Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

GM Asks Feds to OK 2019 Launch of Driverless Robo-Cabs

Automaker aims to put as many as 2,500 on the road annually during test program.

by on Jan.12, 2018

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV - sans steering wheel and pedals - for the robo-cab test program.

General Motors wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019, a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

Company officials said they would roll out as many as 25 vehicles annually under the pilot project, if given approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM ultimately hopes to provide the vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Lyft – in which it is a major investor – as well as its own service, Maven.

Breaking News!

Unlike the autonomous prototypes GM and many competitors are currently testing, the vehicles would be completely driverless and not even be equipped with pedals or a steering wheel. That is something the automaker’s President Dan Ammann called “a major milestone, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”

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Traditional Automakers Could Be Left Out in the Cold By the Rise of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Ride-sharing services could turn car manufacturing into a low-profit commodity business, says new study.

by on Jan.11, 2018

Waymo is already testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and will soon add fully driverless ones.

A century of growth seems likely to come to a screeching halt for the global auto industry, and that spells potentially serious trouble for major automakers, according to a new study – though the report also anticipates big opportunities for ride-sharing services.

It is widely expected that the auto industry will go through more radical changes in the coming decade or so than it has since Henry Ford fired up his first moving assembly line. Among other things, the report by the Boston Consulting Group, or BCG, anticipates that electrified vehicles will soon become commonplace, while millions of motorists in the U.S. and abroad will switch from owning a car to relying on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.

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The Future is Now!

So, while global auto sales will continue to grow to around 108 million annually, “We will (then) reach a plateau around 2029 or 2030,” forecast Thomas Dauner, the head of the auto practice at BCG. “An industry that has been growing over the past century will stop.”

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creates $1 Bil Venture Fund

“We can’t everything ourselves,” says Ghosn.

by on Jan.10, 2018

The new fund is expected to invest about $200 million annually in new technology and services.

The Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance will invest around $1 billion over the next five years to help it fund start-ups and other small tech companies that can help it bring to market electrified, connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn announced Tuesday.

The corporate venture capital, or CVC, fund is intended not only to give the Franco-Japanese alliance access to potentially breakthrough technology but to help it make decisions more quickly than is normally the case for a big corporation, Ghosn said during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Tech News!

“We can do everything ourselves,” explained the Brazilian-born executive. “We have to get access to people who think about things in different ways.”

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Chevrolet Getting Back into Heavy Duty Truck Segment

Heavy duty trucks often bring heavy duty profits.

by on Jan.09, 2018

Chevrolet is getting back in to the big truck game with all new 4500HD and 5500HD models for 2019.

The ongoing truck battle between Ford and Chevy is heating up again as Chevrolet confirmed today it’s getting back into the Class 4 and 5 segments with new models for the 2019 model year after a decade-long absence.

The maker released a teaser shot that implies an aggressive looking front end, but not much else. The company plans to unveil the new models at the The Work Truck Show 2018 in Indianapolis in early March. The show is the largest fleet operator-focused truck show in the country.

Truck News!

“The Silverado 4500HD/5500HD trucks are the flagship of our full-line commercial truck portfolio and we’ve designed them to be among the best in the industry in maneuverability, serviceability, visibility, quietness and comfort, diesel fuel economy and more,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet. (more…)

2019 Veloster: Hyundai Heats Up Its Hot Hatch

Quirky - and proud of it.

by on Jan.08, 2018

Hyundai's distinctive Veloster hatchback is getting a makeover for the 2019 model-year.

There’s something endearingly odd about the Hyundai Veloster.  The Korean carmaker’s hot hatch was a quirky visual standout when it made its debut seven years ago, and it gained momentum with a turbocharged performance post a few years later.

Now, Hyundai’s giving us a sneak peek at the second-generation Veloster ahead of its official debut at the North American International Auto Show later this month. And while it retains some of the quirky and endearing touches of the original – including the unusual asymmetric door layout – it gets a more aggressive look that Hyundai designers like to call a “city rally car.”

Hot Hatches!

Both the base and turbo models are back for 2019. And word has it we just might also see a true performance model, part of Hyundai’s new “N” line, that could deliver as much as 271 horsepower.

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Buh-Bye Camry; Pickups, SUVs Now Own Top Sales Spots

Toyota's mainstay sedan didn't even crack the Top 5.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Despite giving the Camry a stylish makeover the sedan continued to lose momentum last year.

If anyone still questions the way light trucks have come to dominate the U.S. automotive market you only need look at the 2017 sales charts to see how passenger cars are on virtual life support these days.

Perhaps the most significant development finds that the Toyota RAV4 last year outsold the Camry for the first time ever. And so did the Nissan Rogue.

The Last Word!

The overall numbers for 2017 weren’t good, the U.S. market posting its first decline since the end of the Great Recession. And demand likely would have dipped more than the modest 5% if it weren’t for the strong, late-year surge as motorists in Florida and Texas raced to replace vehicles destroyed during the summer’s devastating hurricanes.

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Plug-In Vehicle Sales Surge Past 1M for 1st Time as Demand Jumps in U.S.

Shrinking battery costs, longer range, more model choices bolster sales.

by on Jan.05, 2018

The Chevrolet Bolt is now one of the world's best-selling plug-based vehicles, and GM has more coming.

Motorists around the world are showing signs they’re getting charged up by a new wave of plug-based vehicles, global sales passing 1 million for the first time ever in 2017, and U.S. demand setting a new record during the final month of the year.

Though still making up only a small fraction of worldwide motor vehicles sold last year, demand for plug-in hybrid and pure battery-electric vehicles, or PHEVs and BEVs, has been rising rapidly, according to a new report from Navigant Research. A variety of reasons get credit, including declining prices and the availability of more products, especially longer-range models like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3 and second-generation Nissan Leaf. Rising oil prices are also playing a factor.

Electrifying News!

“Battery costs have shrunk dramatically in the last five years and promise to shrink further with the commercialization of solid-state batteries on the horizon,” says Scott Shepard, a senior research analyst with Navigant. “In addition, increasing regulatory pressure in Europe and China may well push the PEV (or plug-based vehicle) market to the aggressive end of the forecast range regardless of oil prices.”

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More Than Half of Norway’s New Cars Sold are EVs

The total is up from 40% in 2016.

by on Jan.05, 2018

In Norway, where 52% of new vehicles sold are EVs, the eGolf was among the top sellers.

In one European country, Norway, sales of electric and hybrid accounted for half of new registrations in 2017, a record fueled by subsidies that have extended the country’s push to lead in shifting from fossil-fuel engines.

Pure electric cars and hybrids, which have both battery power and a diesel or petrol motor, accounted for 52% of all new car sales last year in Norway versus 40% in 2016, the independent Norwegian Road Federation reported this week.

News Now!

“No one else is close” in terms of a national share of electric cars, OFV chief Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen said. “For the first time, we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50%.” (more…)

Automakers Wondering about 2018 After Slow December

Makers, analysts looking for sales to fall, but how far?

by on Jan.04, 2018

Sport-utility vehicles, like the Hyundai Sante Fe, dominated sales in 2017.

A tough December that forced car makers to utilize tactics such as selling to rental fleets and heavy promotions have left car makers pondering what’s in store for 2018.

A seven-year expansion in sales ended with a small downturn in 2017 that was felt up and down the value chain as automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and Cadillac as well as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai saw their sales lost ground. Ford acknowledged boosting its sales to rental fleets at the end of the year, while Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai-Kia boosted deliveries to rental fleets.

Sales News!

Meanwhile, economists tied to the industry are debating whether the increases in interest rates approved and planned by the Federal Reserve Board will have a significant impact on sales in 2018. (more…)

Hyundai, Kia See Pressure on Sales in 2018

South Korean automakers predicting tough sales year ahead.

by on Jan.02, 2018

Hyundai's efforts to expand into new market segments comes as sales growth is expected to get tougher.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors expect only limited growth in 2018 as global auto sales slow perceptibly during the new year, the company’s senior executives said in a “New Year’s Day” message to employees.

The South Korean auto giant, which ranks fifth by global sales, is targeting sales of 7.55 million vehicles. However, Hyundai-Kia is likely to have missed its sales target for the third consecutive year in 2017 as it sold 7.25 million units this past year, according to estimates by analysts.

Market Trends!

“Global auto demand growth is expected to stagnate this year, with demand seen shrinking in major markets like the U.S., China and Europe,” Yoon Yeo-chul, Hyundai’s vice chairman, said in a New Year’s speech to employees. (more…)