Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

FCA Lays Out Plan for “Transformative Merger” with Groupe Renault

Move would create 3rd-largest global automaker; 1st if factoring in Alliance partners Nissan, Mitsubishi.

by on May.27, 2019

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley originally approached Renault over much more limited plans, such as platform sharing.

After extensive, secret negotiations, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has laid out a plan to merge with the largest of France’s two automakers, Groupe Renault, a move that would create the world’s third-largest motor vehicle manufacturer, with annual sales of 8.7 million vehicles – and a clear number one if factoring in the volumes of Renault’s current Alliance partners, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Both FCA and Renault have openly sought new partnerships over the past decade to both expand their geographic bases and fill in gaps in their product and technology portfolios. If, as expected, the proposed deal is completed, the new organization will have a more well-rounded global presence, with FCA bringing to the table its Jeep SUV and Ram pickup brands. Renault, among other things, provides a growing range of electric vehicles and an aggressive autonomous vehicle develop program.

Breaking News!

Over the past decade, FCA has repeatedly said it was looking for a partner, with names like General Motors and Volkswagen on its list. But while those were seen as unsolicited proposals, talks between the Italian-American automaker and Renault have been underway since early this year. And though the French automaker early Monday said that its “Board of Directors will meet this morning to discuss this proposal,” it is expected that this is largely a formality.

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Fiat Chrysler and Renault Poised to Form New Alliance

Pairing would form third-largest automaker.

by on May.26, 2019

Could another sign change be in Fiat Chrysler's future?

What appeared to be a two-horse race to partner up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. is now just down to one – Renault SA – with a deal potentially announced as early as Monday.

The deal, which was reported first by Bloomberg News, not only provides some each company with a strong ally to shore weak areas, it also opens the door to a potential deal with the Renault Nissan Alliance.

Global News!

In late March, FCA was linked to talks with Renault as well as another French automaker, Peugeot, about a tie-up of some sort. While a deal was never consummated with either automaker at the, it appears discussions with Renault have been fruitful. (more…)

15 Years Later, Caddy Ready to Reveal Two New Models

CT4-V and CT5-V to debut next week. Could electrification by the future of the V-Series?

by on May.24, 2019

The original Cadillac CTS-V was tested on a variety of different tracks, including Germany's Nurburgring, as well as Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.

Fifteen years after Cadillac introduced its first V-Series model, two more performance offerings are set to make their debut next week, the automaker has confirmed.

What’s unusual about the coming news is that Caddy will use a preview in Detroit to reveal the all-new CT4 sedan in V-Series trim first, with the base model set to follow later, reversing its normal approach. The event also will see the introduction of a V-version of Caddy’s mid-range sedan, the new CT5-V, that effectively replaces the old CTS-V that kicked off the performance program when it debuted in 2004.

The Last Word!

“From the very beginning, Cadillac’s V-Series represented the ultimate expression of our design, technology and performance,” said GM President Mark Reuss, ahead of the two introductions. “It introduced an entirely new breed of performance-minded customers to Cadillac showrooms and helped transform the brand’s traditional image into one with different facets for customers’ varying driving tastes.”

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BMW Acknowledges Rival Zetsche’s Retirement Humorously

Mercedes doesn't wait long to respond via Twitter.

by on May.24, 2019

"Dieter Zetsche" drives off into retirement from Mercedes-Benz and Daimler — in his BMW i8 electric sports car.

Dieter Zetsche’s retirement from Daimler AG churned up a lot of memories for industry observers and, perhaps more importantly, competitors.

Often competitors will acknowledge notable retirements, and BMW, the primary foil for Mercedes-Benz, did just that with a short video congratulating “Dr. Z” for moving on to the next phase of his life and his contributions to the industry.

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However, the Bavarian automaker couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with . (more…)

Zetsche Takes Well-Earned Bow as He Leaves Daimler

Dr. Z could be back in a couple years though.

by on May.24, 2019

Dieter Zetsche leaves the podium at his final Daimler shareholders meeting with a simple wave.

Just like that it was over.

By the time, the annual Daimler AG shareholders meeting wrapped up Wednesday evening, Dieter Zetsche’s long, remarkable career with the German automaker had come to an end.

Global News!

Unlike his high-profile contemporaries in the car business, Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Renault chieftain, whose career ended ignominiously with an arrest in Japan last November, and Sergio Marchionne, who died last summer after keeping a deadly illness a secret, Zetsche even got to take a bow at the annual meeting to sustained applause from Daimler shareholders. (more…)

Nothing Mild About Mercedes’ First Mild Hybrid, the GLE 580 4Matic

Gas-electric model rivals AMG version of the midsize SUV.

by on May.24, 2019

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic gets a big boost out of its 48-volt assist system.

Mercedes-Benz is getting serious about electrification, as it demonstrated earlier this month by launching sales of its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the EQC.

The German automaker plans to introduce at least 10 BEVs in the coming years, as well as an assortment of plug-in and conventional hybrids. To that list of electrified options you now can add the first mild hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic.

Product News!

Mild hybrids typically come with small lithium-ion battery packs powering a relatively low-power electrical architecture. Even at 48-volts, however, the technology can be quite useful. In the case of the GLE 580, it powers the new active suspension system, as well as the Stop/Start integrated starter/generator, or ISG. But the biggest surprise is that it adds a performance boost that, at least briefly, lets the new variant outperform the AMG 53 version of the midsize SUV.

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Half of States Wasting $3B Volkswagen Fine Paid for Dieselgate

Some are using the funds for diesel-based projects.

by on May.23, 2019

Volkswagen paid $3 billion for states to use for "clean" transportation projects.

Part of Volkswagen AG’s punishment for rigging its diesel engines to pass U.S. emissions tests, involved about $3 billion designed to foster clean transportation, such as improving electric vehicle infrastructure.

However, a new study by the United States Public Interest Research Group, reveals that the a significant number of states that received funding aren’t using the funds as intended with some states, ironically, using the money for diesel-based projects.

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The group gave 15 states a C grade or better when it comes to policies that can increase access to clean transportation, including electric vehicle charging and electric bus fleets. Fourteen states, along with Puerto Rico, received failing scores.   (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Audi e-tron

Audi plugs in with its first long-range battery-electric vehicle.

by on May.23, 2019

Audi's first electric vehicle, the 2019 e-tron, is almost indistinguishable from a regular sport-utility.

It may be the middle of May but it feels a lot more like the dead of winter as we race up the narrow, winding road to California’s Lake Tahoe ski resort. As we approach the 7,000-foot mark the winds swirl the freshly falling snow across the landscape.

Considering we’ve already traveled almost 80 miles, this would be a recipe for trouble were we driving a first-generation battery-electric vehicle. But that, the harsh weather, as well as the steep climb to Lake Tahoe, don’t begin to phase the new 2019 Audi e-tron we’re driving for the first time.

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While Audi has toyed with a variety of clean-car technologies, including natural gas, hybrids and plug-ins, during the past decade, the e-tron is its first pure battery-electric vehicle – though it won’t be the last, the automaker confirming a total of four models, including the e-tron Sportback and striking e-tron GT that was one of the stars of the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show. (more…)

Memorial Day Weekend Means More Traffic — And Good Deals

Zero percent financing deals coming back for holiday weekend.

by on May.23, 2019

Ford is looking to punch up sales of its F-150 full-size pickup by offering zero percent financing for 72 months.

With Memorial Day weekend coming, it’s no surprise to find out that experts are predicting that the roads will be packed with drivers trying to get from one family function to another. However, if some of those drivers are smart, they’re out taking advantage of new car deals.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, this holiday weekend often sees dealers looking to move excess inventory and since new vehicle sales have been sluggish compared with last year, dealer lots may be swollen with vehicles, according to Edmunds.com.

Product News!

New vehicle inventory hit 4.06 million units in April 2019, marking the third month in a row this year that the industry saw inventory levels above 4 million. Additionally, the average days to turn (DTT) for new vehicles increased to 75 days for the industry in April 2019, a 6% jump compared to last year, the website noted. (more…)

First US Plant Turning Plastic Waste to Fuel Breaks Ground in Indiana

Facility will divert 100,000 tons of plastic from landfills annually.

by on May.23, 2019

A rendering of the Brightmark Energy plastics-to-fuel plant going up in Ashley, Indiana.

Nearly 30 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year winds up in landfills, with plenty of waste also washing out to sea where vast areas of the ocean are now covered with plastic trash. But a new plant in Northeast Indiana aims to help address that problem.

Brightmark Energy is today breaking ground on what is billed as the first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel facility in the town of Ashley, about a three hour drive from Chicago. Once it gets up to speed, the plant will be able to process 100,000 tons of plastic waste, much of it traditionally non-recyclable, transforming it into diesel, naptha and commercial-grade wax.

Environmental News!

“This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing our nation,” said Bob Powell, CEO of San Francisco-based Brightmark Energy, noting that 91% of the 33 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year is not recycled.

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