Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Volkswagen Brings a Slew of Concepts to US Version of Wörthersee

Customized VWs taking tour of United States.

by on May.22, 2018

Tanner Foust's SEMA Atlas concept may be the star of VW show of the five concepts touring the U.S. this summer.

Every year, thousands of crazed Volkswagen fan flock to the Wörthersee VW meet in Europe. It features a slew of tricked out and tweaked up cars from across the decades as well as few sneak peeks at what the company is working on.

However, American VW fans with travel budget that doesn’t include a trans-Atlantic flight have an option: SoWo: The European Experience. The show was held last weekend in Savannah, Georgia.

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More importantly, it seems VW likes a good party and rolled up with some modified versions of the Jetta, Golf, Arteon, Atlas and Tiguan. Although very impressive, it’s highly unlikely that any of them will follow in the path of the Golf TCR shown in Europe, which is likely to find its way to dealerships relatively soon. (more…)

China Cutting Tariffs on Imported Vehicles

But revised rate is still six times higher than what U.S. levies.

by on May.22, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to cut tariffs on cars to 15% and components to 6%.

Under mounting trade pressure from the U.S., China said Tuesday that it will reduce duties on imported passenger vehicles from 25% to 15%, while also cutting the tariff on imported automotive parts and components to 6%.

Chinese President Ji Xinping had promised to cut tariffs in comments made last month, though it is unclear if the move will go far enough to satisfy critics as diverse as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. President Donald Trump. With the exception of pickup trucks, the American tariff on imported vehicles is just 2.5%.

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In a series of tweets last month, Trump referred to the automotive imbalance asked, “Does that sound like free or fair trade? No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!” (more…)

Gas Prices Keep Rising; Might Truck and Ute Sales Fall?

Analyst thinks prices are getting high enough to hurt SUV sales.

by on May.22, 2018

With gas prices averaging nearly $3 a gallon in the U.S., at least one analyst is concerned truck and utility vehicle sales could be impacted.

Going into the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional opening of the summer driving season, the average price of gasoline across the U.S. continues to climb and analysts expect even higher prices lie ahead, prompting at least one respected analyst suggest buyers of new vehicles may start to rethink their purchase decisions.

Gas prices jumped 12 cents during the past 14 days, and six-cents since last week, landing the national average at $2.93 – the highest price point going into the Memorial Day weekend since 2014, according to AAA.

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“AAA forecasts nearly 37 million travelers will hit the road for the holiday weekend. Compared to an average of the last three Memorial Day weekends, pump prices are nearly 50 cents more expensive and climbing,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)

Porsche Recalls 60K Utes in Europe for Diesel Fix

Latest round of diesel problems for VW family.

by on May.21, 2018

Porsche is recalling nearly 60,000 Cayenne and Macan diesel-powered sport-utility vehicles to fix a emissions control issue.

German authorities ordered Porsche to recall almost 60,000 diesel-powered sport utility vehicles in Europe after it was discovered thy found software that manipulates emissions controls to help defeat tests.

The German transport ministry found the software, which could reduce emissions controls for nitrogen oxide, during inspections of Macan and Cayenne SUVs. Parent company Volkswagen has had thousands of vehicles recalled for similar issues with VW and Audi diesels since 2015.

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The recall covers 52,831 Macan 3.0-liter V6 and 6,755 Cayenne 4.2-liter V8 vehicles. Porsche’s not the only VW brand with a diesel problem right now as Audi recently suspended deliveries of the current A6 and A7 models. (more…)

China Tariffs on Hold as Trade War Talk Recedes

Two countries putting a deal together.

by on May.21, 2018

The Trump administration is backing away from proposed tariffs on a variety items imported from China.

The announcement by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin that the Trump administration will suspend any plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports lowers the risks for American and European carmakers, fearing the impact of a trade war.

Companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which export American-made vehicles to China, will apparently be spared, facing the substantial tariffs the Peoples Republic of China had proposed imposing on vehicles exported from the United States.

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Importers of vehicles from China, such General Motors, also will be spared American tariffs on vehicles from Chinese factories. (more…)

Performance Version of Tesla Model 3 Will Be “Quicker than a BMW” – But Cost $78,000

Will “beat anything in its class on a track,” tweets Tesla’s Musk.

by on May.21, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk claims the performance Model 3 will not only be faster, but handle better than the BMW M3.

Despite a painfully slow ramp-up of production, Tesla is planning to add a new high-performance version of its Model 3 sedan that CEO Elon Musk claims will be “quicker than a BMW,” and be able to “beat anything in its class on a track.”

In a series of tweets over the weekend, Musk fleshed out details about the all-wheel-drive electric vehicle, noting that it will launch from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, top out at an Autobahn-burning 155 mph, and still yield 310 miles per charge – at least when driven a bit less aggressively. But the yet-unnamed performance version of the Model 3 will also cost $78,000, or about twice as much as a base version of the electric sedan.

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That steep jump actually isn’t entirely out of line, at least when comparing to the likes of a BMW 3-Series sedan. The German sports sedan starts at $34,900, around the same figure as a Model 3 before factoring in the $7,500 federal tax credit. The BMW M3 starts at $66,500, though appears to have less standard equipment than the Model 3 performance version. The Tesla includes AWD, for example, an otherwise $5,000 option.

(more…)

Fired Ford Exec Reappears as Head of Supplier Building Ford GT Supercar

Veteran exec was ousted for “inappropriate behavior” in February.

by on May.21, 2018

Ford's Raj Nair helped introduce the 2019 Mustang.

Unceremoniously ousted in February from one of Ford Motor Co.’s top posts, 53-year-old Raj Nair has resurfaced, hiring on with Canadian supplier Multimatic as its new president and chief operating officer. In that post, Nair will oversee the production of the $450,000 Ford GT supercar.

Until February, Nair was one of the Detroit automaker’s most senior executives, in mid-2017 promoted to the critical post of president of Ford North America as part of a broad management shake-up that saw the ouster of the carmaker’s CEO Mark Fields. In his previous post, Nair oversaw global product development and was a key player in the development of the exotic Ford GT.

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But his career seemed to come to a screeching halt when, early this year, Nair suddenly took a leave, many colleagues and staff members worrying he might be facing a health problem. Instead, insiders told TheDetroitBureau.com, he was named in a complaint filed through an anonymous tip line set up by Ford and subsequently fired for what the company would only describe as “inappropriate behavior.”

(more…)

In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

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One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

(more…)

As Predicted, Ford Resumes F-150 Production in Michigan

Production at two other plants restarts on Monday.

by on May.18, 2018

The first Ford F-150 truck rolls off the line this morning at Dearborn Truck Plant, restarted after a fire at a supplier halted production.

As Ford Motor Co. officials said earlier this week it would, the company’s workers at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant began sending F-150s down and off the line to would-be customers at 6 a.m. this morning.

The plant, along with a sister facility in Kansas City, Missouri, have been idle for the past week in the wake of a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products on May 2. Since that morning, the company scrambled to resume production of parts at the facility. Ford expects to make up the lost production and the supply to consumers was never impacted, officials noted.

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The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours, halted production at the two Ford sites as well as at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, General Motors’s full-size van plant near St. Louis and Fiat Chrysler adjusted the run rate of its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. (more…)

BMW Opens New R&D Facility in Beijing

New center is the third in China.

by on May.17, 2018

BMW Group executives mark the opening of the company's new research and development center in Beijing.

The BMW Group opened a new research and development center in Beijing — its third R&D center in the country.

The opening of China R&D Center is a significant step in expanding local innovation and moving ahead with the group’s localization strategy of “In China, for China and the world” one step further, officials noted.

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China became the largest market for the BMW Group last year. With the establishment of R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, the Chinese R&D network is unique and by far the biggest presence of BMW research and development outside Germany. (more…)

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