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Strong Sales Boost Bottom Line for Daimler

“We are pursuing the right strategy,” says CEO Zetsche.

by on Oct.21, 2016

Daimler CEO Diester Zetsche reveals the Generation EQ concept car at the Paris Motor Show.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class has scored a home run with luxury buyers – and with investors, demand for the new midsize model helping parent Daimler AG deliver a 13% increase in earnings for the third quarter.

Sales of the 2017 E-Class, as well as Mercedes’ expanding line-up of SUVs, helped offset a slump in Daimler’s truck business, the German maker handily exceeding analysts’ expectations for the July-September quarter.

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Earnings for the period hit 2.73 billion euros, or $2.97 billion, up from 2.42 billion euros during the third quarter of 2015. Revenues rose 4%, to 38.6 billion euros, or $42.4 billion. On a unit basis, sales of passenger cars rose 11%, to 565,564. (more…)

Fisker Offers Up Tease of New Battery Car

Long range car to use new graphene supercapacitor, not conventional battery.

by on Oct.21, 2016

Henrik Fisker offers a first teaser image of the new electric car he wants to launch next year.

Just two weeks after announcing plans to launch an all-new electric car company, Henrik Fisker is offering a hint of what’s to come with a teaser image of his first battery car.

A little Photoshop magic reveals some more of the details hidden in the shadows of the image as received from the Danish designer who first tried his hand at building cars of his own with the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma. The most obvious detail is the use of gull-wing doors, front and back. But it’s also apparent that the coupe-like sedan offers more interior space than a conventional vehicle of its size.


Set to target the likes of the now-familiar Tesla Model S, the as yet-unnamed new model will use a breakthrough power source, a graphene superconductor, rather than a lithium-ion battery, to yield at least 400 miles of range.


Tesla’s Musk Claims Autonomous Car Critics Are “Killing People”

Too much attention to crashes scares off the public, CEO claims.

by on Oct.20, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the media is complicit in the 1.2 million global traffic deaths each year because it writes stories about autonomous vehicle crashes.

Critics of self-driving cars may be “killing people” by building consumer resistance to the technology, said Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

Proponents of autonomous vehicles – including not only Musk but also U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx – contend the technology could eventually result in the elimination of most, perhaps all, highway deaths. But early prototypes, as well as vehicles equipped with semi-autonomous systems, have been involved in a number of crashes, including a May 9 accident in Florida in a Tesla Model S that resulted in the death of a former Navy SEAL.

Safety News!

Nonetheless, the South African-born Tesla founder, said that reporting on such events is counterproductive because when, “you write an article that effectively dissuades people from using an autonomous car, you’re killing people.” (more…)

Ghosn to Add New Duties as Chairman of Mitsubishi

“It is going to be difficult.”

by on Oct.20, 2016

Saving Mitsubishi "will require tough decisions," said new Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Already serving as the CEO of both French automaker Renault, as well as its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, Carlos Ghosn will now become chairman of embattled automaker Mitsubishi.

It will put the Brazilian-born executive in a familiar role. He became chief operating officer at Nissan in 1999, following a $6 billion investment by Renault, and helped turned the then-struggling Japanese company around. Following a series of scandals, Mitsubishi now needs similar help.

Breaking News!

And it could also help boost give a big boost to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, adding just enough volume for the Franco-Japanese partnership to brush aside rival Toyota to become the world’s best-selling auto company.


Faraday Future Set to Reveal First Car at CES

LeEco’s autonomous debut short-circuited when its car wouldn’t run.

by on Oct.20, 2016

The LeEco LeSee concept.

Tesla Motors isn’t the only automotive upstart attempting to make news about electric and autonomous vehicles. Several potential competitors have their own, futuristic models to reveal – though, as Chinese-owned LeEco demonstrated Wednesday, there are plenty of pitfalls along the path.

With billionaire investor Jia Yueting on hand for a public unveiling in San Francisco, LeEco’s event went off the rails when the LeSee, its prototype autonomous electric vehicle, couldn’t drive down the runway, forcing Jia to run down the ramp on his own.

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Jia, who made a fortune in the Chinese electronics industry, is clearly hoping to do better with a second automotive start-up he is funding, California-based Faraday Future. That company made its debut last January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and will be back at the 2017 CES in less than three months to unveil its first production model.


Tesla Warns of Slow Model 3 Deliveries.

Bad news for Tesla could be good news for Chevrolet’s new Bolt.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Tesla still hopes to have the first Model 3 sedans in production during the 2nd half of 2017.

Looking to buy one of Tesla’s new Model 3 battery-cars? You can look for a long wait.

Those who put in an early reservation for the carmaker’s first mainstream model might yet get a Model 3 delivered before the end of next year, Tesla now says more recent orders won’t be fulfilled until 2018. And some analysts questions whether the company will even meet that goal, considering its history of missing targets with new products.

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That could be good news for Chevrolet, however. The Detroit maker expects to start delivering the first of its own affordable, long-range electric vehicles before year-end, and battery supplier LG Chem said this week that it believes there will be demand for as many as 30,000 Chevy Bolt EVs in 2017.


Are These VW’s Electric Cars of the Future?

Patent images suggest radical alternatives to conventional car design.

by on Oct.18, 2016

Patent images of VW's ID reveal just the start of what the maker promises to be an onslaught of 30 EVs.

When Volkswagen unveiled its ID battery-electric concept vehicle at the Paris Motor Show last month, company officials promised it would usher in a dramatic shift in the automaker’s future product plans.

Set to reach market no later than 2020, the VW ID will be the first of 30 battery-electric vehicles from the German maker as it shifts from its familiar, albeit tarnished, diesel line-up to a focus on zero-emission powertrain technologies.

Future Product News!

The ID concept adopts the skateboard-like platform already used by Tesla and that will be adopted by other makers, including General Motors and Faraday Future. The layout provides the opportunity to radically change the basic shape of tomorrow’s vehicles – especially if they also adopt autonomous and even driverless technologies. And some patent images attributed to VW suggest some of the things the maker might have in development. (more…)

Buick on Target for New Sales Record with 2 Months to Go

Global sales up 23% for the year.

by on Oct.18, 2016

The Buick Envision is the first Chinese-made vehicles sold by a major automaker in the U.S.

For a brand that came close to being shut down six years ago, Buick is showing solid signs of good health, the maker today reporting it has topped the 1 million sales mark in record time with more than two months of the year left to continue burnishing the total.

Worldwide, Buick sales are up 23% so far this year – but the numbers can be a misleading. While there is no question Buick is on a record pace, the maker still lags behind prior peaks in the U.S. What’s driving the Buick build-up is the brand’s continuing momentum in China, now its largest single market.

Brand News!

In fact, General Motors officials have told that the only reason Buick was not cast aside – along with Saab, Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac – when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 was because of the damage that would have caused in China.


BMW Planning at Least Two More “i” Models, But What Then?

Other battery models may now go to mainstream BMW brand.

by on Oct.17, 2016

The i8 Spyder concept will likely undergo significant changes before the Roadster debuts in 2018.

BMW will launch two more models for its cutting-edge i brand over the next five years, starting with a 2018 roadster based on the next-generation i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. A version of the iNext concept vehicle will follow three years later.

That falls well short of the broad, electrified product line-up the maker had hinted was in the works only a few years ago, however. There are no signs of the i4 and i5 models that some sources once reported were in the works.

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Is BMW just keeping them under tight wraps? Have they been abandoned? Or has the maker simply shifted strategy, preferring to put more of its battery-based models – including pure electric and plug-in hybrids – into the mainstream BMW brand, rather than into the niche i marque?


Ford Takes the Hit, But GM, Other Automakers Continue Expanding in Mexico

Trump’s tirade forcing makers to be more cautious about discussing plans.

by on Oct.17, 2016

CEO Bill Ford met with Donald Trump to discuss his attacks on Ford Motor Co.

Even as Ford Motor Co. has been forced to repeatedly defend its plans to move small car production from the U.S. to Mexico, a Who’s Who list of other automakers is set to expand operations of their own South of the Border.

An all-new Audi plant went into production at the end of September, while Nissan is set to begin producing Infiniti models at a plant it will eventually share with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand. General Motors, meanwhile, is investing $800 million in its own small car operations in Mexico, including a retooled plant in San Luis Potosi.

Production News!

While the Audi and Infiniti/Mercedes operations show that Mexico is now attracting high-end manufacturers, much of the focus remains on small car production where low labor costs are critical to profitability. (more…)