Blog Archives

Ford Takes Another Step Closer To Autonomy – CES 2017

January 5th, 2017 at 9:08pm

Ford’s latest iteration of its Level 4 Fusion mounts the LIDARs on the A pillars and incorporates 6 cameras into what looks like a roof rack. But it’s not about coming up with a cleaner installation. It’s about coming up with a better autonomous car.

Chrysler’s Portal Knows Your Name – CES 2017

January 5th, 2017 at 7:40pm

Chrysler’s Portal Concept Car is more than a design exercise. It’s a demonstration test bed for interactive technology where the vehicle recognizes you and adopts to your needs and wants. Plus, it demonstrates an amazing audio system where each occupant can listen to their own music selections or take a phone call that no one else can hear.

Developing the Hack-Proof Autonomous Car – CES 2017

January 5th, 2017 at 4:14pm

Is it possible to make a hack-proof autonomous car? Renesas Electronics is working on it. At the same time, it’s developed processors that provide multiple levels of redundancy, yet the whole system runs on very low power.

AAH #360 – A Very Merry AAH

December 23rd, 2016 at 11:47am

Audio-only version:

01:40 - The 2016 Year in Review
07:30 - PHONE CALL: GM Lordstown plant?
18:20 -Presents & Coal” begins!
30:52 - Doctor Data
34:30 - More “Presents & Coal”!
47:02 - PHONE CALL: Presents & Coal for Bob & Bob
48:25 - More “Presents & Coal”!
1:01:06 - PHONE CALL
: GM vs. Ford truck commercials

Tis the season for the annual “Presents & Coal” show, when Santa’s AAH elves bestow gifts on those in the automotive world who were nice, and hand out chunks of coal to those who were naughty.

And some of our recipients are:
FCA, GM, Honda, Lincoln, BMW, Germany, America and many more…

PANEL: John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, AD&P; Mark Phelan, The Detroit Free Press, Todd Lassa, Automobile

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

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AAH #359 – Pacifica Goes Electric

December 15th, 2016 at 2:30pm

Audio-only version:

When Bob Dylan “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival he literally rocked the music world; At the time, not in a good way.  Earlier this year Chrysler debuted its new Pacifica minivan to rave reviews. Five months later they followed up with a vehicle that no one was asking for in the form of the first plugin hybrid minivan. Join host Gary Vasilash as he talks to the men behind this powertrain, and then hear what his auto reporter panel has to say about the new Pacifica Plugin Hybrid.

SPECIAL GUESTS:
01:25 - Kevin Mets, Chief Engineer, Pacifica Hybrid
13:09 - John Gibson, Global Chief Engineer, Electrified Powertrains, FCA

26:10 – PANEL DISCUSSION: Gary Vasilash, AD&P; Jean Jennings, Facebook.com/JeanKnowsCars; Anton Wahlman, Seeking Alpha; Alisa Priddle, Motor Trend

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

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AAH #358 – Where Henry Ford Stood

December 9th, 2016 at 11:32am

Audio-only version:

NEWS TOPICS:
01:16 - A Peek at the Piquette Museum
32:30 - Trump’s EPA Choice and his Automotive Advisors
45:19 - Doctor Data: Amazon Snowmobile
48:50 - Is Apple Back in the Autonomy Game?
57:44 – Phone call: Electric powered vehicles
01:00:12 – Phone call: Ford EcoSport
01:10:29 – Discussion continues…bonus footage!

SPECIAL GUEST: Nancy Darga, Executive Director, Piquette Museum

PANEL:  John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, AD&P; and Joe Szczesny, The Oakland Press

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

AAH #357 – Alfa Giulia: Are You Ready For A Performance Sedan?

December 1st, 2016 at 2:30pm

Audio-only version:

It’s been years of waiting, but the Alfa Romeo brand is finally starting to take shape. Dealerships have had the 4C for a while, but now they’re welcoming the brand’s first sedan, the all-new Giulia. Join host Gary Vasilash from the site of its North American media drive in Napa Valley, California as he and guest co-host Tim Stevens from Roadshow by CNET, talk to the team behind Alfa Romeo. In addition during the news portion of the show, Gary and Tim are also joined by two colleagues as they discuss the hopes for this new performance sedan.

SPECIAL GUESTS:
01:04Reid Bigland, CEO, Alfa Romeo
17:05Richard Cox, Director, Alfa Romeo North America
27:34Fabio Di Muro, Vehicle Line Director, Alfa Romeo

38:36 - PANEL: Gary Vasilash, AD&P; Tim Stevens, CNET; Rebecca Lindland, KBB; Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Seat Time: 2017 Bentley Bentayga – Ne Plus Ultra Amongst Luxury SUV’s

November 25th, 2016 at 10:00am

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.


Reviewer:
John McElroy
Vehicle: 2017 Bentley Bentayga
Price: $275,180

Final Impression:

I knew that Bentley achieved everything it wanted with the Bentayga when I drove up to the main entrance at the Greenbrier, one of the poshest resort hotels in the world. People stopped and stared. Suddenly the Benz’s, BMW’s and Range Rover’s parked out front looked somewhat pedestrian, even mundane. I overhead one woman breathlessly ask, “Who’s in the Bentley?”

You want instant rock star status? Get a Bentayga. But you better bring a rock star income along with you, too. The one I drove had over $43,000 in options, which in itself is enough to buy a decent luxury car. But for those who have this kind of disposable income, the Bentayga gives get something very special for your money.

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Bentayga by Mulliner 01Let’s start with the interior, which I think is the most impressive aspect of this car. It’s arresting, truly one of those open-the-door-and-take-your-breath-away designs. Bentley is masterful at choosing the perfect types of leathers and colors. And accents and contrasts. And textures and smells. It just makes you want to inhale deeply with every breath and run your hands over every surface.

Even more, it has a wonderful combination of modernity sprinkled with old-school touches. For example, it bristles with the latest in electronic interfaces but retains the damped organ-stop vent controls that Bentley used for most of the last century. From the quilted leather accents to the large burled walnut veneers that run through the tops of the doors and across the face of the dashboard, it gets awfully close to being garish but stops just in time to look impressively opulent instead.

As you look at the Bentayga’s silhouette you realize that it exhibits proportions not seen on any other SUV. It has a high belt line with chunky fenders. It has a chopped front overhang, but a stretched rear overhang. And the back lite is set at a faster angle than the windshield. In other words, there’s nothing else in the market that is shaped like it.

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016 Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Untitled-1This was not done purely for aesthetic reasons. The shape of the car provides rear seat passengers with plenty of room at the same time it provides decent luggage space.

To drive home the “sport” aspect of this sport utility vehicle, it has a pronounced curve at the leading edge of the rear fenders, reminiscent of the haunches of a jungle cat ready to leap at its prey. And just in case the haunches don’t drive that point home, all you have to do is tap into its 600 horsepower W-12 engine. I’ve never felt 5,000 pounds of steel, glass and aluminum rocket forward so quickly.

The Bentayga is currently in a class of its own, but will soon share the road with a couple of cousins. The next generation Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus will share the same VW AG MLB platform. Though each has its own unique personality they could vie for the same class of customers. That might muddy the waters from a sales standpoint.

For now though, the Bentayga has the market to itself. And it has made an impression that extends well beyond the 1%-ers it’s aimed at. When driving down the highway I noticed a number of people whip out their cell phones to shoot a video of the Bentayga as it whistled past them. That was a new experience for me. I’ve never seen people shooting a video of a car that I was driving. And I test drive a lot of different cars.

It’s amazing how people the world over are turning away from traditional sedans to buy an SUV instead. It’s even more amazing to see this happen at the upper crust of the luxury segment. And that tells me the Bentayga will probably end up being the best selling Bentley ever.

 

 

 

AAH #356 – EcoSport Goes Online In LA

November 17th, 2016 at 2:30pm

Audio-only version:

NEWS TOPICS:
01:23Eric Loeffler gives a rundown on Ford’s all-new CUV, the EcoSport
16:46Chantel Lenard talks sales and marketing for the EcoSport
27:21Journalists opinions on EcoSport entering a competitive market
40:27Automobility LA: Who’s taking the spotlight?

SPECIAL GUESTS:
Eric Loeffler, EcoSport Chief Program Engineer, Ford
Chantel Lenard, Executive Director, U.S. Marketing, Ford

PANEL: John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, AD&P; Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book; Bob Gritzinger, WardsAuto

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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Thanks to our partners and friends AutoFieldGuide.com and WardsAuto.com for embedding AAH!

Mazda CX-5: Zoom-Zoom With a Vengeance – LA Auto Show 2016

November 16th, 2016 at 8:27pm

Mazda defies all the conventions in the automotive industry. At a time when so many predict that only the giant automakers will survive, Mazda is the little company that punches way above its weight. Robert Davis, the Senior VP of Operations for Mazda North America, points out the highlights of the new CX-5. Even though the prior version came out four years ago, the new one has an all-new body, all-new interior, and a big surprise that’s under the hood.