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Faraday Fritters Away Funding, Future Fading Fast — Again

Company not paying vendors while fighting with investor.

by on Oct.08, 2018

More than 300 Faraday workers gathered at the plant last weekend to help clean it up.

Less than a year after it was rumored to be out of money, budding electric vehicle maker Faraday Future appears to be out of money again — even after getting an $800 million infusion from a Chinese conglomerate.

According to a filing with Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the healthcare division of Chinese real estate group Evergrande is accusing Faraday Future founder and CEO Jia Yueting of trying to back out of the deal the two sides made in January.

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Evergrande officials claim that Jia blew through the $800 million and wanted another $700 million, and say they will take “all necessary actions” to protect itself and its shareholders. Conversely, Jia claims the company agreed to make two payments and after making the first, is trying to get out of the second, a $700 million payment due in 2019. (more…)

Strong Demand, Interest Rates Causing Jump in Used Car Prices

Compact, midsize sedans driving the shift.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Used vehicle prices are on the rise and that's unlikely to change in the near term, especially for compact and midsize sedans.

Car buyers looking for a deal by getting a used car are going to be sorely disappointed — used vehicle prices are on the rise.

According to the latest data from Manheim, used vehicle values set a new record for the third month in a row, which is unusual. The abnormal summer bounce began in mid-June and drove prices higher for 11 straight weeks.

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That changed some with the arrival of September, which saw several weeks of normalizing depreciation. However, it wasn’t enough to offset the overall jump in prices as 3-year-old vehicles are now worth 4.5% more than they would normally be worth had typical depreciation occurred through July and August, according to Manheim. (more…)

Ford Redesigning Company Structure, Salaried Job Cuts Coming in ’19

Number of white collar jobs to be shed unknown right now.

by on Oct.05, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett has talked about a turnaround at the automaker and now it looks like it's happening.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett has talked about making the automaker a more “fit” company going forward, and now it’s clear what that means: salaried job cuts.

The automaker is “redesigning” its white collar workforce to be leaner, have few layers and offer the remaining employees more power to make decisions, and implement those decisions more quickly.

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Currently, Ford employs 70,000 salaried workers, among its more than 285,000 overall employees worldwide. Of that total, about 85,000 work in the U.S. The number of jobs that will be cut is unknown at this point as the plan is still be formulated. (more…)

Toyota Recalls 2.4 Million Priuses Worldwide; 807K in US

Second time for this repair.

by on Oct.05, 2018

The Toyota Prius has been recalled due to a problem with stalling.

Toyota is recalling 2.4 million Prius hybrids worldwide – including 807,000 in the U.S. – that could stall while driving.

The Japanese automaker said the action covers certain 2010 to 2014 Prius hybrids and certain 2012 to 2014 Prius V hybrids. The problem stems from the vehicle failing to move into “fail-safe driving mode” when the car’s hybrid system “faults.”

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While it issue happens rarely, “the vehicle could lose power and stall. While power steering and braking would remain operational, a vehicle stall while driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of a crash.” (more…)

Traffic Fatalities Fall in 2017, Stemming Two-Year Rise

Decline despite Americans driving more than ever.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Traffic fatalities in the U.S. fell for the first time in two years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

After two years of increased traffic deaths on U.S. roadways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported fatalities fell 1.8% in 2017.

The previous increases came despite newer vehicles being the safest ever built so the causes of the spike – which came after nearly two decades of declines – were difficult to pinpoint for federal safety officials to nail down.

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In 2017, deaths related to pedestrians, drunk driving, speeding, bicyclists and motorcyclists all fell. The overall rate of fatalities fell to 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. This happened ever as Americans set another record for miles traveled behind the wheel, jumping 1.2% last year. (more…)

Cadillac’s Super Cruise Outperforms Tesla’s Autopilot

Driver monitoring system the key differentiator.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Cadillac Super Cruise outperformed Tesla's Autopilot during track and on-road testing by Consumer Reports.

A large part of the notoriety surrounding Tesla’s vehicles is the much-publicized Autopilot semi-autonomous system. However, a recent comparison of the existing systems reveals that while Autopilot might be best-known, it is not best.

That honor, according to Consumer Reports, belongs to Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology.

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The magazine claims Cadillac’s system does “the best job of balancing high-tech capabilities with ensuring the car is operated safely and that the driver is paying attention.” The technology will be available on all GM brands by 2020. (more…)

Lexus Lets its Emotions Flow With New RC Coupe

New model offers improved ride and handling.

by on Oct.03, 2018

The 2019 Lexus RC 300 couple ensure the brand has at least one compelling offering from a design perspective.

Lexus designers have been charged with the task of creating more emotion-evoking vehicles in recent years. However, the RC has always been that buzz-generating offering from Toyota’s luxury brand and the 2019 model shown in Paris continues that trend.

The exterior of the coupe gets an evolutionary upgrade rather than wholesale redesign with tweaks to the sporty look that also give it an elegant feel. However, those changes include updates to the aerodynamics to give it a“sharper and more refined” drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC, officials note.

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The changes include a new front bumper corner that flows down from the headlamps and a grille mesh pattern comprising shapes which gradually transform from top to bottom, creating an intriguing visual tension, Lexus says. The vertical arrangement of the extra-small triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED clearance lamps add to the car’s elegance. (more…)

Tesla Hits Third Quarter Model 3 Production Target

EV maker puts out 55,849 Model 3 sedans.

by on Oct.02, 2018

Tesla's Model 3 production has been the focus of the company much of the year, but the company made its Q3 production goal of 50,000 to 55,000 sedans.

Of the many things that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has uttered or tweeted in the past few months, none may have been more important than what he said, and meant, on Aug. 1 — Tesla would build 50,000 to 55,000 Model 3 sedans in the third quarter.

Musk has made and missed more production predictions than any modern day CEO. However, this time, the company made his – and analysts – forecasts by producing 55,849 Model 3s in Q3. Analysts predicted 55,600.

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Overall, Tesla built an impressive 83,500 vehicles during the period, exceeding analysts predictions of 80,000 vehicles, and more than three times the previous year’s tally of 26,150 units. During Q3, Model S sedan sales rose to 14,470 from 14,065 a year earlier, while Model X sport-utility vehicle deliveries rose to 13,190 from 11,865.  (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Chief Manley Shuffles Executive Team

Gorlier takes over supervision of European operations.

by on Oct.01, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley handed out new assignments to his executive team including naming Pietro Gorlier to COO with oversight of European operations.

After just about six weeks as CEO, Fiat Chrysler’s Mike Manley has shuffled the company’s top managers to his liking, with one appointment in particular drawing attention.

He announced the changes in an email sent to employees.

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“The next five years will continue to be extremely challenging for our industry, with tougher regulations, intense competition and probably slower industry growth around the world,” he wrote.  (more…)

NAFTA Gone! United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Takes Over

New deal supplants old one; changes may not help auto industry.

by on Oct.01, 2018

President Donald Trump says the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement means plenty of new jobs for U.S. workers.

This story has been updated with new information.

Talking and hand-wringing has shifted to hand shakes and back slapping as renegotiation of the long-standing trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico is finally complete — with significant changes for the auto industry.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaces the $1.2 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement and with it, comes many new jobs, according to its main driver, President Donald Trump. However, the auto industry is taking a wait-and-see attitude.

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“These measures will support many – hundreds of thousands – American jobs,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. “It means far more American jobs, and these are high-quality jobs.”  (more…)