles to its novel subscription plan in its test market in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The German automaker unveiled a new pricing tier for its monthly vehicle subscription service called the Core Collection, which will become available exclusively in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Business News!

Subscribers to Audi select Core Collection will receive access to the Audi A4 and S3 sedans, Audi Q5 SUV, and Audi TT Coupe for $995 per month, two rental days per month at no additional cost of the Silvercar by Audi service now in place at 26 major U.S. airport and city locations. (more…)

Porsche Planning to Set New U.S. Sales Record in 2019

North American CEO says tariffs would kill record run.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said the company expects to set a new U.S. sales record this year, but a tariff would cut sales 20%.

Porsche has set its sights on setting another sales record this year as it rolls out a product plan that embraces electrification and keeps close with the brand’s proud heritage.

Klaus Zellmer, president and chief executive officer, Porsche North America, noted during a press briefing at the New York International Auto Show, that Porsche has chalked up a long string of annual sales records in North America and expects to set another record in 2019 by selling more than 50,000 vehicles.

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Zellmer, however, also said the threat of tariffs hangs over the ambitious goal. A 25% tariff on imported vehicles, which the Trump administration is considering, could reduce Porsche sales in the U.S. by as much as 20%. (more…)

Kia HabaNiro Offers a Hint of Brand’s Future EV Strategy

The automotive equivalent of an everything bagel.

by on Apr.17, 2019

The Kia HabaNiro is an exercise showing where the automaker wants to take its electric vehicles in the future.

Kia is billing the appropriately named HabaNiro as a “spicy” take on its future EV strategy. Of course, the name offers a hint of where its going with the reference to Kia’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Niro.

Like its sibling brand Hyundai, Kia has big plans to electrify during the coming decade, with a mix of hybrids, plug-ins, BEVs and even hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The HabaNiro, which was created at the Korean carmaker’s advanced design studio in California, is being billed as an “everything car,” or ECEV, and incorporates all sorts of creative design details and advanced technologies, including butterfly doors and Level 5 autonomous driving capabilities – as well as 300 miles of all-electric range.

EV News!

“We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything,” said Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America. “Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its laboratory of technology and we want it in our driveways. Today.” (more…)

Better Late than Never, Mazda Gets into Diesel Game with CX-5 Skyactiv-D

High-torque engine is five years behind schedule.

by on Apr.17, 2019

Mazda finally put a diesel in to one of its products: the 2019 CX-5 crossover.

Nearly five years after Mazda originally planned to launch its SkyActiv-D powertrain, the Japanese automaker is finally ready to make its first diesel engine a reality.

It pulled the wraps off the new powertrain at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, the oil-burner getting its first American application under the hood of the familiar Mazda CX-5 crossover. The diesel joins a growing mix of Mazda engine alternatives that just a year ago saw the launch of the breakthrough homogeneous-charged SkyActiv-X technology.

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“As Mazda continues our climb toward premium, we will offer more powertrain choices that premium customers expect,” said Jeffery Guyton, the newly appointed president of Mazda North American Operations. “I am happy to share that Mazda’s SkyActiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine is joining the U.S. powertrain line-up with our debut model, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with SkyActiv-D.” (more…)

Subaru Launches Best-Ever Outback SUV

Sixth-gen model gets new turbocharged Boxer option.

by on Apr.17, 2019

The 2020 Subaru Outback offers a new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine putting out 260 horsepower.

Subaru of America is known for its rugged, safe and practical vehicles, and the all-new 2020 Outback did nothing but burnish that reputation during its introduction at the New York International Auto Show today.

The sixth-generation Outback offers the most advanced features, design and capability in its history, the company proclaimed. The ute comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

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The top-of-the-line capability isn’t limited to its ride and handling performance. Buyers can get it with the tablet-style 11.6-inch Subaru Starlink Multimedia system with integrated center information display, DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System.

(more…)

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