Automotive News - August 2014

A Pickup Truck From BMW

Okay, okay, you can stop laughing now. Just the thought of a BMW being used to haul cargo around town would cause most people to smirk. Yeah, it's unlikely. However, this is not stopping a group of students at Clemson University's International Centre for Automotive Research. Here, as part of the school's Deep Orange project, engineering students' creativity was tapped, as they proposed next-generation products, including a Bimmer pickup truck. It wasn't just based on the whims of idealistic students. The German automaker's engineering, marketing and finance departments took interest in the pickup version of the BMW X3, and directed the team's efforts. Their goal was to design a vehicle that could be capable of hauling potted orange trees in the back, without losing typical BMW characteristics like performance, ride, and luxurious interior. All materials or parts used had to have BMW's approval too.

Redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-class

While BMW is the leader in the luxury compact segment with their 3- and 4-series compacts, don't count out Mercedes-Benz. The German automaker is about to launch their new generation C-class on August 25, and the company thinks that their redesigned sedan might finally give them an edge over their rival. The redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan is packed with new technology and features, gadgets that have trickled down from the automaker's S-class flagship car. Nearly every feature available on the S-class is now available on the C-class. It even looks like the S-class, only smaller. The new C-class comes with the company's optional Intelligent Drive package of integrated safety features. Included in the package are cross-traffic and lane-keeping assist, Pre-Safe braking and steering, adaptive cruise control and rear-end collision protection. The package helps drivers to make better decisions or to help keep drivers out of danger. For an extra $2,800, C-class owners now have access to the same safety features found on a $100,000 S-class.

The New Volvo XC90 Is Going To Be Easier To Park

The new Volvo XC90 will feature a series of innovative solutions designed to help the driver to navigate tricky parking situations and manoeuvre the car in confined spaces. IntelliSafe assistive technologies now includes an extended Parking Assist Pilot. How has this evolved? This assistance can now not only parallel park, but now perpendicularly, just as you might in a shopping mall parking lot. It can even back into a parking spot. The vehicle also displays an overview of the area around the vehicle on the car's large central screen, giving the driver a bird's eye view of everything that can be found around the vehicle, including potential obstructions or pedestrians.

Nissan IDx Freeflow and NISMO - Future Uncertain

A few months after their presentation at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013, Andy Palmer, product manager for the Americas, said that mass production of the Nissan IDx Freeflow and Nissan IDx NISMO is not in the cards, but that Nissan would definitely make one of them happen. It seems that this is no longer the case. Mr. Palmer now says that the expected production volumes are just not sufficient, and the lack of a platform that can be shared with other models means that there is no longer any hope of mass production. The reasons make sense, since these concepts required a compact, rear-wheel drive platform. Currently, Nissan has none. These concepts are quite similar to the Datsun 510, a car that all fans of small Japanese cars remember well. The 510 had been a success in rallies during the early 1970s, before the Datsun name disappeared in favour of that of the manufacturer, Nissan.

Aston Martin Confirms The Return Of The Lagonda Brand

Aston Martin just confirmed the return of the Lagonda brand, albeit in a very limited edition. Lagonda was founded in 1906 by Wilbur Gunn and has been under Aston Martin's ownership since 1947. The Lagonda brand places more emphasis on luxury rather than sporty character, which is why it never sold a whole lot of units, it was more about exclusivity. The best selling model was the Aston Martin Lagonda, produced between 1976 and 1989. Only 645 cars made their way out of the assembly plant. Legend has it that this model is what enabled Aston Martin to survive. It has always been that the Lagonda logo was placed on only the most luxurious and very exclusive sedans. Rekindling the Lagonda ethos of "the finest of fast cars", it will be sold exclusively in the Middle East, thanks to strong demand in this market.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Two little letters can make a big difference. At Nissan, those letters are SR. These two letters signify a sporty touch and are added to several Nissan models. For 2015, the Versa Note gets into the game. Although the mechanical aspects of the SR have not changed, the small compact's attitude has been radically changed. Unveiled at this year's auto show in Chicago, the SR is one of four trim levels available on the Versa Note. The secret of a good recipe often lies in the spices that are added to it, and this is why the Versa Note SR, despite it's basic 109 horsepower could end up being a tasty morsel after all. Like all variants of the Nissan Versa Note, The SR is a front-wheel drive car powered by a small four-cylinder, 1.6-litre engine, paired with a Nissan Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). This very pleasant to use transmission helps the car achieve excellent fuel consumption.

Buick Regal, Volvo S60 Make Consumer Report's Top Upscale List

Consumer Reports magazine is famous for it's lists. While most top (whatever) lists are generally pretty subjective, or quietly related to the amount of advertising dollars a company spends at a magazine, the Consumer Reports lists are honourable. The magazine does not accept advertising, and it conducts it's own rigorous tests in house, giving it's winners a great deal of credibility. The most recent list, of top upscale sedans was just offered up by the magazine for it's September issue. Two new additions, the Buick Regal and Volvo S60 now rank among the top upscale sedan list. Newly refreshed for 2014, the Buick Regal has a new powertrain. It ranked just behind the class-leading BMW 328i, by only one point, but beat out the Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans in road test scores. The Buick Regal tied the Mercedes-Benz C250 for second place in overall rankings. Engineers at the magazine liked the Regal's handling, performance and easy-to-use infotainment system, ranking it above the Volvo S60. It beat the Cadillac ATS and the CTS, which are more in line with it's price range than the 328i by 7 points.

2016 Mazda2 Production Begins

The Mazda2, the smallest Mazda distributed in Canada, will be completely revised in 2015. Mazda also announced last week that production of this little car has began at the company's Japanese factory in Hofu, Yamaguchi. It will adopt the KODO style- Soul of movements, just like sister vehicles Mazda3 and Mazda6 and the CX-5 SUV. This car will first be marketed in Japan, followed by global markets, including Canada. The revised silhouette seems much more dynamic than that of the generation it replaces. The interior finish, modeled on the Mazda3 and 6, is more refined. The dashboard also looks a lot like the Mazda3.

Hyundai Dealers Get Image Change

Hyundai dealers will get a makeover during the coming months. Indeed, Hyundai Auto Canada announced on Wednesday that it will roll out a new visual identity for it's entire national dealer network. Now represented by the blue and white colours, the new design will fit into the global identity of the company. This new initiative is called the Global Dealership Space Identity (GDSI) and will be introduced at all Hyundai dealerships around the world. What is immediately noticeable is the new exterior colour scheme. Dealership rooflines will now be bronze coloured, but Hyundai's signature blue hue will remain as an accent colour inside the dealerships. To facilitate and enhance the customer's experience, showrooms will now feature quality modern furniture, customer lounges, as well as new digital kiosks, tablets, shelves, and wheel stands. Plants and indoor trees will bring natural, environmental elements into the showroom space, and flooring will bring to mind a natural landscape.

2015 Ford Expedition Refreshed

The Ford Expedition, the only full-sized, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV left in Ford's lineup, is getting a refresh for it's 2015 model year. Arriving at dealerships in September, this big SUV is getting a new look, a bunch of new technology and a new engine. Crossovers and small SUVs are super hot right now, but this big SUV still has fans, in places where big trucks are still appreciated, like in Texas and in Saudi Arabia. More than one in five Ford Expeditions sold in the U.S. are in Texas. About 85 percent of those sold outside of the U.S. are to customers in Saudi Arabia. The Ford Expedition attracts customers who need capability from their SUV. The ability to spend a lot of money on fuel doesn't hurt either. The Expedition targets "more affluent customers who won’t compromise -- they want space performance, comfort and capability all in one impressive package," said Keith Wilson, the vehicle’s marketing manager, in an announcement.

Tough New 2015 Ford F-450

Trucks are meant to be tough, but Ford's line of Super Duty trucks are exceptionally tough. They need to be, as they are often the vehicle of choice for the toughest jobs. Performance is key in this class of truck, and all are measured by how much they can tow. Ford has revealed a few details about it's upcoming version of the heavy duty F-450 pick up truck, as they film a series of commercials set to appear this fall at the start of college football season, starring Denis Leary. They say that the new Ford F-450 will offer the best torque and towing capacity in it's class. For 2015, the F-450 is getting a mid-cycle refresh, not a complete overhaul. The F-450 is Ford's biggest truck. Taking things to a new level, the incoming model has a towing capacity that has been increased by 6,500 pounds, bringing it up to 31,200 pounds.

Tesla Model III Official

There has been plenty of rumours and speculation over the last year, but Tesla has finally announced the upcoming Tesla Model III. This entry-level model is expected to compete with the BMW 3 Series, with a starting price of about $35,000. The electric Model III, which is expected to go on sale in 2017 will follow the launch of the upcoming Model X crossover. The first few Model X customers should get them later this year. That $35,000 (U.S.) price, is half that of the current Model S. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO has said that that new Model III, pronounced "Model Three," will have a range of 200 miles when fully charged. He also said that the car will be about the same size as BMW's 3 Series, and about 20 percent smaller than the Model S. Originally the car was going to be called the "Model E", but Ford Motor Co. claimed rights to that name.

Two New Cars From smart

Smart, the king of tiny cars has just unveiled the latest version of the ForTwo micro car, and it's new four-seat mini car, the ForFour. For the first time since 2006, Smart now has a second vehicle in it's line-up. Prior to that, the brand had a four-seat vehicle that was based on the Mitsubishi Colt, but Daimler discontinued it after only two years due to slow sales. Daimler has partnered with Renault for the ForFour, sharing the same underpinnings as the Renault Twingo. The ForFour will be built at a Slovenian Renault factory, while the redesigned ForTwo will continue to be built at the Smart factory in Hambach, France. The two cars from Smart will share identical styling, the ForFour will simply be a stretched version of the ForTwo to accommodate an extra row of seating and pair of doors, but it will not be as long as Renault's Twingo. Both cars will go on sale this fall in Europe, and will hit North America in late 2015, badged as a 2016 model. Sadly, the ForFour probably won't make it here.

It's Over For The Bertone Group

You may have heard this name before: Bertone. This is the name of an Italian company that specialized in automotive design, one that closed it's doors for the final time last week. Finding itself buried under debt, low revenues and poor decisions, the company was ruined. Bertone is known for creating many interesting designs over the years, the majority of which were for Lamborghini, and some for Alfa Romeo. The company originated in 1912, under the name of Carrozzeria Bertone. It was founded by Giovanni Bertone and his son Nuccio Bertone took over the reins following the Second World War. Nuccio then split the company into two entities: Carrozzeria for the production side of things, and Stile Bertone design. Until the bankruptcy was announced last week, the company was managed by Nuccio's widow Lilli Bertone. The company has faced similar financial troubles in 2007, 2008 and 2011, but assets sold to resolve those situations are no longer available to rescue the company this time around.

Volkswagen Announces Big Things

Volkswagen had some big things to announce at their press conference on Monday, all of which were good news for those in Tennessee. The German automaker announced that they will be investing $900 million into their operations at their Chattanooga, TN plant so that they can build it's upcoming three-row, seven-seat SUV. The money will go towards creating an additional 538,000 square feet of space in the existing factory. Chattanooga will also become home to Volkswagen's new R&D planning centre which will focus on interpreting customer feedback and integrating this information into upcoming and existing vehicles. In the process, an additional 2,000 factory jobs and 200 engineering positions will be created. Volkswagen intends to invest more than $7 billion in the U.S. and in Mexico from 2014 to 2018.

Sleep Is Essential To Safe Driving

As we approach the construction holidays, many of us will take to the road by storm. Some will flee the city for the outer regions of the province, but others head out of Quebec to visit the Maritimes, head out west, or to visit our southern neighbours. The Society Assurance Automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) just launched a campaign to highlight awareness of driver fatigue. While signs have already been erected along roadsides to remind you that you may be "dead tired," the SAAQ plans to highlight the presence of these ads during the coming weeks, and point out how ineffective many of the things we use to combat fatigue really are.

Are you looking for a used car for sale? Find it on

Car dealer
Used car for sale
© 1994-2022   AutoExpert Powered by Dealer Corporation -  All rights reserved  |  Terms and Conditions  -  Confidentiality Policy | Dealercity