The Truth About Cars » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 30 May 2015 18:11:02 +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 » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list.

SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom is in part due to increasing incidences of road rage, prompting “sane” motorists to buy SUVs “for self defense” against “the angry ones” on the road.

Other contributors to the boom include rough roads (of the literal sort) outside the nation’s cities, lower fuel prices, and the introduction of low-cost SUVs and crossovers with prices beginning at ¥130,000 ($21,000 USD); 49 such models were or will be introduced by domestic automakers during 2014 and 2015.

[Source: Navigator84/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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While You Were Sleeping: Mad Max, Maria de Villota’s Mad Family and Mad Funny Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mad-max-maria-de-villotas-mad-family-and-mad-funny-comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mad-max-maria-de-villotas-mad-family-and-mad-funny-comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 11:03:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076570 Mad Max has been tearing up the box office since mid-May. To capitalize on George Miller’s latest explogasm that’s putting Michael Bay in his place, Warner Brothers has made a video game, too. Rolls-Royce Takes Aim At Younger Customers (GTspirit) Rolls-Royce has a new strategy: get ’em while they’re young. New models like the Wraith […]

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Mad Max Video Game Trailer Screenshot

Mad Max has been tearing up the box office since mid-May. To capitalize on George Miller’s latest explogasm that’s putting Michael Bay in his place, Warner Brothers has made a video game, too.

2014 Rolls-Royce WraithRolls-Royce Takes Aim At Younger Customers (GTspirit)
Rolls-Royce has a new strategy: get ’em while they’re young. New models like the Wraith and Ghost are doing just that by attracting customers on average 10 years younger than those buying Phantoms.

Maria de VillotaMaria de Villota’s family is considering legal action (GMM/Auto123)
While Marussia (now Manor) was cleared of wrongdoing in the freak accident involving one of its cars driven by de Villota, her family is considering bringing a case against the team in an attempt to “assign civil responsibility.”

Buick CascadaGM Extending Run of Buick’s Candid Ad Campaign (WardsAuto)
The “That’s a Buick?” campaign, seen as successful by some and not so by others, will be extended with a new focus on individual features versus schlepping its overall model range.

BYDChina’s BYD says plans fundraising to boost battery capacity, new models (Reuters)
BYD will fundraise through a private placement in order pay for future development. The company is trying to “expand its share of the electric and hybrid vehicle market.”

Comedians in Cars Getting CoffeeStephen Colbert and Jim Carrey are the latest Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (AV Club)
The new season will also include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Carrey, “and a heavily bearded Stephen Colbert.”

Mad Max Video Game Trailer Screenshot‘Mad Max’ the game has crazy cars, murder and a story (Engadget)
Following the long tradition of great video games based on movies, here’s the first trailer for the interactive playable version of Mad Max.

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Chinese-Built Volvo S60 Sedans to Arrive in U.S. in “About Two Months” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:18:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076298 Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months. Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020. […]

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2015 Volvo S60 Sedan

Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.

Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.

The S60s bound for the United States are built in the Chinese city of Chengdu before transported to Shanghai for export. Volvo also produces the XC60 in Chengdu. Another plant in Daqing builts the previous generation XC90 that Volvo markets as the XC90 Classic.

Volvo did not say how many cars it plans to export from China, Automotive News Europe reports.

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While You Were Sleeping: Cadillac ATS-V+, Holden Monza and Lamborghini Urus Receives Greenlight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-cadillac-ats-v-holden-monza-and-lamborghini-urus-receives-greenlight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-cadillac-ats-v-holden-monza-and-lamborghini-urus-receives-greenlight/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 12:01:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075738 This edition of While You Were Sleeping offers up a bit more than usual. Instead of just overnight, we are going to try to cover as many topics from over the long weekend as possible with additional commentary. Here we go! Cadillac ATS-V+ to Feature LS7 V-8 Power (Motor Trend) According to MT, Cadillac will stuff […]

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Cadillac ATS-V

This edition of While You Were Sleeping offers up a bit more than usual. Instead of just overnight, we are going to try to cover as many topics from over the long weekend as possible with additional commentary.

Here we go!

Cadillac ATS-VCadillac ATS-V+ to Feature LS7 V-8 Power (Motor Trend)
According to MT, Cadillac will stuff the 7.0L LS7 from the Camaro Z/28 between the front fenders of a forthcoming ATS-V+. If true, the new model would be lighter and more powerful than the 3.6L TT V6 ATS-V. Also, I can’t think of another single vehicle on sale that would have engines spanning from 2.0 to 7.0 liters in displacement. Crazy.

Opel-Monza-Concept-17Exclusive: GM locks in Monza name for Australia (GoAuto)
The Monza could make a comeback as Holden applies for a trademark on the name in Australia. The Opel Monza concept made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

stevens-creek-bmw-i-center-santa-clara-california-may-2015-opening_100511566_hFirst Standalone BMW Electric-Car Sales Facility Opens–In CA, Of Course (GreenCarReports)
California is the place to be if you are into electric cars. Now there’s a BMW dealership that’s converted its used vehicle showroom and service facility into an electric vehicle showcase, becoming the first full-service BMW i facility in the United States.

BYDBuffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD plans up to $1.9 billion placement (Reuters)
Chinese auto and battery maker BYD is looking to raise a lot of money. Stock trading had been halted as a stock offering is being put together and nobody from the company is talking on the record. Either the company needs cash to stay afloat or they’re looking to spend some coin on future product.

2014 Lamborghini Urus ConceptLamborghini Said to Agree to Produce New SUV in Italy
The new Lamborghini SUV has received the greenlight according to a report from Bloomberg. The decision was made after a tax break deal between Lamborghini and the Italian government was agreed. An official announcement is expected to be made tomorrow. Lamborghini could hire up to 500 additional workers to build the new model. The Urus will help Lamborghini attain its goal of doubling sales.

Chevrolet Cobalt SedanLaw expert: Feds may push GM guilty plea (The Detroit News)
In the past, the Justice Department has allowed corporations to pay massive fines in place of a guilty pleas for indiscretions and foul deeds. General Motors might not get that option due to delays in recalling faulty ignition switches.

More to come throughout the day as we get caught up.

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New Geely Mirrors Your iPhone Screen Sideways For Guaranteed Neck Injuries http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/new-geely-mirrors-your-iphone-screen-sideways-for-guaranteed-neck-injuries/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/new-geely-mirrors-your-iphone-screen-sideways-for-guaranteed-neck-injuries/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 17:32:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075138 Chinese Geely is offering up smartphone integration in the most Chinese way possible…by just copying the screen, no matter what the screen orientation. Personal injury lawyers: your Chinese golden egg has arrived thanks to tweaked necks as drivers try to swipe up and down on Tinder. According to CarNewsChina, this is the new Geely Englon Haijing SC7 […]

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Chinese Geely is offering up smartphone integration in the most Chinese way possible…by just copying the screen, no matter what the screen orientation. Personal injury lawyers: your Chinese golden egg has arrived thanks to tweaked necks as drivers try to swipe up and down on Tinder.

According to CarNewsChina, this is the new Geely Englon Haijing SC7 and it features either the worst Photoshop ever for press photos or the worst smartphone integration on the planet. Or both. Even the home button on the pictured iPhone is on the wrong end.

[Source: CarNewsChina]

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2016 Volvo XC90 First Drive (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-volvo-xc90-first-drive-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-volvo-xc90-first-drive-video/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 15:30:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069282 Volvo seems to be on the long road to recovery. Although sales have continued to slip in the USA, the numbers were up worldwide last year. In an interesting twist, 2014 was also the first year more Volvos were sold in China than North America. That could be cause-and-effect since Volvo had been more focused on […]

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2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

Volvo seems to be on the long road to recovery. Although sales have continued to slip in the USA, the numbers were up worldwide last year. In an interesting twist, 2014 was also the first year more Volvos were sold in China than North America. That could be cause-and-effect since Volvo had been more focused on their European-only new compact sedan and wagon. 2016 finally showers some Swedish love on America with a complete redesign of the XC90, the SUV originally designed for us. Because China is now a bigger market than we are, this XC90 isn’t just for us, but for China and the growing number of big crossovers clogging up Europe as well.

Exterior
The Volvo DNA is undeniable, but an Audi influence is also readily apparent. While I admit I like Audi’s design language, I am a little saddened the very distinct Volvo styling cues from the original S80, S60 and XC90 continue to get softened over time.

Up front is a bolder, flatter grille (thanks to pedestrian impact regulations), distinctive optional LED headlamps and a shorter front overhang than ever before. The shorter overhang is possible because this is the first Volvo in ages designed to accept only 4-cylinder or smaller engines under the hood. Out back, the distinctive Swedish hips are nearly gone, replaced by a more sloping profile that is more aggressive but less extraordinary. The Audi influence is most apparent out back where U.S.-bound models get red turn signals instead of the amber blinkers found on the European model. While Audi supposedly makes the amber-to-red change because the amber lamps from the EU don’t cover enough surface area, Volvo’s switch is purely aesthetic.

Interior
Until the new Q7 lands and we can look inside, the new XC90 has the best interior in the segment with no exceptions. After stepping into a Range Rover Sport after the event, I can safely say the Volvo compares well with the next category up. Momentum trims make do with injection moulded door and dash components, while Inscription models slather everything within reach in acres of cowhide, more wood trim than a modern Jaguar and a simple style that is distinctly Scandinavian. (Which is surprising since the lead interior designer is American.)

The new SUV gets Volvo’s first complete seat redesign in ages. The Swedish thrones have long had a reputation for impressive ergonomics, but a refresh was overdue. The new design allows for 4-way lumbar, adjusting side bolsters, extending thigh cushions and ventilation in addition to heating. I was unable to sample the less capable base seat, but 8 hours in the top-end model confirms Volvo has improved the adjustability without sacrificing their legendary comfort and support.

Hop in the back and you’ll notice the XC90’s length may have grown over time, but interior height is actually down in some measures. This makes the third row very unusual. The seats are some of the most comfortable mother-in-law-row seats I’ve had the pleasure to sit in, but the headroom limits their usefulness to those under 5’8. The cargo area is surprisingly generous behind the third row with enough room to stuff roller bags in the long way, but I suspect most folks will keep the way-back seats folded. If that describes your typical third row usage, you may want to lobby Volvo for the seating accoutrements in the picture below.

Volvo XC90 Excellence - interior

As we’ve all heard, chauffeurs are cheap in China and being driven is preferred to driving. To satisfy this growing segment of Chinese society, Volvo will build the XC90 Excellence, which can be had as either a 3 or 4 seat model. No, Volvo didn’t bring one to sample to the event, but I mention it because the concept sounded way out in left field when I first saw the blog posts about it a few weeks ago. After having experienced the new interior, however, I have to say it makes sense. All but the steering wheel airbag cover is Range Rover competitive and I wouldn’t mind seeing a 5-seat variant with a little extra “plush” in the back. Just call it something other than the “XC90 Excellence.” Please.

Infotainment
Volvo placed a 9.3-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash, which acts more like a tablet computer than a traditional infotainment system. The display actually works a little more smoothly than Tesla’s ginormous 17-inch model, although it’s much less snazzy. The overall concept allows four different data “zones” to coexist on-screen at the same time, customizable by the user. To interact with them, you touch the option and it expands while shrinking the others. This allows you to see the nav system’s map and your next turn directions while also seeing your media information, fuel economy, vehicle status and other pertinent bits. Touch responses were lightning fast, just like the latest tablet computers. The system offers iDrive-like levels of adjustment and vehicle customization.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

Over on the driver’s side is an all-new and all-gigantic 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster. The gauge design is elegant and well-laid out using nearly 1/3 of the display for either your media functions or a navigation map, even when a destination is not set. I’d say the new Volvo display ranks on par with the new Mercedes S-Class and ahead of the Jaguars and Land Rovers with disco dashes in terms of design. Speaking of JLR products, I have one gripe: like the English disco dashes, Volvo has little ability to customize the LCD aside from colors and some minor gauge changes. Although GM has only four different layouts to chose from in Cadillac CUE, that’s three more than Volvo and the looks are all different.

Safety
For 2016, Volvo reprises most of its safety systems, updates several of them and adds some new ones for good measure. The usual suspects – like a plethora of airbags and anti-whiplash seats – are standard. Volvo’s City Safety autonomous braking system gets an under the covers overhaul. Previously, the system came in two different versions: the base version relied solely on a laser scanner and camera to detect traffic and the second version was bundled with the adaptive cruise control using a radar sensor to expand coverage to pedestrians and cyclists. This generation of City Safety doesn’t increase the speeds above 31 mph, but the radar sensor and expanded sensing is now standard, as is a software tweak to improve accident avoidance in intersections. The new radar sensor replaces the laser scanner and is located in the same housing behind the rear-view mirror. The new location is less susceptible to ice build-up or snow packing in cold weather and may reduce repair costs in minor accidents.

Safety seems to be a game of diminishing returns, so the new systems focus on higher hanging fruit. The run-off-road protection uses the City Safety camera to determine if you are leaving the road surface. If you do, new seatbelt tensioners will pull you into place and a deforming seat frame makes sure when you launch into the air and land, spinal forces are reduced by 1/3. There’s also a rear-end collision warning that lets you know a drunk is about to plow into your hind end. The system will tension the seat belts, flash the hazard lights to attract the attention of the other driver, and will use the brakes to keep the car under control during and after the collision.

Volvo 2.0L T6 Drive E Engine

Drivetrain
As advertised, Volvo has kicked their 5- and 6-cylinder engines to the curb with the new XC90. While there are a selection of engines available in the EU, the only one making it to the USA is the turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L direct-injection four-cylinder. In the SPA platform, there’s a little more room for the plumbing. So, power is up slightly from the XC60 Drive-E to 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, nearly the equal of the BMW N55 in most tunes. The only transmission is an 8-speed Aisin automatic. All T6 models get a standard Haldex AWD system that will send up to 50 percent of available power to the rear whenever it wants. And, depending on the situation, the system will send up to 80 percent of power to the rear axle if a front wheel slips. If you need more power, Volvo doesn’t give you a bigger engine; they add a hybrid system in addition to the turbo and the supercharger. Say what? You heard that right, the XC90 T8 is a plug-in turbocharged and supercharged 400 horsepower hybrid.

Volvo’s hybrid system is thematically similar to Acura’s RLX hybrid. Things start with the same 316 hp engine and 8-speed auto as the T6, but they jam a 46 hp, 103 lb-ft electric starter/motor/generator between the engine and torque converter. The engineers ditched the Haldex AWD so they could stuff a water-cooled 9.3 kWh lithium ion battery in the tunnel between the front seats. The mechanical AWD is replaced by a 87 hp, 177 lb-ft electric motor connected to the rear axle sending power through a fixed 10:1 reduction gear. With a maximum discharge rate of 87 hp from the battery, the power and torque curves combine to give the driver 400 ponies and 475 lb-ft of torque. (Official US numbers are not final.) If you live in the snow belt, you should know while the T6 can send 158 hp to the rear on a whim, 87 is the most you’ll ever get in the T8. If that sounds like the Lexus and Acura eAWD systems, you’re right, so expect similar snow and ice performance.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

Drive
I was honestly a little surprised Volvo designed an entirely new suspension system for the SPA platform in addition to everything else. Instead of MacPherson struts, Volvo fits double wishbones up front producing a positive impact on handling. Out back, the XC90 sports a funky single composite leaf-spring in the independent multi-link suspension. The rear suspension design (except the leaf spring part) is quite similar to what Jaguar is using in the new XE. Logical, since both were started while Volvo and Jaguar were owned by Ford. The new design makes it easier to integrate the optional four-corner air suspension fitted to all XC90s at the testing event. The new suspension design, the lightened front end and the widest tires Volvo has ever put on a production car (275 width) improve handling just as you’d expect.

This puts the XC90 closer to the X5 than the MDX or QX60 in terms of grip. Configured comparably, the X5 will out handle the XC90 thanks to a RWD dynamic and better weight balance. But, the XC90 is less expensive. So, configured to a similar price, the Volvo will likely win. Speaking of price, the XC90 and the MDX price out almost identically. Although the XC90 starts higher at $48,900, it comes with standard AWD and the Acura doesn’t. Similarly configured an MDX Advance and a XC90 Momentum (with appropriate options) end up just $100 apart, a decent discount vs the other Euro options.

The all-new XC90 features a completely new chassis, front and rear, including a double wishbone front suspension.

The all-new XC90 features a completely new chassis, front and rear, including a double wishbone front suspension.

The engineers are claiming a 6.1 second 0-60 time – the same time advertised by BMW for the X5 in both RWD and AWD forms. Unfortunately, I was unable to 0-60 test the Volvo. Going back in our logs, I discovered that the 2015 X5 xDrive35i is the only BMW in recent memory to take longer to get to 60 than BMW’s claimed. The X5 hit 60 after 6.5 seconds, meaning the Volvo may be a hair faster. Check back for full specs when we get our hands on one for a full review. Add the hybrid hardware and Volvo says 0-60 drops to 5.7 seconds – notably faster than the QX60 hybrid (7.1) but a far cry from the 4.4L turbo X5 (4.7).

Numbers aside, the small engine in the XC90 certainly has a different feel than the 3.0L engine in the BMW. Low end torque from idle lags then comes on strong. Passing torque is excellent at most speeds, and at high RPMs the engine feels a hair more out of breath than the larger displacement options.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

The XC90 isn’t a game changer for Volvo in America. It can’t be. A brand is more than one car. However, if the XC90 is a window into Volvo’s future, then I have high hopes. If the Swedes can make over their entire lineup fast enough, they may also salvage their American sales numbers. This kind of interior quality in a 3-series sized vehicle would give even the all-new and all-tasty C-Class a run for its money. Just two things stand in their way: a distinct lack of marketing to let Audi shoppers know there is a better crossover for sale and the worrying thought it may be another 12 years until this XC90 gets redesigned. If you’re shopping for a luxury 3-row and don’t give the XC90 a look, you’re missing out on one tasty meatball.

Volvo provided the vehicle at a lunch event.

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD

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While You Were Sleeping: Porsche GT Brand Will Wear All The Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-waiting-porsche-gt-brand-will-wear-all-the-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-waiting-porsche-gt-brand-will-wear-all-the-numbers/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 11:12:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070650 It seems Porsche will have more than the GT2, GT3, and GT4 monikers to play with for its range of sports cars and SUVs. Porsche trademarks GT5 badge (Autocar) In addition to defending the GT3 moniker against Aston Martin, Porsche looks to gobble up the GT5 name as well for a future model. Price cutting […]

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It seems Porsche will have more than the GT2, GT3, and GT4 monikers to play with for its range of sports cars and SUVs.

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2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Ecoboost Review (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-lincoln-mkc-2-3-ecoboost-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-lincoln-mkc-2-3-ecoboost-review-video/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065114 Lincoln has been working to get their luxury mojo back for a while, but up to this point it has tried to sell models a half-step larger to luxury shoppers. That meant a major value proposition, but engineers often skimped on luxury to keep prices low. The MKC is an entirely different animal however. This […]

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2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Exterior Front Quarter-001

Lincoln has been working to get their luxury mojo back for a while, but up to this point it has tried to sell models a half-step larger to luxury shoppers. That meant a major value proposition, but engineers often skimped on luxury to keep prices low. The MKC is an entirely different animal however. This Lincoln is essentially the same size as the Lexus NX and Mercedes GLK. Although the MKC is finally the same size as its competition, it marches to a different drummer, and after a week I finally realized something. It’s refreshing to have something different.

Exterior

Let’s talk competition first. The MKC is Lincoln’s answer to the X3, Q5, NX, XC60, and GLK. This seems to confuse some folks who assume the MKC and the Lexus NX were designed to compete against the X1 and Evoque. Looking at the specs, the MKC sits right between the GLK and Q5 in overall dimensions.

By now you’ve probably heard the MKC is the “Lincoln Escape”, but what does that really mean? The MKC shares safety systems and body structure designs with the Escape. However, it shares no sheetmetal with the Ford. Lincoln didn’t just re-skin the Escape, either. They widened the body and the track while they were at it, resulting in a lower, wider stance that’s more appropriate in the luxury segment than the perky upright character of the Escape. This is essentially the same formula that Lexus used to make the Lexus NX, which is a cousin to the RAV4. Like the NX and RAV4, parts of the Escape lurk inside the MKC, but you have to look fairly hard to find them.

The MKC receives Lincoln’s latest grille design, which is more restrained than the MKT’s odd-looking schnoz. Although pictures of the MKC seem polarizing, passers-by thought the MKC was attractive in person. If you think something about the rear looks a hair unfinished, you’re not alone. It’s the lack of a protruding bumper of any sort. Aside from the unfinished aesthetic, lacking any real bumper means mishaps with taller vehicles are likely to damage the rear hatch in addition to the bumper cover, increasing repair costs.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Interior

Interior

The MKC wears the best interior Lincoln has ever created. Period. More than that, the model with real leather is arguably a nicer place to spend your time than the current Q5, GLK, QX50, RDX, or XC60. Opt for the Black Label package and things are taken to the next level. Lincoln shoppers have more ability to customize their crossover than most of the competition with four different upholstery colors that coordinate with three different dashboard and door colors and two wood veneer options (you can’t mix and match). Opting for the Black Label edition gives you an additional four “themes” to choose from. If you want this kind of selection, the MKC and Evoque are really your only options, and the Range Rover doesn’t allow as much customization on base models.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Interior Wood Trim-003

Front seat comfort depends greatly on your body shape. I’m 6-feet tall and found the seat bottom cushions oddly short and lack thigh support. A 5-foot 4-inch tall person told me the seats fit like a glove. Despite being smaller than all but the Mercedes GLK, the rear seats proved comfortable and easily as accommodating as the XC60.

The cargo area is the biggest compromise in the MKC. It’s notably smaller than most of the competition with just 25 cubes of room behind the rear seats. You’ll find about 20 percent more room in the Volvo.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Interior Center Console

Infotainment

MyLincoln Touch is oddly named for sure, and it’s received more than its share of bad press. Does it crash now and then? Sure. But I actually think MLT is a reason to put the MKC on your list, not take it off. Volvo’s Sensus Connect uses a smaller screen and, despite the new connected features, still lacks decent control of iOS/USB media devices. Audi’s MMI and Mercedes COMAND are attractive systems, but lack the voice command library you get in the Lincoln. iDrive is still my preferred infotainment option, but Lincoln may give it come competition with SYNC3, due out next year.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Ecoboost Engine-001

Drivetrain

Under the hood, the order sheet starts out with a 2.0L direct-injection turbo engine good for 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Instead of a 6-cylinder engine filling out the top of the range like the Europeans, Lincoln opted to borrow the 2.3L turbo from the new Mustang instead. Five years ago, that would have been derided as insane, but Lexus has gone 4-cylinder only in the new NX and Volvo has committed to the demise of their five and six cylinder turbos as well. Sadly, the 2.3L engine loses some grunt in the translation, dropping from 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft in the Mustang to 285 ponies and 305 lb-ft of twist. 2.0L shoppers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive while the 2.3L model gets all-wheel drive as standard.

Both engines are mated to the 6F35 6-speed automatic transaxle. The 6F35 transaxle is likely the reason for the power reduction from the tune used in the Mustang. Although Ford does not specifically list torque capabilities like General Motors, the Ford 6F35 is substantially similar to the GM 6T50 transaxle, topping out at 260 lb-ft. (GM and Ford designed their 6-speed transaxles together.) Since the engine cradle design in the MKC is largely unchanged from the Escape, the higher torque capacity 6F50 and 6F55 transaxles likely didn’t fit. In order to accommodate the 2.3L engine, Ford replaced the 6F35’s standard torque converter with a higher torque unit but no transmission internals were changed. This allowed the entire package to have approximately the same dimensions as the 2.0L drivetrain. I suspect this also explains why the maximum tow rating drops 1,000lbs when equipped with the 2.3L engine.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Interior LCD Instrument Cluster.CR2

Drive

In an interesting twist, most MKCs on dealer lots will have a suspension with active dampers. This is a significant difference between the Lincoln and the competition which generally doesn’t have active dampers available at any price. This means we must have a quick suspension lesson since active dampers are a huge part of the MKC’s personality.

Springs and dampers work together to make a car ride and handle a certain way. Springs support the vehicle’s ride height and compress and rebound to conform to the road surface. Dampers control the movement of the spring in both directions. Spring and damping rates are carefully matched by vehicle engineers and in most cars they are fixed. In vehicles with dynamic dampers, the spring rate stays constant and the damping rate becomes a variable. In order for this to work, you have to start with a “soft” spring and when you want a firmer ride you attempt to compensate with “firmer” damping. While systems like this greatly improve the ride and allow the driver to customize the suspension within a particular range, they can feel quite different.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Exterior -001

The first hint Lincoln had a different mission in mind for the MKC is obvious when you start driving. If the suspension is in comfort mode, you get the softest ride in this segment by a mile. The MKC is so soft in this mode that I initially assumed the baby Lincoln was 1,000lbs heavier. With the suspension in normal mode, the MKC feels more buttoned down, but there is still plenty of tip and dive and body roll. “Sport” firms things up but the feeling isn’t the same as you’d find in a traditionally sprung vehicle. The reason is that although the dampers can restrict motion, the springs are still pillowy soft.

Initially I was disconcerted by the soft suspension and assumed the athletic abilities would be harmed as a result. I was wrong. With a 0-60 sprint of 6.15 seconds, the MKC 2.3L beats most of the entries, matches the 325 hp XC60 R-Design and only lags the X3 xDrive35i and RDX in the non-performance category. It also stopped from 60 MPH in an impressive 112 feet in our tests and a respectable .83Gs in Edmund’s skidpad test. (TTAC doesn’t have access to a skidpad.) That’s all possible because the MKC is light for a luxury crossover, ranging from 3,791 in FWD 2.0L trim to to 3,989 lbs in the AWD 2.3L model.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Interior.CR2-001

Pricing

As you’d expect from Lincoln, pricing starts low at $33,100, undercutting BMW by over $5,000, and we get about $500 of additional equipment in the base MKC. Adding AWD to the base model tacks on $2,495. That sounds steep but Lincoln bundles the dynamic suspension and a few other goodies with it. Our 2.3L AWD tester started at $40,145 and had $7,775 of options added to make an essentially fully loaded MKC.

The Black Label model is an interesting option. Black Label is about luxury and customization, not performance. This means you can get the 2.0L engine with front wheel drive in Black Label trim starting at $46,205. For the extra dosh, a “shopping assistant” will help you choose from four unique interior themes, five unique wood veneers and some extra paint options. The interior is further upgraded with faux-suede headliners and more standard features. In addition to the goodies, you get improved service with scheduled maintenance and wear item coverage (shocks, belts, etc), a loaner car when yours is in for service, lifetime car washes at a Lincoln dealer and annual detailing services.

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 Exterior Rear.CR2-001

I have to admit when I first took the MKC out on the road, I didn’t like it. The well-appointed interior is attractive, but the ultra-plush driving dynamics took some getting used to. Then an odd thing happened. A friend of mine who is in her early 30s said “I’m tired of the harsh ride in my X3 but I still want a crossover.” I had her drive the MKC and it was love at first tip and dive. I suddenly realized: from the Lexus NX to the Mercedes GLK, every one of the competition is trying to be the soft-roader that can lap the Nurburgring in under 9 minutes. Except the MKC.

The Lincoln can hang with the middle of the pack in terms of handling, but the handling feel is an entirely different matter. The soft suspension makes turn-in feel lazy, steering feel non-existent and the cabin hushed. The combination means the MKC is eminently capable with high limits, but the design of the vehicle makes it hard to determine where those limits are located. If that sounds like the kind of product Lexus used to be known for (before they too started chasing BMW), you’re right. Once I stopped chasing the X3, I realized how refreshing it was to have a competitive product without the “me-too.” Bravo Lincoln.

Lincoln provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.26 Seconds

0-60: 6.15 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.8 Seconds @ 92.5 MPH

Average economy: 20.3 MPG over 699 miles

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Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067698 Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time. During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in […]

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PetroChina-Station

Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time.

During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in the nation has slowed by half of what it was in the previous decade, following global trends of decreased consumption.

Global demand is expected to grow 1.3 million barrels/day to 94.58 million in 2016 according to the Energy Information Administration, with China taking 11.34 million barrels/day; the U.S. will use 19.44 million/day, lower than what was used in 2008. The figure is an increase of 3.1 percent over this year, yet pales when compared to the 11-percent jump in 2010. The spike delivered a boost to oil prices of 15 percent.

Combined with rising oil production pushing toward a glut in supply — to the tune of 1.8 million barrels/day in inventory currently, and 900,000/day during H2 2015 — China’s economic power faltering despite the government’s best efforts, and technological advancements reducing overall oil consumption, the global demand for oil will remain low for some time to come.

[Photo credit: Otebig/Wikimedia Commons/CC PD 1.0]

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China Automotive Exports Crashing Against Geopolitical, Currency Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065906 China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous […]

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Landwind X9 Rally Trucklet

China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous month according to Bloomberg. The group also found a decline of 15 percent over the first four months of 2015, putting a significant ding on the nation’s goal of 860,000 units shipped elsewhere this year.

Causes of China’s export woes include geopolitical issues in Iraq, Russia and Ukraine, and currency challenges in Algeria and Argentina, per association deputy secretary-general Shi Jianhua, who sees no signs of improvement on the horizon.

The 2015 export target is a far cry from the nation’s peak of 1.06 million units in 2012, and is less than the 910,400 units sent overseas in 2014.

[Photo credit: Landwind]

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While You Were Sleeping: Jeep GC Pickup Render, Brilliance V3 Debut and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs (Or a Lack Thereof) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-jeep-gc-pickup-render-brilliance-v3-debut-jobs-jobs-jobs-lack-thereof/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-jeep-gc-pickup-render-brilliance-v3-debut-jobs-jobs-jobs-lack-thereof/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 10:11:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064017 As trucks ride a heat wave of interest from consumers, I look at this Grand Cherokee render and think, “That’ll do.” Jeep Trailhawk (Theophilus Chin) Self-titled Automotive Manipulator Theophilus Chin has put together a compelling image of a Jeep Grand Cherokee pickup. Exclusive: Honda Australia pensions off Civic diesel (GoAuto) As car enthusiasts scream for diesel […]

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Jeep Trailhawk Truck Render

As trucks ride a heat wave of interest from consumers, I look at this Grand Cherokee render and think, “That’ll do.”

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Mercedes Slapped With $56M Fine in China for “Price Fixing” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-slapped-56m-fine-china-price-fixing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-slapped-56m-fine-china-price-fixing/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052089 The Chinese province of Jiangsu has levied a 350 million yuan ($56 million USD) fine against Mercedes-Benz in continued efforts to break perceived monopolies in car and part sales. It’s the largest fine given to an automaker to date. The latest fine aimed at a foreign automaker comes after similar actions against a “Chinese venture of […]

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Mercedes-Maybach-S600-Pullman

The Chinese province of Jiangsu has levied a 350 million yuan ($56 million USD) fine against Mercedes-Benz in continued efforts to break perceived monopolies in car and part sales. It’s the largest fine given to an automaker to date.

The latest fine aimed at a foreign automaker comes after similar actions against a “Chinese venture of Volkswagen and a sales unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler division” amounted to a combined $46 million, says the report from Automotive News. The specifics of the Mercedes fine point at the automaker forcing dealers to set minimum prices for cars and spare parts. The pricing regulator in Jiangsu province also fined Mercedes dealers to the tune of 7.7 million yuan ($1.25 million USD).

Mercedes-Benz China said they accept the decision taken by the provincial pricing regulator and has “taken all appropriate steps” to comply with the law in the future.

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While You Were Sleeping: “Copy-and-Paste” Design, Dirt Track Racing, Real Fuel Economy, and Butterfly Wings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/sleeping-copy-paste-design-dirt-track-racing-real-fuel-economy-butterfly-wings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/sleeping-copy-paste-design-dirt-track-racing-real-fuel-economy-butterfly-wings/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:05:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051897 Come on, China. We know you can design a car on your own. Jaguar Land Rover forced to accept Range Rover Evoque lookalike from China’s Jiangling (Automotive News, sub. req.) The same company that made that crappy Warthog-wannabee we talked about yesterday won’t get sued by JLR for their Evoque copy. The best part of the article is […]

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landwind-e32-china-2

Come on, China. We know you can design a car on your own.

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Shanghai 2015: Chinese Domestic Market Ford Taurus Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-chinese-domestic-market-ford-taurus-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-chinese-domestic-market-ford-taurus-revealed/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:28:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1047689 Bowing at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Ford Taurus’ arrival marks the sedan’s first-ever appearance in the Chinese market. The new Taurus is one of 15 new vehicles Ford intends to bring to China by 2015. It’s set to be assembled at the automaker’s recently opened Changan Ford Hangzhou factory, a flexible-assembly facility with […]

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Taurus_02

Bowing at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Ford Taurus’ arrival marks the sedan’s first-ever appearance in the Chinese market.

The new Taurus is one of 15 new vehicles Ford intends to bring to China by 2015. It’s set to be assembled at the automaker’s recently opened Changan Ford Hangzhou factory, a flexible-assembly facility with an investment of $760 million and an annual production of 250,000 units.

Power for the sedan comes from a 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, though power figures weren’t stated at this time. Meanwhile, rear passengers can enjoy power-reclining seats with optional adjustable lumbar support and massage function, fold-down center cushion that boasts a control panel for AC, seat functions and infotainment, and plenty of leg, shoulder, head and hip room thanks to the cabin design and 9.7 feet of length in the wheel base (16 feet overall).

Other features include: 25 different places to store items inside the cabin; cup holders that can adjust to different sizes of tea bottles; a panoramic sunroof whose front panel slides over the rear to ensure better rear-passenger headroom; leather seating and wood and chrome trim pieces; and extensive use of NVH-reducing materials and technologies.

New Ford Taurus Taurus_02 Taurus_03 Taurus_04 Taurus_05 Taurus_06 Taurus_07 Taurus_09

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Tesla Commits To Localized Production In China Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033497 Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years. Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only […]

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2014 Tesla Model S in China

Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years.

Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only be sensible to “localize production in China for the Chinese market, in Europe for the European market.”

Though Musk and Tesla haven’t had the best time in China since importation began in mid-2013 — ranging from sales issues and speculators, to range anxiety and consumer preferences — the CEO is optimistic about the future of his company’s work in the market, taking the long-term view as the basis for said optimism.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028233 Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal. Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend […]

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Pirelli F1 Tire Range

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend may be the beginning of a protracted takeover as it and Pirelli’s largest investor, Cam Finanziaria, attempt to secure 90 percent of the stock to take the tire company off of the trading floor; the share price climbed to €15.76 Monday.

The terms of the deal would give ChemChina 50.1 percent of the company, Finanziaria 49.9 percent, and would begin with the former paying €15/share for Finanziaria’s 26.2 percent of Pirelli, followed by a public tender for the rest of the company at the same price. Should that fail, however, ChemChina could merge its 66 percent with Finanziaria’s holdings to force a delisting. Pirelli chair and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera would remain CEO under the deal, while ChemChina will seek a new chair.

The Sino-Italian buy-in is part of a number of takeovers of Italian companies by Chinese buyers, and would be the fifth-largest deal by a state-owned enterprise.

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BS Explains Why Tesla’s Chinese JV Is BS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/bs-explains-teslas-chinese-jv-bs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/bs-explains-teslas-chinese-jv-bs/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 22:25:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027993 Whatever you thought of his editorial style at TTAC, Bertel Schmitt is the best person to turn to if you want to make sense of China’s car market. His column today, on the rumors about a Tesla joint venture in China, thoroughly debunks the case made in Chinese media reporters. According to BS, the rumors are […]

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Whatever you thought of his editorial style at TTAC, Bertel Schmitt is the best person to turn to if you want to make sense of China’s car market. His column today, on the rumors about a Tesla joint venture in China, thoroughly debunks the case made in Chinese media reporters.

According to BS, the rumors are all, well BS

A JV with tiny Lifan would bring Tesla nothing, and the JV has little chance of being approved. A JV with Chang’an would have more chances of an approval. Basically, it would be a JV with China’s military-industrial complex. Not the most ideal fit for an Elon Musk who likes to be seen as someone who changes the world for the better.

Read the whole thing here for a better explanation of why Tesla isn’t likely to pursue a Chinese JV the way it’s being reported.

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Uber, BYD Sign Deal To Test EV Fleet In Chicago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023025 Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company. Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as […]

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Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company.

Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as charging stations. UberX drivers can lease from the fleet — which could expand to around 200 by year’s end — for $200/week, allowing them to drive the e6 during their shift before returning the vehicle to Green Wheels for recharging; lease-to-own and traditional leasing programs are also available.

The e6 program, part of the TNC’s overall financing program meant to put drivers into new or used vehicles through purchases or lease agreements, could help pave the way for BYD to bring all of its offerings to the U.S. market. So far, the automaker has only brought over electric buses and a limited number of e6s, the latter for pilot programs.

As for why the two companies teamed up, none would comment on the deal, which could expand to cover more cities should Chicago’s test run prove to be viable.

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Tesla Denies Gigafactory Delays, Axes 200 In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-denies-gigafactory-delays-axes-200-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-denies-gigafactory-delays-axes-200-china/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019426 Tesla may be denying delays in the construction of its Gigafactory, but the automaker’s not holding back on firing 200 employees in China due to poor sales. Autoblog reports the delay is due to a change in design plans for the $5-billion battery factory, with an online job posting by the International Brotherhood of Electrical […]

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Tesla may be denying delays in the construction of its Gigafactory, but the automaker’s not holding back on firing 200 employees in China due to poor sales.

Autoblog reports the delay is due to a change in design plans for the $5-billion battery factory, with an online job posting by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers mentioning the delay in construction. Tesla representative Alexis Georgeson denied the delay claims, while a rep for IBEW Local 401 declined to confirm or deny due to non-disclosure.

Meanwhile, AutoGuide says Tesla is laying off 30 percent of its employees in China, amounting to between 180 and 200 jobs. The automaker has had trouble as of late selling its wares in the emerging market, having moved 32,733 units in 2014 — short of the 35,000-unit, then 33,000-unit, sales target set for the year — and only 120 vehicles in January 2015. The company has not confirmed the report thus far.

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Automakers Continue Support Of Electric Vehicles Despite Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015890 Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term. Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are […]

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2015 BMW i3

Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term.

Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are registered annually. BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said as much when stating that his company cannot leave EVs like the i3 behind, proclaiming such vehicles would be in demand in the future.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche says hybrids were “truly attractive cars that represent the best of both worlds” as his and other companies cross the bridge toward a zero-emission future. However, Zetsche adds that the battery technology needed to get to the other side — long-lasting battery packs — are at least five years away.

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Tesla Hitting Sales Roadblock In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003778 Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors. Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet […]

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Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors.

Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet to be registered with local authorities, and therefore, have yet to legally hit the road. The country also accounted for 15 percent of the automaker’s global sales in 2014.

The issue is the brand’s cachet with Chinese consumers, who bought the Model S because of its trendiness, not because it’s better for the environment. Thus, Tesla’s popularity will last as long as the next trendy vehicle from a competing luxury automaker.

CEO Elon Musk’s current solution? Fire or demote those “not on a clear path to positive long-term cash flow.” The publication says this approach will only “erode his power base and credibility,” aspects he needs to maintain if he intends to keep to the path of long-term sustainable growth and stability.

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Mercedes-Maybach Lands In China With S600, S400 Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-lands-china-s600-s400-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mercedes-maybach-lands-china-s600-s400-models/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 15:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992938 Chinese luxury sedan consumers are the first to see Mercedes-Maybach in their showrooms, arriving in the form of the S600 and S400. CarNewsChina reports the S400 4-Matic retails for ¥1.3 million ($229,000 USD), while the S600 goes for ¥2.88 million ($462,000); for comparison, the S600 will sell for $189,350 when hits U.S. showrooms on Tax […]

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Chinese luxury sedan consumers are the first to see Mercedes-Maybach in their showrooms, arriving in the form of the S600 and S400.

CarNewsChina reports the S400 4-Matic retails for ¥1.3 million ($229,000 USD), while the S600 goes for ¥2.88 million ($462,000); for comparison, the S600 will sell for $189,350 when hits U.S. showrooms on Tax Day.

Power comes from either a 3-liter biturbo V6 with 330 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque for the S400, or a biturbo V12 with 530 horses and 612 lb-ft of torque for the S600. Both premium sedans send their respective power through a seven-speed auto either to the back or all corners, depending on model.

Other features include: Burmeister sound system; captain seats; rear-seat entertainment system; leather and wood interior; 20-inch alloys; and chrome for days.

Mercedes’ decision to introduce the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand to China first is a play to have the country be the brand’s largest market from the start. This shouldn’t be too much trouble, as used Maybachs can be had for as low as ¥2.68 million ($430,000) and newer models hitting nearly ¥12 million ($1.9 million), showing the overall strength of the Maybach name in the market.

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Back Home Again In Indiana: Mercedes-Benz To Move R-Class Production To Its Old U. S. Hometown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/back-home-indiana-mercedes-benz-move-r-class-production-old-u-s-hometown/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:13:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989242 As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up […]

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mercedes-benz-r-class-courtesy carnewschina.com

As a tyke growing up in South Bend, Indiana, my father and I would often stake out the lots behind the Studebaker factories with hopes of spotting the next generation Avanti or Lark. Too often all we spied were rows of Mercedes-Benz automobiles due to the fact that Studebaker was the U.S. distributor for the German brand up until shortly before the closure of their South Bend operations in 1963.

Yesterday it was announced that Mercedes-Benz was returning to South Bend to build the R-Class crossover at the AM General plant, producer of the military Humvee and the late GM Hummer. Mercedes-Benz once moved their headquarters from South Bend to New Jersey and soon to the South (Atlanta) and now R-Class production is moving from the South (Alabama) to South Bend. Got it?

Slow sales of the R-Class in the U.S caused Mercedes-Benz to stop offering it here in 2012 but they continued to assemble the crossover in their Vance, Alabama plant for export to China. The cavernous R-Class is naturally a great fit for chauffeur-driven Chinese consumers.

Demand for Mercedes SUVs has put a strain on their Alabama factory so the automaker chose the AM General plant to build up to 10,000 R-Classes annually beginning this summer. The facility is also located a few miles from Elkhart, Indiana and its dozens of recreational vehicle factories so an experienced assembly-line talent pool is readily available. It took the UAW about 20 seconds after the Benz press release to announce that the AM General plant is already under their control, leaving the Alabama facility as the only non-union Mercedes-Benz factory in the world.

The only remaining question is: if Benz brings back the high-performance R63, will its AMG tag now stand now for AM General?

 

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Holden Retaining Name For Next-Gen FWD Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/holde-retaining-commodore-name-next-gen-fwd-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/holde-retaining-commodore-name-next-gen-fwd-sedan/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:02:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985650 Holden will retain the Commodore nameplate for its next-generation large sedan, even though the new “Commodore” will bear no resemblance to the large, rear-drive car currently sold in Australia. Just-Auto is reporting that the new Commodore will be a front-drive vehicle based on the next generation Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. While Holden previously stated that the […]

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Holden will retain the Commodore nameplate for its next-generation large sedan, even though the new “Commodore” will bear no resemblance to the large, rear-drive car currently sold in Australia.

Just-Auto is reporting that the new Commodore will be a front-drive vehicle based on the next generation Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. While Holden previously stated that the new Commodore would be built in Australia, the end of Holden’s manufacturing operations has now made it necessary to import it from another location. 

Some reports have suggested that China may be the location of the Commodore’s assembly. According to previous reports, the new, Chinese-made Commodore would have a standard 4-cylinder engine, with an optional V6. Though it would be close in size to the current car, it would look more European, with coupe-like styling rather than the current car’s brawny, slab-sided proportions. Holden is currently importing the Insignia VXR as a high-performance model, and perhaps as a test case for a future Commodore.

 

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