The Truth About Cars » Product Planning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:51:01 +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 » Product Planning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/product-planning/ Volkswagen Introducing ‘Budget-Car Family’ By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101537 Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more. CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” […]

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Volkswagen Beetles in Paphos Circa March 2015

Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more.

CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” Reuters reports. Winterkorn added the cars — to cost between €8,000 and €11,000 ($8,932 and $12,225 USD) — would be assembled in China; the original target was between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,670 and $8,932).

Though the low-cost vehicles are aimed for markets in Southeast Asia, Winterkorn says his company would determine “if this is something of interest for other markets as well.” Whether North America is among them, only he and his senior execs know for certain.

(Photo credit: Chris Parker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Lotus Resumes US Operations, Moves US HQ To Detroit Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099441 After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area. The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide […]

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Lotus Evora 400 Circa Geneva 2015

After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area.

The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide reports. The move would allow both divisions more ability to grow, and would improve efficiency of operations.

Meanwhile, the first car to make its way across the Pond will be the 2017 Evora 400, sale of which are set to begin this December. The 3-Eleven track car and a proposed crossover are expected to follow.

Finally, Lotus’ U.S. dealership network recently expanded by four to 47 total showrooms, with more planned for the future. The four newest additions are in West Covina and Thermal, Calif., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Calgary, Alberta.

(Photo credit: Lotus)

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HEMI Engine Family Receiving Upgrades To Fuel Economy, Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hemi-engine-family-receiving-upgrades-to-fuel-economy-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hemi-engine-family-receiving-upgrades-to-fuel-economy-power/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097977 Changes are coming to FCA’s HEMI engine family, ranging from increased fuel economy, to higher horsepower. Though details are scant, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 could receive direct injection to increase its fuel economy, Allpar writes. In turn, the upgrade would be enough to reduce or remove the need for FCA to buy CAFE credits. Meanwhile, […]

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Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Changes are coming to FCA’s HEMI engine family, ranging from increased fuel economy, to higher horsepower.

Though details are scant, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 could receive direct injection to increase its fuel economy, Allpar writes. In turn, the upgrade would be enough to reduce or remove the need for FCA to buy CAFE credits.

Meanwhile, the Hellcat’s development splits two ways. One modification — for the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk — would be tuned for greater refinement to better match the character of both SUV and driver, likely leading towards less horsepower under the bonnet.

The second modification is in response to Ford and Shelby bringing to market an engine said to be more powerful than the Hellcat. Thus, for 2017, FCA are looking to push the Hellcat beyond 707 horsepower against the Blue Oval’s twin-turbo 5.0-liter with direct injection and a potential 740-plus horses pushing the 2017 Shelby GT500 down the highway.

Beyond what is known, no models have been discovered as recipients for the upgrades, while said upgrades may not be ready in time for the 2016 model year’s start.

(Photo credit: Dodge)

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Dodge Grand Caravan Continuing Into 2017 Model Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097873 Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year. Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set […]

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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Blacktop Package

Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year.

Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set to hit the line February 29, 2016. The 2017 model — bearing the same code as the 2015 edition — will join the T&C August 23 of the same year.

The continuation of the Grand Caravan — originally slated to end in 2016 — may be a hedge against losing market share over the T&C’s new look, and would also meet demand in Canada and from fleet owners.

A representative reiterated the Grand Caravan would eventually be discontinued, adding no further details on the continuation could be given at this time.

(Photo credit: Dodge)

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Tesla Model 3 Full Production Beginning 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-3-full-production-beginning-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-3-full-production-beginning-2018/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097769 The Tesla Model 3 duo will seem like vaporware for a while longer, as full production of the low-cost EVs won’t start until 2018. During a presentation by Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel at last week’s U.S. Energy Information Conference, Business Insider says a slide — page 23, if you’re wondering — showing how the […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

The Tesla Model 3 duo will seem like vaporware for a while longer, as full production of the low-cost EVs won’t start until 2018.

During a presentation by Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel at last week’s U.S. Energy Information Conference, Business Insider says a slide — page 23, if you’re wondering — showing how the price gap between ICE and electric vehicles will close as battery costs improve also noted the Model 3 was planned for 2018.

The date given looked like Tesla was pushing back the $35,000 pair’s concept and deliveries in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but the automaker’s representatives later explained to Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson — who tweeted the information about the slide — the 2018 date was for full production; initial production is still a go for 2017.

The presentation comes on the heels of the news the Model 3 won’t be one model, but two: a sedan and a crossover, both starting at $35,000, both able to cover 200 miles on one charge.

(Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook)

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Nakamura: ‘Innovative And Exciting’ Second-Gen Nissan Juke In Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-innovative-and-exciting-second-gen-nissan-juke-in-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-innovative-and-exciting-second-gen-nissan-juke-in-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 21:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097537 Though the Nissan IDx is still dead, Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura believes a more “innovative and exciting” Juke may make up for the loss. At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nakamura told evo the IDx, though “very special,” didn’t fit with the automaker’s consistent, “very strong brand expression,” and thus, would not […]

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Nissan IDx Siblings In SoCal Circa February 2014

Though the Nissan IDx is still dead, Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura believes a more “innovative and exciting” Juke may make up for the loss.

At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nakamura told evo the IDx, though “very special,” didn’t fit with the automaker’s consistent, “very strong brand expression,” and thus, would not be built “at the moment”:

If we have say, 120 degrees of diversity today, maybe I’ll direct it down to 90 degrees. Our cars need to be more clearly identifiable for consumers.

One car Nakamura aims to be “clearly identifiable” is none other than the second-gen Juke, which is said to “inherit the spirit” of the current model, while avoiding a rehashing of said model’s look.

Another redesign in the works involves the GT-R. Nakamura says it won’t likely be inspired by the front-driven GT-R LM Nismo Le Mans prototype, it would carry-over some elements, including the grill, glasshouse and quad tail lights of the current GT-R.

(Photo credit: Nissan)

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Toyota Prius SUV Reportedly Under Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097417 The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV. The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes. The […]

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Toyota-C-HR-Concept-3

The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV.

The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes.

The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models. Thus, one idea for the SUV would be Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel for a hybrid-diesel variant, as well as one without electric motors for European markets. Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market, set to meet the ZEV standards set for 2018 by California’s government.

(Photo credit: Mike Schlee/AutoGuide)

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Volkswagen Expects ‘Limited Growth’ In US Through 2017, Supplier Arrives In Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-expects-limited-growth-in-us-through-2017-supplier-arrives-in-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-expects-limited-growth-in-us-through-2017-supplier-arrives-in-tennessee/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097377 Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee. Though parent company Volkswagen AG had once hoped for 800,000 units sold by 2018 in the United States, Horn downplayed the target’s importance, Reuters reports: [The 2018 sales target] […]

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Volkswagen Crossblue Concept Parked In Front Of VW Chattanooga Tennessee Plant

Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee.

Though parent company Volkswagen AG had once hoped for 800,000 units sold by 2018 in the United States, Horn downplayed the target’s importance, Reuters reports:

[The 2018 sales target] is still a relevant objective… but, on the other hand, if you just focus on one year and one number you would do crazy things, so the most important thing is to have a long-term strategy.

For now, Horn states VW will need to defend its position from now through 2017, when the redesigned Tiguan and the Chattanooga, Tenn.-built midsize SUV both hit the showroom floor. Other products, including a $20,000 compact SUV and a large pickup due in 2020 at the earliest, would soon follow.

As for the 2018 target, sales fell from 440,000 in 2012, to 367,000 last year, and have fallen 4 percent since; VW’s U.S. sales peak came in 1970 with 570,000 units. LMC Automotive says the new models in 2017 will help, but would only push sales to a projected 495,000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, Spanish automotive supplier Gestamp is setting up shop near the Chattanooga facility, where it and Volkswagen will unveil a new pressing plant Tuesday. The plant would create 500 jobs, and has been described by the automaker as a “major economic development.”

(Photo credit: Volkswagen)

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2016 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Planned For US Market Arrival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-chevrolet-cruze-hatchback-planned-for-us-market-arrival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-chevrolet-cruze-hatchback-planned-for-us-market-arrival/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097233 A hatchback version of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze was shown to dealers at the brand’s national meeting in Vegas last week, with plans to sell it in North America. The Cruze hatch — like the current model pictured above — is already available in a handful of countries, Automotive News reports, the lack of which […]

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Chevrolet-Cruze-5-door-272226-medium

A hatchback version of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze was shown to dealers at the brand’s national meeting in Vegas last week, with plans to sell it in North America.

The Cruze hatch — like the current model pictured above — is already available in a handful of countries, Automotive News reports, the lack of which in the U.S. is considered “a pre-bankruptcy planning mistake” per General Motors product boss Mark Reuss.

Though no date of arrival has been announced thus far, speculation points to sales beginning after the Q1 2016 introduction of the 2016 Cruze sedan, set to be revealed later this week. The hatch would do battle against the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra GT, and Volkswagen Golf.

Speaking of the sedan variant, below is the amazingly twee press release, written entirely in Emoji; GM says the secret decoder ring will come Tuesday afternoon for those unskilled in the texting language.

The Tweest Press Release Ever - 2016 Chevrolet Cruze

(Photo credit: Chevrolet)

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Mercedes Considering Introducing Convertible SUVs To Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mercedes-considering-introducing-convertible-suvs-to-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mercedes-considering-introducing-convertible-suvs-to-lineup/#comments Sun, 21 Jun 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096577 Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup. Mercedes sports cars and SUVs chief Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once the market for them is found, CarAdvice.com.au writes. He […]

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mercedes-g500-convertible

Up until 2013, one could purchase a Mercedes G-Wagen with a droptop. Now, the automaker is thinking of dropping the tops throughout its SUV lineup.

Mercedes sports cars and SUVs chief Wolf-Dieter Kurz says it may be possible to bring a convertible SUV to market once the market for them is found, CarAdvice.com.au writes. He says the reason Mercedes stopped producing the G-Wagen Cabriolet after 34 years was due to a combination of volume and production reasons, adding such a vehicle exists in “a very slim niche in terms of the SUV portfolio.”

As for who might go for it, Kurz believes China would be a good start for a GLA or GLC convertible, though sales may be an uphill battle:

… China is not very good these days, or in total, in terms of convertibles, in terms of classical sedan-based coupes, in terms of roadsters. And it’s somewhat also the driving force in the meanwhile for the overall portfolio: can it be successful in China?

He adds there are “lots of discussions” and market research regarding convertible SUVs, but no decisions whether to press forward or not have been made thus far.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz)

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2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Given The Green Flag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095993 Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway. The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway.

The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, good for 707 horsepower. A ZF eight-speed auto will funnel the raw power to all four corners, with zero to 60 coming in 3 seconds, topping out at 200 mph.

For those whose hearts aren’t hardy enough for the most brutal and metal of all Grand Cherokees, the same sources state the Grand Cherokee SRT would gain a new name and a revised 6.4-liter HEMI V8 set to generated 490 horses.

FCA remains mum on the subject for now, of course.

(Photo credit: Jeep)

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Nakamura: Next-Gen Nissan Z May Take Inspiration From 240Z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-next-gen-nissan-z-may-take-inspiration-from-240z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-next-gen-nissan-z-may-take-inspiration-from-240z/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094873 Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z. The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse […]

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Datsun 240Z

Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z.

The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse a trend where the iconic vehicle continues to grow in performance — and numerical naming schemes — at the expense of what the 240 represented. As Nakamura puts it:

We are questioning ourselves in repeating the 350, 370. We don’t want to create 390Z, right?

As for what the execution of the plan would entail, Nakamura says the new Z wouldn’t “necessarily go into the same category” as either the Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, pointing to a photo of the GTR-LM Le Mans prototype as a sign of wanting to do something “unique” with the car. He adds the Z could fill the role recently vacated by the cancellation of the IDx four-passenger sports car, parts of which are expected to live on as part of a FWD offering.

[Photo credit: Alexander Nie/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094633 Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves. General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, […]

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VoltBatteriesDataCenter01

Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves.

General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, “delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale” in repurposing.

To demonstrate this, five packs from the first-gen Volt are working in concert with a 74-kilowatt solar array and two wind turbines — each good for 2 kW — to generate power at GM’s Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Mich. The packs can also provide emergency power for four hours in the event of a power outage, while the full setup can deliver up to 100 MWh of energy — the equivalent of the amount used by 12 average households — annually to the data center, with excess sent to the proving ground’s grid.

Though supply of Volt packs remains low for now, GM says it’s working with partners to “validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.” Valencia adds the repurposing of packs for energy storage would be perfect for commercial use, providing “full functionality” from the packs while also reducing upfront costs in implementing the system.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

VoltBatteriesDataCenter03 VoltBatteriesDataCenter01 VoltBatteriesDataCenter02 VoltBatteriesAndRenewableResource

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BMW Z2 MX-5 Fighter Dubbed ‘Inessential,’ Cancelled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-z2-mx-5-fighter-dubbed-inessential-cancelled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-z2-mx-5-fighter-dubbed-inessential-cancelled/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093377 Despite models like the i8 and Z4, BMW is more interested in SUVs and crossovers than sports cars these days. Case in point: The Z2 has been cancelled. The Z2 would have gone toe-to-toe with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat’s Spyder beginning in 2016, Car reports, but was deemed “inessential” in the face of […]

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2013 BMW Z3

Despite models like the i8 and Z4, BMW is more interested in SUVs and crossovers than sports cars these days. Case in point: The Z2 has been cancelled.

The Z2 would have gone toe-to-toe with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat’s Spyder beginning in 2016, Car reports, but was deemed “inessential” in the face of both booming SUV sales and a sluggish sports car market by chairman Harald Krüger and R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich, a move in line with sales boss Ian Robertson’s belief the sports car market may never recover.

The roadster would have slotted under the Z4, come with a £20,000 ($31,000 USD) starting price tag, and been limited to three- and four-cylinder engine options delivering their power to the front wheels.

The aforementioned FWD setup would have been the result of the Z2 sharing a platform with the MINI, BMW 1 Series, and the front-driven models in the BMW 2 Series, a setup also shared by the still-alive MINI Superleggera roadster.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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Straubel: Tesla Model 3 Hitting Showrooms In Sedan, Crossover Variants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/straubel-tesla-model-3-hitting-showrooms-in-sedan-crossover-variants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/straubel-tesla-model-3-hitting-showrooms-in-sedan-crossover-variants/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093257 Tesla dropped a bombshell at a conference in Washington Monday, when Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Model 3 would be two separate models. Per Straubel, not only would there be a sedan to take home, but a crossover Model 3, as well, Wall Street Journal reports, complimenting the Model S and upcoming X […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

Tesla dropped a bombshell at a conference in Washington Monday, when Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Model 3 would be two separate models.

Per Straubel, not only would there be a sedan to take home, but a crossover Model 3, as well, Wall Street Journal reports, complimenting the Model S and upcoming X at the entry-level starting price of $35,000. Both models are due in 2017, and will give owners 200 miles to enjoy the silence with every charge. No other details were given at this time.

Meanwhile, Straubel says Tesla is working on new models set to come after the Model 3 — no details were given here, either — and reiterated CEO Elon Musk’s statement of selling 500,000 units annually by 2020, adding there would be 1 million Teslas on the road around the world by then, as well.

The announcement comes on the heels of the automaker receiving a secured revolving credit line of up to $750 million in an agreement with Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The line of credit is meant to give Tesla some breathing space as it prepares to launch the long-awaited Model X, expected to hit showrooms this fall barring (yet) another delay.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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2016 Nissan Altima, Sentra Receiving Extensive Mid-Cycle Refreshes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-altima-sentra-receiving-extensive-mid-cycle-refreshes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-altima-sentra-receiving-extensive-mid-cycle-refreshes/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 20:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092921 The 2016 Nissan Maxima won’t be the only one to receive an extensive update to its style, as the automaker plans to do the same for the Altima and Sentra. Nissan’s U.S. sales boss Fred Diaz says both sedans will be “incredibly refreshed” when they enter showrooms for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports, […]

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2015 Nissan Altima

The 2016 Nissan Maxima won’t be the only one to receive an extensive update to its style, as the automaker plans to do the same for the Altima and Sentra.

Nissan’s U.S. sales boss Fred Diaz says both sedans will be “incredibly refreshed” when they enter showrooms for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports, including a full list of styling updates and technology enhancements.

The overhauls for the Altima and Sentra come despite major sales successes for the duo, with 183,268 Sentras leaving the lot in 2014 — the highest volume for the nameplate in 25 years — and the Altima selling more copies than the Honda Accord over the first five months of 2015 (142,613 versus 128,269).

Yet, mid-cycle revamps are becoming major affairs as automakers battle for more and more market share. Honda alone changed up the current Civic twice already, while Toyota went as far as to add more length and width to the 2015 Camry in addition to other upgrades.

As for what both of Nissan’s revamps may bring, Autoblog says the Sentra may pull from the Euro-market Pulsar’s playbook, while the Sentra could take cues from both the Murano and newly introduced 2016 Maxima.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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Citroen’s Famed Hydraulic Suspension Rides Comfortably Into The Sunset http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/citroens-famed-hydraulic-suspension-rides-comfortably-into-the-sunset/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/citroens-famed-hydraulic-suspension-rides-comfortably-into-the-sunset/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092753 The suspension setup known for helping to save the life of late French president Charles de Gaulle will soon join him in the pages of time. Citroen’s famous hydraulic suspension is being discontinued by PSA Peugeot Citroen, Reuters reports, and will self-level its last car when the current C5 sedan concludes its production run. The […]

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Charles de Gaulle's Citroen DS

The suspension setup known for helping to save the life of late French president Charles de Gaulle will soon join him in the pages of time.

Citroen’s famous hydraulic suspension is being discontinued by PSA Peugeot Citroen, Reuters reports, and will self-level its last car when the current C5 sedan concludes its production run.

The discontinuation of the decades-old system, which combined a hydraulic pump with several nitrogen-filled pneumatic spheres to deliver a ride unmatched for decades, is part of CEO Carlos Tavares’ ongoing cost-cutting actions throughout the company. A source close to the Tavares says he believes other modern suspension systems can offer a comfortable ride just as well as the one under classics like the DS and SM.

Speaking of the DS, the hydraulic suspension under the DS of de Gaulle helped the car’s driver maintain control during an assassination attempt in 1962, where 12 gunmen killed two of the president’s motorcycle guards, as well as shot out two of the DS’ tires. In spite the assassins’ efforts, de Gaulle and his wife survived.

Similar systems were implemented by Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and Audi, but few others took the legendary setup beyond Citroen’s assembly lines.

[Photo credit: Davide Oliva/Flickr/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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General Motors Returning To Medium-Duty Truck Market Via Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-returning-to-medium-duty-truck-market-via-isuzu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-returning-to-medium-duty-truck-market-via-isuzu/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092625 General Motors exited the medium-duty commercial truck market when it left bankruptcy in 2009. Now, the automaker plans to return with the help of Isuzu. Unlike the Kodiak of past, GM plans to slap the Chevrolet bow tie on the nose of Isuzu’s medium-duty range, Reuters reports. Few details on the plan are known as […]

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Chevrolet Kodiak

General Motors exited the medium-duty commercial truck market when it left bankruptcy in 2009. Now, the automaker plans to return with the help of Isuzu.

Unlike the Kodiak of past, GM plans to slap the Chevrolet bow tie on the nose of Isuzu’s medium-duty range, Reuters reports. Few details on the plan are known as of this writing, but what is known is the automaker will import 80 percent of Isuzu’s trucks from Japan, assembling the rest in the United States via an Isuzu partner facility. The Japanese-made trucks will come with diesel power, while the American-made variants will be fitted with gasoline engines.

The import deal is the latest development in the renewed partnership between GM and Isuzu, following a September 2014 announcement the duo would jointly develop a mid-size pickup for markets outside of North America. Their previous 35-year-long capital alliance came to an end in 2006 amid financial troubles for the Detroit automaker.

The deal is also a new development for GM itself, which discontinued the Kodiak and GMC Topkick after negotiations to sell the medium-duty division to Isuzu and Navistar collapsed in 2009. As early as 2010, the automaker has looked for ways to return to the vacated market, either in Class 5/6 or 4/5.

[Photo credit: Frank Deandro/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Volvo Markets Simplified Identity Against Teutonic Complexities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volvo-markets-simplified-identity-against-teutonic-complexities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volvo-markets-simplified-identity-against-teutonic-complexities/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091833 Whereas the Teutonic Trinity of Audi, BMW and Mercedes go for complexity in their offerings, Volvo aims to attract luxury consumers through simplicity. At the 2015 Automotive News Europe Congress in Birmingham, England, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson pointed out the number of buttons the XC90 had compared to two new models from two of the […]

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163787_Volvo_XC90_at_the_Swedish_Royal_Wedding

Whereas the Teutonic Trinity of Audi, BMW and Mercedes go for complexity in their offerings, Volvo aims to attract luxury consumers through simplicity.

At the 2015 Automotive News Europe Congress in Birmingham, England, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson pointed out the number of buttons the XC90 had compared to two new models from two of the trinity as far as handling the main controls go, Automotive News Europe notes. While the Germans opted for 55 and 37 buttons respectively, Samuelsson stated Volvo only needed eight to get the point across.

Samuelsson’s point behind the button count was to declare his company would not match feature for feature against the Teutonic Trinity, proclaiming “no one wants to buy a copy. They buy the original.” The proclamation was followed by a presentation of an app which would grant one-time access to a given Volvo model to those delivering groceries, dry cleaning, and other items, followed by a text alerting the owner the delivery occurred.

Both examples are meant to demonstrate Volvo’s reinvention following its purchase from Ford by Geely in 2010. Then, the automaker had little product, and relied upon Ford’s platforms and engine offerings to see everything through.

Samuelsson said his company would pursue consumers more concerned about their families and the environment as part of its new strategy, than those looking to destroy ‘Ring times. Said pursuit is expected to be aggressive, as Volvo aims to increase global sales from a targeted 500,000 in 2015, to 800,000 by 2020 via a product offensive which will see all platforms and engines as being 100 percent Volvo starting this summer.

[Photo credit: Volvo]

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Lincoln MKS Axed, Continental To Be Assembled Elsewhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lincoln-mks-axed-continental-to-be-assembled-elsewhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lincoln-mks-axed-continental-to-be-assembled-elsewhere/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 18:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091761 The 2016 Lincoln MKS will be the last of its kind, as the brand will cease production when the calendar rolls over. Parent company Ford gave a statement on the matter, USA Today reports, which reads as follows: Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford […]

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2015-lincoln-mks

The 2016 Lincoln MKS will be the last of its kind, as the brand will cease production when the calendar rolls over.

Parent company Ford gave a statement on the matter, USA Today reports, which reads as follows:

Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016. We will continue to match production to demand.

Meanwhile, the MKS’ replacement, the Continental, will not take its place on the assembly line in Chicago. Automotive News says the Explorer will fill the void left behind thanks to overwhelming demand for the crossover.

Where the Ford Fusion-based Conti will be assembled isn’t yet confirmed, though insiders say it could be built alongside the Fusion and Mustang in Flat Rock, Mich.

Until the end comes for the MKS, however, consumers could find huge deals on the luxury sedan, whose price of admission already starts at under $40,000. Whether they decide to pull the trigger is another story: 3,304 units left the showroom over the first five months of 2015, down 19.1 percent over the same period in 2014. In contrast, Explorer sales are up 15 percent through May.

[Photo credit: Lincoln]

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Patent Filing Reveals Smaller Sibling To Honda NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 20:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090761 While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing. Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The […]

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Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-01

While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing.

Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The illustrations are said to have been created in Honda’s U.S. design studio.

Based on is there, the model may likely have either a mid- or rear-engine layout; whether it will follow in the NSX’s hybrid tire tracks — a setup featuring a twin-turbo V6 and three electric motors good for 550 total horsepower — with its own version remains to be seen.

For now, though, this is close as anyone is going to get to a U.S.-market Beat or S2000 revival. It also wouldn’t be the first time Honda has contemplated such a vehicle, as the automaker has been working on similar designs since at least 2012.

Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-01 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-02 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-03 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-04 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-05 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-06 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-07

[Image credit: Honda]

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Winkler: Smart Crossover Not Planned In The Near-Term http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/winkler-smart-crossover-not-planned-in-the-near-term/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/winkler-smart-crossover-not-planned-in-the-near-term/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 17:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090657 Those hoping for a Smart crossover/SUV to hit showrooms will be waiting for a while, as there are no near-term plans to expand beyond the city car market. During the 2015 Automotive News Europe Congress, Smart CEO Annette Winkler said a crossover or SUV would not be joining the ForTwo and ForFour city cars anytime […]

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2016 smart fortwo (47)

Those hoping for a Smart crossover/SUV to hit showrooms will be waiting for a while, as there are no near-term plans to expand beyond the city car market.

During the 2015 Automotive News Europe Congress, Smart CEO Annette Winkler said a crossover or SUV would not be joining the ForTwo and ForFour city cars anytime soon, Automotive News Europe reports, before adding such a vehicle could come in time.

Fans of the Smart Roadster will be disappointed, however, as Winkler dashed any hopes of a revival due to the roadster segment being too small to be profitable for a Smart-branded entry.

Regarding the ForFour, underpinned by the architecture found in the Renault Twingo, Winkler said the partnership between Smart and Renault created “enormous economies of scale” for the parties involved. She proclaimed the ForFour was the more premium of the two because of higher-quality interior components in the former.

Parent company Daimler AG says Smart is due for “significant” growth this year, thanks to help of new features such as the optional Twinamic six-speed dual-clutch transmission, replacing the oft-maligned automated manual which sacrificed smooth shifts for greater fuel economy.

Said Twinamic will likely appear in the U.S.- and China-bound ForTwo later this year, as well. Winkler explained her company wanted to wait to deliver the two-seater city car to those markets until the new transmission was available “since premium customers want the level of comfort offered by Twinamic.” The ForTwo will head east to China in August, then cross the Atlantic for U.S. deliveries starting this fall; the ForFour will not make the westbound trip.

[Photo credit: Smart]

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General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090601 Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday. While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday.

While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life of its EV and PHEV packs once they can no longer fulfill their service in automotive applications, Reuters reports.

As early as 2012, GM had the emerging storage market in mind when it paired with Swiss engineering group Advanced Auto Batteries to develop a stationary pack composed of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries. The resulting modular unit was good for two hours of power as needed by three to five average U.S. homes.

According to battery lifecycle management chief Pablo Valencia, the automaker’s development of a given pack includes secondary uses:

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.

The market back when Valencia made those comments delivered $200 million in total profit by the end of 2012. As more competitors jump into the game, however, research firm IHS CERA says end-of-year profits could climb as high as $19 billion by 2017.

GM’s announcement will be made during the second day of AAB’s AABC conference at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Tesla Model X Coming In 3-4 Months… Allegedly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-x-coming-in-3-4-months-allegedly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-x-coming-in-3-4-months-allegedly/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 20:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089225 X may finally give it to consumers: The Tesla Model X is set to hit showrooms within three to four months, per CEO Elon Musk. The deliveries are keeping in line with the timeline Tesla set up for the $70,000 electric crossover, Bloomberg says, coming almost a year after the original 2014 deadline passed. Musk […]

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Tesla Model X Teaser

X may finally give it to consumers: The Tesla Model X is set to hit showrooms within three to four months, per CEO Elon Musk.

The deliveries are keeping in line with the timeline Tesla set up for the $70,000 electric crossover, Bloomberg says, coming almost a year after the original 2014 deadline passed. Musk told attendees at the company’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday the Model X would be “a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan,” adding he was driving the most recent prototype assembled.

Over half of the X’s potential owners — some of whom have been waiting three years to bring one home — are predominantly women based on current orders, contrasting with the mostly male consumer base for both the S and the discontinued Roadster, and keeping on-trend with the overall popularity of crossovers among female consumers.

The Model X will have the all-electric game to itself for a few years before other competitors arrive to play. Both Audi and BMW have announced plans to build electric crossovers of its own, with the former arriving first in 2018 after a debuting a concept version during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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Renault Testing Canadian Waters With Limited Kangoo EV Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089049 Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV. The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports. Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will […]

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Renault Kangoo Z.E. Recharges At A Construction Site

Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV.

The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports.

Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will bring over up to 1,000 Kangoo Z.E. EVs for a two-year period per the terms of the compliance waiver. This move would give Renault an opportunity to see if it would be worth bringing its EV products in line with the Canadian and U.S. standards.

According to EV sales manager Vincent Square, it would four to five years for volume to be sufficient enough to merit building products specifically for the Canadian market, and hopes the waiver will be enough to put the automaker on the path back to a market vacated by the French automakers in 1991.

Should Renault’s two-pronged attack not pan out as hoped, however, the automaker plans to have an after-sales network for the EVs and their owners.

[Photo credit: Renault]

[H/T: Jonathan Roy/Twitter]

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