Archive for the ‘Minivans’ Category

Waymo to Re-Use Old Detroit Plant to Build New Autonomous Vehicles

Google spin-off to partner with supplier American Axle.

by on Apr.23, 2019

Waymo plans to use a facility on the north side of Detroit to convert Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids and other vehicles for its Waymo One fleet.

A major Silicon Valley tech firm is setting up a base in Detroit, Google spinoff Waymo taking over a plant in the Motor City where it plans to convert vehicles to operate as part of its autonomous ride-sharing service.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik first announced in a blog post Tuesday that the company will lease an unused factory owned by American Axle & Manufacturing on Detroit’s north side. It will be used to convert such vehicles as the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan that will be a mainstay of the expanding Waymo One ride-sharing service.

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“There has been a real risk that the shift of the automotive industry could move from Detroit to Silicon Valley, and we’ve been fighting that every step of the way,” Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan said after learning about Waymo’s plans. “I think a major statement was made today in the battle of Detroit and Silicon Valley that a major Silicon Valley company has said the future of vehicles in the city of Detroit.” (more…)

Google Maps Taking Guesswork Out of EV Charging

A search now show charger availability, type and other helpful info.

by on Apr.23, 2019

ChargePoint, Electrify America and other companies are adding more charging stations across the U.S.

For years, the knock against electric vehicles has been finding a place to charge up and how long it’ll take EV owners to do so. Google Maps is now taking the sting out of some of those problems.

“If you’ve ever driven to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station only to find that all ports are occupied,” wrote Alex Donaldson, project manager, Google Maps, in a blog post, “you know that you could end up waiting in line for anywhere between minutes to hours — which can really put a damper on your day when you have places to go and things to do.”

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Google Maps will now show you the location and availability of charging stations when you use the search function. The feature was teased in a company blog post last fall, but now the tech giant is making it available in real time in the U.S. as well as the United Kingdom.  (more…)

Weakening Sales Worry Automakers Gathered for NY Auto Show

Industry execs fear a Trump “grenade," but automakers are creating some of their own problems.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Toyota's U.S. sales chief Bob Carter expressed concern about the potential impact of actions by the Trump administration could have on sales this year.

U.S. auto sales suffered a severe chill over the winter. Demand was widely expected to slip slightly after posting an unexpected increase in 2019, but the market has been surprisingly weak and many of the industry officials gathered for this week’s media preview at the New York International Auto Show fear the situation could get worse.

In particular, there was a clear sense of concern that President Donald Trump could be “pulling the pin out of the grenade,” as Bob Carter, head of U.S. sales for Toyota put it, escalating the various trade wars to the point that it could send American car sales into a tailspin.

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The harsh weather that swept through much of the country in January and February clearly took some of the blame for the way demand tumbled during the first quarter. But even a climactic reprieve in March did little to improve the situation, and sales for the first three months of the year were off by 4%. Only four brands finished the quarter in the black – and even then, only on the retail side. (more…)

Hyundai Names Former Nissan Exec José Muñoz its New COO

The 53-year-old exec was forced out in wake of Nissan’s Ghosn scandal.

by on Apr.18, 2019

José Muñoz, Nissan's former chief performance officer, is joining Hyundai and will oversee U.S. operations as part of his duties.

José Muñoz, the widely admired Nissan chief performance officer forced out in the wake of the scandal surrounding former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, is moving to South Korea, where he will become the global chief operating officer at Hyundai Motor Co.

The 52-year-old Muñoz was considered a rising Nissan star and a potential successor to Ghosn but tendered his resignation in January, sources told TheDetroitBureau.com, in protest over the Japanese automaker’s handling of the Ghosn investigation. The 65-year-old Ghosn remains in a Japanese detention center accused of a variety of financial crimes, though skeptics contend he has become the victim in a power struggle between Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault.

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In his new post, Muñoz also will serve as president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. (more…)

Live From New York!

Dozens of news models debuting in the Big Apple.

by on Apr.17, 2019

America’s largest city is the center of the automotive universe this week as the New York International Auto Show is underway. The media that had been swarming four floors of displays from the world’s automakers are now giving way to the public.

However, there are still a few stories left to cover and TheDetroitBureau.com is making sure we continue to bring you the latest news so check in regularly to stay on top of the latest happenings. (more…)

Italy’s Alcantara Expands to Meet Material Demands

Plant expansion allows for company growth.

by on Apr.08, 2019

CEO Andrea Borgano said the company's 300-million euro expansion will allow the company to meet increased demand.

With demand for its unique products soaring, Alcantara has completed the first phase of its 300-million euro expansion of its production facilities in Nera Montoro, Italy.

“The startup of these new facilities is an important, symbolic moment for us,” said Andrea Borgano, Alcantara CEO.

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“It is confirmation of our intention to grow, the positioning of the brand accomplished over the years, and our ability to generate strong growth in demand for Alcantara. Since the investment will reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, Alcantara also is confirming its strong and serious commitment to sustainability.” (more…)

Gas Prices to Keep Rising, Expected Pass $3/Gallon Before Falling

Trump administration's push to lower prices ineffective.

by on Apr.08, 2019

Gas prices have been on the rise since the beginning of this year. However, the jump has been more severe in the last seven weeks.

New vehicle sales have been on the decline all year as higher interest rates and lower incentives combine to drive down demand. Now consumers are seeing another auto-related cost climbing upward: gas prices.

Across the U.S., gas prices have risen for the last seven weeks. As of April 1, the national average, according to GasBuddy.com, was $2.69 a gallon. It was a jump of 3.9 cents in one week and the highest prices it has been in 142 days.

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Diesel prices are also on the rise, albeit not as steeply, rising just 0.2 cents per gallon last week to an average $3.02 a gallon. On top of that, GasBuddy’s own information suggests that as of April 7, the prices have jumped another 6 cents a gallon since April 1. (more…)

Ford Q1 Sales Fall 1.6% Due to Passenger Car Freefall

Trucks and SUVs stem 23% drop in car sales.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Ford has already upped the production run of the new Ranger due to its popularity. It made a difference in sales during the first quarter.

Ford Motor Co saw sales decline by 1.6% in the first quarter.

But the drop was not as large as those experienced by rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and was concentrated in the passenger car segment, which are continuing to fade in consumer interest.

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“As we transition out of passenger cars we expect to see some volatility,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of sales, service and marketing. “I’m optimistic the year will strengthen.” (more…)

Trump Won’t Close Border But Threatens to Scuttle NAFTA Replacement, Impose New Auto Tariffs

President gives southern neighbor “1-year warning” on illegal immigration and drugs.

by on Apr.04, 2019

President Donald Trump rescinded his threat to close the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Insisting “I don’t play games,” President Donald Trump has backed down on a threat made just a week ago to shut the U.S.-Mexican border, the former businessman now giving the ally a “1-year warning” to either stop illegal immigration and drug shipments or face the prospect of new automotive tariffs.

The original threat, which could have led to a major hit to the U.S. economy and a virtual shutdown of American automotive manufacturing, generated an intense pushback, even normally supportive Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding the president find an alternative solution.

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“If the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re gonna put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “The whole ballgame is cars. If they don’t do it, we’re gonna tax the cars. And if that doesn’t work, we’re gonna close the borders.” (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Cutting Shift at Canadian Minivan Plant

Sales of the Pacifica have fallen 25% this year.

by on Apr.01, 2019

Fiat Chrysler is cutting a shift at its Windsor, Ontario plant. The move eliminates 1,500 jobs.

Facing a sharp drop in the sales of minivans, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV confirmed it will trim one shift at the automaker’s assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit.

The cutbacks will result in the loss of 1,500 jobs at the plant and in untold number of job cuts at stamping plants on the other side of the Detroit River at factories in the U.S. that major components to the facility.

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Up until now FCA managed to avoid major cuts in production similar to those that led to plant closings and shift reductions at plants operated by key rivals such as General Motors and Ford. Last year, Fiat Chrysler sold 270,000 Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans in the United States.  (more…)