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First Look: 2020 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty

Maybe it could pull the Queen Mary.

by on Jan.23, 2019

The Sierra HD 3500 makes an audacious debut pulling 225,000 pounds of yacht and trailer.

It wasn’t quite the Queen Mary, but watching a pickup pull 225,000 pounds worth of yacht and boat lift will clearly get your attention – as it did Tuesday evening when GMC unveiled several versions of its 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty models at a San Diego news event.

“For customers who demand a premium, innovative heavy-duty truck that supports their passions, the next-generation Sierra HD can pull like a pro,” proclaimed GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred following a demonstration that made his words sound a little less like hyperbole.

Keep on Trucking!

The HD builds on the “base” Sierra pickup launched by the GMC brand for 2019, the light-duty 1500 version one of the finalists for North American truck of the year. In heavy-duty trim, buyers will have a variety of options, including the off-road-oriented AT4, the plush Denali and the stump-pulling HD 3500 that managed to pull yacht and lift with only a minor modification to its optional fifth-wheel hitch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Teaming Up with Panasonic to Develop, Produce Batteries

Tesla turning to Chinese supplier for batteries to be used in new Chinese assembly plant.

by on Jan.22, 2019

Toyota will use the batteries produced with Panasonic for vehicles manufactured at its joint facility with Mazda.

Toyota Motor Corp. will set up a new joint venture with Panasonic Corp. to develop and produce batteries that could be used in the new electric vehicles the Japanese automaker is developing.

Panasonic is one of the industry giants when it comes to producing lithium-ion batteries and has been a key partner of Tesla, investing billions in the U.S. automaker’s Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada. Tesla, meanwhile, is reportedly locking down a new deal with China’s Lishen to supply batteries for the Shanghai assembly plant it is currently building.

News You Can Trust!

“Today’s automotive world is also being called on by society to help find solutions to such issues as those related to global warming, resources and energy,” Toyota and Panasonic said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Waymo to Build Self-Driving Cars in Michigan

Company in the market for a used auto plant.

by on Jan.22, 2019

Waymo is moving east to Michigan to build Level 4 autonomous vehicles in metro Detroit.

More and more automakers looking to develop their autonomous vehicles are finding their way to Michigan, and now add Waymo to the list. The Google spinoff plans to produce robot cars at a to-be-determined location in southeast Michigan.

The company has been testing its self-driving vehicles largely in the southwest, and had planned to find a cold weather state (i.e. a state with snow) to continue testing. However, this plant will be the first-ever site to churn out Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

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“Waymo will first identify a facility in Southeast Michigan and, over the next few years, aim to create hundreds of local jobs in the community,” the company said in a statement. “We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Ghosn Denied Bail, Now in 3rd Month of Detention

Court offers no explanation; family plans appeal.

by on Jan.22, 2019

Carlos Ghosn's bid to secure bail failed. He remains in Japanese custody.

More than two months after he was whisked off a corporate jet and taken to a detention center in Tokyo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn will remain in custody as he faces multiple charges of corruption, a Japanese court has ruled.

The 64-year-old executive offered to wear an ankle monitor, hire security guards and take other steps if released on bail, but the Tokyo District Court went along with prosecutors who demanded that Ghosn remain in custody. His family now plans an appeal.

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There is a growing likelihood that the once high-flying executive could remain in custody until his trial begins, something that may not happen for six months or more, according to his lawyer, former Japanese prosecutor Motonari Ohtsuru. The court offered no explanation for its decision on Monday but at a previous hearing on Jan. 8, it indicated concerns that Ghosn might try to flee the country or take steps to destroy evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyundai Group Debuts World’s First Post-Collision Airbags

System designed to prevent injuries in secondary crashes.

by on Jan.22, 2019

Hyundai is introducing the first-ever post-collision airbag into its new vehicles.

It can take just a fraction of a second for a car crash to occur but, in nearly a third of all collisions, at least one vehicle may keep moving, striking something a second time. These multi-collision situations can be particularly dangerous because a vehicle’s airbags are typically designed to inflate once – and then for only a second or two before beginning to deflate.

Several manufacturers have begun to address the problem, either by taking steps to reduce the likelihood of a secondary crash or, in the case of the Hyundai Motor Group, by developing airbags that can provide continuing protection after the initial collision.

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“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of Chassis Technology Center at Hyundai Motor Group. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.” Read the rest of this entry »

General Motors Eyes Cuts in Brazil

Union calls need for cuts "absurd."

by on Jan.22, 2019

GM warned that after three years of heavy losses, its Brazilian operations will need to make some cuts.

General Motors is warning that it will need to restructure its operations in Brazil after three years of heavy financial losses.

In a message posted at Brazilian plants, GM’s top executive in Brazil and Argentina, Carlos Zarlenga, said after running up a heavy loss during the past three years the operation had reached “a critical moment that will require sacrifices from everyone,” according to Reuters.

Global News!

GM Chairman Mary Barra said last week GM, like other automakers, is facing challenges in South America. “We are not going to keep deploying capital to lose money,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

UAW Seeks to Reverse GM Plant Closure Decisions

Officials say they've done it before, they can do it again.

by on Jan.21, 2019

The UAW protested before and during the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, in hopes to changing GM's opinion about the plant closures.

The United Auto Workers has succeeded in reversing plant closing decisions in the past and union leaders believe they can pressure General Motors Co. into reversing its decision to close factories in the United States and Canada.

Frank Stuglin, a member of the UAW’s executive board from the region in which GM plans to shutter two plants, said in an interview Friday night during a union rally outside the “Red Carpet” Charity Preview for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the union has succeeded in the past in reversing plant-closing decisions by GM and Chrysler.

Business News!

“We kept open the plants in Orion Township, Michigan, and in Sterling Heights, Michigan, when they were supposed to close,” said Stuglin, referring to the plants the UAW succeeded in protecting even after they were ordered shut during the 2008-09 recession. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Gets Go-Ahead to Sell Model 3 in Europe

Expect to see wheels on roads in 2020.

by on Jan.21, 2019

Tesla received approval from authorities to begin selling the Model 3 in Europe.

Reversing a string of unpleasant announcements, Tesla found out it has been given approval to sell its Model 3, its mainstream sedan, in Europe next month.

The company’s latest introduction now meets the requires for European approval, according to data published on the Netherlands Vehicles Authority’s website. The group is of several agencies tasked with licensing vehicles and their replacement parts.

All Charged Up!

The Model 3 is considered critical to Tesla’s long-term success. Indeed, it was Model 3 sales that thrust the company into the black in the third quarter of 2018 – the EV maker’s first ever in the black. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghosn Offers to Wear Ankle Monitor if Released From Tokyo Jail

Once high-flying exec may now be fired by Renault.

by on Jan.21, 2019

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown here in January 2018, offered to wear an ankle monitor.

Approaching his third month in solitary confinement, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has offered to wear an ankle monitor in a bid to win bail, a step Japanese prosecutors have so far resisted.

Ghosn has been held in the Tokyo Detention Center since Nov. 29, when he was pulled off his corporate jet after landing at Haneda Airport. He faces trial on several allegations of financial misconduct and prosecutors are considering other allegations. The 64-year-old executive was almost immediately fired by Nissan and its Japanese affiliate, Mitsubishi, and reports from Europe suggest he may be dismissed by their French alliance partner Renault, as well.

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“I remain imprisoned in the detention centre, 64 days after I was arrested, with no release in sight,” Ghosn said in a statement issued through his U.S. representatives. “As the court considers my bail application, I want to emphasise that I will reside in Japan and respect any and all bail conditions the court concludes are warranted.” Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Set to Cut Jobs at Mississippi Plant

Automaker looking at changes at its Tennessee plant too.

by on Jan.21, 2019

Nissan is adapting to changing market forces, i.e. slower sales of passenger cars, by cutting 700 contract jobs at its Canton, Mississippi plant.

In another sign of potential weakness in the North American automotive market, Nissan Motor Co., which is in midst of a tumultuous management shakeup, is planning to cut up to 700 contract workers as trims production at its assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi.

Other cuts are also planned at Nissan’s engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee. Tesla, which last week announced a 7% cut in its staffing last week, and General Motors have announced cuts in production in North America, while Ford Motor Co. also is planning a restructuring of its operations worldwide.

News You Can Trust!

Nissan confirmed it is preparing to reduce production NV cargo and passenger vans and Titan and Frontier pickup trucks, vehicles that are facing aggressive new competition from Detroit-based carmakers, which already hold a decisive edge in the U.S. truck market. Read the rest of this entry »