Brexit Woes Starting to Impact Automakers

Companies warning of job losses in the UK.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Toyota Plant Director Marvin Cooke told the BBC that the plant could close if a "no-plan" Brexit takes place. (Photo credit: BBC)

With the United States finally resolving the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, the Brexit saga automatically elevates to the level of grave importance for automakers.

Manufacturers have warned for months that Brexit, Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union approved by UK voters two years ago, holds devastating consequences from automakers. Carmakers with factories in Britain are already paying more for parts because of the devaluation of the British pound.

Global News!

Toyota Motor Corp. is now threatening manufacturing jobs in the UK. The company could be forced to halt production at its Midlands U.K. factory in the event Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, the plant’s managing director, Marvin Cooke, told the BBC over the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Uncovered: Infiniti Project Black S

“Engineering testbed” puts F1 technology in Q60 coupe.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Infiniti's Project Black S is a key component to the luxury brand's expansion into electric vehicles.

Long a laggard in the luxury market, Infiniti has been making some serious moves to boost credibility over the last few years, notably by fleshing out its line-up with an array of sportier new models like the Q60 coupe.

Its also introduced new technology like the breakthrough VC-Turbo engine and teased the idea of challenging the likes of BMW’s M and Mercedes’ AMG performance lines. So far, prototypes haven’t turned into production models, but there seems to be something a little more serious about the Infiniti Project Black S that’s making its formal debut at this week’s Paris Motor Show.

Product News!

The concept starts out as an Infiniti Q60, but it has the beating heart of a dual-hybrid powertrain based heavily upon what you’ll find in a Renault Sport Formula One car. It’s the next step in a series of design and engineering exercises pickup up on the concept introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in early 2017. And while Infiniti will only say that it is looking at “what could be deployed in a road car,” the latest effort seems to be moving much closer to reality. Read the rest of this entry »

Smaller Paris Show Still Set to Deliver Big Product News

Audi, BMW, Mercedes among the headliners at Mondial de l’Automobile.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Audi is ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron, which will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show.

It may be the City of Lights but things will be a little darker at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile. Otherwise known as the Paris Motor Show, it’s been hit by the same industry retrenchment that has hammered other major shows, including Detroit and Chicago during the last several years.

Among the manufacturers who’ll sit things out for 2018 are Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo, as well as several Fiat Chrysler brands. And several other carmakers are expected to downsize their presence when the show begins with the annual two-day media preview on Tuesday.

Auto Show News!

That said, it will just allow the spotlight to shine more brightly on those brands that have decided to stick with Paris this year. Among the most prominent previews on the docket will be debuts at the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari stands. And while some of its Volkswagen Group siblings will be notably absent, Audi will retain a high-profile presence with three important public unveilings. Read the rest of this entry »

Musk Settles: Pays SEC $20M, Resigns as Chairman

Tesla also paying $20M bringing total to $40M in penalties.

by on Sep.29, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk settled with the SEC paying a $20 million fine and resigning as the chairman of the company.

After an initial round of defiance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk elected to take the path of least resistance with the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreeing to resign as chairman and pay a $20 million fine.

Tesla will pay an additional $20 million as part of the deal with the agency, bringing the total paid to $40 million.

News Now!

“The total package of remedies and relief announced today are specifically designed to address the misconduct at issue by strengthening Tesla’s corporate governance and oversight to protect investors,” Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Swan, Dean of Automotive Journalists, Dead at 78

“Drive fast. Take chances.”

by on Sep.28, 2018

For some, the love of things that go "vroom" starts at a very young age.

I’d expected to see Tony Swan looking frail and subdued. He had, after all, just gone through the latest in a seemingly endless series of chemotherapy sessions, never mind surgeries. But things were as lively as ever at the Ypsilanti home he shared with wife Mary Seelhorst as I arrived for the annual holiday party. No question, Tony had been to hell, but he was back, and he had transformed the detritus of his chemo treatments, bags, tubes, rack and all, into a mad take on a Christmas tree.

Whether on track or behind the keyboard, Tony Swan maintained a zest for life and a passion for automobiles in every shape and form until almost the very moment he passed on last night. Indeed, he had gone on several media events over the last couple months, and attended a nearby Concours just a few weeks ago.

The Last Word!

“Drive fast. Take chances.” It was a clever coin of a phrase, but it was also one Tony lived by. Given the chance to do just one thing with his life, he’d probably have chosen racing, he would admit on occasion. Even after age and illness made it increasingly difficult to maintain the pace of his addiction he continued on a slower scale, partnering with friends and former colleagues on the LeMons circuit, championing vehicles that wouldn’t even have qualified for rent-a-wreck status.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Ford Semi Committed? Maker Reveals EV Concept Truck

Level 4 autonomy and a slew of tech is packed into the concept.

by on Sep.28, 2018

Ford's F-Vision concept debuted at the IAA show in Germany. For now, it's just a concept officials claim.

Does Tesla have another competitor in the battery-electric semi truck arena? Maybe.

Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off an electric semi truck concept called the F-Vision at the IAA Commercial Vehicles expo in Hannover, Germany. The company’s vision is similar in many ways to Tesla’s offering with a high level of autonomy and a sleek exterior design.

Keep on Truckin'!

However, it would appear that Elon Musk and the gang in Palo Alto can breathe easier – at least about this anyway – as Ford says the new F-Vision is only a concept. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2019 Nissan Altima

One very good reason why the sedan isn’t ready to die.

by on Sep.28, 2018

For 2019, the new Nissan Altima will be offered in a heavily equipped First Edition trim.

The sedan is dead. Long live the sedan. Or so goes what currently passes for conventional wisdom, backed by the decision to slash the number of four-door models, indeed, eliminate them entirely at Ford Motor Co.

Review to Trust!

But I have seen the future and it is not an entirely SUV and CUV-driven world. If the complete makeover that is the 2019 Nissan Altima is any indication, there’s a clear place for sedans for the foreseeable future. And among the many new features that would seem to make the Altima a natural alternative for Snowbelt buyers who might really want a more conventional set of wheels: Altima marks the first time Nissan is offering all-wheel-drive in one of its sedans. That is, in fact, a relatively rare feature among mainstream four-doors, and not available on segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

Read the rest of this entry »

Honda Issues Recalls for Rear Cameras and Airbags

Two actions: one new, one an ongoing effort.

by on Sep.28, 2018

Honda is recalling 232,000 Accords and Insight hybrids to fix a malfunctioning rear camera system.

Honda issued two recalls one to fix a new problem and a second to resolve an ongoing effort in the biggest recall in history.

A malfunctioning rear camera is forcing Honda to recall about 232,000 2018 Accord vehicles and 2019 Insight hybrid cars in the U.S.  The problem lies in the software for the rear camera display, which fails to work.

Recall News!

There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem, according to Honda Motor Co. officials. Read the rest of this entry »

VW, Stanford U Partner to Develop New Fuel Cell Technology

New process could cut price significantly.

by on Sep.28, 2018

New technology being developed by Volkswagen and Stanford University might make this type of fueling up a reality.

Volkswagen has teamed up with Stanford University to develop a process to manufacture the fuel cells that can power vehicles in the future by reducing the amount of platinum used.

Fuel-cell technology is regarded as a serious alternative to battery-electric technology, but it has always come with a comparatively high cost.

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One of the biggest cost drivers for fuel cells is the use of the platinum, which is required as a catalyst to operate the fuel cell.  Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Musk Denounces SEC Lawsuit

“Unjustified action…leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed.”

by on Sep.28, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk refuted the fraud charges brought against him in a lawsuit by the SEC.

Elon Musk and the Tesla board have fired back at the SEC, denouncing the federal lawsuit that could lead to the ouster of the automaker’s founder and CEO.

On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk, alleging he made “false and misleading statements” to investors when tweeting and posting about his plans to take the carmaker private last month. The suit could force Musk’s ouster, bar him permanently from holding a position of authority at a public company and result in millions of dollars in fines.

News Now!

While Tesla itself was not named in the suit, many observers expect that move could yet follow. Even if it didn’t, the company has been targeted by several investor lawsuits. Read the rest of this entry »

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