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Volkswagen Becomes Second Largest Automaker in World, Tops GM

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Volkswagen Grille Logo

Volkswagen was the world’s second largest automaker in 2013, beating General Motors but falling short of Toyota.

The dominance-seeking German carmaker has the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s number one automaker by 2018. Last year, it delivered 9.73 million cars and trucks in 2013, topping GM’s 9.71 million sales but lagging perennial top dog Toyota’s recorded 9.98 million sales.

Contrary to earlier estimates, these figures place Toyota on top of the global sales race yet again, Volkswagen at the number two spot and GM (2012’s second largest automaker) in third.

There is some controversy, however: VW’s total included sales from its heavy-duty MAN SE and Scania AB truck divisions, while GM only counted sales of its light-duty cars and trucks. The results may have been different had the two automakers used the same measuring stick.

To become the world’s largest, VW is betting a lot on the United States, where it wants to double its annual sales to 800,000 units. To bolster its lineup, the company has confirmed the launch of a large, seven-seat crossover by 2016.

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Crossovers

New, 2020 Kia Soul EV Has 243 Mile (391 Km) Driving Range

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New, 2020 Kia Soul EV

Kia’s quirky crossover joins the high-range electric vehicle group.

The EPA has given the 2020 Kia Soul EV a driving range of up to 243 miles (391 km) on a single charge, placing it in the same class as the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV and Nissan LEAF e+, all of which get over 200 miles (322 km).

In fact, the Soul EV uses the same 64 kWh battery pack as the Kona Electric and Niro. Power is provided by an electric motor that generates 201-horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque and can be modulated with four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+, which automatically adjust power output, regenerative braking, climate control settings, and set speed limits to help manage overall efficiency.

Similar to the Niro and Kona EVs, it will charge at around 100kW for at least the first 50 percent of charge. A DC Fast Charge port comes standard.

The 2020 Kia Soul EV goes on sale in the second half of 2019.

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Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz EQC Electric SUV Is Sold Out For 2019

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New Mercedes-Benz EQC Electric SUV

This is a good problem to have in the automotive industry if you’re not starved for cash.

Mercedes-Benz has sold out of its first production run for the EQC all-electric SUV, and it likely won’t be able to keep up with demand until after 2021 or later.

The order book for the EQC opened in 2018, but deliveries began in 2019.

“We are sure that we will not be able to meet the demand in 2019 and probably not by 2020,” Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche told German news outlet . “But we do everything we can to achieve the maximum capacity.”

The EQC joins the Tesla Model X and Jaguar F-Pace, and Audi e-Tron in the growing premium electric SUV segment. Its not clear how many units will be built in 2019 or 2020, making it difficult to determine how it compares with the Model X, but the German automaker limited its production due to concerns about warranty costs.

EQC aside, Mercedes-Benz has lofty goals for the electric car segment and plans to field at least 10 electric vehicles by 2022.

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Bentley

Bentley Bentayga Speed Nabs “World’s Fastest SUV” Title

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New Bentley Bentayga Speed, fastest SUV

The luxury SUV can launch to 62 mph in under 4 seconds.

Bentley proudly boasts that, with a top speed of 190 mph (306 km/h), the Bentayga Speed is the world’s fastest production SUV.

The 6.0-liter W12 engine found in the standard Bentayga has been tweaked to put out 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, providing enough propulsion to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds.

It’s worth noting that the 641 hp, V8-powered Lamborghini Urus is actually lighter and more powerful yet has the same top speed. The fact that the two SUVs are closely related makes us think there were some politics behind this head-scratching outcome.

In addition to the extra power, the Bentayga Speed provides a more dynamic driving experience than the regular Bentayga thanks to a retuned Sport mode and a stiffened suspension, while the exhaust note is throatier.

Designer gave the exterior a performance-theme characterized by dark-tint headlights, blacked-out grilles, a tailgate spoiler, and unique 22-inch wheels available in three finishes. Inside, one finds contrast stitching on the diamond-quilted upholstery and Alcantara trim, the first time the material has been used in a Bentayga.

The Bentley Bentayga Speed goes on sale in the second half of 2019 after making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

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