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Toyota Set to Reveal Electrification Strategy at 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Hybrids expected to remain key, even with new EVs in the works.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Akio Toyoda at the launch of the Toyota Prius V.

Toyota, the automaker credited with creating the world’s first mainstream gas-electric hybrid, plans to reveal its corporate electrification strategy at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned.

Though it set in motion the push to battery power with the 1997 debut of the original Prius hybrid, Toyota has been slow to embrace more advanced forms of electrification, with only one plug-in model, the Prius Prime, currently in its line-up. But with governments around the world tightening emissions and mileage mandates – and even considering outright bans on the internal combustion engine, Toyota is expected to outline plans to add dozens of new hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric, or BEV, models to its line-up over the next decade.

Electrifying News!

But don’t expect to see the Japanese giant abandon the time-tested internal combustion engine, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda cautioned during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “EVs are in focus at the moment,” he said, “but customers and the market will ultimately decide which powertrains will be successful.”

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Toyota Turns Up the Heat With New GR Line of Performance Models

Gazoo Racing takes on seven models, including Prius Prime plug-in.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Toyota unveils the new GR performance line-up.

Hoping to pump a little more “passion” into the brand, Toyota is pushing for more extreme designs and, now, adding a series of new performance models.

The Japanese automaker’s Gazoo Racing unit is starting out with seven models in its new GR series, with even the Prius Prime plug-in getting a performance boost. But one model was notably absent during a Tokyo debut: the reborn Toyota Supra that is expected to make its return debut during next month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

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The debut of the new line-up comes as President Akio Toyoda continues his push to improve the “passion” quotient for both the Toyota and Lexus brands, the luxury division recently adding the new LC500 sports coupe to its line-up while also adopting a much more aggressive design for the flagship LS sedan. The Toyota brand recently adopted a much more sporty look for its top-selling Camry model.

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Labor Dispute Cripples Production of Hot-Selling Equinox

Supplies at creeping toward critical levels.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Unifor President Jerry Dias said it's time for GM to reward the workers in Ingersoll for working lean and putting out best-in-class quality products.

The strike at an assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, has crippled production of one of GM’s hottest vehicles as negotiators from company and Unifor, the union representing some 3,000 workers, appear to have made little progress towards resolution to the unfolding dispute.

Unifor President Jerry Dias had said before the walkout began that workers would strike unless GM earmarked another vehicle for the CAMI plant in Ingersoll to replace GMC Terrain, which the automaker shifted to Mexico earlier this year. So far, GM hasn’t indicated it was prepared to meet the union’s demand.

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The strike by Unifor has cut production of the Chevrolet Equinox, which jumped 84.5% in the U.S. and by 33% in Canada during August.  (more…)

Mazda Bringing New Rotary Concept to Tokyo

Look out! Here comes another "dead" rotary engine.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Mazda resurrected the rotary engine for its RX-Vision concept a few years ago and will have another rotary-powered concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Five years after “killing” its famous Wankel rotary engine, Mazda is making plans to bring a rotary-powered concept to the Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Actually, Mazda’s production of the rotary may have ended in 2012, the Japanese automaker has kicked around several in-house concepts of the powerplant, the latest being the RX- Vision. However, a top Mazda official told Auto Express that it plans to rollout another rotary concept in October.

Auto Show News!

“With the Tokyo Motor Show, we will be introducing a new design concept. You can think of it as an evolution of theme of the RX-Vision,” said Matsuhiro Tanaka, Mazda’s vice president of research and development. (more…)

Genesis Amps Up its Game With New 3-Series Fighter

But Korean luxury brand still short in the SUV department.

by on Sep.19, 2017

Genesis steps things up by taking a shot at the vaunted BMW 3-Series with the new G70.

It’s already shown it can compete in the upper reaches of the luxury market, but now the upstart Genesis brand is taking aim at one of the most formidable competitors of them all: the BMW 3-Series.

Despite the kudos earned by the big Genesis G90 and mid-range G80 models, the brand’s new compact luxury sedan will have to do more than just load up on wood, leather and other lavish touches. It will have to demonstrate that Genesis – and parent Hyundai Motor Co. – finally understand what performance driving is all about.

Product News!

“G70 is the latest demonstration of our dedication to delivering innovative, customer-oriented vehicles,” said Woong-Chul Yang, vice chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Division, as the new model was unveiled in Seoul. “We will continue to focus our R&D efforts on the development and expansion of the Genesis brand.” (more…)

Tesla Preparing for Battery Swapping Stations?

EV maker files application for patent.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Tesla filed a patent application for a battery swapping device.

Tesla appears to be following up on a plan it revealed a few years back to swap out dead batteries for fully charged ones for owners of vehicles who don’t have access to a supercharger.

The California-based EV maker filed a patent application for a portable battery changer design that would allow technicians to make the swap in as little as 15 minutes. A quick scan of the diagram in the application shows many similarities to the model it demonstrated in 2013.

Product News!

However, the version in the application appears to be smaller and portable, according to Electrek.com. This would allow them to be set up in areas that do not have superchargers. The company showed off its ability to swap the batteries in June 2013. (more…)

Honda Investing Big in Future of Accord

Officials believe new model will impact midsize segment.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Honda invested more than $250 million and added 300 jobs at its Marysville, Ohio, plant for the new Accord.

Honda celebrated the kickoff of full production of its top-selling Accord sedan by announcing the $267 million investment in the Ohio plant that produces the car. The new support will bring 300 jobs to the facility.

“The new jobs and production growth will enable us to meet anticipated strong demand for the new Honda Accord,” said Rob May, MAP plant manager, in a statement.

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The money is really a reflection of Honda’s optimism about the midsize car market, and the redesigned for 2018 Honda Accord. Honda officials believe that despite the trend of rising utility vehicle sales in the U.S., the midsize market holds great potential. (more…)

Ford, Mahindra Team Up in India, Eye Other Emerging Markets

Move follows GM’s decision to abandon Indian market.

by on Sep.18, 2017

For the 2018 model year, Ford's smallest SUV, the EcoSport, gets a facelift just in time for its U.S. debut. The small ute is built in India and shipped to the U.S.

Just months after General Motors decided to pull out of the Indian automotive market Ford Motor Co. is hoping to kick-start its struggling operations there by teaming up with local pickup and SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra.

The strategic alliance marks the second time Ford and Mahindra have tried to team up. They ended a three-year venture focused on producing small sedans in 2005. The new partnership could prove critical for Ford, which had been considering exiting India despite the fact that many analysts believe the market could eventually be nearly as large as China’s.

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“Ford is committed to India and this alliance can help us deliver the best vehicles and services to customers while profitably growing in the world’s fifth largest vehicle market,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets. (more…)

Waymo Asks Judge to Delay Trial Start

Google subsidiary says it needs more time to review Uber documents.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car subsidiary, is looking for delay in the lawsuit it has filed against Uber so its lawyers have time to review thousands of pages of documents the ride-sharing pioneer has been forced to give up for review by its adversary.

The documents in question include a “due diligence report done by Uber prior to its acquisition of Otto, a self-driving tech start up focused on building automated trucks. Otto was founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, who had access to Waymo’s most sensitive technical information and whose conduct is at the center of the litigation.

Legal News!

Levandowski was fired at the end of May by Uber, which has also seen a wholesale departure of senior executives after it became apparent the company’s “anything goes” corporate culture left its intermediate and long-range plans in serious jeopardy. (more…)

General Motors Hit by Canadian Strike

Work stoppage crimps hot-selling Equinox production.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Unifor's Jerry Dias is leading a strike against General Motors at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

More than 3,000 Canadian autoworkers employed by General Motors at its assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, set up picket lines around the factory after GM and negotiators from Unifor Local 88 failed to reach an agreement on a new labor contract.

The strike is a tough blow for the company as it shuts down production at a plant that builds one of GM’s most popular vehicles, the Chevrolet Equinox. GM is in the midst of ramping up production of Equinox for the 2018 model year and inventories of the new vehicle are in relatively short supply.

Breaking News!

Dan Bothwick, president of Unifor Local 88, posted a message on the Local’s website calling for the strike, only moments before the old contract expired at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. (more…)