Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Cadillac Going Small With New XT4 Crossover

New model looks to make impact in U.S, China

by on Sep.17, 2018

Cadillac is counting on its new compact crossover, the XT4, to revitalize and expand its buyer base.

Sitting at the very top of the famous pyramid that Alfred P. Sloan used to define the automotive market and values, Cadillac has always been General Motors’ flagship, offering style, luxury and innovation in a series of celebrated big vehicles that in the decades after World War II defined American affluence and influence.

But as the Post-War era gave way to a more complicated and contentious time, Cadillac has often seemed lost in the ongoing competition from Europe and Asia. But the brand’s masters at GM are eager to correct the course with a fleet of new vehicles they believe will redefine the brand’s image among luxury buyers particularly younger buyers.

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Now it’s trying to build on its rich heritage at the same time it reaches into new segments where it never has been much of a factor in the past. (more…)

Bye-Bye Beetle

Volkswagen unveils Beetle Final Edition, with "no immediate plans" for a replacement.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The last of the VW Beetles come in two "final edition" colors and styles, including convertible models.

The end is near – for the Volkswagen Beetle, that is, the automaker all but confirming rumors that 2019 will mark the last time the once wildly popular little car will roll off an assembly line.

Also known in various places as the Bug, and even the Kafer, it has had an incredible run, with only a brief stretch out of production, the Beetle has been a fixture on the road since 1938, when it was unveiled as part of Adolph Hitler’s plan to create a “people’s car,” or “volkswagen,” that was cheap and easy to produce. With nearly 22 million build since then, it is the longest-running model ever, though Toyota’s Corolla claims to beat it as the best-selling nameplate in automotive history.

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“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Ford Promises to be More Transparent About Turnaround

But analysts still wonder what it’s planning.

by on Sep.13, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett hasn't been entirely transparent about his plans to revamp the company.

When Jim Hackett was named CEO of Ford Motor Co., following a senior management shake-up last year, he promised to spend the next 100 days studying the company’s strengths and weaknesses to devise a clear turnaround strategy.

A year later, however, analysts and investors are still wondering what’s in store. The company has announced a few key elements of its plan, starting with the announcement that it will all but abandon the passenger side of the U.S. new car market to focus on the more profitable SUVs, CUVs and pickups that have come to dominate the sales charts.

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Confusion about where Ford is heading with a turnaround plan it now values at $25.5 billion has translated into a sharp slump in its stock price, shares falling by more than a quarter this year, barely nudging the $10 mark all summer. Meanwhile, Ford’s debt rating has tumbled to just a bare step above junk status. (more…)

Lexus Makes it Official: New UX Debuts as Millennial Focused Entry Crossover

“Creative Urban Explorer” to launch at $32,000,

by on Sep.12, 2018

Lexus is looking to court the first round of millennial buyers hard with the new UX crossover.

The Baby Boomers built Lexus into one of the powerhouse brands of the American luxury car market, but there comes a time to move on, it seems, and the high-line arm of Toyota Motor Corp. is shifting focus to millennials with the official debut of its new UX “Urban eXplorer.”

The smallest model in an expanding line-up of crossover-utility vehicles, the base, 2019 Lexus UX 200 will start at $32,000 when it rolls into U.S. showrooms in December, with the hybrid UX 250h tacking on another $2,000.

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“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.” (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Debuting New GLE Ute at Paris Motor Show

German automaker skipping Detroit show.

by on Sep.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz plans to debut the new 2019 GLE at the Paris Motor Show next month instead of in Detroit in January.

Mercedes-Benz plans to show the new 2019 GLE at the Paris Auto Show, marking a bit of a change in its marketing strategy.

In the past, the GLE, which is built at the big Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, would probably been shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January since the vehicle will go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.

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The GLE will also be exported to China, though sales of the GLA have been crimped in the Chinese market by new tariffs. Mercedes, however, has elected to skip the 2019 NAIAS but is eager to show of the new GLE, which will reach the market with loads of new technology. (more…)

Trump Puts Ford in Twitter Crosshairs About China-Built Focus

President says car should be U.S.-built, Ford says it's not profitable.

by on Sep.10, 2018

President Trump is tweeting about Ford again, claiming the automaker should build the Focus Active in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. is back in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump, who claims the automaker should be able to build a vehicle profitably in the U.S. instead of China due to the tariffs he’s put in place.

“’Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. Tariffs.’ CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

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In late August, Ford announced its was cancelling its plans to sell the Ford Focus Active, a wagon-like crossover built in China, in the U.S. because the 25% tariff Trump instituted on vehicles imported from China into the United States made it unprofitable. (more…)

Hey! BMW Introducing New AI-Enabled In-Car Assistant

New digital assistant available in March 2019

by on Sep.06, 2018

BMW has developed its own in-car, AI-enabled digital assistant. The system's functions can be accessed by simply saying, "Hey BMW!"

“Hey Google!” appears to have more competition as BMW follows the lead of Mercedes-Benz, Ford and other automakers by making an AI-enabled assistant available in its vehicles with a simple call out: “Hey BMW!”

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is a new proprietary in-car AI assistant that uses an always on-call technology platform. It is an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW” and has the ability to control vehicle settings, navigation and entertainment systems as well as explain vehicle functions and even conducting a conversation.

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The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will debut in 2019 and mark the start of a new era in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information through voice control, the automaker noted. (more…)

EV Sales Expected to Jump to 30% Overall by 2030, Supplier Claims

Schaeffler execs say America will lag China, Europe in EV acceptance.

by on Sep.06, 2018

Schaeffler's Mover electric vehicle is designed to also be autonomous acting as a shuttle in certain areas.

Electric vehicles could account for 30% of the cars and trucks sold worldwide by 2030, executives from one of the auto industry’s major suppliers said during a symposium the company organized in Detroit.

Marc McGrath, president of Schaeffler Automotive Americas, said the shift to electric vehicles will be slower in North America than in China or Europe where “people are running away from diesel” and several cities have moving to ban the internal combustion engine altogether.

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Schaeffler, a German-based company that supplies high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications, as well as rolling and plain bearings.  (more…)

Ford Kills Focus Crossover from China Due to Trump Tariffs

New vehicle was set to hit U.S. in late 2019.

by on Aug.31, 2018

Ford killed the Focus Active after it was determined the company couldn't turn a profit on the small China-built crossover with the Trump tariffs.

One of the first steps in the shift of Ford Motor Co.’s product lineup from cars to trucks, sport-utes and crossovers has blown up, as the company killed the China-built Focus crossover due to the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S.

The automaker said the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump make it impossible to make a profit on the new Focus Active crossover, which was expected to hit U.S. shores in late 2019.

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“Given the negative financial impact of the new tariffs, we’ve decided not to import this vehicle from China,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of North America told the Detroit News. “The significant thing that moved was the tariffs going up substantially higher. We’re choosing to deploy resources elsewhere.” (more…)

Nissan, Dongfeng Roll Out New EV for China

New Sylphy part of larger plan to grow sales by 1 million by 2022.

by on Aug.28, 2018

Nissan Motor and Dongfeng Motor Group celebrate the first Sylphy produced in China.

Less than two weeks after it announced plans to spend $900 million in the near term to grow its sales in China, Nissan’s first vehicle, a battery-electric model, in that plan began rolling off the assembly line in Guangzhou, China.

The Sylphy Zero Emission, which is based on the Nissan Leaf, is being produced by Nissan and its Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor Group. The new car costs $25,850, including after government subsidies. It is half of the actual Nissan Leaf sold in China, which is sold by Nissan and Dongfeng’s joint venture Venucia brand.

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The new Sylphy can travel 210 miles on a charge and comes at a time where Chinese officials are trying to expand EV sales in the country. There are a slew of companies attempting to take advantage of the incentives tied to the push, including Tesla, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and many others. (more…)