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Automotive News - September 2013

BMW X5 Security Plus Concept

Concepts, sometimes the most fun part of auto shows, aren't always about new vehicles. Sometimes they're just a play on an existing model. At this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW offered up an interesting variant on it's X5 SUV, the X5 Security Plus Concept.

2014 Mazda3

The compact segment is crowded and competitive, as manufacturers are able to sell more of lower priced cars. #Mazda is planning to continue holding court at the top with it's newly redesigned 2014 #Mazda3. The auto manufacturer says that due to it being loaded with class-above features, top-tier fuel economy and fun driving characteristics, it expects to remain the top choice in the segment.

2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

The odds of ever sitting behind the wheel of some cars are as low as your chances of ever winning the lottery, but we can always dream. This is the case of the Aston Martin, which in addition to wearing the Aston Martin Vanquish badge, is one of the most beautifully designed cars in the industry.

Audi Nanuk Quatro Concept

Often concept cars are just fun- a little goofy, and unlikely to come to fruition anytime soon, if at all. They're imaginative and come with a generous helping of exaggeration. These cars are usually created to gauge reactions to certain aspects of them, generating "what if?" type of discussions. Others simply build them to draw more attention to their brands and reinforce the image behind them. Audi's newest concept though is different. It's magnificent.

Hyundai and Kia Build Testing Centre

Kia models destined for the European market will be put to the test in a new testing facility that Hyundai has built on the legendary Nurburgring in Germany. Kia's parent company has invested 6.62 euros, about $9 million Canadian in enhancing their research and development operations. This new permanent presence of Kia and Hyundai on the Nurburgring will enable them to more effectively assess the sustainability and vitality of their products.

Frankfurt Auto Show: Hits and Misses

Auto shows are a great opportunity to check out what's new, what's in the pipeline, and what some exec let escape the vetting process, causing us to scratch our heads. The Frankfurt International Motor Show, the first of the season is no exception. Here are a few of the best that we saw there last week, a few of the worst, and a couple that simply left us bewildered. First the hits!

BMW i8 Hybrid Official Debut

Changing everything we thought we knew about hybrid cars, BMW's i8 hybrid supercar has officially been unveiled at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show. The German luxury automaker has also confirmed that the i8 will enter production early next spring with a Sypder convertible variant coming later in 2015. The opposite of BMW's recently released i3 practical and frugal city car, the BMW i8 is anything but. Sure it's a plug-in hybrid that gets good fuel economy and generates low emissions, but this is a proper supercar that offers incredible performance. It's body is sleek and unlike anything else on the market today.

BMW X5 Boss SUV Targets Mercedes

The luxury SUV market couldn't be more competitive, and BMW is setting it's sights on Mercedes-Benz. After it's biggest SUV was outsold by Mercedes last year, BMW is determined to regain it's luxury crown with a new version of it's X5.

A New Model for Golf

Canadians love the Volkswagen Golf. There's something just so outdoorsy and well.. Canadian about the car. We love it, but for some reason it's rarely at the top of our shopping list. In Europe though, the situation is much different. Volkswagen is the largest automotive manufacturer in Europe.

Audi A3 Cabriolet

The Frankfurt International Auto Show is happening this week, and one of the things we're looking forward to is seeing Audi's new A3 Cabriolet compact convertible. We don't have all of the details quite yet, but here's what we know for now.

Cadillac Has Faith In The SUV

Like many other luxury car manufacturers, Cadillac knows that they cannot survive in today's market without a full range of sport utility vehicles in it's showroom. According to a report from Reuters, the Detroit based luxury brand will add three SUV models to it's line-up by 2017.

Smart Fourjoy Concept

It's autoshow season again! I'm particularly happy about this because I get to write about all the new shiny toys that automakers have dreamed up, especially the ones that are still in concept stage. Just days ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Smart has unveiled it's newest concept, the all new Fourjoy.

Luxury Cars Go Greener And Meaner

It used to mean that green cars meant gutless little grocery getters that had about as much power as a sewing machine. Well, the technology has changed significantly, and we're seeing it move up into the luxury brands who pride themselves on power and performance.

Toyota Wants To Turn The Page

Unless you've been living on Mars, or simply not interested in automotive news, you probably know that Toyota has been severely affected by a series of recalls that were issued in 2009 and 2010. These recalls have affected more than 10 million vehicles worldwide.

Nissan's Self Driving Cars

They're getting closer to reality. Many of us would love to be able to read the newspaper en route to work. Last week, Nissan announced that this will be a possibility soon, and that their self driving cars will be ready for sale in 2020. This comes after several years of extensive research, engineering and testing in collaboration with several major universities such as MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo.

Cheap Corolla Lease Rates

Attempting to boost it's position in the price sensitive compact car market, Toyota is cutting it's lease rates on the newly redesigned 2014 Corolla, and boosting the car's residual value. Considered a gamble in the automotive industry, Toyota is trying to regain it's market share in the competitive segment. The move is not without controversy though. Skeptics are questioning Toyota's new residual values for the Corolla, which have been set significantly higher than in the past. For Toyota's strategy to work, the lease-end value of the Corolla must be much higher than those of it's competition, many of which have produced higher residual values than the Corolla for some time.

Customs Cracks Down Hard On Illegal Imports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is cracking down hard on people who illegally import vehicles. Auto enthusiasts often import cars from other countries, usually either vintage collectables or models that can't be had here. It's a great way to get a rare or collectible piece of nostalgia, or a super car that's built for European race tracks. U.S. Customs makes allowances for "classics", vehicles that are more than 25 years old, and does not require them to meet emission and safety regulations.

Infiniti Q30 To Be Launched In Frankfurt

Several years ago, Infiniti decided that it wanted to enter the compact luxury vehicle segment. Upon arriving in that market during the early 1990s, the Infiniti I20 was launched; a plush version of the European Primera. Here, however, buyers see it as only a luxury version of the Sentra, which wasn't very interesting.

GM Gives Us A Glimpse Of Their New Trucks

GM is not intending, at least for now, to follow Ford's example and dump it's small trucks. Last week they gave us a look at the bodies of their overhauled Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models. Both will return as refreshed 2015 models once the older model's inventory has been liquidated, at least in the United States.

Volkswagen Micro Bus Retired

It's a sad day for surfer and hippie types, both past and present as one of the most iconic vehicles of all time is put out to pasture. Volkswagen has announced that it will cease production of the Kombi minibus after this year's special edition.

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