Archive for the ‘NAFTA’ Category

FCA Investing $1b, as Ram HD Pickup Moved From Mexico to Michigan

Move to create 2,500 new jobs.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Like its competitors, FCA has been pushing rapidly up-market with its pickups, the 2018 Ram 2500 Tungsten model shown here.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to invest $1 billion in a suburban Detroit assembly plant that will take over production of the Ram heavy-duty pickup in 2020. The truck currently is assembled in a Mexican factory that will be “repurposed” for another global product, FCA said.

The shift to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant will result in the creation of 2,500 new U.S. jobs, according to FCA. Separately, the Euro-American automaker announced plans to pay $2,000 bonuses to 60,000 U.S. hourly and salaried employees this coming spring.

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“These announcements reflect our ongoing commitment to our U.S. manufacturing footprint and the dedicated employees who have contributed to FCA’s success,” said FCA Chief Executive Office Sergio Marchionne. “It is only proper that our employees share in the savings generated by tax reform and that we openly acknowledge the resulting improvement in the U.S. business environment by investing in our industrial footprint accordingly.”

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Honda Plans to Show Off Insight Prototype at NAIAS

New hybrid fills the gap between Civic and Accord.

by on Jan.11, 2018

Honda plans to unveil the Insight Prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

Honda continues to expand its electrified offerings and will show off its Insight Prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, and provided an early look today.

The Insight prototype is likely not going to vary much from the actual Insight, which is slated to hit dealerships later this year. It’ll be the automakers fifth electrified vehicle and it will be built alongside the Honda Civic and CR-V in Indiana.

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“The new 2019 Honda Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of Automobile Sales and general manager of the Honda Division, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. (more…)

Tide Keeps Rolling as Toyota, Mazda Pick Alabama for New Plant

State beats North Carolina to secure 4,000-employee plant.

by on Jan.10, 2018

Toyota President Akio Toyota and his Mazda counterpart Kogai announce their alliance.

Toyota and Mazda are expected to announce that Huntsville, Alabama will be the site for a $1.6 billion auto plant after a search that stretched out for several months and nearly a dozen states.

In recent years, Asian and European manufacturers have made Alabama a center of automotive manufacturing and in 2017, the state churned out more than 1 million vehicles at plants operated by Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai.

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The Toyota-Mazda assembly plant will be built in the Huntsville area in Limestone County, according to news services that have been briefed on the impending announcement. The exact site hasn’t been officially announced yet. (more…)

Toyota Connects With Alexa Voice Assistant

Goal is to seamlessly integrate technology into all aspects of life.

by on Jan.10, 2018

Toyota's Zack Hicks explains how Toyota Connected will use Amazon's Alexa to supplement its system already in place.

Amazon’s personal voice assistant, Alexa, is showing up in a lot of places at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, including the Toyota stand, the Japanese automaker the latest to integrate the virtual reality technology into its vehicles.

In the coming months, the automaker announced Monday, it will begin offering access to Alexa on “select” Toyota and Lexus models, and the plan is to expand the line-up over the coming years.

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“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go,” said Zack Hicks, the head of Toyota Connect, the Japanese automaker’s data and digital services subsidiary. (more…)

Mexican Auto Imports on Increase Despite Trump’s Pushback

Sales of models produced “South of the Border” hit all-time high in 2017.

by on Jan.09, 2018

Mexico exported 2.33 million vehicles to the U.S. in 2017, a 9.4% increase over 2016.

Despite a campaign promise by Pres. Donald Trump to curb their import, sales of Mexican-made cars, trucks and crossovers surged to an all-time high in 2017.

In all, 2.33 million vehicles were shipped to the U.S. from assembly lines “South of the border,” a 9.4% increase over 2016, according to Mexican auto industry data. That reflects a variety of factors, including the opening of new Mexican assembly plants, including an Audi factory that last year became the sole global source of the carmaker’s popular Q5 crossover-utility vehicle.

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The surge could create some political headaches for Mexico, however. During his 2016 campaign, then-candidate Trump sharply criticized carmakers like Ford for importing cars from Mexico and warned he would impose “a big border tax.” While Trump hasn’t followed up on that threat his administration’s chief trade representative is engaged in a high-stakes bid to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement that helped boost the Mexican auto industry. (more…)

Toyota Paints the Future of Mobility With e-Palette Concept

“A multi-purpose moving space.”

by on Jan.08, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda introduces the company's new e-Palette battery-electric van at CES 2018.

Think of the concept vehicle Toyota unveiled at CES Monday as something of a blank canvas. The e-Palette can serve as anything from a driverless ride-sharing vehicle to an automated delivery van – even a mobile store where commuters can shop on their way to work.

The battery-drive prototype will make the transition from concept to reality two years from now when Toyota puts several versions of the e-Palette into service during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And the giant automaker has already signed up several e-commerce partners, including Amazon, Pizza Hut and the ride-sharing service Uber.

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Think of e-Palette as a “multi-purpose moving space,” said Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. and grandson of its founder. “Every e-Palette can be reconfigured for different purposes within a single day.” (more…)

Infiniti Inspired: Q Inspiration Concept Hints at Future Flagship

Q45 reborn?

by on Jan.03, 2018

Infiniti provides a rear view of the Q Inspiration Concept coming to the NAIAS this month.

Infiniti has a long history of teasing us with exotic concepts that eventually translate into slightly more sedate production vehicles. So, what to make of the inspiring new fastback prototype it plans to bring to the North American International Auto Show in mid-January.

Though the brand now uses “Q” to designate all of its passenger car models – and QX for its SUVs and CUVs — the name, Q Inspiration Concept, clearly suggests it is envisioned as the long-awaited successor to the original Q45 sedan that first put the brand on the map.

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“Experimenting with new proportions in a typically conservative segment, the Q Inspiration features a shorter hood and elongated body,” says Karim Habib, here delivering his first major concept car as the newly named Infiniti executive design director. “We aim to take the traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution.”

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Nissan Hints a Revival of Xterra May Be in the Works

Could it be based off the same platform as next-gen Frontier pickup?

by on Dec.29, 2017

The Nissan Xterra drove off into the sunset in 2015.

All things go in cycles, even when it comes to booming demand for utility vehicles. Make that CUVs, or crossover-utility vehicle, which have all but bumped traditional sport-utes off the market.

But there are signs a revival of classic, body-on-frame SUVs just might be a-coming, with Ford readying a reborn Bronco, Toyota promising to follow the FT-AC Concept with a production model, and Jeep betting big on the all-new remake of the classic Wrangler – currently one of the few true SUVs left on the market.

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Could Nissan be ready to toss its own hat back in the ring, however, with an all-new version of the Xterra, which it pulled from the U.S. market in 2015? Apparently yes, according to a senior Nissan executive.

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Alfa’s Next SUV Will Be Bigger, Hybrid-Powered

Making “a little big bigger.”

by on Dec.28, 2017

Auto Express used a bit of Photoshop magic to give a hint of what the larger Alfa SUV might look like.

Alfa Romeo’s next SUV will not only be the brand’s biggest model ever but also its first hybrid, according to the Italian automaker’s chief technical officer.

With the Stelvio, Alfa’s first ute, clicking with buyers around the world, the brand is betting the next, as yet-unnamed SUV will continue to power its global revival plan. But it will be just one of three new models set to debut during the next couple years.

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“The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little bit bigger?” asked CTO Roberto Fedeli, in an interview with Britain’s Auto Express magazine. (more…)

Uber Taking More Lumps Over Evasive Tactics

Company's problems expanding in Europe, Asia

by on Dec.27, 2017

Uber continues to face problems in London and now that's expanded to Vietnam.

Uber, even though it has promised to clean up its odious management culture, is still getting into trouble of trying to evade laws and regulations in various countries where it operates.

Taxi drivers in London, in one case that his gotten an enormous amount of attention, want to charge Uber’s top management in the United Kingdom with perjury after Transport for London accused ride-sharing company of lying to the High Court.

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In a 21-page letter to Uber seen by The Sunday Times, TfL says it refused to renew the company’s operating license in September because Uber had given it “materially false and misleading” information many times. (more…)