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Dealers Hampering Sales of Electric Vehicles, Study Shows

Sales of EVs predicted to rise 50% in the U.S. in 2018.

by on May.25, 2018

The Chevy Bolt was one of Consumer Reports 10 best vehicles when it came out. Despite this, a new study suggests salespeople don't want to sell them.

Despite the fact that more and more consumers seem to be interested in buying electric vehicles, a new study suggests that dealers still seem to want to not sell EVs.

According to a study by Nature Energy, salespeople are reticent to sell people who specifically ask about electric vehicles an EV. The publication sent out 126 people to 82 dealerships across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden who were either deterred from buying an EV or were given incorrect information about them.

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These countries are all in the top 15 electric vehicle markets in the world.  (more…)

Volkswagen to Supply Vehicles for Apple’s AV Program

Apple to use small van for testing.

by on May.25, 2018

Apple's new autonomous vehicle — a T6 Transporter van from Volkswagen.

Apple’s on-again-and-off again automotive project, has found a partner, Volkswagen, according to a published report.

The report in the The New York Times followed reports by various tech-oriented web sites and publications that both Mercedes-Benz and BMW had rejected the overtures to work with Apple, which once considered building its own electric-powered autonomous vehicles.

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More recently Apple appears to have in development software that could guide self-driving vehicles and has even developed an AV shuttle that has been used intermittently on its Silicon Valley campus. It also has applied for permits to test AVs throughout the State of California. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling Nearly 5m Vehicles Because Cruise Control Could Lock On

Problem could make it more difficult to stop vehicles.

by on May.25, 2018

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of 15 different models covered by the new FCA recall.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million sedans, utility vehicles and pickups due to a problem that could prevent drivers from shutting off their cruise control, making it difficult, though not impossible, to stop a vehicle.

The problem is the latest in a series of large recalls involving the third-largest of the domestic automotive manufacturers, FCA recalling millions of vehicles over the last several years for issues as varied as transmission problems and fire hazards.

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The latest service action involves a wide range of products produced for the 2014 through 2018 model-years, and even one 2019 model, and is meant to cope with a cruise control circuit that could short out.

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Makers Claim Trump Investigation of Auto Imports Ill-Conceived

Trade Expansion Act clause not intended for this type of use.

by on May.25, 2018

President Donald Trump instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, to determine if auto imports are a threat to national security.

The Trump administration’s decision to launch a complex investigation to determine if the import of finished vehicles and automotive components represents a threat to national security brought a swift reaction from carmakers and other groups.

The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers in Washington D.C., the industry’s principal lobbying group in the U.S. Capitol, said the investigation launched by the U.S. Commerce Department under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 is a process that has rarely been used and traditionally has not focused on finished products.

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“We are confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk to the U.S. Last year, 13 domestic and international automakers manufactured nearly 12 million vehicles in the U.S. The auto sector remains the leading exporter of manufactured goods in our country,” the Alliance noted in a statement. (more…)

UAW’s Williams Supports Trump’s Tariff Proposal

No plans yet for calling an organizing vote at Tesla.

by on May.24, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams said the union favors President Trump's plan for a 25% tariff on foreign cars.

Despite some major political differences, the United Auto Workers union is fully prepared to support President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policies.

Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers, said, “I have said that as long as when he is working in the best interest of working men and women then we will support him. I think it’s time to look at this.”

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Williams comment came on the heels of a Presidential tweet that said autoworkers would like what was coming and promptly threatened to levy a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and started an investigation on whether importing vehicles threatened national security. (more…)

Comrade Musk Wants to Launch “Pravda” Website to Rate Journalists

Tesla CEO increasingly intolerant of media, investor critics, even taking shots at owners.

by on May.24, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has another new idea: a news site! He'd call it Pravda.

It’s hard to tell whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s latest idea was more influenced by the old Soviet Union or the current resident of the White House.

Like President Donald Trump, the billionaire entrepreneur has had his run-ins with the media, Tesla coming under increasing scrutiny in recent months due to production problems, lawsuits, quality issues and mounting financial losses. So, it seems, Musk might lift the name for the old Soviet government’s official media mouthpiece, Pravda, and use it as a way to fire back at critical journalists.

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“Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication,” Musk said in his latest burst of tweets. “Thinking of calling it Pravda …” (more…)

Uber Posts Positive Q1 Earnings After Tough 2017

Shuttering of Arizona ops stings as Waymo, Lyft take off.

by on May.24, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made an impact on the company in the short time he's been there.

After nearly a year of problems and attempts to rectify them, including the addition of a new CEO, Uber Technologies’ first quarter results reveal some of the positive impact of changes implemented across the ride-sharing company.

Uber reported net income of $2.5 billion on gross bookings of $11.29 billion, an increase of 55% compared with the year-ago period. The company’s net revenue grew 67% to $2.5 billion.

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Much of the company’s positive results can be attributed to the changes implemented by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and two significant transactions: the sale of GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and a joint venture with Yandex N.V. (more…)

Trump Auto Tariff Threat Triggering Backlash

President calls auto industry "critical to our strength as a nation," but critics warn new tariffs could "undermine" global trade.

by on May.24, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra welcomes President Donald Trump's efforts to "level the playing field."

President Donald Trump is once again threatening to slap steep tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, his latest in a series of moves challenging free trade that also sees a continuing effort to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump said he asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate whether auto imports are a threat to national security. If so, he would be able to sidestep Congress and institute tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — one of the strongest trade tools in the president’s arsenal. But the proposal is already triggering a backlash from trade partners in Europe and other parts of the world.

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“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation,” Trump said in a short statement released by the White House Press Office. (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Profits Cut By Falling Diesel Sales

Overall sales rose 1.7% with China leading the way.

by on May.24, 2018

Ralf Speth, Jaguar president, touted the company's full-year sales set a new record, driven by a 19% increase in China.

Jaguar Land Rover reported its annual pre-tax profits fell to 1.5 billion pounds, or $2 billion, from 1.6 billion pounds the year before, and fourth quarter profits during the January to March period was almost cut in half from 676 million pounds, or $905.3 million, to 364 million pounds.

The drop in profits during January to March period was affected by the higher charges in its vehicle development program and the drop in sales of diesel-powered vehicles. But the company said its annual pre-tax profit was boosted a 437-million-pound, or $585.2 million, credit from its pension scheme in the first quarter of the year.

Global News!

The automaker, which was re-organized 10 years ago after Ford Motor Co. sold it to Tata, the Indian industrial conglomerate, noted that “consumer uncertainty surrounding diesel models, Brexit and vehicle taxation” hurt sales in the United Kingdom.  (more…)

First Look: 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Trail-blazing.

by on May.24, 2018

Ford launched its off-road truck in 2010, originally naming it the SVT Raptor.

While most of today’s sport-utility vehicles have migrated to soft-roading, there’s still a solid market for serious trail-blazers, especially in the pickup segment, and Ford’s F-150 has earned serious credibility since the launch of what was originally known as the SVT Raptor in 2010.

The latest version, simply known as the Raptor has underscored Ford’s claims for the ruggedness and capabilities of its aluminum-bodied F-150. And the automaker intend to enhance that off-road credibility even more with the updated 2019 model. Among other features, the update gets what Ford is billing as “smarter,” electronically controlled shocks, a new Trail Control system and Recaro sport seats.

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“Raptor’s success is rooted in its incredible suspension, superb vehicle control and the confidence the truck instills in its owners,” Hermann Salenbauch, global director of the Ford Performance vehicle program, said in a statement announcing the update. “Upgrades to the 2019 F-150 Raptor have improved all three to new levels that the competition will have to benchmark – again.”

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