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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…)

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…)

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…)

Mini Shows Off Battery-Electric Concept at Goodwood

Concept is the base for the new Mini EV coming fall of 2019.

by on Jul.17, 2018

Mini's Electric Concept was on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

During England’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mini presented the Mini Electric Concept, which offers an early look at both of Mini’s first fully electric model scheduled for release in 2019.

The first fully electric model from the history-rich British brand builds on the Mini brand’s DNA that has made the city its natural habitat and urban mobility a large part of its appeal.

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The new model fits the Mini template by turning electric mobility into an emotionally engaging experience brimming with driving fun, style and individuality.  (more…)

Detroit Automakers Could Come Out Losers Even if Trump Scuttles Import Tariffs

One alternative could open U.S. up to flood of foreign-made pickups.

by on Jul.16, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, proposed eliminating all tariffs between trading partners.

The auto industry has been actively trying to get President Donald Trump to back off his threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported automobiles, even Detroit-based carmakers warning that such a move could wind up raising prices, slowing sales, reducing U.S. exports and hurting American jobs.

Ironically, one of the likely alternatives to new tariffs could be great news for American consumers – but a potential disaster for Detroit’s Big Three, opening them up to a new wave of competition in the most profitable segment of the U.S. automotive market.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, has raised the prospect of effectively eliminating automotive tariffs entirely, while others are saying they should be a uniform figure shared among all major trading partners. That approach could force the U.S. to eliminate the so-called “chicken tax,” the relic of an old, Euro-American trade dispute that has effectively closed off the American pickup truck market for the past half-century. (more…)

Aston Martin Wants to Take to the Air

Automaker brings flying Volante Vision Concept to British air show.

by on Jul.16, 2018

A rendering shows the Aston Martin Volante Concept flying over London, possibly heading to Paris.

We’ve heard some of Aston Martin’s products describes as “rockets” before. But now, it seems, the automaker truly does want to take to the air.

Aston today pulled the wraps off the Volante Vision Concept at the annual Farmborough International Air Show outside London. There are a number of projects currently underway to develop flying automobiles. Some are aimed at ride-sharing services like Uber, others for individual owners. The Volante Vision Concept, Aston explains, “aims to bring luxury personal transportation to the sky.”

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The project teams the British automaker up with aerospace giant Rolls-Royce, Cranfield University and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions. The design they’ve come up with would have vertical take-off and landing, or VTOL, capabilities, potentially allowing it to take off from a parking lot or field, rather than having to go to a conventional airstrip. (more…)

Tata Motors “Cheapest Car” is No More: Nano is a No-No

Series of fires, poor marketing doom entry-level sedan.

by on Jul.13, 2018

After several fires, demand for the Tata Nano plunged to just 500 units in 2011.

The car that was once considered the second coming of the Model T is now at the end of its run: Tata Motors killed the Nano.

The small four-door car that was developed because Tata’s Motors Chairman Rajan Tata saw a family of four trying to navigate a street on a motorbike in a rain storm hit the end of its nine-year production run yesterday.

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That was in 2003 and it took Tata about six years to get the first of the small cars to production, including having to shift the plant from one region in India to another after protests by farmers in the area. (more…)

Hyundai Union Warns Tariffs Could Cause US Plant Closure

South Korean union contract calls for closure of foreign plants first.

by on Jul.13, 2018

Hyundai's plant in Montgomery, Alabama, could be impacted severely by a 25% tariff on imported vehicles by the Trump administration.

Up until now, China, Mexico, Canada and Germany have all been at the heart of unfolding controversy about trade and tariffs.

But a new report also suggests that tariffs could destabilize manufacturing base that the South Korean auto giant, Hyundai, has developed in Alabama.

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The South Korean labor union at Hyundai Motors has warned that the 25% tariff on autos being imported into the United States being considered by the Trump administration could jeopardize as many as 20,000 jobs in Alabama.  (more…)

McLaren Planning 18 “New Models and Derivatives” by 2025

$1.6 billion “Track25” project to include successor to McLaren P1 hypercar, with all models using hybrid drivelines.

by on Jul.12, 2018

McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt talks through the details of "Track25," the company's product plans until 2025.

McLaren is doing more than just smoking up the track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. The British supercar company is also lifting the covers on what would become the most aggressive product program in its history.

Dubbed “Track25,” it will see McLaren invest £1.2 billion, or about $1.6 billion, to bring 18 all-new models and derivatives to market by 2025. That list will include a next-generation “successor: to the company’s P1 hypercar.

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But perhaps the most significant element of the announcement was the decision by McLaren to equip all of its future sports car and supercars with hybrid drivetrains. The P1, of which 375 was produced between 2013 and 2015, was the first electrified McLaren, relying on a hybrid system borrowed from the company’s Formula One racing technology. (more…)