Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Tesla Locks Down Site for 1st Chinese Assembly Plant

U.S. Senate, meanwhile, considers extending tax credits for Tesla, GM buyers.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Tesla Inc. has reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build an assembly plant in China.

After suffering a series of setbacks in recent weeks, things may be moving in the right direction for Tesla this week, and on a variety of fronts.

For one thing, the automaker has inked an agreement with the Shanghai government that will let it move forward on plans to set up a plant in the booming Chinese battery-car market, its first outside the United States.

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Closer to home, the U.S. Senate is  now considering a proposal that would extend the tax credits that have helped Tesla attract potential customers. Under current law, the incentives – worth up to $7,500 for an EV buyer – begin to phase out once a carmaker has sold 200,000 electric vehicles. Tesla recently passed that threshold, and General Motors is expected to reach that cap before the end of 2018. Industry analysts warn both companies could lose market momentum if they can’t offer the tax credits. (more…)

Ford Treks into New Territory With China-Only Ute

New SUV starts rolling off assembly line in China.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Ford's new entry-level sport-utility, the Territory, is the first of a wave of 50 new or redesigned products for China.

Ford Motor Co.’s late arrival in the Chinese car market is well documented, and the automaker’s been attempting to make up for lost time for the past few years with varying degrees of success — until last year, when sales took a double-digit nose dive.

However, the automaker is looking to affect a dramatic change by attacking the the highest demand area for buyers in China, which was also Ford’s weak spot: sport-utility vehicles.

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The company has been teasing its new Territory midsize SUV for some time, but now it’s on the road and looking to lead Ford on a trek to strong sales and even stronger profits. The new Territory – the ute, not profitability – was developed in partnership with its joint-venture partner in China, Jiangling Motors Corp. (more…)

Porsche May Add Battery-Electric Macan Next, Hints CFO

Battery models set to generate 50% of Porsche sales by 2025.

by on Oct.16, 2018

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

Porsche is not only just getting ready to roll out its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan, but also it apparently sees the opportunity to electrify more of its line-up, with battery-powered products generating more than half its sales by 2025.

The automaker revealed one possibility at the Geneva Motor Show last winter, a concept battery-SUV dubbed the Mission E Cross Turismo that is essentially a high-riding version of the original Mission E concept that will become the Taycan sports car when it goes into production next year. Alternatively, the performance division of Volkswagen Group could electrify the smaller of its two current crossovers, the Macan. And still models will follow, according to Porsche’s chief financial officer.

Electrifying!

“There is no final decision yet, but you can expect that this will be the case because we need a large-volume model that is fully electric. This idea will then progress further with the next generations of the Panamera and Cayenne model lines,” CFO Lutz Meschke told reporters during a tour of the company’s product development center. (more…)

German Automakers Face 50:50 Chance of Collapse, VW CEO Warns

Herbert Diess warns battery-cars could cost jobs – and may not be as clean as promised.

by on Oct.16, 2018

VW boss Herbert Diess, left,helps unveil the VW BUDD-e and eGolf Touch electric concepts.

When the U.S. economy collapsed a decade ago two of the three Detroit-based automakers plunged into bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout – and that’s the fate that could be facing the German auto industry, as well, the CEO of Volkswagen warned today.

The country’s powerful auto industry faces a 50:50 chance of suffering the same fate that nearly destroyed Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, Herbert Diess said during a supplier conference in Wolkfsburg VW’s home town.

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“From today’s point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years’ time,” said Diess, who was appointed VW’s chief executive earlier this year, following a senior management shake-up.

(more…)

GM Offers First-Ever Extended Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

Company claims it could raise resale values.

by on Oct.15, 2018

GM's new extended warranty is accepted at all GM dealers across the U.S.

The difference between buying one new vehicle or another can often come down to the tiniest of things, but General Motors is now offering a big thing that it hopes will make a big difference: an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty.

The company is offering what it is calling the first ever true extended bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers Chevrolet and GMC products for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, while Cadillac and Buick owners can get a six-year or 75,000-mile warranty.

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“One of the best things about buying a new vehicle is the peace of mind that comes with the warranty,” said Ken Mac, director of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac Protection.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volvo S60

Stylish, sporty and, of course, loaded with the latest safety features.

by on Oct.15, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 R-Design features a 400-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we began to wonder if the Swedish auto industry was headed for Valhalla. After all, the long-troubled Saab brand collapsed during the global economic downturn at the beginning of the decade, despite several rescue attempts.

And, after struggling to turn things around at Volvo, Ford decided to sell that brand off to the Chinese. What seemed like a questionable move turned into salvation as Volvo’s new owner, Zhejiang Geely, decided to pump billions of dollars into the development of an all-new product design and a radical shift in direction on the powertrain front.

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With Geely’s support, in fact, few brands have done more to transform their image than Volvo. Long known for safe but boring wagons and sedans, the Swedish automaker now offers one of the freshest and sexiest line-ups in the near and mid-luxury market, and the all-new 2019 Volvo S60 is the latest, welcome addition to the model mix. (more…)

China Car Market Tumbles, Complicating Problems for U.S. Automakers

BMW plans to be first foreign maker to take control of Chinese joint venture.

by on Oct.12, 2018

President Donald Trump is engaged in a trade war with China, and automakers are beginning to pay the price.

After nearly two decades of double-digit growth, the Chinese car market is entering a tailspin, and that could be particularly problematic for American automakers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

But other foreign automakers could better weather the downturn, in part due to changing rules that have lowered import tariffs – except on American products – and will now allow foreign manufacturers to take control of joint ventures. BMW is set to become the first to take advantage of the relaxed rules, agreeing to spend $4.2 billion to up its stake in an ongoing alliance with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

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“The automotive industry has been a driver of China’s economic growth for years. Now it is pulling back,” Xu Haidong, the assistant secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said during a Friday news briefing, responding to questions about the market’s third straight monthly decline. (more…)

Tesla Sales Surge Past Mercedes; But Loss of Fed Tax Credits Could Hit Future Demand

Orders placed before 10/15 will be delivered in time to collect $7,500 giveback, Tesla says.

by on Oct.12, 2018

Tesla is quickly approaching the 200,000 vehicle limit that ends the $7,500 federal government tax incentive for EV buyers.

With its manufacturing problems largely overcome, Tesla sales have been booming in recent months, the California battery-carmaker delivering more cars in the U.S. than luxury mainstay Mercedes-Benz in the most recent quarter.

But whether Tesla can maintain that momentum is uncertain, especially with federal tax incentives of as much as $7,500 about to go away, even as a flood of new, long-range electric alternatives come to market, complete with those tax credits.

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Tesla is advising potential buyers that they will have only until the end of Monday, Oct. 15, to place a an order for one of its new vehicles and be sure of getting the $7,500 federal incentive. Starting in January, the credits will be halved. They will be cut again mid-year, and then vanish entirely under the revised U.S. tax law passed by Congress last December. (more…)

Toyota Rated as Best Automotive Brand

Sixteen auto brands make Top 100 — GM and FCA brands not on the list.

by on Oct.11, 2018

Toyota was the top automotive brand in this year's Best Global Brands Top 100 list, taking seventh overall.

A quick poll of people asking what automaker is the best might net several folks saying “Tesla!” and while it does have a massive market cap, they’d be wrong. The best brand? Toyota.

According to Interbrand’s 2018 Best Global Brands report, Apple was the top company on the list with a valuation of $214 billion. Toyota was seventh on the list at $53 billion, which was up 6% over last year’s result.

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Overall, 15 automotive brands made the Top 100 list and while there aren’t really any surprises about what ones are on the list, those that are not on the list may be reason to take pause. None of the General Motors brands made this year’s list. The aforementioned Tesla did not make the list either. Nor did any of Fiat Chrysler’s brands. (more…)

Volvo Scrambles as Trump Tariffs Shatter Export Plans for New U.S. Plant

China market closed, “I need to find a substitute," says US CEO.

by on Oct.10, 2018

Volvo's new plant near Charleston, S.C., is churning out new S60s. It will add the XC90 in 2021.

Volvo’s plans for its first-ever American assembly plant have been thrown into turmoil as a result of Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war with China, something that will result in fewer auto exports from the South Carolina factory, potentially impacting hiring plans, the automaker’s U.S. CEO told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Volvo initially planned to use the Charleston facility as its global source for the all-new S60 sedan, while also producing some of its popular XC90 crossovers. Fully half of the assembly plant’s production was earmarked for China and other overseas markets, noted Anders Gustafson. But the administration’s escalating trade war has resulted in China boosting tariffs on American-made vehicles and parts from 25% to 40%, even as it reduces duties on auto imports from other trade partners to 15%.

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“Now, we cannot export to China” because the S60 would be priced out of the market, Gustafson, the president and CEO of Volvo Car USA, said during an interview near Los Angeles, where the company was offering journalists a first drive of the S60. “In this segment, you can’t raise prices because of competitiveness.” (more…)