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Tesla CEO Musk Survives 1st Big Challenge as Chairman as Model 3 “Quite Likely” to Meet Target

Shanghai, European plants could be announced within weeks.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk beat back challenges to his role, while 3 board members were voted back in.

Elon Musk stared down a group of dissident shareholders on Tuesday, surviving the first serious challenge to his dual role as chairman and CEO of the California automaker, while three of his hand-picked board members also fended off challenges.

Musk, who has developed an almost cult-like following among investors and electric vehicle fans alike, has faced an unusual degree of scrutiny in recent months as a result of mounting losses, struggles with production of the Model 3 sedan and a series of widely reported crashes involving Tesla vehicles. But despite some opposition, the company’s annual shareholders meeting was largely focused on promises about great things to come.

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Musk promised that after months of what the CEO has dubbed “production hell,” the pace is picking up at the Fremont assembly plant and that production will “quite likely” reach his 5,000 vehicle-a-week target by the end of June. Meanwhile, he and members of his senior management team outlined other developments to come, including the launch of additional production plants that could substantially boost global demand.

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GM Reveals Plans to Electrify Fleet in China

Company will have 10 NEVs in country by 2020.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Matt Tsien, left, and chief engineer of GM China Electrification Jennifer Goforth discuss GM's electrification plans for China.

General Motors plans to deliver 10 new energy vehicles according to its newly outlined a path for electrification in China, supporting its vision of a future with zero emissions laid out by the Chinese government.

The announcement made in China notes the 10 NEVs will arrive between now and 2020, and is likely to complicate GM’s discussions on emission standards in the U.S. where the State of California has taken the position that what’s good for China will also work in the automakers home market.

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From 2021 through 2023, GM will maintain momentum by doubling the number of new energy vehicles available even as it pleads for relief from federal fuel economy standards in the U.S. that were set by the Obama administration as it left office in 2017. (more…)

SoftBank Investment Triggers GM Best Share Gain Ever

Cruise Automation could be floated in IPO.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Chevy Bolt will be General Motors first fully autonomous car when it brings a self-driver to the market in the future.

Shares of General Motors posted their biggest gain in years, rising nearly 13% Thursday on news that Japanese tech investment fund SoftBank was investing $2.25 billion in GM’s autonomous vehicle development subsidiary, Cruise Automation.

SoftBank’s big investment was one of several major announcements yesterday that underscored the growing interest in self-driving vehicles. Waymo, the spinoff of Google, said it would purchase as many as 62,000 Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivans for use in its planned self-driving ride-sharing service. Currently in a pilot program, it intends to begin commercial operations in Phoenix later this year and then begin a national rollout.

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GM plans to launch a similar ride-sharing operation through another subsidiary, Maven, using versions of its all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV modified by Cruise. Mary Barra, the automaker’s CEO, said GM will look at “other opportunities” for Cruise that could involve alliances with other companies SoftBank has funded, including Uber and China’s Didi Chuxing. (more…)

Waymo Set to Purchase 62k Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivans for Autonomous Ride-Share Service

Announcement follows news of a major investment in GM Cruise self-driving car program.

by on May.31, 2018

An early version of a Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan roams the streets of Phoenix.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo will radically accelerate their alliance, FCA announcing it will supply as many as 62,000 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google.

FCA previously committed to providing several thousand of the plug-in people-movers. Waymo has also committed to purchasing up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace battery-electric SUVs, and CEO John Krafcik has told TheDetroitBureau.com that it expects to add still other models for use in the planned self-driving ride-share service that is currently in pilot testing in Phoenix. Commercial service will launch in that city later this year, Krafcik announced in March, and will eventually expand to “other” cities across the U.S.

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The FCA-Waymo announcement comes just hours after General Motors revealed that Japanese venture capital fund SoftBank is investing $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings, the carmaker’s autonomous vehicle unit. That news quickly sent shares of GM surging by 10% in early Thursday morning trading.

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US New Vehicle Sales Bloom in May

Analysts predicting more than 3% jump.

by on May.29, 2018

New vehicles sales are expected to rise 3.1% on year-over-year basis in May, according to analysts.

New vehicle sales are expected to increase during by more than 3% in May, reflecting the strong showing by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., according to new monthly forecasts, but the overall sales rate is falling behind the pace in 2017.

Cox Automotive predicted that overall, U.S. new-vehicle sales in May 2018 are expected to increase 3.1% compared to May 2017. The seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR, projected at 16.6 million for this month, is expected to fall to its lowest level since August 2017.

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The Cox forecast 16.6 million SAAR is down slightly from the 16.7 million level in May 2017, and down from the 17.1 million pace the market has been averaging in 2018. (more…)

China Tariffs on Hold as Trade War Talk Recedes

Two countries putting a deal together.

by on May.21, 2018

The Trump administration is backing away from proposed tariffs on a variety items imported from China.

The announcement by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin that the Trump administration will suspend any plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports lowers the risks for American and European carmakers, fearing the impact of a trade war.

Companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which export American-made vehicles to China, will apparently be spared, facing the substantial tariffs the Peoples Republic of China had proposed imposing on vehicles exported from the United States.

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Importers of vehicles from China, such General Motors, also will be spared American tariffs on vehicles from Chinese factories. (more…)

Chevy Escalates Truck Engine Wars with Four New Offerings

A new Duramax diesel coming in 2019.

by on May.19, 2018

The 2019 Silverado RST comes standard with an all-new, advanced 2.7-liter turbo engine active fuel management and stop/start technology.

Chevrolet is firing another round of salvos in the ongoing engine wars between the Big Three truck makers, debuting four new powerplants including a four-cylinder turbo, ultimately resulting in six new powertrain combinations.

The brand unveiled a 2.7-liter turbocharged four cylinder as well as two new V8s: a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter, both of which use Chevy’s active fuel management system. The system uses four, six or eight cylinders depending upon the demands on the engine. Push the pedal to the floor, the driver gets all eight, but if cruising along the freeway, it drops to four and improves fuel economy.

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The 2.7-liter will be the standard engine for the brand’s high-volume trucks, replacing a 4.3-liter V6, which remains available. A new 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel will also be available in 2019. EPA mileage ratings for the new engines are available yet. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

Luxurious interior, leading-edge tech and great road manners.

by on May.18, 2018

The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is based on an all-new version of the three-row SUV.

Utility vehicles of various sizes but similar shapes now account for nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. and the competition is getting fierce carmakers admit.

Notions of luxury have evolved during the years right along with SUVs but one vehicle holding its own is the stylish Buick Enclave Avenir with its gorgeous interior, portfolio of optional technology and pleasant road manners that fit nicely into the American tradition of upscale vehicles.

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The exterior of the 2018 Enclave has a stately aura about it that makes a careful bow to the brand’s historic tradition with a careful display of sleek lines and jeweled corners and at the very same time it moves the vehicle into the 21st century with its 21st century silhouette. The front grille and fascia is not ostentatious and the rear is equally restrained but nicely set off by the lighting display. (more…)

Apple’s Mysterious Autonomous Vehicle Program is Rapidly Expanding

Records show permits for more than 55 self-driving cars.

by on May.16, 2018

CEO Tim Cook has finally begun to offer some hints as to Apple's self-driving car program.

While Apple has yet to say much about its long-rumored car program, some intriguing information has come out thanks to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV revealing that the tech giant now has permits to test up to 55 self-driving vehicles in the state.

That would actually give Apple the ability to test even more vehicles than Waymo, the Google spinoff that has been far more open about its own autonomous ambitions – though less than General Motors, its San Francisco-based Cruise Automotive now holding permits for 104 test vehicles.

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And the DMV report does not cover other states where Apple might be testing, notably Nevada and Arizona, the two Southwest states that have positioned themselves as particularly friendly to autonomous vehicle researchers. Waymo, for example, is known to be running large fleet tests that may run into the hundreds of vehicles in Arizona, including both autonomous models requiring human backup “operators” and the first of its completely driverless prototypes. (more…)

Subaru’s Crosstrek Will Become its First Plug-In Hybrid

Japanese maker's first PHEV will use modified Toyota driveline.

by on May.14, 2018

For 2019, Subaru will add a plug-in version of the Crosstrek likely to deliver over 20 miles per charge.

Little Subaru is about to get a helping hand from Japan’s biggest automaker, Toyota lending out its Prius Prime driveline for the smaller manufacturer’s first-ever plug-in hybrid.

Subaru has been teasing us with electrified concepts for quite a few years, mostly through its palindromic Viziv concept series. Now, finally, we’ll be getting the real think with the launch of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

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“The new Crosstrek Hybrid maintains all the capability of the traditional Subaru Crosstrek with increased fuel efficiency,” the automaker revealed in a terse statement. “It can be driven as a normal Hybrid, using both gas and electric power and eliminating range anxiety, or driven on pure electric drive for local commuting.”

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