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Lucid Motors Reportedly Discussing Sale to Ford

Detroit maker said to pass as Lucid seeks new funding.

by on Jul.18, 2017

Lucid Motors' officials are open about the fact the company needs another $700 million in cash to bring the Lucid Air to market.

Electric carmaker Lucid Motors is reportedly taking a two-path approach to getting its 235 mph battery-powered supercar into production, seeking a new round of financing while also approaching Ford Motor Co. about a possible takeover.

The California-based start-up has said it needs to raise significantly more cash if it hopes to set up a $700 million assembly plant to put its exotic Lucid Air model into production. But Bloomberg news service is reporting Lucid also approached senior management at Ford about the opportunity for a sale.

News You Can Trust!

Ford has promised to rapidly increase its commitment to electrify its line-up over the next few years, committing $4.5 billion through 2020. But, according to Bloomberg, the Detroit automaker shot down the proposed sale, at least for now, while new CEO Jim Hackett moves forward on a broad review of Ford’s goals and strategy. (more…)

So Near But Yet So Far. NFC Just Beginning to Find a Home in Cars

Honda adds NFC capabilities to new Accord. Others set to follow.

by on Jul.17, 2017

The "N" symbol alerts you where to tap your Android phone to pair up using NFC technology.

(This story has been updated to note that Mercedes-Benz is now offering NFC in some versions of its new E-Clas line.)

Bluetooth? Meh. In-car WiFi? Ancient history. Automakers are just starting to roll out a new wireless technology that could offer motorists a number of advantages.

It’s known as Near Field Communications, or NFC for short, and if you have a relatively recent smartphone you might already know some of its uses. Among other things, NFC is the system used by Apple for its iPhone payment system.

Tech Talk!

Automakers have been talking about adding the technology for a number of years. But NFC is really only now getting a ride, the technology showing up on the 2018 Honda Accord introduced last week, with several other models set to add the technology in the near future.

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Musk Wants to Open More Car, Battery Plans

Looking at “two or three” Gigafactories in U.S. alone.

by on Jul.17, 2017

A new Model 3 in front of Tesla's Fremont, CA plant.

The coming months will be the real test for Tesla. With the launch of the new Model 3 we’ll soon discover whether this money-losing niche player can transform itself into an immensely profitable, mainstream automaker.

No surprise, CEO Elon Musk is already looking at what will have to happen as Tesla grows, and grows fast, 2018 volume forecast to hit 500,000 battery-electric vehicles, or six times the company’s 2016 volume. To keep up with anticipated demand, especially with even more products in the pipeline, Tesla is laying plans for a network of new car and battery plants.

Breaking News!

If Tesla hits its target with the Model 3, the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant will be “bursting at the seams,” Musk recently told shareholders. He has been dropping plenty of hints on what will follow, and that is likely to include at least one more assembly plant in the U.S., as well as one in China, while we could see as many as 20 new Gigafactory battery plants.

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Honda Pulls Wraps Off All-New 2018 Accord

Update: could an Accord Type-R be in the works?

by on Jul.14, 2017

Honda goes to the heart of its domestic opposition, revealing the 2018 Accord in Detroit.

Honda has finally pulled the covers off its tenth-generation Accord, revealing a sedan  that’s both more stylish and lavishly equipped and which takes a “new direction” in its powertrain line-up with the debut of not just one but two new turbocharged engine options.

The launch of the 2018 Honda Accord comes at a critical time for both the Japanese automaker and the auto industry as a whole. Long one of the U.S. market’s best-selling models, the new Honda sedan will launch into a market where buyers by the million are migrating from passenger cars to SUVs, crossovers and other light trucks. Complicating matters, Accord will go up against a dramatic new version of arch-rival Toyota’s midsize Camry sedan.

Breaking News!

“We are redefining the Honda Accord for a new generation of buyers by bringing something unexpected that challenges the idea of what a mainstream sedan can be,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of the Automobile Division at American Honda.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalling 1.33m Vehicles for Fire, Airbag Risks

Two separate problems announced Friday.

by on Jul.14, 2017

A 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the models recalled for a fire risk.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced two separate recalls on Friday that will cover 1.33 million vehicles worldwide.

The two issues involve potential fire risks in a variety of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep models, as well as faulty airbags that have been fitted into Dodge and Fiat models. Most of the recalls involve vehicles sold in the U.S. market.

Beyond the Headlines!

The announcement by FCA comes at a time when the auto industry has been running record numbers of recalls, including one earlier in the week involving 2.7 million defective Takata airbags. The FCA airbag issue does not involve Takata devices, however.

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Jaguar Goes Loopy at Launch of New E-Pace SUV

Compact ute to pair up with bigger F-Pace.

by on Jul.13, 2017

Jaguar is hoping that buyers will also flip for its new E-Pace SUV. The stunt earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Jaguar is hoping buyers will flip for the company’s new SUV, so it decided to have the E-Pace turn head-over-heels during a splashy London debut today. What’s clear is that the 50-foot jump, complete with a 270-degree barrel roll has earned Jaguar’s second SUV a Guinness World Record.

The E-Pace makes its appearance barely two years after the debut of the F-Pace, the larger utility vehicle now Jaguar’s best-selling offering – and together they reflect the dramatic shift in the global automotive market. In the U.S., in particular, utility models now account for more than 40% of overall vehicle sales, and they’re rapidly gaining traction in the luxury segment.

Stay in the Loop!

The five-seat compact SUV is based on a shortened version of the Lightweight Aluminum Architecture used for the F-Pace, as well as the 2016 Jaguar XF and the XE compact luxury sedan. The British maker has already revealed that it will reach showrooms early next year at a base price of $38,600 plus $995 delivery charges. (more…)

Daimler Accused of Selling More Than 1M Cars With Illegal Defeat Devices

Company's stock takes heavy hit as a result.

by on Jul.13, 2017

Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz parent, stands accused of selling more than 1 million diesel-powered cars equipped with a cheating device.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG appears to be the latest automaker to face accusations of rigging vehicles with “defeat device” technology in order to illegally pass emissions tests, according to a major German newspaper.

The report, by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, sent shares of the automakers skidding in European trading on Thursday, though several industry analysts now say they don’t expect the report – if accurate to trigger the sort of massive blow to Daimler that was felt by Volkswagen AG. VW has so far spent about $30 billion as a result of its own diesel emissions scandal, while also having to repair or buy back as many as 11 million vehicles.

Product News!

According to the report, vehicles with excess emissions were sold in Europe and the United States between 2008 and 2016. Notably, Mercedes chose to withdraw its diesel models from the U.S. market this year rather than trying to get their emissions certified. (more…)

BMW Hopes to Stay Connected With Consumers in a New Digital Era

Automaker unveils new technology, services, to enhance revenues, boost loyalty.

by on Jul.13, 2017

BMW's iDrive helped to start the use of digital technologies in cars more than a decade ago.

Where buyers once measured the value of a vehicle in terms of its horsepower, many motorists today are more interested in the high-tech features that a car offers. And that shift is likely to continue, especially in an era when car-sharing and autonomous technologies transform the way people travel and buy cars, said Dieter May, the head of digital products and services for BMW AG.

The automaker was one of the first to begin introducing digital technologies into the cabin with the debut of its iDrive system on the 2001 BMW 7 Series sedan. Initially seen as a way to minimize the number of buttons and knobs in the cabin, the iDrive has now become just one of the ways to access and control various vehicle functions and services.

Tech News!

On Thursday, BMW officially announced plans to upgrade its suite of features, renaming its service BMW Connected +. These include such things as the ability to stream audio from services like Spotify to in-car security systems that can call for help after a crash. The Bavarian automaker is also getting ready to offer over-the-air, or OTA, updates, that will let it download software updates for in-vehicle technologies that, until now, required a motorist to go to a dealer to have installed. (more…)

The End Approaches For Dodge Viper

But demand for “Ultimate Viper ACR” will keep plant busy to the end.

by on Jul.12, 2017

Members of Team Viper ready an engine for installation into a new Dodge Viper. The plant is being shut down and Viper production ended for good.

Barely five years after bringing the Dodge Viper back to life, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will end production and permanently shut down the special Detroit assembly line tasked with building the two-seat sports car.

A total of just 87 workers will be impacted by the closure of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant on Detroit’s east side, but FCA plans to offer all of them work at some of its other facilities.

Product News!

First introduced in roadster trim in 1992, what fans preferred to call the “Snake” was one of the fastest products the automakers has ever built, but the $85,000 price tag was simply too much for most Dodge buyers, said Tim Kuniskis, head of Dodge and other North American passenger car operations. Ironically he told TheDetroitBureau.com, that sales of the Viper ACR model has actually been picking up as production of the Viper gets ready to shut down. (more…)

Tesla Adding 100 Service Centers as Model 3 Launches

Move considered critical as automaker goes from niche to mainstream.

by on Jul.12, 2017

Tesla has been launching non-traditional showrooms and displays, like this one at a Nordstrom's.

Tesla plans to add at least 100 new service centers, as well as 1,400 service technicians and a fleet of service vans to keep pace with the planned, rapid ramp-up of production of its first high-volume product, the Model 3.

With sales expected to grow to as much as 500,000 vehicles next year – a six-fold increase over the 84,000 sold in 2016 – Tesla’s current service and repair network would be overwhelmed, many analysts have warned, even if the new Model 3 were to come to market with industry benchmark quality and reliability. Tesla current only has about 150 service centers in operation to cover the entire U.S. market.

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Despite a price tag that runs less than half that of a current Model S, buyers of the new Model 3 “will have high expectations” for their new vehicles, said David Sullivan, a senior analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.

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