Archive for the ‘Automakers’ Category

Mercedes-Benz Kicks Off Production of A-Class

New compact car to built in Hungary as well as Germany.

by on Apr.20, 2018

Dieter Zetsche introduces the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class wagon and sedan in Amsterdam.

During the last few years, Mercedes-Benz has followed a dual strategy, promoting its high-end luxury cars while expanding into the compact segments as it overtakes key rivals such as BMW and Audi.

Mercedes is now building the new A-Class at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt, some 60 miles from the headquarters of its parent company, Daimler AG, in Stuttgart, Germany. The A-Class is also scheduled to roll off the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz plant Kecskemét, Hungary, in just a few weeks.

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“Mercedes-Benz Cars starts an unprecedented ramp-up cascade with the A-Class. In our global production network, we can ramp-up the production of our vehicles in proven top quality and supply the global market even faster. Using modern industry 4.0 technologies our plants are becoming even more flexible and efficient,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production & Supply Chain. (more…)

Senate Strikes Down Rule Protecting Against Discriminatory Lending

House expected to pass Senate measure for Trump to approve.

by on Apr.19, 2018

The National Auto Dealers Association, led by Chairman Wes Lutz, applauded the reversal of CFPB guidance over potentially discriminatory lending practices.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up a measure passed by the Senate on Wednesday that wiped out guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed to eliminate lenders from discriminating against auto buyers based on race or national origin.

The guidance, which was offered in 2013 by the Obama Administration, was considered controversial at the time and faced fierce opposition from Republicans as well as banks, lenders and finance companies.

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The Senate asked the General Accounting Office to era to review whether or not the guidance, which was aimed at preventing auto lenders from charging borrowers higher rates based on factors such as race or national origin, should have been subject to Congressional review. (more…)

Tesla Going Round the Clock on Model 3 Production

EV maker looks to up Model 3 build rate to 6K weekly.

by on Apr.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is looking to make the Fremont, California plant a 24/7 operation to meet a new Model 3 production goal of 6,000 units weekly.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is borrowing from a famous ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll ditty in order to get Model 3 production levels back on track: they’re going to work around the clock.

Musk ordered a weeklong shut down of the company’s plant in Fremont, California, to resolve once and for all the production bottlenecks the facility was experiencing related to Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

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The company’s founder, who has taken to sleeping on the plant floor regularly, said one of the big problems was the plant was too automated. “Humans are underrated,” he said. (more…)

Walmart Set to Add Super Fast-Chargers in 34 States

Chargers will deliver up to 200 miles in 10 minutes.

by on Apr.19, 2018

The new Walmart chargers will be capable of boosting range by as much as 20 miles a minute.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer could soon operate one of the nation’s larger vehicle charging networks.

The Arkansas-based company is partnering up with Electrify America to set up 100 fast-charger stations at stores in 34 states by mid-2019. That’s part of 2,000 chargers Electrify America aims to have in place by then at 500 stations across the U.S.

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“Along with providing our customers with an enhanced shopping experience through added convenience, this initiative also allows us to contribute to the expansion of our nation’s EV charging station infrastructure,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy for Walmart, Inc.

(more…)

Daimler AG May Supply Engines for Volvo Cars

Move comes days after Volvo chairman talks about partnerships.

by on Apr.19, 2018

Volvo may source engines for some of its vehicles from Daimler AG in the future.

Volvo may source engines from Daimler AG, raising the spectre of Mercedes-Benz and the Swedish-Chinese automaker forming some sort of official partnership in the near future.

The revelation comes mere weeks after Geely founder Li Shufu spent more than $9 billion to acquire a 9.69% stake in Daimler AG, and days after he said that partnerships between companies were critical to future growth. He also noted that companies that don’t team up are likely to be gobbled up.

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Further than supplying engines, Manager Magazin in Germany reported the partnership could extend beyond that into a potential ownership stake in Volvo Cars of “a couple percent.” (more…)

Brand boss de Nysschen out in Shake-Up at Cadillac

Move comes at launch of critical new products.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Johan de Nysschen, now former Caddy chief, said in New York last month Caddy's upcoming product lines could double current sales.

Just weeks after presiding over the debut of two critical new products, the CT6 V-Sport sedan and XT4 sport-utility vehicle, Johan de Nysschen is out as the head of the Cadillac brand, replaced by Steve Carlisle, a fast-track executive credited with major turnarounds for parent General Motors in Canada and Thailand.

With extensive experience in the global luxury car market, including stints with BMW, Audi and Infiniti, de Nysschen laid out broad plans for Cadillac’s revival after joining the brand in 2014. That ranged from additions to its product portfolio to the decision to move Caddy from Detroit to New York City to give it more distance from the parent company and put it at the center of one of the country’s biggest luxury car markets. But several sources suggested senior GM management was growingly increasingly concerned about Caddy’s weak performance in its home market.

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“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann, who helped lure de Nysschen from Infiniti to Cadillac. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.” (more…)

Walking a Tightrope: Ford Trying to Please All with New Mustang Variants

The original pony car continues to draw new fans.

by on Apr.18, 2018

The Ford Mustang is celebrating 54 years, and the current best-selling sports car in the world intends to remain so.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

You can’t stand still in the muscle car market. What’s hot today could be all but forgotten tomorrow. That’s something Ford Motor Co. learned when rival General Motors brought back the Chevrolet Camaro in 2010, delivering a sucker punch to the long-dominant Ford Mustang.

Since launching an all-new version of the Mustang to mark the nameplate’s 50th anniversary four years ago, Ford has retaken its crown as king of the pony car hill. It has now been the world’s best-selling sports car for three years in a row.

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And Ford is determined to maintain that lead with a series of Mustang variants set to come to market during the next 18 months. That includes not only the latest version of the GT500 but a first-ever Mustang hybrid. (more…)

Teens Improving Some Areas of Distracted Driving, Studies Reveal

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Teen drivers are still texting and driving at alarming rates, but those rates are coming down slightly.

If there is a “symbol” for distracted driving, it’s the texting-while-driving teenager barreling down the road. While crashes remain the single largest cause of death for teens, things are improving in some areas.

A recent American Automobile Association poll revealed that 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, while 35% of those polled admitted to still committing the act. That’s an improvement in terms of cutting down on that behavior.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distracted driving is the cause of a quarter of all crashes, but that number jumps to 58% when teenagers are involved. It takes only three seconds for a driver’s attention to be diverted for a crash to occur – an issue that is exacerbated in teens who don’t have years of driving experience. (more…)

Toyota Continues to Count on Cars

Last year's Camry gets support from new Avalon, Corolla hatchback.

by on Apr.18, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Avalon is the latest sign that the future is bright for cars at Toyota.

Unlike some of its major rivals, Toyota isn’t ready to give up on the passenger car market. If anything they are getting new models ready that are expected to build on the company strong position in car side of the business, Toyota officials said this week as they showed off two new models during a press preview in Southern California this week.

“We’re still very, very bullish on the passenger cars,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for the Toyota Division during the preview, which highlighted the 2019 Toyota Avalon and 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. The Avalon goes on sales later this spring and the Corolla hatchback will appear later this year.

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Last week, General Motors announced it was takings its big passenger-car plant in Lordstown, Ohio, down to one shift at the end of June because of the falling demand for compact cars. (more…)

Gas Prices on the Rise as Temps Do the Same

Summer driving season a month away, but prices on the move.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise as the summer driving season creeps ever closer.

Gasoline continues to get more expensive across the U.S. even though the beginning of the summer driving season is still more than a month away, according to the survey of prices at the pump by AAA.

With the price of gasoline averaging $2.71 per gallon, prices are at their highest point in nearly three years. On the week, the national average increased a nickel.

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“Expensive crude oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, strong domestic demand, record production rates and global oil supply sur have created the perfect storm to drive spring gas prices toward new heights,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)