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China Phasing Out JV Rule Limiting Foreign Auto Plant Ownership

Rule has been major chafing point with foreign manufacturers – also helped build up domestic Chinese auto industry.

by on Apr.17, 2018

China is phasing out the rules requiring foreign automakers to adopt a Chinese company for a joint venture to do business.

China announced plans to phase out rules requiring foreign automakers to partner with domestic Chinese companies if they want to open an assembly plant in the booming market. The announcement comes barely a week after President Xi Jinping indicated the country would begin rolling back its 25% tariff on foreign-made autos.

The rule required companies like General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota to give local companies like GAC and SAIC a 50% stake in their Chinese operations. That approach not only limited their profits but effectively also helped fund the development of the domestic Chinese auto industry, a number of those manufacturers now setting up brands of their own that they hope to turn into worldwide competitors.

Breaking News!

“Following a five-year transition period, all ownership restrictions will be lifted,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement. (more…)

Geely’s Li Shufu Says Partnerships Key to Auto Success

Team up or get swallowed up.

by on Apr.17, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Khufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion.

Geely owner Li Shufu urged Daimler AG, in which he recently became one of the largest shareholders, to consider further strategic partnerships.

Global News!

Li Shufu, who is also the owner of Volvo, recently became a major shareholder of Daimler after acquiring a 9.69 % stake in the Stuttgart-based company. (more…)

Summer Driving Season Calls for Automotive Check Up

AAA recommends a BET on your vehicle.

by on Apr.17, 2018

AAA suggests getting your vehicle looked at before taking any summer trips.

The summer driving season is getting closer, although a look out one’s window may contradict that statement, and that means more driving and, more than likely, some sort of long-distance family trip.

While most folks start preparing for the inevitable rise in gas prices that will add costs to a trip, AAA warns that the majority of travelers should expect some sort of car trouble or breakdown while traveling the U.S.

News You Can Trust!

A new analysis of AAA roadside data shows that vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road compared to newer vehicles and on top of that, the odds of needing a tow quadruples. (more…)

Mustang: World’s Best-Selling Sports Car for Third Year in a Row

Exports to Asia and Europe pushing pony car to the top.

by on Apr.17, 2018

The Ford Mustang is the world's best-selling sports car three years running.

When the Ford Mustang turned 50, the automaker decided it was time to see just how popular the pony car was, and it began selling one of America’s first muscle cars globally.

Turned out to be a fine idea.

Industry News!

Now that the Mustang is about to turn the big Five-Four, it is also celebrating its third consecutive year as the best-selling sports car in the world, according to IHS Markit. Global Mustang registrations in 2017 totaled 125,809 cars, according to Ford. (more…)

Toyota, Lexus Adding V2X Tech to Vehicles Starting 2021

Brands hope to accelerate development of technology.

by on Apr.16, 2018

Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said the company plans to equip Toyota and Lexus vehicles with V2X tech in 2021.

Though some vehicles already utilize V2X communication, Toyota and Lexus plan to advance the technology further by introducing it into their lineups beginning in 2021 and rolling out across their portfolios by the mid-2020s.

The company announced today that its Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) systems will use the technology to talk to other vehicles (V2V) and infrastructure (V2I) in hopes of cutting down on collisions, injuries and fatalities.

Industry News!

“By allowing vehicles’ intelligent systems to collaborate more broadly and effectively through DSRC technology, we can help drivers realize a future with zero fatalities from crashes, better traffic flow and less congestion,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), in a statement. (more…)

Sagging Diesel Sales Pushes Jaguar Land Rover to Lay Off 1K Workers

Company cutting production at two plants in England.

by on Apr.16, 2018

Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off about 1,000 workers this year as diesel sales have declined.

Many tout the rise of the electric vehicle as a way to create new opportunities and new jobs, but one would be hard pressed to convince the 1,000 employees that Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off due to the decline of diesel.

JLR, which is owned by parent company Tata Motors, is not only cutting jobs, but is also reducing production at two of its English factories as demand for diesel cars slumps due to higher taxes and regulatory changes related to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

News You Can Trust!

British new car registrations have been falling during the past year which the industry has blamed, in part, on weakening consumer confidence in the wake of the Brexit vote, after record demand in 2015 and 2016. (more…)

Caddy Triggers Battle of the Behemoths with $10,000 Escalade Discounts

Fighting off the new Lincoln Navigator.

by on Apr.16, 2018

A Cadillac Escalade Platinum can top $100,000.

If you’re looking for one of the biggest, baddest luxury utes on the market, Cadillac is hoping to lure you into one of its U.S. showrooms. Aiming to shore itself up against an assault by Lincoln’s newly updated Navigator SUV, Caddy is firing back with discounts of up to $10,000 on its own Escalade model.

GM has traditionally dominated the full-size SUV segment, both mainstream and luxury, and it gained significant traction when it introduced an all-new version of the ‘Slade for the 2014 model-year. But that’s a lifetime ago in today’s hotly competitive market and Lincoln has been building momentum fast with the all-new version of the Navigator it launched last year.

News You Can Trust!

While the two models don’t generate a lot of volume they serve up substantial profits for their respective manufacturers, providing plenty of room to load up the incentives. The question is whether Lincoln will now fire back with big givebacks of its own.

(more…)

GM Confirms Layoffs at Lordstown Plant

Company adjusting to market demand with move.

by on Apr.16, 2018

GM says its cutting the second shift at its Lordstown, Ohio plant due to changing customer preferences.

General Motors confirmed it plans to eliminate one shift at its big assembly complex in northeastern Ohio, idling some 1,500 workers.

GM spokeswoman Dayna Hart said in an e-mail that the downsizing of Lordstown’s workforce was in response to the long-term changes in the market place.

News Now!

“Last year GM operated the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant on two shifts. As the market continued to undergo ‘historic’ changes, it required us to reduce production rates and take numerous down weeks to match production with lower customer demand for compact cars.   (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

No, VW hasn't gone all-SUV, at least not yet.

by on Apr.13, 2018

The R-Line version of the 2019 VW Jetta.

Volkswagen officials have been talking a lot about SUVs, such as the new Atlas, these days. And when they change the subject, they’re as likely as not to focus on battery-electric vehicles like the upcoming I.D. Buzz microbus.

That might seem worrisome for fans of traditional VW sedans and hatchbacks. The good news is that the people’s car brand isn’t abandoning its traditional line-up. True, you won’t be able to get a diesel in the U.S. anymore, but there are some solid alternatives under the hood of offerings like the all-new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta that we had a chance to spend some time with in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina earlier this month.

The Last Word!

“It’s one of our most important products in the U.S.,” said Jan Dickmann, head of the compact car line, before we headed off into a Carolina countryside just starting to burst with spring color. Worldwide, VW has sold 17 million Jettas, including 3 million in the U.S. alone. So, while the automaker might be gaining traction with products like the Atlas and smaller Tiguan, it has a lot riding on the success of the seventh-generation Jetta sedan. (more…)

Trump Drags Heels as NAFTA Negotiators Push Forward

Rhetoric increases confusion, delay in getting new deal done.

by on Apr.13, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team are pushing ahead in NAFTA talks despite President Trump's criticism of the pact.

As the Trump Administration’s NAFTA negotiation team continues to try to hammer out a deal, making incremental progress, the president appears to want to hamstring the group at every opportunity.

Just yesterday it was revealed that U.S. trade negotiators reduced their demand for regional auto content to 75% from the 85% they demanded originally. Eduardo Solis, the head of Mexico’s automotive industry association, confirmed the move today.

Promises, Promises!

However, speaking at the White House Thursday, President Trump told reporters he’s willing to “renegotiate forever,” as he tries to secure terms that are better for the automotive industry. The terms include an increase in North American content required in new vehicles now. (more…)