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Ford Reveals Tidal Wave of New Products Coming by 2020

Executives look to change perception about company's future.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Ford plans to drive SUV growth with two all-new off-road models: the new Bronco and this yet-to-be-named off-road small utility.

In a bid to reverse the narrative that the company was in decline in recent months, Ford Motor Co. offered reporters and analysts a glimpse at a product plan that will renew three quarters of the vehicles in dealer showrooms by 2020.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that the revamp will build on the company’s strength in trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles and include the incorporation of hybrid technology in its popular vehicles.

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The push for hybrid-electric vehicles will bring new capability and features to customers on high-volume vehicles like the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and the Bronco, Hackett said. (more…)

Magna, Lyft Pairing Up to Develop Self-Driving Technology

Magna takes $200 million equity stake in Lyft.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Lyft and Magna are partnering up to develop self-driving vehicle technologies.

Magna is purchasing a $200 million equity stake in ride-sharing behemoth Lyft as part of a multi-year plan to develop a self-driving vehicle platform together.

The collaboration calls for the two companies to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems. The establishment of this partnership subject to regulatory approval. This partnership positions Magna and Lyft to enable the development and manufacturing of self-driving systems at scale.

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In addition to self-driving vehicles that will be deployed on Lyft’s own ride-sharing network in the coming years, Magna can deploy the technologies across a wide range of uses to benefit the entire global mobility ecosystem. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Genesis G80

Low-priced alternative to European models.

by on Mar.14, 2018

The 2018 Genesis G80 offers performance, elegance and comfort at a lower price than Euro competitors.

New vehicles have become so sophisticated, so well-built and so expensive, the differentiators of what used to be called a mass-market car and a luxury sedan have blurred and faded away.

As the lines blur, it has created an opportunity for a new brand, such as Genesis, Hyundai’s fledgling luxury brand, to make a name for itself.

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Indeed, the formula behind Genesis is appealing elegance. It simply calls for building a car so good that it will quickly meet the demands or desires of luxury buyers while offering them something different and fresh and unbound by stuffy tradition at the same. (more…)

Feds Charge Fifth Person in UAW-FCA Training Funds Scandal

Holiefield's assistant latest to be charged by investigators.

by on Mar.14, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams continues to deny that members charged in the FCA-UAW fund scandal impacted negotiations.

The drip, drip, drip of charges in the scandal surrounding the training funds at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. administered jointly by FCA and the United Auto Workers continues as federal prosecutors disclosed they filed charges against another former UAW official.

Keith Mickens, 64, of Detroit, a former senior official in the UAW’s FCA Department, became the fifth person, including two from the UAW and two from FCA, charged in a corruption scandal that has led to four convictions.

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Mickens was charged with using credit cards linked to the joint training fund to purchase luggage, electronics, designer clothes and golf equipment in a criminal investigation, which means a guilty plea is expected. (more…)

GM’s Use of Wind Power Continues to Grow

Company's goal is to use 100% renewable energy by 2050.

by on Mar.13, 2018

General Motors' Orion, Michigan plant is one of several of the company's facilities employing renewable energy.

General Motors continues to expand its use of alternative energy to power up its factories in the U.S and abroad.

In the last move, GM confirmed that its working with Consumers Energy, a utility company based in Jackson, Michigan, moving from what is described as “brown” energy to renewable energy, specifically electricity generated by a new wind farm to power two factories key factories in Flint, Michigan.

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The utility said GM and Switch are the first participants in a new Consumers Energy program to help large businesses use large renewable energy sources. Both companies are now matching 100% of their electric use at key operations in Michigan with wind-generated power. (more…)

Ford, GM Sales in China Move in Opposite Directions

New product key to strong sales.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, discusses the plans to expand sales in China.

Ford Motor Co. suffered another sharp reversal of fortune in China during February where it reported vehicle sales dropped 30% from a year earlier while General Motors continues to roll up sales.

The sales drop by Ford appeared to reflect a dearth of new products as the company continued to struggle in the world’s largest auto market.

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Ford’s sales dropped 18% in January and in February totaled just 47,483 vehicles, accounting for the 30% drop mentioned earlier. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Bank Changes Business Model

Moves by automakers toward mobility forces bank to rethink operations.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Bank is changing the way it does things to keep pace with the changes in auto financing needs.

Daimler Financial Services subsidiary, the Mercedes-Benz Bank in Germany, is revising its business model to accommodate the changes in mobility, such as subscription services, with which carmakers have begun to experiment.

The Mercedes-Benz Bank now finances one of every two vehicles sold by the automaker in Germany and the bank’s portfolio now totals around 970,000 cars, trucks, vans and buses on the books and grew by 12% in 2017 to 26.9 billion euros.

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“In future, we will also integrate mobility services such as car sharing into our vehicle financing, in addition to making offers specifically for electrically powered vehicles,” One in every two Daimler vehicles in Germany is on the road with a contract from Mercedes-Benz Bank, he added. (more…)

Automakers, Suppliers Decry Trump Tariff Implementation

Companies warn that cost increases will get passed to consumers.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Analysts believe the new tariffs will increase the costs consumers pay for a new vehicle in the U.S.

Dealers, carmakers and suppliers were quick to criticize President Donald Trump’s order imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with the exception of imports from Canada or Mexico.

“A tariff is a tax that will result in higher prices that consumers will ultimately bear,” John Bozzella, the president and CEO of Global Automakers, an organization that represents more than a dozen European and Asian automakers as well as key suppliers.

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Earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to downplay the impact by going on television with a can of Campbell’s Soup and telling viewers its price would increase by a fraction of a penny. But considering the amount of steel and aluminum in a typical vehicle, prices for cars could go up by hundreds of dollars, analysts warn. (more…)

Japan Going All In on Fuel Cells

Country plans to have 800,000 fuel cell vehicles on roads by 2030.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Toyota's Yoshikazu Tanaka, the chief engineer of the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, confirmed Toyota's commitment to fuel cell vehicles.

Japan is gearing up to put 800,000 vehicles powered with fuel cells on the road by 2030.

Japanese experts from business and academia outlined Japan’s fuel-cell push at the “Coping with Change: Global Warming and Decarbonization,” an international symposium organized by Venice International University and Alcantara, the Milan-based maker of luxury fabric used for automotive interiors. Japan’s fuel cell push has the support of the Japanese government.

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Yasuhiro Daisho, senior research professor at Waseda University and an emeritus researcher for Japan’s Next Generation Vehicles Research Council, offered a broad overview of the goals set out by Japanese industry and Japanese government. (more…)

First Look: BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe

Model provides look at future of the M8.

by on Mar.07, 2018

BMW's M8 Concept Gran Coupe provides a glimpse at the company's design future.

BMW unwrapped the latest piece of automotive eye candy from its Munich studios, the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe, at the Geneva Motor Show.

“The BMW 8 Series will take over as the new flagship model of the BMW line-up and, as such, combines unsurpassed sportiness and elegance,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president, BMW Group Design.

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“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe offers a look ahead to the most exotic and alluring variant of the new BMW 8 Series,” they added. (more…)

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