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Trump Administration Takes Credit for Fuel Economy, Emissions Improvements

Average fuel economy improved year-over-year, emissions dropped.

by on Mar.08, 2019

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler argues that the CAFE changes are getting cleaner, safer cars onto the road faster than under the Obama rules.

The Trump administration is arguing that its deregulation polices are helping reduce the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emitted by automobiles.

In a report issued this week, Trump’s EPA said auto manufacturers continue increasing fuel economy and reducing pollution through innovation.

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Andrew Wheeler, the new head of the EPA, said the latest edition of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Automotive Trends Report underscores the administration’s contention. (more…)

Toyota Warns Brexit Could Lead to Exit from Great Britain

One more automaker concerned about looming deadline.

by on Mar.08, 2019

Toyota officials warned British officials that the company would leave if Brexit goes poorly.

Toyota has joined the list carmakers, warning the government of Great Britain that it is prepared to phase out its operations in the United Kingdom without any kind of back-up plan that would protect the country’s vital links to the European Union.

“If the business environment becomes very difficult to operate, of course those types of decisions should be on the agenda,” Johan van Zyl, the Japanese company’s head of Europe, told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show. “But hopefully we will be able to avoid” a withdrawal.

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The carmaker remains hopeful the U.K. and EU will reach an agreement on Brexit terms, van Zyl said. (more…)

Poor February Auto Sales Confound Analysts

Industry to see run on new leases in next few months.

by on Mar.07, 2019

Winter weather and rising prices kept sales down in February, surprising some analysts.

After of drop sales in February of 2.8%, the auto industry is facing unsettled times during the next few months, analysts predict.

“February had a lot of good economic news to support a healthy vehicle market outlook, but that may not be coming to pass. The stock market has had a tremendous ride since the start of the year and consumer confidence, which took a tumble in January, has regained much of its decline,” observed Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist.

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“With January’s government shutdown and record-breaking sub-zero temperatures in the rearview mirror, we expected a general upward lift in February,” he said. (more…)

Lordstown Plant Manufactures Last Chevy Cruze

Event moves site one step closer to closure.

by on Mar.06, 2019

The Lordstown, Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze will produce the last model today.

The last Chevrolet Cruze is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio, today, moving the big General Motors assembly plant alongside the Ohio Turnpike in northeast Ohio, one step closer to abandonment and intensifying the confrontation between GM and the United Auto Workers.

More than 1,400 blue-collar workers will be impacted by the end of production at Lordstown and GM has promised that it has jobs for all of them, while offering special packages to employees ready for retirement.

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But the UAW has already filed suit in federal court charging the idling of the Lordstown plant and two other factories, claiming the shutdown down violated the union’s current contract with the automaker. GM has denied the UAW’s claim. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Audi A8 L Quattro

A supreme combination of luxury and performance.

by on Mar.05, 2019

The Audi A8 L Quattro may be among the best-looking vehicles on the road today.

Passenger cars come in wide variety of shapes and sizes.

But no vehicle has the presence and stately grace of a well-made sedan and the Audi A8 L Quattro certainly fits the bill with its extra-long wheel base, roomy cabin, quiet ride and an extensive complement of technology designed to make driving less stressful and even less eventful for the driver.

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However, I also had a sneaking suspicion when I saw the spacious rear seat that this was actually a car where a chauffeur did the driving while the owner and his or her colleagues enjoy the comfortable ride and perhaps the view from large side windows. (more…)

German Automakers Placing Big Bet on Electric Vehicles

Group putting $68 billion into EV development.

by on Mar.04, 2019

The next-generation Macan will feature an all-electric model, according to Porsche.

Germany’s car industry is tracking to invest more than $68 billion in new technology for next three years on electric cars and automated driving, the head of the VDA, the association that represents German carmakers.

“We will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility during the next three years, and another 18 billion euros will be invested in digitization and connected and automated driving,” VDA president Bernhard Mattes said in a statement on Saturday.

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The investment, however, also entails considerable risk. (more…)

Wintry Weather Drives Auto Sales Down in February

Trucks, SUVs were best-sellers last month.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Fiat Chrysler officials said the Grand Cherokee set a new sales record for February.

Nissan, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Honda all reported sales declines in February as a combination of wintry weather and rising costs under cut the sales of new vehicles.

Trucks and sport-utility vehicles continued to dominate the sales picture, but Nissan and Toyota also reported an uptick in sales of subcompact and compact cars in what is perhaps a sign that consumers are beginning to look for less expensive transportation alternatives in the face of rising prices and interest rates.

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Strong sales of trucks and SUVs would likely be good news for General Motors and Ford, but the two automakers do not report sales on a monthly basis. (more…)

First Look: 2020 Jaguar XE

Sport sedan gets a makeover inside and out for model year.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Jaguar's given its XE sport sedan a complete makeover for 2020, including an all-new interior.

Jaguar has announced a series of updates to the 2020 XE sports sedan, including what is described as an enhanced exterior design; all-new interior with new materials and layout and advanced infotainment and drivers’ assistance technologies.

“The new Jaguar XE is all about building on the undeniable sporting proportions of the original car,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design.

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“We’ve given the car much bolder graphics and more visual width; planting it in a way which really illustrates its dynamic intent. The new XE is a wonderfully complete package with a very purposeful exterior matched to a beautifully crafted, sporty interior,” Callum said. (more…)

Ford Cutting Jobs in China

China sales fell 2.8% in 2018.

by on Feb.28, 2019

While Ford's Mustang is still selling well, the rest of its line-up is not, contributing to a double-digit decline.

Ford Motor Co. is moving to slash thousands of jobs in China.

Since last fall, Ford has been promising to put its house in order and analysts have speculated that the restructuring could result in the elimination of 15,000 jobs worldwide.

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Now it appears that a large piece of the restructuring will involve cuts to the company’s operations in China where Ford lost as much as $1 billion in 2018, according to the company’s financial statements. (more…)

FCA Cuts 1,400 Jobs at Jeep Plant in Illinois

Automaker offers to place employees in other jobs.

by on Feb.27, 2019

FCA cut 1,400 jobs at its Belvidere, Illinois plant, but added it would attempt to find jobs within the company for the laid off employees.

On the heels of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ announcement that it plans to open a new assembly plant in Detroit and adds jobs at another in Warren, Michigan, FCA also confirmed it plans to cut 1,400 jobs at its assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, in early May.

“In order to better align production with global demand at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, FCA notified the state of Illinois, the city of Belvidere and the UAW today that it intends to return the plant to a traditional two shift operation, beginning May 6, 2019,” FCA said in a statement.

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“This action will affect 1,371 people. The company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority,” the statement said. (more…)

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