Auto News for Nov. 30 – New Fiesta Unveiled

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 Ford has rolled out a new model of the subcompact Fiesta at its headquarters in Cologne, Germany, in four model trims aimed at a more upscale audience. But officials said details of what will be offered here in the U.S. will come later. The European model will retain the three cylinder engine, but for the first time, will have cylinder deactivation, (just one of them). The Fiesta has been a slow seller of late here, but sales have been stronger in Europe. Ford announced it has made more than a $1 billion profit in Europe this year, well above its target.

The East Liberty Auto Plant led the global production of the all-new 2017 CR-V.

The East Liberty Auto Plant led the global production of the all-new 2017 CR-V.

 Honda has announced pricing for the redesigned CR-V that will go on sale in December. The base price is $24,925, or $200 more than the existing fourth generation model.

 Self-driving cars may still be a way down the road but many people can already foresee the difference they will make to how we travel. In a new Ford-commissioned survey, many Europeans felt time behind the wheel would be better spent catching up with nearest and dearest, gazing out the window, or having a nap. It could even spell the end of the “school-run mum” – as 16 per cent would let kids travel alone. Of 5,000 adults surveyed, 80 per cent look forward to relaxing and enjoying the scenery, 72 per cent will chat on the phone, 64 per cent would have a bite to eat. Books and movies were close behind. On average, European drivers spend up to ten days each year in their cars and a previous survey showed people in major cities find their commute more stressful than their job.

 The major automakers will report on November sales tomorrow and analysts are optimistic to say the least. Many are predicting record sales thanks to two additional selling days this year compared to last. Edmunds.com predicts sales will increase 2.7 percent this year.

 

Auto News for Nov. 29 – Auto Makers Partner For Huge Charging Station Network

  BMW, Daimler, Ford and VW are planning a joint venture for ultra-fast, high-power charging stations along major highways in Europe.  The goal is the quick buildup of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers, an important step toward facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption. The projected ultra-fast charging network with power levels up to 350 kilowatts will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. An initial target is 400 stations with “thousands” planned by the year 2020. This does raise the question of whether auto makers could form the same kind of program here in the U.S.

 Look for information on the new Ford Fiesta right here tomorrow.

 The best lease deals these days are being offered on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Infiniti Q50, according to Kelley Blue Book. The top deals for cash back and financing deals are being offered on the Hyundai Velostar, and the VW Golf.

 Rearview cameras, soon to be standard on all new vehicles, can be expected to prevent nearly 1 in 6 police-reported backing crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study compared rates of backing crashes for vehicles equipped with optional rearview cameras from four manufacturers with crash rates for the same models without the feature. On average, the cameras cut such crashes by 16 percent. Drivers ages 70 and older appeared to benefit the most.

 The Grand Cherokee has earned a five star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, its highest rating. That includes testing for a frontal collision with another vehicle, a side impact with another vehicle and a side impact with a pole.

 

 

Auto News for Nov. 28 – New Upscale VW Teased

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 Volkswagen is out this morning with a sketch of the Arteon, an upper midsize sedan that will make its debut at the Geneva Auto show in March. The fastback will apparently replace the CC in the VW lineup. There was no mention of price, specifications, or engine types. Look for production of the four door fastback to begin next summer with its arrival here in the states in 2018.

 Ford will reveal a new Fiesta tomorrow at an event in Cologne, Germany. Few details were released other than officials saying it will be sporty to drive with “an unmatched personality true to the spirit of the iconic small car that has delighted generations …”

 I don’t know how many people give a new car as a holiday gift, but if they also believe it should be wrapped in a festive bow, there is a company that does that. The Car Bow Store in Warminster, Pa., says it has sold over 25,000 bows per year. All are made here in the U.S.

 One of the comforts most Americans take for granted while driving was displayed for the first time this month in 1939 at the 40th Chicago Auto Show. The Packard Motor Car Company unveiled the first U.S. car with air-conditioning. The cooling and heating equipment in the Packard was located behind the rear seat in the trunk. Treated air reached the passenger compartment through ducts mounted between the seats and the rear window. Air-conditioning did not become a widely available, affordable option until well after World War II.

 

2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid – Looks, Feels More Expensive

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                  Nissan Rogue Hybrid

                 Lots to Like in a Hot Segment

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD – For the 2017 model year, Nissan made its compact crossover even more appealing, especially for those who more than satisfied their appetites over Thanksgiving, but don’t feel the same way about filling their vehicle’s gas tank.

 In addition to new front end styling, there are a number of changes for the new model year including Motion-Activated Liftgate, and improved Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

 Among the interior enhancements are a new flat bottom steering wheel and leather-booted sport-mode shifter, and available heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seats and mirror, and remote engine start. Enhanced interior materials and design features include new door and instrument panel finishers, new shift knob design, revised center console and console lid, and new seat fabric.

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 It all works to give the upscale SL model a more premium look and feel. Nissan, in many ways, has a hot competitor in one of the hottest segments of the market.   

 Now, about those who hate wasting time filling their gas tank. Enter the Rogue hybrid powered by a 2.0-liter four rated at 141 horsepower with 144 lb-ft of torque. Add in the 30kW electric motor and output climbs to 176 horsepower, or six more than the non-hybrid.

 This results in an estimated 33 city/35 highway miles per gallon compared with 26 city and 33 highway for the non-hybrid. In a week’s testing, I came in at 33.

 An “Intelligent Regenerative Braking” system partially recharges the battery during vehicle braking and additional fuel economy is provided by an Idle Start/Stop system.

 And thanks to some good thinking, the hybrid system does not chew up a lot of cargo space at 61.4 cubic feet, just a fraction below the non-hybrid.

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 The bugaboo here is the standard CVT transmission. It makes a lot of noise if you put your foot to the floor upon entering the interstate for instance with not a lot of forward progress.

 Around town that is less of an issue and in the day in and day out errand running, the charms of the Rogue show through.

 The Hybrid is only available in the SV and SL trim packages. The SL included a great Bose audio system with 9 speakers, six way powered driver seat with power lumbar, heated front seats and steering wheel, Navi, and a 7-inch touch screen display among other goodies.

 Second row rear seat A/C vents were a surprise addition with a dual zone ventilation system. The flat bottom steering wheel added a sporty touch.

 As is the case in many Nissans, the seats were extremely comfortable, controls were well placed, and all in all, the interior was a great place to be whether for the daily commute or a long road trip, something recent studies have shown we are doing, more and more.

 The lone bugaboo inside was the poor visibility to the right and left rear due to the Rogue’s exterior design. So do specify the blind spot warning system before signing on the dotted line.

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 Pricing has not been announced.

 The Rogue was easy to fall in love with in so many areas it is easy to recommend to those looking for a compact sport utility, especially if acceleration is not of great importance, but economy is.  

 Some stats:

 Powertrain

 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy inline 4-cylinder, 30 kW electric motor, Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch Control

 Horsepower (hp)

 176 (net)

 Transmission

 Xtronic transmission with manual gear shifts and standard Sport and Eco Mode switches

 Projected Fuel Economy – FWD

 33 mpg city

 35 mpg highway

 34 mpg combined

 Cargo Volume (cu. ft.):

 Behind 1st row

 61.4

 Behind 2nd row

 27.3

 

Auto News for Nov. 23 – 11.6 year old cars now average age

  Happy Thanksgiving to all. I hope everyone has a safe and pleasant journey if you are heading out. Talked to a friend last night who received two invitations to dinner tomorrow so I advised, “You better stop eating now!”

 The Auto News Column will resume on Monday, Nov. 28 and there will be a Saturday Road Test.

 IHS Markit said we are keeping our cars and trucks longer these days, with the average age now at 11.6 years. That may be a credit to improved reliability, but also longer finance periods. And that has some analysts worried about how this could affect auto sales in the years to come. On the other hand, those 11.6 year old vehicles will need replacement at some point.

2017 Honda CR-V

2017 Honda CR-V

 Production of the 2017 Honda CR-V is underway at the plant in East Liberty, Ohio. As you may know, this is a complete redesign for one of Honda’s best sellers with a roomier interior, new platform, and an optional 1.5 liter turbo four under the hood. Honda is claiming “best-in-class” rear seat legroom and more cargo space. This is the fifth generation of the CR-V in the two decades that it has been on the market.

 Toyota is recalling 834,000 Sienna vans from model years 2011-16 to repair a side door that could open when the vehicle is out on the highway. Owners should make doubly sure the door is securely latched and watch their mail for official notification of the recall, in mid-January.

 A German business publication is quoting a top VW official as saying it will no longer offer a diesel engine option here in the U.S. The pullout was confirmed by the Detroit News.

 On the face of it, you might not raise an eyebrow with the news that the pistons are returning to downtown Detroit. After all, given the city’s history that would only be logical. But this involves the town’s NBA Pistons who will move from Auburn Hills, Michigan, to the Little Caesars Arena starting next season. That will make Detroit the only North American city to have each of its four major pro sports teams housed within four blocks for the core downtown.

 Singer-songwriter Morrissey wants GM to stop offering leather seats, and replace them with vegan leather on seats, steering wheels and gear shifters, according to the Detroit Free Press. It is part of a broader campaign backed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. No comment from GM.

 The General is working with two groups to donate thousands of pieces of no longer needed office furniture to institutions and organizations in Michigan. The furniture is valued at about $1 million.

 For the second time in three months and the sixth time this year, new-vehicle retail sales in November are expected to slip from year-ago levels, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. U.S. new-vehicle retail sales in November are projected to reach 1,128,900 units, a 2.0% decrease from November 2015.  Full-month performance will be heavily influenced by sales during the Thanksgiving weekend, which is one of the busiest selling periods of the year and is expected to account for one-fourth of November sales.

 Deirdre Borrego, senior vice president and general manager of automotive data and analytics at J.D. Power, said: “The election had a minimal effect on vehicle sales. While sales volume was suppressed for a short period during the election, the declines were quickly recouped by the end of the election week. Although we are forecasting another decline in retail sales, it is important to note that in absolute terms vehicle sales remain close to record levels while transaction prices are at record highs. However, these results are being driven in part by elevated incentive levels, which represent a meaningful risk to the long-term health of the auto industry.”

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 Thanks to shifts in production schedules, Mazda announced its Miata MX-5 RF will be in dealer showrooms two months early. Approximately 500 retractable fastbacks will arrive nationwide beginning in early December, followed by wider-scale availability throughout the winter and spring.  

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Nov. 22 – Low Key Bolt Debut

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

 The Wall St. Journal reports the Chevrolet Bolt will have a slow roll out available only in California and Oregon at the end of the year. Further, the paper said the much talked about electric will have a “slow flow” debut in 2017. It had been expected the Bolt would have a much wider roll out this year. GM has said the car would have a range of 238 miles on a single charge and should come in around $30K figuring in tax credits. As of this writing, there has been no comment from GM on the WSJ report.

 Americans are buckling up. Ninety percent of all drivers and front seat passengers fasten their safety belts, according to the National Highway Traffic safety Administration. That is a one percent gain over a similar survey taken a year ago.

 As you get ready for Black Friday here is something to keep in mind. A National Safety Council poll found two-thirds – 66 percent – of drivers would make phone calls while driving through a parking lot, and 56 percent would text. Given the increased traffic in and around parking lots during the holiday shopping season, the Council is urging drivers and pedestrians to exercise additional caution.  On average, more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries. Distracted walking is a serious safety issue, too. From 2001-2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously injured because they were distracted by their phones. “Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix.”

Poll respondents also said they would do the following while driving through parking lots:

Program GPS (63 percent)

Send or receive emails (50 percent)

Use social media (52 percent)

Take photos or watch videos (49 percent)

Use a smartwatch (43 percent)

Surf the Internet (43 percent)

Video chat (42 percent)

 

 

 

 Auto News for Nov. 22

 The Wall St. Journal reports the Chevrolet Bolt will have a slow roll out available only in California and Oregon at the end of the year. Further, the paper said the much talked about electric will have a “slow flow” debut in 2017. It had been expected the Bolt would have a much wider roll out this year. GM has said the car would have a range of 238 miles on a single charge and should come in around $30K figuring in tax credits. As of this writing, there has been no comment from GM on the WSJ report.

 Americans are buckling up. Ninety percent of all drivers and front seat passengers fasten their safety belts, according to the National Highway Traffic safety Administration. That is a one percent gain over a similar survey taken a year ago.

 As you get ready for Black Friday here is something to keep in mind. A National Safety Council poll found two-thirds – 66 percent – of drivers would make phone calls while driving through a parking lot, and 56 percent would text. Given the increased traffic in and around parking lots during the holiday shopping season, the Council is urging drivers and pedestrians to exercise additional caution.  On average, more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries. Distracted walking is a serious safety issue, too. From 2001-2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously injured because they were distracted by their phones. “Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix.”

Poll respondents also said they would do the following while driving through parking lots:

Program GPS (63 percent)

Send or receive emails (50 percent)

Use social media (52 percent)

Take photos or watch videos (49 percent)

Use a smartwatch (43 percent)

Surf the Internet (43 percent)

Video chat (42 percent)