Month: October, 2014
Word has it that Land Rover is considering setting up a production plant in the United States. According to sources such as the NY Times, Land Rover has been asking around in Southern States such as South Carolina about the possibility of setting up a permanent plant in the area.
Adding New Jobs and Increasing Vehicle Production in the Area
While consumers in the United States shouldn’t expect highly discounted prices on Land Rover vehicles, they could safely assume that more models would be offered within the country and that they would be easier to get ahold of. Adding a plant into a state such as South Carolina would result in the production of up to 200,000 vehicles a year once at full capacity. This would add a huge number of jobs into the local economy and make their quality vehicles more available to the U.S. than ever before.
Why a US Plant
There are a few reasons that Land Rover could benefit by setting up shop in the U.S. The first is that they wouldn’t have to worry about paying tariffs any longer each time that a vehicle is imported into the area. This will lower their expenses considerably and enable the automaker to either earn more profit on each of their vehicles, or decrease the overall price of the car and increase the number of sales they make each year.
The second reason to set up a plant in the United States is that it would help them avoid additional risks and expenses caused by currency fluctuation. By dealing in two different currencies the automaker has to worry about how fluctuations will affect their profits and their ability to consider selling in the area.
Representatives from Land Rover neither confirmed nor denied the claim that they were looking for a location to setup a plant in the United States, but they were willing to say that they are looking for more ways to expand the brand globally. While Land Rover is already a well-known brand in the U.S., building a permanent manufacturing plant in the area could help bolster sales further and possibly increase their foothold in the country further.
On top of considering expanding into the United States Land Rover has already made plans to open up a factory in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2016. It seems that they are serious about expanding around the world, and the United States may be one of the first expansion points with a long list to come later on.
The writers and editors over at Car and Driver had nothing but nice things to say about the 2014 Jaguar XKR-S. This little beauty isn’t exactly a budget sports car, or even a mid-range beast at price of $174,925, but the performance it offers all but makes up for such a steep asking price.
The 2014 XKR-S GT comes with a 5.0 liter V-8 that produces 550 HP and 502 lb.-ft. of torque. It bursts down the road from 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds according to Jaguar. The system is still tied to an aging 6-speed transmission but it manages smooth and dynamic performance in any track setting.
Enhancements from the XKR-S
Jaguar went far to really differentiate the XKR-S GT from their XKR-S sports car and the main way that the accomplished this is by enhancing the suspension and overall torsional stiffness of the vehicle. According to test drivers the vehicle just feels stiffer and handles more effectively than the XKR-S could ever hope to. This results in more confident driving and improved track times.
The XKR-S GT managed to go shave three seconds off the time delivered by the XKR-S. This may not seem like much but in just one single lap it’s a huge difference. To get a better idea of the difference in performance between these two vehicles, the average speed of the S was 114.8 MPH while the GT version managed a noticeably higher average of 120 MPH.
Sure this slight difference may not seem like it’s worth the additional $42,000 that Jaguar is asking for this vehicle, but for those looking for the highest levels of performance, there’s just something satisfying about driving one of the most capable cars that a automaker has to offer. For Jaguar that is undoubtedly the XKR-S GT. This car screams around corners with murderous intent. It looks sleek stylish, and maybe even a bit understated for the high level of power that it has on tap.
Beating out the Competition
One of the main cars that Jaguar set out to beat with the GT version of their XKR-S was Mercedes SL63 AMG. Their car managed to best Mercedes’ performance car by .5 seconds around the lightning lap, but there were sections that both vehicles acceled at.
Buyers with a high level of disposable income who are looking for Jaguar’s answer to the SL63 or Porsche’s 911 Turbo have no further to look than the XKR-S GT. This car is highly capable on the track and it looks great sitting in a driveway or garage. Of course it’s highly refine and it’s fun and comfortable to drive around town, but where it really shines is out on a track burning rubber and drifting around sharp corners at speeds other cars would be too terrified to attempt.
Even though GM’s hybrid and electric plug-in vehicles aren’t topping any sales charts at the moment, they are planning to expand their lineup and release even more vehicles in the segment anyway. One of those proposed vehicles is an all-electric Cadillac, according to Cadillac’s new CEO Johan de Nysschen who let the news slip during an interview with Reuters. This new technology is likely already in development and may be released in 2016 along with the enhanced version of the ELR.
Cadillac has a lot of hurdles to overcome before they launch an all-electric car. Since the vehicle is going to have a higher price tag than most of the rest of the GM lineup it’s likely that it will have a higher range as well. With GM coming up with a
Enhancing the ELR
The Cadillac ELR was one of the first vehicles out on the road that relies on a gas generator to supply energy to an electric motor to actually drive the vehicle. It was able to achieve impressive performance figures, but with a range of only 340 miles on gas, and a much smaller range on battery life alone it was falling a bit short when compared to standard gasoline-powered vehicles. The car is being improved upon in the next generation and the range enhanced further using more sophisticated technology. GM isn’t giving up on the generator system that they used in the last iteration of the car, and this version could be something really special.
Keeping Up with the Competition
Since the all-electric Cadillac isn’t likely to be released for a few years the company has a lot of concerns that have to be met. Tesla is working on a compact all-electric vehicle, and their model-S is a pretty big hit already. Both of these vehicles are likely to be in the same price range as the new all-electric Cadillac, the 3 is likely to be more affordable. This means they are the competition and Cadillac will have to offer a similar feature set. In order to keep up with Tesla, and a range of ever expanding electric vehicles, it has to hit over 200 miles of range, and that’s the biggest hurdle that GM has to overcome before releasing an all-electric vehicle.
There is no word on the size or the type of EV that Cadillac plans to release. They could go big and compete with the Model S, or keep things compact and try to go up against the Tesla 3, but whatever it is it’s likely to be sophisticated and worth taking a look at.
Infiniti has always come second to brands such as BMW and Audi and that’s mostly because of the automakers lack of a serious flagship vehicle. Sure they have cars like the Q70 that can stand up against some of the higher-end vehicles, but they aren’t going toe-to-toe with them, and that’s why Infiniti keeps getting heaped in with automakers like Acura. With their latest concept car, the Q80 Hybrid concept, they hope to change that conception for good.
The Q80 Hybrid Concept
This long-sleek car is a full-sized sedan, but sits much lower to the ground than most sedans do. It features dramatic contours and looks like a car straight from the future. It comes equipped with a heavily tinted panoramic sunroof that stretches from windshield to the rear window giving it a smooth look that builds that futuristic appeal even more. The rear doors of the car are marked as “suicide doors” and feature rear hinges providing a wide open view of the interior with both front and rear doors open at once.
The styling of the Q80 Hybrid will win hearts, but it’s the performance that’s going to captivate the most. Between the electric motors and the twin-turbo 3.0 liter gasoline engine this car puts out 550 HP. Thanks to the electric motors adding more power to the car it manages 553 torque, more than its horsepower figure, something that’s nearly unheard of in a gas-powered vehicle.
Turbo lag would have normally been an issue with a twin-turbo configuration, but the lithium-ion powered electric motor helps fill in the gaps during acceleration giving the car a smooth and even response throughout the range. It makes use of a 9-speed automatic, has a top speed of 155 and manages to go from 0 to 60 in just 4 seconds, while maintaining a combined fuel rating over 30 MPG. This is the type of car you can have a blast driving without paying obscene gas prices to do it.
The Q80 hybrid comes with all the features you would expect a premium vehicle to have. From touchscreen operated controls, to a heads-up display and departure and blind-spot protection, this vehicle looks just as modern inside as it does out. It even has the capability of driving itself to a certain extent. It will prompt the driver asking things like if the driver wants to stay behind the current car or pass them.
The Q80 is a true flagship car that Infiniti could stand behind and gain a lot of ground on the competition. Hopefully, if they decide to release the vehicle they maintain its sleek looks and most of its performance capabilities. If they do this they will have a true winner on their hands.