Category: Industry

By on February 23, 2017

tesla factory fremont

After posting a profitable fall quarter, Tesla returned to spending more than it made. However, its fourth quarter losses, announced on Wednesday, were substantially less than originally assumed by analysts. The electric carmaker’s stock price continued to climb during the final three months of 2016, despite losing $448 million from its operations.

Tesla has been throwing a lot of money at projects and acquisitions. It recently purchased SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering, so going into the red was to be expected. However, the dark cloud looming in the distance isn’t related to capital — it’s about production. Read More >

By on February 21, 2017

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Captain of industry John Mendel is retiring as the executive vice president of American Honda’s sales division this April, following ten years of service to the company. Mendel is probably best-known for ensuring that Honda and Acura’s marketing and sales focus remained on North America’s retail markets, not fleets.

Also retiring this spring is Honda Canada’s current president and 42-year company veteran, Jerry Chenkin. Filling the vacuum created in Chenkin’s absence is Dave Gardner, currently senior vice president and future president. Gardner will assume the role of president and provide direct oversight for the automotive and motorcycle divisions, power equipment, ATV, and small engine businesses.  Read More >

By on February 21, 2017

mercedes-benz logo

If Mercedes-Benz dealers manage to overhaul their stores to the brand’s updated “Autohaus2” image standards, the locations can forget about additional modifications until after 2024.

The German automaker’s promise to leave dealerships alone is abnormal, and comes after the second generation of its controversial Autohaus standard established — to the chagrin of dealerships — in 2008. Much of Mercedes’ salesforce objected to the mandatory image alterations, similarly to how Cadillac’s dealer network has responded to that brand’s Project Pinnacle.

Hoping to ease tensions as showrooms adhere to the new status quo, the 2024 pledge provides all sides with a reprieve. The Autohaus2 plan, and subsequent dealer amnesty, was penned under former Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon, though the company’s current North American boss, Dietmar Exler, also supports it.  Read More >

By on February 13, 2017

2016 Lexus RX450h

December is typically a peak month for automotive sales, especially among premium brands. With more holiday-themed ads than the majority of its competition, Lexus always sees the year’s final month of sales as its best. However, it did so well last December that January saw a 26 percent drop in sales due to an exhausted supply of sport utility vehicles.

With the narrowest of exceptions for the LX, last December turned out to be the best month in the history of all of Lexus’ SUVs. The bad news is that most of those sales came at the expense of the automaker’s sedans, which saw comparatively low sales. At around 41,000 units, December 2016 wasn’t all that much different from 2015. However, cars made up a significantly smaller piece of that pie. Read More >

By on February 12, 2017

engine parts

A Houston man says his Lexus went missing after the local auto repair shop, which he entrusted to fix his car, closed without notice. Returning to the mechanic to make a prearranged twice-monthly payment, he noticed an eviction notice and a completely empty parking lot.

“I’m thinking this guy has stolen my car,” said Randy Exom of the mechanic after being unable to find his automobile.  Read More >

By on February 7, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Volkswagen AG has announced a new U.S. unit that will manage its hefty court-mandated investments in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and green awareness programs.

Electrify America LLC, located in Reston, Virginia, is supposed to be entirely separate from Volkswagen Group’s automotive brands and owned as a subsidiary of VW of America. It will oversee $2 billion in initiatives to promote the use of zero emissions vehicles in the U.S. over the next ten years as part of VW’s diesel emissions settlement. Read More >

By on February 5, 2017

maserati emblem

Maserati is recalling roughly 40,000 Ghibli, Levante, and Quattroporte models in the United States after uncovering two defects that could lead to fires. According to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records, adjusting the front seats runs the risk of causing an electrical shortage and potential fire in vehicles from model years 2014 through 2017. Fuel-line leaks are also forcing Maserati to recall Quattroporte and Ghibli cars from 2014 and 2015. Read More >

By on February 3, 2017

Takata, the damned Japanese parts supplier with the exceptionally dangerous airbags, has lost the two top executives at its United States headquarters. According to their LinkedIn profiles, former North American President Kevin Kennedy and former Executive Vice President Robert Fisher are no longer with the company.

Meanwhile, BMW Group is recalling roughly 230,000 vehicles in the U.S. after discovering that some could have been outfitted with defective Takata Corp. airbag inflators during repairs.  Read More >

By on February 2, 2017

Alfa Romeo Stelvio nose logo badge

Relaunching Alfa Romeo has been an expensive undertaking for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the brand continues to hemorrhage cash while FCA scrambles to get the Giulia and upcoming Stelvio into driveways. While discussing the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa was a financial vortex last year and will remain that way until Americans see more than just the occasional 4C cruising down the boulevard.

It cost a fortune to develop the Giorgio platform that underpins the new Alfa models — Marchionne claims FCA spent $2.7 billion on the relaunch. To recoup some of those expenses, the brand is going to share its fancy new bones with Maserati, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.  Read More >

By on February 1, 2017

BMW Group CEO Harald Krüger says the automaker fully intends on sicking with its current investment strategies in Mexico and the United States, even after President Donald Trump’s proposal to levy steep import taxes on vehicles brought into American borders.

“We need free world trade,” Krueger told the CAR Symposium automotive congress in Bochum, Germany, on Wednesday. Read More >

By on February 1, 2017

Faraday Future FF 91 profile

Faraday Future had already broken ground on a sprawling $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas when a multi-million dollar late fee forced contractors to go on hiatus last November. Then, at CES 2017, the company announced the resumption of construction as the city’s mayor waved to the crowd — a physical manifestation of goodwill towards the company’s new promises.

What they did not say, however, was that the factory would be a fraction of the size as originally claimed, existing as a smaller-scale starter plant. Faraday is the automotive equivalent of Monty Python’s Black Knight. It continues to suffer horrendous blows that cripple its operational ability, all the while telling the world, “Tis but a scratch.” Read More >

By on January 31, 2017

Car2Go Mercedes

Daimler AG’s Car2Go has been a great way for the company to dump Smart Fortwos on urban areas and turn a profit while the itty-bitty city car’s popularity wanes. However, with only the single small offering, Car2Go is the only vehicle-sharing service that forces subscribers to decide which of their two children will have to be left behind to fend for themselves every time they take a trip somewhere.

In response, Mercedes-Benz is providing its CLA and GLA to C2G’s North American fleet — reuniting families, allowing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single run, and making its service substantially more competitive with rival ZipCar. Read More >

By on January 31, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, Volkswagen’s outgoing compliance chief, will receive at least $12 million for her time with the company — with the possibility for as much as $16.1 million (15 million euros). Hohmann-Dennhardt, who was brought on to get VW through its messy emissions crisis, was canned by the automaker last week. The company attributed the “amicable” split to a “disagreement in the understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures within the function she leads.”

New reports indicate that a central aspect of those disagreements involved Volkswagen’s upper management attempting to stop Hohmann-Dennhardt from exposing any additional information on how the emissions scandal transpired.  Read More >

By on January 29, 2017

Saab

When National Electric Vehicle Sweden bought out Saab Automobile after its 2011 filing for bankruptcy, it expected to get the whole enchilada and went straight to work producing electric 9-3s. However, NEVS filed for bankruptcy itself a few years later and production of those EV 9-3s stopped as it hunted for financial backing from China. Fed up, Saab AB revoked the company’s right to use its name on future NEVS-built products.

While that only changes the badging and branding, it made it feel a little like Electric Vehicle Sweden is defiling Saab’s corpse without the namesake and company’s blessing. Still, the pathway to bringing that disgusting dream to life remained long and dark. NEVS said from day one that its goal was to bring “Saab” back to the world but, after a $12 billion deal with Panda New Energy, it would have to tackle China and plenty of red tape first. After substantial delays, it appears to have found a pair of scissors. Read More >

By on January 26, 2017

Ford Ranger 3.2L TDCI Wildtrak exterior beauty shot, Image: Radek Beneš/The Truth About Cars

On September 5, 2006, Alan Mulally moved into the corner office at the Glass House. He brought with him a simple management philosophy he developed over three decades at Boeing Commercial Aircraft. After a short time at Ford, he formalized his philosophy, which continues to guide the company under Mark Fields.

He called it One Ford — and along with a lot of hard work, that philosophy transformed the Blue Oval into the profitable, future-oriented automaker we know today.

Read More >

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