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Archive for November, 2017

Lexus Launching New Three-Row RXL at LA Auto Show

Hybrid and gas models in the mix expected for 2019.

by on Nov.16, 2017

A teaser image shows part of the new Lexus RXL's taillights and badging.

The big dog in the midsize luxury SUV segment is apparently set to get a bit bigger, Lexus announced plans to launch a three-row version of its familiar RX sport-utility vehicle at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.

The move should come as no surprise. If anything, one might wonder why it has taken so long for the luxury brand to bring out a three-row version of the RX, the best-selling midsize ute on the market. Since it was first introduced 20 years ago, the standard-edition RX has become the go-to vehicle for suburbanites looking for an alternative to a minivan.

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“How can the top-selling Lexus RX get even better? Make more of it,” Lexus hinted in a terse release accompanied by this close-up detail of the RXL’s back end.


Barra Commits to 1M EVs on Global Roads by 2026

Cheaper batteries, demand from China pushing numbers.

by on Nov.15, 2017

GM CEO Mary Barra said the automaker will have 1 million EVs on roads around the world by 2026.

General Motors is following in the footsteps of former President Barak Obama by promising to build 1 million electric vehicles.

Obama’s vision wasn’t fulfilled, despite the $7,500 tax credit designed to make the cars more affordable and lure EV buyers to showrooms, but GM CEO Mary Barra told analysts at the Barclays 2017 Global Automotive Conference in New York, that GM will hit the target by 2026 on a global basis.

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Barra’s confidence stems from two things: a new family of EVs and a significant cost reduction on batteries.  (more…)

Tesla Hit by Lawsuit, Called “Hotbed for Racist Behavior”

Tesla responds.

by on Nov.15, 2017

Tesla's Fremont plant has been at the center of numerous discrimination lawsuits this year.

(We’ve updated the story to reflect comments from Tesla on the new lawsuit.)

Tesla has been hit with another lawsuit over the working environment at its Fremont, California assembly plant, this one alleging the factory is a “hotbed for racist behavior.”

The battery-carmaker, which bills itself as a progressive force for change in the auto industry, has been hit by several previous lawsuits, including one alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination on the factory floor. The latest, brought as a class-action, claims black workers were targeted by racial slurs and that Tesla did not act in response to their complaints.

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Tesla sent a response to on Wednesday that contended the lawsuit is a “hotbed of misinformation.” The automaker asserted it “is absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind,” and contends that when it was advised of racial tensions between groups of African-American and Hispanic workers it stepped in and ultimately discharged three employees.


Hinrichs Hypes Ford’s Future

President says brand name, F-Series will carry company.

by on Nov.15, 2017

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of global operations, told analysts the strength of the company's brand and its history with consumers will carry it in the future.

When former Ford CEO Alan Mulally made his big play to save the company nearly a decade ago, securing as much money as he could, he used the Blue Oval as collateral. The Ford brand and that blue oval are going to carry the company into the future too.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of global operations, told Goldman Sachs analysts Tuesday in Boston that the company’s name and history help secure its future as the company continues its forays into electrification, autonomous vehicles and new mobility ventures.

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He noted there’s value in the brand’s recognition, and that will help the company secure faith from future customers as it expands into new ventures and despite as-yet-explained measures by new CEO Jim Hackett to cut $14 billion in costs between now and 2022. (more…)

German Investigators Raid VW Headquarters — Again

Query focusing on payments to Works Council leader.

by on Nov.15, 2017

Volkswagen AG's headquarters was raided once again by German investigators.

German authorities again raided Volkswagen AG’s headquarters looking for information about potentially illicit payments to the head of the company’s Works Council.

Investigators searched the offices of supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, finance chief Frank Witter, and human resources head Karlheinz Blessing, a Volkswagen spokesman said. Files and computers were seized, according to the Reuters.

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The raid was related to suspicions of overpayments for works council chief Bernd Osterloh, the spokesman said. Osterloh’s office was also searched, Reuters reported.  (more…)

Hyundai Planning to Add, Update 8 CUVs by 2020

Kona model will kick off ute assault.

by on Nov.15, 2017

The Hyundai Kona made its official public debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Struggling to adapt to rapid changes in the U.S. new vehicle market, Hyundai plans to introduce eight all-new or significantly updated crossover-utility vehicles by 2020, the automaker revealed during a media briefing on Wednesday morning.

The wave of new models will range from a sub-compact, or A-segment ute up to a three-row, eight-passenger offering. The Hyundai Kona, set to be unveiled at the upcoming Los Angeles Motor Show, will become the first of the new products to go on sale.

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“CUVs are what’s really driving growth in the U.S. market,” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of corporate planning, and the lack of a full range of utility vehicles is a key reason why analysts say Hyundai has lost momentum over the last several years after a decade of rapid growth.


Council Calls for Bigger Investment in Hydrogen Technology

Hydrogen could account for nearly 20% of energy produced by 2050.

by on Nov.15, 2017

Takeshi Uchiyamada, co-chair of the Hydrogen Council and chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., is pushing for more investment in hydrogen technology.

Hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050, according to a new study from the Hydrogen Council, which was organized earlier this year with support from companies, including more than a half-dozen automakers, with a stake in fuel-cell technology.

“The world in the 21st century must transition to widespread low carbon energy use,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, co-chair of the Hydrogen Council and chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., which has invested substantial sums over the years in fuel-cell technology, including the introduction of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai.

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“Hydrogen is an indispensable resource to achieve this transition because it can be used to store and transport wind, solar and other renewable electricity to power transportation and many other things,” he said.   (more…)

Musk Promises to “Blow Your Mind” With Electric Truck

Long-delayed debut scheduled for Thursday evening.

by on Nov.15, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is telling folks to be ready to have their "mind blown" with the long-awaited introduction of Tesla's semi truck on Thursday.

Prepare to have your mind blown “clear out of your skull,” or so promises Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO confirming the repeatedly delayed debut of his company’s new battery-powered semi-truck will finally take place on Thursday evening.

Big trucks suck down diesel fuel at a tremendous rate and they generate a disproportionate share of transportation-based pollution. In Los Angeles, for example, the semis waiting at the city’s two huge ports are considered one of its primary smog sources. So, there’s growing demand for clean trucks. Musk, for his part, has been broadly hinting that Tesla’s answer is a semi that will share some of the same powertrain technology as its battery-powered Models S, X and 3.

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“This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension,” said the never-subtle, South African-born entrepreneur in his latest truck tweet. (more…)

McLaren Teases Next-Gen P15 Hypercar

Fastest McLaren ever, but only 106 to be built.

by on Nov.14, 2017

McLaren offers a trease of the new P15's taillights.

McLaren is familiar with the idea of going to extremes, as its legendary F1 and the more recent P1 models clearly demonstrated. But the British sports carmaker aims to one-up itself with the debut of the newest member of its Ultimate Series set for December 10th.

Internally codenamed the P15, McLaren promises that the new hypercar will be “the most extreme road-legal McLaren ever.” Expect that to mean, among other things, a top speed well in excess of 200 mph using what is rumored to be a 4.0-liter V-8 blasting out something just short of 800 horsepower.

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The P1 isn’t the only ultra-exotic in the works at McLaren, however. The automaker also is working up what is being referred to internally as the world’s first Hyper-GT. And it will borrow at least some elements of the original P1’s design, notably the unusual, staggered three-seat cabin with the driver in the middle.


Alabama, North Carolina Finalists for New Toyota/Mazda Plant

Makers reportedly wanted $1B in incentives for new plant.

by on Nov.14, 2017

Toyota President Akio Toyota and his Mazda counterpart Kogai announce their alliance.

Though Detroit is known as the Motor City, that designation doesn’t appear to be enough to entice Toyota and Mazda to build its new jointly owned plant in Michigan.

The two finalists appear to be Alabama and North Carolina, according to multiple news reports.

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In August, the two Japanese carmakers confirmed they will also set up a new, $1.6 billion assembly plant in the United States that will create up to 4,000 new jobs.  (more…)