BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

Tech Talk!

A handful of select media outlets, including TheDetroitBureau.com, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

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Infotainment Technology Getting Better, JD Power study says

Systems improve for third consecutive year.

by on Sep.14, 2018

The Ford Mustang earned the highest score in J.D. Power's 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

If you own a car built in the last decade, you’ve been there. You attempt to make a call using the hands-free system – regardless of the manufacturer – and you get a list of people the nice lady in the dashboard would like you to choose from and none of the options are the one you want.

It’s this kind of technology that is both enticing and enraging all at the same time and is most often the target of complaints by new vehicle owners. However, the folks at J.D. Power claim the user experience is getting better.

The Last Word!

According to the J.D. Power 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year, with several technology standouts emerging among manufacturers. Read the rest of this entry »

Fade of Zero-Percent Financing Makes Leasing More Appealing

Rising interest rates pushing buyers toward leases.

by on Sep.14, 2018

Zero-percent financing deals are increasingly difficult to find these days, pushing some into leasing.

Car shoppers are always looking for a deal, and often they’re excited by the prospect of zero percent financing; however, those deals are getting tougher and tougher to find.

The percentage of sales with zero percent finance deals has been cut in half in the last two years — dropping from 14.6% of transactions in August of 2016, to 10.4% last August to just 7.4% this August, according to Edmunds.

Product News!

This drop during the last three Augusts sparks interest because zero percent financing deals usually abound in August and September.

“August truly represents the month that we would have expected to see a turnaround in this trend if one was imminent,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “Moving forward, shoppers will likely need to do a bit more digging to find other ways to save on a new vehicle because it looks like zero percent finance deals are going the way of the dodo.”

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California Pushes Ahead with Promotion of Zero-Emission Vehicles

Major changes expected by 2025 and new tech by 2040.

by on Sep.14, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown continues to forge ahead on the state's zero-emissions goal.

Despite the efforts by the Trump administration to roll back clean air regulations, California continues pressing forward with efforts to foster zero-emission vehicles.

“By working across national and state boundaries, through this new focused effort, we can accelerate progress and help bring these important clean technologies to market years earlier. We are very supportive of this program and look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve our clean air and climate goals,” said Richard W. Corey, executive officer of the influential California Air Resources Board.

News You Can Trust!

California Governor Jerry Brown also announced this week that the State of California intended to get all of its electricity from clean sources such as solar and wind energy by the middle of the century. Read the rest of this entry »

BMW Looking to Go Beyond the X5 (and 6 and 7)

The future may include some truly radical approaches.

by on Sep.14, 2018

The latest version of the BMW iNext Concept adopts a more SAV-like body design.

Even as the newest version of the X5 gets ready to roll into showrooms around the world, BMW is looking at ways to expand its presence in the fast-growing market for sport-utility vehicles.

The automaker took what seemed like a big risk when it launched the original X5 “Sports-Activity Vehicle” in 1999, but dmand for high-line utes has grown exponentially, leading it to move down-market, all the way to the base X1, with a new flagship, the X7, set to debut next year.

Plug In!

“We see even more demand from our customers,” said Carson Gruber, the BMW AG marketing executive overseeing high-line products like the X5 and X7, during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com. “BMW is a learning company….and we’re capable of identifying new trends.”

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Marchionne Memorialized in Turin

“Life doesn’t stop.”

by on Sep.14, 2018

FCA Chairman John Elkann, (c), is shown entering the Turin Cathedral for the Marchionne memorial.

An overflow crowd filled the Turin Cathedral on Friday morning marking the first of two planned memorials for Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles who died unexpectedly at the age of 66 nearly two months ago.

The ceremony brought out a mix of political and industrial elites, including FCA Chairman John Elkann and two former Italian prime ministers, as well as company workers and many local residents, according to Italian news reports.

Insight!

“Never take a break or a deep breath because life doesn’t stop,” said Elkann, the heir to the founders of the Fiat side of FCA, recalling Marchionne’s always-on-the-go work ethic.

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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.

Subscribe Now!

“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. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Promises to be More Transparent About Turnaround

But analysts still wonder what it’s planning.

by on Sep.13, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett hasn't been entirely transparent about his plans to revamp the company.

When Jim Hackett was named CEO of Ford Motor Co., following a senior management shake-up last year, he promised to spend the next 100 days studying the company’s strengths and weaknesses to devise a clear turnaround strategy.

A year later, however, analysts and investors are still wondering what’s in store. The company has announced a few key elements of its plan, starting with the announcement that it will all but abandon the passenger side of the U.S. new car market to focus on the more profitable SUVs, CUVs and pickups that have come to dominate the sales charts.

News Now!

Confusion about where Ford is heading with a turnaround plan it now values at $25.5 billion has translated into a sharp slump in its stock price, shares falling by more than a quarter this year, barely nudging the $10 mark all summer. Meanwhile, Ford’s debt rating has tumbled to just a bare step above junk status. Read the rest of this entry »

General Motors Recalling 1.2 Million Trucks, Sport-Utes

Problem causing temporary power steering failure.

by on Sep.13, 2018

GM is recalling 2015 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks for a problem with the truck's power steering..

General Motors is recalling more than 1.2 million full-size trucks and sport-utility vehicles to correct a steering problem causing crashes.

The company reveals that the power steering may fail and then recover due to a voltage drop in the vehicle’s electrical system. The dip makes the vehicles more susceptible to a loss of control and a crash.

Beyond the Headlines!

GM says it has reports of 30 incidents related to the problem, including two injuries. No deaths have been reported. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Smartens Up New Edge’s All-Wheel Drive System

All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect improves fuel economy.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The new Ford Edge with available all-wheel drive is smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Ford Motor Co. has tweaked the 2019 version of the Ford Edge by making an all-wheel drive system smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The system is called all-wheel-drive disconnect, a first-for-Ford technology that uses a form of artificial intelligence that can calculate quicker than the human brain. Based on information received from dozens of high-tech sensors, the new Edge can determine in a fraction of a second whether all-wheel drive is needed.

We're Always in Fashion!

“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.” Read the rest of this entry »

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