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Dealers Hampering Sales of Electric Vehicles, Study Shows

Sales of EVs predicted to rise 50% in the U.S. in 2018.

by on May.25, 2018

The Chevy Bolt was one of Consumer Reports 10 best vehicles when it came out. Despite this, a new study suggests salespeople don't want to sell them.

Despite the fact that more and more consumers seem to be interested in buying electric vehicles, a new study suggests that dealers still seem to want to not sell EVs.

According to a study by Nature Energy, salespeople are reticent to sell people who specifically ask about electric vehicles an EV. The publication sent out 126 people to 82 dealerships across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden who were either deterred from buying an EV or were given incorrect information about them.

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These countries are all in the top 15 electric vehicle markets in the world.  (more…)

Safety Groups Want Tesla Autopilot Name Banned

Groups argue it is “deceptive and misleading.”

by on May.23, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

It’s called Autopilot but, at least for now, Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology is a not completely reliable co-pilot, it can require rapid human intervention to avert a crash. And that, two consumer groups argue, makes the use of the Autopilot name “deceptive and misleading.”

The Center for Auto Safety, or CAS, and Consumer Watchdog aren’t the first to raise concerns about the Tesla technology. German regulators briefly considered banning the name, Autopilot. But the American non-profit safety groups have taken their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to initiate an investigation of how Tesla not only has named, but also how it promotes its semi-autonomous system.

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In a letter to the federal agency, they claim Tesla has taken steps to “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.” (more…)

Nissan’s Operating Profits Down for FY17, Favorable Tax Rates Raise Income

Company predicts vehicle sales will rise in 2018.

by on May.14, 2018

Nissan Chief Hiroto Saikawa reported the automaker's earnings for 2017.

Despite a tough environment for the first nine months of its fiscal year, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd rallied to post increases in revenue and net income for 2017 and sales increases in its top three markets: the U.S., China and Japan.

Nissan’s January-March profit was 168.8 billion yen, or $1.5 billion, down from 249 billion yen last year. Quarterly sales fell 0.9% to 3.4 trillion yen, or $31.3 billion.

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The automaker reported an operating profit of 574.8 billion yen, or $4.9 billion, on net revenues of 11.95 trillion yen, or $109 billion, equivalent to an operating margin of 4.8%. The operating profit was down from 2016 by 22.6% and margins fell 1.5%. (more…)

Trump Meets With Automakers About CAFE, Blasts NAFTA Instead

President pushes companies to build more cars in U.S.

by on May.11, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett looks on as President Donald Trump makes a point during a meeting with automakers.

The much-anticipated meeting between a 10 automakers and Trump administration officials to discuss rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards resulted in smoke, but no fire.

President Trump and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt met with the heads dozen automakers, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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A proposal from the U.S. Transportation Department would freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE,requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than allowing them to increase as previously planned. Trump’s administration is expected to formally unveil the proposal later this month or in June. (more…)

Audi Out: Follows Growing Group of Automakers Abandoning Detroit Auto Show

NAIAS still studying possible date change to revive flagging fortunes.

by on May.11, 2018

Audi has traditionally used the NAIAS for major intros, like the Q8 Concept it debuted in 2017.

Already hit by key defections, the organizers of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit learned Thursday that Audi will also be a no-show in January 2019 – though the luxury arm of Volkswagen Group said it will “continue to evaluate” a return at a later date.

A once-regional event, the NAIAS became the most significant auto show in the U.S., and one of the world’s most widely watched, when it added the “International” designation in 1989. At its peak around the start of the new millennium, Detroit could count on virtually every manufacturer to participate, with some years seeing more than 70 new cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers debut.

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As the industry plunged into recession, things began to change. Some manufacturers, such as Nissan, pulled out temporarily, but others decided to abandon the Motor City event entirely. That included some of the most exclusive marques, like Ferrari, as well as mainstream and luxury brands like Mazda, which was a hold out this past January. Volvo had no corporate presence, though its local dealers did roll a few vehicles into Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center. Now, it seems, the exodus is turning into a rout. Audi follows Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche in planning to stay home next January. (more…)

Auto Industry Backs Away from Trump Mileage Rollback

“We support standards that increase year over year,” says auto trade group chief.

by on May.08, 2018

Automakers are reversing course and telling the EPA not to order a major mileage cut.

The auto industry appears to be pulling back its support of the planned rollback in Obama-era fuel economy standards that the Trump Administration is expected to announce in the coming days.

Manufacturers are also putting pressure on the White House to work out a compromise with the State of California over its unique ability to set even tougher emissions and mileage standards. EPA chief Scott Pruitt had indicated a desire to eliminate the waiver first approved by Congress as part of the original 1970 Clean Air Act.

We're Clearing the Air!

The industry about-face comes barely a year after top leaders raised concerns about the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards during a meeting with then-new president — former Ford CEO Mark Fields warning the Obama target of 54.5 miles per gallon could cost 1 million jobs.

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One in Five Americans Wants to Own an Electric Vehicle

But how many will follow through is another matter entirely.

by on May.08, 2018

If the new study is any indication, sales of electric cars could soon climb into the millions.

Automakers are investing tens of billions of dollars gearing up to produce a new generation of plug-based vehicles, a worrisome effort considering that all electrified vehicles – from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – accounted for just 3% of the overall American market last year.

But a new study finds that a full 20% of U.S. motorists want their next car, truck or crossover to be electric, according to the AAA. That’s up from 15% in just a year, the travel service reports and, perhaps not so coincidentally, the increase comes at a time when manufacturers are beginning to roll out an assortment of new models that offer longer range and quicker charging at a lower cost.

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“Today, electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer.”

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EPA, Automakers Face Mounting Legal and Public Pressure to Leave Mileage Standards in Place

EPA sued by 17 states and District of Columbia; while automakers face public shaming campaign.

by on May.07, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's plans to rollback CAFE has triggered a major backlash.

A coalition of consumer and environmental groups plans to drive from Washington, D.C. to Detroit this week to deliver over 250,000 signatures demanding that the auto industry  — Ford in particular — back off on its call to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.

If that doesn’t work, a separate coalition, this one comprising 17 states and the District of Columbia, has filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent Administrator Scott Pruitt from going ahead with plans to rollback mileage rules established under the Obama Administration. While the EPA hasn’t announced a final plan, a draft resolution indicated it would target something just under 42 miles per gallon, down from the original 2025 target of 54.5 mpg.

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“This is about health, it’s about life and death,” California Governor Jerry Brown said last week during a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution,” Brown said while referring to the controversial EPA chief as “Outlaw Pruitt.”

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Production Version of Kia Niro EV Breaks Cover

Timing of U.S. launch unclear.

by on May.04, 2018

The long-range version of the Kia Niro EV will get 236 miles out of a 64 kWh battery pack.

We got a first look at the concept version of Kia’s all-electric Niro model during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The Korean carmaker has now pulled the wraps off the production model during the Fifth International Electric Vehicle Expo in Seoul.

A quick glance suggests the version that will be rolling into showrooms is a bit more conservative than the CES show car, with relatively conventional lights and bumpers. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Niro EV and earlier versions of the crossover can be seen in the textured, albeit solid, grille – which actually bears more than a passing likeness to the snout on the all-electric Hyundai Kona that debuted at the New York International Auto Show barely a month ago.

Product News!

Kia is being sparse when it comes to offering details about the Niro EV, though it did indicate the battery-electric vehicle will be offered with a choice of two different batteries – at least in some markets – the more powerful, 64 kWh pack will provide enough energy to travel an estimated 236 miles between charges, the 39.2 kWh pack reducing range to around 149 miles.

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EPA Reportedly Wants 25% Cut in Fuel Economy

Revised Trump plan would freeze CAFE at 2020 level.

by on Apr.30, 2018

The EPA's mileage rollback is coming just as gas prices start to surge. Critics warn automakers of a backlash if the numbers reach previous highs.

The EPA and NHTSA are expected to propose cutting the current federal fuel economy mandate by nearly 25% while also revoking the State of California’s ability to set its own tougher standards.

Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has repeatedly signaled a desire to roll back the rules set under the Obama Administration that current target a fuel economy average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Reports based on sources at the environmental agency indicate that would drop to 41.7 mpg, the figure that the phase-in of the Obama rules would have reached by 2020. There would be no further increase, under the proposal, until 2026.

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That has triggered an outcry from consumer and environmental groups, but an even more controversial piece of the EPA draft memo would forbid California from taking steps on its own to effectively neuter the rollback. Under current law the state can set tougher tailpipe rules than the EPA and other states can adopt California’s guideline, something that could effectively require automakers to stick with the current CAFE rules.

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