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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Wife of Carlos Ghosn Asks President Trump To Intervene For Her Husband

This picture taken on April 3, 2019 shows former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn (L) and his wife Carole (L) leave the office of his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka in Tokyo. - Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will remain in custody until at least April 14, a Japanese court ruled on April 5, 2019, as prosecutors quiz him over fresh allegations of financial misconduct. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Carole Ghosn, the wife of disgruntled ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn who is currently on trial in Japan, asked the US government, particularly President Donald Trump, to talk to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the state of her husband.

The two will meet during this year’s G20 summit in Osaka from June 28 to 29.

She asked Mr. Trump to speak with Abe about fair trial conditions for her husband. Mr. Ghosn, who is awaiting trial, is facing charges of under-reporting his salary and using Nissan’s funds for personal expenses. The 65-year-old former executive, who was also at the helm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, denied these accusations.

Mrs. Ghosn asked the US president for three things: fair trial conditions, to let her speak to her husband, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The last time she saw her husband was on April 4 when prosecutors re-arrested him in their apartment in the early hours of the day. Fresh allegations were made in April and the court allowed officers to arrest Mr. Ghosn who was first taken into custody in November 2018.

He was freed on a $4.5 million bail but is living under very strict conditions. He is not allowed to see his wife and he must stay in Japan in a court-appointed residence with cameras to monitor his every movement.

Mrs. Ghosn said “all of these” could have been handled internally by the company. “They didn’t need to go this far,” she told BBC in an interview. Mr. Ghosn, a French citizen, resigned as the chairman and CEO of Nissan shortly after the scandal broke out.

Mrs. Ghosn, who was earlier questioned but never charged of any wrongdoings, said the courts want to implicate her “to weaken Carlos and to shut me up.” She said she isn’t a “conniving woman” and that she was “a housewife who raised three children.”

 

 

Fisker Electric SUV Will Rival Tesla Model Y

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EV brand Fisker is reviving its lineup with a new SUV with a 300-mile range in the works. The company, who released a series of teaser shots of the EV, said it plans to introduce the new SUV to the market in 2021 with a debut scheduled this December.

Fisker said it is in the final stages of choosing a production site for the SUV. The company added that it will be priced below $40,000, meaning that the price point will rival the Tesla Model Y which is due to be released in the second half of 2020.

Back in 2018, Fisker introduced the EMotion sedan that will supposedly be the foundation of the EV SUV. But the teaser images revealed by the company showed a different design that the concept introduced a year ago. This vehicle has sharper lines and an indicator lamp mounted in the C-pillar. This design is supposed to improve the safety features of the EV, Fisker said.

There were earlier photos of the SUV that revealed a somewhat similar front design to the EMotion. Both of the vehicles placed their safety sensors within the cars’ grille. They will also have massive wheels of up to 22 inches in diameter for the SUV and 24 inches for the sedan.

Under the hood, the SUV is going with a dual-motor system that can drive for 300 miles. Its battery is a conventional lithium-ion although Fisker is planning to develop its own battery. It’ll be no surprise if the battery is switched halfway into the production.

The EV SUV is one of the three most affordable models in the company’s plan. The two others will follow the SUV while the EMotion is going to be launched soon after. The EMotion will retail for a whopping $190,000 with top specifications.

The EMotion was originally scheduled for a 2019 reveal but the plan has been put to test by Fisker wanting to perfect its solid-state battery, the same one it plans to use in this new SUV. The solid-state battery will be able to go 500 miles on a single charge. It will also be recharged in just a few minutes.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB Is The Crossover We Never Knew We Needed Til Now

Mit bis zu sieben Sitzplätzen: Der neue Mercedes-Benz GLB: für Familie & Freunde With up to seven seats: The new Mercedes-Benz GLB: for family & friends

Think of the G-Class in miniature size. That’s how the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB looks like. It’s a three-row, seven-seater crossover that slides between the 2019 GLA and the 2019 GLC. Using the German company’s new platform that’s also in the A-Class and B-Class, the GLB’s boxy design is the latest in the brand’s compact car range.

Spacious Family Car

Mit bis zu sieben Sitzplätzen: Der neue Mercedes-Benz GLB: für Familie & FreundeWith up to seven seats: The new Mercedes-Benz GLB: for family & friends

The main advantages of the GLB are its cabin and compartment. It’s the first in this segment to be offered in a seven-seat capacity, with the two seats in the third row compatible for people up to 1.68 meters in height.

The GLB has a wheelbase of 2,829 millimeters, which is 10 millimeters more than the B-Class. The headroom in the first row is 1,035 millimeters—the best in the segment—while the legroom in the rear in a five-seater configuration is 967 millimeters.

The load compartment is 560 liters for the seven-seater setup and 1,755 liters for the five-seater setup. The second row can be longitudinally adjusted while the standard inclination for the backrests is adjustable in several stages. The load compartment can then be maximized by up to 179 liters and put to versatile use.

Second Best Powertrain

Mit bis zu sieben Sitzplätzen: Der neue Mercedes-Benz GLB: für Familie & Freunde With up to seven seats: The new Mercedes-Benz GLB: for family & friends

The GLB has a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. In the US market, the only competitor to best that specification in the segment is the BMW X2, which has seven horsepower more and same amount of torque output. To reach 60 mph from a standstill, the GLB and the X2 need only 6.9 seconds. The top speed is rated at 130 mph.

In Europe, there are two diesel options to choose from: the GLB200d and the GLB220d. Both are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder oil burner but the GLB200d comes with 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet on tap and hits 62 mph in nine seconds while the GLB220d benefits from 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

4 Things We Can Expect From The Mid-Engined 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette

The mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette is finally going into production. It has been a long time coming… seven decades, in fact, for those who have been counting. It all started with the 1964 CERV II until the 1990 CERV III. Even after featuring radical designs that could change the game forever, Chevrolet never moved these concepts into production.

And yet, on July 18, Chevy is finally going to unveil the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette. What are we expecting?

The Corvette Is Going To Be A Supercar

No matter what Chevy does with the mid-engined Corvette, one thing is for sure: the brand is going to wow us. There have been so many spy shots of the car it’s hard to imagine how it’ll really look like, though we expect a short nose because the engine is placed behind the front seats. It’ll also look more like a supercar than an American muscle car. It will also have the most advanced technology—a high-definition instrument cluster and screen—we’ll ever get to see in a Chevy.

The Corvette Is Going To Be Powerful

The C8 Corvette is powered by a traditional 6.2-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 that, by itself, can produce 850 horses. But rumors have it that the car will offer hybrid power, too, which means the possibility of an AWD setup and 1,000 horsepower or more. The sprint to 60 mph should take only three seconds while the top speed is at 220 mph. There’ll be no manual transmission and it will be dual-clutch only.

The Corvette Is Going To Try To Topple The Ford GT At The 24 Hours Le Mans

Sure, it might not be this year, but we’re betting the Corvette is going to try to put out the Ford GT at the 24 Hours Le Mans. It’s inevitable. Chevy didn’t wait almost seven decades to produce a car that won’t be able to battle it out with the likes of the Ford GT.

The Corvette Is Going To Wow Us During Its Debut

Chevy is going livestream its debut, and it’s also flying journalists all over the country to see the C8 Corvette in the flesh. Expect to see a great show that, much like the mid-engined Corvette, is seven decades in the making.

More Details About Range And Battery Of Upcoming Honda E

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Honda revealed more details about its cute compact electric vehicle simply called Honda E. Although it is not intended for the US market, it’s still worth taking note that the Honda E will have a 50:50 weight distribution that is marked to provide ample breathing room for the car’s lightweight transition.

The first near-production prototype of the Honda E was shown at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show while the final version is scheduled to be revealed later this year to the European market. It is not clear yet why the Japanese carmaker decided the US market isn’t ready to receive the Honda E, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for this plan to change.

The Honda E is less funky than the original Urban EV concept on which it is based. However, it retains most of the features that made that EV concept quite a star among car enthusiasts. The Honda E’s electric motor will deliver power to the rear wheels and the chassis features a four-wheel independent suspension.

The battery pack is a water-cooled 35.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit that is compatible with a Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC rapid charger. The maximum range for the Honda E is pegged at 125 miles but the rapid charger can bring the car’s charge to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

You can find the charging port on the hood. It features LED lighting to easily be distinguishable and for owners to see the charging status.

According to Honda, the company already received about 31,000 reservations for the compact EV. Most interested consumers are coming from the UK, Germany, France, and Norway. That number will easily increase so long as Honda brings the car to the US and even to other markets. While that remains to be seen, here’s to hoping the Japanese automaker sees the practicality in this.

New 2019 Audi A3 Spotted In Standard Trim

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Wasn’t it just recently that we spotted the sporty S trim of the new 2019 Audi A3? Well, this time it’s the standard trim that has been spotted being tested on the road. The new generation of A3 is being prepared for launch later this year and it’s bound to go on sale in early 2020.

The spy shots showed that Audi will continue to reinvent the A3 to fit the brand’s new design language. The new model’s lighting design and front-end design are inspired by the latest A4 while the cabin should have features identical to the Virtual Cockpit setup in the Q3 SUV.

This new A3 will have a range of conventional and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Mechanically, it is expected to follow the footsteps of the Volkswagen Golf, including the plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s expected to be fitted in the new Golf GTE. Audi will also use the Golf’s regular petrol engines featuring 12-volt and 48-volt mild-hybrid systems.

What’s clear for now, though, is that Audi is not planning an all-electric version for the A3.

Another bad news is that the three-door A3 will likely to be discontinued because of poor market performance. Audi produced 7,818 examples of the three-door A3 and 167,741 units of the five-door A3 Sportbacks in 2017.

The company plans to come up with 12 pure-electric models by 2025. A car the size of the A3 has already been confirmed a part of this plan. It’s not the A3 per se. Rather, it’s going to be launched as an upmarket alternative to the Volkswagen ID. It will also use the VW Group’s new MEB EV platform.

We can expect A3’s lineup to include a Cabriolet, a Saloon, and a longer four-door coupe in the future. The latter would most likely be in competition with the new Mercedes CLA.

3 Things We Expect From The 2020 BMW M8 Convertible

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BMW finally delivered its promised M8 Convertible, the first for the 8 Series, which since its conception two decades ago has only been available in a coupe version. This luxury convertible sedan will finally give the AMG-prepped Mercedes S63 and S65 Cabriolet some competition.

It comes in standard and Competition trim, with the former getting 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque while the Competition trim putting out 17 more ponies.

Exterior

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The M treatment isn’t that all dramatic. In fact, you’ll have a hard time differentiating the M8 Convertible from the M850i, except for the bigger inlets in the front and back and the wider arches and vents along the sides.

Out front, you’ll see the camera and sensors protruding proudly. BMW is not the type of brand that will hide their cameras and sensors behind a grille. It has an aerodynamic lip around the tip of the bumper, as well as bigger vents out front. The hood is made of carbon fiber double bubble for a lightweight material.

The wheelbase is at 111.1 inches with an overall car length of 191.2 inches, a width of 74.9 inches, and a height of 53.0 inches.

Interior

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The M8 has a lot of the 8 Series’ features inside the cabin. The wide dashboard still separates the driver’s and passenger’s side. There’s a lot of carbon fiber materials in here, and you can get more if you opt for the M Performance parts. The main controls are on the dashboard but other features can be accessed through the 10.25-inch infotainment display.

The front seats are powered by a semi-electric folding function that makes it easier for back passengers to enter and exit the car. Most of the cabin is wrapped in leather and Alcantara. You can opt for tan leather with tan stitching if black isn’t your thing, but other combinations are available such as Ivory White/Tartufo, Midland Beige, and Ivory White/Midnight Blue.

Drivetrain

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As mentioned above, the M8 Convertible will come in two trims: the standard and the Competition. It has the same S63B44T4 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 with four valves per cylinder that’s also found in the M5. The standard M8 makes 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque between 1,800 and 5,700 rpm.

The Competition package will give you 617 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and the same 553 torque, but they’re available between 1,800 and 5,860 rpm.

2020 Cadillac CT4-V: What Sets It Apart From The ATS-V

Cadillac CT4-V

The 2020 Cadillac CT4-V is now the brand’s entry-level model, effectively replacing the well-loved ATS-V that ended its run last year. The ATS-V was a four-door sedan that produces 464 horsepower. Will the CT4-V be able to compete?

Cadillac showed us the CT4-V version, which is a notch higher than the base model but still isn’t the track variant we are expecting. The CT4-V looks pretty athletic already, though, with its wide grille with a dark mesh pattern framed by a dark border. This is reminiscent to the ATS-V, as well as the vertically-oriented headlights. The CT4-V diverged a little by adding lights that drip down on the sides of the front fascia.

If you can remember, the ATS-V has a smaller upper grille and a more prominent lower grille. Its carbon fiber package will get you a carbon-fiber front splitter, carbon-fiber hood vent, and composite black rocker extensions. Hopefully, we’ll get to see all these on the track variant of the CT4-V.

Viewed from the side, the CT4-V doesn’t look out of the ordinary. It features a character line near the top of the door handles and a sharper line at the bottom near the wheels. The roof has an interesting slope to it that made the window look wonky.

The two models—the ATS-V and the CT4-V—share the same wheelbase, but the latter is 3.2 inches longer. The difference is barely visible but we’re sure the passengers will appreciate the extra space.

The CT4-V has quad exhaust tips popping out of its rear end. The taillights are also oriented vertically, much the same as the headlamps out front. The overall design of the rear end is simple; the ATS-V has a bolder rear spoiler.

Moving inside, the CT4-V will be completely different from the ATS-V. The new model has a redesigned infotainment setup—a screen that sits on top of the dashboard and a rotary control that knob that sits right next to the driver. There are other control buttons, too, that have all been made for user comfort.

Goodbye Jaguar XJ, Welcome All-New Electric Flagship Car

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Luxury carmaker Jaguar confirmed that the production of the Jaguar XJ will come to an end in July. The last car will roll off the production line on July 5 this year. This prepares the lineup for the coming of a flagship electric model in 2020.

The current XJ, known as the X351 was launched over a decade ago, with some 122,330 units sold since it was built. The original XJ was first launched in 1968 with Jaguar even unveiling an anniversary special edition called the XJ 50 model in 2018 to commemorate the feat.

A spokesman for Jaguar confirmed that the XJ’s end of production has been planned, but that the company plans to use the XJ nameplate again in the future to highlight the brand’s “renowned engineering capability and technological innovation.”

Sources said the relaunch might be earlier than expected. The end of the production of petrol-dependent XJs opens the doors for a new XJ with an all-electronic powertrain.

This should not come as a surprise for those who’ve been following Jaguar’s plans. The company facelifted the XJ in 2015 but last year, the range cut off the high-performance XJR—which has Jaguar’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine—and all other petrol engines. It left only the 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine that makes 296 horsepower.

The X351 is the eight-generation XJ. It was the first to feature Jaguar’s modern design language since the previous seven generations shared the same iconic look.

The X351 was also the fifth most produced XJ. The X340 was the one built in highest numbers with some 208,733 produced between the year 1986 and 1994. The XJ Series III made 177,243 units from 1979 to 1992.

The XJ Series II, on the other hand, produced 127,078 examples between 1973 and 1979. It comes in both salon and coupe forms.

2020 Ford Escape SUV Starts At $25,980

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The 2020 Ford Escape compact SUV will start at $25,980 but could top off at $40,000 when fully loaded. Ford released the price details for its Escape range, which is due to arrive in dealerships in a few months.

The compact SUV did not divert from its affordable pricing, only increasing slightly from its predecessor. Considering the added features and the hybrid option, the price increase isn’t significant at all.

The base S model is the one priced at $25,980 while the SE can be bought for $28,190. The SE Sport (hybrid) will cost $29,530 and the SEL $30,350. The top-of-the-line Titanium (hybrid) loaded with all the options will sell for $34,495 while the Titanium regular comes with a price tag of $37,780.

The base model is $780 more than the predecessor’s entry-level model. That gets you the standard features of a suite of driver-assist systems such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning.

The SE model adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SEL model gets more features. These three models will have a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive configuration. The engine can generate 180 horsepower.

If you want the all-wheel-drive setup, you need to add $1,500. For the SEL trim, an AWD configuration will get the more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower. That’s an additional $2,285.

The top-of-the-line Escape Titanium regular (not the hybrid) has the 2.0-liter engine and AWD. At $37,780, any additional option will put it on the $40,000 mark.

The hybrid model comes in two trim levels: the SE Sport and the Titanium. Standard to these two trims is a front-wheel-drive, although you can get the AWD for $1,320 or $1,500, respectively.

There’s no official EPA rating yet for the Escape hybrid but it should have around 38 mpg combined. There’s talk of a plug-in hybrid model with 30 miles of range, but that would probably arrive next year.

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