Archive for November, 2018

Kia Has More Soul(s) Than Ever

Quirky crossover now available in a variety of distinct forms.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Kia now boasts six versions of the Soul crossover for 2020, including the new GT model.

Consider it food for the Soul: Kia has introduced six distinct new flavors of its quirky Soul crossover.

The car that showed us boxy can be beautiful will be back in an all-new form next year and Kia hopes to increase its appeal by adding new versions, including the GT and X-Line, while improving the appeal of the Kia Soul EV by boosting range and speeding up its charging system.

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“The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction, establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, product planning chief for Kia Motors America. “Even with a new generation of competitors crowding the marketplace, the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender, with its unparalleled style and impressive level of technology and customization options.” (more…)

UAW Attacks GM as Trump Signs “New” NAFTA Deal

Trump in Argentina for G20 Summit.

by on Nov.30, 2018

The leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada sign the "new" NAFTA in Argentina.

The United Auto Workers renewed its attack on General Motors as leaders from the U.S., Mexico and Canada used the G20 Summit in Argentina for the back drop for officially signing a new North American Free Trade Agreement that was negotiated last summer but still must be approved by the U.S.

President Donald Trump joined the leaders of Canada and Mexico at a global meeting in Argentina for the signing of the deal, fulfilling a longstanding political promise with a deal he celebrated as a “groundbreaking achievement.”

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UAW President Gary Jones, however, said GM’s announcement of the closure of five of its factories in the U.S. demonstrates that the new trade pact does not go far enough in protecting the interest of workers in the U.S. (more…)

Nissan’s Flagship Maxima Only Gets Better for 2019

Part family car, part racer powered by 300 hp V6.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, left, and Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Global Design unveil the 2019 Nissan Maxima.

Just as more and more automakers seem to be fleeing from passenger cars, Nissan appears to be doubling down — at least if the 2019 Maxima unveiled in Los Angeles is any indication.

The Maxima has long been the company’s flagship sedan. It’s part family hauler and part race car — maybe more race car. In an era that has seen passenger car sales fall precipitously, the Maxima roars on for next year, especially since it sports a standard 300 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 powerplant.

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“As our flagship sedan, Maxima is an important contributor to the Nissan brand,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan Division U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. “Maxima is our longest running nameplate, having thrilled owners for four decades with style, performance and quality.” (more…)

Mercedes Debuts New GLE Ute in Los Angeles

The new GLE is bigger than its predecessor.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Mercedes-Benz rolled out its new 2020 GLE sport-ute at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Most of the L.A. Auto Show product intros centered either a new EV or SUV – sometimes both – Mercedes-Benz took on the latter with the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The new GLE is more evolution than revolution with the updates for the 2020 model focusing more on innovation than design makeover. The new model gets updates on its existing advanced driver assistance systems.

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“The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has a wealth of innovations. For example, the active suspension system E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL on a 48-volt basis is a world first,” said Dietmar Exler, president and USA, Mercedes-Benz USA. (more…)

FCA Pledges $5.7B Investment in Italian Auto Plants

Plans call for new 500 EV and Alfa Romeo hybrid.

by on Nov.30, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley signed off on a $5.7 billion investment plan in the company's facilities in Italy.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said this week that its plants in Italy would return to full employment with a $5.7 billion investment in new cars and engine technology, including a fully electric version of the Fiat 500 city car and a plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo compact utility vehicle.

The FCA announcement plans to mollify anxious union workers – and uneasy political factions in its home country – offer a sharp contrast to the tack taken by General Motors Co., which announced plans to close seven plants and eliminate 15,000 jobs.

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GM’s announcement angered union officials in the U.S. and Canada as well as figures from opposite end of the political spectrum, such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (more…)

Honda Insight Named Green Car of the Year

Jaguar I-Pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also honored.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Honda's Ray Mikichuk with Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan and Green Car of the Year Insight.

The 2019 Honda Insight was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday, during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hybrid sedan had to share the stage, however, with two other winners, the Jaguar I-Pace taking home a trophy as Luxury Green Car of the Year, while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was honored as SUV Green Car of the Year.

The award comes as something of a vindication for Honda. The automaker was actually the first to sell a hybrid in the U.S. market, but the original, two-seat Insight, launched in 1999, was a slow seller and a second version bearing the Insight badge didn’t do much better. The new model finally appears to be connecting with consumers by “being a no-compromise vehicle,” Ray Mikichuk, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. sales, told bingdb.info.

(more…)

GM Moves Ammann into CEO Role at GM Cruise

Move marks the second in six months for Ammann.

by on Nov.29, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann is now GM Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann.

General Motors President Dan Ammann is changing jobs again, now serving as the full time as the Chief Executive Officer of GM Cruise, GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

Ammann had worked closely with Cruise since GM acquired the self-driving vehicle start up back in 2016.

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The move marks the second time in six months that Ammann’s role within the company has been changed. In July, he shifted some of his responsibilities to Executive Vice President Mark Reuss to focus on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles.  (more…)

Volvo Expecting to Slow Ramp-Up of Charleston Plant Due to Trump Tariffs

Hiring to slow; impact could be long-term if some production shifts to China.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Volvo President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the tariffs implemented by the Trump administration are forcing a production slow down at its new Charleston, S.C. plant.

Volvo expects to slow the pace of expansion at its new factory near Charleston, South Carolina, due to the Trump trade war with China.

The move could impact how quickly the automaker expands production at the $1.1 billion plant, as well as the pace at which it brings on new workers. The workforce was expected to nearly triple, to around 4,000, by early in the coming decade with the addition of a second model at the plant. But some production now could be shifted to China, potentially having a long-term impact on plans for the factory.

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Volvo issued an official statement Thursday noting, “trade issues may impact the pace of the expansion.” But in conversations with reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Volvo’s global CEO Håkan Samuelsson took things further, indicating the production ramp-up will slow down. (more…)

New Porsche 911 Models Come Fast … and Faster

Want a race ready 911? 200 folks can get the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S hits the runway at its debut in Los Angeles, the night before the LA Auto Show.

Porsche arrived in Los Angeles the night before the auto show hyping a theme for the debut of the eighth-generation 911: fast and faster.

The best-known of all Porsches with that iconic profile, the next-gen of flat-six turbocharged beasts gets more power as well as a complete redesign of the interior to cater to the needs of today’s driver.

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The flat-six is more powerful than ever, putting out 443 horsepower in the S and Carrera S models. The boost in power – 23 hp – comes from an improved fuel injection process and a new turbocharger and intercooler layout, according to the automaker.  (more…)

Hyundai Goes Big With New Palisade SUV

3-Row, 8-seater is next in a wave of utes coming from Korea.

by on Nov.29, 2018

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade give the company an eight-passenger SUV to compete with the big boys.

Hyundai is racing to make up for lost time. The Korean carmaker has been slow to embrace the rapid transformation of the American market, motorists by the millions switching from cars to light truck. But it is launching its third new SUV of the year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade, which goes on sale next summer, is the biggest SUV the carmaker has ever offered – with three-row seating for up to eight adults. It’s also the most lavishly equipped, with an outsized array of creature comforts and safety features that could surprise anyone who still thinks of Hyundai as an economy brand.

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With even more to come, “There’s no question about it. We’re in the SUV game big time,” said Brian Smith, Hyundai’s U.S. chief operating officer, during the debut of the Palisade at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (more…)