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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Mercedes-Benz Kicks Off GLE Production in Alabama

Automaker charging ahead on EV facilities.

by on Oct.09, 2018

Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Jason Hoff, president and CEO of MBUSI, kick off GLE production in Alabama.

The first all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE, which is based on a completely new SUV platform, left the production lines in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last week as the company also broke ground on a new battery plant near the site of the German automaker’s assembly plant in the southern U.S.

“The widely export oriented Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa is a high-tech production facility with a successful history and an exciting future in terms of our brand in the United States,” said Markus Schaefer, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, who was on hand for the ceremony attended.

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“We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well prepared to accomplish this mission,” he said. (more…)

Strong Demand, Interest Rates Causing Jump in Used Car Prices

Compact, midsize sedans driving the shift.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Used vehicle prices are on the rise and that's unlikely to change in the near term, especially for compact and midsize sedans.

Car buyers looking for a deal by getting a used car are going to be sorely disappointed — used vehicle prices are on the rise.

According to the latest data from Manheim, used vehicle values set a new record for the third month in a row, which is unusual. The abnormal summer bounce began in mid-June and drove prices higher for 11 straight weeks.

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That changed some with the arrival of September, which saw several weeks of normalizing depreciation. However, it wasn’t enough to offset the overall jump in prices as 3-year-old vehicles are now worth 4.5% more than they would normally be worth had typical depreciation occurred through July and August, according to Manheim. (more…)

Ford Readying for Launch of New Midsize Ranger Pickup

Once mothballed nameplate being built near Detroit.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Ford will offer a wide range of Ranger body styles, beds and powertrain configurations.

Ford Motor Co. has released the horsepower, torque, towing and payload numbers for the all-new 2019 Ford Ranger, as the launch of Ford’s long-awaited now-midsize pickup draws closer.

The company confirmed it will begin building the new version of the Ranger, which was one of truck the automaker’s most popular and most durable vehicles, at the Michigan Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit before the end of the year.

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The original Ranger made its debut in the early 1980s and remained in production until December 2011 when Ford finally closed the assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. (more…)

Polestar Moving Ahead With Development of New EV

Company testing verification prototypes in Sweden.

by on Oct.05, 2018

The all-new Polestar 1 performance PHEV is taking another step toward production with verification prototypes being tested in Sweden.

The development of the battery electric vehicles from Polestar, Volvo’s emerging battery electric vehicle brand, has taken another step forward.

The development of the Polestar 1 has moved off the computer and drawing board “with the production of the first series of “road-going” verification prototype, or VP, cars in Sweden.

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“The assembly of the VP cars means that the Polestar 1 has taken its next step towards production,” says Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer of Polestar.  (more…)

Acura Launching New Iteration of ILX Sedan

Redesigned model now gateway for the luxury brand.

by on Oct.04, 2018

The Acura ILX gets a major exterior update for 2019 as the brand looks to attract millennials.

Acura is ready to launch the 2019 Acura ILX with a design that was influenced by the Precision Concept vehicle as Honda’s luxury brand continues the design transformation of its line-up.

The revamped ILX also is equipped with the “AcuraWatch” active safety and driver-assistive technology now standard on the ILX and now standard on all Acura sedans and SUVs. It also is equipped with a dual-screen user interface with new graphics, quicker response as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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At the same time, Honda has reduced the price, boosting the ILX’s position as the gateway to the Acura brand. (more…)

VinFast Amps Up Ambitions After Strong Debut in Paris

Look for it to target markets outside SE Asia. Europe could follow.

by on Oct.04, 2018

VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca, center left, unveils the company's two offerings with Miss Vietnam, left, and David Beckham, right.

The world’s newest automaker is rapidly ramping up its plans.

Little more than a month ago, during a visit to the new VinFast headquarters and manufacturing complex in Haiphong, an hour outside Hanoi, company officials told TheDetroitBureau.com they were set to focus on the fast-growing Vietnamese automotive market, though they hinted they might look beyond the country’s borders at some time in the future.

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That future has apparently come fast. Following a well-reviewed debut of its first two products at the Paris Motor Show earlier this week, VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca revealed in an exclusive interview that “within a year we’ll be able to announce markets outside Vietnam and outside ASEAN (a trade bloc of Southeast Asian nations), to be clear. We’ve got our sights set both domestically and beyond.” (more…)

Electrify America Set Expand EV Charging Infrastructure

Stations designed to raise awareness for EVs.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Electrify America is getting ready to build $200 million worth of new EV fast chargers.

Electrify America, the organization created out of the Volkswagen diesel scandal to promote the use of electric vehicles, plans to invest $200 million in Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure primarily in California.

The investment, which will start next summer and take 30 months to complete, will follow a plan outlined originally by the California Air Resources Board to raise awareness of electric-charging capacity.

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Electrify America was established to implement the $2 billion ZEV Investment Commitment outlined in Volkswagen’s court-approved settlement involving 2.0-liter TDI diesel vehicles. (more…)

Lexus Lets its Emotions Flow With New RC Coupe

New model offers improved ride and handling.

by on Oct.03, 2018

The 2019 Lexus RC 300 couple ensure the brand has at least one compelling offering from a design perspective.

Lexus designers have been charged with the task of creating more emotion-evoking vehicles in recent years. However, the RC has always been that buzz-generating offering from Toyota’s luxury brand and the 2019 model shown in Paris continues that trend.

The exterior of the coupe gets an evolutionary upgrade rather than wholesale redesign with tweaks to the sporty look that also give it an elegant feel. However, those changes include updates to the aerodynamics to give it a“sharper and more refined” drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC, officials note.

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The changes include a new front bumper corner that flows down from the headlamps and a grille mesh pattern comprising shapes which gradually transform from top to bottom, creating an intriguing visual tension, Lexus says. The vertical arrangement of the extra-small triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED clearance lamps add to the car’s elegance. (more…)

Honda Partnering with GM in Race to Develop Self-Driving Cars

Japanese maker will invest $2.75 billion, including stake in GM’s Cruise Automation unit.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Cruise, GM and Honda will join forces to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of uses.

Honda Motor Co. will invest about $2.75 billion to enter into a partnership with General Motors aimed at developing self-driving vehicles.

That will include a $750 million investment in Cruise Automation, GM’s San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle subsidiary that was expected to launch its first product sometime next year. Together, the two carmakers plant “to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment,” according to a joint statement released Wednesday.

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The announcement marks the second major collaboration between GM and Honda, the two announcing in January 2017 plans to work together to develop an advanced hydrogen fuel-cell system that would be produced at a facility in suburban Detroit already assembling battery packs for use in vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. (more…)

Unions Withhold Support for New NAFTA Touted by Trump

Leaders want to see how some provisions will be enforced.

by on Oct.03, 2018

UAW President Gary Jones wants to see how certain provisions of the new NAFTA are enforced before offering full-throated support of the deal.

One constituency, organized labor, is withholding its support to the revision to the North American Free Trade Agreement unveiled this week by President Donald Trump.

“For a quarter century NAFTA has been disastrous for working people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and a gift to corporations offshoring good U.S. jobs,” the UAW, which supported Trump’s push to revamp NAFTA, said in a statement.

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“The true test of a new NAFTA agreement will be in whether it protects and enhances opportunities for the U.S. workforce and leads to higher wages and benefits for UAW members and manufacturing workers who have suffered for far too long,” Gary Jones, the UAW’s new president noted.  (more…)