The Grand Tour's "Carnage a Trois" Episode Falls Largely Flat
The Grand Tour returned this past Friday with the fourth special of its fourth season, entitled “Carnage a Trois.” The French-themed episode follows “ Lochdown” of August 2021, “ A Massive Hunt” from December last year, and “Seamen” from December 2019. “Seamen” was the first installment of The Grand Tour’s new format where the tent, audience, track, and stupid time-wasting went by the wayside in favor of a specials-only format with grand adventures and less choppy segmented content. How does “Carnage a Trois” fare in that mold? Pas bon.

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The Grand Tour's "Lochdown" Episode Returns to the Familiar

July 30th saw the streaming release of the third installment in The Grand Tour Presents series, Amazon’s installment rework of the formerly tent-based automotive series. Following up their “Seamen” premiere (which I liked) and “A Massive Hunt” ( which I didn’t), Clarkson, Hammond, and May get back to their basics of years ago with “Lochdown.” And there’s not a lot wrong with that.

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Rivian Targets IPO Before Year's End

Rivian Automotive is seeking to go public in the fall and targeting a valuation of at least $50 billion, according to the latest reports. The all-electric startup company, supported by Amazon and the Ford Motor Company, has already amassed around $8 million from investors and was valued at $27.6 billion less than a month ago.

While we couldn’t possibly say what it’s actually worth, burgeoning EV manufacturers have performed incredibly well on the stock market lately. Rivian would almost assuredly see its valuation balloon to the targeted sum through an initial public offering. It already has a product line, 3,600 employees spread between the Midwest and California, some serious marketing under its belt, and a relatively strong relationship with a few of the world’s largest companies. We’ve seen more done with far less on Wall Street.

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2022 Mitsubishi Outlander's Amazon Live Reveal Is a First

As the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander ships to U.S. dealers, there will be a live reveal on Amazon, an auto industry first. On February 16 at 3 p.m. Pacific time, you can see the newly-designed 2022 Outlander.

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Amazon's Bezos Transitions to Exec Chair and Names New CEO

Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced today that he will transition to Executive Chair in the 3rd quarter of 2021, with Andy Jassy to replace him as CEO at that time.

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The Grand Tour's "A Massive Hunt" Episode Sums Up a Show Well Past Its Prime

After a COVID-induced delay of several months, Amazon finally released The Grand Tour’s new episode “A Massive Hunt” on December 17th. Its intended release date was the 18th, but someone at Amazon decided to foist the episode on an unsuspecting public a day early.

What a dumpster fire.

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Zoox Shows Off Robotaxi Prototype

Zoox, Amazon’s self-driving vehicle startup purchased over the summer, revealed a prototype robotaxi on Monday. The urban EV adheres to the familiar shuttle philosophy that has brought boxy mobility solutions to numerous towns around the globe. While these pilot programs have had mixed success at best, corporations see them as part of an on-demand future where everything is available by app.

Designed and manufactured in the United States, the Zoox vehicle is purpose-built for autonomy and offers bidirectional driving capabilities and four-wheel steering. However, we would be lying if we said the concept seemed terribly different from the earlier prototypes offered by May Mobility, Jaguar Land Rover, and over a dozen other companies that may not fit quite as neatly into the startup or legacy automaker pigeon holes.

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BMW Taps Amazon Cloud Computing for Data Lair [Updated]

On Tuesday, BMW announced it would be partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop a cloud-based IT solution allowing it to integrate data and analytics into literally every aspect of the business “from vehicle development to after-sales services.” The automaker said data will now be shifted around liberally between business units and operations in over a hundred countries to help create a more fluid and responsive way of doing business. BMW to hire and train up to 5,000 software engineers in the latest Amazon tech to “empower” its workforce to manage the data.

Though some of that will be handled independently by artificial intelligence. Along with the physical construction of the necessary data hub, the company plans on certifying roughly 2,000 in machine learning and data analysis. If that sounds a bit technical and vague, just imagine BMW building Skynet from the Terminator films and actually getting some decent work out of it before it decided to exterminate humanity.

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Getting Into the Game: Amazon Purchases AV Startup Zoox for an Undisclosed Sum

Always eager to slash delivery costs — especially if the government opts to stop subsidizing the company via the U.S. Postal Service — Amazon has been getting chummy with EV startups. It’s also begun exploring new business opportunities in regard to food delivery and ride hailing, resulting in sizable investments into both sectors.

On Friday, Amazon announced it will acquire California-based Zoox to help it further those goals. Coming off a staffing reduction of about 10 percent to contend with the pandemic, the company is currently focused on delivering an symmetrical, self-driving, zero-emissions vehicle that can compete on the currently nonexistent robo-taxi market. While the world’s 13th largest company (by revenue) seems like it would make good use of the property to advance its autonomous delivery program, corporate messaging seems to indicate Amazon is more interested in Zoox’s expertise in people moving.

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Rivian Snubs Michigan for California

Following reports that Rivian might decide to move a large portion of its operations out of Michigan, news has reached us that it’s all but abandoning the Mitten State for sunny California.

Starting its life as Avera Motors in Florida back in 2009, the EV startup moved to Plymouth, Michigan in 2015 to poach talent from the Big Three and lay down some roots. However, the company doesn’t appear to have wormed its way into the soil all that deeply. It now plans to move a sizable portion of its operations to Irvine, California, with some employees heading to its plant in Normal, Illinois, to prepare for production.

This has got to be a slap in the face for some Michigan residents, since many were instrumental in the development of Rivian’s first models. The business fired a gaggle of people at its engineering and design center near Detroit at the start of June, only to slot in a couple of high-paid executives. Now it’s starting to look like it may pull up stakes and skip town.

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After New Funding Round, Rivian Ends the Year Flush

An electric vehicle platform many can’t wait to get their hands on continues to make Rivian the upstart automaker to watch. The fledgling, Michigan-based automaker just closed a $1.3 billion investment round led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. — pushing the company’s 2019 take to $2.8 billion.

With two utility vehicles on the way and a pledge to license its EV architecture to anyone willing to pay for it, Rivian’s big-buck backing from the likes of Ford, Amazon, and Cox Automotive was just the start.

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Following Big Cash Dump, Amazon Taps Rivian for 100,000 EVs

Isn’t Rivian the popular thing these days? Courted by Amazon and Ford with investments of $700 million and $500 million, respectively, the Michigan-based EV startup recently gained a cash infusion from Cox Automotive.

Now, that very first investment is bearing fruit — 100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window.

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Listen Up: Amazon Putting Alexa Into More Automobiles

Amazon is striving to put Alexa, the home assistant/listening device, into more automobiles in the coming years. As a result, the company is working feverishly to enhance her vehicular-related capabilities — including wriggling her way into the embedded software systems of new cars.

On the surface, it sounds great. Networking your car with your smart home device opens up a bevy of new conveniences and Alexa should also help your car get better at understanding everyday voice commands. In the future, you’ll be able to order groceries, check the stock market, call the office, and adjust the thermostat of your house and car without ever having to take your hands off the steering wheel. But this also opens up a bevy of concerns, now that we know Amazon’s employees listen to and record pretty much everything you say to the device — sometimes doing the same for background conversations that were never intended for Alexa’s ears.

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Perk? Pointless? Laziness Enabler? Ford Offers Amazon In-car Deliveries, On-demand Car Washes

With e-commerce being the new hotness for automakers, Ford is busy working to grow FordPass as a service. Though slow to start following its 2016 launch, the company had done a decent job of expanding its utility — it seems every time we speak to someone at Ford, there’s a new feature about to be implemented. One of the biggest upgrades brought Amazon’s Alexa into Ford vehicles as a voice-enabled digital assistant — a feature used by other automakers.

Ford now plans to further expand FordPass (and its partnership with Amazon) by allowing in-car deliveries via Key by Amazon. It also says it will enable customers to order traveling car washes from Spiffy, Rub A Dub and Sparkl — likely to highlight how FordPass and Lincoln Way can be integrated with other apps, hopefully resulting in new business opportunities.

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Your Package Has Arrived: Amazon Leads $700 Million Investment in Electric Pickup Maker Rivian

The whisperings from earlier this week panned out, but only partway. Amazon, the e-commerce giant that’s probably sending a cookbook to your neighbor’s house as you read this, is leading a $700 million investment in Michigan-based automotive startup Rivian.

What’s missing from this news is General Motors, which, according to sources who spoke to Reuters and Bloomberg earlier in the week, was looking to sink its own cash into the company.

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  • Scott Do any car companies research demographics?going after a shrinking car buying market isn’t a recipe for success.hazrd a guess that most people in their prime car buying years don’t know anything about broncos or give a sht about a heritage model. Going to die on the vine. Bad strategy and failure for future growth
  • MaintenanceCosts The Jeep 4xes are impressive vehicles, even after accounting for the expected Stellantis/FCA lack of reliability. A Wrangler is not of any use to me but this powertrain in a Grand Cherokee L will be on my test-drive list when it inevitably happens.I just wish the gas engine were something other than a coarse and ugly-sounding four. These cars with either the Pentastar or the six-pot Hurricane would rocket right to the top of the list, although I'm sure they would sacrifice a couple of mpg when running on gas.
  • Mike Beranek The suicide door T-Bird in blue is a stunner. I love the look of that car.
  • Cprescott Interesting car. Even in its current condition it looks better than any Honduh made in the last decade. Honduhs already come with a built in junkyard designed look - mishmash of elements that don't work well together.
  • Arthur Dailey Sigh ............. now we are getting to the 'interesting' part.1st tier PLC: Mark III, IV, V and Eldorado. 2nd tier: Toronado, T-Bird, Riviera, Cougar. 3rd tier: Regal, Gran Torino Elite, Cordoba, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo.