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    • By Anthony Fongaro
      This short drive, I drove something I didn’t think I ever would. It wasn't a six-figure super car that can do over 200 mph. No, I never thought I would be driving a modern Alfa Romeo in the United States. For the last 10 years, only two Alfa Romeos have made it to our shores carrying ridiculous price tags. Now, Alfa Romeo is taking a stand with its new Giulia sedan and it’s not what I expected.
      That isn’t a bad thing. What I expected was the same old stereotype of every Italian sedan. Beautiful design and leather, electronics that don’t work and eventually can’t keep up with the Germans. In terms of style, the Giulia isn’t actually pretty. In fact, I would say it seems a bit tame. I understand why they would stay a bit conservative coming back into the market, and the styling cues on the top-of-the-line Quadrifoglio are more dramatic. The front end is classic Alfa Romeo with its upside-down triangle grill.
      Hop inside and the first thing you see is a rather large steering wheel. Alfa probably figured that if Ferrari puts their start/stop button on their steering wheel, why shouldn’t they? The gauges are large and clear as is the 8.8” widescreen display right next to them. Place your hand behind the shifter and a large disc controls that display similar to the systems in Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Sadly, while everything in the front of the cabin feels modern, the navigation system looks like it came from the early 2000s. The graphics aren’t quite as detailed as its rivals but the system does work well .
      Once you turn the Giulia on, the magic starts to happen. The steering is sharp and direct. Stomp on the gas pedal and the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four sounds fantastic. The engine produces 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. Combine this with both all-wheel-drive and an 8-speed automatic, Alfa claims 60mph will be hit in around the 5 second mark. While driving the car, you get the feeling that the spark is really coming back with Alfa Romeo. No longer do you have to pine for an Italian vehicle that is usable but not too quirky like a Fiat. Shifting gears can be done with the oversized paddle shifters or with the gear selector. I found the paddle shifters to be a bit too big but they worked well.
      While driving, you will notice a rotary nob with “DNA” on it. D is for Dynamic, N is for Natural, and A is for Advanced Efficiency. Since the weather was dry, I did half of my drive in Normal and half in Dynamic. If this was my vehicle, I would keep it in Dynamic at all times since Dynamic has a sharper throttle and a more robust exhaust note. As for efficiency, the two-liter engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
      This particular Alfa Romeo did have a few features worth mentioning. First is the 900-watt Harmon/Kardon 14-speaker sound system. There also was a panoramic sunroof (which in my tester was broken. Not a good sign before driving it). It also had the Driver Assistance Dynamic and Driver Assistance Static Packages. Dynamic gets you adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlight control, and forward collision warning. Static gets you blind spot monitoring and cross pass detection. There were also the beautiful 19” wheels which made my test car look great.
      I left my drive wondering how this will do against competition. Pin it against German rivals and I think the Giulia can go blow-for-blow against them. It may not have all the safety of a Mercedes or a complex all-wheel-drive system of an Audi, but the way that it drives, stops, and corners makes up for it. Finally, we have an Italian sedan that is attainable. Hopefully it doesn't suffer from "Alfa-itus" of older Alfa Romeos.
      Photo courtesy of FCA Media

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    • By Anthony Fongaro
      This short drive, I drove something I didn’t think I ever would. It wasn't a six-figure super car that can do over 200 mph. No, I never thought I would be driving a modern Alfa Romeo in the United States. For the last 10 years, only two Alfa Romeos have made it to our shores carrying ridiculous price tags. Now, Alfa Romeo is taking a stand with its new Giulia sedan and it’s not what I expected.
      That isn’t a bad thing. What I expected was the same old stereotype of every Italian sedan. Beautiful design and leather, electronics that don’t work and eventually can’t keep up with the Germans. In terms of style, the Giulia isn’t actually pretty. In fact, I would say it seems a bit tame. I understand why they would stay a bit conservative coming back into the market, and the styling cues on the top-of-the-line Quadrifoglio are more dramatic. The front end is classic Alfa Romeo with its upside-down triangle grill.
      Hop inside and the first thing you see is a rather large steering wheel. Alfa probably figured that if Ferrari puts their start/stop button on their steering wheel, why shouldn’t they? The gauges are large and clear as is the 8.8” widescreen display right next to them. Place your hand behind the shifter and a large disc controls that display similar to the systems in Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Sadly, while everything in the front of the cabin feels modern, the navigation system looks like it came from the early 2000s. The graphics aren’t quite as detailed as its rivals but the system does work well .
      Once you turn the Giulia on, the magic starts to happen. The steering is sharp and direct. Stomp on the gas pedal and the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four sounds fantastic. The engine produces 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. Combine this with both all-wheel-drive and an 8-speed automatic, Alfa claims 60mph will be hit in around the 5 second mark. While driving the car, you get the feeling that the spark is really coming back with Alfa Romeo. No longer do you have to pine for an Italian vehicle that is usable but not too quirky like a Fiat. Shifting gears can be done with the oversized paddle shifters or with the gear selector. I found the paddle shifters to be a bit too big but they worked well.
      While driving, you will notice a rotary nob with “DNA” on it. D is for Dynamic, N is for Natural, and A is for Advanced Efficiency. Since the weather was dry, I did half of my drive in Normal and half in Dynamic. If this was my vehicle, I would keep it in Dynamic at all times since Dynamic has a sharper throttle and a more robust exhaust note. As for efficiency, the two-liter engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
      This particular Alfa Romeo did have a few features worth mentioning. First is the 900-watt Harmon/Kardon 14-speaker sound system. There also was a panoramic sunroof (which in my tester was broken. Not a good sign before driving it). It also had the Driver Assistance Dynamic and Driver Assistance Static Packages. Dynamic gets you adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlight control, and forward collision warning. Static gets you blind spot monitoring and cross pass detection. There were also the beautiful 19” wheels which made my test car look great.
      I left my drive wondering how this will do against competition. Pin it against German rivals and I think the Giulia can go blow-for-blow against them. It may not have all the safety of a Mercedes or a complex all-wheel-drive system of an Audi, but the way that it drives, stops, and corners makes up for it. Finally, we have an Italian sedan that is attainable. Hopefully it doesn't suffer from "Alfa-itus" of older Alfa Romeos.
      Photo courtesy of FCA Media
    • By William Maley
      General Motors seems being in a cutting mood as it drives to improve its profit margins and stock price. Last week saw the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group and it's only the beginning said GM CEO Mary Barra.
      Automotive News reports that GM is considering reducing investments in North American cars and "select" international markets according to a chart that was shared during a conference call with analysts last week. The chart says these two earned a spot on the chopping block due to low profit potential and weak strength in franchises.
      "There's a little bit more work that we're doing in the international markets. Our overall philosophy is that every country, every market segment has to earn its cost of capital," Barra said on the conference call. 
      Barra and GM President Dan Ammann declined to go into details about these plans.
      GM has already made significant changes in terms of their international operations by ending or reducing operations Australia, Indonesia, Russia, and Thailand. The automaker has also scaled back plans in India. The comments made during the call suggest more cuts could take place here and possibly elsewhere.
      As for 'reducing investments in North American cars', this likely means GM is taking a hard look at various segments in passenger car segment. With consumers trending towards utility vehicles and trucks, sales of passenger cars have been falling precipitously. As of March 1st, dealers had four month's worth of inventory of cars, compared to an 81-day supply for light trucks and less than 60-days for full-size SUVs. GM could walk away from certain segments such as compacts or full-size sedans, or delay investments in certain models.
      These moves will allow GM to funnel money into models that make more money, and returning capital to shareholders.
      "That's an immediate opportunity for us to reward shareholders without changing the risk profile of the company or our ability to manage through a downturn," GM CFO Chuck Stevens said.
      Analysts are mixed on GM's plans.
      "It takes a lot of discipline to shift away from a volume-is-king kind of mentality," she said. "In the end, that's going to make a better GM -- a longer-standing company that's not only more profitable but more relevant," said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book to Automotive News.
      John Murphy, an analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch isn't so sure about this plan.
      "It appears that GM's recent decision-making has become much more short-term-focused and, in our opinion, could create challenges for the company in the coming years," Murphy wrote in a report.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      General Motors seems being in a cutting mood as it drives to improve its profit margins and stock price. Last week saw the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group and it's only the beginning said GM CEO Mary Barra.
      Automotive News reports that GM is considering reducing investments in North American cars and "select" international markets according to a chart that was shared during a conference call with analysts last week. The chart says these two earned a spot on the chopping block due to low profit potential and weak strength in franchises.
      "There's a little bit more work that we're doing in the international markets. Our overall philosophy is that every country, every market segment has to earn its cost of capital," Barra said on the conference call. 
      Barra and GM President Dan Ammann declined to go into details about these plans.
      GM has already made significant changes in terms of their international operations by ending or reducing operations Australia, Indonesia, Russia, and Thailand. The automaker has also scaled back plans in India. The comments made during the call suggest more cuts could take place here and possibly elsewhere.
      As for 'reducing investments in North American cars', this likely means GM is taking a hard look at various segments in passenger car segment. With consumers trending towards utility vehicles and trucks, sales of passenger cars have been falling precipitously. As of March 1st, dealers had four month's worth of inventory of cars, compared to an 81-day supply for light trucks and less than 60-days for full-size SUVs. GM could walk away from certain segments such as compacts or full-size sedans, or delay investments in certain models.
      These moves will allow GM to funnel money into models that make more money, and returning capital to shareholders.
      "That's an immediate opportunity for us to reward shareholders without changing the risk profile of the company or our ability to manage through a downturn," GM CFO Chuck Stevens said.
      Analysts are mixed on GM's plans.
      "It takes a lot of discipline to shift away from a volume-is-king kind of mentality," she said. "In the end, that's going to make a better GM -- a longer-standing company that's not only more profitable but more relevant," said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book to Automotive News.
      John Murphy, an analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch isn't so sure about this plan.
      "It appears that GM's recent decision-making has become much more short-term-focused and, in our opinion, could create challenges for the company in the coming years," Murphy wrote in a report.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      The XC60 crossover is an important vehicle for Volvo. Despite being one of the oldest models in the lineup, the XC60 made up 30 percent of Volvo's total global sales last year. Getting the second-generation XC60 right is a big deal and it seems Volvo may have pulled it off.
      Making its global debut today at the Geneva Motor Show, the 2018 XC60 is the first model of the revamped 60 series lineup. At first glance, you might think Volvo's design team just used the reduce function on the copy machine since it looks like a scaled-down XC90. But Volvo's designers did make some small changes to have the XC60 stand apart from its bigger brother. The XC60 has a lower front end with a hood that drops down to the nose. The windshield has been raked to give the model a sporty look.
      The interior mirrors the 90 series with a clean layout and a large screen housing Volvo's Sensus infotainment system. One new feature for the XC60 is a four-zone climate control system that has the ability to remove harmful pollutants and particles from the air.
      For power, the XC60 mirrors the larger XC90.
      T5: Turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder, 250 horsepower T6: Turbo and Supercharged 2.0L four-cylinder, 320 horsepower T8: Plug-In Hybrid, 407 horsepower At launch, all XC60s will get an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 
      Safety is an important trait for Volvo and the XC60 proves this with the introduction of Steer Assist. This system will automatically steer the vehicle if it detects an imminent collision. Optional is Volvo's Pilot Assist system that provides semi-autonomous driving capability at speeds of up to 80 mph on “well-marked roads”.
      The 2018 Volvo XC60 arrives at dealers this fall.
      Source: Volvo
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Volvo Cars reveals new XC60

      Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, today revealed the long-awaited new XC60 SUV at the Geneva Motor Show.
       
      The new car replaces Volvo’s highly-successful original XC60, which in the nine years since its launch became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe with nearly a million units sold globally. The XC60 today represents around 30 percent of Volvo’s total global sales.
       
      “We have a strong heritage in designing stylish and dynamic SUVs that offer the latest in technology. The new XC60 will be no exception. It’s the perfect car for an active lifestyle, and it represents the next step in our transformation plan,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive, Volvo Car Group.  

      New comfort and safety technology
      The new XC60, one of the safest cars ever made, is fully-loaded with new technology. Steer Assist has been added to the ground-breaking City Safety system. A new safety system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.
       
      “We have focused on building a car that can deliver pleasure to all of your senses – from a commanding view of the road ahead in a beautifully appointed and calm cabin, to a safe, inspired and confident ride,” said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President Product & Quality at Volvo Car Group. “We’ve paid particular attention to making life easier for our customers by providing them with the creature comforts and services that take the hassle out of everyday life.”
       
      Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80 MPH, is available in the new XC60 as an option.
      Performance
      The new XC60 offers Volvo’s award-winning T8 Twin Engine gas plug-in hybrid at the top of the powertrain range, delivering 400 hp and acceleration from 0-100 Km in just 5.3 seconds.
       
      But it is not just under the hood that the new XC60 delivers healthy performance. The new CleanZone four-zone climate system removes harmful pollutants and particles from outside the cabin to deliver Scandinavian-fresh air on the inside.
       
      Volvo Cars’ driver infotainment and connected services offer, Sensus, and the Volvo On Call app both receive a graphical update with improved usability. As in the 90 Series cars, smartphone integration with CarPlay and Android Auto is also available.
       
      Sculpted feel
      “The XC60 is an SUV not designed to look down on others but to drive. The exterior has an athletic sculpture with a subtle, timeless quality. The interior is a masterful composition of well-resolved architecture, beautiful materials and the very latest technology - all perfectly blended together. The XC60 provides a true Scandinavian experience which will make our customers feel special,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design at Volvo Car Group.
       
      Volvo Cars’ new XC60 is set to go into production in mid-April at the Torslanda Plant in Sweden.

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