General Motors has released the first teaser image of the Velite PHEV concept car which will make its debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show, and signal what is expected out of Buick’s upcoming Buick Blue sub-brand.
GM for its part has remained quiet on specific details of the concept, but did reveal that the Velite’s PHEV system will consist of a direct injection gasoline engine that is paired with the company’s latest “modular intelligent electric drive system, as well as a modular lithium-ion battery pack.
The exterior styling of the concept also largely remains shrouded in mystery but the front end does promise to showcase a bold face that is highlighted by slick headlights that merge at the Buick tri-shield which is also illuminated. The hood also has a relatively elegant design, and appears to thankfully be free of the tacky portholes that have come to define Buick’s offerings (for better or for worse.)
“Additional products featuring HEV, PHEV, and extended range electric vehicle powertrains are on the way from Buick to provide diverse intelligent solutions for green mobility” the announcement went on to reveal hinting that GM has a big green push in store for Buick that would not only be prevalent in China, but also trickle down into the U.S. market where the brand’s lack of green offerings is a noticeable weakness when compared to rivals such as Lexus and Hyundai
It is currently unknown if the powertrain and chassis architectures will lean towards the Cadillac CT6 PHEV or if they will share their heritage with the Chevrolet Volt. However, GM has released statements in the past which state that the company sees the Volt as a range extended EV versus an outright PHEV which could give the CT6 theory an edge in overall feasibility.
Look for additional details to be revealed closer to the car’s formal unveiling on November 18th, with more images possibly appearing before the big unveiling in China.
Audi has big ambitions for its newest crop of RS models, and has given the world a compelling taste of this future with the unveiling of the newly updated 2017 TT RS Coupe and Roadster.
The exterior styling of both models doesn’t stray too far from the standard TT, but Audi designers have given the car a much needed dose of aggression. This is thanks to a redesigned front fascia that features bigger lower air intakes and a slightly modified front grille, while the rear fascia incorporates all new OLED tailights. These new lights incorporate a 3D design, and will be making there production debut on the TT RS.
The driver-centric interior of the TT RS has also seen its fair share of updates with many cues being lifted from the brand’s racing program. This is especially true with the button happy steering wheel that incorporates satellite controls for the car’s handling settings as well as a race inspired start/stop button borrowed from the R8 supercar. The RS also features aluminum or carbon fiber accents as well as a special RS screen that allows drivers to access key information such as tire pressure, torque, and the amount of g-forces being exerted on the car.
Performance for the 2017 RS comes from an all new turbocharged 2.5 liter five cylinder engine that now pumps out a solid 400 horsepower and an equally stout 354 lb-ft of torque. This is sixty more horsepower than the old car, and should allow the RS to hold its own against rivals such as the CLA45 AMG, and even the BMW M2. All of this powered is channeled to all four wheels through a seven speed S tronic automatic which allows the RS Coupe to make the sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with the roadster posting a slightly higher 3.9 seconds time. Braking comes from ventilated and drilled discs up front and solid discs at the rear but Audi will offer carbon fiber ceramic disc brakes as above option. Handling has also been enhanced with Audi engineers equipping the car with electronically controlled adaptive dampers and several chassis tweaks to help eliminate body roll.
Look for the 2017 TT RS to make its way to European showrooms this fall with the coupe starting at 66,400 Euros and the roadster featuring a 69,200 euro price. It’s unclear if Audi will offer the model here in the U.S. but if it does look for it to cross the pond sometime next year.
Amid signs that China’s economy is beginning to slow down, General Motors has revealed that its sales in that key auto market have slid even further possibly hinting at rough times for foreign automakers selling in China.
According to various reports, General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners sold a combined total of 252,000 vehicles in May. This new figure represents a 4.0 percent decline versus last year’s figures at roughly the same time frame. While many observers see this as a sign that China’s booming economy is beginning to slow down, General Motors claims that its recent declines are actually due to model changeovers for a few nameplates, as well as phase outs of several other models. Apparently at one point, GM tried a price-slashing campaign which took $8,680 off the MSRP price. Unfortunately this campaign appeared to do little to help reverse this trend, and wound up failing to save the month overall.
Buick (currently GM’s best selling brand in China) took a beating in May and recorded a noticeable 12.9 percent decrease though on a positive note sales of the Enclave, Encore and the recently launched Envision were up by a whopping 158 percent which is commendable considering Buick’s decreased sales numbers. Meanwhile Cadillac continues to be the lone glimmer of success with the brand recording growth during the month of May with shipments increasing by 11 percent. Deliveries of the ATS and its Chinese exclusive sibling the ATS-L stood out in particular with both models recording a noticeable jump in sales.
Despite the noticeable slow down in growth, GM China president Matt Tsien remains confident in GM’s fortunes stating “We expect about 6-8 percent annual growth, which is significant given the size of the world’s largest passenger vehicle market.” Tsien’s confidence appears to have some traction with the company still recording a 5.1 percent increase in sales despite the gloomy spring but with more signs pointing to a possible slowdown in the Chinese economic juggernaut, it will be interesting to see if GM can maintain its edge in new vehicle sales.