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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Gas Prices on the Rise as Temps Do the Same

Summer driving season a month away, but prices on the move.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise as the summer driving season creeps ever closer.

Gasoline continues to get more expensive across the U.S. even though the beginning of the summer driving season is still more than a month away, according to the survey of prices at the pump by AAA.

With the price of gasoline averaging $2.71 per gallon, prices are at their highest point in nearly three years. On the week, the national average increased a nickel.

Industry News!

“Expensive crude oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, strong domestic demand, record production rates and global oil supply surplus have created the perfect storm to drive spring gas prices toward new heights,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)

Ford Suffers, GM Coasts in March Sales in China

Volkswagen posts a sales increased in March.

by on Apr.17, 2018

Strong Malibu sales in March helped GM to a small sales gain of 2%.

Ford Motor Co. saw its sales in China, the world’s largest automotive market, drop by 11% during March, while General Motors eked out a 2% gain as its sales continue to grow.

GM, which will now report its China sales quarterly rather than monthly in the future, said its joint ventures in China delivered a March record of 352,346 vehicles. Buick and Cadillac enjoyed record deliveries in March, while Chevrolet grew 35% from a year earlier, GM said.

Industry News!

Sales in the first three months of 2018 increased 8% on an annual basis to 986,052 units. (more…)

Model 3 Production Halt Raises New Worries About Tesla

Automaker wants to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

by on Apr.17, 2018

Tesla is shutting down its plant temporarily to resolve production problems that have delayed Model 3 production.

Tesla is temporarily idling its troubled Fremont, California assembly plant for as long as five days, the automaker has confirmed, in order to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

The factory, originally built by General Motors, is Tesla’s only automotive manufacturing facility and currently produces the company’s three battery-electric vehicles, the Models S, X and 3. The latter EV is Tesla’s first “affordable,” long-range vehicle and is meant to push the company into the mainstream – and its balance sheet into the black.

Product News!

But the factory has been in what CEO Elon Musk calls “production hell” since the first Model 3 rolled off the line last July, running up unexpected deficits and leading some to question the company’s very survival. (more…)

China Phasing Out JV Rule Limiting Foreign Auto Plant Ownership

Rule has been major chafing point with foreign manufacturers – also helped build up domestic Chinese auto industry.

by on Apr.17, 2018

China is phasing out the rules requiring foreign automakers to adopt a Chinese company for a joint venture to do business.

China announced plans to phase out rules requiring foreign automakers to partner with domestic Chinese companies if they want to open an assembly plant in the booming market. The announcement comes barely a week after President Xi Jinping indicated the country would begin rolling back its 25% tariff on foreign-made autos.

The rule required companies like General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota to give local companies like GAC and SAIC a 50% stake in their Chinese operations. That approach not only limited their profits but effectively also helped fund the development of the domestic Chinese auto industry, a number of those manufacturers now setting up brands of their own that they hope to turn into worldwide competitors.

Breaking News!

“Following a five-year transition period, all ownership restrictions will be lifted,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement. (more…)

Geely’s Li Shufu Says Partnerships Key to Auto Success

Team up or get swallowed up.

by on Apr.17, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Khufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion.

Geely owner Li Shufu urged Daimler AG, in which he recently became one of the largest shareholders, to consider further strategic partnerships.

Global News!

Li Shufu, who is also the owner of Volvo, recently became a major shareholder of Daimler after acquiring a 9.69 % stake in the Stuttgart-based company. (more…)

Mustang: World’s Best-Selling Sports Car for Third Year in a Row

Exports to Asia and Europe pushing pony car to the top.

by on Apr.17, 2018

The Ford Mustang is the world's best-selling sports car three years running.

When the Ford Mustang turned 50, the automaker decided it was time to see just how popular the pony car was, and it began selling one of America’s first muscle cars globally.

Turned out to be a fine idea.

Industry News!

Now that the Mustang is about to turn the big Five-Four, it is also celebrating its third consecutive year as the best-selling sports car in the world, according to IHS Markit. Global Mustang registrations in 2017 totaled 125,809 cars, according to Ford. (more…)

Sagging Diesel Sales Pushes Jaguar Land Rover to Lay Off 1K Workers

Company cutting production at two plants in England.

by on Apr.16, 2018

Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off about 1,000 workers this year as diesel sales have declined.

Many tout the rise of the electric vehicle as a way to create new opportunities and new jobs, but one would be hard pressed to convince the 1,000 employees that Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off due to the decline of diesel.

JLR, which is owned by parent company Tata Motors, is not only cutting jobs, but is also reducing production at two of its English factories as demand for diesel cars slumps due to higher taxes and regulatory changes related to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

News You Can Trust!

British new car registrations have been falling during the past year which the industry has blamed, in part, on weakening consumer confidence in the wake of the Brexit vote, after record demand in 2015 and 2016. (more…)

GM Confirms Layoffs at Lordstown Plant

Company adjusting to market demand with move.

by on Apr.16, 2018

GM says its cutting the second shift at its Lordstown, Ohio plant due to changing customer preferences.

General Motors confirmed it plans to eliminate one shift at its big assembly complex in northeastern Ohio, idling some 1,500 workers.

GM spokeswoman Dayna Hart said in an e-mail that the downsizing of Lordstown’s workforce was in response to the long-term changes in the market place.

News Now!

“Last year GM operated the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant on two shifts. As the market continued to undergo ‘historic’ changes, it required us to reduce production rates and take numerous down weeks to match production with lower customer demand for compact cars.   (more…)

Waiting to Take Delivery of a Tesla Model 3? You May be Caught in a “Time Shift”

Apparently, there are no “delays” in Elon Musk’s dictionary.

by on Apr.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Fremont plant.

Last we checked, there were more than 400,000 folks waiting to take delivery of the Tesla Model 3, a potential problem considering the slow ramp-up of production. But even though some potential buyers might now have to wait until 2019 – perhaps beyond – they shouldn’t consider that a delay but simply a “time shift,” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The South African-born entrepreneur famously predicted his company’s Fremont, California assembly plant would go through “production hell” when it launched its first mainstream model last July. And, indeed, it had to largely hand-build them for the rest of the year. Tesla recently released numbers that showed first-quarter production reached 2,000 a week, but even that was 20% below the company’s target. And that’s leading some frustrated shoppers to cancel their advance reservations.

News You Can Trust!

“You’ll definitely get your car,” Musk declared during an interview on CBS on Thursday, suggesting customers shouldn’t think of what’s happening as a delay, but “a six- to nine-month time shift. That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.” (more…)

Lincoln Planning Five New Models for China in Bid to Catch Rivals

China destined to become brand’s top market, said new Lincoln chief.

by on Apr.12, 2018

The Lincoln Aviator made its U.S. debut last month and should reach China by 2019 or 2020.

Struggling to catch up with rivals now dominating the world’s largest luxury car market, Lincoln plans to start building five new models in China by 2022, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

That’s in line with comments made to TheDetroitBureau.com by Lincoln’s new boss, Joy Falotico, who said she expects China to soon become the brand’s largest market, much as has happened for other luxury marques, including Detroit-based rival Cadillac.

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Global News!

It appears that the new models Lincoln will build in China will also be produced and marketed in other countries, including the U.S. During a backgrounder on the new Aviator SUV prior to its debut at the New York International Auto Show late last month, Falotico revealed that Lincoln plans to launch two new SUVs by 2020, “followed closely by four more vehicles.”

(more…)