First Drive: 2019 Audi A6

Impressive design and stellar performance.

by on Apr.05, 2019

The 2019 Audi A6 features impressive exterior styling with powerful performance.

The sales numbers don’t lie.

Sedans are going out of style or at least out of favor with consumers. But after driving the Audi A6 sedan with its nicely balanced blend of technology, power, comfort, luxury and handsome design, anyone with an appreciation of automotive hardware is left to wonder about what drivers the prevailing market trends.

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For starters, the exterior styling of the A6 endows the car with instant curb appeal. It looks good standing but also in motion with a blend of traditional Audi design cues, starting with the emblematic four rings as well as a new design “language,” for lack of a better word, that first showed up on Audi concept cars and other cars in its current product portfolio such as the Audi A8 and the Audio A7. Read the rest of this entry »

EU Claims VW, BMW and Daimler Colluded to Limit Emissions Tech

Automakers slowed use of new tech from 2006 to 2014.

by on Apr.05, 2019

Volkswagen as well as BMW and Daimler colluded to limit use of improved emissions technology in their European vehicles, an EU investigation found.

After completing its investigation, it was determined that collusion did occur … between Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler AG, European Union investigators said in a preliminary report.

EU authorities declared the three German automakers colluded to limit the development of emissions-cleaning technology in their vehicles, violating EU laws between 2006 and 2014. The union’s antitrust regulator, according to Associated Press, recently completed an investigation into the actions of the three companies.

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It determined that the three automakers agreed to limit the use of exhaust-improving technologies for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. The result limited the access of Europeans to less polluting cars, but not the price. Read the rest of this entry »

Judge Tells Tesla CEO Musk and SEC to Work it Out

Nathan tells both sides to put their "reasonableness pants" on.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized his distaste for the SEC during an interview on "60 Minutes."

The much-awaited courtroom showdown between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission never materialized as the two sides were told to make nice and work it out in the next two weeks.

Judge Alison Nathan instructed the “combatants” to renegotiate and clarify parts of a 2018 settlement agreement that mandated stricter oversight of Musk’s use of social media, particularly Twitter. The two sides were in court because the SEC believes Musk violated the terms of the deal, which cost Tesla and Musk $40 million, and he should be found in contempt.

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“Put your reasonableness pants on,” Nathan told both sides during a hearing in New York on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Q1 Sales Fall 1.6% Due to Passenger Car Freefall

Trucks and SUVs stem 23% drop in car sales.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Ford has already upped the production run of the new Ranger due to its popularity. It made a difference in sales during the first quarter.

Ford Motor Co saw sales decline by 1.6% in the first quarter.

But the drop was not as large as those experienced by rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and was concentrated in the passenger car segment, which are continuing to fade in consumer interest.

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“As we transition out of passenger cars we expect to see some volatility,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of sales, service and marketing. “I’m optimistic the year will strengthen.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Won’t Close Border But Threatens to Scuttle NAFTA Replacement, Impose New Auto Tariffs

President gives southern neighbor “1-year warning” on illegal immigration and drugs.

by on Apr.04, 2019

President Donald Trump rescinded his threat to close the border between Mexico and the U.S.

Insisting “I don’t play games,” President Donald Trump has backed down on a threat made just a week ago to shut the U.S.-Mexican border, the former businessman now giving the ally a “1-year warning” to either stop illegal immigration and drug shipments or face the prospect of new automotive tariffs.

The original threat, which could have led to a major hit to the U.S. economy and a virtual shutdown of American automotive manufacturing, generated an intense pushback, even normally supportive Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding the president find an alternative solution.

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“If the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re gonna put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “The whole ballgame is cars. If they don’t do it, we’re gonna tax the cars. And if that doesn’t work, we’re gonna close the borders.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes-Benz Teases Concept GLB Ahead of Shanghai Show

Automaker making sure to cover all its bases.

by on Apr.04, 2019

This rendering shows what is dubbed the Concept GLB but likely is near production-ready.

In a world rapidly shifting from sedans and coupes to sport and crossover-utility vehicles, manufacturers leave open any potential “white space” at their own peril.

That translates into the need to rapidly expand the ute line-up, and Mercedes-Benz will be adding yet another member of its family this year. And we’ll be able to get a good idea of what’s coming with the unveiling of a prototype, dubbed the Concept GLB, at Auto Shanghai later this month.

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There’ve been numerous sightings of the GLB, wearing various degrees of camouflage, undergoing testing around the world. For the moment, the Schwabian automaker is lifting the veil of secrecy only slightly, offering a teaser image of the forward part of the Concept GLB’s cabin. Read the rest of this entry »

2019 Green Car Winners Announced at DC Auto Show

Gen-2 Nissan Leaf among honorees.

by on Apr.04, 2019

The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus gives the brand its first real competitor in the long-range EV arena. It took home Connected Green Car of the Year award.

Its been a decade since Nissan broke ground with the rollout of its original Leaf, the first mass production battery-electric vehicle. The second-generation Leaf has lots more competition these days but remains a standout, at least according to the members of the Green Car of the Year jury.

The Leaf took honors for being the 2019 Connected Green Car of the Year during a ceremony at the auto show in Washington, D.C. Thursday afternoon, one of two awards presented at the annual event. Chevrolet, meanwhile, took honors for 2019 Green Car Technology of the Year with its Dynamic Fuel Management system.

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“Nissan’s Leaf has impeccable ‘green’ credentials and a highly-desirable array of advanced and connected features,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, which has created a series of awards for environmentally friendly vehicles, some awarded in Washington, D.C., others at the annual Los Angeles International Auto Show. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Nissan CEO Ghosn Rearrested on New Corruption Charges

“My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary,” said embattled exec.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Carlos Ghosn was arrested once again on a new set of charges brought by Japanese prosecutors.

Less than a month after being released on bail, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn found himself in a police van being hauled back to the Tokyo Detention Center Thursday morning after being arrested for the fourth time.

Authorities said the move came in the wake of new allegations of financial corruption stemming from Ghosn’s years as the top executive at Japan’s second-largest automaker, the 65-year-old now accused of not only hiding millions of dollars in pay but diverting company funds. However, the latest move by prosecutors has renewed concerns that Ghosn is actually being used as a pawn in a political game for control in the Euro-Asian Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

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“My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary,” Ghosn said in a statement issued after he was roused from his apartment in Tokyo. “It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Opens Access to Electric Vehicle Patents

Action follows in steps of Tesla doing something similar a few years back.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Toyota is freeing up access to more than 24,000 patents involving its electric vehicles, hoping to speed EV development.

Toyota is freeing up the technology behind some 24,000 patents from around the world that it now holds on hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Japanese automaker said it hopes it will help spur development of hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.

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Toyota said it will grant royalty-free licenses on the thousands of patents it holds (including some pending applications) for vehicle electrification-related technologies. In addition, Toyota will provide fee-based technical support to other manufacturers developing and selling electrified vehicles when they use Toyota’s motors, batteries, PCUs, control ECUs and other vehicle electrification system technologies as part of their powertrain systems. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Suffers Massive First Quarter Sales Drop

Upside is that sales up 110% from year-ago results.

by on Apr.04, 2019

Lower-than-expected Model 3 deliveries in the first quarter sent Tesla's stock tumbling 11% in premarket trading.

Many Tesla watchers were expecting a massive drop in first quarter sales compared with last year’s final quarter, but some were buoyed by a prediction that sales would exceed analysts’ estimates. In the end, both sides were left wanting as the company’s sales dropped 31% and the company’s stock is taking the hit, falling 11% in early trading.

The automaker produced 77,100 vehicles during the first quarter, including 62,950 Model 3 and 14,150 Model S and X. However, it delivered just approximately 63,000 vehicles, which was 110% more than the same quarter last year, but 31% less than last quarter. This included approximately 50,900 Model 3 and 12,100 Model S and X.

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The 50,900 Model 3 Tesla deliveries was lower than analysts’ average estimate of 51,750, and perhaps more importantly, was lower than the two previous quarters. Read the rest of this entry »