I’ve noticed that most of the mainstream sedans like the Accord, Mazda 6, Fusion and Sonata have abandoned the upper and lower control arm suspension, or what is normally referred to as double wishbones, in favor of the simpler strut based front end. Honda, which never failed to mention the Accord’s advanced double wishbone setup in their ads, claims the change was due to NVH and crash compliance issues. It also says that, because of how it tunes the strut setup, the current car handles and rides better than the double wishbone design.
I think this is a cop out and the change has been done mainly as a cost-cutting measure. As manufacturers add more content to cars that’s more readily visible (infotainment systems, push button start, blind spot monitoring, etc), things that are mostly hidden to the consumer — such more advanced suspension — are sacrificed.
My perception is that, all things being equal, a double wishbone suspension will ride and handle better than a strut setup. What say you?
Hyundai has snagged itself another high-profile BMW veteran. Last time it was Albert Biermann, dynamics wizard and former head of BMW’s M line. This time it’s Fayez Abdul Rahman, BMW’s former head of M Equipment, M sport packages, and M performance vehicles.
Whereas Biermann is currently serving as Hyundai Group’s vice president in charge of performance and high-performance vehicle development for the group, Rahman will focus specifically on Genesis vehicles. He previously led concept and platform development for numerous model lines at BMW — including the X Series, 7 Series sedan, and various M brand vehicles.
At Hyundai, he’ll be responsible for doubling the size of Genesis’ fleet by 2020, via the gradual inclusion of crossovers.
Having just five utility vehicles in a brand’s model lineup just doesn’t cut it anymore. This isn’t 2015. If recent sales sheets have shown us anything, it’s that buyers the world over would take up arms and fight a war just for a little more choice at the crossover buffet.
Well, BMW is heeding that call. The Bavarian automaker unveiled a long-missing model this week that plugs a glaring gap at the bottom of its utility lineup — the X2.
Following an earlier raid at BMW, Daimler AG and Volkswagen Group were also searched by antitrust officials from the European Union Commission and German government this week. Despite claiming whistleblower status, Daimler is still subject to investigation — though it’s less likely to incur the same financial penalties if the collusion charges go to court.
Over the summer, investigators from the EU stated there would be an investigation into several German carmakers after allegations surfaced that companies conspired to fix prices on various automotive technologies over several decades. But it wasn’t until Monday that officials searched Daimler’s corporate offices and collected documents from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg and at Audi’s home base in Ingolstadt.
Back in July, German authorities became concerned that the country’s manufacturers had been operating one of the largest automotive cartels in history. With many auto executives still under the microscope for diesel emission manipulation, combined with inter-familial strife between the Piech and Porsche clans, Germany’s auto industry was starting to resemble a PG version of the film Goodfellas — with a dash of Dallas, for flavor.
Despite some rather serious accusations, nothing really came of the cartel investigation. We were beginning to wonder if it was much ado about nothing. But Germany’s antitrust officials hadn’t forgotten — they were simply biding their time during preliminary investigations into corporate collusion and price-fixing. Earlier this week, they made their big move and raided BMW’s headquarters.
German luxury automaker BMW is seeking to establish a joint venture with China’s Great Wall Motor. The prospective deal focuses specifically on electric vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter. A cooperative relationship with Great Wall would be BMW’s second in the world’s largest auto market – and a necessary one, as China forces all foreign automakers to team up with local partners in order to do business within the country.
Great Wall Motor Co. is China’s largest SUV maker by volume, and witnessed a nearly 20-percent rise in its share price on Wednesday after Asian media outlets reported it was in talks to partner with BMW.
Munich HQ has huge expectations for the third-generation BMW X3. The X3, after all, was the vehicle that ignited the compact luxury SUV craze, the vehicle that spawned competitors such as the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, and Porsche Macan. Surely the X3 has the power, the might, the capacity for sales domination, right?
“We created that segment,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in July. “The No. 1 approach and target I clearly have is, there shouldn’t be anyone besides us who is No. 1.”
“If somebody on my team is not performing to that, well, he has a problem,” Krueger says, making clear to BMW USA’s Bernhard Kuhnt that greater global production of the X3 will mean greater allocation, which had better mean greater U.S. sales.
BMW will not, however, seek to achieve the lofty sales goals by introducing the 2018 X3 with a price that undercuts its key rivals.
Interested in distinguishing its premium models from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam, BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe. The updated look was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be used for the 7 series and i8 coupe, as well as the forthcoming 8 series coupe, convertible, i8 roadster and X7 SUV.
Rumored to be similar to the cheesy carbon variant of the company’s emblem found in numerous aftermarket Ebay listings, the new logo is essentially the old one, only desaturated into monochrome with the company’s full name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in its entirety. However, there seems to be some confusion as to how the new logo will be used and what its heritage actually entails.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I’m passionate about obtaining products, goods, and services that are Made In The USA. Which is not to say that I never buy anything from low-cost countries where workplace safety and environmental regulations aren’t up to snuff — to my eternal sorrow, both of my laptops are Chinese, and as many of you have reminded me, the new Silverado LTZ in my driveway was Hecho en Mexico — but in general I will pay a considerable cost in both time and money for an American or at least Western product.
It’s possible, of course, that I’m just doing it to be a total snob. Nowadays, Made In America tends to imply prestige and cost, whether we’re talking SK Tools, Alden boots, or any number of high-end, hand-made bicycles. If you’re walking down the street and everything on or about your person is USA-made, chances are you’ve spent some real money. That’s also true for many industrial goods, certain building supplies, and nearly anything with wings. There’s just one complex product where the American flag logo is attached to a mandatory discount in the minds of most consumers.
No prize for figuring out what that is…
Way back when the sun first rose on the automobile, hand cranking was the preferred way to start an engine. Keys didn’t really come into fashion until magneto and coil-operated ignition systems were mainstreamed. But the car key has evolved since its infancy as a finely shaped lump of metal. Modern keys aren’t even keys in the traditional sense, they’re short-range radio transmitters with a transponder chip that disarms a vehicle immobiliser.
BMW is reassessing the practical value of car keys entirely, according to Ian Robertson, the company’s board member responsible for sales. Robertson, struck with the divine sight, envisions a hypothetical world where your smartphone performs double duty — eliminating the need to lug around the extra nine grams of metal associated with car keys.
Earlier this year, BMW let fly that it had completed development on a flexible vehicle architecture that would enable electrification of every model series in its stable. By 2025, BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15 to 25 percent of its sales, but it wanted to be ready in case 100 percent was a possibility.
We know that plug-in versions of just about every model are forthcoming — the big news being the fully electric X3 for 2020. But we didn’t have a solid timeline for widespread implementation of the new platform, capable of accepting electric, plug-in hybrid and internal combustion powertrains. Now we do. According to management board member Klaus Fröhlich, it’s also going to begin in 2020.
“They build fantastic cars,” BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim told Australian automotive media at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “But this one was a disappointment.”
von Kuenheim is talking about the Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup, a truck not presently destined for North America but one that will appear across the region for which von Kuenheim is in charge: Asia, Australia, South Africa.
“I saw that car in Geneva and was actually disappointed,” BMW’s von Kuenheim says. “Very disappointed.” Calling the X-Class “appalling,” and suggesting we “would have expected something more serious,” von Kuenheim’s comments about the body-on-frame Mercedes-Benz pickup accompanied a number of revelations regarding a future BMW truck.
Don’t expect a BMW pickup to rival the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
BMW showcased the i Vision Dynamics concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week — making it the third model for its i low-emissions electro-centric sub-brand. As a potential rival for Tesla’s Model 3, the i Vision Dynamics has all the hallmarks of an evolutionary automobile: an electric powerplant, absent grille, and the most boring name imaginable.
With windows tinted so black that you couldn’t tell if the sun was behind the wheel, the concept car is probably little more than a shell. We’ll take it at face value, noting that it exists as the physical representation of BMW’s promise to modernize as much as it does as a prototypical production model. However the automaker did say it will go on sale in 2021 — which is more than a little surprising.
As part of National Drive Electric Week, the Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group displayed their prototype W-15 EV pickup truck at the local Cincinnati event. TTAC got some more information on the future of this pickup, as well as a turn behind the wheel.
Come have a look.
BMW’s North American CEO, Bernhard Kuhnt, blames inventory issues for the brand’s sharp utility vehicle sales decline in August 2017.
BMW reported only 8,847 utility vehicle sales in August, a harsh 21-percent year-over-year drop for the five-model lineup. Sales of Spartanburg, South Carolina-built X3s, X4s, X5s, and X6s plunged 30 percent as BMW was fortunately boosted by — strange as it may sound — elevated passenger-car sales.
Has the tide turned? Is America’s BMW buyer forsaking his X3 for a 330i; her X5 for an M550i?
Don’t believe it for a second.