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From tech upgrades to redesigned exteriors, Kelley Blue Book's Micah Muzio highlights some of the big unveilings of 2018 North American International Auto Show

DETROIT, Jan. 17, 2018 - Now in its 30th year, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles and industry-shaping. This year, the 2018 North American International Auto Show runs from January 13-28th at the Cobo Center in Detroit. NAIAS is unmatched in the industry in presenting six unique shows in one, including: The Gallery, an ultra-luxury automotive event, AutoMobili-D, an inside look at future mobility platforms, Press Preview, Industry Preview, Charity Preview and then concluding with a nine-day Public Show. Take a look at some of the hottest cars coming out of this year's show!

Hot Unveilings: Massive things are brewing at Hyundai.  The all-new 2019 Veloster and Veloster Turbo. The Veloster retains its unique two-plus-one door asymmetrical body style configuration. It has available 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque and standard multi-link rear suspension for agile dynamics. It also boasts a generous cutting-edge infotainment and connectivity features.  They're also unveiling the first U.S. Market N-brand performance model. The Veloster N model demonstrates performance potential for Hyundai N-brand in the U.S. and its N model integrated body design details clearly differentiate from Veloster line. It's loaded with electronically-controlled suspension with track-tuned driving modes and 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with up to 271 horsepower and 279 lb.-ft. of torque.

Company shows brake system that eliminates need for hydraulic fluid

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Jan. 17, 2018 -- Chassis Brakes International, one of the world's largest manufacturers of automotive brake systems and components, will present a broad range of current and future braking technology for its customers during this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Company executives will host technology presentations on advanced and autonomous braking systems at the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront hotel during supplier days (Jan. 17-18) at the show.

"Many in the industry think of Chassis Brakes International as a manufacturer of traditional braking products," said Dennis Berry, president for the company's Americas region. "We're here to showcase our current braking technology, but also to stake our claim in the electronic, brake-by-wire and autonomous vehicle realms, as well."

The company's new Smart Brake™ technology, for example, has been designed for tomorrow's vehicles. This electro-mechanical brake system completely eliminates the use of hydraulic fluid and simplifies vehicle-system architecture. It also simplifies vehicle assembly and end-of-line testing for automakers.

Gas prices jumped four cents on the week landing today’s national average at $2.53. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gasoline demand increased 164,000 bbl on the week to register at 8.8 million. The demand measurement is the highest demand for the first EIA report of January since 2011. The demand increase is a contributing factor to this week’s higher pump prices.

“The EIA’s gasoline demand measurement is higher than any week in January last year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “If demand continues to climb, motorists are likely to see pump prices increase too, paving the way for even more expensive fill-ups. This month’s average is already 19-cents more than last January.”

Motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states are seeing the largest increase in gas prices on the week. Only two states, Alaska (-2 cents) and Rhode Island (-1 cent), in the country carry pump prices that are less than last week’s price.

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 21, 2017 -- Hyundai Motor Company took a major step towards equipping future connected vehicles with the voice recognition technology necessary to keep pace with growing, real-time data needs of drivers. Hyundai's "Intelligent Personal Agent," a voice-enabled virtual assistant system, will be deployed in new models set to roll out as early as 2019.

Co-developed by Hyundai and Silicon Valley-based SoundHound Inc., the leading innovator in voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies, Intelligent Personal Agent allows drivers to use voice commands for many different operations and real-time data, which connected cars of the future demand.

The Intelligent Personal Agent is unique in that it acts as a proactive assistant system, predicting the driver's needs and providing useful information. For instance, the system may give an early reminder of an upcoming meeting and suggest departure times that account for current traffic conditions.

These personal features combine with an array of driver conveniences, such as the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, search destinations, search music, check weather and manage schedules. It also allows drivers to voice-control frequently used in-vehicle functions such as air-conditioning, sunroofs and door locks, while gathering various information about the vehicle. What's more, the Intelligent Personal Agent supports a "Car-to-Home" service, enabling the driver to control electronic devices at home with simple voice commands.

Eighth consecutive year of growth as Porsche dealers sell 3,913 vehicles in December 2017

ATLANTA, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), importer and distributor of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster and Cayman, Panamera, Cayenne, and Macan model lines, today announced 3,913 retail sales in December. This brings 2017 to a close with 55,420 vehicles sold, a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year.

"Demand for four-door and two-door Porsche sports cars allowed PCNA to achieve another annual record in 2017, making it the eighth consecutive year of increased sales," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA. "The Macan and Panamera model lines posted double-digit growth, and we can expect an additional boost with the arrival of our all-new Cayenne in the second half of the year." Porsche 911 sales also grew, with just under 9,000 retail deliveries of the iconic sports car.

Porsche Approved Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle sales in the U.S. were at 2,153 units, a 24.6 percent increase over December 2016. For 2017, CPO sales were up 12.5 percent with 19,104 deliveries.

CHICAGO, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Cars.com has announced nominees for its 2018 Best of Awards, the site's annual awards given to the best cars of the year during the North American International Auto Show. This year's categories include Best of 2018, Best Pickup Truck of 2018, Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, Family Car of the Year, Luxury Car of the Year and Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year. Each car represented on the list must be a 2018 model and excel in three key criteria: quality, innovation and value. Pickup trucks are judged on power, capability and value. To qualify for the top award – Best of 2018 – models must be all-new or fully redesigned.

"Our team of car experts tests hundreds of new vehicles each year with one main goal: to help shoppers make the right decision about what to buy to fit their specific needs," said Jennifer Newman, Cars.com's editor-in-chief. "At the end of each year, we determine which cars stood out ahead of the pack to narrow down our list to the very best. With six award categories, we aim to help car shoppers across a wide array of segments, budgets and lifestyles."

In addition to naming the best overall car and truck of the year, awards are also given for family cars, fuel-conscious drivers, luxury shoppers and, an all-new award in 2018, the most fun-to-drive.

Nominees are:

Automakers continue to eliminate spares to meet fuel economy standards

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 18, 2017) – In an effort to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, automakers continue to eliminate spare tires from new vehicles. According to new research from AAA, nearly one‐third (28 percent) of 2017 model year vehicles do not come with a spare tire as standard equipment, creating an unnecessary hassle and expense for drivers. Last year alone, AAA came to the rescue to more than 450,000 members faced with a flat tire whose cars did not have a spare tire. To avoid a roadside surprise, AAA urges drivers to check their trunk for a spare tire before trouble strikes. 

“Having a flat tire can be a nuisance for drivers, but not having a spare could put them in an even more aggravating situation,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This can turn the relatively routine process of changing a tire at the roadside into an inconvenient and costly situation that requires a tow to a repair facility.”

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2017) – According to new research from AAA, premium gasoline offers some benefit to select vehicles, but is becoming increasingly expensive for drivers. In recent years, the price gap between premium and regular-grade gasoline has risen from a historically steady 10 percent to 25 percent or more per gallon. While past AAA research has shown no benefit in using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to operate on regular fuel, new testing indicates that some vehicles – those that recommend, but do not require premium gasoline – may see increased fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using the higher-octane gasoline. Unfortunately, the high cost of premium gasoline may outweigh that advantage for many drivers. As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline, if their vehicle does not require it.

“AAA’s testing reveals that drivers could see modest gains in fuel economy and performance when opting for premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend, but do not require, the higher-octane fuel,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Those seeking the maximum capabilities of their performance-focused or utility vehicle may see some benefit from using premium gasoline, particularly over the long haul.”

At $2.49, the national gas price average is the most expensive seen at the start of a new year since 2014, when gas prices were more than $3/gallon. High travel volumes over the holidays drove gas prices up five cents on the week. At the start of 2018, motorists in the Northeast, South and the upper Midwest are seeing pump prices as much as 13 cents more expensive than last one week ago.

“Although prices at the pump shot up over the holidays, now that the holiday season in the rearview mirror, motorists can expect gas prices to trend cheaper this month as we are likely to see a significant drop in gasoline demand,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report measures gasoline demand at a strong 9.5 million b/d, which is typical of the holiday season. However, historical data shows that in early January demand typical drops and stays below the 9 million mark for the first few months of the year.

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