Newsflash: facelift voor Volkswagen Golf op komst

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+++ People often joke that buyers of ultra-luxury vehicles from Rolls-Royce and BENTLEY don’t care about petrol prices, but even if that’s true, a lot of people still may not want to own the rolling embodiment of earth’s impending doom. Rolls-Royce will go all-electric by 2030, and its British rivals at Bentley are hard at work on the brand’s first EV, expected by 2025. In the meantime, the Brits at Bentley have come up with hybrid powertrains and the automaker recently announced an expansion of hybrid options for its only SUV, the Bentayga. The automaker says that 100 percent of Bentayga Hybrid owners use their SUVs in full electric mode, with half staying within the vehicle’s electric range. The Bentayga S and Azure are now available with hybrid powertrains, meaning half of Bentley’s lineup is electrified. Rather than focusing solely on improving efficiency, Bentley implemented a plug-in hybrid system that offers up to 45 all-electric kilometres of range, a 6percent surge in power and a 15 percent improvement in torque. The Bentayga S Hybrid, for example, delivers 455 horsepower. All Bentayga versions get almost 400 Nm of torque just from the electric motor. All Bentayga hybrids come with a 3.0-liter V6, and Bentley says that the S Hybrid can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 5.3 seconds. The SUV got 15 percent stiffer dampers that shift damping force based on the selected drive mode, and Bentley says a new Hybrid Sports Exhaust “brings a stirring symphony of sound within the cabin”. It sounds a lot like fake engine noises to us, and Bentley notes that the sounds can be adjusted differently for front and rear passengers. The Bentayga Azure Hybrid is a more luxury-focused variant that features intense noise-canceling technologies and unique interior touches to improve comfort and a sense of well-being. The Azure is up to 26 percent quieter than its rivals on the road and Bentley says it tuned the SUV to deliver 27 percent fewer vibrations. Buyers can choose from 15 different interior materials and color combinations and 22 inch 10 spoke wheels come standard. +++

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+++ The majority of new car buyers are returning to the brands they know best. That’s the finding from J.D. Power 2022 Automotive BRAND LOYALTY Study. The organization notes that inventory shortages and difficulties finding new cars have kept buyers loyal to the automakers they already know, driven by an intense focus on customer retention by top brands. Tyson Jominy, J.D. Power’s vice president of data and analytics, said that “the issue of tight supply chain and lower-than-normal production could have been quite disruptive to loyalty, but the highest-ranking brands excelled by staying focused on keeping owners in the brand”. He also said that automakers with the most loyal customers tend to keep new products coming and focus on improving the value retention of existing models. Looking at the rankings, Jominy’s assessment seems spot-on. In the United States, Porsche took the top spot for premium car brands with a 57.4 percent loyalty score, and the brand’s customers tend to return year after year to get the latest 911 or, now, the new Taycan. Genesis came in second among premium car brands with 54.6 percent loyalty. BMW and Lexus topped the luxury SUV rankings, with 58.6 and 56.4 percent loyalty ratings, respectively. Toyota came out on top among both mass-market cars (Kia was runner-up) and mass-market SUVs (Subaru was second). And Ford topped the trucks segment, with Toyota second.
This is the 4th year for J.D. Power’s Automotive Brand Loyalty Study. The organization uses data from only new-vehicle franchised dealers, and it rates loyalty based on the number of buyers trading in an existing same-brand vehicle at the time of purchase. J.D. Power redesigned the study in 2022 with new categories for premium cars, premium SUVs, mass-market cars, mass-market SUVs, and trucks. +++

+++ These days, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative cycle, complaining about new car prices and dealer mark-ups. Easy, yes, but not an entirely worthwhile way to spend time, or even a fully accurate view of what’s happening. There are mark-ups and inventory shortages, sure, but there are also deals to be had. Consumer Reports dug up the MOST DISCOUNTED cars on sale today, and a few vehicles on the list are a legitimate surprise. Consumer Reports looked to TrueCar.com for its data and found that while most new vehicles are selling at elevated prices, it identified 10 currently selling at or below. The publication avoided high-end models from automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Jeep (think Wagoneer) because the current conditions of high gas prices and expensive cars tend to naturally lead to discounts and incentives. In the United States, the most discounted new model on sale today is the Alfa Romeo Giulia, with an average discount of 10%. Next came: Alfa Romeo Stelvio (4%), Jeep Gladiator (3%), BMW X3 (2%), BMW X5 (2%), Cadillac CT4 (1%), Volvo XC60 (1%), Land Rover Discovery Sport (1%), Cadillac XT5 (1%) and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (1%). +++

+++ TATA MOTORS launched India’s lowest priced electric car at a little over $10,000 on Wednesday as the country’s only electric vehicle (EV) maker looks to draw in more buyers. Tata leads India’s EV market, helped by government subsidies and high tariffs on imports. Its move comes as domestic rival Mahindra is in talks with investors to raise up to $500 million for its EV unit and plans to launch its first electric SUV in January. Tata’s Tiago EV, an electric version of its popular Tiago hatchback, will have a sticker price starting from 849/000 rupees ($10.370). The bulk of cars sold in India, the world’s 4th largest car market, are priced below $15,000. That is much cheaper than India’s next most affordable EV: the electric version of Tata’s Tigor compact sedan which starts at around $14,940. China, however, has some EV models that start as low as 32.800 yuan ($4.525). The Tiago EV’s operating cost is expected to be about 14 % of the gasoline version, making it a “compelling proposition”, said Shailesh Chandra, managing director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and its EV subsidiary. “We are not chasing to be the lowest cost”, said Chandra, adding the aim was to pack in connected car features and other advanced technologies while keeping the price accessible. Chandra said the car’s “disruptive” pricing would open new opportunities and markets for Tata in smaller towns and cities, where buyers tend to be more price-conscious. Tata, India’s third-largest carmaker, last year raised $1 billion from TPG for its EV unit at a $9.1 billion valuation, and has outlined plans to launch 10 electric models by March 2026. India’s car market is tiny compared to its population, with electric models making up just 1% of total car sales of about 3 million a year, but the government wants to grow this to 30% by 2030. The cheapest version of the Tiago EV (Tata’s third electric car) will have a driving range of 250 kilometers on a single charge, while a more expensive version will offer a range of 315 km. Chandra said data from existing Tata EV owners showed average daily use of about 50 km, which prompted the company to provide a shorter driving range to keep the price down. “There’s always a challenge of how we strike the right price”, Chandra said, adding the current sticker price was only for the first 10.000 buyers. +++

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+++ TESLA plans to hold production at its Shanghai plant at about 93% of capacity through the end of year, despite a recent upgrade, 2 people with knowledge of the matter said, in a rare move for the U.S. maker of electric vehicles. Since the plant opened in its second largest market in late 2019, Tesla has sought to run the facility in China’s commercial hub at full capacity, and recently upgraded its weekly output by 30%, to a maximum of 22.000 vehicles. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public, did not give a reason for the decision not to run the plant at full tilt, though one said the figure was lower than he had expected. However, the company’s move comes at a time of growing competition from domestic manufacturers of electric vehicles (EV) in a sharply weakening economy, as consumption falls amid strict Covid-19 curbs. The upgraded factory can produce 14.000 Model Ys and 8.000 Model 3s, the sources added. Tesla has sought to keep it running at full capacity, except during the upgrade and a city-wide Covid-19 lockdown for 2 months this year. Now Tesla plans to turn out 20.500 units a week for the rest of the year, for a total of 13.000 Model Ys and 7.500 Model 3s, the sources said. Tesla’s China sales jumped nearly 60 % in the first 8 months of this year, figures from the China Passenger Car Association showed. But that pace is much weaker than the overall market for new energy vehicles over the same period, which saw sales more than double. Since last month, the company has cut delivery waiting times in China at least 4 times, to a minimum of a week now, besides offering a rebate of 8.000 yuan ($1.100) to buyers of Tesla insurance who take delivery this month. Analysts have said the moves aim to lock in more orders. In the next few months, rising competition is expected to intensify a price war among EV makers, said Shi Ji, an analyst at China Merchants Bank International. Tesla sold 60% of its China-made cars in the domestic market during the first 8 months, and exported the rest to overseas markets such as Australia, Europe, Japan and Singapore. +++

+++ The vice president of the UNITED STATES , Kamala Harris, told South Korea’s prime minister that Washington will work to address Seoul’s concerns over recently enacted electric vehicle (EV) subsidies that could disadvantage Asian automakers. The $430 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” bill enacted in August includes a host of U.S. president Joe Biden’s priorities, including investments to roll back climate change and make Washington a world leader in the EV market. Among the law’s provisions are requirements that EVs be assembled in North America to qualify for tax credits. The law also ends subsidies for other EV models and requires that a percentage of critical minerals used in those cars’ batteries come from the United States or an American free-trade partner. Harris, visiting Japan, met with South Korea’s Han Duck-soo and “underscored that she understood Korean concerns regarding the Act’s tax incentives for electric vehicles, and they pledged to continue to consult as the law is implemented”, the White House said. A senior Biden administration official said extensive conversations have already taken place within the U.S. government over how to address South Korea’s concerns. “She listened very carefully and made clear our commitment to work within the U.S. government (the U.S. Trade Representative, the Treasury Department, as we look) to help address that issue”, the official said. Biden has sought to deepen business with South Korea as part of a bid to increase U.S. manufacturing jobs and build a united front against China, who he views as the country’s key ideological and economic competitor. Korean officials see the new requirements as a betrayal after South Korean companies agreed to make major investments and build factories in the United States. Heavily industrialized South Korea worries the new subsidies will set back Hyundai and its affiliate Kia in the world’s largest consumer market. Cars are South Korea’s third-largest export. +++

+++ The current VOLKSWAGEN Golf may still feel like new, but VW is already prepping a refresh. Volkswagen has heard the complaints about its newest infotainment system/center stack design a million times over from every corner of the internet at this point, and said infotainment system appears to be the big change. A new, much larger screen will be perched atop the dash, replacing the smaller screens available in today’s Golf variants. Below the screen are the touch sliders we already know. However, it’s unclear if VW has fixed the worst part of them: their lack of backlighting at night. The volume control and temperature control touch sliders on today’s Golf sit on a piano black panel, and against all common sense, they don’t light up at night. That makes it impossible to find the 2 most vital controls in a car’s user interface when driving at night, which is such a bizarre miss from Volkswagen. As for the rest of the interior, it’s business as usual. The same quick-access touch control buttons appear to lie under the larger touchscreen, and the beard trimmer shifter is unchanged. +++

+++ VOLVO has introduced a number of important safety features in its vehicles throughout the years including the first 3-point seatbelt back in 1959. But now the company has developed something a bit more techy with what it’s calling the world’s first interior radar system for cars. Set to debut on its upcoming flagship EX90 electric SUV, Volvo’s new radar system is designed to monitor both the cabin and trunk of a vehicle in order to prevent the car from being locked while anyone is still inside. The idea is to guard against situations where pets or children may be inadvertently trapped inside a car on a hot day, with the car surfacing reminders if it recognizes that there are still occupants inside when being locked. Additionally, the car’s climate control can also be set to stay on if a passenger is detected, further lowering the risk of heatstroke. While the thought of leaving a pet or child inside a car on a hot day is unimaginable to most people, it can happen to anyone. In its press release, Volvo cited statistics from the U.S. where more than 900 children have tragically died due to hyperthermia since 1998. Volvo’s senior technical specialist for injury prevention Lotta Jakobsson says: “No one chooses to be distracted or tired, but we know it can happen. We’re all human and distraction is a fact of life. With the help of cutting edge technology, we’ll support you when you’re not at your best and help you avoid leaving family members or pets behind by accident”. In order to cover as much of the inside of the EX90 as possible, Volvo says it will use multiple radars positioned in the car’s overhead console, roof-mounted reading lamps and in the trunk that can detect “sub-millimeter” movements. Unfortunately, we won’t get a more detailed idea of how Volvo’s new interior radar system really works until the EX90 is officially revealed on November 9th. But given that the new feature will come standard on the company’s forthcoming EV (where allowed by regulation), we’re hoping to see similar systems become basic equipment on more cars and makes in the future. +++

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