With Saudi Crisis, Threat to Automakers Escalates

Middle East instability impacts U.S. economy.

by on Oct.24, 2018

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, said that the volatility of the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, impacts automakers.

Car makers from around the world will pause briefly during the next couple of weeks to unveil their financial statements for the July-September quarter, which, on balance, was relatively calm despite rising pressure on their margins from Chinese and American tariffs.

However, VW CEO Herbert Diess did warn the stress on manufacturers is growing steadily. German carmakers only have a 50% chance of surviving reforms required to shift production to electric cars and to tackle new geopolitical threats push some carmakers out of business, he said.

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Meanwhile, the pressure from tariffs is liable to get more intense in the future. The Trump administration is continuing to threaten tariff on auto exported from Japan. Meanwhile, the unsettling news cycle from the Middle East that began with the kidnapping and murder of Jamal Khashoggi continues to unfold with uncertain consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Could Have a Surprise as it Prepares for Early Earnings Announcement

Consensus calls for another loss, but a key short-seller has now gone bullish.

by on Oct.24, 2018

Does Tesla CEO Elon Musk have a surprise awaiting analysts with today's earnings announcement .

Tesla stock has surged about 14% this week, largely driven by news that a long-time critic is suddenly singing a new tune.

Activist short-seller Andrew Left has long held a negative view on the California carmaker but this week wrote that Tesla is “destroying the competition,” while adding that “warning signs” that have scared off many other investors “have proven not to be significant.”

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Left and other Tesla bulls could find out if they’re placing the right bets when the company reveals its third-quarter earnings this evening. What professional gamblers might call a significant “tell” is the fact that Tesla has decided to move up the release of its financial report which originally wasn’t expected until early next month. Instead, it will be released today at 6:30 PM EDT. Read the rest of this entry »

New Nissan Maxima Debuting at LA Auto Show

Subtle visual updates but lots more safety tech.

by on Oct.23, 2018

the 2019 Maxima, Nissan's flagship sedan, gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2019.

While some automakers are leaning out their sedan lines – even abandoning them entirely, in the case of Ford – Nissan continues to bet big on four-door models, with two critical updates for the 2019 model-year.

While we’ve already seen and driven the Altima makeover, we’ll have to wait until next month and the Los Angeles Motor Show to get a first good look at the 2019 Nissan Maxima, the Japanese maker’s most sporty sedan offering.

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Actually, Nissan has given us a first peak at the new Maxima, and not in the usual form of a carefully lit and cropped teaser. The accompanying picture pretty much reveals all we’d need to know about the 2019 refresh short of any taillight and rear bumper revisions.

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BMW Recalling 1.6 Million Vehicles Worldwide Due to Fire Risk

Company including 54,700 vehicles in U.S. and Canada.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Some of BMW's 5-Series are the target of the maker's latest safety recall, involving 1.6 million vehicles around the world.

BMW is recalling 1.6 million vehicles around the world, including 54,700 in the U.S. and Canada, due to a potential fire hazard.

The action is really an expansion of an earlier recall of 480,000 vehicles in Europe and Asia. In the affected vehicles a fluid leak could cause a fire. More than 40 fires were reported in South Korea.

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In fact, the South Korean government recommended owners of the affected vehicles stop driving them until they could be repaired. Police raided the automaker’s office in Seoul while investigating the issue, after videos of cars engulfed by fire went viral. Read the rest of this entry »

Nationwide Charging Infrastructure Rapidly Falling into Place

Chargers easier to fund, easier to use, but gaps remain.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Electrify America, the private company founded by VW, is readying to set up 2,000 charging stations across the U.S.

After a slow start, sales of battery-electric vehicles are beginning to gain some serious momentum this year, industry analysts crediting the growing availability of longer-range and, in many cases more affordable, options.

With dozens of all-electric models due to reach U.S. showrooms by 2020, many starting at as little as $30,000, that should address two of the big sticking points for the nascent market. But there’s a third challenge that needs be addressed before mainstream customers truly feel comfortable with these electrified options: a nationwide public charging infrastructure.

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When the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid debuted nearly a decade ago there were an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 public charging stations across the entire U.S. But Chargepoint, the nation’s largest supplier of charging systems, now says it alone has about 60,000 available and, when including home chargers that number will likely reach 2.5 million by 2025. Read the rest of this entry »

Dyson Confirms Plans to Build Electric Vehicles at New Singapore Plant

Factory set to open in 2020.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Company founder James Dyson has been hinting at plans to build an EV for a number of years.

While best known for its vacuums and fans, British company Dyson has confirmed long-standing expectations that it will enter the electric vehicle market, announcing plans to build a new assembly plant in Singapore.

Dyson has been investing heavily in advanced battery technology, among other things acquiring Michigan-based Sakti3, a pioneer in the development of solid state technology. But after writing down some of the purchase price, it is not clear if the British manufacturer will use conventional lithium-ion or more advanced battery technology for the vehicles it is planning.

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The decision to choose Singapore for its new factory “offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce,” Dyson CEO Jim Rowan told employees in a letter. “Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.” Read the rest of this entry »

Hackett Says Ford Making Headway on Turnaround

Rollout of new Ranger leads new product onslaught.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett is talking to employees and dealers about the changes coming to the automaker.

Ford isn’t standing still in the face of changing business and economic climate, the company’s top executive said this week.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett was also talking up the company’s prospects as he met with dealers and employees this week.

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At a meeting with some 4,000 dealers in Las Vegas Hackett had stressed that Ford is working on a turnaround plan that will re-invigorating the company’s operations.   Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Sees Big Growth Opportunities for New Ranger Pickup

Late to the party but “We can’t go back and change the past.”

by on Oct.22, 2018

Ford's Joe Hinrichs introduced the first of the new Ranger midsize pickups and elaborated on Ford's future truck plans.

The first production versions of Ford’s new Ranger pickups are getting ready to roll off the assembly line, the automaker announced at a Monday morning event at its Wayne Truck Plant in suburban Detroit.

The announcement caps an $850 million makeover of the factory that had previously been producing such slow-selling models as the Focus sedan and C-Max people-mover. And it lets Ford move forward on plans to virtually eliminate its traditional passenger car line-up, the number-two domestic automaker shifting its attention to pickups, SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks.

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“We’re excited by the growth we’re seeing in the midsize pickup segment,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, as he addressed reporters and Ford employees outside the Wayne plant. Read the rest of this entry »

Want Better Teen Drivers? Get Better-Driving Parents

New study shows teens follow parental examples.

by on Oct.22, 2018

Teen drivers are most likely to follow the examples set by their parents when behind the wheel.

Parents of teen drivers can do one simple thing to make their progeny better behind the wheel: drive better themselves.

According to a new survey conducted earlier this month among 1,000 U.S. teen drivers, 79% of them said they rely on their parents or guardians more than anyone else to serve as a role model for their driving.

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As vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, says the National Safety Council, and talking with young drivers about appropriate behavior when driving, and then modeling it is the surest way to produce a smarter, better teenaged driver. Read the rest of this entry »

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