As promised, Fisker on Wednesday opened the order books for its forthcoming Ocean battery-electric SUV and announced pricing and other details ahead of its launch in 2022. Also as promised, the eco-luxury ‘ute will come in well below what Volvo is charging under its Care by Volvo subscription program.

Fisker will make the Ocean available primarily through a monthly lease that starts at $379 per month through its mobile app, which is now live for iOS and Android platforms. That compares to $700 per month to get into Care by Volvo with the XC40, and mileage limits are twice those of the latter, at 30,000 miles per year, compared to 15,000 for Volvo. That makes good on founder Henrik Fisker’s promises to be cheaper and more generous on mileage than its competitor.

However, you’ll need to put down $2,999 to trigger that price level, compared to just $500 to get started under Care by Volvo. And unlike its benchmarked competitor, insurance is not included, though Fisker says it expects customers will be able to access affordable quotes through its mobile app “due to a unique and proprietary low cost of service and maintenance model.”

Similar to some other subscription services, the Fisker lease program eschews long-term contracts in favor of giving customers flexibility to return the vehicle any time, even after as little as a month. It also covers maintenance and service, with pickup and return of the vehicle included.

Check out Autoblog’s Complete Guide to Car Subscriptions.

Fisker says there will be five option packages for the Ocean, available closer to the end of the year, that are designed to reduce the complexity of option configurators. Fisker will also set up what it’s calling “experience centers” in shopping districts and airports where customers will be able to see the vehicles and spec packages. Starting in 2021, customers will also be able to schedule test drives through the mobile app.

The company released some new details, including a “California Mode” — presumably a retractable sunroof feature — that will be standard on all trim grades above the base version, four-wheel drive versions with electric motors front and rear, and the promise of a five-star safety rating.

Reservations cost $250 and are fully refundable. They come with exclusive new teaser images of the SUV to be released in advance of the official January unveiling, meaning we can probably look forward to an avalanche of leaked teaser images from reservation holders as part of the unceasing trickle of promotional teases for the new vehicle.

One new wrinkle: Fisker says it will offer a limited number of models for sale in response to global demand. No word yet on the purchase price; that’ll be announced in January when we see the production-intent prototype.

DETROIT -- The world's largest holding company of advertising agencies, which has done business with Ford Motor Co. for more than 75 years, plans to move several units to downtown Detroit in a move that could bring more than 1,000 jobs to the city.

London-based WPP plc — which includes GTB, VMLY&R, Burrows, Hudson Rouge, Iconmobile, Xaxis and Zubi — said Tuesday it plans to move into the vacant Marquette Building at 243 W. Congress St. The building is across the street from the site of the Detroit auto show -- the TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo Center.

GTB, or Global Team Blue, works heavily with Ford, which is renovating the Michigan Central Station in Corktown as an anchor to its $740 million autonomous and electric vehicle campus in the neighborhood west of downtown.

The new WPP space is expected to be open by the end of next year, the company said in a news release. It said it will also maintain a presence in nearby Dearborn, where the agency currently has about 850 employees.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board on Tuesday approved a $1.65 million Michigan Business Development Program grant for the move.

GTB CEO Robert Guay said in an interview that discussions over the move were well under way when he joined the company in July. 

"As someone who has worked in a creative environment in the city of Detroit, I am thrilled with the opportunity to identify and recruit emerging tech and creative talent," he said.

An MSF board briefing memo says the move is a $19.24 million investment and that in addition to the 850 Dearborn employees, another 182 jobs are anticipated. The new building would house client engagement, finance, human resources, design, analytics and other company functions, the memo says.

The memo also says the city of Detroit has offered a personal property tax abatement up to 10 years with an estimated value of $993,000. The grant would not be disbursed until certain performance milestones are met, according to the memo.

The news comes a year after Ford replaced WPP as its longtime lead creative ad agency with BBDO of New York City. It switched shops following five months of review.

'Parallel paths'

"Ford and GTB were on parallel paths looking for the same thing: Proximity to the city center and access to tech resources and talent," Guay said. "I can't say that we necessarily looked at the space solely because of Ford building in Corktown, but it certainly was an assuring thing."

The Marquette Building is owned by Detroit-based Sterling Group.

Auto seating supplier Adient plc, the spinoff of Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., paid $36.13 million to acquire and improve the property over the course of a year between November 2016 and November 2017, according to city property records. Then the company took a roughly $11 million haircut on it in a $25 million sale of the building, a 400-space parking deck and a surface parking lot a year ago.

A source familiar with the matter said WPP will lease most of the Detroit building and have its employees park in the parking deck and surface lot. Guay declined to comment on parking.

Adient was planning to turn the Marquette Building into its new $100 million headquarters, but that plan was scrapped in June 2018. Adient is remaining in its Plymouth Township headquarters.

Source link

    If you're joining the rest of the country in some conspicuous spending this holiday season, make Blipshift and its unique brand of automotive humor a part of your gift-giving plan. Starting at midnight on Black Friday and stretching through Cyber Monday, Blipshift is running the "Black Flat Friday/Driver Monday" sale. Heh. See what they did there?

      A series of holiday-inspired designs will be available for this limited time, including the "Oh . . . Christmas Tree" T-shirt (shown above) and this very different type of Christmas tree: the drag-strip variety.

      In addition to the holiday T-shirts, Blipshift is also offering a series of automotive-related clocks for $35, all of which would look great above a bar or in a garage above a workbench. The clocks feature some of the brand's most iconic designs, including Apex Everything and Vitruvian Racer.

      A series of socks from Heel Tread will also be offered for $12 per pair, phone cases for $25, and large wall banners in several designs for $29. Hurry and place your orders soon as supplies are limited and, like previous sales from Blipshift, the deals end just before midnight on Monday.

      The very last of the venerable Ford Panthers rolled off the assembly line back in 2011, marking the end of the decades-long era in which opulently rounded Ford Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquises, and Lincoln Town Cars could be purchased new. Long before that time, though, high-end Lincolns ceased being sold with Cartier badging and dashboard clocks, a tradition that went back to the early 1970s. Today's Junkyard Gem is one of the final Cartier Lincolns, a once-luxurious Town Car Cartier Edition, found in a yard in northeastern Colorado last month.

      The Cartier was the top trim level for the 2000 Town Car, itself the pinnacle of the Panther pyramid.The price tag on this car began at $43,150 (about $65,600 in today's money).

      Mechanically speaking, not much separated the 2000 Town Car from the rubber-floor-mat-equipped Crown Victoria Police Interceptor used to haul projectile-vomiting drunks to the pokey in your town for the past 25 years, and the lines of the $20k Crown Vic are quite apparent when you look at the $43k Town Car.

      However, the Town Car benefited from a quadruple helping of leather, serious sound insulation, wood (plastic) trim, and touches such as this "double C" embroidery on the seats. It was hard to top this car for a smooth, quiet highway ride.

      The Cartier clock (not really made by Cartier) featured gold (plastic) trim, just like the center-mounted gold-trimmed clocks in 1990s Infiniti Q45s. Yes, I bought this clock to add to my collection, and it works just fine.

      Power came from the reliable 4.6-liter Ford Modular V8 engine, rated at 220 horsepower in the 2000 Cartier. This wasn't tremendous power for a two-ton behemoth, but it got the job done. If you wanted a massive V8-powered luxury sedan that went really fast in 2000, you could have spent $77,850 for a new Mercedes-Benz S500 (302 horsepower) or chosen a $66,970 BMW 740iL (282 horsepower).

      It would be pretty easy to build up a monster supercharged 4.6, attach it to a manual transmission, and drop it in a Town Car like this one… and someone should do just that.

        If you're one of the 50 million people who tune in to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade every year (or one of the 3.5 million in New York City watching in person), here are two things worth knowing: It will air on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon in all time zones on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. And those trucks hauling the parade floats are all Rams.

        This being 2019, there's a live stream of the parade that will be active on Thursday morning starting at 8:30 a.m. ET.

        These being Rams, the fleet of 65 Ram trucks and Ram ProMaster vans are also used behind the scenes to move everything from tools to costumes before the parade starts.

        There's a bit of question as to whether it will be too windy to launch the nearly two dozen huge balloons featuring cartoon characters, but the floats will not be affected by the potentially disappointing lack of Snoopy and Sponge Bob in the air overhead.

        The Ram pickups, for the first time this year, are going to be wrapped as shown in the photos above. They will carry themes such as "Splashing Safari Adventure" and, of course, Santa's sleigh, designed to complement the floats they pull. Commercial? Kind of. But hey, it's Thanksgiving. Don't spoil our fun.

        It was only a matter of time before this happened. German performance car tuner AC Schnitzer has officially released a full suite of aftermarket parts and an engine tune for the 2020 Toyota Supra. AC Schnitzer has never worked on a Toyota before, because a Toyota has never been a BMW underneath. When you step back and think about it, this makes a whole lot of sense. The company comes right out and says it: “The BMW technology built into the vehicle enables us to integrate our core competence into a Toyota model for the first time.”

        The engine tune sounds like a serious kick in the pants, as it increases performance specs up to 400 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Those gains are significant over the 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque it makes from the factory. You need to run 93 octane fuel to realize these gains. AC Schnitzer says it prioritizes gains in torque with this tune. Additionally, the tuner says it’s not coming close to pushing the limits of the engine with the added power, opting to stick on the side of reliability and longevity. The tune itself stands alone with this upgrade — AC Schnitzer isn’t offering any hardware upgrades to go along with its fancy computer work. From a warranty perspective, AC Schnitzer does offer folks an option for some protection. The company’s website links to the official warranty documents that say a four-year/75,000-mile warranty is available for an extra charge. You can find all the nitty gritty details on the company’s website.

        There’s an AC Schnitzer stainless steel muffler that claims better flow than the stock unit. It’s louder than the stock muffler, and the item description claims an “acoustic and optical signature of your BMW.” Suspension modifications are also available. An adjustable AC Schnitzer RS coilover system is available. It can lower the car up to 1.57 inches, and the height, bump and rebound are adjustable. The Supra is tuned to be more compliant than a lot of sports cars out there, so these could sharpen things up if you intend to use it on track. If you don’t want the dampers, a lowering spring kit is also available to take the height down about an inch.

        A few aero-related parts are available for purchase. AC Schnitzer is selling a carbon fiber rear wing, black-painted front splitter and hood vents with the AC Schnitzer name on them. Two different kinds of wheels in a couple of different finishes are available with tires mounted. None of these items have prices attached to them on the German tuner car’s website yet, but we’ve asked to see if that information is available.

        HAMBURG -- BMW management and labor have reached an agreement on measures to reduce costs that avoids "drastic measures," the automaker said on Wednesday.

        The agreement involves reducing bonuses for workers based on company profits, as well changes to Christmas and other bonuses for some workers. The measures are effective starting 2020.

        BMW had been in talks with labor representatives and its top suppliers as it seeks to achieve cost savings of more than 12 billion euros ($13.2 billion) by 2022.

        "We have achieved a solution based on solidarity. This allows us to avoid drastic measures that others are currently taking to reduce their costs," CEO Oliver Zipse said.

        German automakers are intensifying their efforts to reduce costs to fund investments for electric cars and autonomous vehicle technologies.

        Audi said on Tuesday that it plans to cut about 15 percent of its German workforce to protect its profitability.

        Daimler as well as suppliers Continental and Osram have also recently announced staff and cost cuts

        Source link

        DETROIT — A battery-powered Lincoln SUV, due in mid-2022, will be the first Ford Motor Co. vehicle built on a custom electrified chassis that resembles a skateboard, which was developed by Ford-backed startup Rivian, according to several people familiar with the program.

        The all-wheel-drive Lincoln SUV could compete against Rivian's R1S, an electric sport utility vehicle slated to go into production in early 2021 that will be priced from $72,500. Both models will use Rivian's so-called skateboard, a flexible platform that combines electric motors, batteries, controls and suspension.

        On Tuesday, Ford declined to comment. Rivian did not respond to a request for comment.

        The new Lincoln, which carries the internal program code U787, also could compete with premium offerings from others, including General Motors Co <GM.N>, which plans to introduce at least two new electric SUVs by 2023, one for Cadillac and one that could revive the Hummer name, sources have said.

        Ford invested $500 million in Rivian this year and plans to help it begin production next year at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

        When Ford made the investment, it said it would use Rivian's skateboard to develop its own electric vehicle, but did not disclose details.

        It is not clear where Ford intends to build the Lincoln SUV, which will be among the first of several battery-powered utility vehicles planned for Ford's premium brand in North America and China, according to supplier sources familiar with those programs who asked not to be identified.

        Ford expects to introduce a compact Lincoln electric crossover in late 2021 or early 2022 and a mid-size companion in 2023, the sources said.

        The U.S. auto industry plans to invest billions of dollars over the next few years to build all-electric pickups and SUVs, sectors of the market that have been among the most profitable, especially for Detroit-based automakers.

        But analysts have questioned whether demand from consumers and commercial customers will come close to matching production.

        Founded in 2009, Rivian has raised $1.9 billion from investors, including e-commerce giant Amazon, which has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian. The first Amazon vans will be built in Normal and are to be delivered in 2021.

        Ford aims to sell an electric F-series pickup in late 2021, sources have said. It also will offer the electric Mustang Mach E SUV next year as part of plans to invest $11.5 billion by 2022 electrifying its vehicles.

        Overview

        Larger families who want to live the Jeep lifestyle have been out of luck since the Commander was discontinued, but the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer look to change that. Wearing the brand's unmistakable seven-slot grille and with three rows of seats, these full-size SUVs should shakeup an established segment that includes the Ford Expedition and Chevy's Tahoe and Suburban. While Jeep hasn't officially revealed anything about its soon-to-be-largest models, we've been anticipating their arrival for a while. With the company's cachet, a pickup-truck chassis, and the likelihood of dedicated off-road hardware, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are expected to be sought-after entries in a hugely popular class.

        What's New for 2021?

        The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be all new when they eventually reach showrooms. So far, all we know for sure is that they'll have three rows of seats. We also expect they'll share a chassis with the recently redesigned Ram 1500 pickup truck. We can only make an educated guess about the Wagoneers' potential powertrain choices, and we believe they'll start production sometime in 2021.

        Pricing and Which One to Buy

          Jeep hasn't released any information on how much these three-row models might cost, but most full-size SUVs in this class start around $50,000. So, we expect the shorter Wagoneer and extended Grand Wagoneer to have prices around that neighborhood.

          Engine, Transmission, and Performance

          Since the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will likely utilize body-on-frame underpinnings derived from the Ram 1500, we also expect them to have similar engine and transmission options. This probably means the 3.6-liter V-6 with the hybrid system (called eTorque) will be the base engine. The more powerful 5.7-liter Hemi V-8—also with eTorque technology—will almost certainly be offered, too. There's also a chance the revised diesel 3.0-liter V-6, which is optional on the half-ton Ram, could be in the mix. We expect every Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to be equipped with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Of course, every model will surely be available with rear- or all-wheel drive as well as Jeep's ubiquitous off-road-ready equipment.

          Jeep Wagoneer Spy Photos

          Brian WilliamsCar and Driver

          Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

          Jeep's fleet doesn't have any especially fuel-conscious models, and we don't expect the large Wagoneer and larger Grand Wagoneer to be any different. Based on EPA ratings for the rear-drive 2020 Ram 1500, we'd expect the V-6–powered Jeeps to earn around 20 mpg city and 25 highway. The V-8 versions will likely be rated near 17 mpg city and 23 highway. However, if the diesel V-6 is actually offered, it'll probably be the most efficient engine with estimates up to 22 mpg city and 32 highway.

          Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

          These spy photos have given us a glimpse at the exteriors of the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, but we haven't a clue how their interior will appear. They should have a different design than any current Jeep model, especially the Grand Cherokee, which itself is set to receive a redesign. Still, both Wagoneer models will definitely have three rows of seats, with a set of second-row captain's chairs more than likely. We suspect the Grand Wagoneer will be the larger of the two and offer more cargo space.

          Brian WilliamsCar and Driver

          Infotainment and Connectivity

          While it's hard to predict what infotainment and connectivity features will be common a year or two from now, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will more than likely offer most of them. This should include a large touchscreen—hopefully with some semblance of buttons and knobs for ease of use—and smartphone-integration courtesy of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Likewise, a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, and at least one upgradable audio system should be standard or optional.

          Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

          Obviously, neither the Wagoneer nor Grand Wagoneer have been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, we expect both body styles to offer a slew of standard and optional driver-assistance technology such as adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and more.

          Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

          Jeep currently offers a competitive albeit unremarkable limited and powertrain warranty. The company also offers an extra-cost extended warranty and complimentary scheduled maintenance on select models as part of the Jeep Wave ownership program.