• First Genesis dealer agreement signed

    April 14, 2016

    Less than six months since Hyundai Motor Company announced the launch of its luxury-oriented brand, North Freeway Hyundai has reached an agreement with the Korean automaker to sell and service Genesis vehicles.

    The Houston-based dealer announced the agreement Thursday morning. It expects to have Genesis vehicles available for test drives as soon as this summer.

    Hyundai’s North American arm began negotiating with existing Hyundai dealers shortly after the announcement, starting with those who were already certified to carry and service the automaker’s Equus and Genesis Sedans.

    While the overwhelming majority of dealers who enter into agreements to sell the Genesis brand will likely be selected from among those who are currently certified, sources within Hyundai’s U.S. management previously told Leftlane that not all of them will necessarily make the final cut.

    The Genesis brand will launch with the G90 sedan–which replaces the outgoing Hyundai Equus–later this year. The G80 will follow, replacing the current Genesis, with a new compact sport sedan and coupe expected to be officially announced shortly.

    Photo courtesy of North Freeway Hyundai.

  • NHTSA: 85 million Takata airbags could still face recalls

    April 14, 2016

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Wednesday that there are 85 million Takata air bags on U.S. roads that are not yet the subject of any recall campaigns.

    That could change shortly, as NHTSA is pressuring the troubled air bag supplier to demonstrate the safety of those remaining units, lest it order all of them recalled proactively.

    According to Reuters, NHTSA-backed recall campaigns have been launched for some 28 million units known to be of the faulty design that has been blamed for at least ten deaths.

    It is not known whether the remaining 85 million exhibit the same alleged defects as the units already under recall, but NHTSA doesn’t seem interested in taking chances.

    It would be bad news for automakers in the short-term, as some are already facing overwhelming backlogs for existing recalls. In the long-term, Takata itself could face as much as $24 billion in associated costs and automakers are already looking elsewhere for replacement units.

  • Lincoln prices 2017 Continental

    April 14, 2016

    Lincoln has announced pricing information for its brand new 2017 Continental flagship.

    The Continental lineup will be broken down into four trim levels called Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label, respectively. Premiere starts at $45,485 once a mandatory $925 destination charge is factored in. Select begins at $48,440, Reserve starts at $54,840, and Black Label sits on top of the Continental hierarchy at $63,840.

    Premiere and Select models come standard with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that sends 300 horsepower to the front wheels via an automatic transmission, while Reserve and Black Label trims benefit from a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 rated at 335 ponies. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option all across the board, and the top two trims can be upgraded with a 3.0-liter V6 that makes a solid 400 horsepower at an extra cost.

    The list of standalone options includes a panoramic sunroof, a CD player, 20-inch alloy wheels, and 30-way power-adjustable front seats. Buyers also have a long list of option packages to choose from.

    The 2017 Lincoln Continental will begin to arrive on dealer lots in the fall. It’s aimed right at the Audi A6, which starts at $46,200 with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 252 horsepower and front-wheel drive.

    Photos by Brian Williams.

  • Infiniti previews Beijing-bound QX Sport Inspiration concept

    April 14, 2016

    Infiniti has released a dark teaser image that previews a brand new concept called QX Sport Inspiration.

    Set to debut in less than two weeks at the biennial Beijing Auto Show, the QX Sport Inspiration takes the form of a crossover whose front end is inspired by Infiniti’s latest design language. It features a bold rendition of the company’s ubiquitous grille, a sculpted bumper with vertical air ducts, and sharp LED headlights. When viewed from this angle, the QX Sport almost looks like a more rugged version of the 2017 Q60 coupe.

    While Infiniti hasn’t revealed what the future holds for the concept, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a thinly-veiled preview of the next-generation QX70. The current car — which was formerly known as the FX — has been on the market since 2008 so it’s reasonable to assume that a replacement is right around the corner.

    We’ll find out for sure in a few short days when the QX Sport Inspiration concept makes its global debut in the Chinese capital. Stay tuned, we’ll be on location to bring you live images of it.

  • Toyota recalls Avalon, Camry to fix airbag glitch

    April 14, 2016

    Toyota is preparing to recall the 2016 Avalon and Camry to fix an airbag defect, affecting more than 58,000 vehicles sold in the US market.

    Some vehicles may have left the factory without proper calibration of the occupant classification system (OCS), which determines the front passenger’s weight. Proper operation will prevent the airbags from firing if the seat is occupied by an infant or small child.

    “With the improper calibration, under some conditions, the front passenger airbag and the front passenger knee airbag may not deploy as designed in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury to a front seat passenger,” the company said in a statement.

    Service technicians will simply re-calibrate the system to restore proper operation.

    It is unclear if the defect has been associated with any injuries or deaths.