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BMW Reversing Course With Future EVs

Automaker abandoning unique platforms to offer electric options on all models.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The BMW i4, due to market around 2020, will offer a battery range of more than 400 miles.

BMW made headlines when it launched the industry’s first unique electrified vehicle sub-brand with the debut of its i3 and 15 models five years ago and its getting ready to expand the line-up with several new offerings, including a production version of the coupe-like i4 sedan that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn.

Set to reach showrooms by 2020, BMW CEO Harald Kruger said the i4 will offer a range of up to 435 miles per charge, nearly a third better than the industry’s current long-range champ, the Tesla Model S P100D – and more than triple what the all-electric i3 model today delivers. But the debut of the i4 will also mark another critical milestone for BMW’s push into electrification.

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On Wednesday, as reports in a separate story, BMW announced a major increase in spending on both electrified and autonomous vehicle programs. The i4 will be one of 25 electrified models by 2025, 12 of them pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. According to an earlier statement by Kruger, “all fully-electric BMWs will belong to BMW i,” but, that said, there will be some major changes to that electric brand going forward. Most importantly, future products, like the i4, will no longer be based on unique, standalone platforms like those use for the i3 and 15 models.


New Senior Personnel Departures at Ford Comes at Awkward Time

Key players in smart mobility push leave company even as Ford ramps up autonomous, electrification programs.

by on Mar.22, 2018

Musa Tariq, Ford's chief brand officer was hired away from Apple just 14 months ago.

Ford Motor Co. has been hit with another round of senior level departures, a development that not only continues the turmoil touched off by the ouster of CEO CEO Mark Fields last May but threatens to shake up the carmaker’s push into advanced mobility services.

Musa Tariq, the chief brand officer Ford lured away from Apple just 14 months ago, will be leaving the company, Ford has confirmed. And he’s not alone. Raj Rao, the CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, will also depart the automaker on May 1st.

Industry News!

“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “Over the last year, he has been helping to drive the same transformation at Ford.”


BMW EV, AV Spend Rising as Sales Hit New Records

Company sets sales record for ninth consecutive year.

by on Mar.22, 2018

BMW Chief Harald Krueger noted the company's commitment to EVs and AVs at this year's annual meeting.

The BMW Group intends to increase upfront spending on research and development on electric and autonomous vehicles to an all-time high in 2018, while at the same time remaining steadily on course for a ninth record-breaking sales year in a row with profitable, sustainable growth.

“Our industry is currently experiencing a phase of unprecedented technological change. At the same time, however, it needs to cope with the challenge of present-day volatilities,” said Harald Krueger, chairman of BMW’s Board of Management of BMW AG in Munich during the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

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“At the BMW Group, we think in terms of opportunities and follow a clear strategy. Because the future of mobility is created today. We are stepping up the pace in 2018 and targeting our ninth successive record year.” (more…)

Study Finds Strong Support for Keeping Mileage Rules Among Key Auto Suppliers

EPA expected to announce CAFE revisions by April 1.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The auto industry is waiting anxiously to see if and how the Trump Administration rewrites the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce revisions to federal mileage rules by April 1, but while a number of automakers are hoping to see a sharp cutback in the standards a new study finds key automotive suppliers hoping the Trump Administration will let the rules stand as they are, ramping up to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

After completing a mandated mid-term review just before leaving office, the Obama Administration decided to maintain that target. But soon after President Donald Trump entered the White House, his EPA chief Scott Pruitt said he would revisit the Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate, appearing to side with auto industry critics who complained CAFE was set to price many buyers out of the new car market.


The debate has led to an unusual split between automakers like Ford and General Motors, who want to roll back the rules, and a number of auto suppliers who support the 54.5 mpg target, according to several reports, including a new study by CALSTART, a California-based consortium aimed at developing clean transportation technologies.


First Look: Cadillac’s First Unique New Engine in 35 Years

Hand-built, hand-signed.

by on Mar.21, 2018

Cadillac's first all-new engine in 35 years is this 4.2-liter, twin turbo V8 putting out 550 horsepower for the all-new CT6 V-Sport.

When it relocated its headquarters to New York a few years back, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen promised the move would help the luxury brand gain some much-needed distance from the rest of the General Motors line-up. One welcome indication that we can take him at his word will make its debut in the Big Apple next week.

While much has been said about the upcoming Caddy XT4 crossover, the New York International Auto Show will also bring the debut of the CT6 V-Sport. More significantly, that high-performance sedan will bring with it the launch of the first unique-to-Cadillac engine since the marque introduced the Northstar V-8 for the old Allante roadster 35 years ago.

Product News!

“Designing an all-new engine was the best way to achieve the performance goals for the CT6 V-Sport,” said Jordan Lee, 4.2L TT V-8 chief engineer. “It builds on Cadillac’s well-established turbocharging know-how and forges new ground with innovative features that deliver exceptional performance and refinement.” (more…)

Cadillac’s New CT6 V-Sport to Debut Its 1st-Ever Twin-Turbo V-8

Following the Northstar for improved performance.

by on Mar.21, 2018

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport is set to make its debut at the New York International Auto Show next week.

We’ll be hearing and seeing a lot from Cadillac in the months ahead as it launches the CT4, the first in a wave of new sport-utility vehicles it hopes will help it gain some new momentum in a crossover-crazy market. But, that said, Caddy is by no means walking away from the passenger car side of its line-up.

Word has it parent General Motors may give the greenlight to a production version of the stunning Escala concept of a few years back. More immediately, we’ll get a first look during the upcoming New York International Auto Show at a high-performance version of the flagship CT6 sedan. And the new CT6 V-Sport will introduce Caddy’s first-ever Twin-Turbo V-8. It will be the first completely unique engine developed for Cadillac since the Northstar V-8 debuted more than three decades ago.

Auto Show News!

“Cadillac V-Sport is the embodiment of our passion to deliver an exhilarating driving experience without compromises,” Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said, ahead of the NYIAS debut. “The all-new CT6 V-Sport provides the perfect balance of performance and luxurious refinement.” (more…)

Trump Administration Backs Off 50% Content Demand in NAFTA

Move puts negotiations back on track.

by on Mar.21, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly took the 50% U.S. content demand off the table last week.

It appears that negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement are back on track after the Trump Administration relented on its demand that vehicles built in Canada and Mexico and exported to the U.S. must contain 50% U.S. content.

The demand, which Trump Administration officials were told by automakers would be impossible to implement, essentially brought the talks about revising the decades old trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to a halt.

Trade News!

The Trump Administration had been seeking to raise the amount of NAFTA content in autos to 85% from 62.5% and secure 50% of the total for the United States. (more…)

Back From the Dead: Chrysler Finds New Use for Old Viper Plant

Maker auctioning Viper memorabilia for charity.

by on Mar.21, 2018

The last Viper - and the original Viper Concept - will join 400 other classics kept at the newly renamed Conner Center.

The Dodge Viper may have been relegated to the automotive scrapheap but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has found a new use for the old factory on Detroit’s Northeast side that spent a quarter-century building the high-powered sports car.

The Conner Assembly Plant, which was idled last year when production of the Viper was halted, is in the midst of being converted into a combination corporate meeting center and car museum, FCA officials revealed Wednesday. At a media gathering at the 77,000 square-foot plant, meanwhile, they also announced that nearly 2,000 items of Viper memorabilia – ranging from signed hoods to kiddy cars – will be auctioned off, the money to go to a regional charity.

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“This is a way to get this memorabilia into the hands of people who will appreciate it … while giving back to the community,” said Mike Tonietto, the last manager of the Conner plant and now a director of manufacturing for FCA. (more…)

Business Group Pushes EPA to Keep Tougher Fuel Economy Rules

Administrator Pruitt considering cutting standard.

by on Mar.21, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reopened the review of tougher CAFE standards going into effect for 2025.

With the Environmental Protection Agency poised to release a proposal to revise the nation’s current fuel-economy standards, a big network of American businesses is calling on the Trump administration to maintain robust fuel-economy and emissions standards for passenger vehicles.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, CERES, which advocates for clean energy and sustainable business and industrial practices that minimize harm to the environment, also expressing support for rights of states to maintain the existing standards.

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The letter from the Ceres BICEP Network to the EPA administrator noted the strong national miles-per-gallon and emissions standards already in place represent “a critical opportunity to strengthen the U.S. economy, enhance the global competitiveness of the auto industry, create jobs, and help us meet our climate goals. (more…)

Lexus Mulls Addition of Subscription Service

Luxury brand follow lead of Volvo, Porsche and Cadillac.

by on Mar.21, 2018

Lexus is considering offering a subscription service much like that of Cadillac, Volvo or Porsche ... and soon Lincoln.

Subscription services are still something of a novelty in the car business but more brands, including Lexus, are contemplating offering them in the not too distant future.

“There’s nothing to announce,” said Michael Moore, Lexus senior manager of product marketing. “But it’s certainly something we’re looking at.”

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Moore noted Lexus is continuously reviewing its retail approach in effort to make it better ensure that it can exceed customer expectations. (more…)