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GM Appoints Bolt Boss to New EV Post

Fletcher named Vice President, Global Electric Vehicle Programs

by on Oct.13, 2017

Pam Fletcher, GM's electric vehicle chief, and North American President Alan Batey hold the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy. for the Chevrolet Bolt.

With the pressure mounting in several corners of the globe to promote the use of electric vehicles on the road, General Motors Co. appointed Pamela Fletcher to the newly created position of Vice President, Global Electric Vehicle Programs.

Fletcher, who has spent a substantial part of her career with GM working on electric vehicles, led the team that launched the Chevrolet Bolt EV and “created the plan to accelerate us along the pathway to our vision of a zero emissions world,” the company noted.

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The Bolt has been considered a technical success and is considered an integral part of the company’s future fleet of autonomous vehicles and GM’s car sharing initiatives. (more…)

GM Tells Unifor Equinox Going to Mexico if Strike Doesn’t End

Company laying off workers at other facilities due to strike.

by on Oct.12, 2017

Unifor President Jerry Dias speaks to striking workers at GM's Ingersoll, Ontario, plant.

The ongoing talks between General Motors and Unifor-represented workers at the company’s plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, may be heading south — literally.

The workers at the plant, which produces the hot-selling Chevy Equinox, walked off the line more than four weeks ago and GM is beginning to feel the pinch. GM negotiators told Unifor they had a Plan B in place if the plant’s workers didn’t return to work.

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“GM just told us today that they are going to ramp up production in Mexico,” Unifor President Jerry Dias told Reuters. “They have declared war on Canada.” (more…)

GM Shutting Down Poletown Plant for 2017 in November

GM's been aggressively matching personnel levels to vehicle demand.

by on Oct.12, 2017

GM is idling its Detroit-Hamtramck facility where it builds the Chevy Volt and three other vehicles.

General Motors plans to temporarily shut down its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant due to falling demand for the four vehicles built at the plant. The move idles more than 1,800 hourly and salaried employees.

Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, also known as the Poletown plant, builds the Chevy Impala, Chevy Volt, Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse.

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The plant will begin reducing production levels Oct. 20, culminating in the shutdown on Nov. 13, which will last through the end of 2017. It’s the second time this year GM’s been forced to cut personnel from the plant, letting more than 600 temporary employees go in late spring. (more…)

Asian Makers Sweep Green Car of the Year Nominations

Honda gets two chances at the title.

by on Oct.12, 2017

Honda's new 2018 Accord is one of the nominees for the Green Car of the Year Award.

The list of nominees for the 2018 Green Car of the Year award, which will be handed out in late November during the Los Angeles Auto Show press preview, is dominated by Asian automakers, including two nominations for Honda.

The 2018 models include the Honda Accord, Honda Clarity, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry, according to Green Car Journal. Noticeably absent from the list? Tesla Model 3.

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The all-new 2018 Accord champions style, efficiency, and performance with three advanced new power plants – two direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and the third generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid powertrain. (more…)

Commerce Secretary Ross Optimistic about NAFTA Talks

President Trump still pushing to kill deal.

by on Oct.12, 2017

President Donald Trump continues to threaten to walk away from NAFTA, but officials are positive the revised deal can be completed.

While President Donald Trump continues to talk about walking away from the North American Free Trade Agreement if necessary, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he still expects to reach a deal with Mexico and Canada on revising the existing agreement.

“From time to time (the President) has expressed a total willingness to depart from NAFTA should that become necessary,” Ross, whose personal investment portfolio includes controlling interest a major automotive supplier with factories in Mexico told a panel in Washington D.C., according to TheHill.com.

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“We don’t hope it will, we don’t desire that it will, we don’t believe that it will, but it is at least a conceptual possibility as we go forward.” (more…)

VW Latest to Target EV Heavy Truck Market

Move poses another threat to Tesla.

by on Oct.12, 2017

Volkswagen will be competing with the likes of the Nikola One heavy-duty rig, which will be able to travel up to 1,200 miles on a tank of hydrogen.

Volkswagen plans to invest about $1.7 billion to develop a new range of high-tech trucks, much of that going into the development of battery-based vehicles, the maker said today.

VW becomes the latest on a growing list of manufacturers planning to develop electrified trucks, something that could pose yet another challenge to battery vehicle maker Tesla. The California-based company is developing an electric semi-truck, though it has again delayed the introduction of a prototype until next month due to problems with the launch of its new Model 3 battery-sedan.

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The German company has already committed to spending about $20 billion on electrifying a broad range of its passenger car line-up, and it says it now sees tremendous opportunities on the truck side. Working with affiliate Navistar International, it hopes to introduce an electric medium-duty truck in North America by late 2019 or early 2020, according to VW Truck & Bus chief Andreas Renschler. (more…)

BMW Talking with Great Wall about EV Deal in China

German maker works with Brilliance in China.

by on Oct.11, 2017

BMW is looking to expand its presence in China to build EVs, potentially with Great Wall Motors.

BMW is the latest automaker looking to make inroads quickly into the electric vehicle market in China through a deal with a local partner: Great Wall Motors.

Actually the deal will be BMW’s second partnership in the country as it’s already working with Brilliance China Holdings in Shenyang. The new venture will be based in Changshu, according to Reuters. The plant will produce electric vehicles exclusively.

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“We are in discussions with Great Wall about setting up a joint venture to produce cars in Changshu,” said a BMW executive told Reuters. (more…)

Hyundai, Bisimoto Team Up for 80 MPG HyperEconiq

Tuner shifts gears, puts emphasis on efficiency, rather than performance.

by on Oct.11, 2017

Bisimoto's HyperEconiq takes Hyundai's Ioniq hybrid to a new level, getting 83 mpg.

We’ve seen automotive tuner Bisimoto partner up with Hyundai for a series of impressive, high-performance custom projects in recent years, and with the annual SEMA show just around the corner they’re pairing up this time. But this time around, the focus is on fuel efficiency.

California-based Bisimoto has taken Hyundai’s already high-mileage Ioniq hybrid to create the HyperEconiq, in the process upping its numbers substantially, a series of 83 tests yielding an average of 83 miles per gallon. That compares impressively with the 58 mpg Combined rating achieved by the stock Hyundai Ioniq.

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Bisimoto suggests it was able to get there by using what it describes as “the best hypermiling, economy and friction tech.” A quick glimpse reveals a handful of modifications its made, including the use of wheel spats to reduce drag around the rear wheels, but there are also a number of upgrades hidden under the stock Hyundai Ioniq’s skin. (more…)

Drivers Now Can “Subscribe” For Access to Up to 22 Different Porsche Models

German maker joins growing list of automakers experimenting with new purchase, ownership models.

by on Oct.11, 2017

The third-generation 2018 Porsche Cayenne is part of the German maker's new "subscription" service.

Looking for a Porsche but not sure what you want? Maybe you’d like a 911 for the workweek, a Cayenne for getting away over the weekend.

Now, you won’t have to choose, at least not if you live near the German maker’s U.S. headquarters in Atlanta and sign up for the new Porsche Passport program. The pilot program will offer two subscription levels and, for a price tag of up to $3,000 a month, you’ll be able to slip behind the wheel of as many as 22 different Porsche models pretty much whenever you want.

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The subscription program is one of a number of new retail programs automakers are launching in the U.S. – some running as pilots, others reaching out to all potential buyers. The same day the German maker announced the Porsche Passport, Hyundai introduced its own Shopper Assurance program which will include a three-day, money-back guarantee. (more…)

Magna Joins BMW-Led Autonomous Car Consortium

Canada-based supplier customizing computer systems.

by on Oct.11, 2017

Magna International's Swamy Kotogiri outlines the parameters of the autonomous vehicle deal with BMW, Intel and Mobileye.

Magna International Inc., one of the world’s largest auto-parts suppliers, is joining the consortium launched by BMW AG, Intel Corp. and Mobileye to develop fully automated driving systems by 2021.

Ontario, Canada-based Magna will help customize computing systems designed by the partners to integrate technology and customize the controller designed by BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye.

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“Many of the autonomy challenges the industry is facing can’t be handled in isolation,” said Magna’s Chief Technology Officer Swamy Kotagiri. (more…)