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Mercedes Ready to Unleash the New S-Class

Zetsche says new model will hit the show circuit.

by on Mar.29, 2017

The S-Class sedan is getting an update that will be on display at the New York and Shanghai auto shows.

Mercedes-Benz plans to present an updated version of the S-Class sedan next month during auto shows in New York and Shanghai, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the company’s shareholders in Berlin.

“Technological paradigm shifts often result in the former top dog of a sector being replaced. But we’ve got everything we need to resist that pattern,” he said.

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“The future offers Daimler a multitude of new opportunities and we will do our utmost to take advantage of them,” said Zetsche, who added the company’s overall strategy calls for boosting new initiatives and well-established advantages. (more…)

Zetsche: Daimler Preparing to Meet Different Challenges

CEO says company's financial strength key to flexibility.

by on Mar.29, 2017

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said the company is using its financial strength to meet the often contradictory challenges it faces.

Daimler AG continues to use its financial strength to push innovation as it faces the multifaceted challenges that often seem to be pulling the auto industry in opposite directions, the company’s top executive told the company’s shareholders at the automaker’s annual meeting in Berlin.

“We demonstrated once again in 2016: The combination of financial strength and innovativeness is stronger than ever at Daimler,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

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“At the same time, we initiated the biggest transformation in our company history last year,” Zetsche said as Daimler is developing further from a position of strength for the next generation of customers, employees and shareholders. (more…)

Leading GM Designer Moves to Under Armour

Dean led Cadillac design as well as Hummer.

by on Mar.28, 2017

Designer Clay Dean with the Cadillac Ciel concept, the design of which he oversaw during his tenure at GM's luxury brand.

One of General Motors’ top designers has quit the automaker for a new job with a maker of stylish athletic clothing.

Clay Dean, who held several key positions during his long career with GM, where he is credited with breathing new life in the Cadillac brand when he served as design chief, has taken a job as chief designer for Under Armour, a maker of sports clothing and equipment that is one of the major rival for Nike.

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Dean, according to Baltimore-based Under Armour. will be responsible for driving Under Armour’s global vision and strategy for Innovation, and cross-functional collaboration with its internal design, marketing, product and category management teams. (more…)

CARB Clinging to Clean Car Standards

Group remains committed to ZEV mandates.

by on Mar.27, 2017

The California Air Resources Board reaffirmed its ZEV mandates as a means to avoid returning to the smog-covered haze that used to be Los Angeles.

Officials from the California Air Resources Board stuck to their guns and voted unanimously to reaffirm the state’s clean car standards this afternoon at their hearing in Southern California where the threat of smog has long been a serious health concern.

The board’s vote means that California will maintain existing standards for passenger cars and trucks that will result in lower smog, particulate matter and carbon pollution being emitted from vehicles.

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The impact reaches beyond California because 12 other states also have adopted California’s standards, collectively impacting 113 million U.S. residents and representing over a third of U.S. vehicles. (more…)

March Sales Coming in Like a Lion

Analysts predicting sales increase of more than 2%.

by on Mar.27, 2017

Trucks are still paving the way for strong sales in the U.S. these days. March is expected to see a significant jump in new vehicle sales.

Even with concerns about rising interest rates and downward pressure on used car prices, making leases more expensive, auto makers are expected to post a sales increase for March, analysts said.

The auto industry will see its first year-over-year monthly increase of 2017 as March retail sales are expected to rise 2.4%, according to a forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Total sales are expected to increase 1.6%. J.D. Power and Kelley Blue Book expected that the seasonally adjusted rate of annual sales will reach 17.3 million units to 17.4 million.

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However, the sales increase will come at a price as incentives were running at a record level of $3,768 per unit, the highest level since the recession of 2009. Incentives as a percentage of manufacturers suggested retail prices reached 10.4% in March, which is also the highest level since 2009 when the topped 11% of MSRP, Power noted. (more…)

New Legislation Attacks Cyber Security

Democratic senators looking to bolster security measures.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Sen. Ed Markey, above, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced new legislation aimed at eliminating cyber attacks on vehicles.

Republicans controlling Congress and the White House have called for a broad reduction in federal regulations, however, two Democratic senators from New England, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have introduced bills bolstering cyber security of motor vehicles and aircraft.

“Whether in their cars on the road or in aircraft in the sky, Americans should be protected from cyber attack and violations of their privacy,” said Markey in a joint press release announcing the legislation this week.

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“If hackers access the critical systems of a car or plane, disaster could ensue and our public safety could be compromised.” (more…)

Ally Raises Caution Flag About 2017 Auto Sales

Increase in leasing hurting finance companies.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Ally Financial executives are sounding a warning, suggesting the current sales boom is fading.

As warnings go it wasn’t exactly a call to abandon ship, but it was a reminder that the auto sales boom of recent years is losing steam.

But Ally Financial Inc., which once upon a time was the financial arm of General Motors known as GMAC, has warned investors that its profit might not grow as quickly as it once thought because the demand for new cars is shifting.

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After two consecutive years of record sales, analysts are predicting another big year for auto sales in 2017. But the price that carmakers are paying to maintain that pace is climbing. (more…)

Valmet Building Mercedes Next-Gen Small Cars in Finland

Valmet currently building Mercedes GLC, A-Class already.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Mercedes plans to build its next-gen small car on the same line as the GLC and the A-Class by Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Mercedes-Benz plans to expand its ties to Valmet Automotive, the Finnish company that has built electrified vehicles for companies such as Think and Fisker as well as sports cars for Porsche. It also builds the A-Class and GLC at the plant.

Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced this week that Valmet will produce the next generation of compact cars at its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Finnish company has been building the other Mercedes vehicles at the site since 2013.

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“We are convinced that the next generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars continues on its road to success,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management, in a statement. (more…)

Costs of Tougher Fuel Economy Standards Inflated

Report says tougher standard won't cost as much as expected.

by on Mar.22, 2017

A new report shows that the cost of technology that improves fuel economy and emissions is less than predicted by regulators.

A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which reviewed the history of clean air regulations in the United States, the European Union and China, found that regulators have routinely inflated the costs of automotive technology that would benefit the environment.

Last week, the Trump administration announced that it will reopen the review of national fuel-economy standards for model years 2022-25. The report comes as the California Air Resources Board will make a decision, based on its own technical assessment, whether states representing 113 million people will stick with the current program.

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Automakers and other supporters of delaying the 2022-25 standards express concern about the cost associated with achieving tougher fuel economy and emissions standards and the impact on their bottom lines. (more…)

China Epicenter of New Development in Car Industry

Zetsche says push for EVs, size of market make country crucial.

by on Mar.21, 2017

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company plans to build and sell the newly unveiled EQ brand of electric vehicles in China.

China will likely serve as the stage where the auto industry’s future plays out in the years to come, two key executives from Daimler AG told a Beijing Forum organized to discuss the future of the Chinese economy.

“The automotive industry is experiencing fundamental change: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. Each of these has the power to turn our entire industry upside down. And I truly believe: China can be ‘the turbo’ of this transformation,” Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the forum as he outlined some of the key trends re-shaping the auto industry.

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“Electric mobility, for instance, is developing quickly here. And we are aiming to further contribute to this development by planning to produce our new generation of electric Mercedes-Benz models also in China. We are committed to delivering innovation and believe to have a common target with our partners: a both sustainable and highly fascinating auto industry in China,” Zetsche noted. (more…)