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French Government Fights to Lower Ghosn’s Renault Compensation

Officials voted against recommended payout; board overrules.

by on May.04, 2016

Renault Chief Carlos Ghosn's compensation is under attack from the French government, which believes it is too generous.

The French Government is taking aim at the compensation package of Renault Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn claiming it is too generous.

The French currently owns 18% of Renault, making it one of the company’s largest shareholders and France intends to maintain pressure on Renault to place some checks on Ghosn’s pay, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told reporters after a meeting of Renault shareholders.

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Shareholders, including the government of France’s Socialist prime minster, Francois Holland, voted against the chief executive’s 7.2 million euro ($8.3 million) payout for 2015. (more…)

US New Vehicle Sales Soar to Near-Record Levels

Makers still blowing trucks and utes out dealership doors.

by on May.03, 2016

Ford's SUV sales in April were red hot with the Explorer up 22% for the month.

Any concerns about a possible weakening for new vehicle sales this year have been set aside by strong demand for trucks and utility vehicles at near record levels last month.

Hungry buyers helped boost sales and transaction prices in April with Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Audi all posting sales increases for the month. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen sales continued to slide, but General Motors’ drop overall sales was a surprise.

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Ford reported its sales increased 4% versus a year ago and retail sales also grew 3%, driving the company’s best April retail results since 2006.  (more…)

Volkswagen Agrees to Meet with UAW

Automaker, union discussing fate of Tennessee plant.

by on May.02, 2016

Gary Casteel, the UAW's Secretary Treasurer and leader of the union's organizing effort in Chattanooga, is meeting with VW to discuss the future of the plant.

Volkswagen AG is preparing to open discussions with United Auto Workers on the sensitive issue of whether it will accept the presence of the UAW at its plant in Chattanooga.

The pair have said that they will now meet to try to resolve their differences, reopening a process that could lead to talks over union representation of the workforce at the German car maker’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant.

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If the VW accepts the UAW as a bargaining agent for maintenance workers at the Chattanooga plant, it would mark the first time the a European or Asian automaker with a plant in the Southeastern U.S. has agreed to bargain with the UAW. (more…)

Daimler Brings in Outsiders to Check for Diesel Cheats

German maker denied possibility earlier, but EPA reviewing records.

by on May.02, 2016

Dieter Zetsche, CEO Daimler AG, said earlier that the company's diesel engines did not use any type of software to get around testing procedures.

Daimler AG has brought in an outside firm to review its internal records for any sign of cheating on emission tests for diesel engines sold in the U.S. and the European Union.

The auditing firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu was hired to help with an internal investigation into its diesel-engine emissions technology requested by the U.S. Department of Justice, the luxury car maker said.

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The Delotte Touche review is specifically designed to see if Daimler used any devices to manipulate emissions tests. Volkswagen AG has admitted installing software that did so and faces billions in dollars in fines and court cases. (more…)

Dubai Pushing For Autonomous Transportation by 2030

City looks to save billions of dollars through self-driving transportation.

by on Apr.29, 2016

Just your typical parking lot in Dubai ... now. However, by 2030, a quarter of all transportation is expected to be autonomous.

Initiatives or promotions involving self-driving vehicles continue to proliferate around the globe. Volvo, for example, is embarking on a test of self-driving vehicles in London, while the Beijing Auto Show, which was virtually surrounded by the city’s infamous traffic congestion, also sparked talk of the China’s desire for autonomous vehicles to help mitigate the problem.

Also this week, the Middle Eastern principality of Dubai unveiled broad plans for using self-driving cars in its futuristic urban landscape.

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Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the launch of a strategy to bring “smart, self-driving transport” into the city. (more…)

Millennials Interest in New Vehicles Rises with Technology Available

Self-driving cars appealing to younger drivers.

by on Apr.28, 2016

Self-driving vehicles may improve the mobility of baby boomers some day, if they learn to trust the vehicles.

While self-driving cars are expected to increase the mobility of aging baby boomers, but they are still skeptical about the technology that piloting those vehicles. Conversely, younger drivers are seemingly enthralled by the possibilities the cars represent, a new study finds.

Gen Y or “Millennials” between the ages of 21 and 34 and younger Gen Z, which is just getting driver’s licenses, have substantially more interest in automated driving, according to the 2016 edition of the Tech Choice Study that J.D. Power presented to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

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“You often hear that younger people aren’t interested in driving. Maybe it’s just the Millennials don’t have the baggage about driving that Baby Boomers do,” said Kristin Kolodge, director of driver interaction and HMI at J.D. Power who supervised the study. “The just have a fresh perspective,” she said. (more…)

GM China President Predicts Growth in Future

Tsien expects popularity of SUVs, EVs to help drive sales higher.

by on Apr.28, 2016

GM China President Matt Tsien told reporters in Detroit today that he expects the Chinese market to continue to grow for the automaker.

China now accounts for roughly 37% of General Motors’ global sales, making it the automaker’s single largest market in the world, Matt Tsien, president of General Motors China, said during a meeting with reporters at GM headquarters in Detroit.

Tsien said it is difficult to predict if that percentage will continue to grow in next several years. “You have to know what the rest of the world is going to do to answer that,” he said.

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But GM expects the Chinese market to expand from the 25 million units sold last year to 30 million units in 2020. “That’s like adding a market the size of Australia every year for the next five years,” he said. (more…)

General Motors Investing $900 Million in Plants

Former Saturn site gets nearly $800 million in upgrades.

by on Apr.28, 2016

GM is investing nearly $800 million into its Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant as part of a larger investment plan.

General Motors plans to spend $788.7 million for an all-new, high-efficiency engine program, as well as projects to modernize the vehicle programs at its Spring Hill (Tennessee) Manufacturing Plant, creating 792 and retaining 16 jobs.

GM also announced a $118 million investment at its Bay City Powertrain facility, creating 29 and retaining 67 jobs.

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The GM announcement re-enforces a pattern of new investments in powertrain elements by domestic carmakers as the pressure mounts to meet increasingly tough standards for better fuel economy and cleaner emissions. GM isn’t alone in spending on its manufacturing operations these days. (more…)

Carmakers, Tech Companies Form Self-Driving Auto Alliance

Group pushing for uniform testing regulations – quickly.

by on Apr.27, 2016

NHTSA has already declared Google's autonomous tech is the equivalent of a human driver.

Companies from Silicon Valley and the auto industry are teaming up to create a coalition to influence lawmakers and regulators, who are destined to play a huge role in shaping the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Google, Uber and Lyft have joined forces with Volvo and Ford in establishing “The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets,” which has recruited David Strickland, long-time safety watchdog and former head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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In 2014, the most recent available numbers from the NHTSA, there were 6.1 million reported crashes on U.S. roads, resulting in 2.3 million injuries and 32,675 fatalities. Advocates of self-driving cars suggest an influx of these accident-averse vehicles on to America’s roadways would greatly virtually eliminate fatal accidents. (more…)

Ford Plowing $1.6B into Michigan, Ohio Plants

Investment focuses on profitable trucks and components.

by on Apr.26, 2016

Ford moved production of its F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio. It's spending nearly $200 million on the plant for the trucks.

Ford Motor Co. announced plans to spend $1.6 billion to upgrade factories in Michigan and Ohio, saying the new investment will create as many as 650 new jobs.

The announcement comes as Donald Trump, who has used Ford as a punching bag during his campaign, moves closer to the Republican nomination for President. Trump has repeatedly attacked Ford over its plans to invest in a new plant in Mexico and in several speeches has said it wouldn’t happen if he were president.

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Ford CEO Mark Fields said last month in New York Ford is a global company that invests in markets around the world. However, overall Ford’s efforts to correct the record have been relatively ineffective in the face of attacks from Trump. (more…)