Archive for July, 2018

Automakers Warn Trump Administration About Tariff Impact

Proposed tariffs could add $6,000 to price of a new car.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the Section 232 investigation into whether or not imported automobiles and parts represent a threat to the U.S.

During the U.S. Department of Commerce’s public comment hearing today, the Trump administration was warned the steep tariffs it has under consideration could add a total of $83 billion to the cost of new vehicles sold to American consumers.

“Higher auto tariffs will harm American families and workers, along with the economy” and “would raise the price of an imported car nearly $6,000 and the price of a U.S.-built car $2,000,” the Auto Alliance said in a statement prepared for the hearing.

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Meanwhile, dozens of employees from Toyota’s 10 U.S. assembly plants descended on Washington D.C., to oppose the government’s threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and parts. They were joined by U.S. production workers from other international automakers across the country. (more…)

Audi’s Stadler Wants Out of Jail During Diesel Investigation

Former CEO goes to appeals court.

by on Jul.19, 2018

German prosecutors arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, though no charges have yet been filed.

A month ago, German authorities jailed then-Audi CEO Rupert Stadler as part of an investigation into the diesel emissions scandal — now he wants out.

Stadler, who is being held at a prison in Augsburg, appealed to a Munich court to be freed from jail during the investigation. He was “provisionally” arrested in mid-June as authorities expanded their investigation into Volkswagen AG and its other brands because they feared he may flee.

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However, Stadler cooperated with investigators, but has since stopped giving statements, the Reuters reported. Munich prosecutors are probing Stadler and another member of Audi’s top management for suspected fraud and false advertising tied to illegal pollution levels in its cars and manipulated vehicle tests.  (more…)

Colorado Jumps on Path to Match California’s Zero Emission Mandate

Hickenlooper signs executive order to implement LEV standard.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's recent executive order put the state on the track to match California's ZEV mandate.

Colorado, thanks to an executive order by the state’s Democratic governor, is on the path to becoming a ZEV state, joining California and nine other states that are using their authority to push cleaner and more efficient vehicles.

First, he wants the state to adopt California’s rules for becoming a low-emission vehicle state by the end of this year. This is in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to weaken emissions requirements.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) manages the ZEV program, although it has also been adopted by Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia and now Colorado. Three other states, Washington, New Mexico and Pennsylvania have adopted similar rules. (more…)

Volvo Moves XC60 Production to Europe from China to Avoid Trump Tariffs

Automaker reports record first-half sales, profits.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Volvo chief Hakan Samuelsson said the company is shifting production of XC60 SUVs allocated for the U.S. from China to Sweden to avoid tariffs.

The effects of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China are beginning to take shape — and it’s unlikely he’d hoped for this result.

Volvo Cars, which just opened a new plant in South Carolina, announced it would be shifting production of its XC60 SUV from China to … Europe. The move is to avoid the tougher tariffs currently in place on Chinese imports.

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Trump has been pushing foreign automakers to build more vehicles in the U.S., and Volvo’s new plant in Charleston will build the S60 sedan, later adding a SUV to the list, but that won’t be until 2021. (more…)

Dodge Debuts 10,000+ HP Hellcat

New NHRA Funny Car to make its first race this weekend.

by on Jul.19, 2018

The new Dodge Funny Car aims to pick up design cues from the Charger SRT Hellcat.

While Dodge may have pulled the Demon out of production, it isn’t easing up its assault in the horsepower wars. In fact, it’s got a new Hellcat that it expects will churn out more than 10,000 horsepower when it makes its official debut this coming weekend.

Unlike the Challenger SRT Hellcat Demon, however, there has been no pretense at making the 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car street legal. It’s designed to dominate the quarter-mile adding to the 50 wins and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship the previous Dodge Charger Funny Car racked up.

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“The Dodge//SRT brand is all about performance, and the introduction of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car body showcases our commitment to performance and excellence at the dragstrip,” said Steve Beahm, who heads up North American passenger car brands, including Dodge, for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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Auto Industry Unites to Challenge Trump Tariffs

UAW lone dissenter, seeks targeted tariffs.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Representatives from six auto groups testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing against new tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

With one exception – the UAW – the automotive industry is prepared to take a united stand against tariffs as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a one-day public hearing on a Trump administration proposal to levy 25% tariffs on imported automobiles in the name of national security.

Seven associations representing almost 10 million jobs across the auto sector in the U.S. have joined together to urge the White House to not impose higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

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“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles – whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said the groups in an open letter to President Donald Trump. (more…)

Vietnam’s First Real Car Co. Takes Aim at the West

Paris debut planned, U.S. launch could follow.

by on Jul.18, 2018

VinFast turned to Pininfarina to design its new models, the sedan shown in this rendering.

The first “volume” Vietnamese automaker will reveal two new models designed by Pininfarina during the Paris Motor Show this coming October, setting into motion what it hopes will be a global rollout over the next few years.

VinFast, which will be setting up a new “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in the northern part of Vietnam plans to launch the two vehicles – an SUV and a sport sedan – in September 2019, though it will initially focus solely on “affluent” buyers in its home country before targeting opportunities elsewhere in Asia and in Western markets.

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“Our show stand will…prominently feature the best of Vietnam, demonstrating the passion and tenacity that we will bring to the global automotive stage,” said James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production LLC. “We have the resources, scalability and commitment to become a significant new player in the global automotive industry.”

(more…)

Mexico Targeting End of November for NAFTA Deal

Next round of talks expected at the end of the month.

by on Jul.18, 2018

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said he is targeting the end of November to complete NAFTA negotiations.

After a series of delays, including one for Mexico’s presidential election July 1, the new goal for completing a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is the end of November, according to Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

“If there is room before the end of this administration, we will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to conclude [negotiations],” he said. Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office Dec. 1.

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Canada, Mexico and the United States have been haggling over the update of a new NAFTA since last August. The deal was expected to be completed by the end of 2017 has endured a series of delays over demands by the Trump administration as well as the aforementioned election. (more…)

Musk Apology Underscores Increasingly Erratic Behavior

"Do you think I'm insane?"

by on Jul.18, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has come under increasing fire for comments made in recent months.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has issued an apology for calling one of the divers involved in the rescue of a soccer team caught in a Thai cave a “pedo,” shorthand for pedophile.

The overnight tweet marked one of the rare times the South African-born executive has retreated from what have become increasingly erratic and aggressive comments that, in recent months, have taken aim at journalists, Wall Street analysts, regulators, and even the victim in a fatal crash involving one of Tesla’s battery-electric vehicles.

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Musk, much like President Donald Trump, has become a regular user of Twitter, developing a broad audience and a loyal fan base for himself and for his company. But as with the president, some of Musk’s tweets have begun raising eyebrows and this week’s attack on diver Vernon Unsworth caused collateral damage to Tesla’s stock which tumbled when Unsworth threatened to sue the eccentric billionaire.

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Ford Recalls 550K Fusions, Escapes for Rollaway Problem

Company fixing problem, recommends using parking brake.

by on Jul.18, 2018

Ford recalled selected 2013 Ford Fusions to correct a problem that could allow the sedan to roll away.

Ford Motor Co.’s problems with rollaways continues as the automaker is recalling about 550,000 cars and SUVs in North America to resolve the issue. The automaker previously had a problem its full-size pickups rolling away.

In this case, some 2013–16 Ford Fusions and 2013–14 Ford Escapes have a gearshift problem that could cause the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly.

Safety News!

Ford says a bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission can fall off. The condition could allow the driver to move the shift lever to “Park” and remove the ignition key, while the transmission may not be in “Park,” with no warning message or audible chime.  (more…)