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Archive for the ‘Crossovers/CUVs’ Category

2020 Kia Soul Teased Ahead of LA Auto Show Debut

New platform, new longer-range EV, more tech - but a familiar design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

Kia's quirky crossover will likely grow slightly larger when the gen-3 model hits the road.

The annual L.A. Auto Show is approaching fast and that means manufacturers are starting to drop hints about all the new models they’ll be debuting in the City of Angels later this month.

The latest to weigh in with a teaser image is Kia, which will pull the wraps off the 2020 Soul at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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Official details about the 2020 Kia Soul are sparse, the Korean carmaker noting only that “the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognizable design.”

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Driving to Thanksgiving Dinner? It’ll Cost More and Take Longer

Gas prices hitting five-year high, drivers up 4.8%.

by Michael Strong on Nov.09, 2018

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, drivers can expect to spend as much as four times longer getting to their destination.

For the past few years, more and more Americans have been racking up miles on their cars, trucks, minivans, etc., setting new records for miles traveled. That’s also been the case for big holidays and it’s expected to continue for Thanksgiving this year.

AAA predicts that more than 54 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Turkey Day later this month. That is a 4.8% increase over last year’s total.

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The 2018 holiday weekend – defined as Nov. 21–25 – will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.  (more…)

Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

VCNA chief acknowledges reliability concerns but says problems, warranty costs, are tumbling.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.08, 2018

Volvo Cars North America CEO Anders Gustafsson with images of some of the first workers at the automaker's new Charleston plant.

U.S. new vehicle sales are on course to post their second consecutive decline as 2018 draws to a close, but you’d have a hard time telling that if you were just looking at Volvo’s numbers.

The Swedish automaker has posted a 27% jump in demand through the end of October and, with more products ready to land in U.S. showrooms, Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson said Thursday he is optimistic the company can keep its momentum growing.

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Several factors could give meaning to his forecast, including not just the launch of the new Volvo S60, but the start of production at the Chinese-owned automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Then there’s Care by Volvo, the subscription program the carmaker launched late last year.

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Is Toyota Next to Pare Back its Passenger Car Line?

US CEO “taking a hard look” at model mix in the era of the SUV.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.06, 2018

No longer #1; the Camry is just one of the Toyota passenger car models losing momentum.

With the exception of the Mustang, Ford is winding down production of passenger cars. Fiat Chrysler has eliminated almost all of its sedans and coupes, as well. In an era when SUVs have come to rule the roads, could Toyota be far behind?

While we’re not likely to see the Camry or Corolla nameplates vanish anytime soon, the Japanese giant is also rethinking its model mix and could toss some of its sedans, coupes and hatchbacks as it puts more of an emphasis on sport and crossover-utility vehicles, according to the head of its North American operations.

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“We are taking a hard look at all the segments we compete in, to make sure we are competing in profitable segments and that products that we sell have strategic value to the brand,” Jim Lentz told the Wall Street Journal.

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Detroit Symphony Turns Lincoln Warning Buzzers into Sweet Music

Automaker wants to create a “symphonic landscape.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.05, 2018

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra made over 100 recordings before coming up with the right warning sounds for the new Lincoln Aviator.

Warning sounds are, by definition, designed to draw your attention, but sometimes they also can get on your nerves.

Ford has been trying to find the right balance with some recent products, looking for sounds that are distinctive yet easy on the ears. It’s going a step further with the new SUV its luxury brand will launch this coming year, turning to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to record 25 of the “non-critical, soft-warning chimes and hard-warning chimes that will be used in the new Lincoln Aviator.

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“Aviator represents the true vision of the Lincoln brand,” explains Lincoln design director David Woodhouse. “With a look this striking, we needed to have sounds that matched the beauty of this vehicle.”

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Tesla Expects to Spend as Much as $6B in Next Two Years

Money to be used for product development, China plant.

by Michael Strong on Nov.02, 2018

Tesla's move to build a new plan in China will include up to $3 billion to for a new plant and other expenditures.

Already plagued by rumors of needing to raise additional money, Tesla officials expect to spend between $5 billion and $6 billion in the next two years to expand production.

The company, which revealed the plan in its quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is making big moves with the money.

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Tesla will spend between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in capital expenditures readying the business for increased Model 3 production, development on its next vehicle, the Model Y, the second-generation Roadster and other projects, according to the filing. (more…)

New Vehicle Prices Continue to Rise in Fourth Quarter

More content, higher interest rates driving increase.

by Michael Strong on Nov.01, 2018

Ford's new SUV sales are on the rise, as is its average transaction price by $1,400 per vehicle.

Despite predictions of an overall decline, U.S. auto sales rose slightly in October, led by companies with shiny new sport-utilities and crossovers to offer buyers.

However, those more desirable vehicles combined with rising interest rates are resulting in new vehicle prices that are on the rise. This is likely, at least according to one automaker, put a dent in sales for the remainder of the year.

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During its sales call, executives at Ford Motor Co. warned sales numbers will continue to fall in 2018, in part because of the rising interest rates pushing up prices. (more…)

FCA, Honda and VW Lead October Auto Sales

Ford, Toyota and Nissan struggle in first month of new quarter.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.01, 2018

The Jeep Wrangler led Fiat Chrysler to a 16% sales jump in October. The vehicle is setting new sales records.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Honda and Volkswagen of America set the mark for industry sales in October, reporting sales increases, while rivals such as Ford Motor Co, Toyota and Nissan struggled as sales of new vehicles slowed in October.

FCA’s 15% jump in sales was paced by Jeep, particularly the new Jeep Wrangler, which is setting sales records, and the Ram brand.

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Honda, meanwhile, said its sales increase by 6.4% thanks not only to strong sales of its trucks and sport-utility vehicles, but also of its electrified vehicles, which set a record for the second consecutive month, according to the company’s sales release.  (more…)

Automakers Deliver Some Neat Tricks and Plenty of Treats for SEMA Show

Here's our round-up of the coolest, hottest and wackiest concepts to roll into the Las Vegas Convention Center.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.31, 2018

The Honda Rugged Open Air concept.

Trick or Treat? Make that trick and treat, as the annual SEMA Show gets underway in Las Vegas.

Perfectly timed for Halloween, the annual aftermarket event regularly sees the debut of some intriguing concept vehicles from U.S., Asian and European automakers, and this year is no exception.

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In fact, there’s a Demon-chaser from Mopar which reveals a 1,000-horsepower crate motor that takes last year’s version of the Hellcat line to new levels. (more…)

Green Car of the Year Finalists Revealed

“Green” comes in many forms.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Insight is Honda's third attempt to market a mainstream, entry-level hybrid: an a possible winner of Green Car of the Year.

Not all that long ago, motorists looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle were likely in for a long search, with only a handful of models on the market. These days, it’s becoming a lot easier, as more and more new alternatives come to market, seemingly almost every week.

And that’s convinced the organizers of the annual Green Car of the Year Awards to expand their program this year. “Green comes in many forms,” they explain, noting that this year will bring new awards for the Luxury Green Car of the Year and the Green SUV of the Year.

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The three awards will be handed out at the Los Angeles International Auto Show just a month from now, and could see the jury highlight the wide range of “green” technologies now available to American motorists. (more…)