The Truth About Cars » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:10:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/industry/ U.S. Auto Sales Results: July 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-sales-results-july-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-sales-results-july-2014-ytd/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:51:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=878202 Automakers reported the sales of 1.4 million new vehicles in July 2014, representing a 9% increase compared with July of last year. Among  volume brands, the biggest percentage gains were achieved by Jeep, Subaru, GMC, and Ram. Jaguar, Scion, Acura, Volvo, and Volkswagen all reported losses of at least 14%. Cadillac, Honda, and Mini also […]

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Automakers reported the sales of 1.4 million new vehicles in July 2014, representing a 9% increase compared with July of last year. Among  volume brands, the biggest percentage gains were achieved by Jeep, Subaru, GMC, and Ram. Jaguar, Scion, Acura, Volvo, and Volkswagen all reported losses of at least 14%. Cadillac, Honda, and Mini also posted decreased July volume relative to the same period in 2013.

U.S. demand for full-size pickups from Ford, General Motors, and Ram increased 5.3% in July 2014; the overall pickup truck market grew 3.1%. Overall new vehicle sales at Chrysler Group/FCA, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors increased 12%.

Automaker July 2014 July  2013 % Change 2014  YTD 2013  YTD % Change
Acura
 12,480 15,150 -17.6% 90,431 92,131 -1.8%
Audi
 14,616 13,064 11.9% 98,965 87,341 13.3%
BMW
26,409 24,043 9.8% 183,791 164,474 11.7%
Buick
 17,683 16,393 7.9% 131,155 117,239 11.9%
Cadillac
 15,241 15,652 -2.6% 97,357 99,331 -2.0%
Chevrolet
 175,155 162,670 7.7% 1,203,063 1,177,804 2.1%
Chrysler
 23,455 19,978  17.4% 164,523 183,817  -10.5%
Dodge
 43,118 41,986  2.7% 350,042 360,400  -2.9%
Fiat
 3,807 3,783  0.6% 28,779 25,395  13.3%
Ford  203,604  186,161  9.4%  1,424,439  1,437,609  -0.9%
GMC
 48,081 39,356 22.2% 280,452 260,052 7.8%
Honda
 123,428 126,289 -2.3% 784,913 794,886 -1.3%
Hyundai
 67,011  66,005 1.5%  431,445  427,015  1.0%
Infiniti
 8,538  7,762 10.0% 67,879 59,995 13.1%
Jaguar
 1,187  1613  -26.4%  9,504  9,411  1.0%
Jeep
 59,588 42,277  40.9% 392,390 271,682  44.4%
Kia
52,309 49,004  6.7% 349,722 326,355  7.2%
Land Rover
4,643  4,050 14.6%  30,829 27,034 14.0%
Lexus
 27,333 23,031 18.7%  166,022 141,446 17.4%
Lincoln
 7,863 6,919 13.6% 52,385 45,207 15.9%
Maserati
 1132 267 324% 6574 1536 328%
Mazda
 29,238 24,977 17.1% 185,669 169,920 9.3%
Mercedes-Benz
 27,192 23,648  15.0%  178,816  165,598  8.0% 
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,214 1,915  15.6%  13,697  11,398  20.2% 
Total Mercedes-Benz
 29,406  25,563  15.0%  192,513  176,996  8.8%
Mini
 5811 5950 -2.3% 29,963 38,306 -21.8%
Mitsubishi
 6,349 5,230 21.4% 46,021 35,566 29.4%
Nissan
 112,914  101,279 11.5% 758,050 673,755 12.5%
Porsche
 4300 3820  12.6% 27,219 25,129 8.3%
Ram
 37,699 32,078  17.5% 252,056 207,140  21.7%
Scion
 5,127 6,261 -18.1% 35,763 41,261 -13.3%
Smart
 1,351 860 57.1% 5,998 5,319 12.8%
Subaru
 45,714 35,994  27.0% 283,722 240,591 17.9%
Suzuki
 —  —  —-  —  5,946  -100%
Toyota
 183,342  164,102  11.7%  1,179,624  1,119,478  5.4%
Volkswagen
 30,553 35,779 -14.6% 209,697 242,571 -13.6%
Volvo
 4,894 5,909 -17.2%  34,224 38,487 -11.1%
 —
BMW-Mini
 32,220 29,993 7.4% 213,754 202,780 5.4%
Chrysler Group/FCA
 167,667 140,102  19.7% 1,187,790 1,048,434  13.3%
Daimler
30,757 26,423 16.4% 198,511 182,315 8.9%
Ford Motor Company
 211,467 193,080 9.5%  1,476,824  1,482,816  -0.4%
General Motors
 256,160 234,071 9.4% 1,712,028 1,654,417 3.5%
Honda Motor Company
135,908 141,439 -3.9% 875,344 887,017 -1.3%
Hyundai-Kia
 119,320  115,009  3.7%  781,167  753,370  3.7%
Jaguar-Land Rover
5,830  5,663  2.9% 40,333 36,445 10.7%
Nissan Motor Company
 121,452  109,041 11.4% 825,929 733,750 12.6%
Toyota Motor Corporation
215,802  193,394  11.6% 1,381,409  1,302,185  6.1%
Volkswagen Group *
 49,469  52,663  -6.1%  335,881  355,041  -5.4%
Industry Total **
1,435,805
1,315,266
9.2%
9,604,694
9,148,292
5.0%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 1800-unit (July) Tesla sales estimate.

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The Future Of GM’s Oshawa Plant Looks Increasingly Bleak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/future-gms-oshawa-plant-looks-increasingly-bleak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/future-gms-oshawa-plant-looks-increasingly-bleak/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:07:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=878114 A report in Automotive News outlines how General Motors has committed to building a new Buick model at their plant in Russelsheim, Germany. According to AN, the logical choice is the next-generation Buick Regal, also known as the Opel Insignia, since this is a good fit for Buick, and it allows GM to use up some of the […]

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A report in Automotive News outlines how General Motors has committed to building a new Buick model at their plant in Russelsheim, Germany. According to AN, the logical choice is the next-generation Buick Regal, also known as the Opel Insignia, since this is a good fit for Buick, and it allows GM to use up some of the excess capacity that is currently plaguing their European operations. But for GM’s venerable Oshawa plant, this is not good news.

As TTAC and AN have both pointed out, product is leaving Oshawa much faster than it’s coming in. The Camaro will move to Lansing, Michigan by 2016, while the next-generation Chevrolet Impala and the Cadillac XTS has its production split between Michigan and Oshawa. The old-generation Impala, currently built on the old “Consolidated” line, is due to end production soon. The GM Theta crossovers, which are built partially in Oshawa due to a lack of capacity at GM’s Ingersoll, Ontario plant, will move there exclusively for their next generation. That leaves the Regal as GM’s lone Oshawa product, and even that appears to be going away too.

All signs appear to point to the closure of the Oshawa plant high. Between high labor costs, unfavorable exchange rates and a lack of new products, it would take a miracle to save Oshawa. As of now, the main thing tying GM to the plant is the “vitality commitment” that they signed as part of their bailout agreement with the Canadian government, obligating them to keep a certain amount of vehicle production in Canada. And when that ends in 2016, it’s hard to imagine that GM will keep producing cars in one of the world’s most costly jurisdictions.

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New York City First In Nation To Ban Sales Of Unrepaired Recalled Used Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-city-first-nation-ban-sales-unrepaired-recalled-used-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-city-first-nation-ban-sales-unrepaired-recalled-used-vehicles/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877954 Shopping for a used vehicle in New York City? Thanks to city officials, the used car you buy will likely be a bit safer, as all 800 used dealerships must fix recalled vehicles prior to purchase, as well as fix those sold after the fact. The Detroit Newsreports the move is the result of an […]

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Used Car Dealership NYC

Shopping for a used vehicle in New York City? Thanks to city officials, the used car you buy will likely be a bit safer, as all 800 used dealerships must fix recalled vehicles prior to purchase, as well as fix those sold after the fact.

The Detroit Newsreports the move is the result of an investigation by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, where 200 such dealers were subpoenaed “to provide their policies on selling unrepaired recalled cars, to reveal how many such vehicles they have sold in the past year, and whether the consumer was notified at the time of sale.”

The new requirement uses a city ordinance requiring dealers to certify their wares as roadworthy, and to not mislead customers regarding the safety of any vehicle on the lot. Dealers will also be ordered to send notices to consumers owning recalled vehicles, and to repair any that come into the shop at the dealer’s expense.

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GM Warned Of Rental-Car Crashes As Early As 2005 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-warned-rental-car-crashes-early-2005/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-warned-rental-car-crashes-early-2005/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877866 Several years prior to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall, car rental companies did their best to get the automaker’s attention regarding a series of accidents and fatalities linked to the latter’s low-cost fleet offerings. Bloomberg reports that as early as 2005, companies such as Enterprise, Alamo and Hertz all reported accidents to […]

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Several years prior to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall, car rental companies did their best to get the automaker’s attention regarding a series of accidents and fatalities linked to the latter’s low-cost fleet offerings.

Bloomberg reports that as early as 2005, companies such as Enterprise, Alamo and Hertz all reported accidents to GM involving the Chevrolet Cobalt. Each report noted the failed deployment of the vehicle’s airbags, such as the September 2006 fatal accident involving an Alamo unit, as well as braking and steering issues that led up to the accidents.

Though the companies did their best to get the automaker to do something, GM believed there wasn’t “sufficient information” to link the problems experienced to the accidents reported, as explained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in one of their meetings between 2005 and 2013. The reports are now part of a growing collection of evidence of both parties’ inability to act quickly prior to the February 2014 recall.

In the present, GM has modified its safety-monitoring system to handle questions and concerns from the car rental industry over potential flaws, as well as backing a U.S. Senate bill that would prohibit affected vehicles from being rented or sold without having first been repaired.

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Utilities, Automakers Collaborate On Smart PHEV Charging Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/utilities-automakers-collaborate-smart-phev-charging-platform/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877810 A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs. Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

A combination of one research institute, eight automakers and 15 utilities are working together to create a smart grid charging platform for PHEVs.

Autoblog Green reports General Motors, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as utilities like Con Edison, Manitoba Hydro and the TVA, are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a demand charging platform where the PHEV and the utility exchange information that would reduce the former’s charging during peak hours, then boost it back up during off-peak.

In turn, such a system would allow for increased service reliability for all customers “by helping to mitigate the impact of strain on the grid during peak periods and could contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.” Further, utilities would better be able to manage usage without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, with the savings passed on to their customer base.

As for when this project would get off the ground, no timeline was given as of this time.

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Honda Dealerships Asked To Issue Waivers Over Defective Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-dealerships-asked-issue-waivers-defective-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-dealerships-asked-issue-waivers-defective-airbags/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877626 Ever wonder what would happen if Dethklok decided to go into the automotive business, especially with the virtual band’s use of pain waivers as a legal means to protect themselves from whatever death and/or dismemberment would likely occur during a concert? Wonder no more: Honda is asking its dealers to ask their customers to sign […]

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Scholfield Honda Dealership

Ever wonder what would happen if Dethklok decided to go into the automotive business, especially with the virtual band’s use of pain waivers as a legal means to protect themselves from whatever death and/or dismemberment would likely occur during a concert?

Wonder no more: Honda is asking its dealers to ask their customers to sign a waiver acknowledging the used car they’re about to buy off the lot may have an Takata airbag that, in the event of a crash, could kill them upon deployment.

Automotive News reports the automaker’s Airbag Inflator Recall Disclosure and Acknowledgment waiver affects the following Honda and Acura vehicles:

  • 2001-2005 Accord V6
  • 2001-2007 Accord I4
  • 2002-2003 TL
  • 2002-2003 CL
  • 2002-2004 Odyssey
  • 2002-2006 CR-V
  • 2003-2006 MDX
  • 2003-2007 Pilot
  • 2003-2011 Element
  • 2005 RL
  • 2006 Ridgeline

Most dealers believe the waiver is a smart move by Honda, citing liability concerns. However, New Jersey lawyer Eric Chase says the waver could prove to be a problem for both parties:

If a dealer called me and said, “We’re talking about something that is under recall but we can’t repair it and it’s dangerous to the point we’d have to warn them about death,” I’d say, “You’ve got to do everything you legally can to make sure a consumer does not get behind that wheel.”

Meanwhile, a Honda representative said that once the automaker has gone through its VIN database and those of all 50 states’ DMVs to find and recall all vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis, dealers won’t need to issue the wavers come purchase time, instead using a VIN search to determine any potential problem with a given vehicle.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Gigafactory Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877393 It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory. In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory.

In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla may need. Tesla will also continue to purchase cells from Panasonic’s factories in Japan to meet projected demand.

Tesla Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Gigafactory “represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized,” especially when it comes to dramatically reducing the cost of energy storage “across a broad range of applications.” Panasonic Executive Vice President Yoshihiko Yamada added that the Gigafactory partnership would “accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market” once production of Panasonic batteries begin.

The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of packs annually by 2020 for both electric vehicles and stationary applications, employing up to 6,500 to produce the batteries.

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Generation Why: A Sub-$30k Car “Wouldn’t Be A Lexus” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/generation-sub-30k-car-wouldnt-lexus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/generation-sub-30k-car-wouldnt-lexus/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:45:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877265 Mercedes and Audi all have a sub-$30,000 entry in their American model ranges. BMW’s cheapest model is just a few hundred dollars above that price point. Infiniti will likely have their own model in that space. So why not Lexus? Speaking to Automotive News, Lexus boss Mark Templin said “We could go down and build a […]

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Mercedes and Audi all have a sub-$30,000 entry in their American model ranges. BMW’s cheapest model is just a few hundred dollars above that price point. Infiniti will likely have their own model in that space. So why not Lexus?

Speaking to Automotive News, Lexus boss Mark Templin said

“We could go down and build a car under $30,000, but it would be decontented, and you’d be cutting corners. It wouldn’t be a Lexus…To be honest with you, you can’t build a Lexus with the quality, the durability, the reliability, the craftsmanship, the content that we put in a Lexus and sell it profitably under $30,000. You just can’t do it.”

Templin’s comments are about as clear a swipe at the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA as one can get. While CLA sales have been big for Benz (as much as 11 percent of the brand’s total, by AN‘s count), reviews have been mixed.

Mercedes-Benz, like other European luxury brands, face an additional dilemma beyond the usual matters of scale, volume and profitability requirements associated with those issues. In many mature markets, their buyers are getting older, while a new generation of buyers is both moving away from cars, and arguably less able to afford a new luxury car. Products like the CLA and A3 offer an affordable entry-point into the brand, while also appealing to the aesthetic, environmental and economic tastes of the Millennial generation. Lexus doesn’t necessarily have this problem in the same way that the Germans do, but they also don’t have much of a presence in Europe either.

What Lexus is doing, as AN pointed out, is attempting to stake out the “high ground” by keeping the price floor above $30,000 (the entry-level CT hybrid starts at about $32,000), which will ostensibly further entrench their “luxury” position. But Lexus, for all its success, has never achieved true global success as a luxury brand, which is something that only the Germans have managed to earn. And as we all know, it’s easier to reach downmarket than try and move up. The A-Class was a hit for Mercedes, but Volkswagen didn’t fare well with the Phaeton. And Audi is just finally turning the corner after a decades long climb to Tier 1.

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Honda Fit EV, Insight Discontinued http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876985 It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued. Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain […]

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It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued.

Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain in production until sometime this autumn, with Honda providing customer support through each vehicle’s lease period.

As for the future, representative Sage Marie said the automaker would focus on “a new generation of electromotive technologies,” such as the expanded use of its two-motor hybrid system found in both the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid. In addition, a decision will be announced regarding the FCX Clarity, especially with a successor — influenced by the FCEV from last year’s LA Auto Show — waiting in the wings.

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Marchionne: Alfa Romeo Still Not For Sale http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876841 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is open to forming new alliance with other automakers as far as cost-savings are concerned, but he maintains that Alfa Romeo is not for sale. Automotive News Europe reports Marchionne said as much during a conference call regarding Fiat’s Q2 2014 earnings, reaffirming the parent company’s commitment to Alfa […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is open to forming new alliance with other automakers as far as cost-savings are concerned, but he maintains that Alfa Romeo is not for sale.

Automotive News Europe reports Marchionne said as much during a conference call regarding Fiat’s Q2 2014 earnings, reaffirming the parent company’s commitment to Alfa Romeo and proclaiming his company is not “in the business of brand-trading.”

Said commitment includes a €5 billion ($6.7 billion USD) investment to help the premium brand become a sought-after global brand of eight new models — underpinned by the upcoming Giorgio RWD/AWD platform — with annual sales of 400,000 by 2018, up from 74,000 in 2013.

As for alliances, Marchionne is open to the idea, though nothing is on the table as of this writing.

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Jaguar Reveals Face Of 2016 XE-S Ahead Of September Official Unveiling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe-s-ahead-september-official-unveiling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/jaguar-reveals-face-2016-xe-s-ahead-september-official-unveiling/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876897 Behold the face of the 2016 Jaguar XE-S. Also: Scottish recording artist Emeli Sandé. Autoblog reports the sports sedan will be launched in early September through a sound + vision extravaganza called FEEL XE. Sandé will be kicking off the festivities in a secret location near the Thames, with influence from social media from now […]

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Behold the face of the 2016 Jaguar XE-S. Also: Scottish recording artist Emeli Sandé.

Autoblog reports the sports sedan will be launched in early September through a sound + vision extravaganza called FEEL XE. Sandé will be kicking off the festivities in a secret location near the Thames, with influence from social media from now until September 8 deciding the direction of the extravaganza. Fashion designer Stella McCartney and actor Idris Elba will also be a part of the promotion through separate projects.

As for the XE-S itself, it may possess under the bonnet either a turbocharged variant of the new Ingenium 2-liter four-cylinder engines, or the 3-liter supercharged V6 from the F-Type S. The XE range as a whole will feature aluminum throughout 75 percent of its architecture, and may be the most fuel-efficient Jaguar ever built to date once official numbers are revealed.

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Icon Looks To Retro-Futurism With Helios Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876681 Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla. Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of […]

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Icon Helios

Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla.

Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of post-WWI aircraft, 1930s streamliners and an alternate history where airplanes influenced automotive design a decade before the 1950s.

The Tesla connection — if owner Johnathan Ward can make it happen — will come in the form of the Model X platform, whose selectable AWD and 380-mile range are key features in Ward’s retro-future vision.

Currently, the Helios exists solely on paper, though Ward already has an owner in mind once he and his crew are able to “move mountains” to build:

I’ve got a meeting with Ralph Lauren to talk about something else. He doesn’t know I plan on totally taking over the room and making him buy this car… Most of [his cars] suck to drive except for the McLaren. So… that’s my pitch.

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Report: Nissan Scraps Small Truck Plans, Navara Now On For North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/report-nissan-scraps-small-truck-plans-navara-now-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/report-nissan-scraps-small-truck-plans-navara-now-north-america/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:15:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876322 Our industry source who reported that Nissan would use an old version of the Frontier has reported back to us with some bittersweet news. The reported next-generation Frontier, which would have been based on the bones of the old, first-generation Frontier, has been abandoned. According to our source, bringing the old technology up to modern […]

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Our industry source who reported that Nissan would use an old version of the Frontier has reported back to us with some bittersweet news.

The reported next-generation Frontier, which would have been based on the bones of the old, first-generation Frontier, has been abandoned. According to our source, bringing the old technology up to modern crash standards was too onerous a task, and the costs were simply too high – even with using an already paid for architecture.

The big issue at hand is this: Nissan still wants to have a small, basic, fuel-efficient affordable truck, since they see it as an untapped niche. Their original thinking was that the D22 Frontier would let them get their in a cost-effective way (remember, small trucks are low-margin, difficult to price and carry significant regulatory burdens). But now that this option is off the table, Nissan is forced to use the all-new Navara as a starting point.

From a superficial perspective, that’s not such a bad thing. The Navara is a modern, global mid-size pickup that is a proven design and a sales success across the globe. The problem is that, as it sits now, it’s far too expensive for what Nissan USA is looking for. So, the North American truck will use the Navara architecture, due to its crashworthiness, and ability to fit a modern, diesel engine under the hood, but the tradeoff will be a fair amount of content will not make it across the ocean.

As with the now dead D22, Nissan Mexico will be responsible for engineering the truck to meet NAFTA standards. This “clean sheet” approach, if it can be called that, will cause further delays. The current Frontier will soldier on until 2018, when the new truck arrives. A diesel variant arrives a year later. The new truck will likely have a different look and stick to the original mandate of being akin to a modern-day Hardbody. But instead of actually being a a modern day Hardbody, it will be a revamped modern truck.

Nissan had planned to give North American truck buyers something truly unique, but it was not to be. We will be getting what is arguably the better, more modern option, but this new approach will just add more time, effort and expense to the program. The goal of a low-cost, fuel-efficient pickup is still in sight. Nissan will just be approaching it in a different way.

 

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Versatile 2015 Mercedes Vito Van Puts Power To Front, Rear Or All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876185 If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you. Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ […]

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Der neue Vito / The New Vito

If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you.

Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ V-Class — can be had with RWD and AWD — like the V-Class — as well as optional FWD. The previous Vito had FWD for only the EV variant, while the new one puts diesel power to the front of the line alongside the rest of the family.

Autoblog adds said power comes turbocharged through four-pots ranging from 1.6 liters to 2.1 liters, with anywhere from 136 to 190 horsepower pushed to wherever it’s meant to go through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito

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NLRB: Mercedes Violated Labor Act In Alabama Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nlrb-mercedes-violated-labor-act-in-alabama-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nlrb-mercedes-violated-labor-act-in-alabama-facility/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876081 The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that the U.S. branch of Mercedes-Benz violated the right to organize among its employees at the automaker’s Vance, Ala. plant by prohibiting the distribution of union literature in common areas outside working hours. Automotive News reports Judge Keltner Locke found for the plaintiffs on one complaint out […]

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The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that the U.S. branch of Mercedes-Benz violated the right to organize among its employees at the automaker’s Vance, Ala. plant by prohibiting the distribution of union literature in common areas outside working hours.

Automotive News reports Judge Keltner Locke found for the plaintiffs on one complaint out of a number of complaints made against MBUSI regarding its violation of the National Labor Relations Act. In his decision, Judge Locke determined the areas where the subsidiary considered off-limits to dissemination were mixed-use areas — and thus, areas where material could be distributed freely — and that by “maintaining a solicitation and distribution rule which employees reasonably could understand to prohibit all solicitation in work areas,” MBUSI was in violation of the act.

Though no penalties were levied in the decision, the ruling ordered MBUSI to amend its rule so that off-the-clock employees may solicit other such employees. Mercedes stated that while they were pleased with most of Judge Locke’s ruling, citing his affirmation of its neutrality with regard to its employees, they disagreed with some aspects and were “evaluating next steps.”

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GM: Colorado, Canyon Aimed At Small Crossover, Pickup Shoppers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-colorado-canyon-aimed-at-small-crossover-pickup-shoppers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-colorado-canyon-aimed-at-small-crossover-pickup-shoppers/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874897 General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers. Autoblog reports GM wants to go after crossover shoppers for their new pickups, going as far as to bring a Ford Escape for […]

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General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers.

Autoblog reports GM wants to go after crossover shoppers for their new pickups, going as far as to bring a Ford Escape for a competitive test drive at the automaker’s Milford, Mich. facility during the twins’ media day.

On paper, GM believes the interior quality and exterior styling will be the main draws for those looking at Escapes, CR-Vs and RAV4s. The pickups’ power and utility could also help sway those buyers, along with pricing similar to those on the windows of small crossovers. Mileage, on the other hand, may be less than what said consumers prefer, especially when the aforementioned trio delivers a combined 26 mpg.

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2015 Ford F-150 Order Guide Released http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-f-150-order-guide-released/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-f-150-order-guide-released/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:50:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875473 Courtesy of Jalopnik comes the Ford F-150 order guide for the all-aluminum 2015 model.   It looks like Ford has simplified a lot of the trim levels and packages, with the STX and FX4 disappearing (though you can still order nearly identical configurations). I’ll defer to the pickup experts among the B&B for a thorough […]

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Courtesy of Jalopnik comes the Ford F-150 order guide for the all-aluminum 2015 model.

 

It looks like Ford has simplified a lot of the trim levels and packages, with the STX and FX4 disappearing (though you can still order nearly identical configurations).

I’ll defer to the pickup experts among the B&B for a thorough analysis. From my skimming, it appears that there is an SSV package for police and other heavy duty use, and only on XL models with the 3.5L Ecoboost or 5.0L V8. The V8 is also the standard engine on the King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.

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Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875425 With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market. Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable […]

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With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market.

Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable segments for OEMs. Take some normal car underpinnings, add a bit of cladding, a higher ride height and a two-box body and all of a sudden, you can charge a hefty premium over what you’d normally have to sell a sedan for. And what better way to lower your CAFE rating than to sell a ton of “light trucks” that get the kind of fuel economy that you’d normally find in a compact or mid-size car? These little trucklets/wagonlets are going to float the ability of the German brands to keep making AMG, M and RS cars by keeping things kosher with the Feds. Remember that when you bemoan the lack of wagons on sale today.

Audi’s Q3 starts at $33,325, versus $29,900 for an A3, though the Q3, unlike the A3, does come standard with AWD .  The Q3 is front-drive, but it does have a 2.0T engine, unlike the A3′s 1.8T mill. A Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $32,225 for a front-drive model versus $29,900 for a front-drive CLA. The one wildcard is the BMW X1, which is both rear-wheel drive and $30,900, making it the cheapest BMW in the entire model range.

I’m going to put my money on the Q3 taking the crown, just because Audi is very much the brand of the moment. This segment is a fickle, fashion-driven one, and products live and die by how cool they are. The Audi A3 quickly toppled the Mercedes-Benz CLA from the small sedan sales charts, and this won’t be any different.

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Toyota FCV To Get “Mirai” Moniker, Hefty Rebates In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:40:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875241 Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan. Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. […]

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Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan.

Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. The word Mirai is said to mean “future” in Japanese.

Just-Auto is reporting that Japan’s government could offer rebates as high as 2 million yen (about $20,000 at current exchange rates), bringing the Toyota FCV’s pricetag down from 7 million yen ($70,000) to about 50,000 yen ($50,000). The government is also piloting an infrastructure project to bring 100 hydrogen fuel stations to the country by March 31, 2015, in an effort to help spur demand.

Plans are afoot to use the first hydrogen cars as taxis and other service vehicles, as a means of creating broader acceptance and reducing petroleum usage.

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2015 Cadillac ATS-L Is “Coming With Length” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-cadillac-ats-l-is-coming-with-length/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-cadillac-ats-l-is-coming-with-length/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:18:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875137 Our most recent review of the Cadillac ATS determined that Cadillac had finally made a sports sedan worthy of besting the F30 BMW 3-Series. But the ATS was also docked points for providing E36 3-Series-esque rear passenger space. Cadillac’s Chinese division appears to have remedied the problem, with a rather unfortunate English marketing slogan. For […]

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Our most recent review of the Cadillac ATS determined that Cadillac had finally made a sports sedan worthy of besting the F30 BMW 3-Series. But the ATS was also docked points for providing E36 3-Series-esque rear passenger space. Cadillac’s Chinese division appears to have remedied the problem, with a rather unfortunate English marketing slogan.

For the Cadillac ATS-L’s launch, Cadillac has decided to go with the rather unfortunate slogan “I’m Coming With Length”. We’ll leave it at that.

The ATS-L really is packing more size. With an additional 3 inches of wheelbase, .79 inches of width and a .25 inch lower ride height, the ATS-L is the car that we should have gotten all along. From the photos, it doesn’t look like the car’s proportions were compromised either. Powertrains are the same as well, but only the 2.0T and 3.6L engines are available.

We now return to your regularly scheduled, less juvenile programming.

 

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General Motors Bumps Up Next Pickups, Will Feature Aluminum Panels, Downsized Engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-bumps-up-next-pickups-will-feature-aluminum-panels-downsized-engines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-bumps-up-next-pickups-will-feature-aluminum-panels-downsized-engines/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:53:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875113 General Motors is advancing the launch of their next-generation pickups by 9 months, with the next-generation trucks due by 2018. Reuters is reporting that the fairly new generation of full-size trucks will undergo a thorough redesign by 2018, with new full-size SUVs arriving in 2019. While a new 8-speed automatic will arrive in GM’s full […]

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General Motors is advancing the launch of their next-generation pickups by 9 months, with the next-generation trucks due by 2018.

Reuters is reporting that the fairly new generation of full-size trucks will undergo a thorough redesign by 2018, with new full-size SUVs arriving in 2019.

While a new 8-speed automatic will arrive in GM’s full size trucks and SUVs for 2015, the next generation is expected to be even more radical. TTAC has previously reported that the next generation trucks will use substantial amounts of aluminum in the body panels, and a new manufacturing process is expected to reduce both cost and complexity.

The new trucks will also reportedly use a 10-speed automatic transmission (jointly developed with Ford) as well as smaller engines that feature fuel injection, turbocharging and stop-start systems. The end result is a major paradigm shift for the truck market. Consumers may still care about payload and tow ratings, but auto makers are pulling out all the stops to make sure that their trucks meet stringent CAFE rules, which kick in around 2017.

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Millennials Start With Sharing, End With Individual Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/millennials-start-with-sharing-end-with-individual-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/millennials-start-with-sharing-end-with-individual-ownership/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875073 Though companies such as Lyft, Car2Go and Uber aim to help the young and the carless get around town without the need for owning a car — Uber wanting to go as far as to replace car ownership, period — the millennials eventually decide to go all in on individual car ownership. Automotive News reports […]

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Though companies such as Lyft, Car2Go and Uber aim to help the young and the carless get around town without the need for owning a car — Uber wanting to go as far as to replace car ownership, period — the millennials eventually decide to go all in on individual car ownership.

Automotive News reports the transition from using ridesharing and car sharing services to ownership comes when cohorts of the generational group begin families, sometimes moving out of the urban core to do so. The delays in starting a family and purchasing a car are linked to student loan debt and a recovering, highly competitive job market, pushing the age of first-time buyers to the mid-20s at the youngest.

Meanwhile, those who live in cities like Austin, Boston, New York and Seattle are helping to make sharing services a success, with a projected 3.8 million users coming on-board by 2020. In turn, a total of 50 percent either sell a car or postpone buying a car, substituting ownership for sharing, leading to 1.9 million vehicles sold-off or not bought by 2020.

Though sharing may mean fewer vehicles leave the showroom, overall sales are climbing. Over 16 million units are forecast to head out onto the highway by the end of 2014 according to many an analyst. In the long-term, sharing services may also help send their consumer base to the showroom, with those shoppers looking a vehicle based on what they drove as a member of the service.

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Equifax: Auto Lending At Record Highs, Delinquencies At Record Lows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/equifax-auto-lending-at-record-highs-delinquencies-at-record-lows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/equifax-auto-lending-at-record-highs-delinquencies-at-record-lows/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874985 Six years after the dark days of the Great Recession, automotive lending is back on the rise, while delinquencies on those loans remain grounded. Ward’s Auto reports the total balance of the loans after the first half of 2014, according to a report by credit reporting agency Equifax, is a record $902.2 billion. Equifax economist […]

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Six years after the dark days of the Great Recession, automotive lending is back on the rise, while delinquencies on those loans remain grounded.

Ward’s Auto reports the total balance of the loans after the first half of 2014, according to a report by credit reporting agency Equifax, is a record $902.2 billion. Equifax economist Dennis Carlson adds that auto lending accounts for more than half of all new non-mortgage lending during the first four months of the year, with delinquencies making up less than 1 percent of the total balance:

Lenders are responding to record low delinquencies by offering great rates and terms, while consumers are responding to the improving economic conditions by making the decision to purchase newer vehicles.

For those first months of 2014, the total balance of new auto loans is $163.5 billion, with 8.1 million loans out and about. Further, 2.6 million of those loans went to subprime consumers, while the total balance of the loans is $46.2 billion, making up 28.2 percent of the overall new loan balance.

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BMW Unveils $6,500 Suitcase-Size EV Charger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-unveils-6500-suitcase-size-ev-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-unveils-6500-suitcase-size-ev-charger/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874913 Owners of BMWs i Series vehicles may soon have more places to charge their vehicles, all thanks to the automaker’s new, less-expensive, suitcase-sized charger. Automotive News reports the 100-pound, 24-kilowatt chargers, made by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, will be available to companies who partner with BMW for the low price of $6,500, and can recharge […]

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Owners of BMWs i Series vehicles may soon have more places to charge their vehicles, all thanks to the automaker’s new, less-expensive, suitcase-sized charger.

Automotive News reports the 100-pound, 24-kilowatt chargers, made by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, will be available to companies who partner with BMW for the low price of $6,500, and can recharge other EVs from other automakers like General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford.

According to BMW of North America EV infrastructure manager Robert Healey, BMW hopes that by making its new charger available at a discount, the companies who sign on would help the automaker establish a nationwide network similar to Tesla’s exclusive Supercharger network:

Our focus is on getting as many DC fast chargers out there as possible, but the cost has been a hindrance. We want to remove every perceived barrier for our potential customers. We want to ensure that customers see these chargers.

The first of the new chargers will go online at BMW dealerships in August, with more to come as third-party companies begin to partner with BMW.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Production Equipment Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-into-production-equipment-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-into-production-equipment-agreement/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874865 It’s almost official: Panasonic and Tesla will enter into a basic agreement where the former will supply the latter with battery-production machines for the automaker’s up-and-coming Gigafactory. Reuters reports the deal — which will be officially announced by the end of this month — comes with a price tag of ¥20 billion – ¥30 billion […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s almost official: Panasonic and Tesla will enter into a basic agreement where the former will supply the latter with battery-production machines for the automaker’s up-and-coming Gigafactory.

Reuters reports the deal — which will be officially announced by the end of this month — comes with a price tag of ¥20 billion – ¥30 billion ($196.4 million – $294.7 million USD) paid to Tesla by Panasonic.

The battery maker, which wants to be the sole entity under the roof of the as-yet-to-be-located factory, will invest $1 billion overall into the ambitious project, estimated to cost $5 billion in total investment.

The post Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Production Equipment Agreement appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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