Category Archives: Industry News

Alpine Won’t Sell A110 Coupe In U.S. Market

For eager enthusiasts that were interested in perhaps slaying the USA’s toughest driving road’s in Alpine’s resurrected A110 coupe, those dreams have been dashed, according to a new report that has emerged from the halls of the Geneva Motor Show.

In an interview conducted with the folks at LeftLane news, Alpine CEO Bernard Ollivier revealed that the stylish, and distinctively French alternative, to the Porsche Cayman will not be making the trek across the pond to our shores anytime soon.

“At the moment we are not planning on selling the A110 in the U.S. Relaunching the brand is a big project. Right now we’re focusing on markets like Europe and Japan” said Ollivier.

This is a disappointing decision, but it is understandable at the same time, especially due to Alpine’s relatively low awareness among U.S. customers. At one point, the brand nearly arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, but Renault’s collapsing foothold on the U.S. market as well as the chaos caused by the demise of AMC forced Alpine to shelve those plans.

Meanwhile in its home European market, demand for the quirky two door is very strong. This is buoyed by its potent 252 horsepower engine, as well as its sleek and lightweight aluminium body. The first wave of A110s to roll off the assembly line will be part of a limited edition series dubbed the “Premiere Edition.” Production of this series will be limited to 1,955 copies, and fans have already claimed a good chunk of the production run especially before the coupe even made its official debut at Geneva.

GM Announces Sale of Opel/Vauxhall To PSA

Confirming long suspected rumors and speculation that such a deal was indeed in the works, GM officially revealed that it has sold both Opel and its British cousin Vauxhall to PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) ahead of the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The €2.2 billion sale marks the end of an era for GM, with the automaker completly leaving the European market after a decades long presence. While both Vauxhall and Opel had considerable history in the British and German markets respectively, they also transformed into a colossal money pit for GM in recent years, with both brands not being able to make a profit in the last sixteen years.

This is despite the shuttering of Chevrolet’s European sales division two years ago, which was supposed to give new life to lagging Opel sales, but ultimately failed to achieve the turnaround GM wanted.

GM revealed that it will still be involved with Opel via its rights to purchase warrants of PSA shares, which could resolve some issues regarding the use of GM technologies in the current lineup of Opel/Vauxhall models.

As for PSA, the French auto giant believes that it can return Opel to profitability by 2020 thanks to slashes in research and development costs, as well as the sharing of platforms and technologies across their portfolio of brands.

PSA CEO Carlos Tavarres, the man who helped Peugeot and Citroen rise from the brink of collapse a few years ago, is confident that he could pull the same feat for struggling Opel and its British sibling Vauxhall.

“We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while still respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees.” stated Tavarres in an online statement.

The U.S. market will feel some of the ripple effect from this action, since many of Buick’s product offerings like the Cascada and Encore trace their roots to Opel based products. GM revealed that PSA will continue to honor existing supply agreements with Buick and Australia-based Holden, but it could throw a sizable monkey wrench into plans for their next gen replacements, especially those currently on the drawing board.

That said, the next generation Buick Regal could provide an opprotunity for PSA to expand its reach into the U.S. market where its main Peugeot and Citroen brands still have a poor reputation among buyers, versus the more favorable history associated with Buick.

Finally, the deal was preceded by several minor collaboration efforts that took place back in 2012 when GM bought a seven percent stake in PSA. Several Peugeot-Citroen models are already built by Opel and vice versa, with the upcoming Citroen C3 Picasso sharing its components with the Geneva bound Opel Crossland X.

Smart To Go EV Only In U.S. Market

A new report from Daimler owned Smart reveals that the brand will stop selling a large slice of its current lineup in the U.S. and Canada, with only EV models making up the range after 2017.

This decision was shared to Smart dealers via a letter that was written by Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dieter Exler, and was not made public. Automotive News however, managed to obtain a copy of this letter which reveals.

“Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio,” he explained. “The smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero-emissions smart electric drive coupe and cabrio in the U.S. and Canada.”

Production of the U.S. spec fortwo will cease in April, but sales will continue until the present inventory runs out, which will give dealerships time to sell them to interested buyers. The first deliveries of the electric models will begin this summer, and expect the full rollout to be completed in early fall.

The announcement does not come as a suprise since the brand’s North American sales have been slowly dwindling over the past few years. According to Automotive News, the brand’s, peak sales year was in 2014, when it sold 10,453 cars. Since that time, sales have plummeted, with the brand only selling 6,211 units.

The first generation Smart car was a compelling idea when it first came out, and it managed to have strong success due to the spike in oil prices in 2008. However, with gas prices lower, and demand for SUVs and crossovers on the rise, many Americans were simply not interested in the pint sized two seater.

Smart’s decision to go EV only after 2017 applies to the U.S. and Canada. Buyers in other markets like Europe, will still have access to the current generation fortwo petrol model, which is powered by a Renault sourced three cylinder engine.

2018 Dodge Demon Sheds Weight In New Teaser [Video]

The mad scientists at SRT are continuing their carefully orchestrated hype campaign, and have unleashed a new teaser video for the 2018 Dodge Demon ahead of its debut at the New York Auto Show.

Following up on last weeks “Caged”  teaser video, this new video dubbed “Reduction” focuses on the weight loss plan that SRT engineers have in store for the Demon.

Dodge claims that the Demon will be 200 lbs lighter than the Hellcat it replaces. While the end result is still a hefty 4500 lbs, look for thisDodge Demon weight shedding to help improve the Demon’s handling manners as well as acceleration times.

The video also seems to confirm that the Dodge Demon will be rear-wheel drive versus all-wheel drive due to the lack of a front diffrential. If that’s the case, we suspect its omission is due to it not being able to handle the Demon’s high horsepower versus being an obstacle to overall weight savings.

For those that prefer to skip the teasers, Instagram user @illegal_machine shared a few photos that could very well be a Demon in the flesh.

While it looks like a mid-stage cobbled together prototype, it does have several Demon cues including the wider hood, bigger scoop, Demon logo, as well as smaller wheels that coincide with both teaser videos.

In the meantime you can check out the latest teaser video as well the alleged pictures below.

 

Lordy. @sinister_z07 just posted this. Could it be? #Demon

A photo posted by Ill Mac (@illegal_machine) on

 

2018 Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang Breaks The Internet With New Front Fascia

Keeping upcoming vehicles a secret is becoming harder and harder these days, and thanks to a poorly timed video leak, we now have a good look at the 2018 Ford Mustang.

The leaked b-roll footage was posted on www.mustangg6.com and once you stomach the obviously royalty free soundtrack, it does 2018 Mustangoffer a compelling look at the car. For starters the new front fascia is on full display, and is a droopier affair than before, with more upright fog lamp surrounds and a lightly tweaked grille.

Meanwhile, the rear fascia features equally minor tweaks, and the spoiler switches from an intergrated piece to one that is higher mounted perhaps in 2018 Mustanga bid to improve downforce on the rear end. The 2018 Mustang featured in the video clip is a GT Performance Package model, and the 5.0 liter badges confirm that the Coyote V8 engine will carry on, at least for the time being. No interior shots were featured in the b-roll, but expect it to largely carryover unchanged.

Look for more information to be revealed over the next few weeks. The 2018 Mustang was originally supposed to be unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show last week, but was scratched at the last minute for unknown reasons.

Ford Confirms Hybrid Mustang, F-150 models

In an announcement released earlier today, Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields revealed that th company is ramping up its investment in hybrid vehicles and that it is bringing hybrid capability to the Mustang and F-150 models.

Revealed to be part of a $4.5 million dollar push towards electrification that involves 13 new models, the Mustang and F-150 versions would help the inititave reach more customers with the Mustang in particular standing out as the world’s only hybrid muscle car offering.

Ford chose to not go into depth regarding both hybrid systems, but Fields did reveal that the Mustang hybrid will deliver “V8 power and even more low end torque.” This could mean that the proposed hybrid system would be offered on the mid-range V6 engine, but we’ll have to wait until the model is unveiled to judge for ourselves.

As for the F-150 version details surrounding it are even murkier but Fields did slip that the new hybrid truck would be an electrified alternative to the EcoBoost V6 while also serving as an on board generator for certain equipment when put to use out on the job site.

The biggest announcement however is where all of these vehicles will be built with the company recently scrapping its plans to build a manufacturing facility in San Luis Potisi Mexico. Instead, the company will invest this green future with upgrades at its Flat Rock, MI assembly plant which is currently the home for Mustang production and will help generate new jobs in the area as well.

Look for more information to.be unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Rolls Royce Announces Key Step For Upcoming SUV

With all the buzz surrounding the Bentley Bentayga SUV, it is easy to forget that Rolls Royce also has an SUV entry in the works. Information has been pretty tight lipped, but the British luxury brand has revealed new details about the upcoming model as well as a pair of teaser images.

These images are the first time that its Project Cullinan SUV has been seen in its final p90244158_lowres_project-cullinan-takproduction body. While Rolls Royce engineers did their best to hide things with loads of swirly camoflauge, key details still make themselves apparent. The front fascia falls in line with typical Rolls Royce cues, and is centered around the bold slatted grille as well as its elegantly styled hood.

Meanwhile the rear fascia adopts a formal wagon profile, but the camoflauge hides key styling elements, so we’ll have to wait until its formal unveiling to issue our verdict. The mirrors are also textbook Rolls, and borrow their basic inspiration from the Phantom and Ghost sedans.

Performance hardware is still a mystery, but Rolls Royce did reveal that Project Cullinan will begin cold weather testing in the Arctic Circle sometime after Christmas before flying to the Middle East (its key market) for hot weather testing late next year. We suspect that it will initially debut with a twelve cylinder engine before adding a V8 later in its production run. Like the Bentayga, an automatic will be the sole transmission choice avalible.

With this current testing schedule, Project Cullinan could make its formal debut either at the end of next year, or the beginning of the following year. When it does, it will compete with not only the forementioned Bentayga, but also the upcoming Lamborghini Uruus and the Aston Martin DBX.

Fisker Previews EMotion Electric Car

Henrik Fisker always seems to find a way to stay busy in the automotive world. From being the man responsible for the current generation Aston Martin Vantage as well as the recently axed DB9, to crafting the outright bonkers Force 1 supercar. Fisker’s mark on the industry is undisputed, and it appears that his legacy will continue with his latest creation the EMotion electric car.

Unlike the Force 1 which was based on the Dodge Viper and sparked a legal spat with Aston Martin, the EMotion is an all new effort with the car boasting a wedge shaped design that is decidely less dainty than the Fisker Karma.

The EMotion also embraces the recent shift towards four door coupes though admittably some of the design elements here may appear EMotionto have a subtle relationship with Fisker’s old creation which is now being offered by Chinese firm Wanxiang under the Revero nameplate.

“Combining redefined proportions with game-changing battery technology, the car will boast the world’s longest electric range of any production vehicle on the road,” the company revealed in an accompanying statement. “For the first time in automotive history, Fisker’s electric vehicle adaptive construction transforms the use of lightweight materials without compromising elegance to create a superior driving experience.”

The EMotion will also allegedly have more rear head and leg room than comporable segment rivals with the rest of the cabin “cocooning” occupants in premium materials as well as superior ergonomic design.

Like Tesla, Fisker is aiming to create EV offerings that set new benchmarks for range and cost in every segment. Fisker’s strategy also mirrors Tesla’s and will initally be defined by premium models before trickling down market to appeal to more buyers.

Curiously, Fisker is taking an unconventional approach when it comes to battery technology with the firm ditching existing suppliers in favor of an all new seperate battery division dubbed Fisker Nanotech. The division is said to be pursuing a mysterious breakthrough battery technology that will be heralded by the EMotion. If all goes to plan, the car could theoretically deliver a driving range of 400 miles which would smash the rather low range boasted by many of its rivals.

It will be intersting to see if Fisker can use this second chance effort to finally build a sucessful EV offering. Its last attempt the forementioned Karma had early inital promise, but the company was forced to stop building it in 2012 after a series of issues with its old supplier A123 caused the battery maker to go bankrupt which in turn nearly crippled Fisker.

The EMotion then, can be seen as the company’s all in bet on the green car industry, and it will be interesting to see if the EMotion and its breakthrough battery technology can truly stand out against traditional lithium-ion batteries without falling into the same traps that doomed previous breakthrough efforts.

Kia Considering All Electric Version Of Nero CUV

With the launch of the hybrid version of the Niro CUV, a new report suggests that Kia is considering an all electric version of the Niro in a bid to help it nab sales as well as increase Kia’s reputation and pedigree in the growing green car segment.

This comes from a statement released by Kia Motors operating chief Tae-Hyun-Oh who revealed in an interview with the British publication Car Dealer magazine that the Niro’s size, utility, as well as stricter emissions laws could force the Korean firm to build a Niro EV. Kia’s sister company Hyundai already sells the Tuscon Fuel Cell crossover in limited markets, as such Kia could also be considering a fuel cell car in order to further expand the brand’s experience in this segment even further.

Currently the Niro has done relatively well for Kia with the brand selling roughly 1,000 units to customers since it made its formal debut in dealer lots back in August. The all-electric version of the Niro would be underpinned on the same platform as the Kia Ioniq. The Ioniq was designed to feature hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric variants with all three part of a unified “three pronged attack” that was designed to help maximize the Ioniq’s exposure in the marketplace. The all electric version of the Ioniq made its debut in South Korea and is expected to make its way to the U.S. before the end of 2016. When it eventually arrives, the car will feature a 28 kilowatt-hour battery pack that provides a driving range of about 110 miles on a single charge.

At the moment, Kia sells an all electric version of the Soul crossover in select markets. That model has a 93 mile driving range but it could increase thanks to a 2018 refresh that Kia has planned for the Soul. This boost would allow the Soul EV to better compete against rivals like the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3.

Look for the momentum of this project to hinge on sales of the Niro hybrid and whether they are high enough to justify expanding the Niro family especially as an all electric vehicle which tends to make development expensive.

Volkswagen Axes Two Door Golf, GTI For 2017

With sales of two door hatchbacks in a state of total collapse in both the U.S. and its home market in Europe. Volkswagen has admitted defeat, and revealed that it will be pulling the two door GTI and Golf hatchbacks from production for 2017.

The move was revealed in an interview Car & Driver magazine did with Volkswagen of America’s marketing chief Hendrick Muth. Muth went straight to the point with his remarks revealing ” The trend is clearly shifting towards four-door models.” Volkswagen’s decision follows on the heels of similar decisions in Europe by Ford, Renault, and Peugeot to axe their two door hatchback offerings.

While this decision will certainly ruffle the feathers of enthusiasts that lovingly embraced the model since it’s 1972 debut. The elimination of the slow selling two door can help Volkswagen save money on production costs, while also allowing the company to become more streamlined at the same time. Lastly the four door models would also help improve passenger access to the rear seats which can be a challenge in a two door layout.

This decision also comes on the heels of a prior report that suggested that the same fate is in store for the smaller two door Polo hatchback with Audi using slow sales as a reason to reevaluate the future of the two door A1 and A3 as well as the A3 convertible via alleged remarks made by Audi chief Rupert Stadler.