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Mazda Remains Committed to Bringing Diesel to US

Maker undaunted VW problems and falling diesel sales.

by on May.31, 2016

Mazda scrapped plans to bring a diesel-powered Mazda6 to U.S. shores a few months before VW's diesel scandal broke.

While the timetable has not been established and remains in flux, Mazda remains committed to putting a diesel-powered vehicle on the road in the U.S.

Mazda last year quietly delayed plans for a diesel-powered version of the Mazda6 months before Volkswagen was forced to disclose that it had cheated on key emission tests for vehicles sold in the United States equipped with diesel engines. The fallout from cheating scandal has been casting a cloud over diesel engines in light-duty vehicles.

Diesel News!

However, Jeremy Barnes, Mazda director of communications, told TheDetroitBureau.com that Mazda remains committed to introducing a diesel-powered vehicle to the U.S. market. The diesel remains under development, but the timing of the introduction has not been set yet, he said. “We’re still going to have a diesel,” he said. (more…)

GM Adds $2 Bil to Financial Safety Net

Maker looks to keep liquidity above $30 billion.

by on May.31, 2016

General Motors expanded its credit revolver by $2 billion to $14.5 billion to ensure it has enough cash to operate normally in tough times.

General Motors has put in place a bigger safety net to protect the company in the event of hard times or a catastrophic market downturn that cripples new car sales.

GM set up an unsecured $14.5 billion revolving credit facility consisting of a $10.5 billion five-year facility and a $4 billion three-year facility. The facility amends and extends GM’s existing $12.5 billion revolving credit facility and 44-different financial institutions subscribed to the new credit facility, GM’s top finance officer said.

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“We believe this larger revolver, along with our $20 billion target cash, will provide appropriate liquidity to enable consistent investment in a downturn to generate strong results,” said Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer. (more…)

Senators Pressuring Automakers to Improve Seat Safety

Market, Blumenthal send letter to 17 makers asking for information about seats.

by on May.27, 2016

Sen. Richard Bluenthal (D-Conn.) is teaming with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to pressure automakers to improve front seat back safety standards.

The crashworthiness of today’s vehicles are at levels not seen before, automakers claim, using a variety of test results to support the assertion. Those claims are most likely true, except for one, little-thought about part of the car: the seat back.

Two of the biggest critics of automakers, Sens Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), are pushing the companies to address a new concern: the weakness of seat backs.

Safety News!

The two senators have asked 17 automakers to provide a spate of documents about their vehicles and specifically, the seat backs. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 GMC Acadia

New, smaller model gets more refined look.

by on May.27, 2016

GMC is taking things a step farther with its new Acadia: the new version has a model that can go off-road.

In good times and bad, General Motors sport-utility vehicles have carried the company and satisfied a legion of loyal customers.

But GM has tinkered with the some of its cherished formulas as it rolls out the new 2017 GMC Acadia, which has lost 700 pounds become smaller all the way around so it compete head-to-head with vehicles such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer and even the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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In recent years, the older version of the Acadia has served as the cornerstone for the GMC product line, meaning GM is gambling the smaller, lighter version with its fresh styling, luxury appointment and latest technology can make a space for itself in a crowed but popular corners of the market. (more…)

Despite Low Gas Prices, Interest in EVs Still Significant

Californians, Northeasterners express curiosity about battery electrics.

by on May.26, 2016

A creep upward in gas prices may be stimulating interest in EVs. A new survey shows some parts of the country are curious.

With the holiday weekend upon us, the inevitable creep of rising gas prices is beginning to force some motorists to wonder: when will be back to $4 a gallon gasoline? This kind of burbling concern can only make EV automakers giddy with anticipation.

In fact, on America’s coasts, the demand for electric vehicles is still surprisingly high, even in an era of $2.28 a gallon gasoline.

Electrifying!

A recent survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed more than half of Californians are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next vehicle and in the Northeast, 35% of owners are likely to have an EV in their ranks of possible purchases next, in spite of the limitations that cold weather places on electric vehicles. (more…)

BMW Gets Scoop of Ride-Sharing App

Automakers continue scrambling to get piece of ride-sharing pie.

by on May.26, 2016

BMW now has skin in the ride-sharing game with its investment in California-based Scoop. The terms of the deal were not announced.

BMW has joined the list of automakers investing in car sharing and ride sharing apps.

BMW i Ventures, the German luxury carmaker’s New York-based venture capital fund, has announced a strategic investment of an undisclosed size in San Francisco Scoop Technologies, Inc., creators of the carpooling mobile application “Scoop.”

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Since launching in August 2015, Scoop commuters have taken more than 40,000 trips, offsetting nearly 500,000 in commute mileage for riders. Originally launched in Pleasanton, California, Scoop now also operates commute trips into San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and North San Jose, California. (more…)

May Car Sales Moving Along at Brisk Pace

Analysts expecting year-over-year drop this month.

by on May.26, 2016

Analysts expect that Fiat Chrysler, led by Jeep sales, will be one of the few makers posting positive results for May.

Guessing when car sales will begin to slip after what has been described as the longest expansion in Auto Sales in the U.S, going all the way back to World War II is proving hard to pin down.

Edmunds.com expects new car sales in May will increase 2.3% from April 2016, but drop 5.8% compared to May 2015. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate or SAAR will hold steady at 17.5 million.

Sales News!

While sales appear to be slowing, 2016 is still on track to break last year’s record of 17.47 million new car sales, Edmunds noted in its latest forecast, which projects that 1,537,436 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in May. (more…)

GM Bringing Truck Production Back from Mexico

Flint union workers getting overtime.

by on May.26, 2016

GM's recent $877 million investment in its facilities in Flint, Michigan, are paying off as the company expands truck production there.

There’s been plenty of coverage, during this highly politicized presidential election year, of automotive production moving down to Mexico. But General Motors is bringing at least some production back to the U.S.

Sources at GM and the United Auto Workers Union have confirmed that a newly enlarged assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, will start producing some of the full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups currently rolling off a GM line in Silao, Mexico.

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The union sent a letter to members at the Flint plant advising them that there will likely be additional hiring of both full-time and temporary line workers, explaining, “The increase in light-duty pickup volume for Flint Assembly is (for vehicles) currently being built in Silao.” (more…)

Google Setting Up Suburban Detroit Autonomous Vehicle R&D Hub

New site moves tech giant closer to possible customers.

by on May.26, 2016

Google is opening a development center in Novi, Michigan. This building will start work with 100 Chrysler Pacific minivans.

As it steadily moves closer to production, Google is planning to open a new autonomous vehicle development center in the Detroit suburb of Novi.

The move will offer several advantages. Among other things, it will allow the tech firm to work more closely with the partners that would put Google’s self-driving technology into production. The announcement comes barely a month after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google announced plans to use the technology on 100 new Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

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“For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area. Now it’s time to lay down roots: we’re establishing a self-driving technology development center in Novi,” said John Krafcik, the CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project in a post on the Google+ service. (more…)

New College Grads Looking for New Sets of Wheels – Used Wheels

Newly minted alumni expect to spend less than $15K.

by on May.25, 2016

The 2010 Toyota Prius was rated as one of the top choices for new college grads looking for a used car for less than $15,000.

As the calendar hits late May, many new college graduates will be looking forward to kicking off their careers by getting out of their old set of wheels and into another, better vehicle.

A recent survey shows that most college graduates plan to spend $15,000 or less for a vehicle and more likely than not, it’ll be used. In fact, of the 67% of those expecting to get a car, 57% plan to pay for the vehicle without any assistance from their parents.

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“We are pleasantly surprised to learn that today’s college students have relatively rational and moderate expectations toward the cars they’ll buy after graduating and how much they plan to spend,” said CarGurus Editor Steve Halloran. (more…)