Posts Tagged ‘paul a. eisenstein’

China’s Great Wall Planning Bid for FCA – But Will Trump Be a Roadblock

Chinese maker could seek a complete acquisition or just go for the lucrative Jeep brand.

by on Aug.21, 2017

FCA CEO Donald Trump, right, met with Pres Trump and GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this year.

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors is expected to make a formal bid to acquire all, or at least some of the assets of, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to several reports out of Asia Monday morning.

The news comes a week after initial reports surfaced that FCA had rejected an earlier bid from an unspecified Chinese automotive manufacturer. At the time, there was speculation several of that country’s native carmakers might seek such a deal with the spotlight focusing on both Great Wall and Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently has a joint venture with FCA to produce Jeeps.

Breaking News!

Great Wall is the largest Chinese producer of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, something that would be a “perfect fit” with FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. It is not clear if Great Wall would seek to acquire just those two divisions or all of Fiat Chrysler.

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Dream On! Woodward Dream Cruise Brings Back Memories

World’s largest classic car event continues gaining momentum.

by on Aug.20, 2017

A little Deuce Coupe works its way down Woodward Ave. on Saturday during the Dream Cruise.

He might only be 10, but Ashley McInnis didn’t need much time to find the car of his dreams. Walking down the sidewalk along Woodward Avenue his eyes grew wide as he spotted a pearl white Ford GT.

“I love it,” the youngster from Yorktown, Virginia gushed to his grandfather, adding “I may have to take out a loan to get it.” When advised it would cost more than $400,000, he paused for a moment, trying to figure out how long that would take on the money he makes on his paper route. “It may take me a little while to pay it off,” he said.

We're Cruising!

McInnis was just one of as many as 1.5 million people estimated to line a 17-miles stretch of Woodward Ave., metro Detroit’s main thoroughfare, for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.  And while there were a handful of new GTs and Ferraris, even the occasional Lamborghini and McLaren, the real focus was on the classic sort of muscle cars and hot rods that used to cruise the once quiet suburban roadway back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

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Hippies Rejoice: VW Putting I.D. Buzz Electric Microbus Into Production

Both passenger and commercial versions of long-range EV van planned.

by on Aug.19, 2017

Volkswagen confirmed the rumors that it's bringing the I.D. Buzz, better known as the Microbus EV, to market.

The Volkswagen Microbus was an icon of the Hippie era. Could the German maker score again in an age when the youth generation is focused on environmental issues? It’s certainly hoping so, as it confirmed widespread rumors that it will put a modern version of the Microbus, the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, into production.

First shown at the January 2017 North American International Auto Show, the I.D. Buzz Concept picked up on many of the classic microvan’s design cues, starting with the relatively blunt nose and flat roof. But instead of the rear-mounted engine of the classic Microbus, the I.D. Buzz will rely on a pure battery-electric drivetrain.

EV News!

“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car,’” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at a presentation today, ahead of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The location, he added, made sense, since “The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle.” (more…)

What a Vision! Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet is a Retro-Futuristic Show-Stopper

It may also offer some hints as to ultra-luxury products to come.

by on Aug.19, 2017

Mercedes continues to push boundaries with the new Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet.

Think you know what an electric vehicle looks like? Then the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet is likely to leave you scratching your head.

The successor to the Vision 6 Coupe, the extreme luxury wing of Mercedes-Benz revealed last year, defies the logic that says tomorrow’s battery-cars are going to have small exterior footprints with large cabins inside, thanks to burying the driveline under the load floor. While there is plenty of interior space, the Maybach concept measures nearly 20 feet, nose to tail, with extra storage space, rather than a powertrain, hidden under that impossibly long hood.

Global Auto News!

“The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy. Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience,” explains Daimler AG’s design chief, Gorden Wagener. (more…)

Bad Week for Those Suing Takata, GM

Courts side with airbag maker; GM derails $1b settlement over faulty ignition switches.

by on Aug.18, 2017

As many as 18 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

Motorists looking for settlements related to two of the biggest safety scandals in recent years were in for some unpleasant surprises this week.

General Motors derailed a deal that could have forced it to provide $1 billion in stock to thousands of plaintiffs suing over the company’s faulty ignition switches which were linked to more than 100 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The Last Word!

Separately, a Delaware bankruptcy court halted a collection of lawsuits filed against the Japanese auto partsmaker seeking damages related to faulty airbags now linked to as many as 18 deaths and about 180 injuries worldwide – though the suits may continue after a 90-day ordered by Judge Brendan Shannon.

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Ford Patent Shows How Autonomous Car’s Steering Wheel, Pedals Could Fold Away

Design would allow manual driving or completely driverless operation.

by on Aug.18, 2017

A patent application illustration shows how Ford would hide the controls in driverless mode.

Autonomous vehicles, we’re regularly told, are just around the corner, and fully driverless vehicles will soon follow. Ford, for one, has said it hopes to remove the driver from the picture entirely by 2021.

Now, a patent granted Ford this month reveals that the self-driving cars Ford is working on could give an owner the option to choose which mode it will operate in. Push a button and the steering wheel and pedals fold up and out of sight. Push again and they reappear, allowing manual driving.

Stay in the Loop!

That option may be essential, at least initially, as autonomous vehicle experts warn that coming up with a vehicle that can operate without a driver on all roads and under all conditions, may take years to develop, despite the optimistic prognostications of automakers like Ford, Daimler, Nissan and tech companies such as Google spin-off Waymo.

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End of Economic Councils Pose Trouble for Auto Industry

by on Aug.18, 2017

GM CEO Barra enjoyed a laugh with Trump during an automotive summit earlier this year.

Members of another White House advisory council resigned Friday, two days after President Donald Trump tweeted that he was “ending” a pair of economic advisory boards formed after his inauguration. In fact, the CEOs on those boards had voted to disband hours earlier in response to  the controversy over the president’s comments about the rioting in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend.

“General Motors is about unity and inclusion and so am I,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said, in a statement. “Recent events, particularly those in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its aftermath, require that we come together as a country and reinforce values and ideals that unite us – tolerance, inclusion and diversity – and speak against those which divide us – racism, bigotry and any politics based on ethnicity.”

Breaking News!

GM declined to comment when asked whether Barra would have joined the fast-growing list of executives who were quitting in response to the Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, but several company sources said the industry’s first female CEO was caught in a difficult position: needing to publicly express GM’s position on racism and the desire to maintain the close ear of the president. That’s especially significant considering the White House is addressing a wide range of issues that will have serious impact on the auto industry, including federal fuel economy standards and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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BMW Rips Back Covers on Z4 Roadster Concept and M8 Sports Car

Pebble Beach show cars soon to be followed by production models.

by on Aug.17, 2017

BMW taking the wraps off the Z4 Concept that is taking the place of the outgoing Z4 model.

The world’s most exclusive classic car show has also become one of the biggest new car events of the year, and BMW is just one of the many manufacturers using the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as a place to preview some exciting new concepts and production vehicles.

While we’ve previously gotten a sneak peek at the M8 sports car concept, it’s the first time the Bavarian maker has done more than offer a teaser image of the Z4 Roadster Concept that it now confirms will eventually morph into a replacement for the Z4 model just going out of production.

Industry News!

The two-door show car offers a first glimpse at what appears to be a much more dramatic, sharply creased design direction for BMW. It also lets us finally get a look at the results from an ongoing joint venture with Toyota that will soon yield the rebirth of the Japanese maker’s Supra model. (more…)

Ford Readying Wave of New Products, Says CEO Hackett

Automaker agrees to pay $10 mil to settle harassment claims.

by on Aug.17, 2017

Prior to joining Ford, Jim Hackett was Steelcase CEO and served as Interim U-Michigan Athletic Director.

While Ford has won praise for its push into autonomous vehicles, car-sharing and other futuristic mobility programs, it has also been criticized for a lack of new products today, something CEO Jim Hackett said the Detroit carmaker is addressing.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the former Steelcase chief executive – who took over at Ford following a management shake-up in May – say there is plenty “in the hopper,” though he declined to offer details on what new products are coming. Ford has revealed plans to revive its Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup nameplates, but critics say the carmaker also needs to revitalize its mainstream passenger car and luxury line-ups.

Industry News!

Separately, Ford confirmed Thursday that it will pay up to $10.1 million to settle sexual and racial harassment allegations linked to its two Chicago-area factories. It also will add new training programs for workers at those plants.

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An Aston Martin Station Wagon? No, a “Shooting Brake”

Aston reveals two new takes on the exclusive Zagato.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Aston Martin is looking to break from tradition again with a new Zagato-based shooting brake expected to be unveiled at the Concours d'Elegance.

As we’ve come to learn during the last couple years, the very British Aston Martin is anything but hidebound to tradition. Under CEO Andy Palmer it is developing both an SUV and an EV. And now, we’re about to see an Aston Martin station wagon.

Okay, it’s not the sort of wood-paneled wagon that Baby Boomers grew up with, but an elegant alternative to the classic Aston coupe that offers what appears to be a good bit more flexibility and utility. If anything, it’s the British marque’s answer to the Ferrari FF.

What a Conceptt!

And it’s one of a handful of interesting products Aston Martin is bringing with it to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend, a list that also includes the new Vanquish Zagato Volante, a striking convertible version of the Zagato Coupe that shows that when it wants to, Aston can be quite respectful, indeed, of its heritage. (more…)