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Archive for the ‘SUVs’ Category

No-Shows, But Tesla and Musk Still Have Strong Presence at NAIAS

But can California carmaker survive the new onslaught of competition.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.17, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype Model S in 2010, the last time he attended the NAIAS.

Battery-electric vehicles may still account for less than 1% of the U.S. new vehicle market, but they have had a notable presence at this year’s North American International Auto Show – something that many credit to a manufacturer that was notably absent from Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center: Tesla.

Cadillac made a major splash during the first media preview of this year’s show, when it not only revealed the new XT6 utility vehicle but announced that it will be the first General Motors brand to use the automaker’s new all-electric platform for another SUV debuting in 2021.

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Electrifying!

Throughout the show, automaker’s either revealed new battery cars and concepts or outlined their plans for an electrified future. Volkswagen, for one, announced plans to invest $800 million to add production of two new all-electric models at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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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.

Product News!

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…)

GAC Coming in 2020; Chief Blames Delay on US-China Issues

Company working on making vehicles U.S. compliant.

by Michael Strong on Jan.15, 2019

GAC Motor President Yu Jun (center) says the company will be ready to enter the U.S. market in 2020.

The first Chinese automaker expected to make an incursion into the U.S. market has put on the brakes for a little while. GAC Motor is delaying its entry into the U.S. market until 2020, due in part to ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

However, it may not be as simple as the trade climate between the two economic superpowers is too volatile for a Chinese company to set up shop in the U.S. right now.

Global News!

Yu Jun, GAC Motor president, told TheDetroitBureau.com that the automaker was still working on getting its vehicles ready for the U.S. market. He believes they meet regulatory standards now, saying the company was working with U.S. regulatory agencies to ensure compliance. However, he wouldn’t confirm they met U.S. spec yet, preferring to say the will when they come to the U.S. (more…)

New President, New Strategy for Infiniti

Luxury brand wants to downsize its ambitions.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Infiniti's new boss, Christian Meunier, plans to streamline the luxury brand's product portfolio.

Nissan’s luxury division Infiniti has a new president. And Christian Meunier has a new strategy for the brand, one that downsizes the marque’s line-up but which he is confident will also make Infiniti more nimble and responsive to changing consumer trends.

The automaker offered a hint of where it is going during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday – or at least it tried to. But the QX Inspiration Concept vehicle didn’t want to cooperate, refusing to budge from its hiding spot behind the stage. It was eventually towed out almost two hours after the event ended.

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Glitches aside, the electric concept vehicle is meant to showcase a variety of trends Infiniti is looking at, including autonomous and electrified technologies, as well as the shift from conventional sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. While the timing for Infiniti’s first self-driving vehicle to reach market is uncertain, it intends to “electrify” all of its models by 2021, whether using pure battery-electric power or as plug-in hybrids. (more…)

Ford, VW Announce 1st in Promised Series of Joint Ventures

Carmakers will focus first on midsize pickups, light commercial vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

Confirming months of rumors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced Tuesday that they will launch the first of what they suggested will be a series of joint ventures, focusing initially on midsize pickups and light commercial vehicles.

Moving forward, they anticipate adding projects that will pair their costly efforts on electrified and autonomous vehicles, while Herbert Diess, the CEO of VW, said during a joint teleconference that the new partners could work together on “other” products in the future.

Breaking News!

Alliances are becoming more commonplace in an industry where changing consumer tastes and emerging technologies are stretching thin the budgets of even the most well-funded manufacturers, said Diess, who added that, “In such an environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” (more…)

Koreans Pull Double Win in North American Car, Truck, Utility of the Year Awards

Ram overwhelms its truck competition as Genesis, Hyundai score in truck, car categories.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

William Lee, CEO of Hyundai’s North American operations, celebrates the South Korean brand's win for North American Utility of the Year.

In a rare double victory, the Koreans managed to nab two of the three awards as the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced Monday morning.

“These are like the Oscars,” declared Erwin Raphael, the president of the Genesis brand which took home the trophy for Car of the Year with its new G70 sedan, a BMW 3-Series fighter and only the third model the luxury brand has introduced since it was spun off from parent Hyundai mid-decade.

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Hyundai itself claimed honors in the widely followed Utility Vehicle of the Year. Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Ram brand, meanwhile, wrapped up the morning event by claiming honors for Truck of the Year for its new, full-size Ram 1500 pickup. (more…)

Kia Goes 3-Row With New Telluride SUV

Korean carmaker reveals its biggest model ever.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Kia is playing catch up when it comes to its sport-utility line-up. The new Telluride is a big move in that direction.

Automotive designers like to keep an eye on the fashions of the day – which helps explain why we got a first look at a concept version of the new Kia Telluride at New York’s Fashion Week last autumn. Now, the actual production version of the three-row SUV is making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Like sibling brand Hyundai, the Korean carmaker clearly needs what will be its biggest vehicle ever. The American market has shifted rapidly from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs during the last several years, short-circuiting what had been a decade of substantial growth.

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As was widely expected, the production model is all but identical to the ute we saw in New York, minus some extreme touches like the snorkel, bumper-mounted, spare, ladder and, oddly enough, the hat box on the roof. (more…)

Nissan Hopes To Electrify With Debut of IMs Concept

Detroit show car hints at expanded line-up of battery-electric vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Nissan's IMs concept hits the Detroit Auto Show just after the company rolled out its longest-range Leaf ever.

Barely a week after unveiling the latest – and first truly long-range – version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan is offering a glimpse at where it is “imagining” its future in the form of the all-electric IMs “elevated sports sedan.”

The concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show pushes the envelope when it comes to three key trends: the shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. It also features a pure BEV drivetrain, a technology Nissan promises will dominate its line-up moving forward. The show car also adds autonomous driving capabilities. Add them together and, Nissan suggests, its future models will feature a distinctly different approach to design, as well.

News Now!

“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.” (more…)

Ford Adding Hybrid, High-Performance ST Models to Explorer Line-Up

“An Explorer for every adventure.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Ford is expanding the Explorer line-up to include a new high-performance ST model and a fuel-efficient hybrid.

Considering the growing importance of SUVs and for Ford, in particular, the role that the Explorer plays, it’s no surprise that the automaker will be offering more versions of the big utility vehicle than ever for 2020, including a first-ever hybrid and an all-new performance variant, the Explorer ST.

Ford gave the world a first look at the fourth-generation Explorer at a splashy event in downtown Detroit last week. It saved the two new versions for a Monday debut during the North American International Auto Show. The entire Explorer line-up is set to roll out of Ford’s big Chicago Assembly Plant a few months from now.

Product News!

“This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family – and every driver – is unique,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing. “With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there truly is an Explorer for every adventure.” (more…)

Live From Detroit!

This year's event has some of everything.

by tdb on Jan.14, 2019

This year’s media preview of the North American International Auto Show may be wrapping up, but it had some intriguing — and occasionally surprising — debuts, including a flying car. Check out  complete coverage of the 30th anniversary NAIAS on TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)