Archive for the ‘China’ Category

BMW Adds Gran Coupe Version of 8-Series

Bigger, roomier and now offered with new Inline-six.

by on Jun.19, 2019

The 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is the Bavarian maker's latest coupe-like sedan.

BMW has pulled the wraps off a new sedan version of its 8-Series. Oops, make that a Gran Coupe version, the distinctive moniker the Bavarian maker is using for four-door versions of its coupes.

Though it picks up on the basic shape of the two-door 8-Series model, which launched just a year ago, the Gran Coupe is longer, taller, wider and roomier. It’s also being offered with a new, inline-six engine, as well as the 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 found in the two-door version of the 8-Series.

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Set to start at just over $85,000 when it reaches U.S. showrooms next autumn, the 2018 8-Series Gran Coupe can push well over six figures with options such as performance tires, a carbon fiber roof, night vision, and a 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system. (more…)

Tesla Stock Rebounds, But Questions Remain About Production

Musk fires up troops to break production record.

by on Jun.18, 2019

Tesla's stock rallied in early morning trading, but by the end of the day, it gave back most of its gains.

After plunging last month to levels not seen since 2016, Tesla shares have been rebounding in recent days. And though a Tuesday morning rally wound up the day in negative territory by the time the final bell was rung, shares are still up more than 4% in recent days, giving the battery-carmaker a bit of a respite.

But whether the upturn will continue is far from certain, with analysts and investors anxiously waiting to see how Tesla’s second-quarter production and sales numbers fare. The automaker fell well short of its first quarter target, driving its bottom line deep into the red. CEO Elon Musk has signaled that the losses likely will continue for the current quarter, but he has also indicated that production and sales have been picking up.

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Separately, Tesla bulls appear relieved by the 47-year-old entrepreneur’s newfound caution when it comes to using his Twitter . Musk has found himself in serious trouble on several occasions over the past year due to his tendency to say whatever comes to mind in his steady flow of tweets. Among other things, that has led to his removal as Tesla chairman and it had earlier this year raised the prospect he might also be forced out as CEO. (more…)

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing Teases Planned Hypercar

Street and track versions under development.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Toyota is in the midst of developing a hypercar for both the track and the road that will race in the 2020/2021 season.

Toyota is bound and determined to prove everything you thought you knew about the company is wrong, especially if that included words like “boring,” and “plain vanilla.” Fresh on the heels of its successful effort at the the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as its revival of the Supra model, the Japanese giant is giving us a hint of the hypercar it is developing for both track and street.

It’s not far away, either, with Toyota promising its most powerful model ever will be “on the grid” during the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship series.

Product News!

“Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development at the company’s technical centers in Toyota City, Higashi-Fuji and Cologne,” the automaker said in a release. It has also noted that president Akio Toyoda – the guy who keeps demanding more “passion” from the company – has himself spent some time test driving the as yet-unnamed hypercar. (more…)

Ford, Volkswagen Nearing Second Agreement

Two automakers working on EVs and autonomous vehicles.

by on Jun.13, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal. The two companies are on the verge of their second deal.

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are finalizing a deal to work together on autonomous and electric vehicles, according the German automaker’s top executive.

Herbert Diess, VW’s CEO, told a group of employees that the two sides were negotiating the final parts of the deal, which would be the second since the two automakers agreed to start working together earlier this year.

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The first deal called for Ford to provide VW with assistance on developing a new pickup truck that it would sell in global markets, but not the United States. This new deal centers on Ford getting use of Volkswagen’s MEB EV platform. (more…)

Hyundai, Kia Invest in Autonomous Software Startup Aurora

Investment expands Korean automakers autonomous program.

by on Jun.13, 2019

Hyundai and Kia are investing in self-driving startup Aurora to accelerate its autonomous program.

Hyundai Motor Co. said it plans to invest in self-driving car software startup Aurora along with Kia Motors Corp. to speed up development of autonomous vehicle technologies.

“With the new investment, the companies have agreed to expand research to a wide range of models and to build an optimal platform for Hyundai and Kia’s autonomous vehicles,” Hyundai said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Technology News!

Aurora said in a blog post that Hyundai and Kia’s investment is part of a series B financing round, which has now raised more than $600 million. (more…)

Ford Begins Testing Autonomous Vehicles in Detroit

Automaker working with Argo AI on self-driving program.

by on Jun.13, 2019

The new Ford Fusion Hybrid is a third-generation test vehicle that Argo AI is now testing in Detroit.

Ford Motor Co. has begun testing autonomous vehicles around its new engineering campus in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood with its AV partner Pittsburgh-based Argo AI even as it launches a new research center in Israel with an eye on developing new technology.

Peter Rander, president of Argo AI, said the new vehicles being tested in Detroit are equipped with a significantly upgraded sensor suite, including new sets of radar and cameras with higher resolution and higher dynamic range.

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When trying to see an object that’s very far away, a lower resolution camera may only be able to represent it as a pixel or two. But with higher resolution, you may be able to get a dozen pixels out of the same far away object. In concert with upgraded software, this means our vehicles are getting better at seeing what’s farther ahead and classifying what it is, Rander said in a blog post on the Argo website. (more…)

Exterior Airbags Could Save Lives of Passengers and Pedestrians

ZF bag automatically triggers ahead of an collision.

by on Jun.13, 2019

Auto supplier ZF has developed exterior airbags to help mitigate injuries to both vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians.

Today’s cars are loaded with smart safety systems, including technology like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, designed to prevent crashes. But when a crash does occur, airbags can substantially reduce the risk for vehicle occupants.

Today’s airbags can pop out of all sorts of nooks and crannies, including the steering wheel, the instrument panel and a vehicle’s headliner. But ZF has unveiled a new airbag concept that is mounted outside the vehicle where it can be triggered in the milliseconds before a crash occurs, rather than after an impact already has taken place.

Safety News!

“Occupant safety is paramount when developing new vehicles for automated and autonomous driving,” said Michael Büchsner, head of ZF’s Passive Safety Systems Division. “Our concept of the pre-crash external side airbag is a great example of how ZF wants to achieve its Vision Zero, a world without accidents and emissions.” (more…)

Musk Hypes Tesla Performance, Future to Shareholders

CEO suggests a Tesla with a 400-mile range is coming soon.

by on Jun.12, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders that the company would likely set a new production record in the second quarter.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk walked into the EV maker’s annual meeting facing a slew of tough questions and, as usual, overwhelmed attendees with a slew of positives resulting in enough happy investors to see the stock jump above $220 a share to start the day.

However, the enthusiasm of the previous night’s meeting wasn’t enough to sustain the momentum and the stock fell nearly 6% to just over $211 a share in mid-day trading.

Business News!

The brash leader of the world’s biggest seller of battery electric vehicles swept aside concerns about ongoing issues with crashes involving Autopilot, day-to-day funding of the company and demand for the company’s first mainstream vehicles. (more…)

Toyota, SoftBank Preparing Launch of Self-Driving Venture

Monet looks compete with other autonomous entities.

by on Jun.12, 2019

Monet Technologies, led by CEO Junichi Miyakawa, will operate the new self-driving joint venture created by Toyota Motor and SoftBank.

Toyota Motor and its partner SoftBank plan to begin operating a self-driving venture, originated by Monet, in Southeast Asia in 2020.

The move would mark a shift for Japan’s third biggest telco as it looks abroad for growth and potentially bring it into competition with portfolio companies of parent SoftBank Group Corp. and its $100 billion Vision Fund, which has invested in major ride-hailing firms around the world.

Global News!

Monet, which is developing an on-demand self-driving service platform, is planning to export a basic version of the system, Chief Executive Junichi Miyakawa told Reuters. (more…)

Trump Criticizes GM Investment in China

Says company is having to pay more because of tariffs.

by on Jun.12, 2019

President Donald Trump criticized GM's investment in China on CNBC.

General Motors’ investment in China has come under fire from President Donald Trump who declared in recent interview it was a bad investment.

GM now sells more cars in China than it does in the United States and during the past two decades the company has insisted the investment in China has not hurt its operations in the U.S. Instead, profits from its Chinese operations has helped it invest in new products in the United States and helped it meet pension obligations.

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Only a small part of GM production of more than 3 million units is exported back to the U.S. and the Trump administration recently refused to roll back the tariffs on the Chinese-made Buicks GM sells in the U.S.  (more…)


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