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Ferrari Brand Value Soars 40 Percent

Toyota most valuable auto brand overall, rises 7%.

by on Feb.17, 2017

Since Sergio Marchionne took over for former Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo and raise production levels, Ferrari's brand value has risen 40%.

The value of the Ferrari brand is steadily rising, according to a new study that ranks the world’s automotive brands by Brand Finance, a British valuation and strategy consultancy.

“The fact Ferrari has boosted revenues without compromising brand strength suggests that it has found the perfect formula to sustainably exploit brand equity to maximize shareholder value,” Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said.

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Haigh noted the strength of Ferrari’s brand is all the more impressive given its increasingly commercial approach and improving revenues. (more…)

Delinquent Car Loans Reach All-Time Highs

Record-setting fourth quarter followed record-setting third quarter.

by on Feb.17, 2017

New car sales set a new record this year. Car loan delinquencies also hit a record high in 2016.

The rate and amount of delinquent auto loans has climbed to its highest level since the end of 2008 when the U.S. was teetering on the edge of tbe Great Recession.

Car loans delinquent by 30 days or more grew to $23.27 billion, the most since $23.46 billion in the third quarter of 2008. They were up from $22.98 billion in the prior quarter. Roughly 3.8% of the loans were delinquent at the end of the fourth quarter, which is up from 3.6% at the end of the third quarter, according to data on consumer debt collected by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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Seriously delinquent auto loans whose payments were 90 days or more past due jumped to $8.24 billion in the fourth quarter, which was just an extension of the third quarter of last year, when the previous high was set, according to the survey. (more…)

Ford Funnels $200 Million into New Wind Tunnel

Maker plans to "super-size" facility to accommodate large trucks.

by on Feb.16, 2017

Ford plans to spend $200 million on a new vehicle testing facility that includes and advanced wind tunnel.

The Ford Motor Co. plans to spend $200 million for new wind tunnel at its principal engineering center in Dearborn, Michigan.

“This investment in new world-class test facilities underpins Ford’s ongoing commitment to advance our capabilities to continue to provide our customers with high-quality vehicles,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer.

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The new wind tunnel complex will sit on 13 acres next to Ford’s Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, Michigan. The complex will house new technology that delivers state-of-the-art real-world driving simulations to advance improvements in fuel economy. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. (more…)

GM, PSA Getting Pushback on Potential Opel Deal

German, British unions and governments against the sale.

by on Feb.16, 2017

GM is re-examining its European operations, specifically, the UK, in light of the "Brexit" vote.

General Motors’ plans to sell off its money-losing Opel unit is running into political and union opposition in both Germany and Great Britain.

GM is proposing to sell Opel to the French-based PSA Group, which it is assumed will move to reduce costs, shed some of the excess capacity and move to consolidate product lines. Excess capacity has long been identified as a major problem in the European auto industry but governments and unions throughout Europe have made it extremely difficult to close plants

Global Auto News!

Germany’s federal government and influential unions, which are already facing the threat of major job losses at Volkswagen in the wake of the diesel scandal, have moved quickly to criticize the proposed GM-PSA deal. (more…)

Republicans Working to Kill Trump’s Proposed Import Tax

Many believe it will raise prices and eliminate jobs.

by on Feb.15, 2017

President Trump's proposed tax on goods coming into the U.S., particularly cars and trucks, may get squashed by Congressional Republicans.

Republican Senators are growing increasingly cool to the idea of imposing a “border tax” on goods, including cars and trucks, exported to the U.S. from other countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

According to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newsletter and website, House Speaker Paul Ryan has met with Republican senators to neutralize the growing opposition to a core element of a tax plan cobbled together by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who hope to advance President Donald Trump’s agenda.

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A 20% across-the-board tax on imports, also known as border adjustment, has become part of Trump’s plans to push companies to do more manufacturing in the U.S. Trump has threatened various auto makers, including General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota, with the border tax because they now build vehicles in Mexico. (more…)

Volkswagen’s Union Balks at Potential Cuts

Tensions between maker, union remain high.

by on Feb.14, 2017

VW boss Herbert Diess is clashing with the automaker's unions over its turnaround plan.

Volkswagen AG is facing new challenges as discussions with its employees union in Germany have been put on hold after company and union negotiators failed to reach agreement on the implementation of the company’s proposed turnaround plan.

The talks are tentatively scheduled to resume later this month but the failure to reach agreement with the unions at its major plants in Germany could have dire consequences for the company as its struggles to overcome the huge and still rising financial burden created by the two-year-old diesel emission scandal.

Global Auto News!

German unions generally try to avoid confrontations but the unions at VW have been frustrated with the company’s management ever since the scandal first came into public view in the autumn of 2015. Union leaders from IG Metal the principal German metalworkers union have said the responsibility for the diesel scandal clearly lies with the company’s management. (more…)

Daimler Invests Millions in Financing App

Automakers looking for more ways to make buying experience quicker, easier.

by on Feb.14, 2017

Daimler AG is investing millions into AutoGravity, an auto financing and leasing app for smartphones.

Daimler AG announced it plans invest several million euros into California-based AutoGravity, a smartphone-based vehicle leasing and financing app.

The investment by Daimler is described as part of company’s effort push to build a digital platform for financial services that will appeal to younger consumers who bank and pay bills, using smart phones.

Tech News!

AutoGravity is not quite two years old, but its already been deployed in more than 40 states with a phone app that allow buyers to find tailored buying and leasing offers.  (more…)

Former FAW CEO Gets Jail Time for Bribery

Former auto chief accepted nearly $2 million in bribes.

by on Feb.13, 2017

Former FAW Group Chairman Xu Jianyi was sentenced to more than a decade for accepting nearly $2 million in bribes.

Former FAW Group Chairman Xu Jianyi was sentenced to more than a decade in prison following a bribery conviction, according to China Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court also ordered Xu Jianyi to forfeit personal property and to turn over his “illicit gains,” the paper said.

Global News!

The court found that from 2000 to 2013, Xu took advantage of his various posts to help others with business contracts, promotions, and directly or indirectly accepted assets worth $1.77 million. (more…)

Kuwait Investment Authority Claims Seat on Daimler Board

Kuwaiti investment council is Daimler's oldest shareholder.

by on Feb.13, 2017

Daimler AG is adding a new member to its board from the Kuwait Investment Authority.

The head of the Kuwait Investment Authority is in line to take a seat on the Daimler AG Supervisory Board for the first time.

The Kuwaitis have owned a major stake in Daimler for decades but this is the first time they have claimed a seat on the company’s board.

Global Auto News!

For the annual shareholders’ meeting to be held in Berlin on March 29, 2017, the supervisory board is nominating Bader Mohammad Al Saad, 59. Al Saad is currently managing director of the Kuwait Investment Authority.  (more…)

Bernhard Resigns from Daimler Post

Former rising star leaves without explanation.

by on Feb.10, 2017

Daimler's Wolfgang Bernhard discusses the $475 million the company invested in its Detroit Diesel plant on the outskirts of the city. Bernhard resigned today.

Wolfgang Bernhard, once one of the auto industry’s rising stars, has resigned from his job as head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Truck & Buses.

Bernhard left the company at his own request and for personal reasons, Daimler AG said in a statement. Bernhard’s contract expires next year in February, but his resignation is effective immediately, the Daimler statement said.

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“We regret this resolution, but we have a number of outstanding managers to succeed. We thank Wolfgang Bernhard for his committed work and respect his personal decision,” stated Manfred Bischoff, chairman of Daimler’s Supervisory Committee. (more…)