Archive for the ‘NAFTA’ Category

NAFTA Update Faces Hurdles Getting Approval

Talks with Canada have just started despite Friday deadline.

by on Aug.29, 2018

Until all three negotiators say there is a deal, passing the current bilateral will be difficult and take longer than expected.

An air of uncertainty and frustrations once again settled over the discussions surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement despite the announcement by President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto of tentative agreement on the broad outlines of a new trade pact.

However, no one is yet certain about the specifics needed to make a new pact operational. For example, officials from Kia, which is about to launch a new vehicle made in Mexico, Kia Forte, in the U.S. market said it wasn’t sure about what impact the tentative pack might have on the automobile business. Like everyone else, Kia is waiting for more details, noted James Bell, Kia’s director of corporate communications.

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One specific piece of apparently settled under the tentative U.S.-Mexican agreement are the rules of origin, which have increased the requirements from 62.5% to 75%. The new agreement would increase the U.S.-Mexican content in the pact in an effort to draw automotive investment from China to Mexico or the U.S. The rules could penalize Asian carmakers, according to analysts. (more…)

U.S., Mexico Reach Agreement on NAFTA Auto Provisions

Canada needs to sign off on the new deal.

by on Aug.27, 2018

NAFTA talks between Mexico and the U.S. are done and the two sides have resolved their differences. Canadian representatives will resume negotiations now.

After negotiating through the weekend, trade representatives of Mexico and the United States reached agreement on the auto provisions of NAFTA. The two sides now must get approval from Canada to move forward.

Mexico’s top official Ildenfso Guajardo said last week the sides were nearly done and expected a deal to be completed this week. The deal has been a long time coming, oft delayed due to demands by President Donald Trump, who initially slammed the deal when talks began.

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Much of the reason for the slow pace of the talks was due to Trump’s insistence on increasing the percentage of North American-made parts in vehicles imported into the zone. The current level is 62.5% and under the new accord, that rises to 75%, according to Reuters. (more…)

Bugatti Reveals 1,500-Horsepower, $5.78-Million Divo

For folks who think the Chiron just isn’t quick enough.

by on Aug.24, 2018

The Bugatti Divo is a 1,500-horsepower beast that costs a mere $5.78 million.

While it may boast a top speed of 261 mph, there apparently are people – very, very wealthy people – who think the Bugatti Chiron isn’t fast enough.

So, for those folks, the French arm of the Volkswagen Group is rolling out the Bugatti Divo, all $5.78 million of it. The ultra-exclusive hypercar is making its debut this weekend on the Monterey Peninsula, ahead of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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The 1,500 horsepower Divo isn’t a ground-up project, starting out as a Chiron that has been fed plenty of steroids. But it is lighter and boasts far better handling, Bugatti officials promise, especially during aggressive cornering maneuvers. On a straight road, however, it actually loses a bit of speed, topping out at a mere 236 mph. (more…)

US, Mexico Making Incremental Progress in NAFTA Talks

Longer timeline comes after suggestion of earlier resolution.

by on Aug.24, 2018

NAFTA talks are ongoing between Mexico and the U.S. while Canada is waiting to re-engage in the process.

After appearing to be within “hours” of making a deal, Mexico and the United States are now offering a more cautious timeline next week for the completion of the automotive portion of NAFTA negotiations between the two countries.

“We’re on a path that can take us into the weekend and next week,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters as he entered the offices of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington for talks, according to Reuters.

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It was Guajardo that earlier suggested that an agreement could be had within “hours,” but now only suggests that the two sides are “well advanced.” (more…)

KKR Looking at Taking Over FCA’s Magneti Marelli

Acquisition price could be high as $6.5 billion.

by on Aug.23, 2018

Selling off Magneti Marelli could accelerate the development of EVs and AVs FCA CEO considers critical to FCA's success.

KKR & Co., one of the leading specialists in leveraged buyouts that turn public companies private, is in talks to acquire the auto parts business of Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., according to a number of published reports.

FCA announced last spring it planned to put Magneti Marelli up for sale after a lengthy study initiated by the late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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The appeal of selling off Magneti Marelli, which has been part of the Fiat automotive empire for almost 100 years, is that it would provide an infusion of cash that could help shore up the company’s balance sheet at a time when it is looking for new funds to finance projects ranging from the automaker’s expansion in China to financing the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. (more…)

NAFTA Negotiations Stalling Out Again

Auto industry concerned about lack of consistency.

by on Aug.20, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been holding talks with Mexico only these days.

Negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement are ongoing, but anxiety continues to grow inside the auto industry, which is looking for measure of stability, due to the slow pace of the talks.

While some progress has been made during bilateral talks between Mexico and the United States, key issues revolving around automotive content and an automatic, five-year “sunset” provision proposed by Trump administration remain unresolved.

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“I am less optimistic than I was,” said Julie Fream, president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, which represents a broad cross-section of automotive suppliers. The critical content requirements for automobiles still haven’t been addressed, she said after a recent event sponsored by the OESA. (more…)

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:

(more…)

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…)