The 2019 Ford F-150 Limited has an 8-inch touch screen.
In the pitched battle for dashboard dominance, Ford Motor Co. plans to increase the size of the touch screen in its F-150 by at least 50 percent when the redesigned pickup goes on sale next year, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with Ford's plans.
The automaker will offer at least a 12-inch screen that can simultaneously display multiple functions, such as maps and audio controls, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The expansion from the 8-inch screen now available in the F-150 will match or surpass the display in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Ram pickup that has helped vault the model line into second place in U.S. pickup sales.
Touch screens are key differentiators in the fight for pickup supremacy. The Ram's iPad-style 12-inch display helped it disrupt the long-held order in the segment by surpassing General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado in sales this year. Ford's F series has been the top-selling vehicle line in the U.S. since President Ronald Reagan's first administration.
Are you secretly a James Bond villain or international despot jockeying for world domination? Does your commute regularly take you through Downtown Eastside Vancouver a firing range? Do others routinely use your car for target practice? Then one Canadian company has the answer for you.
Just be sure to bring half-a-million dollars.
Inkas, a Canadian-based company specializing in the design and production of armoured vehicles, has built what it claims to be the world's first bulletproof Bentley Bentayga.
Said to be armored to meet CEN 1063 BR6 ballistic standards, it provides protection for fuel, battery and electronic control unit compartments. Ballistic protection encompasses the vehicle with 360-degree, floor-to-roof coverage.
According to the company, this armoured Bentayga can withstand fire from high-power rifles like AK47s and AR10s; as well as the simultaneous detonation of two DM51 grenades placed beneath the vehicle's floor.
Additional equipment includes emergency lights mounted behind the vehicle's front grille, as well as a siren and PA system to made sure those pesky dissidents move out of your way.
Additional upgrades include tailpipe protection; smokescreen system; engine bay fire suppression system; and electric door handles that presumably give a surprise jolt to those daring to rudely intrude on your personal space.
Inkas seems to leave the powertrain basics alone, which is fine since Bentley factory-installs a 6.0-litre W12 making 600 horsepower in these things. Its interior doesn't give up much in the way of comfort compared to a stock truck, either, with 24-way climate-controlled seats and a signature surround sound system.
Unsurprisingly, Inkas also makes armoured Escalade and Land Cruiser SUVs - it even plies its trade on the pedestrian Toyota Sienna. Hey, you never know when an early morning hockey practice will get out of hand.
BANFF, Alberta - Volvo will launch its Polestar performance line in a big way this fall with a couple of electrically augmented models, the 2020 XC60 Polestar SUV and V60 Polestar station wagon.
Both vehicles get a slightly more powerful version of Volvo's T8 E-AWD plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which consists of a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0L engine and an electrically powered rear axle.
Volvo also announced new services:
Lifetime free towing to the nearest Volvo dealer
A lifetime guarantee on replacement parts and service costs.
The two Polestars should reach dealerships any day, along with an updated version of Volvo's bigger XC90 SUV, which has three rows of seats, and a beefed-up Cross Country version of the V60 wagon.
Polestar is Volvo's performance arm, in the same way AMG is Mercedes's in-house speed shop. Polestar tweaks the engineering of Volvo vehicles and will build Volvo-based electric performance vehicles under its own name. Polestar was an independent racing company that specialized in Volvos until the automaker bought it in 2015.
You can recognize Polestar engineered Volvos by their gold seat belts, big yellow Akebono brake calipers and an asterisk-like etching on a small chrome plate. Volvo sold a handful of Polestar modified S60 sedans last year. The XC60 and V60 mark the sub-brand's real introduction to American buyers.
Volvo charges a significant premium for Polestar's cosmetic and performance changes: start at $71,000 and $67,300, respectively, for the XC60 Polestar.
I recently drove the 2020 XC60 Polestar, V60 Cross Country and XC90 on highways, logging roads and mountain trails in the Canadian Rockies.
All the vehicles bristle with advanced safety and driver assistance features. Volvo's stated goal is to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries in its vehicles.
XC60 ride and handling is improved
The XC60 adds power from the Polestar treatment. Its 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque are nothing to sneeze at, but they're only up 15 hp and 22 pound-feet from the base XC60 T8 hybrid, 3.6% and 8%, respectively. The added power trims 0.1 second from the T8 hybrid's 0-60 mph time, from an already respectable 5.0 seconds to 4.9.
The steering and suspension upgrades that come with the "Polestar engineered" tag deliver plenty of value, though. Firmer steering, a bar connecting the front strut towers and a taut, but still comfortable, ride are apparent. Polestar retuned the steering, throttle response and shift points, but the big improvement comes from an adjustable suspension with Öhlins dampers. They keep the Polestar XC60 flat and stable in quick maneuvers and heavy braking while also absorbing bumps for a comfortable ride.
The massive Akebono calipers and 14.6-inch front brake discs deliver all the stopping power you'd ever want. Even more useful in daily driving, the retuned brakes also provide smoother, more natural pedal feel when they're being used to recharge the hybrid's 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery.
Visual differences from the regular XC60 in addition to the golden seat belts that look a lot better than you'd expect, and the brake calipers Volvo insists are the same color but aren't, include a glossy black frame around the grille and Polestar alloy wheels.
Volvo considers the Audi SQ5 the XC60 Polestar's main competitor.
The XC60's Polestar's $71,000 base price is daunting, but it includes Nappa leather, adaptive cruise control, a big sunroof and much more. The plug-in hybrid's projected battery-only range of 18-21 miles is not particularly impressive, and the big tablet-style touch screen that controls many features is less responsive than the best competitors.
2020 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Polestar at a glance
Five-passenger luxury-performance SUV
Base price: $71,000 (excluding destination charges)
Reasons to buy: Looks, handling, features,
Shortcomings: Price; electric range; touch screen responsiveness
Where built: Gothenburg, Sweden
Engine: 2.0L super- and turbocharged four-cylinder engine, rear wheels electric-powered
Total system power: 415 hp, 494 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy rating: TBD
Estimated EPA battery range: 18-21 miles
0-60 mph acceleration: 4.9 seconds
Wheelbase: 184.6 inches
Length: 112.8 inches
Width, including mirrors: 78.7 ins.
Height: 65.3 inches
Base curb weight: 4,745 pounds
Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
V60 Cross Country AWD handles rocky trails
The V60 Cross Country AWD s a lifted, version of the V60 station wagon, with bigger wheel arches, burly tires and moldings for a rugged appearance. It's got 2.5 inches more ground clearance than a standard V60 wagon. That, and the hill descent feature to use engine braking when going down particularly steep grades, proved very useful when I drove a V60 Cross Country down a steep, twisting and rock-strewn trail from a 7,700-foot mountain peak to the road below.
Volvo softened the wagon's suspension for off road. Unlike the Polestar plugin-in hybrids, the gasoline only V60 Cross Country has a mechanical all-wheel drive system
Prices for the V60 Cross Country start at $45,100.
Volvo didn't make a V60 Polestar available to drive. The Polestar wagon has the same mechanical upgrades and visual touches as the XC60: asterisk badging, gold seat belts, big yellow Akebono brake calipers and black grille surround.
Prices for the V60 T8 E-AWD start at $67,300.
XC90 luxury SUV adds six-seat model
The XC90 three-row SUV launched Volvo's resurgence with a bang when it debuted in 2015 as a 2016 model. For 2020, it gets some upgrades and new features to face new competitors like the Audi Q7 and Lincoln Aviator.
The big changes are inside: an new Orrefors crystal shifter, wool upholstery for buyers who want an upscale interior without the karmic burden they feel from leather and bucket seats in the second row for a six-seat interior.
Other new features include the bigger, 11.6 kWh battery, which should improve electric range 2-3 miles from the previous rating of 18; automatic braking linked to the cross-traffic and blind spot alerts; and optional Harman Kardon audio. The main exterior changes are a concave grille other Volvos will adopt, new colors and wheels.
A spokesman for Audi of America said customers interested in the Avant can sign up now, and that the brand will offer preordering for deliveries in 2020.
In what might be considered a bold product move given market trends, Audi is bringing its high-powered estate wagon, the RS 6 Avant, to North America in the later half of 2020.
The redesigned wagon boasts a 591-hp twin-turbo-powered V-8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, producing 590 pounds-feet of torque. When it arrives, it will join the A4 Allroad as the only wagons in Audi's U.S. lineup.
"Throughout our 25-year RS history, the Audi RS 6 Avant is one of our absolute icons with a large global fan base," Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH, said in a written statement. "We will also be offering the RS 6 Avant in North America for the very first time. As such, we will be tapping into a new market with huge potential and generating further growth."
While they remain popular in Europe, wagons haven't fared as well in North America, where crossovers, minivans and SUVs dominate in the family hauler space. Audi's sibling brand, Volkswagen, said last month that it intended to end production of the Golf Sportwagen and Alltrack station wagons this year, pulling the plug on a 50-plus-year run of wagon offerings from Volkswagen in the U.S. Similarly, sales of the recently introduced Buick Regal Tour X have slowed as well.
Pricing of the RS 6 Avant was not announced. A spokesman for Audi of America said customers interested in the Avant can sign up now, and that the brand will offer preordering for deliveries in 2020.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) - Italian premium sports car maker Ferrari NV (RACE.MI) will expand sales of easier-driving grand touring cars, but will not try to chase rival Porsche's annual sales volume, Ferrari Chairman John Elkann told an audience of classic car enthusiasts gathered at this storied golf resort on the Pacific coast.
Elkann also reiterated that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV(FCHA.MI), of which he is chairman, remains open to opportunities to combine with other automakers, but is positioned to remain independent. Fiat Chrysler in May proposed a merger with French automaker Renault SA, but the deal fell apart after the French government intervened and Elkann withdrew the proposed merger.
Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Mike Manley sent the same message to Renault and other would-be partners earlier this month.
Elkann visited Pebble Beach during the annual Concours d'Elegance, during which wealthy collectors bring some of the world's rarest vintage automobiles to be admired - and sold - and premium manufacturers showcase exotic new models.
Ferrari is best known for flashy, high performance sports cars. Among fans of vintage Ferraris, more understated GT, or grand touring, cars from the 1960s, some with seating for four people, are among the most popular models on auction blocks and at enthusiast events. GT cars were designed to be comfortable on longer road trips.
Elkann hinted Ferrari will unveil a new GT type car in November. Ferrari has said previously that about 40% of its total sales could come from GT cars by 2022, up from 32% now.
Ferrari has outlined plans to expand revenue to 5 billion euros ($5.54 billion) by 2022 from 3.4 billion euros in 2017. The company has said it plans to add a model called the Purosangue to compete with a growing stable of sport utility vehicles wearing premium sports car brands, such as the Lamborghini Urus.
Rival Porsche AG, a unit of Volkswagen AG(VOWG_p.DE), has expanded its sales to more than 250,000 sports cars and sport utility vehicles annually. Elkann said Ferrari is not aiming for Porsche's level of sales.
Aston Martin's first utility vehicle key to sales growth plans
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said the company's first utility vehicle arriving later this year will be crucial for the British luxury-car maker, which is trying to revive sales growth and rebuild investor trust.
The DBX will add about 4,000 units to annual deliveries after its launch in late 2019, Palmer told reporters in Tokyo. The automaker cut its overall sales target for this year by 11 percent last month to a minimum of 6,300 cars.
The DBX will be the biggest step yet in Palmer's campaign to win over buyers and regain investor confidence in the Gaydon, England-based automaker. Waning demand in the U.K. and Europe have left Aston Martin's stock valued at a quarter of its initial public offering price just 10 months ago -- the worst-performing new listing on London's main market in more than two years.
"The key, of course, is DBX," Palmer told reporters at the brand's dealership in central Tokyo. "When you see DBX, when you hear DBX and when you drive DBX, it should shout Aston Martin at you."
Palmer didn't rule out raising more funding should Aston Martin need to replenish its declining cash pool. The company generated about 900,000 pounds ($1.1 million) of cash from operations in the first half, the lowest since it started to disclose earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"In a public market in the U.K, probably the investors would prefer that you had more cash," Palmer said. "If we felt that we needed more money, then we would step to an instrument which we understood, which will be to go to the debt markets and raise more debt."
The DBX will compete with the Porsche Cayenne and Macan, the Bentley Bentayga, and the Lamborghini Urus. Adding a utility vehicle is a tactic that's worked for Bentley, which has doubled production numbers with the Bentayga, and for Porsche, whose $50,000 Macan is the company's best-selling vehicle.
While Palmer said the stock-market reaction doesn't change Aston Martin's plan of introducing seven new models in seven years since 2016, analysts are downbeat. They lowered the average one-year target price for the stock by 43 percent in the past three months, with Credit Suisse's Daniel Schwarz recently slashing his estimate by more than two-thirds.
Meanwhile hedge funds have taken record short positions in both Aston Martin's debt and equity, the Financial Times reported, citing data from IHS Markit. The cost of borrowing the company's sterling-denominated bonds has risen to the highest of any U.K. corporate debt, according to the report.
"Short-sellers are taking the opportunity of 2019 being an increasingly difficult year -- wholesale not quite enough, difficult market in the U.K. and Europe," Palmer said. "And because Brexit moved -- used to be end of March and now it's end of October -- it's not reasonable to assume that somehow the market is going to come back."
Honda, Hyundai Join Growing List of Automakers Electrifying Motorsports Programs
While battery power is still struggling to gain traction in the consumer market, it is accelerating fast on the race track as a growing number of motor sports series - and automaker race programs - adopt various forms of electrification.
Two of the newest manufacturers set to plug in are Hyundai, which will preview an all-electric race car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, as well as Honda, which says it will return to next year's IndyCar series with a hybrid-powered racer delivering "more than 900 horsepower."
"Racing has long been a crucible for the development of new technologies and people at Honda and this direction will enable us to promote a technology through racing that is essential to the future of our automobile business," said Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development.
The two announcements come just weeks after the conclusion of the fifth season of the Formula E series. That's an all-electric program that has gained significant momentum over the last several years.
Earlier this month, IndyCar announced that it will switch to hybrid technology with the launch of the 2022 series. Both Honda and its arch-competitor Chevrolet will join in on the switch.
Hyundai offers a tease of what its hybrid race car.
As with a conventional hybrid vehicle, the powertrains for the open-car race series will pair an internal combustion engine with an electric drive system though, in this case, that will be one specifically developed for motorsports using a "multi-phase motor, inverter and electric storage device that will create energy recovery from the car's braking system."
Currently, IndyCars can produce as much as 700 horsepower. That will jump to 900 with the hybrids, but that could understate the boost batteries will give since electric motors can generate 100% of their torque the moment they switch on.
IndyCar actually is a belated entry into hybridization, following both Formula One - which introduced the kinetic energy recovery system, or KERS, to racing - and the Le Mans endurance race series.
What is unclear is where Hyundai plans to take the all-electric race car it says it is developing, and which it will introduce at the Frankfurt Motor Show a month from now.
Honda is returning to IndyCar with a 900-hp hybrid.
There is speculation that the project could be teaming Hyundai with battery supercar company Rimac. The Korean automaker in May announced it would invest $90 million in the Croatian start-up, though it was vague about what their plans were beyond developing an EV model that would become part of Hyundai's new "N" performance sub-brand.
While offering a brief teaser of the car - which looks to be a small hatchback - Hyundai has little to say beyond a terse statement noting, "The move to electric continues the growth of Hyundai Motorsport, which has become well established in rallying and circuit racing since its inception in 2012. The multiple rally-winning WRC team, now in its sixth season, is currently leading a closely fought Manufacturers' Championship."
The Formula E series wrapped its season with two races on a makeshift track in Brooklyn.
Could Hyundai be targeting the World Rally Championship or perhaps even setting up a series of its own for the upcoming all-electric racer? That wouldn't be unique. Jaguar set up the I-Pace e-Trophy series to pair with Formula E.
"I think (all auto racing series) will have to go electric or they will have no relevance," Alejandro Agag, the founder and organizer of Formula E told TheDetroitBureau.com last month.
While few motorsports analysts expect to see battery-cars completely take over anytime soon, what's clear is that, as electrification becomes more the norm than the exception, both automakers and auto racing organizers are looking to stay ahead of the curve.