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Nissan Shuffles Senior Management

Changes designed to support “Power 88” midterm plan.

by on Jun.27, 2016

David Reuter takes on newly formed post of Vice President, Global Communications Operations for Nissan Motor Ltd.

Nissan is reshuffling it senior management in North America designed to support the company’s “Power 88” midterm business plan.

This plan, according to the automaker, includes the launch of 14 new or “significantly refreshed cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs to meet growing customer demand.” Nissan’s market share in the U.S. has been on the rise for much of the last decade and execution of introduction of these new vehicles is critical to that continued growth.

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“These leadership appointments in key business functions will ensure Nissan is well positioned to accelerate our growth, especially with new and exciting products like Titan and Armada,” said José Muñoz, executive vice president, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML) and chairman, NNA. (more…)

Make Less? Pay More for Auto Insurance

New study shows insurers charge higher rates on lower income drivers.

by on Jun.27, 2016

The difference among the top five auto insurers in 15 cities based on what a driver makes can be substantial.

Auto insurers use a variety of factors to determine what they should charge consumers, and not all are fair; however, one seems to punish those who can – so it seems – least afford it: lower wage earners.

A new study by the Consumer Federation of America shows that drivers with a lower socio-economic status were charged an average of 59% more, equating to $681, annually than drivers with identical driving histories, but with better salaries.

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“Insurance companies should judge you on how you drive, not who you are,” said J. Robert Hunter, CFA’s Director of Insurance and former Texas Insurance Commissioner. (more…)

New Car Sales Expected to Flatten in June

Makers selling fewer cars, but making more on each sale.

by on Jun.27, 2016

New car sales are expected to flatten out in June, but makers are earning more on each sale.

With retail sales showing signs of faltering, new vehicle sales are expected to flatten out in June.

New-vehicle retail sales in June are expected to drop 0.5% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

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Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep brand, said sales so far in June remain healthy, but the year-over-year comparisons have come becoming more difficult to match or surpass. (more…)

Newest IIHS Test Stymies Automakers

Passenger-side small overlap test revealing new shortcomings.

by on Jun.24, 2016

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to implement a new version of its small overlap test: a passenger-side iteration.

Just as automakers were making progress on the latest crash tests in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s rankings, the organization has developed a new one and automakers look like they’re going to struggle.

The IIHS is mulling the possibility of adding a new front crash test. The new one is similar to one that automakers have already struggled to deal with, the small overlap crash.

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Cars are run into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with all of the impact coming on the driver’s side instead of striking it dead on. The concept is to test a vehicle’s ability to withstand impact with a pole or a tree, instead of a head-on collision with another vehicle or even a wall. (more…)

Dodge Bringing Drag Racing to Woodward Dream Cruise

Racers vying for $19,000 in prize money.

by on Jun.24, 2016

More than 12,000 folks jammed the Silverdome parking lot watch day-long street racing. Now they'll see it on a real street: Woodward Avenue.

Every August the Detroit suburbs along Woodward Avenue roar to life with the sounds and smells of muscle cars, punctuated with the occasional squeal of smoking tires, which was illegal … until now.

Fiat Chrysler is teaming up with the bloggers at Roadkill for a night of “flashlight” street racing on Aug. 19, for the second edition of “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge.” Last year’s event gave the winner the vaunted powerplant for the Hellcat line of vehicles.

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The inaugural event kicked off last year in the parking lot of the Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions, and drew more than 12,000 people. It now moves to a larger location called the M1 Concourse in downtown Pontiac and – with the blessing of local governmental agencies – it includes actual street racing with a cash purse of $19,000. (more…)

Jeep Climbing Up to Another Record Sales Year

Top exec suggests new SUV smaller than Renegade may be coming.

by on Jun.24, 2016

Jeep CEO Mike Manley believes there is room at both ends of the Jeep portfolio for new products.

The Jeep brand is rocketing towards another sales record this year and it also looking for new worlds to conquer.

Mike Manley, president of chief executive officer in charge of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s Jeep brand, said during a session with reporters at the FCA’s Chelsea Proving Ground that he believes there is ample room in the market for a B-Class-size Jeep smaller than the Renegade, which is now the smallest vehicle in the Jeep model line.

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“I have a strong feeling a small Jeep below Renegade would do well outside of (North America),” said Manley, who has been responsible for pushing the Jeep brand into new market in Europe, Asia and now South America. (more…)

Volkswagen Preparing to Pay $10B Settlement

Maker talking with government about details of plan.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Volkswagen is preparing to pay $10 billion as part of a settlement for its diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

Volkswagen Group will pay $10 billion as part of a settlement, including government fines and as much as $7,000 in compensation for owners of vehicles that have the now infamous diesel emissions cheat device.

According to multiple reports, the deal will be filed in federal court early next week, and follows the confirmation by the German automaker in April that it had reached a deal with U.S. and California regulators as well as a class-action group of owners of 500,000 2.0-liter diesels.

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The deal included options to repair the vehicle or to sell them back to VW. The details of the repair plan have not been revealed, but it’s possible that some of the vehicles may not be fixable, according to Bloomberg News. (more…)

Acura NSX EV Prototype Takes Aim at Pikes Peak

All-electric powered racer making historic run.

by on Jun.23, 2016

The Acura NSX EV concept will make the Pikes Peak run using four electric motors: only.

Acura is eyeing a run up Pikes Peak when the annual hill climb commences in the coming weeks. And what better car to do so than the new NSX supercar? How about an Acura NSX prototype that adds a fourth motor and will run entirely on battery power?

In recent years, a number of battery-electric vehicles have plugged into the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, including entries from Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi. The new NSX is seen as a particularly promising entrant because of its advanced battery powertrain which uses its electric motors not only for propulsion but also to enhance steering.

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“We’ve been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly,” said Tetsuya Yamano, who piloted last year’s Honda CR-Z prototype up the 14,114-foot tall mountain and who will now drive the NSX. “We’re honored to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year – an event respected by racing fans all over the world.” (more…)

Mitsubishi Expecting Major Profit Hit from Mileage Scandal

Damage could worsen.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Mitsubishi could post a $1.4 billion loss as a result of the lost sales and payouts due to the fuel mileage scandal.

Slammed over false fuel economy numbers, Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors is anticipating a sharp financial hit for the current fiscal year.

Mitsubishi now says it could report a loss of as much as $1.4 billion when it closes the books next March, a major swing from the $694 million profit, at current exchange rates, it originally forecast.

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That reflects not only the slump in the maker’s sales since the scandal broke in April but also the cost of reimbursing owners of various models who had their mileage inflated in a bid to make the vehicles more competitive. But an ongoing investigation could force Mitsubishi to pay out still more if it confirms cheating on other vehicles. (more…)

Auto Company Profits Hang in Brexit Vote Balance

Britons voting to determine if country remains in European Union.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Britons head to the polls today to determine if the country will remain part of the European Union..

Carmakers face serious challenges if Britons vote to leave the European Union, following a hard-fought and closely watched campaign that has raged across the British Isles over the EU’s merits and values.

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest carmaker, estimates its annual profit could be cut by $1.47 billion by the end of the decade if Britain leaves the European Union, according a report by Reuters.

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JLR CEO Ralph Speth told the company’s employees this week the company would face challenges if British voters decided in favor of leaving. “It is inevitable that we would face increasing and higher tariffs, making our products less competitive in Europe,” he said in the letter. (more…)