Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: Automotive Visionary Sergio Marchionne Passed Away

Richard Saxton with Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, chairman and CEO of FCA US LLC, the chairman and CEO of Ferrari, and the chairman of Maserati, Italian-Canadian lawyer and businessman, who turned around Fiat and Chrysler, was a big loss for the auto industry when he passed away on July 25, 2018, at the age 66, due to complications from shoulder surgery. Easy to talk to and a friend who I admired.

ArticlesGlobal and Mail, Financial Times, Reuters.

Photo taken Jan. 11, 2010 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD

The Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD chassis cab trucks, the first-ever medium-duty Silverado trucks, are in production and on their way to dealerships.

2019 Nissan Murano and Maxima Prices

The 2019 Nissan Murano, now on sale in available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trims and equipped with a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC V6 connected to an advanced Xtronic transmission, is available in front-wheel drive or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, with a starting MSRP of $32,315 (including $1,045 destination and handling charge) for the Murano S front-wheel drive model.

The 2019 Nissan Maxima, with a mid-cycle freshening for its S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum trims levels, is powered by a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter VQ-series V6 engine and Xtronic transmission and is on sale now starting at $34,845 (including $895 destination and handling charge).

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Crossover Starts Under $30,000 With Tax Credit

The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric crossover, with a 258-mile estimated range, has a starting price of $36,450, for an effective net price of $28,950 ($29,995 including delivery), with the electric vehicle tax credit of $7,500 factored in. Customers may receive the available federal tax credit of up to $7,500, dependent on individual tax circumstances. Kona Electric models will be produced in Ulsan, Korea and will be available in the beginning of 2019, with initial availability in California and subsequently in the ZEV-focused states in the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. market.

2019 Porsche Macan S Starts At $59,650 This Summer

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is refreshed with several chassis revisions, a continuous LED light bar at the rear, and the new Porsche Communication Management system with a 10.9-inch touchscreen and a new more powerful 348 horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with a zero to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds or 4.9 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package to a top track speed of 157 mph. LED headlights are now included as standard, while Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus is optional while a new brake pedal weighs around 300 g less than the previous steel part and connects to the brake master cylinder via a shortened lever arm for improved brake responsiveness and the 2019 model has larger front brake discs. With 100 more horsepower and costing almost $10,000 more than the base Macan, the new 2019 Macan S has a base MSRP of $59,650 (including a $1,050 delivery, processing and handling fee) and is available for order now and is expected to reach U.S. dealers in summer 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018

2019 Nissan GT-R Starts At $101,685

The 2019 Nissan GT-R Pure, Premium and Track Edition grades are equipped with a 565-horsepower 3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine mated to a dual-clutch sequential 6-speed transmission, electronically controlled ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system and the GT-R NISMO is rated at 600 horsepower. The 2019 GT-R Pure model, the most affordable of the four available GT-R trim levels, remains unchanged from 2018 with a a starting MSRP of $101,685 (including $1,695 destination and handling charge).

The Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign, the ultimate 710 horsepower GT-R will have a 50-vehicle limited run with orders being taken now at and deliveries to begin in 2019 continuing through 2020. Price tag is about $1,125,270.

Audi e-tron GT Concept Coming In Early 2021

The electric powered Audi e-tron GT Concept, a four-door coupe, will make its film debut in Marvel Studios’ Avengers 4, set to be released in theaters summer 2019 with the volume-production counterpart set to follow in approximately two years following the Audi e-tron SUV and the Audi e-tron Sportback slated for 2019. A 590 horsepower system feeding separate synchronous electric motors in the front and rear axles. The vehicle should accelerate from 0 to 62.1 mph in around 3.5 seconds before going on to 124.3 mph in just over 12 seconds to a regulated top speed 149.1 mph to maximize the range which is expected to be 248.5 miles (determined according to the new WLTP standard). Fitted with an 800-volt system reduces charging times to around 20 minutes to recharge the battery to 80 percent of its capacity, providing a range of 198.8 miles (WLTP). The project will be developed into volume-production models by the end of 2020. Initial deliveries will be made to customers in early 2021.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, Limited Production of 200

The new Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, with only 200 to made, is powered by a 700 horsepower 6-cylinder aluminium twin-turbocharged rear-mounted boxer engine mated to a 7-speed PDK transmission, and will have an MSRP base price of $478,000 (excluding tax, shipping, and import fees). All interested customers should email to register interest. Customers can expect to begin to receive their vehicles beginning in May 2019.

2019 Jaguar I-PACE Electric SUV Starts At $70,495

The new all-electric 2019 Jaguar I-PACE SUV with a 90kWh battery powering a pair of electric motors delivers an EPA Estimated range of up to 234 miles and 0-60mph acceleration of 4.5 seconds. A 0-80 percent charge is achieveable in approximately 40 minutes using a 100kW public fast charger, or just over 10 hours using a 230V/32amp charger. The Jaguar I-PACE features standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™7,8. Drivers can interact with key mobile apps through the vehicle’s central touchscreen in a manner similar to a smartphone, and certain functions can also be controlled via Voice Control. The Jaguar I-PACE, on sale now, is priced from $70,495 (including $995 destination and handling charge) in S, SE and HSE trim levels, with an additional First Edition model available for the first year only and each featuring all-wheel drive, four-corner air suspension, panoramic glass roof, and the new Jaguar InControl® Touch Pro Duo™ infotainment system standard.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 LA Auto Show Video: Rivian Founder/CEO RJ Scaringe

A surprising vehicle manufacturer appearance at the 2018 LA Auto Show was Rivian, an electric SUV and pickup truck startup that's two years away from offering trucks in the $60,000 price range after rebates. Founder/CEO RJ Scaringe discusses his creation.

Click here to watch the interview.

2018 LA Auto Show Video: Joy Falotico On Lincoln Aviator

Joy Falotico, Group Vice President of Lincoln and Chief Marketing Officer for Ford introduces the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator luxury SUV with a hybrid powertrain option at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Click here to watch interview.

Monday, December 10, 2018

2018 LA Auto Show Video: Kia's Paul Fisher On The 2020 Soul

Paul Fisher, Long Range Strategy and Product Planning Manager at Kia Motors America, discusses three new variants of the 2020 Kia Soul which were introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will go on sale in the first half of next year.

The new Soul will offer a 147 horsepower 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission or a 201 horsepower 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI engine matched with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Soul is available in LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” trim levels. The all-electric, battery-powered 2020 Soul EV has 201 horsepower with a new state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery. Click here to view interview.

2018 LA Auto Show Video: Porsche Cars NA CEO Klaus Zellmer

Porsche Cars North America President and CEO Klaus Zellmer discusses the new Porsche 911, Macan, Cayenne, Panamera, autonomous vehicles and the electric Taycan at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Please click here to watch the interview.

All-New Mazda3 Sedan and Hatchback Coming Early Next Year

The all-new Mazda3, fully redesigned, will be rolled out to global markets starting from North America in early 2019. Hatchback model shown above.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018 LA Auto Show Video: Erwin Raphael, Genesis Motor America

Erwin Raphael, General Manager, Genesis Motor America, discusses the 2019 Genesis G70 sedan and its recent awards:
2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year,
2019 Car and Driver 10Best Award,
2019 North American Car of the Year top-three finalist,
“Best Deluxe Car” by the Hispanic Motor Press.

Click here to watch interview.

Friday, November 30, 2018

2020 Lincoln Aviator Coming Soon

The all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator seven passenger three row SUV, slotted between the Nautilus and Navigator in the SUV Lincoln line-up, is powered by either a standard twin-turbocharged 400 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine paired with a 10-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission or in the Aviator Grand Touring, a twin-turbocharged engine and electrified technology targeted to deliver 450 horsepower. All Lincoln vehicles come standard with a suite of driver-assist features known as Lincoln Co-Pilot360™ including Traffic Jam Assist, Evasive Steer Assist, Reverse Brake Assist and Active Park Assist Plus. Lincoln’s Phone As A Key technology, debuting in the all-new Aviator, is activated through the Lincoln Way™ app allowing owners to lock and unlock, open the liftgate and, most importantly, start and drive the vehicle, all without a traditional key. Phone As A Key offers additional amenities. Drivers can recall individual preferences for Phone As A Key offers preferences for adjusting seat, mirror and steering column positions. Comfort and entertainment settings can be activated through the feature as well. Should a phone battery go dead, a passcode can be entered on the standard exterior keypad to gain entry then a backup code can be entered on the center touch screen to start and drive the vehicle. If a phone is lost or stolen, Phone As A Key can be easily deleted.

Eighth Generation Porsche 911 Arrives In The Summer

Porsche 911, 8th generation sports car is 1.8 inches wider and brings back a front luggage compartment lid in front of the windshield. The 911 S models are powered by a 443 horsepower twin-turbocharged flat-six engines mated to a new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission with a manual transmission will be available at a later date. The top track speeds are now 191 mph (Carrera S) and 190 mph for the Carrera 4S all-wheel-drive version. Additional highlights include the standard Porsche Wet Mode to make driving on wet roads even safer, optional Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera, as well as comprehensive connectivity that uses swarm data when Porsche Connect Plus is activated. The 2020 911 Carrera S has a base price of $114,250 ($1,095 including the delivery, processing and handling fee) while the 2020 911 Carrera 4S will start at $121,695 and can be ordered now and are expected to reach U.S. dealers in Summer 2019.

2020 Hyundai Palisade 8 Passenger SUV Arrives In The Summer

The all-new 2020 Hyundai Palisade offers three-row seating for up to eight and power comes from a 291 horsepower Atkinson-cycle 3.8-liter V6, dual CVVT, direct-injected engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a multi-plate torque converter and offers both two-wheel and HTRAC® four-wheel-drive configurations. Palisade also offers a Blind View Monitor that complements the standard Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, which provides body-side views whenever the turn signal is activated. The audio and navigation display is a generous 10.25 inch touchscreen in widescreen format, coupled with a 12.3-inch fully-digital TFT center instrument cluster offering various view modes and differentiated drive mode illumination. Palisade’s available Heads-Up Display projects a virtual image onto the windshield with information such as speed, Smart Cruise Control status, navigation, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, speed limits, Lane Following Assist and audio system data.The Palisade will be produced in Ulsan, Korea and will be available at dealerships across the U.S. in the summer of 2019.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator On Sale In 2nd Quarter 2019

The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator features a five-foot steel bed, is available in Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon trims and is powered by a 285 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine at launch with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine being offered in 2020. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system.  The Gladiator has up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity and up to 1,600 pounds of payload capacity. The Mopar brand will offer more than 200 new or redesigned Jeep Performance Parts and accessories for owners to personalize the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator at launch. Built in Toledo, Ohio, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

All-New Honda Passport Goes On Sale Early Next Year

The all-new Honda Passport, on a reinforced unibody frame and powered by a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 engine with i-VTEC® valvetrain mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, slots between the CR-V and Pilot in Honda's SUV lineup. Sport, upgraded EX-L, high-tech Touring, and the fully equipped all-wheel drive Elite comprise the four trim levels with all models featuring 20-inch alloy wheels and tires, the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technology, LED headlights, fog lights, taillights and DRLs, Smart Start and Smart Entry and three-zone automatic climate control. All models except the all-wheel drive Elite can be configured with 2- or all-wheel drive with i-VTM4™ that uses active torque vectoring to send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 100 percent of that torque to either the left or right rear wheels. Honda Sensing® on all trims includes Collision Mitigation Braking System™ featuring Forward Collison Warning, Road Departure Mitigation including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System and Adaptive Cruise Control. The all-new Honda Passport goes on sale early next year.

Bentley Continental GT Convertible Is All-New

The all-new Bentley Continental GT Convertible, powered by a 626 horsepower 6.0-liter Bentley W12 engine mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission, accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds to a top speed of 207 mph. The convertible roof, available in contemporary tweed, can be deployed or stowed in just 19 seconds, with the car travelling at speeds of up to 30 mph. The third generation Continental GT Convertible features Bentley Dynamic Ride, a 48-volt roll control system that controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle for handling and ride comfort, as well as making the car feel lighter and more precise. The Convertible’s profile is longer and lower than its predecessor due to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward which has allowed the hood to be extended and the nose to be lowered. The standard audio system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is available and a Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is also offered.

I.D. BUZZ CARGO Concept May Arrive In 2022

The I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept, based on its I.D. BUZZ concept sibling, is powered by a 111kWh battery, that can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes with a 150 kW DC fastcharger, combined with a 201-horsepower electric motor, a single-speed transmission, and rear-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive system is possible in the future simply by adding a motor at the front of the vehicle. The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph. The CARGO could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022.

Friday, November 23, 2018

2020 Range Rover Evoque Debuts In U.K.

The 2020 Range Rover Evoque, all-new second generation compact SUV, is powered by an all-new 48-volt 296-hp mild-hybrid powertrain available alongside a 246 horsepower Ingenium four-cylinder gasoline engine. Additional details and U.S. pricing to be announced at the U.S. debut of the new Evoque at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show in February.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Starts At $26,545 Next Month

The all-new, fifth-generation 2019 Toyota RAV4, powered by a new 203 horsepower Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission, has a 105.9-inch wheelbase, 1.20 inches longer than the previous model, adding to rear seat legroom while overall length comes in at 180.9 inches (181.5 inches on Adventure grade) and height is reduced to 67.0 inches (with antenna) on LE and XLE grades and 67.2 inches on XLE Premium and Limited grades. The unibody structure is 57-percent more rigid than the previous model. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 gas models will be offered in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited trims and the RAV4 HV will be offered in LE HV, XLE HV, XSE HV and Limited HV grades. The 2019 RAV4 is equipped with the second generation of Toyota Safety Sense that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam, Lane Tracing Assist, and Road Sign Assist. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Braking system is standard on XLE grade and above, and optional for LE. Limited grade adds standard Intelligent Clearance Sonar, which is available on XLE and above. The RAV4 LE FWD, with EPA estimated 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway/29 mpg combined, starts at $26,545 (including $1,045 delivery, processing, and handling fee). The 2019 RAV4 gas models are set to arrive next month, and RAV4 Hybrid models following in late March 2019.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Starts At $23,235 Now

The 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport, powered by a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine, Xtronic transmission with Eco Mode switch and a 4-wheel independent suspension, starts at $23,235 (including $995 destination and handling). ProPILOT Assist, a single-lane “hands-on” driving assistance technology that eases driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking input under certain driving conditions, such as single-lane highway driving, is standard on the 2019 Rogue Sport SL grade and optionally available on the Rogue Sport SV. Nissan Safety Shield 360 which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, radar-based Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist is also standard on Rogue Sport SV and SL grades. Nissan's Rear Door Alert system is now standard on all grade levels.

2019 Audi Q8 Coupe SUV On Sale Now Starting At $68,395

The all-new 2019 Audi Q8, a coupe-style five passenger SUV, is powered by a new 335 horsepower 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine paired with an eight-speed tiptronic® transmission taking the Q8 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The all-new MMI touch response® system replaces the rotary dial and the conventional buttons and controls with a 10.1” upper display used for controlling infotainment and navigation functions and 8.6” lower display used for climate control, comfort and convenience functions and for natural handwriting input with whole-word recognition featuring both haptic and acoustic feedback, where users can hear and feel a click as confirmation when their finger triggers a function. The system can be personalized using configurable and movable “favorites” buttons. Natural-language control help turn the Q8 into an intelligent travel assistant. Drivers can speak requests such as, “I'm hungry” to which the Q8 will suggest nearby restaurants. The Q8 is only sale now starting at $68,395 (including $995 destination charge).

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Arrives At Yearend For $35,970

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Subaru's first-ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, features the new Subaru StarDrive Technology that integrates electric motors, a 2.0-liter direct-injection SUBARU BOXER® engine, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and a new Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The Crosstrek Hybrid is capable of speeds up to 65 mph when in full electric mode and is a full second faster from 0 to 60 mph than the standard Crosstrek. The new powertrain boasts up to 90 MPGe with a total range of 480 miles. The Crosstrek Hybrid has 8.7-inches of ground clearance and 1,000 lb. towing capacity. The standard SI-DRIVE allows the driver to tailor the vehicle’s throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes. The Crosstrek is priced at $35,970 (including $975 for destination and delivery). The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid arrives near the end of this year.

2019 Mercedes-AMG G 63 Coming Early Next Year For $148,495

The new 2019 Mercedes-AMG G 63 is powered by a 577 horsepower Handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine mated to the AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9-speed transmission and features AMG Ride Control sports suspension, AMG DYNAMIC SELECT with five drive modes & three additional off-road modes, AMG performance exhaust with adjustable flap system and distinctive side pipes, and a completely new interior featuring COMAND® Navigation, 12.3" central display and 64-color ambient lighting. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG G 63 starts at $148,495 (including $995 destination and delivery) in early 2019. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 with a 416 horsepower 4.0L V8 biturbo engine is currently available starting at $125,495.

2019 Porsche Macan Starts At $50,950 In Summer 2019

The 2019 Porsche Macan is powered by a 248 horsepower 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine with a seven-gear PDK dual-clutch transmission for a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.3 seconds, or 6.1 seconds with Launch Control if equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package, which migrates to an updated design for this model year. The new model can accelerate to a top track speed of 142 mph. New features for 2019 include a new three-dimensional LED light panel at the rear, standard LED headlights, and a revamped interior design, including a larger, 10.9-inch full HD touch screen with the latest version of Porsche Communication Management. Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS Plus) is still available as an option, offering improved lighting while cornering. The 2019 Macan also gains the new Traffic Jam Assist function as a component of the optional adaptive cruise control system. When so equipped, the Macan can accelerate, brake, and keep itself within a marked lane at speeds up to 40 mph. The new Macan is expected at U.S. dealers by Summer 2019 with a starting MSRP of $50,950 (including $1,050 for delivery, handling and processing).

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan On Sale This Spring

The all-new 12th-generation 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan follows the new Corolla hatchback that arrived earlier this year and rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, like its predecessor. The L, LE, and XLE grades will use the current 1.8-liter engine and the XSE and SE grades will be powered by a completely-new smaller and lighter 169 horsepower 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine mated to a new Dynamic-Shift CVT (continuously variable transmission) or the all-new 6-speed iMT (intelligent manual transmission). All models are equipped standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, including a pre-collision system, radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steer assist, lane tracing assist (available on CVT-equipped models), automatic high beams, road sign assist and blind spot monitor is a standard or optional feature, depending on model grade. The 2020 Corolla will be available at dealerships Spring 2019.

2020 BMW M340i Arrives Next Summer

The 2020 BMW M340i and M340i xDrive sedans are 2.9 inches longer than their predecessors, 0.6 inches wider and 0.5 inches taller with a 1.6 inch longer wheelbase and increased track widths of +1.7 inches front and +0.8 inches rear and powered by a 382 horsepower 3.0 liter, six-cylinder, inline engine equipped with the standard 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission. A new, single, twin-scroll turbocharger with an integral, compact, steel exhaust manifold and impellers that weigh approximately 25% less than those of preceding models, builds boost pressure more rapidly. Standard are a rain sensor, automatic headlights, a hands-free phone system and three-zone automatic climate control with independent control of the temperature and ventilation settings for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. Also standard are the Active Guard, Frontal Collision warning with City Collision Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning, the latest version of which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. Making its debut in the new BMW 3 Series sedan in 2019 is the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW”.

The new seventh generation, M Performance 3 Series will make its world debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show Nov. 30 – December 9 with the M340i xDrive model and both the BMW M340i and M340i xDrive sedans will arrive for sale in the Summer of 2019.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Celebrating 30 Years Of Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

Celebrating my 30 years covering the Los Angeles Auto Show will again bring you executive interviews, photos and details of the many new vehicle debuts to My first LA Auto Show coverage was in 1989 for Financial News Network's Auto Trends program (above) then on KWHY-TV as one of very few television journalists interviewing car executives, a far cry from today's throng of video-crazed smartphone bloggers. My coverage was then heard on KFWB980 NewsRadio, Bloomberg radio, read on and for the past 10 years seen, heard and read on and KNX1070 NewsRadio.

World introductions at this year's show will include the Audi e-tron GT concept, BMW 8 series convertible, BMW M340i, BMW X7 Sport Activity Vehicle, Hyundai Palisade 8-passenger SUV, all-new Mazda 3, all-new Nissan Maxima (left) and the Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition. Also, the 2019 Toyota Pruis hybrid, Lincoln Aviator, Lexus LX Inspiration Series plus new surprises from Hyundai, Kia, Jeep, Subaru and Volvo will debut.

Manufacturers you may not have heard of, like Chinese electric vehicle company BYTON will display their K-Byte and M-BYTE concepts. Minnesota-based Polaris Industries will show off four of their Slingshot® three-wheeled motorcycle models which they make clear are not an automobiles as they don't have airbags and don't meet automotive safety standards.

1,000 new vehicles to be on display at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show - open to the public from Friday, November 30th to Sunday, December 9th.

All-New 2019 Genesis G70 Starts At $35,895

The all-new 2019 Genesis G70, is powered by either a 365 horsepower 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged gasoline direct-injected V6 engine or a 252 horsepower (255 HP with manual transmission) 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct-injected 4-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with rev-matching technology and gear-holding technology for tight corners. A 6-speed manual transmission is available as an option on the 2.0L T 4-cylinder engines equipped with RWD. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Attention Warning are on board the G70. Available on the G70 is a 15-speaker, 660-watt Lexicon audio system with QuantumLogic multi-dimensional sound and Clari-Fi music restoration technology. Advanced telematics include technology like Destination Search powered by Voice, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. With Advanced to Sport trim levels coming in either RWD or AWD, pricing starts at $35,895 (including $995 freight charge). The G70 comes with three years/36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled G70 maintenance and a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Starts At $122,395 In March

The first-ever four-seat BMW M850i xDrive Convertible, powered by a 523 horsepower 4.4L 8-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission, has a fully-electric fabric top roof that can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. The 0-60 mph time is 3.8 seconds to a limited top speed of 155 mph. Active steering moves the rear wheels up to 2.5 degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds up to 45 mph. The Driving Experience Control switch enables SPORT and SPORT+ modes for maximum handling along with comfort-oriented ECO Pro and COMFORT modes. The BMW Head-Up Display comes as standard in the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible and projects relevant driving information onto the windscreen in the form of graphics. The standard Harman Kardon audio system comprises twelve speakers and a digital amplifier, with an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System. There's an optional M Carbon Exterior Package, consisting of air intake bars, exterior mirror caps and a rear diffuser insert, all made from CFRP. The BMW 8 Series Convertible is equipped with standard Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, the latest version of which alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. Depending on the situation, the system can bring the vehicle to a halt to either avoid a collision or minimize its consequences. The BMW M850i xDrive Convertible arrives in March 2019 with an MSRP of $122,395 (including $995 destination charge).

Monday, October 22, 2018

VIDEO: 2019 GMC Sierra Pick-Up Truck On Sale Now

GMC Communications' Fred Ligouri (left) and General Motors Global Chief Engineer Tim Herrick for full-size trucks (right) describe the trim levels, engine choices and attributes of the premium luxury 2019 GMC Sierra pick-up truck. Click here to watch video.

Friday, October 19, 2018

BMW X7 Starts At $74,895 In March

The first-ever BMW X7, with three rows of seats, comes in the BMW X7 xDrive50i with a 456 horsepower 4.4-liter V8 engine starting at $93,595 (including $995 destination charge) or a BMW X7 xDrive40i with a 335 horsepower 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine starting at $74,895, both mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. The all-new 2019 BMW X7 will offer a choice of six colors at launch, including non-metallic Alpine White and metallic paints in Carbon Black with M Sport Package, Black Sapphire, Mineral White, Arctic Grey and Vermont Bronze. Three more colors will be introduced as of April 2019 production, including Jet Black, Dark Graphite, and Phytonic Blue. The New BMW X7 arrives in March 2019.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

2019 Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell SUV Coming Before Yearend

The 2019 Hyundai NEXO Blue model second-generation fuel cell SUV, with 161 peak horsepower, has an estimated driving range of 380 miles, 115 more than its predecessor, for estimated MPGe of 65 city, 58 highway and 61 combined, The NEXO Limited trim has an estimated range of 354 miles for an estimated MPGe of 59 city, 54 highway, and 57 combined. NEXO refueling time can be achieved in as little as five minutes. NEXO will be available in California before the end of 2018.

2019 Ford Ranger Coming Soon

The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger, powered by a 270 horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine paired with a 10-speed transmission, provides 1,860 pounds of maximum payload and can tow 7,500 pounds when equipped with the tow package and a trailer brake controller. Production begins later this year at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.

2019 Hyundai Kona On Sale Now, Electric Coming In 2019

2019 Hyundai Kona (left), powered by either a standard 147 horsepower 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed automatic transmission or available 175 horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected engine with 7-speed DCT, starts at $20,970 for the SE model (including freight charge of $980). Now standard on all trim levels is Hyundai SmartSense safety technologies that include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Warning and all trims get an additional front USB charging port and soft touch front door armrests and inserts. The 2019 Kona is on sale now.

The Hyundai Kona Electric (right), with an estimated range of 258-miles, employs a 150 kW (201 horsepower) permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a high-voltage 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. An eighty percent charge can be achieved in 54 minutes with a Level-III quick charge (zero to 80 percent charge @ 100 kW charging capability), using the SAE-Combo charging port, while a 7.2 kW Level-II charger takes nine hours and thirty-five minutes. The Kona Electric EPA-estimated MPGe is 132 city, 108 highway, and 120 combined. Kona Electric has Lane Keeping Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Parking Distance Warning and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection. 2019 Kona Electric models will be produced in Ulsan, Korea and will be available in the beginning of 2019, with initial availability in California and subsequently in the ZEV-focused states in the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. market.

2019 Acura ILX Starting At $26,895 Now

The redesigned 2019 Acura ILX, arriving in dealerships now, powered by a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC™ engine mated to an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, starts at $26,895 (including $995 destination and handling), a $2,200 reduction from the outgoing model. The 2019 ILX is equipped with an available refreshed dual-screen On Demand Multi-Use Display™ interface with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration that's approximately 30 percent faster. An enhanced 7-inch touchscreen. For 2019, every ILX comes standard with the AcuraWatch™ suite of active safety and driver-assistive technology, including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning. AcuraWatch™ technologies are now standard equipment across the entire Acura lineup.

2019 BMW 330i Starts At $41,245 In March

The seventh generation 2019 BMW 330i, 2.9 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.5 inches taller than its predecessor and powered by a 255 horsepower 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder with the 8-speed Sport Steptronic transmission, arrives in March 2019 with a starting price of $41,245 (including $995 destination) and the 330i xDrive sedan will start at $43,245. The BMW M340i and M340i xDrive Sedans, powered by a 382 horsepower straight-six engine, will arrive in the Spring of 2019. The new BMW 3 Series Sedan comes standard with the Active Guard Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, the latest version of which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. The optional Driving Assistant includes Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection systems.

2019 BMW i3 Range Is 153 Miles

The new 2019 BMW i3 is powered by a 170 horsepower electric motor, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, while the BMW i3s with 181 horsepower sprints to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The new generation of high-voltage batteries enables the BMW i3 120 Ah and the BMW i3s 120Ah to achieve a range of up to 153 miles, nearly a 30% improvement from the 94 Ah model and almost double its original range as battery capacity has increased to 42.2kWh. The optional Technology and Driving Assistance Package includes LED headlights with cornering lights, Active Driving Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Frontal Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation, and Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information. ConnectedDrive Services and front/rear Park Distance Control are now standard equipment. Parking Assistance is a standalone options for the i3 (not available on the i3s).

2019 Nissan Altima On Sale Now Starting At $24,645

The 2019 Nissan Altima, lower, longer and wider than the previous generation and now on sale, comes in S, SR, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels and is powered by a 188 horsepower 2.5-liter engine available with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive or a 248 horsepower 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine (front-wheel drive only). Pricing starts at $24,645 (includes $895 destination and handling) for Altima S 2.5 front-wheel drive and $25,995 for Altima S 2.5 all-wheel drive and includes Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Rear Door Alert. Offered is Nissan Safety Shield 360 that includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, radar-based Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition Coming Soon

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition, the first limited-edition model based on the all-new Jeep Wrangler, is based on the Wrangler Sahara model and features Rubicon hood and steel bumpers with removable end caps, 32-inch mud-terrain tires, LED headlights and tail lights, a Moab decal on the hood and 17-inch Rubicon wheels painted in Low-Gloss Black. Standard features include Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case, Passive Keyless Entry, Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with navigation, a nine-speaker premium Alpine sound system and all-weather slush mats. The Jeep® Wrangler offers a 285 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and an all-new 270 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine matched to either a six-speed manual transmission or available eight-speed automatic.

2019 Subaru BRZ Starts At $26,680 Soon

The 2019 Subaru BRZ sport coupe is powered by a 205 horsepower 2.0-liter SUBARU BOXER engine mated to a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The BRZ Premium rear wheel drive sports car begins at just $200 more than last model year at $26,680 (including $885 destination and delivery charge). The 2019 Subaru BRZ will be offered in Premium, Limited and new Series.Gray trim levels when it arrives at retailers this Fall.