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  1. Whenever spy photos of the upcoming Maserati Levante are shown, they tend to be of a high-riding Ghibli mule. This week, a new set of spy shots of the Levante has been released and gives a glimpse of what's in store. Now we can't tell much in terms of design since Maserati has put about seven layers of camouflage on this mule. But the overall profile seems somewhat familiar to the Kubang concept from a few years back. Powertrains are expected to the twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 engines from the Ghibli and Quattroporte. The Levante is expected to debut next year at the Geneva Motor Show. Source: Autoblog, Motor Authority
  2. Alfa Romeo is putting the finishing touches on their first SUV and will go into production at the end of the first half or start of the second half of 2016. Sales will begin sometime in the fall for Europe, with the U.S. getting it three months later. "All the preparation work" in connection with the launch of the second Alfa is done, said Sergio Marchionne on a conference call Thursday to discuss Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter results. "Alfa’s plan is progressing as we told you it will go." Automotive News Europe reports the SUV will be around the size of an Audi Q5 and BMW X3. The new model doesn't have a name, but sources do say the model will use the Guilia platform. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
  3. With the debut of the Alfa Romeo Giulia last week, Alfa Romeo has begun a product onslaught that will cost around $6 billion and challenge the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Automotive News reports that Alfa Romeo is planning to have three models by the end of 2017, and another five the following year. This is part of plan to overhaul Alfa Romeo and increase sales from 70,000 vehicles last year to 400,000 by 2018. 150,000 sales are expected to come from North America. Alongside the Giuila, there will be flagship sedan and a midsize SUV to arrive by 2017. 2018 will see a second SUV, midsize coupe, a speciality vehicle, and two compact models. But there are a number of problems which could derail this plan. For starters, many believe Alfa Romeo's sales goal is bitting off more than they can chew. IHS Automotive forecasts that the brand will sell around 216,000 vehicles in 2018. There's also the worry of more delays. Suppliers tell Automotive News that production of the Giulia could be pushed back to the end of year, with sales in Europe delayed to next March. A source reports that the company is still having problems with NVH levels. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  4. Hyundai is considering whether or not to do a line of premium SUVs using the underpinnings of the Genesis. Reuters has learned from sources the company is considering a proposal made internally to build SUVs using the Genesis platform as way to elevate Hyundai's overall brand image and crack the high-margin SUV market. But there is an air of caution at the company. Hyundai hasn't done so well when it comes to larger SUVs. Their previous attempt, the Veracruz, was introduced back in 2007. However, the company pulled the model out in 2013 due to poor sales. Meanwhile the company was still selling the Veracruz in South Korea, but will end production at the end of the next month according to the plant's union newspaper. Aside from the poor sales, a source says spiking gas prices and the poor equity of the Hyundai name in large SUVs give the company concern. "We are timid when it comes to bigger SUVs," said the source. When reached for comment, Hyundai confirmed the end of production of the Veracruz, but said "this does not mean we are giving up on a large SUV line-up." "We are considering developing premium, large SUVs based on customers' needs. We plan to respond to the fast-changing market centered around SUVs by beefing up our SUV line-up." Source: Reuters
  5. Back in June, we learned that Skoda (a Czech brand under the Volkswagen group) was investigating possibly entering new markets. One of those new markets was North America, a place where 20 percent of global car sales take place. At the time our original report, Skoda hasn't set a timeframe for a decision. Also as we noted, Skoda would need to get more crossovers and SUVs ready if they want to try and make inroads in the U.S. Speaking of SUVs and the U.S., a recent article done by Autocar piqued our interest. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said if they were to launch the brand in the U.S. in the near future, they would have their upcoming seven-seat Kodiaq leading the charge. “If we do decide to compete in the US, we will have one chance to make a good first impression. We feel that if we were there now, the Kodiaq would be a home-run car,” said Maier. Maier did stress that the U.S. isn't on Skoda's immediate radar. At the moment, the brand is looking closely at Iran, Singapore, and South Korea as possible new markets. But Maier isn't saying the U.S. isn't on their radar at all. “America is the one that we don't currently compete in with the biggest potential.” Skoda appears to have taken a page out of PSA Peugeot Citroën's playbook. Autocar says the automaker has begun a feasibility study as to whether or not it makes sense to enter the U.S. Source: Autocar
  6. Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to launch four new electric vehicles - two sedans and two SUVs - by 2020. Autocar reports that the German brand is accelerating plans after the German government announced that it would be offering subsidies on all EVs priced less than €60,000 (about $66,900) to spur sales. The outgoing R&D boss at Mercedes-Benz, Thomas Weber has put these plans into motion and hinted that the electric models will share links with standard models. This means the sedans will have a connection to the C and S-Class, while the SUVs will share bits from the GLA and GLC. Sources tell Autocar that the designs share the basic elements with the gas-powered models, but will have their own touches to make them recognizable as EVs. In terms of platforms, the two sedans and GLC-sized model will use a new one known as MEA (Modular Electric Architecture). MEA allows Mercedes to offer an electric vehicle with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive in combination with three electric motors. The GLA-sized model will utilize the same platform that underpins the B-Class Electric Drive. As for power, Mercedes' r&d is working on a range of electric motors producing 75 to 400kW (101 to 536 horsepower). Batteries will come from Accumotive that will provide a minimum range of 250 miles. Source: Autocar
  7. At first glance, you might be wondering why this Rolls-Royce Phantom is making news. It looks like any standard Phantom. But it's when you look a bit closer and notice the raised ride height, aggressive tires, and shorten rear doors that you realize this isn't your ordinary Phantom. It happens to be the mule for Rolls-Royce's first SUV. It is assumed that the mule is using a new aluminum spaceframe architecture that will underpin the entire Rolls-Royce lineup. Judging by the shortened rear doors, it would be safe to assume that SUV will be slightly shorter than the next Phantom. Power will likely come from a V12 of some sort going through a four-wheel drive system. The Rolls-Royce SUV is expected to come out in 2018. Source: Autoblog, Motor Authority
  8. General Motors announced today that certain 2015 Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs will trade in their six-speed automatic for an eight-speed automatic. Those models include, Chevrolet Silverado GMC Sierra GMC Yukon Denali/Yukon XL Denali The catch is that all of these models must have the 6.2L V8 to get the eight-speed. Automobile Magazine reports that the Cadillac Escalade is also line to get the eight-speed transmission in the near future. GM says the new eight-speed is about the same weight as the outgoing six-speed, and features a wider gear spread which allows for more torque to be available in first gear. Other details such as fuel economy numbers and technical bits will released closer to the production date in the fourth quarter. Source: Automobile Magazine, GM Press Release is on Page 2 2015 Chevrolet and GMC Pickups, SUVs to Offer Eight-Speed Transmission DETROIT – Chevrolet and GMC have confirmed a new eight-speed automatic transmission will be standard on 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon Denali/Yukon XL Denali models equipped with the 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8. The GM-developed Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed is approximately the same size and weight as the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic. Its 7.0 overall gear ratio spread is wider than GM’s six-speed automatic transmissions, providing a numerically higher first gear ratio to help drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering. The 8L90 also enables numerically lower rear axle ratios, which reduce engine rpm on the highway. With 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, the 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 is the most powerful engine offered in any light-duty pickup, and offers a maximum available trailer rating of 12,000 pounds, based on SAE J2807 Recommended Practices. As with other EcoTec3 engines, it seamlessly switches to four-cylinder operation under lighter loads to improve fuel economy. Additional technical details and the EPA estimated fuel economy will be announced closer to the start of production in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  9. The decision on where Volkswagen's upcoming crossover should be built has ended up becoming a tug-of-war between Mexico and Tennessee. Reuters reports that Volkswagen has delayed a decision that was expected this month on where the crossover will be built after the respective governments negotiating with VW over incentive deals. "VW is taking way too long again to tackle another pressing U.S. problem. The crossover will be a gainful addition to their portfolio, VW has got no time to waste," said Arndt Ellinghorst, London-based analyst at ISI Group. Two sources tell Reuters that the company is planning to make a final decision at the end of the month. In other Volkswagen news, Bloomberg has learned that company could expand its SUV lineup from two to six models. Volkswagen believes to reach its goal of becoming the number-one global automaker by 2018, more SUVs will be needed as they become more popular in other markets. Among those are redesigned versions of the Tiguan and Touareg, and a production version of the T-Roc Concept. Source: Reuters, Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  10. Rolls-Royce looks to be the next automaker to join in on the SUV craze that is currently engulfing everyone in the luxury car class. Autocar had the chance to speak with the company's design boss Giles Taylor who said the company is currently assessing the idea of an SUV. As he put it, Rolls-Royce is "sketching to assess the viability of the concept. We are not yet grappling with three dimensions and proportions.” One thing for certain is that Rolls-Royce will not be doing a 'crossover-coupe-thing'. “I’m interested in function and functionality. I’m looking to create a properly functional vehicle – a shooting brake, not a crossover with a sloping roof. A proper SUV,” said Taylor. Autocar speculates that if Rolls go forwards with this, the SUV will be revealed in 2017. Source: Autocar William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. While many of us are still trying to figure out the point of the BMW X6, other competitors who are German see a possible market emerging. Mercedes-Benz is readying their competitor which is supposedly called the MLC and Audi is rumored to be working on one as well. Well another German automaker is possibly working on as well. Autoweek reports that Porsche is considering a coupe-like Cayenne model. The new model is expected to share many of the design cues of an upcoming refresh due for the Cayenne due in 2017, along with sleeker roofline and sloping rear end. The interior will be shared with the Cayenne. The coupe-like Cayenne will utilize the upcoming MLB platform which will debut in the next-generation Audi Q7 which is expected to debut sometime this or next year. Power will come from a range of gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Now, the model is expected to arrive sometime in 2018. Source: Autoweek William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  12. From the 'this isn't April Fools Day' file, Mercedes-Benz is considering splitting its SUV lineup into two parts; those with off-road capabilities and those without. According to Automotive News, the company is planning to this after they launch a production version of the Concept Coupé SUV which will compete with the BMW X6. The new model is expected to arrive sometime next year. "The Concept Coupe SUV previews a four-door, coupe-styled model that will appeal to customers who want a sportily designed vehicle with a high seating position, " said Thomas Weber, Mercedes-Benz's r&d chief. Weber also hinted that a coupe-styled version of the new GLA-Class crossover. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. Previously we've heard Maserati's upcoming crossover, the Levante, would be using the Jeep Grand Cherokee as base. But now, that appears not to be the case. Speaking with CNNMoney, Maserati CEO Harald Wester said the Levante would not use the Grand Cherokee's platform. Motor Trend adds that a engineer recently hinted that Maserati is opting for the Quattroporte/Ghilbi's platform to underpin the Levante. Now this isn't the first time Maserati has changed their mind with the Levante. When the model was first announced, it was planned to be built at Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. Then last year, Maserati announced that production would take place at Fiat's Mirafiori factory in Turin, Italy. Source: CNNMoney, Motor Trend William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. The era of the full-size, body-on-frame SUV is slowly coming to end, with many automakers transitioning towards crossovers. However, there are still those who still want full-size SUVs and automakers like Ford are ready to fill that need. Case in point is the 2015 Expedition which will debut tomorrow at the 2014 DFW Auto Show in Dallas. Following in the footsteps of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator which debuted back in January, the Expedition trades in the 5.4L V8 for the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine. Ford doesn't list any power or fuel economy numbers, saying they'll be released sometime later. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice. Other mechanical changes include a new electric power steering system which the company claims will improve fuel economy and give better feel, and the option of a continuously controlled damping system. The Expedition's exterior design remains largely unchanged aside from more chrome and the addition of LED lights on the front dam and more brightwork on the back. Inside, the Expedition gets a new center stack that is very reminiscent of the F-150 and a new instrument cluster. The 2015 Ford Expedition arrives at dealers later this year. Source: Ford William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Ford Reveals 2015 Expedition with EcoBoost Engine, Advanced Technology, New Platinum Series 2015 Ford Expedition will feature 3.5-liter, direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® engine popular in Ford F-Series; engine designed to deliver most powerful, fuel-efficient Expedition ever Advanced technology in new Expedition includes Blind Spot Information System® with cross- traffic alert, electric power-assisted steering, SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, available suspension damping to improve passenger comfort; a new high-trim Platinum series debuts Ford global utility vehicle sales rose 35 percent in 2013; Ford has been the leader in North America utility vehicle sales since 2011 DALLAS, Feb. 18, 2014 – The new 2015 Ford Expedition, revealed here today ahead of the 2014 DFW Auto Show, continues to represent the smart choice for people who need a full-size utility vehicle that provides capable performance, usable space and advanced technology. Expedition now features Ford F-Series' popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, more technology than ever and a fresh new look. Launching later this year, it is the latest Ford nameplate to offer a Platinum series. Expedition is being shown for the first time in Texas, Ford's largest market by sales volume, and home to the top two cities for Expedition sales – Dallas and Houston. Expedition debuted in 1996 and is Ford's largest utility vehicle. By most measures, it is a leader in interior space, accommodating eight passengers. Two versions are offered – the standard 119-inch wheelbase is just more than 6 inches longer than Ford Explorer. It has three rows of seats and up to 108.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The longer-wheelbase version sits on a 131- inch wheelbase, and features three rows of seats and up to 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Expedition remains the only full-size utility vehicle not classified as a luxury offering to feature an independent rear suspension. This helps deliver more confident ride and handling characteristics, and allows for the lower, more convenient fold-flat third-row bench seat. Both standard and EL versions of Expedition are built at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, alongside Ford's popular Super Duty pickup. Last month, the company confirmed plans to add more workers and invest an additional $80 million in facility upgrades to improve automation and increase capacity at the plant. Ford is responding to strong customer feedback and introducing a top-of-the-line Platinum series Expedition with unique, premium interior appointments. The new vehicle features the latest popular technologies like SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, push-button start and Blind Spot Information System®. A new 3.5-liter, direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost delivers more power and performance than the current 5.4-liter V8, and is designed to be more efficient. "This new Expedition is proof Ford is committed to remaining the leader in utilities – small, medium and large," said Jackie DiMarco, Expedition chief engineer. "We listened to our customers and created a full-size utility vehicle that doesn't compromise in performance, technology or design." Improved on the road From the outset, engineers worked to make the 2015 Expedition a technologically advanced vehicle that is easy to drive and offers refinement for all types of drivers. The new EcoBoost engine dramatically changes the driving characteristics of Expedition. Compared with the 5.4-liter V8, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost gives drivers not just better fuel economy, but more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds. "Expedition becoming the latest Ford utility vehicle to wear the EcoBoost badge will be exciting for customers," said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. "Increased torque and horsepower, combined with new levels of efficiency and an advanced suspension not only will make Expedition more fun to drive, but also easier to own. This is another 'and' solution from Ford." The 3.5-liter EcoBoost will be the only engine offered in the new Expedition in North America. To maximize performance and control, the vehicle is equipped with a six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission featuring a manual mode that allows the driver to use a shift-mounted rocker switch to select the desired gear. With EcoBoost now standard equipment across the 2015 Expedition range, the entire U.S. lineup of Ford utility vehicles will be available with EcoBoost power by the end of 2014. New continuously controlled damping, available for the first time on a Ford nameplate, will make Expedition the only Blue Oval-branded vehicle in the United States with three selectable drive modes – comfort, normal and sport. Using a suite of sensors that detect 46 unique body, steering and braking inputs, the advanced suspension monitors body motion and then adjusts Expedition's damping system in milliseconds to manage the vehicle's natural body motion. A vehicle with poor damping feels as if it is bouncing on its suspension springs; continuously controlled damping recognizes the weight of the vehicle, steering feedback and road undulations and then reacts accordingly, helping to control body motion so passengers experience an orderly, comfortable ride. The new Expedition also features Ford's innovative electric power-assisted steering, which gives drivers noticeably improved maneuverability at low speeds and better feel at high speeds, and saves fuel because it operates more efficiently than traditional pump-driven systems. The technology reduces steering effort and makes Expedition more engaging to drive. More technology customers want The new Expedition debuts with popular technology upgrades consumers are now demanding, including SYNC with MyFord Touch and driver-assist features such as radar-based Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert.  The updated interior of Expedition incorporates a fresh center stack to accommodate new technologies, such as an 8-inch touch screen for SYNC with MyFord Touch. The driver information cluster features two full-color 4.2-inch LCD screens. Other new technologies on the 2015 Expedition include a 10-speaker, 700-watt Sony audio system; Intelligent Access with push-button start; rearview camera; seven-color, interior ambient LED lighting; and Ford truck apps to help make trailer towing and off-road driving easier. Fresh style and design The new Expedition pushes full-size utility vehicle design to a higher level, with fresh interior and exterior styling and a diverse series lineup – each with a distinct look and feel to give customers more choice than ever. A Platinum trim package, which has been very successful on Ford F-Series, will be available on Expedition for the first time. "The Platinum series brings Expedition into a whole new arena of design and style," said Scott. "One of the strengths of Expedition has always been the different trim series we offer. From XLT to Limited and now with Platinum, we have an Expedition that will fit any customer's needs." The Platinum series is tailored with lush leather seating described by designers as buttery – soft and smooth to the touch. It's available in a new Brunello leather, a red wine color with tuxedo- stripe accents and French-seamed stitching. Platinum customers can also choose black leather with Agate Gray accents. Beyond the new Platinum series, the 2015 Expedition lineup includes the XLT, Limited and a new King Ranch edition to be revealed later. The design team, finding inspiration in the world around them, incorporated different themes to define the look for each series. The intent was to reflect a consumer lifestyle, from the sporty XLT, to the confident, elegant Limited, to the sophisticated, urban Platinum. Each series has unique finishes specially selected to reflect the lifestyle and desires of the customer. For example, Expedition Limited features refined yet traditional finishes, while for the Platinum edition, the colors and material finishes are fresh and sophisticated. The Expedition exterior has been updated with an all-new front end featuring available LED fog lamps for a fresh, aggressive look. An all-new wheel lineup including factory-installed 22-inch models, a redesigned rear hatch and subtle, chrome-tipped exhaust pipes round out the exterior changes to the 2015 Expedition. With this new model debuting at the DFW Auto Show – deep in the heart of the full-size utility vehicle market – Ford is building on a successful tradition of Expedition capability and quality with significant improvements in design, performance, efficiency and available technology.
  15. Besides the Chicago Auto Show this week, there was another auto show that was taking place. The Delhi Auto Expo was taking place in India this week and General Motors showed off a concept that could be a possible entrant in the subcompact crossover marketplace. This is the Chevrolet Adra concept SUV and its the first vehicle to come out of GM's new technical center in Bangalore, India. The concept looks to be GM's interpretation of the Kia Soul with a similar tall wagon shape. The front features a large grille and headlights that extend into the fenders. The Adra's interior is very modern with unique materials on the dash and seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, and a MyLink infotainment system. GM isn't revealing any mechanical details about this concept at this time. If the Adra concept does go into production, expect GM to make it a little bit smaller. The Indian Government has tax breaks on vehicles that are shorter than 4 Meters. The Adra Concept measures out 4.2 Meters, meaning it would miss out on those breaks. "The Adra is a major achievement for our local designers, who conceptualized and designed the model from the ground up. It represents a new possibility for the fast-growing compact SUV segment," said GM India President and Managing Director Lowell Paddock. Source: General Motors William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 GM India Launches New Chevrolet Beat Hatchback and Unveils Chevrolet Adra Concept General Motors India today launched the new Chevrolet Beat hatchback and unveiled the new Chevrolet Adra concept vehicle in New Delhi at the 12th Auto Expo 2014. The models are among the 13 concept and production vehicles appearing on the Chevrolet stand at India's premier auto show. "GM is proud to be showcasing an array of products offered by Chevrolet, one of the world's fastest-growing vehicle brands, at the Auto Expo," said GM India President and Managing Director Lowell Paddock. "Many of the products on display were engineered locally to meet the unique needs and preferences of the domestic market. They represent our commitment to continue growing our presence in India," said Stefan Jacoby, GM executive vice president and president, GM International Operations. Chevrolet Adra The Chevrolet Adra concept SUV, which was developed entirely by Indian designers at the GM Technical Centre-India (GMTC-I) in Bangalore, is making its global debut at the show. The Adra adopts traditional global Chevrolet design language while addressing local customer expectations to cater to the next generation of Indian car buyers. It offers all of the advantages of a traditional SUV – such as high ground clearance, exceptional all-around visibility, a high seating stance and generous interior space – in a compact package. "The Adra is a major achievement for our local designers, who conceptualized and designed the model from the ground up," said Paddock. "It represents a new possibility for the fast-growing compact SUV segment."
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 13, 2013 This was Rolls-Royce's CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös answer pertaining to the rumors of a SUV back in April, “We have no plans to produce an SUV, definitely not, the next thing is drophead Wraith but bespoke orders are the priority.” Here's Torsten Müller-Ötvös this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show when asked about an SUV, ”We are intensively thinking about entering the SUV segment. The SUV segment is very interesting. It has been incredibly stable during the crisis, and I think a luxury niche will develop." But why now? Likely, Rolls-Royce has seen luxury automakers raking in the sales (and money) with SUVs. Plus, it would give Bentley's SUV a run for its money. Source: The Truth About Cars William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 23, 2013 When we last checked in on the Bentley SUV, it was reported that Volkswagen officials had given it the green light. Officially, Bentley said they were still waiting on a decision. Today, Bentley has finally ended the will they/won't they speculation by announcing the new SUV will go into production in 2016. The new SUV will will be the “most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market,” according to the company in a press release. No concrete details were announced, but the rumorpile has reported the SUV will likely look different than the EXP 9 F Concept shown at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and come with a variety of powertrains including a plug-in hybrid. The new SUV will be built in Crewe, England and create 1,000 jobs. Bentley will be investing £800 million (about $1.2 billion) to upgrade the facilities at Crewe and develop the new SUV and other vehicles. “The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group Source: Bentley William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 GREEN LIGHT FOR BENTLEY SUV -Fourth model line to be built in Crewe -Sales will begin in 2016 -Over 1,000 UK jobs created -New model will be true to Bentley's brand hallmarks -Extremely positive customer response to an SUV by Bentley (Crewe, 23 July 2013). Bentley Motors today confirms that it will proceed with the development of the Bentley SUV, the company's fourth model line. The SUV will be made in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016. It will create over 1000 jobs in the UK. Over the next three years Bentley will invest more than £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was present together with Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group for the announcement at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, said: "This £800 million investment and a thousand new jobs from Bentley is fantastic news for both Crewe and for the UK as a whole. It is another important milestone in strengthening our economy. "One sector that we know is sprinting ahead in the global race is our booming automotive industry. One vehicle rolls off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds and we have just launched the Government's Automotive Industrial Strategy to help continue this success for years to come. "I am delighted that Bentley will be building their new vehicle here, not only creating a thousand jobs, but safeguarding many more, as well as increasing training opportunities for highly skilled apprentices." Dr Winterkorn said: "The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand's first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful." Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This is a welcome commitment to the UK from a major international car maker. Our automotive industrial strategy proves this government's commitment to working with world-class companies like Bentley to create jobs and promote exports. "Bentley was the first firm I visited as a government minister and serves as a real example of high value manufacturing. They export more than four out of every five cars they make in the UK to the rest of the world." Bentley's Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, added: "This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market. The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company." The SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market. The response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months.
  18. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 12, 2013 A new report from Auto Express says the long rumored Jaguar SUV is apparently in the advanced design stages. Sources tell the magazine the SUV's design will blend lines of a Jaguar sedan and a high-riding SUV. The SUV will inlcude such design cues as asteeply raked front and rear windshield, short overhangs, and a blacked-out C-pillar. Power will come from two different four-cylinders (2.0L turbocharged and a 2.2 turbodiesel) and a 3.0L supercharged V6. A ZF eight-speed automatic will send the power to either the rear or all four wheels. The new SUV will use a shortened version of the XJ’s all-aluminum platform to keep weight and costs down. The new SUV, likely wearing the XQ nameplate will go on sale in 2015. Source: Auto Express William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  19. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 31, 2013 Ford's new EcoSport SUV will be sold in 62 countries by 2017. However the U.S. will not be one of the countries according to a report from The Detroit News. Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing, sales, service and Lincoln, Jim Farley said earlier this week that for the time being the EcoSport will not be sold here. He went onto say that Ford is studying whether to bring the EcoSport to the U.S. if the demand for subcompact SUVs climbs. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  20. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 29, 2013 The Rolls-Royce Wraith was a show stopper when it was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March. But Rolls-Royce isn't done yet with the Wraith. CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Auto Express that a convertible version is coming. “The design certainly lends itself to a drophead coupe, and I think that will be the next variant.” Müller-Ötvös emphasized that a convertible Wraith could take “some time”, so don't expect it to arrive within the next year or two. Müller-Ötvös also addressed the rumor of a SUV from Rolls-Royce. “We have no plans to produce an SUV, definitely not, the next thing is drophead Wraith but bespoke orders are the priority,” he said. Source: Auto Express William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  21. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 5, 2013 The fate of Bentley's SUV reportedly has been decided. German business newspaper Handelsblatt reports that Volkswagen board has given go ahead on building a SUV. When asked by Automotive News Europe for a comment, a spokeswoman from Bentley said, ''We are still waiting for the official green light from Volkswagen. She added that a decision in favor of production looks ''very positive.'' Internally known as 'Falcon', the no-name Bentley SUV is a key part of Bentley's plan to expand its sales volumes. Coming within three years, the SUV will V8 and possibly W12 and hybrid power. The SUV will also not look anything like the EXP 9 F concept shown at last year's Geneva Motor Show. Bentley's new chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke has binned the EXP 9 F design and is reportedly going towards an SUV with a sportier and more contemporary look. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required), Car and Driver William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  22. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 3, 2013 Alfa Romeo is planning to introduce a new SUV by 2015 as part of a plan to help with Fiat’s profitability. Bloomberg says the SUV will be one of nine Alfa Romeo models introduced by 2016 to help triple sales and broaden the appeal of the brand to other markets. “Alfa is the only brand that can boost margins for the group,” If the right models get rolled out, “Alfa could become the Apple (AAPL) of the car industry. We just need our equivalent of the iPhone,” said Roberto Ferrari, owner of Fiat dealer Sprintauto, near Milan. The SUV will use Fiat’s Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform and be available with front or all-wheel drive. Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  23. If you have ever looked at the sales charts for Cadillac, you begin to notice a trend. While most of their models are seemingly downward or climbing back up slowly, only two models have been somewhat constant; the SRX and the Escalade. We have taken a look at the SRX and have delved into why it's a big seller. Now it's time to take a look at the Escalade and ask why does it do so well? After the first-generation Escalade, Cadillac has been working on separating the it from the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon in terms of design. The second-generation saw an angled front end, distinctive side molding, and a new rear tailgate. The third-generation went a step further with a new grille design, bigger wheels, and other design touches. For this generation, Cadillac decided to sharpen the lines of Escalade to give it a more striking look. Pair this with the large, five-bar grille and vertical LED headlights up front, and the thin LED taillights in the back and the Escalade may have to be one of the best looking full-size SUVs. My only complaint on the Escalade is the new emblem as it looks a bit out of place. The separation continues inside as the Escalade features the same dashboard as seen on Cadillac’s passenger car lineup. The driver faces a screen which provides the instrument cluster. Cadillac’s implementation of this is one of the best as the screen is clear and vibrant. Also the choice of four different layouts and being able to customize what information is displayed adds a nice touch. That also means Cadillac’s CUE system is present in the center stack. Like other Cadillac models I have driven, the CUE system had its share of slow response time and not recognizing inputs. I’m wondering what Cadillac has in store for the next-generation of CUE and if it can improve its share of problems. Luxuries are top notch with the Escalade featuring quite the assortment of leather, wood, and piano black trim throughout the interior. Leather wrapped seats provide excellent support for long drives. Front seat passengers get 12-way power adjustments to find that perfect position, while ventilated seats provide an added level of comfort dependent on the season. Second row passengers are treated to captain chairs with heat. Headroom I found to be excellent, while legroom is a little bit tight. Like the Tahoe I drove last year, the Escalade’s third row is best reserved for small kids or to be folded into the floor.For powertrain and ride impressions, see page 2 You only have one choice of engine for the Escalade: A 6.2L V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The engine makes quite the statement of its intention when you first start it up; sounding more like a Corvette than a truck engine. Despite the Escalade’s curb weight of 5,840 pounds, the 6.2L shrugs it off like nothing. Power is seemingly available through the rev range. Helping matters is a new eight-speed automatic which provides buttery smooth shifts and is barely noticeable. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Escalade 4WD at 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed around 13.2 MPG, mostly due to below zero weather and driving in stop and go traffic. The Escalade’s underpinnings are very much an old-school truck with a live rear axle and body-on-frame construction. But you wouldn’t know that if you took it out onto the road. The ride is very smooth, and no road imperfections make their way in. This is partly due to the Magnetic Ride Control system which quickly adjusts to provide the best ride quality as possible. Also helping is an independent front and five-link rear suspension setup. Steering has excellent weight and feel which makes you feel a little bit more in control with the Escalade. Also Cadillac should be given props for providing a very quiet interior that could rival a library. A noise cancellation system and loads of sound deadening make the Escalade a perfect long distance partner. My only concern with the Escalade’s driving are the brakes. They don’t inspire much confidence. With a mushy pedal feel and having to push farther on the pedal than should be expected, I felt at times that I wasn’t going to be able to stop it in time. This is something I hope GM addresses in the near future.Why is the Escalade one of Cadillac’s top sellers? I think it comes down to a few reasons. One is that the Escalade is one of the elder statesmen of the class, alongside the likes of the Lincoln Navigator and Range Rover. It also helps that the Escalade is part of the pop culture lexicon. Consider how many pictures or movies/TV shows have stars and music artists driving/riding in an Escalade. That does a lot for a vehicle’s rep. Final reason? The Cadillac Escalade is just a dang good SUV. The fourth-generation model shows how much work Cadillac put into this. But it should be noted that all of this work and refinement does come at a cost. A 2015 Escalade starts at $72,970, while my Premium 4WD tester rings in at $89,360. That may put some people off, but I feel Cadillac can very much justify it. In this class, it's about the style, the image, and the luxuries. The Escalade delivers on all three. Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the Escalade Premium, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Cadillac Model: Escalade 4WD Trim: Premium Engine: 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5600 Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4100 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17 Curb Weight: 5,840 lbs* Location of Manufacture: Arlington, Texas Base Price: $84,070 As Tested Price: $89,360 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge) *Note: Weight is for Escalade 4WD equipped with 20-inch wheels Options: Kona Brown with Jet Black accents - $2,000 Power Retractable Assist Steps - $1,695 22-inch Dual 7-Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $600.00
  24. Alfa Romeo is planning to have four models in its U.S. lineup by 2017. This summer will see will the 4C Spyder join the 4C coupe. After that, a new sedan and SUV will be coming according to Alfa Romeo's U.S. head Reid Bigland. Bigland tells Automotive News that Alfa Romeo's new sedan - designed to compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class - will debut in June in Italy, with sales in the U.S. beginning next year. In previous reports, we have been calling it the Giulia. But Bigland says the name for the new sedan is being hashed-out. “I’m confident that it’s going to blow your Italian socks off when you look at the specifications associated with this vehicle,” said Bigland. Following the sedan will be the SUV which will take on the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. This is expected to land in the U.S. either in the forth quarter of next year, or in 2017. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  25. The day has come to Rolls-Royce. In a letter sent to the press, Rolls' chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös announced that the luxury automaker would be building an SUV. “I am proud to confirm that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is developing an all-new, high-bodied Rolls-Royce designed to satisfy the contemporary, highly mobile lifestyles of our discerning clients around the world. I am confident that this new Rolls-Royce will fully deliver on our brand’s promise of supreme luxury while at the same time being Effortless ... Everywhere,” said Müller-Ötvös. The letter goes onto say that the new model will use an all-new aluminium architecture - most likely the same architecture that will underpin the next-generation 7-Series. Rolls-Royce didn't announce a timeframe of when we'll see a production or concept model - only stating that development work has begun. Source: Rolls-Royce Letter is on Page 2 AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN AND THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS ON THE SUBJECT OF A NEW ROLLS-ROYCE The launch of Phantom in 2003 marked the beginning of the renaissance of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Since then, we have set a new benchmark for what a super-luxury car should be – unique, hand-crafted, beautiful and rare. Often imitated, Phantom has never been equalled and continues to be hailed as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by our customers and media alike. Twelve years later, after the introduction of successful new models like Ghost and Wraith, Rolls-Royce stands proudly at the pinnacle of British luxury manufacturing, confirming our custodianship of this precious marque. Now we have reached another seminal moment in Rolls-Royce’s 111-year journey. Today we confirm that we are developing an all-new Rolls-Royce with exceptional presence, elegance and purpose: A car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain A car that meets our customers’ highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations A Rolls-Royce that is as much about the pioneering, adventurous spirit of Charles Rolls as it is about Sir Henry Royce’s dedication to engineering and innovation A car that appropriately reflects Rolls-Royce’s brand promise of effortless luxury A high-bodied car, with an all-new aluminium architecture A unique new motor car worthy of carrying the Spirit of Ecstasy into the future This new Rolls-Royce will be Effortless ... Everywhere. Many discerning customers have urged us to develop this new car – and we have listened. At Rolls-Royce Motor Cars we are uniquely focused on the desires of our customers and are driven by our own thirst to innovate. So we challenged our engineers and design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor, to create a different and exceptional new car. This car will embody all the values and capabilities that drove our two Founding Fathers to secure Rolls-Royce’s reputation, early last century, by taking top honours in rigorous overland adventures such as the Scottish Reliability Trials, the London to Edinburgh event and the Alpine Trials. Rolls-Royces conveyed pioneers and adventurers like Lawrence of Arabia across the vastness of unexplored deserts and over mountain ranges. In other parts of the world including Australia, India and the Americas, Rolls-Royces carried their owners over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort. History sets our precedent and our future calls us to action. This new journey begins now. We will take our time in developing and perfecting this new concept in luxury. We will include our customers, enthusiasts and media along the way and will keep you informed of our progress. Until then, rest assured, we are creating a motor car in the greatest traditions of our marque. Sir Henry Royce famously said: “When it does not exist, design it”. We are doing just that.

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