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Jeep to Launch Renegade Plug-In Hybrid in 2020

Automaker set to have 12 electrified models in productions by 2022.

by on Oct.09, 2018

In 2020, Fiat Chrysler will offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade to kick off its electrification program.

After a slow start, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is plugging into battery power in a big way, the Euro-American automaker confirming plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade in early 2020.

That follows the launch of a so-called “mild” hybrid system on the all-new Jeep Wrangler launched last year. The system, known as eTorque, is also being used on the completely overhauled 2019 Ram 1500 pickup just now rolling into U.S. showrooms.

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The Jeep Renegade PHEV will mark a major push into battery power for FCA, the company recently announcing that its various brands will introduce a dozen more advanced electrified models by 2022, ranging from conventional “full” hybrids to plug-ins to all-electric offerings. They will cover a wide spectrum of models and price segments, including the all-new plug-in supercar being developed by the Alfa Romeo brand. (more…)

VW Back in the Global Sales Lead, But Toyota Returns to #2

Final months of 2018 could bring an epic battle.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Volkswagen appears to be the top selling automaker in the world with less than three months left in the year.

With 2018 quickly drawing to a close, Volkswagen appears to have cemented the global sales crown to its corporate head, rapidly gaining ground from its two closest competitors.

But rivals Toyota and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are facing a classic, neck-and-neck battle that could see them fighting it out until the last sale is counted, according to data compiled by research firm Focus2Move, for second place.

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One long-time contender, meanwhile, has dropped out of the race entirely. General Motors, which led the global auto industry for more than seven decades, is well out of the running after selling off its European Opel subsidiary and shuttering operations in several other markets, including Russia and India. (more…)

Musk Under Fire Again, This Time From His Supporters

Tesla CEO slammed for attack on SEC; his latest twitter storm could cause problems with settlement.

by on Oct.08, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk cannot help himself, taking a shot at the SEC via Twitter.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking heat again, this time from supporters, as well as his long list of critics, for his attack on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After reaching a deal with the SEC early this month that forced him to step down as Tesla chairman, the 47-year-old executive fired off the latest in an ongoing series of tweets dubbing the federal agency the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.” That was a reference to the investors who have been betting on Tesla stock to fall and who have become one of Musk’s biggest concerns.

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Musk came under the SEC microscope after tweeting in August about a supposed plan to take the battery-carmaker private. Federal regulators subsequently accused the Tesla founder of making “false and misleading” claims, finding no basis to support the proposal and, in particular, Musk’s initial tweet stating “Funding secured.” The SEC could have completely barred the exec from serving in any capacity on a public company and it could have levied substantially more fines than the $14 million penalty Musk had to pay. (more…)

EZ-Ultimo: A Design Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, Could Enjoy

Autonomous ride-sharing concept would target only the most elite customers.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Renault designers must have been given the freedom to indulge themselves with the EZ-Ultimo concept shown in Paris.

Only the French could have gone to market with vehicles like the DS9 and the 2CV – the deux chevaux, as it was better known. And only the French could have rolled out some of the wild and crazy concepts that populated this year’s Paris Motor Show.

As the media days wrap up, the public will be treated to the retro-futuristic Peugeot e-Legend concept, as well as the DS E-Tense, an electric supercar. But easily one of the most talked-about cars at an otherwise light Paris show was also one of the strangest, Renault’s EZ-Ultimo, which has alternately been compared to the Batmobile and “a rolling palace.”

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But the best way to think about this fully driverless prototype is the marriage of a personal jet and a ride-share vehicle – one that is completely autonomous. (more…)

VinFast Amps Up Ambitions After Strong Debut in Paris

Look for it to target markets outside SE Asia. Europe could follow.

by on Oct.04, 2018

VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca, center left, unveils the company's two offerings with Miss Vietnam, left, and David Beckham, right.

The world’s newest automaker is rapidly ramping up its plans.

Little more than a month ago, during a visit to the new VinFast headquarters and manufacturing complex in Haiphong, an hour outside Hanoi, company officials told TheDetroitBureau.com they were set to focus on the fast-growing Vietnamese automotive market, though they hinted they might look beyond the country’s borders at some time in the future.

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That future has apparently come fast. Following a well-reviewed debut of its first two products at the Paris Motor Show earlier this week, VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca revealed in an exclusive interview that “within a year we’ll be able to announce markets outside Vietnam and outside ASEAN (a trade bloc of Southeast Asian nations), to be clear. We’ve got our sights set both domestically and beyond.” (more…)

Aston Martin’s IPO Stumbles

Shares slide on opening day over concerns about long-term growth.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin's CEO, expressed optimism for the longer term run of the company's newly issued stock offering.

When they laid out plans to take the company public, Aston Martin executives clearly hoped to replicate the success rival Ferrari had with its own 2015 IPO, but things didn’t quite work out as expected, at least on opening day, with shares falling by day’s end to nearly a pound below the opening price of £19.

The decision to sell shares in the carmaker was described by Aston CEO Andy Palmer as “a historic moment” for a company best known for its long association with cinema spy 007. Indeed, it marked a major turnaround for a company that, early in the decade, seemed to many destined to face its eighth bankruptcy since being formed 105 years ago.

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But while Aston’s backers praise the aggressive “Second Century Plan” put together by Palmer, skeptics raised concerns about whether the company could deliver on a goal of launching seven new core models, as well as an assortment of specialty models, such as the reproduction of the DB5 used in one of the James Bond franchise’s most iconic films, “Goldfinger.” (more…)

Honda Partnering with GM in Race to Develop Self-Driving Cars

Japanese maker will invest $2.75 billion, including stake in GM’s Cruise Automation unit.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Cruise, GM and Honda will join forces to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of uses.

Honda Motor Co. will invest about $2.75 billion to enter into a partnership with General Motors aimed at developing self-driving vehicles.

That will include a $750 million investment in Cruise Automation, GM’s San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle subsidiary that was expected to launch its first product sometime next year. Together, the two carmakers plant “to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment,” according to a joint statement released Wednesday.

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The announcement marks the second major collaboration between GM and Honda, the two announcing in January 2017 plans to work together to develop an advanced hydrogen fuel-cell system that would be produced at a facility in suburban Detroit already assembling battery packs for use in vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. (more…)

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Now Out of Job and Still in Jail

Ousted exec “wishes to concentrate on his defense.”

by on Oct.03, 2018

Audi's Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler has been fired and remains in jail on charges related to dieselgate.

During any other year, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler would have been a notable presence at the Paris Auto Show where the brand formally introduced to the public this week its new e-tron battery-electric vehicle. But Stadler was a no-show because he remains in a German jail where he has been locked up since June in connection with VW’s diesel emissions scandal.

And even if he eventually beats the charges he now faces, Stadler will have to go looking for a new job. About the same time Audi was revealing the e-tron in Paris, the Volkswagen Group announced that it was terminating Stadler, effective immediately.

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In a statement, the company said they had reached “an agreement with Rupert Stadler on the termination,” adding that “Due to his ongoing pretrial detention, he is unable to fulfill his duties as a member of the board of management and wishes to concentrate on his defense.” (more…)

Smart Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Debut of Forease Urban Concept

“Proof that smart thinks unconventionally.”

by on Oct.03, 2018

Daimler is marking the 20th anniversary of Smart with the new Forease open-air two-seater.

Its been a full 20 years since Daimler AG launched Smart, a brand that was intended to think outside the box, as the cliché goes, and provide a viable alternative to urban dwellers who still wanted to own their own car.

To celebrate the anniversary, Smart showed up in Paris with the Forease, a concept that “interprets and embodies urban driving fun in a refreshing way.” How much fun it really delivers is up in the air, quite literally, as the prototype notably rolls around without a roof, unlike the foldaway top of the current Smart Fortwo Cabriolet.

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“The smart forease is proof that smart thinks unconventionally. Its design is reduced and pure,” said Gorden Wagener, the head of design for Daimler AG, which also rolled out nearly a half-dozen new Mercedes-Benz models in Paris. “The smart forease is a statement of urbanity and individual style. It has the coolness of the metropolis and demonstrates a truly free spirit.” (more…)

Future of Alliance with Nissan/Renault the Big Question as Zetsche Prepares to End Role as Daimler CEO

Zetche and Nissan/Renault’s Ghosn insist there is more to come during Paris new conference.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Zetsche and Ghosn first met when the German exec was working at Freightliner and the Brazilian-born Ghosn worked for Michelin.

Since launching the first in a broad series of joint ventures nine years ago, Daimler AG and the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance have generated what they claim to be billions of dollars in “synergies” that have allowed them to expand their product lines and grow into new markets.

But in recent months, the future of that partnership has come under question. The last major new project was announced three years ago. And now, with Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche planning to relinquish the CEO title next year, that has raised new questions about whether his successor, Ola Kallenius, would keep the alliance going.

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“Without the chemistry between us, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” said Zetsche, during a joint news conference with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn. But considering the results the partnership has generated, “I don’t see from my perspective why the momentum in this relationship should change.”

(more…)