The Truth About Cars » Future Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 02 Aug 2015 00:58:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Future Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/future-vehicles/ Volvo Bringing New V40, S60L to United States http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-bringing-new-v40-s60l-united-states/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-bringing-new-v40-s60l-united-states/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130217 Volvo will bring its smaller, compact-sized V40 wagon, its related crossover and long-wheelbase, Chinese-built S60 sedan to America, Autoblog is reporting. The newest generation of the Volkswagen Golf-sized V40 wagon is being built with the U.S. in mind, Volvo senior vice president Alan Visser told media in the Netherlands. The earliest it could reach the United […]

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Volvo V40 R-Design - model year 2016

Volvo will bring its smaller, compact-sized V40 wagon, its related crossover and long-wheelbase, Chinese-built S60 sedan to America, Autoblog is reporting.

The newest generation of the Volkswagen Golf-sized V40 wagon is being built with the U.S. in mind, Volvo senior vice president Alan Visser told media in the Netherlands. The earliest it could reach the United States would be 2017.

Visser also said the XC40, a compact crossover based on the V40 Cross Country, would make its way to the States shortly after the V40.

It’s unclear what engine would power the V40 in North America. Worldwide, the V40 is powered by a inline, four-cylinder diesel- or gasoline-powered engine. Visser told De Telegraph that the V40 would also be available as a hybrid.

The company also said that it would make available its long-wheelbase version of the S60. The Chinese-built S60L would go on sale later this year in North America and Russia, according to Reuters.

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Senate Committee Approves Bill to Help Detroit Make Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129497 A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting. The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside […]

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A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.

The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.

Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal.

The proposal, which will now head to the Senate, faces an extremely difficult future. The bipartisan bill, which was sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Michigan Democrat Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, may be a long shot in the Republican-controlled House — if it makes it that far.

Separately, a bill that Peters introduced that would allow states to use highway funding to help advance road-to-vehicle communications, passed the Senate as part of a larger transportation package. The bill, called the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 says what it does and does what it says will be part of the Senate’s larger 6-year highway funding package.

Along with the Vehicle Innovation Act, the “smart road” provision and larger funding bill won’t be taken up by the House anytime soon. Congress is working toward a 3-month stopgap measure and will take up the larger spending packages after its August recess.

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Refer 10 New Tesla X Buyers, Get Your Tesla Model X for Free http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/refer-10-new-tesla-x-buyers-get-tesla-model-x-free/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/refer-10-new-tesla-x-buyers-get-tesla-model-x-free/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129465 Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk told press Wednesday that people who refer 10 people to buy the company’s new Model X would get one for free, Mashable is reporting (via Car and Driver). The caveats: You need to be the first in your region to refer 10 people (we have no idea on what “regions” mean, […]

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk told press Wednesday that people who refer 10 people to buy the company’s new Model X would get one for free, Mashable is reporting (via Car and Driver).

The caveats: You need to be the first in your region to refer 10 people (we have no idea on what “regions” mean, we asked) and you’d need to do it by Oct. 31.

Despite how you feel about Tesla, the company is proving that an automaker can be run like a tech startup and not a car company.

The incentive is part of a larger program that Musk detailed in his call.

Any current Model S buyer who refers another new Model S buyer gets $1,000 off the purchase of another Tesla. The new buyer also gets $1,000 off the purchase price of their new car too. Refer five new buyers, and you get a tour of the new Gigafactory. Refer 10 new buyers and get $20,000 knocked off the price of a new Model X.

There isn’t a similar program in place for Tesla’s used cars, but Musk said he’d be open to the possibility.

So, who wants to be a Tesla dealer today?

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Fiat Chrysler’s Product Pipeline Drier than California for 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chryslers-new-us-cars-far-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chryslers-new-us-cars-far-2016/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129321 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have only one new model built in North America over the next 18 months after executives pushed back development of others due to brisk sales of current models, Reuters is reporting. The redesigned Chrysler Town and Country minivan may be the only new car built stateside that FCA plans to launch in […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have only one new model built in North America over the next 18 months after executives pushed back development of others due to brisk sales of current models, Reuters is reporting.

The redesigned Chrysler Town and Country minivan may be the only new car built stateside that FCA plans to launch in the next 18 months, sources told Reuters. The company is planning to bring to the United States three Italian cars — the Fiat Spider, Maserati’s crossover and the Alfa Romeo Giulia — in the same timeframe.

This is the part where we would like to mention that a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are seriously overdue.

The reason for the delay in U.S.-built cars also could be the application of the time-tested Georgia farmer theory: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Wrangler sales are booming this year, Grand Cherokee’s numbers don’t suck either and Jeep is doing pretty well with just the Renegade as its new product this year. According to the story, the Wrangler redesign is now slated for 2017 and the Grand Cherokee overhaul should arrive in 2019.

Earlier this year, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said he was hesitant to shut down the Toledo Wrangler factory for retooling when the company needed the plant to produce so many cars.

“If I shut it down for 60 days, I’d lose more money than I’d make in a year,” Marchionne said.

Comparatively, General Motors will launch six new North American vehicles in the next 18 months, according to the report.

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Hyundai May Actually Make The Tucson-based Santa Cruz, But… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128001 Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year. That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe […]

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Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year.

That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe with a diesel!) compact pickups. However, the pickup’s viability hinges on a couple key points.

The concept, which was unveiled in Detroit last year, was received very well by most accounts. But that may not be what spurs Hyundai into making it. The recent crossover and pickup boom leaves Hyundai’s sedan-focused fleet a little high and dry, C&D correctly points out. Variants based on their few crossovers could come fast and furious from the Korean automaker.

However, the challenges with bringing the Santa Cruz are its form factor and what sits underneath its stylish skin.

For starters, the pickup is … well, a pickup. To get around the dreaded Chicken Tax, Hyundai will have to build the Santa Cruz within the NAFTA zone or face a 25-percent tariff upon importation to the United States.

The next problem compounds the first: The Tucson, on which the Santa Cruz is based, is only built outside the NAFTA zone. Currently, the only vehicles Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama builds are the Elantra and Sonata. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia builds the only American-assembled Hyundai, the Santa Fe.

Looking south of the border might be the solution. Kia is set to open a new facility in Mexico in 2016 that’s tipped to assemble sub-compact and compact cars, as well as crossovers.

If the concept does get the greenlight from decision makers in South Korea, it’s unclear what from the concept will make it to the production model. The yellow Brembo brakes and side-view mirror accents may get left on the floor, but its diesel engine could survive. The engine in the concept was a 2-liter, turbocharged oil burner that made 190 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. It could be a smaller-displacement version lifted from a Santa Fe — or complete fantasy.

In Detroit, Hyundai hinted that it could get a gas-powered option, but didn’t specify if that would be the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine or the company’s 2-liter turbo.

Apparently we won’t have to wait long to find out with a decision expected in November. But how many can they realistically sell?

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GM to Develop Global Car with China-based SAIC Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126489 General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday. The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement. The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker […]

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General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

GM said the new global architecture would replace several existing models, but didn’t specify what those outgoing models would be. The vehicles would be manufactured in China, Brazil, Mexico and India and exported to other countries. GM said they expect to source many of the car’s components from local suppliers.

“With a significant majority of anticipated automotive industry growth in 2015 to 2030 outside of mature markets, Chevrolet is taking steps to capitalize on that growth,” General Motors President Dan Ammann said in the statement . “Strengthening Chevrolet’s position through this major investment is consistent with our global strategy to ensure long-term profitable growth in the markets where we operate.”

In February, SAIC and General Motors (through its Shanghai General Motors Wuling joint venture business) opened a plant in Indonesia to build SAIC-branded cars. SAIC also owns British car company MG.

The GM-SAIC partnership has an interesting history, especially in India.

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Mercedes-AMG Teasing More C63 Coupe Because It’s Monday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125801 Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook). The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based. The car is […]

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Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook).

The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based.

The car is heavily camouflaged in the photos released on the automaker’s Facebook page. Despite hiding its body, the car will sport a unique front fascia and grille.

Under the hood, Mercedes-AMG is expected to stuff its 4-liter, turbocharged V-8 taken from the AMG sedan. That engine produces 470 horsepower or 503 horsepower depending on specification and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is shifted around corners through a limited-slip differential.

Mercedes-AMG linked the photos to a website counting down the days to the car’s official release on Aug. 19.

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Tesla Model 3 May Make Appearance Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125257 Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting. The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting.

The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built in a European factory. Representatives from Tesla said they would consider building the Model 3 on the European continent once the automaker started mass producing its three models.

The Model 3 would join the Model S and Model X in the automaker’s portfolio.

In an interview with AutoExpress, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 would be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S and would have a range over 200 miles.

Musk said the car would sell for around $35,000 and performance — from the car company that just announced “ludicrous speed” in the Model S — would be on par with the M3 or M4.

The Geneva auto show begins March 1, 2016.

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GM Opens $14M Safety and Autonomous Car Testing Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125113 General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting. The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing. The facility opens […]

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GM safety

General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting.

The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing.

The facility opens as the automaker is still under fire for failing to recall millions of cars with faulty ignition systems, which is being investigated by federal and state officials.

The automaker is reportedly testing Super Cruise at the new facility and on the streets, which is an advanced safety features that GM says could debut in 2017. The system would drive the car completely at highway speeds and in stop-and-go traffic.

GM is also working on vehicle-to-vehicle communication that could enable cars to “talk” to each other, communicating road conditions and alerting traffic of upcoming accidents.

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Mid-size XT5, Full-size CT6 Highlight 2016 for Cadillac http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125097 There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating. In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact […]

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2016 Cadillac XT5

There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating.

In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact crossover next year, but there could be refresh for the ATS, including a Vsport variant.

Next year for Cadillac could be marked by its more traditional entries with new names.

On top of the all-new XT5, which will serve as Cadillac’s mid-size crossover, the new CT6 will be the brand’s large sedan — but not its flagship.

Colias writes that Cadillac’s BMW 7-Series/Mercedes S-Class fighter will come toward the end of the decade and be called the CT7 (maybe?)

A small compact sedan and subcompact crossover aren’t expected until 2018, at the earliest. The ELR, Cadillac’s slow-selling plug-in hybrid may have life until 2018 despite sluggish sales.

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Lexus Expands IS Engine Lineup to Include Smaller, Turbo Four http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124921 Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday. The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers. The smaller mill in the IS200t […]

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Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday.

The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers.

The smaller mill in the IS200t will produce 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, according to the automaker, and will only be offered with rear-wheel drive.

Lexus said it would offer a version of its existing 3.5-liter V-6 in an all-wheel drive IS300, detuned from its current 306 horsepower. The revised engine will produce 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The IS350 will be rear- or all-wheel drive and continue to sport the 3.5-liter V-6.

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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GM Patents Cloud-based Driver Settings Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-patents-cloud-based-driver-settings-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-patents-cloud-based-driver-settings-service/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123969 General Motors may store seat position, radio presets, contacts and Internet browsing history in a cloud-based system to serve to drivers regardless of the car they’re in, a patent discovered by Autoblog shows. The patent, which was filed July 14, said separate drivers would be required to authenticate their identities via RFID chip, text input, voice […]

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Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 8.37.13 AMGeneral Motors may store seat position, radio presets, contacts and Internet browsing history in a cloud-based system to serve to drivers regardless of the car they’re in, a patent discovered by Autoblog shows.

The patent, which was filed July 14, said separate drivers would be required to authenticate their identities via RFID chip, text input, voice identification or fingerprint reader. The information would be downloaded to the car via telematics.

The patent filing includes several mentions of security measures the automaker would take to protect sensitive information, which would include phone contacts, voicemails, Internet browsing history and Paula Abdul song alerts.

Information would be encoded in the car and sent to the cloud, and personal information would be removed from the car when it’s no longer needed, according to the patent.

The technology could be useful for frequent rental car drivers and car-sharing services.

Like the Ram ramps, Ford lights and others, it’s unclear if the technology will ever see the light of day.

 

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Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123513 Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department. The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department.

The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that may or may not happen in or around the year 2020.

In case you’re wondering, we don’t know either.

The timeline includes tantalizing details that GMC may be looking at adapting the Chevrolet Trax — which could be called the “GMC Granite” — and that the Colorado/Canyon may finally get an off-road ZR2 edition next year.

The story also summarizes their earlier claim that GM will be shrinking the Equinox and offering a new, mid-size crossover based on the current Traverse. Cadillac wasn’t included in their analysis, but the automotive publication spelled the death for the Chevrolet SS. We can’t have nice things.

A redesigned Malibu will see the light of day next year, and the curtain may fall on the Spark EV.

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Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121737 The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I […]

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The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I felt that at any second, things might switch to black and white and Rod Serling would step out from behind one of the backdrops.

I wasn’t in the Twilight Zone, though. I was on a gentle hillside on the north side of Ann Arbor.

While Serling’s landmark science fiction and fantasy show sometimes gave us a peek at what the future might look like, the 32 acre Mcity autonomous and connected vehicle research facility that opened yesterday on the University of Michigan’s north campus is definitely one of the places where the future of personal transportation will be made.

7/15/15               2015 UM Aerials -July                 MCity, North Campus, Munger Grad                            Residency,Campus construction.

At first glance, Mcity does look more like a movie set than a high tech R&D installation and the $10 million that it cost to build doesn’t seem like much to an industry where it costs a billion dollars to develop a new car, but the facility’s promise is such that almost 50 private sector companies are partners in the project.

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The fact that Mcity even exists is because of a unique partnership between the public and private sectors. The state of Michigan, via MDOT, put up $3 million, with UofM, a public university, also kicking in part of the construction costs. It looks like operational costs, at least for the next three years, will be covered by the private sector. Fifteen companies make up what is being called the Leadership Circle, which means they’ve each pledged $1 million to be paid out over three years. The Leadership Circle is a veritable who’s who of the industry including Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Delphi, Denso, Bosch, Xerox, Verizon and Qualcomm. Another 32 firms have committed $150,000 each.

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The members of the Leadership Circle aren’t being completely altruistic. That level of contribution gives those companies access to all the research that will be performed at the facility, regardless of who is doing or sponsoring the work.

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That level of cooperation between car companies would not have been possible a generation or two ago, when the U.S. Dept. of Justice had automakers so worried about possible charges of collusion or violating anti-trust statutes that auto executives wouldn’t play golf with their counterparts for fear of an investigation. Of course, that level of cooperation will be necessary for the development of technical standards for vehicle to vehicle communication and other aspects of connected and autonomous driving.

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The interest of the auto industry in Mcity is obvious — they can use it to test their tech. The interest of the University of Michigan is also pretty obvious. UoM’s engineering school has long had a very close relationship to the auto industry and the school wants to stay on the cutting edge along with their corporate partners. Mcity is part of the university’s Transportation Research Institute. The state of Michigan’s interest is keeping itself the global center of the auto industry.

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With Elon Musk dissing “Detroit” at every opportunity (while staffing Tesla with engineers and designers with the domestic automakers on their resumes), tech behemoth Google testing a fleet of driverless cars, and even rumors of Apple getting into the car biz, there has been boasts from the West Coast and concerns from the rust belt that as computer technology becomes more and more important to how cars work Silicon Valley might displace Detroit as the center of innovation in the auto industry.

Mcity is the state of Michigan saying, “not so fast” to Silicon Valley. So far, it appears to be the only facility of its kind in the world.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The test environment (Mcity is adverse to calling it a mere “test track”) is supposed to replicate “the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments.” There are about five miles of roadways including, intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings (both fixed and moveable), street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers, “pedestrians”, and railroad crossings. A variety of road surfaces are used including concrete, asphalt and brick paving as well as metal grid and gravel surfaces. There’s a 1,000 foot straight along with a variety of curves and ramps with different radii. There are two, three and four lane roads as well as bike lanes and a roundabout. What looks like a covered bridge is supposed to simulate tunnels and overpasses. One street is covered overhead with netting to reproduce the shade from a canopy of trees. There are parallel and angle parked cars as well as mechanized bicycles, fire hydrants and both fixed and variable lighting and traffic control devices.

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The Mcity facility is supported by the University of Michigan, the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and about 50 corporate partners, including 15 “Leadership Circle” members that have each pledged $1 million.

While there are ramps and signs that look like they do on an interstate highway, there will be no high speed testing at the facility, despite the ‘road train’ of cars and trucks traveling in unison on a highway in Mcity’s animated promotional video. The top speed allowed at the facility is just 40 mph.

Mcity looks very modern and tidy. Everything follows the latest designs for roadways, etc. and I have to wonder how a car developed at Mcity might do in an urban area that’s a bit more vintage — like San Francisco or Rome. I wonder if Mcity has developed a protocol for dealing with New York City levels of litter.

Aerial photo and infographic courtesy of the University of Michigan. All other photos by the author.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Ford Announces Nearly $60K-to-Start “Limited” F-150 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-announces-nearly-60k-start-limited-f-150/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121473 Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not […]

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2016 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford announced Tuesday its new range-topping truck, the F-150 Limited, which will go on sale this winter. The Limited replaces the Platinum as the most you can pay for an F-150, and while the automaker didn’t specify how much the Limited may cost, it’s clear it will be knocking on the door of $60,000 — if not kicking it down.

Limited only in name, not in price, Ford’s newest F-150 is aiming to push average transaction prices higher and further than they’ve ever gone before. According to Reuters, the average price paid for a pickup was $42,429 so far this year.

The Limited model sports 22-inch wheels, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6, 360-degree cameras and massaging seats.

The F-150 Limited will take head-on the Ram 1500 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, which cost $51,370 and $51,160 respectively.

In addition to unique exterior and polished aluminum wheels, the F-150 Limited sports four colors: Shadow Black, Magnetic, Blue Jeans (!) and White Platinum Metallic.

The new Limited trim features all of the interior goodies available: Ford’s Sync infotainment system, panoramic sunroof, cross-traffic alerts, remote start and tailgate release, and a laser-engraved production number plate on the center console that shows the position of your truck in the likely five-figure “limited” production run.

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Apple Adds Former Chrysler VP for Car Project – or Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/apple-adds-former-chrysler-vp-car-project-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/apple-adds-former-chrysler-vp-car-project-not/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121217 Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company […]

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Doug Betts

Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company near the bottom of its quality survey.

Betts’ LinkedIn page confirms the appointment at Apple, but the famously secret computer company won’t say whether he’s working on an automotive-related project — or perhaps, janitorial duty.

Betts would be one of the first known hires for the Cupertino, California-based software company with specific knowledge of automotive manufacturing.

Apple has hired hundreds of people to secretly work on an automotive-related initiative called “Project Titan,” which Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged in a May sales call. It’s unclear if the software and computer maker is building an autonomous car to join the ranks of Google and others, or if Apple is merely developing car-related systems for future use.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has hired Swiss autonomous car engineer, Paul Frugal, and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky to lead the project.

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Infiniti Confirms Compact Q30 for Frankfurt Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/infiniti-confirms-compact-q30-frankfurt-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/infiniti-confirms-compact-q30-frankfurt-auto-show/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121177 Confirming their June confirmation, Infiniti will bring a production-ready version of their compact Q30 to the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The compact, which will be built in the United Kingdom, powered by the same 2.0-liter, turbo four that powers the Mercedes GLA and CLA under a joint agreement between Mercedes and Renault-Nissan. The […]

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Infiniti Q30

Confirming their June confirmation, Infiniti will bring a production-ready version of their compact Q30 to the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The compact, which will be built in the United Kingdom, powered by the same 2.0-liter, turbo four that powers the Mercedes GLA and CLA under a joint agreement between Mercedes and Renault-Nissan.

The related compact crossover QX30 shouldn’t be far behind.

The Euro-centric compact hatch and crossover may not have been originally slated for sale in the United States, but the recent success of similar models from Mercedes and others may have changed the minds at Infiniti. That, and the sedan may be the new horse carriage.

The Q30 is one of several joint Renault Nissan-Mercedes ventures that will emerge in coming years. The Renault Twingo and Smart Fortwo will share a common platform, and the automakers will swap engines (Renault’s smaller for Mercedes’ larger) in coming cars.

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Fiat COO: 124 Spider Abarth Will Perform, “Otherwise It Is Useless” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-coo-124-spider-abarth-will-perform-otherwise-it-is-useless/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-coo-124-spider-abarth-will-perform-otherwise-it-is-useless/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 21:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120233 Remember earlier this month when Mazda MX-5 Miata program chief, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, said if you wanted to complain about the roadster’s lack of power, you could shove it down the aftermarket hole of your choice? Those were good times, two weeks ago. It seems Fiat COO Alfredo Altavilla is of a completely different mindset when it […]

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Remember earlier this month when Mazda MX-5 Miata program chief, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, said if you wanted to complain about the roadster’s lack of power, you could shove it down the aftermarket hole of your choice? Those were good times, two weeks ago.

It seems Fiat COO Alfredo Altavilla is of a completely different mindset when it comes to their own MX-5-derived 124 Spider, specifically any version of the car wearing a scorpion badge.

“You like performance? There will be an Abarth version [of the 124 Spider],” Altavilla confirmed to AutoExpress.

“Abarth is all about performance, and so I’ve told my team to stop working on colors and trims. Any new version of an Abarth car should deliver some sort of a performance enhancement, otherwise it is useless.”

An Abarth-tuned 124 Spider would complement a “comfortable” base model for the reborn nameplate.

The first Fiat 124 Spiders are expected to arrive in the U.S. next year.

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Report: Chevrolet Prepping for New Mid-size Three-row Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-chevrolet-prepping-new-mid-size-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-chevrolet-prepping-new-mid-size-crossover/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120097 Chevrolet will slot a new mid-sized crossover between the Equinox and Traverse in coming years, Automotive News is reporting. Three sources within General Motors confirmed the new Chevrolet crossover would be dervied from Cadillac’s upcoming XT5, which is replacing the SRX next spring. The upcoming Chevy model’s architecture would be a shortened version of the Traverse, which is […]

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Chevrolet will slot a new mid-sized crossover between the Equinox and Traverse in coming years, Automotive News is reporting.

Three sources within General Motors confirmed the new Chevrolet crossover would be dervied from Cadillac’s upcoming XT5, which is replacing the SRX next spring. The upcoming Chevy model’s architecture would be a shortened version of the Traverse, which is built on the Lambda platform. According to the story, GM will move the Equinox to the smaller D2XX platform — shared with the Chevy Cruze, Orlando, Volt, GMC Terrain and Opel Astra — by 2017 to make room for the three-row crossover.

The new, unnamed crossover will target the Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander and could be powered by a 2-liter turbo four, a 3.6-liter V6 or perhaps a hybrid power plant.

The report also details Chevrolet’s position to directly compete with Ford’s Escape-Edge-Explorer trio for crossover sales. The Edge isn’t a three-row crossover in the U.S. (it’s offered in three row, long-wheelbase configuration in China), but Chevrolet’s unnamed crossover would sport a third row of seats.

GMC would use the new mid-size crossover as their Acadia, as sales of that full-size crossover have dwindled in recent years. The Cadillac XT5 will go on sale next spring. There’s no mention of a Buick crossover to sit between the D2XX-based Envision and full-size Enclave, assuming the latter stays full-size along with the Traverse.

The story also said Cadillac won’t use the longer Traverse as a platform for a full-size crossover it’s working on.

Or, this could be an elaborate test to see if the market will bear yet another crossover.

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New Buick Engine Powering New Buick Encore Around It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-buick-engine-powering-new-buick-encore-around/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-buick-engine-powering-new-buick-encore-around/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 16:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120065 General Motors announced Monday a new trim for the 2016 Buick Encore that will use a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four, which will be the first application of a new global-engine platform. The car will go on sale this fall. According to GM, the new mill produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque — an 11 percent gain in […]

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2016 Buick Encore

General Motors announced Monday a new trim for the 2016 Buick Encore that will use a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four, which will be the first application of a new global-engine platform. The car will go on sale this fall.

According to GM, the new mill produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque — an 11 percent gain in power and 20 percent gain in twist over the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine currently doing duty in the cute ute. The two engines share only similar displacements. The current mill is rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also a new Encore trim called Encore Sport Touring and it has a spoiler and 18-inch wheels and body-colored door handles and back to the engine.

The aluminum block has been specifically built to reduce friction and increase cooling, GM said in a statement announcing the Buick Encore Sport Touring.

In addition to its aluminum block and heads, GM said low-friction piston rings, camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump will boost efficiency. A steel crankshaft was used to reduce engine vibration, and steel connecting rods used with aluminum-alloy pistons with low-tension rings will cut weight without sacrificing durability.

The small engine will also use a variable-flow oiling system that matches oil supply with engine load, removing excessive oil pumping. Oil jets will help cool pistons to increase efficiency.

At the other end, the cylinder head has a water-cooled exhaust manifold integrated with its aluminum casting to speed engine warm-up, and gasket seals around the exhaust ports have been removed. GM says both measures will help efficiency and durability, as well as offer “under-hood packaging advantages.”

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Google’s Robot Car Crashed, Humans At Fault http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/googles-robot-car-crashed-humans-fault/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/googles-robot-car-crashed-humans-fault/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118793 Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries. Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the […]

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Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries.

Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the Lexus appeared to be at fault.

“Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road,” he wrote.

The robots will not look kindly on our inattention.

According to Google’s monthly report, the fleet of autonomous cars has traveled more than 1 million miles without human piloting, and the cars are averaging around 10,000 miles traveled each week.

Google says the autonomous cars have not been at fault in any of its 15 recorded accidents so far. Testers say the vehicles are being crashed into at a higher rate than normal due to under-reported accident numbers.

Earlier this month, Google sent two Lexus RX450h vehicles to Austin, Texas for mapping and testing.

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Mazda Says 2016 CX-3 Will Start Under $20,000 (Kinda) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118137 The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday. That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment. Like the […]

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The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.

That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.

Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.

The base price gets Mazda’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on all models will be a rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth push button starter and power windows and doors. All-wheel drive can be added for $1,250.

The middle-of-the-range CX-3 Touring (with heated seats, leather wrapped wheel, blind-spot monitoring, et al.) runs $22,840. The top-of-the-line CX-3 Grand Touring (navigation, moon roof, leather, Bose sound, etc.) comes in at $25,870. And presumably, the most you could pay for a CX-3 coming from the factory would be a Grand Touring CX-3 with all-wheel drive and Mazda’s optional safety package would be $29,040.

If you need any further proof the segment is ultra competitive and willing to cut to the very bone for the best price on a headline, consider that you can still buy a Jeep Renegade without air conditioning and 16-inch steel wheels for $18,880.

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Ford Building Next-Gen Lincoln Continental in Michigan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-building-next-gen-lincoln-continental-in-michigan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-building-next-gen-lincoln-continental-in-michigan/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116761 Ford will build its next-generation Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant, which also produces the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The announcement was made Wednesday by Ford’s Executive Vice President John Fleming at an event in Dearborn, Michigan. The announcement comes ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which […]

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Ford will build its next-generation Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant, which also produces the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Ford’s Executive Vice President John Fleming at an event in Dearborn, Michigan.

The announcement comes ahead of negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which represents roughly 50,700 Ford employees.

Analysts have said the Continental will be an important car for the flagging luxury brand.

Ford announced last week that it would be ending production of the C-Max and Focus at its Wayne, Michigan plant.

Negotiations with the UAW begin on July 23.

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General Motors Reveals Updates to 2016 GMC Sierra [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116569 General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado. In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup. The video shows three trims of […]

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2016 GMC Sierra 1500

General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado.

In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup.

The video shows three trims of the GMC Sierra 1500, including Denali (pictured below), SLT and All-Terrain, all with unique front ends and in varying levels of chrome-iness.

In addition to the bumpers, daytime lights and front fascia, the new Sierra will have C-shaped LED taillights.

2016 GMC Sierra Denali

GMC said more details about the truck would be released in “coming months.”

On Monday, Chevrolet announced the Silverado would be sporting a body-colored grille and two strips of LED lights on higher trim levels.

Here’s the video:

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