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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Renault Reveals Fiat Chrysler Offer to Nissan

Japanese automaker to look over proposal.

by on May.29, 2019

Renault Chairman Jean Dominique Senard revealed the details of the merger offer from Fiat Chrysler to Nissan officials during a board meeting in Tokyo.

The move to merge Fiat Chrysler and Renault, creating the world’s third-largest automaker just got a little more complicated today: Renault revealed the offer to its current partner, Nissan Motors.

Nissan got its first briefing on the potential blockbuster deal when Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard was in Tokyo for a board meeting of the three-way alliance among Renault, Nissan and smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

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“There was an open and transparent discussion on FCA’s recent proposal to Groupe Renault. The meeting also discussed and positively concluded several current operational alliance matters,” the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Bentley Celebrates 100 Years with All-New Flying Spur

New sport sedan gets new technology to enhance performance.

by on May.29, 2019

Bentley's third-generation Flying Spur Grand Touring sedan will make its debut in early June.

Bentley Motors is celebrating its 100thanniversary this year, and part of that celebration is what may be the automaker’s most responsive vehicle to-date: the all-new Flying Spur Grand Touring Sedan.

The third-generation Flying Spur is set to make its debut on June 11, and the newest model will be the first of the iconic British marque’s vehicles to utilizes all-wheel steering. The new system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels.

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The result is unprecedented performance and handling for a touring sedan in both low-speed city driving as well as high-speed maneuvers. The system automatically seeks to provide the best traction possible under the road conditions presented. Read the rest of this entry »

Putting the Jigsaw Together: Who’ll Run the Show at Merged FCA-Renault?

New management team always a challenge when companies combine.

by on May.29, 2019

Fiat Chairman John Elkann's role in a merged company is part of what the two sides are trying to sort out.

During the coming months, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe Renault will be putting an emphasis on due diligence, studying the potential pros and cons of the merger FCA formally proposed on Monday. Among other things, they’ll be looking at how their global operations would come together, everything from product lines to manufacturing operations.

But one of the biggest challenges, numerous sources both in and outside of the two companies stress, will be making sure that their corporate cultures are a comfortable fit. And that will begin at the top, with the management team of what would become the world’s third-largest automaker.

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With the proposed deal expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to finalize, many things could happen, including the choices for key management positions. But, at the moment, sources closely connected to FCA and Renault expect that Jean-Dominique Senard, currently the French automaker’s chairman, will become the new auto giant’s CEO. John Elkann, now FCA’s chairman, will retain that role in the new organization. Read the rest of this entry »

GM, Bechtel Planning JV to Create New EV Charging Network

Latest deal expands company's presence in charging arena.

by on May.29, 2019

GM's preparing to enter into a joint venture with Bechtel to produce more EV charging stations.

General Motors is setting up a partnership with Bechtel to build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles that would stretch across the United States.

A formal announcement is still in the works but key executives from both companies have confirmed for various news outlets that a venture is in the works. GM and Bechtel will set up new joint venture to solicit financing and to build and operate the charging network, which would be targeted on large urban areas and along interstate highways.

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The GM-Bechtel charging network will mine data from GM’s OnStar unit to determine where EV owners park. “Charging infrastructure is a significant need and we believe that this market is really going to grow,” a top Bechtel executive said recently, according to the website Seeking Alpha. Read the rest of this entry »

First Look: 2020 BMW X1

Fresh face for popular crossover.

by on May.29, 2019

The face of the 2020 BMW X1 picks up the design updates seen on the new X5 and X7.

BMW is freshening up its most popular “Sport Activity Vehicle,” the X1, for the 2020 model-year.

The X1 is the Bavarian automaker’s best-selling crossover worldwide, and its third-most popular X model in the U.S., so, with the current version already four years old, it is clearly time for a facelift.

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And that’s primarily what you’ll see when the 2020 BMW X1 rolls into showrooms later this year: new front and rear styling – in line with the changes we’re seeing on new models like the X7 — along with some modest updates to the SAV’s interior

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