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Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

BMW Updates Flagship 7 Series

In an SUV era does it matter?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.16, 2019

BMW's new flagship model, the 7 Series, is ready to hit the road, borrowing some styling cues from the X7.

In an era of exotic SUVs like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, do sedans really matter anymore? Can a conventional four-door model still be considered a “flagship?”

That’s a question BMW is trying to answer with the launch of the updated, 2020 7 Series. But it’s takes just one look to recognize which side of the product line-up is influencing the other. With the all-new X7 set to roll into showrooms in short order, it looks like the SUV is setting the tone for the sedan.

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Just one glance at the image shown here and you’ll see what that means. As a midcycle update, there’s a limit to what the Bavarian marque can achieve, since it won’t be able to change the underlying platform for a few years. Nonetheless, you can’t miss the massive new version of the traditional BMW double-kidney grille that looks like it was lifted whole from the new X7. (more…)

Long-Awaited Toyota Supra Finally Set to Break Cover at NAIAS

The icon is back after nearly two decades away.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Toyota chief Akio Toyota welcomed back an "old friend," the new Toyota Supra at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

At a generally quiet 2019 North American International Auto Show one thing seems certain: there’ll be plenty of buzz as Toyota lifts the covers off the reborn Supra.

Though the automaker did tease us last year with a track version of the sports car, as well as a heavily disguised version of the street model during the summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is the first time most of the world will see it, sans camouflage, as the Toyota Supra makes its return after a 17-year global absence and a 21-year deficit in the U.S. market.

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(We did get a sneak peek over the weekend, however, thanks to Toyota Mexico which issued a tweet declaring, “Our new #Supra arrived in Japan!, and this is the story that #AkioToyoda tells us about its return”, with an accompanying video profiling the sports car.) (more…)

Cadillac Reshapes Line-up with new XT6 Crossover

Utility vehicle will replace CT6 sedan as premium offering.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.13, 2019

Cadillac's new XT6 will go up against a tough set of competitors, including the Acura MDX, the three-row Lexus RX and the new Lincoln Aviator.

Cadillac has been in the midst of a “renaissance” for nearly two decades, but it’s a turnaround that has never quite taken hold, especially in the home U.S. market where sales took another 1.1% dip last year.

The big problem has been the lackluster success of the marque’s sedan models, something that is leading to a sharp cutback over the next couple years, with the CTS and ATS models effectively being consolidated and the flagship CT6 set to vanish by the end of 2019.

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The real test for Cadillac comes on the light truck side of the ledger where it has fared a bit better. The new XT4, its smallest SUV, has been a solid hit since its autumn launch. And now, Caddy is pushing upward, with the all-new XT6 that will essentially replace the CT6 sedan as its premium offering.

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Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

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Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

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Daimler, BMW Get U.S. Approval for Mobility Company

Final hurdle cleared for two automakers.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.20, 2018

Daimler AG and the BMW Group have gotten the go-ahead from U.S. regulators for their combined mobility joint venture.

The BMW Group and Daimler AG have gotten the green light from anti-trust authorities in the U.S. to operate a joint venture offering a range of mobility services that are expected to grow in the future such as car sharing, charging, ride hailing and even parking.

The German automakers said the joint venture will focus on “ensuring the personal freedom of customers in the field of urban mobility, including a new mobility service that is easy to access, intuitive and focused on the needs of the user.”

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The service will allow customers to move through an “ecosystem” that combines car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking and multimodality from a single source and is available with just a few taps on a phone app, the two automakers said.   (more…)

Hyundai Lifts Page from Smartphone Tech With Fingerprint Key

The car key may soon become a thing of the past.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.17, 2018

A driver starts up the new Hyundai Santa Fe simply by using her fingerprint.

If you own a relatively recent smartphone odds are you no longer have to bother remembering a passcode, instead relying on fingerprint or facial recognition. Now, it seems, automakers are starting to move in the same direction.

Hyundai has pulled the wraps off the new Chinese version of the 2019 Santa Fe and, buyers in that market will be offered the ability to equip the SUV with a fingerprint recognition system that can lock or unlock the vehicle while also starting the vehicle. Depending on which of multiple users the vehicle recognizes, it will even set up automatically such things as seat position and sideview mirrors.

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But Hyundai isn’t alone. A number of other automakers are looking at other ways to replace the traditional vehicle key or wireless keyfob with things like wearable bracelets and smartphone apps that an owner can share with friends and family.

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First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein 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…)

Detroit Auto Show Not Ready to Wave Goodbye to Winter

Final January run to see over 30 new models debut.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.10, 2018

Toyota showed us a well-camouflaged Supra with chief engineer Tetsuya Tada at the Goodwood Festival.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association has inked a seven-year deal with the City of Detroit that will ensure that the North American International Auto Show keeps running through at least the latter part of the next decade.

The deal also locks down the move from January to June that DADA, the sponsor of the show, announced earlier this year. That is expected to prove critical if the Detroit Auto Show is to regain its former glory or, at the very least, keep from slipping into second-tier status, something that seemed all too likely in the wake of a painfully quiet 2018 event that saw a single official media day wrap up the new car debuts shortly after noon.

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The 2019 North American International Auto Show will clearly not have the luster of years past. Virtually the entire European contingent – including brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Meredes-Benz – plan to sit it out. But there will still be enough on the calendar to keep the spotlight lit. Among the products set to make their official debut at the Cobo Hall convention center are the long-awaited Toyota Supra and the Lexus RC F which is being hailed as the brand’s fastest and most powerful model ever, save for its limited-edition LFA supercar.

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Daimler, BMW Mobility Joint Venture Delayed

Companies pushing on, meeting with U.S. authorities.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.10, 2018

Mobility enterprises, like Daimler's alliance with the Car2Go car-sharing service, are partnering more often, as Daimler is trying to do with BMW.

Delays in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals have forced Daimler AG and BMW Group to push back their effort to establish a joint-venture mobility company.

The delay will force Daimler Financial Services to lower its earnings forecast for 2018. The division now expects EBIT to be significantly lower than in the previous year.

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The forecast for the Daimler Group’s EBIT in the 2018 financial year remains unaffected and unchanged. As previously announced, the transaction will not have any cash-flow impact on the industrial business, Daimler said in a statement, updating the plans for the joint venture. (more…)

European Auto Execs Meet with Trump, Aim to Head Off Expanded Trade War

VW signals a second U.S. plant is in the works.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.05, 2018

President Donald Trump met with the leaders of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Even as President Donald Trump was backpeddling on earlier comments suggesting the trade dispute with China had been defused, the former New York businessman was meeting with European auto industry executives worried that they could become targeted by yet another front in the trade war.

The president has signaled he may enact duties of 25% or more on vehicles imported from Europe, even though his own Commerce Dept. has backed away from plans to declare imported automobiles a threat to national security.

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Trump “shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment,” the White House said in a statement that followed the meeting with officials from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. (more…)