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Audi Plans to Leave Massive Grilles to Toyota

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:51pm

Ever since 2007 when we first saw the refreshed A8, a large trapezoidal “Singleframe” grille has been Audi’s trademark. The trend quickly caught on, and these days, Audis are far from the only cars with massive grilles. Take the 2019 Toyota Avalon, for example, which now has a front end that may as well be all grille. But over the next few years, it sounds like Audi plans to abandon big grilles.

In a recent interview with Car Throttle, Andreas Mindt, Audi’s head of exterior design, said he’s done with the Singleframe grille. “It’s not the big mouth anymore,” said Mindt. “It’s not growing growing growing, it’s not like this.”

From the sound of it, Mindt and his design team are still in the process of figuring out what the next generation of Audi grilles will look like, but he has some ideas. “When you paint the frame black, it looks bigger,” he said. “When you paint the frame body color, it looks smaller … there are a lot of things you can do architecture-wise to change that and we have a lot of good ideas for that.”

Then again, Audi could be done with grilles altogether. At least the way we think about them right now. “Maybe the border between grille and no grille will meld together – the frame is not like a border anymore. Just think about what you can do in the future to make it meld together. It would be interesting to see,” he said.

And he’s right. It would be interesting. But will other automakers follow suit? Is the big-grille era finally over? We’ll find out soon enough.

Source: Car Throttle

The post Audi Plans to Leave Massive Grilles to Toyota appeared first on MotorTrend.

Porsche to Increase Taycan Production

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:35am

Porsche initially estimated it would sell 20,000 units per year of the all-electric Taycan. But after receiving so many early reservations, the automaker decided it will build more to meet the strong demand.

The higher-than-expected volume will be split between the sedan and the Cross Turismo variant. Speaking to WirtschaftsWoche, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said, “Due to the positive response, we will adjust this number upwards, especially since the Cross Turismo as the first derivative of the Taycan got green light for the series.”

Norway is one of the markets that showed high demand. Porsche received nearly 3,000 reservations with deposits, but it usually only sells around 600 new vehicles in the market each year.

Porsche will begin production of the Taycan in mid-2019. It will be built in a new production facility in Zuffenhausen. In a recent press release, Member of the Executive Board for Production Albrecht Reimold revealed Porsche is prepared for more volume, giving the Taycan facility its own paint shop and assembly line. Reimold said, “We took the decision to build a new paint shop and assembly area as we firmly believe the Taycan has the potential to sell more than just 20,000 units per year. The new manufacturing facility gives us the requisite flexibility for the future.”

The Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, will achieve a total system output of more than 600 hp with the help of two permanently excited synchronous motors. Porsche estimates a 0-60 run of less than 3.5 seconds. It should also run more than 300 miles on a single charge with an 800-volt battery. A Targa version will come later, according to reports.

Source: WirtschaftsWoche via Electrek

The post Porsche to Increase Taycan Production appeared first on MotorTrend.

Here’s The New Pacific Blue Metallic Color For The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:27am

One of two new hues for the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox.

[AMAZON] Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:40am

The Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit has inspired automotive enthusiasts worldwide to pamper, condition, and protect their treasured investments. This is One of the most complete kits on the market today, featuring Meguiar’s premium-quality products in One convenient, affordable package. It includes:

  • One 16-ounce bottle of Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and ConditiOner – G7116
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  • One 16-ounce bottle of Gold Class Endurance High Gloss Gel – G7516
  • One container of Quik Detailer – A3316
  • One 16-ounce bottle of Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner – G13616
  • Two 50-gram clay bars with a clamshell container – R30-60-008, R30-60-120
  • One container of PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish – G12310
  • One container of ScratchX – G10307
  • One microfiber towel – M9910
  • One foam applicator pad – R30-60-241
  • One Microfiber Wash Mitt – X3002

List Price: $65.99
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Continue reading [AMAZON] Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

North American Leaders Sign NAFTA-Replacing USMCA Trade Agreement

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:30am

President Trump, former Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the trade agreement at the G20 summit.

Official: Fernando Alonso To Race Indy 500 With McLaren-Chevrolet

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:07am

The iconic pairing returns.

GM CEO Mary Barra To Meet With Lawmakers Over Layoffs

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:55am

Up to 15,000 production workers may be out of work next year.

Holden Fans Can Win An LSX Or LSA Crate Engine

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:36am

Fans and owners can enter by purchasing Holden Genuine or ACDelco parts.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Diesel Launches In Korea

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:11am

GM's Whisper Diesel comes to Chevy's midsize sedan.

Loss Of Chevrolet Impala Nameplate A Blow To Enthusiasts, Americana

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 9:08am

The Impala is going away (again)… for now.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Makes 910 LB-FT of Torque

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 8:00am

Earlier this year, Chevrolet introduced the redesigned 2019 Silverado. Its updated interior and slick 10-speed transmission helped make the new Silverado 1500 a finalist in this year’s Truck of the Year competition. But interestingly, Chevrolet chose not to reveal the heavy-duty version of the Silverado. Until now.

As you can see, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is big. Really big. Features editor Scott Evans stood next to one at a preview event and found the Duramax badge was almost at eye level. And those helpful bed steps you see in front of the rear wheels? Those are mid-thigh height. So if yo}re 6-foot-6 and need a new truck, look no further than the Silverado HD.

You just might not want to look directly at it, though, because this thing is seriously, uh, “controversially styled.” Surprisingly, the roof is the only sheetmetal it shares with the 1500. There’s a lot going on with the Silverado 1500’s design, but the HD goes even further. As a result, you have to really like what Chevrolet did with the regular truck in order to appreciate the Silverado HD’s new look. If you ask Chevrolet, it’s meant to look like a piece of heavy machinery.

“We set out to make a statement with the 2020 Silverado HD and wanted to visually capture the power and capability of the truck,” Brian Izard, the Silverado HD’s head designer, said in a release. “The result is a truck that looks like a piece of heavy machinery with modern, chiseled finishes and customer-focused details.”

Under the hood, you’ll have your choice of two powertrains. The direct-injected gasoline option comes with a six-speed automatic and is rumored to be a Navistar-sourced 6.6-liter V-8 from MD Trucks. Meanwhile, the diesel version gets a Duramax V-8 and an Allison 10-speed. Horsepower figures haven’t been released, but Chevrolet says the diesel makes 910 lb-ft of torque. That’s not quite the 935 lb-ft the Ford Super Duty makes, but it should be enough to tow almost anything that needs towing.

Look for more official stats and information to trickle out over the next few months before the 2020 Silverado HD goes on sale sometime in mid-2019.

Source: Chevrolet

The post 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Makes 910 LB-FT of Torque appeared first on MotorTrend.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD: A Seismic Entry Into The Fray

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 8:00am

This new Silverado HD is absolutely titanic in stature.

A Car Guy’s Christmas List Of Travel Necessities

Corvettes Online News Feed - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 5:19am
If you have a car guy on your Christmas list, we have the answer to your needs. Check out these cool items everyone should have in their car.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Update 5: Off-Road Cred Confirmed

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 4:00am

We’ve taken the Subaru Crosstrek to the track, driven it around the L.A. metropolitan area, and taken it to the mountains. Now it’s time to test the Subaru’s touted off-road aptitude. Numerous off-road trails of varying difficulty crisscross the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area, and the 4×4 practice area features several maintained obstacle courses.

Joined by features editor Christian Seabaugh and his enormous Ram Power Wagon long-term tester, we traversed some easier trails to gauge the Crosstrek’s performance before trekking the hairier ones. The crossover barely noticed the dirt, rocks, and sand beneath its tires. It didn’t matter if it was a bumpy uphill or downhill, the Subaru handled the trails with relative ease.

On steep descents, I was able to modulate braking to control my speed but turned on X-Mode to try out the feature’s hill-descent control. When activated, the vehicle does the braking so the driver can focus on steering. The system induced some eager braking, keeping the speed slower than I did with my foot, but it was safe and controlled.

Once we had our fill on trails, we headed to the 4×4 practice area, where we pushed the Subaru to its limits. Once again, the dirt trail up and down the hill course was easy as long as I didn’t hit the big ruts made for more capable vehicles. The sand pit and water crossing were also a breeze, so much so that I drove them several times to make sure—and for fun, though, we avoided certain obstacles fearing we would damage the nose. The Crosstrek has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a notable number, but it also has plenty of front overhang that creates a decent 18-degree approach angle. However, its 29-degree departure angle is better than any Jeep Cherokee except the Trailhawk model.

In the frame twister course, the Crosstrek finally got stuck before I used X-Mode, which makes the traction control system more aggressive, reducing the time needed for a tire to regain grip. In very slippery situations (like mud or snow), more power is diverted away from the tires that are slipping to the ones with traction.

In this case, I was stuck because only two of my wheels had grip as I was trying to traverse a large bump. After I hit X-Mode, the Crosstrek transferred additional power to the two wheels not slipping, and the vehicle surged forward.

The highlight of the day was the mud pit. We didn’t know how well the Crosstrek would handle mud, so we started by backing it into the soggy pit until the mud got about half ways up the rear wheels. While in X-Mode, I applied about quarter throttle and the Subaru crawled out as if it was dry dirt. So we decided to plow through it.

I entered the pit with the plan to have my right wheels in shallow mud and the left ones near the deep track made by previous vehicles. As soon as I hit the mud, I slid into one of the deep tracks thinking I would get stuck, but I didn’t. I even made the mistake of completely stopping in the pit after hitting a big rock, but the Subaru still had enough traction to continue forward.

Not wanting to get stuck in the part of the pit that requires larger all-terrain tires (factory tires were used), I exited the pit over the steep bank. Again, I thought the Power Wagon would have to rescue me as I climbed up the bank, but the Subie prevailed. X-Mode saved me again. On inclines, the system will use lower gear ratios for increased traction and applies more clutch pressure to better control front and rear power distribution.

Knowing the Subaru can do more, I decided to try the pit again but entered from the bank I exited earlier. On the descent, I dunked the nose into the mud (up to the level of the foglights) and slid into the deep tracks. After a little power distribution, the Crosstrek regained traction and negotiated the rest of the pit like a pro. It’s neat hearing and feeling the system cutting and redistributing power.

Over the course of the adventure, Seabaugh and I remained impressed with the little Subaru—especially considering its factory all-season tires. With an aftermarket lift kit and all-terrain tires, not much would stop this thing. But in its factory form, the Crosstrek offers more capability than your average owner will need.

Read more about our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek:

The post 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Update 5: Off-Road Cred Confirmed appeared first on MotorTrend.

2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Long-Term Verdict

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 4:00am

When the CR-V entered our long-term test fleet, it was simply Honda’s latest riff on America’s best-selling SUV, one that immediately impressed with its sharply styled sheetmetal and intriguing new small-displacement turbo engine. But soon after joining the fleet, the CR-V competed in and won our 2018 SUV of the Year competition. That’s right, after a weeklong battle in Southern California’s harsh desert, it beat out Alfa’s new Stelvio and Subaru’s capable Crosstrek along with many other new and notable 2018 models. None of this surprised me, as I had already put thousands of miles on our tester prior to the competition and considered the CR-V a frontrunner for the Calipers. Our judges concurred, calling the CR-V “a supreme example of calm, confident composure that delivers in all categories. … [None of the] others put the whole package together the way the CR-V does.”

Honda CR-Vs are no strangers to long-term MotorTrend testing. This is MotorTrend’s sixth long-term CR-V, with the first being a 1997 CR-V (complete with cleverly hidden picnic table) and when the previous generation won SUV of the year contest, we spent a year with a 2015 CR-V Touring AWD. We’ve executed long-term tests on every generation of CR-V and have watched as Honda has progressively evolved CR-V from a slightly modified JDM product to America’s best-selling SUV.

My favorite part on the SUV is the capless fuel filler. On a weekly basis it made trips to gas station all the better.

With this fifth-gen CR-V, Honda has made a meaningful leap in performance dynamics, and its handling is a clear improvement over the previous model. Although it doesn’t handle as well as, say, some of BMW’s latest FWD-based SUVs, overall the CRV’s handling is predictable, the ride is tightly controlled, impact harshness is well concealed, and the body movements are appropriately damped. Put the CVT in low, and it’s possible to reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 0.8 clicks quicker than the previous generation. Also improved over the last model are lateral grip and 60-mph braking, which improve by 0.04g and 4 feet. The steering, a tad on the light side, is nonetheless accurate and controlled, and coupled with a steady and sorted chassis it serves up a planted course through the turns. Lastly, hard braking results in a rear end that stays put and a vehicle that maintains straight stability.

Lots of miles suffering L.A.’s frustrating traffic were made easier inside the confines of the CR-V, and this is attributed to the vehicle’s impressive Honda Sensing Suite. This semi-autonomous system of cameras and sensors is greater than the sum of its parts, and its real-world application is superior to many of the systems offered from other OEMs. Most important, this is technology that makes daily life more agreeable. In fact, whenever the freeway would come to a halt on the northbound 405, I’d simply activate Honda Sensing and let the adaptive cruise system assume the stress of stop-and-go traffic instead of me.

Yet the CR-V is not without shortcomings. The shifter is well placed, but often when shifting from sport or low up to drive, the selector will annoyingly overshoot drive and end up in neutral, resulting is an undesired rev of the engine followed by a puzzling glance at the gear selector. Other gripes include the hard to remove/clean single-piece rear floormat and the plastic trim pieces on the front and rear doors. The door trim pieces extend below the door metal and are susceptible to catching curbs and snapping their mounting brackets when closing the door. The trim even once grabbed a hunk of grass and dirt and shoveled it into the car. Lastly, this CR-V was equipped with a hands-free tailgate, and try as I might, I could rarely get it to work. Even watching a handful of YouTube videos did not help the cause. Neat idea, poor execution.

Right around 15,000 miles in, the CR-V began to struggle to start, as if its battery wasn’t fully charged. This also affected the power liftgate’s ability to lower and shut. Three days later, the battery died and required a jump to get to a Honda dealer. The battery was toast and was replaced under warranty. During the same visit, a code on the dash suggested a $177 differential fluid change, which seemed premature for 15,000 miles, but per some internet research and an inquiry with Honda corporate, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for this to be triggered when the system detects debris caused by break-in. Also keep in mind this is only for AWD CR-Vs, as FWD CR-Vs do not have rear differentials. Additional maintenance for the duration of the test was limited to two oil and filter changes, one cabin air filter change, and one tire rotation. Total routine maintenance cost for the length of the test was $418 over 20,447 miles and two services. That’s about $110 more than our 2017 Mazda CX-5 long-termer racked up in four stops over 28,307 miles.

Our 2018 SUV of the Year is full of clever features that, combined with its large, useable interior volume, make for a right-sized SUV that appeals to a wide audience. It’s an agreeable combo of practicality, efficiency, and (equipped with Honda Sensing) technology that continues to lead an increasingly competitive segment.

Read more about our 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD:

Our Car SERVICE LIFE 12 mo / 20,447 mi BASE PRICE $34,595 OPTIONS None PRICE AS TESTED $34,595 AVG ECON/CO2 28.6 mpg / 0.68 lb/mi PROBLEM AREAS None MAINTENANCE COST $418 NORMAL-WEAR COST $0 3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE* $25,200 (73%) RECALLS None *IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years

 

2017 Honda CR-V AWD Touring POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 91.4 cu in/1,498cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.3:1 POWER (SAE NET) 190 hp @ 5,600 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 179 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 18.4 lb/hp TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 5.64:1/2.28:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.3 BRAKES, F; R 11.1-in vented disc; 10.2-in disc, ABS WHEELS 7.5 x 18-in cast aluminum TIRES 235/60R18 103H (M+S) Hankook Kinergy GT DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 104.7 in TRACK, F/R 62.9/63.5 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 180.6 x 73.0 x 66.5 in GROUND CLEARANCE 8.2 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 20.8/24.8 deg TURNING CIRCLE 37.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,487 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 57/43% TOWING CAPACITY 1,500 lb SEATING CAPACITY 5 HEADROOM, F/R 37.8/38.3 in LEGROOM, F/R 41.3/40.4 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 57.9/55.6 in CARGO VOLUME 75.8/37.6 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.8 sec 0-40 4.0 0-50 5.6 0-60 7.5 0-70 9.8 0-80 12.7 0-90 16.4 0-100 21.0 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.8 QUARTER MILE 15.8 sec @ 88.5 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 115 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.82 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.9 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $34,595 PRICE AS TESTED $34,595 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 14.0 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 21.9/34.2/26.1 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 27/33/29 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125/102 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.66 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular

 

The post 2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Long-Term Verdict appeared first on MotorTrend.

Airstream Working on More Affordable, Rugged Campers to Court Millennials

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 8:50pm

I’ll bet you my last paycheck that you didn’t come to MotorTrend.com today to read about campers, and yet here you are. I didn’t expect to sit down with Bob Wheeler, CEO of the iconic silver-bulleted Airstream camper and RV company at the Los Angeles auto show, either, but I’m glad I did as the executive has big plans to capture the hearts and minds of adventure-seeking millennial buyers.

If I had a dollar every time I read a think piece about how millennials hate cars, I’d be a rich man—but going with that wrongheaded narrative for a moment, what is Airstream doing to make its products more approachable to younger buyers who maybe haven’t towed before?

Bob Wheeler: Well, part of it is technology. About 50 percent of our buyers are first time RVers and they go through this process. It’s like buying a boat. You’re all excited and you get there and you’re all fired up and you start to think about the realities of it. A fair number of people just never get past that point. We want to be able to say, “Look, this [Airstream Smart Control app] can help.” Towing, keeping things from freezing, keeping your unit safe, helping you understand when there’s a concern or a risk and giving you recommendations of what to do. [It also has] roadside assistance, tutorials on how your water heater works, your refrigerator—because we taught you at the dealership but you forgot.

Twenty-five percent retention of [customers is based] on the walk-through. To that point, we can help grease the skids for those people, to get them to confident buying and [using their Airstream]. You don’t want to be stressed to think about taking this thing out. You want to be inspired. If we can help fix those issues, that’s really the driver behind this whole thing. We want to be able to inspire people to actually use [our products] the way they were meant to be used, which is to have an adventure.

The 2018 Airstream Nest, which starts at $45,900

Speaking of adventure, are you finding that younger buyers are drawn to your untraditional products like the Nest by Airstream and the Basecamp?

Bob Wheeler: Those are a couple of interesting products because they have attracted a buyer that we probably wouldn’t see otherwise. They tend to be, predictably, younger. They don’t need something as big or heavy or as expensive [as our traditional offering], and [at] a different price point. They want to be able to tow it with [their daily driver], rather than have to buy something. It checks all those boxes. Especially the Nest, that customer, they seem to love what Airstream is and represents but aren’t really that drawn to this traditional trailer shell, so it’s kind of the best of all things. Automotive design, Class-A surface, pretty modern interior, but with the Airstream reputation for brand quality.

Obviously, everyone wants younger buyers but what’s the hardest part about getting them into an Airstream?

Bob Wheeler: You know, it’s kind of pragmatic stuff. They like what we say to them, because we really talk about the product, we talk about the lifestyle it supports, and the adventures it inspires and the people you’ll meet and the community. That aligns really well with this millennial value that it’s not about the things in your life, it’s about the people and the places and what you experience. That’s at the core of our brand and we love talking about that so that makes a great connection.

As we’ve come with products that are lighter, easier to tow, less expensive, I think we’ve lined up really well with what some younger buyers can afford and want at that point in their lives. We think about what’s the next smaller thing. Is there [space for something] even smaller than the Basecamp and Nest? Does it make sense to try to play in that space?

We’re learning all the time and we’re really close to our customers. They get so emotionally invested in Airstream, they’re more than happy to tell us what they like and don’t like.

Airstream Basecamp X

So could you see Airstream expanding down market, offering up a smaller, cheaper camper that slots beneath your $36,000 Basecamp?

Bob Wheeler: Yup, absolutely. In fact, most of the innovation in the RV towable space right now is in that small trailer space. Small is the new big—I coined that, it’s not very clever. So, a lot of really cool teardrop-style campers, little innovative pop-ups, and hybrid trailers that have tent fold-out things. They’re super light, and they tend to be less expensive.

We can do something in that space. We just haven’t figured out what. We just really launched the Nest, so we’re kind of working our way down in size and weight and kind of seeing which way the wind blows.

As Airstream seeks to go smaller and become more approachable, could we see a similar approach to Basecamp and Nest in your camper van lineup—something you can drive everyday so you didn’t have to deal with towing?

Bob Wheeler: Yes, the current Interstate we make is a long-wheelbase and we just launched [the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Interstate 19], a short-wheelbase, so to your point, for driving every day, it fits in a parking spot.

Now we’re starting to think about other takes on this great platform. We pay very close attention to van life, and we love what that represents. The DIY part of it not so much, but we know that we can capture some of that same aesthetic in a unit that has professionally designed systems and everything works and it comes with a warranty. We love the spirit behind that and we’re really anxious to tap into that and participate.

Without giving too much away, you’re likely to see something smaller, sportier, and a little more rugged. Everything that we build, and [especially in our RVs] now, is like a jet on the inside; it’s pretty luxurious. That’s great for some customers, but we also want to branch out and try something different. We don’t want people to be intimidated—if they’re in their 30s—to think about using one of these things.

 

The post Airstream Working on More Affordable, Rugged Campers to Court Millennials appeared first on MotorTrend.

Cadillac XTS Hearse Present At George H. W. Bush Memorial Service

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 7:51pm

Cadillac was well represented during the proceedings.

Volvo Americas Boss Personally Calls 10 Care by Volvo Subscribers Every Week

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 6:55pm

It’s an interesting time to be an automaker. Some are doubling down on SUVs, some are focusing on autonomy or electrification, and others are focusing on connectivity and new ways to buy and sell cars. Volvo, meanwhile, seems to be doing a little bit of everything. MotorTrend, along with a handful of other journalists, joined Volvo global CEO Hakan Samuelsson and Americas chief Anders Gustafsson at the automaker’s car-less (really) stand at the Los Angeles auto show to chat about Volvo’s electrification strategy and its Care by Volvo subscription program.

Volvo has finally finished revamping its lineup, and now the XC90 is the oldest vehicle in the U.S. range. Now that that cycle has been completed, are you planning on refining those models, or are you planning on expanding into niche markets like the German luxury automakers?

Hakan Samuelsson: I don’t think customers are expecting us to expand. I think we have very attractive body shapes; three-quarters or more are SUVs, highly popular on the market, and then we have very good sedans also within the U.S. So, I think we have the body shapes [that customers desire].

Our customers now expect first to have a car available with full electric propulsion and secondly, with a lot of new connectivity features and in-car infotainment features, which we’re talking about here at this show. That is more important than new body shapes.

Speaking of electric vehicles, do you envision Volvo’s lineup to offer electric versions of each car, or will you have electric-only models like the coming Polestar?

Samuelsson: Because we want to electrify very rapidly we cannot just add bespoke cars. There will be an electric powertrain option in all of our cars and that’s more important than new body shapes. [By 2025] all cars will offer an all-electric powertrain. We anticipate half of the car customers will choose that, and the other half will opt for hybrid gas-electric powertrains. Those will be the two, hybrid or [full] electric.

All of the SPA-platform vehicles (aside from the wagons) have plug-in hybrid options currently. How long until the XC40 plug-in makes its way here?

Samuelsson: [Because it’s on the smaller CMA platform] it’s an all-new concept with a new gearbox, front wheel power pack—and simply, it’s not ready. We are now selling it in some countries, but we will ramp up [production] in the future. It’s the piece we are missing and it will come [to America].

How will you differentiate between Volvo and the coming all-electric Polestar?

Samuelsson: [Volvo is about] safety, the environment, and smart, intuitive functionality [with] great Scandinavian design. With Polestar, we are really doing a sort of special electric car with the special body shape, really leading the way, creating a very attractive car which could spearhead electrification. We divide the cost [with Polestar], but we developed together and then [what we learned] is carried back into Volvos. That’s the [plan]. So Polestar will more be pure, all-electric, progressive, with the latest connectivity, and in-car infotainment.

The Care by Volvo subscription service is now almost a year old. What are some early lessons you’ve learned?

Anders Gustafsson: You know, we have learned a lot in the last nine months and, in February, we are going to launch the next [version] of Care by Volvo, because 50 percent of the cars are subscribed through the mobile phone and I would say [that was not expected].

We’ve also been waiting to get the license in every state. Last week, we’ve received [approval] for the state of New York and now we have a solution that simplifies a lot of the processes. Before, we were forced to divide the customers into different states, different groups and it was quite complicated.

Volvo is limiting subscriptions on the XC40 to 15 percent. Are you planning on limiting subscriptions on the S60 as well?

Gustafsson: That is just on XC40. That is [a lot of global demand] on that car, so [it’s a unique case]. On the S60, we don’t have any restrictions, and based on our [new South Carolina] plant, it’s a little bit easier [to meet demand]. We think [subscriptions are] going to be 15 percent on S60.

How many subscribers do you currently have?

Gustafsson: We’re always mentioning percentage, because when you go into a subscription process, you need to go through this beautiful country’s [state-by-state] insurance policies and [so we’re limited by that] not based on our capabilities. I would say, without the processes of the states, I would say we easily reached 10,000 cars because a lot of U.S. customers would like to get the car a la minute.

When they see the XC40, they would like to get the car within three days [of subscribing] and that is not the situation right now. We cannot deliver that. But with S60, after I would say February, I think the number will be quite big.

How have your dealers reacted to Care by Volvo?

Gustafsson: I’ve been involved with a lot of discussions with our retailers because they’ve been very, very nervous. They are still nervous, but trust is something that you need to fight for and we have a good relationship with them. This is something we should do together, but they also need to stretch their view on the industry a little bit. And that’s our job. It’s tough to change this industry, it’s much easier to talk about the metal and the engines and then leave it at that. This is a little bit different and I will say, as we sit here, in every interview, everyone is asking questions about Care by Volvo. I think that is a success, because the industry needs to take steps, because consumers are not super happy today. We know that.

Samuelsson: I was surprised with the very high percentage conquest. I mean, it’s obvious we’re reaching new customer groups, which are much younger—10 years younger [than our average buyer]. So, I think that’s very encouraging. It’s not just the body shape of the XC40 [that’s selling], it’s also the program as such.

Do you know how many current subscribers are getting ready to turn in their cars as the first year ends?

Gustafsson: We’re getting closer and closer [to that time]. Now, [our subscribers] average six months in.

We have just done a survey and I would say, some of them will change, especially in the metro areas, especially now that we launched the S60. The S60 attracts a younger audience. I think it was the same with the XC40, but I think S60 sticks out a little bit. When we launched S60 in the U.S., Hakan told me, “Anders, I don’t want to have a rental car. I want the best, I want high-spec cars and cars that will stick out!” and I think we can see that [decision is paying off]. Give me four more months then I will have an answer to that question.

I do talk to 10 Care by Volvo customers every week, because I need to know [what they think]. I cannot wait for surveys and of course they are shocked when I call them. Sometimes they complain for 20 minutes about something—that’s how it is—but I try to convert them. But with the majority, they’re so happy. So, it’s quite good, [especially because] it’s not always fun to change a car, because you [have to] get to know the new car.

Samuelsson: I think that’s a very important point, because there has been many subscription programs which are very much focused on these people who absolutely want to change cars as much as a shirt. I mean, that’s not the beauty of Care by Volvo. It’s more of an asset for you.

I have had company cars for many years, but I don’t really appreciate that my one year goes very fast. If I’m happy with the car, I want to keep it so I don’t have to empty the glove box. So, [the ability to change cars every year shouldn’t be the focus]; I don’t think that is the most attractive part of the program, but let’s see.

Gustafsson: I would say that with XC40, if I use my finance head, I would be happy if they change the car the first year, because the car is brand new. The profit around it is [high on the certified pre-owned market].

Are you worried at all about taking hits to residual values as cars come off of subscriptions?

Gustafsson: For XC40, it’s not a problem. But I will say, after two years, we need to be very cautious. [From there] we get into the guidance that I received from my boss: Don’t build ugly cars because we need to pay for that after three years [when the car is no longer new].

The profit on some of the first subscribers, the first launched cars, it’s not going to be maybe the highest margin on earth, but it’s going to be okay. But in the long run, based on loyalty and them staying in the family, we’re going to make good money and that’s the whole idea. So, I think just to simplify the [answer], I would say that right now we sell 5 percent of our volume to rental companies. And that is quite low if you compare to other car manufacturers and I would say in the future we won’t need that. I would take the 5 percent, put them into Care by Volvo and then I will clear up 5 percent of the mess, because normally the rental business destroys our residuals one way or another.

If we could touch on safety real quick—many mainstream automakers, such as Honda, are making their most advanced active safety systems standard. With safety being a key Volvo value, will we reach a point where your Pro-Pilot Assist technology is standard on all new Volvos?

Gustafsson: I would say if you ask Hakan, he would say, “Of course.” I think [the more] safety features the better. Right now it’s like a Christmas table in Sweden—you eat so much you cannot really sleep. Now, our cars are so good, with so many features, so let’s stop it there and then let’s see what the competitors are doing, because this is a tough market. We’re learning, but I would say, your questions hit directly where it hurts a little bit and we need to behave.

Samuelsson: I think it’s very important to deliver your brand expectations. That’s where I think it’s going to be proportionate to profitability.

The post Volvo Americas Boss Personally Calls 10 Care by Volvo Subscribers Every Week appeared first on MotorTrend.

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1987 Buick Grand National Pair Head To Auction

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They’ll be sold as together with no reserve.

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