Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Daimler Says Diesel Ain’t Dead Yet

Growth of electric vehicles doesn't mean diesels are done.

by on May.23, 2019

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said that the company's ambitious EV plans don't mean it's abandoning diesels.

Even as it moves to add electric vehicles to broad portfolio cars and trucks, diesel engines will continue to play an important role meeting the needs of customers, Daimler executives told shareholders during the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin.

Dieter Zetsche, the outgoing chief executive officer, said the changes to product lines of both Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks will underscore the shift toward electrification. “We mean business when talk about electrification,” Zetsche said.

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“For example, our passenger car portfolio now includes more than 40 attractive models. This year alone will more than a dozen new ones. Our position has never before been as broad or as strong at vans, trucks and buses as well - in all regions of the world. (more…)

BMW Adds New M Performance Versions of X5, X7

BMW expands its SAV range,

by on May.22, 2019

The all-new BMW X7 gets a high-performance boost with the debut of the M50i edition.

With more and more motorists switching from passenger cars to SUVs and CUVs, it’s no surprise that we’re beginning to see manufacturers not only expand their utility vehicle line-up but also add more performance variants.

BMW has been a leader in this trend and it’s muscling up its performance family with today’s debut of two new M Performance variants based on the latest X5 and all-new X7 “Sport Activity Vehicles.” Both new models will go into production in August at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and reach showrooms soon after.

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Both the M Performance X5 and X7 will share the same powertrain, the latest version of BMW’s 4.4-liter Twinpower Turbo V-8. Paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the engine pours out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.

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Automakers Still Looking for Top Price on Full-Size Pickups

Trucks continue growing bottom line for automakers.

by on May.21, 2019

The Sierra HD 3500 makes an audacious debut pulling 225,000 pounds of yacht and trailer. It also gets an audacious price tag.

Truck sales are booming, which is good news for automakers since they result in big profits. Only adding to their bottom-line delight is that the fastest growing area are the highly profitable “luxury” trucks with price tags zipping past $60,000.

New full-size trucks in 2018 were 16% more expensive than those in 2015, and midsize trucks were 3% more expensive, according to CarGurus.com. In fact, the top end of the market has trucks passed the $80,000 mark, and the good news is that there is probably room for even more expensive pickups, according to one truck executive.

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“I think there’s still an opportunity (in vehicles) for traditional luxury items, like more materials, audio systems, things like that,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC, recently during a meeting with journalists. (more…)

Could Tesla’s High-Flying Ride on Wall Street be Ready to Come Crashing Down?

Shares head towards $200 for first time since 2016, as key analyst warns $10 is possible.

by on May.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has plenty to worry about as investors turn bearish on its stock.

After sliding to its lowest level since December 2016 on five days of losses, Tesla stock fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 months, at just above $200 — and one key analyst, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, warns Tesla could see the stock plunge to just $10 a share.

Not much has gone right for the California automotive upstart in recent months, starting with word that first-quarter sales had fallen well short of expectations. Its unexpectedly deep, $702 million loss for the quarter didn’t help. And the situation only grew worse when CEO Elon Musk last week ordered a “hardcore” belt-tightening covering “literally every payment that leaves our bank account.” Then, the National Transportation Safety Board weighed in, blaming a fatal March 2018 crash on Tesla’s much-ballyhooed Autopilot system.

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Even where the automaker appeared to pull off a coup, topping substantially what it had expected to raise with last month’s combination of stock and debt offerings, Musk told employees in an e-mail, that the $2.7 billion Tesla brought in “actually only gives us about 10 months at the Q1 burn rate to achieve breakeven!”

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General Motors Debuts New Digital Brain for Future Vehicles

New architecture allows for future connected car tech.

by on May.21, 2019

GM's new digital vehicle platform can process 4.5 terabytes per hour and will debut on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan.

General Motors is pushing to remain a leader in autonomous technology with new vehicles and mobility services; however, it’s latest development may be the most critical to ensure it remains at the front of the pack.

The company unveiled its new all-new digital platform architecture, designed with the needs of future, such as connected cars, autonomous electric vehicles and other technologies, in mind. Until now, GM has been loading up its previous gen architecture with new tech, despite the fact it is more than 20 years old and comes with limitations.

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The new architecture, which will underpin the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan and its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving feature, should be available across nearly all GM product lines by 2023, the company says. (more…)

Another Automaker Abandons the V-8

Genesis will drop Tau V-8 when new G80 debuts this autumn.

by on May.20, 2019

The next version of the Genesis G80 will come to market without its familiar Tau V-8.

Way back in the late 1970s, when twin oil shocks and the then-new Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate forced automakers to start focusing on energy efficiency, conventional wisdom had it that the V-8 would soon vanish. It didn’t quite work out that way and the engine of choice for many performance and heavy-duty vehicles has remained surprisingly robust.

But as global emissions and mileage regulations continue to tighten, the V-8 appears, once again, to be an endangered species, and the Hyundai Motor Group is the latest getting ready to throw in the towel.

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The Korean carmaker’s luxury brand Genesis plans to abandon its 5.0-liter Tau V-8 when it rolls out new versions of its two biggest sedans, according to the marque’s CEO. That phase-out will begin later this year with the launch of a new version of the G80.

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VW Unleashes Seven Sport Concepts at Southern Worthersee

SOWO show cars highlight options for both performance and off-road fans.

by on May.17, 2019

VW shows off its SOWO "enthusiast fleet."

Volkswagen has long had a history of rolling out some of its most creative niche products and concept cars at the annual Worthersee gathering in Austria. It has expanded that tradition by adding what it calls the SOWO event on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Georgia.

Short for “Southern Worthersee,” the big gathering aims to entice VW fans this time around with seven concept vehicles featuring what it calls “sport performance add-ons and visual enhancements.”

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Considering the shift in global markets, and especially the U.S., from sedans, coupes and hatchbacks to SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks, it should surprise no one that this year’s crop of concepts includes versions of the latest Tiguan and Atlas crossover-utility vehicles. But Volkswagen traditionalists shouldn’t be disappointed, either, the automaker rolling out customized versions of the Golf, Jetta and new Arteon, as well. (more…)

GMC Tightens Up Premium Truck Segment with 2020 Sierra 1500

More technology and engine choices highlight new truck.

by on May.17, 2019

For 2020, the GMC Sierra gets a slew of new technology as well as a new engine offering.

The competition to produce the best-equipped pickup truck continued to get tighter today with GMC’s announcement that its “taking premium to the next level” for its 2020 Sierra 1500.

GMC’s full-size light-duty pickup can now get a slew of new options to take it up a notch, including expanded availability for its carbon fiber bed, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission, additional technology like Adaptive Cruise Control – Camera.

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While options are great, functionality is still king among truck users and GMC is looking to make a statement in that arena too. For 2020, the Sierra 1500 will be available with the upgraded ProGrade Trailering System introduced earlier this year on the 2020 Sierra HD. The updated system offers 15 camera views – the class leader –  an in-vehicle Trailering App which has been enhanced to simplify the trailering process. (more…)

“Hardcore” Belt-Tightening a Must, Says Tesla’s Musk

The “only way for Tesla to become financially sustainable.”

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk has ordered employees to rein in spending on virtually everything.

Tesla will need to engage in some “hardcore” cost-cutting, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail late Thursday, a move that comes in the wake of an unexpectedly severe first-quarter loss.

The automaker earlier this month was able to raise $2.7 billion through a combination of stock and debt offerings, but investors have become increasingly wary of the challenges that face the automaker – Tesla facing substantial debt repayments on top of the costs involved in the development of an array of new products and a new plant in China.

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The latest cash infusion, according to Musk, will only let it go for another 10 months without getting back into the black, he wrote, which “is why, going forward, all expenses of any kind anywhere in the world, including parts, salary, travel expenses, rent, literally every payment that leaves out bank account must (be) reviewed.”

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Senators Look to Rally U.S. EV Material Production

Committee looking to expedite mining process for needed materials.

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Gigafactory is basically a one-stop shop for EV production. A Senate committee is looking to make it easier for EV makers to get the materials needed in the U.S.

While the Trump administration – through the Environmental Protection Agency – continues to press for changes in fuel economy regulations that would to sideline efforts to put more EVs on the road across the United States, the U.S. Congress is getting nervous about China’s fast moving electric-car effort.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are voicing support for a national electric car supply chain policy in the United States Senate, according to a report from Reuters.

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The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing on the American Mineral Security Act. The legislation aims to make it easier and quicker for U.S. mines to meet regulations and gain permits for lithium, graphite and other minerals or precious materials needed for electric car production. It would also require a tally of metal reserves in the country. (more…)

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