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Amazon Will Now Deliver Packages to Your Car, as Well as Your Home

New program available to millions of GM and Volvo owners.

by on Apr.24, 2018

An Amazon driver uses a smartphone app to open the trunk on a Chevrolet Bolt EV.

More than 100 million people, half of them in the U.S., now subscribe to online retail giant Amazon Prime. The $99-a-year service not only offers free delivery on most packages to a customer’s home but is now adding a new twist: customers can have packages delivered to the trunk of their vehicles.

The In-Car Delivery program will be available, starting today, to millions of owners of General Motors and Volvo vehicles in 37 U.S. cities. To use the service, a customer will simply choose “in-car delivery” among the various options Amazon offers.

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“At Amazon, we are always working to make our customers’ lives easier and starting today….Prime members now have another way to ensure their packages are safe and secure—all for no additional cost,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President of Delivery Technology, Amazon.

(more…)

Infiniti Launching Production EV Based on Q Inspiration Concept for China

New platform will be used for all future battery-electric models.

by on Apr.23, 2018

Infiniti President Roland Krueger shows off the Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept that is the basis for the new EV.

Infiniti plans to add a new all-electric platform “influenced” by the exotic Q Inspiration Concept that was first shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The new platform will be able to accommodate both a pure battery-electric drivetrain and a range-extender system similar to the technology used in competitor BMW’s i3 Rex, Infiniti President Roland Krueger announced ahead of the Beijing Motor Show where the Q Inspiration will make its Asian debut. The new platform will be used for at least one of the five new vehicles Infiniti plans to begin producing in China during the next five years.

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While Krueger isn’t saying how close that all-electric model will be to the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept, he did note, “We very much had China in mind when designing the Q Inspiration, which shows a very sporty, performance-oriented electric concept, with a much bigger interior space.” (more…)

Wage Deal in Hand, GM Abandons Threat to Put Korean Ops in Bankruptcy

But questions remain about the unit’s long-term prognosis.

by on Apr.23, 2018

With concessions from unions, GM believes it has a deal in place to keep GM Korea from bankruptcy.

General Motors today reached a tentative agreement with its South Korean labor union, a move that is expected to keep the automaker from putting its Korean subsidiary in bankruptcy – though it still is waiting for a final decision on a bailout from the Korea Development Bank.

Faced with plunging sales and rising costs, GM earlier this year announced it would close one of four Korean assembly plants and warned it could seek the Korean equivalent of Chapter 11 protection if it didn’t get a deal from workers and support from the KDB, which owns a 17% stake in GM Korea.

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“The labor union has demonstrated its commitment and we continue to work with our other key stakeholders to gain their support,” GM Korea CEO Kaher Kazem said in a statement, noting that ratification of the tentative agreement is “critical” to achieving additional support from shareholders and the Korean government. (more…)

Images of Mercedes-Maybach Ultra-Lux SUV Leak Ahead of Beijing Debut

“Vision Ultimate Luxury concept” set to make official debut on April 24.

by on Apr.23, 2018

The Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Concept is ready to make its mark in Beijing.

Just days ahead of its official debut at the Beijing Motor Show – and shortly after an official teaser video was released – we’ve gotten our hands on leaked images of the Mercedes-Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury concept.

Unlike several recent Maybach prototypes, the show car set to debut in Beijing on April 24 appears to be giving us a good sense of what the ultra-premium brand eventually will bring to bring to market – a production SUV set to take on the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

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And reflecting the choice of venues Maybach has chosen – China is ramping up rules calling for more zero-emission vehicles, the Ultimate Luxury Concept uses an all-electric drivetrain delivering power through four individual electric motors developing a total of 738 horsepower which Maybach will suggest can punch the show car up to 155 mph. (more…)

Japanese Surge Reveals Broader Jump in Auto Imports

Rising numbers from Japan, Mexico, Korea, China challenge Trump 

by on Apr.20, 2018

Demand for the latest version of Nissan's Rogue has contributed to an increase in imports from Japan.

When Toyota and Mazda open a new assembly plant in Alabama in 2021, it will become the latest in a growing array of automotive plants Japanese manufacturers have set up in the U.S. since the mid-1980s – yet despite investing billions in their American operations, Japanese manufacturers have also been increasing exports to the U.S. from their home market factories.

The number of Japanese-made vehicles imported into the U.S. rose almost 10% during the first quarter of 2018. And Japan wasn’t alone.  Auto imports, as a whole have actually been on the rise, whether from Korea, Europe or Mexico, the latter country shipping about 7.5% more vehicles to the U.S. in March than the year before – despite Pres. Donald Trump’s high-profile push to bring more auto production back to the States.

Trade News!

“Japan sends us million and millions of cars, and we tax them virtually not at all. And we don’t send so much product because we have trade barriers and lots of other things,” the president complained during a news conference this week while standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

(more…)

Walmart Set to Add Super Fast-Chargers in 34 States

Chargers will deliver up to 200 miles in 10 minutes.

by on Apr.19, 2018

The new Walmart chargers will be capable of boosting range by as much as 20 miles a minute.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer could soon operate one of the nation’s larger vehicle charging networks.

The Arkansas-based company is partnering up with Electrify America to set up 100 fast-charger stations at stores in 34 states by mid-2019. That’s part of 2,000 chargers Electrify America aims to have in place by then at 500 stations across the U.S.

Electrifying!

“Along with providing our customers with an enhanced shopping experience through added convenience, this initiative also allows us to contribute to the expansion of our nation’s EV charging station infrastructure,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy for Walmart, Inc.

(more…)

Brand boss de Nysschen out in Shake-Up at Cadillac

Move comes at launch of critical new products.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Johan de Nysschen, now former Caddy chief, said in New York last month Caddy's upcoming product lines could double current sales.

Just weeks after presiding over the debut of two critical new products, the CT6 V-Sport sedan and XT4 sport-utility vehicle, Johan de Nysschen is out as the head of the Cadillac brand, replaced by Steve Carlisle, a fast-track executive credited with major turnarounds for parent General Motors in Canada and Thailand.

With extensive experience in the global luxury car market, including stints with BMW, Audi and Infiniti, de Nysschen laid out broad plans for Cadillac’s revival after joining the brand in 2014. That ranged from additions to its product portfolio to the decision to move Caddy from Detroit to New York City to give it more distance from the parent company and put it at the center of one of the country’s biggest luxury car markets. But several sources suggested senior GM management was growingly increasingly concerned about Caddy’s weak performance in its home market.

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“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann, who helped lure de Nysschen from Infiniti to Cadillac. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.” (more…)

Walking a Tightrope: Ford Trying to Please All with New Mustang Variants

The original pony car continues to draw new fans.

by on Apr.18, 2018

The Ford Mustang is celebrating 54 years, and the current best-selling sports car in the world intends to remain so.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

You can’t stand still in the muscle car market. What’s hot today could be all but forgotten tomorrow. That’s something Ford Motor Co. learned when rival General Motors brought back the Chevrolet Camaro in 2010, delivering a sucker punch to the long-dominant Ford Mustang.

Since launching an all-new version of the Mustang to mark the nameplate’s 50th anniversary four years ago, Ford has retaken its crown as king of the pony car hill. It has now been the world’s best-selling sports car for three years in a row.

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And Ford is determined to maintain that lead with a series of Mustang variants set to come to market during the next 18 months. That includes not only the latest version of the GT500 but a first-ever Mustang hybrid. (more…)

Model 3 Production Halt Raises New Worries About Tesla

Automaker wants to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

by on Apr.17, 2018

Tesla is shutting down its plant temporarily to resolve production problems that have delayed Model 3 production.

Tesla is temporarily idling its troubled Fremont, California assembly plant for as long as five days, the automaker has confirmed, in order to “improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks.”

The factory, originally built by General Motors, is Tesla’s only automotive manufacturing facility and currently produces the company’s three battery-electric vehicles, the Models S, X and 3. The latter EV is Tesla’s first “affordable,” long-range vehicle and is meant to push the company into the mainstream – and its balance sheet into the black.

Product News!

But the factory has been in what CEO Elon Musk calls “production hell” since the first Model 3 rolled off the line last July, running up unexpected deficits and leading some to question the company’s very survival. (more…)

China Phasing Out JV Rule Limiting Foreign Auto Plant Ownership

Rule has been major chafing point with foreign manufacturers – also helped build up domestic Chinese auto industry.

by on Apr.17, 2018

China is phasing out the rules requiring foreign automakers to adopt a Chinese company for a joint venture to do business.

China announced plans to phase out rules requiring foreign automakers to partner with domestic Chinese companies if they want to open an assembly plant in the booming market. The announcement comes barely a week after President Xi Jinping indicated the country would begin rolling back its 25% tariff on foreign-made autos.

The rule required companies like General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota to give local companies like GAC and SAIC a 50% stake in their Chinese operations. That approach not only limited their profits but effectively also helped fund the development of the domestic Chinese auto industry, a number of those manufacturers now setting up brands of their own that they hope to turn into worldwide competitors.

Breaking News!

“Following a five-year transition period, all ownership restrictions will be lifted,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement. (more…)