Archive for the ‘Fuel Economy’ Category

More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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Hypermiling Tesla Model 3 Sets Two Records – Only One By Choice

Battery sedan more than doubles rated range – but at an unexpected cost.

by on May.30, 2018

Two hypermilers set a new record of more than 600 miles on a single charge in a Model 3.

Even for those with a lead foot, Tesla’s products are nothing less than impressive, particularly when it comes to range. Where most battery-electric vehicles bragged about topping 100 miles per charge, Tesla’s Model S topped the 200 mark right out of the box, and the latest P100D version can readily manage 300 before having to plug back in.

But a pair of hypermilers wanted to see just how far they could push things with the new Tesla Model 3 equipped with an optional 75 kilowatt-hour battery pack. During a sometimes boring, sometimes grueling run last week, they managed to set an all-time record of more than 600 miles on a charge.

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The downside? Once they finished up, Sean Mitchell and Erik Strait were surprised to discover that they couldn’t charge up their Model 3 again. Tesla plans to look into the situation to see if it can explain what happened. (more…)

Chevy Escalates Truck Engine Wars with Four New Offerings

A new Duramax diesel coming in 2019.

by on May.19, 2018

The 2019 Silverado RST comes standard with an all-new, advanced 2.7-liter turbo engine active fuel management and stop/start technology.

Chevrolet is firing another round of salvos in the ongoing engine wars between the Big Three truck makers, debuting four new powerplants including a four-cylinder turbo, ultimately resulting in six new powertrain combinations.

The brand unveiled a 2.7-liter turbocharged four cylinder as well as two new V8s: a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter, both of which use Chevy’s active fuel management system. The system uses four, six or eight cylinders depending upon the demands on the engine. Push the pedal to the floor, the driver gets all eight, but if cruising along the freeway, it drops to four and improves fuel economy.

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The 2.7-liter will be the standard engine for the brand’s high-volume trucks, replacing a 4.3-liter V6, which remains available. A new 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel will also be available in 2019. EPA mileage ratings for the new engines are available yet. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Backs Off Proposed CAFE Rollbacks

Automaker changes tone about move to stifle tougher fuel economy rules.

by on May.15, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne amended his position on the rollback of CAFE standards after meeting with President Trump.

This story has been updated with new information.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is now adding to the remarks he made after a meeting with President Donald Trump in which he appeared to endorse the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back fuel economy standard and revoke the state of California’s ability to enforce tighter standards.

“I appreciated the opportunity to talk to the President today about our shared commitment to the automotive industry,” Marchionne said in a statement after the White House meeting at which Trump reportedly described Marchionne as his favorite person in the room.

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“Consumer preferences and technological advancements in our business are constantly evolving. Therefore, revisiting and assessing EPA standards, as was originally intended, is the right thing to do. With this process just beginning, it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions and pre-judge the outcome.  (more…)

US Seeing Gas Prices Rise Across the Country

Jump in gas prices costing average American $450 annually.

by on May.14, 2018

Folks are going to be spending more on gasoline in the weeks ahead as Iran sanctions and summer blends are pushing prices higher.

The price of gasoline continues to climb with a gallon of gasoline costing 50 cents more than it did at this time last year.

At $2.87, the national gas price average jumped 6 cents on the week in part due to the White House’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran, according to AAA’s weekly survey.

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“The Administration’s move combined with the switchover to summer blend, growing global demand and shrinking supply continues to fuel pump prices as we approach the summer driving season,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. (more…)

Subaru’s Crosstrek Will Become its First Plug-In Hybrid

Japanese maker's first PHEV will use modified Toyota driveline.

by on May.14, 2018

For 2019, Subaru will add a plug-in version of the Crosstrek likely to deliver over 20 miles per charge.

Little Subaru is about to get a helping hand from Japan’s biggest automaker, Toyota lending out its Prius Prime driveline for the smaller manufacturer’s first-ever plug-in hybrid.

Subaru has been teasing us with electrified concepts for quite a few years, mostly through its palindromic Viziv concept series. Now, finally, we’ll be getting the real think with the launch of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

We Keep You Plugged In!

“The new Crosstrek Hybrid maintains all the capability of the traditional Subaru Crosstrek with increased fuel efficiency,” the automaker revealed in a terse statement. “It can be driven as a normal Hybrid, using both gas and electric power and eliminating range anxiety, or driven on pure electric drive for local commuting.”

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Mazda’s Head of N.American Ops Will Be its Next CEO

Promotion of Akira Marumoto comes at critical time of change for #5 Japanese automaker.

by on May.11, 2018

Akira Marumoto, a 38-year Mazda veteran, will become the company's new president and CEO.

Mazda Motor Corp.’s president and CEO will step down next month and will be replaced by the executive currently overseeing its biggest market, the Americas, and North America, in particular.

The transition, which will see current Vice President Akira Marumoto take the helm, comes at a critical time for Japan’s fifth-largest automaker. After having its long-time partner, Ford Motor Co., sever ties, Mazda has been searching for new allies and over the last 12 months has announced several projects with industry giant Toyota that will see it share in a new, U.S. assembly plant. Mazda is also pushing to develop costly new powertrain technologies at a time when most markets are demanding significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions.

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“Given the rapid changes occurring in the auto industry at the moment it’s often asked whether a small company like us will be OK,” the 60-year-old Marumoto told reporters in Japan on Friday, cautioning that, “before we even consider this we need to show our strengths, and what makes us different if we want to grow our brand.”

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10 Major Automakers Meet With Trump Over CAFE Today

Session could focus on opposition from California.

by on May.11, 2018

Former Ford CEO Mark Fields generated controversy last year when he warned Pres. Trump CAFE could cost 1 million U.S. jobs.

Senior executives from ten of the auto industry’s largest manufacturers will be meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House today to discuss the administration’s plans to roll back federal fuel economy standards.

A draft proposal developed by the Environmental Protection Agency would freeze requirements at 2020 levels rather than continuing a phase-in established by the Obama White House that was set to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The new target would come in somewhere in the low 40 mpg range and hold through 2026.

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But the meeting could prove to be an anxious one. Consumer and environmental groups have been ramping up opposition and any announcement from the White House would come at a time when fuel prices are surging to levels not seen in years. Meanwhile, any rollback could pit the Trump Administration – and the auto industry – against California which is threatening to effectively stall the cuts by using authority given the state under the Clean Air Act of 1970.

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Ford Supports Keeping CAFE, Wants National Standard After Enviro Group Campaign

Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club aim complaints at Ford.

by on May.09, 2018

Greenpeace, The Sierra Club and Public Citizen dropped a petition with 250,000 signatures at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

With the battle over U.S. fuel-economy rules growing more intense, environmental groups have targeted Ford Motor Co. for special treatment as they presented the company with petitions bearing 250,00 signatures calling on the automaker to drop its support for altering the current fuel-economy and emission standards.

Madeline Page of the Public Citizen, which helped organize the online petition drive, said Ford was singled out because of the “hypocrisy” of its position. She noted the company pushes a green message in its advertising and its executive chairman, William Clay Ford Jr., warns about the need for safeguarding the environment but conversely its vehicles are consistently among the least fuel efficient, according to a trend report compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The “Dirty Ford” campaign, organized by Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, parked an old Ford Focus with big black cloud hanging over it at several spots around Detroit, including a new Ford technical center dedicated to autonomous vehicles in Detroit’s gentrifying Corktown neighborhood before dropping the petitions at the security desk in Ford headquarters. (more…)

Toyota Earnings Jump, Despite Rising U.S. Incentives

Record R&D spending could hurt operating profit.

by on May.09, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is not only pushing for automotive sales growth, but leading the company into the emerging mobility sector.

Toyota saw earnings jump 21% between January and March, the final quarter of its fiscal year, despite having to sharply ramp up incentives in a slowing U.S. automotive market.

The automaker reported a profit of 480.8 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, up from 398 billion yen the year before. Toyota’s sales also rose 2% to 7.58 trillion yen, or $69 billion. For the full fiscal year, it earned 2.49 trillion yen, or $23 billion, a 36% increase, with sales rising 6%, to 29.38 trillion yen, or $268 billion.

Beyond the Numbers!

The strong performance helped highlight the cost-cutting efforts initiated by CEO and President Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder declaring, “We’ve become a leaner, trimmer company … and in the past year we’ve developed our remaining fat into muscle, so that we’re in a strong position to be more competitive.”

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