Hyundai launches digital showroom on Amazon

Hyundai has launched a digital showroom on the Amazon Vehicles research hub, the first automaker to create such a page on the massive shopping site.

Amazon became a potential competitor to third-party auto shopping guides in August 2016 when it unveiled the research site. While vehicle detail pages didn't connect consumers to dealers initially, they housed extensive product information one would expect to see on sites such as and Autotrader.

Hyundai hopes to separate itself from other manufacturers by building upon the Amazon platform with its own showroom that provides a portal to schedule test drives, a pricing calculator, inventory listings and a dealership locator on The showroom also features informational videos on Hyundai's Shopper Assurance program that seeks to add convenience to the shopping process, and the Hyundai Blue Link connected car service's integration with virtual assistant Amazon Alexa.

The ability to send consumers to Hyundai web portals outside of Amazon is a distinct change from typical vehicle pages, which normally keep researchers on the site. Other brands such as Toyota and Honda route users to dealer locators from the detail pages as well.

Hyundai and Amazon have aligned brand values stemming from the automaker's Shopper Assurance initiative -- such as transparent pricing -- that helped make the showroom a reality, said Dean Evans, Hyundai Motor America's chief marketing officer. Shopper Assurance is built around fair-market price listings online, flexible test drives, the ability to handle more of the transaction online and a three-day money-back guarantee on newly purchased vehicles.

"Over time, as consumers learn that Amazon has an auto section worth utilizing, the traffic [will] continue to grow. We think that Amazon autos will become the No. 1 auto research destination you can go to online," Evans said.

Evans said Amazon didn't want to link its consumers to shopping experiences on an automaker's website or at dealerships that weren't customer centric.

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For instance, Evans said it would've been against Amazon's philosophy to send consumers to sites where consumers can't see a legitimate price. So Hyundai's focus on presenting market pricing that accounted for rebates and incentives through Shopper Assurance, Evans said, was a key factor in piquing Amazon's interest in moving forward.

The Hyundai showroom is a continuation of an ongoing relationship with Amazon.

'Prime Now'

The automaker partnered with Amazon in 2016 for an on-demand test-drive program called "Prime Now. Drive Now." for the 2017 Elantra in Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif. People were able to book 45- to 60-minute test drives through Amazon's Prime Now service, which is widely known for delivering groceries and other household items. Under the program, vehicles could be delivered to a person's front door, office or even local coffee shops.

The test-drive program prompted the companies to explore auto retailing on Amazon. The shopping giant didn't bite on Hyundai's initial pitch to drive more traffic to the automaker's web portals.

"Our first approach was pre-Shopper Assurance. After having a quick discussion with them about dropping their customers into our environments, whether that was a website or a dealer's showroom, there wasn't a lot of love for that," Evans said.

"We circled back a few months later and proposed the Shopper Assurance initiative we were rolling out, and it lit up the room. They're looking for brands that want to meet them halfway to ensure that the customer experience at retail is up to their standards."

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You Can Get Up to $5,000 Off a Wonderful Lexus LC Coupe Right Now: Report

The Lexus LC 500 and 500h flagship coupes, Jalopnik favorites, are apparently getting a dealer cash incentive until the end of the month. This is big if you’re currently in the market for one.

With starting MSRPs of $92,995 and $97,505 respectively for the LC 500 and LC500h, the cars aren’t exactly cheap to buy. But, as CarsDirect reports, increased rebates at Lexus dealerships this month include a new dealer cash incentive of as much as $5,000 on all LC versions.

From the story:

You won’t see it advertised, but the brand is giving dealers up to $5,000 to help lower prices for those looking to buy. That’s a smidge higher than the $4,000 Lexus is offering toward leases.

The offer is set to end July 31. However, you may not want to wait.

CarsDirect also notes, however, that despite this being the first such offer its seen since the LC coupe was launched, dealers have “full discretion” on whether or not they want to offer the deal to customers.

We have reached out to Lexus for comment and will update if we hear back.

Best Nissan Deals & Lease Offers: July 2018

Deals for buying & leasing a Nissan remain largely unchanged after the Fourth of July holiday. The biggest changes involve $1,000 in extra savings on the Murano and Pathfinder. Both are now eligible for up to $3,750 off MSRP.

As before, the Altima S remains one of the worst cars to lease with an effective cost of over $360/month. That's almost as expensive as an Infiniti Q50 despite a price difference of over $13,000.

Looking for affordability? Sentras feature up to $3,500 in rebates. However, most versions are actually only eligible for $2,000. SR Turbo and NISMO models get an extra $1,000 and $1,500, respectively.

Nissan often advertises big rebates that don't apply to everyone. For example, the brand touts $2,030 off the Rogue, but includes a $780 discount that you can only get with the harder-to-find Midnight Edition.

Current offers from Nissan vary by region and expire July 31, 2018. Examples listed here assume a Southern California location.

Nissan Incentives & Lease Deals This Month

Model Best Lease Deal Best Finance Offer Best Cashback Incentive Details
Nissan Sentra
Lease from $149/month Finance from 0%/60 months + Up to $1,500 (NISMO) Up to $3,500 (NISMO) Learn More »
Nissan Rogue Sport
Nissan Rogue Sport
Lease from$199/month Finance from 0%/60 months Up to $1,000 Learn More »
Nissan Altima
Lease from$269/month Finance from 0%/60 months + $1,000 Loyalty Bonus $1,000 Loyalty Bonus Learn More »
Nissan Rogue
Lease from$199/month Finance from 0%/60 months Up to $1,250 Learn More »
Nissan Murano
Lease from $279/month Finance from 0%/60 months + Up to $1,250 Up to $3,750 Learn More »

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Maserati Levante GTS: Say Hello To The Ferrari-Powered 550PS SUV

The Maserati Levante has welcomed the GTS moniker, along with an extensive list of upgrades and a powerful V8 engine breathing air from behind that large grille.

Presented in front of the crowd for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it uses the same twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 unit as the Quattroporte GTS, which is made by Ferrari in Maranello.

The powertrain has been re-engineered to work together with the all-wheel drive system, and delivers 550PS (542hp / 404kW) and 730Nm (538lb-ft) of torque to the wheels. Maserati says the Levante GTS takes 4.2 seconds to reach 100km/h (62mph) and maxes out at 292km/h (181mph).

In addition to adding the powerful engine from its flagship sedan sibling, the Maserati Levante GTShas also welcomed a tuned chassis, and an updated exterior design. The latter “focuses on the lower front fascia and the rear bumper”, according to the Italian automaker, which gives it “a sporty yet sophisticated look”.

Not much has changed in the cockpit, but clients will enjoy the standard Full Premium leather, or optional full-grain Pieno Fiore natural leather, alongside the sport pedals and a premium sound system from Harman Kardon, with 14 speakers.

Besides the Levante GTS, Maserati has also brought the Levante Trofeo at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Marking its European premiere, after it debuted in New York earlier this year, it has 590PS (582hp / 433kW) and 730Nm (538lb-ft) of torque from a twin-turbo V8 engine and goes from 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 3.9sec, and up to a top speed of more than 300km/h (186mph).

The Italian automaker has also updated the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante with a redesigned gearshift lever, which premiered initially in the Levante Trofeo, and the MTC+ infotainment system has been enhanced in all three models.

For the first time, the aforementioned Pieno Fiore leather can be ordered as an optional extra on all three vehicles, and the company offers two new high-gloss interior veneers for the Ghibli and Quattroporte, and three for the Levante.

The color palette has been updated for the 2019MY, too, and there are new 20- and 21-inch in size wheels, whereas the Levante GTS and Trofeo sit on 22-inch ones.

The Maserati Design Center has come up with a specific front grille and side skirts created exclusively for the Quattroporte GTS GranSport, and finally, the Nerissimo package is now available with a wider range of colors.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Review

“I was accosted in the hallway by an engineer,” Mark Allen tells me. “He’s like, 'we’ve gotta get rid of the folding windshield.'”

The head of Jeep design explains that, for manufacturing, the Wrangler’s traditional hinged windshield is a hassle, basically another door to paint, align and seal. Hardly anyone uses it.

But a flip-down windscreen let the United States Army ship the original Jeep to combat zones in wooden crates. When it comes to the Wrangler, the descendent of the truck that won World War II, Jeep never thinks too far outside that box.

So the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler has a folding windshield. It’s massively improved: Just four bolts to remove, compared to nearly 30 on the previous generation. You don't have to disassemble the front half of the roll-bar anymore—the new body-color cage finally has A-pillar bars, and a header bar keeps the rear-view mirror and visors in place. The tool comes in the console.

Why hang on to this throwback feature? “For shipping,” Allen says with a smile. “And sometimes there’s a guy in the back with a Howitzer.”

New Jeep Wrangler

Optimized tradition is the whole story with the new Wrangler. You won't find any drastic departures from the original recipe here: The axles are still solid, the roof and doors still come off, the body still bolts to the frame. Everything that makes people exuberantly, irrationally love the Wrangler is still here. It's just been finessed in a way that won't jostle a die-hard's sensibilities.

There are tons of friendly new features. The pop-off doors are lighter, with a handy new lift point carved into the underside of the armrest. The hinges say T50, to remind you what size Torx bit disassembles them, and the pins are staggered lengths to make re-hanging the door easy. The canvas top, once a straitjacket of zippers, now slides together with tongue-and-groove fasteners. A spring-loaded mechanism makes flopping the roof open a one-person job, even on four-door models. There's even an optional power-folding roof, basically a hardtop with a giant sliding canvas sunroof and removable quarter windows, so you can finally open your Wrangler at a stoplight.

New Jeep Wrangler

The styling is purposefully familiar. "My personal favorite thing is the CJ-5," Allen told me. The very first Jeep, the flat-fendered CJ-2A, was shaped by engineers to meet the military's constraints. The CJ-5, introduced in 1955, was the first time the design department's phone rang, Allen said.

You see the influences immediately. There's the trapezoidal grille, vertical at the bottom, kinked back at the top for improved aerodynamics. The headlights, larger, now cheat into the outer grille slots, a vintage Jeep styling feature incidentally invented when Willys crammed federally-mandated seven-inch lamps into the WWII truck's headlight buckets.

This new, JL-generation Wrangler is slightly larger than the outgoing JK model—the two-door is 2.8 inches longer overall, on a 1.4-inch-longer wheelbase; the four-door grows 3.8 and 2.4 inches, respectively. All models are 0.2 inches wider, sitting on a track widened by 2.5 inches. "You don't want to grow it too much," Allen told me. "The trails are all this size."

Parked next to a JK, you'd swear the JL is smaller. Scaling, the designers call it. A bigger grille and headlamps, narrower bumpers and fender flares, and a wider stance make the new Wrangler's added inches disappear. In a way, it makes the JK disappear, too—the JL is styled as if the previous Wrangler never existed, like time leapt straight from the beloved 1996-2006 TJ to 2018.

New Jeep Wrangler

The interior is thankfully modernized. Luxuries that were once anathema in an open-top 4x4, like push-button start and a giant touchscreen, suddenly fit right in. It feels more spacious: The weird protruding hump of the current model's dashboard center-stack is gone, leaving a shallow, flat-topped instrument panel.

Every piece of glass has been enlarged. "I'm a heretic for lowering the beltline," Allen said. "The previous car was built in the generation where you couldn't get it high enough. It makes such bad sense for off-road. You're trying to constantly look out and maneuver." Engineers assure me that, despite all the new electronics and infotainment features, everything still functions after a roof-off rainstorm. As ever, there are drain plugs in the floor.

New Jeep Wrangler

Jeep invited journalists to spend three days driving top-spec Rubicon models off-road in New Zealand. From the top of a precarious mountain trail, through a rain-slick rock crawl and across rushing streams up to our headlights, the new Jeep ate it all up.

New Jeep Wrangler

The Rubicon now rides on 33-inch tires (largest ever fitted to a factory Jeep), with locking differentials front and rear, an electric-disconnect front sway bar, and a full suite of skid plates. The fender flares sit two inches higher on the body than Sport and Sahara models; the wheelwells have clearance for 35s.

Three drivetrains were available to us: The familiar 3.6-liter V6 with either a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic, and an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, automatic only. Diesel and plug-in hybrid options come later.

With 285 horses and 260 lb-ft on tap, the V6 manual is peppy fun, save for the occasional clutch-frying off-road moment. The long-throw, narrow-gate shifter is now cable-operated, no longer a hand-shaker coming straight from the gearbox. The reverse-lockout ring feels like it belongs on a fire truck.

New Jeep Wrangler

The clutch is light, and there's enough low-end nudge to easily start from stop without touching the throttle, but the brunt of the V6's output starts above 2500 rpm. It's sincerely quick, enough twist to slip the big BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2 tires. Jeep says the aluminum body and redesigned frame shaved 200 lbs off the Wrangler's curb weight. Ripping away from a stop, you feel it.

The eight-speed auto is a huge improvement over the previous-generation's five-speed. In off-roading, the auto is smart enough to hold a low gear for engine braking or to tractor up a steep grade, no slap-shifting required. There are no paddle shifters, thankfully—they'd only get in the way and threaten an unintentional gear change in tricky four-wheeling situations.

The turbo four raised worried eyebrows among Jeep devotees. The good news: It’s entirely competent, with stellar pull from 3000 rpm up to the 5500-rpm fuel cut. Off-road, it takes some extra revs to spool up the turbo and torque converter, but once you adjust your driving style, you can perfectly modulate the power with a flex of your big toe, no lag or surge to surprise you as you're inching up a rock climb and praying for no wheelspin.

On the road, the boosted engine is slightly more perplexing. Despite making 15 fewer horses than the V6, the four-cylinder is the optional upgrade. To Jeep, that’s justified by the turbo’s added torque—295 lb-ft—and improved fuel economy. It's a smooth, quiet motor, distant-sounding even at full throttle and rarely betraying its turbocharger with any hint of forced-induction noise. The automaker says the four-banger is quicker, though the difference was too subtle for me to detect on New Zealand’s sinewy pavement.

New Jeep Wrangler

And let’s be truthful: Most Wranglers, even big-tire Rubicons, spend their lives on pavement. The allure is windy hair and muddy wheelwells; the reality, for all but the most dedicated sickos, is commuting. So while Jeep touts the new Wrangler as its most off-road capable vehicle ever (a claim I easily believe), it’s the on-road improvement I find most impressive.

New Jeep Wrangler

That weird stick-axle shiver? Gone. The queasy body roll? Eliminated. Where the last-gen Rubicon was punishing on rough pavement, the new one is admirably compliant. The steering, a recirculating-ball setup with electro-hydraulic assist, is purposefully mushy at small angles, to cushion the dartiness out of this short-wheelbase barn at highway speed. At anything beyond a lane change, though, the wheel is firm and communicative. You still have to steer your way through panic braking—the nose pitches so far down, you'll worry about scraping the paint off the front bumper—and you wouldn't want to slalom the Rubicon. But this is the first off-road Wrangler that feels perfectly happy bounding down a winding country highway.

That's the real achievement here. The 2018 Wrangler Rubicon may be incrementally better off-road than the previous model—Jeep's internal metrics, based on dimensions and capabilities as well as real-world, dirty-boots-and-scraped-up-rocker-panels testing, attest to this.

But to most Wrangler buyers, it's the day-to-day livability of the new truck that will make all the difference. It's the redesigned soft top, so quiet on the highway that you'll wonder why anyone picks the hardtop. It's the spare tire, repositioned, praise the lord, to give some actual visibility out the back window. It's the doors that, finally, don't require a two-handed slam to latch closed. This is all stuff you'd want in a brand-new car that starts at $26,995 (for a two-door Sport) and runs to $40,495 (for a no-options Rubicon four-door), but they're first-time improvements in this model.

For years, Wrangler buyers put up with driving dynamics your grandparents would have found outdated, quirks you'd complain about in a thousand-dollar used car. They did it because the open-topped Jeep was charming, engaging, like nothing else in its price range. "There's just so much homogenization going on in the world," Allen told me. "Wrangler stands out from that."

Jeep didn't just keep the charm in the 2018 Wrangler. The automaker enhanced it, made it easier to access the joys that a no-roof, no-doors 4x4 has always promised. The result is amazing. Even if you don’t fold the windshield down.

BMW prices the 2019 8 Series for the U.S. market

BMW has now announced official prices for the new, 2019 model year BMW 8 Series. The M850i xDrive coupe marks the 8 Series nameplate's return to the North American market after an absence of more than two decades.

The coupe is priced from $112,895 (including $995 in destination fees), and all of the cars come with an automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and M Sport brakes. There's no shortage of kit, as "individual" specification Merino leather is standard, as is a 16-speaker Harman-Kardon stereo system, adaptive suspension and full LED headlights with BMW's LaserLight system. But in case the standard setup isn't enough, a 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system can be specified, along with glass switchgear or a carbon fiber exterior trim package.

The sole engine choice for North American cars is the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, which produces 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. For the European market, a turbocharged, 320-horsepower straight-six diesel engine is available, but that is not offered elsewhere.

The 8 Series cars' production has already started at BMW's Bavarian manufacturing plant, and U.S. market cars are expected to arrive in the showrooms on December 8th. The last time a new 8 Series was available in America was in 1997; European sales continued until 1999.

Check it out below


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Next-generation Audi Q3 crossover revealed in spy photos

The Audi Q3 is very much due for a total redesign, and it looks like Audi has one ready to go. New spy shots reveal the car with no camouflage. It shows the compact luxury crossover SUV looks very much like a tiny version of the Q8 flagship SUV.

The strongest Q8 connection is in the front fascia. The new Q3 has a version of the big SUV's octagonal grille. It also has the vertical bars that intersect the horizontal slats. Both of these styling cues separate the SUVs from Audi's cars. An additional connection between both SUVs is the new Q3's little triangular extension downward on each headlight. They're smaller than those on the Q8, but confirm the family connection. They also look a bit like fangs.

Along the side, the Q3 has a similar window treatment to the Q8, specifically the small pieces of glass aft of the rear doors. Where the little Q3 starts to come into its own is in its more aggressive bodywork. There are tall creases with sharp downward angles over each wheel arch that make it look muscular and chiseled. It's less subtle and elegant than the big Q8.

At the back, the Q3 is actually pretty conservative. It doesn't get any fancy LED taillights like those on the Q8. Really, it looks like an evolution of the current model. The lights are a bit more slender with narrower angles. The exhaust is now integrated with the rear bumper with geometric outlets. But otherwise it looks like an updated version of the outgoing model.

We were expecting to see the production Q3 revealed this year, and based on this prototype, that still seems like a strong possibility. It would certainly seem likely to go on sale sometime next year at the very least.


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Toyota: Tariffs would add $1,800 to price of a Corolla

More automakers and suppliers are weighing in on President Trump's proposed 25 percent tariff on vehicle imports, breaking from the normal corporate practice of steering clear of contentious political issues. Toyota said such a tariff would add $1,800 to the cost of a Corolla, the top-selling car in the U.S. And the head of a major Canadian supplier said the tariffs would trigger a global recession eclipsing the 2009 financial collapse.

Trump has ordered the Commerce Department to investigate whether vehicle imports to the U.S. constitute a national security threat and should be subject to tariffs of 25 percent, and on Friday he floated the possibility of imposing 20 percent tariffs on EU-built vehicles. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he plans to complete his probe by late July or August and plans to hold two days of public hearings next month.

Mazda on Thursday said it filed comments with the Commerce Department on behalf of the 32,000 people who work for the company or its dealerships in the U.S.

"A tariff is a tax, and it will be paid by American consumers," Mazda said in its statement. "It will significantly increase the cost of every new vehicle sold in America, regardless of where it is built. As Mazda begins construction of our new auto factory in Huntsville, Alabama, we urge the Commerce Department to reject the premise that auto imports are a threat to national security."

Mazda and Toyota are teaming on a new $1.6 billion plant in Alabama, where up to 4,000 workers were expected to produce about 300,000 vehicles a year — new crossovers from Mazda and Corollas for Toyota, which already operates a large engine plant in Huntsville.

Toyota released its own statement ahead of submitting it to the Commerce Department, which is accepting comments until June 29. It said, in part, that the 25 percent tariffs would add $1,800 to the Corolla's $19,620 starting price.

"A hundred and thirty-seven thousand Americans support their families working for Toyota, and Toyota and Lexus dealerships. They are not a national security threat," Toyota said. "Indeed, Toyota operates 10 manufacturing plants in the U.S. We are an exemplar of the manufacturing might of America."

Meanwhile, the CEO of Linamar Corp., Canada's second-largest auto supplier with manufacturing sites in 11 countries including the U.S., told Automotive News the tariffs would be "unbearable" on top of Trump's newly announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. "Prices will have to be dramatically increased to consumers, consumers will stop buying, and we will have a collapse in the automotive market" that will be worse than the 2009 financial crash, CEO Linda Hasenfrantz told the publication.

In a separate analysisAutomotive News said Fiat Chrysler stands to lose as much as $866 million in annual profits under the proposed tariffs. FCA in 2017 exported 136,827 vehicles to the U.S. from the European Union, and specifically Italy, the publication reported, about two-thirds of which was the Jeep Renegade, which it builds in Melfi, Italy.

On Wednesday, major automotive trade groups representing both foreign and domestic automakers said the proposed tariffs would result in hundreds of thousands of lost U.S. jobs and harm the U.S. economy. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents the Detroit Three automakers, Toyota and others, said its analysis shows that a 25 percent tariff would result in an average price increase of $5,800.

The Commerce Department's own data show that the U.S. imported $42.8 billion worth of automobiles from the EU in 2017, compared to $46.9 billion from Mexico, $42.5 billion from Canada and $39.8 billion from Japan.