Volvo splits North American operations, Alfa Tonale pricing revealed, Mazda’s most powerful engine yet


Shakeup at Volvo as U.S. and Canada split

Intake: Volvo Cars is restructuring its North American operations, and is dividing the U.S. and Canada markets into separate units, Automotive News reports. Well-liked Anders Gustafsson, head of Volvo Cars Americas and CEO of Volvo Car USA, will leave on March 1, to be replaced by Michael Cottone, a 21-year Volvo veteran and Western Region vice-president. Volvo Car USA confirmed the reorganization to Automotive News“To support and ensure a strong focus on Volvo Cars’ ambitious goals for growth, full electrification and an omnichannel customer experience, the Americas region structure will evolve, creating a dedicated organization for the USA & Canada,” a spokesman said in an email.

Exhaust: This is a puzzling move, acerbated by comments in the story from retailers who were entirely happy with Gustafsson. “The dealers are sick about it; they don’t understand it,” a dealer said. “In your lifetime, you come across very few charismatic leaders that can lead and deliver, and [Gustafsson] is one of them.” Guess we’ll see. — SCS

Alfa Romeo’s new Tonale SUV starts at $44,590

Intake: Pricing has been announced for Alfa Romeo’s new compact luxury SUV, the 2024 Tonale. The base-model Tonale Sprint will start at $44,590 including a $1595 destination fee, while the mid-tier Tonale Ti will start at $46,590, and the top-rung Tonale Veloce will ring the register for nothing less than $49,090. The Tonale will offer a single powertrain for the United States market: a plug-in hybrid setup that employs a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder driving the front wheels and a 90-kW electric motor driving the rear wheels, giving a total system output of 285 horsepower. It uses a 15.5-kWh battery to deliver a pure electric range of “more than 30 miles,” according to Alfa. When the Tonale was first unveiled, there was mention of a second setup that used a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to drive all four wheels without hybrid assistance, but the Milanese firm changed course, dropping that engine from the U.S.-spec options list. (Buyers from Canada and Mexico will still have a choice between the PHEV or the 2-liter.) Pre-orders for the Tonale Ti and the Tonale Veloce are open now, while Tonale Sprint pre-orders will open later in Q1.

Exhaust: Alfa is stepping into one of the most competitive segments with a stylish offering that’s on par with starting prices of competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. Those German models climb much higher on the pricing scale with high-performance variants, however; might there be a Tonale Quadrofoglio in the works? We’ll have to wait and see. — Nathan Petroelje

Why BYD isn’t selling its electric cars here

BYD HAN electric vehicle exterior front end driving

Intake: BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, cranking out 1.86 million electric and plug-in hybrids last year. So why hasn’t the Chinese firm begun selling its wares in the U.S.? One reason, says Reuters, is the provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that offers a $7500 rebate on vehicles but “imposes rules on where to source battery materials and disqualifies EVs produced outside North America” for the rebate, says that publication. Prior to that, BYD was going to display its cars and technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but cancelled. BYD declined to comment, but one source said, “Who would start selling cars with a $7500 disadvantage?”

Exhaust: BYD, backed by investor Warren Buffet’s firm, will find its way to the U.S. eventually—it already produces electric buses in a California factory. By the time it does, there’s a good chance BYD will be building three million electric vehicles a year. — Steven Cole Smith

New I-6 will make CX-90 the most powerful Mazda ever

2024 Mazda CX-90 exterior front end dark teaser
Mazda North America

Intake: Mazda has revealed power figures for the 3.3-liter turbocharged inline-six engine that will be offered in its newest three-row crossover, the CX-90. The engine will make up to 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque when fed premium fuel, which Mazda recommends, making it the brand’s most powerful production engine to date. The new powertrain also features 48-volt hybrid technology, although details about the setup (where the electric motor will sit and what type of battery will be utilized) are still unknown. The CX-90 will also come as a plug-in hybrid, able to drive a short distance purely on electric power. Odds are, that powertrain will be some version of the setup found in the European-market CX-60, which features a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor that uses a 17.8-kWh battery to deliver up to 35 miles of electric-only range. (Because the CX-90 is bigger, that range figure may drop.) Mazda will reveal the 2024 CX-90 on January 31. Mark your calendars.

Exhaust: Mazda’s SUVs—even the big ones—have long been the gold standard for engaging driving dynamics in surprising packages. The release announcing the power figures above also mentioned that Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control (KPC), a technology that first debuted on the MX-5 Miata, will also be offered on the CX-90. The tech applies light braking force to the inside rear wheel during a corner to improve the car’s handling. The burly six was enough to have us looking forward to the CX-90’s debut; KPC is just the icing on the cake. — Nathan Petroelje

Formula 1 to race 23 times in 2023, including three rounds in U.S.A.

F1 Grand Prix of Miami
Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Intake: The F1 calendar has been finalized just weeks before the first race of the season, and there are more rounds than ever before in the sport’s 73-year history. The Grand Prix circus will visit 21 different countries and host 23 races. As enthusiasm for F1 racing in America reaches unprecedented levels, the U.S. will be the only country to hold more than one GP—in fact, it will be the only country ever to run three races in a single season.  On May 7 F1 heads to Miami, Florida; on October 22 it will be Austin, Texas; and on November 19 Grand Prix racing will return to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982. The lights go out for 2023’s first round in Bahrain on March 5 with the final race of the season taking place in Abu Dhabi on November 26.

Exhaust: It will be the biggest F1 season ever, so let’s hope it’s less one-sided than 2022 when Red Bull and Max Verstappen wrapped up the championship with four races still to go. Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari will have been working hard over winter to catch up, while Verstappen’s team is faced with reduced wind tunnel time as a penalty for overstepping the sport’s spending cap, so it could well be the tightest championship in some time. Even if the racing doesn’t quite live up to the hype, the parties in Miami, Austin, and Sin City definitely will. Who’s going? —Nik Berg

March 5: Bahrain, Sakhir
March 19: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
April 2: Australia, Melbourne
April 30: Azerbaïjan, Baku
May 7: Miami, Miami
May 21: Emilia-Romagna, Imola
May 28: Monaco, Monaco
June 4: Spain, Barcelona
June 18: Canada, Montreal
July 2: Austria, Spielberg
July 9: British, Silverstone
July 23: Hungary, Budapest
July 30: Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps
August 27: Netherlands, Zandvoort
September 3: Italy, Monza
September 17: Singapore, Singapore
September 24: Japan, Suzuka
October 8: Qatar, Lusail
October 22: United States, Austin
October 29: Mexico, Mexico City
November 5: Brazil, Sao Paulo
November 19: Las Vegas, Las Vegas
November 26: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

Read next Up next: Batteries or hydrogen? Toyota guts two ’80s hot hatches for alt-fuel fun


    “Shakeup at Volvo as U.S. and Canada split” my guess is the difference between the two countries franchise laws is a big driver in this so that Volvo can more readily move to a factory direct ordering arrangement for the respective markets.

    Alfa Romeo’s new Toe-nail is how I bet people would pronounce that. (Yes I know in Italian it would not be, but when Americans see KN car on the back of KIA’s, that’s what you will get.) What an unfortunate name from an unfortunate car company.

    Not sure the franchise laws have much to do with the Volvo decision. In the past Volvos were assemble in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada for the specific needs of the Canadian and northern states with particular climate needs and corrosion issues.

    With respect to Alfa the differences in climate ( a normal-30/40 winter weather) pattern for months on end as opposed to this years freak fresaie favour a higher rational for ICE choices. Watching network news the reports about the inability to charge EV or PHEV in the extreme cold were sobering. In many areas across North America the grid could not support the increased demand as well as frozen charging stations and or a lack of same given reduced range of EVs in the cold and already sparse charging options.

    In many Canadian provinces as well ssd cold US states a large number of EV and PHEV owners own an ICE vehicle as well.

    I t will be interesting to see how the chemistry of new gen batteries fair in these conditions. Hopeful as electrification and hydrogen science advances so will the solutions. In the meantime it is important to balance need, environment and existing resources
    ( including synthetic fuels) future forward and not simply jumping onto the next best/or not solution.

    The franchise laws prevent direct sales from the car manufacturer to consumers in many states. Since Volvo wants to move more towards a direct sales model (like Tesla), this move will allow them more flexibility.

    Gustafsson probably didn’t approve of the split, plus if he’s the star it sounds like he is, he no doubt has offers waiting on greener pastures. If lucky, Alpha will have as much impact on the lux cute-ute market as the Giulia has had on its respective niche. F1 will become/is becoming the soccer of motorsports in the USA. Popular with the elite, with drivers who are even lighter and smaller than NASCAR’s newest generation.

    Absolutely thrilled to see some new, non-BMW inline-6 engines actually coming to market. Looking forward to learning more about Mazda’s new entry (and the Hurricane as well).

    Does anyone have a specific to Canada auto division? I thought that ended with Studebaker…

    I’m Canadian and I don’t see the logic in it.

    It would make far more sense for Canadian regulations to align with US (and US to have one set… looking at you CAFE in/not). Even better would be North America/Euro agreeing on rules.

    To save costs, maybe some of which could trickle down to consumers.

    Canadians already pay much more for the same thing or less in our cars. Far more than the cost of those bilingual stickers on every printed-word part of the vehicle.

    With all due respect to snailfish while North American manufacturers do not have separate divisions for the most part for Canada and the USA there is a long history of de facto separate divisions with some vehicles not being available in each others market or specific to those markets dating before and after studebacker. Even today off shore origin vehicles manufactured in Canada and the USA have models that do or don’t sell in each other markets essentially yet again de facto separate. One only needs to look at Honda, Nissan and many , many others.

    Multi language stickers are the reality for a world economy and can be found around the world not just Canada. American made product sell in Canada with multi languages ticketing many include Spanish as well as other languages. Spend any time abroad and you will find multi language “stickering” in several languages. Providing single language instructions on stickers is far costlier than one that allows for multi languages to be competitive in international markets. And yes I too to am a Canadian who has lived, travelled in many world centres with multi language stickering and multi national compliance in international markets for virtually every product. Even in many parts of the USA where I have spent many years living and travelling multi language owners manuals and a growing stickering multi languages are the standard . Follow the exploits of the “three amigo aggreements”. You will find English, Spanish and French as well as growing posts In Chinese. We are open economies for mostly the better and some worst.

    Someone should simply explain to Travis how easy Daytona is…make friends, be running on the last two laps, floor it, turn left.

    So the closest the French will get to an F1 GP this year is in Monaco. It is interesting to note that for the purposes of F1, Las Vegas is not in the US, it is in Las Vegas. That just confirms a world-wide understanding of how things work (or don’t) in Paradise.

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