By on April 19, 2019

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front quarter

It seems the idea of a sport-utility sedan just doesn’t resonate, despite automakers’ best efforts. Oh well, at least there’s still the prospect of greater traction and somewhat improved fuel economy coming to Mazda’s slinky 6 sedan.

During this week’s New York reveal of the much-delayed CX-5 diesel, the automaker mentioned that the 2.2-liter oil burner would also find a home in the company’s midsize sedan. More interestingly, Mazda confirmed that all-wheel drive will become available.

Want to take a guess on which feature Mazda fans actually want? (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2019

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Hot on the heels of Fiat Chrysler’s announcement of a shift cut at its Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, officials from Canadian autoworkers’ union Unifor say the automaker has $355 million ready to invest in the facility.

Last month, FCA told Unifor it would cut the plant’s third shift by the end of September, the result of falling minivan sales on both sides of the border. Windsor Assembly employs 6,100 workers, some 1,500 of which stand to lose their jobs. Unifor President Jerry Dias claims the investment will see a new product built in Windsor. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Audi’s pitching more than just new models at Auto Shanghai this month; it’s promoting a new way to drive. The AI:ME Concept is a summonable, self-driving urban electric, aimed at reshaping the company’s business model — or at least examining that possibility. While Audi refers to the vehicle as a highly specialized premium automobile that can be ordered as needed and offers “extensive possibilities for individualization as part of an on-demand offer,” the company also noted the AI:ME “need not pass into permanent personal ownership.”

The automaker was careful not to use the phrase, but these vehicles would operate under a loosely defined subscription or rental model where customers book a car via their smartphone or computer, stipulating how they need it to be configured for their journey. From there, the vehicle makes its way to the designated pickup point and applies the final adjustments based on previously established seating, climate, lighting, entertainment, and control preferences. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2019

GM

Subjected to more spy photography than Princess Diana, the Chevrolet Corvette C8 is very much real. For the first time, General Motors has released official images of the next-generation car, adding a debut date for good measure.

Still cloaked in camouflage, the mid-engined C8 prototype crawled along the streets of New York City Thursday, piloted by Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. GM CEO Mary Barra rode shotgun for the trip, which culminated at the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s annual Footsteps to the Future Gala.

There, GM announced that the final C7 Vette will be auctioned off to the charity’s benefit. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

Image: Hyundai

Hyundai hopes the answer to that question, for a good number of young or otherwise cash-strapped buyers, is “yes.”

As it performs a slow leak of its upcoming small Venue crossover ahead of the New York Auto Show, the Korean automaker wants would-be buyers to know the subcompact Kona won’t be the cheapest Hyundai crossover for long. Nor the smallest.

But how small is too small for America? (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

2019 Nissan Frontier front quarter

“Change is the only constant in life,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who probably didn’t envision the remarkable lifespan of the second-generation Nissan Frontier.

Debuting in 2004 as a 2005 model, the second-gen Frontier soldiers on as a rugged and more affordable option in the growing midsize field. But it’s this growing field that belatedly spurred Nissan into action. A new Frontier is on the way, sources claim, bearing improvements demanded of it by a populace that now has access to things like the Ford Ranger. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2019

Faraday Future is my favorite automaker and it’s not because they build the best cars. With the exception of a few prototypes of the FF91, Faraday hasn’t really built much of anything. But I’ve become enamored with the story of a mysterious automotive company, funded by a controversial Chinese backer, that continues to defy the odds by just surviving — despite a long history of ridiculous mistakes, financial shortfalls, and missed production targets. For me, its been a suitable substitute for soap operas.

The last time we checked in on Faraday, it had just broken ties with its savior-turned-destructor Evergrande.  The company announced in January that it had agreed to restructure its $2 billion investment in FF and that both parties had acquiesced to drop all litigation against each other. Now Faraday is back with a new joint partnership and a new model — a minivan straight out of a late 20th century sci-fi flick.  (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

As Volkswagen Group embarks on its quest to build and disseminate The People’s Propulsion across the globe, rumblings of an ultra-cheap electric car from the automaker have come into focus.

We began hearing of such a vehicle last year, when reports emerged that VW was planning an EV with an MSRP below 20,000 euros (roughly $22,400 USD). That’s below the expected price floor of even the lowliest MEB-platform I.D. model — the I.D. Neo, which starts production in Europe late this year.

Now, the automaker has revealed where it sees this vehicle fitting into VW Group’s vast lineup, and when it might appear. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2019

Image: Ford

Debuting in North America for the 2013 model year, the third-generation Ford Escape is getting long in the tooth, forced to compete against newer compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V. Toyota’s RAV4 is all-new this year, too. And Dodge, well… Dodge still sells the Journey Abe Lincoln drove from rural Illinois to D.C.

Looking to cement its status in this white-hot segment, Ford has a fourth-generation Escape due out later this year. We’ll have full details for you on April 2nd (the media sneak peek was last week), but here’s something to tide you over. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

smart fortwo electric

Contrary to past media reports, the Smart brand will not join the likes of Plymouth, Scion, and Pontiac in the great automotive graveyard. If that’s a good thing in your books, send a note of thanks to China’s Geely Holding, savior of Volvo and Lotus.

On Thursday, Smart parent company Daimler and Geely announced a 50:50 joint venture to develop and build a new generation of global-market Smart models in China. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

2017 Volkswagen Amarok, Image: Volkswagen

The fledgling alliance between Ford and Volkswagen took another step towards jointly-developed products Thursday, with VW signing an initial contract for a Ranger-based replacement for VW’s aging, midsize Amarok.

Commercial vans and pickups were top of mind when the automakers officially partnered up back in January, with electric vehicles and autonomous driving serving as (potential) future collaborations. More news on that front arrived today, too.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

Image: Lincoln

Eager to generate buzz ahead of the model’s New York Auto Show debut, Lincoln Motor Company has offered up the first official image of its upcoming Corsair — a compact crossover that kicks the brand’s former alphanumeric naming convention to the curb.

Compared to its MKC predecessor, the Corsair should attain higher levels of luxury (and margins), while throwing a new powertrain option into the mix. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

BMW

This certainly won’t be of interest to people living in Tim Cain’s neighborhood, or indeed your own, but it just might be for the legions of North Americans who tell survey peddlers that they’re totally considering an electric vehicle for their next purchase. Note: telling a surveyor  you’re considering an EV purchase is as weighty as telling them you’re considering moving to Canada if the next election doesn’t go your way. It’s a vague assurance of nothing.

Anyway, all that to say that a great many automakers are planning an EV onslaught in the coming decade, and buyers may or not greet them at the dealer door. BMW’s role in this product wave involves an electric version of the X3 crossover, plus an i4 sedan and iNext largeish crossover. As with all EVs, the biggest point of competition will be range, and we now have an idea of what to expect from Bimmer’s green machines. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2019

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Revealed what seems like ages ago, Volkswagen’s upcoming flagship car will arrive in the U.S. as a 2019 model — halfway through 2019. Bearing the inelegant name Arteon, the new range-topper had its boat trip delayed by a new European test cycle that impacted the certification and release of numerous German vehicles.

It could be argued that, in the 13 months since the Arteon’s big reveal, consumer interest in midsize sedans — even ones with liftbacks — has eroded even further. No matter. VW’s going to give its CC replacement a shot. A sign of the Arteon’s impending arrival comes from just-released EPA fuel economy figures that won’t blow anyone’s minds. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2019

GM

That didn’t take long, did it? In a Friday morning announcement, General Motors said it plans to bring a second electric product to the Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit, home to the Chevrolet Bolt.

Forget Buick and Cadillac, too. This Bolt-based product is destined to carry the bowtie badge. (Read More…)

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