Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Former Ford Design Chief Mays Joining Whirlpool

Move has him following in footsteps of predecessor.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Ford's former design chief J Mays, shown with the 2015 Mustang, is taking a new job at Whirlpool.

Once Ford Motor Co.’s top designer, J Mays, is heading back to Michigan as vice president and chief design officer of Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Mays left Ford in 2013 after a long career in the automobile industry that included stints at BMW, Volkswagen and Audi before he joined Ford in 1997 as the company’s top designer.

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Before his appointment at Whirlpool, which makes a variety of home appliances, Mays has been working as consultant in a variety of areas, including in the movie industry. He also has been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London. (more…)

German Automakers Enduring More Diesel Scrutiny

Government regulators continue investigation of companies.

by on Sep.19, 2018

An Audi A3 TDI Sportback, one of the vehicles that was equipped with a rigged diesel engine.

German automakers are facing more headaches and potentially huge fines as the fallout from the “Dieselgate” scandal continues to seep through the legal and regulatory system in Europe and North America.

Antitrust regulators from the European Union are investigating if major German automakers, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen AG conspired to limit the rollout of emission technology used on diesel-powered vehicles heavily promoted by the three automakers.

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In the latest twist to the three-year-old “Dieselgate” scandal, the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation this week. The investigation comes a year after it raided the companies and two years after it slapped a record 2.93 billion euro ($3.4 billion) fine on a group of truck makers, including Daimler, for fixing prices and delaying the adoption of cleaner engine technology, according to Reuters. (more…)

BMW Fills in the Blanks on New Z4

Production will launch with four-cylinder version, but I-6 and M packages will follow.

by on Sep.19, 2018

The 2019 BMW Z4 revs up the excitement for the next-gen roadster with more power and plenty of style.

Nearly a month after giving us a first look at the all-new BMW Z4, the Bavarian automaker is filling in some critical blanks, offering timing on the rollout of the new roadster, as well as specs on the first two versions in the pipeline.

First unveiled during the annual classic car week in Pebble Beach, California, the new Z4 is seen by many as the most significant update since the nameplate was first launched 17 years ago. That is, in part, due to the unusual approach BMW took to develop the all-new Z4, partnering with Toyota which will use the underpinnings for its own new entry, the reborn Supra.

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The good news is that the next-generation Z4 will be offering more power than the outgoing roadster. The bad news, at least for fans of rowing their own transmission, is that there’ll be no manual offered on the new model. (more…)

Musk Facing Justice Department Probe

Feds looking into possible “fraud” in aborted privatization effort.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the focal point of investigations by the Department of Justice as well as the SEC.

Elon Musk now says he may try to hitch a ride along with the Japanese billionaire who plans to buy a ride on a SpaceX rocket trip around the moon.

Considering the mounting legal problems facing the 47-year-old executive, the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, Musk may need to find a way out of town in the near future.

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Musk and Tesla are now facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department looking into his brief flirtation with taking the California carmaker private, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating that aborted move. Separately, Musk is facing lawsuits in both Los Angeles and London filed by a British diver who the South African-born executive has accused of being a “pedo,” or pedophile, as well as a “child rapist.” (more…)

New Ferrari CEO Camilleri Lays Out New Five-Year Plan

Iconic automaker building new ute and supercar in next five years.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Ferrari's new five-year plan appears to follow the road map that recently deceased CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out.

Ferrari’s new CEO Louis Camilleri unveiled the iconic brand’s latest five-year plan that could be described as doing what it does best while ensuring it keeps an eye on the future.

Camilleri was only recently installed in the top spot after the unexpected passing of Sergio Marchionne laid out a near-term future that revives some of the company’s past, but also keeps the promises Marchionne made.

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“Our objectives are ambitious, but they are based on a meticulously constructed model pipeline, our enviable pricing power and appropriate investment levels,” Camilleri told investors. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte

Ready to compete with small-car standbys: Civic, Corolla, Cruze

by on Sep.18, 2018

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

Given, the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks, selling the traditional small car in the U.S. has become a very tough gig as evidenced by Ford giving up on cars and the Volkswagen Beetle is going away.

Meanwhile, cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Cruze have gotten better and offer an increasing number of features that shoppers in this segment could only dream about as recently as five years ago

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But that hasn’t discouraged Kia, which is launching an updated version of the compact third-generation Kia Forte this fall. Kia has built its reputation by building smart, stylish small vehicles and now has great ratings from J.D. Power’s critical initial quality survey to assure first-time buyers. (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Cutting Production to a Three-Day Week

Brexit issues, drop in diesel vehicle sales hurt Jaguar.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover, celebrates a win for the Velar as World Car Design of the Year.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to reduce the work schedules of some 2,000 production workers to three-day weeks at its Castle Bromwich plant in the West Midlands of England where the company builds several Jaguar vehicles.

The cutback comes as JLR faces pressure from uncertainty around Brexit. Additionally, a downturn in the sales of diesel-powered vehicles and the increasing popularity of sport-utility and crossover vehicles have hurt Jaguar’s sales.

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Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover confirmed it had scheduled the cut in its production schedule at the Castle Bromwich plant in England where JLR builds Jaguar XF, XJ and XE sedans and the F-Type sports car due to the “continuing headwinds” impacting the British car industry.  (more…)

Careful What You Ask For: Musk Sued by Diver He Disparaged

Tesla CEO wondered why he hadn't been sued yet.

by on Sep.18, 2018

After pushing for lawsuit from diver Vern Unsworth, Tesla CEO Elon Musk got what he wanted – in London and Los Angeles.

Adding to the many headaches facing Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO has now been sued by a British diver that he has accused of being a pedophile.

In July, the 47-year-old executive got into a Twitter war with Vernon Unsworth earlier this year when Musk offered to send a mini-sub to help rescue members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave. Unsworth derided it as a publicity stunt and suggested Musk shove the sub where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Musk responded by declaring Unsworth “pedo guy,” slang for a pedophile. “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk tweeted to his 22.5 million followers. He followd it up adding, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.” Musk also declared that, “I fucking hope he sues me.” (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Teaming Up With Google

Tech giant will develop next-gen infotainment system.

by on Sep.18, 2018

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance inked a deal with Google to put its intelligent infotainment system in its vehicles.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has a new partner, tech giant Google signing on the develop the automotive group’s next-generation infotainment system.

It’s a significant move by Google, though not its first time developing technology for automobiles. Like rival Apple’s CarPlay, its Android Auto system is now being offered by an array of automakers and allows a motorist to access a wide range of smartphone apps on a car’s touchscreen system.

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“Under the technology partnership, vehicles sold by the Alliance members in many markets will utilize Android, the world’s most popular operating system, and will provide turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps,” the Alliance said in a statement. (more…)

Audi Goes Electric, Tackles Tesla With New e-tron Electric SUV

German automaker will initially target Tesla Model X.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Audi is ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron.

With the launch of the new e-tron SUV, Audi becomes the latest in a growing list of automakers to introduce a long-range battery-electric vehicle aimed directly at industry pioneer Tesla.

The luxury arm of Volkswagen AG traveled to San Francisco, Tesla’s backyard, to unveil the new model during a splashy ceremony that drew hundreds of journalists and dealers. Audi already offers a number of hybrid and plug-in models but it is planning to now introduce an array of all-electric offerings, joining such high-line competitors as Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

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The push into electrification could be particularly important for Audi in its bid to recover from the diesel emissions scandal that tarred several Volkswagen brands, resulting in penalties and settlements totaling around $30 billion. Though the company will continue to produce some diesel models, it now sees electric vehicles as key to its future. (more…)