Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

GM Confirms Layoffs at Lordstown Plant

Company adjusting to market demand with move.

by on Apr.16, 2018

GM says its cutting the second shift at its Lordstown, Ohio plant due to changing customer preferences.

General Motors confirmed it plans to eliminate one shift at its big assembly complex in northeastern Ohio, idling some 1,500 workers.

GM spokeswoman Dayna Hart said in an e-mail that the downsizing of Lordstown’s workforce was in response to the long-term changes in the market place.

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“Last year GM operated the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant on two shifts. As the market continued to undergo ‘historic’ changes, it required us to reduce production rates and take numerous down weeks to match production with lower customer demand for compact cars.   (more…)

Waiting to Take Delivery of a Tesla Model 3? You May be Caught in a “Time Shift”

Apparently, there are no “delays” in Elon Musk’s dictionary.

by on Apr.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Fremont plant.

Last we checked, there were more than 400,000 folks waiting to take delivery of the Tesla Model 3, a potential problem considering the slow ramp-up of production. But even though some potential buyers might now have to wait until 2019 – perhaps beyond – they shouldn’t consider that a delay but simply a “time shift,” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The South African-born entrepreneur famously predicted his company’s Fremont, California assembly plant would go through “production hell” when it launched its first mainstream model last July. And, indeed, it had to largely hand-build them for the rest of the year. Tesla recently released numbers that showed first-quarter production reached 2,000 a week, but even that was 20% below the company’s target. And that’s leading some frustrated shoppers to cancel their advance reservations.

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“You’ll definitely get your car,” Musk declared during an interview on CBS on Thursday, suggesting customers shouldn’t think of what’s happening as a delay, but “a six- to nine-month time shift. That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.” (more…)

Lincoln Planning Five New Models for China in Bid to Catch Rivals

China destined to become brand’s top market, said new Lincoln chief.

by on Apr.12, 2018

The Lincoln Aviator made its U.S. debut last month and should reach China by 2019 or 2020.

Struggling to catch up with rivals now dominating the world’s largest luxury car market, Lincoln plans to start building five new models in China by 2022, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

That’s in line with comments made to TheDetroitBureau.com by Lincoln’s new boss, Joy Falotico, who said she expects China to soon become the brand’s largest market, much as has happened for other luxury marques, including Detroit-based rival Cadillac.

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It appears that the new models Lincoln will build in China will also be produced and marketed in other countries, including the U.S. During a backgrounder on the new Aviator SUV prior to its debut at the New York International Auto Show late last month, Falotico revealed that Lincoln plans to launch two new SUVs by 2020, “followed closely by four more vehicles.”

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First Drive: 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring

A cut above other small cars on the market.

by on Apr.12, 2018

The new 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring edition is one of the top performing in the small car segment.

Given the hubbub around sport-utility vehicles these days and the relatively low price of gasoline, it is quite easy for small cars to get lost – or at least overlooked – in conversations about new cars.

However, small cars still command a significant following among motorists who are watching their budgets, drive long distances where fuel economy becomes paramount or live in places where parking is tight and at a premium.

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This adds up to a lot of people looking at a fleet of cars that’s a bit neglected these days by some car makers but there are companies, like Mazda for instance, that see them as an opportunity. (more…)

FCA Continuing Diesel Settlement Talks with DOJ, CARB

Discussions centering on potential penalties for automaker.

by on Apr.11, 2018

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is part of the group of vehicles that allegedly used a cheat device to beat emissions tests.

Despite repeatedly denying any wrongdoing, Fiat Chrysler is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board to reach a settlement about accusations it used illegal used software to beat diesel emissions tests.

The discussions, which according to multiple reports, are very far along, address allegations that FCA used the software, in a manner similar to Volkswagen’s diesel testing cheat device, for 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles – mostly light trucks – sold since 2014.

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According to Reuters, Ken Feinberg, an adviser in the process, at a federal court hearing in San Francisco revealed that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler were swapping documents as part of the settlement process, which was moving “at a rather swift pace.” (more…)

All-New Lexus ES Bound for Beijing Motor Show

New model meant to "radically transform the concept of comfort for luxury consumers."

by on Apr.11, 2018

Lexus is pushing even further with the "spindle grille" design on the next ES sedan.

We’ve barely gotten past the New York Auto Show but halfway around the world, automakers are getting ready for the season’s next big event. That includes Lexus, which has dropped a partial teaser of what appears to be the next generation ES model.

While many folks think of the ES as a fairly base-level vehicle, Lexus clearly has more upscale ambitions for a model whose name, after all, is short for “Executive Sedan.” And while Toyota’s luxury brand isn’t saying much about what it will be showing in China, it appears buyers have something to look forward to.

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The new ES, Lexus hints, “aims to radically transform the concept of comfort for luxury consumers all over the world.” That may explain why the brand saved the new model for Beijing where luxury buyers have, indeed, become some of the world’s most demanding.

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New Chevy Silverado HD to Debut as a 2020 Model

Heavy-duty truck comes after new light duty hits this year.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Chevrolet plans to roll out its new Silverado HD in fall 2019 as a 2020 model.

The competition in the pickup truck segment continues to escalate as General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler bring on new models.

Chevrolet announced that the next-generation Silverado HD will debut next year, as a 2020 model. It will be the third all-new truck in the Silverado line-up revealed in just 18 months, joining the 2019 Silverado 1500 and the 2019 Silverado 4500/5500/6500HD.

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“Chevrolet already fuels the most successful truck manufacturer in the industry,” said Alan Batey, global head of Chevrolet.  (more…)

China to “Significantly Lower” Tariffs on Vehicle Imports

Move could help defuse threat of trade war, but unclear how much will change.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk is one of those celebrating China's plans to sharply reduce import auto tariffs.

Foreign automakers have long complained about the hefty tariffs levied on vehicles exported to China, but Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said his government plans to “significantly lower” duties this year.

The move comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and China have built to the point where many observers have been fearing the start of a potentially devastating trade war. Just Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump complained in a tweet about “STUPID TRADE” policies that allowed the Chinese to levy a 25% tariff on imported vehicles, compared to the 2.5% duties imposed by the U.S. on most foreign-made vehicles.

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The Chinese president’s comments leave a lot of questions to be answered before it can be clear what impact the proposed move will have on foreign automakers, but at least one U.S.-based manufacturer is pleased, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quickly tweeting, “This is a very important action by China. Avoiding a trade war will benefit all countries.”

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BMW Going Big at Auto China in Beijing

Automaker debuting mix of next-gen utes and concepts.

by on Apr.10, 2018

BMW plans to unveil its third-gen X3 sport-activity vehicle at Auto China in Beijing later this month.

BMW is preparing use the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing later this month to show off an array of new models, including the debut of the third generation X3, concept vehicles and developments in automotive technology.

The selection of new products on display in Beijing underscores the company’s commitment to the next steps in its electrification strategy and heralds its upcoming model offensive in the luxury segment, BMW officials said this week.

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BMW also said the displays also underscores the huge significance of China as both the world’s largest car market and the production location for a growing number of BMW models. (more…)

Ford Offers a First Look of its Next-Generation “Global” Focus

U.S. model remains under wraps.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Ford shows off the European line-up of the next-gen Focus. We'll have to wait to see U.S. versions.

Ford is lifting the kimono to give us a first look at its next-generation “global” Focus line-up – but it says it won’t reveal the U.S.-specific model until shortly before it goes on sale later next year.

The next version of the compact model will be offered in a range of body styles and trim levels, while adding a variety of tech features, including the new Ford CoPilot360 driver assistance suite. Expect roomier and more comfortable interiors, the automaker says, while adding that the next-gen Focus will feature new gas and diesel engines, as well as a new suspension.

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“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” said Jim Farley, president of Global Markets. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus line-up we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”

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