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Archive for January, 2019

Ford Takes a Loss in Fourth Quarter as Tough 2018 Closes

Executives expect better results in 2019.

by on Jan.24, 2019

Jim Hackett, chief executive officer, Ford Motor Co., assured investors today that better times were coming.

Ford Motor Co. posted a loss of $100 million or 3 cents per share in the fourth quarter despite a small increase in revenue while financial results for the full years showed the company’s profits were cut in half as it reported earnings of $3.7 billion for 2018 and lost more than $1.1 billion on its ventures in China.

Ford’s revenue increased from the previous year in both the fourth quarter and for the full year, Ford reported. while both net income and earnings before interest and taxes declined. At the same time, its cash flow, which turned negative during the second quarter, raised concerns among analysts as the company struggled through 2018.

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Ford CEO Jim Hackett and CFO Bob Shanks tried to reassure analysts during a conference call, following the release of company’s 2018 Financial Report that the company was capable of financing its day-to-day operations, product plans and other initiatives and dividend out of its cash flow.  (more…)

EVs Expected to Cost Same as Gas-Powered Cars by 2022

Deloitte research shows parity starts in UK in 2021.

by on Jan.23, 2019

The Chevy Bolt will be joined by two dozen other GM battery-electric vehicles by 2023. GM is all in with its EV strategy.

Automakers are set to overcome one of the biggest obstacles – cost – to selling electric vehicles in large numbers by 2022, according to a new study by research firm Deloitte.

The firm believes that EVs will achieve cost parity with gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles globally by 2022 – first happening in the UK by 2021 – allowing for an influx of 21 million EVs to be sold within a decade.

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Part of that is the growth in charging networks around the world, which has been funded, in part, by the automakers themselves. Tesla led the charge in this arena setting up supercharging stations in the U.S. and around the world where their vehicles are sold. (more…)

Mexican Strikers Taking Aim at Automotive Supplier Plants

Protestors looking for higher pay, raise in minimum wage.

by on Jan.23, 2019

A series of wildcat strikes in Mexico threatens the U.S. auto industry. (Credit: AquiMatamoros)

A series of wildcat strikes in the maquiladora plants in Matamoros, Mexico, along the U.S.-Mexican border near Brownsville, Texas, could threaten auto production across North America.

More than 30,000 Mexican workers have been involved in the strikes, which have hit factories owned by a number of automotive suppliers, among them prominent companies such as Inteva, Delphi, Dura and Key Safety Systems.

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The walkouts, which have been described by some observers as the largest industrial strike in North America in decades, also have hit plants belonging to a number of aerospace, textile and electronics firms that during the past four decades have set up plants on the Mexican side of the border in search of cheap labor. (more…)

Honda Confirms Plans to Debut Urban EV Concept in Geneva

“Electric Vision” model to usher in massive shift to battery power.

by on Jan.23, 2019

Honda will bring a production version of the Urban EV Concept to Europe in the coming year.

Honda plans to use battery power of one form or another in two-thirds of the vehicles it sells by the end of the next decade, and the Japanese automaker plans to give a sense of where its “Electric Vision” is going at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Honda Urban EV Concept builds on an early prototype shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and is little more than a thinly disguised version of the battery runabout it soon will be launching in Europe.

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“Honda’s new electric vehicle is developed with a focus on functionality and purpose and the prototype sketch demonstrates this through its clean, simple and unique design,” the automaker explained in a statement accompanying this teaser shot. “A mass production version of the car will be on sale later in the year.”

(more…)

Subaru Slams on the Brakes at Japanese Plant

Potential part defect causes halt; U.S. plant not affected.

by on Jan.23, 2019

Subaru halted production at its plant in Japan several days ago due to a potentially faulty component. Its U.S. plant is unaffected at this point.

Subaru slammed on the brakes on production at its plant in Japan, which accounts for 60% of its global production, due to a potential defect in a power-steering component.

The Japanese automaker hopes to restart production by Jan. 28, after it determines the cause of the problem. The company put a halt to production the night of Jan 16 after the problem was discovered, according to the Asahi newspaper.

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For now, only the Forester, Impreza and XV (a Japan-only vehicle) appear to be affected, but the company is reviewing its processes to make certain since its other vehicles are also built on the same production line. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

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“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. (more…)

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.”  (more…)

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. (more…)

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.” (more…)