Category Archives: Industry News

2018 GT Stinger

Kia Rules Out Range Topping Stinger GTR, Says Its Too Early To Go All In

While the Kia Stinger has yet to fully complete its distribution to all of the world’s markets, Kia is already shedding some light on potential variants of the already desirable liftback, including perhaps a range topping performance model that would slot above the current GT model, and possibly adopt the GTR moniker.

These revelations come from Albert Biermann the chief exec behind the company’s performance models during a recent interview with the folks at Motoring magazine. Biermann revealed that while “The car technically has more potential no doubt” the reason why Kia has not introduced any variants of the Stinger yet is actually very simple and straightforward.

According to Biermann before the company can introduce a “GTR or something” Kia has to know how  the current iterations of the Stinger will do in terms of overall sales, as well as their long term sustainability in the broader marketplace. Biermann also revealed that Kia needs to identify the customer base for the car, and after that it will then make its mind up on whether there should be a spicier version of the Stinger for buyers that want to have even more performance than the current range topping model, the Stinger GT.

With that said, it appears that for the moment, the Stinger GT (which is the fastest accelerating car Kia has ever produced) will remain the flagship version. As for U.S. buyers, the StingerGT will arrive in our country by the end of the year in either rear or all-wheel drive with a 3.3 liter biturbo V6 producing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to propel the car to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds, so look for the proposed performance model (whenever it arrives) to shave some seconds off of that figure as well as a higher top speed than the GT’s 167 mph.

Source: Motoring

Apple

Tim Cook Confirms Apple’s Stance On Autonomus Vehicles

Apple has had a shroud of secrecy over its autonomous vehicle efforts for the past several years. While the tech giant’s Project Titan in-house vehicle program is largely dead when it comes to building a vehicle from the ground up, Apple revealed that t is still exploring other projects in this burgeoning segment of the automotive world.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple is officially exploring self-driving technology that could potentially make its appearance in production automobiles .

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems” said Cook. It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” Cook claimed that the technology is “the mother of all AI projects,” and that it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”

This news follows on a previous statement by Apple’s Director of Product Integrity Steve Kenner. At the time, Kenner laid out a vision for developing and testing autonomus vehicles on public roads as part of a letter that he wrote to the NHTSA. The letter stated that Apple “is heavily investing in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.

 

 

2019 Ram 1500

Spied: 2019 Ram 1500

It’s not too often we have a chance to encounter upcoming model, but that’s exactly what happened when we had the opprotunity to encounter this 2019 Ram 1500 quad cab tester in the wilds of Michigan.

Being an early stage mule, this particular tester does not shed a whole lot of light on the styling direction that the next generation Ram 1500 will embark on. However, a closer look does showcase glimpses of whats in store. For example the switch from the traditional 5-lug setup to an all new 6-lug arraignment for its wheels could suggest that the new Ram is gaining weight, and that in turn could lead to increased towing and payload capacities.

Extensive interior camoflauge thwarted our efforts to get a clear view of the IP and dashboard. But the appearance of a Chrysler Pacifica derived steering wheel, as well as a mysterious contraption on the front grille could indicate that some of the van’s technologies will carry over to the 2019 Ram 1500. These could include lane keep assist, collision detection software, as well as adaptive cruise control.

Performance hardware is unknown at this juncture, but look for the familiar 3.6 liter V6 and 3.0 liter diesel engine to make their respective returns. The 5.7 liter Hemi V8 however could be axed, and replaced with an all new engine that would embrace turbocharging. This would allow Ram to follow Ford’s lead in this area, while also improving fuel economy.

Look for the 2019 Ram 1500 to eventually make its debut either later this year, or early next year at a future auto show, most likely in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, or the Chicago Auto Show.

 

Model Y

Tesla Teases Model Y CUV

Following the launch of its Model X SUV, Tesla has released a shadowy teaser image of the next step in its plans to dominate the CUV market the Model Y.

Like Tesla’s other teaser images, this one does not reveal too much detail. However, it does give a preview of the basic styling direction Tesla is trying to achieve with the Model Y, as well as the proportions for the front end. Unlike the Model X, the Y is expected to feature a more traditional apperance, and that could include ditching the X’s glitchy falcon doors for more conventional units.

While the Model Y is based on an all new platform, Tesla admits that the Y will eventually outsell the Model 3 due to the high demand from CUV buyers. Tesla also admitted that it wanted to avoid some of the styling compromises that emerged when designing the Model X.

“I think we really made a mistake trying to derive the design for the Model X from the Model S platform” Musk revealed at a recent shareholders meeting.

Look for the Model Y to also feature a more approachable pricing ladder albeit in the higher end of the CUV segment where it will compete with rivals from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

2018 Dodge Demon Priced, Tears Up The Strip At $85k

When Dodge first unleashed the limited production 840 horsepower Dodge Demon at the New York Auto Show, the brand promised to deliver a drag strip experience at a price below $100,000. Admittably, we were a bit skeptical at first, but Dodge has followed through on its word, and delivered the goods.

In fact, Dodge delivered in spades, with the 2018 Dodge Demon featuring a base price of $84,995. This includes the $1700 gas guzzler tax, but not the $1,095 destination fee. Furthermore, many of its options are better deals than the bargain sales at many thrift stores, with each one only costing $1

This includes the Demon Crate as well as more basic additions such as the front passenger seat, rear passenger seat, as well as carpeting for the trunk to make the Demon more civilized (if you must…) Otherwise we recommend indulging yourself with the contents of the forementioned Demon Crate. They include the drag spec front wheels and tires, conical air filter, as well as the PCM and replacement instrument panel switch to unlock the full 840 horsepower wielded by the tricked out V8.

Dodge will also offer 15 diffrent paint colors, and even offer a full leather interior and premium audio system, though look for those two items to hurt the Demon’s performance somewhat.

Overall the grand total adds up to $86,094 when the Demon has its performance and basic occupant friendly options installed. This is a hefty price to pay for a Dodge Challenger at first glance, but considering all the drag spec gear it possesses straight from the factory, the prospect doesn’t seem so crazy. Especially since its the only factory ready drag car with a full factory warranty including a five year/60,000 mile warranty for the powertrain.

Ford Ousts Fields In Management Shakeup

In a move that aims to address a recent slide in Ford’s core automobile shares, The company is set to formally oust CEO Mark Fields, and also shuffle three other excecs in an effort to create a new corporate structure, according to those familiar with the situation.

Jim Hackett the chief of Ford’s autonomus vehicle program will assume full control from Fields, with the company poised to make an announcement later today.

The departure of Fields comes amid a 40 percent slide in Ford’s share price, and slower than expected progress in the development of mobility solutions. This is in contrast to when Fields first took the reigns three years ago from Alan Mually, and promised to bring newfound vigor and vibrancy to Ford’s corporate operations.

Fields departure also comes after he was viciously criticized by investors and members of Ford’s board two weeks ago for the company’s deteriorating financial results. Fields appeared to try and address these failures by cutting 1,400 salaried jobs in the company, but that wasn’t enough to curb the damage that was already done.

Hackett will have plenty of things to do when he formally assumes control of the company. A big project is supercharging Ford’s research into autonomus vehicles. Ford is currently lagging behind larger firms like General Motors, as well as Silicon Valley upstart companies in the race to develop self driving vehicles. Ford originally revealed that it would have a vehicle on the road by 2021, but both GM and Google have beaten Dearborn to the punch with self driving test vehicles.

The strong growth of Tesla in recent years also highlighted how behind Ford was in developing electric vehicles. While the company does have plug-in versions of the Focus and Fusion, the axed Ford C-Max proved to be a sales flop, and Ford still does not have a competitor for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Hackett will also need to address a 25 percent decline in overall sales especially in compact and mid-size cars, with the company making little if any money on the vehicles it does sell. A wave of safety recalls has also focused unwanted attention on vehicle quality.

The departure of Mr. Fields is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with three other executives expected to be moved as part of the shakeup. Joseph R. Hinrichs head of Ford’s Americas Division will broaden his role, and become executive vice president of global operations. James D. Farley Jr., who currently oversees Ford Europe, will be appointed head of worldwide marketing and sales. Lastly, Marcy Klevorn (Ford’s chief technical officer) will take over Mr. Hackett’s old posistion at the mobility division.

It will be interesting to see if this corporate shakedown will help improve Ford’s long term performance, and also what models could end up on the chopping block as part of any Hackett motivated turn around plan.

 

BMW Confirms Return Of 8 Series

Following on the heels of BMW’s quiet axing of the 6-Series coupe, the German car maker revealed that it is breathing new life into its long dormant 8-Series moniker in a bid to renew its push into the large luxury coupe market.

For those unfamiliar with the 8-Series, it originally appeared in 1989, and was designed to cater to big coupe buyers looking for a distinctive alternative to the 6-Series. However, its glitchy electronics, as well as the global recession in the 1990s, caused sales to plummet before it was mercifully pulled from the U.S. in 1997, and from Europe in 1999.

BMW accompanied this announcement with a lone teaser image that showcases a sleek side profile, as well as wide rear hips and a raked roofline. These traits are promising, especially since the 8-Series is expected to renew its focus on style and flair. Look for the new model to embrace plenty of cues from the Gran Lusso concept which made its apperance back in 2013, and wowed audiences with its stunning good looks.

BMW claims that the concept in the teaser image is a design study, but expect minimal changes when it makes the transistion to production, and arrive on dealer lots in 2018. A higher price tag will also be part of the package given its status as a flagship offering.

Look for the 7-Series to play a key role in the car’s devlopment, with much of its technology and even its V12 engine making the jump into the bigger 8-Series. The model could also spawn Gran Coupe and M8 versions, though plans for these models are mere rumors at this point.

With the confirmation of the 8- Series, the Mercedes S-Class coupe will have a new rival in its niche segment, and it could very well become a three way fight if seperate rumors of an Audi A9 are indeed true.

 

Lexus To Debut LS 500 F Sport In New York

Following on the heels of the LS 500’s debut in Detroit, as well as the Geneva debut of its eco friendly sibling the LS 500h. Lexus has revealed that it will complete the circle with the New York debut of the sport tuned LS 500 F Sport.

Like its siblings, the F Sport will be built on Lexus’s all new GA-L platform which is already the stiffest LS architecture ever produced. Lexus claims that the F Sport will make full use of its stiffness which should translate into possibly offering a tweaked suspension as well as other minor modifications.

The lone teaser image Lexus released does not reveal too much about the exterior styling, but it does confirm that sporty elements will be at the forefront here. These cues include tinted tailights, a gloss black diffuser, intergrated dual exhaust system, and prominent F-Sport badge.

Look for the car to also come equipped with the Lexus Dynamic Handling Package as well as the Lexus Safety System+pack. Beefier brakes help improve stopping distances while a limited slip differential could help sharpen power distribution.

Lexus will be unveiling the LS 500 F Sport on April 12th in New York at the Jacob Javitz Cinvention Center. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest.com for our live coverage of the New York Auto Show including the unveiling of the LS 500 F Sport.

Honda Civic Si Torque Figure Revealed

With all the attention focused on the range topping Civic Type R, its easy to forget that the Japanese car maker is also preparing to unleash an updated Civic Si to appeal to budget minded enthusiasts. Honda has kept the bulk of the details under wraps so far, but it appears that this tight cloak of secrecy is beginning to unravel.

While it is currently unknown how much horsepower the next generation Civic Si will produce, an email that was sent to a prospective buyer has revealed the amount of torque that the upcoming model will produce. The message was posted on the CivicX forum last Thursday, and proclaims “The all new Civic Si features a turbocharged engine and 192 lb-ft of torque, making your everyday errands more exciting than ever.

If this figure is true, then the 1.5 liter turbocharged engine that will be powering the Si will be significantly less potent than the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder that will be powering the Type R. For reference, the Type R’s engine will produce 295 lb-ft of torque. As a matter of fact, this figure is actually not that much higher than the 177 lb-ft of torque wielded by the Civic Hatchback Sport.

However, look for the Si to stand out from that model by offering more horsepower with early projections suggesting that it will have at least 200 horsepower versus the 180 horsepower that the Sport possesses.  This would also support Honda’s plans to formally revive its performance intentions, and create ample separation in performance numbers for each of its models.

Despite this relatively modest figure, 192 lb-ft is still an impressive number from a 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, and it would also finally resolve the lack of torque that defined older iterations of the Si, which embraced higher rev limits and a pure naturally aspirated layout in terms of power delivery.

Ford, Magna Develop New Carbon Fiber Subframe

The quest for higher fuel economy has forced many automakers to explore alternative solutions to overcome this dilemma with Ford and Magna revealing an interesting solution to this challenge that could redefine the way we think about vehicle underpinnings.

Unlike the bulk of new technologies that focus on the engine compartment, Ford and Magna’s new innovation focuses on the vehicle’s subframe, with the new unit embracing carbon fiber construction versus traditional steel.

In addition to the obvious weight savings this provides, the new frame also uses fewer pieces, and has simpler construction than before. This is thanks to the elimination of 45 steel pieces which are replaced with two molded parts and four metallic mounting points. This slashes the part count by 87 percent, and the moldings even use high strength adhesives and rivets to help hold the entire unit together. Magna also revealed that despite the 34 percent drop in weight, the prototype frame does not skimp on safety, and will not sacrifice rigidity or crash worthiness.

Currently Magna is producing the subframes for continued development and testing at Ford. The auto giant will evaluate factors such as corrosion, stone chip resistance, as well bolt load retention. Look for elements of this technology to eventually trickle into production vehicles though it could be a while before the cost and feasibility challenges are surpassed for mass vehicle production.