Archive for October, 2018

Teslaquila Coming to a Party Near You? Trademark Filing by Musk Says Likely Yes

Flame throwers. Surf boards. Tequila? Maybe.

by on Oct.15, 2018

Is this Tesla CEO Elon Musk's latest short-term brainchild to make some cash or could it be a viable enterprise.

Tesla. SpaceX. The Boring Co. Teslaquila? In late spring, Tesla CEO Elon Musk poked fun at Tesla critics in a playful tweet suggesting he had seen the writing on the wall and drown his sorrows in several bottles of “Teslaquila.”

That soon could be reality. Not the passing out part, but the tequila named after the company could after he filed an “intend to use” trademark application Monday for a tequila called Teslaquila.

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Neither Musk nor Tesla officials have elaborated on the filing, but the application implies a “good faith intention” to use the trademark in the future. Now Musk has a history of creating “businesses” on a whim, such as Not a Flamethrower flamethrowers, Tesla surfboards and others. (more…)

GM Offers First-Ever Extended Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

Company claims it could raise resale values.

by on Oct.15, 2018

GM's new extended warranty is accepted at all GM dealers across the U.S.

The difference between buying one new vehicle or another can often come down to the tiniest of things, but General Motors is now offering a big thing that it hopes will make a big difference: an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty.

The company is offering what it is calling the first ever true extended bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers Chevrolet and GMC products for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, while Cadillac and Buick owners can get a six-year or 75,000-mile warranty.

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“One of the best things about buying a new vehicle is the peace of mind that comes with the warranty,” said Ken Mac, director of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Protection.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volvo S60

Stylish, sporty and, of course, loaded with the latest safety features.

by on Oct.15, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 R-Design features a 400-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we began to wonder if the Swedish auto industry was headed for Valhalla. After all, the long-troubled Saab brand collapsed during the global economic downturn at the beginning of the decade, despite several rescue attempts.

And, after struggling to turn things around at Volvo, Ford decided to sell that brand off to the Chinese. What seemed like a questionable move turned into salvation as Volvo’s new owner, Zhejiang Geely, decided to pump billions of dollars into the development of an all-new product design and a radical shift in direction on the powertrain front.

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With Geely’s support, in fact, few brands have done more to transform their image than Volvo. Long known for safe but boring wagons and sedans, the Swedish automaker now offers one of the freshest and sexiest line-ups in the near and mid-luxury market, and the all-new 2019 Volvo S60 is the latest, welcome addition to the model mix. (more…)

US-China Trade War May Cost BMW $600M Next Year

Automaker's SUV exports cut off due to tariffs.

by on Oct.15, 2018

An early version of the 2019 X5 rolls down the BMW assembly line in Spartanburg, SC. The plant isn't shipping utes to China and that could cost the company big.

BMW expects its earnings to drop by almost $600 million next year if the trade war between the U.S. and China remains frozen in place, the German automaker’s CFO Nicolas Peter said during an interview with Automobilwoche, one of Germany’s leading automotive magazines.

Tariffs between the United States and China have cut exports of sport-utility vehicles from its U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to China, resulting in a hit to earnings of just below 300 million euros, Peter said, according to an extract of an article.

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“If the tariffs remain in 2019, it could have a full-year impact of half a billion euros,” Peter added.  (more…)

Bill Ford Leads Exodus from Saudi Economic Event in Response to Alleged Murder of Journalist

Global business, political and media leaders demand answers in disappearance.

by on Oct.15, 2018

Ford Chairman Bill Ford is shown during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the carmaker's River Rouge manufacturing complex.

Bill Ford, the chairman of Ford Motor Co., is leading an exodus of high-profile business leaders who have decided to pull out for an upcoming investor conference sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

The move comes amidst growing concerns about the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who reportedly entered the Saudi consultate in Istanbul, Turkey last week but failed to leave it, raising concerns he may have been murdered by hit men dispatched by Saudi leaders.

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Khashoggi was a regular contributor to a number of publications, including the Washington Post, and had been granted U.S residency. Reports have surfaced over the last several days indicating American intelligence officials may have had advance warning that Khashoggi faced threats from the Saudis. Turkish officials, meanwhile, claim to have evidence the journalist was murdered in the embassy, his remains subsequently being smuggled out.

(more…)

Next-Gen Mercedes GLE Hybrid Will Go 62 Miles Electric Only

If it hits the target, it would set a new benchmark.

by on Oct.12, 2018

For 2019, the GLE hybrid will travel 62 miles in electric-only mode as compared with 10 miles in the current model.

Mercedes-Benz’s push into electrified vehicles isn’t limited to its EQ line-up expected to debut next year some time, it’s looking to amp up many of its next-gen offerings of current vehicles, such as the GLE.

The next-generation of the GLE hybrid, which will be a 2020 model coming out next fall, will be able to travel 62 miles in electric-only mode, according to Automotive News Europe. The current hybrid travels just 10 miles on batteries only.

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Ola Kallenius, head of Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Car Development, told the publication that the move is to help meet increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards around the world. (more…)

Average Age of Vehicles in the U.S. is Higher than Ever

Average car is now 10.5 years old.

by on Oct.12, 2018

The average age of a vehicle on U.S. roadways these days is 10.5 years.

The average age of a vehicle driven in America has steadily risen during the past few years and the latest study reveals that the average is even higher still – 10.5 years in 2017 up from 9.3 years in 2009 – but it also unmasks some other interesting facts.

First, trucks are kept much longer than vehicles on average while SUVs are kept less, although that could be related to the recent surge in SUV sales offsetting the overall ages of utes in the market. Car sit in between, the two.

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The average age of a pickup truck in 2009 was 11.2 years and now it is 13.6 years: a difference of 2.4 years. Meanwhile SUVs in 2009 were an average of 7.1 years old and as of last year, they were 8.5 years old. (more…)

China Car Market Tumbles, Complicating Problems for U.S. Automakers

BMW plans to be first foreign maker to take control of Chinese joint venture.

by on Oct.12, 2018

President Donald Trump is engaged in a trade war with China, and automakers are beginning to pay the price.

After nearly two decades of double-digit growth, the Chinese car market is entering a tailspin, and that could be particularly problematic for American automakers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

But other foreign automakers could better weather the downturn, in part due to changing rules that have lowered import tariffs – except on American products – and will now allow foreign manufacturers to take control of joint ventures. BMW is set to become the first to take advantage of the relaxed rules, agreeing to spend $4.2 billion to up its stake in an ongoing alliance with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

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“The automotive industry has been a driver of China’s economic growth for years. Now it is pulling back,” Xu Haidong, the assistant secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said during a Friday news briefing, responding to questions about the market’s third straight monthly decline. (more…)

Tesla Sales Surge Past Mercedes; But Loss of Fed Tax Credits Could Hit Future Demand

Orders placed before 10/15 will be delivered in time to collect $7,500 giveback, Tesla says.

by on Oct.12, 2018

Tesla is quickly approaching the 200,000 vehicle limit that ends the $7,500 federal government tax incentive for EV buyers.

With its manufacturing problems largely overcome, Tesla sales have been booming in recent months, the California battery-carmaker delivering more cars in the U.S. than luxury mainstay Mercedes-Benz in the most recent quarter.

But whether Tesla can maintain that momentum is uncertain, especially with federal tax incentives of as much as $7,500 about to go away, even as a flood of new, long-range electric alternatives come to market, complete with those tax credits.

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Tesla is advising potential buyers that they will have only until the end of Monday, Oct. 15, to place a an order for one of its new vehicles and be sure of getting the $7,500 federal incentive. Starting in January, the credits will be halved. They will be cut again mid-year, and then vanish entirely under the revised U.S. tax law passed by Congress last December. (more…)

GM Shows Support of Gender Equality with Board Appointment

Company named tops globally for gender equality.

by on Oct.12, 2018

International executive and former CIA deputy director Jami Miscik is joining General Motors board of directors.

General Motors has added a female executive with broad experience in international affairs to its board of directors and, in the process, signals its support of gender equality.

The addition of Jami Miscik, the CEO and vice chair of Kissinger Associates, a geopolitical consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and Presidential adviser Henry Kissinger, brings the total membership of GM’s board to 12.

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The GM board now includes 11 outsiders and is made up of six men and six women. (more…)