Movie Themes and Driving Dreams Displayed in Chicago

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Feb 162018

Poe Dameron’s X-wing

From Detroit to Geneva, it’s auto show season, and Latino Traffic Report can report about the oldest and largest show in the country, the Chicago Auto Show (CAS). Celebrating its 110-year anniversary, CAS exposed several trends, new products, and a little bit of Hollywood.

2018 Nissan Kicks

Nissan returned with a collection of Star Wars-themed vehicles, reflecting its continued partnership with the franchise. Unlike last year’s special edition Rogue featuring specific branding from the film of the same name, this year’s vehicles were not road ready but still impressive. On display were several designed to reflect certain vehicles from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, like the Special Forces TIE Fighter and Poe Dameron’s X-wing, including a lively BB-8 nestled at the top.

While 2017 saw the last production year of Nissan’s sporty compact crossover utility vehicle, the Juke, it’s replacement, the 2018 Kicks, was on display in Chicago.

Tiago Castro director, Light Commercial Vehicle Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America

Where the Juke stood out for it’s distinctive looks, the Kicks bears the Nissan DNA, so much so that it could be called a “baby Rogue.” It will be available in two-tone exterior colors, following a trend reflected by many other models at the show.

Tiago Castro, director, Light Commercial Vehicle Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, introduced the new factory-authorized suspension lift kit for select models of the Titan and Titan XD. Developed by California-based ICON Vehicle Dynamics, the bolt-on kits will give the Titan a more aggressive exterior appearance, plus increased ground clearance and a suspension lift of up to three inches. Available this spring, the suspension lift kits will require no cutting or drilling to install.

Lexus marked the tenth anniversary of its F performance brand at the CAS with the 2019 RC F anniversary special edition in a matte finish (right), seen for the first time in the United States. Lexus also brought the LS 500 from the Black Panther Movie and introduced the all-new 2018 RX 350L with three rows of seating.

Not to be outdone, Hyundai brought the 2019 Sportster (left) that will play a role in the Ant Man sequel, Ant Man and the Wasp (left), in theaters on July 6, plus the new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models. The latter has an EPA all-electric range of up to 27 miles.

New vehicles of note included the all-new 2019 Ford

Ford Transit Connect Wagon chief engineer Adrian Aguirre.

Transit Connect Wagon. Chief engineer, Adrian Aguirre, shared that the objective for the new van, based on the Transit Connect commercial van, was to increase its appeal to families. A native of Mexico City, Aguirre joined the Ford team fourteen years ago. Rather than focus on changes to the exterior, Aguirre looked at ways to make the new van more family friendly, from pricing —it’s one of the most affordable vans in the segment—to fuel efficiency—it’s powered by new gas and diesel engines matched to a new eight-speed transmission. It will also offer seating for seven.


Finally, Subaru fans will also get to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Subaru of America, founded in 1968, by purchasing one of a whole lineup of special anniversary editions in the distinctive production color of Heritage Blue. Other unique features include black upholstery with silver accent stitching, anniversary badging inside and out, and unique alloy wheels (except for the BRZ).

Many auto shows remain for 2018. See these models and more at a show near you.




Chicago Auto Show 2017—New Trims and Special Editions

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Feb 212017

Auto shows offer a peek at what consumers may expect to see on car lots soon or in the near future. The largest auto show in the country, the Chicago Auto Show, just wrapped up and during the media preview, attended by Latino Traffic Report, manufacturers revealed more choices for a diverse consumer market.

More than two years since the first Titan was unveiled, Nissan completes the tale of this groundbreaking pickup-with the intro of the King Cab or extended cab version of the 2017 Titan. Nissan VP Fred Diaz held a tailgate chat with journalists, expressing satisfaction with the King Cab and announcing that the Titan line-up is now complete.

Tailgate chat with Nissan VP Fred Diaz.

“The launch of the new King Cab body is the last step in a journey that began in December 2015 with the debut of the breakthrough TITAN XD, which continues to carve out a unique white space between competitors’ heavy-duty and half-ton trucks,” said Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan North America, Inc. “Now, with the addition of a half-ton TITAN, our new Endurance V8, three body configurations, three bed lengths and a range of grade levels and equipment packages, we’re covering nearly every segment in the personal and commercial full-size truck markets. Add to that the industry’s best five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and the TITAN family is even more compelling.”

Offered in 4×4 and 4×2 and on both the half-ton and XD versions of the Titan, the King Cab (not to be confused with the four-door Crew Cab) features wide opening rear-hinged doors for added convenience. Potential commercial truck users will appreciate a first-in-segment “rear seat delete” option that removes the rear seat, rear heater duct, and rear roof-mounted assist grips and adds a flat rear load floor and rear wall finisher with tie-down hooks.

Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition

The Titan and Titan XD King Cabs should go on sale this spring.

Continuing to leverage the Rogue via its marketing alliance with LucasFilm. Ltd. and its latest blockbuster, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nissan displayed the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition package featuring Star Wars badging on the kickplates, floor mats, and Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire logos in cupholder inserts and interior accent lighting. Only available on a Rogue SV trim equipped with the Sun and Sound Touring Package makes it more accessible and unique, but not fancy. Nissan plans to produce only 5,400 with the package costing approximately $1,990 extra.

Finally, Nissan expanded its lineup of Midnight Edition vehicles, previously only available on the Maxima, introducing five new models in Chicago, namely the Sentra, Altima, Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder The trend of “darkened” accenting on vehicles appears to have its appeal as more and more brands introduce them. The black wheels, spoiler, mirror caps and available special floor mats with additional equipment added by model will set the new Midnight Editions apart.

Midnight Edition Nissan Rogue

“The six models offering Midnight Edition packages account for more than 75 percent of our U.S. sales, so we think they will find a receptive audience.” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president, Nissan Sales and Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, Inc.; chairman, Nissan Canada.

On sale now, available exterior colors include Red Alert, Super Black, Aspen White, and Gun Metallic.

For drivers with special needs, Chrysler displayed a modified Pacifica with wheelchair access, part of its new partnership with a leader in aftermarket modifications for the disabled, BraunAbility. Included in the FCA US Automobility Program, the modified Pacifica will help ease the financial burden of drivers and passengers with physical challenges. Through this program, customers can be reimbursed for up to a maximum of $1,000 for out-of-pocket expenses to install qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram or FIAT vehicle.

Alex Fedorak introduces the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition.

Marking its centennial, Mitsubishi also introduced a Limited Edition of the Outlander Sport, its most popular vehicle. Positioned directly above the ES trim level or base model, it will include 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera, an aluminum-alloy fuel door, and high-intensity discharge headlights.

Interior details include black cloth seating, red accent stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob, and brake lever, aluminum-covered pedals, and heated front seats.

“A lot of things have happened over the course of the last 100 years,” said Alex Fedorak, public relations manager for Mitsubishi. “A lot of innovations, and I’m proud to say that we were one of those innovators along the way.”

The Outlander Sport Limited Edition will be in dealerships later this month for $21,995 and available through the end of the model year.

For more views and information about the vehicles featured at the Chicago Auto Show, go to


Hispanic Motor Press Announces Autos del Año

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Nov 282016


Latino Traffic Report has learned that the Hispanic Motor Press recently announced the winners of the 2017 Autos del Año – the Hispanic Motor Press Awards. With approximately 250 different car models to choose from and on average 40 totally new models every year, selecting the best is not an easy task. This year’s panel of content influencers/journalists drives and evaluates new cars throughout the year to evaluate the attributes best suited for the Hispanic consumer.

“We are excited that The Hispanic Motor Press Awards is widely recognized by the automobile industry with multiple brands using the awards on their advertising and marketing campaigns,” said Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, founder of Hispanic Motor Press and continued: “Our independence from specific media outlets and voluntary submissions by car manufactures give our jury members and expert voices in their fields the ability to choose vehicles that better serve the needs, lifestyles, and tastes of U.S. Hispanic consumers.”

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Compact Auto del Año

This year’s winners include:

Sub-compact Mitsubishi Mirage G4

Compact Honda Civic Hatchback

Mid-Size Sedan Alfa Romeo Giulia

Large Sedan KIA Cadenza

Compact Cross-Over BMW X1

Mid-Size Cross-Over Nissan Murano

Large Cross-Over Hyundai Santa Fe

2017 Nissan Titan Full-Size Pickup del Año.

2017 Nissan Titan Full-Size Pickup del Año

EV Vehicle Chevrolet Bolt

Sport utility Vehicle Mazda CX9

Pick-Up Medium Size Chevrolet Colorado

Pick-up Full Size Nissan Titan

Minivan Chrysler Pacifica

Sports Car Ford Mustang

American Muscle Chevrolet Camaro 50Th Anniversary

Adventure 4×4 JEEP Wrangler 75th Anniversary

For more information on the The Hispanic Motor Press Awards see

Views and News from Chicago

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Feb 202015

2015-02-11 20.39.53

The 2015 Chicago Auto Show media preview revealed all-new products, concepts, and marketing projections from domestic and import car makers.

There were interesting concepts from Nissan (the 350 Z Nismo Roadster and GT-R LP NISMO Racer-pictured), Mitsubishi (the GC-Phev), and Kia (Trail’Ster AWD).

New products included the 2016 Kia Rio, 2016 Honda Pilot, 2016 Chevy Equinox and 2015 Silverado Custom, and 2016 Acura RDX.

2015-02-13 13.01.25Ram made the most impressive showing with its all-new luxury truck model, the 2015 Laramie Limited.  Motivated by  growing sales volumes in the premium truck segment, Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO, Ram Truck Brand—FCA US LLC, shared that  premium models now taks up 38 percent of Ram 1500 sales and 44 percent of the Ram 3500 series sell for more than $60,000.

The new Ram will set itself apart  by more than just its price tag. Gone is the crosshair grille, replaced instead with a billet  port configuration. Chrome is heavily featured on the outside, from the grille to the oversized Ram badge on the tailgate. The interior looks exceptional, with accent stitching, piping, and real wood accents. Mighty fancy!2015-02-13 13.01.43

The 2015 Laramie Limited will be available across the lineup, i.e. 1500–3500, and with the 3.5-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine on the 1500 that earns a best-in-class 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

Toyota also showed new products with special edition versions of its Corolla, Camry, and Avalon. Made in the U.S.A., the special editions will be offered in a red, white, and blue color palette. 2015-02-13 11.00.04Hyundai showed refreshed versions of the 2016 Elantra GT and Veloster, as well as a special edition of the Veloster Rally (right-pictured with Brandon Ramirez, Hyundai senior group manager and product planner)  that goes on sale this May.

Nissan’s VP José Muñoz was the featured speaker at the business luncheon sponsored by The Economic Club of Chicago. He began with a look at Nissan’s history in the U.S. that started in 1958 with a reconaissance mission to check the viability of the U.S. market for Nissan (Datsun at the time).

Fast forward to Nissan’s impact in the U.S. and a look at its four manufacturing facilities, beginning with the plant in Smyrna, Tennessee that produced 648,000 vehicles last year, more than any other U.S. auto plant, domestic or foreign. In total, Nissan employs more than 22,000 U.S. workers.2015-02-12 12.47.34

Muñoz attributed this success to a bold vision that focused on three key areas: local production, workforce training, and capitalizing on changing demographics. Thirty-six percent of Nissan owners are ethnically diverse, he said, and Nissan’s workforce also reflects the marketplace. “Diversity is not just a smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” he added.

He also stated that Nissan is approaching its goal of capturing 10 percent of the U.S. automotive market.

“Our story is the American story and there is so much more to come,” he concluded.

The 2015 Chicago Auto Show is open to the public through February 22.