GM, Michelin Team Up to Let the Air Out of the Tire

Airless Uptis concept could go into production by 2024, the two partners announce.

by on Jun.04, 2019

Steve Kiefer, GM’s global purchasing chief, talks about Uptis, the revolutionary new tire being tested by GM and Michelin.

The pneumatic tire revolutionized transportation, and while it might often be ignored, it’s an essential part of the modern automobile. But not for much longer, at least if a new partnership between Michelin and General Motors pans out.

GM said on Tuesday that it will begin testing the French company’s prototype wheel/tire combination, called Uptis, with a goal of putting the airless design in production by “as early as 2024.”

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“I would consider it revolutionary,” said Steve Kiefer, GM’s global director of purchasing, during a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday. If it works out as well as preliminary tests indicate, “We end up with a tire that’s maintenance-free,” while matching the basic characteristics of conventional pneumatic tires. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Wants to be Part of Solution to Climate Change

Automaker finding ways to reduce environmental impact.

by on Jun.04, 2019

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the company is attempting to mitigate its impact on the environment.

General Motors does believe it has to be part of the solution to climate change, said Mary Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer, during what was billed as the company’s first virtual annual meeting.

Barra said that for some years now GM has heeded the science behind climate change and is taking steps to mitigate the company’s carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

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“We are taking steps,” she said. “About 20 of our plants are powered by renewable energy.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Britain’s Lotus Set to Reveal 1st New Model in 11 Years – and it Will Be Electric

Type 130 expected to be the first in a wave of new offerings.

by on Jun.04, 2019

The Type 130 will be the first all-electric British hypercar from Lotus, and it will be built in Hethel, England.

The long-struggling British sports car company Lotus is set to launch its anticipated turnaround program next month with the debut of its first new model in 11 years.

The automaker promises that the new sports car, dubbed the Lotus Type 130, will be electrifying. Quite literally, as it’s the first battery-powered model in the company’s 71-year history. We’ll find out for sure during a preview in London on July 16.

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During an announcement at the Shanghai auto show in April, Lotus boss Phil Popham declared that the new model will “mark a turning point” for the brand and “showcase” its capabilities. It will certainly illustrate the commitment that has been made by the company’s new owners, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also owns Sweden’s Volvo. Read the rest of this entry »

Renault Expected to Give Thumbs Up to FCA Marriage Proposal

Nissan upbeat, but cautious, according to report.

by on Jun.04, 2019

Any merger between FCA and Renault must protect France's hourly workforce, such as its Maubeuge plant, French government officials said.

Renault’s board will meet on Tuesday afternoon to pore over the merger proposal offered late last month by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and reports from Europe suggest the response will be a positive one.

Should the French automaker signal its approval it would surprise few, several observers told, considering the two companies had discussed the idea of a full merger for more than a month before the plan became public.

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But there are some potential obstacles to be overcome, including the existing ties between Renault and its long-time alliance partner Nissan, as well as Mitsubishi which entered the alliance several years ago. But the two Japanese automakers also appear to be signaling cautious approval for the deal that would create the world’s third-largest automaker – and largest automotive group. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Model Y Likely to Roll Out of Fremont Plant After All

Musk reveals likely $49,000 base price for Tesla pickup.

by on Jun.03, 2019

Tesla's next vehicle, the Model Y, will be build alongside its siblings at the company's plant in Fremont, California.

We’ve known for some time that the Tesla Model Y will be going into production late next year, but what hasn’t been clear – to anyone, including Tesla – was where it would actually wind up being built.

CEO Elon Musk has been saying for some time that he hadn’t decided whether to use the automaker’s Fremont, California assembly plant or switch gears and set up a line at Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant in Reno, Nevada. But, over the weekend, Musk said that a final decision has all but been locked in stone.

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“Right now, our default plan actually is to produce the Y at Fremont,” the 47-year-old executive said during an appearance on the “Ride the Lightning” podcast with Ryan McCaffrey. “I was skeptical about whether this made sense at first, but my team convinced me the fastest way to get to volume production is to do the Y at Fremont.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mini Electric Tows a 150-ton Boeing Jet

New commercial highlights new EV’s stump-pulling torque.

by on Jun.03, 2019

Need to tow a Boeing 777? Mini's new SE battery-electric model is clearly up to the task.

Tell most folks you want to buy an EV and they’ll likely picture a slow and stodgy vehicle that can barely get out of its way.

That image is changing, thanks to the Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode, as well as some of the new battery-electric supercars like the new Pininfarina Battista. But there were clearly some folks shocked when they realized what you could pull off stuffing an electric drive system inside a Mini.

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The British arm of BMW is kicking off an ad campaign teasing the all electric Mini Cooper SE it will launch later this year by showing it towing a 150-ton Boeing 777F freight jet at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. New Vehicle Sales Tick Upward in May

Toyota and Fiat Chrysler led monthly sales surge.

by on Jun.03, 2019

Reid Bigland, FCA head of U.S. Sales, reported that the company's Ram division set a new sales record in May.

With Fiat Chrysler and Toyota leading the way, automakers surprised on the upside in May, posting modest sales increases for the month.

FCA, where overall sales increased 2%, reported setting three records in May, led by the Ram brand which notched its 12th consecutive monthly sales record as demand for both light-duty and heavy-duty pickup trucks remained strong.

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It was also the best May ever for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the highest level of May sales for the Dodge Charger in six years. Overall, total sales rose to 218,702 vehicles. Fleet represented 31% of total sales during the month. On a year-to-date basis, fleet accounted for 22% FCA of sales, the automaker reported. Read the rest of this entry »

Auto Stocks Taking a Beating as Industry Prepares for Mexican Tariffs

Domestic, import automakers alike hammered by Trump plan.

by on Jun.03, 2019

GM imports more vehicles from Mexico than any other automakers, including the Chevy Silverado.

It’s a bear market, at least when it comes to automotive stocks, with Pres. Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on Mexican imports set to go into effect a week from today.

Last Friday, the president tweeted that he was prepared to enact a new 5% tariff on Mexican goods in an effort to pressure that country to stem illegal immigration across the southern border. Barring any resolution, Trump said that would continue to climb to 25% by October 1.

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Nearly a dozen manufacturers would quickly be forced to either raise prices on vehicles imported from Mexico and risk weakening sales, or absorb the tariffs and take a hit to their bottom lines. But even vehicles produced in the U.S. would face tariffs on imported parts and components, such as engines, wiring harnesses and body and interior trim, according to industry analysts.

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Toyota Launching Hilux Production in Myanmar

Company to spend $52.6 million to build new plant.

by on Jun.03, 2019

Toyota plans to build the Hilux in a new $52.6 million plant in Myanmar starting in 2021.

Automakers are surrounded by uncertainty on multiple fronts created by the demands of everything from new technology to political uncertainty and challenges to the global trading system. These demands have also been the catalyst allowing the industry to flourish during the past half century.

Toyota Motor Corp. recently indicated that it is still optimistic about prospects for future growth with the announcement that it plans to build its first assembly plant in Myanmar to produce Hilux pickups starting in the first quarter 2021.

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“We believe that the longer-term growth potential for new vehicles sales in Myanmar is substantial, due to the country’s large population which is relatively untapped by automakers,” noted analysts from Fitch Group, leading financial information company. Read the rest of this entry »

Honda Sees Opportunity to Grow Car Sales in a Light Truck Market

Japanese automaker aims to pick up business abandoned by Detroit’s Big Three.

by on May.31, 2019

Honda's Henio Arcangeli continues to believe in a well-rounded product portfolio.

When Henio Arcangeli came to Detroit this week he might have stopped by the offices of Detroit’s Big Three to offer his thanks. As the senior vice president of the automobile division of American Honda Motor Co., Arcangeli is setting out to pick up some of the business General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are giving up as they slash their passenger car line-ups.

It’s not that Honda is determined to ignore the rapid shift that has seen sales of SUVs, CUVs, pickups and other light trucks surge to 70% of the American new vehicle market so far this year, it’s just that the Japanese automaker thinks it can continue to grow demand for familiar sedans and coupes, like the Accord and Civic, while also adding more trucks to its own model mix.

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“We all know the narrative: Cars are dead and dying,” Arcangeli said Friday during a lunchtime presentation to the Automotive Press Association. “That’s certainly true for some, but not for us. Our story is a little different.”

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