Auto Notes - July 2018
New Audi. The all-new 2019 Audi Q8 SUV had its world debut in Shenzhen, China, June 6. It features new exterior and interior design cues, an all-new MM1 touch response display (including haptic and acoustic feedback), a Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System, comes standard with an adaptive damping suspension, and is equipped with the Audi quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The Q8 is loaded with advanced technology and connectivity features (say “I’m hungry” and the Q8 will suggest a nearby restaurant), plus its select drive modes allow for off-roading. Watch for the new model at U.S. dealerships in the fourth quarter.
Mazda milestone. On May 15, Mazda Motor Corp. announced that cumulative production of vehicles in Japan reached 50 million units. The automaker staged a commemorative ceremony at its Hofu plant on Yamaguchi. The 50 millionth unit was assembled 86 years and seven months after Mazda produced its first three-wheeled truck in October 1931.
Hyundai plant. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC CEO Dong Ryeol Choi and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently announced that Hyundai is investing $388 million to construct a plant in Montgomery dedicated to producing engine heads.
The automaker has operated assembly plants in Alabama since 2005 and is the River Region’s largest private manufacturer with 2,700 full-time and 500 part-time employees.
Indy win. Will Power, a native of Australia, won the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in a Team Penske Chevrolet (a Chevy also placed second at the race). Power took the lead on lap 197 of 200 to earn his first win at Indy 500. For Team Penske, it was their 17th win at the Brickyard.
Perhaps the winning car will end up in the new GM World motorsports display debuted in June at the company’s Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit. A dozen vintage and modern race and pace cars are on display, including the 1967 Indy 500 Camaro pace car and the 2017 Chevrolet IndyCar. More cars will be added later this summer.
Recalls. While 2017 had a relatively low number of vehicle recalls in the U.S. - 30.7 million - the lowest since 2013, it was still a staggering number of recalls that began in early January (Honda & Land Rover) and ended Dec. 28 (Alfa Romeo).
Big recalls in 2017 involved Ford F-Series pickups, Honda Accord and Odyssey models, FCA models ranging from RAM pickups to Charger and Challenger Hellcats, Hyundai and Kia models, plus the ongoing Takata air bag issues.
This year has already seen millions of North American recalls from more than two dozen automakers. FCA alone recently recalled 4.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM models with possible cruise control issues.
New Raptor. The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available this fall and offers new exterior and interior enhancements, including all-new Trail Control. This off-roading innovation offers drivers maximum control when traversing rocks, mud, or other rugged terrain. It’s designed for low-traction and manages acceleration and braking.
Also new are three additional exterior colors, an improved chassis with the new Fox Racing Shox with live valve technology, and Recaro seats.
New Subies. Subaru of America introduced the 2019 WRX and WRX STI Series.Gray in early June at the Subaru Tecnia International Boxerfest near Washington, D.C. Series.Gray models are limited production of 750 WRXs and 250 WRX STIs. Both models arrive at dealers this fall.
The Series.Gray WRX features Recaro seats, Bremco brakes, LED steering responsive headlight, LED fog lamps, a Bilstein STI sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, and more. Pricing for the WRX STI Series.Gray is $39,695.
BMW X5. BMW launched its all-new 2019 X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, June 6, representing the fourth generation of the hot selling AWD unit. Built in Spartanburg, S.C., the new X-5 has a larger wheelbase, length and height, plus a new front end with a large BMW kidney grille.
The spacious interior features a four-zone climate control system, a panoramic glass roof, a Welcome Light Carpet (illuminates entry area), Dynamic Interior Light (emits pulsating lights in pre-defined conditions), a Browers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 20 speakers and a 1,500-watt output, a rear entertainment system, remote engine start, new 12.3-inch cockpit display and a plethora of advanced technology and connectivity features.
Two units are available: the X5 xDrive 40i and the X5 xDrive 50i. BMW TwinPower turbo engines include a 3.0-L six-cylinder and a new 4.4-L eight-cylinder, both mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.