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Volvo Moving to Eliminate Plastic Waste

Automaker following UN guidelines on cutting plastics.

by on May.21, 2018

Stuart Templar, director for Sustainability, is leading Volvo's efforts to eliminate single-use plastics from its facilities and events.

In another step to secure its reputation as a green company, Volvo Cars plans to remove single-use plastics from all its offices, cafeterias and events across the globe by the end of 2019.

The company said decision reflects the company’s active support of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign and underlines its ambition to minimize its global environmental footprint. Tons of plastic have been found in the world’s oceans and the plastic pollution is considered a significant threat to aquatic creatures.

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Volvo plans replace more than 20 million single-use plastic items such as cups, food containers and cutlery with more sustainable alternatives, including biodegradable products made of paper, pulp and wood. This equates to the removal of over 500 plastic items per employee per year. (more…)

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.

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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.

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Volvo Cutting Diesel Engines from Portfolio

Company plans to move to just gas and electric only.

by on May.18, 2018

The Volvo S60 will be the first sedan from the automaker that is offered without a diesel powerplant as an option.

Volvo Cars is implementing plans to stop offering diesel engines in its future vehicles.

The company announced this week the new Volvo S60 sedan – to be launched later this spring – will be the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine. The decision to eliminate a diesel engine on a model that will be sold worldwide highlights Volvo Cars’ “commitment to a long-term future beyond the traditional combustion engine,” the company said.

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“Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.  (more…)

Nissan’s Operating Profits Down for FY17, Favorable Tax Rates Raise Income

Company predicts vehicle sales will rise in 2018.

by on May.14, 2018

Nissan Chief Hiroto Saikawa reported the automaker's earnings for 2017.

Despite a tough environment for the first nine months of its fiscal year, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd rallied to post increases in revenue and net income for 2017 and sales increases in its top three markets: the U.S., China and Japan.

Nissan’s January-March profit was 168.8 billion yen, or $1.5 billion, down from 249 billion yen last year. Quarterly sales fell 0.9% to 3.4 trillion yen, or $31.3 billion.

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The automaker reported an operating profit of 574.8 billion yen, or $4.9 billion, on net revenues of 11.95 trillion yen, or $109 billion, equivalent to an operating margin of 4.8%. The operating profit was down from 2016 by 22.6% and margins fell 1.5%. (more…)

BMW Unleashes its Most Powerful M5 Ever

At 617 hp, M5 Competition will hit 60 in 3.1 seconds and 125 in 10.8.

by on May.14, 2018

The BMW M5 Competition is just a bit more powerful than the M5 at 617 hp, 17 more han the M5.

At 600 horsepower, you might think that the 2018 BMW M5 can make good claim to being “the ultimate driving machine.” But the Bavarian automaker apparently had second thoughts and has decided to amp things up a bit.

Come 2019, if you’ve got $110,995 in loose change you’ll be able to head down to your local BMW showroom and order up the 2019 M5 Competition model. At 617 horsepower, this beast has more than enough power to scare most competitors on the track, but it will be completely street legal – well, unless you try to push it anywhere near to the limits.

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Picking up on the theme we first saw with the M2 Competition, BMW has made some low-key exterior and interior enhancements, focusing most of its efforts on what you’ll find under the hood – and that not only means more ponies but a more distinctive – read: louder – exhaust note. (more…)

Mitsubishi Motors Profits Rebound Big in FY17

Third leg of Alliance enjoys turnaround year.

by on May.11, 2018

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is helping to draw new buyers to the Japanese brand.

Once considered an also ran, Mitsubishi Motor Co has found new life on the heels of its alliance with Renault and Nissan.

Mitsubishi Motors reported net sales were up 15% year-on-year to 2.19 trillion yen, or $20.1 billion, for Fiscal Year 2017, ending March 31, 2018. Operating profit rose sharply to 98.2 billion yen, or $899.5 million, representing an operating margin of 4.5%, compared with an operating profit of 5.1 billion yen, or $45.8 million, in the same period of Fiscal Year 2016.

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The company generated net income of 107.6 billion yen, $988.3 million, for the latest 12-month period, reversing a net loss of 198.5 billion yen, or $1.8 billion, in the prior fiscal year, the company reported. (more…)

This is the VW Golf GTI You Want – But Can’t Have

A concept in name only.

by on May.10, 2018

No batteries, but VW's new hot hatch concept, the Golf GTI TCR is all charged up for Worthersee.

The 164 mph Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR making its debut in Austria this week may be only a concept – but it won’t be for long, with a production version of this very hot hatch due to market later this year. But if you’re one of our U.S. readers, don’t get too excited. For now, at least, there are no plans to bring it across the Atlantic.

The GTI TCR maintains a long tradition for VW which routinely brings something special out for its annual gathering at Austria’s picturesque town of Reifnitz am Worthersee. That has included an earlier version of the track-ready TCR brought to the annual meet in 2016. This time ’round, the Concept is essentially production ready.

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“At the moment, the Golf GTI TCR Concept – an athlete derived from racing – is a study,” said Jürgen Stackmann, the board member in charge of sales for Volkswagen AG. “But at the end of the year, we want to make this GTI vision come true.” (more…)

Audi Debuting New All-Electric E-Tron on August 30

Aiming for 800,000 annual EV, hybrid sales by 2025 – but still has to cope with ongoing diesel emissions problems.

by on May.09, 2018

Audi hopes its new Q5 EV variant will help the automaker sell 800K EVs by 2025.

While it is only now preparing to launch its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, a variation on its Q5 SUV theme, Audi is laying out ambitious sales plans for its electrified line-up, starting with the August debut of its E-Tron SUV on Aug. 30.

The automaker this week said it intends to sell 800,000 battery-based vehicles, models ranging from conventional hybrids to long-range, all-electric offerings. It is expected to offer some form of electrified powertrain for essentially future models and will use two different platforms designed specifically to take the best advantage of battery power.

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The announcement comes even as Audi continues to struggle with problems related to the broader cheating on diesel emissions tests by parent Volkswagen Group. VW’s largest luxury group this week alerted German regulators that they had found problems involving 60,000 more diesel-powered vehicles. (more…)

BMW Profitability Hits a Bump

Strong car sales offset by miserable motorcycle results.

by on May.07, 2018

BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the company's recent financial results were impacted negatively by poor motorcycle sales.

The BMW Group’s profits dropped slightly during the first quarter as the company’s motorcycle business took a beating during the first three months of the year offsetting a solid gain by the company’s automotive business.

Harald Krueger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said the group is “confident” it can reach projected targets for the current financial year since the international automobile markets will continue their generally upward trend.

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However, the favorable factors are offset by extremely high levels of upfront expenditure for new technologies, fierce competition and rising personnel expenses. The global political and economic environment is expected to remain volatile. (more…)

VW Using Deal With Didi to Aid Autonomous Development

Automaker gets access to data from 3M rides daily.

by on Apr.30, 2018

VW's new CEO Herbert Diess is pushing to cut costs and accelerate the development of new technologies.

Volkswagen’s pending partnership with Didi Chuxing to build and maintain a fleet of vehicles not only gives the Chinese behemoth a tighter grip on the ride-share market in its home country, it will accelerate VW’s development of autonomous vehicles.

As part of the deal, which is expected to be finalized next month, the German automaker will initially manage a fleet of about 100,000 new vehicles for Didi, of which two-thirds will be Volkswagen Group cars, according to Reuters.

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Volkswagen will also be part of an alliance of 31 companies, including Toyota and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, to develop cheap, electrified vehicles for China. (more…)