Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Auto Loan Delinquency Rate Higher than Great Recession

Young buyers finding it tough to make car and student loan payments.

by on Feb.13, 2019

Auto loan delinquencies are on the rise, and are higher than during the Great Recession.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that more than 7 million Americans are delinquent on auto loans, even more than during the Great Recession.

The figures, which were part of New York Fed’s quarterly report on household credit, suggest that many consumers are having a difficult paying their bills. Rising prices for both new and used vehicles also are factor, economists said.

Business News!

“Although rising overall delinquency rates remain below 2010 peak levels, there were over 7 million Americans with auto loans that were 90 or more days delinquent at the end of 2018. That is more than a million more troubled borrowers than there had been at the end of 2010 when the overall delinquency rates were at their worst since auto loans are now more prevalent.  (more…)

BMW Pumps Up with New X3 M and X4M Utes

Competition package delivers 503 hp.

by on Feb.13, 2019

BMW will start delivering the new X3 M and X4 M to U.S. customers in April.

BMW is putting the emphasis on “sport” with two new sport-utility vehicles, the 2020 X3 M and X4 M.

The compact models get the BMW M treatment for the first time, and it starts out with a twin-turbo inline-six that, in Competition trim, will push as much as 503 horsepower to the pavement – enough to launch from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.

Product News!

Both of the new models will be assembled at the Bavarian automaker’s South Carolina assembly plant, BMW notes, something that should minimize the impact should Pres. Donald Trump authorize new tariffs on European auto imports, as he has been threatening. That said, don’t expect them to come cheap. (more…)

Ford Sued by Three MIT Profs about EcoBoost Technology

Trio claims their tech is responsible for new engines.

by on Feb.13, 2019

Ford's F-150 EcoBoost models are the subject of a lawsuit filed by three MIT professors.

According to a newly filed lawsuit against Ford, the automaker “boosted” the technology used in newer versions of its famed EcoBoost engines from a trio of professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ford introduced EcoBoost to the world in 2009, suggesting the turbocharger-based system would allow smaller engines to provide big power while retaining their ability to use less gas. While the public initially played wait-and-see with the technology, it’s now spread across Ford’s engine offerings like ivy on a brick building.

Legal News!

The automaker and university have a long history together, and the lawsuit suggests Ford may have taken advantage of that relationship. The MIT professors claim the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is using its dual port- and direct-injection technology without permission for its EcoBoost and 5.0-liter V8 engines produced in recent years. (more…)

EV Truck Maker Rivian Reportedly in Talks with Amazon and GM

Deal could be announced this month, according to Reuters.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Rivian founder RJ Scaringe showed off the the R1T all-electric pickup at the LA Auto Show.

Battery truckmaker Rivian Automotive is reportedly in negotiations with both Amazon and General Motors on a deal that could be worth as much as $2 billion.

The deal would give the two companies a minority stake in Rivian, a start-up based in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, according to a report on Reuters.

Breaking News!

The proposed deal could help GM, in particular, add a battery-electric pickup to its line-up, something archrival Ford Motor Co. has said that it is already working on. A senior executive at GM last month told TheDetroitBureau.com that the carmaker is “considering” an all-electric truck.

(more…)

Ghosn Affair Hits Nissan’s Bottom Line, Along with Weak Sales

Automaker downgrades future earnings forecast.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Nissan is taking an $83.2 million charge against earnings due to the scandal surrounding Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan Motor Co. warned that its earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, could be about the lowest the carmaker has seen in six years.

Nissan now expects to earn 410 billion yen, or $3.7 billion, for the fiscal year, a 45% year-over-year decline. It originally projected a 500 billion yen, or $4.5 billion profit.

Global News!

The second-largest of the Japanese automakers put most of the blame on sliding sales in the U.S. and China, its two largest markets. But it also revealed that it has logged an $83.2 million charge related to the scandal that began with the arrest last November of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. (more…)

Plugging In: An Inside Look at the MEB — VW’s Platform for an Electrified Future

A combined VW-Ford battery-car program seems to have come un-plugged, however.

by on Feb.11, 2019

An under-the-skin look at VW's modular MEB battery-car platform reveals the skateboard-like layout.

Volkswagen is plugging into battery power in a big way, the German automaker planning to launch 50 or more all-electric models by 2025, an aggressive push that will have it betting heavily on a single new platform it is developing. Dubbed the MEB, this flexible, modular “architecture” will be used to underpin the vast majority of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, that will be offered by VW’s dozen different passenger car brands.

The MEB has been a topic of discussion between VW and Ford Motor Co., the two companies recently launching a joint venture to develop light commercial vehicles. They also are exploring ways they may be able to work together on the development of electric vehicles, possibly using the new VW platform — though a senior Ford official cautioned that this might prove more difficult than originally hoped.

Beyond the Headlines!

“The future, for us, is really a dedicated EV platform,” said Matthew Renna, vice president of e-Mobility for Volkswagen’s North American Region, a platform “flexible enough to cover a broad gamut of products ranging from an entry level subcompact up to models like the ID. Buzz minivan and even midsize SUVs.

(more…)

Tesla Out of Cheaper Model 3s, Stakeholder Cuts Share in Half

T. Rowe Price halves stake from 10.12% to 5.2%.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The mad rush to blow out Model 3s at the end of the year has left Tesla with very few Model 3s to deliver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said that the company would face some stiff headwinds in the early part of this year, and now some of those issues are now coming to light … as are the consequences.

The company’s last recent round of layoffs were unexpected, but were initially seen positively as analysts suggested the company would need to find ways to cut costs. However, according to Reuters, one of the teams that were cut significantly should have raised alarm bells sooner.

Subscribe Now!

Reuters reports that Tesla’s delivery team saw 150 of 230 employees lose their jobs. The Las Vegas-based group was largely responsible for delivering the company’s savior vehicle: the Model 3.  (more…)

Alfa Romeo Bringing Back 4C Spider for 2020

It will enjoy a limited run of just 15 cars.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia will be a limited-edition vehicle this year with just 15 units.

Despite rumors floating around of its imminent demise, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider will stay around for the 2020 model year, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have confirmed.

Alfa Romeo unveiled the limited-edition 2020 4C Spider Italia for North America with its limited production run of only 15 vehicles, during the press preview at the Chicago Auto Show. In keeping with the special color and badges, each car will be numbered.

Product News!

Ben Lyon, FCA product expert, said the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia, which is hand-built in a factory in Italy, offers enthusiasts a chance to own a unique mid-engine design inspired by the brand’s legendary racing history and the essential sportiness embedded in the brand’s DNA.  (more…)

Ford’s Future Relies on Its Manufacturing Prowess

Technology is going to lead, but old school rules will ensure success.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of Global Operations, meets with the media after the announcement that Ford would pump $1B into the Chicago plant.

As the auto industry stands on the cusp of a huge upheaval, Ford Motor Co. is pursuing a strategy that not only looks to new technology, but also relies on the deft use of the manufacturing skills that were instrumental in the company’s rise more than a century ago.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Global Operations, said the billion-dollar investment the company is making in its manufacturing operations in Chicago, where the company has some 6,000 blue-collar workers and plans to add 500 more in the few months, will depend utilize both the latest automation but also the human touch.

The Last Word!

“We’re going to have a new, highly-automated paint shop and body shop,” said Hinrichs talking about Ford’s future plans with reporters at the Chicago Auto Show. But Ford is also depending on the skill of its employees to build the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.as well as specialty vehicles such as the police interceptor that is based on the Explorer.   (more…)

Ram Aims for Commercial Customers With New HD Trucks

Brand focuses on truck's flexibility to lure buyers.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Jim Morrison, director of marketing, Ram Brands, introduced Ram's new commercially oriented heavy-duty trucks at the Chicago Auto Show.

Ram is hoping to lure more buyers to commercial-oriented heavy-duty pickups with a new 2019 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab, geared specifically to be put to work in a variety of different situations.

Jim Morrison, director of marketing for the Ram Brands, said the new family of heavy-duty chassis cabs will also delivers a package with more capability, more comfort and more technology.

Business News!

With a segment-leading towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds, the highest Gross Combined Weight Rating of 43,000 pounds and payload up to 12,510 pounds, Ram’s haulers are built for heavy-duty work while achieving new levels of efficiency and upfitter friendliness, Morrison said. (more…)