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Automotive Industry

Commentary on what’s happening in the industry today.

The 2021 Nissan TITAN is on sale now at U.S. Nissan dealers with a starting MSRP of $36,550 (slightly up from $36,190 for model year 2020) for the TITAN King Cab 4×2 S model.

Equipped with a standard 5.6L V8 with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, standard Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology and a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, Nissan says the 2021 TITAN offers the most standard power, safety and technology features in its class. Safety Shield 360 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and class-exclusive standard rear automatic braking. I always applaud automakers for standard safety features, and this a solid set from Nissan.

2021 Nissan Titan

Always wanted a personal assistant?

The available Nissan Concierge provides owners 24-hour access to a live assistant at the push of a button. With Nissan Concierge, which is available through NissanConnect Services, assistants can help with a range of tasks like restaurant reservations, appointment scheduling, wake up calls and even personal shopping for event tickets or a special gift. The gift shopping alone is a boon to busy people everywhere.

2021 Nissan Titan Fender

Fender audio – of course it’s good

I highly recommend the available Fender premium audio system, which includes 12 speakers with Crew Cab and 10 speakers on King Cab.  The system’s 485-watt, nine-channel amplifier with Panasonic’s proprietary Acoustic Motion Control (which renders the realistic reverberation and ambience of original recordings) sounds incredible, even cranked up.

2021 Nissan titan

Zero Gravity seats are no gimmick

Every TITAN includes front and rear outboard Zero Gravity seats that help maximize posture positioning for enhanced comfort during long distance driving (believe me, they really make a difference on a long drive). Heating and cooling front seats are available. Heated front and rear seats are available in both cloth and leather-appointed trim levels.

For buyers looking for an even higher level of performance and capability, the TITAN XD fits the bill. Built on a unique frame and chassis, TITAN XD has an extended 151.6-inch wheelbase – about 15 inches longer than TITAN models (Crew Cab comparison) and 6.5-foot bed.

Every 2021 TITAN comes standard with bumper-to-bumper coverage of 5-years/100,000-miles, whichever comes first (includes basic and powertrain coverage).

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2021 Nissan Rogue

What’s new

  • 2021 Nissan Rogue includes Nissan Safety Shield 360 across the entire lineup
  • Intelligent driver alertness technology and Rear Door Alert now standard across all trim levels
  • “Family Hub” features add convenience for rear passengers
  • Vehicle Motion Control works in conjunction with intelligent AWD system and drive mode selector to provide four-wheel individual control and better cornering
  • 2.5L 4-cylinder engine generating 181 hp, an increase of 11 hp
  • Platinum trim added to the lineup
  • Five new two-tone color combinations

Strong mpg numbers enhanced for 2021

For model years 2017-2020, Nissan’s top-selling smart crossover has been known for stellar fuel efficiency and a nimble, quiet ride.  Powered by a 170-hp 2.5L engine, Nissan Rogue buyers could choose between 2WD and 4WD, and could get a little over 30 mpg on the highway. For 2021, Nissan added 11 hp to the mix for a little more oomph and upped the torque lb-ft by six, giving it even more zip. And the mpg numbers are even more promising: FWD models will get 35 mpg on the S trim and 34 on the other three (SV, SL, and Platinum), and AWD gets 33 and 32, respectively.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Updated styling

Firstly, Nissan has updated the V-motion grille, widening it and giving it a bit more heft. Next, to the side of the distinctive grille new multi-level LED headlights with an expanded illumination area are standard on all 2021 Nissan Rogue trims. Finally, LED fog lights are standard on SL and Platinum grades.

The rear cargo area is accessible through the newly available motion-activated tailgate. Once you open it up Nissan’s popular Divide-n-Hide system has been updated while still providing hidden and secure storage for essential gear. Now on the inner right side of the cargo area (behind the wheel arch) a cubby is perfectly sized for a gallon of milk, reducing your spill risk. We say that’s a great place for a gallon of homemade root beer in the summer, too.


Family Features

The 2021 Nissan Rogue amps up the family quotient with an enhanced feature set Nissan is calling the “Family Hub.”

As it was for the 2020 model, seventy cubic feet of cargo space is plenty of room for your kids, sports equipment, and even your furry friends in a Rogue. The new butterfly-opening center console gives you the option to place an item inside – tissues or wipes, for instance – and back-seat passengers are able to access it. If you have small children, you’ll see the functionality with that new feature. Further, more storage space is available under the front console.

Two things we love about the Rogues (and about Nissan in general) are the NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats and Rear Door Alert. First, Rear Door Alert (which was invented by two Nissan engineers who are also moms) helps remind you of items or kids that may be forgotten in the rear seat. If the system detects that a rear door was opened or closed prior to a trip, but then was not re-opened again after the trip was completed, the system responds with a series of visual and audible notifications. Secondly, Zero Gravity seats – designed to reduce fatigue and increase comfort – have 14 pressure points to put your back in a neutral position. Now your back-seat passengers benefit from Zero Gravity seats, too, and they’re going to appreciate that addition if you’ve had a Nissan Rogue in the past.

We also appreciate the expansion of the Nissan Intelligent Key to the rear doors. With the 2021 model, anyone can unlock a front or rear door by pressing a button on any of the four doors or unlock all doors by pressing twice.

Interior technology features also include push button start, Rear Door Alert and easy-fill tire alert, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free text messaging assistant, Siri Eyes Free, Google assistant and Sirius XM radio. Standard USB-C (fast chargers) are also included in every Rogue.

2021 Nissan Rogue

More safety features with ProPILOT Assist

Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist, the brand’s driver-assist technology suite, combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration, braking and steering in both heavy traffic and on the highway. Nissan says ProPILOT Assist  uses next-generation radar and camera technology to provide smoother braking, better steering assist feel and improved detection performance when other vehicles cut into the lane.

ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link is standard on Rogue Platinum and available on Rogue SL. If you link ProPILOT Assist with Nissan’s navigation system, the map data can now provide the ability to proactively reduce speed for upcoming freeway curves or junctions and also help you slow for freeway exits. Nissan appears to be actively pursuing semi-autonomous driving that not everyone appreciates but some will love.

If you regularly encounter stop-and-go traffic, vehicles with ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link gave you three seconds to remain stopped and automatically continue without having to tap the accelerator. Now it’s up to 30 seconds, which makes a lot more sense in large city areas. Lastly, the Rogue provies traffic sign recognition and can automatically update the vehicle’s speed when the speed limit goes up or down.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Nissan’s 2021 Rogue will be available this fall.

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By now, you’ve heard that the Hummer is back as a model in the GMC family. But it’s not the same Hummer you might remember from the 90s. Originally designed for the military, the H1 was known for an estimated mpg rating south of 20, a wide road hog that evoked Arnold Schwarzenegger associations.

That particular vehicle faded out of the market in 2008; gone but not forgotten. Rising up from the ashes of that original Hummer, the new GMC Hummer EV has blazed back onto the scene as of January with a bold commercial during the biggest NFL game of the year.

Zero-emissions and all electric, the new Hummer EV boasts 1000 hp and, GMC says, 11,500 lb-ft of torque. That number is not exactly the torque calculation you’re used to, however; some speculate that it’s the wheel torque multiplied by the gear ratio. Even so, if the Hummer has 1000 lb-ft of torque, it’s still an incredibly impressive number. And with a reported 0-60 in less than three seconds, this vehicle is definitely going to MOVE.

Adding to the fun, removable roof panels allow you to feel the wind through your hair in this hulking new-generation beast.

The electric vehicle market is picking up, with competitors Bollinger and Rivian promoting EV trucks with less horsepower but with other alluring features. Bollinger’s B2 will have the capability to carry a 16-foot load through a patented passthrough into the cabin, and the B1 is a four-seat SUV with removable glass, doors, roof panels, and windshield. Rivian’s R1T has parking-lot friendly dimensions and 11,000-pound towing capabilities, and its R1S SUV is more family friendly, with three sleek rows. Ford says an F-150 is in the works, which we’re looking forward to hearing more about soon. The brand’s Mustang Mach-E, which debuted last year, is much smaller and more budget-friendly than the Hummer EV, but includes the all-electric instant-torque thrill.

GMC called this new SUV a “quiet revolution” in its January commercial and it’s going to be interesting to see who buys this vehicle. It seems obvious that it won’t be the same consumers who bought the gas-guzzling original, but who knows? The brand is currently saying that it will be available as of the fall of 2021. We’re looking forward to it.

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There are a lot of good things happening during the coronavirus social distancing. Even as automotive plants shut down the production of vehicles for the health and safety of their workers, automakers are jumping in to help communities and the country during this time. Here, we talk about the current happenings and give highlights of what vehicle brands and companies are doing to give back to communities. From building ventilators to making safety gear and feeding the hungry, the automotive industry continues its long tradition of caring for the people and nations it serves.

Stay safe and happy. We’re getting through this together.

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Toyota van

FC Dallas and Toyota are taking care of those who are taking care of the community by delivering meals to the volunteers at Frisco FastPacs, an organization that provides meals for students in the Frisco Independent School District.

An original member of Major League Soccer since the league’s inception in 1996, FC Dallas plays its regular season from February to October at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 1997 and 2016 as well as the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2016.

The donated meals were originally intended for upcoming FC Dallas matches at Toyota Stadium. Because of the suspension of MLS play and the growing need for resources and volunteers, FC Dallas and Toyota recognized the need to help the volunteers who are providing such a vital service in our community. Legends Hospitality chefs worked to prepare and package the meals.


“We’re proud to work with Legends Hospitality and the food and beverage team at Toyota Stadium to provide these meals to the volunteers who are tirelessly working to ensure that FISD students do not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” said FC Dallas Foundation Manager Brooke Leverette.

Frisco FastPacs is a service that delivers weekend meals to all 72 Frisco Independent School District campuses, serving more than 1,000 children, to ensure they do not go hungry when school is not in session. Following FISD’s response to extend spring break until Friday, March 20 due to COVID-19 (coronavirus pandemic), Frisco FastPacs is currently working with the district and Lovepacs Frisco to provide meals to those students in need at six different middle schools.

“Mr. Rogers always said that in scary times, we should look for the helpers,” said Frisco Fastpacs Executive Director Heather Canterbury. “Our Fastpacs volunteers have stepped up unbelievably to be those helpers in in this crisis. To have FC Dallas and Toyota take care of our people so they can keep taking care of these kids means everything.”

Original press release here

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2021 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai officially launched its all-new 2021 Elantra and Elantra Hybrid today at The Lot Studios in West Hollywood with a virtual event broadcast around the world. This marks the world debut of the latest version of the popular compact sedan. The 2021 Elantra showcases Hyundai’s latest ambitions, including a hybrid electric vehicle technology and segment-first wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Highlights we like for the 2021 Elantra   

  • Longer wheelbase, wider stance, lower roofline
  • First-ever Elantra Hybrid with more than 50 MPG estimated combined fuel economy on hybrid model
  • Segment-first wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Segment-first Hyundai Digital Key allows Elantra to be unlocked, started and driven without a physical key via a smartphone or NFC card
  • Standard SmartSense safety and convenience technologies
  • Two available 10.25-inch multimedia screens under one piece of glass
  • Dual Bluetooth support is available: two devices can be paired at the same time—one for phone calls and one for streaming audio.

While some manufacturers are cutting way back on the car side of the business, Hyundai is doubling down by offering an all-new sedan with both gas and hybrid powertrains. Brian Smith, chief operating officer, Hyundai Motor America, says they have sold more than 3.4 million Elantras in the U.S. and more than 13.8 million worldwide.

Two Available 10.25-inch Screens
The 2021 Elantra has two futuristic 10.25-inch screens all under one piece of glass. The cluster has different views: utility, driver assistance and navigation. The optional infotainment system displays a wide variety of information across its 10.25-inch split touchscreen.

The navigation system includes a bird’s-eye view in navigation maps, and drivers get connected routing, which provides multiple navigation options and real-time route updates. Server-based routing makes the onboard navigation experience similar to current smartphone navigation apps.

2021 Hyundai Elantra wireless

Leave the Cellphone Cords Behind

Hyundai Elantra’s standard eight-inch display interface allows owners to ditch the cords because wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available as segment-first features, allowing one to leave the phone in a pocket or purse. From a safety perspective, this is smart because hopefully it will encourage more people to keep their devices out of their hands.

SmartSense Safety Features
The 2021 Elantra offers a new array of standard advanced safety technologies:

  • Forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection uses the car’s front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision with a vehicle or pedestrian and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking automatically
  • Lane keeping assist helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings, automatically steering the car if necessary
  • Lane following assist may automatically adjust steering to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane of travel. LFA can help keep the vehicle centered on both highways and city streets.
  • High beam assist eliminates the need for drivers to manually switch high beams on and off at night
  • Driver attention warning system that monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

Optional SmartSense Features

  • Blind-spot collision avoidance assist with rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist helps detect a vehicle in the drivers’ blind spot while the turn signal is on.
  • Smart cruise control makes highway and long-distance driving more comfortable. Using a radar sensor mounted on the lower front grille, the system maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead in varied traffic conditions by automatically adjusting vehicle speed as needed.
  • Highway driving assist is a driving convenience system that assists drivers in maintaining the center of the lane and at an appropriate speed while keeping a safe distance from the car in front.
  • Safe exit warning may sound an alert when a vehicle approaches from behind, letting passengers know it may not be safe to open the door to exit the vehicle.
  • Reverse parking collision avoidance assist helps detect pedestrians and obstacles with a rearview camera and ultrasonic sensors. The system can provide warnings and apply emergency braking to assist in the avoidance of a collision.

Standard Interior Features

  • Eight-inch color display audio system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and HD Radio
  • Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls
  • Drive mode select
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

Optional Interior Features include Blue Link system with three years of complimentary Blue Link services; Qi wireless charging; a 10.25-inch infotainment system with faster processor, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and connected routing, and a powerful Bose premium sound system with eight speakers.

Blue Link
The new Elantra line still features Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car System, which uses embedded telematics to allow drivers to remote-start their vehicle and control interior temperature using the MyHyundai smartphone app. The app also allows users to either remotely lock or unlock their doors, and to find their vehicle in a crowded parking lot with Car Finder and remote horn and lights.

In addition, Blue Link in the new Elantra arrives with cloud-based navigation, which offers free traffic information and POI searches.

Voice Recognition System
The all-new Elantra has an enhanced natural language voice recognition system with more and better feature control, more speed and accuracy in voice recognition and responses, and an ability to understand context, such as the user’s location to support natural interactions.

Using a natural voice, one can control the:

  • Climate on/off
  • Air conditioner on/off
  • Heat on/off
  • Fan high/low
  • Defrost on
  • Set fan to face, feet, or face and feet
  • Defrost on and set fan to feet
  • Warm up/cool down
  • Air intake system on
  • Turn on/off heated seats (driver/passenger)
  • Set heated seat levels 1, 2, or 3 (driver/passenger)
  • Rear window defroster on/off
  • Turn on/off the heated steering wheel
  • And additional functions

To activate controls, the driver uses the “push to talk button” on the steering wheel and say the requested command. Conversations will sound like, “Air conditioner on,” “Set fan to face,” or “Turn on my heated seat.” There are also more requests the system can handle. A user can say via Blue Link, “What is the temperature in St. Louis?”, “When is Mother’s Day?”, “Find me a Starbucks”, or “Who won the game last night?”

Digital Key
The 2021 Elantra has an optional smartphone-based Hyundai Digital Key. Digital Key uses a dedicated mobile app, Near Field Communication and Bluetooth Low Energy technology to allow the 2021 Elantra to be unlocked, started, and driven without a physical key via applicable Android smartphones.

Elantra’s Digital Key also allows secure sharing of virtual keys with family and friends.  Elantra owners can tailor the different vehicle functions available to each shared virtual key, and the key can be made available for only a defined amount of time. The vehicle owner can preset the duration of vehicle use or limit the use to only certain features when loaning the vehicle, and keys can also be revoked remotely. For additional convenience, such as using a valet service or visiting a Hyundai dealer, Hyundai Digital Key also works with an NFC card, which is provided with each vehicle. Each Elantra still comes with traditional keys. Hyundai Digital Key is compatible only with phones using the Android operating system. Hyundai Digital Key uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which exhibits a high level of security. NFC wireless data communication takes place only when the device and the reader are placed several centimeters apart.

Production of the 2021 Elantra starts in the fall in Ulsan, Korea and at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, and sales begin in the fourth quarter.

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Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have developed what they say is the world’s first predictive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System, enabling the vehicle to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying the road and traffic conditions ahead. Hyundai and Kia plan to apply the technology on future vehicles. During system development, the companies filed about 40 major patents in South Korea and abroad.

While the technologies used to automatically shift depend on drivers’ preferences, such as smart drive mode – available on most current Hyundai and Kia models – ICT Connected Shift System is the first ICT to automatically shift the gear according to road and traffic conditions.

Intelligent software to read the road

ICT Connected Shift System uses intelligent software in the transmission control unit (TCU) that collects and interprets real-time input from underlying technologies, including 3D navigation equipped with a precise map of the road as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control. The 3D navigation input includes elevation, gradient, curvature and a variety of road events as well as current traffic conditions. Radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information.

Using all of these inputs, the TCU predicts the optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations through an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. For example, when a relatively long slow down is expected and radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission clutch temporarily switches to neutral mode to improve fuel efficiency.

ICT Connected Shift System helps Hyundai and Kia corner like a dream

When Hyundai and Kia tested a vehicle with an ICT Connected Shift System on a heavily curved road, the frequency of shifts in cornering was reduced by approximately 43 percent compared to vehicles without the system. Accordingly, the system also reduced the frequency of brake operation by approximately 11 percent, thereby minimizing driving fatigue and brake wear.

When rapid acceleration was required to enter a highway, the driving mode automatically switched to Sport Mode at the merge, making it easier to join the traffic flow. After merging with traffic, the vehicle automatically returned to its original driving mode, enabling safe and efficient driving.

In addition, the engine brakes were automatically applied upon release of the accelerator pedal by determining speed bumps, downhill slopes and location of the speed limit change on the road. The changes in distance from the front car were detected by the front radar to adjust appropriate transmission gear automatically, which improved driving quality.

Ties to an autonomous future? 

The system is also in line with autonomous technology, which is developing day by day. The ICT Connected Shift System will deliver both improved fuel efficiency and a stable driving experience in the era of autonomous vehicles by providing improved performance in response to real-time road and traffic conditions.

Hyundai and Kia are planning to further develop the ICT Connected Shift System into an even more intelligent transmission technology that can communicate with traffic signals based on LTE or 5G communication and identify drivers’ tendencies, resulting in further refinement of gear-shift control.

“Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions,” said Byeong Wook Jeon, Head of Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab. “Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming a high-tech technology optimized for smart mobility through efforts to integrate ICT and artificial intelligence technologies.”

Original story appeared here: Newspress

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