German Automakers Placing Big Bet on Electric Vehicles

Group putting $68 billion into EV development.

by on Mar.04, 2019

The next-generation Macan will feature an all-electric model, according to Porsche.

Germany’s car industry is tracking to invest more than $68 billion in new technology for next three years on electric cars and automated driving, the head of the VDA, the association that represents German carmakers.

“We will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility during the next three years, and another 18 billion euros will be invested in digitization and connected and automated driving,” VDA president Bernhard Mattes said in a statement on Saturday.

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The investment, however, also entails considerable risk. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaguar Rethinking its Line-Up as Market Continues Shifting to SUVs

Automaker launching two major cost-cutting programs in bid to return to profitability.

by on Mar.04, 2019

Jaguar's U.S. leader Joe Eberhardt said the speed with which customers moved from cars to SUVs was problematic.

While the surge in SUV and CUV sales has been underway for more than a decade, few could have guessed the pace with which that shift has accelerated during the last few years. And while that’s good news for one of the company’s brands, it has been a major challenge for the other half of Jaguar Land Rover.

Add in what a senior executive calls external “headwinds,” and the Indian-owned automaker posted a loss of 281 million British pounds, or $371.5 million, for the final quarter of 2018. That’s triggered a two-prong turnaround program that, U.S. CEO Joe Eberhardt said, is aimed at making the company “sustainable.”

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“I don’t want to say the speed of change took us by surprise, but they were too quick for us to react to immediately. It takes time to transform ourselves to the point we can be profitable again,” Eberhardt said during an interview. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Ready to Reveal Model Y, With All-Electric Pickup to Follow

But competition is heating up in both segments.

by on Mar.04, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will introduce the Model Y later this month.

Tesla will reveal the much-anticipated Model Y battery-SUV during a March 14 event in Los Angeles, with a “futuristic” all-electric pickup to follow later this year, CEO Elon Musk said in a series of tweets on Sunday.

The Model Y will be smaller than the current Model X, Musk confirmed, but larger – and more expensive – than the Model 3 sedan. But Tesla is betting that it could generate even more demand considering the ongoing market shift from passenger cars to light trucks.

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“Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery,” the 47-year-old Musk tweeted. Read the rest of this entry »

Subaru Readying to Recall 2.3 Million Vehicles

Could be automaker's largest recall ever not including Takata.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Subaru halted production in Japan in January for two weeks due to a potentially faulty component, and is now facing recall of 2.3 million vehicles.

Just a little more than a month after Subaru Corp. shut down its plants in Japan due to quality issues, the automaker is expected to recall about 2.3 million vehicles globally due to a brake light problem.

Excluding the Takata recall, it would mark the maker’s largest recall ever. The company has been battling quality problems for the past few years as its sales have grown substantially. The two-week shutdown in January came as a result of a defective power-steering component.

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The part was used in Forester, Impreza and Crosstrek models. Many of those were shipped to the U.S. to be completed at the company’s plant in Indiana. Read the rest of this entry »

Pedestrian Deaths Climb to 28-Year High

Experts search for solutions, both high and low-tech.

by on Mar.01, 2019

The BMW X1 failed the IIHS pedestrian test, sending the dummy airborne during the exercise. Others suggest SUVs play a large role in rising pedestrian deaths.

Pedestrian deaths continued to rise at an alarming rate last year, reaching a 28-year high, according to new government data.

While a variety of factors appear to be responsible, including the use of smartphones by both drivers and pedestrians, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association also is pointing the finger at the explosive growth of SUVs which, like other light trucks, have tall, blunt noses that make it less likely someone will roll off of a vehicle when struck.

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Though formal federal data has yet to be released, the GHSA used statistical data analysis to estimate that 6,227 men, women and children were killed while walking on or alongside U.S. roads last year. If the official numbers back that up it would mark a 4% increase from 2017, and the largest number of pedestrian fatalities since 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

Wintry Weather Drives Auto Sales Down in February

Trucks, SUVs were best-sellers last month.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Fiat Chrysler officials said the Grand Cherokee set a new sales record for February.

Nissan, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and Honda all reported sales declines in February as a combination of wintry weather and rising costs under cut the sales of new vehicles.

Trucks and sport-utility vehicles continued to dominate the sales picture, but Nissan and Toyota also reported an uptick in sales of subcompact and compact cars in what is perhaps a sign that consumers are beginning to look for less expensive transportation alternatives in the face of rising prices and interest rates.

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Strong sales of trucks and SUVs would likely be good news for General Motors and Ford, but the two automakers do not report sales on a monthly basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Musk Confirms Tesla Won’t be Profitable in Q1

Founder says "a lot going on" during quarter.

by on Mar.01, 2019

CEO Elon Musk said the company will lose money during the first quarter, but be profitable again after that.

Tesla’s tease made the $35,000 Model 3 a reality for the legions of fans who had been waiting for the entry-level model the company’s founder, Elon Musk, promised about two years ago.

And while the announcement sated many who wanted the lowest-priced Model 3, lost in the hubbub was a less promising announcement Musk made later in the call.

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“Given that a lot is happening in Q1, we do not expect to be profitable in the first quarter,” he said during a call with media and analysts. He quickly added that the company expected to return to profitability in the second quarter. Read the rest of this entry »

First Look: 2020 Jaguar XE

Sport sedan gets a makeover inside and out for model year.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Jaguar's given its XE sport sedan a complete makeover for 2020, including an all-new interior.

Jaguar has announced a series of updates to the 2020 XE sports sedan, including what is described as an enhanced exterior design; all-new interior with new materials and layout and advanced infotainment and drivers’ assistance technologies.

“The new Jaguar XE is all about building on the undeniable sporting proportions of the original car,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design.

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“We’ve given the car much bolder graphics and more visual width; planting it in a way which really illustrates its dynamic intent. The new XE is a wonderfully complete package with a very purposeful exterior matched to a beautifully crafted, sporty interior,” Callum said. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Now Selling $35K Model 3; Moving to Online Only Sales

EV maker closing all stores by end of year.

by on Feb.28, 2019

Tesla is now producing the $35,000 version of the Model 3. It can be ordered online – the only way to buy a Tesla now.

As is often the case with Tesla, it’s better late than never as the company announced Thursday its “Standard Range” Model 3 is now available for purchase.

The California-based EV maker had planned for this to be the case from the word go, but it began delivering the higher priced version of the Model 3 – as much as nearly $60K – about a year ago in an attempt to generate more profits for the company.

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“From the beginning, this has been the goal,” Musk said on a press call about the news. “It’s an incredible car.” Read the rest of this entry »

General Motors Sees Two Top Executives Depart

Alan Batey, a 40-year vet, and Alicia Boler Davis elect to leave.

by on Feb.28, 2019

GM North America Pres. Alan Batey spent 40 years at the company. He's retiring effective April 1.

General Motors is in the midst of restructuring its operations, but it’s unlikely losing two of its top officials was part of the plan, nevertheless, Alan Batey and Alicia Boler Davis are both set to leave the company on April 1.

Batey is the company’s North American president, while Boler Davis is head of global manufacturing operations. Batey’s departure isn’t entirely a surprise as he is retiring, but Boler Davis, a long-time confidant of GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, leaving the company for “other opportunities” is a bit of a shocker.

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Barry Engle, currently president of GM International, will move into the new position of executive vice president and president of the Americas to succeed Batey. In the meantime, Boler Davis will be succeeded by Gerald Johnson, who becomes vice president of North American manufacturing and labor relations. Read the rest of this entry »

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