Blogs on new products

Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
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Ford has spent billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied F-150, and at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants. (REUTERS)
Investors might be a little concerned at how Ford is spending its money. Ford dropped billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150. Then it spent at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants. Ford has said, and continues to say, that fuel economy is the No. 1 unmet need of its ...
     Continue reading "Ford’s payoff from aluminum bet still years away" » Nov 25, 2014 11:15 am U.S. ET
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5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC

Posted 10:50 am U.S. ET, Nov. 25
TOKYO -- Is it too much to say that the new Lexus RC is the best-looking Lexus ever? Even better than the LFA? I finally got behind the wheel an RC 350 F Sport last weekend, and I never got tired looking at the car, from any angle. Design is always subjective, but if this is a sign of future cars from Lexus, brand boss Tokuo Fukuichi is working magic, in my book. Here ar ...
     Continue reading "5 cool flourishes on new Lexus RC " » Nov 25, 2014 10:50 am U.S. ET
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Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag

Posted 3:26 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
In September, we crunched the numbers in an attempt to predict the fuel economy ratings for the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. Turns out, we were pretty darn close. Today, Ford finally released those long-awaited official EPA numbers for its lightweight aluminum truck. Some of the gains are impressive. Some are not, and those are the ones that Ford would prefer ...
     Continue reading "Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag" » Nov 21, 2014 3:26 pm U.S. ET
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Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee

Posted 2:41 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
LOS ANGELES -- Luxury automobiles typically offer customers a combination of high performance, advanced technology and plush comfort. But a new crop of upscale cars may offer wealthy car buyers something else: a clearer conscience. That trend was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where Volvo Cars showed the plug-in hybrid version of its forthcoming XC90. It’s ...
     Continue reading "Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee" » Nov 21, 2014 2:41 pm U.S. ET
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Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang

Posted 2:55 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
LOS ANGELES -- Henrik Fisker, the Danish designer behind the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8 and the ill-fated Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, apparently can design an American muscle car, too. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the Southern California tuner Galpin Auto Sports, Fisker unveiled the Galpin-Fisker Rocket, a 725-hp, carbon-fiber-bodied Mustang that goes on sale next ye ...
     Continue reading "Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang" » Nov 20, 2014 2:55 pm U.S. ET
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Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
Tech giants Apple and Google have generated a lot of hype over the past 12 months over their plans to tightly integrate their smartphones and app technology with in-car infotainment systems. Apple has made a show of publicly demonstrating its CarPlay software, which will enable drivers to use their dashboard screens and steering wheel buttons and knobs to control iPhone a ...
     Continue reading "Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
It’s ironic that the most futuristic Vision Gran Turismo virtual racer to date also has the deepest historical ties to motorsports. Chevrolet revealed a real-life mock-up of its imaginative Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept during the Los Angeles Auto Show, simultaneously challenging the boundaries of vehicle design while paying homage to a legendary racing b ...
     Continue reading "Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future" » Nov 20, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
One of the highlights of the new Mercedes-Maybach S600 superluxury sedan is something you’re not supposed to notice: noise, or more precisely, the lack of it. Mercedes-Benz is touting the $200,000 car as the quietest on the road, and went to significant lengths to ensure the car’s occupants are sealed off from outside distractions. The noise-deadening measure ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling

Posted 1:00 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
LOS ANGELES -- To help Google Inc.’s new Android Auto system gain favor, Honda Motor Co. is doing something rare in the auto industry: subsidizing its rivals. Today, at a connected-car conference ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Google released the first software developer kit for Android Auto, which puts the navigation and other features from an Android smartpho ...
     Continue reading "Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling" » Nov 18, 2014 1:00 pm U.S. ET
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Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
Traffic apps that alert users about upcoming delays aren’t new. Mobile app Waze, for instance, has turned the navigation experience into a community event thanks to a crowd-sourcing approach where drivers notify one another of upcoming road closures, police traps and traffic conditions -- dotting maps with an array of colorful notification icons. It’s a usefu ...
     Continue reading "Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it" » Nov 18, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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Assembly redo: How Mercedes' Sprinter dodges chicken tax

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 18
LADSON, S.C. -- A curious exercise in automobile manufacturing takes place daily inside the old, 350,000-square-foot Western Star truck plant here that is now owned by Daimler. This is where Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter cargo vans are reassembled after being fully built and tested in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s the “chicken tax” at work. After ...
     Continue reading "Assembly redo: How Mercedes' Sprinter dodges chicken tax" » Nov 18, 2014 11:15 am U.S. ET
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Why turbocharger fans owe Saab a thank-you

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Nov. 11
We are gathered here today to pay our respects to Saab. The deceased Swedish automaker’s lasting legacy is not the unconventional place it put the ignition switch. It isn’t the blackout feature that allowed the driver to turn off all the instrument lights except the speedometer, nor is it the clamshell hood or any other quirky Saab feature. Saab’s contr ...
     Continue reading "Why turbocharger fans owe Saab a thank-you" » Nov 11, 2014 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Lexus RC media test drive canceled in Japan -- for lack of interest

Posted 12:08 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 6
TOKYO -- Well, this is embarrassing. For Toyota Motor Corp. as well as Japan’s so-called automotive press corps. Toyota notified journalists last week that a long-scheduled new-car test-drive event was scrubbed -- for lack of interest. And it was not just for any new car. The event was supposed to showcase the new Lexus RC sports coupe, the lineup’s new halo ...
     Continue reading "Lexus RC media test drive canceled in Japan -- for lack of interest" » Nov 6, 2014 12:08 pm U.S. ET
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How Chrysler's Hellcat engine almost died

Posted 12:45 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 4
One of the year’s hottest new engines almost never happened. In early 2011, as Fiat was developing a strategy for Chrysler and deciding where to spend scarce product development funds, the 707-hp Hellcat Hemi V-8 debuting in the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger didn’t make the cut. The project was shelved and engineers scattered to work on other projects, sa ...
     Continue reading "How Chrysler's Hellcat engine almost died" » Nov 4, 2014 12:45 pm U.S. ET
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Why the stick shift's days may be numbered

Posted 9:00 am U.S. ET, Oct. 28
DETROIT -- Two cars I have test driven recently finally convinced me the good old-fashioned manual transmission will soon be dead. General Motors let auto writers test drive the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette with its new eight-speed automatic transmission. And among our rotating fleet of test cars here at work, a 2014 Jaguar F-Type has been a well-liked visitor. The F-Type also ...
     Continue reading "Why the stick shift's days may be numbered " » Oct 28, 2014 9:00 am U.S. ET
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Rick Case to sell first N.A. 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C for charity's sake

Posted 4:09 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 24
The first new Alfa Romeo to be sold in this country in 20 years will be auctioned next week for charity. That’s thanks to Rick and Rita Case, owners of Rick Case Automotive Group in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Rick Case says his Alfa Romeo dealership in Davie, Fla., is the first store to receive one of the highly anticipated 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Italian supercars. It will ...
     Continue reading "Rick Case to sell first N.A. 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C for charity's sake" » Oct 24, 2014 4:09 pm U.S. ET
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Sizing up the field for 2015 Car, Truck of Year honors

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 21
HELL, Mich. -- Many of the jurors who select the North American Car and Truck of the Year convened in this small town northwest of Ann Arbor last week to test drive the class of 2015. There are 22 vehicles in contention. The twisty, undulating roads to Hell, from Hell and around Hell are paved with good indentions. You can really wring out a chassis on the variety of sur ...
     Continue reading "Sizing up the field for 2015 Car, Truck of Year honors" » Oct 21, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Volvo's new engine: Turbocharger? Supercharger? What is this thing?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 14
Perhaps you saw the news last week about an experimental engine under development at Volvo. It’s a 2.0-liter gasoline-powered four-cylinder that cranks out an amazing 450 horsepower. At 225 horsepower per liter, it would be one of the most power-dense engines ever produced, if Volvo decides to build it. How Volvo engineers boosted the output of the engine is ingeni ...
     Continue reading "Volvo's new engine: Turbocharger? Supercharger? What is this thing?" » Oct 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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What's in a name? Cadillac CT6 creates fervor

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 7
MGB. 500. 280SL. G8. XK120. 2002Tii. TR6. 318is. 2CV. 300TD. XLR. GT6. Car names derived from letters, numbers, and letters and numbers have been with us since at least the 1950s. The blowback from Cadillac’s recent announcement that it will name its big new sedan CT6 has been hurricane force on GM’s luxury brand boss Johan de Nysschen. Why the big fuss? On ...
     Continue reading "What's in a name? Cadillac CT6 creates fervor" » Oct 7, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why U.S.-European auto harmony is still just a dream

Posted 1:06 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 3
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Wolfgang Schneider's title with Ford of Europe.  PARIS -- Wolfgang Schneider remembers when French cars had yellow-tinted headlights and German cars had white lights. Then the two countries decided to allow each other’s cars on their streets. Eventually, says Schneider, Ford of Europe’ ...
     Continue reading "Why U.S.-European auto harmony is still just a dream" » Oct 3, 2014 1:06 pm U.S. ET
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Musk's mysterious 'D' is probably an awd Model S

Posted 2:53 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 2
With his 1 million-plus Twitter followers and his celebrity status, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has a tendency to act like a one-man marketing department. He set the Internet abuzz Wednesday night with a tweet declaring that it was "about time to unveil the D," accompanied by an image of a car behind a garage door and a date: Oct. 9, 2014. Speculation instantly began abou ...
     Continue reading "Musk's mysterious 'D' is probably an awd Model S" » Oct 2, 2014 2:53 pm U.S. ET
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Will the customer buy what governments demand?

Posted 7:30 am U.S. ET, Oct. 2
PARIS -- Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says that after a global wave of new emissions and fuel economy regulations, the automotive industry needs a break. In doing so, he's warning about the unintended consequences of rapid regulatory change. Stadler's not looking for a break from meeting standards like the U.S. 54.5 mpg CAFÉ goal, or the European Union's target of 95 gr ...
     Continue reading "Will the customer buy what governments demand?" » Oct 2, 2014 7:30 am U.S. ET
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XC90 boosts Volvo CEO's belief in e-commerce

Posted 6:41 am U.S. ET, Oct. 2
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson’s belief in e-commerce got a huge boost because of the XC90. Volvo sold out 1,927 special edition XC90s in 47 hours in the company’s first Internet-only sales campaign last month. Most of the cars were reserved within one hour of the sales start; at peak demand seven cars were sold every minute. Samuelsson said today at the Paris au ...
     Continue reading "XC90 boosts Volvo CEO's belief in e-commerce" » Oct 2, 2014 6:41 am U.S. ET
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What the new Opel Corsa and next-gen Chevy Volt have in common

Posted 1:33 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the two Corsa models unveiled Wednesday. PARIS -- It wasn't long ago when the smallest engine in one of General Motors' smallest European cars wouldn't have stood a chance of showing up under hoods in U.S. showrooms. But times have changed, thanks to tightening fuel-economy and emissions standards. Op ...
     Continue reading "What the new Opel Corsa and next-gen Chevy Volt have in common" » Oct 1, 2014 1:33 pm U.S. ET
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The Nissan Leaf's top-selling town?

Posted 10:31 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
PARIS -- It's true that sales of Nissan's Leaf have picked up momentum this year in the U.S., but what is the geographic mix across the country? Where is the Leaf doing well? At the Renault-Nissan dinner‎ tonight, CEO Carlos Ghosn challenged the scrum that engulfed him to name America's No. 1 Leaf-loving town, the place where 1,000 of the electric vehicles were sold i ...
     Continue reading "The Nissan Leaf's top-selling town?" » Oct 1, 2014 10:31 pm U.S. ET
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Ghosn's take on being on the front lines in battle for auto talent

Posted 5:53 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
PARIS -- How does Carlos Ghosn feel about the high-level executives who have left Renault-Nissan of late? He takes it all in Ghosn-like stride, which is to say: analytically, not emotionally. "We are obviously a target for headhunters, but we are‎ simultaneously recruiting the best and the brightest," he said. Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen recently went to‎ C ...
     Continue reading "Ghosn's take on being on the front lines in battle for auto talent" » Oct 1, 2014 5:53 pm U.S. ET
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Making a splashy entrance in Paris

Posted 6:16 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
PARIS -- Land Rover pulled the wraps off its new compact Discovery Sport at a pre-show event for journalists, hauling it up the Seine River on a massive barge. The Discovery Sport sprinted out of a grassy mountain, through several feet of water, to be greeted by seven giant boots -- or wellies as the Brits call them. The Discovery Sport was introduced by supermodel Rosie ...
     Continue reading "Making a splashy entrance in Paris" » Oct 1, 2014 6:16 pm U.S. ET
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Ford puts refreshed C-Max in the Phantom's spotlight

Posted 6:00 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
PARIS -- Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday lifted the mask on its next-generation C-Max at a special event at the Opera National de Paris, the setting for the fictional The Phantom of the Opera. The irony may have been lost on the Ford execs on hand, who also showed off the next-generation European S-Max and Grande C-Max before their scheduled press conference Thursday at the P ...
     Continue reading "Ford puts refreshed C-Max in the Phantom's spotlight" » Oct 1, 2014 6:00 pm U.S. ET
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Will aluminum Ford F-150 be mpg king? Let's do the (fuzzy) math

Posted 11:27 am U.S. ET, Sept. 30
Ford looks poised to reclaim at least part of the pickup fuel economy crown from Chrysler’s hard-charging Ram 1500 with the new aluminum bodied 2015 F-150. Buried in a statement Monday on the redesigned F-150 was the first clue to how the truck will perform on the EPA’s mileage tests. Ford has said very little about the fuel economy of the revamped F-150, focu ...
     Continue reading "Will aluminum Ford F-150 be mpg king? Let's do the (fuzzy) math" » Sep 30, 2014 11:27 am U.S. ET
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For fuel efficiency, the time has come for plug-in hybrids

Posted 9:52 am U.S. ET, Sept. 30
Plug-in hybrids are about to become a lot more common on Europe's roads as the region's mass-market brands start to introduce such cars in a bid to lower the average CO2 emissions of their new-car fleets ahead of tougher EU limits. Europe's volume automakers once shunned hybrid drivetrains, leaving the field to Toyota and premium brands, but the Paris auto show will highl ...
     Continue reading "For fuel efficiency, the time has come for plug-in hybrids" » Sep 30, 2014 9:52 am U.S. ET
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