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Aston Martin Sketches Out its Future With Supercar Design Tease, IPO Plans

British marque hopes to repeat Ferrari’s success.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Aston has released a preliminary sketch of its third hypercar, the 003, which it hopes to have in production in 2021.

Aston Martin, the carmaker best known for its relationship with cinema spy 007, has laid out key details of its upcoming IPO while also releasing a preliminary sketch of the hypercar it’s calling 003 that it hopes will drive some of its future success.

Spun off by Ford Motor Co. in 2007, Aston struggled to avoid an eighth bankruptcy during the depths of the Great Recession, but its fortunes have skyrocketed over the last few years, a period coinciding with the arrival of CEO Andy Palmer and the subsequent commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital from its key investors.

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The IPO will go off next month on the London Stock Exchange, Palmer announced, declaring that it “will provide investors with a fitting opportunity to participate in our future success.”

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Subaru Ascending Toward Another Annual Sales Record

New three-row ute pushing company toward another benchmark.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Subaru is set to set a seventh consecutive annual sales record due to the new Ascent.

Subaru is confident it can lock in its seventh consecutive year of sales gains thanks to promising launch of the Ascent, a three-row sport-utility vehicle that has emerged as the Japanese automaker’s flagship since its debut earlier this summer.

Dominic Infante, Subaru’s director of communication, noted during a presentation in North Carolina for the first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester, which is due in showrooms that through August, Subaru has posted 81 consecutive months of sales gains.

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The Ascent has been a great success out of the gate, Infante noted. Subaru hasn’t been able to build them fast enough to satisfy demand. The Ascent is built at the Subaru assembly plant in Indiana and Infante said that Subaru has only 12 days of Ascent inventory in the hands of dealers. (more…)

Jackson Stepping Down as AutoNation CEO

Former Mercedes-Benz USA president remains executive chair until 2021.

by on Sep.20, 2018

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson is stepping down from the post next spring.

The auto industry is going to be a little less colorful in the near future as AutoNation’s Mike Jackson is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer next year; however, he will remain executive chairman until 2021.

“AutoNation is the retail automotive industry leader,” Jackson said in a statement. “The company is ready for its next chapter with a strong foundation, a coast to coast brand, a comprehensive Brand Extension strategy, and a transformational digital consumer car buying experience.”

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Jackson is one of the industry’s most outspoken figures, often a go-to executive for reporters looking for an expert perspective on almost any industry topic. He took over as AutoNation CEO in 1999, hired by founder H. Wayne Huizenga from Mercedes-Benz USA where was president. (more…)

Trump’s Latest Round of Tariffs Impacts Car Prices

Prices will really jump after Jan. 1 when 25% tariffs hit.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Prices on new cars may jump 25% after the first of the year due to the new tariffs on China by the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump must be out of eyes by now. His ongoing, eye-for-an-eye style trade tariff war continues, and will raise prices on Chinese goods another 10% starting next week, fanning fears about the prices of new vehicles and parts.

The Trump administration levied the new 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Monday night. They take effect on Sept. 24, and are set to jump to 25% on Jan. 1. To keep pace, of of course, China retaliated with $60 billion worth of new tariffs of its own.

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As usual automakers have decried the new tariffs, complaining the new levies impinge their ability to import or export vehicles as well as the parts for repairs. Thus far, Trump has turned a deaf ear to the complaints. (more…)

Musk Facing Justice Department Probe

Feds looking into possible “fraud” in aborted privatization effort.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the focal point of investigations by the Department of Justice as well as the SEC.

Elon Musk now says he may try to hitch a ride along with the Japanese billionaire who plans to buy a ride on a SpaceX rocket trip around the moon.

Considering the mounting legal problems facing the 47-year-old executive, the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, Musk may need to find a way out of town in the near future.

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Musk and Tesla are now facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department looking into his brief flirtation with taking the California carmaker private, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating that aborted move. Separately, Musk is facing lawsuits in both Los Angeles and London filed by a British diver who the South African-born executive has accused of being a “pedo,” or pedophile, as well as a “child rapist.” (more…)

New Ferrari CEO Camilleri Lays Out New Five-Year Plan

Iconic automaker building new ute and supercar in next five years.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Ferrari's new five-year plan appears to follow the road map that recently deceased CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out.

Ferrari’s new CEO Louis Camilleri unveiled the iconic brand’s latest five-year plan that could be described as doing what it does best while ensuring it keeps an eye on the future.

Camilleri was only recently installed in the top spot after the unexpected passing of Sergio Marchionne laid out a near-term future that revives some of the company’s past, but also keeps the promises Marchionne made.

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“Our objectives are ambitious, but they are based on a meticulously constructed model pipeline, our enviable pricing power and appropriate investment levels,” Camilleri told investors. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte

Ready to compete with small-car standbys: Civic, Corolla, Cruze

by on Sep.18, 2018

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

Given, the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks, selling the traditional small car in the U.S. has become a very tough gig as evidenced by Ford giving up on cars and the Volkswagen Beetle is going away.

Meanwhile, cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Cruze have gotten better and offer an increasing number of features that shoppers in this segment could only dream about as recently as five years ago

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But that hasn’t discouraged Kia, which is launching an updated version of the compact third-generation Kia Forte this fall. Kia has built its reputation by building smart, stylish small vehicles and now has great ratings from J.D. Power’s critical initial quality survey to assure first-time buyers. (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Cutting Production to a Three-Day Week

Brexit issues, drop in diesel vehicle sales hurt Jaguar.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar-Land Rover, celebrates a win for the Velar as World Car Design of the Year.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to reduce the work schedules of some 2,000 production workers to three-day weeks at its Castle Bromwich plant in the West Midlands of England where the company builds several Jaguar vehicles.

The cutback comes as JLR faces pressure from uncertainty around Brexit. Additionally, a downturn in the sales of diesel-powered vehicles and the increasing popularity of sport-utility and crossover vehicles have hurt Jaguar’s sales.

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Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover confirmed it had scheduled the cut in its production schedule at the Castle Bromwich plant in England where JLR builds Jaguar XF, XJ and XE sedans and the F-Type sports car due to the “continuing headwinds” impacting the British car industry.  (more…)

Careful What You Ask For: Musk Sued by Diver He Disparaged

Tesla CEO wondered why he hadn't been sued yet.

by on Sep.18, 2018

After pushing for lawsuit from diver Vern Unsworth, Tesla CEO Elon Musk got what he wanted – in London and Los Angeles.

Adding to the many headaches facing Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO has now been sued by a British diver that he has accused of being a pedophile.

In July, the 47-year-old executive got into a Twitter war with Vernon Unsworth earlier this year when Musk offered to send a mini-sub to help rescue members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave. Unsworth derided it as a publicity stunt and suggested Musk shove the sub where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Musk responded by declaring Unsworth “pedo guy,” slang for a pedophile. “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk tweeted to his 22.5 million followers. He followd it up adding, “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.” Musk also declared that, “I fucking hope he sues me.” (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Teaming Up With Google

Tech giant will develop next-gen infotainment system.

by on Sep.18, 2018

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance inked a deal with Google to put its intelligent infotainment system in its vehicles.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has a new partner, tech giant Google signing on the develop the automotive group’s next-generation infotainment system.

It’s a significant move by Google, though not its first time developing technology for automobiles. Like rival Apple’s CarPlay, its Android Auto system is now being offered by an array of automakers and allows a motorist to access a wide range of smartphone apps on a car’s touchscreen system.

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“Under the technology partnership, vehicles sold by the Alliance members in many markets will utilize Android, the world’s most popular operating system, and will provide turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps,” the Alliance said in a statement. (more…)