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China Cracking Down on Smaller Automakers

New policies aim to increase production of electric vehicles.

by on Jun.13, 2017

China is looking to increase is EV sales to 30% of all new car sales by 2030 and is using new policies to get there.

China’s top economic planning agency said it plans to tighten regulations for construction of new factories for vehicles using internal combustion engines and gasoline for fuel.

The new rules apparently have two goals. First, they will reduce the potential for the kind of overcapacity that plagues automobile industries in North America, Europe and other parts of Asia such as Japan where sales of new vehicles appear to have peaked as the country’s population ages.

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Additionally, China’s new policies indicates the government wants to cut down on small “zombie” type car and truck makers that have been supported by provincial governments across China and helps promote Chinese efforts to promote the wider use of electric vehicles.   (more…)

Fitch Raises Rating on General Motors

Agency cites strong financial position, product line.

by on Jun.13, 2017

Fitch Ratings raised General Motors' debt rating as well as that of GM Financial.

Fitch Ratings has upgraded the debt ratings for General Motors Co. and its finance subsidiary General Motors Financial Company Inc.

GM debt was raised to investment grade last year, but the upgrade of GM’s ratings is supported by fundamental improvement in the company’s credit profile largely resulting from its work to improve product profitability while maintaining a relatively conservative balance sheet, according to the analysis by Fitch.

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Raising the credit rating to investment grade has been one of GM’s goals since it emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009.  (more…)

VW Courting Opel’s Neumann to Return

German maker hoping he’ll come back to old employer.

by on Jun.12, 2017

GM Europe chief Karl-Thomas Neumann may be on his way back to his previous employer, Volkswagen AG.

This story has been updated due to new information.

Karl-Thomas Neumann, the highly regarded executive picked by General Motors to lead the company’s stalled European operations resigned effective immediately today. He will be replaced as CEO by Michael Loscheller, currently the chief financial officer. appears headed back to Volkswagen.

Neumann appears headed back to Volkswagen, which is in dire need of fresh executive talent in the walk diesel-cheating scandal, is looking to rehire the former head of Opel, Karl-Thomas Neumann, perhaps to lead its Audi brand, according to reports that surfaced over the weekend in Germany.

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Neumann’s departure would not exactly be a surprise, given GM’s decision in March to sell off its European operations to the Paris-based PSA Group. (more…)

Ministers Eye Pushing Global EV Sales to 30% by 2030

U.S. observes, but does not participate in clean energy meeting.

by on Jun.12, 2017

Two dozen countries from around the globe, but not the U.S., pledged to help boost sales of EVs to 30% of total new vehicle sales by 2030.

With China leading the way, energy ministers from two dozen industrialized countries around the world agreed last week to work towards policies and initiatives that designed to boost the total sales of electric vehicles to 30% of new vehicle sales by 2030.

The campaign was announced at the annual Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, which was held in Beijing last week.

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As it has in the past, the United States sat in on in the meeting even though U.S. participation was overshadowed by the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. (more…)

Sales Guru Hatami Dumps Hyundai for Volkswagen of America

Hyundai loses second top exec in less than six months.

by on Jun.09, 2017

Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of VW of America, expects the arrival of the Atlas to bolster the company's sluggish sales in the U.S.

Just one day after resigning as Hyundai Motors U.S. sales chief, Derrick Hatami is taking over as Volkswagen of America Inc.’s Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing.

Actually, the announcement came a day after it was revealed he was leaving the South Korean automaker. His appointment at VW is effective June 12.

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In this role, Hatami will be responsible for setting and driving the sales, marketing, product planning and aftersales strategy for VWoA in order to help promote growth, improve processes and elevate dealer satisfaction, VW said in a statement confirming Hatami’s appointment. (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

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

Lyft Partners with nuTonomy on Driverless Car Testing

New tie-up could result in expanded partnerships later.

by on Jun.08, 2017

Lyft is already working other companies, like GM, on autonomous vehicle development, and inked a new deal with nuTonomy.

Lyft, the growing rideshare platform, signed an agreement with nuTonomy of Boston, a well regarded start-up company focused on development of self-driving cars, to conduct joint testing and development of autonomous vehicles.

Additionally, French automaker PSA Group recently signed an agreement with nuTonomy to test autonomous vehicles on roads in Singapore, which pushing to develop the infrastructure needed to support for self-driving vehicles.

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Under the new partnership, Lyft and nuTonomy plan to align technology platforms to gather insights into all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety during a ride in an autonomous vehicle – from routing and booking to the performance of the driving system and how it interacts and communicates with the rider. (more…)

Ford Raising Production Levels of Small Utes

Management looking to meet buyer demand.

by on Jun.08, 2017

Ford is increasing production of its hot-selling Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC by cutting shutdown down to one week this summer.

Ford Motor Co. plans to add a week of production at a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, that makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC by shortening the planned summer vacation.

Ford’s North American plants normally have a two-week shutdown in July, but the Louisville Assembly Plant will take only one week, Ford officials said, clearing the way for the automaker to build more than 8,500 vehicles to meet consumer demand.

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The production change is relatively modest, but it reflects the desire of the new management team led by Jim Hackett to show that it is paying closer attention to the company’s core business in North America. (more…)

Greenlight Proposal Defeated, But Performance Pressure Remains

GM CEO Barra expresses disappointment in stock price.

by on Jun.07, 2017

David Einhorn, head of Greenlight Capital, hasn't announced if he will resubmit his proposal to split GM stock into two classes.

General Motors Co. is likely to continue, facing pressure from dissident shareholders for the lackluster performance of the company’s shares in what has been a rising stock market.

During the company’s annual meeting, GM said shareholders decisively rejected a proposal from a New York-based hedge fund, Greenlight Capital, to divide the company’s stock into two separate classes.

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David Einhorn, one of the principals of Greenlight Capital, acknowledged defeat. (more…)

GM’s Barra Says Climate Change is Real

CEO shares insight before shareholders kill controversial stock proposal.

by on Jun.06, 2017

GM CEO Mary Barra told reporters that climate change is real and the company will continue pursuing policies and practices aimed at reducing emissions.

Climate change is not bogus or fake news and GM plans to continue to pursue policies and practices that will reduce emissions that contribute to global warming, GM’s top executive said before the automaker’s annual meeting.

“We understand the science and believe in the science,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said during a press conference prior to GM’s annual shareholders meeting, where shareholders overwhelmingly defeated a measure to change the company’s stock structure.

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Barra added GM continues to take steps to reduce vehicle emissions and use renewable energy to power its own factories and assembly plants. She also told reporters that electric vehicles hold the key to the future of mobility, including autonomous vehicles, Barra said in response to a question from reporters about the Trump administration’s decision to drop out of the Paris climate accord.  (more…)