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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…)

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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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…)

GM Leads Ford in Pickup Sales at Midpoint of 2018

Midsize trucks giving GM the sales lead.

by on Jul.12, 2018

Chevy's Centennial Edition Silverado and Colorado have enjoyed impressive sales since being introduced.

America loves a good rivalry and Americans also love pickup trucks.

Domestic automakers have been relying on the latter, pickups, to help drive profits for much of the last two decades, and Ford and General Motors have long found ways to irritate one another when it comes to sell more trucks than the other.

Dig Deeper!

Now there is a new way: GM has sold more pickups through the first half of 2018 than Ford. GM sold 478,671 pickups, up 12% from last year, according to Kelley Blue Book data. Ford sold 451,138 pickups, a 5% increase. (more…)

McLaren Planning 18 “New Models and Derivatives” by 2025

$1.6 billion “Track25” project to include successor to McLaren P1 hypercar, with all models using hybrid drivelines.

by on Jul.12, 2018

McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt talks through the details of "Track25," the company's product plans until 2025.

McLaren is doing more than just smoking up the track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. The British supercar company is also lifting the covers on what would become the most aggressive product program in its history.

Dubbed “Track25,” it will see McLaren invest £1.2 billion, or about $1.6 billion, to bring 18 all-new models and derivatives to market by 2025. That list will include a next-generation “successor: to the company’s P1 hypercar.

Global Auto News!

But perhaps the most significant element of the announcement was the decision by McLaren to equip all of its future sports car and supercars with hybrid drivetrains. The P1, of which 375 was produced between 2013 and 2015, was the first electrified McLaren, relying on a hybrid system borrowed from the company’s Formula One racing technology. (more…)

The Ford Fusion is Dead – For Now, Anyway

Sedan to be replaced by a ute-like alternative.

by on Jul.12, 2018

The Ford Fusion sedan will disappear in a few years, but will be replaced by some sort of crossover or wagon bearing the same name.

Ford is taking the first big step towards a future without passenger cars, confirming it will kill off the current sedan version of the midsize Fusion line. But the nameplate will live on, insiders hinting it will be replaced by some sort of crossover or sport wagon.

In April, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced the automaker would drop the U.S. versions of such familiar nameplates as the Taurus, Fiesta and Focus, as well as Fusion, a controversial move reflecting the sharp decline in conventional passenger car sales as millions of American motorists switch to pickups, SUVs and other light trucks.

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Fusion is the one model that will remain in the U.S. market, but when it is replaced, around the beginning of the next decade, it will be in a very different form. While company officials have not yet disclosed what that will be, indications are that we will see something closer to a tall wagon or hatchback, some sources suggesting the redesigned Fusion will be along the lines of the Subaru Outback, rather than a more SUV-like crossover-utility vehicle. (more…)

Despite Sales Slump, Genesis on Target, Says U.S. Chief

Upturn linked to new products, standalone dealers, says Raphael.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Genesis steps things up by taking a shot at the vaunted BMW 3-Series with the new G70.

It’s not often that a senior brand executive is pleased to see his sales slide by more than 50 percent, but Erwin Raphael says the sharp year-over-year decline Genesis reported last month is pretty much right on target.

Two years after it was spun off by Hyundai as a standalone luxury brand, Genesis is in the midst of some major changes that will determine its long-term success. That starts with the upcoming launch of the 2019 G70, which targets the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series, as well as the first Genesis SUV expected to join the line-up next year.

Insight!

The Korean marque is also getting ready to launch its own standalone dealer network in the coming months, one that will see the number of Genesis outlets in the U.S. drop by more than 85 percent. But, as with sales, bigger numbers aren’t always better when you’re launching one of the first new luxury brands in decade, insists Raphael, the executive director of Genesis Motor America.

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BMW Inks Three New Deals in China

Automaker shifting some ute production from South Carolina to China.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Baidu Vice President Zhenyu Li, left, and Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, celebrate a new deal.

BMW has signed three new agreements with key partners in China that it says will bolster the company’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market.

The BMW Group and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor inked an agreement to produce Mini electric vehicles through a new 50:50 joint venture, Spotlight Automotive Limited, dedicated to the development and production of electric vehicles in China.

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In addition, the BMW Group also expanded its successful BMW Brilliance Automotive partnership. In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand’s success in its largest market. As part of the expanded venture, BMW is now expected to move some production from its massive assembly plant in South Carolina to China.  (more…)

Tesla Set to Move on New Plant in Shanghai, Announcing Deal Even as it Raises Chinese Prices

Battery-carmaker is 1st from U.S. to raise prices as trade war escalates.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Tesla's new Shanghai plant is expected to be at least as large as its factory in Fremont, California - and include battery production, as well.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war has claimed its first automotive victim, Tesla announcing it will raise prices on some models on sale in China by $20,000 or more to reflect the impact of new tariffs on American-made vehicles.

At the same time, CEO Elon Musk is on his way to China, numerous reports indicating Tesla is set to lock down a deal with authorities in Shanghai to set up the company’s first foreign assembly plant. Musk confirmed construction will begin in about three months and the facility will produce 500,000 vehicles annually once it is ramped up to full production.

Breaking News!

Despite the news about tariffs – which could depress sales in the world’s largest battery-car market in the near-term – investors appear to be buoyed by reports that Tesla will move forward on a Chinese assembly plant. Musk has also indicated that the automaker is working on plans to set up a second foreign plant somewhere in Europe.

(more…)

Volvo Launches New Mobility Brand

Named M, the new brand offers a updated take on car-sharing.

by on Jul.06, 2018

Volvo Cars' mobility unit launched its own brand today: M. Featuring much of what you'd expect, like car-sharing services, as well as new options.

Volvo Cars has taken the lead on variety of changes within the automotive industry in the past decade or so, including autonomous driving, electric vehicle development and other mobility-oriented technologies and services.

The company is adding to that legacy with M, a new brand that will expand the company’s global mobility operations by providing dependable, on-demand access to cars and services through an intuitive app.

The Last Word!

“Volvo Cars is becoming more than just a car company. We recognize that urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership. M is part of our answer. We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move’,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars president and chief executive. (more…)