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VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

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Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)

Buick Going “Tagless” Starting With 2019 Model Year

Premium brand eliminating "Buick" name badge across vehicle line-up.

by on Mar.12, 2018

A closer look at the rear cargo door of the 2019 Envision reveals that the "Buick" name badge is missing.

Buick is making a small, but significant change to is line-up for 2019: it’s taking its name off the back of its vehicles.

First noticed by website GM Authority on the 2019 Buick Envision, the plan calls for the name disappear from all Buick vehicles, although it’s unclear if that will occur for 2019 or over a period of time.

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However, “representatives recently told GM Authority that Buick will stop using the brand badge on the rear of its vehicles, starting with the 2019 model year.” The only brand-centric badges that will remain are the three-color Tri Shield logo and the model nameplate, such as “Envision” or “Regal.” (more…)

Tesla Shut Down Model 3 Line – Again – to Make Upgrades

EV maker makes improvements aimed at increasing production speed.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Tesla shut down its plant in California last month to make upgrades to its production line.

Tesla’s ongoing growing pains moving from a low-volume to mass market manufacturer continue as the EV maker had to shut down its production on the Model 3 for a week last month.

The company temporarily suspended production at its Fremont, California plant as well as at its Gigafactory in Nevada, Feb. 20-24, to adjust equipment to improve automation and increase production rates.

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The automaker has been under fire for continually missing deadlines for increasing the production run rates at its plant. The goal is ultimately to produce 500,000 vehicles annually, including 100,000 Model S and X vehicles. The current rate is significantly lower than that. (more…)

Ford, GM Sales in China Move in Opposite Directions

New product key to strong sales.

by on Mar.12, 2018

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, discusses the plans to expand sales in China.

Ford Motor Co. suffered another sharp reversal of fortune in China during February where it reported vehicle sales dropped 30% from a year earlier while General Motors continues to roll up sales.

The sales drop by Ford appeared to reflect a dearth of new products as the company continued to struggle in the world’s largest auto market.

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Ford’s sales dropped 18% in January and in February totaled just 47,483 vehicles, accounting for the 30% drop mentioned earlier. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Wants Trump to Expand Trade War

"It's like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes."

by on Mar.09, 2018

Elon Musk, was on Trump's economic advisory council until it disbanded over immigration policies.

In a rare show of pique aimed at President Donald Trump, automakers, suppliers and industry trade groups have all but unanimously voiced their disappointment over new steel and aluminum import tariffs.

The one notable exception has been Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk who, despite claiming to be generally opposed to import tariffs, appears to be backing the White House. If anything, the tweet-happy executive is spurring Trump to take even broader action, specifically targeting China over the way it handles foreign-made cars, as well as foreign automakers who want to set up manufacturing operations in that country.

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“I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult,” Musk said in a tweet. “It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.”


Automakers, Suppliers Decry Trump Tariff Implementation

Companies warn that cost increases will get passed to consumers.

by on Mar.09, 2018

Analysts believe the new tariffs will increase the costs consumers pay for a new vehicle in the U.S.

Dealers, carmakers and suppliers were quick to criticize President Donald Trump’s order imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with the exception of imports from Canada or Mexico.

“A tariff is a tax that will result in higher prices that consumers will ultimately bear,” John Bozzella, the president and CEO of Global Automakers, an organization that represents more than a dozen European and Asian automakers as well as key suppliers.

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Earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to downplay the impact by going on television with a can of Campbell’s Soup and telling viewers its price would increase by a fraction of a penny. But considering the amount of steel and aluminum in a typical vehicle, prices for cars could go up by hundreds of dollars, analysts warn. (more…)

The 14 Hottest, Most Important Cars to Debut at the ’18 Geneva Motor Show

Show brings outs the best of the auto industry.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Aston wants to deliver 400-mile range by turning to next-generation solid state batteries.

Its become something of gospel that auto shows are losing their luster. And, while a few recent events might have fallen short of expectations, we can’t say that about this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The annual event, arguably the most important of the European car shows, brought out dozens of distinctive new cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts, a significant number of them set to reach beyond European shores.

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So, here’s a list of the 14 hottest and most significant debuts – ranked alphabetically, rather than by importance – from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show: (more…)

GM Boosting Bolt EV Production as Demand Surges

CEO Barra asking Congress to expand electric-car tax credits.

by on Mar.08, 2018

There's significant room to expand Chevy Bolt EV production at GM's Orion Assembly Plant.

General Motors plans to expand production of its first long-range battery-car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, CEO Mary Barra said during an energy conference in Houston.

The Bolt has experienced stronger than expected demand in recent months, some analysts suggesting that is the result of the slow ramp-up of production for Tesla’s own mainstream EV, the Model 3.

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Demand has also been buoyed by $7,500 federal tax credits that bring the base price of the Bolt down below $30,000. But under the current rules, GM is expected to soon see the credits phase out, something that could cut into demand, leading Barra to say that, “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefits going forward.”


Cadillac Puts Wahl Up as New Marketing Chief

New CMO building on predecessor's efforts.

by on Mar.07, 2018

Cadillac named Deborah Wahl, former marketing chief at McDonalds, to be CMO. She's held several posts within the auto industry.

Cadillac needs all the help it can get from a lot of different places, and it’s getting it.

General Motors’ luxury brand announced it is bringing on Deborah Wahl, an executive with experience inside and outside the automotive industry, to serve as Global Chief Marketing Officer at a critical time in the brand’s transformation.

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Wahl’s appointment is effective March 26 and comes on the heels of Cadillac’s effort to create a splash during the annual Academy Award telecast. The show drew a disappointingly small audience. (more…)

Smart Joining Forces With Mercedes New EQ Line

Move means smart is only brand with EV and gas options for every model.

by on Mar.06, 2018

The Smart line-up will be converted completely to electric-only models in the next few years.

The battery-electric models from smart will serve as the initial vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz Cars EQ family.

As it is smart is currently the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its model range in both combustion-engine and all-electric variants. In the U.S. market, smart has already converted to an all-electric strategy to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.

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The smart EQ four two coupe and cabrio are making their world premiere this week at the Geneva Motor Show and will be available in the U.S. market later in 2018. (more…)