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. Sat, 23 May 2015 15:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/people/ OPEC Doubles Down Against Shale, Fuel Prices Continue Downward Spiral http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071690 OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside. Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when […]

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Ford Mustang Receiving Gas Circa April 2015

OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside.

Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when the group meets in Vienna next month, the publication reports.

The reason to continue down this road is to ensure victory for Saudi Arabia’s strategy of putting shale oil producers and other competitive suppliers — notably those in Canada and the United States — in their place. Thus far, the plan is working: half of the drilling rigs in the U.S. have been idled since October, while production fell 1.2 percent last week to 9.3 million barrels/day. Global investment in production is expected to fall $100 billion in 2015, while demand growth for oil is projected to climb to 1.4 million per day over the same period.

In the meantime, fuel prices will continue on their own course. University of Purdue Wally Tyner predicts prices in all but California and Hawaii will remain below $3 throughout the summer, Forbes says. This is, of course, due to the ongoing supply glut, hovering around 485 million barrels compared to the 350 million barrels normally available.

Meanwhile, Oil Price Information Service Tom Kloza believes fuel prices will stop at $2.50 this summer before dropping down between $2 and $2.25 this fall. Tyner adds Iranian oil could cut prices at the pump by 30 cents in 2016 should a nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran lead to a lift in sanctions.

Before the prices can fall, however, they must climb a bit for Memorial Day Weekend. AAA says prices rose 5 cents a gallon within the last week, with the current average national price hitting $2.71/gallon Tuesday, The Detroit Bureau notes. The group adds motorists are paying an average of 26 cents more for a gallon of regular in May than in April.

Causes behind the rise include regional production issues in the Midwest and West Coast, as well as a rally in crude prices; West Texas Intermediate and Brent are trading for around $60 and $66 respectively as of this writing.

Despite the price hike, motorists hitting the road this holiday are paying 94 cents less for each gallon dispensed compared to last year, the lowest average since 2009.

[Source: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072322 With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars. According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Elite

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

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NHTSA Will Partially Continue GM Safety Oversight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:53:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072386 Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year. GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year.

GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million civil penalty as part of the ignition switch saga in May 2014. The letter – dated May 14th, 2015 – says NHTSA is opting to extend some requirements from the agreement. NHTSA can extend the agreement up to May 2017.

The meetings have proven “to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects. I understand that GM shares that sentiment and has found the process to be a positive one in facilitating communication between GM and NHTSA,” stated NHTSA lawyer Timothy H. Goodman.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

With the spotlight again on the NHTSA thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, the move to extend GM oversight may also be political, showing the government agency’s resolve in handling wide-scale safety matters.

Why the extension wasn’t made public when the letter was sent is unknown at this time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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Reborn Borgward Hires Walker As CEO, Debuting New Model In Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071682 Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again. Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and […]

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1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe

Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again.

Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and 2006.

Christian Borgward, chairman and grandson of founder Carl Borgward, praised Walker’s “profound industrial background and broad knowledge of the premium automotive segment in Germany,” while Walker had this to say about his new role:

I’m honored to lead this respected German brand into the future. Borgward is a legendary global brand which has set industrial milestones and created brilliant stories in history. Several of its innovations and classic cars have been widely acclaimed in the industry and I am confident that Borgward will win back its place in the international automotive industry.

The historic automaker plans to unveil its first model in over five decades this September during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show – the automaker itself returned to the scene at this year’s Geneva Auto Show – which is said to be an SUV meant to invoke “affordable luxury.” Power for the new model may either come from a hybrid or full-electric system, and production is set for 2016.

Borgward assembled over 1 million vehicles between 1919 and 1961, disappearing from the scene when financial issues forced it into liquidation. The revived automaker has financial backing from Chinese truck manufacturer Beiqi Foton, which produces trucks in a joint venture with Daimler.

[Photo credit: Steve Glover/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Hyundai Santa Cruz, Subcompact Crossover Close To Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071762 Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you. Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied […]

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Hyundai_Santa_Cruz_Crossover_Truck_Concept

Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you.

Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied by a subcompact crossover set to battle the likes of the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

The trucklet takes a different approach compared to other midsize competitors, such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, focusing more on young city dwellers with active lifestyles who seek a vehicle with a place to stow their gear without dirtying the interior.

As for the proposed subcompact crossover, Zuchowski says Hyundai wants “a piece” of the growing segment, going as far as to decline bringing over an offering from China due to its conservative styling. The North American model will have its own platform, and have more striking styling, he adds.

An announcement is due within the next two to three months after Hyundai finishes studying capacity needs for the two models, with the United States likely to receive a boost over Mexico.

[Photo credit: Hyundai]

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071738 Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market. Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families […]

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Audi A7 Piloted Driving Vehicle At CES 2015

Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market.

Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families in the market move to a vehicle shared by all members of the family, Bloomberg reports. General Motors and Ford specifically would need to cut production by 68 percent and 58 percent respectively to weather the transition.

Johnson adds annual sales would decline 40 percent to 9.5 million units annually by 2040, while the number of cars on the road would fall 60 percent to 100 million:

While extreme, a historical precedent exists. Horses once filled the many roles that cars fill today, but as the automobile came along, the population of horses dropped sharply.

The analysis points to the rise of four categories of vehicles: traditional models driven by those in rural areas; autonomous vehicles owned by a single family; “robot taxis” summoned via smartphone app; and autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets such as van and bus pools. The shared vehicles would remove nine traditional vehicles from the road, with pooled units taking out 18.

Cost of mobility would also fall regarding the aforementioned robot taxis, with average rates per mile as low as 88 cents for a private car, and 4 cents for a shared two-seater. The category would prove a boon to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as low-cost vehicle producers and autonomous tech companies.

[Photo credit: Audi/Facebook]

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Renault Kwid Unveiled, Ready To Battle Maruti Suzuki Alto In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071530 As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto. The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News […]

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Renault Kwid 01

As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto.

The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News Europe reports. Power is set to come from an 800cc unit, though no other powertrain information was announced at this time.

Like the Tata GenX Nano announced Tuesday, the Kwid has a feature set normally found on more upscale vehicles for the Indian market, including hands-free voice-calling with Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen display with navigation and infotainment, and optional airbags.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Indian market was not an easy one during the Kwid’s unveiling in Chennai, and expects the city car to be “a game changer for Renault India.” The alliance’s current attempt to crack the market — the Datsun Go — sold 16,000 units since its introduction in 2014. The Alto manages to sell over 16,000 units per month in comparison at a starting price of ₹2,46,163 ($3,865).

Renault India also plans to expand its dealership network from 157 to 280 by the end of next year, though the target still pales to Maruti’s 1,500 stores.

The Renault Kwid is expected in those showrooms in September upon leaving the assembly line in Chennai.

[Image credit: Renault]

Renault Kwid 01 Renault Kwid 02 Renault Kwid 03 Renault Kwid 07 Renault Kwid 06 Renault Kwid 05 Renault Kwid 10 Renault Kwid 04 Renault Kwid 08 Renault Kwid 09

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Not Going Fully Aluminum After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2018-jeep-wrangler-not-going-fully-aluminum-after-all/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071514 The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara rear side yellow

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will add diesel and an eight-speed automatic to the mix, but a fully aluminum body is no longer on the agenda.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the upcoming Wrangler would not go the same route as the new Ford F-150, opting instead for specific components — hood, tailgate, doors et al — to be made from the alloy, Automotive News reports. Marchionne said the decision to move away from a fully aluminum model came down to comparison costs, and ease of production:

There will be a large portion of that vehicle that will be aluminum. It will not be all aluminum. We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact. Because of the difference in cost — not just of the material but the actual assembly process — I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close.

Were the 2018 Wrangler to have stayed the course, the Jeep facility in Toledo, Ohio would have needed a complete overhaul to manufacture and assemble the vehicle, following a similar action by Ford with the F-150 at its Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The Blue Oval invested $843 million to retool the plant and nearby operations, a process taking 10 weeks to undergo; FCA’s new plan would eliminate the need for such action.

[Photo credit: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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Müller: US-Bound Porsche Boxster, Cayman To Gain Four-Cylinder Engines Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070170 Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the […]

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2014 Porsche Cayman S at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the U.S. market could receive flat-fours if consumer demand calls for them.

The new four-pot is expected to be turbocharged, with 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines likely in the offing. Müller says maximum output could be as high as 395 horsepower, as well.

For now, the only four-cylinder model available is the Macan sold in China and the United Kingdom. Whether it will be among those heading over to the U.S. is undecided.

[Photo credit: Richard Cabrera/Flickr/CA BY-SA 2.0]

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Brothers Bid For Piece Of Father’s Legacy, Win Despite Losing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069218 Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction. Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, […]

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Weld County Dodge Charger Retired Squad Car Set For Auction Circa May 2015

Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction.

Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, the Brownlee brothers set out to claim his father’s work vehicle, a Dodge Charger, at auction Wednesday evening.

At the time the auction began, Tanner planned to use funds from his GoFundMe page to bring the car home, only to find himself severely outbid as the auction wore on.

However, the winning bidder — Steve Wells — quickly handed over the keys to Tanner seconds after putting $60,000 on the car, catching him off-guard.

Both proceeds from the auction and the GoFundMe page will go to Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization providing services to survivors of LEOs killed in the line of duty.

[Photo credit: KMGH-TV]

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Ellinghaus: Original Cadillac ELR Price Of Admission ‘A Mouthful’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ellinghaus-original-cadillac-elr-price-of-admission-a-mouthful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ellinghaus-original-cadillac-elr-price-of-admission-a-mouthful/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:01:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068474 In part due to its Chevrolet roots, the Cadillac ELR is now selling for up to 35 percent less than its original $76,000 price tag. Out of all of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles selling below MSRP due to lower fuel prices at the pump, the current ELR has seen the largest discount from […]

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2016-Cadillac-ELR-005

In part due to its Chevrolet roots, the Cadillac ELR is now selling for up to 35 percent less than its original $76,000 price tag.

Out of all of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles selling below MSRP due to lower fuel prices at the pump, the current ELR has seen the largest discount from the original sticker, Bloomberg reports. Nearly 2,000 units have left the showroom over the past 18 months, with some dealerships going as low as $50,000 to make room for a model that will actually leave in a few days (i.e. the Escalade).

Cadillac originally established the high price of admission for its Tesla fighter because of the standard features it offered, despite its PHEV technology coming from the $35,000 Chevrolet Volt. Thus, the brand “overestimated” its customers would discover its competitors “were naked at that price,” according to marketing boss Uwe Ellinghaus.

Another justification was if the ELR were priced closely above the Volt, PHEV shoppers would have gone for the latter instead. Branding also played a role in the pricing, intending to signal to consumers the ELR was a Cadillac through and through, from its badging and design, to the olive wood trim and 10-speaker Bose audio system.

Though these failures have guaranteed the PHEV will not see a second generation, the 2016 edition will at least begin the model’s ride into the sunset on a more even keel. Pricing is set to begin at $66,000 before federal incentives, while power will increase to 233 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque from the current edition’s 217 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque.

[Photo credit: Cadillac]

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BMW CEO Harald Krüger Overshadowed By Predecessor’s Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-ceo-harald-kruger-overshadowed-by-predecessors-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-ceo-harald-kruger-overshadowed-by-predecessors-success/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 17:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067418 As BMW AG’s newest CEO, Harald Krüger’s main challenge is to helm the company in the shadow of newly appointed chairman and former CEO, Norbert Reithofer. The concern comes amid Reithofer taking his place as the company’s chairman — succeeding Joachim Milberg in the role — without first stepping away from the company for two […]

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BMW 650i Grand Coupe

As BMW AG’s newest CEO, Harald Krüger’s main challenge is to helm the company in the shadow of newly appointed chairman and former CEO, Norbert Reithofer.

The concern comes amid Reithofer taking his place as the company’s chairman — succeeding Joachim Milberg in the role — without first stepping away from the company for two years as recommended by the German Corporate Governance Code, Bloomberg reports. The move leaves Krüger little room to move BMW toward his vision, especially as the industry itself is undergoing significant changes.

Krüger is also taking over as CEO at a time when the company’s fortunes in China are turning for the worst, following the nation’s own economic slowdown delivering a slump in profits for BMW’s joint venture during Q1 2015. Additionally, the new CEO will have to determine where to take Reithofer’s previous projects — mass-produced carbon fiber, i Series et al — especially when it comes to cost.

Finally, Krüger will be in charge of an automaker whose sales were boosted 55 percent from 1.4 million to 2.1 million vehicles annually, with an improved pretax margin of 9.2 percent from the 6.3 percent margin in 2006 when Reithofer became CEO. Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper said Krüger will have a tough act to follow with the new chairman, especially as Reithofer moves into his new role without delay, a move supported by majority shareholders the Quandt family.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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Müller: Porsche 911 PHEV Under Negotiation For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 15:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067306 Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports: That […]

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911 50th Anniversary Edition _6_

Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports:

That is a technique which we at Porsche are very familiar with, so we can suppose that we could have plug-ins all over the model range, not only to save fuel but also to boost the performance of these cars.

Mueller adds the decision to press ahead with a Porsche 911 PHEV is under negotiation, stating the technology “is the solution for the nearer future.”

Porsche sells three PHEVs thus far: the 918 Spyder, Cayenne and Panamera. Of the latter two, the Cayenne is projected to make up between 10 and 12 percent of overall U.S. sales of the crossover in 2015, while 15 percent of overall U.S. Panamera sales are of the PHEV variant. The 918, meanwhile, sold out its 918-unit limited edition run last December.

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Von Kuenheim: BMW Will Never Market A Pickup Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066962 BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle. The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a […]

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BMW 2002 Truckamino Circa March 2009

BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle.

The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a place in his company’s collection:

There is huge potential in pick-ups. In North America you look at the Ford F-150 pick-up it is the best-selling car.

You can do it but then you cannot be BMW. You have to be a different company, but this company is not ready to change from the ultimate driving machine and the ultimate successful company in luxury to a mass manufacturer who goes after the volume of pick-up trucks.

He did acknowledge BMW’s ongoing presence in the crossover/SUV market, as well as the introduction of front-wheel drive and three-cylinder engines to the brand, yet reiterated the fact those moves were accomplished by remaining true to its core values “of joy, dynamics and innovation.”

The proclamation follows an announcement in March by Mercedes of its intent to build a 1-ton pickup based upon the Nissan Navara, set to hit most showrooms around the globe by early 2019 as the GLT-Class.

[Photo credit: Drew Stephens/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Urmson: Google Involved In 11 Autonomous-Vehicle Accidents Over Six Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066282 Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more. The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none […]

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Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more.

The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none of them occurred with the vehicle in a proactive role.

Urmson said seven of the 11 reports involved rear-end collisions mainly on city streets at a traffic light, as well as a couple of instances where the vehicle was side-swiped, and one where a car rolled through a stop sign before striking one of Google’s cars.

The explanation comes as the tech giant and supplier Delphi were found to have been involved in four recent accidents involving autonomous vehicles since California granted such vehicles permission to test on public roads last September, the details of which were kept private due to the state’s reporting laws. Urmson says none of the accidents involved injury, with all vehicles receiving only minor damage from each incident.

[Photo credit: Google]

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Subaru Sees US Production Boost Five Years Early Due To Rising Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/subaru-sees-us-production-boost-five-years-early-due-rising-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/subaru-sees-us-production-boost-five-years-early-due-rising-sales/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 18:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065874 Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would increase production at its Lafayette, Ind. plant as Subaru hits its North American sales target five years early. Fuji Heavy president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said last week Subaru would reach 600,000 units sold in the United States and Canada per year by the end of March 2016, a milestone originally […]

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2015 subaru wrx (9)

Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would increase production at its Lafayette, Ind. plant as Subaru hits its North American sales target five years early.

Fuji Heavy president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said last week Subaru would reach 600,000 units sold in the United States and Canada per year by the end of March 2016, a milestone originally set for 2021 Automotive News reports.

The U.S. market alone accounts for 62 percent of the automaker’s global sales, with Q1 2015 sales rising 12 percent to 128,900 units. Meanwhile, 570,000 units left for North American showrooms during FY 2014, surpassing a target of 540,000 models projected for the U.S. alone by the end of 2015. The current forecast points to 554,000 sold in the U.S. by next March.

Thus, Yoshinaga proclaimed production in Indiana would climb to 394,000 units annually by the end of 2016. Fuji Heavy originally planned to boost said production to 328,000 by the end of said period, then to 400,000 by the end of FY 2020.

The Indiana plant is set to assemble the next-gen Impreza, which will hit showrooms in 2016 upon the new modular Subaru Global Platform, and with direct injection for its boxer engine onboard.

[Photo credit: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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Mockup Of 2016 Honda Civic Spec Sheets Fools Autoblog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mockup-2016-honda-civic-spec-sheets-fools-autoblog/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mockup-2016-honda-civic-spec-sheets-fools-autoblog/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 14:12:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063554 [UPDATE: Autoblog owned up to its mistake with the following: “Alright, we made a mistake. Turns out this “leak” was actually just a mockup done by a CivicX forum member, and we totally went along with it. Sorry, folks. You’ll have to wait a little longer for your hot Civic pricing news.” – CA] Earlier […]

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2015 Honda Civic Concept

[UPDATE: Autoblog owned up to its mistake with the following:Alright, we made a mistake. Turns out this “leak” was actually just a mockup done by a CivicX forum member, and we totally went along with it. Sorry, folks. You’ll have to wait a little longer for your hot Civic pricing news.” – CA]

Earlier this morning, Autoblog published a leak regarding the pricing of the 2016 Honda Civic. In its rush to be first, however, it forgot to confirm.

The specs sheets were originally pulled from a CivicX forum around speculation of the upcoming compact’s pricing and other features. Those sheets were a mockup from member RobbJK88, a graphic designer who wrote the following about them:

I just did this for fun, i was bored at work. It’s in no way official, just speculation based on what we know about the civic already, the current civic, and what honda has mentioned in various interviews. I based most of the standard equipment listed on the features for the current civic while moving a few things around based on Honda’s promises of more standard equipment and such. Any speculation on what we might see, or would like to see that i may have missed?

RobbJK88 adds that he pulled the specs from from the Civic models currently listed on Honda’s website, then tweaked them and the prices to match up with speculation.

[Photo credit: Honda]

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NHTSA: No Decision Yet On Extending General Motors’ Oversight Decree http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062842 A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined. The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS Near Capitol Hill Circa January 2015

A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined.

The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as requiring the automaker to disclose any potential and ongoing problems, and to meet with the agency monthly about safety issues, The Detroit News reports. The decree can also be extended for up to two years, a decision agency head Mark Rosekind is discussing at present.

Rosekind praised the automaker’s willingness to be forthcoming about safety issues and improvements during those meetings, while GM spokesman Jim Cain had this to say about cooperating with the government:

We have fully complied with the terms of the consent order. More importantly, we have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

No word was given as of this writing on when a decision to extend or rescind the decree would occur.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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Trademark Trolls Claiming Automotive Brands For Profit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/trademark-trolls-claiming-automotive-brands-profit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/trademark-trolls-claiming-automotive-brands-profit/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 19:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062378 The bane of many a startup and established company alike, trademark trolls now have their sights set on the auto industry. Portage, Ind.-based Trademark King, Inc. began filing trademark protection claims on 155 names and domains around Thanksgiving of last year, AutoGuide reports. The claims include everything from “Selection Sunday” and “Warren Buffet,” to “Porsche.com” […]

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Fremont Troll In Seattle Circa August 2006

The bane of many a startup and established company alike, trademark trolls now have their sights set on the auto industry.

Portage, Ind.-based Trademark King, Inc. began filing trademark protection claims on 155 names and domains around Thanksgiving of last year, AutoGuide reports. The claims include everything from “Selection Sunday” and “Warren Buffet,” to “Porsche.com” and “Kia.com.”

According to the filings, the trademark troll is staking its claim to these names for “brand development and evaluation services in the field of trademarks, trade names, and domain names,” as well as “creating trademarks for others.” For the right price, however, the company would sell or lease the name “to anyone in the world for a legal business activity.”

And how much did Douglas LeHockey, the owner of Trademark King – the company and the trademark – pay for this trouble? According to Domain Name Wire, $50,000.

When interviewed by the publication about another trademark filing related to an established domain name, LeHockey said it didn’t matter who had the domain name first, but who filed the trademark first, adding he would have his lawyer send a cease-and-desist to the domain owner.

[Photo credit: ngader/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Al-Naimi: Only Allah Knows Where Oil Prices Will Go http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062274 How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer. Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo […]

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Ali Al-Naimi

How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer.

Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo before cutting production. Al-Naimi added he wasn’t worried about the possibility of Iranian crude entering the mix as sanctions were lifted as part of Iran’s international nuclear deal, even though it would likely add to the growing glut and prompt lower prices still upon introduction.

The ongoing decline in oil prices began last year when OPEC kept production at 30 million barrels a day in order to maintain its share of the market against the likes of Canadian shale and U.S. crude from North Dakota.

Currently, Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude are trading for around $68/barrel and $60/barrel, respectively, helped by protests in Libya hampering exports, and possible disruptions linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

[Photo credit: UNCTAD/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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GM Gives Away 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Invests $174 Million In Kansas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060954 In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help. The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help.

The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade delivered severe injuries to his arms and legs while on patrol in Baghdad in 2005. Brining is currently a financial advisor for a local credit union near Overland Park, Kansas, 30 minutes south of where his new Malibu will be assembled later this year in nearby Fairfax.

Over the next two days, GM will select four other individuals to receive a new vehicle built in the region where they reside. The giveaways are in celebration of the automaker’s 500-millionth vehicle to leave the assembly line. Barra added her company expects to sell “more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day” during 2015, a figure that would deliver an estimated 10 million units in volume by the end of the year.

Speaking of Fairfax Assembly, Chevrolet global president Alan Batey announced the plant would receive a $174-million investment for new equipment and technology to help assemble the 2016 Malibu. The investment is part of GM’s overall $5.4-billion investment scheme to help improve its standing for years to come. Monday’s announcement follows the first one made last week in Michigan, where three facilities will split $783.5 million for similar improvements.

[Image credit: Chevrolet]

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Volkswagen Supervisory Board Meeting Monday To Discuss New Chairman http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 16:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060674 A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement. The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close […]

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Volkswagen Group Logo TTAC Style

A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement.

The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close to the issue says a decision isn’t likely today, however.

Though Huber is leading the search, the former IG Metall boss isn’t up for consideration to helm the company permanently. Whoever is chosen for the role, though, “needs a high degree of automotive expertise and authority,” and would ideally be a VW outsider who can govern neutrally, according to Union Investment fund manager Ingo Speich, whose group holds 0.6 percent of VW preference shares.

As for who is up for consideration, speculation points to Continental AG chairman Wolfgang Reitzle and Porsche SE chairman Wolfgang Porsche; VW and its works council have not commented on potential candidates as of this writing. Reitzle was recently suggested by Piëch to fill his vacated seat on the board alongside former Siemens manager Brigitte Ederer instead of the board’s choice of his two nieces, a move the former chairman opposed.

[Image credit: Volkswagen]

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Further Renault-Nissan Integration Blocked By French Government In Power Play http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-nissan-integration-blocked-french-government-power-play/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-nissan-integration-blocked-french-government-power-play/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 17:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058482 An attempt to bring further integration within Renault-Nissan resulted in the French government tightening its hold on Renault against CEO Carlos Ghosn. The move by the government Thursday to block the integration effort leaves Ghosn with the choice to either negotiate or fight for integration, Reuters reports. The CEO has long desired to give Nissan […]

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Carlos Ghosn Circa April 2013

An attempt to bring further integration within Renault-Nissan resulted in the French government tightening its hold on Renault against CEO Carlos Ghosn.

The move by the government Thursday to block the integration effort leaves Ghosn with the choice to either negotiate or fight for integration, Reuters reports. The CEO has long desired to give Nissan more status in the alliance to match its sales and profit, while the administration of French president François Hollande wants to increase its influence upon the French companies it owns, including Renault.

Using a rule allowing the government to double its voting rights on its holdings over two years of age — one companies like Renault-Nissan can choose to opt-out to following — Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron announced the government made a purchase of €1.2 billion ($1.34 billion USD) in Renault shares, increasing its stake from 15 percent to 19.7 percent in order to block the opt-out vote. Just 60.5 percent of shareholders supported the opt-out vote, but a two-thirds majority was needed to make it stick.

Though Macron claimed the move wasn’t a power grab, government officials and company insiders state the move occurred due to the French government’s fears Renault would become more like Nissan, which now accounts for two-thirds of combined sales and a bigger share of the profit shared by the alliance.

With the opt-out vote blocked, the CEO may counter the French government by restoring Nissan’s voting rights via buying back Renault’s shares in the Japanese automaker and/or creating new shares with a capital increase.

Before pulling the trigger on restoration, though, Ghosn may try negotiating for integration with Nissan taking the helm. The government may not be so interested, however; Macron stated that he saw no reason for Nissan to restore its voting rights, and would hold the line “to the end.”

[Photo credit: Norsk Elbilforening/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Gales: Lotus Will Show Profit By End Of FY 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gales-lotus-will-show-profit-end-fy-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gales-lotus-will-show-profit-end-fy-2016/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058418 After going broke for so long, Lotus Cars CEO Jean-Marc Gales says his company will be back in the black by March 2017, when FY 2016 ends. To do this, Gales implemented cost-cutting measures while improving the current lineup to help increase sales and profits, Automotive News Europe reports. In the short term, this meant […]

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Lotus Evora S Circa August 2013

After going broke for so long, Lotus Cars CEO Jean-Marc Gales says his company will be back in the black by March 2017, when FY 2016 ends.

To do this, Gales implemented cost-cutting measures while improving the current lineup to help increase sales and profits, Automotive News Europe reports. In the short term, this meant making some changes to the automaker’s offerings, such as adding an automatic transmission to the Exige, and refocusing the facelifted U.S.-bound Evora to better compete against the Porsche 911 and Audi R8. Gales said the U.S. would be the Evora’s biggest market as it leads the charge back to these shores after federal crash standards kept the model out for 2015.

At home in Hethel, England, 260 were cut from the workforce of 1,250, less than the 325 Gales had planned to cut in September 2014. The CEO also cut back consulting and engineering work conducted by Lotus Engineering, focusing the engineering arm on developing the automaker’s lineup, as well as combing through the supply chain to replace larger suppliers with smaller ones.

On the sales front, 2,015 cars left the showroom floor during FY 2014, an increase of 55 percent compared to the previous year’s 1,403; Gales is aiming for 3,500 sold by 2016. The increase is helped by an expansion of its dealerships, which stood at 174 at the end of March. He said his goal is to have 200 by the end of 2015.

As for profits, Gales said that losses were “massively reduced” compared to FY 2014’s £65.6 million ($100 million USD), and FY 2013’s £159.4 million ($242.2 million). He adds that he expects to see a profit for Lotus by the end of FY 2016, an experience the company hasn’t had “from the car side in over 20 years.”

[Photo credit: Vetatur Fumare/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Aston Martin All-In On SUV, Lamborghini Still On Fence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058346 Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor. Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million […]

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Aston Martin Logo

Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor.

Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million ($152 million) already issued and the remainder doled out over the next 12 months.

What does that investment buy? A new “luxury crossover GT” based upon the DBX concept shown at the 2015 Geneva and Shanghai auto shows, for one. CEO Andy Palmer said as much in the press release:

This additional long-term funding, will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade. The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations. The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini is still thinking about adding an SUV to its lineup, though no decision has been made, as CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Autoblog last month:

If we do a third model, then it’s better to have the SUV as this is a growing segment, a more emotional segment, a segment which is very well-distributed in terms of volume all over the planet. And therefore this is a car which is more likely.

The potential successor of Lamborghini’s sole outing in the SUV market – the LM002 – would have a design more appealling to current Lamborghini owners. It would also bring a significant amount of sales to the brand: the Urus concept from 2012 was projected to move 3,000 units per year; the brand itself sold 2,530 units in 2014.

Winkelmann adds the SUV would be the perfect platform for a hybrid powertrain, citing the SUV’s packaging and weight behind the reasoning.

[Photo credit: Aston Martin]

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