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  1. Acura's crossover lineup has been a bright spot for the Japanese automaker. For example, the redesigned RDX has been setting monthly sales records for sixth straight months since being launched in June. According to Automotive News, deliveries of the RDX "are outpacing 2017 by 22 percent." A fair number of automakers would take this as a sign to continue building out their crossover lineup. But Acura will instead focus on their car lineup. "We don't know what's going to happen in the future. What's critical is that we stay disciplined and balanced. [We'll] do our best to hit home runs with our sedans also," said Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda. Acura wants to emulate the success of the RDX onto their sedans. That means bringing a more aggressive design and adding more performance to their three sedans - the ILX, TLX, and RLX. But what about the CDX?! For a time, we have been hearing murmurs about Acura possibly bringing over the CDX from China. The CDX shares the same platform as the Honda HR-V, but features an extroverted design. But an Acura spokesman tells Automotive News that the RDX "can reach down into that smaller segment with its pricing and sway consumers with its added room." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  2. William Maley

    Acura Turns Its Attention Back To Their Sedans

    Acura's crossover lineup has been a bright spot for the Japanese automaker. For example, the redesigned RDX has been setting monthly sales records for sixth straight months since being launched in June. According to Automotive News, deliveries of the RDX "are outpacing 2017 by 22 percent." A fair number of automakers would take this as a sign to continue building out their crossover lineup. But Acura will instead focus on their car lineup. "We don't know what's going to happen in the future. What's critical is that we stay disciplined and balanced. [We'll] do our best to hit home runs with our sedans also," said Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda. Acura wants to emulate the success of the RDX onto their sedans. That means bringing a more aggressive design and adding more performance to their three sedans - the ILX, TLX, and RLX. But what about the CDX?! For a time, we have been hearing murmurs about Acura possibly bringing over the CDX from China. The CDX shares the same platform as the Honda HR-V, but features an extroverted design. But an Acura spokesman tells Automotive News that the RDX "can reach down into that smaller segment with its pricing and sway consumers with its added room." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. There are a number of issues that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Mike Manley has to solve. One of those is trying to improve the fortunes of Maserati. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had set an ambitious goal of selling 75,000 vehicles in 2018. But the brand has only sold just 26,400 models through the first nine months of the year, The brand reduced their target to 50,000 models in June, but trying to reach that seems quite difficult. Max Warburton, an analyst with Bernstein wrote in a note that "Maserati looks broken — a 2.4 percent margin in Q3 is better than Q2. The business — and its volume, pricing and distribution plans — surely need a rethink." During the third quarter's earnings call, Manley told analysts that bundling Maserati with Alfa Romeo proved to be a mistake. "With hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things. Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass market brand, which it isn't and shouldn't be treated that way," he said. FCA has moved its chief technology officer Harald Wester back to Maserati to lead it. He led the brand from 2008 to 2016. One of the first moves by Wester was recruiting Jean-Philippe Leloup. He previously headed up Ferrari's business operations in central and eastern Europe. But there is still a glaring issue facing Maserati, products. The Alferi coupe and cabrio, along with a specialty model were supposed to launch by the end of the 2014-2018 plan. That did not happen. Felipe Munoz, an analyst with JATO Dynamics told Automotive News that the lack of new products and "regular cadence of launches" is hurting the brand. Not helping is the Levante which launched a couple of years ago. Munoz points out the large premium SUV segment is the only one not growing, and that Levante is being hurt by updated versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Porsche Cayenne being launched. Under FCA's latest four-year plan, Maserati is expected to launch the Alferi, a midsize SUV, and electrified models by 2022. Whether or not Maserati can pull it off remains to be seen. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  4. William Maley

    Maserati Hopes For A Reversal of Fortune

    There are a number of issues that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Mike Manley has to solve. One of those is trying to improve the fortunes of Maserati. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had set an ambitious goal of selling 75,000 vehicles in 2018. But the brand has only sold just 26,400 models through the first nine months of the year, The brand reduced their target to 50,000 models in June, but trying to reach that seems quite difficult. Max Warburton, an analyst with Bernstein wrote in a note that "Maserati looks broken — a 2.4 percent margin in Q3 is better than Q2. The business — and its volume, pricing and distribution plans — surely need a rethink." During the third quarter's earnings call, Manley told analysts that bundling Maserati with Alfa Romeo proved to be a mistake. "With hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things. Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass market brand, which it isn't and shouldn't be treated that way," he said. FCA has moved its chief technology officer Harald Wester back to Maserati to lead it. He led the brand from 2008 to 2016. One of the first moves by Wester was recruiting Jean-Philippe Leloup. He previously headed up Ferrari's business operations in central and eastern Europe. But there is still a glaring issue facing Maserati, products. The Alferi coupe and cabrio, along with a specialty model were supposed to launch by the end of the 2014-2018 plan. That did not happen. Felipe Munoz, an analyst with JATO Dynamics told Automotive News that the lack of new products and "regular cadence of launches" is hurting the brand. Not helping is the Levante which launched a couple of years ago. Munoz points out the large premium SUV segment is the only one not growing, and that Levante is being hurt by updated versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Porsche Cayenne being launched. Under FCA's latest four-year plan, Maserati is expected to launch the Alferi, a midsize SUV, and electrified models by 2022. Whether or not Maserati can pull it off remains to be seen. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  5. A new report from Automobile Magazine says that smart is living on borrow time and could disappear by 2026 at the earliest. According to various sources, Renault will be pulling out of partnership when the current Twingo/ForFour ends production. The two models share the same architecture in an effort to save costs. Without a partner, Mercedes-Benz isn't as keen to keep smart around. A key question is whether or not Mercedes-Benz will produce a new model with a three-pointed star to compete against the likes of the Mini Cooper and Audi A1. A decision by the board needs to happen by 2021 when it must sign off the next-generation A-class, Why? That's because the new model will use the same platform as the next-generation A-Class. Automobile says the platform will replace the current MFA2 and allow for a "fully scalable, all-new convergence layout" - thus allowing an even smaller vehicle. But there is a possible twist. Chinese automaker Geely owns a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler, and could become a replacement partner if a business case could be made for an electrified brand. Source: Automobile Magazine View full article
  6. William Maley

    Rumorpile: The Murky Future of smart

    A new report from Automobile Magazine says that smart is living on borrow time and could disappear by 2026 at the earliest. According to various sources, Renault will be pulling out of partnership when the current Twingo/ForFour ends production. The two models share the same architecture in an effort to save costs. Without a partner, Mercedes-Benz isn't as keen to keep smart around. A key question is whether or not Mercedes-Benz will produce a new model with a three-pointed star to compete against the likes of the Mini Cooper and Audi A1. A decision by the board needs to happen by 2021 when it must sign off the next-generation A-class, Why? That's because the new model will use the same platform as the next-generation A-Class. Automobile says the platform will replace the current MFA2 and allow for a "fully scalable, all-new convergence layout" - thus allowing an even smaller vehicle. But there is a possible twist. Chinese automaker Geely owns a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler, and could become a replacement partner if a business case could be made for an electrified brand. Source: Automobile Magazine
  7. Care By Volvo was one of the first new car subscription services to launch. It offered a buyer an XC40 with a yearly allowance of 15,000 miles; maintenance, insurance, and a concierge service for either $600 or $700 per month for 24 months. But the service had some hiccups with various issues dealing with paperwork and not hearing back from dealers. "The process was very, very stretched. We have learned that the process needs to be smoother, and also the process related to insurance and all the rules in all the states in this beautiful country ... we have learned a lot," said Volvo's North American CEO, Anders Gustafsson to Roadshow. A key example is having a larger stockpile of vehicles allocated for subscribers. The entire Care by Volvo allotment of XC40s sold out in four months, causing Volvo to push deliveries of new XC40s through the service till next year. Gustafsson admits Care By Volvo is "far away from where we would like to be." But he believes the S60, the next vehicle to be offered through the service will be much smoother. Roadshow also asked Gustafsson what's next for Care By Volvo. He revealed that it could be used cars. A used-car subscription service "is probably 50 percent of the questions that we receive from our customers and from our retailers," said Gustafsson. As for when something like this could appear, Gustafsson said it could happen within a year. Source: Roadshow
  8. Care By Volvo was one of the first new car subscription services to launch. It offered a buyer an XC40 with a yearly allowance of 15,000 miles; maintenance, insurance, and a concierge service for either $600 or $700 per month for 24 months. But the service had some hiccups with various issues dealing with paperwork and not hearing back from dealers. "The process was very, very stretched. We have learned that the process needs to be smoother, and also the process related to insurance and all the rules in all the states in this beautiful country ... we have learned a lot," said Volvo's North American CEO, Anders Gustafsson to Roadshow. A key example is having a larger stockpile of vehicles allocated for subscribers. The entire Care by Volvo allotment of XC40s sold out in four months, causing Volvo to push deliveries of new XC40s through the service till next year. Gustafsson admits Care By Volvo is "far away from where we would like to be." But he believes the S60, the next vehicle to be offered through the service will be much smoother. Roadshow also asked Gustafsson what's next for Care By Volvo. He revealed that it could be used cars. A used-car subscription service "is probably 50 percent of the questions that we receive from our customers and from our retailers," said Gustafsson. As for when something like this could appear, Gustafsson said it could happen within a year. Source: Roadshow View full article
  9. Hyundai's N performance division has seen early success with the i30 N in Europe, already hitting its full-year sales target at the end of June and customers waiting six to seven months to get their vehicle. This has the brand encouraged that the upcoming Veloster N due for the U.S. later this year will see similar success. It also has N planning two more models, along with the possibility of a third. According to Automotive News, the first of the two new N models will the i30 Fastback N, debuting at the Paris Motor Show in October. This model wasn't originally planned, but would be green-lighted after Hyundai-Kia design chief Peter Schreyer showed a mock-up to Albert Biermann, head of vehicle testing and high-performance development. Following this is a possibly an SUV. We've heard reports that it could be the Tucson or Kona. Biermann said there could be a fifth model in the wings. "There's a car within the next two or three months that we probably have a chance to show to Vice Chairman Chung [Eui-sun] and our top management. Depending on what is the current mood and situation, we might get a spontaneous 'OK, go for it,' " he told Automotive News. Also being talked about at N is what alternative powertrains could power their vehicles. "When we think of cars after 2021 for N, I think we cannot avoid electrification. We will have an EV sooner or later. It's just a matter of timing," said Biermann. "As an example, we have an Ioniq EV. Were we to find a nice battery, a bigger motor and inverter, we could make an Ioniq EV N with a nice chassis and more power. Something like that is not fully crazy." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  10. Hyundai's N performance division has seen early success with the i30 N in Europe, already hitting its full-year sales target at the end of June and customers waiting six to seven months to get their vehicle. This has the brand encouraged that the upcoming Veloster N due for the U.S. later this year will see similar success. It also has N planning two more models, along with the possibility of a third. According to Automotive News, the first of the two new N models will the i30 Fastback N, debuting at the Paris Motor Show in October. This model wasn't originally planned, but would be green-lighted after Hyundai-Kia design chief Peter Schreyer showed a mock-up to Albert Biermann, head of vehicle testing and high-performance development. Following this is a possibly an SUV. We've heard reports that it could be the Tucson or Kona. Biermann said there could be a fifth model in the wings. "There's a car within the next two or three months that we probably have a chance to show to Vice Chairman Chung [Eui-sun] and our top management. Depending on what is the current mood and situation, we might get a spontaneous 'OK, go for it,' " he told Automotive News. Also being talked about at N is what alternative powertrains could power their vehicles. "When we think of cars after 2021 for N, I think we cannot avoid electrification. We will have an EV sooner or later. It's just a matter of timing," said Biermann. "As an example, we have an Ioniq EV. Were we to find a nice battery, a bigger motor and inverter, we could make an Ioniq EV N with a nice chassis and more power. Something like that is not fully crazy." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  11. Toyota is planning a big push with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to Reuters, the Japanese automaker is doubling-down on investments for fuel cell vehicles by making improvements to reduce costs and building different models including commercial trucks. “We’re going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. Currently, Toyota hand builds the Mirai at a plant in Toyota City. Everyday, about 6.5 cars roll out of the plant. This is due to the detailed inspections that partially assembled models go through. The parts comprising the Mirai are quite expensive as well. According to analysis done by Strategic Analysis Inc., it costs Toyota about $11,000 to produce each of the fuel cell stacks. Blame the use of the platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber for the stacks. Toyota has been building up production capacity as it expects sales of FCVs to increase from about 3,000 to over 20,000 after 2020. This will help reduce the cost of each fuel cell stack to $8,000. “It will be difficult for Toyota to lower FCV production costs if it only produces the Mirai,” said a source, That's where an expansion of FCVs come in. Toyota is planning a "phased introduction' of other FCVs, including SUVs and commercial trucks starting around 2025. Toyota declined to talk about future products, but did reveal that it has built prototypes of small delivery vehicles and transport trucks with fuel cell powertrains. “We’re going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks. Otherwise, we won’t see the benefits of mass production,” said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota. Why is Toyota doubling down on fuel cells? Sources say that Toyota believes demand will increase as more countries, including China "warm to fuel cell technology". The company also sees FCVs as a hedge against battery materials such as cobalt becoming scarce. But there is still one issue that Toyota, and other automakers build FCVs still need to solve; infrastructure. There aren't many hydrogen refueling stations around. For example, the majority of hydrogen stations in the U.S. are in California. Not helping is a current shortage of hydrogen at refueling stations in California. Green Car Reports says this issue is due to various problems with supplier Air Products. The company said that it hopes to restore hydrogen supplies sometime in early August. Source: Reuters, Green Car Reports View full article
  12. William Maley

    Toyota Double Downs Investment On Hydrogen

    Toyota is planning a big push with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to Reuters, the Japanese automaker is doubling-down on investments for fuel cell vehicles by making improvements to reduce costs and building different models including commercial trucks. “We’re going to shift from limited production to mass production, reduce the amount of expensive materials like platinum used in FCV components, and make the system more compact and powerful,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. Currently, Toyota hand builds the Mirai at a plant in Toyota City. Everyday, about 6.5 cars roll out of the plant. This is due to the detailed inspections that partially assembled models go through. The parts comprising the Mirai are quite expensive as well. According to analysis done by Strategic Analysis Inc., it costs Toyota about $11,000 to produce each of the fuel cell stacks. Blame the use of the platinum, titanium, and carbon fiber for the stacks. Toyota has been building up production capacity as it expects sales of FCVs to increase from about 3,000 to over 20,000 after 2020. This will help reduce the cost of each fuel cell stack to $8,000. “It will be difficult for Toyota to lower FCV production costs if it only produces the Mirai,” said a source, That's where an expansion of FCVs come in. Toyota is planning a "phased introduction' of other FCVs, including SUVs and commercial trucks starting around 2025. Toyota declined to talk about future products, but did reveal that it has built prototypes of small delivery vehicles and transport trucks with fuel cell powertrains. “We’re going to use as many parts from existing passenger cars and other models as possible in fuel cell trucks. Otherwise, we won’t see the benefits of mass production,” said Ikuo Ota, manager of new business planning for fuel cell projects at Toyota. Why is Toyota doubling down on fuel cells? Sources say that Toyota believes demand will increase as more countries, including China "warm to fuel cell technology". The company also sees FCVs as a hedge against battery materials such as cobalt becoming scarce. But there is still one issue that Toyota, and other automakers build FCVs still need to solve; infrastructure. There aren't many hydrogen refueling stations around. For example, the majority of hydrogen stations in the U.S. are in California. Not helping is a current shortage of hydrogen at refueling stations in California. Green Car Reports says this issue is due to various problems with supplier Air Products. The company said that it hopes to restore hydrogen supplies sometime in early August. Source: Reuters, Green Car Reports
  13. Lamborghini has been toying with the idea of electrification for some time. It would allow them to meet stricter emission regulations while retaining their naturally aspirated engines. Their CEO has made it official, the replacement for the Aventador will have electrification. "The next Aventador will be hybrid, with a V12. A decision is made on that and this is something that will keep us different from the others and this is very important," said Stefano Domenicali to Auto Express. In addition, the replacement for the Huracan will go down the electrification route by retaining the V10 and adding an electric motor. We got a hint of this back in March during a interview Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's chief technical officer. The Urus will be the first Lamborghini to be electrified when the plug-in hybrid model launches towards the end of this decade, followed by the Aventador replacement a few years after. Source: Auto Express View full article
  14. Lamborghini has been toying with the idea of electrification for some time. It would allow them to meet stricter emission regulations while retaining their naturally aspirated engines. Their CEO has made it official, the replacement for the Aventador will have electrification. "The next Aventador will be hybrid, with a V12. A decision is made on that and this is something that will keep us different from the others and this is very important," said Stefano Domenicali to Auto Express. In addition, the replacement for the Huracan will go down the electrification route by retaining the V10 and adding an electric motor. We got a hint of this back in March during a interview Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's chief technical officer. The Urus will be the first Lamborghini to be electrified when the plug-in hybrid model launches towards the end of this decade, followed by the Aventador replacement a few years after. Source: Auto Express
  15. The Ford Fusion will be going away in due course as part of the company's plan to put more focus on utility vehicles and trucks. But that doesn't mean the Fusion name will heading to the trash bin. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Ford is planning to move the Fusion name to a new wagon that will compete with the Subaru Outback. The new model will also use the same mechanical underpinnings as the current Fusion - leading us to believe that it will be some version of the Mondeo wagon sold in Europe. Ford spokesman Mike Levine declined to comment on the new model, but did say the Fusion name would continue "because of its awareness, positive imagery and value with consumers.” Ford needs a way to keep their current sedan buyers returning their showroom after the Fusion sedan drops out. Analysis done by Kelly Blue Book revealed the less than half of Fusion owners are loyal to the brand. KBB also found that the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 were the most popular SUV models that Fusion owners would consider. “Ford has a hard time moving people from their cars to SUVs,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader. Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required) View full article
  16. The Ford Fusion will be going away in due course as part of the company's plan to put more focus on utility vehicles and trucks. But that doesn't mean the Fusion name will heading to the trash bin. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Ford is planning to move the Fusion name to a new wagon that will compete with the Subaru Outback. The new model will also use the same mechanical underpinnings as the current Fusion - leading us to believe that it will be some version of the Mondeo wagon sold in Europe. Ford spokesman Mike Levine declined to comment on the new model, but did say the Fusion name would continue "because of its awareness, positive imagery and value with consumers.” Ford needs a way to keep their current sedan buyers returning their showroom after the Fusion sedan drops out. Analysis done by Kelly Blue Book revealed the less than half of Fusion owners are loyal to the brand. KBB also found that the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 were the most popular SUV models that Fusion owners would consider. “Ford has a hard time moving people from their cars to SUVs,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader. Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required)
  17. Lexus finds itself in a bit of a bind. With demand for crossovers growing, Lexus is doing a serious look at its product lineup and deciding what needs to be added and what needs to taken out. "We're more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves," said David Christ, the new general manager for Lexus to Automotive News. "Our product plan is what I would call a work in progress." The current focus for Lexus is the upcoming launches of the ES and the subcompact UX crossover. The ES is expected to keep current Lexus owners happy, but the new F-Sport package will hopefully bring in younger people - Lexus expects a quarter of ES sales to be the F-sport. The UX though is seen as what will bring the majority of young buyers to the brand. But this focus has Lexus doing "a strategic look" at two of their older models, the IS and GS. Both models are late into their lifecycles: IS was launched in 2013, while GS dates back to 2011. The two aren't big sellers either. In 2017, Lexus only moved 7,773 GS models and 26,482 IS models. Rumor has it that the GS could go away if the ES gets all-wheel drive. Christ wouldn't comment on that. "We can't do it all at once, but we're certainly evaluating both vehicles," said Christ. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  18. William Maley

    The Uncertain Future of the Lexus GS and IS

    Lexus finds itself in a bit of a bind. With demand for crossovers growing, Lexus is doing a serious look at its product lineup and deciding what needs to be added and what needs to taken out. "We're more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves," said David Christ, the new general manager for Lexus to Automotive News. "Our product plan is what I would call a work in progress." The current focus for Lexus is the upcoming launches of the ES and the subcompact UX crossover. The ES is expected to keep current Lexus owners happy, but the new F-Sport package will hopefully bring in younger people - Lexus expects a quarter of ES sales to be the F-sport. The UX though is seen as what will bring the majority of young buyers to the brand. But this focus has Lexus doing "a strategic look" at two of their older models, the IS and GS. Both models are late into their lifecycles: IS was launched in 2013, while GS dates back to 2011. The two aren't big sellers either. In 2017, Lexus only moved 7,773 GS models and 26,482 IS models. Rumor has it that the GS could go away if the ES gets all-wheel drive. Christ wouldn't comment on that. "We can't do it all at once, but we're certainly evaluating both vehicles," said Christ. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  19. The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has given many a black eye. Robert Bosch GmbH, a supplier of diesel engine technology was one of those as it found itself under investigation by German authorities to see whether or not it aided and abetted in the scandal. The company also had to pay out $327.5 million as part of a settlement in the U.S. But the company isn't giving up on diesel just yet. This week at the Bosch’s annual press conference, CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner claimed they had found “decisive breakthrough in diesel technology.” The technology in question is said to reduce nitrogen (NOx) emission levels to just one-tenth of the European legal limits coming in 2020. "Combustion engines — whether powered by diesel or gasoline — will soon emit so little in the way of particulates and nitrogen oxides that they will have no significant impact on the air," said Denner. Details about the technology are somewhat thin. In the press release, Bosch said it is comprised of a “combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system and [an] intelligent temperature management [system].” The last item is interesting as it uses artificial intelligence to change the temperature. This new technology can be integrated into production without raising the costs. "After this ecological rehabilitation, diesel can take off again. It is not combustion engines that are being made obsolete, but rather the debate about their imminent demise," said Denner. Yet we can't help but think this is too little too late. With bans on diesel vehicles being considered and automakers beginning to turn their focus on to other alternatives such as hydrogen and electric, this new technology for diesel may be left in the dust. Source: Bosch Breakthrough: new Bosch diesel technology provides solution to NOx problem Bosch CEO Denner also calls for transparency on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions Unprecedented emissions: NOx 10 times lower than limits set for 2020 New Bosch technology retains advantage with regard to fuel consumption and environmental impact Denner: “There’s a future for diesel. Soon, emissions will no longer be an issue.” Internal combustion engines equipped with artificial intelligence have almost zero impact on air quality Appeal to politicians: fuel consumption should be measured on the road and emissions analyzed from well to wheel Stuttgart and Renningen, Germany: “There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.” It was with these words that the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner, speaking at the company’s annual press conference, announced a decisive breakthrough in diesel technology. New developments from Bosch could enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they already comply with future limits. Even in RDE (real driving emissions) testing, emissions from vehicles equipped with the newly premiered Bosch diesel technology are not only significantly below current limits but also those scheduled to come into force from 2020. Bosch engineers achieved these results by refining existing technologies. There is no need for additional components, which would drive up costs. “Bosch is pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible,” Denner said. “Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.” The Bosch CEO also called for greater transparency with regard to the CO2 emissions caused by road traffic, and called for fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions to be also measured under real conditions on the road in the future. Record readings under real driving conditions: 13 mg NOx per kilometer Since 2017, European legislation has required that new passenger car models tested according to an RDE-compliant mix of urban, extra-urban, and freeway cycles emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometer. As of 2020, this limit will be cut to 120 milligrams. But even today, vehicles equipped with Bosch diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally-compliant RDE cycles. That is approximately one-tenth of the prescribed limit that will apply after 2020. And even when driving in particularly challenging urban conditions, where test parameters are well in excess of legal requirements, the average emissions of the Bosch test vehicles are as low as 40 milligrams per kilometer. Bosch engineers have achieved this decisive breakthrough over the past few months. A combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management has made such low readings possible. NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic. “Diesel will remain an option in urban traffic, whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,” Denner said. Bosch delivered proof of this innovative advance at a major press event in Stuttgart. Dozens of journalists, from both Germany and abroad, had the opportunity to drive test vehicles equipped with mobile measuring equipment in heavy city traffic, under especially challenging conditions. The results recorded by the journalists, along with the route driven, can be viewed here. As the measures to reduce NOx emissions do not significantly impact consumption, the diesel retains its comparative advantage in terms of fuel economy, CO2 emissions, and therefore climate-friendliness. Artificial intelligence can further boost combustion engines’ performance Even with this technological advance, the diesel engine has not yet reached its full development potential. Bosch now aims to use artificial intelligence to build on these latest advances. This will mark another step toward a major landmark: the development of a combustion engine that – with the exception of CO2 – has virtually no impact on the ambient air. “We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines,” Denner said. His ambitious target for Bosch engineers is the development of a new generation of diesel and gasoline engines that produce no significant particulate or NOx emissions. Even at Stuttgart’s Neckartor, a notorious pollution black spot, he wants future combustion engines to be responsible for no more than one microgram of NOx per cubic meter of ambient air – the equivalent of one-fortieth, or 2.5 percent, of today’s limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. Bosch wants to go further: transparency and realistic testing for consumption and CO2 Denner also called for a renewed focus on CO2 emissions, which are directly related to fuel consumption. He said that consumption tests should no longer be conducted in the lab but rather under real driving conditions. This would create a system comparable to the one used for measuring emissions. “That means greater transparency for the consumer and more focused climate action,” Denner said. Moreover, any assessment of CO2 emissions should extend significantly further than the fuel tank or the battery: “We need a transparent assessment of the overall CO2 emissions produced by road traffic, including not only the emissions of the vehicles themselves but also the emissions caused by the production of the fuel or electricity used to power them,” Denner said. He added that a more inclusive CO2 footprint would provide drivers of electric vehicles with a more realistic picture of the impact of this form of mobility on the climate. At the same time, the use of non-fossil fuels could further improve the CO2 footprint of combustion engines. Product development code: ethical technology design Denner, who also has corporate responsibility for research and advance engineering, presented Bosch’s product development code to the general public. This lays down the company’s principles for the development of Bosch products. First, the incorporation of functions that automatically detect test cycles is strictly forbidden. Second, Bosch products must not be optimized for test situations. Third, normal, everyday use of Bosch products should safeguard human life as well as conserve resources and protect the environment to the greatest possible extent. “In addition, the principle of legality and our ‘Invented for life’ ethos guide our actions. If in doubt, Bosch values take precedence over customers’ wishes,” Denner said. Since mid-2017, for example, Bosch has no longer been involved in customer projects in Europe for gasoline engines that do not involve the use of a particulate filter. A total of 70,000 associates, mainly from research and development, will receive training in the new principles by the end of 2018, as part of the most extensive training program in the company’s more than 130-year history.
  20. The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has given many a black eye. Robert Bosch GmbH, a supplier of diesel engine technology was one of those as it found itself under investigation by German authorities to see whether or not it aided and abetted in the scandal. The company also had to pay out $327.5 million as part of a settlement in the U.S. But the company isn't giving up on diesel just yet. This week at the Bosch’s annual press conference, CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner claimed they had found “decisive breakthrough in diesel technology.” The technology in question is said to reduce nitrogen (NOx) emission levels to just one-tenth of the European legal limits coming in 2020. "Combustion engines — whether powered by diesel or gasoline — will soon emit so little in the way of particulates and nitrogen oxides that they will have no significant impact on the air," said Denner. Details about the technology are somewhat thin. In the press release, Bosch said it is comprised of a “combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system and [an] intelligent temperature management [system].” The last item is interesting as it uses artificial intelligence to change the temperature. This new technology can be integrated into production without raising the costs. "After this ecological rehabilitation, diesel can take off again. It is not combustion engines that are being made obsolete, but rather the debate about their imminent demise," said Denner. Yet we can't help but think this is too little too late. With bans on diesel vehicles being considered and automakers beginning to turn their focus on to other alternatives such as hydrogen and electric, this new technology for diesel may be left in the dust. Source: Bosch Breakthrough: new Bosch diesel technology provides solution to NOx problem Bosch CEO Denner also calls for transparency on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions Unprecedented emissions: NOx 10 times lower than limits set for 2020 New Bosch technology retains advantage with regard to fuel consumption and environmental impact Denner: “There’s a future for diesel. Soon, emissions will no longer be an issue.” Internal combustion engines equipped with artificial intelligence have almost zero impact on air quality Appeal to politicians: fuel consumption should be measured on the road and emissions analyzed from well to wheel Stuttgart and Renningen, Germany: “There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.” It was with these words that the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner, speaking at the company’s annual press conference, announced a decisive breakthrough in diesel technology. New developments from Bosch could enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they already comply with future limits. Even in RDE (real driving emissions) testing, emissions from vehicles equipped with the newly premiered Bosch diesel technology are not only significantly below current limits but also those scheduled to come into force from 2020. Bosch engineers achieved these results by refining existing technologies. There is no need for additional components, which would drive up costs. “Bosch is pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible,” Denner said. “Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.” The Bosch CEO also called for greater transparency with regard to the CO2 emissions caused by road traffic, and called for fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions to be also measured under real conditions on the road in the future. Record readings under real driving conditions: 13 mg NOx per kilometer Since 2017, European legislation has required that new passenger car models tested according to an RDE-compliant mix of urban, extra-urban, and freeway cycles emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometer. As of 2020, this limit will be cut to 120 milligrams. But even today, vehicles equipped with Bosch diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally-compliant RDE cycles. That is approximately one-tenth of the prescribed limit that will apply after 2020. And even when driving in particularly challenging urban conditions, where test parameters are well in excess of legal requirements, the average emissions of the Bosch test vehicles are as low as 40 milligrams per kilometer. Bosch engineers have achieved this decisive breakthrough over the past few months. A combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management has made such low readings possible. NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic. “Diesel will remain an option in urban traffic, whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,” Denner said. Bosch delivered proof of this innovative advance at a major press event in Stuttgart. Dozens of journalists, from both Germany and abroad, had the opportunity to drive test vehicles equipped with mobile measuring equipment in heavy city traffic, under especially challenging conditions. The results recorded by the journalists, along with the route driven, can be viewed here. As the measures to reduce NOx emissions do not significantly impact consumption, the diesel retains its comparative advantage in terms of fuel economy, CO2 emissions, and therefore climate-friendliness. Artificial intelligence can further boost combustion engines’ performance Even with this technological advance, the diesel engine has not yet reached its full development potential. Bosch now aims to use artificial intelligence to build on these latest advances. This will mark another step toward a major landmark: the development of a combustion engine that – with the exception of CO2 – has virtually no impact on the ambient air. “We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines,” Denner said. His ambitious target for Bosch engineers is the development of a new generation of diesel and gasoline engines that produce no significant particulate or NOx emissions. Even at Stuttgart’s Neckartor, a notorious pollution black spot, he wants future combustion engines to be responsible for no more than one microgram of NOx per cubic meter of ambient air – the equivalent of one-fortieth, or 2.5 percent, of today’s limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. Bosch wants to go further: transparency and realistic testing for consumption and CO2 Denner also called for a renewed focus on CO2 emissions, which are directly related to fuel consumption. He said that consumption tests should no longer be conducted in the lab but rather under real driving conditions. This would create a system comparable to the one used for measuring emissions. “That means greater transparency for the consumer and more focused climate action,” Denner said. Moreover, any assessment of CO2 emissions should extend significantly further than the fuel tank or the battery: “We need a transparent assessment of the overall CO2 emissions produced by road traffic, including not only the emissions of the vehicles themselves but also the emissions caused by the production of the fuel or electricity used to power them,” Denner said. He added that a more inclusive CO2 footprint would provide drivers of electric vehicles with a more realistic picture of the impact of this form of mobility on the climate. At the same time, the use of non-fossil fuels could further improve the CO2 footprint of combustion engines. Product development code: ethical technology design Denner, who also has corporate responsibility for research and advance engineering, presented Bosch’s product development code to the general public. This lays down the company’s principles for the development of Bosch products. First, the incorporation of functions that automatically detect test cycles is strictly forbidden. Second, Bosch products must not be optimized for test situations. Third, normal, everyday use of Bosch products should safeguard human life as well as conserve resources and protect the environment to the greatest possible extent. “In addition, the principle of legality and our ‘Invented for life’ ethos guide our actions. If in doubt, Bosch values take precedence over customers’ wishes,” Denner said. Since mid-2017, for example, Bosch has no longer been involved in customer projects in Europe for gasoline engines that do not involve the use of a particulate filter. A total of 70,000 associates, mainly from research and development, will receive training in the new principles by the end of 2018, as part of the most extensive training program in the company’s more than 130-year history. View full article
  21. William Maley

    Audi To Make Future Models Look Different

    A constant complaint we have about Audis is their one-size fits all design philosophy as it is difficult to tell the difference between an A3 and A4 for example. Thankfully, Audi will be diversifying their designs in future models. “This [repetition] design process was used to make Audis more recognisable in newer and emerging markets. Now we are well known in major markets like China, we can begin to change this philosophy and give each car its own look,” said Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler to Autocar. “We recognise that there is a place for more differentiation now. Since our cars are in production for a minimum of six years, in today’s world I think each model should have its own design to be attractive for this long time,” said Audi design boss Marc Lichte You can see this with the Audi Q2 crossover with a different take on the grille and C-Pillar from other Audi crossovers. But Lichte says the biggest change will come with the launch of the e-tron quattro SUV next year. Due to the compact size of the electric powertrain, this gives designers more space to play with. “Design will go in a very different way. [Designers] will have more material space to play with, so we’ll be able to produce [vehicles with] shorter overhangs and lower bonnets. It makes for a more attractive design overall.” Source: Autocar
  22. A constant complaint we have about Audis is their one-size fits all design philosophy as it is difficult to tell the difference between an A3 and A4 for example. Thankfully, Audi will be diversifying their designs in future models. “This [repetition] design process was used to make Audis more recognisable in newer and emerging markets. Now we are well known in major markets like China, we can begin to change this philosophy and give each car its own look,” said Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler to Autocar. “We recognise that there is a place for more differentiation now. Since our cars are in production for a minimum of six years, in today’s world I think each model should have its own design to be attractive for this long time,” said Audi design boss Marc Lichte You can see this with the Audi Q2 crossover with a different take on the grille and C-Pillar from other Audi crossovers. But Lichte says the biggest change will come with the launch of the e-tron quattro SUV next year. Due to the compact size of the electric powertrain, this gives designers more space to play with. “Design will go in a very different way. [Designers] will have more material space to play with, so we’ll be able to produce [vehicles with] shorter overhangs and lower bonnets. It makes for a more attractive design overall.” Source: Autocar View full article
  23. Nissan is joining Toyota in gradually ending the sale of diesel vehicles in Europe. “Along with other manufacturers and industry bodies we can see the progressive decline of diesel but we do not anticipate its sudden end in the short-term. At this point in time and for many customers, modern diesel engines will remain in demand and continue to be available within Nissan’s powertrain offering,” a Nissan spokeswoman told Reuters. “In Europe, where our diesel sales are concentrated, our electrification push will allow us to discontinue diesel gradually from passenger cars at the time of each vehicle renewal.” Sales of diesel vehicles have been on a sharp decline for the past year due in part to rising taxes and possible bans looming. Analysts believe this trend will continue in 2018. Last month, a source revealed to Reuters that Nissan is planning to lay off hundreds of workers at its Sunderland plant due to falling diesel vehicle sales. Source: Reuters
  24. Nissan is joining Toyota in gradually ending the sale of diesel vehicles in Europe. “Along with other manufacturers and industry bodies we can see the progressive decline of diesel but we do not anticipate its sudden end in the short-term. At this point in time and for many customers, modern diesel engines will remain in demand and continue to be available within Nissan’s powertrain offering,” a Nissan spokeswoman told Reuters. “In Europe, where our diesel sales are concentrated, our electrification push will allow us to discontinue diesel gradually from passenger cars at the time of each vehicle renewal.” Sales of diesel vehicles have been on a sharp decline for the past year due in part to rising taxes and possible bans looming. Analysts believe this trend will continue in 2018. Last month, a source revealed to Reuters that Nissan is planning to lay off hundreds of workers at its Sunderland plant due to falling diesel vehicle sales. Source: Reuters View full article
  25. Ford's decision to drop most of their passenger car lineup last week is still sending shockwaves, and likely causing various automakers to have discussions about if they should follow in their footsteps. One automaker that will not be following Ford is Volkswagen. “We are intending to be a full line car manufacturer,” said Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken. The reason as to why? Electric Vehicles. “The question of whether electric mobility will favor sedans or SUVs hasn’t been answered yet. When you’re talking about electric cars, sedans have more advantages. The shape and the [drag coefficient] has a high effect on range. Therefore, we’ll maybe see a higher sedan share on full electric cars than with conventional cars,” said Woebcken. Aside from EVs, Volkswagen still sees sedans as an important key to their U.S. plans. The new Jetta and Arteon will be arriving in dealers very soon, and a new Passat is expected to debut next year. That said, Woebcken says crossovers will become a big part of Volkswagen's U.S. Current plans have the automaker launching at least two new crossovers over the next few years. “The shift from sedans to SUVs is a permanent one. In former times, when gas prices went up people moved back to sedans. We believe this will not happen anymore for two reasons. First, the difference in fuel economy between SUVs and sedans is not so big anymore. Second, customers do not want to give up the high seating position. I believe that trend will not reverse.” Source: Digital Trends View full article

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