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SEC Says Musk’s Response to Lawsuit “Borders on the Ridiculous”

Regulators tell court Tesla CEO failed to clear a single tweet with automaker per settlement.

by on Mar.19, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shown during last week's unveiling of the new Model Y.

Federal regulators have shot back at Tesla CEO Elon Musk in their battle over a contempt-of-court lawsuit, claiming the 47-year-old executive’s legal argument “borders on the ridiculous.”

The case stems from a tweet Musk filed last month declaring that Tesla would produce 500,000 vehicles this year. The Securities and Exchange Commission considered that “material” guidance which, under terms of a separate case last year, required the CEO to first get the approval of the company. But, the SEC said in a new filing, Musk has not cleared a single tweet with Tesla as he had agreed to.

Breaking News!

The lawsuit is being heard by U.S. Judge Alison Nathan who could hold Musk in contempt and levy fine or other forms of punishment. The Tesla executive was already forced to relinquish his post as chairman and could now be removed as the automaker’s chief executive officer.

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Aiming to Launch Tesla Model Y Challenger in 2021, Fisker Searching for Plant Site

Electric SUV planned at "below $40,000."

by on Mar.18, 2019

The Fisker SUV will adopt an SUV style and offer more interior space than the typical ute by placing key components under the floorboard.

Long-time automotive designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker is readying a challenger to the upcoming Tesla Model Y that will be ready for production during the second half of 2021 at a price of “below $40,000.”

With a range estimated at “around” 300 miles, Fisker Inc. plans to produce it at a factory in the U.S. and is currently searching for a plant site in one of eight states, the Danish-born executive told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview. The company is putting an emphasis on acquiring an existing factory, preferably one of the many abandoned auto plants around the U.S.

Beyond the Headlines!

“We hope to pick a site within the next eight to 10 weeks,” Fisker said, noting that a Midwest site with ready access to existing suppliers is high on the priority list, though the final choice would also be impacted by available incentives.

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Mustang Electrified?

Ford counter-programs debut of the Tesla Model Y and hints of a high-performance CUV to come.

by on Mar.15, 2019

“Hold your horses,” or so said Ford Motor Co. in a tweet not-so-coincidentally timed to reach the social media world just as Tesla CEO Elon Musk was getting ready to debut his company’s new Model Y battery-electric SUV.

The Ford post featured that short blurb and a blue version of the Mustang logo against a black background, nothing more. But it does hint at several projects that Ford has already confirmed are in the works. That includes both a hybridized version of the pony car, as well as a Mustang-influenced all-electric SUV that Ford announced during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Electrifying News!

An early player in the electrification field, Ford has fallen behind not just Tesla but conventional rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen, both investing heavily in long-range, battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. Ford officials say they are going to make a push to catch up and have confirmed that the first entry into next-gen electric technology would be a performance-oriented crossover tentatively named Mach 1 and due to market about when the Tesla Model Y hits the street about a year from now.

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As Tesla Model Y Debuts, Musk Asks: Do You Think We’re “S3XY”?

New Model Y to be offered in four distinct versions – but economy buyers will have to wait.

by on Mar.15, 2019

The Tesla Model Y is likely to look quite familiar to fans of the earlier Model 3 sedan.

The long-awaited Tesla Model Y made its formal debut on Thursday night, with CEO Elon Musk declaring it takes an already attractive line-up and makes it “S3XY.” The inside joke adds the new electric SUV to the automaker’s existing line-up of Models S, 3 and X.

But there’s a serious side to the launch. Tesla continues to struggle to right its balance sheet, plunging back into the red this quarter after earning money during the second half of 2018. The Model Y is expected to become Tesla’s best-seller, Musk declared, telling his audience “we’ll do more Model Ys than S, X and 3 combined.” And that includes not just the U.S. but also China, where Tesla is struggling to get a foothold in the world’s largest market for battery-electric vehicles.

Breaking Product News!

The Model Y will be one of the vehicles Tesla plans to produce once it opens up a new plant in Shanghai later this year. That will give it a way to hold costs down and also to sidestep any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

(Here’s our Model Y preview. Click Here to see how close we came.)

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Over 70% of Americans “Afraid” to Ride in a Fully Autonomous Car

"The good, the bad and the ugly."

by on Mar.14, 2019

The fatal crash involving an Uber vehicle in Tempe, AZ has negatively shaped many peoples' view of autonomous vehicle technology, AAA found.

Almost exactly a year after an autonomous Uber prototype struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, a new AAA study finds more than seven in ten Americans “afraid” of riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.

That’s despite the fact that 100s of self-driving prototypes are plying U.S. roads on a daily basis, a number that could soon climb into the tens of thousands if Congress moves to approve proposed legislation designed to help make the technology a part of everyday life. Already, the first self-driving vehicle ride-sharing program has gone into operation, launched last December by Google spin-off Waymo.

Out of this World!

“Automated vehicle technology is evolving on a very public stage and, as a result, it is affecting how consumers feel about it,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering.

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Infiniti Set to Abandon Western European Market

Weak demand leading Nissan’s luxury brand to focus on Europe, China.

by on Mar.12, 2019

The concept version of the Infiniti Q30 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show as part of the brand's push to become an EU presence.

Infiniti has come to recognize there are limits to its global growth plans, the Nissan luxury brand announcing it will pull out of Western Europe by early next year.

Going forward, the brand will limit its scope to just two markets: the U.S. and China. Along with ending sales in Europe, Infiniti also will halt production of the Q30 and QX30 models at Nissan’s assembly plant in Sunderland, England. The parent company has raised questions about the broader viability of that plant as Britain struggles to manage its planned exit from the European Union later this month.

Breaking News!

A broader restructuring by Infiniti will see the luxury marque pair back on its overall product line-up, the brand’s new global CEO told TheDetroitBureau.com during an interview earlier this year.

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VW Expects to Sell 22 Million EVs Over Next Decade

CEO’s new target marks a 50% jump.

by on Mar.12, 2019

VW CEO Herbert Diess is shown here with the I.D. Crozz and Buzz concept vehicles.

Germany’s Volkswagen AG expects to sell 22 million battery-electric vehicles over the next decade, CEO Herbert Diess said during the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

The carmaker has been on an aggressive push into electrification and has outlined projects expected to cost it close to $100 billion by 2025 alone. But, until today, Diess had set a target of selling just 15 million battery-cars. Either figure would mark a massive increase considering VW sold just 50,000 all-electric vehicles last year.

Electrification News!

“The supertanker is picking up speed,” Diess said Tuesday in a speech to shareholders gathered in Frankfurt. “We are aligning Volkswagen with e-mobility like no other company in our industry.”

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Topping 1,000: An Ultra-Exclusive Club Continues to Expand

This year’s Geneva Motor Show brought an array of new entries.

by on Mar.11, 2019

The Pininfarina is one of an assortment of 1,000+ hp models that debuted in Geneva.

This month’s Geneva Motor Show brought the debut of dozens of new models, from little city cars all the way up to mega-million dollar exotics. It also brought several new entries into one of the automotive industry’s most exotic clubs: vehicles topping 1,000 horsepower.

It’s been 14 years since the original Bugatti Veyron 16.4 captured a spot in the Guinness World Records by becoming the first model to deliver four-figure power. With the debut of models like the Aston Martin AM-RB 003, Hispano Suiza Carmen, Koenigsegg Jesko and Pinfarina Battista in Geneva last week the number of models topping the 1,000 hp mark is now over a dozen, with several other models reportedly in the works.

Performance News!

As you’d expect, the price tag for these products is equally astronomical. A special one-off version of the Bugatti Chiron last week was announced at $19 million. But, if you have the cash and access to a long stretch of pavement, here’s what you might want to check out:

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10 Best from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show

Choices range from city cars to super cars.

by on Mar.07, 2019

This year's Geneva Motor Show was smaller than in year's past, but there were plenty of debuts for the press to cover.

It may be snowy up in the hills outside Geneva, but things were decidedly green inside Palexpo, the sprawling convention center that serves as home to the city’s annual auto show. The event wasn’t quite as busy this year, a number of automakers choosing to sit things out, as has been the growing industry trend. That said, there were some significant debuts during the Geneva Motor Show media preview.

And green really was the word, manufacturers rolling out more than a score of environmentally friendly products. That included quite a few all-electric models, but also hybrids, plug-ins and even a breakthrough gas engine.

Auto Show News!

As always, Geneva covered a broad spectrum of product segments, from little city cars, such as the Honda e, all the way up to hypercars like the 1,900 horsepower Pininfarina Battista. Here’s a look at 10 of our favorites among the new products that debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show: (more…)

Toyota Building Lunar Rover for Japan’s 2030 Moon Landing

Japan's lunar mission targeting 2030.

by on Mar.06, 2019

Toyota will follow in GM's tire tracks and build a lunar rover, although it's likely it will look a bit different than the original shown here.

Toyota appears set to do something only General Motors has done before: Put a car on the moon.

The Japanese automaker is working with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a new lunar rover for the agency’s new moon mission, which is targeted for 2030. However, more details are set to be announced next week.

Out of this World!

“We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the moon,” a JAXA spokesperson told SkyNews. (more…)