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Nine Automakers Sitting Out Frankfurt Motor Show

Companies focusing on smaller shows.

by on Aug.18, 2017

Despite strong attendance at the Frankfurt Motor Show, some automakers are electing to skip the show next month.

Automakers are still looking for ways to get the most bang for their buck. Between new partnerships with suppliers and each other to share costs, saving money is still on the agenda despite relatively healthy sales.

Now comes news that at least nine car companies elected to skip next month’s massive Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi and Volvo declined to attend. Volvo’s absence was expected as it announced a while back it wouldn’t be attending shows anymore. However, there are some surprises on the list. (more…)

China’s Chery Set for Big Introduction in Frankfurt

Automaker appears ready to expand European presence.

by on Aug.18, 2017

Chery plans to unveil its new M31T sport-ute at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Chery, one of China’s most aggressive automobile companies, is preparing to unveil a new sport-utility vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month as a prelude to entering the intensely competitive market in Western Europe, company officials said this week.

The SUV model, known as M31T, is the first of Chery’s all-new 3.0 product matrix. By debuting this SUV model in Europe market, “Chery hopes to make its first step of entering Europe and America market while showing its Global Strategy has reached a new height,” the company said in the announcement laying out its plans for Frankfurt Show.

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Chery noted the Frankfurt show, which has a long history, is known as “the Olympics” in the world automobile industry. It is one of world’s “A-level” auto shows, and offers Chery the opportunity to show of its technology and brand in front of a critical audience. (more…)

BMW Rips Back Covers on Z4 Roadster Concept and M8 Sports Car

Pebble Beach show cars soon to be followed by production models.

by on Aug.17, 2017

BMW taking the wraps off the Z4 Concept that is taking the place of the outgoing Z4 model.

The world’s most exclusive classic car show has also become one of the biggest new car events of the year, and BMW is just one of the many manufacturers using the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as a place to preview some exciting new concepts and production vehicles.

While we’ve previously gotten a sneak peek at the M8 sports car concept, it’s the first time the Bavarian maker has done more than offer a teaser image of the Z4 Roadster Concept that it now confirms will eventually morph into a replacement for the Z4 model just going out of production.

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The two-door show car offers a first glimpse at what appears to be a much more dramatic, sharply creased design direction for BMW. It also lets us finally get a look at the results from an ongoing joint venture with Toyota that will soon yield the rebirth of the Japanese maker’s Supra model. (more…)

GM Escapes $1B Stock Handover in Lawuit Settlement

Automaker pays trust's legal fees to fight lawsuits.

by on Aug.17, 2017

General Motors avoided giving up $1 billion in stock by paying its bankruptcy trust to fight lawsuits related to its faulty ignition switches.

General Motors escaped handing over $1 billion in stock by reaching an agreement with the automaker’s bankruptcy trust to litigate hundreds of personal injury cases and a class-action lawsuit related to its faulty ignition switches.

Last week, it appeared that the trust and plaintiffs had reached a $15 million settlement that would have had the trust accepting $10 billion in previously disputed claims, which would have pushed total approved claims in the case past $35 billion.

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The company cried foul in a letter to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, claiming the two sides had engaged in secret talks. (more…)

Ford Readying Wave of New Products, Says CEO Hackett

Automaker agrees to pay $10 mil to settle harassment claims.

by on Aug.17, 2017

Prior to joining Ford, Jim Hackett was Steelcase CEO and served as Interim U-Michigan Athletic Director.

While Ford has won praise for its push into autonomous vehicles, car-sharing and other futuristic mobility programs, it has also been criticized for a lack of new products today, something CEO Jim Hackett said the Detroit carmaker is addressing.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the former Steelcase chief executive – who took over at Ford following a management shake-up in May – say there is plenty “in the hopper,” though he declined to offer details on what new products are coming. Ford has revealed plans to revive its Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup nameplates, but critics say the carmaker also needs to revitalize its mainstream passenger car and luxury line-ups.

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Separately, Ford confirmed Thursday that it will pay up to $10.1 million to settle sexual and racial harassment allegations linked to its two Chicago-area factories. It also will add new training programs for workers at those plants.

(more…)

US Trade Leader Says NAFTA has Failed Americans

Lighthizer pushing for changes Mexico, Canada don't want.

by on Aug.17, 2017

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, talks with Canada's Chrystia Freelander and Mexico's Ildefonso Guajardo, both right.

The United States is not looking to make a few tweaks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, but instead wholesale changes, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in his speech kicking off the negotiations.

While his counterparts from Canada and Mexico offered more conciliatory messages in their opening remarks, Lighthizer doubled down on his contention that the agreement hasn’t brought the same level of economic prosperity to the U.S. as it has Mexico and Canada.

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“(F)or countless Americans, this agreement has failed,” he said during the remarks that were part of the first of what will be several sets of negotiations through the rest of the year to remake the 23-year-old trade pact. (more…)

Hyundai Set to Expand Line-up of Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Hyundai, Kia to introduce 31 new vehicles by 2020.

by on Aug.17, 2017

The Hyundai Tucson fuel cell model is about to get a sibling in the near term, according to Hyundai officials.

Hyundai Motor Co. is moving ahead with the launch of a group eco-friendly vehicles that include fuel-cell-powered models and a long-range electric vehicle with the capability of traveling more than 310 miles on a single charge.

Executives from the South Korean auto giant said the new fuel-cell model, now slated to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, will spearhead Hyundai Motor’s plans to accelerate development of low-emission vehicles.

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The move is in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s renewed goal of introducing 31 eco-friendly models between its sibling automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, by 2020.  (more…)

Feds Sued Over Rear Seat Belt Warning Failure

Transportation Secretary Chao named in lawsuit.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao was named in a lawsuit by two advocacy groups claiming federal safety officials failed to enforce a rear seat belt warning mandate.

Federal safety officials are being sued by two non-profit groups over the failure of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforce legislation requiring a vehicle’s rear-seat occupants to be warned to buckle their seat belts.

The suit, filed by the Center for Auto Safety and Kids and Cars Inc., claims that the government has been too slow to implement the warnings, which were mandated in 2012 and supposed to take effect in 2015.

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The mandate requires a “regular and salient reminder” (for example: an audible warning) about rear seat safety belts for passengers. (more…)

Trump Disbands Economic Councils – Could Impact Auto Industry at Critical Time

GM CEO Barra faced growing pressure to resign in wake of president’s Charlottesville comments.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier with Pres. Trump before he resigned from the council and found himself rebuked in a presidential tweet.

(This story has been updated to include comments from GM CEO Mary Barra on the closing of the economic councils and the controversy over Charlottesville.)

Turning again to Twitter, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is disbanding two economic advisory groups formed as he entered the White House last January and originally consisting of some of the nation’s top business leaders.

The move came shortly after the well-publicized resignation of an eighth council member, 3M CEO Inge Thulin. While some of the business leaders had resigned earlier in the year, the exodus had ramped up in recent days following a series of controversial remarks the president made regarding the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia as neo-Nazis, KKK members and other White Supremacists marched through the city.

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Other members of the council faced increasing pressure to resign, as well, including Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. But several industry insiders said Barra, in particular, faced a perplexing situation. The Trump Administration is considering several measures – including a possible rollback of mileage standards, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement – that could have substantial impact on GM. As part of the two councils, Barra had unusually good access to the president.

(more…)

Jaguar Hopes Startup Incubator Accelerates Tech Development

Automaker follows lead of other companies looking for new technologies.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Tyfone is one of two companies to join the Jaguar Land Rover technology incubator in Portland, Oregon.

With the auto industry in the midst of technological revolution, Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC has found a way to get a look at new developments by nurturing tech startups at the company’s small outpost on the West Coast.

The new additions to JLR’s “technology accelerator” program, Tyfone and Simplenight, focus on increasing data security and personalizing consumer experiences two key areas of interest and concern to consumers.

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Located in Portland, Oregon, the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator was launched in January 2016 and offers the company an opportunity to get a firsthand look at new technology as it develops. (more…)