Saturday, 31 March 2018
Monday, 26 March 2018
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
CARPROOF has announced that it will change its name to Carfax Canada in October 2018 to better align with its U.S. equivalent, which is known as Carfax.
Both companies are owned by IHS Markit, which aims to leverage the globally known Carfax brand name in Canada in hopes of better serving its consumer and dealer customers.
“We want our customers to know that this is a change in name only,” said Shawn Vording, Vice-President of Automotive Sales at CARPROOF. “Our partners will still receive the comprehensive history and valuation information they have come to expect from CARPROOF. This decision was driven by our commitment to continuous growth and will allow us to provide better products and services to a greater audience,” he added.
CARPROOF, with its vehicle history, appraisal and valuation reports, is considered to be Canada’s “definitive source of automotive information.” The company reviews billions of data records from thousands of sources to provide used car buyers and sellers with products that allow them to make more informed decisions.
Friday, 16 March 2018
Mike Reid loves his cherry-red 2016 BMW 335i sports sedan, especially the way this 2016 model accelerates and zips around corners.
"It's a fantastic car to drive," said Mr. Reid, an investment manager and a part-time hockey player in Ann Arbor, Mich. "The pick up is incredible."
But when BMW starts introducing a new generation of electric cars in the next year or so, Mr. Reid is not likely to be rushing out to the showroom. Although electric cars tend to have a lot of torque, he's just not sold on the idea of plugging in and charging batteries.
"I wish there were something I could get excited about, but I kind of like the hydro-carbon-powered approach to my transportation," he said.
He added that he often headed into the wilds of Michigan to hunt and hike, places where he would be unlikely to find a good way to charge the car. And he said his neighborhood tended to lose power during storms, which could sometimes complicate charging at home.
"I'm just not sold on the reliability of the technology at this point," he said. "Gas prices are pretty low. My car gets good gas mileage. So electric vehicles? No, I'm not interested."
That type of sentiment presents a big challenge for Europe's luxury carmakers. Many automakers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Volvo, are scrambling to produce lines of electric, hybrid and plug-in models.
Some of this next wave will be on display at the Geneva auto show, which opens to the public on March 8.
Among the models will be the Jaguar I-Pace, a battery-powered crossover that is something of a cross between a hatchback and a coupe. Jaguar unveiled the production version of the I-Pace last week in Graz, Austria, in a bid to build buzz ahead of the Geneva show.
The car is packed with advanced safety and driver-assist technologies and features two electric motors - one to deliver power to the front wheels and one for the rear axle. Together they are rated at 394 horsepower. The car is expected to go 240 miles on a single battery charge, Jaguar said.
The small vehicle, with its short hood, is also a jarring break from the classic Jaguar look of a low, sleek roof line, long hood and rounded back. "It's quite distinctive," Ian Callum, Jaguar's design director, said at the Graz event. "It's quite different. It's quite radical."
The company is hoping the vehicle will appeal to upscale buyers who want to drive an upscale car that is also environmentally friendly. "It's electric," Mr. Callum said. "Guilt-free."
Volvo is expected to use Geneva to show the V60 station wagon, a plug-in hybrid and one of the models it is adding as part of a plan to add full or partial electric power to every one of its models by 2019.
Volvo and its Chinese owner, Geely, are also developing a new brand of electric cars to be sold under the Polestar name. Details of the brand's first model, the Polestar 1, will be released at the Geneva show.
Audi is expected to offer showgoers test drives of the E-tron all-electric S.U.V. that is due in showrooms this summer.
Those are only some of the electric models European carmakers have in the works. Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, is spending $11 billion to develop at least 10 new electric models, due on the road by 2022. Mercedes is expected to market them under the brand name EQ. BMW plans to introduce at least 12 electric models between now and 2025, including a self-driving car it is calling iNext. Before then, BMW plans to introduce improved versions of its i3 electric car and i8, an exotic sports car featuring a hybrid powertrain.
While the company will continue offering cars powered by gasoline engines for years to come, BMW expects electric cars and hybrids to make up 25 percent of its sales by 2025.
"At the core of our product offensive is a clear focus on electrification," Bernhard Kuhnt, chief executive of BMW North America, said in January at the Detroit auto show.
For the last several years, Porsche has offered hybrid versions of its sports cars and high-powered S.U.V.s, but in 2019 it is expected to add the all-electric car Mission-e. To ease worries about recharging the car, Porsche has started to install charging stations at its 189 dealers and at other locations in the United States.
"What we are doing here is creating a new world for Porsche," said Stefan Weckbach, Porsche's head of battery electric vehicles.
Carmakers are developing all of these models despite the reluctance of many car buyers. In 2017, 104,487 battery-electric vehicles were sold in the United States, less than 1 percent of the total market; 89,992 plug-in hybrids were sold.
And manufacturers that have jumped in early have had a bumpy ride. BMW's i3 has been a slow seller. Last year, BMW sold 6,276 i3s, fewer than the number of 3 Series sedans it typically sells in a single month.
But one word convinces them that they are on the right track: Tesla. It is constantly on the minds of European makers, who fret about losing to the upstart maker of battery-powered luxury cars. Tesla sold more than 100,000 vehicles worldwide last year, making it a serious player in the upper-priced levels of the auto industry.
The United States market is not the reason Europe's automakers are racing ahead with electric technology, however. The European Union and China are tightening regulations that force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions. For years, many European manufacturers were counting on selling a heavy mix of diesel models to help them meet the stricter targets.
But Volkswagen's diesel scandal - the company for years equipped diesel cars with software that cheated emissions testing - has chilled sales and the willingness of governments to accept more diesels. Several large German cities have been pushing to ban certain diesel vehicles from their streets, and a landmark court ruing last month cleared the way for them to do so.
Britain and France have said they intend to ban new diesel and gas cars by 2040. China has moved the same way on tailpipe emissions and is shaping regulations to increase sales of electric cars to combat the poor air quality in many of its congested megacities.
Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Daimler, said it was unclear when the market for electric vehicles would take off, but he was certain it would.
"It's like a bottle of ketchup," he said in a conference call in January. "It will come. You just don't know when and to which extent when you shake it."
Correction: March 9, 2018
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated partial sales totals of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the United States in 2017. During the year, a total of 104,487 battery-electric vehicles were sold, not fewer than 15,000, and a total of 89,992 plug-in hybrids were sold, not about 10,000.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Friday, 9 March 2018
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to drop diesel models from its European portfolio this year even as Volkswagen AG, which sparked the fury over the technology, predicts a rebound.
The diverging views of the world's two largest automakers reflect the uncertainty over the future of diesel, which has faced a steady drumbeat of bad news since Volkswagen's cheating scandal erupted in September 2015.
The German auto giant is expecting consumers to forgive and forget soon, as cleaner diesels hit the streets.
"Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept," Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said at the Geneva auto show.
"Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people's minds, then for me there's no reason not to buy one."
The comments are bold considering Volkswagen put aside about $30 billion in provisions to cover fines, retrofits and legal costs stemming from rigging diesel-emissions systems to dupe government pollution tests.
The fallout has been wide ranging. Germany is now considering potential bans of diesel vehicles from cities, and governments including China, France and the U.K. have put in place plans to phase out the internal combustion engine.
Consumers have also begun to shun diesel, with its share of German car sales tumbling to a third from half since VW's cheating scandal.
In contrast to VW's upbeat prognosis, Toyota is getting rid of diesels in Europe, the main market for the technology.
After refraining from a diesel variant of the C-HR crossover in 2016, Toyota will extend that decision across its portfolio, including offering the redesigned Auris compact with two hybrid powertrains and one turbocharged gasoline engine.
There's more at stake than consumer choice. European carmakers have been counting on diesel - a profitable and fuel-efficient alternative to gasoline vehicles - to meet tighter environmental regulations until electric cars become more viable.
"We need diesel to get to the CO2 goals," Herbert Diess, who heads Volkswagen's namesake mass-market brand, said after presenting the all-electric I.D. Vizzion concept car that's capable of driving as far as 650 kilometers (404 miles) on a single charge.
"Electric vehicles in many cases won't keep frequent drivers happy."
While Ford Motor Co. still backs diesel, the technology's role may be further diminished by tighter environmental rules, as regulators target the fuel's emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides, according to Steven Armstrong, chief of the automaker's European operations.
"We still see a future for diesel, although on some smaller vehicles I do believe it will progressively disappear," Armstrong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
"We have to work hard to gain consumer trust to make sure they believe the messaging" that new diesels are clean.
Toyota, a pioneer in hybrid technology, has had doubts about diesel's ability to meet modern environmental rules since 2011, Didier Leroy, executive vice president at Toyota, said in Geneva.
Now, there's a risk to consumer sentiment, with a "real potential" for driving bans to hit diesel cars in European cities beyond Germany, he said.
While VW and other proponents argue diesel's merits from a regulatory and technology perspective, it's uncertain how customers will react to the threat of driving restrictions and falling prices for used vehicles.
"At the end of the day, consumers have the final world," Carlos Tavares, CEO of PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel vehicles, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "We have a very clear strategy in terms of multi-energy platforms, which means we can assemble on the same assembly line petrol cars, diesel cars, electric-powered cars."
German manufacturers like Volkswagen are more exposed to diesel's demise than European rivals because they make more powerful vehicles. Mercedes-Benz parentDaimler AG said the CO2 emissions of its vehicles rose last year, as buyers traded up to bigger models. The hurdles are only getting tougher.
Carmakers in the EU need to lower fleet emissions to average 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2021, from an average of 118 grams CO2 in 2016. Lower demand for diesel cars - which emit about a fifth less carbon dioxide compared to equivalent gasoline vehicles - could force automakers to aggressively push unprofitable electric cars to meet these targets.
"The rules of the game in the EU in relation to climate protection and emissions goals on CO2 are so challenging that governments cannot do without diesel," VW's Mueller said. "We're doing everything to avoid" coming up short, but "if there's less diesel, then getting to that goal just gets tougher."