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Archive for June, 2018

New Vehicle Sales Holding Steady in June

First half set to be the weakest in four years.

by on Jun.28, 2018

June auto sales are holding steady, but the second half is expected to be soft.

New vehicle sales in June appear to be holding steady but are expected to decline during the second half of the year, analysts reported this week.

Cox Automotive said it expected June to rise 2.1% from last year, resulting in a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.9 million. The June sales pace is up from last year’s 16.6 million rate and is up slightly from the 16.8 million level in May 2018, Cox said. Through the first five months of 2018, the SAAR has averaged 17.1 million.

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J.D. Power and LMC Automotive predicted a 0.6% decrease compared with June 2017. “The first half of 2018 will deliver the weakest industry retail sales results since 2014,” said Thomas King, senior vice president of the Data and Analytics Division at J.D. Power. (more…)

Lexus Order Fire-Related Recall as Feds Probe Hyundai, Kia, Tesla Fire Concerns

Nearly 2 million vehicles involved in recalls, probes.

by on Jun.27, 2018

The Lexus recall covers a number of models, including the 2010 IS350C convertible.

Toyota’s high-linen Lexus brand today said it will recall 121,000 vehicles because fuel leaks in the engine compartment could lead to a fire.

The announcement came about the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised a senior member of Congress that it is expanding a probe of engine problems with Hyundai and Kia vehicles that may also result in fires. And, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported earlier Wednesday, NHTSA is exploring reports that battery packs that have caught fire in Tesla vehicles have proved more difficult than expected to put out.

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The recall involving Lexus products covers four different products, 2006 through 2013 IS350 sedans, as well as the 2010 through 2014 IS350C, and the 2007 through 2011 GS350 and GS450h. All shared the same 3.5-liter gasoline powertrain.

(more…)

Automakers Foreign and Domestic: Tariffs Harm Jobs, Economy

A 25% tariff could add nearly $6K to vehicle prices.

by on Jun.27, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the study determining if automotive imports could be declared a threat to national security.

(This story has been updated with additional information.)

The escalating tariff war between the United States and the European Union, heighted by a threat of a 20% tariff on EU-imported vehicles, could result in vehicle prices rising an average of $5,800 and eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Those are just some of the findings from study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The study claims that the cost to U.S. jobs from the import duties would be at least 195,000 jobs. It could be as high as 624,000 jobs if other countries retaliate.

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Last week, Trump threatened to impose the 20% tariff and yesterday he said tariffs are coming soon. (more…)

Tesla Batteries Reigniting After Being Put Out by Fire Departments

NTSB reports find lithium-ion power packs catching on fire again.

by on Jun.27, 2018

The National Transportation Safety Board launched a second investigation into a Tesla crash. This time a Model S burst into flames after spinning into a wall.

Tesla’s lithium ion batteries have reignited on two separate occasions after the initial fires were extinguished, according to NTSB reports.

The National Traffic Safety Board sent teams to investigate Tesla crashes in Florida and California and in both cases found that after the fire departments put out battery fires, the powerplants each reignited and had to be extinguished again.

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In May, a Tesla Model S that crashed into a wall at high speed in Fort Lauderdale burst into flames, killing two teens and injuring a third.The Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue Department found the Tesla “fully engulfed in flames” at the crash scene and extinguished it with 200 to 300 gallons of water and foam, the report stated. (more…)

Friends to Enemies: Trump Threatens Harley Over Plan to Move Production

“They will be taxed like never before.”

by on Jun.27, 2018

President Donald Trump has gone from being supportive of Harley-Davidson to threatening the company with a "huge" tax.

After hailing Harley-Davidson earlier in his administration as an example of what makes American great, President Donald Trump has now gone on the attack, threatening to slam the Wisconsin-based motorcycle company with “a big tax” if they go ahead with plans to move some of their production abroad.

The turnaround comes in response to Harley’s Monday announcement that to avoid being caught up in the escalating Trump trade war it would have to move some of its motorcycle out of the U.S. The company said tariffs and counter-tariffs are adding as much as $2,200 to the price of every bike it ships to the European Union.

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The fact that his steel and aluminum tariffs might be playing a factor in the decision did not appear to matter to the president who issued a series of tweets blasting its planned move and threatening that, “If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”

(more…)

Uber Gets Reprieve in London

Court gives ride-hailing service a 15-month pass.

by on Jun.27, 2018

Uber has been given a 15-month reprieve in London by a British court.

Uber has been granted a 15-month probationary license by a British court on Tuesday, which will allow it to continue operating in London.

The ride-hailing service argued successfully that Uber had made significant changes to its business and corporate culture after Transport for London, the city’s regulatory body for public transportation, declared Uber unfit to serve the city. The agency said Uber had failed to vet its drivers, who had been involved in a series of sexual assaults.

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Uber’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” Transport London said in its decision. (more…)

EV Tax Credits Soon to End for Some Automakers – But Will That Short-Circuit Sales?

Tesla expected to become the first to top threshold.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Tesla is quickly approaching the 200,000 vehicle limit that ends the $7,500 federal government tax incentive for EV buyers.

With a fourth assembly line now operating under a tent at its Fremont, California plant, Tesla is pressing hard to hit the weekly 5,000 Model 3 production target set earlier this year by CEO Elon Musk.

The good news for the battery-carmaker is that it appears to be close to that goal. The bad news is that with each new vehicle it sells in the U.S., Tesla also comes closer to reaching the threshold at which point it will see the phase-out of federal tax credits for its buyers.

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The credits, totaling as much as $7,500 a vehicle, are set to begin phasing out when any individual manufacturer reaches U.S. sales of 200,000 qualifying plug-based cars, trucks or crossovers. Tesla is expected to reach that figure within a matter of weeks. And several other manufacturers, including General Motors, Nissan and Ford, are approaching that target, as well. (more…)

Tesla Semi Truck Could Go Full Mad Max on Other Drivers

Musk also reveals details on new pickup truck.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Are the engineers at Tesla looking for a post-apocalyptic setting for the company's new semi truck. Looking? Nope. They've got it.

If Tesla’s cars have a Ludicrous mode, then it would only make sense that the new semi-truck would have something equally ostentatious … like Mad Max mode.

While Ludicrous mode amps up the speed of the car, unfortunately Mad Max doesn’t give you any of the road-clearing gadgets enjoyed in the Mad Max movie. Instead, it appears to be a version of blind spot detection used in conjunction with Autopilot.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the option, which is still in test mode, during a series of tweets yesterday, and carried over to today when he started asking the Twitterverse what they’d like to see in a Tesla pickup — and what he plans to put in it. (more…)

Ghosn Dismisses Speculation of a Renault Takeover of Alliance

Complex ownership structure, that includes French government, makes it difficult.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn recently reiterated there is "zero chance" of Renault taking over Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The question of what company in the three-legged stool that is Renault Nissan Mitsubishi might acquire the other two has been broached a few times since Mitsubishi was added. The issue is apparently important enough for Carlos Ghosn, who heads up the three companies, to address recently.

“Anybody who will ask Nissan and Mitsubishi to become wholly owned subsidiaries of Renault has zero chance of getting a result,” Ghosn told shareholders of Mitsubishi Motors at a meeting las week.

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Ghosn is CEO of Renault as well and chairman of Nissan. He recently turned over the role of CEO there to Hiroto Saikawa. The simple reason for encouraging the automakers to work together but remain autonomous is simple: You don’t fix what isn’t broken. (more…)

Daimler AG Lowers Earnings Guidance Due to Trade Tensions

Retaliatory measures in China and Europe has Daimler concerned.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Mercedes-Benz builds SUVs at its plant in Vance, Alabama, that are shipped to China. The tariffs on those are expected to rise, cutting sales.

The rising risk of a global trade war has prompted Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz Cars, to reduce its earnings guidance for 2018.

Daimler said has “made a new assessment of the earnings” potential for the year 2018 and reduced its earnings guidance for the full year because of the uncertainty surrounding trade.

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“From today’s perspective, the decisive factor is that, at Mercedes-Benz Cars, fewer than expected SUV sales and higher than expected costs – not completely passed on to the customers – must be assumed because of increased import tariffs for U.S. vehicles into the Chinese market,” Daimler said in its new guidance.  (more…)