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Mercedes Joins Growing List of Subscription Car Programs

Flexperience to debut in Germany before coming to U.S. market.

by on Mar.23, 2018

The new Mercedes Flexperience program will let customers swap between a wide range of models up to 12 times annually.

It’s hard to find a single carmaker that doesn’t offer a Certified Pre-Owned program and it may soon become the norm, rather than the exception, for manufacturers to add subscription services to their list of retail alternatives.

Mercedes-Benz is set to become the latest manufacturer to jump onboard, following Audi, Cadillac, Porsche and Volvo, while Lexus this week indicated it is also exploring its subscription options.

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The automaker has been running a pilot program in Germany that is about to formally roll out across its home market, and “We plan to have something ready within this year” for the U.S., Mercedes’ global sales chief Britta Seeger announced this week.

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Feds Secure New Indictment in FCA-UAW Scandal

New entry is sixth person caught up in scandal.

by on Mar.23, 2018

A sixth person was indicted by federal investigators looking into a misuse of UAW training funds.

A former senior United Auto Workers, Nancy Johnson, has become the sixth person accused of taking part in a conspiracy in which both union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. officials misused millions of dollars of training funds under the joint control of company and UAW representatives.

Johnson, 57, a former assistant director of FCA Department and a top aide to former UAW vice presidents Norwood Jewell and General Holiefield, was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with taking part in a conspiracy in which she and other senior UAW officials accepted a stream of concealed payments and things of value from FCA executives in the months leading up to the 2015 collective bargaining negotiations.

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Between 2014 and 2016, Johnson held the second-most senior position in the UAW Chrysler Department. She also served as a member of the UAW National Committee that negotiated with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles during the 2015 collective bargaining sessions, according to the announcement by the DOJ. Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota’s new “Haute” Hatch is the Latest Generation Corolla

Former Scion offering coming to New York International Auto Show.

by on Mar.23, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback is laden with new safety and entertainment technology.

For much the past few years, we’ve watched automakers roll out new hatchbacks that were previously thought to be unpopular and, thus, not saleable.

As these small, but comfortable, roomy and surprisingly powerful throwbacks hit dealer lots and were gobbled up it created a new class of vehicle: the hot hatch.

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However, Toyota is jumping into the class with the Corolla, but is also looking to do it with its own special spin, with less focus on speed and power and more emphasis on technology, or as the company’s calling it, the haute hatch. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford and Mahindra Teaming Up on New SUVs and an EV

Partnership focuses on India but could target “other markets.”

by on Mar.23, 2018

Even as Ford and Mahindra lay out plans for the Indian market, Mahindra is ramping up U.S. production of its Roxor SUV.

After agreeing to form a strategic alliance last year, Ford and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra now plan to jointly develop at least two new sport-utility vehicles, as well as an electric vehicle.

The two manufacturers say they will initially target the fast-growing Indian market where Ford has been trying to expand its presence. But they eventually may look at opportunities in “other markets,” according to a source in the U.S.

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“Today’s announcement is the next step in the collaboration between Mahindra and Ford,” said Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. “Both teams are working together on joint development areas in keeping with industry requirements and leveraging mutual strengths. We are excited about the synergies unveiled through this collaboration and the potential opportunities it will bring.”

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Mercedes Unleashing C-Class Coupe, Cabriolet, AMG Version

More powerful sedans hit the show floor in NYC.

by on Mar.23, 2018

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 coupe gets a bump in horsepower to 385 hp.

Mercedes-Benz continues the roll out of the new C-Class in New York. At the NYIAS, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 sedan made its world premiere in Geneva, now the C 43 coupe and cabriolet be joined by the new C-Class coupe and cabriolet for their world debuts.

Sportiness and driving pleasure have been enhanced with a sharper design, updates to the interior and exterior and new, more powerful engines. The C 300 and C 300 4MATIC models receive a new, efficient four-cylinder with a slight – 14 horsepower – increase in power to 255 hp with 273 lb-ft. of torque.

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It’s mated to a nine-speed transmission that is designed to improve performance as well as fuel efficiency. The 4MATIC has an active all-wheel torque distribution of 45% to the front and 55% to the rear. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Aims to Add 8 New EVs, Boost Electrified Vehicle Sales to 1 Mil Annually

Japanese maker also planning 20 autonomous models.

by on Mar.23, 2018

One of the new EVs will be based on the Nissan IMx concept that debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

Already the world’s largest seller of battery-electric vehicles, Nissan is targeting sales of 1 million electrified models by 2022, a five-year, six-fold increase, officials said Friday at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama.

The second-largest of Japan’s automakers also plans to add 20 new autonomous models by 2022, while having all of its vehicles, both under the Nissan and Infiniti brands, equipped with connected car technology.

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“The heart of our strategy in terms of electrification is battery EVs and e-Power technology,” Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein told reporters during a media briefing. E-Power is the company’s term for vehicles using gasoline engines to extend range.

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Infiniti Unleashes Two Limited SUVs for NYIAS

Japanese marque aims for a more exclusive buyer.

by on Mar.23, 2018

Infiniti's ongoing push to the top of the luxury vehicle segment includes an ever-growing line-up, especially SUVs like the new QX60.

Infiniti is bound and determined to move into the top tier of global luxury brands and is counting on a rapidly growing line-up to help get it there.

That includes an assortment of all-new SUVs, such as the recently launched QX30 and QX50 models. But the Japanese marque is also offering some low-volume, high-end editions of existing products. That includes the 2019 QX60 and QX80 Limited models that will make their debut at the upcoming New York International Auto Show.

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“We know that luxury buyers are among the most discerning consumers and with these two new models, we are delivering exactly what they’re after – vehicles that truly make a statement while offering an empowered driving experience,” said Randy Parker, the head of Infiniti Americas, in a preview of the two Limited models ahead of their NYIAS debut. Read the rest of this entry »

Lexus Continues to Embellish SUV Portfolio

Luxury brand keeping up with customer preferences.

by on Mar.23, 2018

The new Lexus UX shows the brand is listening to its customers, who want more utility vehicles than passenger cars these days.

Lexus built its reputation on passenger cars that could match up with the luxury marquees with long pedigrees stretching back to the early days of motoring.

But times change and the rising popularity of utility vehicles, large and small, is prompting Lexus to add new variants and features to its lineup of crossovers and SUVs. Next week, Lexus plans to show off the new, UX, the compact utility vehicle it revealed in Geneva, at the New York Auto Show.

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The push on utility vehicles come as crossovers and SUVs have become more important than ever to the Lexus line, accounting for roughly 65% of all Lexus sales during the first two months of 2018. Three years ago, only about 35% of Lexus’ sales were utility vehicles and passenger cars accounted for the rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Shareholders Vote Yes on Musk’s $2.6B Compensation Plan

Total payout could exceed $55B if Tesla his all targets.

by on Mar.22, 2018

Tesla's shareholders approved the $2.6 billion compensation package for CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla Inc. shareholders told founder and CEO Elon Musk that they liked him, but not that they really, really liked him. Investors approved Musk’s compensation package by almost a 3-to-1 margin, which is lower than typical approvals.

The grant gives Musk $2.6 billion in stock options in 12 tranches, each of which vests as the company hits performance markers during the next 10 years.

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The electric vehicle manufacturer must meet certain value targets in order for Musk to receive additional shares of Tesla stock. There is no cash compensation in the deal, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Read the rest of this entry »

Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” Read the rest of this entry »