FRONT RUNNERS IN CAR NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
Nissan Xterra Going ‘Xtinct’
Nissan announced last week that they are stopping production of their 15 year old Xterra as of 2015. Not only will they stop making them, they do not anticipate offering any similar replacement for it. This is not surprising to Alexander Stoklosa of CARandDRIVER, who writes in his article from Aug 18 that the Nissan Xterra is “out of step with current consumer desires”. With only one redesign in 2005, the Xterra appears old to consumers and no longer appeals to modern-day taste.
Along with the Nissan Xterra, production of the Nissan Frontier is expected to cease as well. Stokliosa says that this could be because Nissan is making room for its new Nissan Murano crossover that is expected to hit the roads in the near future.
Audi’s Very Own Electric SUV
When you think EV, you think Tesla, right? While this may have been your first thought, they are not the only EV manufacturers out there anymore.
Among others, luxury automaker Audi has decided to take its turn in creating its very own EV that is expected to compete against the Tesla Model X SUV, reports Eric Weiner from Automobile Magazine, Aug 19. Weiner describes the E-tron EV to have a “smooth, flowing design with a sporty, raked roofline”.
Only in its concept phase, Audi expects to reveal its E-tron SUV design at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
Tesla’s Autopilot Steering to the Future
Not only is Tesla a major contender in the Electric Vehicle (EV) market, but the company is trying to make its own mark within the autonomous car industry with its new Autopilot software.
Similar to the other self-driving vehicles, the Tesla Model S, when equipped with the Autopilot software, will have Traffic Aware Cruise Control, explains Sebastian Blanco of Autoblog. While Tesla is working with the 7.0 version of Autopilot, Tesla “has been clear that it’s not ready to let the cars take over all of the driving decisions just yet” reports Blanco in his article from Aug 18.
Blanco explains that the CEO himself, Elon Musk, has said that the technology still needs to evolve, but in time “the cars will be able to learn from each other and offer more features”. Other than those few details, the EV company is keeping things quiet. But Tesla has big ideas for the future of its own self-driving EVs…
Ford’s Lazy-Car Lounger
Ford has been approved by the the United States Patent and Trademark Office for reconfigurable seats.
So what does this actually mean?
Benjamin Zhang from Business Insider explains that this new patent is Ford’s latest “move into the world of self-driving cars“. From what he describes in his article, the reconfigurable seats will be able to change their design and layout when the car is set to autonomous-drive mode. These layouts are more comfortable, lounge-like, and offer a more “socially conducive setting — turning the average family sedan into a road-going private jet”.
While Ford is still behind in the self-driving car race, this patent is a step in the right direction and might just set themself apart in the future. ”
GM Recall Looking Pretty Dim
The GM headlight recall has expanded this past week and added 180 thousand more vehicles to the list, reveals Chris Bruce of Autoblog. The affected vehicles have a defective “headlight module” and when it fails, the vehicle’s “low beams can stop working either intermittently or permanently” says Bruce.
The recall has extended to 180,504 of GMC’s 2005 Buick LaCrosse and 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix. Originally announce in November 2014, the initial affected-vehicle total was just over 300 thousand. With the recent announcement, the recall will exceed 500 thousand.
With no actual fix to the defect, the only thing that GM dealers can do for now is replace the defective piece with the same part, which can lead to the exact same issue again.
Don’t forget to check back next week for another round of Car News Catchup!
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