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    Infiniti Planning Five New Models by 2022

    ...prepare to be electrified... 

    Infiniti is planning on launching five new models over the next 3 years. The first will be the QX55 that we reported on the other day.  It is a crossover coupe version of their QX50 crossover and is expected to be powered by the same 2.0-liter variable compression engine.
    Next up is the redesigned QX60. Expect it to look much more SUV like than that of a crossover. Infiniti says the styling will be dramatically different than the QX60 on the lots today. They mention that the gas powered model will have a large grille, which implies there will be an electrified model coming as well.  They are also planning on offering two 12.3-inch touch screens and a two-tone roof.  The QX60 is Infiniti's best selling vehicle.
    After that, Infiniti will be launching three electrified vehicles, a crossover and two sedans.  The vehicle will be offered as fully electric or with serial hybrid technology which is similar to that in the Chevy Volt where a gasoline engine recharges the batteries which power the car. Styling is expected to take after the Q-Inspiration concept shown at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.  The three vehicles are following a "three vehicles, one platform" concept and will all be related. 

    Ford Hints at Bronco with SEMA Prototype

    ...strong hints at the future SUV...

    Ford has unveiled the Bronco R race prototype at the SEMA auto show today. This prototype strongly hints at the direction the new Bronco will go in terms of appearance and shape.
    Bronco won at Baja in 1969, so for the 50 year anniversary, the prototype will go back to the Baja Peninsula later this month to take a near 1,000 mile off-road course to challenge the powertrain and architecture. 
    The Bronco R is built on a modified version of the production body-on-frame platform.  Watch for more Bronco news in the coming months.

    Ford's SEMA show car: Ford Mustang 'Lithium'

    ...900 horsepower and 6-speed manual...

    Ford teamed up with Webasto to build a new Ford Mustang EV concept car for the SEMA auto show in Las Vegas.  The car is a showcase for what is possible with electrification and emerging technologies in that field.
    The show car comes with more than 1,000 lb.-ft of torque and 900 horsepower routed through a 6-speed manual transmission. The car has been lowered an inch and sits on 20-inch staggered forged wheels. Under the hood is a dual-core electric motor with dual power inverters. Power comes from an 800-volt Webasto battery system that can discharge a mega-watt of electrical energy.  At 800 volts, the Mustang Lithium runs at twice the voltage that most electric cars on the road today use. That allows the system to be lighter, more powerful, and generate less heat. 
    The transmission is a drag-strip version of the Getrag MT82 6-speed with billet internals to handle the huge torque.  
    Mustang Lithium features a unique set of drive modes that apply a controlled amount of torque for different driving scenarios including: Valet, Sport, Track and Beast, and are instantly available on demand via a custom in-dash 10.4-inch touchscreen display.
    Ford is investing $11.5 billion in electrified vehicles by 2022, including an all-new Mustang inspired EV SUV and a Ford F-150 BEV.

    Infiniti Releases Teaser Image of New QX55

    ...crossover coupes to Infiniti and beyond!...

    Infiniti today released a teaser image of its upcoming QX55 crossover coupe. The QX55 is largely expected to be based on the Infiniti QX50, meaning a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive based crossover sporting a variable compression 2.0 liter turbocharged engine and a CVT.  The VC Turbo produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque.  The base QX50 starts at $37,250, so expect a QX55 to be slightly more money.
    Infiniti will launch the car in 2020, but they say more details will come before then. 

    Sales Figure Ticker: October 2019

    ...who was tricked and who got a treat?....

    Ford Motor Company - Not Reported
    General Motors Co. - Not Reported
    Tesla - Not Reported
    FCA US LLC - Not Reported
    Audi of America -  Up 19.4% for the month, Down 3.2% for the year
    BMW of North America -  Up 7.5% for the month, Up 1.0% for the year
    Genesis Motor America - Up 420.2% for the month, Up 81.49% for the year
    Honda Motor Co. -  Up 7.6% for the month, Up 0.6% for the year
    Hyundai Motor America -  Up 8.4% for the month, Up 3.3% for the year
    Infiniti USA - Down 23.0% for the month, Down 17.1% for the year
    Jaguar Land Rover North America - 
    Kia Motors America - Up 10.9% for the month, Up 3.3% for the year
    Mazda North American Operations - Up 4.5%  for the month, Down 10.3% for the year
    Mercedes-Benz USA - Up 1.3% for the month, Flat 0.0% for the year
    Mitsubishi Motors North America -  Down 7.9% for the month, Up 1.5% for the year
    Nissan Group - Down 5.8% for the month, Down 7.0% for the year
    Porsche Cars North America Inc. -  Up 13.1% for the month, Up 6.5% for the year
    Subaru of America, Inc. - Up 0.3% for the month, Up 4.0% for the year
    Toyota Motor North America - Down 1.2% for the month, Down 2.3% for the year
    Volkswagen of America - Down 3.2% for the month, Up 3.7% for the year
    Volvo Cars of North America, LLC - Up 20.2% for the month, Up 6.1% for the year

    Brands (Quarterly):
    Alfa Romeo - Not Reported
    Buick - Not Reported
    Cadillac -  Not Reported
    Chevrolet - Not Reported
    Chrysler - Not Reported
    Dodge - Not Reported
    Ford - Not Reported
    Fiat - Not Reported
    GMC - Not Reported
    Jeep - Not Reported
    Lincoln - Not Reported
    Ram Trucks - Not Reported
    Tesla - Not Reported

    Brands (Monthly):
    Acura - Up 2.4% 
    Audi - Up 19.4%
    BMW - Up 9.4%
    Genesis - Up 420.2%
    Honda - Up 8.2%
    Hyundai - Up 8.4%
    Infiniti - Down 23.0%
    Jaguar - 
    Kia - Up 10.9%
    Land Rover -
    Lexus - Up 1.9%
    Mazda - Up 4.5%
    Mercedes-Benz - Up 1.2%
    Mercedes-Benz Vans - Up 1.9%
    MINI - Down 6.4%
    Mitsubishi - Down 7.9%
    Nissan - Down 3.7% 
    Porsche - Up 13.1% 
    Smart - No Longer Reported 
    Subaru - Up 0.3% 
    Toyota - Down 1.6% 
    Volkswagen - Down 3.2%
    Volvo - Up 20.2%

    Alfa Romeo Investment Being Scaled Back

    ...Earnings release doesn't look good for Alfa...

    Alfa Romeo still has some crossover rollouts coming, however a recent peak at the quarterly earning statement gave a clue as to what else is happening at the brand, and the truth is, it isn't much. During the earnings call this week, CEO Mike Manley said that Alfa's "future product lineup has been significantly scaled back with a corresponding reduction in capital spend." 
    Alfa currently has two products on the market in North America, the Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover.  Those will both be getting a refresh for the 2021 model year.  That same year, a new C-segment crossover will make an appearance. This model, previewed by the Tonale concept car, will ride on the same platform as the Fiat 500x and Jeep Renegade. It should eventually be offered as a plug-in hybrid as well.  After that, a B-segment crossover should appear as well. 
    Once the crossovers are on the road though, there isn't much left.  The expected return of the GTV and 8C Competizione don't appear anywhere in the plans. 

    Infiniti Updates Infotainment Systems for 2020 Model Year

    ...most models will get it...

    Infiniti will be releasing the next generation of their infotainment system, InTouch, for the 2020 model year.  Most of their lineup, except the QX60, get the updated system.  The biggest news is that the new system will now support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.  The system can get over the air updates via their home's wifi or systems with navigation can have a data plan to do the updates. The navigation system can also receive real-time traffic data for re-routing and turn-by-turn directions. 
    Infiniti has upgraded the interface to be easier to use and has added more processing power behind the system. They've also upgraded the bluetooth module for easier pairing and a better microphone for improved voice quality. 

    Ask Me Anything: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature Turbo

    ...What do you want to know about Mazda's compact crossover?...

    In this week for a review is a 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature with the turbocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine.  This engine is shared with the Mazda CX-9 and Mazda 6 Turbo and produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque on regular gasoline, but bumps up to 250 horsepower on 93 octane. All-wheel drive is standard.
    This is the most loaded of the CX-5 trims with only the paint ($300) and rear bumper guard ($125) as additional charges.  That brings the MSRP to $38,360 after destination charges. 
    What do you want to know about this Mazda while I have it for a week?  Let me know in the comments below. 

    Fisker Announces Name of First Vehicle, "Ocean"

    ...washing ashore in 2021...

    Today Henrik Fisker announced the name for Fisker's upcoming EV SUV. Called the Ocean, it has been shown in a number of concept studies over the past year.
    The concept wears a solar roof to help with charging and retractable door handles. Looking mildly like a Range Rover Evoque, the vehicle is being produced with many recycled materials. Fisker claims this will make the SUV one of the most sustainable vehicle available. 
    The starting price is claimed to be around $40,000 and have a range of over 300 miles through its 80 kWh enhanced lithium-ion batteries. Rear-motor, rear drive and dual-motor all wheel drive will be available.  The SUV should hit the market in late 2021, about a year after Tesla's Model Y goes on sales.  Fisker is offering a Tesla-like online-only sales model with "nationwide concierge service". 
    Henrik also announced that there will be some big news on November 27th, the day before Thanksgiving, when online reservation become available.  The production ready prototype will be revealed in January 2020.
    Fisker has been late in delivering on its promises before, so if you're waiting for one of these, you may be waiting a little longer than planned. 
    Fisker Shows First Look at New Electric SUV
    Fisker Teasing Us with Electric SUV Concept 

    Ford and United Auto Workers Reach Tentative Deal

    ...in just 4 days...

    Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached a tentative labor contract deal in just days after the strike at General Motors ended.  The details of the deal have not yet been released, but Ford did confirm the deal in a short statement. The talks began on Monday and the two sides quickly made progress on the smaller issues.
    Various UAW leaders from the U.S. plants will meet on Friday to approve the deal which then must be sent to Ford's 55,000 union members for ratification. 
    Ford has a closer relationship with the UAW than the other Detroit manufacturers with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford calling the UAW "Family" and that the UAW "helps to make Ford better and stronger". 
    Once the deal with Ford is ratified, the UAW will move on to negotiate with FCA. 

    Fiat Chrysler Posts Record Earning for Q3 2019

    ...Margin is at an all-time high also...

    Fiat Chrysler posted a record $2.3 billion in operating profit in North America for third quarter 2019. Must of that was attributed to maintaining a firm hold on costs and customers opting for higher-trim level vehicles.  Margin for the quarter in North America climbed to 10.6 percent, an all time high. Overall, North American revenue was flat at $21.3 billion and shipments down 11 percent.
    Globally, adjusted earnings rose 5 percent while revenue declined 1 percent.  Global shipments were also down 9 percent. 
    Even with all of that good news, one time charges added up to a $200 million loss, including $795 million for a settlement over the diesel scandal, and a $1.5 billion impairment charge from its European small-car lineup and the Alfa Romeo brand. 
    FCA announced earlier today their intention to merge with European manufacturer PSA. The combined companies would form the fourth largest automobile company in the world. 

    Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot Agree to Merge

    ...but they haven't been dating that long...

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group have agreed to the terms of a merger just after it was announced they were talking just yesterday.  PSA's board has already agreed to the deal and is awaiting approval from FCA's board which is meeting later tonight.
    The merger, if approved, would create the 4th largest automotive company in the world with nearly $50 billion in value. 
    FCA Chairman John Elkann would retain his chairmanship of the new company while Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares would stay on as CEO.  The board would be comprised of six appointees from Peugeot while FCA would get five.
    Both companies would pay dividends to their shareholders, €3 billion from Peugeot and €5 billion from FCA plus an additional €250 million from the sale of its Comau unit.  Peugeot will sell its stake in auto parts make Faurecia.
    Where the new company would be based has not yet been decided.  Both the French and U.S. governments have been briefed on the deal.

    Ford Sync 4 Launches With Over The Air Updates

    ...Starts in 2020...

    Starting in 2020, Ford will be launching Sync 4 in most updated and redesigned vehicles. One of the key features of the new infotainment operating system is the ability to get updates over the air via a cellular network.  The over-the-air update ability makes updating the system as easy as a cell phone.  In Sync 3, the system was able to be updated via a wifi network or USB drive, and that is how Ford rolled out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto when they were finally made available for Sync 3.
    Ford says this change could eliminate some trips to the dealership if the computer needs to be reflashed to updated as part of a recall.  The system has the ability to update software in the background and keep the current software running until the new update is ready for activation, making many of the updates completely invisible to the end user.  Customers can schedule updates for a specific time, such as the middle of the night, to further make the process invisible.
    Sync 4 is designed to run on 8-inch screens standard, but 12-inch and 15.5-inch screens are available too.  Voice recognition in Sync 4 is activated by saying "Ok Ford".
    Ford believes performing some recall work via the OTA updates will improve customer satisfaction and increase business.
    Ford has not released which models will get Sync 4 first.

    FCA and PSA are in Merger Talks

    ...It was only a matter of time till another suitor came along...

    According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA are in merger talks.  This after the failed merger negotiations last spring between FCA and Renault.   The merger is reportedly an all-share merger of equals with PSA CEO Carlos Tavares at the helm as CEO and FCA Chairman John Elkann retaining his position in the new company. 
    The "talks are fluid" and the paper reported that "no guarantee that any final agreement will be reached".
    FCA had previously turned down a merger offer from PSA back in March.  PSA is still digesting their acquisition of Opel from General Motors.

    Hyundai Debuts HDC-6 Neptune Truck Concept

    ...concept that might come to market...

    Last week we reported on a teaser that Hyundai sent out about it's upcoming hydrogen truck concept. Today, it's here.  Meet the HDC-6 Neptune, a Class-8 semi-truck that runs on hydrogen fuel cells. Hyundai says that fuel cells are a better fit for long haul driving than batteries due to the lower refueling time, higher range, and higher payload.  The styling of the concept is inspired by the Art Deco designs by Henry Dreyfuss of the New York Central railroad in the 1930s. 
    The fuel cell powertrain gave Hyundai the opportunity to change the classic layout of a Class-8 truck. They took the technical requirements and found new ways to combine form and function. For example, the massive cooling requirements necessitated a grille that wrapped nearly all the way around the vehicle. Inside the grille are retractable steps up to the cab.  The combination of both cab over engine and conventional truck formats gives the Neptune gains in packaging efficiency and ergonomics. 
    Hyundai plans to work with partners to pave the way for a hydrogen ecosystem specifically for commercial vehicles in the US.  In Switzerland, Hyundai is building 1,600 fuel cell heavy-duty trucks with its partner H2 Energy.
    In addition to the Neptune, Hyundai introduced a concept refrigerated trailer. The trailer is virtually noiseless compared to typical diesel powered refrigerated trailers. The trailer reduces pollution and emissions.  The roof, front wall, and side walls are constructed of one-piece, structural sandwich foam panels with fiber reinforced polymer skins. The trailer is made without posts or roof bows and the entire design is lighter than a typical trailer while also increasing wall strength and enhancing thermal efficiency. 

    Mazda CX-9 Gets More Torque and Second Row Captain's Chairs

    ...starting at $33,790...

    The Mazda CX-9 has been on sale a few years now without many updates. For 2020 Mazda is increasing the torque of the engine and adding second row captain's chairs.
    The engine now will produce 320 lb.-ft of torque when running 93 octane gas and 310 lb.-ft when running on 87.  That's an increase of 10 lb.-ft over the 2019 model.  Horsepower rating stays the same at 250 hp on 93 octane and 227 on 87.  The engine sends power to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.  Mazda's predictive i-Activ all-wheel drive is standard in the Signature model and available on all other trims.  For 2020, the all-wheel drive system gains an off-road traction assist feature that replaces the traction control button.  The system helps on uneven terrain by increasing brake force on the wheels without traction and diverting power to the wheels with traction. 
    The 2020 Mazda CX-9 Sport gets new standard features such as heated front cloth seats, power driver’s seat with lumbar support, Gray Metallic 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated outside mirrors, automatic on/off headlights and High Beam Control. Mazda’s full suite of i-Activsense safety features are now standard with includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection, Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist to Blind Spot Monitoring System with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Other standard features include a seven-inch Mazda Connect infotainment screen, LED headlights and taillights, one-touch front and rear power windows, rear privacy glass, three-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio pairing, rearview camera, keyless entry and push-button start.
    The Touring model now adds Apple Car Play and Android Auto and a new nine-inch color touchscreen display.  Optional on the Touring Premium and Grand Touring are the new second row captain's chairs, heated on the Grand Touring. 
    The 2020 Mazda CX-9 goes on sale this fall starting at $33,790 for the sport, $35,610 for the Touring, $41,540 for the Grand Touring, and $46,115 for the Signature.

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