BMW Has Record Year

BMW recently announced that they had a record year for car sales and that 2020 could be even better. The automaker sold 2.52 million vehicles in 2019, sales chief Pieter Nota said in an emailed statement. The result is a 1.2 percent increase over 2018, when BMW sold 2.49 million cars.

“We look at the coming year with confidence and aim to increase sales again in 2020,” Nota said in the statement.

The company is optimistic as high-end utility vehicles like the flagship X7 and an upgrade to the stalwart M8 performance coupe are their bread-and-butter.

German car production fell to its lowest in almost a quarter of a century last year as Europe’s biggest economy suffers from the fallout of a global trade war, according to the country’s VDA car lobby group.

Like many of their competitors, BMW had to balance their reliance on gasoline-powered vehicles and shift toward electric cars to avoid emissions fines from the EU, who recently enacted strict emissions laws. The rules will sharpen again next year, leaving automakers potentially facing billions in fines if their fleets don’t meet the average emission targets.

The Automotive Industry in Transition for 2020

Automotive is the second most data-driven industry in the world. Growing IoT and mobile technology manufacturers are able collect tons of information about drivers, their destinations, the routes they’re taking, traffic patterns, and even predict when maintenance will be required.

Now more than ever, customers are always connected and want a seamless experience. In 2020 and beyond, that means not just connection via mobile phone, home, and office, but in their vehicles, as well.  Drivers want to be connected to their apps, music and entertainment while kids are connected to games or homework. We’ve seen car-equipped WiFi in the past, but moving into the 2020s, we’ll see it become a staple of every new car purchase, rather than an upgrade.

Level 4 fully autonomous vehicles have continued to be the holy grail and with the likes of Waymo, Uber, Tesla and plenty of other companies showing off their capabilities in the space, there is still a ways to go before the average consumer is going to buy their own fully autonomous vehicle and sip a latte while plugging away on their laptop on their way to work. However, many expect a bigger dose of autonomous technology coming post CES.

In the navigation, most cars have voice control systems.  Many companies are improving the customer experience by using systems like Apple Car Play that will mirror what’s on your iPhone creating a seamless transition between phone and car. The pressure to digitize is about more than adding new digital features to every vehicle. It also means that the average car lifecycle will be modeling technology’s lifecycle, with drivers trading up when new technology becomes available.

Imagine if you didn’t need to stop into your local mechanic shop every time the check-engine light in your car turned on. Moving forward, you won’t have to, thanks to always-on connectivity. Using remote access, manufacturers will be able to provide technology updates, safety updates, recall information, etc., like magic—without you ever needing to set foot in a repair location.

Today, cars are able to pull multitudes of data and send it up to the cloud for processing, alerting drivers of potential issues they may be about to experience in the future, from engine trouble to faulty brakes, or a taillight that’s about to burn out.

As in all industries, digital transformation trend in automotive are shaking things up moving into 2020 and beyond. By and large, these changes will be huge improvements for drivers, making time in the car safer and more enjoyable for the long haul.

Detroit Auto Show Debuts Several SUVs, American SUV Sales Continue to Strengthen

The Detroit Auto Show debut several SUVs and hybrids with little room for cars. SUVs are more popular than ever before, with several automakers at the North American International Auto Show showing their latest models. Many automakers are addressing their impact on industry transformation, the rise of electric propulsion and shared ownership models.

According to Wired, there were very few cars on the show floor this year. Of the cars that were on the floor, most were high-performance luxury sports cars and a few electric vehicles. One show attendee notes “The Detroit show is all about business as usual for global car builders. And these days, that means catering to the tastes of American buyers with SUVs.”

Of several notable mentions, Ford showed off its update to the Explorer earlier this year, but chose the Detroit Show for its official debut. Kia brought a much larger, boxier SUV called the “Telluride,” which is being manufactured in Georgia. “The latest Cadillac isn’t a classic sedan, but a three-row land yacht from General Motor’s luxury brand,” says one attendee. The vehicle is similar to the XT5 Crossover, but longer.

The show also featured an electric SUV from Infiniti and Cadillac.

Turning Coffee into Car Parts

It’s the most unlikely pair you can imagine, Ford and McDonald’s are teaming up to make vehicle parts lighter and more sustainable. In an effort to reduce waste, the automaker is using old residue from coffee beans to make light housing for the Lincoln Continental.

So… how does this work exactly? Well, it begins with McDonald’s saving the remnants of coffee beans, then the old beans are sent to Ford where they are then turned into composite material that is used for the light housing on headlights and/or taillights on their new vehicles. According to McDonald’s, a “big portion” of it’s used coffee beans will be donated to Ford. In an effort to increase sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint, both Ford and McDonald’s are committed to the cause. 

This level of innovation has the potential to significantly reduce waste and may also inspire other automotive manufacturers to do the same. According to Debbie Mielewski Ford’s senior technical leader in sustainability and emerging materials research, “This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump-starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products.”

 

Ford is notorious for using sustainable products to build and produce automobiles (plants, shredded money, and even tomatoes! Their deal with McDonald’s is surely one of their greatest strides yet. In the future, there is expected to me many more innovations in sustainability with Ford and many other automotive companies.

The 2021 Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E Sells Out

The highly anticipated 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is the first ever zero-emissions mustang to ever be introduced to the automotive market. Ford revolutionized the AV market with the introduction of their new EV mustang at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. The First Edition, retailed for $61,000 has already sold out in only nine days. Ford has not said how many vehicles they will be making, but according to a Ford press release, there are a “limited quantity” of Mustangs to be released.

Although the new Mustang Mach-E is branded with the classic Mustang logo,  the car has been revolutionized from the inside out. The Mach-E has two available battery sizes and rear or all-wheel drive. The Mach-E boasts a 300-mile driving range and seats up to five people. The car also features an impressive array of technology including an infotainment system for all your driving needs. The MachE premium includes ultra fast charging capabilities, 19-inch heels, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, and a Band & Olufsen sound system.

When it comes to the powerhorse behind the car, Ford went above and beyond to provide the most impressive motor yet. The 2021 Mustang Mach-E is available in two different battery power options: standard-range (75.7 kWh) or an extended range (98.8kWh). Ford claims that the new Mach-E will go from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds. This extreme engine power sounds a lot like that of Tesla. The GT model features 459 Horsepower and 612 1b-ft torque. 

 

The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first crossover to be completely electric. The name “Mach-E” pays homage to the classic “Mach 1” moniker often seen on vintage high-performance Mustangs. According to Ford, they chose the name “Mach-E” because they wanted the car to sound electrified. Speaking of electrification, the Ford Mach-E comes out of the box with a Ford mobile charger that can add up to 30 miles of range per night with a 120-volt outlet and up to 80 percent of battery life overnight with a 240-volt outlet. A Ford charge station can also be ordered online and installed by certified electricians, with the ability to replenish 32 miles per hour and recharge the battery overnight.

Although the 2021 Mach-E has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the SUV is available with driver assistance technology including forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. The vehicle also comes with different warranty packages including Limited (covers 3 years of 36,000 miles) Powertrain (covers 5 years or 60,000 miles).

All in all, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is looking to be a great success for Ford. The Mach-E is just one of the many new Electric Vehicles hitting the automotive market in the near future.

Electric Pickup Trucks Dominate the 2020 Market

We’ve all heard (and seen) the buzz around the Tesla Cybertruck. But Tesla isn’t the only automaker taking the industry by storm. Automakers like Rivan, Bollinger Motors and Hercules Electric Vehicles also plan on launching their on electric pickup trucks in the near future.

Perhaps the most (or second most) highly-anticipated electric trucks to hit the market is the Rivian R1T. Rivian is a Michigan-Based startup company that is currently in the process of ordstown Motors has a licensing deal with Ohio-based automotive company Workhorse to build an EV pickup called the Endurance at GM’s former assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.  Production is expected to start in late 2020.

With investors such as Amazon and Ford Motor co., Rivian is expected to be big competition for Tesla and their new Cybertruck.

In addition to Rivian, GM and Ford are also planning to roll out their own premium electric pickups beginning in late 2021. With all these electric vehicles hitting the market, the automotive market is expected to change drastically. Seemingly everyday, there’s a new electric vehicle hitting the market. Even “rugged” off-road vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler are offering hybrid options as part of their 2020 vehicle lineup. This “rugged yet eco-friendly” message automakers are sending is very new for the automotive industry. For years, rugged vehicles and pickup trucks were notorious for being gas guzzling diesel machines. 

 

Originally, the Toyota Prius was the first mid-range electric vehicle to gain popularity in the United States automotive market. Since then, dozens of hybrid/electric vehicles have hit the automotive market, but pickup trucks were late to join the party. Once Rivian announced their R1T fully-electric pickup truck, the automotive industry changed forever. 

While most electric vehicles are still sedans, electric sports cars and pickup trucks are gradually being introduced to the market. Between the Rivian R1T and the brand new Tesla Cybertruck, there is surely plenty to be excited about for the future of the automotive industry.

2020: Ford Edition

With the new year fast approaching, Ford motor company has some big projects up their sleeve for 2020. There has been a clear shift in the overall market Ford is trying to cater to. Once focused around cars, Ford is putting crossovers are the forefront of their new business model. The Ford Fiesta, Focus, and Taurus full-size sedan are no longer being sold in North America.

Although Ford is simplifying its sedan lineup, it will continue to sell its Mustang and Fusion models. In addition, Ford will introduce an electric crossover inspired by the Mustang. Ford is also expected to roll out the new Ford Bronco in 2021 which is expected to be a massive success.

With the many upgrades happening to Ford vehicles in 2020, technology is at the forefront of these changes. Ford is expected to roll out their latest infotainment system featuring FordPass Connect, the connected-car app that features live troubleshooting, maintenance tracking, and remote start and looking. This new infotainment system will be a standard feature for all Ford vehicles with the exception of some F-150, Edge, and Expedition models.

So… what are some unique features of these new ford vehicles?

2020 Ford Escape:

  • Powertrain options including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, 2.0 liter turbo-4 with 8-speed automatic transmission.
  • Lower, longer, and wider than previous Escape models.
  • All-wheel drive
  • Ford Cp-Pilot360 (automatic emergency braking, active lane control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and high-beam assist.)

 

2020 Ford Explorer:

  • Three-Row SUV
  • Three engine choices with 10-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive: 300-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4, 365-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, 318-hp 3.3-liter hybrid engine.
  • Ford Co-Pilot360 Standard on all but the base and XLT trims
  • Sirius XM radio and FordPass Connect included

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

  • 760-horsepower 5.2 liter supercharged V-8 with 7-speed dual clutch transmission
  • Seven drive models with active exhaust system
  • MangaRide dampers, six-piston Brembo front calipers, 16.5-inch rotors
  • The most powerful street-legal Mustang yet.

 

2020 Ford Edge

  • Standard dual-zone climate control
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • 10-way power driver’s seat

These are just some of the many new vehicles in Ford’s 2020 lineup. Classics like the mustang are getting a fresh new face while best-sellers like the Ford Escape are going electric. The future of automobiles lies in the hands of big auto companies like Ford. With electric vehicles at the forefront of automaker’s minds, the future of the automotive industry is surely something to look forward to.

Consumers Prefer Shared Control With Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly popular among drivers in the United States and across the globe. Automakers are pouring millions of dollars into developing fully-autonomous vehicles for consumers.

While automakers are working rapidly to push out new vehicles with autonomous capabilities, whether consumers will be receptive to the changes is still widely unknown. We’ve all seen Tesla’s massive success over the past few years, becoming the top-selling plug-in car manufacturer with over 101,000 units sold is no small achievement for the relatively new company. Despite this success, however, many traditional drivers have proven to be reluctant to hop on the fully-autonomous bandwagon.

According to a SAE International survey on public perceptions and preferences for autonomous vehicles, 73 percent of respondents prefer to share control of their vehicle. Additionally, a whopping 92 percent of survey participants said it is a requirement to have an emergency stop function ready to be activated by the driver if needed.

While most consumers are excited about the new developments in automation, consumers are still conflicted on whether or not they prefer self-driving car brands. According to the SAE, autonomous vehicles are a safer experience than driving a human-driven car. This same survey found that only 6 percent of participants have driven a self-driving car in the past. This, most likely because of the notoriously high price-point put on these vehicles.

Surely autonomous vehicles will become cheaper as more hit the market in the coming years. According to another consumer study done by J.D Power, over two-thirds said they have “little to no knowledge” about autonomous vehicles. This unfamiliarity with autonomy is the driving factor for people’s doubts about the cars. Once consumers begin to realize just how safe these vehicles have proven to be as opposed to regular human-driven cars, their confidence and excitement for the future of autonomy is sure to increase dramatically.

All in all, the biggest roadblock for autonomous vehicles is consumer’s doubt surrounding them. While some drivers are skeptical, many others are eager to get behind the wheel and try it for themselves. With proven environmental benefits and safety improvements, our doubt for autonomous vehicles may soon be a thing of the past.

The Biggest Threat to Automation? Jaywalking

Even the most upstanding citizens break this law… You guessed it, Jaywalking. It’s hard to imagine a bustling city without the occasional group of jaywalkers running across the road unexpectedly.

While jaywalking is certainly a safety hazard, it’s extremely difficult to control in a city filled with millions of people. Combine jaywalking with autonomous (self-driving) vehicles and you get an entirely new (and dangerous) public safety issue.

It’s no secret that autonomous vehicles are equipped with automatic-stop and pedestrian detection. The issue is not the cars themselves, but the confidence pedestrians have in their braking capabilities. If pedestrians know that cars will stop for them no matter what, some may be tempted to run in front of these self-driving cars, knowing they won’t get struck.

Automotive industry professionals have suggested a potential solution to the jaywalking epidemic, gates. Professionals suggest putting gates at each corner, which would open periodically allowing pedestrians to cross the road.

The former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Mark Rosekind says “With autonomous vehicles, the technical stuff will get worked out. It’s the societal part that’s the most challenging.” The pedestrian safety problem is not exclusive to major cities, suburban and small-town are also prone to these same jaywalking issues in the future.

Rosekind goes on to describe this shift in autonomous vehicles as “the single-most transformative societal change in decades. We have to be ready for it.” It’s no question autonomous vehicles are ready for us but are we ready for them? How society will adjust to these changes is still widely unknown.

As of right now, there are six levels of autonomous vehicles (0-5).

Level 5:  Aka “Hands off” The vehicle is fully autonomous (which is not expected to be released to the public for another 10 years).

Level 4: Aka “Mind off” The driver can safely go to sleep while behind the wheel.

Level 3: Aka “Eyes off” The driver can safely turn their attention away from the talk of driving.

Level 2: Aka “Hands off” The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, steering). The driver must monitor the vehicle and pay attention to the road at all times while behind the wheel.

Level 1: Aka “Hands-on” The driver and the automated vehicle share control of the vehicle.

Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control.

While autonomous vehicles have received some negative media attention, self-driving cars are already proving to be much safer than traditional level zero vehicles. Today’s cars and trucks kill, on average, 300,000 people every year in the United States according to Rosekind. Autonomous vehicles are expected to greatly reduce that number in the future.

The Rugged Yet Revolutionary 2020 Kia Telluride

We all remember the iconic marketing campaign when Kia announced its new Kia Soul models. The ads featured hamsters playing the banjo, wearing sunglasses, and even wearing gold chains. This ad campaign allowed Kia to gain huge momentum in the automobile industry, something they have not lost since. Meet the brand new, innovative Kia Telluride.

Kia recently unveiled its 2020 Telluride with one goal in mind: to create a rugged, sport-utility vehicle. The Telluride is designed to handle anything life throws at it. From rocky terrain to your busy morning commute, the Telluride’s got you covered. So, what does the Telluride feature? Well, sit back and buckle your seatbelt because this should be quite the ride!

TECHNOLOGY

The 2020 Kia Telluride features an all-wheel-drive system with an advanced, electro-hydraulic coupling, sending the power of its big V6 to the front wheels, allowing for more weight at the front of the vehicle, therefore giving better traction to the driven wheels.

The system allows for great power shifting abilities, shifting between the front and rear axles seamlessly.

IN THE DRIVER’S HANDS 

While the Kia Telluride does most of the work for you, it still allows the driver to take matters into their own hands.

A tap of the center console drive mode control takes you into professional-grade ‘AWD Lock’. Here, the system’s central clutch can lock-in the power evenly between the front and rear axles. So 50 percent goes to the front, 50 percent to the rear.

Coupled with the center console drive mode feature, the Telluride also has an intuitive traction control system. Simply grab the brake rotor on a wheel that’s slipping, sending the torque to the side with traction.

The Kia Telluride also features a V6 engine with an impressive 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. With a strong mid-range response, rapid acceleration, and refined high-speed cruising, the Kia Telluride virtually does it all.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

The 2020 Kia Telluride is a powerhorse. Sporting a V6 engine, 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, the Telluride is some of Kia’s best work yet.