Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

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Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)

Volkswagen CEO Mueller Gets 40% Compensation Hike

Special breaks let him exceed caps on salary and benefits.

by on Mar.13, 2018

VW CEO Matthias Mueller received a 40% raise in 2017.

Volkswagen’s comeback from the diesel scandal is almost complete. Volkswagen Group reported record earnings for 2017 and this resulted in CEO Matthias Mueller seeing his compensation package jump 40%.

The 64-year-old Mueller’s contract expires in 2020.

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The jump in pay and other benefits to nearly $12.5 million, according to the company, may seem somewhat startling since it was only two years ago the German automaker was firing executives, eliminating bonuses and implementing a new, more restrictive set of rules for compensation. (more…)

GM’s Use of Wind Power Continues to Grow

Company's goal is to use 100% renewable energy by 2050.

by on Mar.13, 2018

General Motors' Orion, Michigan plant is one of several of the company's facilities employing renewable energy.

General Motors continues to expand its use of alternative energy to power up its factories in the U.S and abroad.

In the last move, GM confirmed that its working with Consumers Energy, a utility company based in Jackson, Michigan, moving from what is described as “brown” energy to renewable energy, specifically electricity generated by a new wind farm to power two factories key factories in Flint, Michigan.

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The utility said GM and Switch are the first participants in a new Consumers Energy program to help large businesses use large renewable energy sources. Both companies are now matching 100% of their electric use at key operations in Michigan with wind-generated power. (more…)

Toyota, Honda and Subaru Tops in Brand Loyalty

Loyalty started with cars, but transferred to utility vehicles.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Toyota buyers have transferred their loyalty from passenger cars to the company's SUVs.

Automakers that make attractive, high-quality sport-utility vehicles are more likely to get the repeat buyers that are so important dealer and company bottom lines, according to a new study.

On the surface, that may not sound like news, but the shift away from passenger cars to sport-utes in the wake of the 2008 recession shows that buyer’s are loyal to automakers that provide quality people movers that are consistently improved.

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The results come from the 2018 Edmunds Trade-In Loyalty Report, which examines information collected from 13.9 million vehicle transactions from 2007 to 2017. Bottom line: when automakers made better SUVs, people move to them repeatedly. (more…)

Ford Goes California Dreaming with Special Edition Mustang

Mustang California Special returns for 2019.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Ford has built a series of California Special editions since the first was launched in 1968.

After a brief absence, Ford is bringing back the Mustang California Special, and the latest special-edition pony car amps up both the performance and comfort quotient.

The GT/CS will join the reborn Mustang Bullitt that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit just two months ago, Ford hoping to regain some momentum in its tough battle with the Chevrolet Camaro.

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This marks the fifth-generation California Special, the original making its debut way back in 1968. And it’s the most powerful version of the GT/CS ever, the 2019 model punching 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque out of the familiar 5.0-liter Mustang V-8.


McLaren Teases “Hyper-GT” – Its Fastest Car Ever

Codenamed BP23, it promises to best the iconic McLaren F1.

by on Mar.09, 2018

A rendering of the McLaren BP23 hypercar instrument cluster shows it hitting 243 mph, the top speed of the legendary McLaren F1.

Just days after McLaren revealed the latest of its extreme machines, the Senna GTR, the British marque is teasing us with renderings of what it promises will be the fastest car it has ever built.

The as yet-unnamed “Hyper-GT’ will be capable, it says, of “exceeding 243 mph” which, it turns out, was the max speed of the iconic McLaren F1. Like that original, 1994 hypercar, the new model will also feature a centrally mounted seating position, with an additional passenger seat on either side.

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Codenamed the BP23, McLaren says the new model will be powered by a “petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.” Beyond that, details are scarce when it comes to the powertrain, but few would be surprised if the new hypercar would make 1,000 horsepower or more and be able to push somewhere in excess of 250 mph.


Uber Expanding Autonomous Truck Testing in Arizona

Company is looking to resolve a couple of problems with testing.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Uber Freight is testing autonomous trucks in Arizona to see what their capabilities are and what system may work best for them.

Uber has moved from testing its self-driving cars in select markets to now putting its autonomous trucks through their paces on delivery runs in Arizona.

According to the company, it began its program in November, including contracting with trucking companies to use its own autonomous Volvo big rigs to take over loads as they traverse the state.

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The program calls for a trucker to meet the self-driving truck at the Arizona state border, which then takes the load across the state before handing it off to a second conventional trucker for the short-haul trip. During the autonomous trip, an Uber employee rides in the driver seat of the autonomous truck to monitor the truck and would only need to drive in the event of an emergency. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Wants Trump to Expand Trade War

"It's like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes."

by on Mar.09, 2018

Elon Musk, was on Trump's economic advisory council until it disbanded over immigration policies.

In a rare show of pique aimed at President Donald Trump, automakers, suppliers and industry trade groups have all but unanimously voiced their disappointment over new steel and aluminum import tariffs.

The one notable exception has been Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk who, despite claiming to be generally opposed to import tariffs, appears to be backing the White House. If anything, the tweet-happy executive is spurring Trump to take even broader action, specifically targeting China over the way it handles foreign-made cars, as well as foreign automakers who want to set up manufacturing operations in that country.

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“I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult,” Musk said in a tweet. “It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”


Mercedes-Benz Bank Changes Business Model

Moves by automakers toward mobility forces bank to rethink operations.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Bank is changing the way it does things to keep pace with the changes in auto financing needs.

Daimler Financial Services subsidiary, the Mercedes-Benz Bank in Germany, is revising its business model to accommodate the changes in mobility, such as subscription services, with which carmakers have begun to experiment.

The Mercedes-Benz Bank now finances one of every two vehicles sold by the automaker in Germany and the bank’s portfolio now totals around 970,000 cars, trucks, vans and buses on the books and grew by 12% in 2017 to 26.9 billion euros.

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“In future, we will also integrate mobility services such as car sharing into our vehicle financing, in addition to making offers specifically for electrically powered vehicles,” One in every two Daimler vehicles in Germany is on the road with a contract from Mercedes-Benz Bank, he added. (more…)

VW Developing Unique, Premium EV Platform for Porsche, Audi, Bentley

BMW goes the opposite direction, abandoning electric-only platform strategy.

by on Mar.09, 2018

The Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo is just a "study" for now, but expect a production version to follow.

The Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo is one of the big hits of this year’s Geneva Motor Show and while officially a concept vehicle, the battery-electric crossover is expected to soon follow into production the Mission E coupe launching next year.

Both cars will ride on a specially developed platform, dubbed J1. Meanwhile, sibling brand Audi’s upcoming E-tron Quattro battery-car will use the same MLB architecture as its more mainstream models, like the A4, as well as the new Bentley Bentayga SUV.

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But, going forward, Those three luxury brands are partnering up to develop an entirely new and unique platform they will share for all future electric vehicles, according to a senior company official. Codenamed PPE, for Premium Platform Electric, it will go into all Audi, Bentley and Porsche electric vehicles from 2022 on.