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Car news, 13 June ’24: Isuzu MU-X facelift revealed in Thailand, the EU announces plans to add tariffs to Chinese EVs, and more


Every important car news story breaking today, one convenient read

Thanks for joining us this Thursday June 13th 2024. Notably in car news today: Isuzu Thailand has uncovered its facelifted MU-X large SUV, and the European Union plans to add higher tariffs for Chinese electric vehicles.

Browse this issue:

Isuzu MU-X facelift revealed on Thai website 

2024 Isuzu MU-X facelift overseas RS variant
This is the 2024 facelift of the Isuzu MU-X large SUV
  • Isuzu has launched the facelifted MU-X large SUV on its Thailand public website, giving us the best look yet at the new-look, D-Max-based SUV. 
  • In Thailand, at least, the facelift MU-X will be available in four grades: Active, Elegant, Ultimate and RS. These names are very unlikely to carry to Australia, however. 
  • For the facelift, Isuzu has redesigned the front end with a new grille and air intakes, with the RS to gain a unique front end of its own. At the rear, the MU-X uses revised tail lights and fake vents that are in place of exhaust outlets. 
  • Inside, the MU-X gains the same updated touchscreen as found in the facelifted D-Max ute, however climate control switchgear appears the same as the previous model. A digital instrument cluster also features for the first time on an MU-X. 
  • As for Australian timings, Isuzu Ute Australia told Chasing Cars that “we are not in a position to comment on that vehicle or market … we are also unable to comment on future model plans, timings or specifications for future Australian spec vehicles”

EU announces plans to add additional tariffs on Chinese EVs

MG3 2024 badge
Chinese automakers such as MG and BYD could face additional tariffs in the EU
  • The European Union has announced provisional plans to introduce additional tariffs of up to almost 40 percent on Chinese electric vehicles after a lengthy EU investigation into China’s state subsidies for its car manufacturing, which has “provisionally concluded” that the BEV “value chain in China benefits from unfair subsidisation”.
  • Consequently, the European Commission stated that the alleged subsidisation is “causing a threat of economic injury to EU BEV producers” and that the increased tariffs would be introduced from next month “should discussions with Chinese authorities not lead to an effective solution”.
  • Designed to level the playing field, tariffs would vary by automaker depending on the size of the subsidy the European Union claims it has found. For example – BYD would be hit with a 17.4 percent subsidy, Geely 20 percent, and 38.1 percent for state-owned SAIC, the owner of brands such as MG and LDV.
  • However, there are fears from some quarters that an increase in tariffs on Chinese EVs could spark a potential trade war with China, with Reuters also reporting a drop in shares for manufacturers such as BMW – which also manufactures in China – as a result of fears of Chinese retaliation. 

BMW M2 gets update, more power for 2025 

2025 BMW M2 front 3/4 driving shot
This is the updated 2025 BMW M2
  • BMW has announced a lifecycle update for its M2 two-door sports coupe, but it’s more of a subtle enhancement than other LCIs. .
  • Power from the M2’s S58 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol engine has risen by 14kW, now producing 353kW. Torque remains at 550Nm for the manual, while the automatic now pushes out 600Nm. And yes, the manual lives on!
  • While many won’t be able to detect changes to the exterior, the M2 cabin now gain BMW’s curved displays and the brand’s Operating System 8.5, while physical climate buttons have been removed in favour of putting the functions directly into the touchscreen. 
  • Also new inside is a flat-bottomed steering wheel, while M carbon bucket seats will be available as an option.
  • Australian pricing for the updated M2 is yet to be announced, however worldwide deliveries are expected to commence from August 2024.

ZF designs new steering wheel with centre screen and top-side deploying airbag 

ZF steering wheel with top deployed airbag
ZF has reinvented the wheel with its Lifetec airbag and technology system
  • ZF, the global automotive supplier of transmissions, drivelines and suspensions, has designed a new steering wheel design where the airbag deploys not through the front of the wheel but from above the horn cover. 
  • Called ZF Lifetec, the steering wheel with its top-side airbag allows more space in the centre of the wheel for a smartphone-like digital display
  • The automotive supplier says that on-demand functions, touch displays or central screen integration are all now possible. 
  • Regardless of whether this would be a distraction or not, ZF has clearly shown that Formula One-style racing wheels could in fact be one day available in passenger vehicles, though it’s too early to say when and where ZF might offer its new design.  

BMW drops base 220i from local 2 Series lineup, adds new alloy wheels and paint finishes added for LCI 

2025 BMW M240i xDrive red side angle static shot
The 2025 BMW M240i xDrive
  • BMW Australia has announced its LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) 2 Series midlife update, with the 220i officially now axed from the range.
  • Instead, BMW will offer a trimmed lineup of the 230i, the M240i xDrive and the flagship performer, the M2.
  • Some of the biggest changes to the 2 Series LCI is the addition of BMW’s Operating System 8.5, a new flat-bottomed steering wheel, new paint finishes and new-look 19-inch M alloy wheels
  • BMW has also announced that Zandvoort Blue, a colour previously only available on the M2 coupe, is now available to be specced on the sport-luxury M240i xDrive
  • In terms of powertrains, a 190kW/400Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine will remain for the 230i, while the M240i gets a 285kW/500Nm turbocharged petrol straight-six engine. 
  • Pricing and further specification will be announced very soon, before first arrivals begin in Q4, 2024

2024 MG3 Essence Hybrid reviewed

  • Chasing Cars contributor Nathan Ponchard’s review of the 2024 MG3 Essence Hybrid was published, including his thoughts on the new-generation MG small car and how it’s evolved.
  • Ponchard felt that the extensive levels of equipment, effortless performance and, in his words, “massively improved refinement”, all were key positive points.
  • In terms of not-so-good points, Ponchard noted the model’s sizable price increases, poor tyre grip, and uncomfortable rear seat backrest as areas that could be improved with time.
  • Ponchard concluded his review by commenting that the new MG3 is “a hugely improved car” and makes huge strides as being a car that’s “larger, faster and better equipped than a Yaris Hybrid”. 

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Friday 14th June at 4.30pm Sydney time.