Top Story

Ford introduces two new fuel-efficient taxis — hybrid and diesel


(June 18, 2018) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford introduces two new taxis — the new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi and Ford’s most fuel-efficient, purpose-built taxi ever — the 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi. “Taxi operators want vehicles that are reliable, efficient and comfortable,” said Imran Jalal, brand and communications manager for Ford fleet marketing.

2018 Audi S4

PHOENIX — Last year, Audi updated its fifth-generation A4 sedan. Audi didn’t do anything radical, with the basic dimensions staying the same, but Audi aficionados certainly recognized some significant changes. So, understandably, for 2018 the A4 is almost exclusively a carryover from last year, and a much stronger performance-oriented S4 has joined the lineup.

2019 Lexus ES

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When the Lexus brand first launched in the U.S 28 years ago, it did so with just two sedans: the LS and the smaller ES. Over the years, Lexus, of course, added numerous vehicles to its portfolio — SUVs, sportier models and more coupes and sedans. With 2.18 million worldwide sales — one million in the U.S. alone — it is the most popular Lexus ever.

2018 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet

SAN DIEGO — A year ago, Daimler announced the decision to convert the Smart brand to all-electric in North America, discontinuing gas-powered Smart cars. Smart cars are built by Daimler in France and sold exclusively through Mercedes-Benz dealers in the U.S. The current and third generation of the Smart Fortwo was introduced in 2015 in gasoline form. In June 2017, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive went on sale and was recently followed by the cabriolet (convertible) model that will go on sale in spring 2018.

Vehicle of the Week

2018 Mazda CX-5 — A standout crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

One of the most popular automotive segments in the U.S. is the compact crossover, and prospective buyers have a vast array of very good products from which to pick. But like every other segment, there are standouts — vehicles that rise like cream to the top. The second-generation Mazda CX-5 is one of those handful of vehicles that stand taller than the rest. The CX-5 was redesigned for 2017 with a comfortable ride quality, a full slate of the latest safety and technology features, a surprisingly sprightly driving demeanor, and a refined interior that could live quite well in a luxury SUV.

Here's the Thing

Paying at the pump is taking up more of motorists’ paychecks

(June 18, 2018) WASHINGTON — Consumers are spending $69 more a month to fill-up compared to last summer. According to AAA, gasoline expenses are accounting, on average, for 7 percent of an American’s 2018 annual income, a one and half percent increase since summer of 2017.

With strong summer consumer gasoline demand expected in the months ahead, AAA says motorists can expect little relief at the pump with the national gas price average ranging between $2.85 – $3.05 through Labor Day.

Making pickups lighter without aluminum

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(June 17, 2018) The 2013 unveiling of the Ford Atlas concept in Detroit sent shivers down the spine of the competition. It meant that, two years later, a 700-pound lighter, aluminum-bodied F-150 would be hitting the market. Early planning for the next generation Silverado and Ram was just starting, and Ford had thrown the competition’s engineering teams an unexpected curve. Lightweighting was already part of the agenda, but the coming F-150 made it the main focus.

Top certified pre-owned deals for June according to Autotrader

(June 15, 2018) ATLANTA — As car shoppers are enjoying warmer temperatures across the country, automakers are enticing the market with certified pre-owned deals. Start your summer shopping off strong, as these offers could help those looking to buy for dads or grads this month.

"Automakers continue to make it more attractive and affordable for car shoppers to purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader.

Inside the Industry

Infiniti donates $1.16 million to charities in partnership with the NCAA

(June 18, 2018) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Infiniti has announced it has donated $1,160,680 to charitable organizations as part of the brand's ongoing corporate partnership with the NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Phil O'Connor, director of Marketing Communications and Media at Infiniti Americas, presented the checks last week to the winning philanthropies at Infiniti's North American headquarters.

Ford, Vaughn Gittin Jr. salute American WWII pilots who defended Britain

(June 18, 2018) DEARBORN, Mich.  — Ford and world champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. are paying tribute to American fighter pilots who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, inviting Gittin to pilot the one-off Eagle Squadron Mustang GT at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK on July 12.

BMW celebrates opening of Shanghai Research and Development Center

(June 18, 2018) SHANGHAI — BMW opened the Group Shanghai R&D Centre as part of BMW’s Innovation Day China last week. The event showcased BMW’s latest developments in the areas of innovation, digital services, autonomous driving and automotive design.

Following the opening of the Beijing R&D Centre and the laying of the foundation stone for phase II of the Shenyang High-Voltage Battery Centre in May, the new R&D Centre in Shanghai marks another milestone for BMW’s “In China, for China” R&D strategy, illustrating how the BMW Group has further enhanced the R&D network in China.

Abandoned Car of the Week

A small Buick from the 1980s

The fourth generation of the Buick Skylark was a compact sedan and coupe based on General Motors' X-body architecture shared with the Chevrolet Citation, Pontiac Phoenix and Oldsmobile Omega. The Skylark came with three engine options — a 2.5 four-cylinder, and two versions of a 2.8-liter V-6. They were mated to a three-speed automatic and a four-speed manual. This 1984 Skyark was found in eastern North Carolina.
(Photo by Jim Meachen)