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Manufacturers Group Blasts Trump on Trade Policies

Organization chides Trump for breaking promises.

by on Aug.07, 2017

The Alliance of American Manufacturers blasted Donald Trump for not following through on his campaign promises about trade with China.

The Trump administration’s lack of progress on trade issues has come under fire from a group of manufacturing companies and labor unions.

“Don’t let the president’s tweets fool you. Every chance the administration has had to make meaningful change on trade policy, they’ve kicked the can down the road,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

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“Just over one year ago, President-elect Trump promised to get tough on China’s trade cheating by stopping Beijing’s intellectual property theft, massive overcapacity and currency manipulation. Now as president, Trump is currently zero for three on these issues,” Paul said.  (more…)

UAW Loses Battle at Nissan Mississippi Plant

Workers vote down union by wide margin.

by on Aug.05, 2017

Employees at Nissan's Canton, Mississippi, plant voted against UAW representation by a wide margin.

Nissan workers voted down a bid by the United Auto Workers to unionize employees at the company’s big assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, by a wide margin.

The final tally in the election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board was 2244 to 1307.

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“With this vote, the voice of Nissan employees has been heard. They have rejected the UAW and chosen to self-represent, continuing the direct relationship they enjoy with the company,” the company said in a statement issued after the votes were counted. (more…)

BMW Chief Krüger Defends Use of Diesels

Maker offering incentives to buyers.

by on Aug.04, 2017

BMW CEO Harald Krüger believes that state-of-the-art diesels will play an important role in future mobility.

Despite a series of scandals that have tarnished the image of diesel engines, cost manufacturers billions in fines penalties and recalls and now threaten to drag them in a wider legal morass, BMW’s top executive is insisting diesel engines can have a significant role in the industry’s future.

State-of-the art diesels will definitely play an important role in future mobility, said BMW CEO Harald Krüger.

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“Modern efficient diesel engines ensure lower CO2 emissions. On average, BMW Group diesel vehicles emit 40% less NOX than the German average, as reported by the Germany Federal Environment agency in April 2017. This is also true for both our Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles,” he said. (more…)

Volkswagen Penalized Again for Dieselgate Scandal

Maker not eligible for European Investment Bank loans.

by on Aug.03, 2017

VW's diesel scandal has had a secondary impact on the maker: no more low-cost R&D loans from the European Investment Bank.

For now, Volkswagen is no longer eligible for low-cost financing to help finance research and development from the European Investment Bank

The bank’s decision, which is part of the fallout from the diesel scandal that engulfed the company two years ago, comes as carmakers are scrambling to find money in the hunt for new technology.

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The hold on new loans came after the European Anti-Fraud Office, known as OLAF, concluded that Volkswagen misled authorities about how it used $472 million earmarked, at VW’s request, to help finance the development of cleaner more efficient engines.  (more…)

Auto Industry Capital Demand Ready to Explode

Makers will spend billions as mobility competition heats up.

by on Aug.03, 2017

Lyft founders Logan Green, left, and John Zimmer, right, shown with GM President Dan Ammann after inking a $500 million partnership last year.

The need to sink money into new mobility ventures is likely to place a heavy burden on the cash reserves of established automakers, one of the auto industry’s top strategists told the Center for Automotive Research’s annual briefing seminar in northern Michigan.

Al Koch, vice chairman at the global business-advisory firm AlixPartners, said automakers are already seeing their capital-spending levels average nearly half of available cash per year.

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However, they about to be hit with an incremental increase in spending for revolutionizing the automotive industry today. This could potentially strain the industry’s cash reserves in ways not seen since the Great Recession, and should prompt companies throughout the industry to focus on return on invested capital, Koch said.  (more…)

Lyft Tracking to Double Ridership in 2017

Company adds former Obama adviser Jarrett to board.

by on Aug.02, 2017

Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to the Obama Administration, has joined the Lyft board of directors.

Lyft has carried more passengers during the first six months of 2017 than in all of 2016, according to new statistics released by the company, which has succeeded in spreading its service to dozens of additional cities in the U.S. and capitalizes on a goody-two-shoes image that has separated it from archrival Uber.

The company noted it has expanded into 360 communities and that 80% of the U.S. population can use the service now.

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Ridership at Uber, the leader in ride-sharing services, continues to dwarf Lyft’s, which recorded 162.5 million customer trips through the end of June. Uber has reported that it has given more than 5 billion rides worldwide since 2010. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Hyundai Sonata

Midcycle refresh adds new technology and updated exterior.

by on Aug.02, 2017

Looking to bolster sales of the slow-selling sedan, the 2018 Sonata got a midcycle refresh.

The Sonata is arguably one of the most significant cars built in the early 21st century since it definitively signaled that the South Korean auto industry had arrived for good on the international stage.

Moreover, the Sonata has succeeded in becoming a top seller in the always tough market for midsize sedans even as consumers were moving in ever greater numbers towards crossovers and compact sports utility vehicles.

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So the introduction of the revised 2018 Sonata is a big deal because it shows that new technology once found only on luxury models is quickly being absorbed into less expensive cars and that Hyundai has mastered the art of making quick changes that enhance vehicles both inside the cabin and out on the road. (more…)

New Car Sales Continue Downward Spiral in July

Toyota, Lexus, Audi and Acura managed to buck the trend.

by on Aug.01, 2017

Mustafa Mohatarem, GM's chief economist, predicts the second half of the year will be stronger than the first half has been.

The drop in new vehicle sales accelerated and deepened in July as General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported double-digit dips in sales and Ford, Nissan, Honda and Volkswagen also reported sales declines for the month.

Only Toyota, Lexus, Audi and Acura registered increases.

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GM’s July total sales were 226,107 vehicles, down about 15% from strong levels last year, said GM, which also said the drop represented a strategic retreat by the company. (more…)

Subaru Set to Mark 50th Anniversary in US with Record Sales

Focus on safety has helped draw in younger buyers.

by on Jul.31, 2017

It has been a tough year for most automakers, but Subaru is rolling right along with continual increases.

Subaru, after a dazzling run up in sales during the past decade, is getting ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand’s debut in the U.S. next year.

During the past six years, Subaru’s sales have doubled and then doubled again and the Subaru is on track to set another sales record in 2017 as it continues to post year-over-year sales increases each month even as the pace of industry sales begins to ebb from its post-recession high.

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“The brand is really strong,” said Michael McHale, Subaru’s director of communications, who noted that Subaru sales continue to grow even as other automakers increased their incentives to keep hold of market share.   (more…)

Bollinger Unveils EV Truck Prototype

New EV entry has a top range of 200 miles on a single charge.

by on Jul.28, 2017

Bollinger Motors unveiled its all-electric prototype sport-utility/truck in Manhattan.

With their inexpensive motors and on-line sales, which lower the barriers to entry, electric vehicles have become a magnet for start-up companies.

Bollinger Motors, a U.S.-based company headquartered in New York, unveiled what it describes as the world’s first all-electric, on-and-off-road sport utility truck or SUT. The squared off utility vehicle is reminiscent of an early model Ford Bronco.

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“We are so thrilled to be able to finally take the wraps off of our Bollinger B1 SUT,” said Bollinger Motors’ Founder and CEO Robert Bollinger. “This is the culmination of what has been a 40-year-long boyhood dream of mine, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the vehicle and the incredible team who worked so hard to create it.” (more…)