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Geely Buys 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 Billion

Chinese company now Daimler's largest shareholder.

by on Feb.23, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Khufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion.

Li Shufu, Geely’s chairman and majority owner, continues to sample different flavors from the automotive industry buffet, spending $9.2 billion for a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG.

The purchase, which was revealed in a regulatory filing, makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which holds 6.8%. Nearly 71% of Daimler shares are held by institutional holders, like Shufu.

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“We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential,” a Daimler spokesperson told Reuters. “Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking.” (more…)

UPS Orders 50 Battery-Electric Delivery Vans from Workhorse

Competition in the segment heating up.

by on Feb.22, 2018

UPS ordered 50 battery-electric vans from Workhorse Group. The company has 35,000 trucks that could be replaced soon.

Companies around the globe have been hustling to develop and produce a viable electric delivery truck, and it appears there is a winner: Workhorse Group Inc. The Ohio-based company just entered into a contract with UPS to replace 50 of the company’s delivery trucks.

“We see this vehicle as being a game changer in the electric truck arena,” Carlton Rose, UPS’ president for global fleet maintenance and engineering told Reuters. The deal calls initially for 50 trucks with a range of 100 miles each.

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However, the company has more than 35,000 vans that could be replaced as time and technology improve. UPS didn’t make the move due to some altruistic motive — at least not solely. (more…)

Ford Ousts EVP Nair After Investigation

Company mum on investigation details.

by on Feb.21, 2018

Ford's Raj Nair is out after an internal investigation revealed he engaged in "inappropriate behavior." Nair apologized.

Raj Nair, Ford Motor Co.’s executive vice president and president, North America, resigned from the company effective immediately.

His departure comes after an internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior. The company said the review determined certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.

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“I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused,” Nair said in a released statement. “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.” (more…)

Porsche Makes It Official: Diesels are Done

Maker's been slowly cutting diesels from line-up.

by on Feb.20, 2018

Porsche's new Mission E performance electric vehicle is set provide some stiff competition for the Tesla Model S P100D.

Not that it didn’t seem official before, but Porsche is getting out of the diesel engine business in favor of battery-electric powertrains. This will make Porsche the first German automaker to dump diesels entirely.

The company, which is owned by Volkswagen AG, has been slowly divesting its line-up of diesel powerplants for the last couple of years. This was highlighted by the lack of a diesel for the next-gen Cayenne when it debuted last fall.

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Now the Macan and Panamera models equipped with diesels are no longer available with a “no new diesel will be engineered” edict for the Macan S. The move is part of a “cultural shift” a Porsche spokesperson told AutoCar magazine. (more…)

Impact of Looming Interest Rate Hikes on Auto Sales Unclear

Cost of credit going up, but consumers still rolling with changes.

by on Feb.20, 2018

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates at least twice this year, but the impact on auto sales is unclear.

With automakers searching for a way to re-invigorate new vehicle sales, news that interest rates may be on the rise is the last thing that they want to hear, but another increase by the Federal Reserve appears to be on its way.

The Federal Reserve raised the interest rate three times last year. The last hike move the rate from 1.25 to 1.5%. Early indications are that the Fed will raise that rate at least two times this year, and possibly four as it looks to head off inflation concerns.

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While that doesn’t seem like much, those increases could trickle down to car buyers. The hikes may force automakers to stop subsidizing ultra-low loan terms to entice buyers with good credit to continue buying new vehicles. (more…)

FCA CEO Marchionne Earns Nearly $12 Million in 2017

Last year's compensation package slightly higher than previous year's.

by on Feb.20, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne's compensation package for 2017 totaled nearly $12 million.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV enjoyed a profitable 2017 and as a result CEO Sergio Marchionne received a raise to nearly $12 million in compensation. The company’s soon-to-retire leader made $11.5 million in 2016.

In addition, Marchionne also received stock for the first time in the last three years due to the company’s success. He is expected to retire later this year.

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Marchionne’s compensation is a mix of salary, bonuses and other benefits. His base salary in 2017 was $4.3 million and he earned a $7.6 million performance bonus for the company’s results in 2016, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. (more…)

Daimler AG Latest Under Diesel Emissions Microscope

Some Mercedes-Benz vehicles may have used cheat devices.

by on Feb.19, 2018

Daimler is the latest automaker to be investigated about cheating to beat U.S. emissions tests for diesel engines.

Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler have been investigated by U.S. officials for using “cheat devices” to pass diesel emissions tests in the U.S. and it appears Daimler AG is next to put its head on the block.

Investigators found Mercedes-Benz cars were equipped with software which may have helped them to pass diesel emissions tests, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported citing confidential documents.

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A Daimler spokesman said the company was cooperating fully with U.S. authorities and had agreed to strict confidentiality with the U.S. Department of Justice.  (more…)

Dodge, Mopar Sponsoring NHRA Event

Dodge enhancing racing status with NHRA partnership.

by on Feb.19, 2018

Dodge and Mopar continue to support NHRA racing with the sponsorship of the Mile High Nationals in Denver.

With the releases of the Hellcat and Demon models, it may seem like Dodge is looking to fill the world with street-legal drag racers. Well, now it’s working with the track-only monsters as it has signed on as title sponsor of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national event at Bandimere Speedway in Denver.

The brand has a long history with the NHRA, including its aftermarket performance brand, Mopar. The 2018 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar marks the 30th year that FCA US LLC brands are race sponsors, one of the longest partnerships in all of motorsports.

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“Performance and competition fuel Dodge owners and the Dodge//SRT team every day,” said Steve Beahm, head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. (more…)

Prices of Replacement Parts Helps Drive Rise in Auto Thefts

Vehicles offer thousands in black market replacement parts.

by on Feb.16, 2018

The NICB reveals the individual prices for different replacement parts for vehicles.

Auto thieves had a strong year in 2017 with thefts up 4%, according to FBI statistics, and that number is expected to remain “strong” as many of these vehicles end up being chopped up for replacement parts.

The average car has nearly $10,000 in “replacement” parts that are sold on the black market.

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) notes that today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident. Getting these parts from less-than-reputable sellers can equate to big profits for repair shops. (more…)

EPA’s Pruitt Lets Polluting Diesel Trucks Glide Through Loophole

Gliders spew diesel pollutants at rate 43x more than new trucks.

by on Feb.15, 2018

A Fitzgerald employee mates an older diesel engine to a new truck body.

Less than a year after Volkswagen was hit for more than $4 billion in fines, penalties and fees related to the German maker’s noncompliant diesel engines, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to exempt U.S.-built “gliders” that spew emissions 13 times worse than all of VW’s diesels combined.

According to the New York Times, EPA Administration Scott Pruitt is not only set to approve the vehicles, he’s contemplating removing the cap on how many of them can be sold annually. The Obama administration was attempting to cap their production at 300 units annually.

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“Gliders” are trucks that use new truck bodies from Peterbilt, Freightliner and other manufacturers that are mated to rebuilt engines exempt from pollution standards. The resulting truck is cheaper, less expensive to maintain cheaper to repair and, in some instances, gets higher fuel economy than new trucks. (more…)