Newsflash: DS komt met grote SUV Coupé

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+++ 4 intertwined rings have symbolized the origins of the AUDI brands for nearly a century. Now a new graphic design is in play: It’s still 4 rings, but it features a 3D look in 2 dimensions, free of chrome and in high-contrast black-and-white. “The clarity of the new black and white rings makes our corporate identity unmistakable”, said brand designer André Georgi. “The thin black border around the rings makes for a consistent, premium-quality appearance, regardless of the car’s paint or radiator grille color”. About 3 years ago, Audi designers ran with the idea to “flatten” the logo (a look it has come to call “Audi Type”) “to ensure a consistent brand presence across all customer touchpoints”, according to brand strategist Frederik Kalisch. Another consideration, he said, is to ensure that the logo “plays” nicely on digital screens, “essentially to depict the rings in a manner that suited the medium. 3-dimensionality on 2-dimensional displays would not have met our technical and aesthetic requirements”. The so-called flat look has lately been adopted in logos from a number of other manufacturers, including General Motors, BMW and Audi’s sister brand, Volkswagen. The original Audi logo dates back nearly a century, symbolizing the merger of 4 automobile manufacturers based in the German state of Saxony: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. The new firm was named Auto Union. Subsequently, the brand name Audi took center stage on its vehicles: first in brown, then in red. Starting in 1978, a black oval with white lettering characterized the brand identity. In the 1990s, the company once again concentrated on the rings, this time with a 3-dimensional look. +++

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+++ DS will launch a large SUV by the end of 2024, with the new model sitting above the ‘7’ and closely reflecting 2020’s Aero Sport Lounge concept. The model will complete a 5-car line-up for the brand, which starts with the ‘3’ (recently renamed from the 3 Crossback) and includes the ‘4’, ‘7’ and ‘9’. While the DS 7 rivals the Audi Q3, the new model is likely to take on the Audi Q5, which occupies a vital segment for the European luxury market. The new SUV, which has already undergone extensive testing, will be significantly smaller than the Aero Sport Lounge concept, which measured 5 metres in length. But the production car’s design closely reflects that of the concept, DS boss Béatrice Foucher has confirmed. “The silhouette is inspired by the concept, and it’s between a hatch and an SUV to provide the best energy management”, she said, adding that the interior (yet to be revealed) could be described as “eye-catching”. The new DS will offer around 700 km of range and is likely to use a larger, more advanced version of the new battery recently applied to the electric DS 3, which now has a claimed range of 400 km. Launching alongside the new SUV will be an electric version of the DS 4, following on from the firm’s previous commitment to release only electric models from 2024. Given DS’s relative youth, Foucher said the firm had an opportunity to take customers on a journey of electrification, which was more challenging for established combustion engined brands. “This is the big benefit of not being so well known”, she said. “We can catch people with the story of electrification. This is what Tesla did. We have the room to create the story. This is the reason why we are the first Stellantis brand to launch the new battery and powertrain on the DS 3, so that we are leaders in the company”. Question for Foucher: How is DS faring amid the challenges being faced by the automotive industry? Answer: “We would like to produce more cars, obviously, but we are quite protected from supply shortages. Why? Firstly, because we are a highly profitable brand in Stellantis. Secondly, we must take advantage of this period where some premium brands have big shortages. We are gaining market share by being able to promise delivery of a car within 3 to 6 months; it’s not very short, but it’s much better than some rivals”. Q: Is 5 models the right number for DS? A: “I don’t think it’s necessary to have too many. The more you do, at the end of the day, the more the models overlap. So for me, 5 models is good. I won’t ask for more. We have a little time to decide the plan for beyond 2025. The move to electrification makes the cost high which will probably make us more even more premium. As a result, we need to look at the appropriate entry level into the DS line-up for the longer-term”. Q: Might there be room for something less mainstream? For example, a luxury coupé? A: “It will remain quite difficult but we have the opportunity to work with the other Stellantis premium brands and we’ve had some discussions already about what we might be able to do differently through shared technologies and synergies. I don’t want to say I am going to sell a sporty car because that’s not the purpose of the brand but we are looking at something more exclusive”. +++

+++ Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts chastised Elon MUSK on Sunday after the billionaire had a snarky response to the lawmaker’s request for information about Twitter’s new verification policies. “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” Musk tweeted Sunday morning after Markey shared a recent letter he sent criticizing the company’s new $8 per month Twitter Blue subscription. “And why does your pp have a mask!?” Musk added a few hours later, referring to Markey’s profile picture, which shows the senator wearing a face covering.  Markey wasn’t impressed by Musk’s response. “One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online”, he said. “Fix your companies. Or Congress will”. Markey sent the letter that prompted the exchange on November 11th. In the letter, Markey asks Musk to explain how The Washington Post was able to create a verified account impersonating him and why an official pop-up told Twitter users the verification was due to a role in government. Musk has until November 25th to answer those questions and others in writing. Twitter suspended paid account verification less than two days after launching its new Blue subscription. While the service was available, trolls used it to impersonate celebrities, politicians and brands, leading to chaos on the platform. One account pretending to be LeBron James claimed the NBA star had requested to be traded by the Los Angeles Lakers. Another one tanked the stock of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. While there’s no certainty Markey’s warning will translate to government action, the likelihood of a regulatory response became more solid on Sunday after Democrats secured a Senate majority. Markey is also a member of the Subcommittee on Communication, Media, and Broadband, the Senate panel most likely to recommend action against Twitter. +++

+++ PEUGEOT looks poised to introduce a mid-life facelift for the 508 saloon next year. The firm’s Volkswagen Arteon rival received a minor refresh for 2022, but a more comprehensive overhaul is in the works to see out the 508’s term. It will get a new set of headlights and sharper fang-like led running lights extending into the bumper. A redesigned front grille could also be in the pipeline, bringing the styling into line with the 308. The 508’s radar sensing hardware will remain unchanged in this facelifted model, suggesting that any improvements to its driver assist systems will be software-derived. The wheels are the same diamond-cut items currently available, although new designs are expected to arrive as part of the updates. At the rear, the general architecture will remain the same as the outgoing model, but a new led running light signature is very well possible, and Peugeot’s new crest logo will feature throughout. Inside, the 508 will retain its 2-tier dashboard design built around Peugeot’s i-Cockpit layout, which uses a small-diameter steering wheel set below a digital instrument panel. A range of new trim and upholstery options are likely to be offered with the revised model, along with an upgraded infotainment system inspired by the 308. The 10-inch touchscreen is likely to remain, but it’ll run Peugeot’s latest user interface and graphics. The brand could also install a lower digital touch panel to access media and navigation functions, as found in the 308. The outgoing 508 is offered with a choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines, and I expect the same of the new model, albeit potentially with minor efficiency and performance improvements thanks to mild hybrid technology for the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol motor. This version will swap its 8-speed automatic gearbox for a 7-speed unit with double clutch. As for the hybrid version, that 508 will be updated with improved battery technology for extra pure electric range. +++

+++ Nothing is blocking discussions between Nissan and RENAULT over the future of their alliance and the 2 companies will have “important talks” on Tuesday and Wednesday, the French automaker’s chairman said in Tokyo. Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard touted the Franco-Japanese alliance, which has been discussing ways to revamp the relationship. The companies had initially set Tuesday as a deadline to hammer out a deal. However, the discussions have taken longer than originally expected due to Nissan’s concerns about how its intellectual property rights can be protected as Renault forges new ties with China’s Geely, sources have told. Renault last week unveiled a sweeping overhaul of its businesses, saying it would set up a joint venture with Geely for gasoline engines and hybrid technology and spin off its electric vehicles unit next year. It wants Nissan to invest in the new electric unit. The companies are also renegotiating their equity ties, which currently see Renault owning a controlling 43% of Nissan and the Japanese company holding only a 15% non-voting stake in Renault. “Nothing is blocking” the discussions, he told reporters after the event, declining to say when the alliance members would reach a deal and adding “you will be informed on time”. “As the chairman of this alliance, I’ve never lived such a warm atmosphere within the alliance and this bodes well for the future”. +++

+++ The International Harvester SCOUT is an off-road icon and its resurrection is inching closer with the launch of ScoutMotors.com, a fan forum, and social media channels. Speaking of the latter, it’s notable that Scout apparently decided to skip Twitter as the company only listed LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram pages. The move appears to be a direct response to Elon Musk’s ownership of the site, which has been turbulent to say the least. Possible beefs aside, Scout released a new teaser image of their upcoming electric SUV concept. The company didn’t say much about the model, but noted it has a “strong stance and upright posture reminiscent of classic Scout models”. While there isn’t much to see, despite efforts with Photoshop, the concept has meaty off-road tires and a streamlined body that recalls the classic off-roader. We can also see squared-off mirrors, roof rails, and what appears to be a white leather interior. That’s not much to go on, but Volkswagen has previously said Scout Motors has been established as an independent company to design, engineer, and manufacture a rugged pickup and SUV for the U.S. market. The first prototypes are slated to be introduced next year, although production isn’t scheduled to begin until 2026. Little else is known about the models at this point, but the company has said they’ll be built on a “new technical platform concept, which brings new pickup and SUV credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio”. As Scout gears up for production, they’ll be interacting with fans on a new forum. Besides the usual events and meetups, members will be able to engage with the Scout team to offer feedback and suggestions. This is interesting and the company noted automakers “rarely get the opportunity to engage consumers this early in the design process”. As Scout CEO Scott Keogh explained, “We started this forum to nurture an open dialogue with our community members, to hear what they expect in all-new Scout vehicles, and to build a central location where past, present, and future Scout enthusiasts can come together as one”. +++

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+++ Cummins said on Monday it has signed an agreement with Indian automaker TATA MOTORS to develop hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, fuel cells and battery electric vehicle systems for commercial automobiles in India. Several automakers, including Tata Motors, are aggressively shifting towards greener forms of energy for their vehicles as they try to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, with India targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. India will be one of the first markets to receive Cummins’ hydrogen engines, the company said. Cummins, meanwhile, is also exploring hydrogen technology in the United States in collaboration with Walmart. Tata, one of India’s largest electric-vehicle makers launched the country’ first sub-$10,000 electric car in September. +++

 

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