Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Tesla to Hold Musk to a Higher Standard for Compensation

No cash or bonuses unless carmaker hits milestones.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Elon Musk won't receive any compensation from Tesla until the EV maker begins hitting select stock and operational milestones.

With Tesla still struggling with serious production problems and a balance sheet that has been sinking deeper into the red, the battery-carmaker said Tuesday that its billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk won’t be in line for any form of compensation until it reaches stock and operational milestones.

While investors continue to back the company, its shares rebounding sharply since a deeper-than-expected third-quarter loss was announced last autumn, there has been growing concern about the delays in ramping up production of the new Model 3. That has raised concerns the company might have to raise more capital to compensation for its rapid cash burn.

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“Tesla and all of its shareholders” will have to perform “extraordinarily well before Musk is to receive any form of compensation going forward, the company said. But the announcement also took aim at another concern that some investors and analysts have raised in recent months: whether the South African-born Musk would remain onboard. (more…)

What Does New China-Only Jeep Grand Commandeer Reveal About Upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

Official debut set for Beijing Motor Show in April.

by on Jan.23, 2018

The Jeep Grand Commander will debut in China before it hits U.S. dealerships in 2020.

Jeep expects to reach a critical milestone this year, topping 2 million sales worldwide, or more than triple its volume when the old Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and was transformed into FiatChrysler early in the decade.

To get there, Jeep has taken a two-pronged approach: entering into new markets and both expanding and updating its line-up. Nowhere is that strategy paying off like China, a market that has only belatedly been caught up in the SUV craze. To take advantage of that trend, the automaker is launching an all-new model specifically targeting the Chinese market, the Jeep Grand Commander.

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According to Jeep, the three-row, seven-seat model has been designed specifically for China. But it just happens to be coming online not long before the company plans to launch another three-row model, the Grand Wagoneer. And that raises the question: how much of what we’re seeing in China will carry over into the American seven-seat SUV? (more…)

Gas Prices Rising — Get Used to It, AAA Says

Market actions suggest price increase last month is first of many.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Gas prices went up slightly last month, AAA says, adding its a trend drivers may want to get used to.

The price of gasoline across the U.S. crept up by 1 cent to $2.54 per gallon last month, indicating that the price of gasoline is likely to climb even higher in the months to come according to new report by AAA.

Gas prices increased for 41 states with Florida seeing the largest jump at the pump with a 9-cent increase, AAA said, while the federal Energy Information Administration reported that demand for gasoline decreased only slightly.

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“For consumers, the questions is: how high are gas prices going to go in 2018,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. (more…)

Porsche Plugging In: Half its Line-up Will Be Electrified

German carmaker looking to expand battery-electric use.

by on Jan.18, 2018

Porsche is moving forward with its newest electric vehicle, the Mission E, as it expands its electrification efforts to half of its line-up.

It will be another year before Porsche’s first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Mission E, finally reaches market, but the German sports car brand already is laying out big plans to electrify.

Fully half of all Porsches will use some form of battery power by 2023, according to a presentation by Porsche Cars North American CEO Klaus Zellmer. That is expected to include not only the hybrids and plug-in hybrids currently in the line-up, but also additional BEVs like the Mission E. Porsche officials have also suggested they will eventually electrify even such classic core models as the iconic 911.

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While such a move might be a stretch for traditional Porsche buyers, the brand has begun bringing in younger buyers who are more open to experimentation, said Zellmer, speaking at the annual Automotive News World Congress. Nearly 80% of the customers who are signing up for the new Porsche Passport subscription service “have not owned a Porsche before,” he noted. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Doesn’t Believe US is Good Market for Diesel

VW's dieselgate killed any thirst for oil burners.

by on Jan.18, 2018

The G-Wagen will not be coming to the U.S. with a diesel-based powerplant, even though it would likely meet all U.S. standards.

Even though it has a redesigned diesel that meets tight new European carbon dioxide standards that will take effect in 2020, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to offer a diesel-powered passenger car in the U.S, according to one of the German automakers top executives.

Ola Kallenius, the head of research and development for the Mercedes-Benz Car Group, said the new diesel engine the automaker has designed is one of the most advanced internal combustion engines ever developed by the automaker.

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However, Mercedes has concluded that there simply isn’t enough consumer interest in diesel to warrant bringing it to the U.S. market. (more…)

Ending NAFTA Cripples US Trade, Clinton Aide Says

McLarty encourages auto industry to be "vocal" about its concerns, needs.

by on Jan.18, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, talks with Canada's Chrystia Freelander and Mexico's Ildefonso Guajardo, both right.

Without the North American Free Trade Agreement, the auto industry in the United States, Mexico and Canada would find it difficult to meet the future challenges from manufacturers from Asia and Europe in building the next generation of motor vehicles.

Certainly the current agreement needs to be modernized panelists said during a discussion on NAFTA during the Automotive News World Congress. “It was written even before there was an internet,” said, Thomas “Mack” McLarty, the former aide to President Bill Clinton, who helped guide NAFTA through Congress in 1993.

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McLarty noted that the NAFTA negotiated under President George H.W. Bush and was approved under President Clinton with help of major blocs of votes from both Democrats and Republicans. “This is a tough decision politically. But it is very straight forward in terms economic security,” he said. (more…)

Debugging Volkswagen: SUVs Supplant Sedans, Hatches

But no more tongue-twisting model names.

by on Jan.17, 2018

One of the first jobs for VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken was revealing the new Atlas.

Things didn’t look very good when Hinrich Woebcken landed in the U.S. two years ago as the new CEO and President of the Volkswagen Group of America. The automaker had just acknowledged cheating on diesel emissions tests and was not only facing the prospect of paying billions of dollars in fines and settlements but a collapse in its U.S. sales as it was forced to pull off the market all of its popular diesel models.

“The only reason dealers didn’t kill me was that I was the new guy,” the German-born executive said, only half joking, during a presentation at the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday afternoon.

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These days, dealers are a lot more sanguine about Woebcken, and VW in general, though the VWoA chief cautioned that the automaker has a long way to go before he can claim success rebuilding its U.S. operations. (more…)

Hackett Tells Analysts Ford Cutting Car Production

Automaker upping truck and ute production 10% while cars getting 10% cut.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told analysts the automaker is increasing truck and ute production and cutting cars to better meet customer preferences.

With the overwhelming number of truck and sport-utility debuts and news coming out of the North American International Auto Show this year, it’s not surprising that Ford CEO Jim Hackett appears ready to make an even bigger commitment to that segment.

Hackett told analysts last night the company acknowledged the shift in preferences by U.S. consumers, however, he wasn’t ready to put a final nail in the coffin of passenger cars at Ford.

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That said, he may be grabbing a hammer as he announced the company will be increasing the number of trucks and SUVs in the Ford line-up by 10% while cutting the passenger car portfolio by the same amount. (more…)

Marchionne Confirms Plan for Ferrari SUV, Hints at Battery Supercar

“Ferrari Utility Vehicle” will be world’s fastest, promises CEO.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari will produce a sport-utility vehicle, like competitors Lamborghini, Porsche and others.

There are SUVs, CUVs and, soon, there will be an FUV. And before you try to guess what that means, Sergio Marchionne calls it the Ferrari Utility Vehicle – though considering the disdain some of the brand’s gold chained owners often display, you might come up with a different interpretation.

Rumors of a Ferrari sport-utility vehicle have been circulating for some time, and after dropping some earlier hints, Marchionne made it absolutely official during a series of appearances and conversations at the North American International Auto Show this week.

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The executive, who heads both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Ferrari brand it spun off two years ago, suggested that we could see the new hyper-ute by sometime next year or into 2020, emphasizing his intent for it to be the world’s fastest utility vehicle. (more…)

Infiniti Will Be “All Electrified” After 2021, Says New CEO

Hiroto Saikawa also hints that Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance may seek a fourth partner.

by on Jan.16, 2018

Nissan's Hiroto Saikawa told attendees at the Automotive News World Congress that Infiniti will be electrified by 2021.

Luxury brand Infiniti will rapidly shift away from conventional powertrains and will be “all electrified,” with the exception of some large SUVs by 2021, according to the automaker’s new CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

The auto industry, as a whole is rapidly beginning to electrify as it comes under increasing pressure from regulators around the world. But the plan for Infiniti is one of the most aggressive moves so far announced by any automotive brand with the exception of Volvo which will switch to only hybrid, plug-in or pure battery-electric power for all new models launched by 2018.

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“Infiniti will have a specific focus on electrification,” said Saikawa, who replaced Carlos Ghosn as CEO of Nissan Motor Co. on April 1, 2016. “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year plan that will extend through 2022. (more…)