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Spy shots and exclusive images of the new Audi A8 saloon plus details on its weight-saving tech, ‘level 3’ autonomy and hybrid engines

The next Audi A8 will hit back at the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series on the technology and efficiency fronts. The new A8 will use more aluminium in its construction than ever before, as well as components made out of magnesium and carbonfibre – but it’s still likely to gain a few kilos because of autonomous tech and a proposed hybrid powertrain. The new 2017 Audi A8 is due to be revealed this summer, with sales starting by the autumn.

The German brand’s flagship A8 saloon has a history of lightweight construction – but engineers admit that responding to customer demands is likely to bring a small gain in kerbweight for the new [...]

Jenson Button will not drive McLaren’s 2017 Formula 1 car before he stands in for Fernando Alonso in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hyundai WRC package still behind Citroen on asphalt, despite win

Auto thefts decline because of technology, but statistics conflict

Hyundai has work to do to match Citroen on asphalt despite taking its first win of the 2017 World Rally Championship on the Tour of Corsica, says team principal Michel Nandan.

The Korean firm was the only WRC manufacturer yet to win this season heading to the French round, with Thierry Neuville having dominated early on in both Monte Carlo and Sweden only to crash.

He made amends with Corsica victory, but only after Kris Meeke’s Citroen had an engine problem while leading on day two.

Asked to asses the i20’s asphalt performance after Neuville’s win, Nandan said: “I think it needs to be a little bit better, I think we are a bit behind.

“The Citroen has shown that it’s a fantastic car on Tarmac and for sure we have to work on that, especially [...]

img-2Global sales of BMW Group’s core brand rose faster in June than at Audi and Mercedes-Benz as demand from China and the United States helped the premium carmaker to extend a lead over the two rivals in the first six months of the year.

Sales at the brand were up 9 percent last month to 153,075, the group said today, compared with growth of 5 percent to 140,300 and 8 percent to 131,609 at Audi and Mercedes respectively.

Six-month sales at BMW brand rose 8 percent to 804,000 cars, expanding the lead over runner-up Audi to 24,000 from 11,000 after five months. Half-year sales at Audi and Mercedes rose 6 percent each to 780,500 and 694,000 respectively.

“BMW has stronger momentum than Audi and Mercedes, that won’t change in the second half,” said Hanover-based NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “Design of their cars has improved and they’re ahead [...]

img-4The Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, the top-selling mid-size and compact cars in the U.S., face risks of reduced production as inventories of the models rise, an RBC Capital Markets report said.

Toyota’s Camry exceeded its seasonal historical average inventory by more than 15 days supply in June and Honda carried about 25 days more Civics than usual, Joseph Spak, a New York-based analyst for RBC, said in today’s report. Camry and Civic were the only models identified as at risk for reduced output among 16 of the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. market. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all added U.S. market share in the first six months of 2013, the first time that all three gained first-half share in 20 years. Models such as GM’s Chevrolet Cruze compact and Ford’s Fusion mid-size sedan, leading Detroit’s most competitive set of [...]

Fiat exercises option to buy additional 3.3% of Chrysler shares

Purchase brings closer a merger of the two automakers

img-5Fiat today exercised an option to raise its stake in Chrysler by 3.3 percent.

The move is part of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s step-by-step purchases intended to lead to full control of Chrysler and the creation of a merged company that would be able to compete better with industry leaders Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen.

Fiat has been exercising options since mid-2012 to buy holdings of about 3.3 percent from the VEBA, a medical-benefits trust for the U.S. carmaker’s retirees.

Including today’s purchase, Fiat has exercised three of its six-monthly options, increasing its stake to 68.49 percent.

Fiat has said it wants full control of Chrysler, which would give it access to some of Chrysler’s cash flow for investments in new models.

Chrysler has become Fiat’s most reliable profit generator as the Italian company struggles to end losses in Europe that totaled 704 million euros ($903 million) in [...]

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