By on October 19, 2017

2012 Lamborghini Urus Concept - Image: LamborghiniThe company that sells SUVs together stays together.

So it goes, or is likely to go, with Lamborghini. Keep in mind that the Volkswagen Group supercar manufacturer has already seen massive sales growth. During the half-decade before Stephan Winkelmann took over as boss at Lamborghini in 2005, the brand was selling only 800 cars on an annual basis. But by the time Winkelmann was done a decade later, Lamborghini was averaging 2,300 annual sales. In 2016, Lamborghini sold 3,457 vehicles around the world, including more than 1,000 in the United States.

Those figures will soon seem paltry because the unfortunately named Urus SUV will double the brand’s volume. But what does such a massive change do to Lamborghini’s operations? (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2017

2012 Jaguar XK - Image: Jaguar“The XK being dropped was much to my frustration.”
– Jaguar design director Ian Callum

The Jaguar XK ended its 19-year-long run after the 2015 model year, undone by disappearing demand and the success of the smaller, more affordable Jaguar F-Type. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way, Jaguar design director Ian Callum says. The XK was supposed to roll along in third-gen form alongside the first-gen F-Type.

“The F-Type was never meant to kill the XK,” Callum tells Autocar.

In fact, despite the design work that had already begun on the next Jaguar XK — a car that never materialized — the marketing execs at Jaguar didn’t see the need for two coupes. The third-gen XK never enjoyed any engineering development.

Yet Callum’s outsized influence at Jaguar appears to be producing XK-shaped fruit in Jaguar’s product planning department. While there’ll likely be a new Jaguar F-Type first, you can begin inspecting your local Jaguar showroom for the next Jaguar XK in 2021. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2017

2020 Polestar 1 profile - Image: PolestarBy nature, we’re skeptics. It’s in the job description.

Thus, while it’s hard not to fall in love with the idea of Volvo’s new 2020 Polestar 1 offspring — I mean, just look at it — we also know how hard it is to kickstart a new luxury brand, regardless of whether Polestar wants to sit far outside the luxury mainstream or right at the heart of the matter. We can’t help but wonder whether the Polestar 1 is not representative of the ideal luxury brand launch.

As doubters, as pessimists, as cynics, as preternatural killjoys, as wary realists, we have questions about this new upstart premium automotive entity. Many questions. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2017

2019 Audi A7 silhoutte - Image: AudiAt 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 19, 2017, the second-generation Audi A7 will be unveiled. Based on the silhouette Audi has already revealed, and based on Audi’s historic design habits, the second-generation A7 will appear remarkably similar to the first-generation Audi A7.

At some point in November, Audi USA will sell its 50,000th A7, making the hatchbacked A6 a low-volume car even by the standards of America’s third-ranked German luxury brand. Yet as a style and status symbol, the A7 remains a model of great importance to the overall Audi lineup. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Jetta - Image: VolkswagenVolkswagen’s 2019 Jetta will be revealed this winter at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. From the get-go, the Jetta will be available with a manual transmission, reports VWVortex. The Jetta GLI that follows one year later will almost certainly be marketed with the manual transmission Volkswagen killed off with the 2018 model year, Motor Authority says.

These and other details are becoming increasingly clear as Volkswagen’s North American CEO Hinrich Woebcken begins to release a great many details about Volkswagen’s next few years of product launches.

This is what we know so far. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

2015 Infiniti QX70 - Image: Infiniti2017 was the 15th and final model year for the Infiniti QX70, formerly known as the Infiniti FX. Sad, sad the day.

But is the QX70/FX, a dramatically curvaceous take on the modern idea of a crossover, dead and gone for good? Perhaps not. “We are now asking ourselves what is the QX70’s role?” Infiniti president Roland Krueger rhetorically asked Automotive News, “And what should it be?”

Maybe these questions come a year or two or 15 too late, but the fact that Krueger even broaches the subject suggests a high degree of willingness to reinsert the vehicle back into Infiniti’s lineup. If Nissan’s upmarket brand could copy the degree of success the FX earned early on in its tenure — more than 30,000 were sold in America in 2004 — then the rebirth can’t come soon enough. (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

2018 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda AustraliaIf Australia is an effective test bed for American tastes — and it most definitely isn’t — then the three-row version of the fifth-generation Honda CR-V would be a hit stateside.

We told you way back in April that there were plans afoot at American Honda for a utility vehicle to slot in between Honda’s two-row CR-V and three-row Pilot. We then watched, intrigued, at the level of interest among TTAC readers when we showed you images in July of Honda Australia’s three-row CR-V. Could this be the SUV Honda plans to squeeze between the CR-V and Pilot? At the time, Honda told TTAC, “We can’t make comments about any future possibilities.”

So you’re telling me there’s a possibility.

There likely is only the most limited sort of possibility. The third row can’t be linked with all-wheel drive, for starters. It’s obviously snug. And American Honda already has the Pilot, which Honda does not offer in Australia.

Nevertheless, if the Australian test bed is looked upon as a case study, American Honda would discover a three-row, seven-seat CR-V that turns out to be more popular than expected.
(Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

218 Honda Civic Type R base illustration - Image: Honda, Illustration: The Truth About CarsAmerican Honda launched the 2017 Honda Civic Type R in a single, fully equipped variant. Although you don’t see it in emblem form on the back of the car, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is sold exclusively in Touring trim. The model code, evidenced by NHTSA certification papers filed by American Honda and located by TTAC’s own Bozi Tatarevic, is FK8G7.

But Bozi found an extra Civic Type R in American Honda’s NHTSA filings for 2018. It’s still a Type R, it still uses the K20C1 engine that sends 306 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. But this is the FK8G3 Civic Type R, sans Touring.

There’s reason to believe it’ll be distinctly more affordable. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro Holden badge - Image: ChevroletGeneral Motors’ Australian outpost is losing all of its domestic production, but that doesn’t mean Holden is shutting down all of its Australian development operations.

Late last month, we told you the Chevrolet Camaro was going to become a right-hand-drive model five years earlier than originally planned because of special rebuilds by GM’s Holden division.

But once the Chevrolet Camaro goes on sale Down Under, it will not wear the local GM badge. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Last week brought quite a flurry of excitement for eager Jeep Wrangler aficionados. The long-awaited next-generation JL model has steadily revealed its secrets in dribs and drabs, but last week’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing appeared to reveal one of the biggest nuggets to date — a horsepower figure for the model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged “Hurricane” four-cylinder.

368 horsepower. Even from a unit expected to arrive with power in the neighborhood of 300 hp, this figure came as a shock. 368 hp isn’t “in the neighborhood” — it’s eight blocks over, past the train tracks, and in a better part of town.

Well, to all of you anticipating a real screamer of a Jeep, it’s time to hold your breath once again. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has updated its NHTSA filing. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2017

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - Image: Aston MartinAston Martin, builder of premium British GT cars, does not sell nearly as many cars as it used to. In fact, Aston Martin’s 2017’s output will fall some 30 percent below the brand’s record volume from a decade ago.

But that’s only part of the story. Aston Martin’s global 2017 volume will be 36-percent higher than it was just last year. Moreover, Aston Martin sales will more than double in the next two years.  (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

2017 Ford Focus S sedan - Image: FordRarely does one hear an automaker point out that the next generation of a popular product is headed downmarket.

Even when a vehicle is repositioned in a lower end of the market, “downmarket” is the last word you’re going to hear out of an auto executive’s mouth. Instead, automakers up the value quotient, cater to the demands of discerning buyers, or find new production efficiencies we can pass on to the customer.

More often, automakers tout their new product as a move upmarket. So it is with Ford Motor Company’s fourth-generation Focus, according to Jim Farley, formerly of Ford of Europe and current head of Ford global markets. “It goes upmarket in exactly the same way as the new Fiesta,” Farley says.

Also like the new Fiesta, the 2019 Ford Focus will spawn an Active variant. Subaru Crosstrek here we come? (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2017

2019 Subaru AScent SUV Concept - Image: SubaruSubaru reported in September 2017 the brand’s 70th consecutive month of year-over-year growth. The growth rate is not modest. Five years ago, Subaru had never reported more than 336,000 U.S. sales in a calendar year. Yet with one-fourth of 2017 remaining, Subaru has already reported 478,848 U.S. sales in 2017 and is on track to sell more than 650,000 vehicles by the end of the year.

Subaru is not, however, without challenges. The rate of sales improvement has not been matched by a commensurate improvement in the dealer network’s ability to service vehicles, for example.

Another issue? Subaru needs to create space for production of its next new vehicle, the three-row Ascent SUV, in Lafayette, Indiana. Subaru already builds its best seller, the Outback, in Indiana, and with the latest generation of the Impreza, the brand’s compact car joined the midsize Legacy as an Indiana-built model, as well.

For the Ascent, which Subaru confirmed is set to begin rolling out of the Indiana plant in the second-quarter of 2018, Subaru has received the necessary permits to increase production by 66 percent compared with the original joint Toyota/Subaru facility.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

Toyota TNGA platform, Image: Toyota

Of all automakers, no company holds out hope for the gasoline engine’s longevity quite like Mazda. Not only does Mazda anticipate many decades of continued hydrocarbon-fueled driving, it’s also ensuring gas stays viable by inventing a new Skyactiv engine that (supposedly) uses much less of it. That motor, a first-of-its-kind gas compression ignition four-cylinder, debuts in 2019.

For now, Mazda’s North American lineup remains pure in terms of propulsion. The promised CX-5 diesel is taking its sweet time showing up, and neither a hybrid or EV can be found among the model ranks. That will soon change, but given Mazda’s size and finances, it won’t be a Mazda platform underpinning the next Mazda EV. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Dyson vacuum

Herbert Hoover promised Americans a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, but another man with a vacuum-associated name, James Dyson, wants to put electric cars in every parking spot.

Dyson, maker of strangely desirable vacuum cleaners and unsettlingly futuristic fans shaped like an elongated oval, wants to build you a car. Of course, we told you this last year, after the British government let slip that it was “funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.”

The secretive UK-based company now claims you’ll see its new car in just three years. (Read More…)

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