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All BMW M Models to be Electric by 2030

"It should still drive like an M."

by on Jul.20, 2018

Don't be surprised to see next-generation BMW M models adopt hybrid or even all-electric drive technology, the brand's chief said.

If anyone still has doubts about the expanding role of battery powertrain technology in the luxury car market, comments from Frank Van Meel, the head of BMW’s vaunted M brand, should put them to rest.

During a media event in Spain, Van Meel told a group of Australian journalists that “all M vehicles wil be electrified by the end of the next decade,” a shift that will include a mix of hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

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If the comments, first published by CarAdvice, are accurate, it puts BMW M in line with what we’re seeing from a number of other high-line automakers and, more notably, with what high-performance brands are planning. All future Maserati and Alfa Romeo models, for example, will be offered with some form of electrified option and Alfa’s reborn 8C supercar will use a plug-in hybrid all-wheel-drive system to punch out over 700 horsepower.

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Musk Denies a Quarter of Model 3 Orders Were Cancelled – But Reveals New Worry

Order rate, he reveals, has fallen behind increase in production.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied claims in a recent analyst report suggesting that nearly a quarter of all Model 3 orders have been cancelled.

Elon Musk has dismissed as “bs” a report that suggested a growing number of advanced reservations for the Model 3 battery-car are being cancelled.

The recent report from investment bank Needham & Co. isn’t the first to raise that prospect, which could make it difficult for Tesla to achieve its promised profit for the second half of 2018. Needham’s Rajvindra Gill joined a growing chorus of analysts this week in downgrading Tesla shares, triggering another dip in the stock, traded as TSLA.

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“Dunno where this bs is coming from,” CEO Musk said in a Thursday night tweet – but by trying to support the idea that there’s still strong demand for the Model 3, the South African-born executive actually may have sent a signal that Tesla is facing longer-term problems. Musk indicated Tesla received 5,000 orders for the Model 3 last week, but that’s actually less than the production target for the battery-car in the months to come. (more…)

Volvo Moves XC60 Production to Europe from China to Avoid Trump Tariffs

Automaker reports record first-half sales, profits.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Volvo chief Hakan Samuelsson said the company is shifting production of XC60 SUVs allocated for the U.S. from China to Sweden to avoid tariffs.

The effects of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China are beginning to take shape — and it’s unlikely he’d hoped for this result.

Volvo Cars, which just opened a new plant in South Carolina, announced it would be shifting production of its XC60 SUV from China to … Europe. The move is to avoid the tougher tariffs currently in place on Chinese imports.

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Trump has been pushing foreign automakers to build more vehicles in the U.S., and Volvo’s new plant in Charleston will build the S60 sedan, later adding a SUV to the list, but that won’t be until 2021. (more…)

Auto Industry Unites to Challenge Trump Tariffs

UAW lone dissenter, seeks targeted tariffs.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Representatives from six auto groups testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing against new tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

With one exception – the UAW – the automotive industry is prepared to take a united stand against tariffs as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a one-day public hearing on a Trump administration proposal to levy 25% tariffs on imported automobiles in the name of national security.

Seven associations representing almost 10 million jobs across the auto sector in the U.S. have joined together to urge the White House to not impose higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

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“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles – whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said the groups in an open letter to President Donald Trump. (more…)

Trump Tariffs Could Complicate PSA’s U.S. Market Return

“I could launch in Canada,” says PSA’s North American CEO.

by on Jul.17, 2018

While new Peugeot models, such as this 3008 crossover, would work for North America, PSA will develop unique U.S. products.

On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Dept. will hold hearings in Washington, D.C. to decide if, as President Donald Trump has suggested, imported automobiles pose a threat to national security. If so, the White House could follow up with new tariffs of up to 25% on those vehicles.

That’s on top of the previously enacted tariffs on steel and aluminum that have already begun to drive up production costs for domestic manufacturers. And the industry’s response has been fierce in its opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal.

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But as much as the potential tariff hike has complicated matters for existing manufacturers, it is raising even more challenges for potential new entrants to the U.S. market, including PSA, the French parent of the Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall brands, which is in the midst of developing a strategy to return to North America for the first time in more than a quarter century. (more…)

Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

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The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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Mini Shows Off Battery-Electric Concept at Goodwood

Concept is the base for the new Mini EV coming fall of 2019.

by on Jul.17, 2018

Mini's Electric Concept was on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

During England’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mini presented the Mini Electric Concept, which offers an early look at both of Mini’s first fully electric model scheduled for release in 2019.

The first fully electric model from the history-rich British brand builds on the Mini brand’s DNA that has made the city its natural habitat and urban mobility a large part of its appeal.

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The new model fits the Mini template by turning electric mobility into an emotionally engaging experience brimming with driving fun, style and individuality.  (more…)

First Drive: Genesis G70

The Koreans finally deliver a real threat to Munich's vaunted sport compact.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Genesis tapped BMW's former M chief to help build some impressive dynamics into the G70.

Hard to believe but it’s been a full decade since Hyundai introduced what was then its most expensive and lavishly equipped model, the Genesis sedan going on to become the North American Car of the Year, among the many awards it collected. The four-door model also had a sort of Mini Me, the Genesis Coupe essentially being positioned as the Korean carmaker’s answer to the ever-popular BMW 3-Series.

Like so many other 3-Series wannabes, the Genesis Coupe wasn’t up to dethroning the king-of-the-sport-compact-hill, but it’s clear that Hyundai has kept that goal in mind and, a decade later, it’s come about as close to anyone to calling BMW’s bluff.

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The original Genesis siblings are gone. Indeed, the name itself has been repurposed for Hyundai’s new luxury brand. A couple months from now, the high-line division will get its third new entry since being spun off two years ago, and the 2019 Genesis G70 does a better job of justifying the Genesis brand’s existing than the two models that came before it, the midsize G80 and premium luxury G80. It also presents a surprisingly solid alternative to the 3-Series, as well as other compact European contenders like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Detroit Automakers Could Come Out Losers Even if Trump Scuttles Import Tariffs

One alternative could open U.S. up to flood of foreign-made pickups.

by on Jul.16, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, proposed eliminating all tariffs between trading partners.

The auto industry has been actively trying to get President Donald Trump to back off his threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported automobiles, even Detroit-based carmakers warning that such a move could wind up raising prices, slowing sales, reducing U.S. exports and hurting American jobs.

Ironically, one of the likely alternatives to new tariffs could be great news for American consumers – but a potential disaster for Detroit’s Big Three, opening them up to a new wave of competition in the most profitable segment of the U.S. automotive market.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, has raised the prospect of effectively eliminating automotive tariffs entirely, while others are saying they should be a uniform figure shared among all major trading partners. That approach could force the U.S. to eliminate the so-called “chicken tax,” the relic of an old, Euro-American trade dispute that has effectively closed off the American pickup truck market for the past half-century. (more…)

Tesla Tops 200,000 US Sales; Set to Lose Fed Tax Credits

Being 1st could put EV maker at a disadvantage going forward.

by on Jul.13, 2018

Even when it wins, it loses. Tesla just passed the 200,000 vehicle mark, the most ever by an EV maker, but that brings to an end the tax credit.

Tesla is not just the country’s best-selling EV maker, but the first to sell more than 200,000 electric vehicles in the U.S. market. But that might not necessarily give the carmaker reason to celebrate.

Under guidelines set up by the Obama Administration and retained by Congress as part of last year’s tax overhaul, federal tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle apply only on the first 200,000 battery vehicles sold by an individual manufacturer. After that they begin to phase out, meaning that Tesla could be at a financial disadvantage once the company loses the incentives entirely by the end of next year.

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Other companies, including General Motors, Nissan and Ford, are approaching the threshold but their buyers will likely continue to receive some incentives well into 2020, barring any move by Congress – something considered unlikely – to extend the tax credits. (more…)