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GM, Ford Enjoy Strong June Sales in China

Sport utes driving the market increase.

by on Jul.07, 2017

Matt Tsien, who heads up GM China, welcomed the jump in sales last month, led largely by SUV sales.

Sales in China by American carmakers perked up during June, offsetting the weakness earlier this year, with GM posting a 4.3% increase while Ford Motor Co. posted a double-digit increase of 15%.

Overall, for the first six months of 2017. GM’s sales in China declined 2.5% while Ford’s have dropped 7%. During June, GM and its joint ventures in China posted record sales as deliveries increased to 285,191 vehicles.

Global Auto News!

The Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands all posted record results for June, and Chevrolet had its strongest growth in six months. Demand for SUVs, the key driver of GM’s sales growth, remained the company’s best-performing segment, surging 42% last month. (more…)

GM, VW Lead Pack in Battle for North American Car, Truck, Utility Vehicle of the Year Honors

But U.S. brands go empty-handed in passenger-car category.

by on Jul.06, 2017

The Chevrolet Equinox is one of five GM models up for NACTOY awards - but none in the Car category.

General Motors and Volkswagen dominate this year’s first cut as members of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year jury get down to comparing the dozens of new models coming to market through the end of 2017.

But while Detroit’s Big Three have a strong representation, overall, in the three categories jurors will consider, the big surprise is that there’s not a single piece of Motown sheet metal in the passenger car category. Asian and European manufacturers will have to shoot things out there. All told, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will have nine entries in the truck and utility categories.

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The Big Picture!

That’s no surprise, perhaps, considering current market trends, light trucks – including pickups, vans and utility vehicles – accounting for nearly two-thirds of U.S. new vehicle sales. FCA going so far as to halt production of all passenger car models in the United States.

(more…)

Ford Recalls 402K Transits Due to Drive Shaft Problem

Company includes 370K vehicles in the U.S.

by on Jun.28, 2017

Ford is recalling 402K Transits in North America for a drive shaft problem.

Ford is recalling more than 400,000 Transit vans across North America to deal with defective drive shafts. The repairs will be made at no cost to the owners.

Officially, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is recalling 402,462 Transits, including 370,630 in the U.S. The action covers 2015 through 2017 model-year Transits from the company’s plant in Kansas City built between Jan. 17, 2014 and June 15, 2017.

Watching Out for Your Safety!

A defective flexible coupling could cause separation of the drive shaft, cutting off motive power, causing the vehicle to move while parked or damaging surrounding parts. Ford said it had not identified any crashes or injuries connected to the defect. (more…)

Ford Grapples With Chemical Spill into Lake Erie

Mix of deionized water and e-coat not considered hazardous, fire department says.

by on Jun.27, 2017

Ford is working to control a chemical spill at its Avon Lake, Ohio plant that dumped chemicals into Lake Erie.

Ford Motor Co. is grappling with a chemical spill at its Avon Lake Assembly plant that could potentially result in thousands of gallons of material being sent into Lake Erie.

“We have an emergency response team on-site to address an accidental release of a chemical used in the paint process into a storm sewer leading to Lake Erie,” a Ford spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Beyond the Headlines!

“We have identified and eliminated the source of the leak and do not expect additional e-coat to enter the storm sewer. We are working with authorities to contain it as quickly as possible. We are absolutely committed to the health and safety of our community and ensuring our properties meet environmental requirements,” Ford’s statement added.  (more…)

Mercedes New Russian Plant: Start of Change?

Most automakers cut ties to market, although Ford pondering expansion.

by on Jun.20, 2017

Daimler and Russian officials show off the model for the new Mercedes-Benz plant just outside Moscow.

As many automakers have been running away from the Russian auto market, a few others are moving into to expand their foothold in their absence. Daimler AG began construction of a new Mercedes-Benz plant near Moscow: the first new investment by a major foreign automaker in years.

The German maker is investing nearly $280 million into the new factory to build new Mercedes E-Class sedans starting in 2019 with the luxury brand’s GL class sport utility vehicles following afterward.

News You Can Trust!

“Establishing a passenger car production in Russia is a strategic investment in an important sales market for Mercedes-Benz. We are extending our local footprint and, at the same time, strengthening our global competitiveness,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisonal Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, during the groundbreaking ceremony. (more…)

Ford Moving Focus to China

Scrapping plans for Mexican production entirely saves another $500M.

by on Jun.20, 2017

Ford had planned to shift production of the Focus to Hermosillo, Mexico, but instead will produce it in China.

In a surprise move, Ford Motor Co. says it won’t move production of its Focus model to Mexico., but rather Ford plans to move it to China.

That would make the Ford Focus the first mainstream model to be imported from China, a move that could also raise the ire of President Donald Trump, who has been pressing the auto industry to bring more production – and jobs – back to the U.S.

News Now!

But with sales of the compact vehicle line sliding sharply, Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of Global Operations, said the move will save the carmaker about $500 million. Ford had already said it would save at least $500 million by scrubbing plans to build an entirely new Mexican plant for the Focus and other small car lines. (more…)

Ford Goes Off-Road With New Expedition FX4

A ute for all occasions.

by on Jun.19, 2017

Buyers have already been taking the Expedition off road; Ford adds features to make that easier.

If you’ve thought about the big Ford Expedition as nothing more than a minivan alternative, you might need to think again with the debut of the new FX4 edition.

All versions of the 2018 Ford Expedition migrate to an aluminum-intensive body, sharing the same engineering approach as the full-size F-150 pickup. The people-mover also gets a new powertrain package and updated safety and infotainment technologies.

Product News!

But Ford is taking another tip from the F-150 line-up, where the FX4 package is a perennial buyer favorite. The off-road trim level will now be offered for Expedition buyers, as well.

(more…)

Automakers Want Free Hand to Test Autonomous Vehicles – But GOP Might Cut Out Federal, State Safety Regulators

Industry insists a freer hand will bring self-driving technology to market more quickly.

by on Jun.16, 2017

Waymo recently launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

As they move closer to bringing autonomous and fully driverless vehicles to market, automakers and tech firms such as General Motors, Ford, Waymo and Tesla are pressing the federal government to loosen up regulations limiting the way they can test their prototypes on public roads.

Even before the Obama Administration concluded its second term, the feds were working up new autonomous guidelines. But now, under the Trump Administration, it appears Congress could give the auto industry even more freedom to move forward while limiting the power of both individual states and even federal safety regulators.

Tech News!

Congress wants to “continue working with all parties in a bipartisan manner as we refine language and move forward towards a consensus package,” said U.S. Representative Bob Latta, chairman of a panel that oversees automotive regulations.

(more…)

Slowing Auto Industry Threatening to Drag Down U.S. Economy

Automakers continue to cut production as sales slow.

by on Jun.15, 2017

GM is extending the summer shutdown at some plants, including this one in Fairfax, KS.

The U.S. auto industry was the little engine that could during the country’s recovery from the Great Recession, but it now may be turning into the anchor on an economy once again starting to sputter.

U.S. factory output slipped by 0.4% last month, a sharp turnaround from the 1.1% increase in April, the Federal Reserve reported on Thursday morning. While some industries continue to show strength, the weak figures for May coincide with growing production cuts by the U.S. auto industry.

Manufacturing News!

And the auto industry is facing still more jobs cuts in the months to come, industry analysts warn, especially if car sales don’t level out. GM, for one, has announced that it will extend its normal, two-week summer shutdown to as much as five weeks at some plants in the Midwest.

(more…)

Ford Offers Buyouts to 15,000 Employees

Maker looking to trim 1,400 salaried workers from its ranks.

by on Jun.09, 2017

Ford is offering buyouts to 15,000 employees as it looks to trim 1,400 salaried workers from its ranks.

Ford Motor Co. is offering some 15,000 employees “voluntary separation” packages as it moves ahead with global restructuring triggered by falling earnings and by a weak share price.

A Ford spokesman confirmed the offers.  “We expect 1,400 salaried positions to be affected,” the spokesman wrote in an email to TheDetroitBureau.com.

News You Can Trust!

The voluntary reduction program uses early retirement and special separation packages aimed at employees interested in changing careers or exploring new opportunities. (more…)