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GM CEO’s “Open Mind” May Not Save Any of Five Plants Slated to Close

“We do have an overcapacity problem,” says Barra, after Capitol Hill meetings.

by on Dec.06, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra has been meeting with members of Congress, explaining why five plants are being closed.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra told members of Congress she will keep an “open mind” when it comes to plans to close five plants next year, including assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada.

The closures were announced late last month, along with plans to trim about 15% of the automaker’s white-collar workforce, as it addresses a variety of problems, including the ongoing shift from passenger cars to light trucks. But Barra also stressed that the automaker faces “limitations” on what it can do because “we do have an overcapacity (issue) across the country.”

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The one-time “shop rat,” who began working at GM as a co-op student said she told Congressional representatives from Ohio and Maryland on Wednesday that “These were difficult decisions – decisions I take very personally,” while adding in a statement that GM wants to “minimize the impact on the (affected) communities” by, among other things, offering workers a chance to switch to other GM plants, where possible or by offering outplacement services. (more…)

Hyundai Workers Plan Strike to Protest New Venture

Automaker teams with city for non-union auto plant.

by on Dec.05, 2018

Hyundai workers in South Korea are planning to strike in protest of a new joint venture planned between the automaker and Gwangju to build a non-union plant.

Union workers in Hyundai Motor’s plants in South Korea plant to walk off the assembly line in protest about a potential joint venture between the automaker and the city of Gwangju to build small vehicles using non-union labor.

The plan, which is still in negotiations, calls for the two sides to jointly own a plant employing 1,000 workers to produce mini-SUVs. The employees would earn a little more than $31,000 annually, which is less than half of what unionized workers earn at existing auto plants.

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South Korean workers often strike to during wage negotiations, walked this time for four hours to protest the salaries and use of non-union workers. (more…)

Volkswagen May Use Ford Plants for Vehicle Production

VW CEO Diess confirms possibility after Trump meeting.

by on Dec.04, 2018

VW's CEO Herbert Diess said the company may use Ford plants to produce VW vehicles in the U.S.

The news of a second Volkswagen plant in the U.S. just became more interesting in the wake of a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and the heads of several European automakers.

After the meeting Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s CEO, said as part of the growing alliance with Ford Motor Co. the automaker may use Ford plants to build cars. He added later that the company was “considering building a second car plant.”

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“We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialog with Ford to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry,” he added. (more…)

Trump, White House Backtrack on Claims of China Car Tariff Deal

“White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels” to not say the president lied.

by on Dec.04, 2018

President Trump is revealing that China's plan to cut tariffs wasn't actually plan, but a starting point for negotiations.

Just days after President Donald Trump emerged from a 2-1/2 hour dinner with China’s Xi Jinping claiming to have an “incredible” trade deal that would, among other things, roll back automotive tariffs, it appears that little to nothing concrete was resolved between the two leaders.

That leaves the auto industry in limbo as manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific try to figure out precisely what to do now, especially when it comes to bilateral automotive exports. Several manufacturers, notably including BMW and Volvo, have been hinting that if the trade war continues they may have to transfer some of their U.S.-based production to plants in China.

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Following the meeting with Xi at the end of the G-20 conference in Argentina last Sunday, Trump tweeted, “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” But he and others in the White House have been forced to backtrack, Trump’s National Economic Council advisor Larry Kudlow telling Fox News a deal “hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.” (more…)

Mercedes Enjoys Lead Late in Luxury Sales Championship

Sport-utes carrying luxury vehicle makers to strong sales.

by on Dec.04, 2018

The newly updated Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is helping the automaker to another U.S. sales crown.

Mercedes-Benz is leading the race for the luxury vehicle sales crown for the third consecutive year, heading into December with an edge over its closest competitors, BMW and Lexus.

Mercedes reported it sold 31,022 vehicles in November, an increase of 0.6% from November 2017. On a year-to-date basis, Mercedes-Benz sales totaled 283,943, with an additional 34,062 units for vans and 1,154 vehicles for smart, bringing total sales volume to 319,159.

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“Demand for our SUV line-up including the GLA, GLC and new G-Class combined with increases for the E-Class and new CLS fueled results for the month,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA. “We anticipate a solid close to the final weeks of 2018.” (more…)

Chevy Rolls Out New Silverado HD

Third new Silverado in 18 months.

by on Dec.04, 2018

The 2020 Chevy Silverado HD borrow plenty of exterior styling cues from the Silverado 1500, but enhances them for a tougher look.

Chevrolet continues to expand pickup buyer options with the debut of the all-new, 2020 Silverado HD, the third version of the bowtie brand’s truck to launch during the last 18 months.

The big trucks shares many of the now-familiar design cues first seen on the light-duty Silverado 1500, but adopts a more rugged look, with a massive front grille that presents an imposing presence, especially when viewed in one’s rearview mirror.

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“We know the needs and priorities of heavy-duty customers are different than those of either light-duty or medium-duty customers,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, the Silverado HD’s chief engineer. (more…)

Trump to End Electric Vehicle Subsidies by 2021

GM, Tesla have already enjoyed the best of the tax credits.

by on Dec.03, 2018

President Donald Trump said he told GM CEO Mary Barra that the country has been "very good" to the automaker.

President Donald Trump has threatened to kill one of the signature efforts of the Obama administration, but today White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed it: Trump will end subsidies for electric cars.

The move, which Kudlow said would happen in 2020 or 2021, covers other items including renewable energy sources. He revealed he plans in response to a question about what the administration plans to do in response to General Motors’ recently revealed plant closings and employee layoffs.

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The president, who is in China, did not offer an official proclamation, nor has he tweeted about it, which is often how he reveals impactful actions he plans to take. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Saves November Auto Sales

Jeep and Ram led FCA to big sales uptick.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The Ram 1500 helped Fiat Chrysler to a 17% sales jump over last year's results for November.

With a 17% sales increase Fiat Chrysler helped industry sales hold steady in November as Ford Motor Co. Nissan, Toyota and Honda all reported drops in sales for the month.

Overall, full-year 2018 sales are on course to beat 2017’s results and pass the 17-million milestone for the fourth straight year, a record streak, according to Cox Automotive.

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FCA’s sales were driven by the Jeep and Ram brands, which set a variety of records in total, retail and nameplate sales. Ram led FCA US brands with a 44% increase in vehicle sales. (more…)

Trump Claims China Will Cut Tariffs on U.S.-Made Cars

A possible truce in trade war?

by on Dec.03, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping is temporarily reducing the tariff on U.S.-built vehicles coming into China.

Following a 2-1/2 hour meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump said the two had agreed to a truce in the U.S.-Chinese trade war, the Asian leader agreeing to drop tariffs on American-made vehicles.

That would be part of a 90-day cease-fire that could lead to a rollback of broader tariffs that have been implemented in recent months, and a halt to the $200 billion in additional duties Trump had threatened to place on Chinese-made goods at the beginning of the new year.

Trade News!

“China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%,” Trump announced in a Sunday night tweet. But it was unclear if his social media comments were completely accurate given his history of misstatements and the fact that the official White House news feed differed with the president on some key elements of the trade talks with China during the weekend. (more…)

10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

Auto Show News!

Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

(more…)