The Truth About Cars » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/people/ Daimler Works Council Boss To Meet With UAW In Coming Weeks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-works-council-boss-meet-uaw-coming-weeks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-works-council-boss-meet-uaw-coming-weeks/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921217 Though Daimler senior management has said repeatedly that the decision to organize the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. was up to the workers on the floor, Daimler works council boss Michael Brecht is heading there in a few weeks to explore the possibility with the United Auto Workers. Reuters reports both the UAW and German […]

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Michael Brecht

Though Daimler senior management has said repeatedly that the decision to organize the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. was up to the workers on the floor, Daimler works council boss Michael Brecht is heading there in a few weeks to explore the possibility with the United Auto Workers.

Reuters reports both the UAW and German union IG Metall are pushing for the plant to be organized, while Brecht himself “is convinced that the employees in the company need to have their interests represented by having their voice heard,” according to a spokeswoman on the matter.

As early as June of this year, the UAW has proclaimed work on a plan for MBUSI as part of an overall strategy to organize the transplants in the Southeastern United States and boost their rolls. The union recently established a local at another plant — the Volkswagen facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. — having gained enough members to “force” Volkswagen AG into recognizing the local as the exclusive bargaining agent for that facility.

Finally, though UAW president Gary Casteel wouldn’t say what he and Brecht would discuss regarding MBUSI, he said that he and Brecht had “a strong, close relationship,” and that the union considered him “a close ally.”

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Goldman Sachs: Tesla Needs $6B In Capital To Meet “Disruptive” Growth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/goldman-sachs-tesla-needs-6b-capital-meet-disruptive-growth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/goldman-sachs-tesla-needs-6b-capital-meet-disruptive-growth/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918314 According to the financial overlords of Goldman Sachs, Tesla would need an $6 billion in capital within the next 11 years should its products become truly disruptive to the automotive industry. Per Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault delivered that number to his employer’s clients Wednesday, based on what he believes would be needed should […]

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Tesla HQ

According to the financial overlords of Goldman Sachs, Tesla would need an $6 billion in capital within the next 11 years should its products become truly disruptive to the automotive industry.

Per Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault delivered that number to his employer’s clients Wednesday, based on what he believes would be needed should Tesla’s electric lineup prove as popular as the iPhone 6 or Model T. The proclamation knocked the automaker’s shares down 1.7 percent to $259.32 on the trading floor in New York at the final bell.

Though Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to sell a minimum of 500,000 units per year down the road, Archambault claims the capital needed would push annual production from 1.8 million to 3.2 million units by 2025. Other projects, such as the upcoming Gigafactory battery pack plant in Reno, Nev., would also need some of the projected $6 billion in additional capital. He adds that most of the $6 billion would be distributed from 2017 through 2025.

Meanwhile, Tesla has not given its own forecast for capital spending, according to representative Simon Sproule.

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Future Of Auto Industry Linked To Silicon Valley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-auto-industry-linked-silicon-valley/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-auto-industry-linked-silicon-valley/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917650 As companies like Google, Tesla and Uber seek to reshape the auto industry in their own ways, more automakers and suppliers are beating a path toward Silicon Valley and the Center for Automotive Research Stanford to help adapt to the new reality. Ward’s Auto recently sat down with CARS director Sven Beiker, who once worked […]

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Silicon Valley around San Jose

As companies like Google, Tesla and Uber seek to reshape the auto industry in their own ways, more automakers and suppliers are beating a path toward Silicon Valley and the Center for Automotive Research Stanford to help adapt to the new reality.

Ward’s Auto recently sat down with CARS director Sven Beiker, who once worked for BMW as one of the first industry observers sent to report on developments in Silicon Valley’s growing tech culture. From there, he relocated to Detroit for a couple of years to participate in a hybrid project with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler before joining Stanford in 2008.

Regarding his work since then, Beiker states that unlike other automotive industry think tanks that receive funding from federal grants, CARS relies on private funding from more than two dozen sustaining supporters, including Ford, Toyota, Delphi and Panasonic. Further, the supporters develop potential technologies with the center, with access to the university’s Dynamic Design, Interactive Media and Stanford AI Lab to help develop their ideas.

Stanford itself also has been pushing development of automotive technology, such as autonomous vehicles — a long-term project dating back to the first U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored DARPA Challenge in 2005 — electric-vehicle charging and advance batteries, and future business models for the industry as a whole.

When asked if Silicon Valley’s cadre of venture capitalists wanted to invest in a new car company, Beiker stated they were more interested in the next Uber than the next Tesla, going so far as to claim the VCs likely don’t want their home to become a new automotive industry mecca. That may be easier said than hoped, as both automakers and suppliers establish a presence alongside the game-changers in the valley.

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Reuss: Cadillac Move To NYC Will Elevate Brand Profile http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/reuss-cadillac-move-nyc-will-elevate-brand-profile/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/reuss-cadillac-move-nyc-will-elevate-brand-profile/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917530 Now that Cadillac and 50 of its B&B have packed up and moved out of Detroit for the American hustle of New York, what do those closest to the brand have to say about the move? General Motors product boss Mark Reuss has a couple of cents to spare. According to Autoblog, Reuss believes the […]

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American Hustle Cadillac Eldorado

Now that Cadillac and 50 of its B&B have packed up and moved out of Detroit for the American hustle of New York, what do those closest to the brand have to say about the move? General Motors product boss Mark Reuss has a couple of cents to spare.

According to Autoblog, Reuss believes the move to New York will help “elevate” Cadillac’s profile onto the radar screens of “some of the people we’d to be on,” particularly those on the coasts who are smitten with BMW, Mercedes and Lexus.

With the premium brand now calling the neighborhood of SoHo home — engineering and design left behind in Detroit — Reuss says brand president Johan de Nysschen and marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus will be able to better re-examine where Cadillac stands in the luxury game.

Meanwhile, GM CEO Mary Barra had this to say to The Detroit News and other reporters after her appearance on a panel at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York:

When you look at how important Cadillac is, we need to have that team dedicated — thinking Cadillac day in and day out. When you think about New York, it’s the perfect place to be. It’s where a lot of luxury is defined. It’s trend-setting — so I think it’s going to be very, very positive.

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Feinberg: 21 Fatality Claims Eligible For Compensation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/feinberg-21-fatality-claims-eligible-compensation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/feinberg-21-fatality-claims-eligible-compensation/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916906 According to the latest report from the General Motors compensation program published Monday, 21 fatalities linked to the defective ignition switch that launched a thousand recalls will receive payments. Reuters reports 675 claims for serious injury or death were submitted to attorney Kenneth Feinberg’s office since August 1, when acceptance began. The office also reported […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia Store

According to the latest report from the General Motors compensation program published Monday, 21 fatalities linked to the defective ignition switch that launched a thousand recalls will receive payments.

Reuters reports 675 claims for serious injury or death were submitted to attorney Kenneth Feinberg’s office since August 1, when acceptance began. The office also reported 16 serious injury claims were proclaimed eligible for compensation.

Out of the claims submitted thus far, 143 were fatality claims, up from 131 reported earlier last week. Meanwhile, the 21 claims paid-out exceed GM’s own reported 13 fatalities linked to the switch used in a handful of Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn compacts in the early to mid-2000s.

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Report: Gigafactory Battery Cost As Low As $165/kWh By 2025 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/report-gigafactory-battery-cost-low-165kwh-2025/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/report-gigafactory-battery-cost-low-165kwh-2025/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916850 One of the main goals of Tesla’s Gigafactory is to bring down battery pack costs to just under $100 per kilowatt-hour within 10 years. That goal may be harder to achieve, however, according to one skeptic. Charged Electric Vehicles reports Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanaced Automotive Batteries recently released a report (one that few, especially […]

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One of the main goals of Tesla’s Gigafactory is to bring down battery pack costs to just under $100 per kilowatt-hour within 10 years. That goal may be harder to achieve, however, according to one skeptic.

Charged Electric Vehicles reports Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanaced Automotive Batteries recently released a report (one that few, especially TTAC, are willing to pay $2,800 to read in full) about Tesla’s battery tech and its role in the grand scheme of electrification.

In particular, Anderman expresses his doubts that Tesla can actually bring down pack costs to below $100/kWh before 2025:

Our assessment shows that pack pricing for the 2025 time scale could be as low as $167/kWh… Pack cost much below $200/kWh is unlikely before 2020.

Further, he doesn’t believe the automaker can also bring a $35,000 EV to market by 2017, proclaiming the upcoming Model 3′s price tag “will be in the range of $50k-80k,” and that the Gigafactory’s use of solar power is “mostly for image and political reasons.”

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Ian James Corlett’s ElectroPorsche: From Beater To Electrifying Showstopper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ian-james-corletts-electroporsche-from-beater-to-electrifying-showstopper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ian-james-corletts-electroporsche-from-beater-to-electrifying-showstopper/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909898 [AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is one I've been pursuing since a couple of days before returning to TTAC on the back of the Bumpasaurus Rex last October. As today is my 36th birthday, this is my gift to you, dearest B&B. - CA] Meet Ian James Corlett and his 1966 Porsche 912. Corlett calls Vancouver, […]

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1966 Porsche 912 EV 16

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is one I've been pursuing since a couple of days before returning to TTAC on the back of the Bumpasaurus Rex last October. As today is my 36th birthday, this is my gift to you, dearest B&B. - CA]

Meet Ian James Corlett and his 1966 Porsche 912. Corlett calls Vancouver, B.C. his home, where he works in the entertainment industry as a voice actor, director, producer, author and musician; his son and daughter, Phillip and Claire, also work in the industry as voice actors in their own right.

As for his 912, it may appear to be no more than a beautifully restored vintage Porsche, but as you’ll soon discover, there’s more than meets the eye with this particular sports car.

All photos provided by Ian James Corlett, Brendan McAleer and Wikipedia.

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“I didn’t start with the notion of electrifying a Porsche,” said Corlett. “I was gonna do an old VW Beetle, mostly because I love Beetles, and it was one of the first cars I ever had. But the electric kits and the conversions were relatively available, and lots of people had done them. So, I thought, ‘Well, that’s good, because the geometry works and it’s easy to bolt in an electric motor onto the existing transmission. So, that’s what I’ll do!’”

Corlett’s interest in all things electric began years ago during one of his “reverse midlife crisis” phases, when he happened upon a Vespa scooter whose engine lived up to its Italian heritage. Preferring to ride over working on the Vespa during the few sunny days Vancouver received in a given year, he turned to a since-defunct scooter shop in Seattle for help. There, Corlett obtained a 10-inch hub motor and custom components for the Vespa, then made the switch to electric power back home.

Another reason for going electric: To escape the leasing cycle, and to reconnect with the idea of ownership. Corlett grew up interested in European and Japanese vehicles, finding U.S.-made models of the 1970s and 1980s too big, heavy and brutal to his liking. His first cars included the aforementioned Beetle, his mother’s 1969 Datsun, a Honda Accord — his first new car — two Volkswagen Cabriolets with a Jetta in between, and ultimately, the first of many Porsche 911s.

Porsche_911_993_--_11-26-2011

Though he owned his vehicles through his first 911 — a 1994 993 model — outright, the leasing bug would soon sting him and his wallet:

Somebody introduced me to this wizard of leasing, and they said, ‘No. Actually, people just don’t realize that leasing is all about the differential between what a car is going to be worth in a couple of years, and what you paid for it. You’re only really paying for that difference.’

With the then-low depreciation rates of Porsche’s offering in mind, and the leasing guru’s flexibility in setting up the contract, Corlett found leasing was less expensive than regular car payments at the time. However, the first lease was like “the drug dealer offering [a new customer] the first one for free,” with the second and third leases as easy as the first.

Alas, the rates would soon climb, Porsche began expanding its lineup, and residual values were falling hard. After the sixth 911, Corlett was quitting leasing for good, preferring to own his cars again, as well as use the money that would have gone into a new lease toward his children’s private school tuition and other fiscal responsibilities.

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Though his search began with numerous old Beetles, Corlett took to the idea of converting a 912 to electric power after his attempt to buy a converted 912 from an aerospace engineer in the Phoenix area on eBay ended with a last-second loss to a higher bidder; converting a 911 of similar vintage was a bridge too far in his mind. This new journey would end outside of the desert city, where Corlett snagged a 1966 beater with rust galore — thanks to its previous life outside of Arizona — instead of a hoped-for “very dry, desert car.”

“It was really a two-step process,” he explained. “We needed to restore the car, and then fit it and measure it for the electric components.”

The restoration proved to be daunting for Corlett’s electric dream. Opting to perform both steps in Phoenix — the labor costs were lower than in Canada — he left the 912 with a restorer who turned out to be as nightmarish as the vehicle itself upon media-blasting by the following restorer, Arizona Street Customs, months later.

The project ultimately took three years, though Corlett admitted that “it shouldn’t have taken three years,” citing a change in focus toward a move to a new house in Vancouver, as well as project-related issues:

One of the huge delays, as an example, was the batteries. We ordered $15,000 worth of batteries, and they had to come from China. We just made a wrong choice on who the supplier was. That was eight months of waiting, because the guy would sell large amounts of batteries in containers. He waited for a container to be full before he would fulfill his order from China and ship to the U.S. That’s just big, long delay for no good reason.

1966 Porsche 912 EV 15

Since coming home to Vancouver late last year, the 912 has been making the rounds at events throughout the area, such as the Luxury Supercar Weekend at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and the Key West Ford Shine & Show in New Westminster, B.C., where Corlett took home trophies in the best special interest and unfinished categories. He says he enjoys being able to take part in any event that allows him to show off his masterpiece in the brief window of sunny days between June and October.

The reaction to such a conversion? “I have had nothing but jaw-drops and great comments,” he proclaimed. “Now, that’s to my face. I’m sure there are people that feel differently. I’ve been really surprised by some of the Porsche people — and I know a lot of them in town — some of them that are just hardcore, real Porsche fanatics.”

One in particular, his mechanic — a “very abrasive guy of German heritage” who’s “not too fond of electric cars, period” — enthusiastically approved of the 912 during a shakedown following a suspension adjustment, allaying Corlett’s fears of taking a classic Porsche and transforming it into a vintage EV. Nonetheless, he’s very happy with the overall response his car is receiving.

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Registration and insurance for a unique vehicle like this was easier to obtain than one might imagine. The most difficult part was importation from the U.S. to Canada, though this was waved away by declaring the 912 as just a restored vintage vehicle. Once at home, registration was simply a matter of switching the “G” — for gasoline — to “E” — for electric — on the paperwork.

Finally, though the 912 has standard insurance at present, it may soon have coverage better suited for its unique features, which would provide the benefit of being insured and appraised properly.

Range testing is ongoing as far as long drives are concerned, having gone as far south as Corlett’s P.O. Box in nearby Blaine, Wash., as well some handling issues that need to be resolved before taking it 9/10ths. In the meantime, he switches between the 912 and his 2011 BMW 135i, the latter his daily driver. His reasoning for the BMW is the same as the 911s before: the ability to go from the school and the studio during the week, to the track during the weekends when not piloting or showing the 912 EV.

As far as future electrification is concerned, an experience with the Tesla Model S has Corlett thinking of an EV suitable for his family’s needs. As the premium sedan is too large, he says the Kia Soul EV will likely fulfill the role, if only because the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive won’t be in Canada anytime soon.

By the way, he still has the electric Vespa, and he aims to have both it and the 912 out on the road to praise the sun next year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1966 Porsche 912 EV 02 1966 Porsche 912 EV 03 1966 Porsche 912 EV 04 1966 Porsche 912 EV 05 1966 Porsche 912 EV 06 1966 Porsche 912 EV 07 1966 Porsche 912 EV 08 1966 Porsche 912 EV 09 1966 Porsche 912 EV 10 1966 Porsche 912 EV 11 1966 Porsche 912 EV 12 1966 Porsche 912 EV 13 1966 Porsche 912 EV 14 1966 Porsche 912 EV 15 1966 Porsche 912 EV 16 1966 Porsche 912 EV 17 1966 Porsche 912 EV 18 1966 Porsche 912 EV 20 1966 Porsche 912 EV 21 1966 Porsche 912 EV 22 1966 Porsche 912 EV 23 1966 Porsche 912 EV Spec Sheet

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Howes: No Escape Yet From Recall Woes For General Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/howes-escape-yet-recall-woes-general-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/howes-escape-yet-recall-woes-general-motors/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915162 After running the gauntlet of congressional hearings, numerous recalls and personnel firings under the dark cloud of scandal created in the wake of the February 2014 recall crisis, General Motors believes it’s ready to turn the page, that everything is now in the rear view. Not so fast. The Detroit News‘ own Daniel Howes states […]

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GM RenCen Storm Clouds

After running the gauntlet of congressional hearings, numerous recalls and personnel firings under the dark cloud of scandal created in the wake of the February 2014 recall crisis, General Motors believes it’s ready to turn the page, that everything is now in the rear view.

Not so fast.

The Detroit News‘ own Daniel Howes states that the next chapter of the story has just begun, with the combination of this week’s congressional hearing — where National Highway Traffic Safety Administration director David Friedman experienced the lash from the Senate Commerce Committee — and the revelation of 131 fatality claims submitted to the victim compensation plan GM hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to run.

The transparency and independence granted to Feinberg — including weekly updates on the number and types of claims submitted and approved/rejected — and the open-ended nature of the fund itself as far as compensation is concerned are both likely to further dent the automaker’s reputation until the last claims are put through the paces mid-2015.

Further, with investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission nowhere near close to completion, as well as the possibility of Attorney General Eric Holder bringing the hammer down on GM or its lower-level execs in the same manner as Toyota suffered, it may be a long time before the automaker’s reputation recovers to what it once was.

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House Dems Take Republicans To Task Over NHTSA Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/house-dems-take-republicans-task-nhtsa-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/house-dems-take-republicans-task-nhtsa-report/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914338 In the wake of a report written by Republican members of the United States House of Representatives regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inability to find and link evidence regarding General Motors’ involvement in the design and implementation of an ignition switch now linked to 54 accidents and 19 fatalities, two Democrat members took […]

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Henry Waxman

In the wake of a report written by Republican members of the United States House of Representatives regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inability to find and link evidence regarding General Motors’ involvement in the design and implementation of an ignition switch now linked to 54 accidents and 19 fatalities, two Democrat members took the report’s authors to task.

The Detroit News reports Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado, both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee whose Republican majority penned the report, proclaim the report ignores GM’s role in the problems leading up to the February 2014 recall crisis that saw 2.6 million vehicles recalled in one go, placing the blame squarely upon the automaker’s shoulders.

The duo also laid criticism upon Republicans in both houses of Congress for not moving faster on legislation meant to prevent disasters like the one experienced by GM:

There is still time to improve auto safety in this country and to demand more from both car companies and regulators. Republicans should act quickly to pass legislation that solves the auto safety problems they identified in their report.

Meanwhile, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, who had planned to bring automotive safety legislation up for consideration back in July, said he wasn’t decided on the matter. He explained that while Congress would continue to look for answers and build toward solving them, the “NHTSA was part of the problem and is going to have to be part of the solution.”

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Rolls-Royce Receives Largest-Ever Fleet Order For Macau Luxury Hotel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/rolls-royce-receives-largest-ever-fleet-order-macau-luxury-hotel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/rolls-royce-receives-largest-ever-fleet-order-macau-luxury-hotel/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914250 If one were so inclined to visit Macau for a bit of gambling, they could hitch a ride to their hotel through one of the many cabs running throughout the city. However, those who will stay at entrepreneur Stephen Hung’s Louis XIII hotel upon its opening in 2016 will be able to paint the town […]

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If one were so inclined to visit Macau for a bit of gambling, they could hitch a ride to their hotel through one of the many cabs running throughout the city. However, those who will stay at entrepreneur Stephen Hung’s Louis XIII hotel upon its opening in 2016 will be able to paint the town red in a red Rolls-Royce.

Hung’s purchase of 30 Rolls-Royce Bespoke Extended Wheelbase Phantoms is not only the largest fleet order of such vehicles ever for the luxury automaker, but two of the fleet will be the most expensive units ever assembled.

Twenty-eight of the bespoke fleet will have plenty of interesting touches to the exterior and interior — likely designed to match the hotel through and through — including bespoke clocks from Graff Luxury Watches. The remaining duo will also boast added gold-plated accents decorating the Phantoms’ skin and interior space.

As for when one might be able to hitch a ride in one of these Phantoms, the fleet will go in service at the same time the Louis XIII hotel opens its doors in 2016. For its part, Rolls-Royce will have a hand in designing the parking and driveway spaces for the fleet to navigate, as well as train chauffeurs on how to properly drive and handle the bespoke vehicles.

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Friedman: GM, Not NHTSA, Most To Blame For Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/friedman-gm-nhtsa-blame-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/friedman-gm-nhtsa-blame-recall-crisis/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913658 It was a long day for David Friedman and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during congressional testimony Tuesday, admitting before a Senate panel that his agency has more work to do to improve itself, and that General Motors made “incredibly poor decisions” as far as recalls were concerned. Automotive News reports Friedman and the […]

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David Friedman

It was a long day for David Friedman and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during congressional testimony Tuesday, admitting before a Senate panel that his agency has more work to do to improve itself, and that General Motors made “incredibly poor decisions” as far as recalls were concerned.

Automotive News reports Friedman and the NHTSA came under harsh criticism before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee’s consumer protection subcommittee during this second round of testimony. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri made the deputy administrator aware of the panel’s overall frustration with the excuses for why the NHTSA did not act swiftly in forcing GM to recall vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch now linked to 19 deaths and 31 injuries.

In turn, Friedman deflected criticism of the agency by placing the blame upon the automaker, proclaiming the execs “were more worried about [the NHTSA] getting information about problems than they were about actually fixing problems.” He added that a “new normal” has since been established upon all automakers, whereupon any defect is immediately reported to the agency, and that it would have “zero tolerance” on those who fail “to act quickly and aggressively” on reporting such flaws.

Regarding the original case, Friedman said that his agency lacked “ample information” in 2007 to determine whether or not a defect was to be found in the aforementioned ignition switch, despite a report by a House committee issued earlier in the day stating the opposite.

After testimony, Sen. McCaskill stated she found Friedman’s statements troubling, proclaiming he was more concerned with rebutting the news media than with taking responsibility for his and his agency’s role in the GM recall crisis.

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Feinberg: 19 Deaths Thus Far Linked To Faulty GM Ignition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/feinberg-19-deaths-thus-far-linked-faulty-gm-ignition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/feinberg-19-deaths-thus-far-linked-faulty-gm-ignition/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913074 Over a month since the first claims were filed by those affected by a defective General Motors ignition switch originally linked to 31 accidents and 13 deaths, compensation administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg has found a total of 19 deaths and 31 eligible claims thus far. CNN Money reports 125 death and 320 accident claims […]

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

Over a month since the first claims were filed by those affected by a defective General Motors ignition switch originally linked to 31 accidents and 13 deaths, compensation administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg has found a total of 19 deaths and 31 eligible claims thus far.

CNN Money reports 125 death and 320 accident claims have been submitted since the filing period began August 1 of this year. Out of the filings, 31 claims were found eligible, while most remain under review as of this writing. Additionally, less than 12 claims were denied to date.

Aside from the 19 deaths, Feinberg found four of the accident claimants suffered severe injuries — quadriplegia, serious burns, brain damage et al — in crashes tied to the switch, with another eight reporting less severe injuries.

Finally, the majority of the claims filed were tied to young drivers operating their first car when their injuries or fatalities occurred.

As for why the death toll rose in the compensation program, Feinberg noted that his program’s “proximate cause” standard was “easier to satisfy” from a legal standpoint, whereas the GM engineers who reported on the original 13 linked fatalities were doing so from an engineering point-of-view.

Compensation per claim ranges from $20,000 for less serious injuries, to $1 million plus an estimated future earnings potential and $300,000/surviving spouse/dependent for deaths caused by the switch. Those who accept must forego suing the automaker in exchange.

Feinberg’s office will accept claims until the end of 2014, with all claims reviewed by the middle of next year. Approximately 100 claims are filed each week with the office at present.

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Ferrari’s Annual Output To Increase Under Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911081 With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand. Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that […]

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Ferrari_458_Speciale

With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand.

Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that by doing so, they would be able to match pace with the desires of Ferrari’s customer base, lest its waiting list grows too long “and people get tired.” For this year, deliveries are expected to rise 5 percent.

On the same day Marchionne becomes Ferrari’s new chair, FCA will begin trading in New York. While Ferrari is linked to the company — and is considered a defining brand for FCA — he says it won’t be a key brand over the long term.

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NHTSA Returning For Second Round Of US Senate Testimony September 16 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910674 A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat. Automotive News reports the […]

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Acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman explains that General Motors will agree to a record fine of $35 million in civil penalties in Washington

A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat.

Automotive News reports the agency, represented by administrator David Friedman, will testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection subcommittee September 16. Committee leader Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri will examine the NHTSA’s role in the aforementioned crisis, as well as its ability to find other auto safety issues:

I’m interested in the capability NHTSA has to get at problems. They’ve obviously missed some big ones. The part of NHTSA that is responsible for monitoring issues like [GM] — they haven’t even asked for an increase in staff and cars have gotten a lot more complicated.

In addition, McCaskill will also explore safety reforms to both vehicle and highway safety legislation, a handful of which — such as increased funding to help the agency better perform its tasks, and the removal of the $35 million cap on fines for automakers who failed to properly act on a defect — haven’t gained much traction as elections take precedent in 2014.

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Kuniskis: Dealers Must Prove Themselves Worthy Of Selling Hellcat Challenger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910074 Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier. Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier.

Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past 180 days, according to brand chief Tim Kuniskis, with a second allocation in December will focus on the previous 90 days of such sales and the traditional 30-day inventory turn.

Further, Dodge will measure how many days each Hellcat remains on the lot after the initial allocation, with the goal of moving them off the lot as quickly as possible if more are to be delivered later on. Kuniskis acknowledges this may be a headache for those who opt to make a market adjustment similar to the one performed at a recent Los Angeles Chevrolet dealership, where a Camaro Z/28 was priced to move at $106,165:

If you want to market-adjust the car, that’s your right. But if your days-on-lot goes above what the other guys that are selling them at MSRP is, they will end up earning the allocation because their days-on-lot will be lower. Some dealers are going to have heartburn with that.

Kuniskis adds that he wants to see each Hellcat out there on the road for all to enjoy instead of sitting in a showroom “with a rope around it” like the Viper, and that his brand “worked hard” to price the beast at an attainable $60,990 with shipping included.

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Edmunds: 2014 SAAR May Best 2006 Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/edmunds-2014-saar-may-best-2006-peak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/edmunds-2014-saar-may-best-2006-peak/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910034 The surge in United States auto sales last month could push the final figures to a height not seen since 2006 when January 2015 rolls around. According to Automotive News, Edmunds chief economist Lacey Plache said that though the publication is holding at 16.4 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for 2014, “there is definite […]

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Couple + Salesman Sign The Contract Of Blood

The surge in United States auto sales last month could push the final figures to a height not seen since 2006 when January 2015 rolls around.

According to Automotive News, Edmunds chief economist Lacey Plache said that though the publication is holding at 16.4 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for 2014, “there is definite potential for numbers to hit higher than that.”

At present, the SAAR for 2014 is expected to hit 17.5 million, much higher than the previous peak of 16.6 million in 2006. August’s SAAR was fueled by strong Labor Day sales, which may have dinged September’s SAAR as consumers opted to make their purchases before summer drew to a close.

Meanwhile, Plache expects 2015′s SAAR to fall just short of 17 million, fueled by expiring leases. However, she and Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell warn a rise in interest rates in 2016 may put a drag on sales. Caldwell adds that automakers’ finance wings could counter this “by subsidizing lower rates.”

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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VW-Up-Japan-December-2012

While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Tesla, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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Nissan Declined Stake In Aston Martin As Early As 2012 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909066 Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline. Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before […]

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Aston Martin Lagonda Prototype

Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline.

Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before rejecting the idea. Said insider declined to explain the proposal or the reasoning behind the rejection, as did a representative for the company.

Meanwhile, Palmer’s new role as AM’s CEO may lead to more cooperation between the premium automaker and Daimler AG, the latter already in possession of a 4 percent stake in the former while also providing engines and electronics to Aston’s offerings. Palmer helped Daimler and Nissan’s Infiniti develop a similar relationship, resulting in a joint-venture on a plant in Mexico, as well as a family of engines to be shared with the Q50 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Daimler: Unionization Is For The Employees To Decide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908697 Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala. According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the […]

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MBUSI Mercedes-Benz Alabama

Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala.

According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the plant, adding that, “As long as a company does what they should do with their workers: treat them respectfully and treat them correctly, they are never going to unionize.” He also noted the plant’s employees have opted not to unionize over the past two decades.

At the state level, Alabama governor Robert Bentley claimed that if the UAW did win the Mercedes facility, he would have trouble recruiting more foreign companies to his state, especially those who call Japan and South Korea home.

Meanwhile, the UAW is still pursing its Southern strategy, having already established a new local near the Volkswagen AG factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. in August with the aim of attracting its workers to voluntarily unionize. Union president Dennis Williams said the UAW would “respond to concerns raised by pro-union workers” at the Mercedes plant, as well.

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Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908657 Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later. According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-009

Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later.

According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super Cruise — will be an option for “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” possibly the recently green-lit flagship meant to take on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series in the F-segment. The option, meant to take over driving and braking duties on the highway and during rush hour, will likely be as expensive as the $2,400 top-of-the-line safety package offered on all Cadillac sedans.

Meanwhile, the V2V system will be standard on the 2017 CTS, though it may only be able to talk to other CTSs so-equipped if no other manufacturer has V2V ready to go by then. By announcing the feature, however, Barra hopes to “start the conversation” on the technology:

The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accidents we’ll prevent.

GM is currently involved in a partnership with Ford, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to augment 120 miles of Detroit Metro highways with cameras and sensors to provide data to V2V-equipped vehicles, with the goal of reducing accidents in mind.

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Sandoval, Musk Announce Tesla Gigafactory To Be Built In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907097 It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval. KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades. In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and […]

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Elon Musk and Brian Sandoval

It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval.

KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades.

In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and incentives at a special legislative session next Wednesday at the earliest. The package is meant to last for 20 years.

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2018 Lamborghini Urus Will Share $240k Price Tag With Huracán http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2018-lamborghini-urus-will-share-240k-price-tag-huracan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2018-lamborghini-urus-will-share-240k-price-tag-huracan/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906969 Lamborghini’s newest foray into the premium truck/SUV market may still be for the production stop light to go green, but when it does, it will likely be priced in line with the Huracán. According to Motoring.com.au, Lamborghini R&D board member Maurizio Reggiani says the Urus “is still not confirmed for the brand,” and is awaiting […]

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2014-lamborghini-urus13

Lamborghini’s newest foray into the premium truck/SUV market may still be for the production stop light to go green, but when it does, it will likely be priced in line with the Huracán.

According to Motoring.com.au, Lamborghini R&D board member Maurizio Reggiani says the Urus “is still not confirmed for the brand,” and is awaiting final approval from the top brass at Volkswagen AG. Once approved, however, the premium SUV will enter production at the end of 2017 at the earliest.

The statement flies in the face of proclamations of a confirmed 2017 production date by both brand CEO Stephan Winkelmann and Lamborghini Japan sales and marketing boss Eginardo Bertoli. Bertoli adds that the Urus “will be priced similarly to the Huracán, to maintain the brand’s position as premium” when it arrives in Japanese showrooms in 2018.

In the United States, the Huracán starts at $237,250 MSRP. At that price, the Urus would be the most expensive premium SUV available that doesn’t have six wheels or leather from the alleged nether regions of Moby Dick. That said, Reggiani says approval matters more than price at this time, which is likely a formality before the New Age Rambo Lambo roars out of Italy in a few years.

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Bartsch: Infiniti On Track Despite Key Departures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bartsch-infiniti-track-despite-key-departures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bartsch-infiniti-track-despite-key-departures/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905681 Though the departures of Johan de Nysschen and Andy Palmer from Infiniti and Nissan respectively may be setbacks in the premium brand’s overall trek toward becoming a proper player in the luxury game, Infiniti Americas VP Michael Bartsch believes the brand will stay the course in the end. According to Ward’s Auto, Bartsch says Infiniti’s […]

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Infiniti-Q30-1

Though the departures of Johan de Nysschen and Andy Palmer from Infiniti and Nissan respectively may be setbacks in the premium brand’s overall trek toward becoming a proper player in the luxury game, Infiniti Americas VP Michael Bartsch believes the brand will stay the course in the end.

According to Ward’s Auto, Bartsch says Infiniti’s roadmap, as designed by de Nysschen and endorsed by both Palmer and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, is “locked in.” Further, the plan, and by extension, Infiniti, is greater than the people behind it, with a “collective stewardship of the mission and the vision” in place.

The plan calls for Infiniti to go up against the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi by expanding its offerings over the next few years, meeting them in 85 percent to 86 percent of the segments where the German brands currently do battle:

The reality of it is the German brands have fractured the market more than we’ve ever seen. The challenge for Infiniti at the moment is not whether we can build cars for the segment. I think our record shows very clearly we can. It’s not what we currently have, the challenge is what we don’t have. To be an effective player in (the luxury sector), you have to have range. You have to have the bandwidth.

The expansion will begin when the Q30 arrives in showrooms throughout 2015, and will feature redesigns of current vehicles, as well as possibilities for a flagship and a sports car down the line.

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Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

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Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

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