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Ghosn To Be Detained 10 Days; Crisis Straining Renault-Nissan Alliance

Penalty could include 10-year prison sentence.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Carlos Ghosn could remain in jain for as long as 10 days. The crisis is putting a strain on the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Nissan Motor Co., could spend as much as 10 days under detention after being arrested by Japanese authorities early this week for alleged financial misdeeds, according to news reports from Tokyo.

The 64-year-old executive, long one of the most respected leaders in the global auto industry, faces the prospect of being fired this week by Nissan’s board which is set to meet at company headquarters in Yokohama. However, the board of Renault SA, the Nissan alliance partner where Ghosn served as CEO, declined to dismiss Ghosn, at least for the time being, while details of his alleged crimes have yet to be fully disclosed.

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The crisis is putting a strain on the nearly two decade-old relationship between Nissan and Renault, as well as smaller Mitsubishi, the automaker in which Nissan purchased a controlling stake two years ago. Together, the three manufacturers cooperate as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance coordinating everything from parts purchasing to vehicle manufacturing, though they remain independent entities. (more…)

Porsche Ready to Unveil New Macan in Los Angeles

German automaker's best-seller gets update for 2019.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Though the Macan is the company's best-seller, it's getting some updates for the 2019 model year.

Porsche plans to unveil the updated 2019 Porsche Macan sport-utility vehicle, far and away the company’s most popular model, during press preview at next week’s Los Angeles International Auto Show.

The 2019 Porsche Macan will feature a new three-dimensional LED light panel at the rear, standard LED headlights in the front and a revamped interior design that comes with a new interface, linking the Macan’s technology to the driver.

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The updated Macan will have a larger, 10.9-inch full HD touch screen with the latest version of Porsche Communication Management, which, as in the Panamera and Cayenne, allows users to customize the interface by positioning movable tiles and choosing their respective functions from a list of options.  (more…)

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Savior, Could Bring Their Alliance Tumbling Down

Under arrest in Japan, 64-year-old exec likely to lose his many titles, too.

by on Nov.20, 2018

Carlos Ghosn remains Renault CEO — for now. Company officials appear to allowing the legal process to play out.

It took Carlos Ghosn two decades to transform three independent automakers into one of the world’s best-selling automotive alliances, but with the 64-year-old executive now sitting a Japanese jail, accused of a variety of financial misdeeds, that empire could come crashing down.

On Monday, Nissan broke its silence after completing a months-long investigation it said was “based on a whistleblower report.” Ghosn and another senior executive were arrested as they arrived in Japan from alliance partner Renault’s headquarters in France. The Brazilian-born Ghosn was accused of under-reporting his corporate income by as much as $45 million, while also misappropriating corporate funds.

Global News!

“I feel strong anger and disappointment,” Ghosn’s handpicked successor as Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters at Nissan headquarters in Yokohama. “I am very sorry.” (more…)

GM Looking at White Collar Layoffs Due to Low Buyout Acceptance

Company falling well short of hoped-for 7,000 early retirements.

by on Nov.20, 2018

General Motors is offering buyouts to thousands of employees as it seeks to streamline its North American operations.

We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way — so what’s going to be?

That was the question essentially posed to thousands of General Motors Co. white collar employees by the company’s management, looking for at least 7,000 to accept an early retirement buyout. The automaker is looking to trim salaried workers as a proactive cost cutting measure.

Business News!

Those selected to participate in the plan have until noon Monday to decide; however, early reports suggest the company is going to get a little over half of its target, which means that GM likely will be laying off people in the near future to get that number. (more…)

FedEx to Add 1,000 Chinese EV Vans to Delivery Fleet

Delivery service hopes to reduce costs, as well as emissions.

by on Nov.20, 2018

FedEx plans to add 1,000 of the Chanje vans to its U.S. delivery fleet.

FedEx Corp. is plugging into battery power, the delivery service announcing today it will add 1,000 Chinese-made vans to its fleet as part of a commitment to reduce both energy consumption and vehicle emissions.

It joins a growing list of delivery services, including UPS and Deutsche Post, that are testing out the capabilities of fully electric trucks for use on both short and long-haul routes.

Green News!

“FedEx continually seeks new ways to maximize operational efficiency, minimize impacts and find innovative solutions through the company’s Reduce, Replace, Revolutionize approach to sustainability,” said Mitch Jackson, FedEx Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our investment in these vehicles is part of our commitment to that approach of serving our customers and connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully.”

(more…)

Mini Unveiling New John Cooper Works Model at L.A. Auto Show

Fun brand also showing off four new customized models.

by on Nov.20, 2018

The new Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition will make its debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

With the recent focus on “hot hatches,” it would be fair to assume that ever-popular Mini would be among the leaders in the segment. Not only is it fair, but also it’s correct with the brand’s John Cooper Works edition vehicles.

At this year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show next week, Mini’s going to roll out a series of new vehicles looking to generate some excitement, especially within the “need for speed” crowd.

Product News!

Starting with the Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition, which will make its North American premiere starting Nov. 28. Joining that is the Mini John Cooper Works GP – first shown as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year – ready for launch in 2020.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2.7L

Can a small engine really power a big truck?

by on Nov.19, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado features a new 2.7-liter turbo four with cylinder deactivation.

It takes a big engine to make a big truck owner happy — or so went the conventional wisdom among full-size pickup manufacturers until recently.

That strategy has been changing rapidly, in large part reflecting the arrival of some surprisingly peppy, albeit downsized, turbocharged powertrain packages, such as those from Ford’s EcoBoost family. More than half of all F-150s now go out the showroom door with a six under the hood. Now, we’re beginning to see not only competitive V-6 options, but even four-cylinder alternatives, such as the new 2.7-liter Chevrolet is unleashing with the arrival of the 2019 Silverado.

Reviews to Trust!

An engine of that size, with or without a turbocharged kick, might have seemed entirely unlikely just a few years ago, but a day of driving the Silverado 2.7L through the desert badlands outside Phoenix last week proved that big things really can come in small packages. (more…)

Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

Product News!

Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)

New NAFTA Faces Tough Road to Approval in Congress

Dems want tougher rules on Mexico, Reps want LGBT protections out.

by on Nov.19, 2018

President Donald Trump's success to NAFTA is facing serious trouble with Democrats and Republicans and may not get passed in its current form.

The new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that President Donald Trump hailed as a major breakthrough back in August appears headed for serious trouble.

Forty Congressional Republicans have stated they will not vote for the agreement because it includes protections for the LGBT community, according to Politico. The protection for the LGBT community was included in the proposed tentative NAFTA 2.0 at the insistence of negotiators from Canada.

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The Republicans are the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives, but campaign means the LGBT section means that the Trump administration cannot pass NAFTA 2.0 without Democratic votes. (more…)

Toyota Plugs In For Performance

Most powerful RAV4 is a hybrid; could a performance Prius follow?

by on Nov.19, 2018

The RAV4 is now Toyota's best-seller and for 2019 the hybrid becomes its most powerful model.

No car company has done a better job marketing hybrids to the American public than Toyota. Though sales have slipped a bit over the last several years in the face of cheap gas, Toyota’s Prius remains the country’s best-selling hybrid-electric-vehicle, one of many HEVs the carmaker now offers.

That list includes a new hybrid version of the RAV4, the sport-utility vehicle getting a complete makeover for 2019. The electrified version of the compact sport-utility vehicle is, as one would expect, the most fuel-efficient version of the new RAV4. But, in an unusual move, Toyota has also made the hybrid the fastest and most powerful.

Product News!

That’s a significant shift in direction for Toyota which long seemed to believe that one couldn’t combine performance and fuel economy. But it now appears to be responding to a broader industry shift that sees electrified powertrain technology being used to enhance a vehicle’s fun-to-drive factor. (more…)