Wednesday, 31 January 2018


BMW cleaning up its design

Styling reboot will bring fewer lines and buttons

DETROIT - After criticism that the look of its vehicles hasn't changed enough, BMW aims to usher in a new chapter of design with six vehicles set to debut in 2018.
The new direction debuts with the X2 coupe-styled crossover shown this month at the Detroit auto show and going on sale in the U.S. this spring, said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of design for BMW Group.
Van Hooydonk: "We're going to clean things up; we're going to use fewer lines; the lines that we'll have will be sharper and more precise."
"We're going to clean things up; we're going to use fewer lines; the lines that we'll have will be sharper and more precise," van Hooydonk told Automotive News. "On the interior, we're going to have fewer buttons - the cars will begin to show their intelligence, so you have to give it less input."
With the changes, BMW designers will pull each car further from "its next of kin" in the model lineup, he said. "You'll find the cars will become stronger in character and separated more from one another."
The signature kidney grille remains, it's just been flipped over.
In addition to the X2, the other vehicles on van Hooydonk's list are the redesigned X4 and X5 crossovers, the new 8-series coupe, the redesigned 3-series sedan and the new X7 large SUV. While the X7 isn't slated to go on sale in the U.S. until early 2019, BMW will unveil the production version and start assembling it this year.
Differentiation is a clear goal. Some BMW critics have said consumer consideration for the brand's vehicles has suffered in part because of staid redesigns that failed to overhaul a vehicle's looks significantly.
"Or maybe you could say the competition changed more than we did," van Hooydonk said.

Expect a lot of experimentation and differentiation in the headlamp and grille arrangement.
BMW in the past aimed to alternate bigger changes with smaller changes when it redesigned a model, he said. That meant every second model generation stood out more.
"In the world that we live in now, that's not enough," van Hooydonk said. "There is more competition now. The world has changed. It's faster pace. So our design needs to change faster as well."
Van Hooydonk's team plans to introduce something new and modern to the brand with each new or redesigned vehicle that comes out.
The X2, for example, carries BMW's signature kidney grill, but it's been flipped over. The grille and headlamp arrangement is one area where more differentiation among vehicles will happen, van Hooydonk said.
The side view breaks mold with the X4 and X6. Note the roundel logo embedded in the C-pillar.
The X2's side view breaks the mold created with the larger X4 and X6 coupe-styled crossovers, he said.
One difference: the BMW roundel logo embedded in the C pillar. It brings back a styling move seen on vehicles such as the E9 3.0 CS back in the '70s.
"But we're doing it only on X2, by the way," van Hooydonk said, "because we wanted it as something for people to recognize this car by in traffic."
His team will show more examples in the redesigned X4 and X5, expected to be out later this year. The 8 series, which has been seen only in concept form, will be another big contributor to the new design approach.
"Everything that comes out from now going forward will play a big role," van Hooydonk said. "The 8 series is going to combine all of these elements in a very new shape."

BY: Automotive News 

Monday, 29 January 2018



Blume believes Porsche's future partly hinges on the Mission E, its first EV.

 FRANKFURT -- Porsche will pursue a three-pronged strategy to diversify its lineup as the  brand gears up for the rollout of its first all-electric sports car next year to tackle a fundamental industry shift toward battery-powered vehicles.

"There will be a triad: plug-in hybrids, emotional sports cars with combustion engines and sporty electric vehicles," CEO Oliver Blume said Thursday evening at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, Germany, celebrating the 70th anniversary of its first sports car, the 356. The roadster was manufactured in Gmuend, Austria, and marked the beginning of Porsche's own vehicle production after the company previously provided engineering for other manufacturers.
"There will always be demand for intelligent sporty mobility," Blume said. "At Porsche the driving experience will always be at the forefront, but in a traffic jam or when you park a car the driver might want to hand over control of the vehicle," he said.
Porsche is the most profitable brand of Volkswagen Group, and is seeking to protect its industry-leading margins even as spending surges for development of electric vehicles and digital services. Maintaining Porsche's earnings is crucial for Volkswagen because Audi, the division that's the largest profit contributor in absolute terms, has lost ground in sales to Mercedes-Benz and BMW and continues to struggle with the fallout from the group's diesel-emissions scandal.
Another record
Porsche's global sales reached a fresh annual record in 2017, with demand rising almost 4 percent to 246,000 cars. Rapid volume growth in recent years has been largely driven by adding the compact Macan SUV to the lineup. Gains might slow in 2018 as Porsche said it aims to "stabilize" deliveries and safeguard the marque's exclusivity. Still, the introduction of a revamped version of the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle in China and the U.S., Porsche's two largest markets, should support demand this year.
Robust sales and healthy returns are strengthening Porsche's financial muscle to introduce the all-electric Mission E coupe in 2019 and subsequently add more partly and fully electric vehicles across its lineup. Customer feedback has been encouraging so far, with some 60 percent of buyers of the updated Panamera four-door coupe in Europe opting for the hybrid version. The technology for the next generation of Porsche's iconic 911 sports car will also allow integration of a battery that could provide extra boost.
"We have everything it takes for the next 70 years," Blume said. But risks remain as "the world is changing rapidly."
"The future of Porsche also hinges on the success" of the Mission E electric car, he said. 


Saturday, 20 January 2018


Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is viewed next to a Ferrari after ringing the Closing Bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 13, 2014 in New York City.

  • Ferrari plans to make an electric super car, said CEO Sergio Marchionne.
  • The Italian car maker has been skeptical of all-electric super cars, but does sell cars with hybrid engines.

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is viewed next to a Ferrari after ringing the Closing Bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 13, 2014 in New York City.
Ferrari plans to make a high-end electric car, said CEO Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday.
The auto executive, who also heads Fiat-Chrysler, told reporters at the North American International Auto Show that whatever Tesla has done with high-end electrics can be done by others in the industry.
The plan would be a significant change of direction for Marchionne and Ferrari. While the Italian carmaker equips some cars with hybrid technology, Marchionne once called the idea of a completely electric Ferrari "almost an obscene concept."
Some Ferrari fans would agree. An all-electric Ferrari, without a brash-sounding internal combustion engine the cars are known for, would be about as appealing as a "3-D printed soy donut," said one owner. That means to some purists, such a car might look like a Ferrari, but would not really be one.
But Tesla's high-performance P100D versions of is Model S and Model X cars deliver eye-popping performance and generate buzz among customers. Furthermore, in November, Tesla unveiled a second-generation Roadster the company said will go zero to 60 miles per hour a record 1.9 seconds.


Friday, 12 January 2018


Volkswagen is expected to introduce the latest version
As auto shows go, none is more important than the annual gathering in Detroit.
The city famous as home to the American auto industry is where the world looks first for trends in auto design and innovation - and next week's gathering will be no exception.
While the industry is awash in SUVs, reflecting a shift to the boxy vehicles by drivers, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is shaping up as fairly balanced between crossovers, cars and pickups.
The show is set against a backdrop of a continuing boom in auto sales. The tally dropped slightly in 2017 compared with 2016 but still surpassed the 17-million mark, according to Autodata.

            Companies are constantly going after millennial money. And these days carmakers are trying to score big with Generation Y. Veuer's Nick Cardona             (@nickcardona93) tells us what company made their move. Buzz60
Automakers are flush with profits, and they can reinvest the money to enhance cars' looks, gadgets, engines and fuel economy. Plus, with a flood of models in the market, automakers are eager to stand out.
While many have announced what models they will unveil in Detroit, most have yet to reveal them. In some cases, they've released tantalizing "teaser" photos.
So from it all, here are some of the major introductions expected next week in the three categories - cars, pickups and SUVs.

Cars get more daring

Infiniti Q Inspiration. Nissan's luxury brand says it is ditching traditional car design with this one. It will be yet another four-door sedan that has the arched roof of a coupe, but Infiniti says it will put a premium on interior space with a long, stretched-out cabin.
BMW i8 convertible. BMW's i8 is a sports car for luxury buyers who also want to be viewed as environmentally conscious. Now the plug-in hybrid is going to have a droptop version.
Volkswagen Jetta. Volkswagen sold more than 115,000 Jettas last year, Autodata says, and VW is sure to want to get this compact car right. VW's clean Euro styling could again hold the upper hand for Jetta, which in the past has excelled with a youthful following.
Toyota Avalon. Cars, in general, haven't been as hot as SUVs, and the full-size segment has been especially tepid, so Toyota can afford to take some risks with the looks of the new Avalon. For the moment, it's only showing a headlight design, but it's enough to tantalize.
Honda Insight Prototype. Honda's original Insight was one of the first hybrid cars to go on sale in the U.S. almost two decades ago at a time when car buyers, and Detroit, didn't care. Now, a new Insight will "offer premium style and high fuel efficiency in a sophisticated and spacious five-passenger sedan," the Japanese automaker says. It could mark another attempt by Honda to make inroads against Toyota's Prius, which has dominated the hybrid category.

SUVs that aim to stand out 

BMW X2. Another attempt to make SUVs look sexy. The X2 has a "distinctive exterior design that combines the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe." It will be powered by a peppy, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.3 seconds.
Acura RDX. Honda's luxury brand is promising that the next version of the RDX will be "low, wide and sleek." It will incorporate the latest exterior and cabin design in the model for its third generation.
Toyota FT-4X.  So far, this is the most eye-catching SUV concept yet. Toyota showed it last spring at the New York Auto Show. It's aimed at Millennials with rugged looks akin to the discontinued FJ Cruiser.
Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee, with its edgy looks, turned into a surprise hit for Fiat Chrysler. Now that it has made its impact on the market, Jeep softens the appearance of the front end with wider headlights that could broaden Cherokee's appeal.
Lexus LF-1. On the heels of BMW's new, giant X7 SUV, Lexus is going to move up a size grade as well - with the luxury LF-1. It was designed at Toyota's Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif. The model will have curtain side airbags that cover all three rows of seats on both sides. It will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, pounding out 290 horsepower, with an 8-speed electronically controlled transmission. 

Pickups that will turn heads

Chevrolet Silverado. Chevrolet has already shown a couple photos of the truck it will reveal in Detroit but has left a lot of questions unanswered. Key among them is what role will materials other than steel play in the new truck. Ford reduced the weight of the rival F-150 with an body. If Chevy doesn't use aluminum, will it count entirely on steel, or could carbon fiber or another material play a role in the drive for better fuel economy?
Ram 1500. Fiat Chrysler has the third-best selling pickup in the country, and it always has been formidable. For its redo, Ram will need to try to keep all the brawn while improving fuel economy, power and tech. It's not easy considering the deeper pockets of its prime competitors, Ford and GM.
By :

Friday, 5 January 2018


More than 80 per cent of Canadians believe the issue of texting while driving has increased over the years and that engaging with in-car technologies is a form of distraction that is on a similar path, according to a Canadian Automobile Association poll.
The majority of consumers included in the study say that drivers who text and drive are a threat to their personal safety on the road. The issue landed on CAA's top 10 list of concerns in 2011, and nearly seven years later Canadians believe it's a bigger problem today than it was even three years ago.
"Despite anti-texting and driving laws in all provinces across the country and several years of public education campaigns, Canadians still don't seem to be getting the message," said Jeff Walker, Chief Strategy Officer, CAA National. "Studies show drivers are as much as 23 times more likely to get into a collision when they text and drive. It's important we all put our devices down and stay focused on the road."
The November 2017 study is based on a CAA poll of 2,003 Canadians. Consumers also view emailing while driving and talking to or engaging with in-car technologies as a form of distraction that is only getting worse.
The results of the study come at a time when automakers are increasingly equipping their vehicles with technologies and connectivity features that were originally meant to free drivers of hand-held devices and the need to look away from the steering wheel while driving.

By: .ca