Archive for the ‘Automakers’ Category

FCA Sells Magneti Marelli for $7.1B to KKR’s Calsonic Kansei

CEO Manley signs off on deal Marchionne started.

by on Oct.22, 2018

Selling off Magneti Marelli could accelerate the development of EVs and AVs FCA CEO considers critical to FCA's success.

After two years of speculation about if it and when it would do so, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed to sell Magneti Marelli to KKR’s Calsonic Kansei for $7.14 billion, or 6.2 billion euros.

The new company, which is now the world’s seventh largest auto supplier, will be called Magneti Marelli CK Holdings. The new company boasts revenue of 15.2 billion euros, or $17.5 billion, the companies said.

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“This combination with Calsonic Kansei has emerged as an ideal opportunity to accelerate Magneti Marelli’s future growth,” Manley said on Monday of the FCA unit, which specializes in lighting, powertrain and high-tech electronics. (more…)

Ford’s New Ad Campaign Shoots Straight Hyping Products, History

First commercials debut during college football this weekend.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Ford is kicking off a new ad campaign, Built Ford Proud, that features print ads as well as new commercials.

Ford Motor Co.’s recent advertising campaigns haven’t quite hit the mark in terms of creating a positive buzz, so it’s going back to the future with an update to an oldie but goodie.

The automaker used to brag that its trucks were “Built Ford Tough,” but now the entire line-up is “Built Ford Proud.”

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Unveiled at its dealer meeting in Las Vegas, Ford’s new mantra will begin appearing on television screens this weekend, primarily during college football games. Featuring actor Bryan Cranston, famous for “Malcom in the Middle” and “Breaking Bad,” the three ads basically center on Ford’s pride in its history, ingenuity and progress. (more…)

Daimler Cuts Earnings Estimates as Outlook Gets Tougher

Mercedes-Benz Cars saw earnings slip, driving new forecast.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Sales of the Mercedes-Benz GLE are off this year as are other models, causing Daimler to revise its earnings forecast downward.

Daimler AG trimmed its earnings outlook for 2018, blaming the rising cost of fines and litigation over the emissions from the company’s diesel engines and a sharp reduction in the earnings by Mercedes-Benz Cars for the expected decline.

“The main factor is an increase in expected expenses in connection with ongoing governmental proceedings and measures in various regions with regard to Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles,” said as the company revised its financial guidance.

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“Furthermore, against the backdrop of a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice, provisions have been recognized for the potential need to take action on certain vehicles still operating with the previously used refrigerant R134a,” the company said. (more…)

Ford Boosting by 1/3 Production of $400,000 GT Supercar

“Demand outstripping supply by more than six-to-one.”

by on Oct.19, 2018

Ford is extending its production run of the current Ford GT to 1,350 cars. Fans have until Nov. 8 to apply to buy one.

Ford now plans to produce 1,350 of its $400,000 GT supercars, more than a third higher than the original 1,000-vehicle run it had planned when the two-seater was getting ready to come to market in 2016.

As with the original batch, however, potential buyers still will have to go through a qualification process, the Detroit automaker primarily targeting loyal customers, particularly those who purchased an earlier version of the GT.

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“The response to our Ford GT has been unprecedented, with initial demand outstripping supply by more than six-to-one,” Hermann Salenbauch, director of Ford Performance, said in a statement. “By extending the Ford GT production run for a limited period, we’re able to maintain the exclusivity of the ultra-desirable supercar while offering the ownership experience to a greater number of customers.” (more…)

Tesla Launches Lowest-Price Version of Model 3 Yet – But It’s Still Not the $35,000 Sedan Promised

New version actually will start at $45,000 before incentives – if fed tax credits will still be available.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made good on his prediction of 55,000 Model 3 sedans in Q3. Now he's offering lower-priced variants.

With production finally on the rise at its Fremont, California assembly plant, Tesla is expanding the line-up of Model 3 variants, CEO Elon Musk late Thursday announcing what he billed as the lowest-price version of the battery-sedan yet offered.

But potential buyers might need to check the fine print carefully. According to a tweet from Musk, the new version of the Model 3 will cost $35,000 with the “true cost of ownership is closer to $31k after gas savings.”

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But this is not the $35,000 Model 3 that Musk promised to build when the sedan was first unveiled two years ago, setting off a flurry of activity, with about 400,000 potential buyers eventually putting down $1,000 deposits. The list price is actually $10,000 more. (more…)

Geely Chief Denies Family Ties to China’s President

Li Shufu looks to avoid charges of favoritism.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Shufu sought to eliminate speculation about familial ties and special treatment by China's president.

Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd has moved to end speculation that its entrepreneurial chairman, Li Shufu, has benefited from political ties to China’s President for life, Xi Jinping.

Li Shufu, who is increasingly active in the global automotive industry, has moved to address the long-standing speculation that his wife was related to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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The carmaker, which owns a stake in Germany’s Daimler and the firm that makes London black cabs as well as Volvo Cars, disclosed in a filing the name of his spouse was Li Wang, and she jointly held 4.9 million shares in the firm.  (more…)

Ford, VW Looking at Potentially Major Alliance

Update: Ford rules out merger or equity swap with VW.

by on Oct.18, 2018

Ford Motor Co. entered into a MoU with Volkswagen AG to work on some undetermined projects.

(This story has been updated to reflect comments from Ford ruling out a merger or equity swap.)

Like many an automotive manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. has been forming alliances with erstwhile rivals such as General Motors in a bid to reduce development costs and speed new products to market. But one potential partnership has been generating widespread buzz in industry circles, observers wondering just how far Ford might take things with German giant Volkswagen AG.

The two companies inked an MoU, or memorandum of understanding, announcing they will explore a number of possible projects, including the joint development and production of commercial vehicles.

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But industry analysts are now suggesting such a partnership could reach far beyond the commercial vehicle market, some even wondering whether there could be full-fledged merger or, at the least, an equity swap, in their future. (more…)

NHTSA Investigating 54,400 Ford Trucks for Tailgate Problem

Power tailgates fall for no reason.

by on Oct.18, 2018

NHTSA is investigating a problem with power tailgates on some 2017 Ford F-250s and F-350s.

The power tailgates on some Ford F-Series pickups are opening for no reason causing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a preliminary investigation to determine the cause of the problem.

There have been five instances in which the tailgate has opened while the truck was driving, according to the agency. Right now, the query covers 54,400 F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks from the 2017 model year.

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Complaints reveal the tailgate just falls open while traveling at speed, sometimes causing damage. One person said it fell while they were driving 65 mph, damaging the tailgate and the trailer they were towing. Another person said opened at least 12 times while driving. (more…)

Uber’s Estimated Valuation in IPO Pegged at $120 Billion

Lyft is looking to doing an offering as well next spring.

by on Oct.18, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been making substantive changes to the company since his arrival.

Uber could raise as much as much as $120 billion, dwarfing the market capitalization of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, when it launches an initial public offering next summer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Uber is already in discussions with bankers about an initial public offering in early 2019, the Journal reported. At the same time, Uber’s principal Lyft raised $15 billion during a round of fund raising and has indicated it is preparing go public next spring, raising the prospect the two ride-sharing companies could collide in the race for cash.

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Uber’s potential valuation could be greater than the combined current valuation of the U.S. automakers, the Journal reported. The comparison has been the subject of some fierce debate with some critics suggesting that for “game changing” technology companies like Uber it is not a relevant. (more…)

Departure of Manufacturing Chief Accelerates Tesla Management Defections

Three top execs have bailed out since September, including brand new accounting chief.

by on Oct.18, 2018

Tesla's VP of Manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, has left the electric vehicle maker without offering an explanation.

While a variety of factors may be in play, Tesla is having more and more trouble holding onto key executives, three top members of its management team bailing out since just the beginning of September.

The latest to walk: Gilbert Passin, the battery-carmaker’s vice president of manufacturing. His departure comes barely a month after both Tesla’s chief accounting officer and chief people officer quit. While the company contends it has a deep enough pool of talent to weather these and prior departures, the management turmoil comes at a time when Tesla is under heavy pressure to accelerate production and sales in order to deliver the long-sought profit that CEO Elon Musk has promised for the second half of 2018.

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Musk himself is facing a variety of pressures, among other things to find a new chairman for Tesla, a role he agreed to forfeit as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk also paid a $20 million fine after settling SEC allegations of fraud linked to the company’s abortive effort to go private. (more…)