If you haven’t noticed, the world is on full alert following a pivotal referendum, just passed in the United Kingdom, where the citizens voted to exit Britain from the European Union. Winning in a pretty strong split, with 52% of Great Britain voting for the separation from the European Union, and 48% against, the results sent a catastrophic wave in the global economy, causing the value of the Great Britain Pound to tank to its lowest values since 1985 and forcing a lot of people to lose money.
Because of this destabilization and how much Britain plays a key role to the economy of the EU and the world, everyone’s been scrambling to figure it out, which of course means the automakers have been seriously impacted as well.
A result of the push to become a more globally integrated economy, companies like Ford, Honda, and Nissan are all stuck in the middle of this conflict, with the UK being Europe’s second largest automobile market, behind Germany. This is on top of British-based automakers like Jaguar-Land Rover, Mini, Aston Martin, and so-on since the UK is also plays a major role in manufacturing as well.
Regardless of where one stands in the British economy however, everyone felt the tumble of stock market. For instance, India’s Tata Motors had their stock depreciate by 12 percent, and Tata owns Jaguar-Land Rover.
It seems Saab really was just a lost cause as the car company’s last hope, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, just announced to be ending the Saab automotive brand, saying they won’t use the company’s name on any future vehicles.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden posed as the only glimmer of potential for Saab as the company purchased the debt-stricken rights from Spyker Automotive, who was the original buyer of Saab from General Motors when the corporation went bankrupt. Saab almost dried Spyker’s pockets dry after running out of money, but failed, leading to a potential deal with some Chinese automakers. The deal was stopped however from Saab’s former owner, General Motors, who refused to give up the purchased rights and designs of the vehicles they made, to the Chinese manufacturers.
This then led to National Electric Vehicle Sweden, a national startup, purchased the rights to Saab Automobile, but quickly ran out of money trying to settle the company’s debt. This final decision to lay the Saab Automobile brand is the last step in the the Saab story, with NEVS continuing the development of revising the old Saab 9-3 for EV construction and use, but with the NEVS nameplate. This is from added pressure from parent company Saab AB, who removed NEVS’ right to use the Saab Automotive brand name, meaning the use of the griffon logo was completely off limites.
NEVS was lifted out of bankruptcy as Chinese investors stepped in. The result is a $12 billion deal, made with Panda New Energy, to supply 150,000 Saab 9-3-based EVs by 2020, for fleet use. Another contract was signed to the tune of $1 billion to guarantee China Volant Industry Co., 20,000 of the same Saab-based EVs.
R.I.P. Saab Automobile.
– By: Chris Chin
As Thursdays were casually carrying on as usual, a “leak” somewhere in Porsche has led to the surfacing of some photos of what appear to be the next-generation Panamera.
We already knew a second-gen model was on the horizon and thus, the Panamera comes as expectedly as clockwork. The pictures appear to be of the OEM type, with clear visuals of a four-door Porsche, with a design mimicking the outgoing model, but with plenty of new cues inspired by the recent Mission E Concept.
Current speculation points to the use of some new platforms from Volkswagen AG, while some new turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines, both gas and diesel, will be made available, with a top-spec turbocharged V8 for the most powerful of variants.
Porsche is also expected to launch another plug-in hybrid model with rumors of a full electric version possibly in the works, and a new wagon variant as well.
But until Porsche reveals the full car, we’ll have to deal with these teasers for now. Of course, you can also expect to drive really well.
– By: Chris Chin
Just to clear any confusion, the Alfa Romeo Giulia may be the company’s premiere new luxury sports sedan, but it is designed and built to compete in the compact segment, which includes standard-setters like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
But we know FCA plans to make Alfa Romeo a direct competitor to the established mass-market luxury automakers from Germany, England, Japan, and even America. So this means matching those automakers move-for-move to keep up with the competition. That said, there are plans for the company’s first-ever crossover SUV, and even a BMW 5-Series rival. The latest report includes the latter, which is one of the next models to be launched by Alfa in the near future.
Alfa has big plans for their BMW 5-Series rival, including hybridization and semi-autonomous driving tech, according to AutoExpress, who spoke with FCA’s chief technology officer, Harald Wester.
The Dodge Journey has been one of Dodge’s more popular crossover models, but it’s been showing its age greatly recently as it passes the eight-year-old mark, after commencing production in 2008.
That said, a replacement is certainly due and thus, some news is surfacing from AutomotiveNews, to suggest the new Dodge Journey could defy all odds by moving to rear-wheel drive. This would defy all odds because crossovers are very popular, and part of the reason they’re so popular is because they are front-wheel drive, which is perceived to be much safer in the inclement of weather. Front-wheel drive construction also helps designers optimize a vehicle’s interior space and packaging, while also allowing for all-wheel drive constructions as well.
So ultimately, front-wheel drive crossovers are strongly favored. But FCA wants to be different as the corporation seeks to rebrand Dodge once more. The reason: Dodge wants to bolster their reputation for building muscle cars, and the result here would be a “muscle car crossover.”
That sounds like fun.
Hollywood’s automotive love child, the Fast and Furious franchise, is already confirmed to have three additional movies, on top of the seventh installment that was released last year and so far, new reports have filed in to showcase what’s in store for the next three movies.
We know that Oscar-winning actress, Charlize Theron was added to the cast not too long ago and now, a second Oscar-winning actress was added to the roster for the next movie: Dame Helen Mirren.
The Fast and Furious movies have not been without their fair share of all-star casts, so this newest movie is no different, thanks to the continuous inclusion and return of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Jason Statham.
Interestingly as well, Mirren wasn’t chosen out of the blue–she campaigned several times for a role in one of the movies back in 2014. Her reason: she just wants to drive. Kudos to Dame Helen Mirren for understanding the appeal of what makes us car people!
Engine downsizing and forced induction are still the bees’ knees these days and Audi is a clear example of this trend as CARandDRIVER reports Ingolstadt could get rid of the lovely naturally-aspirated 4.2L V8 in the RS5, in favor of a new turbocharged V6 for the next-gen model.
That’s a big sad because Audi’s 4.2L N/A V8 has been with us for years and is widely praised as being quite a peach, especially from a performance aspect with its 450hp and 317 lb-ft of twist, and a lovely 8250RPM redline.
So what’s taking its place? Similarly with the current and outgoing Audi S5, the RS5 will lose two cylinders and gain some turbochargers, thanks to a new 3.0L twin-turbo V6. Internally coded as the EA839 motor, the new 3.0L twin-turbo six is expected to produce more than 450hp and a lot more torque, giving it a clear power advantage over the 4.2L V8, though without the lovely deep burble of the V8. The new V6 features some cleaver tech as well, including the repositioning of the fuel injectors, a new valve-lift system for the intake valves, and a lightweight aluminum construction.
This new 3.0L V6 will also provide power for some future Porsche models, like the next Panamera 4S.
It’s a tragic day for Star Trekkies as confirmations and reports are rolling in (no pun intended) about the sad, premature passing of actor Anton Yelchin, who played Ensign Pavol Chekov in the latest Star Trek reboots from renowned actor, J.J. Abrams. Yelchin was apparently involved in a car accident where his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down a hill, hitting Yelchin and pinning him against a security gate.
“The victim was on his way to meet his friends for a rehearsal and when he didn’t show up, his friends went to his house where they found him deceased by his car,” said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman, Jennifer Houser, to CNN. “It appears that he momentarily left his car, leaving it in the driveway. He was behind the vehicle when it rolled backward and pinned him to the brick pillar causing the trauma that led to his death.”
Normally, we don’t report much on celebrities, since we’re not TMZ, but Yelchin’s accident has brought some unwanted attention to Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, who recently issued a recall for 1.1 million cars, including 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, over confusing shifters for the ZF-equipped cars. The recall was to replace the shifters after critics and analysts discovered that the shifters for these cars confused their owners, allowing them to accidentally leave the car in Neutral instead of Park. Though, we don’t understand how their shifters are so confusing to the general public, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The whole idea of outsourcing labor is not new to the commercial world and it can be both criticized and praised, depending on who you’re talking to. Nonetheless, BMW it seems might begin to outsource their labor for the assembly of the next-generation BMW 3-Series by building the car in Mexico, beginning in 2019. So you can basically say that BMW is pulling a Volkswagen.
A new $1 billion plant is being built in San Luis Potosi and is being designed to offer a full production facility, including a body shop, paint shop, and a complete assembly line.
To keep in line with BMW’s initiative to offer more “green” manufacturing solutions for their own practices, they’re marching to the beat of their own tune by sourcing majority of the plant’s electricity from a nearby solar farm. BMW’s also investing in special paint technology that allows cars to be colored while producing zero processed wastewater.
Total plant capacity is expected to top around 150,000 units annually.
Let’s hope too that quality control isn’t an issue with Mexican made BMW’s, similarly to how Mexican-made Volkswagens got their reputation for reliability and build quality.
– By: Chris Chin
The all-new 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is a slick and new affordable hatchback for the masses and is clearly miles ahead over the last model, which remained a sedan. For the second-generation model, Chevy added a hatchback variant to offer prospective buyers an alternative to the standard-setting Volkswagen Golf.
If you were interested in getting one, you’ll have to set aside at least $22,190 to get one by this fall. Obviously, that price is for the base model without any extra options or packages, and other things like tax and registration fees. But if you have more than $22,190 to put forward, one can opt for the various LT and Premiere trims, with an optional RS-based sport appearance package.
Power is provided by a 1.4L EcoTec turbocharged four-banger with 153hp and 177 lb-ft of torque.
The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback might have the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as the sedan, along with the sedan’s handsome looks, but the hatch provides quite a bit more space for the trunk, just in case you need to throw something in the back from Ikea, or need to Cruze it to your local camping area with a bunch of stuff in the back.
For comparative purposes, a base 2017 Chevrolet Cruze LT sedan costs $2,150 less, starting at $20,040.
– By: Chris Chin