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Pickups, SUVs and crossovers dominated strong auto sales in 2017

Automotive / Automotive News /

Robot vehicles might rip apart the business model of the car industry in the coming years, but for now, automakers are still selling lots of cars and light trucks.

U.S. sales for 2017 are expected to come in at 17.2 million vehicles, to be adjusted slightly up or down this week as more companies report their numbers.

That's down from 17.55 ...Read more

Self-driving tech supplier Velodyne cuts price of key sensor in half

Automotive / Automotive News /

Velodyne LiDAR, a leading supplier of the sensors and laser-based guidance systems at the heart of autonomous vehicles, has cut the price of its latest product in half to about $4,000, in a step that takes the technology closer to broader commercial use.

The price cut applies to the company's VLP-16 puck, which sits atop a vehicle and detects...Read more

Self-driving tech supplier Velodyne cuts price of key sensor in half

Automotive / Automotive News /

Velodyne LiDAR, a leading supplier of the sensors and laser-based guidance systems at the heart of autonomous vehicles, has cut the price of its latest product in half to about $4,000, in a step that takes the technology closer to broader commercial use.

The price cut applies to the company's VLP-16 puck, which sits atop a vehicle and detects...Read more

Ford sales rose in December on strength of pickups; Fiat Chrysler and GM fall

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford's U.S. sales rose 0.9 percent in December, fueled by 89,385 F-Series pickup trucks. Fiat Chrysler sales fell 11 percent while General Motors dropped 3.3 percent.

For perspective, Ford sold more than twice as many large pickups as the total of all Ford passenger cars sold in the month, 44,871.

At Fiat Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge ...Read more

Eric's Autos: 2018 Buick Cascada

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Impractical convertibles seem to do OK. The practical ones, not so much.

The Toyota Camry Solara, the Chrysler 200 convertible and the Volvo C70 convertible all withered away for lack of interest, like unwanted timeshares -- notwithstanding back seats that were both present and usable by adults as well as trunks large enough to hold more than a...Read more

GM settles lawsuits in ignition scandal, but many cases remain

Automotive / Automotive News /

General Motors will pay $120 million to settle claims from dozens of states in its long-running ignition-switch defect scandal. The settlement resolves one of the legal battles involving a case that left at least 124 people dead and 275 injured in small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion that were made by the old GM.

A federal ...Read more

Fiat Spider Abarth puts extra fun into the classic roadster experience

Automotive / Automotive News /

The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider pays homage to the original 124 Spider, introduced 50 years ago and revived for 2017, with classic Italian styling and performance.

The ultimate Italian roadster experience is a combination of technology and safety, with driving excitement and iconic design. The current 124 Spider reinterprets design cues from the ...Read more

Electric cars edge forward in 2017 but still have a long way to go

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Electric car sales in the U.S. are set to rise nearly 30 percent in 2017.

"This was a notably good year," said Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association.

But the raw number of pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars sold won't top 200,000, which represents barely more than 1 percent of the ...Read more

Lincoln, Honda, Volvo named 2018 Free Press vehicles of the year

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The auto industry is changing at a historic pace as autonomous and electric vehicles draw ever closer to the mainstream, but the characteristics of a great vehicle remain largely unchanged.

Those qualities -- value, innovation, design, technology, safety, capability and efficiency -- define the 2018 Detroit Free Press Car, Truck and ...Read more

2018 Free Press Truck of the Year: Lincoln Navigator combines world-class luxury, towing

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Lincoln's Navigator large luxury vehicle switched to an all-aluminum body for 2018, but the big news – and it's very good news for Ford's long-suffering luxury brand – is inside.

The Navigator oozes luxury, particularly the Black Label models on which Lincoln designers pull out all the stops. Features including 30-way adjustable ...Read more

Under the Hood: Getting to the bottom of 'check engine' warning

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I read your column on a regular basis in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I have a dilemma. I own a Toyota 2007 RAV4 with 64,785 miles on it and maintain the maintenance on it. I periodically get a computer indication (picture attached). I have taken the vehicle in when this comes on and a reading was taken. I was told to add injector cleaner to my...Read more

Review: Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight Edition has menacing good looks, lots of extras

Automotive / Automotive News /

My recent weeklong test of the Chevrolet Tahoe LT Z71 Midnight Edition was actually kind of fun.

Not just because the Tahoe is a great SUV, especially for a family, although it most-certainly is. And not just because it looked so cool with its jet-black exterior and blacked wheels and body trim.

It was because, where I live, it also looks just...Read more

2018 Free Press Car of the Year: Honda Accord is advanced, fun, efficient and affordable

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Reports of the midsize sedan's death are exaggerated. The Honda Accord turned over a new leaf for 2018, and the result was one of the biggest and best changes in the history of a car that's been a favorite with buyers for more than 40 years.

SUV sales are soaring and traditional sedans are in retreat, but the sleek 2018 Accord raises...Read more

2018 Free Press Utility Vehicle of the Year: Volvo XC60 delivers style, advanced features

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The five-seat 2018 Volvo XC60 adds Swedish design and loads of safety and driver assistance features to the fast-growing compact luxury SUV market. It competes with popular vehicles including the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The XC60 shares its architecture, drivetrain and electronics with Volvo's larger XC90 SUV and S90, and V90 sedan and ...Read more

Larry Printz: The 2018 Honda Fit a great fit for those who 'settle' on less than their dream car

Automotive / Automotive News /

You can't always get what you want. Instead, you settle for something else.

You may want to live in an oceanfront villa or mountain cabin; your bank balance assigns you to residing in a townhouse, one of 340 identical units. Feeling hungry? No doubt you'd love up to make reservations at a restaurant with artisanal cuisine and a killer bar scene...Read more

Top 10: The Best of the Best 2017 cars and trucks

Automotive / Automotive News /

Say what you will about the French Art Deco cars of the 1930s or the British sports cars of the 1960s. There has never been a better time in the automotive world than 2017.

Cars and trucks are faster, safer, more fuel efficient and more fun to drive than ever before. And there are so many to choose from.

Automotive perfection is rolling out ...Read more

Tesla still in 'manufacturing hell' for Model 3 sedan going into 'make-or-break' year?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Tesla's ramp-up of production for the entry-level Model 3 sedan may be going more slowly than expected.

The company will produce only 5,000 of the vehicles in the fourth quarter, according to a new projection.

Meanwhile, another new report suggested that 2018 -- and particularly Model 3 production during the coming year -- will test the ...Read more

Review: Kawasaki's Z900RS puts a modern spin on a classic motorcycle

Automotive / Automotive News /

Triumph has cranked up sales with the introduction of its old-looking new Bonnevilles. Ducati is selling its retro-styled Scramblers as fast as it can make them.

Kawasaki, eager for some of that moto nostalgia, has brought back a venerable nameplate with the introduction of the Z900RS -- a two-wheeled throwback that marries classic styling with...Read more

Artist gives Amazon's fleet of Treasure Trucks their distinctive local looks

Automotive / Automotive News /

SEATTLE – The first sign that you're entering Kyler Martz's time machine is the bright-red 1965 Datsun 320 -- immaculately polished, farcically small compared with modern pickups -- that sits in his West Seattle driveway.

Go through the wooden gate and into the former electrician's workshop, and the feeling grows.

A brown leather couch sits ...Read more

Eric's Autos: 2018 VW Golf

Automotive / Eric's Autos /

Every successful car company has a sell -- something that defines it, makes its cars different. Volkswagen's main sell is that it's a German brand, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It's also related to Audi, which is a German luxury brand.

This means that VW models like the 2018 Golf have much in common with Audi models like the A3. Well, except for...Read more