Auto Notes - April 2019
World Car. The World Car Awards announced the 10 finalists for 2019 World Car of the Year in February, and at the Geneva Motor Show in early March the top three finalists were unveiled. The Road to World Car began last September in Paris and had six days of testing in Los Angeles in November.
In addition to the World Car of the Year award, winners in five categories (Luxury, Green, Performance, Urban, and Design) will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on April 17.
Finalists for the 2019 World Car of the Year award are the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-PACE, and Volvo S60/V60. For complete details on the world’s most prestigious automotive awards, visit www.worldcarawards.com.
Ford work truck debut. The new Ford F-600 Super Duty Chassis Cab truck debuted at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, March 5. In between the F-550 and F-650, it offers upgraded chassis components, a heavier-duty driveline, and 19.5-inch wheels and tires.
The F-600 can be equipped with all Super Duty engine offerings that include a 6.2-L V-8, a 7.3-L V-8, and a 6.7-L Power Stroke diesel. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with a 10-speed TorqShift, available with any engine choice.
Detroit resurgence. FCA has announced that it plans to revamp its Mack Avenue Engine Complex in Detroit, including the idled Mack II engine plant, into an assembly plant for Jeep Grand Cherokee and other Jeep vehicles. The $4.5 billion manufacturing expansion, the first new plant development in 30 years in the Motor City, will likely employ some 6,500 workers (5,000 in Detroit and 1,500 in Macomb County).
In total, FCA will add production at five factories in the Detroit area and invest in various upgrades and additions to facilities.
VW electric. On March 4, at the Geneva International Motor Show, Volkswagen introduced its I.D. BUGGY concept car – an all-electric next-gen “dune buggy” with no doors, no roof, and a weatherproof interior.
The I.D. BUGGY has an MEB chassis that integrates a 62 kWh lithium-ion battery into the floor and has a 201 HP electric motor in the rear. Distance ratings are listed at 155 miles.
The overall design has been adapted from the 1960s California dune buggies and includes 18-inch all-terrain tires. If an additional electric motor is added, the I.D. BUGGY can have 4WD.
Volt done. The last Chevrolet Volt sedan rolled off the assembly line in late February. First introduced in 2007 as a hybrid plug-in concept, the production models were available in 2010. Relatively low sales, a 20-mile electric range, and consumer demand for SUVs made the Volt an easy target for dismissal from the GM lineup. Plus the Chevy Bolt crossover has an electric range of some 240 miles.
One of the first hybrid plug-ins, the Volt offered a viable alternative to pure combustion engines at a reasonable cost, and it created a loyal fan base.
Extended life. While the Volt is done with production, GM announced that the Chevy Impala and Cadillac CT6, both scheduled to be discontinued this summer, will be produced through the 2020 build cycle. Good news for employees at the GM Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Detroit.
Other GM models going away are the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Cruze.
Milestone. Lexus celebrated its 10th million vehicle sold globally on Feb. 24. The Toyota luxury brand had strong 2018 sales at just under 700,000 units around the world and achieved several best-ever sales records.
The Lexus brand pioneered the world’s first luxury hybrid-electric in 2005 and has surpassed 1.45 million mark in self-charging hybrid vehicles sales globally. In 2018, Lexus hybrid sales jumped 20 percent over 2017 units sold.
Chrysler rankings. The Chrysler brand led all FCA US brands and the entire industry in a three-year dependability improvement study. The J.D. Power 2019 Dependability Study said Chrysler had a 30-percent growth factor from the previous study.
The Chrysler Town & Country was the highest-ranking minivan in the study, and with increases in Jeep and Dodge brand scores, FCA US as a company outpaced the industry by more than double.
The 2019 Dependability Study is in its 30th year and is based on responses from 32,952 original owners of 2016 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership.