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Bollinger Eyeing Downtown Detroit for Truck EV

Upstart moving from upstate New York to Motor City.

by on Jan.19, 2018

Bollinger Motors unveiled its all-electric prototype sport-utility/truck in Manhattan last July.

The city of Detroit just received one more affirmation that it is indeed The Motor City as upstart EV truck maker Bollinger Motors announced plans to move its operations from upstate New York to Detroit.

Bollinger founder Robert Bollinger visited Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. While originally searching for property along the I-75 corridor, but after a look around decided moving inside the city limits would be a better plan.

EV News!

Bollinger told Curbed Detroit he wants the company to be closer to the people, i.e. the talent, of Detroit, as well as the vendors. The company will move its eight-person team from New York to Detroit later this year. (more…)

Government Panel Wants Lower Drunk Driving Threshold

Drunk driving deaths “entirely preventable.”

by on Jan.19, 2018

There is a movement underway to lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drunk driving to 0.05.

You might have to skip that extra beer or third glass of wine, at least if you’re planning to then get behind the wheel of a car. A new government report recommends states significantly lower the level of alcohol in the blood that would be considered driving under the influence of alcohol.

In recent decades, a crackdown on drunk driving has had a significant impact, but an estimated 10,000 people a year still die in alcohol-related accidents and the figure has begun creeping back up, warned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The worst part, a panel added, is that those deaths are “entirely preventable.”

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In the U.S., all states now count a blood alcohol level of 0.08% as driving under the influence. By comparison, the figure has dropped to 0.05% in much of Europe and as little as 0.02% in Norway and Sweden. The National Academies panel wants to see all U.S. states drop to 0.05%, the same figure went into effect in Utah Dec. 30. (more…)

PSA Lays Out 3-Stage, 10-Year Roadmap for U.S. Return

CEO calls for “100% electrified” line-up by 2025.

by on Jan.19, 2018

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares has been credited with turning around the near-bankrupt French company.

After a 26-year absence from the North American market, French automaker PSA Group is formalizing plans to reenter the market, though in a series of interviews and appearances in Detroit this week, CEO Carlos Tavares made it clear he’s not in a rush.

With the once nearly bankrupt automaker now flying high in most of its other markets, Tavares outlined a three-stage process that will take as much as a decade to complete. In the meantime, he is focusing on several other critical endeavors, including the revival of the Opel/Vauxhall operations PSA purchased from General Motors last year, as well as a plan that call for the company to have 100% of its products electrified by 2025.

Industry News!

“When we go into a country we try to be really cautious,” Tavares said during a Thursday roundtable with a small group of journalists, one of several meetings he held in connection with the annual North American International Auto Show. The plan for North America is “more frugal, more humble” and will require only “a small investment,” he explained.

(more…)

Porsche Plugging In: Half its Line-up Will Be Electrified

German carmaker looking to expand battery-electric use.

by on Jan.18, 2018

Porsche is moving forward with its newest electric vehicle, the Mission E, as it expands its electrification efforts to half of its line-up.

It will be another year before Porsche’s first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Mission E, finally reaches market, but the German sports car brand already is laying out big plans to electrify.

Fully half of all Porsches will use some form of battery power by 2023, according to a presentation by Porsche Cars North American CEO Klaus Zellmer. That is expected to include not only the hybrids and plug-in hybrids currently in the line-up, but also additional BEVs like the Mission E. Porsche officials have also suggested they will eventually electrify even such classic core models as the iconic 911.

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While such a move might be a stretch for traditional Porsche buyers, the brand has begun bringing in younger buyers who are more open to experimentation, said Zellmer, speaking at the annual Automotive News World Congress. Nearly 80% of the customers who are signing up for the new Porsche Passport subscription service “have not owned a Porsche before,” he noted. (more…)

Safety Titan Claybrook Wants to Rein in Autonomous Vehicles

Former NHTSA leader says self-driving cars have too many shortcomings.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Joan Claybrook (left) during a panel discussion in Detroit said she doesn't trust autonomous vehicles and they should be tightly regulated.

Self-driving cars are not yet roadworthy and could pose a lethal threat to motorists unless they are carefully regulated said Joan Claybrook, the former chief of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and longtime critic of the auto industry’s safety record.

“The excitement around autonomous cars is very interesting, we have had massive problems with failures in the auto industry with airbags and with the GM ignition switch and they have killed people,” Claybrook said during a panel discussion on Autonomous Vehicles and regulation held as part of Automobili-D sponsored by Politico and held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.

Auto Show News!

In addition, for a long time to come what NHTSA has deemed as Level 3 autonomous vehicles that can cruise on auto pilot under certain circumstances but require driver intervention in an emergency situation, will mix with conventional vehicles on streets and highways. (more…)

Infiniti Will Be “All Electrified” After 2021, Says New CEO

Hiroto Saikawa also hints that Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance may seek a fourth partner.

by on Jan.16, 2018

Nissan's Hiroto Saikawa told attendees at the Automotive News World Congress that Infiniti will be electrified by 2021.

Luxury brand Infiniti will rapidly shift away from conventional powertrains and will be “all electrified,” with the exception of some large SUVs by 2021, according to the automaker’s new CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

The auto industry, as a whole is rapidly beginning to electrify as it comes under increasing pressure from regulators around the world. But the plan for Infiniti is one of the most aggressive moves so far announced by any automotive brand with the exception of Volvo which will switch to only hybrid, plug-in or pure battery-electric power for all new models launched by 2018.

Product News!

“Infiniti will have a specific focus on electrification,” said Saikawa, who replaced Carlos Ghosn as CEO of Nissan Motor Co. on April 1, 2016. “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year plan that will extend through 2022. (more…)

No Sale: FCA Not Negotiating with Chinese Nor Willing to Sell Off Jeep, Says Marchionne

Exec plans to release his final 5-year plan this quarter and then name his successor.

by on Jan.15, 2018

Marchionne plans to reveal his successor a few months from now but confides no women are in the running.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t open to selling off its Jeep brand nor has it fielded any offers for a complete takeover by a Chinese company, FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said during a media roundtable at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

Marchionne said he wanted to clear up reports that have, in recent months, suggested Fiat Chrysler was up for sale – or that it was willing to let go of some key assets, such as the Jeep or Ram brands. But the executive did not rule out a closer relations with GAC, the Guangzhou-based automaker that serves as its partner in the Chinese market.

Breaking News!

“Without them we could not have gone as far as we have in China,” said Marchionne, who stressed “We are not going to break up (the company and) we are having no discussions with anyone in China interested in acquiring us.”

(more…)

Infiniti Inspired: But What to Make of the New Q Inspiration Concept

Is this the long-awaited successor to the Q45?

by on Jan.15, 2018

The Q45 Inspiration Concept may not show up in the Infiniti line-up but will influence future product design, officials said.

Infiniti has a long history of teasing us with exotic concepts that eventually translate into slightly more sedate production vehicles. So, what to make of the inspiring new fastback prototype making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit?

Have we finally gotten a glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the brand’s original halo car, the 1990 Q45? Or is the new Inspiration just there to tease us with hints of the direction Infiniti will take after a recent shake-up in corporate design management?

What a Concept!

“Our Detroit concept car heralds a new generation of Infiniti,” is all we’re getting from Alfonso Albaisa, the long-time Infiniti stylist who recently was named global design director for parent Nissan Motor Co. The Q Inspiration, he added, it meant to demonstrate Infiniti’s approach to “artistry in the new age of autonomy and breakthrough drivetrains.”

(more…)

Live From Detroit!

Are Sedans a Dying Breed?

by on Jan.15, 2018

The 2018 North American International Auto Show is making big news this week and revealing some of the significant trends reshaping the auto industry.

Of course, TheDetroitBureau.com is still combing the show floor to bring stories and analysis so keeping checking the site often for additional must-know news and the latest updates. (more…)

GM CEO Barra Wants to Turn a Profit – Soon – on Electric Vehicles

New platform, high volume and cheaper batteries are key.

by on Jan.15, 2018

General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently signed off on a plan to expand the company's portfolio of electric vehicles.

While there are only a handful of long-range electric vehicles on the market right now, you can expect to see as many as two dozen or more in U.S. showrooms by the end of the decade, and several times as many five years from now.

Virtually every major automaker has promised to “electrify” its line-up, and companies like General Motors, Toyota and Daimler AG plan to put a premium on pure battery-electric models. While that may be great news for green-minded auto buyers, there’s a serious flaw in the equation for auto manufacturers, says Woong-chul Yang, the head of R&D for both Hyundai and its sibling brand Kia.

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“Whenever we sell eco-friendly vehicles we all lose money,” the South Korean executive told TheDetroitBureau.com after presiding over the rollout of the new Kia Niro EV at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. “Even battery vendors are losing money.” (more…)