2018 Lexus NX Gets Design, Performance Tweaks to Keep Pace with Rivals

First Up 04/19/17

Border Tax Fight Intensifies on Tax Day 
Groups that support and oppose House Republicans' border-adjustment tax proposal intensified their advocacy on Tuesday’s tax-filing deadline, reports The Hill. The new efforts come at a critical time for the proposal, which would tax imports and exempt exports. The American Made Coalition, a group of businesses that supports the border-adjustment tax, posted a list on its website on what it considers to be the top five benefits of the Ryan plan. Opponents of the border-adjustment tax also released new materials on Tax Day. The conservative Club for Growth on Tuesday launched new ads urging four GOP lawmakers to come out against the tax: Reps. Diane Black (Tenn.), Martha Roby (Ala.), Tom Rice (S.C.), and John Culberson (Texas). Americans for Affordable Products (AAP), of which AIADA is a member, meanwhile, released a video and a research paper on Tuesday arguing that the companies in the pro-border tax American Made Coalition already pay low taxes and would in many cases have no federal tax liability if the border-adjustment tax were implemented. For more on how the border adjustment tax played a role in Tax Day, click here.

Trump Threatens Once Again to Get Rid of NAFTA
President Donald Trump today reverted to a campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or get rid of it after weeks of his administration seeming to take a less-outwardly aggressive approach to the longstanding trade deal, reports the Detroit Free Press. "NAFTA has been very, very bad," Trump said in a speech at a tool maker in Kenosha, Wis., referencing reports that Wisconsin dairy farmers are being hurt by recent Canadian price changes that the farmers say violate trade standards. "The fact is that NAFTA has been a disaster for the United States and a complete and total disaster. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that a draft proposal being circulated by the Trump administration in Congress was seeking "mostly modest" changes to NAFTA. Since NAFTA was put in place, automakers have built up a large number of operations and a supplier network in Mexico and lower-wage workers there have been key in allowing American car companies to make a profit off smaller-car production. For more on President Trump’s statements about NAFTA yesterday, click here.

2018 Lexus NX Gets Design, Performance Tweaks to Keep Pace with Rivals
Lexus’ face-lifted NX compact crossover sports a more aerodynamic look and boasts handling tweaks aimed at delivering sharper performance and a smoother ride. According to Automotive News, the 2018 NX will also get the brand's Lexus Safety System + automatic emergency braking system as standard equipment. The mid-cycle update was unveiled Wednesday at the Shanghai auto show and is expected to go on sale in the United States and China this fall, chief engineer Takeaki Kato said. Toyota Motor Corp.'s luxury brand is revamping the NX three years after its 2014 debut to keep pace with redesigns of rivals such as the Audi Q5 and the arrival of newer ones such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Kato said. "Our competitors are changing to the next generations, which means Lexus has to make this model more attractive," he said. On the outside, the NX gets new front fascia and front bumper treatment. For more on the refreshed Lexus NX, click here.

J.D. Power: Consumer Trust in Self-Driving Cars Drops 
The Detroit News reports that a growing percentage of people say they don’t trust self-driving car technology, according to a J.D. Power study. Falling confidence in all age groups — with the exception of Generation Y drivers born from 1977 to 1994 — poses a challenge to automakers and suppliers who want to roll out the capability in coming years, the study authors say. The 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study was released Tuesday at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit. It found that compared to its 2016 survey, 11 percent more Gen Z consumers (those born from 1995 to 2004) and 9 percent more pre-boomers (those born before 1946) say they “definitely would not” trust the systems that control robotic cars. The survey found 22 percent of Gen Z consumers don’t trust autonomous technology; nor do 34 percent of Gen X (born from 1965 to 1976), 44 percent of boomers (born from 1946 to 1964), and 49 percent of pre-boomers. For more on dropping consumer trust in self-driving cars, click here.

An SUV Called Trumpchi, and Other Marketing Challenges for Chinese Autos in the U.S. 
China’s automakers hope to shed their reputation as builders of cheap, second-rate cars as they spotlight their newest models at this week’s Auto Shanghai, the country’s main yearly vehicle expo that opens to the public Friday. But, reports The Wall Street Journal, building good cars is only part of the challenge of turning Chinese vehicles into global best-sellers, according to people in the auto industry. Top Chinese manufacturers have become technically proficient, they say, but are still in the slow lane when it comes to selling cars to a global audience. “The market strategy might be more important than the quality of the car” where exports are concerned, said Truls Thorstensen, chief executive of EFS Business Consultancy, which organizes the annual Xuanyuan Award honoring China’s automobile industry. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. is one of the auto makers recently forced to confront the nuances of marketing: It makes a sport-utility vehicle called the Trumpchi. Read more about the challenges confronting Chinese automakers looking to break into the U.S. auto market here.

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28 Hot Cars at the 2017 NY Auto Show [Business Insider