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Ford Offers a First Look of its Next-Generation “Global” Focus

U.S. model remains under wraps.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Ford shows off the European line-up of the next-gen Focus. We'll have to wait to see U.S. versions.

Ford is lifting the kimono to give us a first look at its next-generation “global” Focus line-up – but it says it won’t reveal the U.S.-specific model until shortly before it goes on sale later next year.

The next version of the compact model will be offered in a range of body styles and trim levels, while adding a variety of tech features, including the new Ford CoPilot360 driver assistance suite. Expect roomier and more comfortable interiors, the automaker says, while adding that the next-gen Focus will feature new gas and diesel engines, as well as a new suspension.

Auto Show News!

“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” said Jim Farley, president of Global Markets. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus line-up we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”

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Chevy Rolls Out Radical New Face for Camaro SS, New Turbo 1LE Models

Chevrolet adds mix of styling, performance enhancements.

by on Apr.09, 2018

The Camaro Turbo will get the high-performance Chevy 1LE package for the first time for 2019.

In a truck-centric market, it takes some work to keep sedans and coupes fresh, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to high-performance muscle cars. With that in mind, Chevrolet is introducing a host of significant updates for the sixth-generation Camaro as it preps for the 2019 model-year.

That includes a distinctive front end for the SS model, as well as the first-ever pairing of Camaro’s optional turbo engine with the 1LE performance package. It joins existing V6, SS and ZL1 1LE combinations.

Performance News!

“The restyled 2019 Camaro reaches even higher with more of the design, technology and choices that customers want,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s marketing director for Cars and Crossovers. “It’s a performer with few competitors and a pillar of Chevrolet’s energized car lineup.”

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Chevy Bets on Facelifts to Prop Up Three Passenger Cars

Malibu, Cruze and Spark get updates – but nada for slow-selling Sonic.

by on Apr.06, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu in Premier and RS trims.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the slow death of the passenger car. Depending on which source you trust there could be any number of sedans, coupes, hatchbacks and sports cars vanishing over the next couple years as motorists by the millions migrate to SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks.

That includes the Chevrolet Sonic, from some of the latest reports. But GM North America President Alan Batey this week insisted that the automaker isn’t about to get out of the passenger car game and, as if to ensure we take him seriously, Chevrolet has revealed the updates it plans for three key models: the Malibu, Spark and Cruze – though the Sonic is notably absent.

2019 Model News!

“We are committed to offering consumers a full lineup of products with fresh designs, new technologies and efficient powertrain options,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet. “The investments we have made in Spark, Cruze and Malibu will help position the brand for success in competitive segments that still make up a significant part of the total industry.”

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Cadillac Exposed!

Here's how brand boss de Nysschen plans to use a new fleet of cars, crossovers and EVs to double U.S. and Chinese sales and even – finally – crash Europe. Exclusively on TheDetroitBureau.com.

by on Apr.06, 2018

Cadillac President John de Nysschen had two big intros in NY, including the CT6 V-Sport.

Cadillac is covering both ends of the spectrum at this month’s New York International Auto Show, offering up both the new entry-luxury XT4 sport-utility vehicle, as well as a high-performance version of its flagship sedan, the new CT6 V-Sport.

The two mark the start of an unprecedented product roll-out that, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen announced during a NYIAS news briefing, will add 11 models to the brand’s line-up by 2021. But that’s only a glimpse at what’s actually coming, the South African-born executive revealed in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.

The Last Word!

Long positioned as “the standard of the world,” Cadillac fell off its perch in the 1990s, dethroned by high-line European and Asian imports like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It’s had a few false starts in its bid to regain its former glory. But de Nysschen has put in place a do-or-die strategy that is aimed at more than doubling Caddy’s global volume with a mix of new products, advanced powertrains and a new approach to sales and service. Much will depend on the booming Chinese luxury market, but the Caddy chief is also determined to take on key rivals in their home, European market.

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Goodyear Tire Defect Linked to as Many as 95 Motorhome Deaths and Injuries

NHTSA launches probe after judge releases sealed documents.

by on Apr.06, 2018

A motorhome crash that may have been linked to the Goodyear G159 tires.

Defective Goodyear motorhome tires may have led to as many as 95 deaths and injuries, according to a new probe launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The potential problem, which played out over the past two decades, came to light after a Phoenix judge unsealed previously closed settlement agreements. The tires, which were sold between 1996 and 2003, were initially designed for use on delivery trucks, not for vehicles operating at freeway speeds, according to the data.

Safety First!

“That information — primarily concerning the tire’s design, its testing, the decision to market it for use on motor homes, and the adjustment data generated by consumer experience with it — should be made public because it relates to and reveals a substantial potential risk to public health or safety,” Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ruled in releasing the information that had been sealed as part of settlements between Goodyear and victims.

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Tesla Hit With NLRB Complaint Over Mass Firings

Feds probe controversial firing of nearly 1,000 employees.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Tesla's Fremont plant has faced a series of problems over the last year.

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint against Tesla, finding merit to a series of charges involving the company’s treatment of employees over the past months, including claims that union supporters were swept out in a mass firing.

Charges, cited by the NLRB, range from terminating employees in retaliation for engaging in union and/or protected activities to unlawful interrogations of union supporters. Many of the pro-union employees were fired last fall when Tesla dismissed nearly 1,000 employees for what it described as substandard job performance.

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Unplugged?

Tesla has yet to file an answer to the complaint lodged by the NLRB but denied the allegations when the union fielded the charges last autumn. It will have to come up with a response before a trial date now set for June 11.

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Fiat Chrysler Spinning Off Magneti Marelli Parts Business

Latest move by CEO Marchionne to “purify” automaker’s portfolio.

by on Apr.05, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to "purify" the company by focusing solely on its core operations.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spin off its nearly century-old parts-making operation Magneti Marelli a move that is part of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s strategy to “purify” the Italian-American automaker’s focus on automotive manufacturing.

The spin-off will follow earlier divestitures of FCA’s truck and tractor operations, CNH Industrial, and supercar brand Ferrari.

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Business News!

“The (latest) separation will deliver value to FCA shareholders, while providing the operational flexibility necessary for Magneti Marelli’s strategic growth in the coming years,” Marchionne said in a statement. “The spin-off will also allow FCA to further focus on its core portfolio while at the same time improving its capital position.”

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3 Familiar Models May Vanish as Sales Shift to SUVs

Ford Taurus exiting for a second time, along with Fiesta and Chevy Sonic.

by on Apr.05, 2018

The Taurus is one of two Ford models that are expected to be dropped over the next few years.

March saw an even bigger surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks but, according to industry data, sales of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks continued to decline – an ongoing trend that is expected to lead to the demise of a number of once-popular passenger car models, including Ford’s big Taurus and subcompact Fiesta, as well as the little Chevrolet Sonic.

And even more passenger car models could be on the way out, according to industry sources, even as manufacturers move to expand their light truck portfolios to take advantage of one of the biggest market shifts in decades.

Product News!

“I think we’re going to see some contraction in passenger car nameplates,” said Stephanie Brinley, principle automotive analyst at IHS Automotive. “That’s not to say they’ll go away. Some people still like them….but there’ll be some rationalization over time.”

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Trump Trade Disputes Put Automakers in Crosshairs

U.S. auto buyers could face substantially higher prices; industry profits could tumble.

by on Apr.04, 2018

President Donald Trump could be hearing rumbles from the auto industry over his trade policies.

Wall Street investors aren’t the only ones growing worried about Pres. Donald Trump’s increasingly aggressive actions on international trade. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of a potential trade war, automakers are also sounding the alarm.

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.,” the president tweeted this week, ahead of announcing $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made goods. The move quickly was mirrored by tariffs announced by China.

News You Can Trust!

The tit-for-tat trade battle could lead to serious problems for a number of industries, including aerospace, agriculture and chip manufacturers – as well as the auto industry. Carmakers are also fretting over the president’s increasingly confrontational tone over NAFTA, trade with Europe and new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

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Popular Ford Escape Flunks IIHS Crash Test

Five of Seven small SUVs earn good ratings.

by on Apr.04, 2018

The Ford Escape received the worst score yet among small SUVs in the IIHS small overlap test.

Ford Motor Co. is setting sales records with its broad SUV fleet, but a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could lead potential buyers to question the benefits of one of the maker’s most popular ute offerings.

The compact Ford Escape was the only of seven small SUVs to receive a “Poor” rating in the latest IIHS test for occupant protection, though the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport managed an only slightly better “Marginal” rating in the small overlap front crash test – which is designed to simulate what happens when a vehicle clips a pole, a tree or the corner of an oncoming vehicle.

Safety News!

Ford’s shortfall reflects a curious decision made with the update of the 2017 model-year, according to officials with the insurance trade group. The automaker upgraded the driver’s side of the Escape, which passed the small overlap test. But not the passenger side which was badly compromised and likely would have resulted in serious injuries if a human, rather than a crash dummy, was in the seat.

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