• Volkswagen and their U.S. dealers have had a tense relationship since the diesel emission scandal broke. From the departure of Michael Horn to dealer meetings where tough questions were being asked to Volkswagen executives. But it seems some progress is being made on repairing it. 
    In a statement released today, Volkswagen announced they have reached an “agreement in principle” with its dealers over compensation for losses due to the diesel emission scandal. According to Automotive News, the preliminary agreement will see dealers get a cash payout within 18 months from a settlement fund. The payout for each dealer will be determined by a formula that is currently being worked out. Volkswagen has also agreed to purchase "“unfixable, used” diesel vehicles from dealer inventory under the same terms as buyback offers for consumers".
    This settlement comes after a group of Volkswagen dealers filed a lawsuit against the German automaker back in April.
    The settlement is still being finalized and will need to get the approval of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco before anything else can happen. Volkswagen says they hope to have everything finalized by September.
    “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen in a statement.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Volkswagen and VW-Branded Franchise Dealers in the U.S. Reach Agreement in Principle to Resolve Diesel Litigation
    Herndon, VA - August 25, 2016 - Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (“Volkswagen”) today announced it has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the claims of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States relating to TDI vehicles affected by the diesel matter and other matters asserted concerning the value of the franchise. Volkswagen has agreed to make cash payments and provide additional benefits to the dealers to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value. Volkswagen and the dealers’ counsel will now work to finalize details of the proposed settlement, including how to apportion payments to dealers in the appropriate manner.
    Details of the agreement in principle are still under discussion and are expected to be finalized at the end of September. Any proposed agreement will become effective only after approval by the Court, and the parties have agreed to keep further terms confidential as they work to finalize the agreement. Under the agreement, Volkswagen will consent to the certification – for settlement purposes only – of a class of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States as of an agreed date. 
    “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “Our dealers are our partners and we value their ongoing loyalty and passion for the Volkswagen brand. This agreement, when finalized, will strengthen the foundation for our future together and further emphasize our commitment both to our partners and the U.S. market.”
    Steve Berman, Managing Partner of the dealers’ counsel Hagens Berman, said, “Our clients recognized the best solution would be one that not only allows them to recoup lost franchise value and continue to employ thousands of American workers, but one that also charts a strong course for the recovery of the Volkswagen brand in the United States.”  Berman added, “Now that there is a path forward for dealers, they can continue to work proactively to take great care of their customers, who are also VW customers.”
    The plaintiffs filed the initial complaint against Volkswagen on April 6, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The litigation was subsequently transferred to the multidistrict proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
    We know a fair amount of Volkswagen's upcoming three-row crossover,
    It will be built in Chattanooga, TN Engines will include a 3.6L V6, 2.0L Turbo-four, and Hybrid. (No diesel) Using the MQB platform Possibly named Teramont  But we don't know much about how it looks. Yes, we have seen spy shots that tell us it will possibly look like the CrossBlue concept from a few years back. That doesn't mean there are still some surprises in store. We now have the full picture thanks to some leaked shots.
    Chinese outlet Auto Sina got their hands on photos showing Volkswagen's new crossover in an engineering garage. The production model matches up with the CrossBlue in terms of overall design. The front end features a large grille, LED headlights, and a chunky front bumper. The interior features a similar center stack design found in other Volkswagen models. 
    The crossover features a V6 badge, which most likely hints at a 3.6L V6. 
    Source: Auto Sina
    'Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) and the various names this system goes under have the same goal; to bring the vehicle to a stop if the driver doesn't fails to engage the brakes. But a new study done by AAA reveals not all systems are equal and a very worrying trend concerning a consumer's belief in the system.
    There are two types of emergency braking systems, ones that are designed to bring the vehicle to stop to avoid a crash and ones that reduce speed to limit the severity of a crash. Unsurprisingly, AAA's tests showed that systems designed to avoid a crash did a better job than systems designed to limit the crash damage. At speeds under 30 mph, systems designed to avoid crashes were successful about 60 percent of the time. Systems designed to limit damage had a success rate of 33 percent. Increase speed to 45 mph and the systems designed to avoid a crash had a success rate of 74 percent. The systems designed to limit damage were successful 9 percent of the time.
    AAA also surveyed Americans familiar with the technology and it revealed something very troubling. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe autonomous emergency braking systems will totally avoid a crash without driver intervention.
    “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a statement.
    This is important as 22 different automakers have agreed to make this technology standard on all of their models by 2022. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have this system as standard while more than 50 percent of new vehicles have it as an option. AAA recommends that if you're looking at a vehicle with an AEB system to make sure what system you'll have. It will make a difference when it comes to avoiding a crash.
    Source: AAA
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Hit The Brakes: Not All Self-Braking Cars Designed to Stop
    AAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel.
    “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”
    In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal:
    In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction). With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios. Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios. When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced. When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall. “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.”
    In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal:
    Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle. Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent). Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work. Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent). “When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.”
    For its potential to reduce crash severity, 22 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.
    Previous Page Next Page Kia is teasing the next-generation Rio subcompact a month before its official debut at the Paris Motor Show.
    In the sketches, the next-gen Rio looks to be more aggressive and sharper. Key details to take in include a longer front and swept-back c-pillar. The design comes from a collaboration of Kia's design studios in California and Germany. Inside, it looks to be an evolution of the current Rio.
    Engines will likely include three and four-cylinder engines running on diesel and gas. There is also a Rio GT that will feature tweaks to the suspension and engine. 
    We'll have more details when the Rio makes its debut at Paris next month.
    Source: Kia
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Paris World Premiere For All-New Kia Rio
    The all-new, fourth-generation Kia Rio will make its world premiere on 29 September in Paris, at the 2016 Mondial de l'Automobile.
    The Rio's progressive new exterior and interior design was led by Kia's design centers in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the company's main design center in Namyang, Korea. Straight lines and smooth surfacing give the car a distinctive new character, while a longer front overhang and bonnet, longer wheelbase, and upright C-pillar give the car an even more confident and balanced appearance than its predecessor.
    The all-new Rio will offer buyers class-leading practicality and safety technology, the latest connectivity features, and more assured and engaging ride and handling characteristics.
    The Kia Rio is the Korean manufacturer's global best-selling model, with more than 473,000 sold around the world in 2015. The next generation will enter production towards the end of 2016 for Europe, with production timings for other regions to be announced closer to launch.
    Kia's 2016 Mondial de l'Automobile press conference will start at 14:45 CET on 29 September. Kia's stand will be located in Hall 3 of the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.
    Previous Page Next Page
    Fiat is possibly adding another derivative of its Miata-based 124. Autocar has learned from sources that the Italian automaker is working a coupe variant. Unlike the retractable hardtop used on the MX-5 Miata RF, Fiat is keeping it simple by designing a regular coupe. It would also give a bit more differentiation between the 124 and Miata.
    We have a possible idea of where Fiat could go with the 124 coupe by looking at Abarth 124 Rally concept that appears to have a hardtop fitted permanently. Some sources say Fiat could change the design of the rear to better integrate the coupe roofline. 
    Power is currently undecided at the moment. Certain markets could get a 1.4L four-cylinder with 138 horsepower, while others may get the turbocharged 1.4L with 158 horsepower. There is talk about an Abarth model with 178 horsepower and limited-slip differential.
    Autocar says the 124 Coupe could be shown as soon as next year. 
    Source: Autocar
    You ever know someone that was trying to be the center of attention by doing anything that would get them notice? We have to wonder if Tesla is employing this as yesterday they announced a 100 kWh battery option for the Model S and X.
    Here are the key details you need to know,
    Model S P100D: 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds in Ludicrous mode, total range of 315 miles Model X P100D: 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds in Ludicrous mode, total range of 289 miles As for pricing, the Model S P100D will set you back $134,500. The Model X P100D starts at $135,500.
    If that is a bit too much for you, there is another option. If you have a P90D Ludicrous on order, you can upgrade the battery to the 100 kWh for only $10,000. If you have taken delivery of said vehicle, then be prepared to spend $20,000. Tesla says the increased cost is due to the 90 kWh battery needing to be recycled.
    Source: Tesla
    Earlier this month, Mazda revealed the updated 2017 3 and 6. Now, Mazda has announced pricing for the 2017 Mazda that will be hitting dealers next month.
    The 2017 Mazda6 will have a base price of $22,780 (includes a $835 destination charge) for Sport with a manual transmission. Compared to the 2016 model, the 2017 6 is about $450 more. If you want an automatic, you'll have to pony up $23,830. Standard equipment includes Mazda's G-Vectoring Control that alters power deliver when turning to improve handling; 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, backup camera, 7-inch screen with the MazdaConnect infotainment system, and Bluetooth.
    The midlevel Touring trim kicks off at $25,030 for the manual and $26,080 for the automatic. Touring models add 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, six-way power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Mazda's Smart City Braking system.
    Finishing off the Mazda6 lineup is the Grand Touring that starts at $31,530 and includes leather upholstery, full color head-up display, eight-way power driver seat, six-way power passenger seat, navigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition.
    Source: Mazda
    Press Release is on Page 2

    2017 Mazda6 Adds Athleticism and Ambience to Award-Winning Midsize Family Sedan
    Standard with New G-Vectoring Control, Mazda6 Starts from an MSRP[1] of $21,945 IRVINE, Calif. (August 23, 2016) – From its upscale interior to its seductive KODO—Soul of Motion design to its driving dynamics that constantly prove more fun than any midsize sedan has a right to be—earning it accolades throughout world—Mazda6 has shown time and time again that it’s a family sedan without compromise.
    For 2017, that sedan has been thoroughly updated with the introduction of Mazda’s exclusive—and standard—G-Vectoring Control vehicle dynamics technology and added sound absorption refinement, among many other upgrades. Yet, those improvements come starting with an MSRP1 of just $21,945.
    The entry point to the 2017 Mazda6 range is the Sport trim level, which comes equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, electronic parking brake, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, push-button starter, 17-inch alloy wheels, a backup camera and the MAZDA CONNECTTM infotainment, which is newly standard on the Mazda6 Sport equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. MAZDA CONNECTTM integrates Bluetooth hands-free phone pairing and audio streaming, USB pairing and diagnostic controls into a 7.0-inch full-color display that works in conjunction with a Commander control knob, voice commands and a touchscreen. Mazda6’s SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission is a $1,050 standalone option on Sport and Touring trim levels.
    Upgrading to Mazda6 Touring trim yields 19-inch alloy wheels, leatherette seating surfaces, Blind Spot Monitoring System (BSM), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, dual-zone climate control, rear vents and a six-way power driver’s seat. Smart City Brake Support, automatic on/off headlights and rain-sensing wipers also come newly standard for 2017. Among the mid-tier Mazda6 Touring’s available features are an 11-speaker BOSE Premium audio system, power moonroof, and SiriusXM satellite radio as well as further upgrades like full-LED headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), an auto-dimming interior mirror and heated front seats, among other features.
    Mazda6 Grand Touring sits atop the range, elevating equipment and refinement beyond many pricier entry-luxury vehicles. Standard for the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring are navigation, perforated leather-trimmed seats, a newly upgraded, full-color Active Driving Display head-up unit, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power passenger seat, alarm, paddle shifters, LED foglights and lighted signature grille, dark alloy wheels, rear lip spoiler, Mazda Radar Cruise Control and Smart City Brake Support.
    The 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring’s new standard features also include Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Control and memory seat that’s integrated to work with the height of the Active Driving Display.
    The 2017 Mazda6 stretches beyond where previous models have topped out with the new Premium Package, which includes i-ELOOP regenerative braking with active grille shutters; rear outboard seat heaters; heated steering wheel; Nappa leather seating surfaces, available in almond or black with contrast piping; LED accent lighting around the shifter, a black headliner; a hand-finished, “chidori”-stitch, leather-wrapped steering wheel and new brightwork throughout the interior.
    As with CX-9 and the 2017 MX-5 Miata RF, Machine Gray Metallic will be featured as a new premium paint color, joining Soul Red Metallic and Snowflake White Pearl Mica across the Mazda6 range.
    All 2017 Mazda6 models come equipped with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine and feature added sound insulation improvements throughout their interiors and door sealing. Additionally, Grand Touring models have laminated front side windows for further sound insulation.
    MSRP[1] for all 2017 Mazda6 trim levels is as follows:
    Mazda6 Sport 6MT - $21,945 Mazda6 Sport 6AT - $22,995 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - $24,195 Mazda6 Touring 6AT - $25,245 Touring BOSE/Moonroof/Satellite Radio Package (6AT only) - $1,325 Touring Premium Package - $1,425 (Requires Touring BOSE/Moonroof/Satellite Radio Package) Mazda6 Grand Touring - $30,695 Grand Touring Premium Package - $2,500 [1] MSRP does not include $835 for destination and delivery ($880 in Alaska) or additional taxes or fees. 
    Premium Paint Colors:
    Machine Gray Metallic (late availability) - $300 Soul Red Metallic - $300 Snowflake White Pearl Mica - $200 The 2017 Mazda6 goes on sale nationwide this September.
    If there was one vehicle that was the talk during Monterey Car Week, it would have to be the Cadillac Escala concept. Unlike other concepts that Cadillac has shown during this time, various ideas will appear on future Cadillac models.
    "There's a lot of stuff that's being captured here. All of that won't necessarily find itself coming out in one car; it will be spread through the portfolio," said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's president to Automotive News.
    One of the key items that will be spread around is the Escala's design. Compared to Cadillac's sharp and angular design language, the design on Escala is a complete departure with curves and smooth edges. de Nysschen said production models with this look will arrive in 2019. Automotive News speculates that the next-generation CTS (soon to be renamed CT5) will be the first model to sport the look.
    The twin-turbo 4.2L V8 is another part that will be appearing in future Cadillac models. One vehicle that might get it is the current CT6 sedan. When asked, de Nysschen wouldn't give an answer, only saying the brand is considering it for future models.
    But what about the Escala itself? If we go back to our original story on Friday, we pulled a quote from the press release made by de Nysschen saying the following,
    “Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance. Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
    Would it take the place of the long-rumored CT8 or sit beside it? No one is quite sure. But de Nysschen did reveal one important detail about the CT8 project. The model is on hold, not canceled as some reports have said earlier in the year. The reason comes down consumers going toward crossovers and SUVs at a quick rate.
    "These are precisely the things that we are just saying: "Let's step back a moment and see whether it's just an energy/price thing, or is it a more sustained shake-up?'"
    de Nysschen said the brand is looking at various options at the moment such as merging the CT6 and CT8 into one vehicle like the Escala, using a new crossover as the flagship, or doing some combination of the two.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Tesla is trying to stay in the spotlight while they continue working on the Model 3 and also enticing people into one of their vehicles. Their solution to both problems is introducing a new two-year lease option.
    Electrek reports that Tesla sent out an email announcing the new offer which states the lease deal starts at $593 per month and only is only available for those placing orders til September 12th. 
    "A 2-year lease option is one of our most popular requests. We listened and are launching a limited time test of a 2-year lease on Model S and Model X. Starting at only $593/month, our new 2-year lease program was designed just for you to drive electric today, and is available on all Model S and X orders placed by September 12th," Tesla said in their email.
    The two-year timeframe is perfect for someone who is on the waiting list for a Model 3, but who wants to drive a Tesla model right now. There is a catch for those hoping to get the $593 per month deal. Electrek ran the numbers and found that you would need to put a $6,000 down payment on the base 60 kWh Model S.
    Source: Electrek
    Kia had an interesting powertrain concept on the floor of the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Revealed in the Optima T-Hybrid, the powertrain paired a 1.7L turbodiesel four-cylinder with a 48v electric supercharger. This worked in conjunction with a 48V starter/generator that turned it into a mild hybrid. Kia said this powertrain would cut emissions and fuel consumption for any vehicle by 15 to 20 percent. Since showing this powertrain, Kia has been hard at work on this project
    But then the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hit and it has caused many automakers, Kia included, to rethink projects involving diesel engines. Speaking with Autocar, Hyundai-Kia's performance development boss Albert Biermann said it's becoming harder to justifying the costs to develop next-generation diesel engines in light of the Volkswagen mess and stricter emission standards.
    “The research project is still going on, but the cost of electric motors and batteries in a hybrid is already significant. The question is whether it is really necessary to throw in a more expensive diesel engine.”
    If Kia decides to scrap the diesel part of this powertrain, their efforts will not go to waste. Biermann said this system could be re-engineered for a gas engine.
    Source: Autocar
    When Ford announced they would be building only 500 GTs over the course of two years, we thought they would they would likely build more due to high demand. Sure enough, with over 6,000 applications received, Ford is adding two more years of production for the GT. 
    The third year of production will only be for those who are on the waiting list for the GT, and the fourth year will be open to everyone. What isn't known is how many additional GTs will be built.
    “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors.We want to keep Ford GT exclusive, but at the same time we know how vital this customer is to our brand,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance.
    Source: Ford
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Ford Performance will offer the all-new Ford GT for two additional production years, bringing the production commitment of the carbon fiber supercar to a total of four years Potential customers who already applied to purchase Ford GT will only need to update their request when the next application window reopens in early 2018 Additional production supports Ford Performance decision to race Ford GT in both IMSA and World Endurance Championship (WEC) series for four years PEBBLE BEACH, Calif., Aug. 19, 2016 – Applicants and fans of the Ford GT can rejoice as Ford Performance is adding two more years of production for the all-new carbon fiber supercar. The announcement comes on the heels of letters sent to potential customers notifying them of their application status to purchase the car.
    The additional production supports the recent decision by Ford Performance to race Ford GT in both IMSA and World Endurance Championship (WEC) series events for four years.
    “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors,” says Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We want to keep Ford GT exclusive, but at the same time we know how vital this customer is to our brand.”
    Year three of production will support applicants who were placed on the wait list; previously deferred applicants and those who missed the initial application window will be served by production year four. The application process for fourth-year production will reopen in early 2018. Those who already applied to own the car will only need to update their request.
    “Ford GT has racing in its blood,” says Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, product development, and chief technical officer. “The road car and race car will live on, side-by-side, for the next four years – providing ample opportunity to test and prove innovative new technologies both on and off the track.”