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Canadian Workers Return After Protest at GM’s Oshawa Plant

Union staged sit-down strike after GM rejects proposals.

by on Jan.10, 2019

Workers at GM's plant in Oshawa, Ontario, staged a sit-down strike after the company rejected plans to keep the plant open.

Workers at General Motors’ Oshawa Assembly Plant outside of Toronto have returned to work after a brief sit-down strike this week that began a few hours after GM rejected a plan proposed by their union to keep the plant open until the end of 2019.

“The workers were so upset they couldn’t work. They couldn’t believe that General Motors had announced that all their hard work was going to be rewarded by canceling their livelihoods, by telling them the plant is closing,” Greg Moffatt, the plant chair representing Unifor workers at GM’s Oshawa facility, told reporters late Tuesday evening, according to Canadian Press.

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Production resumed Wednesday, however, but leaders of union representing some 3,000 Canadian automakers in Oshawa have vowed to continue the fight to save the plant. (more…)

Chevy Launches Expansive Marketing Blitz for Silverado

Brand hitting new and old media to hype latest truck.

by on Jan.09, 2019

Chevrolet's new promotional blitz for the new Silverado includes a new TV ad titled "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock 'n Roll."

Chevrolet has launched a broad new marketing campaign to bolster the sales of the all-new 2019 Silverado that includes an alliance with Amazon, the top retailer in the U.S.

The marketing campaign began with a traditional television advertising blitz during the College Football Playoff National Championship this week with the debut of the new 60-second TV commercial “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock n’ Roll” and carried over onto late-night television.

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The campaign comes as the Silverado is feeling some intense pressure from its main rivals Ram and Ford. Ram sales are steadily closing the gap with Silverado. Ram sold 500,000 units in 2017, but sales increased 7% to 536,980 while Chevrolet’s sale were essentially 585,561 in part because GM was re-fitting its plants to bring on the new version of the Silverado.  (more…)

Daimler Spending $500M on Automated Truck Development

Company looking to push to Level 4 with big rigs.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Daimler AG is investing more than $500 million into the development of automated big rigs.

Daimler AG plans to invest $570 million and create 200 jobs at its truck-oriented technical center in Portland, Oregon, to expedite the development automated driving for heavy-duty commercial trucks.

“As a leader of our industry, we’ve been pioneering automated trucking,” said Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses

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“In 2015, our Freightliner Inspiration Truck got the first road license ever for an automated commercial vehicle. Now we take automated trucking to the next level: we’re ready to launch the first partially automated new Freightliner Cascadia in 2019 – and next, we tackle highly automated trucks,” Daum said. (more…)

Israeli Tech Company Shows Off 4D Imaging Radar at CES

Arbe's new tech paves way for improved autonomous vehicles.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Arbe Robotics new 4D imaging radar can tell the difference between moving and stationary objects.

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Mobileye, which has made its vision technology essential to automated vehicles, Israeli technology company Arbe is unveiling technology that could be used to enhance vehicle automation.

The aforementioned Mobileye is now part of technology giant Intel after accepting a $15 billion buyout, but Tel Aviv-based Arbe Robotics unveiled its Phoenix automotive 4D imaging radar powered by the company’s proprietary chipset technology during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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Kobi Marenko, CEO of Arbe Robotics, said the beta version of Phoenix enables evaluation and development towards production and full commercialization of 4D imaging radar for all levels of vehicle autonomy. Phoenix provides an image 100 times more detailed than other radars available to automakers and offers clear separation of stationary and moving objects in real time – an industry first, he said. (more…)

BlackBerry, Karma Display New Security Technology at CES

New Revero shows off new tech for infotainment, security.

by on Jan.07, 2019

Karma Automotive teamed with BlackBerry to improve the security and performance of its infotainment system.

As vehicles become ever more complex and ever more dependent on computer systems, cyber security has become an increasingly important part of vehicle engineering and will be one of the themes for automotive companies and their suppliers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

BlackBerry and Karma Automotive will showcase how BlackBerry’s QNX technology is used to safeguard Karma’s Revero luxury electric vehicle. The joint CES display also points towards additional security and management systems that could be incorporated into future products.

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“Karma’s business and product plan is driven in part by collaborating with partners like BlackBerry whose expertise help us accelerate product development and differentiation,” said Karma CEO Lance Zhou. (more…)

Toyota Introducing New Automated Test Vehicle in Las Vegas

New vehicle based on fifth-gen Lexus LS flagship.

by on Jan.04, 2019

Toyota's new automated vehicle, the TRI-P4, is based off the Lexus LS sedan and debuts at CES.

Toyota has offered a glimpse of an automated driving test vehicle it plans to show off next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Toyota Research Institute plans to reveal the TRI-P4, which is based on the fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan and which Toyota plans to use TRI’s development of the two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system.

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“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI.  (more…)

Trucks, SUVs Pull in December Buyers Giving Industry Big Boost

Strong final month pushes auto sales past last year's numbers.

by on Jan.03, 2019

Sales of the Jeep Wrangler helped push Fiat Chrysler to a 14% sales increase in December.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continued to post strong sales numbers during December as it finished 2018 on a high note, while rivals General Motors, Ford and Toyota reported sales declines despite a heavy marketing push during the holiday season.

FCA enjoyed a 14% sales increase for month, while Ford reported an 8.8% drop and Toyota sales fell by 1.1%. Nissan Group reported a 7.6% increase and American Honda reported a 3.9% increase in December as sales of trucks, crossovers and SUVS. continued to drive the new vehicle market.

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For example, the Jeep Wrangler notched record December sales of 19,800 vehicles and full-year sales of 240,032. The results significantly exceeded the former full-year sales record of 202,266 set in 2015.  (more…)

Unifor Puts Pressure on GM in New Advertising Campaign

Ads have a pointed message for the company.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the new advertising campaign is designed to get GM to change its mind about the Oshawa, Ontario plant.

Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has launched an advertising campaign attacking General Motors’ decision to shutter plants and idle workers.

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, the successor to the old CAW, hase advertising campaign objective is to force GM to reconsider the decision to idle an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on an industrial site with a history of vehicle building stretching back more than 100 years.

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The Unifor ads are scheduled to appear in Canada and the U.S. and appeared even as GM was airing an expensive advertising campaign during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays that featured GM “employees,” touting Chevrolets. (more…)

Russian Automaker GAZ Pushes for U.S. to Lift Sanctions

Treasury Department moving to accelerate process.

by on Dec.27, 2018

Russian automaker GAZ is looking to get the U.S. to lift sanctions off the company so it can do business here.

The Russian and U.S. governments are discussing lifting the U.S. sanctions on a Russian automaker, GAZ, which is part of a holding company in which a prominent Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, has a key stake.

The talks aimed at lifting U.S. sanctions on Russian automaker GAZ are ongoing with the U.S. Treasury Department, and the company is implementing internal measures to encourage the process, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, according to Reuters.

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The U.S. Treasury extended a deadline for investors to divest from GAZ to March 7, a day after it announced it would lift sanctions on the core assets of Deripaska’s empire — Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminum company, and its parent En+ of which GAZ is also a part. (more…)

Year-End Turmoil Puts New Car Sales to the Test

Political fighting potentially slows new car sales.

by on Dec.26, 2018

The Christmas season means good cheer and good deals on new vehicles making it the second-best month for sales.

The final week of 2018 could offer some critical signals both for future car sales and the future course of the U.S. economy, which has been rattled by tumbling stocks and noisy political fights about the independence of the Federal Reserve Board and the government shutdown triggered by a bitter partisan fight over funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

During the last two decades, December has become one of the busiest months of the years for new vehicle sales. Manufacturers have packed have been advertising year-end deals since before Thanksgiving, and carmakers also have uncorked the incentive cash.

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But the end of the month is traditionally the period when dealers close a large number of sales and it is yet to be determined whether turmoil surrounding the stock market and in Washington D.C. will actually have an impact on sales of new vehicles. (more…)