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All-New Honda Passport Set for LA Debut

Old name for a new truck.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Honda says the new Passport will make its debut at the Los Angeles International a

It may not mean much to Millennials, but older motorists may get a sense of déjà vu when Honda lifts the covers on the all-new Passport SUV at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.

Set to slot in between the Japanese automaker’s CR-V and Pilot models, what appears to be a three-row crossover borrows the name of what was Honda’s first-ever utility vehicle, a five-door that was actually produced by erstwhile rival Isuzu and sold in the U.S. under the Honda badge between 1993 and 2002.

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The new Honda Passport was designed and engineered – and will be assembled – entirely in-house, and will become the fourth model in the brand’s CUV line-up, lining up in Honda dealerships next year alongside the entry-level HR-V, as well as the CR-V and Pilot.

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Negotiating Deal VW is a “Delicate Dance,” Says Ford CEO Hackett

First project could be announced before year-end.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett described the talks with Volkswagen as a "delicate dance."

A deal between Ford and Volkswagen focusing on joint efforts in the light commercial vehicle market could come together quickly, but in his first official acknowledgement that the two carmakers are exploring a wide range of additional options, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said those negotiations involve a “delicate dance.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Ford has opened up to the possibility of teaming up with erstwhile rivals on a variety of projects. And, in recent weeks, sources have indicated it is discussing deals that also could see them team up on everything from autonomous and electrified vehicles to joint production and marketing efforts in markets such as Europe and Latin America.

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“(VW CEO) Herbert (Diess) and I had a great discussion” about a possible alliance on commercial trucks, Hackett said in an interview with the Reuters news service, noting that things are “going better than we thought it would.” (more…)

Range Rover Wires In Teaser ahead of New Evoque Debut

Fleshed-out SUV coming to Los Angeles – and could feature new Transparent Hood technology.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Land Rover created full-size, wireframe versions of the second-generation Range Rover Evoque.

Land Rover took a dramatic turn with the 2011 launch of the Range Rover Evoque, moving away from its traditionally boxy SUVs to deliver something far more sleek and sinuous. With its distinctive, sloping roofline, it quickly became the brand’s big seller, attracting a wide range of new buyers that might otherwise have ignored the British brand.

Eight years in, the automaker is getting ready to roll out a new version of the Evoque at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with a sneak peek coming a week earlier. To give us a hint of what’s coming, Land Rover has released a group of unusual teaser images.

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Unlike the usual teasers that cross our desk, these aren’t carefully cropped or shadowed images but, rather, wireframe renderings that clearly lay out the exterior dimensions of the new 2019 Range Rover Evoque. And, we’re hearing, there very well could be a secondary meaning to this approach, hinting at a major new feature that could debut on the new SUV.

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2020 Kia Soul Teased Ahead of LA Auto Show Debut

New platform, new longer-range EV, more tech - but a familiar design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

Kia's quirky crossover will likely grow slightly larger when the gen-3 model hits the road.

The annual L.A. Auto Show is approaching fast and that means manufacturers are starting to drop hints about all the new models they’ll be debuting in the City of Angels later this month.

The latest to weigh in with a teaser image is Kia, which will pull the wraps off the 2020 Soul at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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Official details about the 2020 Kia Soul are sparse, the Korean carmaker noting only that “the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognizable design.”

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Faraday Future Insists it Isn’t Going Away

New plan calls for leaner management, second product, even an IPO – if it can stay in business long enough.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

In better days: Jia Yueting and Nick Sampson, helped unveil the FF91 at the 2016 CES.

Only a matter of weeks ago, battery-carmaker Faraday Future seemed ready to turn out the lights, co-founder Nick Sampson resigning and then declaring in a blog post that the company was “effectively insolvent.” But, despite a seemingly endless series of crises, including one that forced it to cancel a planned assembly plant in Nevada, Faraday’s new management team continue to project a surprisingly bullish take on their future.

Late Tuesday, in fact, the California-based company released a statement outlining its plans for the future, which included a new, “lean management” structure, and “fortified product plans” that not only include the original FF91 supercar but a second, more mainstream crossover.

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Of course, there is the minor issue of finding the necessary cash. Faraday’s latest crisis was kicked off when China’s Evergrande Health Industry Group backed out of a deal that was supposed to generate as much as $2 billion in capital. For the moment, the automaker says it is on the hunt for $500 million to get it back on track.

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Aston Martin Confirms DBX Name, Shows New SUV Testing

Production model set for Q4 2019 reveal.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

Aston Martin is bringing the DBX sport-utility vehicle to market after showing a concept a few years ago.

File it under “No Big Surprise”: Aston Martin has confirmed that its first-ever SUV will retain the name of the original concept ute, DBX. That said, there have been plenty of significant changes since the prototype was initially revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015.

For one thing, the original, three-door show car now has a more conventional, five-door layout, albeit retaining a coupe-like roofline that, while not as exotic as the new Lamborghini Urus is certainly more sporty than the stolid Bentley Bentayga.

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The pics here show what is described as a DBX prototype being put through its paces on a Welsh rally stage by Aston Chief Engineer Matt Becker. And, according to a statement by the British marque, “signifies the start of an extensive testing program, (o)ne that has begun in Wales, as a nod to Aston Martin’s new St. Athan production facility in the Vale of Glamorgan.” (more…)

New Mercedes GLC F-Cell: World’s 1st to Combine Fuel-Cell, Plug-In Hybrid Tech

New model gets a combined range of 300 miles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.13, 2018

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell combines two technologies to help mitigate worries about running out fuel.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell is designed to help motorists address one of the biggest problems facing alternative powertrain technology: a lack of infrastructure.

The new crossover is the world’s first production vehicle to combine fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid technology in the same vehicle. That means a motorist will be less likely to be stuck somewhere without a source of power.

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“The innovative plug-in fuel cell drive combines the advantages of both zero-emission drive technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, continuously optimizes the use of both energy sources in line with the current operating situation,” Mercedes said in a statement announcing the launch of the new F-Cell, which will officially go on sale in Germany next spring. (more…)

First Look: BMW M340i and M340i xDrive

Official debut coming at LA Auto Show.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.13, 2018

The new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive models will reach U.S. showrooms next spring.

The rush is on. With just weeks to go before this year’s U.S. auto show season kicks off in Los Angeles, automakers are rushing to give us a preview of what they’ll have on hand in the City of Angels.

For BMW, the big news will be the debut of the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive sedans, and the Bavarians have proffered up this first look at the range-topping model. While we’ll have to wait to get a look at the next-gen M3, these M Performance sedans are impressive in their own right, sharing an updated twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six making 382 horsepower and 369 pounded-feet of torque.

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This marks the first time the 3-Series will be offered with an M Performance package, what some have dubbed M-Light. We’ll have to wait for the Los Angeles Auto Show to get all the specs on the 2020 BMW M340i models, but preliminary specs suggest 0 to 60 times of around 4.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited at 155 mph.

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CEO Says VW Ready to Build 50 Million EVs

German automaker expects to spend nearly $60 bil on batteries alone.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.12, 2018

VW's CEO Herbert Diess said the company made arrangements to buy 50 million electric vehicle batteries.

Even though it won’t launch its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, until next year, Volkswagen’s CEO is forecasting massive growth in the sector, the German automaker already having “booked” plans to build 50 million BEVs.

Precisely how long it will take to hit that target Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess didn’t say during an interview with German trade publication Automobilwoche. But the VW Group is expected to sell 10.7 million vehicles this year, a figure that includes a broad range of powertrain technologies, primarily diesel and gasoline.

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The launch of a Golf-sized all-electric model next year will put Volkswagen in direct competition with Tesla, and the Germans are preparing to roll out an array of other BEVs, including a reborn Microbus set to be called the I.D. Buzz. Sibling brand Audi, meanwhile, just introduced its first BEV, the e-tron SUV. All told, the various VW Group brands, ranging from entry-level Seat and Skoda to high-line Bentley and Lamborghini, plan to have at least 40 all-electric models in showrooms by 2025. (more…)

Toyota Teases New 2020 Corolla

Critical debut comes as Japanese automaker considers paring back passenger car line-up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.12, 2018

Toyota will pull the wraps off the new Corolla during a webcast at 7 PM PST Thursday.

Earlier this month, Toyota’s top U.S. executive confirmed that the automaker is considering ways to pare back its passenger car line-up as the market continues shifting to SUVs – but you won’t see the long-popular Corolla going away any time soon, as this new teaser image suggests.

Toyota isn’t saying much beyond promising that, “The world’s most popular car is about to get greater than ever,” with the Japanese automaker set to reveal the 12th-generation sedan version of the Corolla during a livestream webcast on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

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Toyota clearly needs to rebuild the buzz for the compact Corolla which has been around in sedan form since 2014. Sales fell 11.6% during the calendar-year-to-date, and 14.2% in October alone – and that’s despite supplementing the familiar sedan version with a hatchback model this past year.

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