Tesla Purges Hundreds of “Underperforming” Employees

EV maker says workers will be replaced.

by on Oct.16, 2017

Tesla reportedly fired hundreds of underperforming workers at its plant in Fremont, California, as well as its Palo Alto headquarters.

Claiming it was weeding out underperforming employees, Tesla dismissed hundreds of employees at its Palo Alto, California, headquarters campus and its Fremont assembly facility, according to multiple reports.

The San Jose Mercury News puts the number of firings at between 400 and 700 people, and they affected everything from factory workers to engineers to managers. According to that report, workers were not given advance notice of the decision.

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Tesla, in a statement, cited a company-wide annual review and said that it had not laid employees off, but rather that it let employees go based on lackluster job performance. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Reaches Deal with Canadian Auto Workers

Uniform Local 88 holding ratification vote on Monday.

by on Oct.15, 2017

After four weeks on the picket lines, it appears Unifor employees have struck a deal with GM. (Photo credit: Arnie De Vaan)

Striking Canadian auto workers said late Friday they had reached a tentative deal to end a four-week-old walkout at a key GM assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

“The Master Bargaining Committee, along with our Unifor National Representatives, is pleased to announce that a tentative agreement has been achieved,” Unifor Local 88 said on its website.

Union News!

“Details of the Tentative Agreement will not be released until the membership ratification meeting,” the Local said in its announcement, adding it would hold a ratification meeting and vote on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Negotiators’ New Autos Proposal May Kill NAFTA Talks

Auto industry pleads for deal to be left alone.

by on Oct.13, 2017

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is optimistic the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be able complete a renegotiation of NAFTA before the end of the year.

Trump Administration officials may have just offered up the proposal that puts the final nail in the coffin of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement as the largest potential beneficiary of the plan, the automotive industry, begs for the deal to remain unchanged.

U.S. negotiators proposed more stringent content standards on vehicles, engines and other components that would be largely favorable to U.S. companies, immediately drawing backlash from Canadian and Mexican officials. President Trump has long advocated pulling out of the deal, including earlier this week.

The Last Word!

The administration believes vehicles must have more regional content to qualify for NAFTA tariff-free access, according to Reuters. Reportedly, Trump officials want to increase the North American content mandate to 85% from its current level of 62.5%, and 50% of content must be produced in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Branson Aims to Make Hyperloop Travel a Reality

British billionaire buys stake in high-speed transpo company, rebrands it Virgin Hyperloop One.

by on Oct.13, 2017

Virgin Founder Richard Branson invested an undisclosed amount in Elon Musk's Hyperloop One project, which is now named Virgin Hyperloop One.

British billionaire Richard Branson already has taken aim at space with his Virgin Galactic rocket ship company. Now he wants to get travelers rocketing along closer to earth, the head of the Virgin Group joining the board of start-up Hyperloop One.

Branson is also buying an unspecified stake in that company – which aims to commercialize the high-speed transportation system envisioned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk – and it will now be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One. The goal is to send passenger and cargo pods shooting great distances through low-pressure tubes at speeds of more than 600 miles an hour.

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“Virgin Hyperloop One will be all-electric and the team is working on ensuing it is a responsible and sustainable form of transport,” Branson’s firm said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2018 Volvo V90 R-Design

An engaging package of style, performance and luxury.

by on Oct.13, 2017

The Volvo V90 may be the leader of the pack when it comes to the resurgent station wagon segment.

Don’t look now but the station wagon is quietly making something of a comeback.

It might not be a huge comeback and a fair number of manufacturers are loath to even mention the words “station wagon” in their various sales pitches. However, with the appearance of the V90, Volvo is definitely embracing the station wagon.

Reviews You Can Use!

Moreover, the V90 is hardly a retro-vehicle eager to get in touch with some kind Mad Men-era chic. Instead it’s a fully updated vehicle with a luxurious interior and an exterior that completely re-invents the appearance with fresh lines, curves and angles kept well within envelope traditionally occupied by station wagon with its low but elongated profile.  Read the rest of this entry »

Aston Martin Drops the Top with New DB11 Volante

A one-touch affair.

by on Oct.13, 2017

The new Aston Martin DB11 Volante comes out just in time for a few indian summer, top-down runs.

Better late than never. While autumn may be upon us, Aston Martin is giving luxury buyers a reason to look forward to warmer weather with the debut of the new DB11 Volante.

The convertible is set to become the third variant of the Aston Martin DB11 when it rolls into showrooms next spring, joining a rapidly growing line-up that will soon include both the DBX sport-utility vehicle as well as the British maker’s first all-electric model.

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Aston sticks with a folding cloth top for the DB11 Volante, rather than the origami-like metal alternatives some competitors have opted for. But the approach helps minimize added weight and keeps the center of gravity down low, a definite for a 2+2 sports car. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Appoints Bolt Boss to New EV Post

Fletcher named Vice President, Global Electric Vehicle Programs

by on Oct.13, 2017

Pam Fletcher, GM's electric vehicle chief, and North American President Alan Batey hold the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy. for the Chevrolet Bolt.

With the pressure mounting in several corners of the globe to promote the use of electric vehicles on the road, General Motors Co. appointed Pamela Fletcher to the newly created position of Vice President, Global Electric Vehicle Programs.

Fletcher, who has spent a substantial part of her career with GM working on electric vehicles, led the team that launched the Chevrolet Bolt EV and “created the plan to accelerate us along the pathway to our vision of a zero emissions world,” the company noted.

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The Bolt has been considered a technical success and is considered an integral part of the company’s future fleet of autonomous vehicles and GM’s car sharing initiatives. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Tells Unifor Equinox Going to Mexico if Strike Doesn’t End

Company laying off workers at other facilities due to strike.

by on Oct.12, 2017

Unifor President Jerry Dias speaks to striking workers at GM's Ingersoll, Ontario, plant.

The ongoing talks between General Motors and Unifor-represented workers at the company’s plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, may be heading south — literally.

The workers at the plant, which produces the hot-selling Chevy Equinox, walked off the line more than four weeks ago and GM is beginning to feel the pinch. GM negotiators told Unifor they had a Plan B in place if the plant’s workers didn’t return to work.

News You Can Trust!

“GM just told us today that they are going to ramp up production in Mexico,” Unifor President Jerry Dias told Reuters. “They have declared war on Canada.” Read the rest of this entry »

GM Shutting Down Poletown Plant for 2017 in November

GM's been aggressively matching personnel levels to vehicle demand.

by on Oct.12, 2017

GM is idling its Detroit-Hamtramck facility where it builds the Chevy Volt and three other vehicles.

General Motors plans to temporarily shut down its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant due to falling demand for the four vehicles built at the plant. The move idles more than 1,800 hourly and salaried employees.

Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, also known as the Poletown plant, builds the Chevy Impala, Chevy Volt, Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse.

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The plant will begin reducing production levels Oct. 20, culminating in the shutdown on Nov. 13, which will last through the end of 2017. It’s the second time this year GM’s been forced to cut personnel from the plant, letting more than 600 temporary employees go in late spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Asian Makers Sweep Green Car of the Year Nominations

Honda gets two chances at the title.

by on Oct.12, 2017

Honda's new 2018 Accord is one of the nominees for the Green Car of the Year Award.

The list of nominees for the 2018 Green Car of the Year award, which will be handed out in late November during the Los Angeles Auto Show press preview, is dominated by Asian automakers, including two nominations for Honda.

The 2018 models include the Honda Accord, Honda Clarity, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry, according to Green Car Journal. Noticeably absent from the list? Tesla Model 3.

Global Auto News!

The all-new 2018 Accord champions style, efficiency, and performance with three advanced new power plants – two direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and the third generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid powertrain. Read the rest of this entry »

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