Mercedes-Benz and BMW have more in common than just a bitter rivalry and the Fatherland — they both feel the need to get more crossover vehicles into North America.
Despite being known largely for their rich heritage of premium sedans and coupes, Bavaria’s Motoren Werke and Daimler’s Three-Pointed Star want to see utility vehicles replacing more of the cars they ship to the United States.
Last year, crossovers and SUVs comprised 42 percent of BMW’s sales in North America — an almost ten percent increase from 2015. Mercedes-Benz also saw an increase in truck sales. Sport utility vehicles now account for 47 percent of its passenger vehicle volume. However, both companies are anticipating a balanced ratio right around the corner. (Read More…)
After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.
In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.
The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing. (Read More…)
There comes a dreaded moment in many automobile enthusiasts’ lives when the reality of having a family and the need for practicality outweighs all other considerations.
Enter that dreaded “V” word.
Getting a van — especially a minivan — is for many the automotive equivalent of getting neutered. You’ve given up, capitulated. Your desires to apex corners and outrace sports cars are now parked firmly in the third-row tier of importance, and haulin’ ass has been replaced by just hauling asses.
But getting a people-hauler doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are quite a few vans people claim are “good to drive.” While I’ll take their word on such things for the time being and soldier on with my wagon addiction, let’s take a look at some more inspired options for heavy-duty hauling that made the prospect of a van actually seem quite cool.
BMW continues to spend industry-leading levels of money to lure luxury car buyers in the United States. Yet November was the twelfth consecutive month in which sales at the BMW Group declined, year-over-year, in the U.S..
Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales at BMW are down 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015; Mini volume is off 11 percent.
According to TrueCar, however, no automaker is spending more in incentives, on a per vehicle basis, than BMW of North America. November 2016 incentives at the BMW Group jumped 25 percent compared with November 2015 yet sales fell 16 percent.
How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want? (Read More…)
Internet Car Experts have spent the last decade explaining to the rest of us how every example of the BMW E30 3 Series, no matter how decrepit, is worth at least a couple of grand. This claim is even more ridiculous than most of the bad information with which ICEs clog comments sections and forum threads, and I still see plenty of solid-looking E30s at U-Wrench-It-type wrecking yards.
However, the quantity of discarded E30s has declined a bit in the last few years (from a half-dozen per big California yard to two or three), and the E36 has become the reigning King of the Junkyard 3 Series.
Here’s one of six E36s that I spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)
Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.
BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.” (Read More…)
Due to a wildly cooperative joint venture between German carmakers and the Ford Motor Company, owning an electric vehicle in Europe will soon become far more practical.
Daimler AG, BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen Group intend to establish a continent-wide network of ultra-fast 350 kW capacity charging sites that will begin juicing up vehicles as early as next year. (Read More…)
As a parent of two young children, I watch a lot of movies at home. Most of the blockbuster movies I’ve watched this year are remakes. This month alone, I watched Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All three are part of franchises that died a decade (or more) ago and have been reborn successfully in 2016.
In the same way, inline-six engines have returned to Mercedes-Benz after nearly a 20 year hiatus in North America.
Why are straight six engines making a comeback?
While in recent months TTAC has reported on the declining popularity of the four door, there are still a plethora of fast sedans in the marketplace.
In fact, the performance extracted from them was unfathomable even a generation ago. How did we end up at a 500-horsepower Audi, a 640-horsepower Cadillac and 707-horse Dodge? What were once numbers reserved for otherworldly exotics now are found in a pedestrian nameplate.
But this is no new trend, for while the current power war we’re experiencing has generated outlandish performance numbers for a mere average Joe, the recipe of sticking the most punch possible into a sedan for the masses goes back a long way.
BMW has announced to the world that it wants to increase electric vehicle sales to 100,000 units next year — choosing a figure that is hypothetically possible while remaining statistically unlikely.
Taking all bets.
In the many wars spanning the globe, a variety of vehicles have been pressed into military service by insurgents and militias alike, most notably the venerable Toyota Hilux. More recently Chinese compact pickups have appeared on battlegrounds, and even one Texas plumber’s Ford F-250 turned up in the hands of some bad guys.
Now comes word that, on October 21, a heroic Kurdish Peshmerga fighter used his bulletproof E32 BMW 7 Series as a military ambulance to save up to 70 people.
Ako Abdulrehman made repeated trips under ISIS sniper fire to save fighters and civilians wounded during the militants’ attack on the Kurdish city of Kirkuk. (Read More…)
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notified the public that BMW will be issuing recalls on 136,188 vehicles in the United States and another 18,284 in Canada due to possibility improperly crimped wires. The wires in question, for the fuel pump and a loose connection, could create enough heat to melt the connector and result in the vehicle leaking gas.
BMW is resurrecting a lengthy and luxurious V12-powered monster to take revenge on Mercedes-Benz for having the audacity to make an opulent flagship like the S-Class Coupe.
Germany’s Automobilwoche — Automobile Week if you don’t speak Deutsche — is verifying rumors that BMW will be returning with a new 8 Series. (Read More…)
Manufacturers want you to believe that their vehicles are durable, but at the same time they want to make money. So, they make continuous improvements and updates in order to keep buyers coming back. Setting a hard limit for how long a vehicle should last would be detrimental to any brand, but soft limits — like the five-digit odometers of the 60s and 70s — made owners aware that they should dump their car before the 100,000 mile mark rolls around.
We’re well into six digit territory now, as the commonly accepted lifetime for vehicles has doubled to 200,000 miles. However, according to its service software BMW thinks its cars shouldn’t be on the road that long. (Read More…)