Pesky Arrest Issue Has Audi Thinking America for New Car Launch

Audi had hoped to unveil a new challenger to Tesla’s electric throne at a Brussels marketing event, but the ill-timed arrest of its former CEO forced the automaker to shelve those plans. Rupert Stadler remains in custody, casting a dark cloud over the brand and the vehicle its engineers spent years developing.

What to do? Apparently, the solution involves bundling the car into a plane and sending it to America.

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Volvo's XC40 to Be the Brand's First Electric Model

Electric, not electrified, as you can already find several Volvo models boasting a plug and a combination of gasoline and electric propulsion. The automaker best remembered for keeping the 240 in production with only minimal changes for two decades now wants to pin the technology pedal to the floor, setting a goal of having 50 percent of its customers drive away in fully electric vehicles by 2025.

Ambitious, to say the least. The first electric model would come along in 2019, the automaker stated earlier this year, while keeping the identity of the model under wraps. We now know it’s the XC40, which should comes as no shock to anyone.

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GM Sinks $175 Million Into Cadillac Sedan Plant - Maybe You Don't Want 'em, but Someone Else Does

That “someone else” might be a Chinese buyer. At least, that’s what former Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen implied in March, shortly before packing his bags and hitting the road.

The premium sedan market stands to grow along with the rest of that country’s appetite for high-zoot models, he said, even though the overall take rate might shrink.

American buyers, however, have made it clear what they want. And what they want isn’t what Cadillac’s planning for its Lansing Grand River assembly plant, if sales stats tell us anything.

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Take a Wild Guess What This Means

General Motors enlivened the perpetually grim Twitterscape Wednesday with a tweet depicting what Corey Lewis calls a “pure trust fund” gentleman wearing natty duds. After the initial discussion surrounding the nature of the tweet, your author, Chris Tonn, and Lewis attempted to pin down the particular hue of this fellow’s outerwear.

Celery. Pistachio pudding. 1960s motel bathroom. All applicable.

But wait, that wasn’t the purpose of the tweet! Surely this can’t have something to do with a gaping hole in the Chevrolet brand’s crossover lineup?

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Train Station 2.0: Ford's Corktown Redevelopment Plan Unveiled, Won't Replace Dearborn

All eyes were on the now Ford-owned Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood on Tuesday morning, as the automaker formally announced its plan for the derelict building and surrounding neighborhood.

Ford Motor Company recently took the century-old structure, abandoned since 1988, off the hands of its longtime owners, the Moroun family. There’s still no dollar figure attached to that deal, but that’s not what Tuesday was about. Ford’s plan, ambitious and big on vision, breaks down as this: there’ll be 2,500 Ford workers employed in the Corktown neighborhood, tasked with developing autonomous vehicles and related tech. The towering train depot, once restored, will serve as the nerve center.

Joining those employees in Ford-owned buildings scattered around the site will be an equal number of employees working for partners and suppliers, or so Ford hopes. The automaker’s aiming for a miniaturized version of Silicon Valley clustered around Michigan Avenue.

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Is the Mazda CX-5 About to Go Turbocharged?

Where would Mazda be without the hot-selling CX-5? Of the 29,980 vehicles Mazda sold in the U.S. last month, 47.3 percent of them were CX-5s. Suffice it to say the stylish compact crossover is the brand’s most important model, regardless of what MX-5 fans would have you believe.

Parents everywhere applauded when a crisper, better-handling CX-5 appeared for 2017, content in knowing a family vehicle existed that wouldn’t relegate them to a world of bland conformity. Our own Chris Tonn was enraptured by the sight of his Grand Touring tester as it sat in an Ohio parking lot. Still, despite its on-road prowess, the zoom-zoom brand’s most popular offering isn’t exactly a pavement scorcher. That might not be the case for long.

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Spied: 2020 Hyundai Sonata, Looking Larger and Definitely Rounder

If sales stats tell us anything, it’s that Hyundai’s latest refresh of the Sonata sedan didn’t seem to resonate with buyers. Despite the addition of a large and aggressive new grille for the 2018 model year, complimented by a sharper rear deck and nicely canted taillights, Sonata sales — like that of so many other traditional passenger cars — continued a downward path. So much for fixing the styling issues of the previous refresh.

After hitting a high water mark of 230,605 vehicles sold in 2012, Sonata volume sunk to 131,803 units in 2017. Sales over the first five months of 2018 fell 33.8 percent.

Given the sales trajectory, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Hyundai drop the model after the current generation runs its course, but the automaker seems intent on generating as many sales as it can across the segment spectrum. Thanks to these spy shots from Las Vegas, it looks like there’s a new Sonata in our future.

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2020 Porsche Taycan: Stop Worrying - This Electric Car Has a Soul, Automaker Claims

Even if some of its buyers don’t have one, Porsche prides itself on building cars with a unique essence, a certain substance that cannot be denied. A soul, in other words. Now, the automaker promises we’ll all discover that same quality in its upcoming electric sedan, which recently picked itself up a new name: Taycan (pronounced “tie-con”).

Formerly called the Mission E (seen in concept form above), the Taycan appears next year as a luxurious, long-range four-door with a price tag that almost certainly begins in the six-figure range. It’s a clear competitor to what was, for years, the only choice in this field — the Tesla Model S.

In a recently released video, Porsche seems to be making the argument that buyers who care the least bit about history and soul will have no use for that other car. It’s also a pretty good piece of marketing in its own right.

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America's Future French Cars Will Have German Engines

Assuming PSA Group‘s plan to re-enter the U.S. market isn’t thwarted by an all-out tariff war, you can expect to see Peugeots or Citroëns plying the roadways of America by the middle of next decade. Maybe it’ll be sooner than that.

Whenever they arrive, the vehicles will boast four-cylinder engines designed in Germany by Opel, a former General Motors division whose parent decided to put it up for adoption.

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Night Moves: Ford Unveils 2020 Explorer Under Cover of Darkness

As you learned here, the 2020 Ford Explorer adopts the rear-drive platform found beneath the upcoming Lincoln Aviator, as well as the luxury division’s top-flight engine. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 of unspecified power will appear under its hood and mate to a 10-speed automatic, a source tells us, while the 3.3-liter V6 found in the F-150 replaces the current 3.5-liter unit. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder carries on unchanged for thrifty buyers.

Oh, and there’ll be a hybrid version, too. Ford’s only willing to talk about the electrified Explorer at this point, and on Tuesday it made the unusual choice of debuting the 2020 Explorer in fuel-sipping felon catcher guise.

Enter the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid.

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Sink or Swim: What Kind of Automotive Startup Will Byton Be?

After showcasing its first concept vehicle at CES 2018, electric car startup Byton has come back with another for CES Asia. On Monday, the company also announced it had recently raised more than half a billion dollars in capital.

Byton looks to be on the right path, but the trail it’s marching down has already been taken by other EV startups and resulted in failure. For example, Faraday Future drove itself into a brick wall after failing to deliver on its promises for two years straight. It suffered development delays on its prototype, engaged in some sketchy deals, and practically collapsed when its main Chinese backer ran out of money. That isn’t to presume Byton is the same kind of company, but it’s offering the same type of car under vaguely similar circumstances.

Loaded with tech, Byton’s autonomous, all-electric K-Byte sedan and its SUV sibling (the M-Byte) are right in line with every manufacturers’ future vehicle concepts. They’re perpetually connected to the web, capable of self-driving, and chock full of touchscreens. But they aren’t real cars yet, even though the startup suggests they’ll be available for just $45,000 — and relatively soon. The SUV will apparently go into production in 2019, with the sedan following by 2021.

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Nose Job: 2019 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Spied With New Nostrils

Like a bull who’s had enough of the matador and his capote de brega, the Dodge Charger has been spied flaring its nostrils. We saw this design flourish in a teaser shot distributed by the company for the 2019 Charger Hellcat, and it now shows up on the Scat Pack trim.

The Charger is currently offered in no fewer than 11 different trims that represent a steady and relentless upward march of power and tire-melting capabilities. The Scat Pack is number eight on the totem pole.

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When You're This Big, They Call You Grandmaster

If you’re following the Busan International Motor Show as close as we are, and we know you are, you no doubt saw the unveiling of Hyundai’s newest and largest concept vehicle, the HDC-2 Grandmaster. Sounding like an air-dropped fission weapon or perhaps an experimental jet prototype of the 1940s, Hyundai’s big, honkin’ SUV concept showcases where the company’s going with its design language.

It’s also possible you’ve seen the Grandmaster’s shape before, perhaps churning up the snow on a wintery test course in a set of spy photos.

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Tesla Shareholder Meeting Yields New Product Promises, Retained Grip on Power for Musk

Elon Musk’s role as chairman and CEO of Tesla remained intact after Tuesday night’s annual shareholder meeting, where a proposal to split the duties between two people sank once it came to a vote. Three directors, including Musk’s brother Kimbal, also saw re-election last night, despite protests from some shareholders who feel they lacked experience.

With the challenge to Musk’s dominance squashed, it was then time to do the thing he does best: placate investors with assurances and rosy production timelines. Anyone interested in a Model Y?

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2021 Dodge Charger and Challenger: Out With the New, In With the Old (Platform)?

When the first LX-platform Chryslers appeared in late 2004, buyers who had long grown wary of the automaker’s products took solace in the fact that the new 300 and Dodge Charger/Magnum borrowed so many components from bedmate Mercedes-Benz.

While not a direct carryover, the front and rear suspension, floorpan, and five-speed automatic transmission (among other items) all boasted German heritage. DaimlerChrysler found itself with a hit on its hands. Thirteen years later, after many updates and styling refreshes, LX cars still trundle off Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly line and into the waiting arms of North American traditionalists.

It was long expected that, after FCA hit snooze on a planned 2019 platform swap, we’d see new underpinnings for the old rear-drivers by 2021. Hold your horses, says CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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Looks Like It's Business As Usual at Dodge

It’s Fiat Chrysler Friday, apparently. Updates continue to trickle out of Italy, where FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne was hounded by press following the unveiling of his company’s five-year product plan.

A plan, it should be noted, that completely ignored Chrysler, Fiat, and Dodge. With talk of the four [s]important[/s] global brands out of the way, Marchionne opened up on the lesser divisions. So, what does the future hold for Dodge, the most ignored brand of the day? Not a hell of a lot, apparently.

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Midsize Ram Pickup Coming to the U.S., Replaces a Mitsubishi-based Model Overseas

Years of on-again, off-again rumors about the addition of a baby Ram truck to Fiat Chrysler’s product line has led us to this day. While the automaker’s Capital Markets Day presentation in Italy focused primarily on Jeep and the two Italian luxury divisions — three of the four global brands highlighted in its five-year plan — Ram sees new product, too, including a midsize truck.

CEO Sergio Marchionne wants its core brands spread as far and wide as possible, and that means occupying new segments. For Ram, this means the large off-road truck niche and the growing midsize market. “We’re working on it,” is what Marchionne said two years ago after being asked about a midsize Ram.

FCA had kiboshed the idea in 2015, claiming that developing a new midsize would prove too costly. And yet here we are.

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Chrysler's Not Dead, It's Just Wounded

Rampant speculation on the Chrysler brand’s demise was premature. During a Q&A session in Italy on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the brand has a future, but it won’t be as big as it once was.

Already, the brand pales in comparison to even the recent past. In 2005, Chrysler sales in the United States topped 600,000 vehicles (we all remember those Sebrings), and the brand plateaued above 300,000 annual sales in the period spanning 2012 to 2015. Last year’s tally? Just over 188,000 sales — not surprising, given its lineup now consists of a single, aging large sedan and a modern minivan. U.S. sales are down 9 percent over the first five months of 2018.

Marchionne’s remarks proved an earlier Bloomberg report true: Chrysler will become a North American brand. And Fiat? Sorry, it doesn’t look like it’s going to work.

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Fiat Chrysler's 5-Year Plan: Back in the Black by June, Bullish on Jeep, Off-road Ram on the Way

The first part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year product plan has emerged at the automaker’s Balocco proving grounds near Turin, Italy, where company brass detailed the near future of four key brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.

Yes, no mention of Chrysler, Dodge, or Fiat. They’ll get to that later this morning (is there a bell tolling for one or more of those brands, at least in America? Stay tuned…)

What we know at this point is that the company has no plans to back away from its goal of dominating the globe with the Jeep brand. There’s more SUVs coming — plenty of them, and hybrids, too. For North American truck buyers, a dedicated off-road variant of its new Ram 1500 is assured, giving the Ford F-150 Raptor a run for its money. FCA would prefer accepting your cash in that segment.

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Expect a Future Fiat Chrysler With a Lot Less Fiats and Chryslers: Report

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, due to retire in less than a year’s time, will lay out the automaker’s future on Friday. Well, the next five years of its future — and we all know how malleable those plans can be.

According to a Bloomberg report, sources with knowledge of the plan say the near future contains far fewer Chryslers for those living outside the U.S., and no Fiats for those who are.

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'They Will Grow Older': Jaguar's Product Boss Is Damn Sure Millennials Will Eventually Choose Self-Indulgence

Teen car culture is dying a swift death, The Atlantic claims, but Jaguar Land Rover’s head of product strategy feels the youngsters of today will eventually outgrow their desire for hassle-free autonomous commute pods.

As a great Jaguar print ad in the 1990s once stated, “Live Vicariously Through Yourself.”

In Hanno Kirner’s mind, this mantra will guide more than a few Millennials to take over the driving duties and indulge their innermost desires. It had better.

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Is Dodge Bringing Back the Viper in 2020?

We thought we’d be mourning the Viper for years before Dodge readied its return. Fortunately, that might not be the case. Fiat Chrysler has apparently green-lit the model’s return for 2020. But, with production ending in 2017 and FCA’s subsequent closure of Conner Avenue Assembly, it’s still a little difficult to believe any of this is real.

And yet, here we are.

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Honda Thinks a Small, Cheap EV Is Just the Right Fit

You’d be forgiven for not remembering the Honda Fit EV. Hardly a Bolt or Leaf, the short-ranged electric was available for lease in California for a very brief time; some 1,100 examples arrived on U.S. shores between July of 2012 and October of 2014.

Right now, the only way to get into an electric vehicle bearing the Honda badge is to move to California or Oregon and take out a pretty decent lease on a Clarity EV. That could soon change, as Honda plans to build a successor to that early electric. Yes, it will still use the Fit as its muse.

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Now That the XC40's a Hit, Volvo Wants More Small Cars

Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.

On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.

What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.

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Jaguar F-Type Could Launch 2+2 Variant On Revised Platform

Jaguar is apparently considering bringing the XK out of retirement. Discontinued for the 2015 model year, the automaker didn’t see much reason to keep it around with the F-Type being such a success.

Hanno Kirner, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of corporate strategy, now claims the time has come to commence work on a 2+2 F-Type. However, the brand wants to further re-establish itself as a sports car manufacturer. The F-Type was a good start, and the spiritual successor to the XK will further that goal. But Kirner, along with design head Ian Callum, wants to see a whole family of new sporting vehicles populating Jaguar’s stable within the next decade.

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Revenue Stream: Tesla's Everyman Car Gets a $78k Makeover

If you had nothing better to do with your Saturday night than sit in front of the computer, you’re already well aware that the Tesla Model 3 — revealed in 2016 with a base price of $35,000 — will gain a $78,000 dual-motor performance variant, a speedier companion to the existing $44,000 Long Range model.

Currently, the LR is the only version rolling off Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly line.

So, what does this additional coinage get you?

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Ford's Upcoming Crossover EV Is, Apparently, All the Things You Need to Be

Ford’s all-electric performance crossover, bound for a 2020 debut, is a model without a definite name that remains shrouded in mystery. It isn’t known whether this supposedly “Mustang inspired” crossover (Ford’s claim) is at all different than the 300-mile crossover EV promised by Ford as part of its electrified vehicle push. They could be one and the same. Or, one is a go-fast variant of the other.

Right now, all we know is that Ford garnered plenty of backlash for calling the thing the Mach 1 at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, where the automaker released a video depicting an ominous storm swirling over the Motor City and a lightning strike melding an Explorer and Mustang into something new and unseen (Ford’s “Team Edison” offices in Corktown served as the birthplace of the new model).

For what it’s worth, there’s now a new description of the vehicle that’s sure to get your brain working.

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'LQ' Marks the Spot: What Does Toyota's Odd Trademark Application Mean?

Trademark applications provide a very hazy window into the future of an automaker’s lineup, and this one’s no different. On May 7th, Toyota filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the name “LQ” on a motor vehicle.

While it partially fits into the Lexus brand’s naming scheme, the second letter of the name (after L for “luxury”) is meant to designate the style of vehicle. So, just what kind of flagship model could this be?

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Rolls-Royce: We'll Keep Slinging V12s Until the Government Comes and Takes Them Away

Few automakers clutch tradition with the same vise-like grip as Rolls-Royce. The British motor car builder, which recently debuted a high-bodied car (known in plebian circles as an “SUV”), isn’t planning on following in its rivals’ electrified footsteps just yet.

Oh sure, there’ll be electric cars, even in the coming decade, but the brand’s attachment to 12-cylinder engines — and the upper-crust clout those motors carry — can’t be shaken just because Jaguar and Germany have their sights set on a green stable.

This attitude mirrors Porsche’s devotion to the steering wheel. That said, the brand does have a date in mind for the full electrification of its products.

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BMW Continues Teasing the Crap Out of Returning 8 Series, Sets Date for Debut

BMW is still banging the drum for the upcoming 8 Series, which is understandable. Resurrecting the flagship coupe is big news for the brand and the model has been hotly anticipated since the concept vehicle appeared at 2017’s Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Unfortunately, camouflaged prototypes (below) show the pre-production version hosting some watered-down styling. While slightly disappointing, it’s understandable that BMW would stray from the extravagant folds of the concept car.

This week, the company gave us our best look to date of the returning model, along with an announcement stating the automaker will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011 — where it plans to premiere the 8 Series coupe. We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

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Lagonda Vs Rolls-Royce Battle Continues, Now With Fewer Petty Insults

Egg spoons fell to the tabletop and kippers went uneaten as noblemen across the land gazed in slack-jawed silence at the new Cullinan [s]SUV[/s] high-bodied car unveiled by Rolls-Royce this morning.

It’s a vehicle so excessive in its dimensions and interior trappings, even long-deceased kings might find it gauche. Or, perhaps, just the right thing with which to ferry their corpulence from one sherry-stained dinner function to another. Polarizing, to say the least. One internet wag remarked that the Cullinan resembled a hearse with a backseat.

Regardless of how you feel about it, no one’s going to deny that Rolls-Royce now stands regally atop the luxury SUV hill, gazing down upon its lesser rivals with contempt. Clearly, the thought of the century-old British automaker pulling this off must have ground Lagonda’s gears, as the recently revived British luxury marque sought to get out in front of the introduction with an announcement of its own.

It seems the rivalry didn’t end after a testy spat earlier this year.

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Ford CEO Vague on Car Replacement Plans; Lincoln Continental's Future Still in Limbo

Anyone hoping to glean specifics about upcoming products during Ford Motor Company’s annual shareholder’s meeting likely walked away unsatisfied. During the Thursday meeting, the company’s leaders touted Ford’s plan to freshen its lineup and align its products with changing American tastes.

Killing off the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus was necessary, CEO Jim Hackett claimed, adding that the decision doesn’t mean the company plans to leave those buyers in the lurch.

“We want to give them what they’re telling us they really want,” he said. “We’re simply reinventing the American car.”

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Spied: 2020 Kia Telluride, the Biggest Kia Crossover Ever (Bigger Than Even in Your Dreams)

You’ve already forgotten about the Borrego, so this large, hulking Kia is sure to impress, if for no other reason than its dimensions.

Photographed in Orange County, the square-rigged three-row you see above is the upcoming Kia Telluride, a range-topping crossover first teased in concept form at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. At the time, the concept’s almost showroom-ready outward appearance (normal side mirrors!) signalled Kia’s intent to put the Telluride into production. Two Kia execs essentially confirmed it earlier this year.

Expected to debut next year as a 2020 model, this is our first glimpse of Kia’s newest beast.

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Kia Niro EV: More Green Means Less Grille

Hyundai and Kia need to start making outlandish promises if the automakers hope to generate the kind of press once (and maybe still) enjoyed by a certain American electric carmaker. Instead, Hyundai Motor Group quietly putters along the road to electrification, issuing well-established timelines for its vehicle introductions, then following through.

There’s so little drama, it’s painful.

Ahead of a global debut at September’s Paris Motor Show, Kia launched its newest green vehicle at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, Korea — a practical EV made for practical, not all that wealthy people.

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Porsche Reportedly Working on a Two-door Version of a Four-door Car (Don't Worry, There's a Four-door 'Coupe' SUV, Too)

The auto industry has become so unconventional, so bizarro world, that I became momentarily confused after reading a report that Porsche has a Panamera coupe in development.

Automakers don’t develop new coupes. They develop slightly more curvaceous versions of four-door crossovers and SUVs and call them coupes, but they’re certainly not coupes. Thus, I found myself picturing a curvaceous four-door liftback version of a curvaceous four-door liftback. Reality bent and flexed around me and the universe crumbled.

That’s apparently what Porsche is up to, though, and it’s looking like the two-door version of the Panamera — if built — will serve as a spiritual successor to the long departed 928.

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QOTD: What's the Optimal Manufacturing Mix for Profitability?

In last Wednesday’s Question of the Day post, we asked you to build the perfect manufacturer lineup. As you responded and built your hodgepodge lists of desirable present day cars from various manufacturers, capitalist and commenter Dal20402 had something else on his mind: profitability.

Propulsion, platforms, and product planning are on the agenda today. What combination is the most profitable?

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Two Scoops of Fun: Dodge Hellcat Gets New Hood for 2019

Now approaching its fourth birthday, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is due for a mid-cycle refresh — a pleasant surprise considering the Demon only had one year to live. We weren’t sure how much longer Fiat Chrysler intended to keep the feisty feline around, and considered the possibility that it might already be on borrowed time. But with an updated face coming for the 2019 model year, the odds are good that the Hellcat will remain in production with the rest of the Challenger lineup until 2021.

Visual changes will likely be extremely limited. Dodge understands the Challenger’s look is iconic and doesn’t want to screw up the retro recipe, so it’s once again tapping into the past in a bid to overhaul the vehicle’s current aesthetic. It’s also taking a page out of the Kellogg’s Raisin Bran playbook, as customers stand to gain a Hellcat with two scoops of goodness.

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Spied: Chevrolet's Butch New 2019 Blazer

Oh man, they even got the paint right. Who knew retro design cues could feel so authentic?

Hold on, that’s not the upcoming midsize Chevrolet Blazer — it’s a 1979 model (in alluring Cheyenne trim). Obviously, General Motors expects the public to hold fond memories of the Blazers of yesteryear, otherwise it wouldn’t affix the brawny, rugged name to its newest crossover. Yes, crossover. The Tahoe, which replaced the two-door K5 Blazer back in the mid ’90s, remains the top choice for drivers looking for bowties and body-on-frame construction.

However, there’s plenty of space between the newly downsized Equinox and sprawling Traverse. Into the breach drives the Blazer.

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The End of Ford Cars: What's in It for Us

Ford recently announced the elimination of the traditional car from its North American lineup. Within two or three model years, no four-door Ford will be available with a trunk. No Fusion, no Focus, no Fiesta, no Taurus. The demand-driven logic behind the decision is clear. Cars have declined from 35 percent of Ford sales as recently as 2012, to 23 percent last year.

The company does not report profitability by nameplate, but we can safely assume their declining contribution to net income has been even more dramatic. So Ford’s decision was predictable, if seemingly dispassionate. Less predictably, a relatively healthy automaker is executing a long-term strategic shift. In public. Before the market forced it to.

Herein lies the real story.

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Next Porsche 911 GT3 Could Spin to 9,500 RPM

If you want a good example of evolution, you don’t need to venture all the way to the Galapagos Islands. Simply look at the lineage of the Porsche 911 for confirmation of how a species evolves and adapts over time.

Not long ago, the mighty 911 Turbo was the only example of the breed with a snail attached to its rear-mounted engine. Now, with turbos pervading nearly the entire line, it seemed as if naturally aspirated 911s would disappear like the dodo bird. However, we’re now hearing rumours the GT3 may retain its non-turbo status … with a flat-six that screams its way to 9,500 rpm.

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Buick Enspire Concept: The Shape of Things to Come?

Ready to get enspired[sic]?

Buick’s latest concept vehicle, appearing at this week’s Beijing Motor Show, carries on the time-honored tradition of saddling vaporware with awful names, but the vehicle itself is worthy of further consideration. Decked out in a Chinese consumer-friendly red paint job, the coupe-like four-door SUV might not be all that conceptual.

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Ford Crossover Company? Report Says Ford to Swap Cars for CUVs [UPDATED]

You like Fusions, Foci, and Fiestas? Well, you better get to shopping. Pretty soon, Ford’s car lineup will be down to just two – the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Blue Oval automaker is going all in on trucks and crossovers, as well as electrified vehicles, as it plans to remake three-fourths of its lineup by 2020. This all comes from a Q1 earnings report.

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Spied: 2020 Cadillac XT6 Prepares to Fill the Gap

Now that former brand president Johan de Nysschen has left the job of running Cadillac to a Canuck, it would be nice to see the brand take a page from Lincoln and revamp its naming strategy. What you see above is purported to be the upcoming Cadillac [s]CT6[/s] XT6, a full-size unibody crossover that’s on track to plug a major hole in the brand’s lineup.

Slotted above the popular XT5 midsize crossover and below the top-rung Escalade, the XT6 (as it’s tentatively named) promises three roomy rows of lux-mobile motoring. This vehicle, along with the compact XT4 launching later this year, was all part of de Nysschen plan to bring home the bacon in the domestic market.

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QOTD: Can You Build an Ideal Manufacturer Lineup?

The news lately has been plenty full of speculation and angry comments about Ford’s decision to kill off anything with a trunk (save the Mustang, for now).

Generally, the consensus among the B&B seems to be that Ford is making an ill-advised and short-sighted decision. Well, today’s your chance to build your own lineup of profitable, future-proof vehicles in a game I just invented.

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After Exorcising Its Demon, Dodge Looks Ready to Improve on the Hellcat

What can an automaker do after its limited-run, 840-horsepower performance flagship shuffles off into the afterlife? Move the second-highest rung a little higher.

That appears to be what Dodge is planning for the Challenger. In a world filled with crossovers, electrified powertrains, and looming autonomy, the drag strip-focused 2018 Challenger SRT Demon was just the gas-slurping, go-you-own-way ticket the brand needed to earn a ton of recognition. Now that a brief run of Demons has settled into climate-controlled garages and auction blocks across the land, it’s time for Dodge to turn its attention back to the Hellcat.

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Mitsubishi Lancer to Return, but Forget About a Sedan

Mitsubishi raised the hackles of former Eclipse owners by naming its latest crossover — the Eclipse Cross — after the defunct sporty coupe. It now seems prepared to do the same to current Lancer owners.

The automaker claims there’s a new Lancer on the way, but it won’t be the same Lancer you fondly recall from years past. The market simply won’t support a traditional sedan or hatch anymore, the brand’s chief operating officer says — at least not with the kind of volume Mitsubishi desires.

No, this new vehicle will straddle the already blurred boundaries between a hatchback and a crossover. Excited yet?

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QOTD: Are We Going to Get a New Lexus SC300?

Yesterday, Matt Posky penned an article about the upcoming Toyota Supra, which will resurrect the sporty and historical nameplate from the slumber its had since all the way back in 1996.

I think we should spend some time today speculating on what other plans Toyota might have for their new, German-influenced sports coupe.

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Ford's New Focus Platform Is a Cash Saver

Beneath the recently unveiled next-generation Ford Focus is an architecture that stands to proliferate through the Ford ranks, underpinning models as large as the Ford Edge.

While American consumers won’t see the new Focus until the latter half of 2019, well after buyers in Europe and China (where the U.S.-bound model will be built), the unnamed platform, which barely got any type of billing during the model’s reveal, stands to bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century.

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So Long, Pikachu? Toyota Prius' Adventurous Styling Due for a Toning Down

I’ll never forget gazing at the latest iteration of the Toyota Prius for the first time. Much hand waving ensued, along with words to the effect of, “No, this is all wrong.”

Styling is subjective, but as hybrid and electric vehicles enter the mainstream, designers haven’t exactly copied the space-age looks of the fourth-generation Prius. In fact, in a bid to avoid scaring off customers, automakers have charted a course for the safe and non-threatening.

That leaves the Prius as the odd man out — a model enamored with triangular shapes that eyes the Hyundai Ioniq, new Nissan Leaf, and upcoming Honda Insight with worry.

It’s makeover time!

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Tesla Model Y Starts Production in November 2019, Report Claims

In June 2017, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders that the company’s upcoming Model Y crossover, built on its own dedicated platform, would appear in 2019. That plan soon changed, with Musk deciding (under pressure) that the new vehicle would share much of its architecture with the Model 3 sedan. The timeline remained hazy, as Tesla timelines are wont to do.

Now, sources close to the company’s supply chain say the Model Y is headed for a November 2019 production start — a timeline one of the sources describes as “aggressive, but possible.”

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More Power Coming to the Subaru WRX STI for 2019?

The popularity of the Subaru WRX and its larger-displacement STI sibling rival that of free vape coils and Monster energy drinks at a Millennial blogging event. Despite its growing age, owners and would-be buyers seem content with Subaru’s driver-focused all-wheel-drive sedan. There’s plenty of goodwill with this crowd.

As the previous-generation Impreza-based model awaits a new platform and body, it looks like buyers of the 2019 WRX STI stand to gain something that was available only in very limited numbers for 2018. More power.

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Bison Territory: Chevrolet Colorado Poised to Head Further Off-road

With its jacked suspension, cutaway front fenders, and upgraded rubber, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 appeals to midsize pickup buyers who aren’t in the habit of staying on dry, safe pavement over the course of a weekend. But, while the ZR2 is the General Motors vehicle most cut out for Oregon Trail work, there’s always room for improvement.

In a bid to satisfy these adventurous customers, GM appears ready to offer a better off-roader.

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Spied: Ford Ranger Raptor Appears in Snowy Michigan, Thaws Frozen Hopes

The resurrected Ford Ranger hasn’t yet sold a single unit in the United States, but for one class of truck customer, what we saw unveiled in Detroit in January lacked the necessary cohones. As such, they’re holding out for word on a midsize pickup with the brawn and, um, width of the F-150 Raptor.

It must make these customers boil with frustration to see the likes of Australia and Southeast Asia getting all the Ford Ranger Raptor action, with nary a word spoken from the Blue Oval about the variant’s future, or lack thereof, in the United States. Maybe these photos, taken in a Michigan where winter won’t let up, will stoke those fires of hope.

Don’t let the right-hand drive throw you. There’s two reasons why this appearance is worthy of excitement.

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Buick! (Now That We've Got Your Attention, Let's Head to China)

What country can’t get enough of the Buick brand? Well, not the United States, clearly. But cross the Pacific and Buick is the equivalent of Nicki Minaj and free Coca-Cola and the iPhone X, all rolled into one. Much desirability among the middle-class consumer set.

While we’ve seen some new product on these shores in the past year or so (a new Enclave, Regal, and refreshed Envision are the only things that come to mind), China awaits two wholly new models. One technically isn’t production bound, at least not yet, but you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s a given: A Buick SUV concept — fully electric, and boasting a pretty sexy liftgate — that might have a future on both sides of the Pacific.

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2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Completes the Truck Trifecta

Getting quite a jump on next year’s reveal, General Motors released a teaser of the upcoming 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD on Tuesday. The heavy duty pickup slots between the revamped 1500 model unveiled in Detroit in January and the new medium-duty 4500/5500/6500HD trucks shown at March’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Those latter heavy haulers now share the Silverado name, bringing all of Chevrolet’s full-size-and-up trucks into the Silverado fold.

With the 2020 Silverado HD, the family will be complete. Prototypes hit the road soon, GM claims, but it’ll be a while before we get a full view of these new HD trucks.

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Going Sparkless? Korea Thinking of Discontinuing America's Smallest GM Car

Last week it was the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic and a report that the little four- or five-door could bite the dust by the end of this year. Now we hear the Spark — General Motors’ smallest U.S. offering — could also be on its way to the nameplate graveyard.

Oddly, the Reuters report, which cites a GM Korea spokesman, comes just a few days after the unveiling of the refreshed 2019 Spark. Like other Gamma II platform small vehicles, the Spark comes to us by way of Korea. As you know, that embattled division is currently struggling for survival, and it doesn’t much like the look of America’s falling Spark sales.

So, what would replace the Spark and give GM Korea’s threatened factories a safer product bet? You already know the answer to this. A crossover.

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Hyundai Palisade? Name Trademark Pops Up as Automaker Readies Santa Fe XL Replacement

During the early planning for Hyundai’s sales-boosting crossover push, the automaker announced the Santa Fe Sport would become brawnier, while its larger Santa Fe sibling would go bigger, adopting a name that buyers wouldn’t confuse for its little brother.

We’ve already seen much of this come to pass. First off, there’s now a subcompact Kona crossover to lure buyers into the brand. The Santa Fe Sport grows larger for the 2019 model year, ditching its name for “Santa Fe.” Meanwhile, the existing Santa Fe dons an “XL” to differentiate itself until a larger replacement arrives.

Is the name of that range-topping utility vehicle no longer a mystery?

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Subaru's WRX Is Safe for Now, but It's a Two-pedal Future for the Rest

For some reason, today is all about manual transmissions. Some going, some staying… but most just going.

That’s the world we live in, where consideration must be given to high-tech safety aids, while multi-cog automatics and infinitely cogged CVTs have stripped the stick shift of its secondary attribute: fuel economy.

For Subaru, the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic will soon become the brand’s only choice of gearbox, with one notable — and likely temporary — exception.

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Cadillac Is Holding Out for a Halo

Visually arresting, technologically complex, ultra luxurious, and undeniably trendsetting, halo cars sprinkle lustre all over a brand and ensure viewers of hip-hop videos know the artist is absolutely loaded with cash.

Cadillac’s not there yet. Give it time, says the brand’s president — a halo Cadillac model will indeed appear, just not until well into the coming decade. There’s a few things to take care of first.

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2019 Hyundai Kona Electric: Possibly 250 Miles of Range in a Real Crossover That Actually Exists

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said we’ll learn more about the company’s future Model Y electric crossover — its production date and build location — probably in another six months. Money might start flowing to that project late this year.

Well, by the fourth quarter of this year, electric Hyundai Kona crossovers will actually be arriving in California driveways, followed soon after by Northeastern states and other U.S. locales with zero emission vehicle mandates. This vehicle exists, in the flesh, right now. As the first mainstream crossover EV to land on our shores, the gas-free Kona’s estimated range tops that of the Chevrolet Bolt and (still unproduced) base model Tesla Model 3.

If you can see beyond the Jason Voorhees face, a bland yet revolutionary vehicle awaits.

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  • Jeff S The Cybertruck is one of the most hyped vehicles in decades.
  • Nrd515 This is all I could think of seeing this. I saw it in the theater with my dad about 59 years or so ago:https://www.popcorncinemashow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Mr-Sardonicus-1961-01.jpg
  • Art Vandelay I have no illusions tha my Challenger was going to be a car I wanted to own 10 seconds out of warranty. Fun, sure. Fun in 8 years? Hard pass based on the 2 years I had it
  • ToolGuy Weren't some of the most powerful engines in the M4 Sherman air-cooled? (And supercharged.)
  • ToolGuy "I installed oil temp and cylinder head temp gauges on various vehicles I was driving, so I could monitor how the engine was doing. I switched from my normal 20W50 and dropped to 15W40 oil and put down thousands of miles. Within that time, I saw a noticeable decrease in oil temps and even cylinder head temps while driving in different situations."ToolGuy has great admiration for your use of the scientific method in conducting original research.