Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Executives’ Category

Union, Activists Plan GM Protests Outside Charity Preview

Rally to call to light unfairness of plant shutdowns.

by on Jan.17, 2019

The UAW plans to hold a candlelight vigil outside of the NAIAS charity preview to protest GM's planned plant closures.

The Union Auto Workers and union activists are planning demonstration ahead of North American International Auto Show charity preview to protest General Motors’ plans to close five plants.

The UAW is organizing a candlelight vigil at the Labor Monument on Jefferson a short distance from Cobo Center, starting at 4:30 p.m. “Recent announcements from GM concerning plants in the U.S. will have a devastating effect on members of the UAW family,” the union said in announcing the vigil.

News You Can Trust!

The union, along with Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has been waging a letter-writing campaign to protest GM’s plans to close five assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. (more…)

Key Message Lost in GM’s Plant Closing Announcement, Barra Says

Company offered jobs to all 2,700 employees affected.

by on Jan.17, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra told the Automotive News World Congress that she understood why people were upset by GM's plans to close five plants.

General Motors fumbled its recent announcement about its plans to close plants in the U.S. and Canada, GM’s top executive acknowledged.

During an appearance at the annual Automotive News World Congress, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the timing of the announcement in November that the company planned to close plants in and around Detroit, Lordstown, Ohio, Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario, was driven by the change in customer preferences away from cars and to SUVs.

Subscribe Now!

“Having been at General Motors for 38 years, I feel a huge obligation to make sure that General Motors is successful not just a for a few years. I want GM to be successful for many, many decades,” Barra said. (more…)

Farley Says Ford Following a Different Game Plan for EVs

"Mustang-inspired" EV to make profits fast too.

by on Jan.16, 2019

Ford's Jim Farley said the company is comfortable trailing the pack on EV development, as it has a different plan.

Once considered one of the leaders in race to produce a viable electric vehicle, Ford Motor Co. has fallen behind rivals like General Motors and its new partner, Volkswagen AG.

However, if you listen to Jim Farley, Ford president of Global Markets, the company feels just fine about trailing the pack.

All Charged Up!

“Our strategy is different,” Farley said last night at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. “In a way we had the advantage of watching what happened the first time around. What customers have told us is ‘Just give us the good stuff.’ We’re going to change a lot of people’s minds.” (more…)

Marchionne Tops List of Automotive Hall of Fame New Inductees

This year's foursome very impactful on industry.

by on Jan.16, 2019

Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame less than a year after his death.

The Automotive Hall of Fame will induct four new members into its ranks next including Richard E. “Dick” Dauch, co-founder of American Axle Manufacturing; Janet Gutherie, the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500; Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Patrick Ryan, creator of the first auto dealership finance and insurance department.

Marchionne, who died last summer, rescued first Fiat and then Chrysler from the automotive scrap heap and then managed to merge the two troubled companies to form one of the largest and most profitable automotive manufacturers in the world, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Subscribe Now!

“Marchionne was also regarded as one of the boldest business leaders of his generation thanks to his business acumen as well as his outspoken and often frank approach to dealing with difficult and complicated problems,” the Hall of Fame citation noted. (more…)

EVs Aren’t Ready to “Take Over the World,” Says Toyota’s Lentz

North American CEO warns “It’s going to be a battle” are models flood market but sales lag.

by on Jan.16, 2019

Toyota's Jim Lentz believes the auto industry is putting too much stock – and money – into electric vehicles.

By various estimates, there should be as many as 100 all-electric vehicles on the market by the end of 2020, with scores more plug-ins and conventional hybrids already available. And that could pose a major challenge for automakers who are investing billions into the market to build battery-based vehicles. That includes Toyota which is investing about $1 billion to open up a new plant in U.S. in a partnership with Mazda that will, among other products, produce a new line-up of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

The question is whether all that money could be going down a rathole. For the moment, at least, Tesla appears to be the only automaker making any money on battery vehicles, as a number of industry leaders pointed out during a series of events in Detroit this week.

News Now!

That included Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota North America, who warned that, “It’s going to be a battle,” as manufacturers struggle to grab customers in a market where “There’s not much growth.” (more…)

BMW Updates Flagship 7 Series

In an SUV era does it matter?

by on Jan.16, 2019

BMW's new flagship model, the 7 Series, is ready to hit the road, borrowing some styling cues from the X7.

In an era of exotic SUVs like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, do sedans really matter anymore? Can a conventional four-door model still be considered a “flagship?”

That’s a question BMW is trying to answer with the launch of the updated, 2020 7 Series. But it’s takes just one look to recognize which side of the product line-up is influencing the other. With the all-new X7 set to roll into showrooms in short order, it looks like the SUV is setting the tone for the sedan.

Product News!

Just one glance at the image shown here and you’ll see what that means. As a midcycle update, there’s a limit to what the Bavarian marque can achieve, since it won’t be able to change the underlying platform for a few years. Nonetheless, you can’t miss the massive new version of the traditional BMW double-kidney grille that looks like it was lifted whole from the new X7. (more…)

GAC Coming in 2020; Chief Blames Delay on US-China Issues

Company working on making vehicles U.S. compliant.

by on Jan.15, 2019

GAC Motor President Yu Jun (center) says the company will be ready to enter the U.S. market in 2020.

The first Chinese automaker expected to make an incursion into the U.S. market has put on the brakes for a little while. GAC Motor is delaying its entry into the U.S. market until 2020, due in part to ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

However, it may not be as simple as the trade climate between the two economic superpowers is too volatile for a Chinese company to set up shop in the U.S. right now.

Global News!

Yu Jun, GAC Motor president, told TheDetroitBureau.com that the automaker was still working on getting its vehicles ready for the U.S. market. He believes they meet regulatory standards now, saying the company was working with U.S. regulatory agencies to ensure compliance. However, he wouldn’t confirm they met U.S. spec yet, preferring to say the will when they come to the U.S. (more…)

New President, New Strategy for Infiniti

Luxury brand wants to downsize its ambitions.

by on Jan.15, 2019

Infiniti's new boss, Christian Meunier, plans to streamline the luxury brand's product portfolio.

Nissan’s luxury division Infiniti has a new president. And Christian Meunier has a new strategy for the brand, one that downsizes the marque’s line-up but which he is confident will also make Infiniti more nimble and responsive to changing consumer trends.

The automaker offered a hint of where it is going during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday – or at least it tried to. But the QX Inspiration Concept vehicle didn’t want to cooperate, refusing to budge from its hiding spot behind the stage. It was eventually towed out almost two hours after the event ended.

Business News!

Glitches aside, the electric concept vehicle is meant to showcase a variety of trends Infiniti is looking at, including autonomous and electrified technologies, as well as the shift from conventional sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. While the timing for Infiniti’s first self-driving vehicle to reach market is uncertain, it intends to “electrify” all of its models by 2021, whether using pure battery-electric power or as plug-in hybrids. (more…)

Continental Boss Putting Brakes on Autonomous Vehicles

Degenhart believes self-drivers are farther away than automakers say.

by on Jan.15, 2019

Continental AG Chairman Elmar Degenhart said he believes that self-driving cars are much further way than automakers suggest will happen.

While automakers may have you believe that self-driving vehicles are right around the corner, at least one auto supplier believes that it will be well into the next decade before autonomous vehicles will be capable of venturing beyond a well-defined area and take to the open road.

Instead, drivers will continue to adapt to advanced driver assistance systems, also known as ADAS, which will help make the transition to self-driving cars easier for uneasy vehicle owners.

News Now!

Elmar Degenhart, chairman of Continental AG, one of the auto industry’s leading suppliers of driver assistance systems, told reporters during the North American International Auto Show, that the adaptation of driver assistance systems such as blind spot detection has been encouraging.  (more…)

Ford, VW Announce 1st in Promised Series of Joint Ventures

Carmakers will focus first on midsize pickups, light commercial vehicles.

by on Jan.15, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

Confirming months of rumors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced Tuesday that they will launch the first of what they suggested will be a series of joint ventures, focusing initially on midsize pickups and light commercial vehicles.

Moving forward, they anticipate adding projects that will pair their costly efforts on electrified and autonomous vehicles, while Herbert Diess, the CEO of VW, said during a joint teleconference that the new partners could work together on “other” products in the future.

Breaking News!

Alliances are becoming more commonplace in an industry where changing consumer tastes and emerging technologies are stretching thin the budgets of even the most well-funded manufacturers, said Diess, who added that, “In such an environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” (more…)