VW Tagged With $1B Fine in Germany for Diesel Scandal

Penalty doesn't prevent civil lawsuits against maker.

by on Jun.13, 2018

VW's new CEO Herbert Diess recently noted the company would have to work hard to regain the public's trust.

Volkswagen AG’s diesel cheating scandal has resulted in the automaker writing another large check, $1 billion, for violating German emissions controls mandates.

The fine is just the latest in a litany of payouts related to the automaker’s attempts to circumvent emissions rules in the U.S. and other countries.

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The $1 billion fine by German authorities is one of the largest in the country’s history. However, its significantly less than what it agreed to in a U.S. plea agreement in January 2017 when VW agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties for installing illegal software in diesel engines.  Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Latest to Push Into Ride-Sharing

Japanese maker investing $1B in Southeast Asia’s Grab.

by on Jun.13, 2018

Toyota invested $1 billion into Grab Holdings to bolster its ride-sharing operations.

Toyota will join a growing list of automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, making bets on the anticipated explosion in ride-sharing services.

The Japanese giant plans to invest $1 billion in Grab Taxi Holdings Inc., a Singapore-based technology company operating ride-hailing services in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Originally launched as a taxi company, it is now positioning itself as a regional powerhouse after acquiring Uber’s Southeast Asian operations earlier this year.

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For its part, Toyota was a relative latecomer to emerging mobility services, including ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles. But it has launched a number of investments during the last several years, both in the form of outside alliances and by setting up its own technology subsidiary, the Toyota Research Institute, or TRI. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Increasing Bolt Production, Per Sustainability Report

The Orion plant will also produce Maven autonomous car.

by on Jun.13, 2018

Chevy Bolt production will be increased for this year and next due to rising demand for the EV.

General Motors Co. said will increase production of its Bolt battery-electric vehicle this year in response to global demand, according to 2017 sustainability report it released ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

The Bolt EV is built at GM’s Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit.

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GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra also said at least 20 new all-electric vehicles will launch globally by 2023, and that GM is partnering with utilities and governments to accelerate the growth of charging infrastructure as it looks to deliver on its vision of an “all-electric, emissions-free” future. “We believe the future is electric,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

With AMR, Aston Rapide Gets a Little More Rapid

205 mph sedan is fit for street or track.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The Aston Martin Rapide AMR was first shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

Aston is no slouch when it comes to performance, but it’s in the midst of amping things up another notch with the help of its motorsports operations, Aston Martin Racing.

Appropriately, fast on the heels of the new DB11 tune-up, it’s pulling the covers off the Rapide AMR, a production version of the concept first shown at the 2017 Geneva Motors Show. If you happened to get a look at the prototype, it turns out, you’ll have a good idea what will soon be hitting the street – and the track, as many buyers will likely be finding ways to push the performance version of Aston’s sedan to its limits.

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The new performance models, Aston explained in a statement previewing the Rapide AMR, “draw a direct engineering and aesthetic link between the company’s successful race team and its road cars. As such the Rapide AMR is a sports car capable of comfortably transporting a team of race drivers to a circuit on the other side of a continent and then tackling the track when they get there.” Read the rest of this entry »

Polestar Will Pump Up New Volvo S60 Performance Model

Volvo takes performance to new level with modified S60 sedan.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered gets unique Brembo brakes, among other modifications.

Few brands have done more to try to transform their image in recent years than Volvo, and the new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan should continue shifting the Swedish marque in its new direction.

The latest version of the S60 not only puts more of a premium on sporty styling but backs it up with a 415-horsepower engine. But that’s no ordinary powerplant. No V-8s or turbo-sixes for this new Volvo. It’s a Polestar-modified version of the carmaker’s T8 plug-in hybrid, the top-performing version of its all-four-cylinder line-up.

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“The new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered is an electrified car that does what you want it to,” said Volvo’s Senior Vice President of R&D Henrik Green. “All components have been fine-tuned to work together, delivering a responsive and exciting driver’s car.”

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GM Impacted Already by Rising Costs Due to Trump Tariffs

CEO Barra says no changes planned yet.

by on Jun.12, 2018

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra talks with media prior to the start of the 2018 General Motors annual shareholders meeting.

Tariffs on aluminum and steel are already beginning to push up costs General Motors top executive acknowledged before the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Detroit.

GM is beginning to see cost increases as a result of the tariffs imposed on aluminum and steel by the Trump administration, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marry Barra said Tuesday ahead of the company’s meeting.

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Barra told reporters that the trade negotiations are still incomplete so it is difficult to have a complete picture of the impact of tariffs will have on the General Motors or the automobile industry in general.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Slashing Up to 9% of Workforce

Up to 3,000 likely to lose jobs, but assembly, battery-plant workers expected to be spared.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees that the company would lay off 9% of the workforce in a letter.

Tesla will lay off as many as 3,000 workers, or nearly 9% of its workforce, in a bid to reorganize and address endemic problems, according to a letter sent by CEO Elon Musk to company employees.

The first layoffs reportedly were set to take effect this week, according to website Electrek, which obtained a copy of the letter. The automaker subsequently confirmed that the layoffs will take place, but emphasized that production workers will be spared, the cuts targeting the salaried side of a workforce that grew to around 30,000 after last year’s acquisition of Solar City.

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If anything, Tesla has been trying to expand the workforce at both its Fremont, California assembly plant and Reno, Nevada Gigafactory in an effort to finally put production of the critical Model 3 battery-sedan on track. Musk recently said Tesla is on track to roll out about 5,000 of the vehicles a week by the end of this month, a roughly 250% increase from the end of the first quarter – though still well below its original target. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes Previews Electric EQA With Concept Drive in Sicily

Production model set to join new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz EQA concept though still a year from production is clearly making plenty progress toward road-readiness.

While Mercedes is still a year away from introducing its all-new EQ battery-electric sub-brand, it’s giving a preview of what’s to come with these images of the Concept EQA sedan being driven through the Sicilian countryside.

A production version of this prototype, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, will be part of a fast-growing line-up of long-range electric models, the EQC crossover set to launch the Mercedes-EQ brand-within-a-brand in 2019.

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Parent Daimler AG is committing billions in its drive to electrify virtually its entire line-up, with everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles in the planning to pre-production stage. By 2022, the automaker has said, it wants to have 10 BEV models in the Mercedes line-up alone. Add various forms of hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles and there will be 60 electrified Mercedes models and variants available by then. Read the rest of this entry »

Kia Recalling 500K Cars Due to Airbag Problem

Hyundai already recalled nearly 600K vehicles for same issue.

by on Jun.12, 2018

The 2011 Kia Forte is part of a larger recall related to an airbag deployment problem..

Kia issued a recall of more than 500,000 cars in the U.S. because the airbags may fail to inflate during a crash, according to the automaker.

The action includes 2010–13 Forte modes, 2011–13 Optima models as well as 2011 and 2012 Optima hybrids and Sedona minivans. The move comes in conjunction with a similar action by Kia’s sibling maker, Hyundai.

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Which brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

UAW, FCA Head to Court to Retrieve Stolen Funds

Union pledges safeguards in place to prevent future problems.

by on Jun.12, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams told members that new safeguards will prevent future attempts to steal from training funds.

The scandal-ridden UAW-Chrysler National Training Center has filed a civil lawsuit against a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. executive and the widow of United Auto Workers leader in a bid to claw back millions of dollars they embezzled from the NTC during the years.

Dennis Williams, the UAW outgoing president, also took aim at the theft of the joint funds during a speech on the opening day of the unions Constitution Convention.

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“To be clear: those who misallocated or misused training center funds betrayed our trust,” the retiring president told the 1,100 delegates gathered in Detroit “The UAW has zero tolerance for corruption, wrongdoing, at any level of this organization.” Read the rest of this entry »

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