The all-new, production version of the 2019 Insight will make its global production debut on March 28 at the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), providing a first look at the latest entry in Honda’s expanding lineup of electrified vehicles. The new Insight, launching at Honda dealerships nationally in early summer, joins the Clarity series and just-launched 2018 Accord Hybrid as the fifth new Honda electrified vehicle introduced over the past year.  

As a premium compact sedan, Insight is positioned and priced between Civic and Accord in Honda’s passenger car lineup. The Insight is unique in providing universally appealing styling, with the packaging and refinement of a premium compact sedan and fuel efficiency competitive with leading hatchback hybrid models. Powered by the third generation of Honda’s innovative and efficient two-motor hybrid system, Insight’s 151 net system horsepower combines with a lightweight structure to deliver the best power-to-weight ratio in its class as well as up to 55-mpg in the city1

“The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises.”

Design and Packaging
The 2019 Honda Insight boasts a sleek sedan design with a low and wide stance highlighted by Honda’s signature “flying wing” grille and bold front fascia, low-profile LED headlights and taillights, sharp and dynamic character lines and sweeping coupe-like roofline.  Inside, the new Insight features premium cabin appointments including a soft-touch instrument panel with real stitching, ergonomically sculpted seats, a 7-inch TFT color digital driver’s meter, available heated and leather-trimmed seating and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The new Insight’s comparatively generous wheelbase (106.3 inches) and exceptional packaging efficiency yields best-in-class rear legroom of 37.4 inches, along with a spacious 15.1 cu.-ft. of trunk space that rivals petrol versions of midsize cars. The placement of the lithium-ion hybrid battery pack beneath the rear seats allows for a fold-down rear seat (60/40-split on EX and Touring trims) to maximize cargo- and people-hauling flexibility.

Trims and Features 
The 2019 Honda Insight will be available in three trims – the well-equipped Insight LX and EX and line-topping Insight Touring. Standard features include full LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch TFT digital driver’s meter, push-button start, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth®, Pandora® compatibility and a folding rear seat.  

The Insight EX adds Smart Entry, two additional audio speakers, SiriusXM® radio and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with smartphone-like features and functionality, including customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts. 

The line-topping Insight Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, LED side-mirror turn signals, perforated leather seating, heated front seats with 8-way power adjustment for the driver and 4-way power for the passenger, dual-zone climate control, embedded Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, Honda HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, next-generation HondaLink® subscription services, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and HomeLink® Remote System.

Body and Chassis
The Insight shares its basic platform architecture with the highly-praised 10th-generation Civic. In keeping with its premium compact sedan character, the Insight gets numerous engineering enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness and efficiency. The body features Honda’s Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. An aluminum hood, unique to Insight, reduces weight, while additional sound insulation in the engine bay, front fenders, front firewall, and front and rear floor further aids cabin quietness.

The Insight’s new chassis is designed to provide a highly refined, confident and composed driving experience. It utilizes a fully-independent suspension system – Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear – with liquid-sealing compliance bushings at both ends (Touring only). Like Civic, the Insight also features variable-ratio dual-pinion electric power steering. Confident and linear braking performance is provided by an electro-servo brake system, which seamlessly combines efficient regenerative braking and mechanical (friction) braking for ultimate stopping performance.

Advanced New Powertrain
The all-new Insight is powered by the third generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, featuring a highly efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a powerful electric propulsion motor, and lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 151 horsepower and 197 lb.-ft. of electric motor torque. Under most conditions, the Insight operates as a series hybrid, in which the petrol engine, connected to the generator motor, produces electricity that is supplied to either the electric propulsion motor and/or the 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. 

The Insight features three selectable driving modes – NORMAL, ECON, and SPORT – allowing drivers to customize their experience by maximizing efficiency or driving performance. Additionally, all Insights have steering wheel-mounted deceleration selectors to choose among three levels of regenerative braking performance, depending on driving conditions. In normal mode, the Insight is capable of all-electric driving for short distances of roughly a mile. Unlike competing systems, Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology works without the need for a conventional automatic transmission, with the electric propulsion motor directly powering the drive axles. During higher speed operation a lock-up clutch connects the engine to the drive axles to provide the most efficient operation during highway and freeway driving.

Advanced Safety Technology
The 2019 Honda Insight will include the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, which includes Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Traffic Sign Recognition. Insight EX and Touring trims will also come equipped with Honda LaneWatch, and all trims will have a multi-angle rearview camera. The Insight targets top collision safety ratings, including an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK with a “Good” rating in all crash test modes and a “Superior” rating for front crash protection.

Manufacturing 
The Insight will be manufactured alongside the Civic and CR-V at Honda’s plant in Greensburg, Indiana2. The hybrid battery unit will be assembled at the company’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio, with the 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine manufactured by Honda’s Anna, Ohio engine plant, which also produces the engine for the Ohio-made 2018 Accord Hybrid.

1 Based on Honda internal certification testing 
Using domestic and globally sourced parts

The BMW Group announced its plans to expand electro- mobility. At a meeting with Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Ilse Aigner, Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of the BMW Group, responsible for Production said: “The BMW Group is a pioneer and an innovator in electro-mobility. We will begin producing the fully electric BMW iNEXT here at our Dingolfing plant in 2021. This decision will further strengthen our German production locations, which, with their innovation capabilities, play a leading role all across our production network. In the area of electro- mobility, in particular, our aim is to ensure end-to-end systems expertise within the company.”

BMW Group plants worldwide will benefit from the German sites’ production expertise and technology knowhow. At nine locations around the globe, the company already produces nine electrified models, including eight plug-in hybrids. The all-electric BMW i3, which is manufactured at BMW Group Plant Leipzig, will be joined by the first fully electric MINI in 2019, a fully electric BMW X3 in 2020 and the BMW iNEXT from 2021. The Dingolfing plant does produce components such as high-voltage batteries and electric engines for these vehicles.

Oliver Zipse: “Going forward, the BMW production system will create structures that enable our production facilities to build models with a combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train at the same time. This will give us unique flexibility and put us in an optimal position on the cost side.”

BMW Group Plant Dingolfing: Competence Centre for components for fully and partially electrified vehicles 

With its long experience in the field of electro-mobility, state-of-the-art production equipment and specially trained staff, the Dingolfing location, together with the Landshut plant, forms the BMW Group’s competence centre for the production of high-voltage batteries and electric engines. Dingolfing has been producing high-voltage batteries for BMW i models since 2013. In recent years, new production lines for high-voltage batteries and electric engines for BMW Group plug-in hybrids have also been installed.

Dingolfing additionally builds the plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 5 Series and the BMW 7 Series. From 2021, the plant will also produce a fully electric vehicle on site: the BMW iNEXT. Dingolfing will therefore become the second BMW Group location after Leipzig to build a fully electric BMW i vehicle.

Dr. Andreas Wendt, head of BMW Group Plant Dingolfing: “Dingolfing has a lot of experience and expertise in ramping up complex products – making it the ideal location for production of the BMW iNEXT. With its pure-electric drive train, larger dimensions and new technologies, such as autonomous driving and digital connectivity, the BMW iNEXT will be a real innovation driver. We are proud to have the opportunity to build this car here in Dingolfing. This year, we will be celebrating BMW’s 50th anniversary in Lower Bavaria. For me, the BMW iNEXT clearly signals the start of a new era and our intention to make the next 50 years just as successful.”

The BMW Group has invested a total of more than 100 million euros in electro-mobility at the Dingolfing site to date, making the plant more competitive for the future and securing jobs. Several hundred Dingolfing employees already work in areas related to e-mobility. Further jobs will be created over the medium term as production ramps up.

Stefan Schmid, Chairman of the Works Council at Plant Dingolfing: “At Dingolfing, we put our faith in e-mobility and the creation of sustainable jobs at an early stage. That is now paying off. The BMW iNEXT will help ensure the plant’s workload over the next few years and secure its technological edge. This will enable us to offer employees good prospects for the future.”

Electrification of model series moving forwards

The BMW Group is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of electric vehicles and delivered over 62,000 electrified vehicles to customers last year, including more than 25,500 fully electric BMW i3s. With 2,864 new vehicle registrations in 2016 (+ 26 per cent), the all-electric BMW i3 was the most successful electric vehicle in Germany.

In the first quarter of 2017, the company delivered almost 20,000 electrified models to customers around the world. The aim is to sell a total of 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide this year.

By 2025, the BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25 per cent of sales. With its high level of flexibility, the BMW Group production system can respond quickly to changing market demands and will be able to integrate different drive forms directly into ongoing production as required.

Ilka Horstmeier, head of Production Engines and Electrified Powertrain: “Flexibility is a key success factor in production of electric drive components. Our adaptive production system is responsive and innovative: If needed, we can double our manufacturing volumes in the space of 12 months and respond quickly to growing customer demand. Thanks to our standardised modular system for so-called eDrive components, we are also capable of producing electric engines and high-voltage batteries with different sizes, performance and structural shape. We can increase the percentage of electric drive trains in line with demand in individual sales regions.”

BMW Group Plant Leipzig at the heart of the BMW i success

Ten years ago, development of a fully electric BMW Group vehicle got underway with the launch of project i. BMW Group Plant Leipzig has made a decisive contribution to this undertaking: As the nucleus of electro-mobility at the company, the plant has produced the BMW i3 since 2013 and the BMW i8 since 2014. Project i laid the foundation for the new production technologies and processes that made this development possible. This technological knowhow is not only reflected in the qualities of BMW eDrive components, but also in flexible and quality-based production at Plant Dingolfing.

Kia Motors officially opened its new production facility in Mexico at a grand opening ceremony attended by more than 500 people.

Construction of Kia’s new manufacturing plant, located in Pesquería in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Léon, began in October 2014. The facility – Kia’s sixth overseas production base – represents an investment by Kia and suppliers of US$3 billion.

The ceremony, which took place in the plant’s new assembly shop, was attended by Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal; the Nuevo Léon State Governor, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón; and the Mayor of Pesqueria, Miguel Ángel Lozano Munguía. The delegation of around 100 visitors from Korea included Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Mong-Koo Chung and Kia Motors Corporation Vice-Chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun Lee.

“The new plant here in Mexico represents the next step in Kia Motors’ ambition to become one of the world’s leading automakers,” said Chung during his speech at the ceremony. “The innovative design and world-class quality possessed by the cars produced at the Kia Motors Mexico plant will be embraced by our valued customers not only here in Mexico but also in export-bound countries of Latin America and North America.”

Kia expands its global production capacity

Kia’s new manufacturing plant will have an annual production capacity of 400,000 units, boosting the Korean brand’s global manufacturing capacity to 3.56 million vehicles. Production began in May 2016, with the Mexico plant providing the company with a new production base for the C-segment Kia Forte (known as ‘Cerato’ in some markets). Beginning 2017, the plant will produce the all-new fourth generation B-segment Rio, which will have its world premiere on September 29 in Paris at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile.

In addition to supplying the local Mexican market, where Kia is targeting a 5 per cent market share by 2020, 80 per cent of the facility’s production is destined for numerous other countries in the region, including the USA and other Latin American markets – where demand for Kia cars is expected to increase. The facility is currently operating on one shift, producing around 100,000 cars per year, and is able to manufacture one car every 53 seconds (68 units per hour). A second and third shift will be added in 2017 to bring annual plant capacity to 300,000 units, and Kia expects the plant to be operating at full capacity of 400,000 units utilizing three shifts by the end of 2018.

The new plant is a high-tech integrated automotive production facility, with 420 robots automating the press, body and paint shops, as well as the assembly line. Meanwhile, a new quality control centre was established to ensure that all vehicles are manufactured to the highest standards.

As the final stage in the production process involves advanced component quality assessment and evaluation, quality control is carried out in tandem with Kia’s suppliers, enabling all parties to benefit from any quality-related findings. The quality control centre will ensure continuous improvements to vehicle quality as well as the brand’s reputation for producing cars that exceed buyers’ expectations.

14,000 jobs to be created, Kia to fund CSR activities in the region

A significant number of new jobs are being created at the plant. By the end of 2017, approximately 14,000 workers will be employed by the Kia Motors Mexico plant and supplier firms.

The site also includes a training centre for assembly line workers. Kia’s systematic approach to vocational training and human resource development will see every employee undergo a 15-day training period before they are assigned to positions on the assembly line, with further opportunities for more advanced training in future.

The Kia Motors Mexico production facility will also invest approximately US$1million annually in CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives for the local citizens of Pesquería. These activities will include the donation of vehicles to public security organizations, support for low-income households and the creation of educational facilities and scholarships.

Production of the all-new INFINITI Q60 sports coupe has started at the company’s manufacturing facility in Tochigi, Japan. Designed and engineered to perform, the Q60 offers a compelling combination of daring design, exhilarating performance and dynamics. The Tochigi plant has been producing INFINITI vehicles since the brand was launched in 1989. The launch of the new INFINITI Q60 heralds the start of a new chapter in the plant’s history. To meet the requirements of the new model, a series of upgrades have been made to the production line, and innovative manufacturing processes have been introduced.

Upgrades to production lines

Industry-leading advances in manufacturing enabled INFINITI designers to draw the sharp angles and body lines that are characteristic of the Q60. The stamping and assembly lines feature key improvements, notably through the adoption of a unique deep-body stamping technology and new tooling machinery for the model’s unique resin trunk lid. To further enhance quality control, a new lighting system for the inspection process and a camera and video system on the assembly line have been introduced.

Manufacturing, design and engineering teams worked very closely together to ensure that the unique trunk lid feature for Q60 can be realized with the highest quality at the Tochigi plant. In a world’s first application, this trunk lid is a hybrid combination of a resin skin on a steel frame. It gives INFINITI designers more freedom to develop shapes that can then be built in a single part.

Dedicated paint booth for “Dynamic Sandstone Red”

One major enhancement to the Tochigi facility is a new dedicated paint booth, which has been installed solely to allow production of Q60’s new “Dynamic Sandstone Red” paint finish. The glossy, deep red finish requires a new painting set-up, using a combination of machinery and manual processes developed by INFINITI’s most senior coating experts.

The new paint booth enables workers in the Tochigi paint shop to more finely control paint thickness and quality, and the newly-developed “Dynamic Sandstone Red” paint process is the result of testing several hundred variations of paint formulations and application methods.

The all-new Audi Q2 has now entered series production in the AUDI AG main plant in Ingolstadt. With this compact SUV “made in Ingolstadt,” the brand with the Four Rings has entered a completely new segment while showing its commitment to its main site on the River Danube. Innovations such as a fully automatic module store in the assembly process help to master increasing production complexity.

“The start of series production of a new model is always a great challenge and something special for a plant and its employees,” said Albert Mayer, plant director at the Audi site in Ingolstadt. “We are proud to be building the Audi Q2 – the Q‑family entry model – here in Ingolstadt for the world market.”

Audi employees are producing the new Audi Q2 on the A3 line. It passes through the body shop, paint shop and assembly together with the Audi A3. This required extensive modifications, while production was running, as well as new logistics planning. Production of the Audi Q2 is now being gradually increased to approximately 450 units a day.

At the Ingolstadt site, Audi is investing in innovative methods to master the increasing complexity of production. For the start of production of the Audi Q2, for example, a fully automatic module store for the drivetrain was installed on the assembly line, increasing local storage capacity.

The all-new Audi Q2, which had its world premiere at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, represents the 13th model series of the brand with the Four Rings. With the Q2, the company is continuing the success story of its Q-family. The compact SUV combines modern design with a high level of functionality – it is a car for everyday driving and for leisure time. Its attractions include five million individual equipment versions as well as high-end connectivity, infotainment and assistance systems. The Audi Q2 is offered globally with six different engines: three TFSI and three TDI units delivering between 85 kW and 140 kW.

The all-new Q2 will arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2017.

The Audi site in Ingolstadt is the largest production facility within the Audi Group and the second-largest car plant in Europe. The company produces more than half a million automobile a year in Ingolstadt with a new Audi driving off the assembly lines there every 30 seconds – more than 2,500 cars a day. The Audi Q2 will make a significant contribution to the site’s future; it rounds off the Q-family at the lower end and will enhance the brand’s competitive position.