Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

And Another One Bites the Dust: Farewell Mercedes SLC

Little roadster’s “Final Edition” rolls out – but so does a Grand Edition of bigger SL two-seater.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is putting an end to its small roadster, but it'll go out with a bang with a "Final Edition" package.

The ongoing assault of the SUV is claiming yet another victim. In recent months, we’ve seen mainstream automakers steadily pare back their sedan, coupe and sports car lines and now, it seems, even luxury manufacturers are feeling the impact of the most dramatic industry shift in decades.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest throwing in the towel, getting ready to banish the once-popular SLC roadster originally known as the SLK. The good news for fans is that there’ll be an appropriately named Final Edition rolling into showrooms before the SLC drives off into the sunset.

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The German automaker isn’t abandoning the sports car market entirely. It’s been rolling out more versions of the Mercedes-AMG GT in recent months and, for roadster aficionados, there’s a new Grand Edition that adds even more high-line touches to the familiar SL line. (more…)

Ford Cutting Operations in Brazil, Closes Oldest Plant

Automaker not waiting on tie-up with VW to improve business.

by on Feb.19, 2019

São Bernardo do Campo is Ford's oldest plant in Brazil. It makes the Fiesta and will be closed later this year.

When Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG announced they were talking about potential partnerships in the near future, one area many believed they would discuss was their businesses in South America.

The South American market has been tough sledding for much of the last decade and the two sides had linked up before with AutoLatina, which ceased operations in 1995.

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However, Ford isn’t waiting on a tie-up with VW to make moves down there, saying today it plans to close its oldest plant in Brazil resulting in 2,700 layoffs as it exits the commercial truck business in South America. (more…)

Honda Shutting Down Lone UK Auto Plant

Maker says Brexit not the reason, but move highlights problems.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Honda announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Swindon. It means the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will close its only auto plant in Great Britain in 2021 becoming the latest automaker to say it was leaving and turning what was once a trickle into a torrent of closures due to Brexit. The facility makes the Civic.

The Swindon plant closure means the loss of 3,500 jobs and a tenth of all vehicles produced in Britain. However, despite early reports, Honda officials claim Brexit had little to do with the move. Honda officials said the company was focusing manufacturing in the areas where it has the largest sales, and Europe isn’t one of those.

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“We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” said Honda Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”  (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

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The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

Commerce’s Report on Auto Imports Affecting National Security Comes Sunday

Trump expected to do little with report right away.

by on Feb.15, 2019

President Donald Trump will soon have to decide if using punitive tariffs makes sense in negotiations.

Just days after proclaiming a national emergency that would take $8 billion from the U.S. budget to construct additional border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, President Donald Trump will be faced with another massive decision involving foreign countries.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to tell Trump on Sunday whether or not foreign vehicle imports constitute a national safety risk and offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation.

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He’ll have 90 days to act on the Commerce Department’s recommendation. However, President Trump already has a plan in place for the issue: a 25% tariff on vehicles imported into the country. (more…)

VW-Ford Continue to Run Into Problems With Alliance Plans

New report: sticking point centers around autonomous vehicle program.

by on Feb.14, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

When Volkswagen and Ford announced a joint venture focused on light commercial vehicles last month, the two automakers also confirmed they were looking at a variety of other possible partnerships – including autonomous and electrified vehicles – but there are growing signs that the negotiations aren’t going as well as expected in several areas.

As TheDetroitBureau.com reported earlier this week, talks on aligning VW and Ford electric vehicle programs are faltering because of significant differences in strategy – and now, reports the Reuters news service, there may be serious challenges surfacing that could prevent them from teaming up on the development of autonomous vehicles, as well.

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The key issue, the news service says, is Ford’s demand that the German carmaker invest at least $500 million in its own autonomous vehicle program. That would be in line with the investment Honda recently made when it decided to partner up with General Motors on autonomous vehicle research. (more…)

Audi Teases Q4 e-tron Concept Ahead of Geneva

Expected to be one of 12 all-electric models from luxury brand.

by on Feb.14, 2019

Audi's newest addition to its EV family is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and the company gave us a peek a the new Q4 e-tron.

The Volkswagen Group last week confirmed plans to roll out “50+” battery-electric vehicles by 2025 and, it seems, fully a dozen of those will be sold through its high-line luxury brand.

The first of these, simply dubbed the Audi e-tron, is set to go on sale later this year, while a production version of the e-tron GT Concept unveiled at last November’s L.A. Auto Show will hit the road next year. And now, ahead of next month’s Geneva Motor Show, we’re getting a first look at the Audi Q4 e-tron that will follow by no later than the first half of 2021.

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As the Q4 name suggests, the next all-electric model will be a crossover, reflecting the fact that battery-electric vehicles won’t be immune from the rapid shift from cars to light trucks sweeping across the global auto industry. (more…)

Ghosn Affair Hits Nissan’s Bottom Line, Along with Weak Sales

Automaker downgrades future earnings forecast.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Nissan is taking an $83.2 million charge against earnings due to the scandal surrounding Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan Motor Co. warned that its earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, could be about the lowest the carmaker has seen in six years.

Nissan now expects to earn 410 billion yen, or $3.7 billion, for the fiscal year, a 45% year-over-year decline. It originally projected a 500 billion yen, or $4.5 billion profit.

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The second-largest of the Japanese automakers put most of the blame on sliding sales in the U.S. and China, its two largest markets. But it also revealed that it has logged an $83.2 million charge related to the scandal that began with the arrest last November of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. (more…)

Tesla Out of Cheaper Model 3s, Stakeholder Cuts Share in Half

T. Rowe Price halves stake from 10.12% to 5.2%.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The mad rush to blow out Model 3s at the end of the year has left Tesla with very few Model 3s to deliver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said that the company would face some stiff headwinds in the early part of this year, and now some of those issues are now coming to light … as are the consequences.

The company’s last recent round of layoffs were unexpected, but were initially seen positively as analysts suggested the company would need to find ways to cut costs. However, according to Reuters, one of the teams that were cut significantly should have raised alarm bells sooner.

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Reuters reports that Tesla’s delivery team saw 150 of 230 employees lose their jobs. The Las Vegas-based group was largely responsible for delivering the company’s savior vehicle: the Model 3.  (more…)

Want a 205 mph BMW 7-Series? Here Comes the New Alpina B7

What else could you want for $141,700?

by on Feb.11, 2019

Alpina is going where the folks at BMW fear to tread by producing its own version of the M7 named the B7.

There’s long been a yawning gap in the BMW line-up. While virtually everything the automaker now offers is available with an “M” option, the Bavarians have resolutely refused to offer an M7 model. But that’s where Alpina, a German tuner with a long relationship with BMW comes in.

And it’s about to launch its own take on a performance version with the debut of the latest-generation Alpina B7. The sixth-generation sedan – and the third generation of Alpina B7s to make it to the U.S. – starts out from where the newly updated 2020 BMW 7 Series leaves off.

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If anything, the 2020 Alpina B7 adds even more luxurious details to the latest BMW 7, while also boosting performance significantly, the full-size sedan now able to hit 60 in a mere 3.5 seconds before racing to a top speed of 205 mph – 12 mph faster than the prior-generation B7. (more…)

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