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Hyundai Set to Bring First Pickup to Market by 2021

Production version of Santa Cruz concept could be offered with electrified drivetrain.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Hyundai could sorely use a production version of the wildly popular Santa Cruz concept first shown in 2015.

Hyundai has reconfirmed plans to put into production a version of the wildly popular Santa Cruz concept truck that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January 2015.

But Hyundai officials are hesitating to use the term, “pickup” to describe the compact model, preferring to think of it as an “open bed” vehicle aimed at Millennials and other urbanites who “might need to occasionally toss their sports gear in the back or help move a friend’s dresser,” a well-placed source told

Future Products!

Expect the production model – which many expect to retain the Santa Cruz name – to reach the U.S. market by the 2020 or 2021 model-years. And while some key details are still being finalized, the Korean carmaker is giving strong consideration to offering an electrified powertrain option which could range from a conventional hybrid to a full battery-electric system, sources confided.


Great Wall May Not Seek Jeep Takeover After All

“Big uncertainties,” says Chinese carmaker.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Great Wall Motors has been hoping to sell vehicles, such as the Hover H7, in the U.S.

Just a day after reports surfaced that China’s leading SUV maker, Great Wall Motor Co., was considering the acquisition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand, it is signaling it may not be ready to make a bid, after all.

On Monday, news reports quoted several Great Wall officials indicating their interest in Jeep, an icon of the sport-utility market. But a day later, the Chinese manufacturer is signaling there are “big uncertainties” as to whether it will move forward, the Bloomberg news service reported Tuesday. For its part, FCA officials have said they have not been approached by the Chinese company.

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Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has long been expressing an interest in finding a partner, though he has been rejected by a number of Western competitors, including General Motors and Volkswagen. A month ago, Marchionne raised speculation further when he responded, “Yes,” when an automotive analyst asked if FCA might be willing to just sell off its Jeep or Ram brands.


Will Your Next Car Be Made of Wood, or Even Sugar Beets?

Researchers in Europe, Asia look for alternatives to steel, aluminum.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Dubbed Lina, this four-seat battery car is made almost entirely out of organic materials.

In their push to make cars lighter and more fuel-efficient, automotive researchers have been looking for green – and affordable — alternatives to the steel used to make most of today’s vehicles.

A growing number of products are being assembled out of lighter aluminum and even super-strong carbon fiber, though cost and manufacturing challenges have largely limited the use of those materials to luxury and high-performance vehicles.

Tech Talk!

But some researchers are taking a tip from industry pioneer Henry Ford who, in the early years of the Model T often used recycled wood for part of his legendary Model T. Ford also experimented with replacing model body stampings with panels made of organic materials, notably the soy he grew on his estate just outside of Detroit.


Honda, Chevy, Subaru Offer Best Cars for Teens

Annual report unveils best cars, crossovers and utes for teen drivers.

by on Aug.22, 2017

The 2017 Toyota Corolla was named the best car for teens under $20,000.

As teenagers ready to head back to school this fall, they’ll be looking for school supplies, new clothes and, in some cases, a car to get back and forth each day and to ferry them to afterschool activities as well.

For a select few, that first vehicle will also be their first new vehicle, but what is the best choice among new vehicles? How big an engine should a newly minted driver be trusted with? Small car or large SUV?

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Fortunately for those making that big decision, U.S. News & World Report has put together its annual best new vehicles for teens list sorted by classification and price with important features in mind for young drivers. (more…)

Former GE CEO Immelt Top Contender for Uber Post

Former CEO and founder Kalanick still trying to regain old spot.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Former GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is considered the top contender to replace Uber's ousted chief executive Travis Kalanick.

Uber is considering hiring former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as its chief executive officer to help stabilize an enterprise that has been engulfed in turmoil for months.

Immelt, stepped aside as GE CEO Aug. 1, but remains the company’s chairman. Nonetheless, tech-oriented websites clustered around Uber’s San Francisco headquarters have been reporting that Immelt is now the favored candidate to serve as the Uber CEO.

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Uber’s board of directors ousted the company’s former CEO and founder, Travis Kalanick, after an outside counsel’s investigation found that the company had ignored long-festering problems with sexual harassment. (more…)

BMW Takes Cover Off 2018 M5

New speedster features 600-hp twin-turbo V8.

by on Aug.21, 2017

BMW's 2018 M5 is a snarling 600-horspower beast due to a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8.

BMW took the actual wraps off the 2018 M5 model – it had made an earlier debut in a video game – that mavens had been waiting for since early this year.

There are two overwhelmingly unsurprising items of note about the new speedster: it doesn’t look dramatically different than a regular 5 Series model and it is much different than the 5 Series model.

Product News!

The all-new, sixth-generation M5 features the M-specific all-wheel-drive system, M xDrive. This new system allows the M5 to reach new heights of dynamic performance and delivers poise in all driving situations. (more…)

States Considering Taxing Autonomous Vehicles

New taxes offset lost revenue from gas taxes.

by on Aug.21, 2017

States are beginning to apply taxes to autonomous vehicle to ensure owners pay their share of road maintenance taxes.

As automakers continue to charge ahead on the development of autonomous vehicles, the entities potentially impacted by the vehicles are moving forward in their preparations for these cars.

The state of Massachusetts plans to install a 2.5-cent-per-mile-driven tax on the vehicles.

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State legislators believe the most autonomous will be battery-electrics, thus won’t pay any gasoline taxes. So in order to ensure these vehicles pay their share for road maintenance costs, they new tax is necessary, the claim. (more…)

Delphi Inks Partnership Deal with Israeli Tech Start-Up

Auto supplier will use Innoviz lidar in its autonomous vehicle package.

by on Aug.21, 2017

Delphi's a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, and just inked a deal with Innoviz, an Israeli technology firm, for lidar development.

Delphi Automotive has signed a commercial partnership agreement with Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli technology firm developing Lidar systems for autonomous vehicles.

In addition to the agreement, Delphi has taken a minority stake in Innoviz, although the size of that ownership share was not revealed.

News You Can Trust!

Innoviz’s proprietary Lidar sensing solutions, one of the key building blocks needed for self-driving vehicles, will be integrated into Delphi’s systems to provide makers of autonomous cars and trucks with a comprehensive portfolio of autonomous driving technologies.  (more…)

China’s Great Wall Planning Bid for FCA – But Will Trump Be a Roadblock

Chinese maker could seek a complete acquisition or just go for the lucrative Jeep brand.

by on Aug.21, 2017

FCA CEO Donald Trump, right, met with Pres Trump and GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this year.

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors is expected to make a formal bid to acquire all, or at least some of the assets of, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to several reports out of Asia Monday morning.

The news comes a week after initial reports surfaced that FCA had rejected an earlier bid from an unspecified Chinese automotive manufacturer. At the time, there was speculation several of that country’s native carmakers might seek such a deal with the spotlight focusing on both Great Wall and Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently has a joint venture with FCA to produce Jeeps.

Breaking News!

Great Wall is the largest Chinese producer of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, something that would be a “perfect fit” with FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. It is not clear if Great Wall would seek to acquire just those two divisions or all of Fiat Chrysler.


Ex-UAW Official Indicted in FCA-UAW Corruption Probe

Long-time UAW employee received designer shoes and clothes.

by on Aug.21, 2017

Virdell King, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, allegedly accepted money and gifts from Fiat Chrysler.

A former official from the United Auto Workers has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit for criminal violations of federal labor statutes for taking bribes from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Virdell King, 65, of Detroit, Michigan, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, was charged Friday with taking part in a multiyear conspiracy for UAW officials to accept money and things of value from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents filed in Detroit.

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The money came from a UAW-FCA training fund controlled by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations staff and violated the Federal Labor Management Relations Act – Landrum Griffin – of 1958, which was drafted to prevent union officials from taking money and gifts from third parties outside the union. (more…)