GM Expands Electric Vehicle Leadership Team

Bolt team leader Fletcher gets plum new role.

by on Sep.24, 2018

Pamela Fletcher, left, will now answer directly to GM CEO Mary Barra.

General Motors is expanding its commitment to its electric vehicle program by moving three top executives into new positions that should elevate the company’s electrification program.

Pamela Fletcher, GM’s vice president of global electric vehicle programs, is getting a new, higher ranking position on Oct. 1: Vice President of Innovation, according to the Detroit News. Fletcher, who once shepherded the development and production of the Chevrolet Bolt, will answer directly GM CEO Mary Barra.

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Fletcher’s been steadily moving up the ladder, moving into her current position last fall. She joins a growing list of women in high-responsibility, high-profile jobs at General Motors. Read the rest of this entry »

Porsche Dropping Diesels

First German automaker to abandon “oil-burners.”

by on Sep.24, 2018

Porsche is facing allegations it rigged some versions of the Cayenne to boost exhaust noise at the expense of higher emissions.

Porsche is set to become the first German automaker to completely abandon diesel engines, the sports carmaker has confirmed.

The move, confirmed by CEO Oliver Blume in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, comes in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal that has so far cost parent Volkswagen AG around $30 billion in fines, settlements and buybacks.

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“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” Blume told the German newspaper, explaining that the company wants to concentrate on “what we can do particularly well,” notably, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”

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The Beast is Loose: New Presidential Limo is on the Prowl

Over-sized Cadillac set to give Pres. Trump his first ride to UN.

by on Sep.24, 2018

The new version of "The Beast," the nickname for the presidential limo, roamed the streets for the first time in New York City.

There’s a beast on the prowl in Manhattan. Make that “The Beast,” the nickname that’s been used for years to describe the heavily fortified limousines used for U.S. presidents. An all-new version, a specially designed Cadillac, made its debut on the streets of New York City Sunday and will be put to work on its first official assignment chauffeuring President Donald Trump to the United Nations Tuesday.

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This marks the first time the president has gotten new wheels since President Barack Obama was inaugurated back in January 2009, and it’s the product of a $15.8 million contract that General Motors won back in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

Merkel Pressing German Automakers for Diesel Pollution Solution

Companies scrambling to find a cleaner diesel.

by on Sep.24, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, is pressing German automakers for a solution for cleaner diesels.

With driving bans aimed at diesel engines looming in several German cities, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing German carmakers for help in coming up with ways to make vehicles cleaner while avoiding limits on traffic, averting a potential political crisis that could threaten her government.

The government, however, is yet to come up with a specific plan though it indicated some progress is being made after a high-level meeting in Berlin attended by Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche and BMW AG chief Harald Krüger, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer also took part in the deliberations at the Chancellery, according to German press accounts

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Scheuer indicated carmakers rejected expensive hardware retrofits of diesel vehicles that had been suggested for vehicles from the emission class Euro 5. Reports from German regulators have described the retrofits as “technically feasible and economically justifiable.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Aston Martin Sketches Out its Future With Supercar Design Tease, IPO Plans

British marque hopes to repeat Ferrari’s success.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Aston has released a preliminary sketch of its third hypercar, the 003, which it hopes to have in production in 2021.

Aston Martin, the carmaker best known for its relationship with cinema spy 007, has laid out key details of its upcoming IPO while also releasing a preliminary sketch of the hypercar it’s calling 003 that it hopes will drive some of its future success.

Spun off by Ford Motor Co. in 2007, Aston struggled to avoid an eighth bankruptcy during the depths of the Great Recession, but its fortunes have skyrocketed over the last few years, a period coinciding with the arrival of CEO Andy Palmer and the subsequent commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital from its key investors.

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The IPO will go off next month on the London Stock Exchange, Palmer announced, declaring that it “will provide investors with a fitting opportunity to participate in our future success.”

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Tesla Losing Top Executives as Uncertainty Sets In

Four top leaders have departed in last month.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Four of Tesla's top executives have departed the company during the last four to six weeks.

Tesla’s been hit by wave after wave of difficult news, situations and investigations, apparently causing some executives to rethink the viability of the company.

Liam O’Connor, Tesla’s vice president of global supply management, is the latest of a group of executives to depart the company. He joined Tesla in 2015 after a four-year run with Apple, Bloomberg reports an unnamed insider said O’Connor is leaving the company within the next several weeks.

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His departure marks at least the fourth executive to leave California-based EV maker within the last month. Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance and operation; Gabrielle Toledano, human resources chief; and Dave Morton, chief accounting officer, have also put in their notices. In all, more than 40 executives have reportedly left Tesla in 2018 alone, the news service reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Betting on Sedan Comeback

Young buyers “don’t want daddy’s” SUV, automaker bets.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Nissan has made a heavy investment - and numerous changes -- aiming to increase the appeal of its sixth-gen 2019 Altima sedan.

While some automakers are paring back, and even dropping out, of the sedan market, Nissan is betting big with the launch of the sixth-generation Altima that will roll into U.S. showrooms in the coming month.

While the automaker isn’t revealing precisely what it spent, Bruce Pillard, the marketing manager for the 2019 Altima, said the new version of the midsize sedan marks “one of the highest investments in the history of Nissan.” That includes an entirely new platform, the first-ever all-wheel-drive system for the Altima, and the Nissan brand’s first use of the breakthrough VC-Turbo engine. That’s in sharp contract with rival Ford Motor Co., which is set to phase out its own midsize sedan, the Fusion, along with the rest of its U.S. four-door line-up.

Insight!

“The future is bright” for sedans, Pillard declared, ahead of a media drive of the 2019 Nissan Altima in Santa Barbara this week, countering what has become conventional wisdom that sedans are all but doomed as motorists by the millions migrate to SUVs and CUVs.

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Nissan Recalls 240K Vehicles for Potential Fire Problem

Action covers cars and utility vehicles.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Nissan's 2017 and 2018 Pathfinders are part of a recall of 240,000 vehicles due to possible fire hazard.

Nissan announced it is recalling nearly 240,000 cars and SUVs worldwide – 215K in the U.S. – because of a fire risk. The Japanese automaker is also recommending vehicle owners park the vehicles outdoors in some cases.

According to the automaker, due to faulty seals on the anti-lock brake pump, brake fluid can leak onto a circuit board, causing an electrical short and increasing the fire risk. Should an owner see the anti-lock brake warning light for more than 10 seconds after starting the engine, Nissan recommends not driving the vehicle and to park it outdoors away from homes and other structures or vehicles.

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The recall covers certain 2015 to 2017 Nissan Murano, 2016 and 2017 Nissan Maxima, 2017 through 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and 2017 Infiniti QX60 vehicles. Read the rest of this entry »

Subaru Ascending Toward Another Annual Sales Record

New three-row ute pushing company toward another benchmark.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Subaru is set to set a seventh consecutive annual sales record due to the new Ascent.

Subaru is confident it can lock in its seventh consecutive year of sales gains thanks to promising launch of the Ascent, a three-row sport-utility vehicle that has emerged as the Japanese automaker’s flagship since its debut earlier this summer.

Dominic Infante, Subaru’s director of communication, noted during a presentation in North Carolina for the first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester, which is due in showrooms that through August, Subaru has posted 81 consecutive months of sales gains.

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The Ascent has been a great success out of the gate, Infante noted. Subaru hasn’t been able to build them fast enough to satisfy demand. The Ascent is built at the Subaru assembly plant in Indiana and Infante said that Subaru has only 12 days of Ascent inventory in the hands of dealers. Read the rest of this entry »

New Vehicle Costs On the Rise as Insurance Premiums Skyrocket

Know what it'll cost to insure your vehicle before you buy.

by on Sep.20, 2018

The Tesla Model S is the most expensive mainstream vehicle to insure, according to a new report.

Car insurance premiums are rising quickly, and when interest rates are also climbing, new vehicle buyers have a lot to consider when determining what kind of car they can afford.

The average monthly car payment is more than $500 now and insurance rates have jumped by more than a third between 2010 and 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Finding ways to cut those burdensome premiums should be a top priority for shoppers.

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How much you pay for car insurance depends on a variety of factors, including age, driving record and location as well as the type of vehicle you want to buy. Read the rest of this entry »

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