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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…)

What’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Without Fiat and Chrysler?

Two namesake brands will survive – barely, for now.

by on Jun.04, 2018

The Chrysler Pacifica may soon go it solo as the brand continues to shrink.

It’s been nearly a decade since struggling European automaker Fiat combined with the post-Chapter 11 Chrysler, and if the 5-year plan unveiled during a day-long meeting in Milan last week comes close to being accurate, the carmaker could be in for a “brighter future” than ever, according to John Elkann, the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the heir to the Italian side of the company’s founders.

There’s just one problem: neither the Fiat nor Chrysler brands seem poised to share in the spoils. The Fiat Capital Day briefing focused all but exclusively on just four brands – Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati – expected to dominate FCA’s future. For now, Fiat and Chrysler will survive, but in greatly diminished form, and observers question whether they’ll be around for the long-term.

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“There was enough doubt…about their future because they barely showed up in the presentations,” said Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, after attending the day-long session at Alfa’ proving grounds near Milan. Fca’s management team “took pains to say (Fiat and Chrysler will have a future, at least in the near-term. But it will be up to the next management team to determine whether they will remain in the portfolio for the long-term.”

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FCA Planning to Plug In

After slow start, automaker reveals big plans for electrification.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The production version of this Maserati Alfieri concept will use an electrified drivetrain to launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2 seconds.

Sergio Marchionne isn’t much of a fan of battery power, or at least he hasn’t been until recently. When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched its first all-electric model, five years ago, the CEO actually urged motorists not to buy it, admitting FCA lost about $25,000 on every one of them.

But at the automaker’s “Capital Day,” in Milan on Friday, Marchionne and his management team were far more upbeat, announcing plans to add dozens of electrified vehicles – everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – into the FCA line-up over the next give years.

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The economics still aren’t great, noted Mark Chernoby, the automaker’s head of technology compliance, but in an era of increasingly stringent emissions and mileage regulations, it’s the only real day to meet targets being set in markets as diverse as the U.S., Europe, China and Brazil. That’s all the more so as FCA continues to migrate from traditional sedans and coupes to the less efficient SUVs and CUVs that will overwhelmingly dominate its global line-up.

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May Auto Sales Bring Mixed Results for Makers

Analysts believe month will end positive.

by on Jun.01, 2018

Jeep's 29% sales increase in May led FCA to an 11% jump overall for the month.

Automakers are looking at a mixed bag of sales for May, but when the final tally is recorded, it’s expected to see the industry on the plus-side of the ledger. Early returns show that domestic makers fared well, while others are more spotty.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a double-digit sales jump of 11% thanks to big surge in sales by the Jeep brands, where sales went up 29%.

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Ford Motor Co. managed to eke out a 0.7 % sales increase during May. The increase included an 11% in sales of F-Series pickup trucks despite a crippling fire that forced the company to shut down production for more than a week. (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…)

More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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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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Jaguar Land Rover Profits Cut By Falling Diesel Sales

Overall sales rose 1.7% with China leading the way.

by on May.24, 2018

Ralf Speth, Jaguar president, touted the company's full-year sales set a new record, driven by a 19% increase in China.

Jaguar Land Rover reported its annual pre-tax profits fell to 1.5 billion pounds, or $2 billion, from 1.6 billion pounds the year before, and fourth quarter profits during the January to March period was almost cut in half from 676 million pounds, or $905.3 million, to 364 million pounds.

The drop in profits during January to March period was affected by the higher charges in its vehicle development program and the drop in sales of diesel-powered vehicles. But the company said its annual pre-tax profit was boosted a 437-million-pound, or $585.2 million, credit from its pension scheme in the first quarter of the year.

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The automaker, which was re-organized 10 years ago after Ford Motor Co. sold it to Tata, the Indian industrial conglomerate, noted that “consumer uncertainty surrounding diesel models, Brexit and vehicle taxation” hurt sales in the United Kingdom.  (more…)

Bosch Exec Predicts 50 Percent Rise in 2018 EV Sales

Annual sales expected to rise from 1% to 1.5% of total sales.

by on May.23, 2018

The Chevy Bolt will be joined by two dozen other GM battery-electric vehicles by 2023.

Sales of battery electric vehicles are growing steadily and impressively, according to a key executive at Robert Bosch Gmbh, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers.

Sujit Jain, Bosch Group regional president, Passenger Cars and Electric Vehicles, Powertrain Solutions Division, noted the market share of battery electric vehicles has steadily grown in the U.S. since 2013, reaching nearly 1%.

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On the surface, the number appears small, but the rate of growth has been impressive with EV sales possibly reaching 1.5% this year, Jain said after a presentation at the Bosch Mobility Experience at the company’s North American test track in suburban Detroit. (more…)

Honda Kicks Off Production of Two New Models

Honda Insight, Acura RDX heading to dealers shortly.

by on May.16, 2018

Acura RDX production is underway at Honda's plant in Ohio.

Honda is celebrating the start of production of two new vehicle this the all-new 2019 Honda Insight in Greensburg, Indiana, and the 2019 Acura RDX at its plant in East Liberty, Ohio.

The 2019 Acura RDX is described as the first in a new generation of Acura products built around Acura’s “Precision Crafted Performance” brand direction. The new RDX was a clean-sheet, top-to-bottom redesign of Acura’s perennial top-selling five-passenger luxury SUV, brought to life through new capital investment of $54 million in new technologies and processes at the East Liberty Auto Plant.

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“This new RDX defines the future of Acura, and our Ohio team did an incredible job preparing this first in a new generation of Acura vehicles for our customers,” said Jim Hefner, plant manager at the East Liberty Auto Plant. (more…)