Category: News Blog

By on May 25, 2017

tesla factory fremont

For some reason, the term “Chief People Officer” is at the same time cringe-inducing and rational. That’s what Tesla calls its head of HR. “Human Resources,” of course, is another cringe-inducing term that could only have come from the mid-century expansion of the federal public service. It’s an awful thing.

At Tesla, the face of HR — or people, if you will — has suddenly changed, and at a very interesting point in the electric automaker’s history. The company has announced the departure of longtime HR head Arnnon Geshuri, who oversaw workers at the company for eight years. In his place is Gaby Toledano, a veteran of high tech.

The timing of the departure could simply be a benign career change, but what’s occurring in the background at Tesla have many thinking otherwise. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

 

BMW Concept 8 Series

If your 7 Series has friends and club patrons pretending not to know you, BMW has the answer: its upcoming, resurrected 8 Series. Once again, BMW has decided to carve out some space at the top of its model range, this time to rebuff efforts by Mercedes-Benz to lure buyers in the six-figure luxury market.

It’s big, it’s long, it’s expensive, and it’s…a concept. While buyers can expect some deviations between the BMW Concept 8 Series premiering at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the final production model, this vehicle seems pretty fleshed out. Also, unlike such styling efforts as the Buick Avista, this vehicle will actually see production. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

tesla model-s-rear

Tesla Motors has won back some of Consumer Reports’ respect after being criticised for failing to include automatic emergency braking in recently built vehicles. The absence of the safety system really irked CR, resulting in a points deduction on all of the brand’s existing models. Tesla said it was abnormal to see vehicles of the same generation missing preexisting safety features and docked the Model S and X two points apiece.

“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” explained Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”  Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2015 Nissan Juke, Image: Nissan

When you burst out guns blazing from the get-go, it’s sometimes difficult to follow up with an impressive sequel. Such is the case with the Juke, which will have no second generation — at least not in North America.

According to two independent sources familiar with Nissan’s future product plans who spoke with TTAC, the Japanese automaker will kill off the funky four-wheel-drive subcompact crossover after the 2017 or 2018 model year, and replace it — in body and name — with the Aguascalientes-built Nissan Kicks.

Representatives for Nissan said it would not comment on future product.

Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LTZ crew cab pickup

Suing automakers over diesel emissions violations is quickly on its way to becoming passé.

Since Volkswagen admitted to installing software that circumvented pollution laws, regulators have been on the hunt for their next big target. While it might make their efforts seem like a bit of a witch hunt, there’s good reason to be on the lookout. Studies have shown diesel emission levels are often much higher than analysts expected, with experts attributing the results to the high probability that other automakers are skirting regulatory guidelines — likely by way of defeat devices.

Daimler, Renault, and PSA Group are all being investigated in their home countries as FCA faces legal action within the United States.

General Motors is now being sued for allegedly installing defeat devices in its trucks to sidestep emissions tests, making it the sixth major manufacturer accused of diesel cheating since 2015. However, General Motors isn’t dabbling in gray areas, acting confused, or assuring the public it will get to the bottom of the accusations. It says the claims against it are flat out wrong.  Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

[Image: Ford]

After Monday’s corporate shakeup at Ford Motor Company, which saw former CEO Mark Fields replaced with Jim Hackett and the elevation of Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley up company ranks, the automaker has announced more appointments.

To fill the job left by Hindrichs, who moved from president of Ford North America to head of global operations, Ford has named its product development boss and chief technical officer as a successor. Raj Nair, 52, will officially take on the role June 1st, reporting to Farley, Ford’s new head of global markets.

Below Nair, a slew of changes are afoot. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2016 Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang, a nameplate actually deserving of the word “iconic,” is no less vulnerable to the whims of the market than any other model. As domestic light vehicle demand in North America cools off, so have Mustang sales.

Fortunately for Ford, the automaker took it upon itself to fling Mustangs to every corner of the world for its most recent generation, and buyers in 140 countries are now able to take delivery of the original pony car. That volume, while not America-like, has bolstered sales. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

ff_91_exterior_8

This week, China’s LeEco canned the majority of its North American workforce and we assumed the layoffs spelled trouble for its business interests at Faraday Future. Not so, claims the automotive startup. In an emailed response to our earlier article, Faraday says LeEco’s decision to massively scale back its U.S. operations will not affect its daily goings-on or hinder the development of the FF91 electric vehicle.

Faraday Future spokesman Rich Otto also wanted to ensure us the company has no layoffs of its own planned. Obviously, the grim situation over at LeEco had everyone wondering if that was it for FF. But the aspiring electric automaker has come back with a resounding not as far as we’re concerned. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: Volkswagen

Complete with an alternate Miller Cycle that Volkswagen is calling the “Budack Cycle,” the German automaker has evolved its ubiquitous EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for installation in the second-generation 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Horsepower? For a 2.0T, it’s rather unimpressive at only 184 ponies. But Volkswagen isn’t caught up in horsepower per liter figures. Instead, Volkswagen’s own introduction of this “Budack Cycle” 2.0T makes the company’s existing 1.8T — currently on duty in four product lines — sound downright ineffective.

Naturally then, Volkswagen won’t reserve the Budack Cycle EA888 2.0T solely for the 2018 Tiguan. According to Volkswagen of America communications manager Mark Gillies, “It will eventually supersede the 1.8T in the Passat and Beetle.”  Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

Vinay Shahani Toyota VP Marketing - Image: Toyota

Vinay Shahani, a former decade-long Nissan employee, has just been poached from Volkswagen of America by Toyota.

Shahani was Volkswagen’s U.S. vice president in charge of marketing, responsible for cementing a cohesive product message after the eruption of the now infamous diesel emissions scandal that broke in September 2015.

“Things are definitely difficult for the Volkswagen brand,” Shahani told the Automotive News New York Marketing Seminar one year after Volkswagen’s wrongdoing was made public.

Shahani’s perseverance through said difficulty obviously drew the attention of Toyota Motor North America, particularly since Shahani’s resume proves he’s no mere ad man. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2017 Subaru Impreza 5-door – Image: © Timothy Cain

A band is only cool until everybody knows it’s cool.

Subaru, long a niche automaker with unique product offerings and limited geographic appeal, has tripled its U.S. market share over the last decade. Subaru will likely sell more than 650,000 new vehicles in the U.S. this year. The Subaru Outback and Forester are among America’s 12 most popular utility vehicles. And in a shrinking car market, U.S. sales of the Subaru Impreza — a newly launched compact for 2017 — are up 41 percent so far this year.

Subaru just dropped a new, fifth-gen Impreza 5-door in my driveway for a week-long test. It’s quite clearly the best Impreza ever: quiet, refined, solid, sufficiently powerful. The driver’s door armrest is plush. The car itself is — and we’re talking about an Impreza here — quite attractive.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza is, to be frank, normal. It doesn’t sound like a thrummy flat-four is present under the hood. The seating position doesn’t put your hips and feet on the same level. The windows have frames. There are other people driving the same car.

Has Subaru become a mainstream automaker? And if so, has some of Subaru’s appeal been lost? Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

Workhorse W-15

Earlier this month, we covered Workhorse’s finalization of the W-15 electric pickup for sale to fleet buyers and wondered if there would be any consumer demand for such a vehicle. Apparently, the Ohio-based Workhorse Group was also curious if it might have a role in the retail market, as it’s now considering offering a variant of the plug-in hybrid for regular sale.

Yesterday, Workhorse posted an invitation via Twitter for interested parties to visit its website and reserve a W-15 pickup. It’s already receive some positive feedback on the subject, but it’s not yet an outpouring of support — at least, nothing that would match the nearly 5,000 letters of intent is has received from businesses regarding the purchase of its fleet units.  Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

A lawsuit filed by two Georgia Mercedes-Benz owners accuses the automaker of failing to rectify a long-standing HVAC problem and stiffing customers with the bill.

Sunil Amin and Trushar Patel claim the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in numerous models dating to the turn of the century are inherently faulty and want Mercedes-Benz and its parent, Daimler AG, to pay damages. They also want the suit to grow into a class action.

The plaintiffs say the issue started a noxious odor emitted from the vehicles’ vents and, despite attempts to have the issue fixed, nothing the automaker has done has made a difference. Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

Uber ride, Image: Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures/Flickr

Uber has messed up — again. The ride-hailing company admitted to shortchanging New York City drivers to the tune of tens of millions of dollars due to miscalculated payments. It’s the second time Uber has been caught mishandling payroll, with the latest fiasco resembling Richard Pryor’s banking scheme from Superman III.

In its agreement with drivers, Uber is supposed to calculate its own percentage after taxes and other fees. However, it ended up calculating its New York commissions on total cost, including those expenditures. This has resulted in NY-based drivers receiving slightly lower fares ever since the November 2014 agreement. It doesn’t amount to much per fare but, when compounded by several thousand drivers and a handful of years, it adds up to millions. Regardless of how unintentional the error may or may not have been, the affected drivers are incredibly displeased.  Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

[Image: GM]

Some details aren’t likely to spur readers into dropping what they’re doing and taking the rest of the day off to plan their next big purchase, but one change planned for the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali does sweeten the pot.

Large, V8-powered SUVs seldom amaze with their fuel economy, so any improvement in thirstiness is a welcome addition to this mildly refreshed vehicle. While the Yukon Denali stands to gain unspecified MPGs, the brand is more interested in touting a less technological feature. Read More >

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