People going to the Cleveland Auto Show that opens in full this weekend at the I-X Center can gawk at an all-new, eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.
This particular 2018 white Rolls carries a list price of nearly $525,000. (The cost does not include a chauffeur, in case you were wondering.)
There’s a slightly smaller Rolls displayed at the other end of the Millionaire’s Row that goes for more than $422,000. The two Rolls-Royces provide the bookends in a line of exotic eye-candy vroom machines that would dress up almost any driveway.
Now, most mere mortals here in Northeast Ohio aren’t highly paid professional sports superstars, don’t own flourishing businesses or come from old money — or even nouveau riche lottery winnings. So, a new Rolls or something similarly pricey is probably not in our future.
But the annual car show, organized by the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, displays lots of go-buggies that fall in the realm of possibility for many a working stiff. The show traditionally kicks off the spring selling season for Northeast Ohio car dealers.
“It’s 850 cars under one roof,” said Lou Vitantonio, president of the dealers’ association. “It’s a low-pressure environment where people can compare and shop.”
There are nine ride-and-drives, including an indoor Jeep track, for people to take a car, SUV or crossover for a short spin, he said.
“You are touching and feeling,” Vitantonio said.
No surprise, Summit County new vehicle buyers tend to go for the familiar and the affordable, according to information from AutoView Online.
Here are Summit County’s top 10 best-selling new vehicles for 2017. And here’s what’s new with 2018 vehicles at the show:
• Ford Escape, 887 sales. The Escape was refreshed last year, so there’s nothing new design-wise for 2018. But Ford is offering technology improvements, including driver-assist and safety packages.
• Honda Civic, 780 sales. Largely unchanged from 2017. (Honda has redesigned the larger Accord for 2018.)
• Nissan Rogue, 670 sales. Largely unchanged from 2017 but will get semi-autonomous driving technology.
• Honda CR-V, 655 sales. Largely unchanged from being refreshed for 2017.
• Ford F-150, 627 sales. The nationally popular F-150 is refreshed for 2018, with front-end design changes and upgraded driver and safety technology. All models except those with the base engine will get a 10-speed automatic transmission. It also will get an optional diesel engine starting in the spring.
• Toyota Rav4, 548 sales. The Rav4 was freshened in 2016. There are few differences for 2018.
• Ram Pickup 1500, 534 sales. People at the show will be able to order a completely redesigned 2019 model that starts production in several weeks. Compared to its 2018 sibling, the 2019 pickup is roomier, has new technology including an optional 12-inch touchscreen, and new drivetrain options that include a mild hybrid. Look for subtle “Easter eggs” that designers placed in the vehicle.
• Hyundai Elantra, 502 sales. No major redesign, with the sedan getting some interior changes. The redesigned GT hatchback was recently introduced.
• Chevrolet Silverado, 487 sales. There is a new 100th anniversary edition out this year but otherwise the pickup is little changed. A redesigned 2019 model will be out in the fall.
• Chevrolet Cruze, 481 sales. Other than trim, the made-in-Lordstown small car is largely unchanged.
DETROIT: January’s U.S. auto sales are expected to be a little better than a year ago, but most analysts and automakers still predict a small full-year decline despite economic factors that favor the industry.
Cox Automotive and J.D. Power expect January sales to rise around 1 percent to 1.15 million vehicles.
But Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the country’s largest dealership group, said late-model used cars coming off leases are pulling buyers from higher-priced new vehicles. Despite tax reform, low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, he sees new-car sales falling to 16.8 million from last year’s 17.2 million.
During the past few years, automakers pushed leasing to around 30 percent of sales. Now, Jackson says 4 million well-equipped used cars will be available for an average price of $25,000. “You have to say ‘who is going to buy all these things when they come back?”’ Jackson said. “Of course there’s going to be a cannibalization and a substitution.”
Here are the numbers as automakers release January figures on Thursday:
— Honda Motor Co. said sales were down 1.7 percent to 104,542. Truck and SUV sales fell 2.5 percent while cars were off just under 1 percent. The CR-V small SUV, in the hottest part of the market, saw a 16.9 percent sales drop.
— Hyundai Motor Co. sales fell 11.3 percent from last year’s record January, to 39,629. The car-heavy Korean automaker saw Sonata midsize sedan sales tumble 23.7 percent.
— Nissan Group sales rose 10 percent to 123,538, a January record. Sales were led by the Rogue small SUV, which was up nearly 26 percent to more than 36,000. Nissan brand sales rose 12 percent but Infiniti luxury sales dropped 8 percent.
— Ford Motor Co. sales fell 6.6 percent to 161,143, due in part to a decline in sales to rental car fleets. But its average vehicle sales price hit a record $37,000, largely due to a 1.6 percent sales increase for the higher priced F-Series pickup. Car sales were down 23.3 percent as the shift to SUVs and trucks continued.
— General Motors Co. sales rose 1 percent to 198,548. Buick and Chevrolet posted gains, but GMC and Cadillac saw lower sales. GM’s best-seller, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, saw a 14.5 percent jump. A new Silverado goes on sale later this year, so GM is discounting the outgoing truck.
— Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 16.8 percent increase to 167,056 vehicles on strong demand for the RAV4, Highlander and 4Runner SUVs, which hit January sales records. Sales of the revamped Camry midsize car rose 21.3 percent, bucking the SUV trend.
— Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales were down 13 percent due to reduced sales to fleet buyers. The company sold nearly 133,000 vehicles, led by a 2 percent increase in Jeep sales. But the Chrysler brand fell 21 percent while Dodge was off 31 percent and Fiat dropped 43 percent. The Ram truck brand posted a 16 percent decline.
— Volkswagen sales were up 5.2 percent to 24,744. The German automaker is recovering from sales losses due to its diesel emissions cheating scandal by introducing new SUVs. Combined sales of the new Atlas large SUV and Tiguan small SUV hit 10,640, accounting for 43 percent of VW’s monthly sales.
This story has been corrected to show that last year’s auto sales were 17.2 million.
DETROIT: Japanese vehicle brands are exploring new design ideas — and figuring out what sets them apart from their U.S. and European rivals — with new prototype vehicles.
Nissan, Infiniti and Lexus are all unveiling new concept cars at the Detroit auto show, which opens to the public Saturday.
Concepts are used to test ideas and see how show visitors react. Some elements are glamorous but impractical, with sharply angled headlights or pencil-thin side mirrors that will never actually end up on a production vehicle. But other elements from concept cars do make it onto the road. Lexus’s gaping spindle grilles, now a feature on the automaker’s vehicles, were introduced in 2011 on the LF-Gh concept car.
“Maybe they don’t develop that concept per se, but it makes a statement about where the brand is going,” says Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst with the car buying site Autotrader.com.
This year’s auto show concepts differ in many ways, but they’re striving for one thing: simplicity. They all have serene interiors with real wood and minimal distractions. Karim Habib, Infiniti’s executive design director, says designers are reacting to all the visual stimulation in the world.
“It is our intention to be an antidote to that,” he said.
Here are some details on the concept cars at the show:
INFINITI Q INSPIRATION: The sleek sedan from Nissan Motor Co.’s luxury Infiniti brand explores how design will change as it moves to compact but powerful variable compression ratio engines. Karim Habib, Infiniti’s executive design director, said the smaller engine allows for a shorter hood and a bigger passenger cabin than Infiniti’s previous models. The exterior is bold and deceptively simple; there are few lines, but they’re deeply etched into the surface so the curves shift as the viewer moves around the vehicle. At first glance, it’s hard to see the grille, which is made of twisted metal painted the same color as the car. Inside, there are subtle details, like the traditional Japanese fabric made with gold rice paper that’s tucked under the door handles. Each passenger has a touchscreen that offers guided meditation to reduce stress. Habib says the interior is meant to reflect Japan’s tradition of polite, generous hospitality. Habib says elements from the Q Inspiration will eventually make it into production vehicles.
LEXUS LF-1 LIMITLESS: Vehicle brands have always had so-called flagship sedans, the big cars in the lineup that set the tone for all the others. Lexus, which invented the luxury crossover 20 years ago with the RX 300, is now playing with the idea of a flagship crossover SUV. The LF-1 is built so it can be powered by a fuel cell, a hybrid system, gasoline or a battery. By 2025, Lexus says, all of its models will have one of those options available. The LF-1 was designed in California but took its inspiration from a traditional Japanese sword, imagining smooth molten metal flowing into a solid, chiseled form. Inside, knobs and buttons are replaced by motion-activated controls and a wide, unobstructed dashboard. Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken says Toyota Motor Corp.’s luxury Lexus brand will decide whether to build a flagship crossover based on customer and dealer response to the concept.
NISSAN XMOTION: Nissan Motor Co.’s XMotion — pronounced “cross motion” — differs from the Infiniti and Lexus concepts in exterior styling; instead of spare, undulating designs, the Xmotion is solid, square and blocky. It’s ready for rugged use, with all-terrain tires and a retractable rooftop cargo box. But Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s global design director, said the tough exterior protects the soft, cocoon-like interior. The long center console, which runs from the front to the rear seats, is made of cedar and uses a traditional Japanese architectural wood joinery technique. Cedar is also used for slats below the dashboard, which are meant to convey the sturdy “bones” of the vehicle. Nissan says the XMotion will serve as a blueprint for the company’s SUVs and eventual autonomous shared vehicles.
DETROIT: Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand is giving the Cherokee compact SUV a major face-lift so it can better compete in one of the hottest parts of the U.S. automotive market.
The 2019 Cherokee, unveiled Tuesday at the Detroit auto show, gets styling tweaks, a new engine, suspension improvements and engineering changes that save 200 pounds and improve gas mileage over the current model.
At an impromptu news conference after the SUV was revealed, CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted at three future new products and said he’ll be pushing for higher Jeep sales growth in Europe.
The updated Cherokee gets a new 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 270 horsepower and technology that shuts it down at stoplights to save fuel. It’s similar to the engine in Alfa Romeo sports cars. A 3.2-liter V6 and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine carry over from the current model. A polymer tailgate is among the changes that help save 200 pounds.
Jeep also redesigned the rear cargo area, adding 4 cubic feet of storage space by making it wider so golf clubs can fit in straight rather than at an angle.
All this is to better compete with new versions from the competition such as the Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox.
When the latest-generation Cherokee came out in 2013, its curvy front grille departed from the normal flat Jeep front-end with round headlamps. That angered some Jeep purists who love the old look.
Jeep took a step toward the old front-end, giving the 2019 model a larger grille, combining LED headlamps and daytime running lights and adding a new hood and fender design.
“We polarized the market. We split it in half. People either loved it or they hated it. I think when you look at the rest of the range, that’s much more in line with what Jeep is offering,” Marchionne said.
The Cherokee appeals mostly to suburban drivers who seldom go off the road, yet Marchionne said it’s still capable of doing so. “You always have the right to do that. The right to go off the road and do stuff to me is worth anything,” he said.
Fiat Chrysler wouldn’t give the exact on-sale date for the revised Cherokee, to be built in Belvidere, Illinois. The company says it will release fuel mileage and pricing later.
Also at the event, Marchionne said new SUVs are coming and called the Jeep brand’s growth in Europe “shameful:”
— The company’s Alfa Romeo performance brand will add a three-row large SUV by 2022. It will be larger than the Stelvio, Alfa’s first SUV. Fiat Chrysler also has developed an SUV based on the Pacifica minivan underpinnings but hasn’t decided whether to produce it. Once a decision is made, it could come in 18 to 20 months. A new Jeep Wrangler pickup truck will debut early in 2019, after Marchionne retires. The Ferrari brand also is developing an SUV that likely will go on the market around the start of 2020, he said.
— Marchionne said he is “really ticked off” about Jeep’s relatively slow growth in Europe. He has replaced the brand’s leader there and will embark on a campaign to grow sales. “We need to get the machine started. It’s the laggard in the system. It’s the one that should be doing a lot better than it really is doing because the market is up and we’re just not getting our share.”
For the first 11 months of 2017 Jeep sales rose 2.6 percent to 96,077 over the same period in 2016. That left market share in the European Union unchanged at 0.7 percent even though the overall market grew 4.1 percent, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
DETROIT: It’s the year of the pickup truck at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford unveil new trucks in a fast-growing and highly competitive U.S. auto market.
But there are plenty of other vehicles at the show, which is one of the industry’s largest. Mercedes and BMW have new SUVs, while several Japanese automakers are showing off prototypes of future vehicles.
It’s all happening in a U.S. auto market that’s shrinking but still expected to remain at healthy levels. Last year sales fell 2 percent to 17.2 million, still near record highs. Analysts expect sales to be just under 17 million in 2018.
Here are some of the vehicles being unveiled at the show, which opens to the general public on Saturday:
ACURA RDX PROTOTYPE
Honda Motor Co.’s struggling Acura luxury brand hopes to revive sales with a new version of its best-selling RDX. Acura showed a prototype of the midsize SUV at the show, but it’s close to the version that will go on sale in mid-2018. The 2019 RDX, which is the first to be designed in the U.S., is longer, lower and wider than the current model, with sharper lines outlined in chrome. A wide, panoramic glass roof will come standard. Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Acura says the RDX will have the most legroom and cargo space in its class. There’s also a touchpad to control infotainment functions on the 10.2-inch dashboard screen. Acura didn’t reveal pricing, fuel economy or other details.
Volkswagen’s redesigned Jetta offers more room — and a shot at redemption as the automaker recovers from a 2015 emissions-cheating scandal. The German automaker says the 2019 Jetta is longer, wider and taller than previous models. VW also aims for a sportier look, with a large front grille, higher chrome quotient and LED lighting. The car has a new standard six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic transmission is optional on the base model. The Jetta’s revamped interior includes a new storage console large enough to fit a standard iPad.
The car is among the first of two new models planned this year and will come with a six-year, 72,000-mile warranty — double what it has been. It goes on sale in the second quarter at a starting price of $18,545 — less than its predecessor.
Ford Motor Co. is introducing a high-performance version of its midsize Edge SUV this summer: the Edge ST. It has a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive comes standard, and there’s a specially tuned sport suspension.
The Edge ST also has special design cues, including a wide mesh grille, 21-inch wheels and “performance blue” paint. The regular Edge also gets an update, with a more efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 250 horsepower. New safety features include “evasive steering assist,” which uses cameras and radar to detect slower-moving vehicles. Pricing on the Edge and Edge ST hasn’t yet been released.
Toyota has taken the wraps off its revamped Avalon, which features a longer, lower and wider exterior and a rear cabin that extends another 7 inches (17.8 centimeters).
The automaker boasts of a “neater” steering wheel, with a smaller switch cluster, enlarged hand grips and cruise control now accessible on the right spoke.
The touch screen can be “pinched” or “flicked” like a smartphone. The new Avalon also can connect with a smart watch or Amazon Alexa-enabled device. The car has two new powertrains: a 3.5-liter V6 and 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid system.
The Michigan-designed Avalon will arrive in showrooms in late spring.
FORD MUSTANG BULLITT
Ford Motor Co. is making a special edition Mustang to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bullitt,” whose unforgettable car chase scene helped turn the sports car into an icon.
The 2019 Mustang Bullitt — due out this summer — will have an upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that puts out 475 horsepower. It has a top speed of 163 miles per hour (262 kilometers per hour) and a manual transmission with a white cue-ball shift knob. It’s available in dark highland green, the color “Bullitt” made famous, as well as black.
Molly McQueen — granddaughter of “Bullitt” star Steve McQueen — introduced the 2019 Mustang Bullitt on Sunday at the Detroit auto show. It’s the first Ford has produced since 2008. Ford didn’t reveal the cost.
Mercedes’ boxy-looking G-Class SUV gets a face-lift that the company says will boost performance both on and off the road.
The company readily acknowledges that its appearance hasn’t changed much in almost four decades. But the 2019 version gets numerous changes including 2 additional inches (5 additional centimeters) of length and 4.8 inches (12 centimeters) of width.
The G-Class gets a new independent front suspension as well as a nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s still powered by a 4-liter V8 with 416 horsepower. It also gets new LED headlamps.
The G-Class will go on sale in the U.S. by late 2018, but no specific date was announced, nor pricing or fuel mileage.
DETROIT: Japanese air bag maker Takata is recalling an additional 3.3 million faulty air bag inflators as it expands the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
The latest recalls cover frontal air bags in certain 2009, 2010 and 2013 vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla. Automakers will provide specific models in paperwork that will be filed later this month with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Notices of the expanded recalls were posted Saturday on the agency’s website.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and fill air bags quickly in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high humidity and temperatures and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister. That can hurl hot shrapnel into unsuspecting drivers and passengers.
At least 20 people have been killed worldwide and over 180 hurt.
The latest recalls are part of the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history, with 19 automakers having to recall up to 69 million inflators in 42 million vehicles. The problem brought a criminal conviction and fine against Takata and forced the Japanese company into bankruptcy protection.
The recalls, which are being managed by NHTSA, are being phased in over the next three years. Older models and those in states with high humidity and temperatures are getting priority.
Many automakers have been slow to replace the potentially deadly inflators. A report by an independent monitor said that as of Sept. 15, 2017, automakers have recalled 43.1 million inflators. Of those, only 18.5 million, or 43 percent, have been replaced even though Takata recalls began in 2001.
NHTSA has said the Takata recalls are unprecedented in size and complexity and have resulted in groundbreaking lessons that will help automakers reach their repair goals.
TOKYO: Tatsuro Toyoda, the former Toyota Motor Corp. president who led the company’s climb to become one of the world’s top automakers, has died. He was 88.
Toyoda, a son of the company’s founder, died Dec. 30 of pneumonia, the Japanese automaker said Saturday.
Toyoda, the automaker’s seventh president, stepped down from the position in 1995, while continuing in other posts, such as adviser, a title he held until his death.
He was instrumental in setting up the California joint venture with U.S. rival General Motors called NUMMI, or New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., which began production in 1984.
At that time, it was heralded as a pioneer in international collaborations in the industry.
With a career focused on international operations, Toyoda served as NUMMI’s first president, and is known for his efforts to bring together Toyota’s corporate culture of super-efficiency, teamwork and empowering workers with American culture, including introducing a new style of labor-management relations.
Toyoda’s father, Kiichiro Toyoda, founded the company.
The company name is spelled and pronounced with a “T,” instead of the “D” as in the family name, because it was considered to bring luck, according to fortune-telling.
DETROIT: Hyundai and Volkswagen each say they’re partnering with a U.S. autonomous vehicle tech firm led by former executives from Google, Tesla and Uber.
The companies on Thursday announced partnerships with Aurora Innovation, started last year by ex-Google autonomous car chief Chris Urmson and others.
VW says its collaboration will help bring self-driving cars quickly to roads worldwide, while autonomous Hyundais are expected to be in the market by 2021.
The partnerships are the latest in a string of tie-ups between traditional auto companies and tech firms as they race to be first with self-driving vehicles.
Aurora is based in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, California. It was started last year by Urmson, former Tesla executive Sterling Anderson, and ex-Uber autonomous vehicle leader Drew Bagnell.
Terms of each partnership were not released, but Urmson, who is Aurora’s CEO, said the startup will make a profit by helping Hyundai and VW develop safe autonomous vehicles. In an interview with The Associated Press, Urmson said he isn’t sure exactly where money will be made in autonomous vehicles. It could be from developing sophisticated sensing and guidance systems, manufacturing vehicles or providing transportation as a service.
“The way the economics play out over time is still far from foregone,” he said. “We still don’t know which of these pieces will be dominant or if they will find a happy equilibrium.”
Urmson left Alphabet Inc.’s Google in 2016 after more than seven years of work on its autonomous vehicles. At Tesla Inc., Anderson led development of the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system after its initial release, and he led development of the Model X SUV, according to Aurora’s website. Bagnell was a founding member of Uber Technologies Inc.’s Advanced Technology Center that’s working on autonomous cars in Pittsburgh.
Germany-based Volkswagen AG, which produces about 10 million vehicles annually, hopes the tie-up will bring autonomous vehicle technology to all of its brands. The company says it has been working with Aurora for the past six months, integrating its sensors, hardware and software into VW vehicles.
Hyundai Motor Co. said the partnership with Aurora will bring autonomous vehicles to market that can operate without human input in most conditions.
The partnership has yet to say how its first batch of self-driving vehicles will be used, but analysts expect they will likely be for commercial use, such as self-driving taxis or ride-hailing services, rather than for sales to individual consumers. General Motors said in November that its self-driving vehicles will carry passengers and deliver goods in big cities by 2019.
Hyundai earlier joined with Cisco Systems Inc. and Baidu Inc. to collaborate on internet-connected cars. It has also set up a $45 million fund with South Korea’s SK Telecom and Hanwha Asset Management to invest in artificial intelligence startups worldwide.
The South Korean automaker plans to share more details of its project with Aurora during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, where it will also unveil the brand name of a new fuel-cell SUV that will be tested for self-driving technology.
The company plans to show off some of its autonomous driving cars during the Winter Olympics Game next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Youkyung Lee contributed to this report from Seoul.
DETROIT: Ford Motor Co. is promising to roll out more than 50 new vehicles in China over the next eight years including 15 powered by electricity as it restructures its business and responds to a government push for cleaner air by making all new vehicles electric.
The automaker, currently a small player in the world’s largest auto market, announced the ambitious plan on Tuesday in Shanghai.
In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brand electric vehicles, the company said a new Zotye-Ford joint venture will sell a new line of affordable vehicles that run on batteries.
The move comes as Ford tries to become more competitive globally under new CEO Jim Hackett. In October, the company announced plans to cut $14 billion in costs, drop some car models and focus resources on trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles.
It’s also a sign that unlike rival General Motors, Ford has missed out on the past opportunities to grow substantially in China, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for the LMC Automotive consulting firm. “China is extremely important and I think this is an acknowledgement of maybe some previous missteps of investment in China for Ford,” he said.
Here’s what you need to know about Ford’s plan:
— Foreign and domestic automakers in China sold 24.4 million cars, minivans and sport-utility vehicles in China last year. LMC forecasts only 1-2 percent growth this year because part of a tax incentive expired at the end of last year, forcing buyers to act in 2017. Schuster says annual growth should settle in in the 3 percent to 4 percent range in future years.
— General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG vie for the title of largest automaker in China. GM sold 383,000 vehicles in October compared with Ford’s 150,000.
— In September China joined France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of gasoline and diesel cars. It’s developing a timetable to end production of traditional fuel cars and no date has been set for the change to electrics.
— Schuster says it’s not too late for the company to increase sales in China, where growth is expected to outpace other developed nations.
— Ford says it will assemble five additional vehicles in China for customers there including a Lincoln SUV and Ford’s first global all-electric SUV. It also will “contain structural cost in the region” this year.
—The company says by the end of 2019 all Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China will be linked to the Internet via modems or plug-in devices, to increase consumer connectivity.
MILAN: Supercar makers have long known that parked next to that snarling Lamborghini, racing-red Ferrari, or stately Bentley at some of the globe’s toniest addresses is a practical SUV. With the sport utility vehicle market growing by leaps and bounds, they increasingly want in on those profits.
Lamborghini unveiled the once-improbable Urus SUV on Monday at its headquarters in Sant’Agata, Italy, where the supercar maker owned by the Volkswagen group is expanding the factory to meet utility vehicle demand.
The Urus enters a luxury field crowded with the Mercedes G-Class, the Bentley Bentayga and the trailblazing Porsche Cayenne — and soon to be joined by Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and in all probability, Ferrari.
Yianni Charalambous placed an order even before he saw the Urus in person Monday. He expects to park it next to his Lamborghini Aventador supercar come September.
‘’I wanted a double-Lamborghini garage,” Charalambous said, growing impatient while a technical glitch delayed the unveiling ceremony on the Sant’Agata factory floor.
‘’I have always had a four-by-four. And I have always had a Lamborghini,” the Londoner said. “I have had Range Rovers. I wanted something different.”
Lamborghini dabbled in the SUV market in the 1980s and 1990s with the boxy LM 002, which sported a body shape not all that different from the Hummer’s. But the Hummer’s lower price was hard to beat. Lamborghini ended up only building a few hundred of the LM 002.
‘’Now we live in a different world,” John Giunta, a Lamborghini dealer in Sarasota, Florida, said. ‘’The lines of this is more modernized, and something of this price point can survive now.”
The 32 Lamborghini dealers in the United States already have orders ranging from 10 to 25, Giunta said. In the U.S., the Urus starts at $200,000 (168,718 euros.) The European base price is just under 171,500 euros ($203,322.)
The Urus boasts the high center-of-gravity which has made SUVs so popular, but Lamborghini chief engineer Maurizio Reggiani said that the height can be adjusted to a lower drive for the track or higher for off-road performance.
The Urus can go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds and brake from 100 kilometers an hour to a stop in 33.7 meters (111 feet.) At a maximum speed of 305 kilometers an hour (189.5 mph), Lamborghini boasts that it is ‘’the fastest SUV in the world.”
Analysts say that the move into SUVs has become a natural fit for most brands, despite the risk of alienating aficionados.
“I think if you look at those brands’ image, I think you would look at an SUV — especially a Lamborghini — as almost a sell-out move. I don’t think that is the case anymore,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president at LMC Automotive in Detroit.
From being nonexistent in 2006, high-end SUVs have more than quadrupled in sales since 2010, from 4,700 units to almost 21,000 units in 2016, driven by the Mercedes G-Class and Bentley Bentayga, according to IHS Automotive.
The entry of the Urus along with the planned Aston Martin DBX and Rolls Royce ‘’High Side Vehicle” is expected to push those numbers up to 29,300 by 2020.
Even Ferrari is considering entering the category, with a decision expected early next year, which could leave McLaren as the only hold-out among supercars.
Luxury SUVS are merely following the mass-market trend. SUVs are the fastest-growing overall segment of the car market, tripling in sales in a decade from just under 8 million units in 2006 to nearly 26.5 million units last year. SUV sales are forecast by IHS Automotive to grow by another 28 percent to over 34 million units by 2020.
Before having a true luxury option, IHS automotive analyst Ian Fletcher said, many SUV owners went to private modifiers and tuners to increase performance and add luxury swag to their off-the-line mass-market vehicle. “A lot of manufacturers said, ‘Oh, we can have a piece of that,”’ Fletcher said.
The decision to enter the SUV market was a no-brainer for Lamborghini. As part of the VW group, the Italian Lamborghini shares luxury SUV platforms with the Bentley Bentayga and the Audi Q7, bringing down development costs and increasing profit margins.
Lamborghini has not released sales goals, but IHS forecasts Urus sales of 2,900 a year to a peak in 2019-2020, putting it on par with the Lamborghini Huracan.
‘’This is going to sell very well,” said John Littlefield, who owns Lamborghini Carolinas dealership in Greensboro, North Carolina. ‘’I owned one of the old LM 002….The LM 002 was a beast. This is more refined luxury and beast.”
DETROIT: General Motors Co. expects to carry passengers and deliver goods with self-driving vehicles in big cities sometime in 2019, telling investors it’s moving quickly and plans to be ahead of other automakers and tech companies.
The Detroit automaker made the announcement at an investor presentation in San Francisco Thursday, saying that based on its current rate of change, it expects “commercial launch at scale” of the autonomous vehicles within the next year or so. The vehicles would not have a human backup driver, the company said.
Company executives didn’t say how many vehicles GM would deploy or what cities they would be in, but they were clear that GM plans to run ride-hailing and delivery services and quickly make money off them — at higher profit margins than it now makes from selling cars and trucks.
“This business is potentially bigger than our current core business,” Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens told the group.
GM said it is important to be first to get the self-driving electric vehicles on the road so the rider experience can be improved quickly and give the company a competitive advantage. But it’s not quite clear yet whether GM will be first.
Delphi, an automotive supplier, has said it expects commercial vehicles to be using its autonomous system in limited areas in 2019. Delphi recently bought autonomous software startup NuTonomy and is also partnering with BMW AG, chipmaker Intel Corp. and camera and visual recognition software maker Mobileye.
Google’s Waymo division will soon start testing self-driving vehicles in Phoenix without a backup driver in the front seat. An employee in the back seat will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won’t be able to steer the vehicle.
German automaker Daimler AG has teamed up with supplier Bosch to develop autonomous taxis by 2020. And Ford plans to have a self-driving car available for ride-hailing services by 2021.
GM President Dan Ammann said the first commercial use of EVs would be in ride-sharing. He wouldn’t say if the service would involve ride-hailing company Lyft, in which GM has invested $500 million. More details, he said, would come closer to 2019.
GM’s Cruise Automation unit is testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix, and has plans to test in Manhattan next year.
The automaker says it’s focused on deploying self-driving vehicles safely, but it also wants to beat rivals to market. Ammann said GM is in the lead to deploy the vehicles in large numbers. Once they’re on the road, the vehicles’ computers will constantly learn and improve.
“Getting first onto that learning curve is pretty important,” he said.
Investors apparently weren’t impressed by the presentation or had already built autonomous vehicles into GM’s stock price. After the afternoon presentation, shares of GM fell just 1.6 percent to $43.10 while the broader markets were up.
Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed to this report.
LOS ANGELES: The floor at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show will look a lot like America’s roads: full of SUVs.
Hyundai and Nissan will debut new small SUVs at the show, while Subaru will take the wraps off its new three-row SUV, the Ascent. Jeep will show a new version of its rough-and-tumble Wrangler, while Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln and Porsche will debut more refined models.
A combination of low gas prices, growing millennial families and a host of new models is fueling the SUV boom. As of October, overall U.S. vehicle sales were down 2 percent compared to the same period last year, but SUV sales were up 6 percent, according to Autodata Corp.
The L.A. show will also have plenty of eco-friendly models in a nod to California buyers, who purchase a higher percentage of hybrids and electrics than the U.S. as a whole thanks to state tax credits and other incentives. Land Rover will debut its first-ever plug-in gas-electric hybrid, while Volkswagen will show its upcoming family of electric vehicles. Porsche will also have a plug-in hybrid.
Here are some of the vehicles being unveiled at the show, which opens to the public on Friday:
RANGE ROVER P400e
Jaguar Land Rover has promised to offer an electric or hybrid powertrain option in each of its vehicles starting in 2020. Among the first will be the 2019 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Plug-in hybrid versions of both vehicles are making their debut at the L.A. Auto Show. The Range Rover P400e and Range Rover Sport P400e have a 296-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a 114-horsepower electric motor. They can drive up to 31 miles in pure electric mode at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. Drivers can plug a destination into the navigation system and the Rover will calculate the optimal mix of motor and engine power to maximize fuel economy. The Range Rover Sport P400e starts at $78,300, while the Range Rover P400e starts at $95,150. Both go on sale next summer.
The biggest news with Audi’s revamped A8 large luxury sedan is that it can nearly drive itself at slower speeds on some divided highways. The German brand’s flagship car, when equipped with a traffic jam pilot, has 24 radar, camera and laser sensors connected to a computer that can take charge of steering, acceleration and braking at up to 37 miles per hour on freeways with barriers dividing the directional traffic. That means the driver doesn’t have to touch the steering wheel in traffic jams until manual control is required again. The A8 gets a new 340-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with a gas-electric hybrid system that helps it accelerate for better fuel economy and also powers all of its advanced features. The 2019 A8 has an eight-speed automatic transmission. Price wasn’t released, and it won’t be available until late next year.
Lincoln’s midsize MKX SUV gets a new name, Nautilus, in an effort to separate itself from the alphanumeric luxury crowd. It also gets its first refresh since it went on sale in 2015. The 2019 Nautilus swaps its V6 engine for two turbocharged four-cylinder choices: a 2.0-liter that puts out 245 horsepower or a 2.7-liter with 335 horsepower. The Nautilus adopts Lincoln’s signature mesh grille. It also has a suite of new safety technologies, including a system that keeps the SUV centered in its lane and an evasive maneuvering system that can automatically steer the vehicle around obstacles. The 2019 Nautilus goes on sale in the spring.
CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR1 CONVERTIBLE
The fastest, most powerful version of General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Corvette gets its first drop-top in nearly a half-century. Chevrolet says the convertible won’t hurt the 755-horsepower car’s performance much. It’s only 60 pounds heavier than the standard coupe and still will have a top speed of over 200 miles per hour. The only changes for the convertible are the structure for the car’s folding top and repositioned seat belt mounts. The 2019 ZR1 made its debut earlier this month in Dubai. The ZR1 last had a convertible in its original model year in 1970. The coupe starts at $119,995 including shipping, while the convertible starts at $123,995. They’ll hit showrooms this spring.
Infiniti’s midsize, five-seat SUV gets a complete overhaul, starting with a rigid but lightweight new underbody made from high-strength steel. The 2019 QX50 sits up higher than the outgoing model and has a beefier, more confident look. Under the hood is what Infiniti says is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder automatically adjusts the pistons’ performance to optimize power or fuel efficiency. Infiniti says the engine delivers 268 horsepower and 27 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, a 35 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the outgoing QX50. The new QX50 also boasts Infiniti’s ProPilot driver assistance system that can automatically control braking and speed and keep the SUV within its lane. The QX50 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018.
Known for its small all-wheel-drive cars and SUVs, Subaru enters the big people-hauler market with the new Ascent. It’s got three rows of seats and can carry as many as eight people. Built in Lafayette, Indiana, the Ascent will be sold only in North America to satisfy its thirst for bigger vehicles. The all-wheel-drive Ascent is powered by a new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Second-row captain’s chairs are optional on some versions. The price wasn’t released, but the Ascent will go on sale next summer.
The Greater Akron Chamber is seeking nominations for its annual awards program to recognize member businesses in Summit County for their support of arts and culture.
The award will be presented in collaboration with ArtsNow, a nonprofit focused on connecting arts, culture and community in Summit County.
Click here to download a nomination form. Submissions are due by Dec. 8.
The award will be presented at the Chamber’s board of directors meeting Dec. 14 at Firestone Country Club.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the 2018 Best Car to Buy, according to Green Car Reports, a destination for green cars, electric cars, fuel-efficient cars and hybrid cars.
Editors chose the most significant new green car made available to shoppers during the 2018 model year, taking into account new technologies, their practicality and their impact on the environment.
“The Chrysler Pacifica wins because it’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle: the sole seven-seat minivan with a plug-in hybrid powertrain sold in the U.S. this year,” said John Voelcker, senior editor at Green Car Reports. “Not only does it offer all the virtues of the well-received Chrysler Pacifica, it offers substantial real-world electric range – 30 miles or more in most cases – and much better fuel economy when operating as a hybrid.”
As the original creator of the minivan 35 years ago, FCA US LLC continues to transform the segment with firsts – notching 78 innovations through the first five minivan generations. With the introduction of the Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, FCA US adds 37 minivan firsts to its portfolio for an unprecedented total of 115 innovations in the segment – including the industry’s first minivanavailable as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
“The virtues of the basic Chrysler Pacifica are well-documented: it’s stylish, with an interior design far more elegant than you’d expect, plus excellent controls and interactive displays and more family-friendly features than we have space to cover,” Voelcker said.
“Adding a plug-in hybrid powertrain to that package, at a price that’s essentially offset by the full federal income-tax credit, makes a very good vehicle exceptional.”
The Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid also received category honors from The Car Connection, a sister site of Green Car Reports.
The Pacifica was named the 2018 Best Minivan to Buy, while the Pacifica Hybrid is the 2018 Best Hybrid Vehicle to Buy. The Car Connection uses a unique 10-point “TCC Rating” system that rolls up scores given to each vehicle across categories including safety, comfort and utility, fuel economy, performance and styling.
The Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – reinvents the minivan segment with an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and bold styling. The Pacifica Hybrid takes this revolutionary vehicle a step further with its class-exclusive, innovative plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s the first electrified vehicle in the minivan segment and achieves 84 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in electric-only mode and 33 miles of all-electric range. With more than 100 available safety and security features, the Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system, and a full array of comfort and convenience technologies, the Chrysler
Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid are no-compromise minivans ideally suited for today’s families.
AUBURN HILLS, MICH.; The most capable SUV ever delivers even more legendary [email protected] 4×4 capability, a modern design that stays true to the original, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, more open-air options, and is loaded with more safety features and advanced technology than ever before. The all-new Wrangler’s interior design combines authentic styling, precision craftsmanship and high-quality materials that result in improved versatility and comfort for drivers and passengers. Additional images and complete vehicle information will be available November 29 at the
Los Angeles Auto Show.
About Jeep Brand Built on more than 75 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.
The Jeep vehicle lineup consists of the Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler. To meet consumer demand around the world, all Jeep models sold outside North America are available in both left and right-hand drive configurations and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options.
For decades now, pickups have been the best-selling vehicles in America, and two of the most popular are the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 . These trucks are modern, comfortable and capable, especially when it comes to towing and hauling. So what sets them apart from the other trucks in their class? And what sets them apart from each other? Let’s find out.
On the road, both the Silverado 1500 and the F-150 are comfortable and easy to drive. The Silverado 1500 is a great road-trip vehicle thanks to its quiet cabin, smooth ride and plush seats, while the F-150 feels more nimble in tight spaces and around corners. Maneuverability may not be one of your primary concerns, but it’s worth considering if you’re going to be using your truck as a daily driver.
Depending on their configurations, both trucks are capable of towing well over 10,000 pounds. The F-150 maxes out at 13,200 pounds, and the Silverado 1500 has a maximum tow rating of 12,800 pounds. That’s enough capability to tow all but the heaviest trailers. Take into account that those numbers are for the most powerful engines and highest axle ratios, both of which will put a dent in your mileage numbers.
The maximum payload capacity for the F-150 is 3,270 pounds; for the Silverado 1500, it is 2,250 pounds. There’s a big difference there, so if you plan on carrying heavy items in the bed, the Ford offers a significant advantage. Again, like the towing numbers, these payload capacities are heavily influenced by other factors such as the engine, transmission and axle ratio, so keep that in mind when comparing trucks side by side.
The F-150 has an edge in this category since two of its available V6 engines offer up to 22 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA. The most fuel-efficient Silverado 1500 is the base V6 that delivers 20 mpg combined. But when it comes to the midrange V8s, it’s an even match: Both the F-150 and Silverado are rated at 19 mpg in combined driving. The numbers again tip in the Ford’s favor when you consider the higher-horsepower engines. Chevrolet’s 6.2-liter V8 is rated at 17 mpg combined in most configurations, while the optional twin-turbocharged V6 in the F-150 delivers up to 21 mpg combined.
SAFETY AND TECHNOLOGY
Both trucks can be equipped with active safety features such as forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning to help avoid accidents. The F-150 also offers an optional trailer-backup assistance system to guide you down a boat ramp as well as adaptive cruise control for reduced fatigue on long highway drives. When it comes to high-tech features, both trucks are available with onboard Wi-Fi as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for easy cellphone integration. We like Ford’s Sync 3 user interface for its lightning-fast responses and crisp graphics. Chevrolet’s MyLink system isn’t far behind, but certain elements of its design look a bit dated in comparison.
Pricing is one area in which the Ford and Chevy are closely matched, at least on the bottom end. Both start out at around $27,000 in basic work-truck form, which means a regular cab with minimal amenities. As you step up to more popular trim levels, prices work their way past $40,000 up to the high $50,000s. The F-150’s top Limited trim level has an eye-watering MSRP of $63,845, which is significantly more expensive than the priciest Silverado 1500, the High Country ($55,075 MSRP). Keep in mind that the 2018 Ford F-150 received several upgrades this year, so there might be fewer on dealer lots and they’ll command higher prices. The Silverado is due for a redesign for the 2019 model year, so the current model will be readily available and may have incentives on the hood as well.
The refreshed F-150 offers more ultimate capability and higher fuel economy numbers and is more rewarding to drive in a spirited fashion. The Silverado 1500 isn’t far behind in any of those categories, plus it has a forgiving highway ride, a quiet cabin, and plush seats that make it comfortable for the long haul. Deciding which truck is right for you depends on what features and capabilities you use most often. For now, we prefer the Ford’s blend of efficiency, power and technology, but expect to see a much-improved Silverado come next year.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Travis Langness is an automotive editor at Edmunds. Instagram: (at)travislangness.
— 2018 Ford F-150 Review: http://edmu.in/2ymrvxQ
— 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review: http://edmu.in/2ymzQSc
DETROIT: Toyota is the top brand in Consumer Reports’ annual vehicle reliability rankings.
Toyota Motor Co.’s luxury Lexus brand is second, followed by Kia, Audi and BMW. Meanwhile, Cadillac, GMC, Ram, Dodge and Volvo got the poorest scores.
Consumer Reports’ auto testing chief Jake Fisher says Toyota’s strategy of adding new technology gradually — instead of all at once — helps make its vehicles more reliable. Toyota’s new Camry sedan, for example, has an eight-speed transmission that was first tested on the Highlander SUV.
Chrysler was the biggest climber in the rankings, thanks to consumers’ reviews of its new Pacifica minivan.
Consumer Reports predicts reliability of 2018 vehicles based on a survey of its subscribers, who owned or leased 640,000 vehicles from the 2000-2017 model years.
It’s easy to donate a car to charity if all you want to do is get rid of it. Simply call a charity that accepts old vehicles, and it will tow your heap away. But if you want to maximize your tax benefits, it’s more complicated. Here’s a walk through some of the considerations, with the usual proviso that you should discuss these issues with your tax preparer before you act.
If you want to claim a car donation to reduce your federal income taxes, you must itemize deductions. You could itemize even if the donated auto is your only deduction, but that’s usually not the best choice.
If the car donation is your only deduction, it’s likely that taking a standard deduction would save you thousands more dollars in taxes. The only way that donating a car nets you any tax benefit is if you have many deductions and if their total, including the car, exceeds the standard deduction.
Only donations to qualified charities can provide a tax deduction for you. A qualified charity is one that is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization or a religious organization.
To help you determine whether a charity is qualified, the easiest thing to do is to use the IRS’ exempt organizations search tool or call the IRS toll-free number: 877-829-5500.
IRS Publication 4303 cautions: “If you use a vehicle pricing guide to determine fair market value, be sure that the sales price listed is for a vehicle that is the same make, model and year, sold in the same condition, and with the same or substantially similar options or accessories as your vehicle.”
It’s not realistic to expect that your car will meet one of the stringent IRS fair market value requirements. Only about 5 percent of donated vehicles are suitable for use by charity recipients. About a third of them are simply junked, and the rest are auctioned off with the proceeds going to the charity of the donor’s choice.
So unless your car is in good or excellent condition, it will most likely be sold at auction or to an auto salvage yard. In that case, your deduction is based on the car’s selling price, not your fair market value estimate.
Besides giving your car directly to a charity, there is another way your vehicle can help a charity and also maximize your tax benefits: You can sell the car yourself and donate the proceeds. By doing so, you might be able to generate more cash than if you let the charity sell it.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Hyundai Mobis successfully developed the world’s first panorama sunroof airbag system. This airbag is a safety device that reduces injuries by preventing the body of the passenger from being thrown out of the car through the sunroof in a rollover accident.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171019005578/en/
Hyundai Mobis successfully developed the world’s first panorama sunroof airbag system that prevents the body of the passenger from being thrown out of the car through the sunroof in a rollover accident. (Photo: Business Wire)
Hyundai Mobis completed road test and reliability tests this month, including heat resistance and vibration resistance tests, and it has secured mass production technology. The panorama sunroof airbag has not previously been applied to mass-produced vehicles.
This technology is significant in terms of securing advanced technological competency in airbags by Hyundai Mobis. Since the company began mass-producing airbags back in 2002, Hyundai Mobis has showcased cutting-edge airbag technologies including the 4th generation advanced airbag and the inter-passenger airbag. It’s the first time that Hyundai Mobis has acquired a mass-production airbag technology ahead of its competitors.
The panorama sunroof is a convenience feature that enables passengers in the backseat to enjoy an open view. It’s made from special tempered glass to expand the openness of the existing sunroof. According to several resources, as of 2015, the global market for sunroofs for automobiles is worth about 6 billion USD, and is expected to grow by about 11% on average every year until 2022.
As the sunroof airbag prevents the passenger from spilling from the car in a rollover accident, it can reduce the risk of sustaining serious injuries. In a road test using dummies, when the airbag was deployed, it prevented the passenger from being flung out of the car and cushioned the impact on the head. Serious injuries likely to result in the death of the passenger were reduced to minor injuries.
The panorama sunroof airbag is installed inside the sunroof, and deployed forward from the rear of the car. It resembles the curtain airbag that is deployed alongside the windows of the vehicle in a broadside collision. If the turning angle of the vehicle is changed due to rollover, the sensor detects it, and the inflator deploys the airbag. The airbag cushion inflated by the gas covers the entire roof surface of the vehicle in only 0.08 seconds and protects the passengers.
The structure of the sunroof airbag is more complex than that of ordinary airbags. It has more technological difficulty, so to speak. As this airbag is in the sunroof system, it is important to secure enough space for stable airbag deployment when making the sunroof. What’s more, it must be deployed safely in a way that fits the situation, e.g. when the sunroof screen is open or closed in an accident. If the car is overturned when the sunroof is closed, the airbag is deployed across between the sunroof glass and the sun shield.
Due to this technological difficulty, the technologies developed by overseas airbag manufacturers have remained at the conceptual level. Hyundai Mobis applied 11 patents in the process of developing this technology and gained a competitive advantage over its rivals in terms of technology.
“We announced this technology at a global automotive safety conference held in the US in June, and attracted the attention of major institutions related to road safety and industry officials in the US,” said a Hyundai Mobis official. “We will focus on premium SUV models and become a global leader in advanced airbags.”
About Hyundai Mobis
Hyundai Mobis is a global tier-1 automotive supplier. It was established in 1977, and is headquartered in Seoul, Korea. The corporate philosophy is to become a lifetime partner with technologies for automobiles and people.
Hyundai Mobis currently employs over 30,000 people. Manufacturing operations are in over 30 locations in 10 countries, including Korea, China, and the U.S. Products include automotive modules (chassis, cockpit and front-end), brakes, suspensions, airbags, lamps, and automotive electronics. R&D headquarters are in Korea with 4 technical centers worldwide, Germany, China, India, and the U.S.
Hyundai Mobis has mass-produced a great number of ADAS technologies and green car components. For more information, please visit the website ( http://en.mobis.co.kr )
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DETROIT: Heated and cooled seats. Backup cameras. Panoramic glass roofs.
Not exactly what springs to mind when you think of a pickup. But that’s what American truck buyers increasingly want, spending an average of $46,844 on a pickup, according to Kelley Blue Book. That’s more than the starting price of luxury SUVs like the Mercedes GLC or the Lexus RX. In 2016, pickup trucks made up a little more than a third of all vehicles that sold for over $50,000.
At the State Fair of Texas this month, Ford Motor Co. is displaying its most expensive pickup yet: The F-Series Super Duty Limited, a luxury heavy-duty truck with a starting price of $80,835. It has custom two-tone leather seats, a heated steering wheel wrapped in hand-stitched leather and high-tech features like a 360-degree camera system that guides drivers when they’re hitching up a trailer.
A fully-loaded F-450 — the biggest version of the Super Duty — will top out at $94,455. It’s capable of towing an Air Force F-35 fighter plane, but it also has massaging seats.
Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand is also showing luxury pickups at the fair. The 2018 Laramie Longhorn Southfork edition has a walnut-trimmed steering wheel and 4G Wi-Fi capability. The Heavy Duty Lone Star Silver — sold only in Texas — has a luxurious bright chrome grille. Both start around $50,000 and will be available later this fall.
On a recent visit to the fair, some visitors balked at the prices. One said he’s rather buy a Mercedes S-Class if he had $80,000 to spare. But others took the high prices in stride.
“It’s awesome. I’d love to be going down the road in it right now,” said Paul Churchill as he sat in the cab of the Super Duty Limited. “If you’re looking for all the technology they have in these trucks now, it’s probably worth it.”
Demand for luxury trucks is strong. Ford says around half of the individual buyers who purchase Super Duty trucks opt for one of its three luxury versions — King Ranch, Lariat or Platinum. The Limited version will sit at the top of that heap.
Kendall Bachman, who works for an executive search firm in the renewable energy industry, paid $40,000 in 2013 for a limited edition 2011 Toyota Tundra CrewMax that’s upholstered in leather from San Antonio-based Lucchese Boot Co.
Bachman, of Redding, California, needed a truck to tow his fishing boat and camping trailer and haul lumber and landscaping materials for his 3-acre property. He also wanted something big to protect his four kids and leather that could withstand stains.
At the same time, Bachman wanted his truck to convey status.
“I wanted something that embodied who I am more than a luxury sedan, but that would still allow me to feel comfortable attending meetings for business people in town who drive luxury cars,” Bachman said.
The luxury trend has helped pickups outpace the industry in terms of the prices they command. So far this year, the average vehicle is selling for $34,671, up 38 percent from 2005. The average price of a full-size truck has jumped 54 percent in that same period, to $46,844.
Ford kicked off the luxury truck trend in 1999 when it introduced the Harley-Davidson F-Series. The King Ranch edition followed in 2001. General Motors Co. brought out its high-end GMC Sierra Denali pickup in 2002; the Chevrolet Silverado High Country followed in 2014. The Ram Laramie Longhorn arrived in 2010.
Todd Eckert, Ford’s truck group marketing manager, stressed that Ford is still meeting the needs of buyers who want an everyday work truck. The base model of the 2018 Super Duty starts at $32,890. But he said some customers are also demanding more comfort and safety technology, like forward collision warning systems and adaptive cruise control.
“They have come to a point where they want to reward themselves,” Eckert said. The Super Duty Limited goes on sale this winter.
Rebecca Lindland, an executive analyst with Kelley Blue Book, says luxury truck buyers cut across age spans but share a mindset. They could buy a German luxury car, she says, but they want the blue-collar brawn of an American truck — or, in Toyota’s case, a full-size truck built in Texas.
“These are people with money. These are people who have been very successful,” she said. “All they want is the most tarted-up pickup they can buy.”
Associated Press photographer Matthew Otero contributed from Dallas.