Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Ghosn Affair Hits Nissan’s Bottom Line, Along with Weak Sales

Automaker downgrades future earnings forecast.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Nissan is taking an $83.2 million charge against earnings due to the scandal surrounding Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan Motor Co. warned that its earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, could be about the lowest the carmaker has seen in six years.

Nissan now expects to earn 410 billion yen, or $3.7 billion, for the fiscal year, a 45% year-over-year decline. It originally projected a 500 billion yen, or $4.5 billion profit.

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The second-largest of the Japanese automakers put most of the blame on sliding sales in the U.S. and China, its two largest markets. But it also revealed that it has logged an $83.2 million charge related to the scandal that began with the arrest last November of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. (more…)

Plugging In: An Inside Look at the MEB — VW’s Platform for an Electrified Future

A combined VW-Ford battery-car program seems to have come un-plugged, however.

by on Feb.11, 2019

An under-the-skin look at VW's modular MEB battery-car platform reveals the skateboard-like layout.

Volkswagen is plugging into battery power in a big way, the German automaker planning to launch 50 or more all-electric models by 2025, an aggressive push that will have it betting heavily on a single new platform it is developing. Dubbed the MEB, this flexible, modular “architecture” will be used to underpin the vast majority of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, that will be offered by VW’s dozen different passenger car brands.

The MEB has been a topic of discussion between VW and Ford Motor Co., the two companies recently launching a joint venture to develop light commercial vehicles. They also are exploring ways they may be able to work together on the development of electric vehicles, possibly using the new VW platform — though a senior Ford official cautioned that this might prove more difficult than originally hoped.

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“The future, for us, is really a dedicated EV platform,” said Matthew Renna, vice president of e-Mobility for Volkswagen’s North American Region, a platform “flexible enough to cover a broad gamut of products ranging from an entry level subcompact up to models like the ID. Buzz minivan and even midsize SUVs.

(more…)

Tesla Out of Cheaper Model 3s, Stakeholder Cuts Share in Half

T. Rowe Price halves stake from 10.12% to 5.2%.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The mad rush to blow out Model 3s at the end of the year has left Tesla with very few Model 3s to deliver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said that the company would face some stiff headwinds in the early part of this year, and now some of those issues are now coming to light … as are the consequences.

The company’s last recent round of layoffs were unexpected, but were initially seen positively as analysts suggested the company would need to find ways to cut costs. However, according to Reuters, one of the teams that were cut significantly should have raised alarm bells sooner.

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Reuters reports that Tesla’s delivery team saw 150 of 230 employees lose their jobs. The Las Vegas-based group was largely responsible for delivering the company’s savior vehicle: the Model 3.  (more…)

Alfa Romeo Bringing Back 4C Spider for 2020

It will enjoy a limited run of just 15 cars.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia will be a limited-edition vehicle this year with just 15 units.

Despite rumors floating around of its imminent demise, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider will stay around for the 2020 model year, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have confirmed.

Alfa Romeo unveiled the limited-edition 2020 4C Spider Italia for North America with its limited production run of only 15 vehicles, during the press preview at the Chicago Auto Show. In keeping with the special color and badges, each car will be numbered.

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Ben Lyon, FCA product expert, said the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia, which is hand-built in a factory in Italy, offers enthusiasts a chance to own a unique mid-engine design inspired by the brand’s legendary racing history and the essential sportiness embedded in the brand’s DNA.  (more…)

Ford’s Future Relies on Its Manufacturing Prowess

Technology is going to lead, but old school rules will ensure success.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of Global Operations, meets with the media after the announcement that Ford would pump $1B into the Chicago plant.

As the auto industry stands on the cusp of a huge upheaval, Ford Motor Co. is pursuing a strategy that not only looks to new technology, but also relies on the deft use of the manufacturing skills that were instrumental in the company’s rise more than a century ago.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Global Operations, said the billion-dollar investment the company is making in its manufacturing operations in Chicago, where the company has some 6,000 blue-collar workers and plans to add 500 more in the few months, will depend utilize both the latest automation but also the human touch.

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“We’re going to have a new, highly-automated paint shop and body shop,” said Hinrichs talking about Ford’s future plans with reporters at the Chicago Auto Show. But Ford is also depending on the skill of its employees to build the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.as well as specialty vehicles such as the police interceptor that is based on the Explorer.   (more…)

Ram Aims for Commercial Customers With New HD Trucks

Brand focuses on truck's flexibility to lure buyers.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Jim Morrison, director of marketing, Ram Brands, introduced Ram's new commercially oriented heavy-duty trucks at the Chicago Auto Show.

Ram is hoping to lure more buyers to commercial-oriented heavy-duty pickups with a new 2019 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab, geared specifically to be put to work in a variety of different situations.

Jim Morrison, director of marketing for the Ram Brands, said the new family of heavy-duty chassis cabs will also delivers a package with more capability, more comfort and more technology.

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With a segment-leading towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds, the highest Gross Combined Weight Rating of 43,000 pounds and payload up to 12,510 pounds, Ram’s haulers are built for heavy-duty work while achieving new levels of efficiency and upfitter friendliness, Morrison said. (more…)

Mazda Marks Miata’s 30th With Party, Special Edition

Carrot-colored 30th Anniversary Edition will start at $35,915.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Mazda Motors North America President Masahiro Moro introduces the 30th anniversary limited-edition Mazda MX-5 Miata in Chicago.

February in Chicago isn’t normally what you’d call convertible season, but on a cold and blustery morning almost 30 years ago to the day, Mazda took ragtop fans and, indeed, the rest of the auto industry, by surprise with the debut of the original Miata roadster.

While never a major seller, the pint-sized two-seater also known as the MX-5 captured the hearts – and checkbooks – of those who wanted something that put the emphasis on pure driving fun, inspiring a wave of imitations from Mazda’s Japanese, German and U.S. rivals.

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On another cold and blustery day in the Windy City, Mazda pulled the wraps off a special, commemorative edition of the fourth-generation Miata Thursday. And to mark the occasion, it brought to its Chicago Auto Show news conference not only some of the roadster’s most loyal fans, but some of the folks who helped create the little car. (more…)

Ford, Harley Reconnect for New Harley-Davidson F-150

Truck is back after seven-year hiatus.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Ford and Harley-Davidson are together again with a new Harley-Davidson F-150 for 2019.

Two iconic brands are teaming up again to create a unique product that appeals to customers of both brands with a new version of the popular Harley-Davidson F-150.

“Motorcycle enthusiasts can once again enjoy dramatic Harley-Davidson design cues in the number one selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150,” said Brad Richards, vice president of design and styling for Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

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“The strong reaction by the public to the concept truck at our anniversary event encouraged us to move the 2019 Harley-Davidson edition Ford F-150 into production. We look forward to fulling the dreams of fans who overwhelmingly asked for this special truck,” he added. (more…)

Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

(more…)

Ford Investing $1B, Adding 500 Jobs to Expand SUV Production

Announcement comes as GM hands out pink slips to 4,000.

by on Feb.07, 2019

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of Global Operations, left, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shake hands after announcing a $1 billion investment in the Chicago Assembly Plant.

This story has been updated with new information.

Ford Motor Co. will announce plans to invest $1 billion to expand its SUV operations in Chicago, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned, in the process hiring 500 workers.

The news comes the same week as General Motors has begun handing out pink slips to approximately 4,000 of its white-collar staff as part of what will be a $6 billion restructuring. Ford is also expected to announce cuts of its own as it moves forward with an $11 billion global restructuring, with details impacting U.S. operations scheduled to be announced by spring.

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The fact that Ford is hiring now, but that it could subsequently let other workers go, reflects the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, especially in the U.S., where buyers by the millions have shifted from passenger cars to light trucks like those being built by the second-largest domestic automaker at its Windy City plant. (more…)