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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…)

Toyota Set to Reveal New RAV4 at NY Auto Show

Critical debut for what’s now Toyota’s best-seller.

by on Mar.13, 2018

Toyota hasn't done much to the RAV4 since 2013, nevertheless, it has overtaken the Camry as the brand's best-seller.

Last year saw some momentous changes in the U.S. automotive market, perhaps most notably the surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks. And nowhere was that more apparent than at Toyota where the compact RAV4 toppled the brand’s long-time sales leader, the Camry sedan.

So, Toyota will have a lot riding on what it plans to introduce at the New York International Auto Show later this month, the first complete makeover of the RAV4 since the 2013 model-year. The Japanese giant is counting on the crossover to help it gain even more momentum at a time when there seems to be no end in sight to the light-truck boom.

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Toyota isn’t saying much about the fifth-generation, 2019 crossover, other than to note it will make its debut at New York’s Javits convention center on the morning of March 28, but some details can be gleaned from a teaser image and inside sources.


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…)

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…)

Speaker Ryan Warns Trump About Trade War Consequences

Republicans fear a trade war will wipe out majorities in midterm elections.

by on Mar.06, 2018

Republicans in the House, led by Paul Ryan, are attempting to dissuade President Donald Trump from implementing new tariffs.

The war of words over trade if not the trade war itself continues unabated this week with warnings from President Donald Trump’s Republican allies in Congress about the potential for adverse economic fallout from the sudden imposition of tariffs and taxes by the U.S.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) told journalists he was “extremely worried” about sowing discord with Mexico and Canada and the consequences of a trade war.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasted no times no time in attacking Trump’s tariff proposal and Mexican officials have abruptly given up on efforts to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is critical to companies tied to the North American Auto Industry. (more…)

VW Confirms New I.D. Vizzion Concept Will Reach Showrooms “By 2022 at the Latest”

Electric sedan will eventually add full autonomy.

by on Mar.05, 2018

The Vizzion Concept is set to become the fourth model in the new Volkswagen I.D. sub-brand.

Volkswagen has rolled out the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade and, as with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said, at the big sedan’s official Geneva Motor Show debut.

Something of a battery-electric replacement for the VW brand’s old flagship, the Phaeton, the I.D. Vizzion concept offers a range of cutting-edge technologies, as well as an interior that can be transformed into a mobile living room when operating in fully autonomous mode.

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“The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality,” said VW brand boss Herbert Diess, during a showcase of new products by the various marques operated by the parent Volkswagen Group. “ It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.”


Detroit Auto Show Confirms it May Move to October

Bad weather, increasing competition work against show’s current January date.

by on Mar.05, 2018

The NAIAS has seen a sharp drop in the number of new product previews, though there were still some big ones in 2018, including the introduction by CEO Akio Toyoda of the new Toyota Camry.

Thirty years ago, a once-backwater car show suddenly became the most important event of its kind, at least in North America, but the North American International Auto Show has begun to see its shiny star tarnish, at least from the perspective of new car previews.

And that’s got the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, the sponsors of the annual event, thinking about whether it makes sense to continue staging the show in January. It won’t happen next year, the NAIAS media preview scheduled for January 14-15, 2019, with the public days running through the 27th. But 2020 might be an entirely different story.

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“A critical part of being a sought-after global stage for companies is that we continuously evaluate future opportunities to make sure our show meets participating brands’ needs,” DADA spokesman Max Muncey told “We are exploring many opportunities for the show, with October being one of those opportunities. Ongoing discussions are underway with key stakeholders around the world.”