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Say Goodbye: 17 Models Going Away in 2019

But some nameplates will yet return from the dead.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Death is not permanent, at least in the auto industry. Some old nameplates will return in 2019, like Ford's Ranger.

We’ll be seeing a host of new models make their debut during the 2019 model-year, including Ford’s newly reborn Ranger pickup, the brand-new Subaru Ascent SUV and complete makeovers of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.

But there are also plenty of familiar products that will be waving bye-bye as the 2018 model-year wraps up or at some point during the 2019 season. The obituary list is rather extensive this year and, you likely won’t be surprised to learn, it’s primarily filled with sedans, coupes and sports cars, something that reflects the ongoing shift from passenger cars to light trucks.

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That said, some of the products that might be gone or going soon could stage a comeback in the future if market trends again shift. The Ranger is a good example. Ford killed it off in 2011, anticipating the demise of the midsize pickup segment. New arrivals, like the also-reborn Chevrolet Colorado, proved there was life left in the segment. Ford is also getting set to bring back the long-absent Bronco.

Here’s a look at the U.S. models about to drive off into the sunset:

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Ford Preparing Hybrid Version of Mustang

New powertrain will be about performance, not fuel economy.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Ford EVP Jim Farley took time during the celebration of the 10 millionth Mustang to discuss the evolution of the Mustang, including the upcoming hybrid model.

Ford Motor Co. is eager to keep the buzz around the Mustang alive as the company makes the transition to a world where autonomous and electrified vehicles are common, one of the company’s top executives told reporters after the automaker marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang.

Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of Global Markets, said the long-running success of the Mustang, which has become a global brand, can serve as a beacon for the company as it goes through what amounts to once-every-100-years transition.

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“Mustang is the heart and soul of the Ford Motors Co. It’s a global product and it’s one of the reasons we’re different as a company.” Farley said. “It inspires other vehicles in the line-up. The ‘Mustangness’ of the company is starting with its products,” such the electric vehicles Ford has under development now. “The company has confidence in the Mustang and it knows the customer really well. (more…)

Ford Celebrates Production of 10 Millionth Mustang

Just like the first one, it came out Wimbledon White.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Ford marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang with a huge party, including the very first Mustang built. Both are in Wimbledon White.

Ford Motor Co. celebrated the building of 10 million Mustangs in style with a parade, air show and lunch for hundreds at the assembly plant outside Detroit in Flat Rock, Michigan, where the fabled pony car is now built.

A parade of 54 Mustangs, one from each year the car has been sold during the past half century since it debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City was organized in the parking lot in front of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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As the Mustang owners sipped coffee and munched on donuts, they talked about how much their lives intertwined with the car and its storied history that includes a starring role in more movies than any other vehicle. (more…)

Nissan Selling Electric Vehicle Battery Business

Automaker offloading group to China's Envision.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Nissan is selling its EV battery operations, including the plant in Tennessee, to Envision, a Chinese company.

Nissan is preparing to sell its battery business, including a piece in the United States, to a company, based in China, specializing in production of sustainable energy, the automaker announced.

The deal covers Nissan assets in Japan, United Kingdom and U.S., including a battery factory in Smyrna, Tennessee that now employs 400.

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Nissan Motor Co. said it has entered into a definitive agreement with Envision Group, a sustainable energy operator, for the sale of Nissan’s electric battery operations and production facilities to Envision. Nissan will retain a 25% stake in a new company set up when the deal with Envision Group closes. (more…)

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Could Cause, Not Prevent Crashes, Warns New IIHS Study

Drivers may expect new systems, like Tesla Autopilot, to completely take over driving duties.

by on Aug.07, 2018

Tesla's own semi-autonomous Autopilot tech came under suspicion after this January crash.

Federal safety investigators raced to the scene of a crash involving a Tesla Model S sedan last January after the vehicle slammed into the back of a firetruck stopped on a California highway, regulators wanting to know why that happened despite the vehicle using the carmaker’s advanced driver assistance system specifically designed to prevent such a crash.

“ADAS” systems are being introduced on a wide range of vehicles and, according to industry experts, could substantially reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on U.S. roads. But a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety raises serious concerns about the technology. After testing five different systems offered by four automakers, IIHS warns that even though ADAS can prevent some accidents, the technology also could miss some potential problems and, in some situations, actually steer into a crash.

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A major concern is that these new, semi-autonomous systems still require drivers to be constantly vigilant, and occasionally intervene, said IIHS chief researcher David Zuby. But that’s often easy to forget. “If the systems seem too capable, then drivers may not give them the attention required to use them safely.” (more…)

Trade Officials Say New NAFTA Could be Done by End of August

Talks are moving along with some urgency.

by on Aug.06, 2018

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's top NAFTA negotiator, said the talks between Mexico and the U.S. aren't exclusionary, but necessary.

Canadian trade officials renewed their desires to get a quicker resolution to the long-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Initially expected to take less than six months, the talks are closing in on one year in length but have been often delayed by demands from the Trump administration — mandates the trading partners have been unwilling to meet.

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However, with the latest delay in the rearview mirror, Mexico’s presidential election in early July, the three sides have been hurriedly talking to get the deal done. (more…)

Toyota Motor Reports Increased Q1 Profits

Strong sales in U.S. and cost-cutting efforts pave way to profits.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Toyota's Masayoshi Shirayanagi noted that increased trade tensions and U.S. tariffs will eat into Toyota's bottom line.

Toyota Motor Corp. rode a wave of increased sales and decreased costs to a 7.2% increase in net income in its fiscal first quarter of 2018. Revenues also increased 4.5% during the quarter.

The company also announced it was ending its partnership with Isuzu Motor Ltd. The companies built diesel engines, but with oil burners falling out of favor, replaced by EVs and potentially fuel cells down the road, the two sides will split.

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Toyota owns a 5.89% stake in Isuzu. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.4 Million Ram Pickups

Company says tailgates can fly open for no reason.

by on Aug.02, 2018

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1.4 million Ram pickups due to a tailgate lock problem.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1.1 million Ram pickups in the U.S. to repair the locks on their tailgates that could allow the door to fly open while the truck is being driven.

The company issued a recall to fix the power-locking mechanisms in the tailgates of certain trucks. The recall affects certain Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks from the 2015 through 2017 model years with 5-foot 7-inch and 6-foot 4-inch cargo beds.

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Pickups with manual tailgate locks and trucks with 8-foot cargo beds are not affected. The recently redesigned 2019 Ram is also not affected. Engineers installed a different system for that model. The company said it had not identified any injuries or accidents connected to the defect. (more…)

Audi Set to Reveal PB 18 e-tron Concept

Pebble Beach debut sets in motion Audi’s entry into battery-car market.

by on Jul.30, 2018

For now, Audi is billing the PB 18 as a concept, but could it be working up a challenge to the planned Tesla Roadster electric supercar?

With its first long-range battery-electric SUV set to make its launch later this year, Audi is setting the stage for its entry into the emerging market with the upcoming debut of the PB 18 e-tron Concept.

The name is a bit of code, though one not difficult to figure out, as the electric supercar will be unveiled during this coming month’s series of classic car events capped off by the Aug. 26 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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“It also recalls the LeMans-series winner Audi R18 e-tron, whose technology inspired the solutions for various details,” the German automaker says in a statement accompanying this teaser image, adding that, “The Audi PB 18 e-tron was conceived and designed by the new Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California.” (more…)

Daimler AG Pushing Forward on Restructuring Plans

Company's move to split into three units provides more freedom.

by on Jul.26, 2018

Daimler AG is splitting into three separate entities to improve efficiency and profitability.

Daimler AG took another step toward a restructuring aimed at giving its three key operating units – cars, trucks and financial services – greater freedom and flexibility.

The plan approved by the company’s supervisory board this week creates three new operating companies while the parent company, Daimler AG, retains oversight and governance, according to the company’s announcement.

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“The new structure positions Daimler to tackle the rapid pace of change in the mobility sector and the corresponding strategic challenges. Legally independent divisions will sharpen our focus on the future success of the business.” Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG. (more…)

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