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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Ford Shuttering UK Engine Plant, Selling Russian Factories

Brexit driving automakers out of United Kingdom.

by on Jun.10, 2019

Ford is shutting down its Bridgend, South Wales, UK plant due to Brexit-related issues.

Ford Motor Co. is closing its engine factory in the United Kingdom as part of an overhaul of its unprofitable European operations while also selling off its factories in Russia.

The shutdown of the Bridgend, South Wales plant, which employs more than 1,500 workers and builds engines for several Ford models in Europe, including the Fiesta and B-Max, comes amid the turmoil spawned by Brexit.

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Automakers have said Brexit will make it more expensive and more difficult to import components from the European Union. (more…)

BMW Opens $1 Billion Plant in Mexico

Automaker opens site despite Trump administration's tariff threats.

by on Jun.10, 2019

BMW opened its $1 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, despite the turmoil surrounding the Trump administration's tariff threats.

Amid the turmoil about U.S. tariffs on Mexican made goods, the BMW Group dedicated its newest assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

“The new plant in San Luis Potosi is an important pillar of the BMW Group’s global production strategy. We aim to achieve a balance in our production and sales in the different world regions,” Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production, said during the ceremony.

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“We want to strengthen our footprint in important and growing markets. San Luis Potosi will significantly boost our regional production flexibility in the Americas. From here, we are delivering our locally produced BMW 3 Series sedan to customers worldwide.” (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Unveils Most Powerful 4 Cylinder Ever

New powerplant puts out 416 horsepower.

by on Jun.07, 2019

Mercedes-AMG produced a new 416 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder: the most-powerful ever.

The days of anemic four-cylinder engines passed long ago, and most of us have had a chance to push a peppy four banger to its limits with a fair bit of enjoyment.

However, in recent years, the horsepower numbers have been creeping up to unprecedented levels surpassing 300 hp. Mercedes-Benz and its performance partner, AMG, have now taken it to a new level with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder that puts out 416 hp.

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The new figure is 40 hp more than the M133 engine it replaces. The M139 is now the new titleholder for most powerful four cylinder at 416-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That engine is for the S-badged AMG. The lower trim, non-S model gets a 382 hp and 354 lb-ft four cylinder. (more…)

EVs Will Reach Cost Parity with Gas Cars “Sooner than People Think,” says GM’s Reuss

That would be good news for an industry pumping billions into EV development.

by on Jun.07, 2019

GM's Mark Reuss believes that EVs will reach cost parity with gas-powered vehicles sooner than people think they will.

The auto industry is planning to spend in excess of $100 billion over the next decade on the development of electrified vehicles, pure battery-electric models, in particular – so much that even industry giants like Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota are opting to partner with traditional competitors to spread out spending.

One of the concerns is that manufacturers will have to not only put out that money up front but then swallow some of their production costs to keep those battery-cars competitive once they reach market because they will be more expensive to build. That was a warning delivered by a top Toyota official during a briefing in Tokyo on Friday morning.

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But that may not prove nearly as dire a problem as anticipated, General Motors President Mark Reuss said during a conference early this week where he said he sees the cost of a BEV and a comparable gas model will “reach parity a lot sooner than people think.” (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Golf 1.4T S

Small, but mighty and continuing to evolve.

by on Jun.07, 2019

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf continues the little car's big legacy of being small, but mighty.

In automotive years, the Volkswagen Golf seems to have been around forever.

But its survived because, while the Golf is a compact, it also offers solid performance and an impressive array of technology for less than $25,000, which makes it a relative bargain when sport-utility vehicles routinely roll into showrooms with price tags in excess of $50,000 and current generation of road-worthy pickup trucks can exceed $60,000.

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The Golf rides on a 103.8 inch wheelbase, stands a shade over 58 inches tall and weighs a bit less than 3,000 pounds when it is equipped with an automatic transmission as the model I tested was. (more…)

Toyota Speeding up EV Program; Partnering with Subaru on New Platform

Finding enough batteries could pose a problem.

by on Jun.07, 2019

Toyota EVP Shegeki Terashi discusses the automaker's plans to accelerate its BEV program with the media.

Though it was a pioneer in the launch of hybrid technology, Toyota Motor Corp. has long been skeptical of more advanced forms of battery propulsion. But a senior official said today that the largest Japanese automaker now plans to speed up development of plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or PHEVs and BEVs, so that electrified vehicles account for fully half of its global sales by 2025.

That would be five years ahead of Toyota’s original timetable and reflects the broader industry transition that sees major competitors like Volkswagen and General Motors rapidly accelerating their own electrification efforts.

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One of the ways Toyota hopes to get there will be through a new partnership with Subaru that will see them working together to develop a new, dedicated BEV platform. (more…)

Porsche Will Electrify Everything, Even Iconic 911

But the roll-out will likely stretch out over the coming decade.

by on Jun.06, 2019

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

The Porsche Taycan will reach U.S. showrooms in the coming year, marking the first all-electric model from a brand that has built its reputation on high-performance versions of the internal combustion engine.

Initial demand is strong, a senior official told TheDetroitBureau.com during an interview at the Movin’On Summit in Montreal this week, with preliminary orders expected to account for the first two years of production.

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The sports car arm of the Volkswagen Group has already announced plans for a second model, the Cross Turismo set to share the same underpinnings as the Taycan. While Porsche officials have hinted that there will be more battery-electric vehicles to come, they’ve not yet confirmed what’s next. But the real question is what won’t be electrified eventually. And the answer appears to be “nothing.”

(more…)

FCA Scuttles Deal With Renault, Blames French Government

Automaker rescinds offer "with immediate effect."

by on Jun.05, 2019

Fiat Chrysler rescinded its merger offer to Renault after the French government's demands became too much.

The deal is off.

Fiat Chrysler’s board of directors held a meeting this evening to put the final touches on a deal with Renault, including a press release announcing the two sides had reached an agreement for a merger that would create the third-largest automaker in the world.

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However, in a span of about three hours, the deal unraveled under demands from the French government, sources close to the deal told TheDetroitBureau.com.  (more…)

BMW, Jaguar Land Rover Team Up on Next-Gen Battery-Drive Technology

Move marks the latest in growing list of partnerships in new technologies expected to reshape auto industry.

by on Jun.05, 2019

Despite its success with electric vehicles like the Jaguar I-Pace, Jaguar Land Rover is partnering with BMW it accelerate its technology development curve.

BMW and Jaguar Land Rover will team up to develop next-generation electric drive systems, the two automakers announced Wednesday, a move that underscores both the industry’s push into new technologies like electrified and autonomous driving, as well as the push by manufacturers to form joint ventures to share costs and speed up development.

BMW was one of the pioneers in electrification with products like the battery-powered i3 and i8 plug-in hybrid, but it has lost momentum during the last several years as competitors – including Jaguar with its all-electric i-Pace – have begun launching a wave of new battery-cars.

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“We’ve proven we can build world-beating electric cars but now we need to scale the technology to support the next generation of Jaguar and Land Rover products,” said Nick Rogers, JLR’s Engineering Director. “It was clear from discussions with BMW Group that both companies’ requirements for next generation EDUs to support this transition have significant overlap making for a mutually beneficial collaboration.” (more…)

GM Shareholders Vote Down Two Proposals at Annual Meeting

Downed proposals get more support than expected.

by on Jun.05, 2019

GM's Mary Barra can continue to hold the chairman and CEO jobs at the same time after a proposal to split them failed.

Two shareholder proposals opposed by General Motors top management went down to defeat during the company’s annual shareholders meeting, but not before the two measures gained significant support from shareholders.

The final tally showed that 37% of the shareholders favored a proposal to split the post of chairman and chief executive officer, creating an independent chairman. Mary Barra currently holds both jobs and the proposal to split the jobs has major support from institutional investors, which means it will return for another vote next year and will continue to exert pressure on GM’s board and senior management. The same measure got just 35% of the vote last year.

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The second proposal, which received more attention during the meeting, received 29% of the votes from investors calls on GM to disclose its lobbying practices. (more…)