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GM Sales Rise as Ford’s Fall in China

Ford sales likely to suffer until next year.

by on Jul.12, 2018

While Ford's Mustang is still selling well, the rest of its line-up is not, contributing to a double-digit decline in the first half of 2018.

General Motors posted a slight gain in sales in China during the second quarter, but Ford Motor Co. continued to stumble with a double-digit decline that deepened its woes in the world’s largest market for new vehicles.

In what is described as a slow market, GM and its joint venture partners delivered 858,344 vehicles in China during the second quarter of 2018 as sales grew 0.7% from a year earlier.

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Ford’s China slump intensified, as vehicle sales tumbled 38% in June and the automaker recorded its worst-ever first half. Ford sold 62,057 vehicles in China in June, taking its sales for the first half of the year to 400,443, down 25% compared with the year-ago period. (more…)

BMW Inks Three New Deals in China

Automaker shifting some ute production from South Carolina to China.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Baidu Vice President Zhenyu Li, left, and Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, celebrate a new deal.

BMW has signed three new agreements with key partners in China that it says will bolster the company’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market.

The BMW Group and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor inked an agreement to produce Mini electric vehicles through a new 50:50 joint venture, Spotlight Automotive Limited, dedicated to the development and production of electric vehicles in China.

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In addition, the BMW Group also expanded its successful BMW Brilliance Automotive partnership. In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand’s success in its largest market. As part of the expanded venture, BMW is now expected to move some production from its massive assembly plant in South Carolina to China.  (more…)

Gas Prices Continue Their Summer Ascent

California voters get chance to approve new gas taxes.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise, on average, across the U.S. during the summer driving season.

A California proposition to require voter approval of fuel and vehicle taxes will be on the November ballot now that the secretary of state has certified the requisite number of petition signatures.

As drafted, Proposition 6 would apply retroactively to recently enacted taxes and put all future gas tax increases to voters California, which has the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. Approval of the proposition could reduce state revenue by as much as $5 billion annually, according a report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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Gasoline prices in California are routinely the most expensive in the lower 48 states and currently top $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA. (more…)

Chevy Express Getting New Safety Tech for 2019

Upgrades come as City Express model phased out.

by on Jul.10, 2018

GM's Wentzville, Missouri plant will continue building the Chevy Express full-size van.

Even as it prepares to halt sales of one Chevrolet van by the end of the year, General Motors plans to upgrade 2019 Chevy Express models, including the Cargo, Cutaway and Passenger version, with new safety features, including lane departure warning, forward collision alert system and a theft deterrent system to prevent unauthorized entry.

The Chevrolet Express is a full-size van, compared to the Chevrolet City Express compact van, which GM currently sources from Nissan and is now scheduled to be discontinued after the 2018 model year.

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The first-generation Express ran from the 1996–2002 model years and was based on the GMT 600 platform. In 2003, a facelifted model was launched on what is known as the GMT 610 platform. This updated model remains on sale, albeit the range has undergone a few updates to powertrain and minor styling changes.  (more…)

Nikola Partnering With Bosch on New Semi-Truck

Companies working to enhance fuel cell technology.

by on Jul.09, 2018

While the emphasis is on battery power, Utah start-up Nikola is focused on hydrogen.

The promise of fuel cells has intrigued carmakers for years because they promise to liberate the automotive business from the petroleum industry but expensive batteries needing rare minerals and complicated manufacturing processes.

But as the well-worn joke about fuel cells goes the breakthrough in fuel-cell technology always seems to be about 10 years in the future despite the best efforts by companies such Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG among others.

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However, the Bosch Group thinks that commercial vehicles, particularly heavy trucks that run long distances over fixed routes, could be ideal candidates. Not only can fuel cells easily fit into large Class 8 trucks in many cases, the users of big trucks can supply the hydrogen required to run the electricity generating fuel cells, according to Jason Roycht, vice president, North America Regional Business Leader. (more…)

General Motors Building Mini-Pickup in China

No word on small truck coming to the US.

by on Jul.06, 2018

General Motors new Wuling Rong Guang mini-pickup truck is ready to work.

Trucks are keeping sales of new vehicles afloat in the U.S. and the traditional full-size pickup trucks is king of the road.

But General Motors is experimenting with new downsized pickup trucks in China.

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The SAIC-GM-Wuling has added the new Wuling Rong Guang mini-pickup to the Rong Guang family. The new mini-pickup will be available in variations powered by a choice of 1.5-liter or 1.8-liter engines, and a single or crew cab and in American dollars, prices start under $8,000. (more…)

Magna Building New BMW Z4, Toyota Supra

New vehicles to be produced in Austria.

by on Jul.05, 2018

Toyota Supra Racing Concept is the basis for the new Supra that will be built by Magna Steyr.

Magna Steyr has received the contract to build the new sports cars developed jointly by BMW and Toyota.

Magna has confirmed its that it has signed a contract with BMW and Toyota to produce the new BMW Z4/Toyota Supra starting at the end of 2018. It said that production of the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra will be added to its production line in Graz, Austria, after upgrades to the production line are complete.

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Although, the production levels for the Z4/Supra are expected to be relatively modest the added output will further drive Magna to reach its production capacity of 200,000 units in early 2019, analysts said.  (more…)

New Vehicles Jumping in June

Big Six automakers all enjoy sales increases last month.

by on Jul.03, 2018

Ram trucks and Jeep led Fiat Chrysler to an 8% sales jump in June.

Even as the price of gasoline rises, the six big car makers that dominate the U.S. market, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. N.V. Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Co., American Honda and Nissan, all reported sales increases for June with the help of strong sales of trucks and utility vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported June 2018 sales of 202,264 vehicles, an 8% increase compared with sales in June 2017.

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Overall sales were bolstered by both the Jeep and Ram brands, which reported significant increases for the month. FCA had the best retail sales in June sales since 2004. Fleet accounted for 23% of total sales, a 1% decline from the previous year. (more…)

Gas Prices Highest in Four Years, Expected to Rise

Prices lower now than at Memorial Day.

by on Jul.03, 2018

The summer driving season is upon us and after a short decline in gas prices, they are expected to rise.

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, the price of gasoline has declined slightly since the start of the summer driving season but is now expected to go higher as the price of crude oil begins to climb.

At $2.86 per gallon, gasoline prices are at their highest point for an Independence Day holiday in four years. However, for the nearly 40 million motorists expected to travel this week, they will find prices at the pump 11-cents cheaper than the past Memorial Day holiday.

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“The national gas price average has held fairly steady for the past 10 days, suggesting that U.S. demand is keeping pace with supply and stabilizing summer gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)

Obrador’s Win in Mexico Presidential Election Portends NAFTA Trouble

Tough NAFTA talks expected to get even more difficult.

by on Jul.02, 2018

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is likely to have a negative impact on NAFTA.

In a development that leaves the future North American Free Trade Agreement hanging by a slender thread, Andreas Manuel López Obrador was elected president of Mexico in a landslide victory that could lead to sweeping change in Mexican politics.

The leftist Obrador is considered by some commentators as Mexico’s version of Cuba’s Fidel Castro or Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

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Obrador, who narrowly lost the Mexican Presidency in 2006 and 2012, has forcefully rejected the Castro-Chavez comparison. Instead he ran on a platform that promised to curb corruption in Mexico. But Obrador, who won 53% of the vote July 1, has promised to attack the inequality in Mexico and has said the NAFTA isn’t working for the average Mexican worker needs a hefty pay increase. (more…)