Bugatti’s wildest monster nears, Land Rover splits, Hyundai aims for moon
Track-only Bugatti nobody will race is almost ready
Intake: Bugatti has announced that the Bolide, its latest and wildest supercar, has moved on to the next phase of testing before customer deliveries start in 2024. For the Bolide, Bugatti began with the quad-turbo W-16 engine, and “then built the lightest possible car around it,” the company says. Its minimal bodywork is designed to maximize downforce and cooling while delivering an exceptional power-to-weight ratio. In its final form, the 3200-pound Bolide is expected to deliver 1580 horsepower.
Exhaust: Said Christophe Piochon, president of Bugatti Automobiles: “The Bolide is treading new ground for Bugatti. Never before has such a powerful engine been paired with an ultra-lightweight design to create a track car that delivers motorsport levels of performance. Almost every component has been analyzed and redesigned to ensure Bolide is as light, capable and reliable as our strict targets require it to be.” Production will be limited to 40 cars at a price of about $4.4 million each. — Steven Cole Smith
Jaguar and Land Rover split into four brands
Intake: Jaguar Land Rover will now be called JLR in a rebrand that births four sub-brands: Range Rover, Discovery, Defender, and Jaguar. JLR will become a “house of brands” in a change of strategy that will help “amplify the uniqueness of our characterful British marques,” Gerry McGovern, chief creative officer, said in a statement to Automotive News. The strategy within Land Rover since 2021 has been to separate vehicles into three “pillars,” with Range Rover representing luxury, Discovery focusing on families, and Defender drawing from its rugged off-road roots. Some are already protesting that the rejiggering seems to eliminate the storied Land Rover moniker, but JLR says the name would continue as a badge on its SUVs to serve as a “trust mark.”
Exhaust: Jaguar has announced it will “reinvent itself” with the 2025 launch of an all-electric, four-door GT model that will have “exuberant and fearless” styling, executives told Automotive News. The car will be the brand’s fastest model to date and will cost more than 100,000 pounds ($124,200) as Jaguar moves more upscale. — SCS
Harley’s electric dirt bike will be pricey
Intake: LiveWire’s S2 Del Mar dirt bike is confirmed to launch with an MSRP of $15,499. Reservations are open for the production version in three colors and deliveries are expected to start in July. More detailed information including performance and production specifications of the dirt-track-inspired electric motorcycle will be released in June.
Exhaust: Livewire has been trodding along steadily now that it is out of the Harley Davidson shadow (though HD is still the majority shareholder in the company), and the Del Mar S2 has a unique look that has caught the attention of a fair number of riders. The lack of performance information makes this price announcement tough to interpret, but it certainly sets high expectations for the specs we will see in June. — Kyle Smith
Attorneys General want Hyundais, Kias recalled
Intake: The attorney general of California and attorneys general of 17 other states have asked a federal regulator to recall certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles, saying some vehicles from these brands are more likely to be stolen because they lack the theft-prevention features that are standard in many other cars, such as engine immobilizers and push-button starters, says Reuters. “Kia’s and Hyundai’s failure to install standard safety features on many of their vehicles have put vehicle owners and the public at risk,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. U.S. theft claims were nearly twice as high for Hyundai and Kia vehicles compared with all other manufacturers among 2015–19 model-year vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute said.
Exhaust: The thefts began in earnest after TikTok videos aired specific instructions on how to steal Kia and Hyundai cars that started via a physical key and whose engines had no immobilizers. Bonta said the carmakers included an immobilizer in the same models in Canada and Europe but chose to “carve out” the United States. Hyundai and Kia have argued that the cars were federally compliant when sold. — SCS
Hyundai Motor Group at work on lunar rover
Intake: In happier Hyundai news, Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Kia, announced that it has begun research into building a lunar rover that should be ready for launch by 2027. The “autonomous driving unit” is specially designed to explore the moon’s surface, equipped with various advanced technologies with the goal to deliver a universally applicable mobility platform “to handle a variety of payloads.” The lunar mobility platform will include solar charging, autonomous driving, thermal management and radiation shielding, and can carry various equipment on top of the rover with a maximum weight of 150-plus pounds. The Group expects completion of the initial development model as soon as the second half of 2024. “Hyundai Motor Group has consistently stated its goal is to contribute to expanding human reach and the scope of human mobility experiences,” said Kim Yong-Hwa, the Group’s executive vice president and the head of its R&D planning & coordination center. “The creation of the lunar exploration mobility development model not only reflects this goal, but also shows our ambition to achieve tangible results in the face of significant challenges.”
Exhaust: Presumably, the lunar rover will have push-button start and immobilizer technology. — SCS
Lincoln: To grow, it must get smaller
Intake: Lincoln’s new president is working to “galvanize the luxury brand’s stalled revival” by cutting its dealer network, refocusing its electrification strategy, and updating its products. “We have to get our mojo back,” Dianne Craig told Automotive News this week in New York as Lincoln introduced the redesigned Nautilus, a product she hopes will be key. Lincoln executives have worked hard to make the brand relevant again, and their efforts succeeded, to an extent—U.S. sales topped 112,000 vehicles in 2019, a 12-year high—then “flatlined when the pandemic hit.” Craig, who succeeded Joy Falotico as the brand’s president in December, now vows that Lincoln will grow again. “It’s really very straightforward—great products, great service,” she said. “That will define the future of the brand.”
Exhaust: This revitalization will happen without a lot of Lincoln’s dealers, though. Although Craig called the brand’s dealer network a “strategic advantage,” she said it must get smaller. Lincoln had 637 dealers at the start of 2023, according to Automotive News’ annual dealer census. — SCS