Having made its world debut last month in Geneva, the 2016 smart fortwo took the ramp in North America at the 2015 New York Auto Show.The third-gen version of the city car gets its power from a rear-mounted turbo-three putting 88 horses and 100 lb-ft of torque out of the back via either a five-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic. The car also gains 100mm-wider track than the outgoing model, while increased use of high-strength steel should improve occupant safety.Pricing was not announced at this time, but the new smart fortwo is set to hit showrooms in the United States this autumn. … [Read more...] about New York 2015: 2016 smart fortwo Debuts In North America
I recently returned from a week-long visit to Europe, the world leader in diesel hatchbacks and cigarettes. There, as I always do when I arrive in Europe, I came face to face with a stark reality: there are still human beings driving around in Peugeots.And in fact, I was one of them. I visited the tiny island nation of Malta, a former British colony located somewhere between Sicily and Africa, and I rented a Peugeot 308CC. Although I cannot be sure, I believe this stands for either “Coupe Convertible” or “Chimpanzee Cerebellum.”Anyway, this ended up being a gigantic mistake on Malta, because it turns out that the entire place is no larger than a bathroom trash can, whereas the 308CC is a bit Colossally Corpulent. Not by American standards, of course; the 308CC isn’t even large enough to be seen by the naked eye of people who are driving Escalades and G-Wagens. They would have to use a telescope; the same one that prevents them from running over the … [Read more...] about QOTD: What Foreign Cars Should Be Sold In North America?
As Opel begins its retail roll out of the new Astra across Europe, some enterprising spy shooters have found the Opel’s Chinese-market twin wearing Buick tri-shields and Verano GS badging.And holy shit, this is about to get very, very confusing.According to Autohome, the Verano GS — marketed as Buick Weilang GS in China — is expected to be revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show with GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The same engine will be used in North America in the new Malibu, albeit with a six-speed automatic transmission.Now before you get too excited about those GS badges, it may not mean what you think it means, at least in this case.For starters, we need to explain Buick’s sub-Regal lineup in China.In North America, the Buick Verano is built on the same Delta II platform as the soon-to-be-departed Chevrolet Cruze and recently departed Opel/Vauxhall Astra J. In China, the … [Read more...] about What Does a Chinese Buick Verano GS Mean For North America?
Ford Motor Company said Tuesday that the company posted its most profitable third quarter driven by pickup sales in North America.According to Ford CEO Mark Fields, F-150 transaction prices were up $2,800 for the third quarter in 2015 compared to the same period last year and dealers were reporting full stocks of trucks, up from this year’s shortage.Fields stopped short of saying the new F-150 was more profitable than the outgoing generation, but said the truck was contributing — not taking away from — the company’s record profit. Representatives said high-margin cars such as the Edge, Mustang and Explorer also contributed to pre-tax profit of $2.7 billion last quarter.Automotive News reported that Ford’s U.S. sales increased 11 percent in the third quarter, beating the industry’s 6.2 percent average.The company reported a $1.9 billion net income for the three months ending in September, more than double last year’s result from the … [Read more...] about Ford Posts Most Profitable Quarter in North America, Driven By Truck Sales
Ford Motor Company says its profits dropped 9 percent in the second quarter, and warns that leaner times are coming.Net income, global market share, and earnings per share all fell, but the automaker’s financial news wasn’t all bad. Still, Ford plans to do some cost cutting as the red-hot new vehicle market cools off in North America.Ford’s net income of $2 billion dropped $190 million from a year ago, and its pre-tax profit of $3 billion was down $293 million. Global market share fell three-tenths of a percent to 7.5 percent of the world’s rolling fleet. Still, its overall revenue was up 6 percent, and its pre-tax profit rose to $39.5 billion. Despite some dodgy overseas markets, European pre-tax profits tripled.So, what’s the problem? Many automakers would love to have such income. Well, the problem is growth, and Ford doesn’t expect to see much of it anytime soon.In North America, Ford faces a wall. The company’s pre-tax profit was 5.3 … [Read more...] about Ford Hits a Profit Wall in North America
Hyundai revealed Tuesday renderings of the first brand-new model to wear the Genesis nameplate as a marque. The new top-of-the-range Genesis will replace the Equus in the North American market next year, dropping its equine name for something more palatable to our tastes: alphanumerics.On the other side of the Pacific, horse meat is a delicacy, so it should come as no surprise that the new Genesis G90 keeps its Equus lineage with the EQ900 model designation.Hyundai announced their spin-off of the Genesis name into a luxury brand last week. Genesis will launch six new models before 2020, all with G## designations in North America.“G90 is a blueprint for change and innovation that will distinguish the Genesis brand,” Hyundai said in a statement Tuesday. No details were revealed beyond “world-best safety features” and the like, though chances are we’ll know all about the new model before it’s officially launched in Korea next … [Read more...] about Genesis G90 No Longer of Equus Genus (At Least, Not in North America)
Detroit automakers may be betting high-profit SUVs and trucks are a better fit for their domestic plants as those automakers shift production away from cars to make room for larger, high-margin vehicles.Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will largely shift production of their cars to Mexico and bring more trucks and SUVs to North American facilities, according to their contracts with the United Auto Workers, Automotive News reported.The report consolidates production planning schedules included in UAW contracts with domestic automakers, which shows automakers’ plans to move some of their cars to Mexico or overseas. Of the Big Three, General Motors will sell the most domestically produced cars in North America, including the Malibu, Impala, Sonic, Bolt and Volt, although the small-car plant recently announced a slowing production schedule. Ford will still produce the Mustang and Fusion at its Flat Rock plant in Michigan. The shift represents a … [Read more...] about Big Three Go Long On SUV, Truck Production in North America
Undeterred by industry trends that are currently making oil-burners unattractive, Jaguar will release a 2-liter turbodiesel in the XF sedan for North America, coupled with optional all-wheel drive. Additionally, Jaguar’s “Configurable Dynamics” tech will be available on the diesel, allowing for customized suspension and steering tuning, as well as dynamic throttle mapping and shift behavior.A paltry 177 horsepower doesn’t seem particularly inspiring for a sports sedan, but the expected fuel economy will be attractive. All-wheel drive is tuned for a rear-drive bias, so the handling should be quite similar in dry conditions to the RWD saloon. … [Read more...] about Jaguar XF Diesel Bound For North America with All-Wheel Drive
Former BMW Group chassis manager Hinrich Woebcken will head Volkswagen in North America, the automaker announced Tuesday. Woebcken will take over April 1.Woebcken takes over the position from former Skoda chief Winfried Vahland, who was tabbed for the new position last year, but resigned three weeks later.Volkswagen of America President and CEO Michael Horn will report to Woebcken, according to a statement from the automaker, but it’s unclear what Horn’s duties will be under the new North American chief. “The USA is and will remain a key core market for the Volkswagen brand. That is why the North America region must be steered in the interest of our customers and dealers there. With his international experience Mr. Woebcken will make an important contribution to the brand’s positive development in the region,” Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.Woebcken was manager for “driving dynamics” at BMW Group, which included … [Read more...] about Former BMW Manager Woebcken to Lead Volkswagen in North America
It’s been nearly a decade since Honda introduced a Civic hatchback in North America. But according to reports by the Nikkei, our market is slated to get another Civic hatch, which will also be built in the UK.The Civic hatchback will be built at Honda’s Swindon, UK plant, and sent to North America starting in 2016. Swindon has capacity for 250,000 cars annually, but has been running at far below that, with one of its two lines, capable of building 100,000 units per year, has been sitting idle.A plant being underutilized at this level is a major financial drain on an auto maker, and Honda is understandably eager to optimize capacity at Swindon. The Nikkei projects 30,000 to 40,000 Civic hatchbacks will come to North America starting in the summer of 2016. While it won’t enable the plant to operate at full capacity, it still helps.The move comes as part of an overall restructuring of Honda’s European operations. The Fit, known as the Jazz in Europe, will … [Read more...] about Next-Generation Honda Civic Will Get UK-Built 5-Door For North America