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Renault-Nissan Ready to Partner Up in Connected Car Space

Alliance's tech leader says teaming up makes sense.

by on Oct.26, 2016

Renault-Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn has said that partnerships are likely in the coming age of the connected car.

Under Carlos Ghosn, the Nissan-Renault alliance has leaned forward in areas such as the development and sales of electric cars and autonomous vehicle technology even when the returns have been scant.

Ghosn, however, also has been open to alliances of various kinds and Ogi Redzic, the executive overseeing connected vehicles at Nissan and Renault, said this week that developing a common technology for connectivity outweighs the risks of from a possible defect or a common breach in cyber security.

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Redzic, senior vice president of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said for automakers, connectivity with links to family, navigation aids and remote control of vehicles is an area where all automakers are looking for an edge. (more…)

FCA 3Q Earnings Jump to Black

Automaker revises full-year guidance upward.

by on Oct.26, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne revised the company's full-year guidance on the strength of the third-quarter results.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. raised its guidance after the company reversed the loss it sustained during the same period a year ago even though revenues and unit sales were essentially flat during the July-September period.

Fiat’s group adjusted earnings before earnings before interest and taxes increased in the third quarter of 2016, jumped 29% to $1.62 billion while the group’s margins increased to 5.9%. Net income also increased to $653 million compared with a loss of $387 million in the third quarter of 2015.

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For the full year, the FCA raised its guidance for adjusted EBIT to $5.94 billion and adjusted net profit raised to $2.5 billion from $2.3 billion. (more…)

New Vehicle Sales Dip Again in October

Sixth time this year that sales have dropped.

by on Oct.25, 2016

October auto sales are expected to be down compared with year-ago results, marking the sixth time this year that's happened.

The total number of new vehicle sales is expected to drop again this month as the U.S. auto industry remains locked into the holding pattern that has prevailed for the past half year as sales fall short of last year’s record monthly results.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of total sales is projected at 17.7 million units in October 2016, down from 18.1 million units a year ago, according to J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive.

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The J.D. Power/LMC monthly forecast indicates the annualized rate SAAR for retail sales in October 2016 is projected to reach 14.3 million units, down from 14.8 million units in October 2015, while fleet sales are expected to be 12,000 units lower than a year ago at 247,800 in October. Fleet volume is expected to account for 18.4% of total light-vehicle sales. (more…)

Toyota Fuel Cell Buses Ready for Tokyo Testing

Testing part of plans to sue 6,000 fuel cell buses during Olympics.

by on Oct.24, 2016

Toyota plans to introduce over 100 FC buses mainly in the Tokyo area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Toyota Motor Corp. announced it will start selling fuel cell buses in Japan starting early next year as it gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics when it expects to have 100 or more hydrogen-powered transit buses in operation in the host city.

The company says it has already been field-testing the buses powered by fuel cells, which use hydrogen as the feed stock for a chemical process that produces electricity, and they will be assigned a fixed route in downtown Tokyo early next year.

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More Toyota buses will come online in advance of the Olympic games as part of the Tokyo Bureau of Transportation’s plan to have more than 6,000 fuel-cell vehicles registered prior to the big games. (more…)

Toyota Readying to Build Hybrid Transmissions in Poland

Toyota second maker in a week to announce new operations in the country.

by on Oct.21, 2016

Toyota's new plant in Poland will build transmissions for the hybrid version of the Auris.

Toyota Motor Europe has announced plans to build a new plant in Europe that will produce transmissions used in hybrid cars.

European motorists, with their heavy orientation towards diesel engines, have traditionally been skeptical of hybrids. But the market is changing and a new generation of “plug-in” hybrids that can run on electricity or gasoline are slowly catching the attention of European buyers.

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Going forward, Toyota Motor Europe expects its hybrid sales in Europe to increase from its current level of 31% of total sales to a target of 50% by 2020. For Poland, the Toyota investment is the second major investment by a global automaker this month. Mercedes-Benz also committed to building a new engine plant in Poland. (more…)

New Trump Lashes Out Ford for Mexico Plans

Bill Ford's efforts to curb false narrative for naught.

by on Oct.21, 2016

Donald Trump's son, Eric, is picking up where his father left off by implying Ford is moving all manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

Ford just can’t seem to escape the fallout from the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the automaker claiming it is moving jobs to Mexico.

Now Eric Trump, Trump’s second son and one of the GOP candidates top campaign surrogates, is going after Ford for its plan to shift small-car production to Mexico.

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Top Ford executives have tried everything from tweets, television interviews, statement from the public relations staff and even a face to face meeting with executive chairman William Clay Ford Jr. to dissuade the Republican candidate from using the automaker in his campaign broadsides. (more…)

Gas Prices Starting to Fall in October

Some parts of country still over $2.50 a gallon.

by on Oct.20, 2016

Unexpected refinery maintenance has caused prices in some areas to rise slightly, but gas prices are down on average.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped for nearly two weeks after a brief spike during September, according to the information collected by AAA.

Unleaded gasoline was selling for $2.23.5 cents per gallon this week, AAA reported. The average price represents a decrease of two cents per gallon compared to one week ago, but remains five cents more than last month.

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Drivers across the country continue to see savings at the pump and are paying an average of three cents less per gallon year-over-year while the price of crude oil remains well below its historical highs, AAA said. (more…)

Lear Opens Innovation Center in the Motor City

Supplier hoping to capture city's buzz.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Lear opened its new "Innovation Center" in downtown Detroit hoping to capture some of the energy and creativity driving the city.

Mega-supplier Lear Corp. opened its new “Innovation Center” in downtown Detroit hoping to capture some of the energy and creativity sparking a renaissance in the old urban heart of the Motor City.

Matt Simoncini, Lear’s president and chief executive, told reporters Lear plans to use the new center to work on advanced products that are three to seven years away from production.

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One example of that type of product is the company’s intelligent seat that fits a driver’s contour and is also capable of monitoring a motorist’s physical condition. The seat also comes equipped with features such as individualized entertainment options and white noise. It is already in development, Simoncini said. (more…)

Apple Set to Abandon Automotive Dream

Company sets deadline for late 2017.

by on Oct.19, 2016

“We've always viewed that people love surprises," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. Surprise! It may not build a car after all.

Apple Inc. plans for the car business, code-named “Project Titan,” have fascinated the automotive industry around the world even though Apple has said little of substance about the possibility.

Now new reports are circulating that Apple has “drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions” and has even “eliminated hundreds of jobs” even though it has never acknowledged hiring folks for the uato project in the first place.

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Instead, Apple, according to several accounts circulating in the Silicon Valley media, will now concentrate on developing a system for autonomous vehicles that could be sold downstream to one of world’s car companies. (more…)

Canadian Union Sets Deadline for Ford Negotiations

Unifor facing tougher battle this time around.

by on Oct.18, 2016

Union leaders at Ford's Oakville, Ontario, plant are already saying that the pattern agreement with GM and FCA will get voted down at the facility.

With contracts with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler complete, Unifor, the union that represents Canadian auto workers, now turns its focus to negotiations with Ford Motor Co.

The union has set a deadline of Oct. 31, and tension about the two-tier wage system that was left basically intact in the in the new four-year contracts with GM and FCA.

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Unifor President Jerry Dias has said that securing investment for the two Windsor engine plants will be the key to the talks. The Windsor engine plant, which employs 1,400, needs a longer term commitment of new product to stay open, says Chris Taylor, Local 200 president, who chairs the union’s Ford master bargaining committee. (more…)