Archive for February, 2019

Tesla Now Selling $35K Model 3; Moving to Online Only Sales

EV maker closing all stores by end of year.

by on Feb.28, 2019

Tesla is now producing the $35,000 version of the Model 3. It can be ordered online – the only way to buy a Tesla now.

As is often the case with Tesla, it’s better late than never as the company announced Thursday its “Standard Range” Model 3 is now available for purchase.

The California-based EV maker had planned for this to be the case from the word go, but it began delivering the higher priced version of the Model 3 – as much as nearly $60K – about a year ago in an attempt to generate more profits for the company.

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“From the beginning, this has been the goal,” Musk said on a press call about the news. “It’s an incredible car.” (more…)

General Motors Sees Two Top Executives Depart

Alan Batey, a 40-year vet, and Alicia Boler Davis elect to leave.

by on Feb.28, 2019

GM North America Pres. Alan Batey spent 40 years at the company. He's retiring effective April 1.

General Motors is in the midst of restructuring its operations, but it’s unlikely losing two of its top officials was part of the plan, nevertheless, Alan Batey and Alicia Boler Davis are both set to leave the company on April 1.

Batey is the company’s North American president, while Boler Davis is head of global manufacturing operations. Batey’s departure isn’t entirely a surprise as he is retiring, but Boler Davis, a long-time confidant of GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, leaving the company for “other opportunities” is a bit of a shocker.

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Barry Engle, currently president of GM International, will move into the new position of executive vice president and president of the Americas to succeed Batey. In the meantime, Boler Davis will be succeeded by Gerald Johnson, who becomes vice president of North American manufacturing and labor relations. (more…)

First Drive: 2020 Kia Soul

Those pesky hamsters would approve – but where are they?

by on Feb.28, 2019

The Kia Soul in GT trim, one of the many variants -- including an EV -- coming for 2020.

Ever since the third-generation Kia Soul made its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show last November we’ve been waiting to hear from those hip-hop hamsters that have been an integral part of the marketing effort for the quirky crossover since it was first introduced back in 2013.

So far, they’ve been a no-show but, after getting a chance to drive the latest version of Kia’s five-door, we really aren’t surprised. While they may yet show up when the next campaign rolls out, the Soul now has a clearly established identity and the latest version is so solid that marketing gimmicks really aren’t necessary.

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The gen-3 Kia Soul will now be offered in a dizzying array of different configurations, including a new, battery-electric version set to appear later in the year. To get a sense of what Kia has come up with, we headed out to San Diego for a long day’s drive of two of the most interesting versions, the Soul X-Line and Soul GT.

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More Than a Mid-Cycle Refresh: A First Look at the Mercedes-Benz GLC

Crossover coming to Geneva gets new engine, more tech, and some exterior updates.

by on Feb.28, 2019

The updated 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC will joint an assortment of other new models in Geneva.

Automakers love to promote every change they make to a vehicle, but most mid-cycle updates are limited to some subtle exterior and interior updates and a handful of new paint colors.

Not so the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC. The compact crossover is battling for space in an increasingly crowded segment and the German maker has wisely recognized that it will take more than just a new fascia to draw in buyers.

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The 2020 GLC update isn’t a complete makeover, but there are still plenty of things to make note of, starting with the addition of an all-new four-cylinder engine, as well as the addition of Mercedes’ new MBUX personal voice assistant, and other new technologies.

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Tesla Boss Musk Teases Big Announcement

What's coming later today? Nobody really knows.

by on Feb.28, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to reveal something new at 2 p.m. Pacific Time today.

Elon Musk is creating more news. Fortunately, this time it won’t – or shouldn’t – involve the U.S. justice system.

Musk changed his name on Twitter to Elon Tusk and announced the company would be making an announcement at 2 p.m. Pacific Time today. He didn’t provide any other details, and has since changed his name back to Elon Musk.

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Naturally this sent followers, analysts and industry observers a buzz with anticipation. One analyst, Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley decided to take a stab at what he thinks is coming later today on the webcast. (more…)

BMW, Daimler Announce Another Alliance Focused on Autonomous Driving

Joint venture revealed days after deal to combine mobility services operations.

by on Feb.28, 2019

A pair of fully autonomous concepts from BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand.

Just days after they announced plans to combine their mobility services operations, BMW and Daimler AG now say they will team up on the development of self-driving vehicles.

The move is meant to help them share costs and speed to market a technology many expect will radically transform the auto industry over the coming decades. Autonomous vehicles also could anchor some of the new ride- and car-sharing services the German automakers plan to roll out under their earlier joint venture – and help them fend off upstart rivals such as Waymo, Uber and Tesla.

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“Initially, the focus will be on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features,” the automakers said in a statement announcing the autonomous driving partnership.

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Ford Cutting Jobs in China

China sales fell 2.8% in 2018.

by on Feb.28, 2019

While Ford's Mustang is still selling well, the rest of its line-up is not, contributing to a double-digit decline.

Ford Motor Co. is moving to slash thousands of jobs in China.

Since last fall, Ford has been promising to put its house in order and analysts have speculated that the restructuring could result in the elimination of 15,000 jobs worldwide.

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Now it appears that a large piece of the restructuring will involve cuts to the company’s operations in China where Ford lost as much as $1 billion in 2018, according to the company’s financial statements. (more…)

Ginetta Ready to Make Some Noise in Geneva

New Supercar comfortable on the track and the road.

by on Feb.27, 2019

Ginetta is ready to unleash its new supercar at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Geneva Motor Show is often the launching pad for smaller manufacturers of high-performance vehicles, and this year will be no different as race car maker Ginetta plans to unveil its newest offering.

The new Ginetta supercar keeps up the tradition in fine form. Produced by a company with a heritage in high-power, low-weight road cars, the new supercar is a driver-orientated yet usable package. It borrows from the company’s older G10 and the more recent LMP1 model.

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“Racing at the highest level has taught us that to win you have to have your overall car concept and every detail exactly right, and we’ve brought that same philosophy to our first supercar,” said Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson.  (more…)

Porsche Electrifying Next-Gen Macan

Compact crossover to become its third all-electric model.

by on Feb.27, 2019

The next-generation Macan will feature an all-electric model, according to Porsche.

Even as it prepares to launch its first all-electric offering, Porsche has announced plans for a third battery-car model, this one to come in the form of the next-generation Macan, the compact SUV that is its best-selling product line.

The German automaker isn’t providing any details about the electric Macan, but it is likely to become the first of its products to use the PPE platform being developed as part of a collaboration with Audi, another upscale member of the Volkswagen family.

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“Electromobility and Porsche go together perfectly; not just because they share a high-efficiency approach, but especially because of their sporty character,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement. (more…)

Americans See Electric Vehicles as the Future, Survey Says

Respondents view EVs as more impactful than recycling.

by on Feb.27, 2019

Volvo was looking for insights about Americans' views of electric vehicles with a new poll.

A new survey commissioned by Volvo Cars USA indicates that roughly three-quarters of American drivers believe electric vehicles are the future of driving.

Volvo said the poll, which was conducted by The Harris Poll, was done because the automaker wanted to develop a better understanding of current perceptions of electric vehicles and how people think EVs could meet their day-to-day driving experiences, including the challenges and the benefits.

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One key finding of the poll was that 59% of all drivers feel driving an EV has a positive environmental impact, outweighing activities such recycling, switching to paperless billing or utilizing smart home technology to regulate residential heating and cooling. (more…)