• Subaru to invest $140M, hire 1,200 workers in Indiana

    September 21, 2015
    Subaru has reportedly confirmed plans to invest another $140 million at its Lafayette, Indiana, factory.

    The funds will help the company quickly ramp up production, adding enough capacity to produce an additional 100,000 vehicles each year, according to a Courier-Journal report spotted by TTAC.

    “Last month Subaru sales in the U.S. hit an all-time record of 52,697 units,” said Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) executive VP Tom Easterday. “As Subaru sales have grown, so has SIA.”

    The Japanese automaker recently revised its North American sales goal after fiscal 2015 numbers remained on a path to hit 600,000 units, a number previously set as a 2020 target. Another 100,000 units are expected to be pushed annually by 2017.

    The company has already kicked off the hiring process, eventually adding 1,200 jobs to help meet the expanded production goal. The plant currently employs approximately 3,800 workers.

    The company is still working to finish its previous expansion plan, announced in 2014 and worth $400 million, to add 100,000 units of additional capacity by 2016.

  • Justice Department investigating VW diesel scandal

    September 21, 2015
    Volkswagen is already in hot water with the Environmental Protection Agency for manipulating its diesel-powered vehicles to comply with clean air regulations, and now the company could be facing criminal charges from the U.S. Justice Department.

    According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Justice Department is currently conducting a criminal investigation into VW’s use of a software cheat that allowed its so-called clean diesel models to pass the EPA’s clean air standards. VW has admitted that it fitted some of its diesel models with a software code that allowed the vehicle to run cleaner when it detected that it was on an EPA testing cycle. During real world driving, those supposedly clean vehicles emitted up to 40 times the pollutants allowed under the EPA’s rules.

    It’s possible that the Justice Department’s investigation could ultimately lead to jail time for some VW executives. The company is already facing a maximum fine of $18 billion from federal regulators.

    So far no recall has been issued for the nearly 500,000 TDI vehicles sold in America with the embedded cheat software, but one is certainly coming. VW will also have to face lawsuits from disgruntled owners.

    VW’s stock price was hit hard by the scandal during Monday trading, falling by as much as 23 percent and erasing more than $17 billion of the company’s paper value.

    Photo by Drew Johnson.

  • Tesla quietly bumps Model X range to 250 miles

    September 21, 2015
    Tesla Motors has reportedly increased its range estimate for the Model X crossover.

    Reports based on an invite-only configuration portal initially quoted a distance of 240 miles, however the listed specs have been quietly changed to a promise of 250 miles, according to Green Car Reports.

    The figure is tied to the range-topping P90D Signature Series, integrating a 90-kWh battery pack. In contrast, the the Model S P85D received a 253-mile EPA range and Tesla suggests the 90-kWh battery should bring the number up by six percent to 268 miles.

    Tesla has not yet detailed the entire range of available configurations for the Model X, but a rear-wheel-drive or non-performance package could offer greater range than 250 miles with the same 90-kWh battery pack.

    The Model X Signature Series carries a $132,000 price tag, though Tesla chief Elon Musk previously promised that the crossover will only cost approximately $5,000 more than a similarly-equipped Model S sedan.

    The first batch will be ready by the end of the month, ahead of volume production toward the end of the year. Tesla is not expected to introduce the entry-level packages until 2016.

  • Hyundai previews 700-hp Tucson for SEMA

    September 21, 2015

    Hyundai has previewed its most-powerful Tucson ever, a SEMA-bound show car built with help from Bisimoto Engineering.

    The high-performance crossover is powered by Hyundai’s 2.4-liter Theta-II powerplant, shared with the Sonata. In the Tucson’s standard production form, the four-cylinder engine produces 182 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.

    Bisimoto took the diminutive mill and added a high-boost turbocharger, strengthened internals and an upgraded engine management system to deliver more than 700 horsepower to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

    “After hundreds of hours of testing and developing new engine components, we’re confident that this power plant can handle what we’re asking from it, delivering a fresh, race-bred take on the 2016 Tucson with performance and reliability at its core,” said Bisimoto owner and chief engineer Bisi Ezerioha.

    The tuner added a unique body kit to achieve a “street fighter” look, complete with air-ride suspension and white five-star race wheels. A custom roll cage hints at its track potential.

    The customized Tucson will be formally unveiled at a SEMA press conference on November 3.

  • Cadillac aiming for $100,000 Escalade?

    September 21, 2015

    General Motors is reportedly aiming to push the Cadillac Escalade into the six-figure price category.

    Following rumors of a potential V-badged Escalade in the works, an Automotive News report suggests the company is considering an upmarket shift to better compete with ultra-luxury models from Bentley and Maserati.

    The 2016 Escalade currently tops out at $98,945 (including freight) for the stretched ESV Platinum package with every option, just shy of the $100,000 mark, and the company is said to see room for even more expensive variants.

    “The strength of the Escalade prompts us to think about ways to delve into even further,” Cadillac spokesman Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “The argument for doing it with Escalade is strong and momentum is moving it higher. It’s completely logical that’s where you go with it.”

    The luxury SUV has been a strong seller for the brand, with sales of the short-wheelbase model up by 17 percent for the first eight months of the year. The more expensive ESV variant has been on an even steeper trajectory, with deliveries jumping by approximately 40 percent.

    A time-frame for offering a more expensive Escalade remains unclear, and Caldwell cautioned that Cadillac is currently more focused on filling holes in its portfolio rather than offering more variants of existing models.

  • H&R Skoda Superb: Preise und technische Daten

    September 21, 2015

    Fahrwerksspezialist H&R bietet jetzt Sportfedern für den Skoda Superb an

    Die tschechische Limousine wird damit um 30 Millimeter tiefergelegt

    Die Federn kosten 260,61 Euro und kommen mit einem Gutachten zum Kunden

    Lennestadt, 18. September 2015
    Die dritte Generation des Skoda Superb zielt mittlerweile auf die gehobene Mittelklasse ab. Und da der Superb trotz großzügiger Ausstattung vergleichsweise günstig zu haben ist, bleibt genug Geld übrig, um zum Beispiel im Fahrwerksbereich noch etwas nachzuwürzen. H&R hat jetzt ein neues Sportfeder-Nachrüstkit für den Tschechen im Angebot.

    Sportlichere Optik, besseres Fahrverhalten
    Die neuen Federn sind auf die Seriendämpfer abgestimmt und lassen den Superb sowie vorne als auch hinten rund 30 Millimeter tiefer liegen, als ab Werk. Heraus kommt eine sportlichere Optik für die 220-PS-starke Limousine. Passend dazu verbessert sich außerdem die Kurvenlage des Tschechen – für ein perfektes Zusammenspiel aus Optik und Performance.

    Alle Teile mit Gutachten
    Die Sportfedern aus dem Sauerland kosten für den Skoda Superb 260,61 Euro. Wer passend zur Tieferlegung nun auch noch seine Felgen etwas mehr betonen möchte, für den arbeitet H&R schon an den “Trak+”-genannten Spurverbreiterungen. Alle Teile, die H&R verkauft, kommen mit einem Gutachten zum Kunden.

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  • VW und Bahlsen: Bulli-Kekse

    September 21, 2015

    VW Nutzfahrzeuge und Bahlsen gehen eine leckere Kooperation ein

    60.000 Packungen Leibniz-Kekse werden für die Zusammenarbeit hergestellt

    Das Besondere: Die Kekse kommen in elf verschiedenen Bulli-Motiven daher

    Hannover, 21. September 2015
    Im norddeutschen Hannover entsteht eine wunderbar-süße Kooperation zwischen zwei alteingesessenen Traditionsunternehmen. Der Autohersteller VW Nutzfahrzeuge und der Süßwarenproduzent Bahlsen gehen gemeinsame Wege, um einen der traditionsreichsten Transporter in einen echten Leckerbissen zu verwandeln.

    Kekse mit Bulli-Motiv
    Im Bahlsen-Werk Barsinghausen werden dazu jetzt 60.000 Packungen Leibniz-Kekse produziert. Das besondere an den Keksen: Sie kommen in elf verschiedenen Bulli-Motiven, vom T1 bis zum T6. Bahlsen-Inhaber Werner M. Bahlsen fand die richtigen Worte für die Kooperation: “Der Bulli-Keks ist eine originelle Symbiose von Volkskeks und Volkswagen, beziehungsweise Familienkeks und Familienfahrzeug.” Die erste Wagenladung Bulli-Kekse ging – standesgemäß im neuen VW T6 – an die Kinderklinik der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover, wo sich die jungen Patienten nun über ein wirklich süßes Trostpflaster freuen können.

    Leckereien vorerst für Mitarbeiter und Kunden
    Wer jetzt hofft, die leckeren Bullis demnächst schon vom Einkauf mit nach Hause nehmen zu können, der muss sich noch etwas gedulden. Zuerst werden die Mitarbeiter von VW Nutzfahrzeuge in den Genuss der knusprigen Transporter kommen. Anschließend werden die Kekse an Kunden verteilt und im Shop des Kundencenters von VW Nutzfahrzeuge angeboten. Allerdings wird schon geprüft, ob die Sonderedition der Leibniz-Kekse 2016 womöglich deutschlandweit im Handel erhältlich sein wird. Wäre doch schade, wenn nicht.

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