Polestar’s First All-Electric Model Breaks Cover

by on Jan.03, 2019

Polestar hints that its first all-electric model will adopt a "fastback" shape.

Volvo’s electric performance division is finally charging forward, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 getting ready for production, while the sub-brand’s first all-electric model is set to be “fully revealed in the coming weeks,” it confirmed today.

According to a statement, “The car will go into production shortly after the long-range hybrid Polestar 1, which will enter production later this year.” The automaker also emphasized that Polestar 2 will take direct aim at Tesla’s Model 3.

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The teaser shows an overhead view of the Polestar 2’s rounded back end, so not much to go on beyond the fact that it features very aggressively raked rear glass flowing into a rather short trunk lid. That would suggest either a hatchback or an edgy crossover design, Polestar calling it a “fastback.”

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UAW Sues General Motors Over Use of Temporary Hourly Workers

Union says there are 1,000 laid-off workers that should get the jobs.

by on Jan.03, 2019

GM is being sued by the UAW for using temporary workers at the plant instead of laid-off employees.

If there wasn’t tension between the UAW and General Motors due to the company’s restructuring plans to close five plants, the new lawsuit filed by the union over the use of temporary workers should ensure there is now.

The United Auto Workers said on Thursday it was suing GM about labor contract violations due to the alleged use of temporary workers at an Indiana assembly plant.

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The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Ohio. At the heart of the matter, according to the union, is the fact that GM used temporary workers at the plant when there are 1,000 laid-off hourly employees with rights to transfer to plants with openings — specifically the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant. Read the rest of this entry »

Trucks, SUVs Pull in December Buyers Giving Industry Big Boost

Strong final month pushes auto sales past last year's numbers.

by on Jan.03, 2019

Sales of the Jeep Wrangler helped push Fiat Chrysler to a 14% sales increase in December.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continued to post strong sales numbers during December as it finished 2018 on a high note, while rivals General Motors, Ford and Toyota reported sales declines despite a heavy marketing push during the holiday season.

FCA enjoyed a 14% sales increase for month, while Ford reported an 8.8% drop and Toyota sales fell by 1.1%. Nissan Group reported a 7.6% increase and American Honda reported a 3.9% increase in December as sales of trucks, crossovers and SUVS. continued to drive the new vehicle market.

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For example, the Jeep Wrangler notched record December sales of 19,800 vehicles and full-year sales of 240,032. The results significantly exceeded the former full-year sales record of 202,266 set in 2015.  Read the rest of this entry »

GM Product Czar Mark Reuss Adds “President” to His List of Titles

Following in his father’s footsteps.

by on Jan.03, 2019

GM's Mark Reuss may be happiest behind the wheel of one of these, his impact will now reach beyond product development.

General Motors has a new president, global product czar Mark Reuss stepping in to fill a role left vacant late last year when former president Dan Ammann was reassigned to run GM’s autonomous vehicle development subsidiary, Cruise Automation.

The 55-year-old veteran, who trained as an automotive engineer, likes to say he has “gasoline in his blood.” He also has long ties to GM itself, his father Lloyd Reuss serving as the carmaker’s president during the turbulent era from 1990 to 1992.

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“Mark’s global operational experience, deep product knowledge and strong leadership will serve us well as we continue to strengthen our current business, take advantage of growth opportunities and further define the future of personal mobility,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Mark has played a critical role in leading the development of the company’s award-winning vehicles while transitioning his team to prepare for growing electrification and autonomous technologies.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rising Interest Rates Will Drive Auto Sales Down in 2019

Edmunds predicts rates will continue upward.

by on Jan.03, 2019

Rising interest rates and falling incentives are expected to combine to drive down new vehicle sales in 2019.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates throughout 2018 and, as observers expect to confirm today, new vehicle sales rose year-over-year. However, experts predict that will be a one-time occurrence.

There was a dip in automotive interest rates at the end of the year to help with holiday sales. New vehicle rates averaged 5.9% in December, according to Edmunds.com, after averaging 6% in November, which helped drive a strong end to the year.

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However, that average was largely driven by banks and other lenders rewarding buyers with excellent credit special low-interest loans rather than an overall shift downward. Read the rest of this entry »

Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

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Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

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Hyundai Builds the “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle”

Hyundai Elevate promises to go “where no vehicle has been before.”

by on Jan.02, 2019

Hyundai believes it has developed the ultimate mobility vehicle with its Elevate concept.

There are plenty of vehicles on the market that claim to be able to “go anywhere,” products like the Land Rover Velar, Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Class. But there are, in fact, limits to their mobility, something that Hyundai contends it can overcome with a new concept vehicle set to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Dubbed the Hyundai Elevate, the prototype mounts its tires at the end of four spindly legs which, the Korean carmaker contends, will “redefine our perception of vehicular mobility.”

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While the automaker is saving most of the details until its CES news conference in Las Vegas next week, a terse news release adds that Elevate “combines the power of robotics and EV technology to take people where no vehicle has been before.” Read the rest of this entry »

GM Blows Past 200K in EV Sales Triggering Tax Credit Drop

Company hit the mark in Q4 2018, meaning cut coming in April 2019.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Sales of the Chevy Bolt rose 3.5% in the first half of 2018, and that helped push GM past the 200,000-unit mark in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Just as Tesla Inc. cut $2,000 off the price of all of its vehicles to help offset the loss of the $7,500 federal tax credit, General Motors is now in the same position after crossing the threshold just as it headed into 2019.

According to Reuters, the company reached the milestone – which began with sales in 2010 – at some point during the fourth quarter of 2018. Now buyers of GM-produced electric vehicles will only be able to get the full credit until April, at which point it will drop to $3,750. After another six-month period, it will fall again in October to $1,875.

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That will last until April 2020, after that – barring some sort of new legislation from Congress – the credit disappears. The company knew it was closing in on the target this fall as it began to lobby members of Congress to extend the credit for EV buyers. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Misses Sales Target, Cuts Prices – And Investors Are Not Amused

Company cuts prices $2K to offset drop of $7,500 tax credit to $3,750.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Tesla shareholders aren't entirely thrilled with the company's 2018 results and the stock price reflects it.

Tesla’s New Year is off to a shaky start, investors driving down its stock price while fretting about the company’s unexpectedly weak fourth-quarter sales and the potential hit the carmaker will take in 2019 as it watches its federal tax incentives phase out.

It wasn’t all bad news. Tesla’s total 2018 sales nearly matched what the company had delivered in all previous years combined, and after suffering through what CEO Elon Musk had once described as “production hell,” the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California, appears to be humming along. But deliveries during the final three months of 2018 fell about 1.5% below analysts’ expectations. And now, Tesla has to worry about what will happen as the $7,500 tax credits offered by the federal government begins to phase out.

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“We are taking steps to partially absorb the reduction of the federal EV tax credit (which, as of Jan. 1, dropped from $7,500 to $3,750),” Tesla said in a statement, adding that, “Starting today, we are reducing the price of Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in the U.S. by $2,000.” Read the rest of this entry »

Unifor Puts Pressure on GM in New Advertising Campaign

Ads have a pointed message for the company.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the new advertising campaign is designed to get GM to change its mind about the Oshawa, Ontario plant.

Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has launched an advertising campaign attacking General Motors’ decision to shutter plants and idle workers.

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, the successor to the old CAW, hase advertising campaign objective is to force GM to reconsider the decision to idle an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on an industrial site with a history of vehicle building stretching back more than 100 years.

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The Unifor ads are scheduled to appear in Canada and the U.S. and appeared even as GM was airing an expensive advertising campaign during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays that featured GM “employees,” touting Chevrolets. Read the rest of this entry »

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