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Musk Denies a Quarter of Model 3 Orders Were Cancelled – But Reveals New Worry

Order rate, he reveals, has fallen behind increase in production.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied claims in a recent analyst report suggesting that nearly a quarter of all Model 3 orders have been cancelled.

Elon Musk has dismissed as “bs” a report that suggested a growing number of advanced reservations for the Model 3 battery-car are being cancelled.

The recent report from investment bank Needham & Co. isn’t the first to raise that prospect, which could make it difficult for Tesla to achieve its promised profit for the second half of 2018. Needham’s Rajvindra Gill joined a growing chorus of analysts this week in downgrading Tesla shares, triggering another dip in the stock, traded as TSLA.

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“Dunno where this bs is coming from,” CEO Musk said in a Thursday night tweet – but by trying to support the idea that there’s still strong demand for the Model 3, the South African-born executive actually may have sent a signal that Tesla is facing longer-term problems. Musk indicated Tesla received 5,000 orders for the Model 3 last week, but that’s actually less than the production target for the battery-car in the months to come. (more…)

Hyundai Veloster N Ready to Run with Hot Hatches

Strong sales could expand N-performance line-up in U.S.

by on Jul.20, 2018

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N puts out 275 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque.

The hot hatch market in the U.S. is garnering a lot of attention and nearly as many sales so Hyundai’s going to find out of there is room for one more entry in the segment with the Veloster N.

Hyundai’s Veloster isn’t unknown to American hatchback fans, it’s just never been high on their list of favorites is sales figures are the barometer. However, the South Korean automaker is looking to change that impression with the new 275-horsepower pocket rocket.

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The company’s using the Veloster N as a test bed to see if it can expand its N-performance line-up in the U.S. It already sells N-performance cars in other markets. The Veloster’s success or failure will set the stage for other Hyundai high-performance models. (more…)

Wahlberg Jumps into Auto Business, Buys Chevy Dealership

Actor and entrepreneur expands his business holdings.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Actor Mark Wahlberg is adding a Chevrolet dealership in Ohio to his growing business empire.

There is a new Chevrolet dealer in Columbus, Ohio who has the potential to produce best commercials ever: Mark Wahlberg.

The man who hyped Calvin Klein underwear as a young rapper has since become a top-grossing actor with a burgeoning business empire anchored by the famous Wahlburger restaurant franchise.

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Wahlberg is partnering with Michigan-based dealer Jay Feldman, who owns eight Chevy dealerships in southeast and mid-Michigan, according to Associated Press. They say they’ve been friends for several years and became partners in Wahlburgers restaurants in Cleveland and Georgia. (more…)

Automakers Warn Trump Administration About Tariff Impact

Proposed tariffs could add $6,000 to price of a new car.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the Section 232 investigation into whether or not imported automobiles and parts represent a threat to the U.S.

During the U.S. Department of Commerce’s public comment hearing today, the Trump administration was warned the steep tariffs it has under consideration could add a total of $83 billion to the cost of new vehicles sold to American consumers.

“Higher auto tariffs will harm American families and workers, along with the economy” and “would raise the price of an imported car nearly $6,000 and the price of a U.S.-built car $2,000,” the Auto Alliance said in a statement prepared for the hearing.

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Meanwhile, dozens of employees from Toyota’s 10 U.S. assembly plants descended on Washington D.C., to oppose the government’s threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and parts. They were joined by U.S. production workers from other international automakers across the country. (more…)

Audi’s Stadler Wants Out of Jail During Diesel Investigation

Former CEO goes to appeals court.

by on Jul.19, 2018

German prosecutors arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, though no charges have yet been filed.

A month ago, German authorities jailed then-Audi CEO Rupert Stadler as part of an investigation into the diesel emissions scandal — now he wants out.

Stadler, who is being held at a prison in Augsburg, appealed to a Munich court to be freed from jail during the investigation. He was “provisionally” arrested in mid-June as authorities expanded their investigation into Volkswagen AG and its other brands because they feared he may flee.

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However, Stadler cooperated with investigators, but has since stopped giving statements, the Reuters reported. Munich prosecutors are probing Stadler and another member of Audi’s top management for suspected fraud and false advertising tied to illegal pollution levels in its cars and manipulated vehicle tests.  (more…)

Volvo Moves XC60 Production to Europe from China to Avoid Trump Tariffs

Automaker reports record first-half sales, profits.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Volvo chief Hakan Samuelsson said the company is shifting production of XC60 SUVs allocated for the U.S. from China to Sweden to avoid tariffs.

The effects of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China are beginning to take shape — and it’s unlikely he’d hoped for this result.

Volvo Cars, which just opened a new plant in South Carolina, announced it would be shifting production of its XC60 SUV from China to … Europe. The move is to avoid the tougher tariffs currently in place on Chinese imports.

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Trump has been pushing foreign automakers to build more vehicles in the U.S., and Volvo’s new plant in Charleston will build the S60 sedan, later adding a SUV to the list, but that won’t be until 2021. (more…)

Auto Industry Unites to Challenge Trump Tariffs

UAW lone dissenter, seeks targeted tariffs.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Representatives from six auto groups testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing against new tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

With one exception – the UAW – the automotive industry is prepared to take a united stand against tariffs as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a one-day public hearing on a Trump administration proposal to levy 25% tariffs on imported automobiles in the name of national security.

Seven associations representing almost 10 million jobs across the auto sector in the U.S. have joined together to urge the White House to not impose higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

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“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles – whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said the groups in an open letter to President Donald Trump. (more…)

Vietnam’s First Real Car Co. Takes Aim at the West

Paris debut planned, U.S. launch could follow.

by on Jul.18, 2018

VinFast turned to Pininfarina to design its new models, the sedan shown in this rendering.

The first “volume” Vietnamese automaker will reveal two new models designed by Pininfarina during the Paris Motor Show this coming October, setting into motion what it hopes will be a global rollout over the next few years.

VinFast, which will be setting up a new “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in the northern part of Vietnam plans to launch the two vehicles – an SUV and a sport sedan – in September 2019, though it will initially focus solely on “affluent” buyers in its home country before targeting opportunities elsewhere in Asia and in Western markets.

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“Our show stand will…prominently feature the best of Vietnam, demonstrating the passion and tenacity that we will bring to the global automotive stage,” said James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production LLC. “We have the resources, scalability and commitment to become a significant new player in the global automotive industry.”

(more…)

Mexico Targeting End of November for NAFTA Deal

Next round of talks expected at the end of the month.

by on Jul.18, 2018

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said he is targeting the end of November to complete NAFTA negotiations.

After a series of delays, including one for Mexico’s presidential election July 1, the new goal for completing a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is the end of November, according to Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

“If there is room before the end of this administration, we will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to conclude [negotiations],” he said. Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office Dec. 1.

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Canada, Mexico and the United States have been haggling over the update of a new NAFTA since last August. The deal was expected to be completed by the end of 2017 has endured a series of delays over demands by the Trump administration as well as the aforementioned election. (more…)

Ford Recalls 550K Fusions, Escapes for Rollaway Problem

Company fixing problem, recommends using parking brake.

by on Jul.18, 2018

Ford recalled selected 2013 Ford Fusions to correct a problem that could allow the sedan to roll away.

Ford Motor Co.’s problems with rollaways continues as the automaker is recalling about 550,000 cars and SUVs in North America to resolve the issue. The automaker previously had a problem its full-size pickups rolling away.

In this case, some 2013–16 Ford Fusions and 2013–14 Ford Escapes have a gearshift problem that could cause the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly.

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Ford says a bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission can fall off. The condition could allow the driver to move the shift lever to “Park” and remove the ignition key, while the transmission may not be in “Park,” with no warning message or audible chime.  (more…)