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Automakers Caught “In Limbo” As New CAFE Rules Face Major Legal Hurdles

Anticipated court battle could delay changes for years.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Automakers are caught in the middle over the CAFE debate and could face even more challenges if the proposed Trump rollback drags on in court.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, automakers are finding themselves in what one long-time industry analyst calls “limbo,” and it could be a year or more before they’ll actually be able to incorporate the CAFE update into their plans due to anticipated legal challenges.

As a result, it could be well into the upcoming decade before the White House revisions actually have any significant impact, according to numerous industry executives who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com, if any changes ever actually occur.

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There is the very real possibility that the courts could rule against the proposed changes or that the legal battle drags on long enough for a new administration to come into office and revert back to the guidelines established under the Obama White House. As a result, automakers and suppliers face a major conundrum when it comes to planning for products set to come out through the middle of the coming decade.

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Remember the Kids Who Hated Cars? Millennials Now Propping Up the US Auto Industry

They’re finally starting to buy cars after all, finds a new study.

by on Jul.27, 2018

Not only are millennials buying new vehicles in large numbers, guess what kind of vehicles they're buying!?

According to conventional wisdom, you’ll still find millennials living at home, spending most of their time playing video games or connecting on Snapchat. The last thing they want to do is drive, and they’re as likely as not never having bothered to get a license.

Well, as often is the case, conventional wisdom isn’t always the real story. And new research from data tracking firm Experian reveals that lots of millennials not only have gotten licensed but also are now buying cars. In fact, so many of them are showing up at showrooms that they may help explain why new car sales haven’t tumbled the way they were expected to this year, after a weak 2017.

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“Millennials accounted for all new vehicle sales growth in the North American auto industry during the first quarter of 2018,” Marty Miller, a senior auto industry consultant with Experian, said during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Manly Manley Facing Tough Challenges at FCA

Great track record at Jeep, Ram, but lots more to do, observers caution.

by on Jul.23, 2018

New Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley is not sliding into a cushy job, rather it is a position that faces several difficult challenges in the near and long term.

The head of Fiat Chrysler’s European, Mideast and African business operations reportedly has stepped down, the apparent departure of Alfredo Altavilla kicking into high gear what could become a period of significant turmoil in the automaker’s senior ranks touched off by the unexpected departure of long-time CEO Sergio Marchionne over the weekend.

The 66-year-old Marchionne, who brought Fiat in as a white knight to save Chrysler after its 2010 bankruptcy, was replaced over the weekend by Michael Manley after suffering a grave decline in health following seemingly routine shoulder surgery last week.

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The 54-year-old Manley was considered the front-runner to replace Marchionne when he retired nearly a year from now, but the unexpected shake-up will put plenty of pressure on the new CEO to hold things together while also moving ahead with the new FCA five-year plan Marchionne unveiled barely two months ago. Altavilla was seen as one of the other senior execs positioned to succeed Marchionne and it remains to be seen if his departure could be followed by others. (more…)

Marchionne Out, Manley In as Fiat Chrysler CEO

Questions about health issues blamed for Marchionne’s early departure.

by on Jul.21, 2018

Larger than life: Marchionne outlined a broad 5-year-plan during a day-long June session in Milan.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced on Saturday that Jeep and Ram brand boss Michael Manley will replace CEO Sergio Marchionne, who due to complications from recent surgery is gravely ill and will not return to work.

Though the 66-year-old Marchionne was known to have undergone surgery this past week for what was reported to be a shoulder problem. According to FCA’s statement, the Italian-born and Canadian-educated Marchionne experienced “unexpected complications,” while his conditions had “worsened significantly in recent hours.”

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Word of Marchionne’s departure quickly echoed through the automotive grapevine. Few industry executives have had a higher profile presence in recent decades, and even fewer could be said to have done more to shape a company in his own image as did Marchionne, who rescued the then-bankrupt Chrysler by securing a U.S. government bailout and then merging it with Italy’s Fiat S.p.A.

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Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

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The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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New Vehicles Jumping in June

Big Six automakers all enjoy sales increases last month.

by on Jul.03, 2018

Ram trucks and Jeep led Fiat Chrysler to an 8% sales jump in June.

Even as the price of gasoline rises, the six big car makers that dominate the U.S. market, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. N.V. Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Co., American Honda and Nissan, all reported sales increases for June with the help of strong sales of trucks and utility vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported June 2018 sales of 202,264 vehicles, an 8% increase compared with sales in June 2017.

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Overall sales were bolstered by both the Jeep and Ram brands, which reported significant increases for the month. FCA had the best retail sales in June sales since 2004. Fleet accounted for 23% of total sales, a 1% decline from the previous year. (more…)

Chevy Spruces Up Volt for 2019

New model charges twice as fast.

by on Jul.02, 2018

Surviving its much-rumored death, the new 2019 Chevy Volt arrives this fall.

For months word has circulated that General Motors was preparing to kill one of the cars that helped launch the company’s resurgence  from bankruptcy, the Chevrolet Volt.

But GM is making a game effort to silence the chatter with the announcement of a series of technical and equipment changes to what will be the 2019 version of the Chevrolet Volt, starting with a new 7.2 kW charging system the cuts recharging times nearly in half and power seats. The change in the charging system will almost double the all-electric driving range per hour of electric charge, Chevrolet said.

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The changes will take effect this fall and could be one last effort to save the Volt from extinction. (more…)

AMG Electrifies: Mercedes’ New E53 Takes 1st Step towards Battery-Based Performance

48V powertrain set to debut later this year.

by on Jun.21, 2018

The Mercedes-AMG E53 will be offered in sedan, coupe and cabrio body styles.

Whether on track or on the road, Mercedes’ AMG brand offers a broad array of models that have relied on a variety of methods to maximize performance, including turbo and supercharging. Now, however, AMG is pushing into a new world with the upcoming launch of the E53.

The performance version of the familiar Mercedes E-Class will pair a turbocharged inline-six engine with an electrically driven supercharger to turn out an impressive 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. But unlike traditional “blowers,” which need to rev up before they deliver full boost, the new system will deliver maximum power essentially the moment the driver’s foot hits the throttle.

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“Electric forced induction devices mitigate turbo lag,” explains Brian Cotter, the U.S. product manager for the AMG brand. But it promises to do even more, Cotter says, suggesting that electrified drivetrain technology could radically change the world of performance driving in the coming years.

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Ford Jumping into the Taxi Business

NYC's Nissan mandate is going away, opening the market.

by on Jun.18, 2018

Ford's new Transit Connect Taxi is powered by a diesel engine expected to get at least 30 mpg when testing is complete.

The taxi business is about to get more competitive as Ford prepares to introduce two new taxis: the new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi with a diesel engine and the 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi.

“Taxi operators want vehicles that are reliable, efficient and comfortable,” said Imran Jalal, brand and communications manager for Ford fleet marketing.

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“Transit Connect Taxi and Fusion Hybrid Taxi offer all three with special attention to potentially help lower fuel costs. Plus, Fusion Hybrid underscores our commitment to introduce even more efficient and capable hybrids in the future.” (more…)

Kia Recalling 500K Cars Due to Airbag Problem

Hyundai already recalled nearly 600K vehicles for same issue.

by on Jun.12, 2018

The 2011 Kia Forte is part of a larger recall related to an airbag deployment problem..

Kia issued a recall of more than 500,000 cars in the U.S. because the airbags may fail to inflate during a crash, according to the automaker.

The action includes 2010–13 Forte modes, 2011–13 Optima models as well as 2011 and 2012 Optima hybrids and Sedona minivans. The move comes in conjunction with a similar action by Kia’s sibling maker, Hyundai.

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Which brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths. (more…)