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Archive for the ‘U.S./North America’ Category

Jeep Museum May be in the Works With Help From FCA

New gallery might be at Toledo plant.

by on Aug.13, 2018

The success of this year's Jeep Fest in Toledo has organizers thinking there might be enough support for a museum.xx

Auto museums aren’t exactly thriving these days but the fans in Toledo, Ohio, the birthplace of the iconic Jeep, are talking up the possibility of creating a Jeep Museum with help from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Dozens or rare Jeeps turned up this past weekend for the Jeep fest at the Sea Gate Convention Center in Toledo, which only served to bolster support for the idea, according to local news reports.

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Organizers of Jeep Fest, which attracted Jeep fans from 27 states, said they have held talks about establishing a museum with FCA, which has made the Jeep brands its major profit center since the old Chrysler Group’s 2009 bankruptcy. (more…)

Can the Flintstones and Jetsons Sell America on EVs?

New ad campaign brings back two classic cartoon families.

by on Aug.13, 2018

The Electrify America ad campaign plays up the fun-to-drive aspects of battery-cars as much as their environmental benefits.

There’s an electrified revolution heading for your local showroom, with dozens of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles coming to market over the next few years. The challenge the industry faces is getting consumers to plug in. All forms of battery-based vehicles accounted for barely 3% of the total U.S. market last year.

Building awareness is a key goal for Electrify America, the project backed by $2 billion from Volkswagen, part of the settlement of its diesel emissions scandal. The 10-year effort makes its public debut this week with an ad campaign pitching the virtues of battery-electric vehicles. And to help get the message across, it’s borrowing the theme music from two Boomer-era cartoon shows, the Flintstones and the Jetsons.

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The first spot, dubbed JetStones, features a number of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and will air on national and local cable television, with a radio version running in both English and Spanish. At the same time, Electrify America will begin placing a network of high-speed charging stations across the country.

(more…)

Apple Brings Back Top Engineer for Project Titan

Field's return has some wondering if a full-on vehicle is in the works.

by on Aug.10, 2018

Is Apple CEO Tim Cook getting the band back together? The company rehired one of its former engineers, Doug Field, for Project Titan.

Apple rehired Doug Field, one of its top engineers, after he left Tesla Inc. last month and assigned him to report to the leader of the Project Titan team.

Field spent five years at Tesla as the company’s top engineer. He left the company this summer under unusual circumstances. His hire also creates a unique circumstance as well — is Project Titan now focusing on creating a full-blown vehicle again instead of just a self-driving car system?

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Field is returning to work for Bob Mansfield, who has been overseeing Project Titan for the past several years. Mansfield was the person who, reportedly, moved the Apple’s car project from a full-on vehicle to just a self-driving system. (more…)

Car Dealership Numbers Holding Steady in US

Online sales not hurting auto dealers yet.

by on Aug.10, 2018

Auto dealership levels are virtually unchanged year-over-year, according to a new report.

Urban Science released statistics and insights today from its 2018 mid-year Automotive Franchise Activity Report, indicating continued stability in the number of automotive dealerships in the United States.

As of July 1, 2018, there were 18,252 dealerships (rooftops), a 0.2% increase from the Jan. 1, 2018, total of 18,213. The number of franchises, or brands a dealership sells, also experienced a period of stability, slightly decreasing from 32,029 on Jan.1, 2017 to 32,024 as of July 1, 2018.

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Despite the shrinkage of “brick-and-mortar” retailing that has emptied shopping malls across the country and threats from online sales, car dealerships, the centerpiece of automotive retailing are holding their own, according to a new study by Detroit-based Urban Science. (more…)

California Thumbs Nose at Trump on Clean Air Standard

State plans to adhere to Obama-era rules.

by on Aug.10, 2018

California plans to stay with its tougher, Obama-era fuel economy and emissions standards.

The California Air Resources Board has come out swinging in its battle with over clean-air and fuel efficiency standards.

CARB, which will bear the burden of any clash with the administration, re-affirmed its commitment to the standards set in place by an agreement between the State of California and the Obama administration to ensure that cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2021–25 continue to meet standards that protect public health, save consumers money, and fight climate change.

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“Dirty, gas guzzling vehicles are a direct assault on public health and foreclose our ability to rein in air pollution and greenhouse gases,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols in a statement. “California will take all actions to ensure that the smart standards we developed in partnership with the auto industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles stay in place.” (more…)

China Locks Down American-Made Mercedes SUVs

Brake problems cited, but move comes as trade war heats up.

by on Aug.10, 2018

China has placed a hold on U.S.-built Mercedes-Benz SUVs due to a "problem" with the rear brakes.

Chinese customs agents are holding up a shipment of American-made Mercedes-Benz SUVs, ostensibly due to technical issues, but the timing of the move raises questions, coming just as the trade war between the U.S. and China heats up.

Following a move by President Donald Trump to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods, the Asian giant responded with its own new duties, including an additional 25% tariff on vehicles made in the U.S. That move will impact not only products from Detroit manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors but also European carmakers with U.S. assembly operations such as Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG.

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According to the Chinese, two Mercedes models, GLE and GLS SUVs produced between May 4 and June 12 of this year, are being help up at the port in Shanghai due what customs authorities have described as a “safety risk.” (more…)

SEC Amps Up Investigation of Tesla After Musk’s Buyout Tweet

Moving to "Private" mode.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's tweets about taking the company private and having the funding to do it has the SEC's attention.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is ramping up its investigation of Tesla Inc. in light of CEO Elon Musk’s recent tweets about taking the company private at $420 a share.

More precisely, they are interested in his assertion that he already has the funding in place. According to a Bloomberg report, the SEC’s San Francisco office was already investigating the company and the recent round of tweets escalated its interest.

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Though it is not illegal for company officials to use twitter to promote Tesla, talking about potential buyout prices and issuing other proclamations that could artificially alter the California-based EV maker’s stock price could be reason for an investigation and ultimately charges. (more…)

China Retaliates; New Tariffs Hit U.S. Auto Exports, Jobs

BMW, Mercedes, Ford, other makers could be hard hit, forced to cut American production.

by on Aug.09, 2018

The BMW X5 is the #1-selling American-made vehicle in the Chinese market.

The auto industry has found itself at Ground Zero as the U.S. and China escalate their trade war.

After the latest move by the Trump Administration to target Chinese imports, the Beijing government has announced it will strike back with 25% tariffs on $16 billion in imported U.S. goods. China previously enacted new duties on $34 billion worth of goods, bringing the total to $50 billion. And with the White House threatening to add another $200 billion to the U.S. list, the trade war could escalate rapidly.

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The latest round sees the Chinese Ministry of Commerce placing an additional 25% duty on a list of American products that includes coal, crude oil and metal scrap, as well as automobiles and motorcycles. A number of automakers could be hit hard by the new sanctions, including Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

(more…)

Ford Preparing Hybrid Version of Mustang

New powertrain will be about performance, not fuel economy.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Ford EVP Jim Farley took time during the celebration of the 10 millionth Mustang to discuss the evolution of the Mustang, including the upcoming hybrid model.

Ford Motor Co. is eager to keep the buzz around the Mustang alive as the company makes the transition to a world where autonomous and electrified vehicles are common, one of the company’s top executives told reporters after the automaker marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang.

Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of Global Markets, said the long-running success of the Mustang, which has become a global brand, can serve as a beacon for the company as it goes through what amounts to once-every-100-years transition.

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“Mustang is the heart and soul of the Ford Motors Co. It’s a global product and it’s one of the reasons we’re different as a company.” Farley said. “It inspires other vehicles in the line-up. The ‘Mustangness’ of the company is starting with its products,” such the electric vehicles Ford has under development now. “The company has confidence in the Mustang and it knows the customer really well. (more…)

Ford Celebrates Production of 10 Millionth Mustang

Just like the first one, it came out Wimbledon White.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Ford marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang with a huge party, including the very first Mustang built. Both are in Wimbledon White.

Ford Motor Co. celebrated the building of 10 million Mustangs in style with a parade, air show and lunch for hundreds at the assembly plant outside Detroit in Flat Rock, Michigan, where the fabled pony car is now built.

A parade of 54 Mustangs, one from each year the car has been sold during the past half century since it debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City was organized in the parking lot in front of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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As the Mustang owners sipped coffee and munched on donuts, they talked about how much their lives intertwined with the car and its storied history that includes a starring role in more movies than any other vehicle. (more…)