Archive for May, 2019

U.S. Ending Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on Mexico, Canada

Move design to prevent import of Chinese steel into U.S.

by on May.17, 2019

The Trump administration agreed to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada in order to keep out Chinese steel.

Seeking to secure Congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, or USMCA, U.S. negotiators secured tough new measures against Chinese steel by agreeing to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and China.

The deal avoids quotas on steel from the two countries, which Canada and Mexico had opposed, according to the Washington Post. The tariffs will end in 48 hours.

The Last Word!

“We came to an agreement that benefits both parties: the tariffs are lifted, without quotas on steel and aluminum,” according to a statement from the Mexican president’s office, adding that it reinstated a tariff-free commercial relationship for those products. (more…)

VW Unleashes Seven Sport Concepts at Southern Worthersee

SOWO show cars highlight options for both performance and off-road fans.

by on May.17, 2019

VW shows off its SOWO "enthusiast fleet."

Volkswagen has long had a history of rolling out some of its most creative niche products and concept cars at the annual Worthersee gathering in Austria. It has expanded that tradition by adding what it calls the SOWO event on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Georgia.

Short for “Southern Worthersee,” the big gathering aims to entice VW fans this time around with seven concept vehicles featuring what it calls “sport performance add-ons and visual enhancements.”

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Considering the shift in global markets, and especially the U.S., from sedans, coupes and hatchbacks to SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks, it should surprise no one that this year’s crop of concepts includes versions of the latest Tiguan and Atlas crossover-utility vehicles. But Volkswagen traditionalists shouldn’t be disappointed, either, the automaker rolling out customized versions of the Golf, Jetta and new Arteon, as well. (more…)

GMC Tightens Up Premium Truck Segment with 2020 Sierra 1500

More technology and engine choices highlight new truck.

by on May.17, 2019

For 2020, the GMC Sierra gets a slew of new technology as well as a new engine offering.

The competition to produce the best-equipped pickup truck continued to get tighter today with GMC’s announcement that its “taking premium to the next level” for its 2020 Sierra 1500.

GMC’s full-size light-duty pickup can now get a slew of new options to take it up a notch, including expanded availability for its carbon fiber bed, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission, additional technology like Adaptive Cruise Control – Camera.

Product News!

While options are great, functionality is still king among truck users and GMC is looking to make a statement in that arena too. For 2020, the Sierra 1500 will be available with the upgraded ProGrade Trailering System introduced earlier this year on the 2020 Sierra HD. The updated system offers 15 camera views – the class leader –  an in-vehicle Trailering App which has been enhanced to simplify the trailering process. (more…)

“Hardcore” Belt-Tightening a Must, Says Tesla’s Musk

The “only way for Tesla to become financially sustainable.”

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk has ordered employees to rein in spending on virtually everything.

Tesla will need to engage in some “hardcore” cost-cutting, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail late Thursday, a move that comes in the wake of an unexpectedly severe first-quarter loss.

The automaker earlier this month was able to raise $2.7 billion through a combination of stock and debt offerings, but investors have become increasingly wary of the challenges that face the automaker – Tesla facing substantial debt repayments on top of the costs involved in the development of an array of new products and a new plant in China.

Breaking News!

The latest cash infusion, according to Musk, will only let it go for another 10 months without getting back into the black, he wrote, which “is why, going forward, all expenses of any kind anywhere in the world, including parts, salary, travel expenses, rent, literally every payment that leaves out bank account must (be) reviewed.”

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Senators Look to Rally U.S. EV Material Production

Committee looking to expedite mining process for needed materials.

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Gigafactory is basically a one-stop shop for EV production. A Senate committee is looking to make it easier for EV makers to get the materials needed in the U.S.

While the Trump administration – through the Environmental Protection Agency – continues to press for changes in fuel economy regulations that would to sideline efforts to put more EVs on the road across the United States, the U.S. Congress is getting nervous about China’s fast moving electric-car effort.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are voicing support for a national electric car supply chain policy in the United States Senate, according to a report from Reuters.

Technology News!

The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing on the American Mineral Security Act. The legislation aims to make it easier and quicker for U.S. mines to meet regulations and gain permits for lithium, graphite and other minerals or precious materials needed for electric car production. It would also require a tally of metal reserves in the country. (more…)

Tariff Talk Put on Hold for Six Months by Trump Administration

Formal structure to delay expected soon.

by on May.16, 2019

President Donald Trump believes raising tariffs will bring U.S. manufacturing back to prominence, but has put off a decision on new national security-related levies.

President Donald Trump’s decision to delay any action on new auto tariffs related to national security gives automakers a chance to make some choices about how they’re going to deal with new tariffs if Trump elects to implement them down the road.

Trump has six months to decide whether or not to slap levies on vehicles and parts from other countries under Section 232, a national security law that gives the president broad powers to implement tariffs on goods from other countries that may affect America’s national security.

Global News!

He used it last year on steel and aluminum imports, much to the chagrin of automakers and other manufacturers.  (more…)

All Grossed Out and Nowhere to Hide: Ride-Hailing Cars Nastiest

What's cleaner than a toilet? Not a rental car!

by on May.16, 2019

There were more than 6 million germs in the ride-hailing vehicles tested by NetQuote.com.

Rental cars are often considered almost throw away items. We’ve all heard the old axiom: People will do things in a rental car that they won’t do in their own. According to new testing, that’s not true: ride-hailing vehicles – typically owned by the driver – are the grossest thing on four wheels.

Insurance aggregator Netquote recently conducted tests to see just how nasty some modes of transport can be, specifically, taxi cabs, rental cars and ride-hailing cars. While many would have put money on the taxi being the most disgusting, those vehicles are subject to rules, including cleanliness.

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What vehicles aren’t? Yup. Ride-hailing vehicles. (more…)

With Over 11M Vehicles Expected to Use V2X tech, FCC Delays Decision on Needed Radio Spectrum

Some manufacturers look at alternatives, like 5G.

by on May.16, 2019

IHS Markit predicts the growth of V2X in the United States.

More than 11 million vehicles globally are expected to be equipped with connected-car technology, often known as V2X, by 2024, according to a new study by IHS Markit.

The technology is meant to allow vehicles to talk to one another, as well as an infrastructural network to share information like weather and traffic conditions and even when a stoplight is about to change. It can also alert a driver when another vehicle runs a red light, potentially saving lives.

Technology News!

But some proponents fear the rollout of V2X technology could be delayed, at the least, because of an ongoing debate over the precise method that these systems will use to communicate. The radio spectrum that had been set aside is being coveted by groups like Comcast and CBS which would like to use it for alternative purposes, such as expanded Internet and WiFi services. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

Plenty of room, technology make this ute tough competition.

by on May.16, 2019

With room for five adults, the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe gives the automaker a viable competitor agains the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has lots of things going for it including a huge “likeability” factor.

After all, there is a lot to like about the vehicle. It’s handsome on the outside, spacious and comfortable on the inside, delivers and smooth and efficient ride and has ample power in segment where horsepower seems to have become a major consideration for manufacturers if not for consumers.

Reviews You Can Trust!

Hyundai, in my estimation, has actually solved one of the riddles of the contemporary car business by figuring out the placement of the center stack screen that carries information for the navigation system and entertainment system with a horizontal screen mounted just above the dashboard. (more…)

Tesla Updating Software After Latest Battery Fire

Two recent incidents raise new concerns about EV safety.

by on May.16, 2019

A security camera caught images of a Tesla spontaneously catching fire in a Hong Kong garage.

Responding to the latest in a series of fires involving its electric vehicles’ battery packs, Tesla will updated its digital control software.

The move comes in the wake of a pair of fires in China, a critical market for the manufacturer, both involving parked vehicles. Since the original Tesla Model S was introduced, the company’s products have been involved in more than a dozen vehicle fires.

Electrifying News!

“As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.” Tesla said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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