2018 Honda HR-V

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 01:29
The 2018 Honda HR-V is a small crossover SUV that’s perfectly acceptable as an economy-car substitute. It puts packaging over performance, gas mileage before great handling. We think its priorities are in order, and we give it a 6.5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) Carried over with only paint and wheel changes, the 2018 HR-V...
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2018 Honda Fit

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 01:25
The 2018 Honda Fit has no time for “hybrid” or “hot hatch” or any hashtags that shade other economy cars. It’s happy to simply be a great car for people who don’t want to spend a lot on new wheels. With the Fit, Honda has assembled great space and gas mileage and sprinkled it with reasonably entertaining...
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Tesla Model 3 Deliveries Up to 1,550 in Q4

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 01:00

Tesla announced today that it built 29,870 vehicles this past quarter, including 15,200 Model S sedans, 13,120 Model X SUVs, and 1,550 Model 3 cars. Approximately 3,380 vehicles were still in transit at the end of the fourth quarter, a figure that includes about 860 Model 3 cars. That means a total of slightly more than 2,400 Model 3 vehicles were built last quarter.

The California-based EV automaker says it’s been working hard to solve the problems that have significantly slowed Model 3 production. In the last week of Q4, Tesla says it was able to build 793 Model 3 cars, but by the end of that week, the production speed had increased to the equivalent of 1,000 per week. “As a result of the significant growth in our production rate, we made as many Model 3’s since December 9th as we did in the more than four months of Model 3 production up to that point,” the company said in a statement.

Still, those numbers fall far short of the 20,000 Model 3s per month that Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted back in July.

Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 3, 2017

At the same time, Q4 was a much better quarter for Model 3 production than Q3. In that time period, Tesla only delivered 220 copies of the Model 3. Assuming Tesla’s current predictions are close to realistic, look for Model 3 production to stay steady at about 2,500 cars per week through Q1 and most of Q2. At the moment, Tesla doesn’t expect to hit that 5,000-per-week mark until the end of Q2.

Source: Tesla, Elon Musk via Twitter

The post Tesla Model 3 Deliveries Up to 1,550 in Q4 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Acura MDX

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 01:00
The 2018 Acura MDX is a seven- or eight-seat crossover SUV that can’t be missed for well-heeled families. It hits in all the right places: superlative safety, standout comfort, and a relatively fuel-efficient hybrid model offered at a tempting price. Its overall rating of 7.4 on our scale reflects its nearly perfect safety scorecard and...
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2018 Acura NSX

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 00:55
The first generation of the Acura NSX was a 1990s supercar that represented mechanical purity. It had the chops for the track, but introduced comfort to the supercar set. Moreover, it was simple, with a mid-engine layout and a naturally aspirated 270-horsepower V-6 engine. Acura brought back the NSX for 2017, and the second-generation car could...
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Almost 80 Percent of Electric Cars Are Leased, Report Says

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 00:05

If you’re thinking about buying a new Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt, or Nissan Leaf, you might want to consider leasing instead.

Nearly 80 percent of all EVs in the U.S. are leased, not owned, according to a recent report by Bloomberg. It also says around 55 percent of plug-in hybrids are leased.

According to the story, only 1 percent of the global market has gone electric—and the number is much smaller in the U.S.

It seems logical that savvy plug-in types prefer to lease EVs instead of owning them so that they can trade them in for new models every few years as the technology improves.

Monthly leases for a peppy little Fiat 500e can be had for as little as $182 a month, while the BMW 530e goes for around $600 a month.

Because of the current imbalance of leasing versus owning, it’s actually a deal to buy a used EV. They tend to sell for much less than secondhand ones that run on gas. Of course, you won’t get the $7,500 federal tax credit, but you can find EVs for a fraction of their original sticker price.

A recent search on Craigslist in Los Angeles yields used, low-mileage and late-model Nissan Leafs in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.

A 2018 Leaf starts at $30,875 and offers up to 150 miles on a charge, and a longer-range version with around 225 miles is on the way. Compare that to a range of 107 miles on the previous Leaf. Still, the old model can be a good deal if you don’t mind being a plug-in pioneer.

The report also states that three years from now, a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt will be a bargain. There’s no doubt about that, but why buy a Chevy when you can lease a Porsche Mission E by then instead?

Source: Bloomberg

The post Almost 80 Percent of Electric Cars Are Leased, Report Says appeared first on Motor Trend.

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SUVs and Crossovers Saved 2017 for Automakers in the U.S.

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 23:10

In 2016, the U.S. auto industry set another record, marking the seventh straight year that auto sales improved year-over-year. Unlike previous years, however, setting that record came down to the wire and required heavy incentive spending from the automakers. Several automakers also experienced minor decreases in their sales despite the overall industry seeing a sales increase.

The story has been a little different for 2017. Sales were down overall, with only a few automakers posting gains. We also saw sedan sales plummet as buyers showed much more interest in crossovers and SUVs. But how did the individual automakers fare? Let’s take a look.

Ford (-1.1 percent, 2,586,715 vehicles)

For a lot of automakers, seeing car sales drop by 14.2 percent would have resulted in a huge overall sales slide. But thanks to the strength of Ford’s SUV and truck sales, it only ended the year down slightly more than one percent. The Fusion and the Mustang were the worst offenders, posting 21.1 percent and 22.7 percent declines, but those losses were offset by modest gains in F-Series, Edge, and Explorer sales.

Over at Lincoln, the aging MKT bucked the trend and saw sales decrease by 25.4 percent. The Continental also reversed trends, posting a 128.3 percent sales increase for the year. That wasn’t enough to offset other canceled models, though, leaving Lincoln itself down 0.5 percent for the year.

GM (-1.3 percent, 3,002,241 vehicles)

Like Ford, GM’s sales for 2017 were down only slightly. But if you look more closely at the numbers, only GMC saw a sales increase for the year. The Acadia was largely responsible for that, posting a 25.8 percent increase. Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet all posted losses for the year. And while Buick was only down 4.5 percent, it would have been a lot worse without the Envision’s 189.2 percent jump in sales.

It looks worse at Cadillac, where sales were down 8.0 percent. The CT6 saw a 15.0 percent increase, which looks impressive until you realize XT5 sales were up a massive 73.0 percent. The rest of the lineup saw some pretty serious sales slides, especially the ATS and CTS at 39.1 and 35.0 percent respectively. Chevrolet, meanwhile, came out close to even, with sales only decreasing 1.5 percent versus last year. The Impala, Malibu, Spark, and Sonic all had a rough year, but at least Chevy SS sales were up 34.6 percent. And in its first year on sale, 23,297 people bought the Bolt.

FCA (-8 percent, 2,059,376 vehicles)

While Ford and GM’s total sales were only down slightly in 2017, it was a much worse year for FCA. Sales fell by 8.0 percent, and only a few cars in the entire lineup posted sales increases. Jeep Grand Cherokee increased by 13 percent, Ram pickup was up 2.0 percent, Fiat 124 Spider was up 81 percent, and the Pacifica was up 90 percent. Technically, Giulia sales increased 24,631 percent, but only 36 were sold last year, so that doesn’t really count.

Part of the reason that FCA’s sales were down is that several models were canceled. But among models that weren’t, there were still some pretty drastic decreases. The Fiat 500L, for example, was down 47 percent, while the Fiat 500X was down 35 percent. The Jeep Cherokee, meanwhile, fell 15 percent, and the Dodge Journey was down 16 percent.

Toyota (-0.6 percent, 2,434,515 vehicles)

Compared to FCA, Toyota’s decrease of less than one percentage point looks impressive. But like many other automakers this year, when you look closer, you see decreasing car sales propped up by strong SUV and truck sales. Toyota brand’s car sales were down 9.9 percent for the year, while Lexus’ car sales were down 23.3 percent. SUVs, on the other hand, were up 17.9 percent for Toyota and 2.9 percent for Lexus. Truck sales were up another 2.4 percent.

Interestingly, one of the only cars that improved for the year was the Mazda-based Toyota Yaris iA, which posted a 27.7 percent jump in sales. And while barely more than 1,000 sold, the Mirai gets credit for posting a 77.8 percent increase. As for Lexus, while SUV sales improved modestly across the lineup, every single car was down for the year. Most notably, the GS saw sales decrease by a whopping 47.8 percent.

Honda (+0.2 percent, 1,641,429 vehicles)

While almost every other major automaker posted a sales decrease for 2017, Honda somehow managed a sales increase. It’s a tiny increase, but it’s still impressive. Of course, as the story has gone for most of 2017, SUVs compensated for falling car sales. Even a full redesign couldn’t keep the Accord from posting a 6.5 percent decrease for the year. Civic sales, on the other hand, went up 2.8 percent. The real winners for Honda this year were the HR-V, CR-V, Pilot, and Ridgeline, with the Ridgeline posting the most impressive increase of 46.8 percent.

Over at Acura, things weren’t as great. ILX, TLX, and RLX sales were down like you might expect, but fewer MDX and RDX vehicles were sold, as well. Only the controversial NSX managed a sales increase for the Acura brand, improving 116 percent. For the year, Acura sales were down 4.2 percent.

Nissan (+1.9 percent, 1,593,464 vehicles)

Not to let Honda get all the attention for doing well in a rough year, Nissan went and posted an even larger sales increase for 2017. The Nissan brand itself may have only improved by 1.0 percent, but Infiniti sales jumped a full 10.9 percent. Interestingly, while Nissan brand car sales were down 10.9 percent, Infiniti’s car sales improved 6.2 percent. Trucks and SUVs, however, were the real winners for both brands. Nissan saw a 14.9 percent improvement in truck and SUV sales, while Infiniti’s SUV sales improved by 13.9 percent.

The Nissan Sentra saw a minor improvement, but Maxima sales jumped 7.9 percent. Considering Altima sales dropped by 17 percent, that’s impressive. The Rogue absolutely killed it, selling more than 400,000 units for the year, a 22.3 percent improvement. The Titan and Armada couldn’t hold a candle to the Rogue in terms of volume, but their sales increases of 141.9 percent and 154.1 percent respectively were huge. As for Infiniti, most year-over-year sales increases were modest, but Q60 sales jumped 170.8 percent, and Mercedes-based QX30 sales shot up a massive 523.9 percent.

Other Automakers

Volkswagen sold 339,676 vehicles in the U.S., a 5.2 percent improvement. Mazda’s sales were down 2.8 percent for the year, totaling 289,470 vehicles. Subaru improved 5.4 percent in 2017, selling 647,956 vehicles. Finally, Kia’s sales decreased 0.9 percent to 589,668, and Hyundai sales decreased 12 percent to 685,555.

Source: The Automakers

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class First Ride: G-Whiz

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 23:01

When Mercedes set out to redesign its G-Class sport-utility for the first time since its 1979 introduction, one of its biggest goals was to improve the brick-shaped SUV’s on-road behavior. And boy did the G-wagen need it. The primitive recirculating ball steering is notoriously loose and requires constant correction to maintain a straight line. And let’s not even talk about the body roll.

Just remember, Mercedes originally envisaged this vehicle for use by farmers and Bundeswehr officers who had terrible terrain to traverse. That it became a favorite of the Cartier and Cristal set was a happy accident.

But no matter how modern and civilized the Geländewagen needed to become to satisfy the mall-crawler crowd, Mercedes wanted to ensure the new version satisfied its original purpose as a capable off-roader—perhaps even more so than its predecessor. That mountain goat aptitude is as much a part of the G-wagen’s identity as its squared-off styling. Without it, there would be no reason for the G-Class to exist.

To prove that the redesigned G-wagen is still one of the most capable off-roaders you can buy, Mercedes invited us to the Schöckl, the Austrian mountain it uses to test and develop the G-Class. The trails there are rocky and treacherous, far beyond the abilities of the modern-era car-based crossover.

Crawling up and down these trails in prototype vehicles, Mercedes’ professional drivers showed off not only the G-Class’ new features but also how shockingly capable it is off-road. And although the new version has swapped out its live front axle for an independent front suspension, it quickly became apparent that there isn’t much the new G-wagen can’t handle.

Perhaps more important, it tackled every obstacle in such a calm, controlled fashion, it almost felt like it wasn’t trying. Even when blasting down the trail at truly insane speeds (love the grab-handle location, BTW), the new G-wagen was remarkably composed. Could a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota Land Cruiser keep up in a race down the mountain? Possibly. But everyone in the G-Class would be far more comfortable. The body control is seriously impressive.

How did Mercedes’ engineers do it? The frame is 34 percent stiffer, and body rigidity has been improved nearly 50 percent. And although the body is only 0.67 inch wider than before, Mercedes found room to widen the track by a whopping 4.4 inches. The fording depth, meanwhile, has been raised 3.9 inches, bringing it up to 27.6 inches.

Approach, departure, and breakover angles were all improved by 1 degree, and the tilt angle has been improved to 35 degrees. Suspension travel has also been increased, with the front axle offering 3.35 inches of jounce and 3.94 inches of rebound. The rear axle, meanwhile, gets 3.23 inches of jounce and 5.59 inches of rebound.

Other changes include switching from three-link to five-link location of the rear axle, adding a new transfer case that defaults to a 40/60 front/rear torque split, moving the front differential higher off the ground, and placing the fuel tank ahead of the rear axle. Mercedes also swapped in a new nine-speed transmission.

Don’t worry. The important stuff is all still there. The G-Class still sits on a ladder frame, gets side-pipe exhaust, and retains its three locking differentials. There’s also still a low-range mode that you must select when the transmission is in neutral. When you need to switch back to high range, you can do that on the move up to about 43 mph.

Mercedes says it has no plans to offer a low-speed crawl control like we’ve seen from several other automakers, but I can’t imagine anyone actually missing it. The driver made sure to demonstrate not only how easy the throttle was to modulate but also how much you can rely on engine braking to slow a descent.

One surprisingly useful feature, though, is the front-facing camera. It shows a clear, crisp picture of what’s ahead and, unlike the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, has guidelines that show how wide the vehicle is and where you’re headed. There’s also a 360-degree view to help you keep an eye on what’s next to you. Expect both to make tackling a difficult trail much simpler.

Mercedes also added a new off-road driving mode called G-Mode. Once the low range has been engaged or one of the differentials has been locked, G-Mode engages—automatically optimizing the adjustable dampers, steering, throttle, and shift times for off-road conditions. However, because we didn’t do any on-road driving, we can’t say for sure how big a difference it makes.

Put it all together, and it’s clear that even though the live front axle is gone, the new G-Class hasn’t lost a beat. It’s still a G-wagen, it’s still an absolute beast off-road, and with improved specs, it should easily outperform the outgoing model. Now we just need to see how it drives on a paved road.

Learn about the 2019 G-Class’ completely new interior right here.

The post 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class First Ride: G-Whiz appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2018 Acura RDX

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:43
The 2018 Acura RDX is a compact crossover that might be getting a little long in the tooth but remains an above average blend of value, sophistication, and safety. Accordingly, this semi-luxury crossover scores a 6.8 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.) This RDX dates back to the 2013 model year, albeit with a few updates to...
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Report: Ford Cancels Fusion Redesign for North America

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 22:05

It was recently reported that Ford will stop building the Fusion in North America at the end of the decade, and that it won’t export copies from China. These reports, only highlighted by the fact that Ford’s car sales have been declining, raise questions whether or not the automaker will continue selling the midsize sedan in the U.S. It’s still not clear, but another new report adds fuel to the fire.

According to The Detroit News, Ford officials wrote in a letter to suppliers that the company will cancel a planned redesign for the North American Fusion. This redesign was reportedly scheduled for the 2020 model year.

If true, the report doesn’t necessarily mean Ford is killing the Fusion in the U.S. As The Detroit News points out, it’s not uncommon for automakers to alter redesign plans or cancel them altogether. Ford might not have come with the right formula for a new Fusion, one source suggested to the publication. Another said the Fusion would remain in the lineup for at least three to four years.

In a statement to Motor Trend, Ford stressed the importance of the Fusion to its lineup. “Fusion remains an important part of the Ford lineup for years to come with even more new fresh features on the way,” the statement reads. “We will have more news to share in the future.”

There’s a chance that Ford is completely re-evaluating the midsize sedan proposition. Ford CEO Jim Hackett said last month that customers are looking for a “bigger silhouette,” hinting the Fusion could grow in size or change significantly. If Ford makes a larger Fusion, it could ask consumers for more money, driving up margins in a category that traditionally commands lower profits than SUVs and trucks.

Ford has said it will offer fewer car nameplates in the future. It’s reallocating $7 billion from cars to trucks and SUVs including the upcoming Ranger.

Source: The Detroit News

The post Report: Ford Cancels Fusion Redesign for North America appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Land Rover Range Rover

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 20:49
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover may be the definition of capability. It’s cool, calm, collected, and composed on any sort of terrain—from rocky trails to curvy canyons. The Range Rover is one of our highest-rated vehicles at 8.6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.) With a nameplate dating back nearly 50 years, the...
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BMW to Introduce Improved Traction Control System Across Lineup

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:30

BMW will fit all new models with an updated traction control system that can respond much more quickly than traditional systems. The feature was first presented on the i3s electric vehicle.

BMW says the system in the i3s improves traction and stability when pulling away from a standstill, accelerating out of tight corners, in poor weather, and while the car is recovering energy from braking. Unlike other systems, BMW’s new system calculates the control process directly in the powertrain rather than in a remote unit that requires long signal paths. The result is a response that is 50 times quicker.

The system was designed with electric vehicles in mind. Peter Langen, BMW’s head of chassis development, points out that these vehicles demand more from driving stability systems because of their high levels of torque and quick responses. However, the new system also improves stability and traction performance in traditional combustion vehicles, no matter whether they are equipped with front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive.

BMW added a sportier variant to the i3 electric car for the 2018 model year. Known as the i3s, the model receives a more powerful electric motor that makes 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, up from 170 hp and 184 lb-ft on the regular model. It also comes with a sportier suspension that lowers the car by 10 mm.

Source: BMW

The post BMW to Introduce Improved Traction Control System Across Lineup appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Springfield submits plans for 3,000 home Stirling 'supervillage'

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:18
AIM-listed Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties has submitted an application for permission in principle to Stirling Council to build a 3,000 home ‘supervillage’ in the Durieshill area.
Categories: Property

Nissan Prepares Cars to Read Your Brain Waves

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 18:04

In recent years, CES has hosted a number of autonomous vehicle concepts and technologies, and this year should be no different. But Nissan is taking things one step further with technology that can interpret signals from a driver’s brain to predict what he or she will do next and assist the driving experience as needed.

Dubbed “Brain-to-Vehicle” technology, the system is the first of its kind, according to Nissan. Once a driver puts on a device that measures brain wave activity, the system can detect when the driver is about to initiate a movement. By determining that the driver is getting ready to turn the steering wheel or come to a stop, for instance, the system prepares to help the driver in this action. Nissan says this technology improves driver reaction times, although drivers will likely not notice it working.

“When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines. Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable,” said Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci in a statement.

This type of technology can also detect when a driver is uncomfortable and help create a more relaxing environment. To comfort the driver, the system can switch the car’s driving style when it’s in autonomous mode, or create an augmented reality inside the cabin. In the video below, Nissan senior innovation researcher Lucian Gheorghe says the automaker is preparing for a future where brain measuring devices could be part of our daily lives.

CES will take place in Las Vegas from January 9-12. In the meantime, watch the video below to learn more about Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle technology.

Source: Nissan

The post Nissan Prepares Cars to Read Your Brain Waves appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

The Hurricane Harvey and Irma car sales boom is already over

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 17:16
The sheer number of cars destroyed by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017—by some estimates totaling north of half a million vehicles—resulted a boom for both new and used car sales. That's hardly unexpected. The disaster-driven sales are already virtually non-existent, however, having occurred over a shorter-than-usual time frame. As a...
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Elmbridge Council acquires Sandown industrial estate

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 17:05
The Milton Group has sold Sandown Industrial Park in Esher to Elmbridge Borough Council for £14m.
Categories: Property

2018 Ford Taurus

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 16:52
Once the nameplate synonymous with American sedans, the 2018 Ford Taurus is once again Detroit’s forgotten four-door. This full-size sedan, offered in SE, SEL, Limited, and SHO trim levels, features fewer engine options for 2018—its sixth model year since a refresh and its ninth since a clean-sheet redesign. The Taurus earns a 4.8 out...
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Double appointment boosts GL Hearn for 2018

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 16:27
GL Hearn has made two high-profile appointments within the occupier advisory teams in its Manchester and London offices.
Categories: Property

Lyft, Aptiv to Offer Autonomous Rides at CES

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 15:45

Self-driving tech company Aptiv has partnered with Lyft to offer the public rides in autonomous cars during CES.

The cars will chauffeur people to more than 20 different destinations around Las Vegas where the annual show is held. CES attendees can request a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center between January 9 and 12. As a precautionary measure, a safety driver will sit in the front seat on every ride, accompanied by an in-car host.

Aptiv spun off from automotive supplier Delphi last year. Delphi offered autonomous rides during last year’s CES on a 6.3-mile loop that included city streets and stretches of highway.

Aptiv recently acquired nuTonomy, a self-driving car software developer that has worked with Lyft on an automated driving pilot program in Boston. Unlike vehicles from some other developers, Aptiv’s automated cars don’t have bulky sensors on the exterior. The company says its technology will be ready for production by 2019.

“This partnership represents a real-life application of scalable, automated driving technology that will have a significant impact on improving safety, emissions and urban congestion challenges,” said Aptiv President and CEO Kevin Clark in a statement.

In the war against Uber, Lyft has acquired a host of partners to bolster its autonomous car ambitions, including Waymo, GM, Ford, and Jaguar Land Rover. Last year, Lyft announced it would give automakers and tech developers access to its network consisting of nearly one million riders a day.

Source: Aptiv

The post Lyft, Aptiv to Offer Autonomous Rides at CES appeared first on Motor Trend.

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China's plush toward electrification, Nissan reads your brain, Mercedes C350e driven: What’s New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 15:30
China halts production of 500-plus gas-guzzling cars China’s Vehicle Technology Service Center has announced a large-scale stop-sale of various gas guzzling cars, including some that are effective January 1st. The move is part of the Chinese government’s ongoing efforts to curb pollution and promote electric vehicles. Survey...
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