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China Tariffs on Hold as Trade War Talk Recedes

Two countries putting a deal together.

by on May.21, 2018

The Trump administration is backing away from proposed tariffs on a variety items imported from China.

The announcement by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin that the Trump administration will suspend any plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports lowers the risks for American and European carmakers, fearing the impact of a trade war.

Companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which export American-made vehicles to China, will apparently be spared, facing the substantial tariffs the Peoples Republic of China had proposed imposing on vehicles exported from the United States.

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Importers of vehicles from China, such General Motors, also will be spared American tariffs on vehicles from Chinese factories. (more…)

Volvo Moving to Eliminate Plastic Waste

Automaker following UN guidelines on cutting plastics.

by on May.21, 2018

Stuart Templar, director for Sustainability, is leading Volvo's efforts to eliminate single-use plastics from its facilities and events.

In another step to secure its reputation as a green company, Volvo Cars plans to remove single-use plastics from all its offices, cafeterias and events across the globe by the end of 2019.

The company said decision reflects the company’s active support of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign and underlines its ambition to minimize its global environmental footprint. Tons of plastic have been found in the world’s oceans and the plastic pollution is considered a significant threat to aquatic creatures.

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Volvo plans replace more than 20 million single-use plastic items such as cups, food containers and cutlery with more sustainable alternatives, including biodegradable products made of paper, pulp and wood. This equates to the removal of over 500 plastic items per employee per year. (more…)

Chevy Escalates Truck Engine Wars with Four New Offerings

A new Duramax diesel coming in 2019.

by on May.19, 2018

The 2019 Silverado RST comes standard with an all-new, advanced 2.7-liter turbo engine active fuel management and stop/start technology.

Chevrolet is firing another round of salvos in the ongoing engine wars between the Big Three truck makers, debuting four new powerplants including a four-cylinder turbo, ultimately resulting in six new powertrain combinations.

The brand unveiled a 2.7-liter turbocharged four cylinder as well as two new V8s: a 5.3-liter and a 6.2-liter, both of which use Chevy’s active fuel management system. The system uses four, six or eight cylinders depending upon the demands on the engine. Push the pedal to the floor, the driver gets all eight, but if cruising along the freeway, it drops to four and improves fuel economy.

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The 2.7-liter will be the standard engine for the brand’s high-volume trucks, replacing a 4.3-liter V6, which remains available. A new 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel will also be available in 2019. EPA mileage ratings for the new engines are available yet. (more…)

In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

The Last Word!

One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

(more…)

As Predicted, Ford Resumes F-150 Production in Michigan

Production at two other plants restarts on Monday.

by on May.18, 2018

The first Ford F-150 truck rolls off the line this morning at Dearborn Truck Plant, restarted after a fire at a supplier halted production.

As Ford Motor Co. officials said earlier this week it would, the company’s workers at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant began sending F-150s down and off the line to would-be customers at 6 a.m. this morning.

The plant, along with a sister facility in Kansas City, Missouri, have been idle for the past week in the wake of a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products on May 2. Since that morning, the company scrambled to resume production of parts at the facility. Ford expects to make up the lost production and the supply to consumers was never impacted, officials noted.

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The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours, halted production at the two Ford sites as well as at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, General Motors’s full-size van plant near St. Louis and Fiat Chrysler adjusted the run rate of its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

Luxurious interior, leading-edge tech and great road manners.

by on May.18, 2018

The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is based on an all-new version of the three-row SUV.

Utility vehicles of various sizes but similar shapes now account for nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. and the competition is getting fierce carmakers admit.

Notions of luxury have evolved during the years right along with SUVs but one vehicle holding its own is the stylish Buick Enclave Avenir with its gorgeous interior, portfolio of optional technology and pleasant road manners that fit nicely into the American tradition of upscale vehicles.

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The exterior of the 2018 Enclave has a stately aura about it that makes a careful bow to the brand’s historic tradition with a careful display of sleek lines and jeweled corners and at the very same time it moves the vehicle into the 21st century with its 21st century silhouette. The front grille and fascia is not ostentatious and the rear is equally restrained but nicely set off by the lighting display. (more…)

Volvo Cutting Diesel Engines from Portfolio

Company plans to move to just gas and electric only.

by on May.18, 2018

The Volvo S60 will be the first sedan from the automaker that is offered without a diesel powerplant as an option.

Volvo Cars is implementing plans to stop offering diesel engines in its future vehicles.

The company announced this week the new Volvo S60 sedan – to be launched later this spring – will be the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine. The decision to eliminate a diesel engine on a model that will be sold worldwide highlights Volvo Cars’ “commitment to a long-term future beyond the traditional combustion engine,” the company said.

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“Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.  (more…)

Mercedes Tooling Up French Plant to Take on Tesla Model 3

Compact EQA model will be one of 10 all-electric models coming by 2022.

by on May.18, 2018

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA made its debut at last autumn's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Daimler will invest 500 million euros, or $588 million, to tool up a plant in France that will produce an all-electric vehicle targeting the Tesla Model 3.

The German automaker has announced major plans for entering the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, market. That includes products like the compact concept vehicle Mercedes-Benz revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.

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The French battery-car will be based on that EQA prototype. By 2022, the new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand will be selling 10 BEVs. That’s on top of the electrified models to be offered by Daimler’s Smart brand. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Restarting SUV Production in Alabama

Maker one of four impacted by fire at Michigan-based Meridian plant.

by on May.18, 2018

Mercedes-Benz officials said its SUV plant in Alabama will resume operations next week.

Mercedes-Benz said it expects to resume production of sport utility vehicles at its assembly plant in Alabama next week.

“We have worked with our supply base to reestablish part flow and we anticipate getting the first round of parts next week to slowly begin ramping up SUV production operations.

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“We are optimistic that as we go forward we will be able to add more production – gradually getting back to our normal production operations,” Felyicia Jerald, spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International said in an e-mail to AFP. (more…)

BMW Opens New R&D Facility in Beijing

New center is the third in China.

by on May.17, 2018

BMW Group executives mark the opening of the company's new research and development center in Beijing.

The BMW Group opened a new research and development center in Beijing — its third R&D center in the country.

The opening of China R&D Center is a significant step in expanding local innovation and moving ahead with the group’s localization strategy of “In China, for China and the world” one step further, officials noted.

Product News!

China became the largest market for the BMW Group last year. With the establishment of R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, the Chinese R&D network is unique and by far the biggest presence of BMW research and development outside Germany. (more…)