Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by on Dec.11, 2018

BMW's taking the covers off the next-gen 3-Series. The 330i is certainly a step above its predecessors.

There are advantages to being the best in breed – but there are some disadvantages, as well, as BMW is well aware. Since the very first version rolled out in May 1975, the BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark of the compact sports sedan market, delivering a mix of performance, handling and luxury that other brands have struggled to match.

Now, however, as the seventh-generation 3-Series gets ready to roll into showrooms, the Bavarian automaker faces a level of competition never seen before. Traditional rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been zeroing in on the BMW formula, as have new competitors such as Genesis, which recently won high-profile kudos like the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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And Tesla is aiming to redefine the rules with its all-electric Model 3. BMW is even competing with itself. In an SUV-crazed world, more and more traditional 3-Series buyers have been migrating to the brand’s own X3 crossover. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Expresses Interest in Closing GM Plants

Exec expresses disdain for SEC, approvals.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Elon Musk expressed interest in buying one of the plants General Motors plans to close in the near future.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with General Motors — again.

Not, Musk doesn’t want to challenge GM CEO Mary Barra to appear on the television game show, but he did tell reporter Lesley Stahl on the CBS news show 60 Minutes he would be willing to buy one of the plants GM plans to shut down in the near future.

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“It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over,” he said during the interview. (more…)

McLaren Offering More Open Air Speed With New 720S Spider

New convertible offered with transparent retractable roof.

by on Dec.10, 2018

The new McLaren 720S Spider is the latest creation born from the company's $1.6 billion Track25 plan.

British supercar maker McLaren Automotive keeps rolling out new models, extending its comeback from the brink of death. The latest is the 720S Spider, which is part of its Super Series product line.

The comeback is part of the nearly $1.6 billion Track25 business plan that was the latest effort to revive the iconic sports car company, and the only one that seems to have taken. The new 720S Spider is available right now.

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“The new McLaren 720S Spider offers an unparalleled blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury, driver involvement and daily usability – all with the additional exhilaration of open-air driving whenever required,” said Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive. (more…)

FCA Adds Two New Executives to Company’s Top Ranks

Stewart, Golightly come from outside auto industry.

by on Dec.07, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley added two new executives from outside the automotive industry.

Many thought that CEO Mike Manley would be Sergio Marchionne’s successor, and his first big decisions have largely followed Marchionne’s most recent five-year plan. However, today is a new day and Manley is proving to be an executive willing to make his own decisions.

After nearly a decade of developing and renewing its leadership team internally, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hired a pair of executives from outside the automotive industry to man key leadership posts.

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Manley named former Amazon Vice President Mark Stewart Fiat Chrysler’s North American COO, a job held at the beginning of this year by CEO Sergio Marchionne before his death in July and then by Manley. (more…)

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Going Into Production and it Won’t Be Cheap

You have to pay for all that gold.

by on Dec.07, 2018

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of the GT-R with a special edition model: the GT-R50.

Nissan has traditionally billed the GT-R as an “affordable supercar,” the price tag for a 2019 model starting at $99,990. But if you’re interested in the special edition 50th anniversary model that the Japanese automaker has now confirmed for production, beware that you’ll have to add another zero at the end of that sticker price.

First revealed last June in concept form, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign will move right up there with some of the more expensive supercars on the market at a price tag starting 990,000 euros, the automaker says – a figure that, at current exchange rates works out to a cool $1,129,498.92.

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“The car’s exterior is virtually unchanged from the prototype first shown in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England,” notes a company release detailing its collaboration with Turin, Italy-based Italdesign. (more…)

Ousted Nissan Chairman Ghosn Expected to Be Indicted Monday

Japanese reports anticipate charges for financial misconduct.

by on Dec.07, 2018

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to be indicted next week by Japanese prosecutors.

After languishing in the Tokyo Detention Centre for nearly three weeks, facing regular grilling by Japanese prosecutors, ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to be formally indicted on Monday, the Nikkei business daily is reporting.

Ghosn and Nissan board member Greg Kelly were arrested nearly three weeks ago as they flew into Japan, authorities responding to a report by the second-largest Japanese automaker that alleged the pair engaged in financial misconduct. Ghosn, in particular, allegedly failed to report millions of dollars in income while also misappropriating Nissan funds, among other things, to purchase homes in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut. He is Lebanese by heritage but grew up in Brazil.

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The Nov. 19 arrests, which marked the downfall of one of the industry’s most powerful executives, have stunned the automotive community. They have also generated a number of questions about why Ghosn was taken into custody and put in the position of possibly serving a decade in prison, rather than simply facing civil penalties. Some observers have suggested he may be an unwitting pawn in a battle for control between Nissan and the French automaker Renault which rescued the then-failing Japanese automaker in 1999. (more…)

Chinese EV Maker Byton Unwraps 2nd Model at L.A. Auto Show

“We need a lot of funding,” CEO admits, outlining challenges ahead.

by on Dec.03, 2018

Byton CEO Carson Breitfield talks about the new K-Byte EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The global automotive market is in the midst of a revolution, something obvious to anyone attending this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Not only are we seeing a push into new technologies like electrification and autonomy, but the established carmakers are being taken on by a variety of automotive upstarts.

To a list that already includes the likes of Tesla, Faraday Future and Rivian, add China-based Byton. The company helped anchor the first day of previews at the L.A. Auto Show by unveiling a prototype of what it says will be its second new model, the K-Byte. But Byton officials also acknowledged that they still face challenges in their road to production.

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The debut of the K-Byte follows Byton’s original prototype, the M-Byte, and targets a relatively mainstream buyer, at least by the standards of the electric vehicle market. According to Breitfeld, the sleek battery-sedan will come in at a starting price of around $45,000 when it comes to market. The target, at least, is to have it reach showrooms in China next year, followed by a late 2019 launch in the U.S., and a European roll-out in 2020. (more…)

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.

The Last Word!

“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…)

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…)