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  1. Kia has been trying to position itself as the sporty brand to help differentiate it from sister brand Hyundai with mixed success. But a report from Reuters says Kia is working on something that should give it the sporty image it has been desiring. According to two sources, Kia is working a rear-drive sports sedan to compete against the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Codenamed CK, the model will feature three different engine options and will begin production next May. As Kia has no luxury brand, it is trying to position itself as a sporty brand," a source tells Reuters. Kia hopes the new sedan is able to replicate the massive success of the Soul. "Kia hit a home run with the Soul - they figured out how to keep it fresh and fun," said Dave Sullivan, product analysis manager for AutoPacific. "Apply this formula to a rear-wheel drive sedan and they might be able to go after a younger consumer who is bored with the played-out BMW 3-Series but wants to move out of their Soul they have had since college." The new sports sedan would be the first one to come out of either brand. But Kia will be facing an uphill battle as Genesis - Hyundai's new luxury brand - is also working a compact sports sedan known as G70. Source: Reuters
  2. We are still a few years out before Mercedes-Benz launches their new midsize truck, but new details have come out about the model. CarAdvice got some information from an insider at a recent design forum in Australia. First, Mercedes will be calling the truck either X-Class or Z-Class. It seems the automaker is leaning towards X since it brings up images of ruggedness. The truck will only be offered in a crew-cab variation which allows Mercedes not to spend a lot of time developing a regular or extended cab variations. It also gives Mercedes the ability to distance their truck from the Nissan Navara - the model which Mercedes is using as a base for their truck. “Yes, to come to an attractive price we are using a common platform, but all the rest is done by Mercedes – to design, to develop the vehicle specifically to meet Mercedes criteria,” said Daimler board member Thomas Weber at the Detroit Auto Show. There will three trim levels ranging from standard work truck to a fully-loaded model with all of the luxuries. Two diesel engines; a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder (188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque) and a turbocharged six-cylinder (255 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque) will be on offer. A part-time four-wheel drive system will be standard on the base and mid-level model. The top trim model gets a full-time system. One question still up in the air is whether or not the U.S. will get this truck. Then Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon expressed interest in selling it here and that a final decision is expected sometime this year. Source: CarAdvice
  3. The diesel emission scandal has caused Audi to change up their development cycle. A source tells Car and Driver that Audi has sped up the development cycle for e-tron quattro and h-tron quattro models. The board has allegedly diverted engineering and financial resources toward these models and put all non-essential projects on the back burner. “Everybody is of course concerned about the aftereffects of the diesel crisis, and the thinking is that Audi has to show people we are serious about these kinds of cars,” said the source. “Every kind of thinking has changed since the diesel problems. We are pushing to bring zero-emission cars to market as fast as we can now—and pushing to do them right.” Here is what we know about the two models. The e-tron quattro will be arriving in 2018 and sit in between the Q5 and Q7 (this is the supposed Q6 model). Much like the e-tron quattro concept shown at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the production model will boast three electric motors - one on the front axle and two on the rear axle. Range is expected to be around 370 miles. A year later, the production version of the h-tron quattro will appear. It will supposedly have a range of 370 miles and can be re-filled with hydrogen in four minutes. But what about the non-essential projects? This is where it gets interesting. Car and Driver says there are three projects on hold - the Q4, TT Offroad, and TT Sportback. The Q4 as we reported earlier this week is a coupe-like crossover based on the Q3. The two TT models were the dream of former Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg of creating a TT family. Source: Car and Driver
  4. Before the Detroit Auto Show kicks off Monday, a few automakers will have events around Detroit. Buick will be one of those as they'll be showing off the new Envision crossover. But there is something else waiting in the wings. This week, The Detroit News learned that Buick will have a big premiere at the event. Officials at Buick were keeping their lips shut as to what this may be. “We have a very special program, and we had a surprise last year, so we’ll see if we can do something this year as well,” Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president of Buick. However, Bloomberg may have learned what the surprise is. A source says the other vehicle will be a sporty coupe concept that is about the same size as the Chevrolet Camaro. No other details such as a name were revealed. You may remember Buick doing this same thing last year where they introduced the Cascada convertible and Avenir concept at an event before the show. We'll be at Buick's event tomorrow and get all of the details on both the Envision and the concept. In the meantime, you can follow all 2016 Detroit Auto Show news here. Source: The Detroit News, Bloomberg
  5. While everyone has been wiping the drool from their lips with the announcement of the Civic Type R coming the U.S. that will be arriving in 2017, there is still the Civic Si coming around the corner that should whet our appetites when it arrives sometime in 2016. The folks at CivicX Forums got their hands on some intriguing info on Civic Si. According to a source, the Si will use a detuned version of the turbocharged 2.0L found in the Civic Type R. Power is expected to be around 220 to 230 horsepower. A six-speed manual will be the sole transmission choice. It is expected that the Si will share a number of parts with the Type R as well. Source: CivicX.com
  6. There is a next-generation Alfa Romeo Giulietta coming and it could be going with rear-wheel drive. Auto Express recently spoke with FCA's head of passenger vehicle design Alberto Dillilo who revealed that the next Giulietta would be based on a "shortened version of the Giulia’s platform”. Asked if this means the next Giulietta would be rear-wheel drive, Dillilo said, “it’s possible, technically”. The news doesn't come as surprise as FCA is planning to build a number of models off a single platform in an effort to save money. This would mean the next Giulietta will be the only luxury compact to be rear-wheel drive when it is launched - the BMW 1-Series is planned to go from rear-wheel to front-wheel with the next-generation model. Power will come from a range of turbocharged gas and diesel four-cylinders. There is talk of a high-performance Cloverleaf model with 300 horsepower as well. All-wheel is expected to be an option. Auto Express says the next-generation Giulietta will debut sometime next year with sales beginning in 2017. Source: Auto Express
  7. We have been hearing murmurs over at Jeep about two new products; a flagship SUV to wear the Wagoneer name and the Trackhawk. Allpar reports this week that both products have been given the go-ahead. The Wagoneer has been on the radar for a bit, thanks to it being on long-term plans that were shown to investors. But it seems the one thing that has been holding back the project of what it be. Allpar lists a number of variations from being a extremely luxurious Grand Cherokee to a lengthed version of the current Grand Cherokee. The Trackhawk is expected to be the new name for the Grand Cherokee SRT, although some believe it is for a version of the Grand Cherokee with a de-tuned Hellcat V8. Source: Allpar
  8. Autonomous vehicles could be getting a large boost thanks to a new alliance between Ford and Google to build self-driving vehicles. Yahoo Autos has learned from three sources that the two companies will be announcing a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Details of this new partnership are scarce, but it is understood that the partnership would be legally separate from Ford to shield it from concerns about liability. The deal is also non-exclusive as Google has been talking to other automakers about using its self-driving technology. Automotive News adds that both companies have been working on a contract manufacturing deal “for a long time” according to a source. It should be noted that two former Ford executives are in leadership roles at Google. Former CEO Alan Mulally joined Google's board last July. John Krafcik, whose resume includes being the chief engineer during the development of the Ford Expedition and CEO of Hyundai was brought into Google this September to become the CEO of the company’s Self-Driving Car Project. Gartner's lead automotive analyst, Thilo Koslowski tells Automotive News that this deal is a win for both parties. Automakers like Ford would like to work with Google as a way to catch up to rivals that ar working on autonomous driving tech as a way to differentiate their products. For Google, Koslowski says that “the focus has shifted to looking for OEM partners to deploy the technology, rather than considering building their own vehicles. That makes sense. If Google is interested in bringing the benefit of the technology to consumers, then they need as many partners as possible.” Google declined to comment. Ford spokesman Alan Hall neither confirmed or denied a deal. “We work with a lot of tech companies all over the world. We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons and we do not comment on speculation,” said Hall. Source: Yahoo Autos, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  9. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles knows Jeep is one of the hottest selling brands in the U.S. and they have been thinking about ways to exploit that further. According to Automotive News, one possible way the company is thinking about is to allow dealers to open satellite centers for the Jeep brand. According to a source, this move mirrors an effort by FCA where they encourage dealers in truck-heavy marketplaces to open up satellite stores for their Ram Trucks brand. This allows dealers to create a storefront that can cater to truck buyers with a lot filled with a number of trims and configurations of trucks, and truck specialists to help buyers. By doing this for Jeep, it could help differentiate the brand from the other brands. This is a key point as Jeep is readying to launch a $100,000+ Grand Wagoneer in 2019 according to a source. Al Gardner, FCA's head of network development said in a intervicew that satellite centers for Jeep has been disscused and are under consideration. "Would I consider doing Jeep as a stand-alone, same structure, same business unit, same entity? Maybe. By the way, I think a whole bunch of dealers would consider it too," Gardner said. "But it doesn't mean that we're going to go out and do it, and it sure as hell doesn't mean that we're going to go out and add Jeep stores." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  10. FCA's second five-year plan had some interesting products for Chrysler, including a new compact called the 100 due in 2016. But there could be some changes in store for Chrysler's lineup due to current situation in the market. Allpar reports that investor presentation mentioned that Chrysler's future lineup was “under re-evaluation”. Causes for the re-evaluation include fuel prices going down and are predicted to stay there for the next few years, the increasing popularity of crossovers, and the decline in small car sales. The original plan for Chrysler in the second five-year plan included, Compact 100 sedan to be launched in 2016 Next-generation minivan to be launched in 2016, with a PHEV to follow a year later New full-size crossover to be launched, with a PHEV in 2017 200 sedan is refreshed in 2017 Midsize crossover is launched in 2018 Next-generation 300 is launched in 2018 Allpar believes that the 100 might morph into a crossover, complementing the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade. But there could be the possibility of 100 being sold elsewhere in the world and not the U.S. and Canada. The midsize crossover is speculated to be the replacement for the Dodge Journey and is expected in the near future. Source: Allpar
  11. Volvo is in the midsts of revitalizing their lineup with the XC90 currently on sale, and the S90 going on sale next year. But there is some talk of a new coupe coming. Auto Express spoke with Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo's senior vice president of design. Ingenlath said the trio of concepts shown Frankfurt, Detroit, and Geneva in 2013 and 2014 would carry the brand far. The XC Coupe previewed the XC90 and the Concept Estate is a hint at the upcoming V90 wagon. So this could mean a production version the Concept Coupe coming to Volvo's lineup. Now Ingenlath says that Volvo will focus on the volume models for the time being, meaning that the coupe - named S90 in the report - will arrive at the earliest in 2020. It will most likely use the SPA platform that underpins the XC90 and S90. Source: Auto Express
  12. Now for something completely out of left field. A report from Motoring.com.au says the next-generation Subaru WRX STI could go hybrid. A source tells the Australian website that the Japanese automaker has two hybrid systems under development as a way to increase performance while improving fuel economy and emission levels. The first system pairs a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four with an electric motor and six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Total output of this stands at 321 horsepower, about 20 horsepower more than the current STI. The other system is a plug-in hybrid that would have the turbocharged engine powering the front wheels, while the back wheels will be solely powered by an electric motor on the rear axle. The report says we could be seeing the hybrid STI next year, followed by the plug-in a year later. Source: Motoring.com.au
  13. Jaguar Land Rover has its eye on a new headquarters to be located at a racetrack. But not any racetrack; the company is reportedly in talks to buy the revered UK racetrack Silverstone. The Birmingham Post reports that JLR is in talks with the British Racing Drivers’ Club - the current owners of the track - about buying the track. Reportedly, the board has given the green light and JLR could offer the owners around 23 billion Pounds (about $34.1 billion). If purchased, the company would build a museum, experience center, and hotel on the grounds. There will also be a space for 1,000 sales and marketing staff and 700 engineers. Now if Jaguar Land Rover do purchase the track, would there still be racing? The Post and Automotive News Europe say yes, so F1 racing at the track is safe. When asked for comment, the British Racing Drivers’ Club said in a statement "that it received a number of confidential approaches" and would consider an "attractive" offer from any party and would seek a mandate from club members before progressing it." Jaguar Land Rover declined to comment. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required), Birmingham Post
  14. If there has been one complaint of the new Honda Civic, it is that you cannot get a manual transmission with the optional turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder. But there could be a change in the air. A member on the CivicX forum got their hands on a slide revealing that a six-speed manual transmission option would be available on the turbo-four starting in the 2017 model year. The slide also reveals that it was planned for 2016, but was pushed back a year. No reason as to why wasn't said. Source: CivicX.com, The Truth About Cars Image Source: CivicX.com
  15. Ahead of a November 20th deadline where Volkswagen must submit a plan to EPA about how they are planning to fix the nearly 500,000 vehicles with illegal emission software, Reuters has learned about a meeting between the EPA and officials from Volkswagen. According to sources, Volkswagen's powertrain development chief Friedrich Eichler will meet officials from the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) to talk about the efforts being put forth by Volkswagen to fix the illegal vehicles. Sources go to say that officials from Audi will meet with the EPA and CARB in a separate meeting. Volkswagen and the EPA declined to comment about the meetings. Source: Reuters
  16. Volkswagen's emission scandal will not be an easy or quick problem to fix. Along with fixing a number of vehicles, the automaker will be facing a large amount of fines from various governments and possibly payouts from lawsuits. To make sure they have enough money to cover all of this, Volkswagen is reportedly is taking out some short-term loans. Bloomberg has learned from two sources that the German automaker will meet with a number of banks tomorrow to apply for 20 billion euros (about $21.5 billion) in short-term loans to act as a buffer for upcoming fines. The hope is to have the loans by the end of this year. “It makes perfect sense” to shore up financing, said Sascha Gommel, analyst for Commerzbank AG. “In order to protect their rating, they need to show that liquidity will never become an issue for them, because then you have a vicious circle. If the ratings agencies think you won’t have cash and they downgrade you, then your funding gets more expensive.” Source: Bloomberg
  17. A vehicle that many Buick dealers and a number of us here at Cheers & Gears have been wanting for a while could finally be arriving next year. Automotive News and the Wall Street Journal report that the Buick Envision will be coming to the U.S. Sources tell AN that General Motors is likely to green light the Envision for export to the U.S. as early as late spring. The Wall Street Journal says the company is targeting annual sales of 30 to 40,000 Envisions per year. Now the Envision would be the first vehicle sold by the Detroit 3 that is imported from China. It will not be the first Chinese-built vehicle sold in the U.S., that honor goes to Volvo with the S60 Inscription. Back in August, the UAW was not pleased with the possibility of GM exporting the Envision from China, saying it was 'alarming'. But the Journal says GM and the UAW "appear to have come to an understanding” after talking about it during contract negotiations. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal
  18. While Ford is getting the Focus RS ready for production, rumors are now beginning to fly about an even hotter version to take on the likes of the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi RS3. Autocar has learned from some sources that a hardcore version of the Focus is currently under consideration. Now this hardcore version will not getting any more power as the 2.3L EboBoost is currently at its limit and there isn't enough space to add any more cooling. So instead Ford will focus on using lightweight components for this version. Such items up for consideration includes carbon fiber-reinforced bodywork, aluminum suspension bits, carbon fiber brakes, and stripping out the interior. Along with the weight-loss program, Ford will also tackle the drivetrain. There is talk of a limited-slip differential for the front axle and a dual-clutch automatic transmission.' Source: Autocar
  19. Infiniti is taking on a flagship as its next big project. Automotive News has learned from a source that the luxury automaker has begun work on flagship model featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The source says work has begun at Nissan's r&d center in England and is currently benchmarking the Mercedes-Benz S-Class plug-in hybrid and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The flagship could be a production version of the Q80 Inspiration concept shown at the Paris Motor Show last year. The vehicle boasted a hybrid system with a new twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine. At the show, Infiniti announced that a model like this would be launched in three to five years. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  20. AutoGuide recently found patent filing in Japan for a possible hardcore version of the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota GT86. The filing features renderings of a coupe with a new front end, large rear wing, and a new set of wheels. This looks similar to the Subaru STI Performance Concept shown at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Now the filing has Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries - Subaru's parent company - listed as the creators. Not surprising since both have been working together on this coupe. One of the big questions lingering over this filing aside from when we could actual see this, is how much performance could this coupe have. The STI Performance Concept boasted around 300 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four. Source: AutoGuide
  21. Jaguar Land Rover is readying a new plan that will see them cut 4.5 billion pounds (about $6.8 billion) in costs by 2020. According to Reuters, the plan dubbed Leap 4.5 will see the British automaker consolidate models to a small number of core platforms, overhauling the supply chain, and slow down/stop recruiting new people to the company. At the current time, there are no plans to layoff people. Why is Jaguar Land Rover putting forth this program? It comes down to the automaker's fastest growing market, China. Sales in the second quarter of this year dropped 32 percent due to a number of economic issues in the country, which has affected the demand for new cars. Source: Reuters
  22. Volkswagen's reputation has been taking a number of big hits due to the cheating software they used in a number of their diesel models to pass EPA regulations. But a new report says the company is planning to regain the trust of some of their owners. The Truth About Cars learned from a source that Volkswagen will be announcing a program that offers owners of affected TDI models (new and used) to recive a prepaid card. Two cards will be available to owners; the first will be a $500 card that can be used anywhere, while a second card - expected to be around $500 to $750 - can only be used at Volkswagen dealers. Details of this program are expected to be announced this week. Source: The Truth About Cars
  23. Automobile magazine has a couple of juicy rumors concerning Jaguar. First is Jaguar and its sister brand Land Rover working on a new inline-six to take the place of the somewhat old V6 the two brand use. The new six-cylinder will be derived from the new Ingenium engine family. The inline-six will be 3.0L, feature turbocharging, and come in diesel and gasoline forms. Power is expected to range from 275 to 500 horsepower. Expect to see this new engine in late 2017. The other rumor deals with an electric crossover. Possibly named E-Pace, the electric crossover will be slightly smaller the F-Pace and feature a number of aerodynamic aids to cut through the wind. No information was provided on power figures. Source: Automobile
  24. The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is taking the German opposition with 640 horsepower coming from a supercharged 6.2L V8. But Automobile magazine is reporting that a more powerful version is coming. “The Cold War continues. I don’t know where it stops, but it’s not at 640 hp, that’s for sure,” said a source. Now the current CTS-V outguns the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 by about 80 horsepower. But Cadillac believes the V8 is capable of producing more power. We'll be keeping an close eye on this story. Source: Automobile
  25. When the Volkswagen Eos ends production in a few months time, that will leave Volkswagen with only one convertible in their lineup - the Beetle Cabriolet. But Car and Driver says a replacement is on the way. According to a source at Volkswagen, the company is planning on sending the next-generation Golf Cabriolet. No timeframe was given as to when we'll see it, but expect it not to look that much different from the current model sold elsewhere. Now it should be noted that the Golf Cabriolet wasn't the only option on the table for the U.S. The source said there was a cabriolet using the Passat platform as an option, but that idea was canned. Source: Car and Driver

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