Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

The Last Word!

One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

(more…)

As Predicted, Ford Resumes F-150 Production in Michigan

Production at two other plants restarts on Monday.

by on May.18, 2018

The first Ford F-150 truck rolls off the line this morning at Dearborn Truck Plant, restarted after a fire at a supplier halted production.

As Ford Motor Co. officials said earlier this week it would, the company’s workers at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant began sending F-150s down and off the line to would-be customers at 6 a.m. this morning.

The plant, along with a sister facility in Kansas City, Missouri, have been idle for the past week in the wake of a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products on May 2. Since that morning, the company scrambled to resume production of parts at the facility. Ford expects to make up the lost production and the supply to consumers was never impacted, officials noted.

Subscribe Now!

The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours, halted production at the two Ford sites as well as at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, General Motors’s full-size van plant near St. Louis and Fiat Chrysler adjusted the run rate of its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. (more…)

BMW Opens New R&D Facility in Beijing

New center is the third in China.

by on May.17, 2018

BMW Group executives mark the opening of the company's new research and development center in Beijing.

The BMW Group opened a new research and development center in Beijing — its third R&D center in the country.

The opening of China R&D Center is a significant step in expanding local innovation and moving ahead with the group’s localization strategy of “In China, for China and the world” one step further, officials noted.

Product News!

China became the largest market for the BMW Group last year. With the establishment of R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, the Chinese R&D network is unique and by far the biggest presence of BMW research and development outside Germany. (more…)

VW Brand Bailing Out on Paris Motor Show

Latest in a growing series of auto show cutbacks by global carmakers.

by on May.17, 2018

Volkswagen introduced its I.D. concept in Paris in 2016, now it's skipping the 2018 show.

The auto industry exodus from major car shows is rapidly accelerating, with Volkswagen the latest to announce plans that will see its flagship VW brand drop out of the upcoming Paris Auto Show, normally Europe’s biggest industry event of the year.

An assortment of major brands, including Volkswagen’s Audi marque, have said they will be no-shows next year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the biggest industry gathering in the U.S. And BMW plans to slash its presence at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, and possibly other auto shows.

Subscribe for Free!

“The Volkswagen brand is continually reviewing its participation in international motor shows,” the VW division said on Thursday. It may not completely skip out on Paris, however. While it won’t have a display at the city’s convention center, it may stage concurrent “communications activities,” it added. (more…)

NAFTA Talks Encroaching on Congressional Deadline

If deal isn't reached by deadline, might have to wait until 2019.

by on May.17, 2018

Republican House leader Paul Ryan noted if NAFTA talks don't produce a new deal soon, it may not get approved until 2019.

The Trump administration’s plans to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement may have to wait until next year.

Politico, the Washington-based website for political news, noted that House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Trump administration has until May 17 to submit a final NAFTA deal if it wants lawmakers to vote on the revised agreement this year.

News Now!

Negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have nothing to show for their efforts despite meeting all week in Washington DC to coming up with a deal, knowing that time was running short to get a deal through Congress in this legislative session.  (more…)

Ford Restarting F-150 Production on Friday

Production resumes ahead of internal projections.

by on May.16, 2018

Ford will resume production of the F-150 on Friday at the company's Dearborn, Michigan plant.

Ford Motor Co. plans to restart production of the F-150 on Friday after the two plants that build the trucks were idled for nearly two weeks following a parts shortage due to a fire at a supplier plant in Michigan.

The company’s plant in Dearborn, Michigan, which employs 4,000 people for F-150, will begin production on Friday. The 3,600 workers at the Kansas City, Missouri, plant will start on Monday. They are expected to run full production when they return, officials said.

Subscribe Now!

“While the situation remains extremely dynamic, our teams are focused on returning our plants to full production as fast as possible,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Global Operations. “The ramp-up time to full production is improving every day.” (more…)

Tesla’s California Plant Shutting Down for Six Days

Soros buys $35 million in convertible bonds.

by on May.16, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to shut down the Fremont, California plant for six days later this month.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t just sleeping on the plant floor at the company’s Fremont, California plant hoping a solution to increase Model 3 production will come to him by osmosis — he appears to be trying.

Just a days after changing the company’s management structure to improve communication, he’s going to shut the entire plant down for six days at the end of this month to make changes with the goal of increasing production of Tesla’s first “mainstream” car.

EV News!

Earlier, the EV maker warned the plant would shut down for a total of 10 days to tackle manufacturing issues at the site. The issues have put Model 3 production well behind schedule, angering some who plunked down deposits and irritating shareholders and analysts. (more…)

Uber Rival Didi Chuxing Ready to Test Autonomous Vehicles in California

China-based ride-sharing company making inroads in the U.S.

by on May.15, 2018

Uber's autonomous vehicle testing has been suspended, but rival Didi Chuxing is now testing AVs in California.

Uber has scaled back its autonomous vehicle program after one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Arizona in March.

But one of its major rivals for ride-sharing dollars around the world appears to be charging ahead.

Pushing the Envelope!

Didi Chuxing, the China-based ride-hailing service that bought Uber’s business in China last year, obtained a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. Didi is the latest to join the growing list of companies developing self-driving vehicles in the state but perhaps one of the most significant because of the company’s huge presence in China, the world’s largest ride-sharing market, and its potential global reach. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Backs Off Proposed CAFE Rollbacks

Automaker changes tone about move to stifle tougher fuel economy rules.

by on May.15, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne amended his position on the rollback of CAFE standards after meeting with President Trump.

This story has been updated with new information.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is now adding to the remarks he made after a meeting with President Donald Trump in which he appeared to endorse the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back fuel economy standard and revoke the state of California’s ability to enforce tighter standards.

“I appreciated the opportunity to talk to the President today about our shared commitment to the automotive industry,” Marchionne said in a statement after the White House meeting at which Trump reportedly described Marchionne as his favorite person in the room.

Subscribe Now!

“Consumer preferences and technological advancements in our business are constantly evolving. Therefore, revisiting and assessing EPA standards, as was originally intended, is the right thing to do. With this process just beginning, it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions and pre-judge the outcome.  (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Orders “Flattening” of Management Team as Problems with Safety, Manufacturing Mount

Newest crash also linked to Tesla’s Autopilot system.

by on May.15, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk "flattened" the company's management structure to improve communications.

Facing increasing problems that have raised concerns about both Tesla’s technology and manufacturing operations, CEO Elon Musk has ordered a shake-up of the company’s management structure.

Tesla continues to struggle to meet production targets for its Model 3 battery-sedan, an issue that led to record first-quarter losses. But the company has also found itself in the news because of a series of serious vehicle crashes, at least some of which appear to have occurred while they were operating in the semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

News Now!

While those crashes could raise concerns about the safety of Tesla’s products, the more immediate threat to the company’s viability is lagging Model 3 production at its Fremont, California assembly plant. In a memo sent to employees, Musk noted he was “flattening (the company’s) management structure to improve communications,” while shifting away from “activities that are not vital to the success of our mission.” (more…)