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Fiat reveals its 5-year business plan, 500X crossover announced

Within two years, Fiat will double its lineup in the United States as part of its five-years business plan. The Italian brand will introduce the 500X crossover but also a new specialty vehicle. If we listen to the rumors, the specialty model will be called Fiat 125 Spider and will be based on the next-generation Mazda MX-5, built in partnership with Alfa Romeo.

The Fiat 500X will first arrive in Europe later this year, while a new compact sedan and a specialty model will be revealed in 2015. In 2016, Fiat will introduce in Europe a new compact hatch and a compact station wagon, as well as a new b segment car.

In 2017, Fiat will roll out a compact CUV, while in 2018 the new Panda will arrive. According to Fiat brand chief Olivier Francois, Fiat is a chameleon as the brand looks different wherever it travels.

Read the entire article Fiat reveals its 5-year business plan, 500X crossover announced

Fiat facelifts its 500X crossover for 2019 with visual updates and new engine family

Italian carmaker Fiat is introducing the facelifted iteration of its compact crossover – the 2019 Fiat 500X. The latest iteration of the 500X comes with some changes on the exterior, including the fitment of new LED light clusters. It also boasts of a restyled interior, new engines and a number of new technologies onboard.

For the 2019 model, the new 500X Urban comes with all-new front and rear bumper design that helps reassert its urban personality. The Cross and City Cross versions, on the other hand, feature new-look protective skid plates, conveying their capability to tackle out-of-town trips.

Also bringing new drama to the design of the new 500X are its new LED light cluster. The new daylight running lights as well as LED rear light clusters are now fitted as standard, delivering a more modern look in line with the most recent styling cues of the 500 family.

Read the entire article Fiat facelifts its 500X crossover for 2019 with visual updates and new engine family

Alfa Romeo shows roadmap for 2018 to 2022

FCA recently announced that they will be giving more attention to their sub-brand, Alfa Romeo in the next couple of years, which means that they will be extra busy refreshing their portfolio up until 2022.

One of the first few models that will be back is the “8C” nameplate that will be used for the first time since the 1930s, but actually, it was used recently in 2007 with the gorgeous 8C Competizione. Alfa Romeo will then be dusting off that name one more time for a mid-engined coupe that is equipped with a biturbo gasoline engine working together with an electrical front axle. Overall, it has a combined output of over 700 horsepower, the carbon fiber bodied vehicle, can do the 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) sprint from a standstill in less than three seconds.

Aside from the 8C, Alfa Romeo is also going to revive another important badge, and that is the Gran Turismo Veloce. Yes, that is the sporty coupe with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution that is in the works with the GTV nameplate and with over 600 horsepower because of the electric boost that it has been given. The specialty vehicle will be offering four seats and all wheel drive with torque vectoring.

Read the entire article Alfa Romeo shows roadmap for 2018 to 2022

BMW’s future products will be more varied, new design ethos will appear first on X2 crossover

BMW went through a decidedly boring phase wherein a lot of the cars they were offering looked similar to one other. Apparently, the automaker saw the downside of their cars sharing a certain look and so they chose to put an end to it. Similar to Audi’s long term plan to give each car its own identity, BMW seems to want the same for its models as well. This was confirmed after Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group styling boss, said that their future lineup will eventually feature a more varied appearance.

In an interview between Automotive News, van Hooydonk said that their next generation vehicles will have stronger characters that are easily distinguishable from others in the lineup. As for the styling of the future models, he described them to have fewer and flatter lines, but they will be sharper and more precise.

The very first model that will benefit from BMW’s new styling elements will be the upcoming X2 crossover. It will demonstrate van Hooydonk’s latest design principles and will be rounder despite the sharper lines. As you can see in the next generation 8 series that is pictured here, it combines a curvy appearance with sharper lines. That’s all for the exterior at least.

Read the entire article BMW’s future products will be more varied, new design ethos will appear first on X2 crossover

Just a couple of days ago, BMW published an image of their long term plan for the next couple of years, and this includes electrifying most of their cars. We also know that the sports division will not build a front wheel drive car, but instead will switch to conventional torque converter automatics in the next six to seven years. A new report from Autocar gives us more details on the company’s roadmap as they prepare for a pretty ambitious revision program in history.

Long story short, BMW aims to launch at least 26 all-new and revised models by the end of 2020. This will consist of 11 true M cars plus 15 “warm” M performance versions of current models. The Bavarian automaker aims to deliver 100,000 units around the globe annually.

Models like the next generation M3, together with the M4 Coupe and Cabriolet, will have a central role in the overhaul program. Sources say that the M3 will make an appearance at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019, with sales starting a couple of months later. However, it is a bit too early to rely on rumours like that, plus nothing has been confirmed yet.

Read the entire article BMW will introduce at least 26 new or updated M cars by late 2020 under overhaul program

Automakers, or any other company for that matter, tend to listen when their largest market starts talking. In this case, it is China that had announced its demands as it aims to quickly facilitate the shift to electric-powered vehicles and other forms of alternative energy. China is urging manufacturers to make this possible. To be more specific, the Chinese government recently set out some rules and a credit system that covers how automakers sell their plug-in hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and fully electric cars. In other words, these automakers will have to meet these standards in China or risk penalties. If car manufacturers do not meet the requirements, then they will have to use credits or pay a fine. The bottom line is that if they do not shift to alternative energy, they will have to waste extra money.

So beginning in 2019, a minimum energy score of 10 percent must be met by automakers. And by 2020, this will increase to 12 percent. This score will rely on sales of plug-in hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and fully-electric cars. Credits are earned in the process.

Right now, it might still be a bit confusing because credits for low or zero emission vehicles can differ from one another. To avoid losing credits or getting fined, car makers who build or import at least 30,000 cars to China should start getting into greener options, and dedicate most of their efforts on those. Currently, not many of them have reached fuel-cell levels, so this means the focus is on electric power.

Read the entire article China will impose strict rules on automakers’ use of alternative energy in 2019

What has BMW been up to lately? The company recently announced that they are currently focusing on electrification, and so far, their new architecture will enable “electrification of every model series”. In other words, all brands and all models can already be electrified in the near future – as either a full-electric version or as plug-in hybrid powertrain one. The company plans to make these available by the end of the decade. There will definitely be more fully-electric vehicles in the next generation.

On July 25, the company confirmed that the fully electric MINI 3 door variant will be the company’s core model. But production for this model will not begin its production until 2019. By doing that, MINI customers will have more choices when it comes to powertrains. Soon, choices will range from petrol, diesel internal combustion engine, a plug-in hybrid, and a battery electric vehicle. Since it is the BMW Group that is starting this, the MINI’s electric drivetrain will first be built at the Plant Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria, before it gets shipped to the Oxford Plant where the MINI 3 door models are being built.

The Dingolfing and Landshut plants are vital to the company’s global production network as the company’s global competence center for electric mobility, said Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Management Board member for Production. He then added that their system can adapt to rapidly changing customer demands, and that it is innovative. Though they have not done this yet, they are confident that they can quickly increase production of electric drivetrain components quickly if it is necessary.

Read the entire article BMW has a new plan for electrifying every model you can think of

France has already jumpstarted plans for a greener future. The country’s Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, Nicolas Hulot promises that by 2040, sales of diesel and gasoline fueled cars will be over. Instead of making use of fossil fuels that harm our environment, the minister opts for a transition to purely electric mobility. This is just a part of his proposed series of measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

To clean up the country, the minister came out with a 23-point plan that spans over six major themes. But we will already witness the implementation of some of these measures during Emmanuel Macron, France’s newly elected president’s term.

The good thing is that they have already started taking actions. Hulot developed a program wherein residents who trade in a pre-1997 diesel vehicle or pre-2001 gasoline car into an electric vehicle, or a less polluting one will be given monetary incentives. However, he has not yet specified how much the people will be receiving.

Read the entire article France aims to end sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2040

Earlier this month, Volkswagen’s annual meeting took place at its hometown in Wolfsburg, Germany. This year’s meeting was focused on the company’s business plan they call “Transform 2025+”. This plan is solely based on hybrid and electric vehicles.

Aside from providing updates on its hybrid and electric vehicles, Volkswagen also addressed what their agenda is when it comes to new models arriving in the next couple of months. And it seems like they have a handful of models arriving sooner than we thought. For instance, they just reconfirmed that the company will begin production of the all-new Polo next month, meaning that in the next coming weeks, photos of the supermini will probably be circulating around the web.

That’s just one of the few models VW will put in production. The T-Roc compact crossover, which is based on the Golf, will also hit the assembly line for the EU market as early as August. So in the next few months, we will finally see the brand new T-Roc with its covers off. The company also said that the compact crossover will be sold in the United States by 2019. The factory to build the T-Roc will be based in Palmela, Portugal.

Read the entire article VW announces production dates for the Polo, T-Roc and Touareg this year

Spanish automobile manufacturer Seat is seeking to expand its market in both North Africa and Latin America in the next ten years, looking to steady its profit by decreasing its dependence on the Europe market.

Luca de Meo, head of the Volkswagen AG's seat division, announced in Barcelona that even though there has been a steady increase in sales such as in markets of Italy and France, it would be highly beneficial for Seat to be able to sell around 30 percent of the vehicles outside Europe in the next 50 to 10 years. Producing Seat automobiles in VW production departments in Mexico could ease access to Central and South American markets, de Meo exclaimed.

Seat, created around 1950 to assemble Fiat models and that was acquired and had become a subsidiary for Volkswagen in 1986, has been a chink in the armor for the German automobile manufacturer. VW has reiterated that it will reassess its company's portfolio in the wake of "dieselgate"- the emission scandal that rocked the car market scene.

Read the entire article Seat is ready to enter auto markets in North Africa, Latin America

PSA seems very confident about conquering the world. The purchase of Opel/Vauxhall for €2.2 billion ($2.3B) from General Motors makes PSA the second largest car company, just behind the Volkswagen Group, but taking over Renault-Nissan’s spot.

Jean-Philippe Peugeot, a family shareholder of PSA, said that they have already discussed a potential acquisition of Opel back in 2012, as early as when the General Motors made a deal with the French company. However, it was not the right time for the marriage of both companies so they waited until this year to announce their plan to the public. He also added in his interview with a German newspaper that PSA wants to go global in the coming years. Thus, the goal was set to “conquer the rest of the world step by step”.

The acquisition includes: Opel/Vauxhall’s automotive operations, the brands they carry, assembly and component manufacturing facilities, an engineering center in Deutschland, and all their employees. Now that Opel is part of the PSA group. It is a big help for the company’s plan to achieve important economies of scale, and this means manufacturing at least three million cars for a core market. Robert Peugeot (Chairman of the PSA Group’s strategy committee) further explained himself and said that “all large carmakers have a volume of three million cars in one important market.

Read the entire article PSA-Opel marriage sets out to conquer the world

In a recent press conference at Berlin, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), an environmental lobby group based in Germany, continues to strengthen its campaign against automotive industry pollution as it accuses the 500X compact SUV of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) of excessive toxic diesel emissions.

The group has already named automotive company Renault, the Opel division of General Motors (GM) Company, and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz for excessive levels of harmful emissions. DUH campaigner Axel Friedrich claimed that extreme NOx emission overruns have been detected on the Renault Espace, Opel Zafira, Mercedes C Class, and recently a Fiat SUV.

So far, FCA has refused to comment on the issue. The accused car makers denied that they are involved in illegal activities. However, they recognize the fact that some of their vehicles actually release higher levels of toxic emissions when tested in real-life conditions compared to when they’re tested in the norms provided in a prescribed test regime as specified by regulators.

Read the entire article German group accuses Fiat 500X compact SUV of exceeding diesel emissions levels

FIAT will give its support to the upcoming Star Wars film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with a stormtrooper-themed Fiat 500e. This was announced by Lucasfilm itself. FIAT and FCA US LLC, together with six other global brands of automobile makers, will be launching a groundbreaking campaign to promote the new Star Wars film, which is set to be released on December 18.

FIAT’s role will be to release a 500e that bears exterior aesthetics based upon the armor worn by stormtroopers of the First Order Legion. What results is a beautiful car with a two-tone black and white painting, as well as windshield and side windows designed to make the car look like the visor and helmet of the First Order stormtrooper.

However, the Star Wars-influenced design is not limited to the exteriors – the black and white theme is implemented heavily in the interiors as well. The dashboard is white and emblazoned with the Star Wars logo on its surface.

Read the entire article FIAT releases Star Wars-themed 500e, and DVF-wrapped 500X

Volvo is making a huge investment -- $500 million to be exact -- in the U.S. to kick off its highly ambitious comeback. The plant that the automaker will construct has an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles – quite higher than its sales last year of 56,366 vehicles in the U.S. Five years ago, Volvo was acquired from Ford Motor by Chinese investors.

It’s about time that Volvo launches its comeback plan, which includes the plant in South Carolina, and a radical new powertrain and vehicle architecture strategy. CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, Lex Kerssemakers, said that the brand has reinvented itself and so it makes sense now to “go on the attack” once more in the U.S.

There would always be skeptics to lofty plans such as this but 20 years ago, this strategy of constructing a huge U.S. plant to meet future sales growth has worked so well for Mercedes-Benz and BMW. In the 1990s, these two luxury automakers invested in U.S. production and grew from being low-volume importers.

Read the entire article Volvo has ambitious goals for U.S. comeback plan

A statement released by Hyundai Motor Co. last Wednesday denies a plan to build a plant in Mexico. In a Bloomberg report that came out on Tuesday, Pedro Albarran, managing director for Hyundai Motor de Mexico, had said that Hyundai may construct a factory in Mexico as soon as the automaker’s domestic auto sales increase in the country.

The top Mexican official, who heads sales and marketing but not manufacturing, added that Hyundai hopes for Mexico to become a “very important base” for its global production. He said that the brand will soon produce Hyundai units in Mexico but then it will have to wait for annual domestic sales to surpass 50,000 units before opening a factory.

Hyundai started sales in Mexico last year with 12,000 units. It forecasts that by 2018, its sales will exceed 50,000. Albarran said that an announcement about this plan may be made before then. In Hyundai’s statement disputing the claim, it clearly said that it “does not have any plan of building a factory in Mexico.”

Read the entire article Hyundai releases statement to dispute plan to build plant in Mexico

Audi will follow a strategy similar to those implemented by carmakers with their electrified offerings – giving them a distinguishing design. According to Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg, the carmaker is planning to introduce a battery-powered sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment that could travel over 500 kilometers in a single full charge.

This EV will feature “a new, very attractive design,” which is being developed especially for the e-tron range and for battery-electric vehicles. He said that more information about the new styling language will be out before the end of year. Audi’s new battery-electric crossover will be underpinned by the second generation of its modular longitudinal platform MLB 2.

The first Audi model to use the new platform will be the second-generation Audi Q7 that will arrive later this year. Analysts have been saying a key reason why Toyota Prius outsold its rival and brand siblings -- was because of its recognizable shape.

Read the entire article Audi plans distinctive styling language for its electrified offerings

Daimler needs to review its plans to expand its production in the United States if the European currency remains weaks against its trans-atlantic counterpart, according to the carmaker's top labor chief, Michael Brecht. In October 2014, Daimler said it will transfer some output of its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans from its Duesseldorf site in Germany, to a new factory somewhere in North America.

In recent months, however, the weaker euro has rendered European plants more competitive than a year ago, according Brecht said. "If the situation stays like this over a longer period, then the question is: Do I go in now, or can I do it later," Brecht said during a roundtable discussion in Stuttgart.

The Sprinters being sold in the US are currently built kit form at Daimler’s Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde sites and reassembled in Charleston, S.C. Brecht remarked that some projects that have been agreed upon but are yet to be fully implemented may be amended.

Read the entire article Daimler needs to review its US expansion plan, says labor chief

Fiat has just announced that those who want to order their brand new 500X Opening Edition can contact their dealer as order books are opened. Only 500 units will be available in the UK: 325 examples of the 4X2 City Look version and 175 examples of the rugged AWD Off Road Look version.

The 4X2 version is based on the Pop Star trim level and comes as standard with 17-inch wheels, body-coloured bumpers, front fog lights with cornering illumination, cruise control, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a 5-inch Uconnect infotainment system with Bluetooth and Drive Mood selector.

Besides these standard features, the Opening Edition adds a special “Art Grey” pastel paint, 18-inch wheels, a Safety Pack that includes Lane Assist, Blind Spot Assist, ParkView reversing camera and Brake Control collision mitigation system. In addition, the Opening Edition comes with tinted rear windows, an “Opening Edition” badge and the Comfort Pack, which adds Keyless Entry, Keyless Go, front armrest and electric lumbar adjustment for the front seats.

Read the entire article 2015 Fiat 500X Opening Edition now available for order in the UK

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expecting its Fiat 500X SUV to gather more demand than the 500 minicar in North America, according to senior executives at the carmaker. Fiat Chrysler expects the 500X to catch the attention of buyers seeking for a ride lager than 500.

Jason Stoicevich, head of Fiat in North America, told Automotive News in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show that a major reason for consumers to reject the 500 was its size. As the 500X is basically larger than the 500, it is expected to outsell the smaller version.

Fiat will commence sales of the 500X in Europe in the first quarter of 2015, and in the United States the following quarter. Fiat Chrysler plans to offer the 500X in 100 global markets, relying on a strong US performance.

Read the entire article Fiat expects 500X SUV to sell better than 500 in North America

The 2016 Fiat 500X crossover has made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, offering a preview of Fiat’s first all-wheel-drive offering for cold weather areas in the United States. Jason Stoicevich, head of the Fiat brand for North America, remarked that while California, Texas and Florida – all warm-weather states – are the brand’s major markets in the US, the 500X gives Fiat the biggest opportunity to compete in areas where there is “some inclement weather.”

Stoicevich told Automotive News that he expects Fiat dealers in the northeast US to “do best” with the subcompact crossover. The 500X now allows Fiat to offer larger size, better functionality, and an all-wheel drive capability.

The five-passenger 500X – built in Italy -- shares a platform and a number components with the Jeep Renegade but features Fiat styling. It is available in two powertrain options. Coming as standard is a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four engine that provides 160 hp of output and 184 pounds-feet of torque and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Read the entire article 2016 Fiat 500X makes North American debut at LA Auto Show