Tesla Cutting Prices on China-Built Model 3 Sedans

Shanghai factory expected to start production by end of year.

by on May.31, 2019

Tesla CEO Musk shows a rendering of the future assenbly plant in Shanghai that will be crucial to the automaker's future.

With Tesla plowing ahead on construction of its new factory to build Model 3s in China, the EV maker is looking to ensure that the market will be solid enough to keep the vehicles in demand once they start spitting them out of the plant.

Well, it is an American car company and how do American automakers draw the attention of buyers in a soft market? They make their vehicles cheaper. So, CEO Elon Musk is slashing prices in China!

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Perhaps “slashing” is too harsh a word, but the company is cutting 13% off the standard Model 3, which means it comes in at about $47,000. The carmaker has been building a factory in China since January where it its initial output will be Model 3 cars. Pre-orders for the vehicles will also start on Friday, the company said on its website.  Read the rest of this entry »

Cadillac Expands V-Series Line-Up with CT5-V, CT4-V

Luxury brand commits to a future with high performance.

by on May.31, 2019

The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V is one of two new V-Series entries for the luxury automaker.

When introduced more than a decade ago, Cadillac’s V-Series cars were supposed to hasten the move of the brand’s image from that of a maker of stuffy sedans for senior citizens to the manufacturer of leading-edge performance luxury machines ready to compete on the world stage.

Though the brand overall may have had some stumbles in terms of changing its image, the V-Series cars have been the one consistent draw for younger buyers looking for the right combination of performance and luxury.

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As the company continues its current metamorphosis, the V-Series remains an important part of the plan as evidenced by the company’s two new race-inspired beasts, the CT5-V and the all-new CT4-V. Both are 2020 models. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump to Tariff Mexican Imports Over Illegal Immigration

Duties will quickly grow from 5 to 25%; “auto industry gets hammered,” as prices soar

by on May.31, 2019

President Donald Trump surprised Mexico by slapping a new tariff on the country in an attempt to slow illegal immigration.

President Donald Trump has ordered new tariffs on Mexican goods entering the United States, starting June 10, to put pressure on that country to stem illegal immigration across the southern U.S. border.

“The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed,” Trump said via Twitter, with the new duties to start at 5% and increase to 25% if there isn’t a resolution to the immigration situation by Oct. 1.

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The move will impact a broad range of goods, including consumer electronics and, in particular, the autos and automotive parts that make up the single biggest Mexican export to the U.S. last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, comprising a total of $99.3 billion. As with imports on Chinese goods caught up in another trade war, automakers could choose to pass the added costs on to consumers at a time when vehicle prices roughly at record levels and sales are in a slump. Read the rest of this entry »

Cadillac Hopes to Grab New Customers with New V Series

Luxury brand unveils new CT4-V and CT5-V.

by on May.31, 2019

Cadillac introduced two of its V Series models in Detroit, including the new CT4-V, left.

Throughout the years, Cadillac’s V series has won fans among hard car enthusiasts, but GM’s luxury division is looking to win new adherents for the V-badged vehicles as it rolls the 2020 CT4-V and CT5-V early next year.

Deborah Wahl, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer, said the new sedans with their blend of technology, performance and style are coming to market at an opportune time.

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“If you look at the market right now, there’s not a lot excitement in the market right now,” she said. “It’s absolutely an opportunity for Cadillac.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ferrari Plugs In, Charges Out With its First Plug-In, the SF90 Stradale

“A milestone,” proclaims CEO Louis Camilleri.

by on May.30, 2019

Ferrari's new SF90 Stradale puts out 986 horsepower and will hit showrooms next summer.

Ferrari has decided its time to plug-into the electrification revolution, joining traditional competitors like Aston Martin, as well as upstarts such as Croatia’s Rimac.

As was widely expected, the Italian automaker’s prancing pony will show up on its first-ever plug-in hybrid, the SF90 Stradale, set to roll into showrooms during the summer of 2020. The PHEV, which will combine Ferrari’s most powerful V-8 with three electric motors, will be able to operate at up to 84 mph in pure electric mode, though its modest 7.9 kilowatt-hour battery will yield no more than 15 miles in range in eDrive mode.

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The debut of the SF90 is “a milestone” for the exotic automaker, said CEO Louis Camilleri, though Ferrari did dabble in electrification once before, using a Formula One-based KERS, or kinetic energy recovery system, on its flagship LaFerrari model introduced in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Musk Cheers as Tesla Closes in on Production Record

CEO encourages employees via email.

by on May.30, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk send employees an email telling them they were tracking to beat the company's previous quarterly production record.

Tesla Inc. has a chance to beat its previous quarterly production record, and CEO Elon Musk is trying to punch up morale with employees hoping to make it happen.

Musk sent out an email to the Fremont, California plant’s employees letting them know they’re on the precipice of breaking another quarterly production record — last fall’s 90,700 units.

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The EV maker measures its production by deliveries, not just how many vehicles are made, and it’s getting the vehicles to their new owners, i.e. the last step, that is giving the company problems these days. It’s been an issue for most the past year. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Investing $24M in Ft. Wayne Plant to Boost Pickup Production

Move follows major investment in Michigan HD truck plant.

by on May.30, 2019

GM Chairman Mary Barra talks with workers at the company's Fort Wayne truck plant where it plans to invest $24 million to expand production.

With pickup sales continuing to skyrocket, despite the overall slowdown in the U.S. automotive market, General Motors said Thursday it will invest $24 million to boost production at the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant that produces two of its most profitable trucks.

The move will not only boost output of the full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, but may also offer an opportunity for some of the workers displaced by the closure of two other GM assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio.

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“The team here at Fort Wayne has done an outstanding job helping us satisfy customers throughout this launch,” GM CEO Mary Barra said during an announcement at the Fort Wayne plant which currently employs about 4,230 hourly workers. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Sequoia

Big ute gets refined ride, slew of safety technology.

by on May.30, 2019

The 2019 Toyota Sequoia features a more refined ride than its predecessors on the traditional frame.

The Toyota Sequoia has been around for a while now, but the automaker continues to change the vehicle enough to keep it interesting for both loyal fans of the buyers and new buyers, looking for a big vehicle capable of hauling people and their stuff.

The Sequoia is built with an old-school body-on-frame construction. In years past, body-and-frame sport utility vehicles had a tendency to roll and pitch in a way that could leave even experienced sailors a bit sea sick.

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But there is none of that with 2019 Sequoia, which has been nicely tamed with a series of engineering tweaks that give the big SUV a stable, comfortable foundation for towing, driving off the pavement and everyday motoring on the vehicle’s 122-inch wheelbase. Read the rest of this entry »

VW Tennessee Workers Get Another Chance for Unionization

Plant's new vote comes in mid-June.

by on May.30, 2019

The UAW's third election in five years at VW's Chattanooga plant will take place in mid-June.

The UAW is getting its another kick at the can when Volkswagen of America hourly workers in Tennessee will vote yet again to decide if they want to be represented by the Detroit-based union.

Workers at the Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant will vote June 12, 13 and 14 to unionize. 

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The UAW petitioned the National Labor Relations Board last month to set the dates for the election to represent about 1,700 trade and production workers at the plant that builds cars and sport-utility vehicles. The new dates come after the automaker’s lawyers won a temporary delay. Read the rest of this entry »

Lexus Lifts the Covers on Updates RX Line in Bid to Retain CUV Dominance

More aggressive styling, more features – but there also are plenty of new competitors.

by on May.30, 2019

Lexus VP Lisa Materazzo shows off the 2020 RX 350 F Sport during a CA event Wednesday.

For countless American family buyers, the Lexus RX has served as the luxurious alternative to a minivan. Almost from the moment it was introduced, 22 years ago, it has dominated the high-line midsize crossover market, and that’s a position Lexus is determined to retain as what was once a small niche has become one of the U.S. luxury market’s largest segments.

Four years after launching the fourth-generation RX, Lexus is giving the CUV a significant enough “refresh” to stage a roll-out event for journalists in both the U.S. and China on Wednesday night. What they got to see was a vehicle with more distinctive styling, more high-tech features and more advanced safety gear as a standard feature – but with the 2020 Lexus RX facing significantly more competition than ever before, the question is whether it can maintain its traditional momentum.

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Part of the challenge is that Lexus has, since it first launched in 1989, been a Baby Boomer brand, and the RX line is one of the examples of that, said Rebecca Lindland, an automotive analyst with RebeccaDrives. “The RX,” she added. “is no longer aspirational” for the subsequent generations “just starting their families.”

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