Posts Tagged ‘joe szczesny’

NAFTA Renegotiations Bound to Fail, Warns Trump

Automakers push back against plan that could sharply raise car prices.

by on Aug.23, 2017

Pres. Trump is now warning he may abandon NAFTA entirely if renegotiation efforts fail.

Barely a week after U.S., Canadian and Mexican trade representatives set out to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump warned an audience in Phoenix Tuesday night that the effort is bound to fail.

That wouldn’t necessarily come as a disappointment to the auto industry, however. Automakers, including Detroit’s Big Three, have warned that the demands laid out by the Trump Administration could lead to sharp increases in the cost of new vehicles – even those assembled in the U.S. In turn, that could actually backfire on the president, worsening the current downturn in vehicle sales, costing U.S. jobs.

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Trump reiterated his long-held stand during his Phoenix speech, alleging that bad trade deals had cost the U.S. thousands of jobs. He described NAFTA as the “worst.” And the president also said he was prepared to discard the 23-year-old trade agreement if negotiators don’t work out changes that Trump believes could bring jobs back to the U.S.

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Trump Disbands Economic Councils – Could Impact Auto Industry at Critical Time

GM CEO Barra faced growing pressure to resign in wake of president’s Charlottesville comments.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier with Pres. Trump before he resigned from the council and found himself rebuked in a presidential tweet.

(This story has been updated to include comments from GM CEO Mary Barra on the closing of the economic councils and the controversy over Charlottesville.)

Turning again to Twitter, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is disbanding two economic advisory groups formed as he entered the White House last January and originally consisting of some of the nation’s top business leaders.

The move came shortly after the well-publicized resignation of an eighth council member, 3M CEO Inge Thulin. While some of the business leaders had resigned earlier in the year, the exodus had ramped up in recent days following a series of controversial remarks the president made regarding the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia as neo-Nazis, KKK members and other White Supremacists marched through the city.

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Other members of the council faced increasing pressure to resign, as well, including Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. But several industry insiders said Barra, in particular, faced a perplexing situation. The Trump Administration is considering several measures – including a possible rollback of mileage standards, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement – that could have substantial impact on GM. As part of the two councils, Barra had unusually good access to the president.

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In a Class By Itself: 2017 Volvo XC90 E-AWD

Plug-in hybrid puts the emphasis on performance.

by on Mar.17, 2017

The design of the Volvo XC90 balances ruggedness with a modern, wind-swept appearance.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and you’re likely to think of a small, quirky little sedan or hatchback that trades performance for mileage. That might fit traditional gas-electric models like the Toyota Prius, but if you’re talking about the 2017 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Sure, this plug-in hybrid gets some great mileage numbers, at 54 MPGe. But the T8 version of Volvo’s flagship SUV also happens to be its most powerful, delivering performance that matches up to what key competitors are delivering with far less efficiency.

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The Volvo XC90 T8 anchors the unique strategy that Volvo outlined a few years back and which it is now rolling into place with the completion of the 90-Series and the debut of the new XC60 at the Geneva Motor Show this month. Unlike competitors who largely rely on V-6s and 8s, especially in their bigger models, Volvo has an all-four strategy. And, as we learned during our time behind the wheel of this SUV plug-in, small really can be beautiful.

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Toyota Likely to Lose Global Sales Crown

VW in position to take the lead despite diesel woes.

by on Dec.29, 2016

Despite its diesel woes, VW should nab the global sales lead for 2016 from Toyota.

When the final 2016 numbers are totaled next month, Volkswagen AG seems well-positioned to topple the automotive king-of-the-hill, replacing Japan’s Toyota Motor Co. as the world’s best-selling automaker, according to year-to-date sales figures and preliminary estimates for December.

Toyota has been the world’s largest automaker, in terms of sales, for the past four years, and five out of the last six – briefly losing its crown to General Motors following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

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For the first 11 months of this year, it has lagged behind VW and, “Unless Toyota has a remarkable December, it will lose its No. 1 status,” the Japan Times observed this week.

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GM, Ford, Buick Trend and Deliver Record Chinese Sales

by on Jan.08, 2016

The Ford Focus in China.

Despite the increasingly serious downturn in the Chinese economy, both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. managed to lock down record sales in China for 2015.

That bucks the trend that has hammered a number of their key competitors, including Japanese giant Toyota and embattled German maker Volkswagen. Both makers are upbeat, albeit playing things cautiously as they look ahead to 2016.

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So far, both GM and Ford have refrained from making any predictions about China’s market. However, executives from both companies are likely to be pressed for forecasts during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

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GM, UAW Settle Minutes Before Strike Deadline

Four-year contract expected to largely mirror Fiat Chrysler agreement.

by on Oct.26, 2015

Handshakes and smiles marked the opening of GM-UAW contract talks last July. Shown in front: GM CEO Barra, UAW Pres. Williams, GM negotiator Cathy Clegg and UAW bargainer Cindy Estrada.

General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union reached tentative agreement on a new four-year labor contract Sunday only minutes before the UAW’s midnight strike deadline.

While neither side would discuss details before a meeting of the union’s rank-and-file plant leaders, it was expected the tentative contract would adhere closely to the so-called “pattern” agreement at Fiat Chrysler that won worker approval last week.

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“We believe that this agreement will present stable long-term, significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future,” said UAW President Dennis Williams. “We look forward to presenting the details of these gains to local union leaders and the membership.”

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GM Wants to Profitably Redefine Personal Mobility

CEO Barra outlines $5 bil investment in autonomous vehicles, carsharing and other game-changers.

by on Oct.01, 2015

GM is "working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility," says CEO Barra.

With autonomous vehicles, car-sharing programs and alternative powertrains reshaping the auto industry, some manufacturers have begun referring to themselves as “personal mobility companies.” The challenge is finding a way to profit from that transformation, said General Motors CEO Mary Barra, as she opened the maker’s “Global Business Conference” with investors and financial analysts.

General Motors is exploring ways to expand the services it offers customers around the world and expects to invest $5 billion in the effort as part of an effort to meet the competition from new challengers such as Apple, Google and Tesla,  Barra said, during the conference at the GM Proving Grounds an hour outside Detroit.

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“We’re working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility,” Barry explained, adding that “We want to own that relationship inside and outside the vehicle.”

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UAW Workers Reject Fiat Chrysler Contract

Strike could be looming for both FCA and for Ford.

by on Oct.01, 2015

FCA CEO Marchionne and UAW Pres. Williams were all smiles as they began contract talks.

A strike could be looming in the near future for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now that 40,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers Union have rejected the carmaker’s tentative contract.

The UAW announced the results after the last major FCA assembly plant, in Sterling Heights, Michigan, turned thumbs down on the controversial agreement, which had generated widespread criticism by union activists. Almost 70% of the workers in Sterling Heights rejected the four-year proposal, according to a website run by the union local.

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The announcement comes as a major setback for UAW leaders, especially new President Dennis Williams who was overseeing his first round of national contract talks. The question now is whether the UAW can go back and renegotiate improvements to the agreement without a confrontation. Going into this year’s auto talks, Williams had said he would be willing to strike, if necessary, but said he would consider that possibility a “failure.”

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FCA and UAW Extend Talks on an Hourly Basis

Signs of optimism despite missed deadline.

by on Sep.15, 2015

FCA's Sergio Marchionne and UAW's Dennis Williams shared a laugh during the opening of contract talks earlier this summer.

The United Auto Workers and FCA U.S. fell short in their bid to reach a new labor contract as the old pact expired at midnight on Monday night, but the two sides agreed to an “hour by hour” extension, which suggested negotiators believed they were relatively close to reaching a tentative four-year agreement.

Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat Automobiles NV. chief executive officer, was in Auburn Hills   as the deadline approached, rather than in Germany for the influential Frankfurt Auto Show. Besides skipping Fiat Chrysler’s various product introductions, Marchionne had been scheduled to meet with investors and analyst as part of the ongoing   effort to bolster the company’s image and stock price.

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The FCA CEO said he would have had a chance to promote his new pet project – a merger with General Motors.

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American Motorists Cutting Back on Daily Trips

Online shopping, social networking likely a key factor.

by on Sep.03, 2015

More time online appears to translate into less time behind the wheel, finds new study.

While the number of cars on U.S. highways continues to grow, with congestion worsening in most metropolitan areas, Americans seem to be cutting back or combining daily errands, reducing the time they spend behind the wheel.

On average, American motorists spent about 10% less time in their cars to handle daily activities than they did a decade ago, according to a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI.

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UMTRI researcher Michael Sivak, in one of a series of reports that examines recent motorization trends in the U.S., said that the average time spent traveling per day for all activities dropped from 1.23 hours in 2004 to 1.11 hours in 2014.

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