Auto Notes - November 2018
New Lexus. Lexus has debuted its newest addition to its luxury lineup, the 2019 UX crossover. Available with a fuel-efficient gasoline engine (FWD UX 200) or as a hybrid (UX 250h) with AWD, the new models will be available at dealerships in December (gas) and January (hybrid).
The UX name is derived from the design team’s desire to describe the model’s mission: Urban + X-over (crossover) = UX. Lexus said the UX is targeted at younger buyers who want what’s new on the market and a vehicle relevant to their lifestyles.
The new UX is the first Lexus built on the Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) platform. It is lightweight, super-rigid, has a low center of gravity, and offers refined suspension tuning.
With a new high-efficiency 2.0-L four-cylinder engine on the gasoline model, the hybrid offers an even more efficient 2.0-L coupled with a fourth-generation hybrid drive system. Both are mated to a 10-speed Direct Shift CVT.
All UX models are equipped with the Lexus Safety System + and are loaded with technology features. An F Sport package is available on both the UX 200 and UX 250h.
Both exterior and interior features on the UX have new refined features, one of those being the hybrid’s world-first Predictive Eco Drive Control. It’s coupled with the navigation system, learns driving habits, predicts the roadway ahead for drivers, and analyzes real-time traffic reports.
Starting MSRP on the UX 200 is $32,000 with the hybrid beginning at $34,000.
Bye bye Bug. The final Volkswagen Beetle will roll off the Puebla, Mexico, assembly line next July as the iconic “Bug” winds up an 80-year history. With plans for building the original Volkswagen Type 1 dating back to the early 1930s, it was 1938 when German production of the small, odd-looking car began.
Popular worldwide from the beginning, the one millionth Beetle was sold in 1955, and a resurgence in U.S. sales occurred after the Beetle appeared in the original 1968 Disney film “The Love Bug.” That year, 423,000 Beetles were sold. After a 20-year lapse in the U.S., Volkswagen brought the New Beetle model back in the late 1990s and sales were brisk again for several years, but last year the company delivered just more than 15,000 units.
The Mexican plant will increase its production of the Jetta sedan and Tiguan SUV as the Beetle comes to an end. Rumors have it that an electric Beetle model could be in the mix in future years, but Volkswagen’s first electric, the 2020 I.D. Neo, will hit the market in 2019 and may overshadow any plans for a renewed Bug.
Diamond anniversary. Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich., recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It’s the only plant in the U.S. to have produced vehicles, as well as ships and tractors, non-stop for 100 years.
Opened in 1918, Rouge first produced Eagle Boats for the U.S. Navy, later produced the Model A and Mustang models, and today assembles the Ford F-150 pickup (and soon the F-150 electric). It currently employs 7,500 people who work three shifts around the clock, generates zero waste-to-landfill, recycles 12 million pounds of aluminum monthly with its internal recycling system, features one of the world’s largest living roofs, has an on-site orchard, and is home to 80,000 bees.
Jaguar intro. Jaguar North America launched a four-city tour of its all-new I-Pace, the brand’s first-ever all-electric performance SUV in early October. Led by Jaguar Electrifies Experience, the tour began in San Francisco, headed to Los Angeles, then south Florida and New York City. Consumers were able to get behind the wheel of the new I-PACE and experience its performance elements.
A mid-size SUV, the I-Pace has a cab-forward design, features a 90 kWh battery, has an estimated driving range of 240 miles, and can reach 0-60 MPH in 4.5 seconds.
Scheduled for sale at dealers late this month, the I-PACE is available in three trim levels and has a base MSRP of $69,500. All-wheel-drive is standard on all models and each is loaded with technology features.
Escalade milestone. The Cadillac Escalade SUV is celebrating 20 years as a leader in the full-size luxury SUV segment. By its fifth anniversary in 2004, the trend-setting model ballooned to some 230 percent in sales and remains a hot seller today.
Escalade had the first full LED headlamps (2009); was the first full-size luxury SUV to offer Magnetic Ride Control, the world’s quickest reacting suspension system (2009); was the world’s first luxury SUV hybrid to offer a 50 percent increase in EPA fuel economy (2009); and the first to offer a front-center airbag, along with the first haptic Safety Alert Seat (2015).