Posts Tagged ‘paul a. eisenstein’

Update: Ghosn Successor Plan Wins Thumbs Up from French Government – But Support Comes with Stiff Price

France demanding Renault formally merge with Japanese ally Nissan.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn will get the man he wants to succeed him when he retires: COO Thierry Bollore.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name his successor later this week has cleared a critical hurdle despite creating some turmoil – including the resignation of one of French automaker Renault’s senior board members.

The French government, which owns a major stake in Renault, now says it will accept Ghosn’s plan to appoint Thierry Bollore as the carmaker’s chief operating officer and his heir-apparent. But the government also said that it wants an agreement that Ghosn will push to form an “integrated” company – translation: a merger – with Japan’s Nissan, rather than the current alliance structure. Ghosn has long preferred to see the two companies coordinate efforts but remain independent.

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Ghosn, who will turn 64 next month, is expected to be given another four-year contract as chairman, CEO and president of Renault in June, but naming Bollore his successor “is perfectly acceptable to the French shareholder,” according to a source in the government’s finance ministry who spoke to the Reuters news service on Monday. (more…)

Mercedes Dropping Out of Detroit Auto Show in 2019

Auto shows face increasing challenges as automakers look at alternatives.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated the debut of the 2019 G-Wagen at this year's Detroit Auto Show..

(This story has been updated.)

Officials with the North American International Auto Show have confirmed that Mercedes-Benz won’t be on hand when the even returns in January 2019, the latest on a growing list of manufacturers who have decided to pull out of the Detroit show.

The news comes as more and more automakers rethink their commitment to both media previews and public says at events like the NAIAS. As TheDetroitBureau.com recently reported, industry planners are looking at alternatives that can more directly target potential buyers while also holding down costs. At shows like the NAIAS it can cost as much as $5 million to stage a 20-minute media preview – even more if the event involves the creation of a one-of-a-kind concept vehicle.

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“At this time Mercedes-Benz AG will not be exhibiting at the upcoming 2019 North American International Auto Show,” said the German marque in a statement. “Our time in Detroit over the years has been very beneficial for our brand, especially coming off of the world debut of the iconic G-Class. Discussions are underway for future show participation.”

(more…)

Ford Investing $25M to Boost Output of High-Profit Navigator, Expedition SUVs

Demand outstrips expectations as transaction prices surge.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Ford's remodel of the Kentucky Truck Plant to accommodate the new aluminum-bodied SUVs.

With SUVs now accounting for half of the U.S. new vehicle market, Ford Motor Co. is investing $25 million at its Kentucky Truck Plant to boost production of its big Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models by 25%.

The project, which follows a $900 million update of the Louisville factory, introduces an array of high-tech tools, including 400 new robots, as well as a 3D printer that will allow workers to make parts and tools on the fly.

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“Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of Global Operations. (more…)

Turmoil at Renault as Ghosn Preps to Name Successor

Senior board member ousted.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Thierry Bollore, currently chief operating officer of Renault, is CEO Carlos Ghosn's choice to succeed him when he retires.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name a successor is touching off turmoil within the board of directors at French automaker Renault, according to reports out of Europe.

Senior board member Thierry Desmarest has resigned, according to the Reuters news service, following the recent resignation of Stefan Mueller, Renault’s chief performance officer. Their departures appears to clear the way for Ghosn to name Thierry Bollore as his chief operating officer and heir apparent.

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One of the highest-profile executives in the automotive world, Ghosn has taken on a variety of senior positions since he was first assigned to rescue the Japanese side of what became the Renault-Nissan Alliance two decades ago. That includes serving as CEO of both Renault and the Alliance, as well as chief executive of Mitsubishi, which recently became third member of the group. (more…)

Automakers Exploring Alternatives to Conventional Car-Buying Process

Ford paints one option with Canvas subscription service.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Ford's Canvas subscription service delivers a Mustang to a customer in California.

More than 17 million Americans drove off dealer lots with new vehicles last year, and the vast majority of them purchased their new cars, trucks and crossovers the same way motorists have for the past century.

There are alternatives, like leasing, but automakers are exploring even more radical options, some borrowed from the emerging world of online retailing. Ford, for one, said this week it is looking for ways to grow the subscription service, Canvas, that it launched a year ago. That subscription-based service might best be described as a hybrid blend of car buying and car rental, letting a motorist get a vehicle for as long as they want but then return it with just seven days’ notice.

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“As car ownership evolves, we see Canvas as part of our suite of products that address changing customer needs in mobility,” said Ford Credit Executive Vice President of Marketing David McClelland. “Canvas is building subscription products that are relevant to consumers today, and it’s building technology for the future, including billing and fleet management, with a nimble approach to product development.”

(more…)

Diesel Crisis May Have Been Just What VW Needed, Suggests US CEO

"The race is on," says Woebcken.

by on Feb.09, 2018

VW's U.S. chief Hinrich Woebcken told the Economic Club of Chicago that the company needed to "Americanize" to be successful.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so goes the old saw. And it just might apply to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, suggested the automaker’s North American chief executive, despite costing the automaker about $30 billion in penalties.

During a series of appearances at the Chicago Auto Show, Hinrich Woebcken noted that after taking an initial, sharp hit to its sales after admitting it rigged more than 500,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S., VW’s sales rebounded in 2017, climbing 5% even as the overall American car market fell nearly 2%.

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“Maybe the diesel crisis helped convince (our) company to Americanize,” said Woebcken, during a speech to the Chicago Economic Club. Long known to American car buyers as “a sports car brand … a niche company,” VW recognized that, if it was going to recover, it had to “move into the heart of the American market.” (more…)

Fiat Hopes to Turbocharge Sales with Updated 500 Line

Italian brand promises to offer America’s “most affordable” turbo model.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Starting with 2019 models, all Fiat 500s will get turbocharged engines as standard equipment, as FCA hopes to boost sales.

Fiat is turbocharging its little 500 coupe and convertible models for 2019 and, in the process, hoping to give the entire brand a big boost.

For the coming model year, all Fiat 500s will be powered by turbocharged engines, starting with the base car that will now feature a 1.4-liter Multi-Air inline-four making 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque.

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Set to roll into U.S. showrooms early in the second-quarter, Fiat has yet to announce pricing, but “We believe the new Fiat 500 will be the most affordable turbocharged model in America,” said brand boss Matt McAlear, during a preview of the updated minicar at the Chicago Auto Show. (more…)

Hyundai to Add Hybrid, Plug-In Versions of Latest Sonata Sedan

It's green at the Chicago Auto Show this year.

by on Feb.08, 2018

The new Hyundai Sonata comes as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid version for the 2018 model year.

There may be plenty of white stuff swirling around the frigid Windy City, but it’s green inside Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center – at least if you’re at the Hyundai stand.

The Korean carmaker has been slow to embrace new battery technologies but it’s making up for lost time. It’s planning to add a veritable blizzard of battery and hydrogen-powered models during the next five years, and the rollout gains momentum with the launch of both conventional hybrid and plug-in versions of the midsize Hyundai Sonata sedan at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

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“When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in are sure to attract even more eco-focused buyers,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. (more…)

VW Arteon Makes American Debut

Return of the coupe-like sedan.

by on Feb.08, 2018

Volkswagen's Arteon sedan makes it North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

With the recent launches of the all-new Atlas and completely redesigned Tiguan, Volkswagen has made it clear it is shifting direction to catch up with the massive explosion of SUV and CUV sales. But it isn’t walking away from its more traditional passenger car segments.

We got a look at the updated Passat at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month and for the Chicago Auto Show VW is pulling the wraps off the Arteon, the replacement for its coupe-like CC sedan. Okay, yes, we’ve already seen the Arteon in Europe, but for the Windy City show we’re getting a first look at the American market model.

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And like the old CC, “The Arteon is Volkswagen’s brand shaper,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “This car is the spiritual successor to the CC, but it is bolder and faster. Arteon has the style and performance of a luxury Gran Turismo for about the price of a fully loaded midsize sedan.” (more…)

Upgraded Dodge Durango SRT Blows into the Windy City

Adding some more sport to the big Dodge sport-ute.

by on Feb.08, 2018

The Dodge Durango SRT gets some upgrades for 2018, including new dual-center exterior "racing" stripes.

Considering the near-blizzard conditions soon to descend upon Chicago, Dodge may have picked a good time to offer up an updated version of its Durango sport-utility vehicle.

The roomy crossover, occasionally referred to as the “man-van,” has traditionally balanced a more macho-male driving dynamic with the functional utility of a large ute that all members of the family can appreciate. For the Windy City unveiling, Dodge is putting the spotlight on the sportiest Durango SRT edition, offering a handful of upgrades – though it sticks with the current, 475-hp Hemi V-8.

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“Our Dodge//SRT performance enthusiasts are always looking for ways to make their vehicle their own,” said Steve Beahm, head of Passenger Cars, and the Dodge brand said, ahead of the Durango debut. The latest updates, he added, are meant to “make Durango even more fun to drive.” (more…)