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Archive for the ‘Trade’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer

Politics, rather than vehicle attribute, could prove the focus for some potential buyers.

by on Feb.04, 2019

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS offers a choice of two engines, front drive or two AWD options.

Everything old is new again, it seems, with all sorts of once-forgotten nameplates rising from the dead. That includes the Chevrolet Blazer which will be rolling back into U.S. showrooms in the coming months.

For those who may remember the Blazer as a classically stocky, body-on-frame SUV, the arrival of the 2019 model could come as a big surprise, however. It’s now taking the form of a sleekly styled, car-based crossover that puts emphasis on the word “sport” and only marginally on the idea of off-roadability.

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A couple days of driving the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer through San Diego and the surrounding countryside proved it to be one of the better new entries for those who will never see anything rougher than a gravel road. But the new ute will have to clear a few obstacles, nonetheless, as it has become the cause célèbre for those upset by Chevy parent General Motors’ decision to close three North American assembly plants this year.

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Nissan Shifts SUV Production From England to Japan Due to Brexit

Maker cites "uncertainties" in marketplace.

by on Feb.04, 2019

Nissan is moving production of the X-Trail from its plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan due to Brexit issues.

Nissan has confirmed it is shifting production of the X-Trail sport-utility vehicle from its big plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan.

In a letter to workers, it said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future,” according to the BBC. In 2016, the then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn said the company would build the new model in the UK after “assurances” from the government, the BBC said.

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Unions described the news as “disappointing” and said they were “seriously concerned.” (more…)

Tesla Strongly Hints at Q1 Loss as Musk Warns of “Very Difficult” Road Ahead

Automaker’s stock continues tumble triggered by job cuts.

by on Jan.29, 2019

Weaker-than-expected Q4 demand is expected to mean just a modest profit.

Tesla is expected to report a small profit for the final quarter of 2018 but the automaker’s CEO is now signaling it may have some bad news for the current quarter.

The automaker delivered a solid surprise when it announced a $311.5 million profit for the third quarter of last year, well exceeding analysts’ expectation. CEO Musk earlier this month warned that the final three months of the year would bring a much smaller profit. While Wall Street has already digested that forecast, there are concerns about Musk’s latest advisory.

Breaking News!

While Musk, on January 18th, suggested the company might still be able to deliver “a tiny profit… with great difficulty, effort and some luck” as it headed into 2019, his latest advisory suggests its luck may be running out, at least for now. With Musk warning of a “very difficult” road ahead, there’s a growing consensus the first quarter now will bring another dose of red ink.

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Toyota Teaming Up With Paccar to Build a Test Fleet of Clean Hydrogen Semis

Project will focus on heavily polluted Port of Los Angeles.

by on Jan.09, 2019

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar to develop a next-generation fuel-cell powered semi-truck to be used at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar, one of the world’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, to build 10 hydrogen-powered Class 8 prototypes.

The rigs will go into operation at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where the thousands of diesel trucks currently in use catch blame for a disproportionate share of the region’s air pollution. The project comes as environmental regulators are putting into place plans to completely eliminate conventional diesel trucks at the two ports by 2035.

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“This is not just a science experiment,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America. “The goal is to make a difference in society, to remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles.” (more…)

Tesla Breaks Ground on New Shanghai Gigafactory

Musk expects plant to be completed by midyear.

by on Jan.07, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk said he expects the new Shanghai plant to be complete during the second quarter.

Tesla chief Elon Musk extended his vision of a world dominated by electric vehicles by traveling to Shanghai, China, to break ground for the company’s newest plant, Gigafactory 3.

Always the optimist, Musk said he expects construction on the massive 210-acre facility to be complete by the middle of this year with finished products rolling off the assembly line and out the doors by the end of this year.

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“With the resources here, I think we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in a record time,” Musk said during the rain-soaked ceremony. (more…)

Russian Automaker GAZ Pushes for U.S. to Lift Sanctions

Treasury Department moving to accelerate process.

by on Dec.27, 2018

Russian automaker GAZ is looking to get the U.S. to lift sanctions off the company so it can do business here.

The Russian and U.S. governments are discussing lifting the U.S. sanctions on a Russian automaker, GAZ, which is part of a holding company in which a prominent Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, has a key stake.

The talks aimed at lifting U.S. sanctions on Russian automaker GAZ are ongoing with the U.S. Treasury Department, and the company is implementing internal measures to encourage the process, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, according to Reuters.

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The U.S. Treasury extended a deadline for investors to divest from GAZ to March 7, a day after it announced it would lift sanctions on the core assets of Deripaska’s empire — Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminum company, and its parent En+ of which GAZ is also a part. (more…)

China Suspends Punitive Tariffs on US During Negotiations

Tariff halt is for three months.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Chinese fans of American cars can rejoice – if only for three months – as the extra 25% tariff on autos has been suspended.

Shortly after the U.S. and China declared a truce, China put forth a goodwill gesture, announcing it will temporarily suspend additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The 25% tariff came oddly enough just after China reduced the levy to 15% earlier this year, but when President Donald Trump decided to increase tariffs on China, the country immediately pushed it back up to 40%.

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The Ministry of Finance, in a statement on its website, the two sides can expedite talks to remove all additional tariffs on each other’s goods. For now, the suspension will last for three months. The impact in some places was immediate. (more…)

White House Tells Automakers China Tariffs Coming Down

Automotive levies coming down to 15%.

by on Dec.11, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears to be making progress in talks with the Chinese.

After the first few days of talks, White House officials once again believe China is ready to cut tariffs on U.S. cars, trucks and utility vehicles from 40% to 15%.

Trump administration officials told automakers following a U.S.-China trade call they believe China will cut tariffs on U.S. autos to 15% from the current 40%, an auto executive told Reuters after being briefed on the call.

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Before excitement begins to bubble, this has been heard before. President Donald Trump tweeted a few weeks ago that China was cutting the levies, only to have to backtrack on those assertions. Additinally, there is no actual documentation to support the idea. (more…)

European Auto Execs Meet with Trump, Aim to Head Off Expanded Trade War

VW signals a second U.S. plant is in the works.

by on Dec.05, 2018

President Donald Trump met with the leaders of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Even as President Donald Trump was backpeddling on earlier comments suggesting the trade dispute with China had been defused, the former New York businessman was meeting with European auto industry executives worried that they could become targeted by yet another front in the trade war.

The president has signaled he may enact duties of 25% or more on vehicles imported from Europe, even though his own Commerce Dept. has backed away from plans to declare imported automobiles a threat to national security.

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Trump “shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment,” the White House said in a statement that followed the meeting with officials from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. (more…)

Trump, White House Backtrack on Claims of China Car Tariff Deal

“White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels” to not say the president lied.

by on Dec.04, 2018

President Trump is revealing that China's plan to cut tariffs wasn't actually plan, but a starting point for negotiations.

Just days after President Donald Trump emerged from a 2-1/2 hour dinner with China’s Xi Jinping claiming to have an “incredible” trade deal that would, among other things, roll back automotive tariffs, it appears that little to nothing concrete was resolved between the two leaders.

That leaves the auto industry in limbo as manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific try to figure out precisely what to do now, especially when it comes to bilateral automotive exports. Several manufacturers, notably including BMW and Volvo, have been hinting that if the trade war continues they may have to transfer some of their U.S.-based production to plants in China.

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Following the meeting with Xi at the end of the G-20 conference in Argentina last Sunday, Trump tweeted, “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” But he and others in the White House have been forced to backtrack, Trump’s National Economic Council advisor Larry Kudlow telling Fox News a deal “hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.” (more…)