Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Infiniti Teases Electric Crossover Ahead of 2019 Detroit Auto Show

“An illustration of where we want to go with the brand.”

by on Dec.14, 2018

Infiniti is providing a glimpse of its first all-electric crossover concept, which it plans to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Infiniti has a history of telegraphing its future with a series of intriguing auto show concept vehicles – and we can expect that to happen once again next month as it pulls the wraps off an electric crossover concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The prototype will carry forward the striking and well-received Prototype 10 and Q Inspiration concepts the Japanese luxury brand unveiled over the past year. And it appears quite likely to tease not only an upcoming battery vehicle but an all-new EV architecture that will be used for a variety of future Infiniti models.

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“The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” said Executive Design Director Karim Habib. “Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy.” (more…)

NADA Predicts New Car Sales to Decline Slightly in 2019

Rising interest rates, falling incentives will push some buyers out.

by on Dec.14, 2018

The National Auto Dealers Association Chairman Wes Lutz predicts that auto sales will fall slightly in 2019 to 16.8 million units.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association for new-car dealerships across the U.S., expects another strong year for new car sales in 2019 despite rising interest rates and an economy that shows signs of slowing.

“We’re forecasting sales of 16.8 million new cars and light trucks in 2019,” said Patrick Manzi, NADA senior economist, at an industry briefing. “This would represent a falloff in sales of about 1.1% compared to 2018.”

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Based on a strong November, new-vehicle sales are expected to reach 17 million units in 2018, which would mark the fourth straight year of U.S. auto sales above 17 million units.  (more…)

Trump Takes Swipes at GM, Barra about EV Strategy

President claims EV strategy is flawed.

by on Dec.13, 2018

GM CEO Barra and President Donald Trump during better days. Trump called Barra "nasty" during an interview on Fox News today.

President Donald Trump is like a dog with a bone when it comes to General Motors and CEO Mary Barra today again taking swipes at the company and its product strategy as well as Barra herself.

On an appearance on Fox News, Trump said the company’s focus on shifting to electric vehicles is poorly conceived and won’t work.

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“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

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Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Will Bring F1 Engine Tech to the Street

11,000 RPMs and 1,000 hp.

by on Dec.13, 2018

This snarling V-12 puts out 1,000 horsepower and 11,000 rpms and it powers the new Aston Martin Valkyrie.

The horsepower race continues to accelerate. Where 400 hp was once considered extreme, more and more exotics are nudging into four-figure territory, Aston Martin the latest to get there by taking some of its Formula One technology from the track to the street.

The British marque’s new Valkyrie is still more than a year away from production but it is offering up a first look at what will become the hypercar’s beating heart, a hybridized V-12 capable of revving up to a dizzying 11,000 rpms in the process of punching out a full 1,000 horsepower.

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“To anyone with a drop of petrol in their blood, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 is the absolute pinnacle. Nothing sounds better or encapsulates the emotion and excitement of the internal combustion engine more completely,” proclaimed Aston CEO Andy Palmer in a release accompanying these images. (more…)

Asian Car Brands: Least Expensive to Repair and Most Reliable

Mazda leads in lowest repair costs for a brand.

by on Dec.13, 2018

Mazda is the automotive brand that is likely to cost the least to repair, averaging less than $300.

With automakers everywhere throwing big red ribbons on top of their cars, trucks and utes telling us ‘tis the season to get a new vehicle, perhaps its best to know which of these new vehicles, or at least the brands, will cost you the least to repair.

That would be Mazda and Kia, according to CarMD, which recently released its annual analysis of 2018 Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings.

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Mazda’s cost an average of $286 to repair while Kia’s jump to $320. Following those are Dodge, Hyundai and Chrysler. (more…)

Could a Pickup Truck be Tesla’s Next Vehicle?

Musk wants to make truck "so bad."

by on Dec.12, 2018

A rendering shows the Tesla pickup bears a striking resemblance to the Tesla Semi.

Tesla’s next vehicle will be the second-generation roadster, right? Oh wait! It’s supposed to be a small sport-utility! Maybe neither of them.

Co-founder Elon Musk has often mentioned his desire to bring out a pickup, but he’s never put a firm date to when it might show up: until now.

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In response to a tweet, Musk yesterday suggested the prototype will be unveiled sometime next year with production plans to follow shortly thereafter. (more…)

Americans Driving with Insufficient Headlights, Study Says

AAA says older headlights are a real safety concern.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Millions of American vehicles have headlights that provide dangerously low levels of illumination.

We’ve all said it at one time or another: “Are my lights on?” According to a new AAA study, aging and sun-damaged headlights are a major safety issue in the United States.

Yellow or clouded headlights generate about 20% of the amount of light that new headlights do, according to the AAA study. Obviously, this can create some hazardous conditions when driving at night. With half of all accidents occurring at night, AAA encourages drivers to check the condition of their headlights regularly and change them when necessary.

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“Walk through any parking lot and it is evident that deteriorated headlights are a problem for most vehicle owners,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Headlights on the road in the U.S., even when new, don’t produce a sufficient amount of lighting, so any reduction in performance is a real safety issue.” (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

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Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

(more…)

Daimler Investing More Than $20B in Battery Cells

Company furthers commitment to EVs.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche announced the company's commitment to buy more than $22 billion in battery cells.

Daimler AG is prepared to put up $22 billion to purchase battery cells over the next dozen years.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said the commitment is expected to help insure that the batteries are available to move ahead with the development of electric vehicles.

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“Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum. After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step,” Zetsche said. (more…)

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