Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Chevy Could Be First to Deliver $100,000 Pickup

Demand for pickups of all sizes, prices, defies overall U.S. sales downturn, says truck marketing chief.

by on Jun.18, 2019

Chevrolet is investing heavily into its plants to keep up with demand for its heavy-duty trucks.

The U.S. automotive market is expected to post only its second downturn since the end of the Great Recession, a decline that likely would be worse if not for surging demand for pickups of all sizes and price points, said Sandor Piszar, the marketing chief for Chevrolet trucks.

If anything, Chevy and sibling brand GMC are struggling to meet demand for their latest line-up of midsize, full-size and heavy-duty pickups, Piszar noted during an interview with, a situation that last week led parent General Motors to announce a $150 million expansion of its truck plant in Flint, Michigan.

News You Can Trust!

As always, demand is being driven by the “core” audience who want trucks for work and need lots of towing and cargo capacity, said Piszar. But there’s a growing market among non-traditional buyers who see a pickup as an alternative to a sedan or coupe and, in many cases, a luxury car. And those buyers “are demanding more” high-line features while also accepting fast-rising transaction prices. Chevy moved up-market with is latest trim level, the Silverado High Country. But it is exploring the potential to reach even higher, a move that could see it offer the first truck to top the $100,000 mark. Read the rest of this entry »

Pedestrian, Bicyclist Deaths Rise in 2018

NHTSA hasn't been able to determine why the disparity exists.

by on Jun.18, 2019

Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities rose in 2018 despite an overall drop in traffic fatalities.

U.S. pedestrian and bicyclist deaths rose in 2018 despite an overall drop in traffic fatalities of 1% in 2018 to 36,750, according to a preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, pedestrian deaths were projected please to rise 4% and bicyclist deaths by 10%. However, the overall traffic fatality rate was projected to drop to 1.14 deaths per 100 million miles traveled as deaths fell to 36,750, the lowest rate since 2014.

Safety News!

Pedestrian deaths accounted for 16% of all U.S traffic deaths in 2017, up from 12% in 2009. NHTSA officials said they couldn’t put their finger on precisely caused the jump in pedestrian and bicyclist deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Volkswagen Ready to Sell of Part of its Traton Truck Unit

Company looks to raise $2.1 billion with IPO.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Volkswagen is offering 10% of its Traton truck unit for and IPO. The company hopes to raise $2.1 billion.

Volkswagen AG is preparing to launch an initial public offering of shares in its heavy truck unit, Traton, that could raise as much as $2.1 billion.

Overall, the Volkswagen said in a statement that it would sell about 10% of Traton at a price that underwriters have pegged at between 27 euros and 33 euros per share in order to raise the offering.

Business News!

VW announced last month that VW planned to go ahead with the offering. Despite the uncertainty in global markets due to the economic slowdown in Europe and the spiraling trade war between the U.S. and China. Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing Teases Planned Hypercar

Street and track versions under development.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Toyota is in the midst of developing a hypercar for both the track and the road that will race in the 2020/2021 season.

Toyota is bound and determined to prove everything you thought you knew about the company is wrong, especially if that included words like “boring,” and “plain vanilla.” Fresh on the heels of its successful effort at the the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as its revival of the Supra model, the Japanese giant is giving us a hint of the hypercar it is developing for both track and street.

It’s not far away, either, with Toyota promising its most powerful model ever will be “on the grid” during the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship series.

Product News!

“Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development at the company’s technical centers in Toyota City, Higashi-Fuji and Cologne,” the automaker said in a release. It has also noted that president Akio Toyoda – the guy who keeps demanding more “passion” from the company – has himself spent some time test driving the as yet-unnamed hypercar. Read the rest of this entry »

Good News for Battery-Cars: Renewables Now Top Coal as U.S. Energy Source

Gap is small, but alternatives expected to continue growing despite Trump push for coal.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Renewables, like wind power, let EVs eliminate emissions, not just shift them from tailpipe to smokestack.

Not everyone is convinced that battery-cars really are good for the environment, noting that in some parts of the country they rely on energy generated by burning coal. But in more and more of the country, that fuel source is continuing to lose ground – to the point that renewables like hydro, wind and solar in April actually topped coal for the first time on a nationwide basis.

A report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, likely won’t be well-received in some places, notably West Virginia, a center of the coal industry. And it flies in the face of the pledges made by Pres. Donald Trump who repeatedly has promised to bring coal back as a major source of U.S. energy.

Beyond the Headlines!

But the die appears to be solidly cast, according to FERC, with renewables expected to continue expanding their lead over coal over the coming years, with a quarter of the U.S. electric supply likely to be generated by wind, solar, geothermal and other clean sources by 2022. Read the rest of this entry »

UAW Loses Organizing Bid at Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant

Union gets closer, but still falls short.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Volkswagen's hourly workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant once again voted against UAW representation.

The United Auto Workers narrowly lost its bid to organize blue-collar workers at the Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The vote, 833 against the union to 776 for the UAW, was closer than the 2014 effort but still fell short. Some 51.8% of workers voted against the union, while 48.2% supported the UAW. In the 2014 election, the margin was 53.2% against the union and 46.8% for the UAW. The UAW did win an election among maintenance workers in 2016.

News You Can Trust!

The union organizing effort was attacked by Tennessee’s Republican political establishment, which is opposed to the union gaining influence in the state and hampered by corruption charges flowing from ongoing federal corruption investigation. A former UAW vice president is facing sentencing soon after pleading guilty to criminal charges from the investigation.  Read the rest of this entry »

VW Workers Voting on UAW Representation in Chattanooga Plant

Union hoping third time is the charm.

by on Jun.14, 2019

The UAW's third election in five years at VW's Chattanooga plant is going on now.

It’s going to come down to the wire.

For the third time in the last half decade, hourly workers are Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are voting to decide if they want the United Auto Workers union to represent them. It was a contentious vote the first time around and only slightly less so this time.

The Last Word!

The UAW hasn’t fared well in its organizing efforts in the South, losing by significant margins in recent attempts in Mississippi and Alabama. A variety of factors played into those defeats: a strong anti-union group of workers named Southern Momentum, Republican politicians claiming doom and gloom and the UAW itself as stories of union leaders stealing money to do home repairs, pay off mortgages and other things for themselves have splashed across newspapers and television screens. Read the rest of this entry »

FCA Adds to Electric Vehicle Arsenal with New Agreement

Deal gives future EV, hybrid owners easy charger access.

by on Jun.14, 2019

Jeep will produce a battery-electric version of the Renegade that will be available in Europe.

For an automaker with seemingly no battery-electric car program to speak of, Fiat Chrysler suddenly has collected a bunch of assets needed to jump into the EV market with both feet. The automaker signed an agreement with European utilities Enel and Engie to offer charging points for its coming battery-electric products.

FCA would have been much farther along in the EV race if a proposed merger with Renault had gone through; however, the company isn’t letting that be much more than a hiccup on its sudden progress in the segment.

News You Can Trust!

Last June the company announced plans to invest 9 billion euros, or about $10 billion, during the next five years to introduce hybrid and electric cars in all of its markets. Currently, it offers a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Chrysler Pacifica minivan in North America. Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Announces New Features for 2020 Model-Year Line-Up

Safety is focus of new upgrades.

by on Jun.14, 2019

For the 2020 model year, the Toyota plans to offer some upgrades across most of its vehicle line-up.

When Toyota Motor North America rolls out its vehicle line-up for the 2020 model year, they’ll sport two new features: Automatic Engine Shut Off and Automatic Park, as well as have options for a few others.

Starting with 2020 model year vehicles, Toyota will phase in an automatic park system, which is designed to help reduce the risk of roll-away vehicles. The feature will be available in vehicles with an electronic means of shifting and/or applying the parking brake.

News Now!

It will automatically shift the vehicle into the “park” position and/or apply the electronic parking brake, in the event the driver exits the vehicle without placing the vehicle in “park,” Toyota officials said. Read the rest of this entry »