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Jeep Climbing Up to Another Record Sales Year

Top exec suggests new SUV smaller than Renegade may be coming.

by on Jun.24, 2016

Jeep CEO Mike Manley believes there is room at both ends of the Jeep portfolio for new products.

The Jeep brand is rocketing towards another sales record this year and it also looking for new worlds to conquer.

Mike Manley, president of chief executive officer in charge of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s Jeep brand, said during a session with reporters at the FCA’s Chelsea Proving Ground that he believes there is ample room in the market for a B-Class-size Jeep smaller than the Renegade, which is now the smallest vehicle in the Jeep model line.

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“I have a strong feeling a small Jeep below Renegade would do well outside of (North America),” said Manley, who has been responsible for pushing the Jeep brand into new market in Europe, Asia and now South America. (more…)

Auto Company Profits Hang in Brexit Vote Balance

Britons voting to determine if country remains in European Union.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Britons head to the polls today to determine if the country will remain part of the European Union..

Carmakers face serious challenges if Britons vote to leave the European Union, following a hard-fought and closely watched campaign that has raged across the British Isles over the EU’s merits and values.

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest carmaker, estimates its annual profit could be cut by $1.47 billion by the end of the decade if Britain leaves the European Union, according a report by Reuters.

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JLR CEO Ralph Speth told the company’s employees this week the company would face challenges if British voters decided in favor of leaving. “It is inevitable that we would face increasing and higher tariffs, making our products less competitive in Europe,” he said in the letter. (more…)

Musk Pitches $3B Acquisition by Tesla

CEO wants to merge SolarCity into energy division.

by on Jun.22, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is proposing a $3 billion acquisition by Tesla that could create a one-stop shop for people looking to get away from fossil fuels.

Elon Musk is looking to create a one-stop shop for the elimination of fossil fuels in the daily lives of people with his proposed acquisition of SolarCity Corp., a maker and installer of solar panels, by Tesla.

Never one to shy away from a controversial idea, Musk has set the bar high with this plan, which calls for Tesla to buy the company for just under $3 billion, using Tesla stock.

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The plan, in a nutshell, is that SolarCity would be absorbed into the company’s Tesla Energy division, which already handles the Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage devices for homes and businesses. (more…)

Volkswagen’s Legal Troubles Continue to Mount

German investigation continues to widen.

by on Jun.22, 2016

VW CEO Matthias Mueller may become part of group of executives investigated by German authorities.

The thicket of legal action around Volkswagen continues to grow, creating new problems for the company’s top management, which is eager to quiet the discussions about the emission scandal that has damaged the company’s image and undercut the company’s sales in the United States at a critical juncture.

Germany’s financial watchdog has called on prosecutors to investigate Volkswagen’s entire former management board over the time it took to disclose the carmaker’s emissions test cheating, according to press reports from Germany

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The complaint filed with prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, by Bafin, the German agency responsible for policing corporate misfeasance, is a blow for VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and CEO Matthias Mueller, who were both members of the management board – as finance chief and head of the Porsche brand respectively – when the emissions scandal erupted. (more…)

VW Facing New Lawsuit from Bondholders

Suit claims VW actions artificially inflated prices.

by on Jun.21, 2016

Volkswagen is being sued again. Boston Retirement System alleges misleading statements about the diesel emissions scandal hurt bondholders.

Volkswagen AG executives keep trying to climb out of the legal hole the company found itself in the wake of the emission-cheating scandal, but the lawsuits to continue to pile up.

In the wake of news that German authorities are investigating former CEO Martin Winterkorn for failing to disclose make public information about the cheating scandal as soon as he learned of it, VW now faces a lawsuit by bondholders in the U.S.

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Boston Retirement System, the public pension fund for Boston municipal employees, filed the first bondholders proposed class action against Volkswagen AG related to the company’s diesel emissions scandal, law firm Labaton Sucharow LLP said. (more…)

GM Gets Four Bites on Sale of Wisconsin Plant

Automaker's oldest plant shuttered in 2008.

by on Jun.21, 2016

General Motors has four potential buyers for its facility in Janesville, Wisconsin. The plant, GM's oldest, was shuttered in 2008.

General Motors is entertaining four potential buyers for an old – actually the company’s oldest – assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin.

The report of the interest in the site first appeared in the Janesville Gazette.

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The Janesville plant, which over the years has become a symbol of the economic decline of Rust Belt, was put up for sale after the United Auto Workers agreed to change the status of the plant to closed permanently during the 2015 contract talks. (more…)

Global Auto Sales Expected to Set New Records

Small crossovers, utes expected to lead sales charge.

by on Jun.20, 2016

Small crossovers, like the Fiat 500X, will drive sales to new records globally, according to BMI Research.

Global autos sales are still expected to show a marked improvement in 2016 and the boom in auto sales should continue into 2017 as consumers globally continue to snap up small crossover vehicles, according to a new estimate from BMI Research.

Sales of new vehicles worldwide are growing 3.4% compared with 1.9% in 2015, BMI reported.

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For the most part, developed states are continuing to drive this growth, particularly in North America and Europe, according to the report. (more…)

Automotive Hall of Fame Inducting Ralph Nader

New class includes former Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

by on Jun.16, 2016

Ralph Nader testifies before Congress in 1966. It was 50 years ago that his groundbreaking book, "Unsafe at Any Speed," was published.

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, is an industry sanctuary where the industry pioneers and legendary figures from its rich and diverse history.

But next month, the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn and board of directors, plans to make space for and put up a plaque dedicated to Ralph Nader, a long-time nemesis of the world’s carmakers. Nader’s 1966 critique of the Chevrolet Corvair, “Unsafe at Any Speed” is still considered off base by a lot of old-line Detroit executives.

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But Nader’s impact on the auto industry is undeniable and continues today with the industry’s emphasis on safety. In addition, Nader’s critique also helped lead to the creation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and tighter regulation of the industry. (more…)

VW Group Upping Investment in US after Diesel Scandal

New distribution, training centers coming to California.

by on Jun.15, 2016

Volkswagen is investing in its U.S. operations, including new facilities on the West Coast.

Despite ongoing problems related to its diesel scandal, the Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is pushing ahead with multimillion dollar investments in the U.S. hoping it will kickstart a turnaround for the beleaguered German automaker.

The Volkswagen Group has opened a new $6.8 million part distribution center in Rocklin, California, north of Sacramento, that will supply service parts to dealers in northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

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VW also said it is planning to invest an additional $4.5 million to open a new training center in Eastvale, California, just outside of Los Angeles. The $11.3 million investment is part of the company’s long-term commitment to the U.S. market and a broader strategy to invest more than $7 billion in North America through 2019, the German automaker said. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider

New roadster separates self from Mazda sibling.

by on Jun.14, 2016

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is expected to be an attention getter in the U.S. for the struggling brand.

In the age of the driverless car, two-seat roadsters and convertibles are an endangered species.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is betting there is still enough open space out on the American road for a soft-topped, rear-wheel-drive roadster to find enough cover and to draw enough sustenance to survive in a world that increasingly lives off data points and networks.

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The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider – no fancy spelling please – is quick, nimble and stylish. It is also the epitome of what buffs mean when they talk about cars that are “fun to drive.” (more…)