Posts Tagged ‘paul a. eisenstein’

The 15 Hottest New Cars, Trucks and Crossovers for 2018

Great designs, hot performers, breakthrough safety, unexpected features define the best of the 2018 class.

by on Dec.13, 2017

The Stelvio is the first SUV ever from Alfa Romeo - though more are in the works.

The 2018 model-year is bringing with it an array of new cars, trucks and crossover — with an emphasis on SUVs that matches up with the broad shift in the U.S. market away from traditional sedans and coupes.

All told, buyers can choose from close to 100 different completely new and updated 2018 models, a daunting challenge to those who might not know where to start. So, TheDetroitBureau.com is weighing in with 15 of our favorite picks for the new model-year. These are vehicles that offer stand-out styling, impressive performance, unexpected levels of standard features and the latest in high-tech infotainment and safety gear.

The Best of the Best!

The list includes an assortment of domestic, European and Asian models. And after you read through you’ll understand why we think these 15 are the hottest new cars, trucks and crossovers for 2018.

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Toyota Expects Electrified Vehicles Will Make Up Half of Its Global Sales

Automaker planning partnership with Panasonic.

by on Dec.13, 2017

Toyota Pres. Akio Toyoda at the launch of the Lexus LC coupe - which is offered with a hybrid option.

Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda said Wednesday that he expects half of the company’s sales to come from electrified vehicles – including hybrids and plug-based models – by 2030.

Toyoda spoke during a news conference called to announce a partnership with Panasonic to develop new battery technology that would be used for future Toyota products. The emphasis on electrified vehicles underscores a major shift in strategy by Japan’s largest automaker which, until recently, focused on hybrids but steered clear of more advanced plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

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“The auto industry is now facing a major change of the kind that comes once in a hundred years,” said the 61-year-old grandson of Toyota’s founder.

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First Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf

Nissan balances range and price while upping the fun factor.

by on Dec.12, 2017

Nissan's second-generation Leaf features a significant upgrade in range and technology.

Eight years after Nissan lifted the covers on what would become the world’s first mass-market battery-electric vehicle, the Japanese automaker has just launched production of the all-new, second-generation Nissan Leaf.

Plenty has changed since the original model came to market. Batteries are growing more powerful, even as their price has fallen more than six-fold since the beginning of the decade, translating into longer range at lower costs. And while “BEVs” still make up little more than a rounding error when it comes to overall U.S. sales, demand is clearly growing. But so is the list of competitors Leaf has to stare down, including both the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3.

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With the Gen-2 Leaf, Nissan chose to walk a tightrope. It doesn’t offer quite as much range as the Chevy and Tesla battery-cars, but it’s thousands of dollars cheaper. The 2018 Leaf is also less wonky in appearance and a lot more fun to drive than the model it replaced, TheDetroitBureau.com discovered, during a long day of driving through fire-scarred Napa Valley earlier this month. (more…)

Mercedes Taking New “User Experience” to CES

Automakers struggle to add more high-tech content – and make it easier to use.

by on Dec.12, 2017

The interior of the next Mercedes-Benz A-Class shows off its expansive display technology.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has become a showcase for the auto industry, as much as it traditional was for computer, TV and smartphone manufacturers. A number of intriguing products, such as the Volkswagen BUDD-e van and Chevrolet Bolt EV have debuted there in recent years, but Mercedes-Benz is taking a different tack next month, using CES to reveal a completely new infotainment system.

Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, it is designed to replace the German marque’s now-familiar COMAND system. Using artificial intelligence and what Mercedes calls “an intuitive operating system,” the goal appears to be finding a way to add even more technology into tomorrow’s luxury products without confounding owners.

Tech News!

That’s a major challenge. Today’s cars are loaded with as many as 100 different microprocessors operating such things as a vehicle’s engine and safety gear. But manufacturers are also loading up with lots of new infotainment technologies and in many cases, they can turn out to be “nightmares” to operate, Renee Stephens, vice president at J.D. Power and Associates noted when unveiling the research firm’s latest APEAL study earlier this year.

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GM “Absolutely” Could Re-Enter or Europe, Says CEO Barra – or Quit Even More Markets

Addressing workplace harassment a high priority for industry's first female CEO.

by on Dec.11, 2017

GM CEO Mary Barra covered a variety of topics with reporters during a Q&A with the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

Just months after closing the sale of its long-troubled Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she would “absolutely” consider the option of returning to the European market if the right opportunity came along – especially with new, “transformative” technologies, such as autonomous and electrified vehicles.

Barra, who was named the first female CEO of a major automaker four years ago this week, took on a wide range of topics, including autonomous and electrified vehicles, tax reform, NAFTA and sexual harassment, during a Q&A session with reporters at a meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association on Monday.

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The 56-year-old Barra has been credited with ushering in widespread change at the largest of the Detroit automakers, a company that emerged from Chapter 11 protection in 2010 only with the help of a massive federal bailout. That has required her to balance the traditional, metal-bending side of the business with next-generation technologies, including electrified powertrains and autonomous driving. She has shown a willingness to break with a tradition that had, for 100 years, translated into bigger is better. (more…)

Nissan to Test Robocabs Ahead of 2022 Launch of First Fully Autonomous Vehicles

Japanese maker plans to bring increasingly sophisticated self-driving tech to market each year.

by on Dec.11, 2017

A prototype, 1st-gen Nissan Leaf is shown during testing in Tokyo traffic.

One of the first automakers to commit to developing autonomous vehicle technology, Nissan plans to begin field-testing its first robocabs in Japan next year, part of an expanding development program aimed at putting fully autonomous vehicles into production by 2022.

The pilot program, pairing Nissan with technology development firm DeNA, will operate near the Japanese automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama. It will be the latest in a fast-growing series of self-driving ride-share programs, including one started by Google spin-off Waymo this year. Lyft is launching its own field test in Boston. And Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault has been testing similar technology in France.

Tech Talk!

Nissan last week revealed it intends to have its first fully autonomous vehicle in production sometime during the 2022 calendar year. But the carmaker plans to introduce a series of increasingly sophisticated, semi-autonomous technologies before then, starting with the ProPilot system debuting on the 2018 Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

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Lyft Launches Autonomous Test in Boston

Long-term goal is to go fully driverless.

by on Dec.08, 2017

An autonomous prototype developed by nuTonomy, one of the models Lyft will begin using in Boston.

Lyft has become the latest ride-sharing service to begin testing autonomous vehicles.`

The pilot program, launched in Boston this week, is being run in partnership with self-driving tech firm nuTonomy. Lyft has also been working with both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, two carmakers that share its long-term goal of going completely driverless in a bid to slash costs while also improving safety.

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“Based on back from pilot participants, nuTonomy’s engineers will adapt and improve our system, so that we can deliver an autonomous transportation experience that is extremely safe, efficient, and comfortable,” nuTonomy said in a statement.

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Ford Moving EV Production From Michigan to Mexico

Move will open up plant to build new line of autonomous vehicles.

by on Dec.07, 2017

“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley.

Ford plans to shift production of electric vehicles from a suburban Detroit plant to a factory in Mexico, a top company official said. That move will make room at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant for Ford to launch a new line of driverless vehicles that will be used by ride-sharing and delivery fleets.

The move could create some political headaches for the second-largest of the Detroit Big Three automakers. During his campaign for the White House, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly bashed Ford’s plans to move small car production from Michigan to a second assembly plant it was building in Mexico. It ultimately scrubbed that facility and will shift production of the Focus model to China, instead.

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“You’re starting to see the foundation of Ford’s bet on AVs (or autonomous vehicles),” said Jim Farley, the president of global markets for Ford.

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Former VW Executive Sentenced to Seven Years for Diesel Scandal Role

Oliver Schmidt could face seven years in prison.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Former VW manager Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty as part of diesel gate, but now says in a letter to the judge he was used by the automaker.

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, the second person to admit guilt in the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in VW’s diesel scandal in Detroit today.

Schmidt, seeking some leniency in his sentencing, wrote a letter to the federal judge hearing the case claiming he was “misused by VW.”

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Lawyers for both sides argued about level of Schmidt’s involvement in the scandal. Ultimately, the judge sided with prosecutors sentencing him to seven years rather than the 40 months his lawyers were seeking. (more…)

Rinspeed Snap Offers Lego-Like Flexibility to Driverless Vehicles

Concept pairs autonomous EV platform with mix-and-match pods.

by on Dec.06, 2017

This rendering show the Rinspeed Snap's platform and passenger pod before docking.

Think of it as a sort of motorized Legomobile. Swiss think tank Rinspeed is known for coming up with creative – and sometimes wacky – concept vehicles and the one it plans to bring to the Consumer Electronics Show next month would allow a user to plug different bodies onto a flat, skateboard-like electric vehicle platform.

Rinspeed is by no means the first to adopt an essentially self-contained platform that could be used with a variety of different bodies. General Motors first revealed that concept more than a decade ago in the form of its hydrogen-powered Hy-Wire. And most modern electric vehicles now mount their batteries and other key components in or below the load floor.

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But the appropriately named Rinspeed Snap would allow the passenger compartment to separate from its electrified, autonomous platform and be used for other purposes. “(The) pod can even be useful when stationary,” says a release. “it can be anything from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod and even provide a breathtaking, fully connected user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. The sky is here the limit for the possible applications.”

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