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Mercedes Moving to Build New Plant in Germany

New plant comes as competitor expands in U.S.

by on Feb.21, 2018

Markus Schäfer, Mercedes board member, marks the groundbreaking of the company's new plant in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz Cars broke ground on a new factory on its home ground in Sindelfingen outside of Stuttgart that the automaker claims will be the most modern production center in the world when it opens in 2020.

“Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

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“It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production.” (more…)

BMW Rolling into Geneva with Multiple Debuts

The new X4 to be unveiled, plus X2, M3 CS and i8 also bow.

by on Feb.21, 2018

The 2019 BMW X4 grows in all dimensions but one, with its roofline lowered a mere 0.1 inches.

BMW plans to show a number of vehicles at the Geneva Auto Show next month, including additions to its line-up of electrified vehicles.

The rollouts will include the new edition of the first Sports Activity Coupe, the X4, which is at the premium end of the midsize class, of which BMW has sold more than 200,000 units.

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The new X4 is described as having expressive exterior design; premium interior ambience, state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and latest BMW Connected Drive functions as well as significantly enhanced driving dynamics thanks to equipment including M Sport suspension. (more…)

New Report: Daimler Software Cheat Beats Emission Tests

German maker cooperating with investigators.

by on Feb.20, 2018

Daimler's claims that its new diesel engine would be able to meet all emissions regulations turned out to be false.

Investigators in the United States are still probing whether Daimler AG cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

The investigations apparently follow the lawsuits filed in 2016 by a number of customers, claiming their cars had software made to fool emission tests. The software is similar to Volkswagen’s, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

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Mercedes-Benz, Daimler’s principal automotive subsidiary, no longer sells cars powered by diesel engines and has no plans to return diesel-powered vehicles to the U.S. market, senior company executives told TheDetroitBureau.com last month. (more…)

UAW Scores Victory in Tech Industry

New deal gives union momentum for Tesla organizing efforts.

by on Feb.20, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams touted the new deal with Bon Appetit in California, hoping to gain favor with workers at Tesla.

The United Auto Workers scored a small victory in its fight to recruit new members in the San Francisco Bay Area as continues to prepare for a battle with one of the region’s iconic companies, Tesla.

Earlier this month, nearly 150 Bon Appétit Management Company food service employees working at Airbnb Inc. ratified a first-time union contract with the UAW. The agreement covers food service employees working at four Airbnb locations in headquarters in San Francisco, as well as three other Airbnb sites in California and Oregon.

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“The contract raises the bar for working people up and down the West Coast,” said Gary Jones, the Western Regional Director for the UAW, who has been tapped to become the union’s next president at the UAW’s constitutional convention in June.  (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti

Power. Comfort. Feel. Alfa is back.

by on Feb.19, 2018

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia offers an excellent mix of power and distinctive styling.

During its long history, Alfa Romeo has had its share of up and downs.

It had a starring role in “The Graduate,” one of the iconic movies of the late 1960s, but by the time Ronald Reagan was elected president a little more than a decade later Alfa had faded away, eclipsed by the Japanese and European brands with seemingly superior technology if not design.

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But Alfa Romeo is back and a test drive of the Alfa Romeo Giulia left an indelible impression of a stylish, powerful vehicle that fun to drive and had a very different spirit than its German rivals such the BMW 3 Series or the Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C Class. (more…)

GM Plans Month-Long Shutdown at Flint Truck Plant

Plans are two weeks longer than usual.

by on Feb.19, 2018

GM is going to be laying off employees at its plant in Flint, Michigan, for two weeks after the company's traditional two-week shutdown.

General Motors told employees it plans to close down the company’s big truck assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, for the month of July.

The company said in a memo circulated to employees of the truck assembly plant that the plant will be closed for a “mandatory” two-summer vacation shutdown starting in early July. The two-week vacation shutdown will be followed by a two-week layoff for most of the employees at the plant, according to the memo, which was posted to a union website.

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The memo said some employees will be required to work during the temporary shutdown as the plant will be undergoing a series of improvements to the plant, which a key center for production of GM’s Chevrolet and GMC heavy-duty pick-up trucks. (more…)

Union Group Claims Racist Activities Increasing in Auto Plants

Reports of hanging nooses, harassment on the uptick.

by on Feb.16, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams said that the union is trying to eliminate racism and sexual harassment in plants.

Union activists have detailed a recent series of racial slurs and taunts in plants belonging to car makers and suppliers.

The report follows recent complaints by the EEOC detailing a climate of sexual harassment at Ford Motor Co. plant in Chicago that prompted warnings such behavior would not be tolerated from the company’s top executives, including CEO Jim Hackett, who visited the plant to re-inforce the message.

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United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams also said the union, which represents more than 415,000 employees at work sites across the country, harassment should not and would not be tolerated. (more…)

Autonomous Cars Will Have Same Impact as Smart Phones, Experts Claim

AI will make an enormous difference in future cars.

by on Feb.16, 2018

Autonomous vehicles are going to impact society as much as smart phones and the Internet, some experts say.

Autonomous vehicles will re-shape the world as decisively or even more decisively than the Internet or smart phones, one of the automotive industry’s top authorities on artificial intelligence told a panel sponsored by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

David Atkinson, head, Systems & Technology and Chief Research Scientist for Artificial Intelligence Silicon Valley Research & Development Center Continental AG, noted he spent most of his career, which stretches back into the 1980s working on variety of projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Atkinson said he took a job with Continental to work on the artificial intelligence applications that are critical to the development of autonomous vehicles. (more…)

China Extending Incentives for Electric Vehicles

Government pushing hard to increase number of EVs on roads.

by on Feb.15, 2018

Good news for Tesla and other EV makers in China as the government has extended incentives on electric vehicles.

The Chinese government appears to have extended the hefty incentives that helped ignite the rapid sales of electric vehicles in China, according to Bruce Belzowski, managing director of the automotive futures program at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Belzowski said during a UMTRI-sponsored conference on “Marketing New Powertrain Technologies,” said the Chinese government is prepared to go great lengths to promote the development of electric vehicles.

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While the Chinese now build millions of internal combustion engines every year, the government has concluded that the global automakers Japan, the United States and Western Europe have a major edge built around 100 years of experience, he noted.   (more…)

Toyota Set to Reveal Supra at Geneva Motor Show

New model likely to come with Gazoo Racing badges.

by on Feb.15, 2018

Japanese auto magazine, Best Car, revealed several pictures of the yet-to-be-unveiled sports car, including this racing version.

This story has been updated with new information.

Toyota Motor Co. dropped a broad hint that it is preparing to unveil a concept car at the upcoming 2018 Geneva Motor Show that will signal the impending return of one of its most famous nameplates, the Supra.

However, a Japanese auto magazine, Best Car, released early pictures of the alleged sports car along with a smattering of technical information. The pictures show a vehicle closely related to its MKIV concept car from a few years ago.

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The automaker offered only a partial look at the new Supra, a car that helped embellish the Japanese automaker’s reputation for building some of the world’s best cars. The Supra has been gone – but hardly forgotten – from the Toyota model line for the better part of two decades. (more…)