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GMC Tightens Up Premium Truck Segment with 2020 Sierra 1500

More technology and engine choices highlight new truck.

by on May.17, 2019

For 2020, the GMC Sierra gets a slew of new technology as well as a new engine offering.

The competition to produce the best-equipped pickup truck continued to get tighter today with GMC’s announcement that its “taking premium to the next level” for its 2020 Sierra 1500.

GMC’s full-size light-duty pickup can now get a slew of new options to take it up a notch, including expanded availability for its carbon fiber bed, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission, plus additional technology like Adaptive Cruise Control – Camera.

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While options are great, functionality is still king among truck users and GMC is looking to make a statement in that arena too. For 2020, the Sierra 1500 will be available with the upgraded ProGrade Trailering System introduced earlier this year on the 2020 Sierra HD. The updated system offers 15 camera views – the class leader – plus an in-vehicle Trailering App which has been enhanced to simplify the trailering process. (more…)

Amsterdam Banning Cars, Motorcycles by 2030

No emissions-spewing vehicle will be permitted in city.

by on May.13, 2019

Amsterdam is banning cars and other emissions-emitting vehicles in the city by 2030.

The city of Amsterdam is preparing to ban all diesel and gas cars and motorbikes by 2030 in an effort to curb air pollution in the picturesque Dutch city, according to reports from the Netherlands.

“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” Amsterdam Traffic Councilor Sharon Dijksma said, explaining the decision to Reuters. Dijksma said that air pollution in the city shortens lifespans of average resident by more than a year, Dijksa said.

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Despite its bicycle culture — bike sharing was first pioneered in Amsterdam in 1960s,  the Netherlands has air pollution levels that exceed the European Union’s safety rules, mostly because of traffic in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. (more…)

Daimler to Go “Carbon Neutral” Under “Ambition2039″ Sustainability Plan

Company credited with inventing the I.C. engine is helping to put it to rest, says environmental group.

by on May.13, 2019

Mercedes revealed the U.S. version of its first long-range EV, the EQC Edition 1886, in NY last month.

The automaker that effectively brought the internal combustion engine to life appears ready to drive a nail into its coffin.

Daimler AG, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands says it expects plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, accounting for fully 50% of its sales by 2030, with a goal to go completely “carbon neutral” by 2039.

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“One of the defining issues is how we address our CO2 footprint,” Ola Kallenius, Daimler’s next CEO, said during a conference in its headquarters city of Stuttgart on Monday morning.

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Is Mazda Planning to Bring Vision Coupe Concept – and New Engine Line — to Life?

I-6 engine to power new product line off “Large Architecture” platform.

by on May.10, 2019

Mazda is finishing up a "Large Architecture," like the one that underpinned the 2017 Vision Coupe Concept.

For such a small company, Mazda has had a history of coming up with lots of creative powertrain technology, from its original rotaries to the latest Skyactiv-X that manages to combine some of the best attributes of a diesel and a gas engine. Now, it appears, the Hiroshima-based manufacturer is busy working on an inline-six design that could be powered both by gas and diesel.

Considering the size and design of Mazda’s current line-up, that might seem an odd choice, however. With the exception of the MX-5 Miata, the automaker’s products have been designed to use shorter powertrains that work in a transverse, or east-west, configuration, rather than the longitudinal, or north-south, layout that would be required with a longer inline-six engine.

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That would suggest that Mazda has another surprise coming, and it appears to be a production car based on what is being referred to as the “Large Architecture,” a platform that could be used for a bigger product than any in the current portfolio. And that immediately brings to mind Mazda’s recent Vision Coupe Concept.

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VW Earnings Strong Despite Hit from Diesel Scandal

Credit largely goes to higher-priced crossovers like VW Atlas.

by on May.02, 2019

VW's utility vehicles now account for 23% of group sales, with a target of 20% by late 2020.

Volkswagen’s earnings took a tumble during the first quarter, largely due to a 1 billion euro, or $1.1 billion, set-aside to cover legal costs related to its ongoing diesel emissions scandal.

But at 3.05 billion euros, or $3.41 billion, after-tax profits came in close to last year’s 3.30 billion euros figure from the January-March quarter, with profit margins actually rising across the company’s 12 different automotive brands.

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It was a “very strong first quarter,” said Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter, and “to an extent better actually better than we expected.”

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GM CEO Barra Confirms Plans for Electric Pickup

Could target competitors from Ford, Rivian, Tesla.

by on Apr.30, 2019

GM claims it "future-proofed" the current Silverado to accept electrified drivetrain options.

General Motors will build an all-electric pickup, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday, confirming a report that first appeared in TheDetroitBureau.com in February.

The executive declined to provide details about the project, but the news took few industry observers by surprise considering that Ford and Tesla have also announced plans to build all-electric trucks, as has Detroit-based start-up Rivian.

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GM “will not cede our leadership” in the truck segment, Barra said during a conference call with industry analysts and media to discuss the automaker’s first-quarter earnings.

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Better Late than Never, Mazda Gets into Diesel Game with CX-5 Skyactiv-D

High-torque engine is five years behind schedule.

by on Apr.17, 2019

Mazda finally put a diesel in to one of its products: the 2019 CX-5 crossover.

Nearly five years after Mazda originally planned to launch its SkyActiv-D powertrain, the Japanese automaker is finally ready to make its first diesel engine a reality.

It pulled the wraps off the new powertrain at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, the oil-burner getting its first American application under the hood of the familiar Mazda CX-5 crossover. The diesel joins a growing mix of Mazda engine alternatives that just a year ago saw the launch of the breakthrough homogeneous-charged SkyActiv-X technology.

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“As Mazda continues our climb toward premium, we will offer more powertrain choices that premium customers expect,” said Jeffery Guyton, the newly appointed president of Mazda North American Operations. “I am happy to share that Mazda’s SkyActiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine is joining the U.S. powertrain line-up with our debut model, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with SkyActiv-D.” (more…)

German Prosecutors Charger Former VW CEO Winterkorn with Fraud

Lawyers charge four other executives as well.

by on Apr.15, 2019

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged by German prosecutors with fraud related to the diesel emissions scandal.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged with fraud on Monday by German prosecutors for his role in the automaker’s diesel emissions testing scandal. The scandal came to light in 2015.

“Former Chief Executive Dr. Martin Winterkorn is being charged with a particularly serious case of fraud, a violation of the law against unfair competition and breach of fiduciary trust,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

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Prosecutors also said that Winterkorn and four other managers faced charges, but did not give the names of the other four or say whether they were still employed by Volkswagen. Winterkorn’s lawyer, Felix Doerr, declined to comment, saying he had not seen all of the paperwork, according to Reuters. (more…)

Geely Gets Smart with Daimler

Automakers form 50-50 venture to produce electric smarts.

by on Mar.29, 2019

Daimler and Geely executives celebrate the signing of their new deal.

Just as Daimler AG’s Smart division appeared to be on the outs with the support of Ola Kallenius, the incoming chairman and CEO, the company’s largest shareholder, Geely, swooped in and saved the oft-near death quirky brand.

In recent weeks, its been reported – including by TheDetroitBureau.com – when current Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche retires shortly, the primary supporter of the Smart brand would no longer be around to protect the underwhelming product line and soon-to-be-top-dog Kallenius, who isn’t a fan, was ready to kill the vehicle.

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However, the company’s top shareholder, Chinese automaker Geely Motors, which bought a nearly 10% stake last year, jumped in at the last minute to save Smart by forming a new 50-50 joint venture between the two companies to produce the tiny EV in China. (more…)

SEC Suing VW, former CEO, for ”Massive Fraud” in Emissions Cheating Scandal

Lawsuit "legally and factually flawed," the automaker responds.

by on Mar.15, 2019

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn faces legal problems in Germany, as well as the U.S.

Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to end a scandal triggered by its cheating on diesel emissions testing just took a turn for the worse, the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing both the automaker and former CEO Martin Winterkorn of committing a “massive fraud” on U.S. investors.

The automaker has acknowledged it used “defeat devices” to rig its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests and has so far laid out over $30 billion in fines and settlements. It is still facing other legal headaches, including a separate lawsuit by investors and ongoing investigations in Europe, one resulting in the arrest and jailing of the former CEO of its Audi subsidiary. But it responded to the latest challenge by declaring the SEC lawsuit “legally and factually flawed.”

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The SEC lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, claims the automaker and former CEO Winterkorn concealed the depth of the scandal – and the potential penalties – from both investors and federal regulators. The Thursday complaint noted that in the year before the cheating was discovered and publicized by the EPA Volkswagen issued $13 billion in bonds and securities in the U.S. Those value of those financial devices were directly impacted once the carmaker’s subterfuge was revealed.

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