In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

The Last Word!

One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

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As Predicted, Ford Resumes F-150 Production in Michigan

Production at two other plants restarts on Monday.

by on May.18, 2018

The first Ford F-150 truck rolls off the line this morning at Dearborn Truck Plant, restarted after a fire at a supplier halted production.

As Ford Motor Co. officials said earlier this week it would, the company’s workers at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant began sending F-150s down and off the line to would-be customers at 6 a.m. this morning.

The plant, along with a sister facility in Kansas City, Missouri, have been idle for the past week in the wake of a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products on May 2. Since that morning, the company scrambled to resume production of parts at the facility. Ford expects to make up the lost production and the supply to consumers was never impacted, officials noted.

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The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours, halted production at the two Ford sites as well as at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, General Motors’s full-size van plant near St. Louis and Fiat Chrysler adjusted the run rate of its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

Luxurious interior, leading-edge tech and great road manners.

by on May.18, 2018

The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is based on an all-new version of the three-row SUV.

Utility vehicles of various sizes but similar shapes now account for nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. and the competition is getting fierce carmakers admit.

Notions of luxury have evolved during the years right along with SUVs but one vehicle holding its own is the stylish Buick Enclave Avenir with its gorgeous interior, portfolio of optional technology and pleasant road manners that fit nicely into the American tradition of upscale vehicles.

Reviews You Can Use!

The exterior of the 2018 Enclave has a stately aura about it that makes a careful bow to the brand’s historic tradition with a careful display of sleek lines and jeweled corners and at the very same time it moves the vehicle into the 21st century with its 21st century silhouette. The front grille and fascia is not ostentatious and the rear is equally restrained but nicely set off by the lighting display. Read the rest of this entry »

Volvo Cutting Diesel Engines from Portfolio

Company plans to move to just gas and electric only.

by on May.18, 2018

The Volvo S60 will be the first sedan from the automaker that is offered without a diesel powerplant as an option.

Volvo Cars is implementing plans to stop offering diesel engines in its future vehicles.

The company announced this week the new Volvo S60 sedan – to be launched later this spring – will be the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine. The decision to eliminate a diesel engine on a model that will be sold worldwide highlights Volvo Cars’ “commitment to a long-term future beyond the traditional combustion engine,” the company said.

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“Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes Tooling Up French Plant to Take on Tesla Model 3

Compact EQA model will be one of 10 all-electric models coming by 2022.

by on May.18, 2018

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA made its debut at last autumn's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Daimler will invest 500 million euros, or $588 million, to tool up a plant in France that will produce an all-electric vehicle targeting the Tesla Model 3.

The German automaker has announced major plans for entering the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, market. That includes products like the compact concept vehicle Mercedes-Benz revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.

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The French battery-car will be based on that EQA prototype. By 2022, the new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand will be selling 10 BEVs. That’s on top of the electrified models to be offered by Daimler’s Smart brand. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes-Benz Restarting SUV Production in Alabama

Maker one of four impacted by fire at Michigan-based Meridian plant.

by on May.18, 2018

Mercedes-Benz officials said its SUV plant in Alabama will resume operations next week.

Mercedes-Benz said it expects to resume production of sport utility vehicles at its assembly plant in Alabama next week.

“We have worked with our supply base to reestablish part flow and we anticipate getting the first round of parts next week to slowly begin ramping up SUV production operations.

Product News!

“We are optimistic that as we go forward we will be able to add more production – gradually getting back to our normal production operations,” Felyicia Jerald, spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International said in an e-mail to AFP. Read the rest of this entry »

BMW Opens New R&D Facility in Beijing

New center is the third in China.

by on May.17, 2018

BMW Group executives mark the opening of the company's new research and development center in Beijing.

The BMW Group opened a new research and development center in Beijing — its third R&D center in the country.

The opening of China R&D Center is a significant step in expanding local innovation and moving ahead with the group’s localization strategy of “In China, for China and the world” one step further, officials noted.

Product News!

China became the largest market for the BMW Group last year. With the establishment of R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, the Chinese R&D network is unique and by far the biggest presence of BMW research and development outside Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

VW Brand Bailing Out on Paris Motor Show

Latest in a growing series of auto show cutbacks by global carmakers.

by on May.17, 2018

Volkswagen introduced its I.D. concept in Paris in 2016, now it's skipping the 2018 show.

The auto industry exodus from major car shows is rapidly accelerating, with Volkswagen the latest to announce plans that will see its flagship VW brand drop out of the upcoming Paris Auto Show, normally Europe’s biggest industry event of the year.

An assortment of major brands, including Volkswagen’s Audi marque, have said they will be no-shows next year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the biggest industry gathering in the U.S. And BMW plans to slash its presence at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, and possibly other auto shows.

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“The Volkswagen brand is continually reviewing its participation in international motor shows,” the VW division said on Thursday. It may not completely skip out on Paris, however. While it won’t have a display at the city’s convention center, it may stage concurrent “communications activities,” it added. Read the rest of this entry »

Mobileye Snags 8M Car Deal in Europe

Company to supply driver assistance tech for undisclosed carmaker.

by on May.17, 2018

Israel-based Mobileye secured a deal to outfit 8 million cars with driver assistance technology for an undisclosed automaker in Europe.

Eight million European vehicles are going to be “Intel Inside” after Mobileye, Intel Corp.’s Israel-based autonomous driving unit, inked a deal to supply a European automaker with its self-driving technologies.

The terms of the deal and the name of the automaker weren’t revealed, a company official told Reuters.

Stay in the Loop!

Mobileye may be best known in America for its relationship with Aptiv, formerly Delphi, and until last year with Tesla. The two companies had a spat and Tesla terminated its deal with Mobileye. However, Mobileye works with several automakers, such as General Motors, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler and China’s Nio, to supply its Level 3 technologies by next year. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Offers New Waze to Help Drivers Deal with Traffic

Traffic app being integrated into Sync 3

by on May.17, 2018

Ford Motor Co. now has Waze available for navigation for use through Sync 3.

Millions of Ford customers have purchased vehicles with built-in navigation technology, and the latest versions often come with the ability to show where traffic is backed up. But the Metro Detroit-based automaker plans to take things a step further.

Owners will now be able to access the Waze app through Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Waze, which was developed in Israel and then purchased by Google for $1.3 billion in 2013, goes beyond traditional navigation programs. It offers up routes that are designed to specifically avoid traffic, often detouring off clogged freeways and main arteries onto back roads and through residential neighborhoods.

News You Can Trust!

There is a caveat, however. First shown at the Consumer Electronics Show last winter, the feature will only be able to work on Ford vehicles with the carmaker’s latest infotainment system, Sync 3. And, at least initially, it will only be available for those with an Apple iPhone using a relatively recent operating system, iOS 11.3 or later. Read the rest of this entry »

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