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Audi Offering A New Way to Ride at CES 2019: Virtually

German automaker offers in-car VR system.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Audi is giving passengers a whole new experience when traveling using a new in-car virtual reality system.

So often when auto mavens talk about a vehicle’s ride qualities, they forget that for some that concept is more about how they will be entertained than how well a vehicle corners. Audi’s got that problem licked on either count and showed off its solution at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

Through a new subsidiary, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, the German automaker created a start-up company, holoride GmbH, which will commercialize this virtual reality games and other technologies for entertainment using an open platform that will be made available to all carmakers and content developers in the future.

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Audi is demonstrating the immersive futuristic technology with “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run,” an in-car VR experience for backseat passengers being brought to life by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences.  (more…)

Tesla Breaks Ground on New Shanghai Gigafactory

Musk expects plant to be completed by midyear.

by on Jan.07, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk said he expects the new Shanghai plant to be complete during the second quarter.

Tesla chief Elon Musk extended his vision of a world dominated by electric vehicles by traveling to Shanghai, China, to break ground for the company’s newest plant, Gigafactory 3.

Always the optimist, Musk said he expects construction on the massive 210-acre facility to be complete by the middle of this year with finished products rolling off the assembly line and out the doors by the end of this year.

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“With the resources here, I think we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in a record time,” Musk said during the rain-soaked ceremony. (more…)

Ford Recalling Nearly 1 Million Vehicles with Faulty Takata Airbags

Automaker recalls seven different models for airbag fix.

by on Jan.04, 2019

The 2010 Ford Fusion is part of the automaker's most recent recall to fix faulty Takata airbags.

The largest automotive recall in history continues as Ford recalls more than 953,000 vehicles worldwide to replace Takata passenger airbag inflators that may overinflate, explode and hurl shrapnel into the car’s cabin.

The action includes 782,000 vehicles in the U.S., including the 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, the 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger, the 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, the 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan, and the 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang.

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Ford says it doesn’t know of any injuries in vehicles included in this recall. Dealers will replace the inflators, and some of the recalls may be limited to specific geographic regions of the U.S. (more…)

UAW Sues General Motors Over Use of Temporary Hourly Workers

Union says there are 1,000 laid-off workers that should get the jobs.

by on Jan.03, 2019

GM is being sued by the UAW for using temporary workers at the plant instead of laid-off employees.

If there wasn’t tension between the UAW and General Motors due to the company’s restructuring plans to close five plants, the new lawsuit filed by the union over the use of temporary workers should ensure there is now.

The United Auto Workers said on Thursday it was suing GM about labor contract violations due to the alleged use of temporary workers at an Indiana assembly plant.

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The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Ohio. At the heart of the matter, according to the union, is the fact that GM used temporary workers at the plant when there are 1,000 laid-off hourly employees with rights to transfer to plants with openings — specifically the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant. (more…)

Rising Interest Rates Will Drive Auto Sales Down in 2019

Edmunds predicts rates will continue upward.

by on Jan.03, 2019

Rising interest rates and falling incentives are expected to combine to drive down new vehicle sales in 2019.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates throughout 2018 and, as observers expect to confirm today, new vehicle sales rose year-over-year. However, experts predict that will be a one-time occurrence.

There was a dip in automotive interest rates at the end of the year to help with holiday sales. New vehicle rates averaged 5.9% in December, according to Edmunds.com, after averaging 6% in November, which helped drive a strong end to the year.

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However, that average was largely driven by banks and other lenders rewarding buyers with excellent credit special low-interest loans rather than an overall shift downward. (more…)

GM Blows Past 200K in EV Sales Triggering Tax Credit Drop

Company hit the mark in Q4 2018, meaning cut coming in April 2019.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Sales of the Chevy Bolt rose 3.5% in the first half of 2018, and that helped push GM past the 200,000-unit mark in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Just as Tesla Inc. cut $2,000 off the price of all of its vehicles to help offset the loss of the $7,500 federal tax credit, General Motors is now in the same position after crossing the threshold just as it headed into 2019.

According to Reuters, the company reached the milestone – which began with sales in 2010 – at some point during the fourth quarter of 2018. Now buyers of GM-produced electric vehicles will only be able to get the full credit until April, at which point it will drop to $3,750. After another six-month period, it will fall again in October to $1,875.

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That will last until April 2020, after that – barring some sort of new legislation from Congress – the credit disappears. The company knew it was closing in on the target this fall as it began to lobby members of Congress to extend the credit for EV buyers. (more…)

Tesla Pushing Midnight Sales to Clear Backlog of 3K Model 3s

Musk offers big incentives to Tesla employees to buy a new car.

by on Dec.31, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk is looking to sell Model 3s all the way til midnight to make sure buyers get the full $7,500 tax credit.

Two nights ago, Tesla boss Elon Musk sent out a tweet telling his millions of followers that there was 48 hours left to buy a new EV and still qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit from the U.S. government.

Nothing wrong for being a shill for your company and its products on social media, but it’s becoming more clear as to why he was so motivated to try to drum of up sales for a company that supposedly has a lengthy waiting list for new Model 3 sedans.

Happy New Year!

Tesla has more than 3,000 Model 3s left in inventory in the United States as of Sunday, according to website Electrek, which cited people familiar with the matter. (more…)

Japanese Court Extends Ghosn’s Jail Time into New Year

Former Nissan Chief's custody extended until Jan. 11.

by on Dec.31, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is going to ring in 2019 in the same way he ended 2018: behind bars, after the Tokyo District Court extended his detention 10 days until Jan. 11.

The 64-year-old Ghosn who, according to prosecutors, committed a number of financial crimes. These initially included under-reporting about $36 million in revenue through 2015, using company funds to acquire homes in Lebanon and Brazil. He’s been in custody since Nov. 19.

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Ghosn’s had additional charges filed against him since then with prosecutors alleging he shifted personal trades to Nissan to cover losses of 1.85 billion yen, or $16.6 million. They have also indicated they may bring charges for concealing income since 2015. (more…)

Volkswagen Testing New Portable EV Charging Stations

New high-speed chargers can charge four vehicles at a time.

by on Dec.28, 2018

Volkswagen has developed a new portable electric vehicle charger that it will begin testing in 2019.

Volkswagen has been saying for months now that it plans to introduce a wave of battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. and around the world — as many as 50 vehicles by 2030.

However, as the motoring public begins to take a macro view of life with an EV, one of the questions being asked is where are all of the EV drivers going to recharge when the home charging station isn’t available?

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Plenty of companies are stepping up to build charging stations across America; however, Volkswagen isn’t just creating a problem with no solution with this tsunami of EVs is plans to introduce, it’s developed a mobile charging station. (more…)

Tesla Sets Up Leasing Company in China, Adds Two New Directors

Company as Oracle founder Ellison to board of directors.

by on Dec.28, 2018

Tesla Inc. established a leasing operation in China: another step toward growing sales in China.

Tesla Inc. is growing internationally while simultaneously resolving its battle with federal regulators in the United States.

The California-based electric-vehicle maker registered a wholly owned financial leasing company in China, with registered capital of $30 million, according to China’s National Enterprise Information Publicity System.

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The move to open a leasing operation in China falls in line with its plans to begin selling and building its cars in China. The company is seeking contractors to build its $2 billion gigafactory near Shanghai. The company has been moving quickly to establish a hold in China since the government eased local ownership laws for foreign EV makers. (more…)