Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

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Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)

Toyota Set to Reveal New RAV4 at NY Auto Show

Critical debut for what’s now Toyota’s best-seller.

by on Mar.13, 2018

Toyota hasn't done much to the RAV4 since 2013, nevertheless, it has overtaken the Camry as the brand's best-seller.

Last year saw some momentous changes in the U.S. automotive market, perhaps most notably the surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks. And nowhere was that more apparent than at Toyota where the compact RAV4 toppled the brand’s long-time sales leader, the Camry sedan.

So, Toyota will have a lot riding on what it plans to introduce at the New York International Auto Show later this month, the first complete makeover of the RAV4 since the 2013 model-year. The Japanese giant is counting on the crossover to help it gain even more momentum at a time when there seems to be no end in sight to the light-truck boom.

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Toyota isn’t saying much about the fifth-generation, 2019 crossover, other than to note it will make its debut at New York’s Javits convention center on the morning of March 28, but some details can be gleaned from a teaser image and inside sources.


Production Acura RDX Set to Break Cover at NY Show

RDX concept debuted at Detroit show, production version now ready for view.

by on Mar.13, 2018

Acura is offering up a first tease of the 2019 RDX. But it should stay close to the look of the earlier concept.

We got a first look at Acura’s new RDX Prototype at the North American International Auto Show in January. Now, the Japanese luxury brand is getting ready to show off the real thing.

The production version of the Acura RDX will break cover at the New York Auto Show two weeks from now and it’s expected – no surprise – to hew closely to the design theme we first saw in Detroit, with a more athletic and sporty look than the outgoing crossover-utility vehicle.

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“The third-generation RDX, launching mid-2018, is the first in a new generation of Acura products featuring the brand’s new design language,” the automaker noted in a release accompanying this teaser image.


Toyota, Honda and Subaru Tops in Brand Loyalty

Loyalty started with cars, but transferred to utility vehicles.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Toyota buyers have transferred their loyalty from passenger cars to the company's SUVs.

Automakers that make attractive, high-quality sport-utility vehicles are more likely to get the repeat buyers that are so important dealer and company bottom lines, according to a new study.

On the surface, that may not sound like news, but the shift away from passenger cars to sport-utes in the wake of the 2008 recession shows that buyer’s are loyal to automakers that provide quality people movers that are consistently improved.

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The results come from the 2018 Edmunds Trade-In Loyalty Report, which examines information collected from 13.9 million vehicle transactions from 2007 to 2017. Bottom line: when automakers made better SUVs, people move to them repeatedly. (more…)

Ford, GM Sales in China Move in Opposite Directions

New product key to strong sales.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, discusses the plans to expand sales in China.

Ford Motor Co. suffered another sharp reversal of fortune in China during February where it reported vehicle sales dropped 30% from a year earlier while General Motors continues to roll up sales.

The sales drop by Ford appeared to reflect a dearth of new products as the company continued to struggle in the world’s largest auto market.

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Ford’s sales dropped 18% in January and in February totaled just 47,483 vehicles, accounting for the 30% drop mentioned earlier. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Bank Changes Business Model

Moves by automakers toward mobility forces bank to rethink operations.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Bank is changing the way it does things to keep pace with the changes in auto financing needs.

Daimler Financial Services subsidiary, the Mercedes-Benz Bank in Germany, is revising its business model to accommodate the changes in mobility, such as subscription services, with which carmakers have begun to experiment.

The Mercedes-Benz Bank now finances one of every two vehicles sold by the automaker in Germany and the bank’s portfolio now totals around 970,000 cars, trucks, vans and buses on the books and grew by 12% in 2017 to 26.9 billion euros.

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“In future, we will also integrate mobility services such as car sharing into our vehicle financing, in addition to making offers specifically for electrically powered vehicles,” One in every two Daimler vehicles in Germany is on the road with a contract from Mercedes-Benz Bank, he added. (more…)

Nissan Teases All-New Altima Ahead of NY Auto Show

Aging sedan gets a welcome makeover.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Nissan's got a new look its teasing for its Altima sedan. The real thing will be on display at the New York Auto Show.

You have to move fast on the auto show circuit. The press days in Geneva are barely over but manufacturers are already teasing what’s to come at the New York International Auto Show later this month.

We’ve already gotten a first look at Kia’s next-generation K900 and now Nissan is teasing the makeover of its mainstay midsize model, the Altima, which is getting its first real redesign since the start of the 2013 model-year.

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What we see is apparently telling us more than just what the new 2019 Altima will look like however, a note from Nissan explaining that, “This official exterior sketch reveals an expressive, sophisticated all-new Altima and hints at the future of Nissan’s sedan design language.” (more…)

Subaru Viziv Tourer Concept: An Outback Wagon Replacement?

Maker offers hints to future design with concepts.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Subaru executives are excited about the new Viziv Tourer Concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show.

Subaru continued its themed concept cars with the Viziv Tourer concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The first Viziv concept debuted in 2013 and since then each model has taken on a different them.

This year’s Tourer concept gave Subaru the opportunity to unite symmetrical all-wheel-drive powered by a boxer engine with performance, practicality and functionality to entice people to enjoy traveling by car again.

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In anticipation of widespread future deployment of automated driving technologies, advanced driver-assist functions combining the next-generation EyeSight system with other devices have been installed in the car to reduce driver fatigue on long journeys and enable active enjoyment of driving with peace of mind. (more…)

GM Boosting Bolt EV Production as Demand Surges

CEO Barra asking Congress to expand electric-car tax credits.

by on Mar.08, 2018

There's significant room to expand Chevy Bolt EV production at GM's Orion Assembly Plant.

General Motors plans to expand production of its first long-range battery-car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, CEO Mary Barra said during an energy conference in Houston.

The Bolt has experienced stronger than expected demand in recent months, some analysts suggesting that is the result of the slow ramp-up of production for Tesla’s own mainstream EV, the Model 3.

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Demand has also been buoyed by $7,500 federal tax credits that bring the base price of the Bolt down below $30,000. But under the current rules, GM is expected to soon see the credits phase out, something that could cut into demand, leading Barra to say that, “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefits going forward.”


Japan Going All In on Fuel Cells

Country plans to have 800,000 fuel cell vehicles on roads by 2030.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Toyota's Yoshikazu Tanaka, the chief engineer of the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, confirmed Toyota's commitment to fuel cell vehicles.

Japan is gearing up to put 800,000 vehicles powered with fuel cells on the road by 2030.

Japanese experts from business and academia outlined Japan’s fuel-cell push at the “Coping with Change: Global Warming and Decarbonization,” an international symposium organized by Venice International University and Alcantara, the Milan-based maker of luxury fabric used for automotive interiors. Japan’s fuel cell push has the support of the Japanese government.

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Yasuhiro Daisho, senior research professor at Waseda University and an emeritus researcher for Japan’s Next Generation Vehicles Research Council, offered a broad overview of the goals set out by Japanese industry and Japanese government. (more…)