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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-23-2023, 01:35 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Citroen readying mix of "aggressively priced" electric cars

citroen oli 2022 front quarter tracking

Citroën Oli concept is tipped to provide design cues for the new EVs

Cars will look to undercut rivals and offer alternative to premium brands as "some people don’t have that kind of money to buy a car"

Citroën is readying a mix of smaller electric cars that will be “aggressively priced” to undercut rivals in the ever competitive entry-EV market.

Expected to arrive in the next couple of years, the smaller models will get “kick-ass” designs to attract a wider customer base to the French brand, Citroën design boss Pierre Leclercq told Autocar.

They are likely to share design cues with the Citroën Oli concept and smaller Citroën Ami, like the upcoming Citroën C3 Aircross, Leclercq said, adding they won’t just be smaller versions of bigger cars: “We are trying not to make cars that have the Russian doll effect”. 

A price point around £25,000 is likely, given that Leclercq confirmed their pricing would give the brand a “huge advantage” in the segments in which they’ll sit. This would allow them to undercut the popular £26,000 MG 4, £28,195 Fiat 500 Electric and £31,800 Vauxhall Corsa Electric.

“We conceived them to bring them with a really aggressive price target on the market,” he said.

“I think it's going to be huge, huge advantage [over other car makers] for a brand like Citroën. You know, as premium brands look to become more premium, [there are] some people who don’t have that kind of money to buy a car.”

Speaking about the cars themselves, Leclercq added: “We have great products coming out soon that are, I think, really kicking ass in terms of design. It's going to be super-cool. I mean, we're excited to put those things on the road. Prices are going to be so aggressive. We can only be proud of having done it.

“So, I think, we have a big role to play in the car industry in the next couple of years.”

The electric cars are highly likely to sit on the CMP platform, which already underpins Stellantis cars such as the Corsa and Peugeot e-208.

As a result, they can use the same 51kWh battery as the e-208, which offers a range up to 248 miles. A single-motor set up delivering around 130bhp is likely, given that is what is expected for the upcoming Citroën C3 Aircross.

To save costs, the cars may also, as shown on the Oli concept, ditch infotainment for a system that links to the driver’s phone – albeit not as budget as the solitary phone clip in the £7000 Ami.

“When you think about it, what do people want? They want the best on-board experience,” said Leclercq. 

“You live with your phone all day. So the closer we get [in a car] to what we have on our phone, I think the better it is. You should just have what you have on your phone.”

Speaking previously to Autocar, Citroën’s product and strategy director, Laurence Hansen, said: “Citroën loves to challenge the industry norms. With [the Oli], we want to find joyful, modern mobility, affordable and sustainable. It’s something that we’re going to [continue] in the long run, because we think it’s in line with our DNA.”

She added: “The average sale price in Europe for a car today is €25,000 [£22,560]. Do [we] really think people will be able to invest more tomorrow? We need to do something. Will it be exactly at the same price? Maybe not. With the economic crisis that may come in six months, how will you manage? If you don’t have a car, you don’t have life.”

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-23-2023, 09:50 AM
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Ineos Grenadier pick-up variant spotted in near-production guise

Ineos Grenadier pick up lead

Open-backed version of Grenadier will take on Toyota Hilux in fearsome pick-up segment

The long-awaited Ineos Grenadier pick-up truck has entered a key phase of testing ahead of its launch, undertaking tests on icy roads in extreme winter conditions. 

As confirmed when Autocar drove the Grenadier for the first time last year, the 4x4 model's family will be expanded with a pick-up truck (seen here) and a seven-seat passenger version, each using a longer (3175mm) wheelbase than the standard car. 

Ineos’s upcoming pick-up was spotted free of any sort of concealing livery, with chunky all-terrain tyres, fueling speculation that it will be just as capable off-road as its SUV-styled sibling. 

When the model was previously spotted testing on public roads, it did not feature a conventional load bed at the rear, suggesting the commercial version of the Grenadier could be offered with a range of devices and storage compartments to suit a variety of applications, as was the case with its spiritual forebear, the previous-generation Defender 130 pick-up. 

The Grenadier pick-up will no doubt be pitched as a rival to the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok, both of which are set to be reinvented using the same underpinnings next year. Land Rover has yet to confirm an open-backed version of the current Defender but has previously hinted that such a model would be "technically possible" and would likely be a strong seller.

Technically, the pick-up will almost certainly follow the SUV in being offered with a choice of six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines from BMW, producing 283bhp and 250bhp respectively. 

Losing the rear seats and one-third of the bodywork will also result in a significant drop in kerb weight, too, compared with the 2650kg SUV variant, so subtle performance gains and improved off-road ability could be on the cards.

A more utilitarian focus can be expected on the inside, in line with the often demanding workload of a 4x4 pick-up. The standard car goes big on durability, with drain holes in the floor and a raft of stain-resistant materials, but the pick-up could be offered at a lower price if it is furnished with less kit and fewer upmarket flourishes.

Ineos has yet to confirm a specific launch date for the second Grenadier variant but has previously said it will come "soon after" the arrival of the SUV.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-23-2023, 12:13 AM
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Lancia hints at Stratos-inspired EV for April unveiling

Lancia concept

Lancia Stratos-inspired concept car will be revealed on 15 April

Italian luxury brand to be rebooted with new electric Ypsilon, Delta and as-yet-unnamed flagship EVs

Lancia has teased the launch of a new, Stratos-inspired EV that's set to be unveiled on 15 April.

The storied Italian marque will unveil this and its 10-year manifesto at an event dubbed Emozione Pu+Ra, translating to 'Emotion Pure and Radical', the second previewing its future direction.

An image of the car's rear was teased by Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano, showing oval-shaped LED taillights reminiscent of the Pu+Ra Zero sculpture shown in November 2022. The firm's new boot-width logo is also showcased. 

Lancia is due to launch three new electric cars by 2028 in its push to become an EV-only brand, with a focus on the European premium market, and previewed each of their designs with the aforementioned sculpture.

It previewed the styling of a new Ypsilon hatchback, which is expected to be released in 2024, offering an electric powertrain for the first time in the model's 30-year history.

The sculpture also previewed how the rebooted Lancia Delta and an as-yet-unnamed flagship will look. No timeline for the arrival of the other two EVs has been announced yet, though.

It marked “a new era” for the brand, Napolitano said, and showed how the brand would look “for the next 100 years”.

The design “vision” revealed a modernisation of the classic Lancia T-shape Calice grille, now created with three LED bars “to express our electric future”, said Napolitano. At the rear, circular, hollow tail-lights – as seen on the concept previewed by Napolitano – were joined by the new Lancia nameplate.

Jean-Pierre Ploué, the firm's head of design, saud: “It is timeless, durable, unique. Our designs will be built with iconic shapes like the circle, square and triangle.”

Lancia pura zero concept rear 3

In an interview with Autocar, Napolitano said Lancia will focus on small, compact and flagship models that will be “in line with a tradition that made Lancias recognisable all over the world for their elegance and modernity".

He added that upcoming cars will be sold in Italy alongside "four other European countries in the first phase". These are expected to be the UK, France and Germany. The second phase will likely involve expanding sales Europe-wide. 

The company's new era will also see the development of an online sales platform, similar to that offered by sibling brands. This will be accompanied by 100 sales outlets across the continent. “We want to make Lancia a respected brand within the European premium market", said Napolitano.

He added: “Today is the beginning of our renaissance that will amaze Lancia fans all over the world. Lancia will once again be a desirable, respected and reliable brand in the European premium market. Today is the beginning of the new Lancia.”

The interior of the next generation of Lancia will be created in partnership with Italian design house Cassina and will include the latest infotainment technologies, Lancia confirmed.

Lancia logo

The 116-year-old brand, now owned by Stellantis, has also revealed a fresh logo, opting for a three-dimensional look, rather than the flatter design favoured by European car makers such as Volkswagen and BMW.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-22-2023, 07:42 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Volkswagen T-Roc

VW T Roc lead
Volkswagen arrives late at the crossover hatchback party. But can the T-Roc still turn heads in a congested segment?

The Volkswagen T-Roc has taken the UK market by storm over the last couple of years and has grown to become one of the UK’s most popular models. Based on the proportions of a Golf but with the high-riding driving position of an SUV, the T-Roc built on what the Nissan Qashqai had started, further bolstering the commercially appealing crossover-hatchback segment. The VW T-Roc is one of the more athletic-looking and dynamic, driver-focused takes on the crossover hatchback to have emerged of late, enlivening what was previously a rather snooze-inducing segment.It’s plainly a striking thing to behold, too, being more athletic, elegant, purposeful and interesting in its slightly decorated appearance than the crossover norm, although you’d never call it shouty or over the top.It first arrived in 2017 as a rival to the technically similar (and excellent, by the way) Seat Ateca, the more striking Toyota C-HR and the upmarket Audi Q2. There’s no lack of competition, even in-house, sitting below the larger Volkswagen Tiguan and Volkswagen Touareg in the brand’s own model line-up. The T-Roc range at a glanceThe T-Roc’s engine is diverse and versatile, with a handful of trim levels, powertrains, and the option of front- and all-wheel drive.Engines for the T-Roc start with a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol producing 108bhp. A more powerful 1.5-litre petrol unit produces 148bhp, and there are two 2.0-litre options with all-wheel drive, with 187bhp and 296bhp, which is found in the range-topping, performance VW T-Roc R. VW also offers the T-Roc with two 2.0-litre diesel engines, with an output of 113bhp or 148bhp. So, what does the T-Roc bring to the table? Find out below in our in-depth review.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-22-2023, 04:50 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Mazda names new CEO ahead of electric car push

Mazda MX30 2021 front quarter tracking

The electric Mazda MX-30 has struggled to attract buyers since its 2020 launch

Japanese firm nominates previous North American operations boss Masahiro Moro as its new chief

Mazda has announced Masahiro Moro as its next CEO as it prepares to spend $10.6 billion (£8.7bn) on electrifying its line-up.

Moro headed up the company’s North American operations between January 2016 and June 2021, when he took a position in global senior management.

Speaking in a news conference overnight, he detailed plans to expand the company’s influence in the US – targeting 1000 sales per year from all 360 dealers in the region.

Moro also said he would begin to flesh out the company’s strategy for 2025-2027. Under plans drawn up by current president and CEO Akira Marumoto, the firm will introduce a new hybrid system and new battery-electric models in that medium term. Mazda will then begin to electrify all of its cars from 2028.

Marumoto will step down as president and CEO in June to make way for Moro, pending board approval of his successor. Marumoto will continue as an adviser.

The change in leadership comes as Mazda grapples with the challenge of electrifying a car company that has historically leaned on a sporting image to sell its vehicles. As with Japanese compatriots Honda, Subaru and Toyota, it has been slow to respond to European demand for battery-electric cars.

Mazda launched its first EV – the MX-30 – in 2020, but the crossover’s 124-mile range means it has struggled to find buyers. Interest in the model was stoked by the recent announcement of a new range-extender variant with a petrol-powered Wankel rotary engine, but it has yet to be seen whether that will translate into more sales.

The company appears to have settled on battery-electric cars being the answer in the long-term, having signed three agreements to develop and produce electric drive units, inverters and new motor technologies.

In addition to a deal with Nissan battery supplier Envision AESC, Mazda is also considering investing in its own battery production. It aims for 25-40% of its global sales to comprise electric vehicles by 2030, up from its previous target of 25%.

Read more: Mazda hints at electric MX-5 in revised EV strategy

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-22-2023, 01:14 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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2023 Mercedes GLA and GLB gain mild-hybrid and design refresh

GLA front white

Revised GLA and GLB receive updated standard kit and new MBUX infotainment system

Mercedes has revealed the updated GLA and GLB SUVs, which will go on sale in the coming months with a refreshed design and new technology inside and out. 

The biggest visual changes to the new Mercedes GLA and Mercedes GLB have been applied to the front end, where the front grille, front bumper design and light signatures are all new. 

The closely related pair of models also gain LED lights as standard, and the wheel arches are now painted the same colour as the car’s exterior, replacing the plastic trim seen on the previous versions. 

Under the bonnet, the two cars receive mild-hybrid power, meaning they will now be available with both plug-in and mild-hybrid electrification for the first time. The line-up for non-AMG-tuned variants consists of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units, ranging from 147bhp to 260bhp. 

New mild-hybrid models will benefit from a 48V battery mated to a belt-driven starter-generator, which provides an additional 10bhp when accelerating. They are also capable of travelling short distances on electric-only power and energy recuperation. 

Changes have also been made to their plug-in hybrid powertrains. Electric-only range has improved from the 37 miles available in the previous version, although Mercedes has not yet disclosed the new figure. The output of the electric motor, meanwhile, has been raised by 5bhp to 78bhp, and the battery is now capable of charging up to speeds of 22kW. 

The GLA and GLB range is once again topped by a performance model tuned by Mercedes-AMG. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and GLB 35 pack 301bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Top speed is pegged at 155mph, while 0-62mph is completed in 5.2sec. 

Inside, the cars are equipped with 'comfort' seats, a leather steering wheel, high-beam assist and a reversing camera as standrd. All cars are fitted with the firm’s updated MBUX infotainment system, with interior ambient lighting and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Prices for the standard and AMG models have not been revealed yet, but they are expected to command a slight premium over the existing cars. The standard GLA, for example, is currently priced at £37,645, while the AMG model costs almost double in its highest specification, at £69,005.

The updated GLA has previously been pictured going through its paces at a German race track ahead of its launch wearing a camouflage livery, but much of its chrome trim was clear to see: around the side windows, on the door handles and on the lower rear bumper.

The appearance of the facelifted GLA and GLB follows the emergence of the updated CLA and A-Class, hinting that Mercedes is continuing to push its more affordable models over its more expensive EVs.  

This is despite CEO Ola Källenius’s statement in May that Mercedes is “not going to compete with volume makers” any longer, which also implied the firm is going to ditch discounts.

Given Mercedes’ push back towards the luxury segment – and higher profit margins to mitigate production figures dwindled by industry-wide parts shortages – the updated GLA is expected to be more costly than the current car.

As such, the entry-level Sport trim is expected to be ditched, with AMG Line – which starts from £39,545 – becoming the new entry-level version. Adjusting figures to reflect inflation and increased production costs, the new starting price is likely to be north of £40,000.

This would not drastically change the GLA’s positioning – pitting it against the Audi Q3, BMW X1, well-specced Range Rover Evoques and the Volvo XC40 – but it would make it one of the more expensive premium crossovers available.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-22-2023, 03:31 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Volkswagen goes 'boring' with ID 2all design – and it's a good thing

Volkswagen ID 2all 2023 with Thomas Schaefer

The ID 2all was unveiled by Volkswagen boss Thomas Schäfer at an event on 15 March

The new concept car previews a sub-£22,000 electric car that's due to go on sale in 2026

Can something that’s safe and boring also be radical?

You see, the new Volkswagen ID 2all concept looks exactly like you would expect a Volkswagen to look. Which, confusingly, is wholly unexpected.

In the electric era, Volkswagen has often seemed like it’s trying to escape its rich heritage. It opted against using classic model names for its bespoke EVs, preferring the new ID sub-brand, and it gave those models their own distinct, EV-focused styling.

And they’ve been fine. They just haven’t been very… Volkswagen. And when you’ve got a brand with such a rich heritage of hugely popular, genre-defining cars, that’s a waste. What helps Volkswagen stand apart from the many new rivals chasing its customers is that familiarity, that heritage, that genuine warmth many feel for the brand.

So the ID 2all doesn’t look particularly revolutionary, or futuristic, or even electric. It looks like a Volkswagen. And for a long-time Polo or Golf driver who loves their car but is considering the switch to an EV, that’s a very good thing.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-22-2023, 12:14 AM
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2023 Audi Q6 E-tron to bring 372-mile range

Audi Q6 E Tron 2023 camouflage front quarter drift

Audi Q6 E-tron will share its underpinnings with the upcoming electric Porsche Macan

New model will rival the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and is based on the Premium Platform Electric

Audi will kick off a full-scale assault on the premium electric car market later this year when it introduces the Q6 E-tron, a rival to the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV.

One of more than 20 new models the brand plans to launch by 2025, the Q6 E-tron is underpinned by the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture co-developed with Porsche, which will be used by the Macan EV

It promises a 372-mile (600km) range, confirmed to Autocar by technical development boss Oliver Hoffmann. PPE allows a charging rate of up to 270kW thanks to its 800V technology.

Full performance figures for the Q6 E-tron have yet to be released, but the Audi A6 E-tron concept packs a claimed 463bhp and 590lb ft from its dual-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain.

The Macan boosts this to 603bhp and more than 703lb ft thanks to new permanently excited electric motors using a ‘double V’ magnet arrangement. However, this technology may be reserved for Porsche, or for a future ‘RS’ variant of the Q6.

Previously planned to launch last year, the Q6 E-tron will be revealed in the second half of this year, hitting the market by the start of 2024.

This will be followed by the launch of a coupé-SUV version (Sportback, in Audi nomenclature). This is expected to trade some practicality and affordability for a more fashionable and aerodynamic body shape, yielding a slight boost in range.

Given the Q6 E-tron will be sandwiched between the Audi Q4 E-tron (currently priced from £50,625) and the recently launched Q8 E-tron (from £67,085), it is expected to start around the £60,000 mark.

It will also be the first electric Audi to be built at the brand’s historic Ingolstadt factory, which currently produces the Audi Q2, Audi A3, Audi A4 and Audi A5.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 09:15 PM
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Audi to launch 20 models by 2025, half of them EVs

audi q4 e tron 50 2021 583

The electric Audi Q4 E-tron was one of the firm's best-selling models last year

German brand will release new electric cars exclusively from 2026 and end ICE production by 2033

Audi will launch 20 new cars by 2025, half of them electric, as it pushes to only launch new EVs worldwide from 2026.

Speaking at the German firm's annual conference, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann hailed the announcement as being “on the verge of the biggest product initiative in our history”.

He said: “By 2025, we will have launched around 20 new models, more than 10 of which will be all-electric. We've set the course to go 100% electric. By 2027, we seek to offer an all-electric vehicle in each core segment.”

This will start with the Audi Q6 E-tron, an SUV confirmed to arrive at the end of the year and the first to use the versatile PPE platform. It will also be the first EV built at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant.

An entry-level EV that will sit below the Audi Q4 E-tron and be a similar size to the Audi A3 was also confirmed.

READ MORE: Audi to launch entry-level EV to replace A3

Duesmann also reaffirmed Audi's plan to end production of ICE cars in 2033 – seven years after the final new model would have launched – and gradually phase out its ICE models as it grows its EV line-up.

The firm is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

He said: “Sales of all-electric models increased by 44% year on year [in 2022]. The high demand for our Audi Q4 E-tron, Audi E-tron GT and Audi E-tron models confirms that we're on the right track toward e-mobility.”

READ MORE: Audi Group forecasts operating margin dip after record 2022

Speaking about the start of 2023, Duesmann added: “Demand for e-mobility remains high. In January and February 2023, our sales of all-electric vehicles worldwide were up almost 40% compared to the same months last year.

February also marked the launch of the Q8 E-tron in most European countries. 

“We have some 20,000 pre-orders on the books, confirming that demand for sustainable electric mobility is booming.”

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 09:00 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Skoda revenues rise in 2022 despite impact of war in Ukraine

Skoda Enyaq vRS

Sales of the Enyaq increased by 53,700 units worldwide

Skoda delivered 731,300 cars in 2022 for a 16.7% year-on-year drop but earned €628 million in profit

Skoda's worldwide revenues rose 19% last year, despite heavy impacts on the firm’s sales and production output, which was largely driven by the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Some 731,300 Skoda cars were delivered worldwide in 2022, which is a 16.7% drop compared with 2021. However, the brand, owned by the Volkswagen Group, earned around €628 million (£559m) in profit, representing a 3% return on sales. 

After a strong second half of the year, in which sales increased by 58% in Q3 and 32% in Q4, the Czech car maker brought in around €21 billion (£18.7bn) in revenue last year, up from €17.7bn (£15.6bn) in 2021. It invested €1.15bn (£1.0bn) in 2022. 

Despite this, Skoda’s results were heavily impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which slowed production in factories that produce parts such as wiring harnesses. As a result of the war, boss Klaus Zellmer said the firm was in the final stages of a deal to sell all of its Russian assets to a third party. 

The Skoda Octavia was the firm’s best-selling car, with 141,100 units delivered around the world. It was followed by the Skoda Kamiq compact crossover (96,300), the larger Skoda Kodiaq (94,500) and the Skoda Fabia hatchback (92,700). 

Deliveries of the Skoda Enyaq iV, the car maker’s newest model and first all-electric car, increased by 20% to 53,700 worldwide. 

Skoda revealed its plans to launch three additional all-electric models by 2026. Kellmer also touched on the firm’s green production plans, targeting a 70% electric vehicle share of its sales by 2030. The firm will open its second battery assembly line later this year, which will increase its total capacity to 1500 batteries per day. 

Finance boss Christian Schenk said 2023 would be challenging, with additional parts supply shortages expected, the impact of inflation and the volatile economic situation around the world.

Schenk said Skoda’s product mix and introduction into new markets would act as suitable countermeasures and the firm was "deeply convinced" it would deliver more cars in 2023. 

There are several model updates on the way, too. The Skoda Scala hatchback and Kamiq crossover will receive facelifts later this year, while the Enyaq is set to gain a new, range-topping LMK specification level, with an emphasis on technology and comfort. 

Meanwhile, the firm’s flagship internal-combustion-engined models, the Skoda Kodiaq and the Skoda Superb, will receive a complete design overhaul inside and out, with new technology and “efficient engines”.

Kellmer confirmed both cars would receive a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time, with electric-only ranges of more than 62 miles. The two models will launch in the second half of this year, before deliveries begin in 2024.

Skoda will further detail its ambitions for its switch to electric at its Explore More event next month. Zellmer did not reveal a specific model but hinted that an electric estate car would be revealed at the event.

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