Chevrolet is no doubt feeling the heat in the midsize truck segment, what with all the buzz about its new competitors the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator, but don't look for any major updates yet to its Colorado pickup. GM Authority has the details on what the bowtie brand has in store for the 2020 version of the truck, and the changes are minor. Chevy adds an optional remote locking tailgate on the Work Truck trim that's standard on the LT, Z71 and ZR2 models.
Ongoing scrutiny from federal regulators over Elon Musk's Twitter feed and Tesla's Autopilot technology appear to have done little to curb the Tesla CEO's social media id. In the past week alone, Musk tweeted double entendres after a video surfaced of a couple having sex in a Tesla operating in Autopilot mode, made a crude sexual reference to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and once again sparred with Warren Buffett following the investor's critical remarks about Musk's plans to offer insurance for Tesla vehicles.
A panel of judges in California is weighing an appeal of a $35 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Ford Motor Co., brought by a consumer group that says the settlement represents a sweat deal for the automaker, the Detroit Free Press reports. Initially filed on March 24, 2017, and granted final approval in October of that year, the settlement addresses complaints from 1.9 million current or former owners of 2012-2016 Focus and 2011-2016 Fiesta models built with Ford's PowerShift dual-clutch transmissions. The settlement stipulates that owners or lease holders could be eligible to repurchase their vehicle through arbitration, get cash payments up to $2,325 or receive discount certificates of up to $4,650 toward purchasing a new vehicle.
Owners of certain Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with diesel engines will get up to $3,075 in compensation for repairs under a settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler over illegal emissions-cheating software. The roughly $800 million settlement was first announced in January and approved by a federal judge in California last week, according to Consumer Reports. The affected vehicles are 2014 to 2016 Ram 1500 pickup trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs equipped with 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engines.
A few months ago, we told you about how Ford was tinkering with virtual reality technology to design cars in 3D, thanks to a partnership with London-based Gravity Sketch. Now the Blue Oval has apparently expanded the program to other design offices across the globe beyond Dearborn. Ford says dozens of interior and exterior designers across five global Ford design studios are now experimenting with the technology.
A Taiwanese developer of modular electric powertrains that has devised a novel way to cool batteries has turned its attention to an iconic American muscle car, converting a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro into a fully electric vehicle. It brings to mind rock legend Neil Young's troubled "Lincvolt" conversion of a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV convertible into a plug-in hybrid that runs on E85. Xing (pronounced Zing) reportedly replaced the Camaro's combustion engine with a battery pack made of 106 modules, all fitting in the available space in the engine compartment.
Ford is introducing a new customer rewards program, expanding a mobile vehicle maintenance pilot program with dealers and opening a new "smart lab" retail concept in the lobby of a mall in Belgium as part of a comprehensive focus on improving the brand's customer experience. The automaker says it has doubled its spending on customer-experience programs, figuring the added expense will pay off via more customers sticking with the brand over the long term, buying or leasing a new Ford or Lincoln vehicle, and sharing their good experiences with others. Ford says it aims to improve on the 52% of customers who return to its dealers for their first maintenance appointments and capture more repeat business from the roughly 300,000 Ford and Lincoln customers who have an opportunity to renew their leases each year.
It was a decade when, for a few years between 9/11 and the economic shock of soaring oil prices and the subprime mortgage crisis, gas-guzzling behemoth SUVs like the Ford Excursion and the Hummer H3 became the de riguer, defiant status symbol of patrolling suburban cul-de-sacs of America. The Detroit News wrote about Custom Autos, a Guthrie, Oklahoma, shop that is building around 40 Excursions a year by fitting a back end of the old monster ute to an F-250 Super Duty chassis. It takes them about two months to build a "new" Excursion for at least $40,000, not including the donor chassis.
In case you forgot, Chevrolet is preparing to unveil the new mid-engine Corvette C8 this summer, and the brand helpfully has released a new 28-second teaser clip to keep the anticipation and hype at Hellcat-like levels. The video mixes historic footage of older Corvette logos and models, the latter in near-subliminal brief glimpse edits, and it gives us a look at Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Russian engineer responsible for infusing the Corvette with its performance bonafides, donning racing goggles and a helmet at the track. Among the 'Vettes that feature in the spot are the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, the 1959 experimental race car, the first-generation C1 convertible, which ran from late 1953 through 1962, a pair of C2 Sting Rays and the 1959 concept they were based on, and so forth.
While fevered anticipation for the 2020 Supra continues apace, there's been a lot of chatter and rumors surrounding what's next for the 86, Toyota's existing sports coupe and the twin sibling of the Subaru BRZ. Now, the company has announced an international racing-themed special edition called the Hakone Edition. It's named for the Hakone Turnpike, a privately owned toll road in the mountains two hours southwest of Tokyo that is a favorite of enthusiasts and automobile reviewers.
Pedestrian safety has emerged as a huge issue in the United States, with pedestrian fatalities at nearly the highest levels in more than two decades in 2017, the most recent year for which data are available. In suburban Boston, two 10-year-olds decided to do something about it. Isa and Eric (their last names were not given) spent months researching ways to get drivers to slow down near Brooks Elementary School in Medford, Mass., after Eric's brother was nearly struck by a car.
Not content to let Tesla hog the spotlight with lofty claims about its autonomous driving capabilities, Cadillac plans major upgrades to its Super Cruise automated driving system starting next year, when the technology starts rolling out in more models. "The system that we have today, we continue to upgrade," Brandon Vivian, Cadillac's executive chief engineer, told The Verge. 'We have over-the-air re-flash capability, and you'll continue to see us add features and capabilities to Super Cruise going forward." A fellow top Cadillac engineer told the outlet they would not share specifics but said "We want to innovate" as competitors also make advances in self-driving technology.
Mullen Technologies, the California company that wants to homologate and build the K50 electric sports coupe from Chinese automaker Qiantu, says it has chosen a site near Spokane, Wash., as its manufacturing site for the car. Mullen last week unveiled the 430-horsepower K50 at the New York International Auto Show but didn't divulge its manufacturing plans, except to say that a new factory would allow extra capacity to scale up for future products. The company in December signed an agreement with Qiantu, a subsidiary of CH-Auto.
General Motors says it will add more than 400 hourly jobs to fill a second shift at its Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky to build the long-awaited mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8, which will presumably launch as a 2020 model. Since 2011, GM said it has invested more than $900 million in the plant, which has built the Corvette since it opened in 1981, along with its current LT1, LT4 and LT5 6.2-liter V8 engines. GM plans to unveil the Corvette on July 18.
General Motors has been hit with a class-action lawsuit from owners who allege the eight-speed automatic transmission found in several rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC models between the 2015 and 2019 model years has a defect that causes the vehicles to hesitate and jerk when accelerating or slowing down. The lawsuit was posted to ClassAction.org and spotted by GM Authority. Problems with GM's Hydra-Matic 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions have been well-documented on Internet forums and via complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with many reporting damage to their vehicles.
Australian website CarSales reports that the next versions of the coupe twins may switch from the existing and heavily modified Impreza platform to Toyota's TNGA platform. An unnamed Subaru insider tells the site the next-generation versions of the cars will retain their rear-wheel-drive configuration and thus won't move to the new Subaru Global Platform, upon which the automaker is basing all its new all-wheel-drive vehicles. The TNGA would also help save weight and provide economies of scale.
Ford is making a minority equity investment of $500 million in electric vehicle startup Rivian in a deal that will result in a new battery-electric vehicle for the blue oval that is based on Rivian's flexible skateboard platform. It also closely follows the reported collapse of talks between Rivian and General Motors over a possible investment. Rivian has been around for about a decade under various names but made its coming-out party only six months ago at the L.A. Auto Show, where it unveiled its first two products: the R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck.
CarAdvice caught up with Jaguar Land Rover's communications and PR general manager, Tim Krieger, during a media event in Saint Tropez, and he said the Defender will be revealed later this year, with deliveries starting in 2020.
Hyundai only last week unveiled its new 2020 Venue subcompact crossover at the New York International Auto Show, and while it doesn't go on sale until November, the brand is already touting the possibility of an N Line version of its pint-sized ute. Australian outfit Drive spoke with Hyundai's North American chief operating officer, Brian Smith, at the show, and he referenced the brand's unveiling of the Elantra GT N Line in January, the first model of its kind in the U.S. The N Line slots above the base models but below N performance vehicles like the recently introduced Veloster N. Asked if an N Line version of the Venue was in the works, Smith told Drive, "There is.
GM has quietly discontinued the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found as an option in the Chevrolet Traverse, leaving the 3.6-liter V6 as the lone engine for the midsize SUV. The news comes via GM Authority, which says the change was effective for the mid-2019 model year. GM has developed a new version of the engine, this time a 2.0-liter inline-four with a twin-scroll turbocharger that makes 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and can deactivate two of its four cylinders in order to conserve fuel.
Jaguar said it listened to feedback — or complaints if you prefer, and want to be more blunt — from customers and even journalists to guide the first midcycle refresh of the XE sports sedan. There, Jaguar did away with hard plastics and added some new technology borrowed from the electric I-Pace, with XE's new door trims that will eventually serve as a template for all models, with improved ergonomics and more premium, soft-touch materials. "That was a really big job," says Ian Callum, Jaguar's director of design.
Electric vehicle hopeful Mullen Technologies on Wednesday took the wraps off the Qiantu K50, a low-riding electric sports coupe made by a Chinese automaker that it plans to homologate, assemble and sell in the U.S. Mullen, an EV builder based near Los Angeles that has so far mostly operated as a distribution network, in December signed an agreement with Qiantu, a subsidiary of Chinese automaker CH-Auto. Qiantu, pronounced chee-AHN-too, translates to "shaping the road ahead, which is kind of ironic because we have a trademarked slogan in shaping the road ahead in electric vehicles, and that was before we had a partnership with Qiantu," said Frank McMahon, Mullen's chief engineer and CTO.
Straight from nabbing the World Car of the Year award at the New York International Auto Show for the new 2019 I-Pace electric crossover, as well as publicly unveiling the 2020 XE sport sedan, Jaguar's design chief says the brand is also developing a car with a fully electric powertrain. "We are doing more battery cars at Jaguar, yes," Ian Callum told Autoblog. "That's all I'm saying." Callum wouldn't divulge further details except to add, "When you're doing electric cars, they're new cars.
Land Rover is showing off its design chops in New York with the North American debut of the 2020 Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition and also highlighting the 2020 Range Rover Evoque, which went on sale two weeks ago following its U.S. reveal in Chicago. Land Rover Creative Director Massimo Frascella says the two models embody the brand's design ethos of balancing volume and proportion. "This is something that Land Rover does beautifully because we put a lot of effort and attention to set the foundation of the design correct," he told Autoblog.
Volvo is expanding its connected-vehicle safety technology across Europe that lets Volvo automobiles share signals whenever one vehicle switches on its hazard lights to highlight potential obstructions, slippery roads or other dangers. Next week, the Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert will become available to all Volvo drivers in Europe, the automaker says. The Hazard Light Alert sends a signal to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service whenever a driver in an equipped Volvo switches on the hazard lights, warning other drivers to help avoid potential accidents, particularly on blind corners or hill crests.