The Truth About Cars » Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:04 +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 » Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/production-news-blog/ Tokyo 2015: Toyota Three-Seater Concept Set For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tokyo-2015-toyota-three-seater-concept-set-for-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tokyo-2015-toyota-three-seater-concept-set-for-debut/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076986 Coming to the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota is set to bring a three-seater open-wheel concept based on the Lotus Seven which could see production. Power for the concept is said to be from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid pushing 100 horsepower through a CVT to the back wheels, Motoring.com.au reports. Dimensions include a weight of […]

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Toyota i Road and Other Car in Grenoble

Coming to the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota is set to bring a three-seater open-wheel concept based on the Lotus Seven which could see production.

Power for the concept is said to be from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid pushing 100 horsepower through a CVT to the back wheels, Motoring.com.au reports. Dimensions include a weight of 1543 lbs — thanks to carbon fiber — an overall length of 146 inches, and an overall width of 68 inches.

The publication’s source on the matter says the vehicle’s competition would include the Mazda MX-5 and Honda S600/S1000 should the concept hit the assembly line, a scenario which could occur if the concept proves to be a hit among the press and public alike. Pricing would start at $30,000 AUD ($23,000 USD), with the showroom-ready version bowing at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show before global sales kick off in 2018.

[Source: Toyota]

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Hyundai On Track To Sell 760K In US For 2015 Despite Low CUV, SUV Sales Volume http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-on-track-to-sell-760k-in-us-for-2015-despite-low-cuv-suv-sales-volume/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-on-track-to-sell-760k-in-us-for-2015-despite-low-cuv-suv-sales-volume/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076890 Hyundai says it’s on target to sell 760,000 units in the United States by the end of 2015, though crossover and SUV sales are lacking for now. Hyundai’s overall USDM sales through April were up 6.2 percent compared to last year, with 240,038 units leaving the lot, Ward’s Auto reports. The figure bests the automaker’s […]

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2016 Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai says it’s on target to sell 760,000 units in the United States by the end of 2015, though crossover and SUV sales are lacking for now.

Hyundai’s overall USDM sales through April were up 6.2 percent compared to last year, with 240,038 units leaving the lot, Ward’s Auto reports. The figure bests the automaker’s projected 5 percent increase for 2015 thus far.

However, Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski says most of the success comes from car sales, whereas crossover and SUV sales need improving. Though the vehicles made up 21 percent of the automaker’s 68,009 units sold in April alone, the overall U.S. crossover/truck/SUV market made up 55.3 percent of the 1.45 million new vehicles sold during the period:

We’re up 6 percent in cars in a segment that’s down a little bit, (but) we’re up 6 percent in trucks in a segment that’s up almost 11 percent. With us (having) limited capacity of trucks and the truck market representing 56 percent of everything that’s sold, we can hit our number and still potentially lose share just because of the influence of the truck market.

The automaker aims to remedy the issue by introducing a B-segment crossover and the production-ready version of the Santa Cruz crossover pickup, along with boosting inventories of the Tucson, thanks to the upcoming arrival of the 2016 model from South Korea. At least 65,000 Tucsons are set to arrive this year, with 90,000 to be shipped in 2016 due to Hyundai adding 50,000 more of the crossover to the assembly line in Ulsan. More Tucsons could be brought over in 2015, however, if the automaker’s negotiations with the unions fall in the former’s favor.

Hyundai’s share of the U.S. market gained a tenth of a percentage for the first four months of the year, climbing to 4.5 percent compared to 2014.

[Source: Hyundai]

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Ford Otosan Ceases Production In İnönü Amid Ongoing Industrial Action http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076338 Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more. Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of […]

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Ford Cargo Rolling Out Of Container Port

Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more.

Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of the strikers did not leave the plant, Reuters reports.

The industrial action over working conditions and pay — also affecting Ford Otosan’s plant in Gölcük, as well as operations belonging to Fiat (Tofaş) and Renault-Nissan (Oyak-Renault) — began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a 60 percent wage hike for workers at a Bosch Fren factory, but failed to do the same with the rest of Turkey’s auto workers.

Renault-Nissan offered to pay striking workers ₺1,000 ($370 USD) to resume production by midnight May 25, only for workers to reject the deal when the automaker’s employer union made revisions said not to benefit employees.

[Source: Ford Trucks/Facebook]

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2016 Nissan Maxima Slated For Execution Four Years Earlier http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-nissan-maxima-slated-for-execution-four-years-earlier/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-nissan-maxima-slated-for-execution-four-years-earlier/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075914 Though the 2016 Nissan Maxima will make its showroom debut June 2, there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine. As the auto industry was still feeling its way out of the Great Recession in early 2012, Nissan vice president of North American product planning Peter Loing said while most […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima Front Three-Quarter

Though the 2016 Nissan Maxima will make its showroom debut June 2, there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine.

As the auto industry was still feeling its way out of the Great Recession in early 2012, Nissan vice president of North American product planning Peter Loing said while most believed it was all but certain a new Maxima would come, “the foregone conclusion at that moment was that there would not be another Maxima,” Automotive News reports.

Loing took his current position in January 2012, where his first task was to make the case for a car whose fan base was almost entirely in the United States before an automaker who preferred global platforms to minimize costs.

Loing’s case hinged on the longevity of the Maxima name — having been on the marketplace without a break since 1981 — thus garnering a multigenerational consumer base who knows the nameplate better than Nissan’s own name. The model’s marketing boss, Eric Ledieu, added the Maxima also did well in pulling in consumers close to making the jump toward luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes.

When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn greenlit the eight-gen Maxima back then, Nissan North America vice president for vehicle engineering and Maxima program boss Takeshi Yamaguchi opted to dial the styling up while also boosting its luxury appeal and enhancing performance. Yamaguchi said he was proud of the results, not only of the fact the Maxima went “beyond where it was” instead of going more conservative, but the fact it was given another chance to see the sun rise.

[Source: Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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US Shale Oil Production Rising Amid Strengthening Dollar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-shale-oil-production-rising-amid-strengthening-dollar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-shale-oil-production-rising-amid-strengthening-dollar/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 13:35:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075874 Despite OPEC’s desire to keep its stranglehold on the market, U.S. shale oil production looks to rise again amid a strengthening dollar. Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch notes the 23-week decline in U.S. drilling activity seemed to have stopped, while the pricing level needed to increase production is being aided by “the significantly appreciating U.S. dollar,” […]

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Sergeant Major Oil Well - Arnegard, North Dakota Circa July 2013

Despite OPEC’s desire to keep its stranglehold on the market, U.S. shale oil production looks to rise again amid a strengthening dollar.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch notes the 23-week decline in U.S. drilling activity seemed to have stopped, while the pricing level needed to increase production is being aided by “the significantly appreciating U.S. dollar,” Reuters reports. Tuesday, the prices for Brent and West Texas Intermediate were both down 75 cents, coming in at $64.77 and $58.97 per barrel, respectively.

Goldman Sachs came to a similar conclusion, stating only one well was cut from the production rolls last week, adding producers would ramp production back up “given improved returns” were WTI to remain near $60/barrel. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley says “the USD downward correction is complete,” making dollar-priced commodities like oil more expensive for those who buy with other currencies.

Increased production would also head-off the potential for a tighter oil market down the road, though with OPEC’s ongoing strategy to hold the line regarding its own production targets among the member states involved — a strategy not likely to change when the group meets in Vienna next month — the possibility for an ongoing oil glut remains.

[Source: Tim Evanson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Audi Introducing EV Crossover In 2018, Q8 Flagship SUV In 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073122 Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan. The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz […]

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Audi Q7

Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan.

The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz at bay, Automotive News Europe reports. The Q8 will share its platform with the Q7 and feature styling similar to the BMW X6, while the EV will likely be based upon the Q5 and boast a 310-mile range.

By the time the two vehicles hit the market, Audi will have to face down increased competition from the likes of Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar and Tesla, the former three gunning for the high-end luxury SUV market with their respective models — Bentayga, Levante and F-Pace — while Tesla will be waiting for the EV with its own, the Model X.

Prior to their debuts, the automaker will introduce a new Q7 and TT this year, followed by the Q1 subcompact crossover in 2016. The overall plan is to have 60 models available for sale around the world by 2020, up from 52 right now.

[Source: Audi]

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Ford, Fiat Factories In Turkey Resume Production After Week-Long Shutdown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073098 Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey. Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models […]

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Fiat Ducato Passenger Transport in Turkey Circa November 2014

Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey.

Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models such as the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster City, and the upcoming Fiat Aegea set to hit showrooms in November.

The shutdown came about due to a dispute over working conditions and pay which began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a wage hike of 60 percent for those working in a plant by Bosch Fren, neglecting to include the rest of Turkey’s auto workers in so doing.

Meanwhile, Renault’s joint venture with the Turkish military pension fund in Bursa remains closed, prompting the automaker to reconsider future investments into the nation’s auto industry should the ongoing labor dispute present more instability.

[Source: shankar s./Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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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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Fiat Aegea Is the Dodge Dart for Elsewhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fiat-aegea-is-the-dodge-dart-for-elsewhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fiat-aegea-is-the-dodge-dart-for-elsewhere/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 14:18:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072098 Fiat, in conjunction with Tofaş R&D, revealed its new compact three-box Aegea sedan project at the Istanbul Motor Show. The new sedan, which will get a different name when it goes to production, is the first of three new models to be introduced for the EMEA region, replacing the Linea sedan and Bravo hatchback. Designed in Italy and engineered […]

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Fiat Aegea

Fiat, in conjunction with Tofaş R&D, revealed its new compact three-box Aegea sedan project at the Istanbul Motor Show. The new sedan, which will get a different name when it goes to production, is the first of three new models to be introduced for the EMEA region, replacing the Linea sedan and Bravo hatchback.

Designed in Italy and engineered in Turkey, the Aegea project sits atop the same ‘small wide’ platform as the Fiat 500L/500X, Jeep Renegade and (to a lesser degree) Dodge Dart. With a wheelbase of 2,640 mm (103.9 inches), the Aegea is only 2.5 inches shorter than the Dart at the wheels. The new sedan sits at 4,500 mm (177.2 inches) long, 1,780 mm (70.1 inches) wide and 1,480 mm (58.3 inches) tall. Fiat also states the sedan is “large enough to seat 5 well built passengers comfortably with a load capacity of over 510 litres.”

Four engines will be available in the Aegea family. Two Multijet II turbodiesels and two gasoline engines, mated to manual and automatic transmissions, will produce between 95 and 120 hp.

The Ægea name pays tribute to the Aegean Sea that is “the symbolic bridge between East and West.”

The new sedan will go on sale in Turkey in November and later in other EMEA markets.

NOTE: The car will be built at the same plant where there’s currently a labor dispute. That November on-sale date could slide a bit if the situation isn’t resolved soon.

Fiat Aegea Fiat Aegea Fiat Aegea Fiat Aegea Fiat Aegea

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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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BMW X2 Green-Lit For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070866 X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3. The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender BMW logo

X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3.

The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, including a performance-oriented B48 engine for an M Performance variant of the crossover, with output expected to hit 300 horsepower. Front- and all-wheel drive will link the power to the road.

Styling is said to follow in the footsteps of the X4 and X6 — four doors and a slanted hatchback — while the interior will be shared with the second-gen X1.

The publication’s sources state the concept version of the X2 will make its global debut as early as next year’s Geneva Auto Show. Prototype testing is set to begin by the end of May. North American sales are not known as of this writing, though the United Kingdom will get theirs starting in H2 2017.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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FCA US Keeping Key Facilities Open Through Summer To Meet Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069186 Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities. The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports: Jefferson North Assembly […]

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2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum and 300S

Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities.

The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports:

  • Jefferson North Assembly Plant; Detroit
  • Saltillo Van Assembly; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Toledo Assembly Complex; Toledo
  • Toluca Assembly; Toluca, Mexico
  • Kokomo Casting; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Kokomo Transmission; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Dundee Engine Plant; Dundee
  • Mack Avenue Engine; Detroit
  • Saltillo Engine; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Saltillo South Engine; Saltillo Mexico
  • Trenton Engine Complex; Trenton

Three other transmission factories in Kokomo and Tipton, Ind. will shut down for one week instead of two, while FCA US’ stamping plants will operate on the same schedules as the assembly plants they serve.

The break from the traditional two-week shutdown — meant for equipment repairs and changes to the assembly line for the upcoming model year — comes as the automaker continues its streak of rising sales on a year-over-year basis, currently standing at 61 months. The overall U.S. industry is set to sell 17 million units this year, a peak not seen since prior to the start of the Great Recession.

[Photo credit: Chrysler/Facebook]

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Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067698 Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time. During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in […]

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PetroChina-Station

Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time.

During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in the nation has slowed by half of what it was in the previous decade, following global trends of decreased consumption.

Global demand is expected to grow 1.3 million barrels/day to 94.58 million in 2016 according to the Energy Information Administration, with China taking 11.34 million barrels/day; the U.S. will use 19.44 million/day, lower than what was used in 2008. The figure is an increase of 3.1 percent over this year, yet pales when compared to the 11-percent jump in 2010. The spike delivered a boost to oil prices of 15 percent.

Combined with rising oil production pushing toward a glut in supply — to the tune of 1.8 million barrels/day in inventory currently, and 900,000/day during H2 2015 — China’s economic power faltering despite the government’s best efforts, and technological advancements reducing overall oil consumption, the global demand for oil will remain low for some time to come.

[Photo credit: Otebig/Wikimedia Commons/CC PD 1.0]

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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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Volvo Selects South Carolina For First-Ever US Factory http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volvo-selects-south-carolina-first-ever-us-factory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volvo-selects-south-carolina-first-ever-us-factory/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 16:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065778 It’s official: Volvo has chosen South Carolina as the home of its first factory in the United States. The factory will built north of Charleston in Berkeley County, with construction set to begin this fall. Production is expected to begin in 2018, and up to 100,000 units per year are projected to leave South Carolina […]

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155828_Pre_production_of_the_all_new_Volvo_XC90_in_Torslanda

It’s official: Volvo has chosen South Carolina as the home of its first factory in the United States.

The factory will built north of Charleston in Berkeley County, with construction set to begin this fall. Production is expected to begin in 2018, and up to 100,000 units per year are projected to leave South Carolina once operations commence.

Volvo chose Berkeley County due to ease of international-port access, well-trained labor, experience in high-tech manufacturing, and an environment conducive toward investment. The new location will employ up to 2,000 within the next 10 years, and 4,000 over the long term. The first 2,000 factory jobs are also forecasted to bring up to 8,000 total new jobs, with the plant itself generating $4.8 billion to the economy annually in exchange for a $500-million investment by the automaker.

As for what will be built in Volvo’s new plant, speculation points to the S60, XC60 and XC90, the first two the automaker’s most popular models in the U.S. No official word was given at this time.

[Photo credit: Volvo]

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GM to Suppliers: Open Your Factories, Books If You Want Long-Term Business http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-suppliers-open-factories-books-want-long-term-business/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-suppliers-open-factories-books-want-long-term-business/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 14:46:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065842 If you’re a parts supplier to General Motors, you have two choices: bid for business as it comes up or open your books and factories to skip the bidding process. According to Automotive News, the latter option is part of GM’s One Cost Model launched in 2013, allowing the automaker to analyse a supplier’s internal cost […]

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gm_hq

If you’re a parts supplier to General Motors, you have two choices: bid for business as it comes up or open your books and factories to skip the bidding process.

According to Automotive News, the latter option is part of GM’s One Cost Model launched in 2013, allowing the automaker to analyse a supplier’s internal cost data to identify cost-cutting opportunities. In exchange, suppliers can receive exclusive parts contracts that can last the lifecycle of a model and GM will not put that particular piece of business up for bid.

This all requires a significant amount of trust from suppliers, a commodity which has been lacking at GM since the ’90s.

Purchasing chief Steve Kiefer, formerly an executive at Delphi, told AN that GM won’t use the information to force suppliers to match or beat the company’s “China price”. In some contracts, annual price-downs, resulting in price cuts of 1 to 4 percent, will be skipped. Instead, GM will use the data to “identify waste and continuous improvement opportunities,” Kim Brycz, executive director of global product purchasing, told AN.

Bidding is effectively replaced with annual cost analyses. GM is also including suppliers earlier in vehicle programs with both parties reaping rewards: suppliers can optimize parts earlier on and GM can pay less for the same part.

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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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BREAKING: Worker Crushed To Death At Grand Cherokee, Durango Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:23:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062082 UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom. UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details. A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant. At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead […]

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Jefferson North Assembly Plant

UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom.

UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details.

A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant.

At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. The accident happened during the day’s first shift, confirmed a FCA spokesperson speaking with CBS affiliate WWJ in Detroit. He was performing preventative maintenance duties at part of the first shift of the day starting at 5:30 a.m.

“A plant employee was killed at the waste water treatment plant. The company is currently working with local officials to investigate the incident. All of the FCA family extends its deepest sympathies to the employee’s family during this difficult time.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

This isn’t the first time a death has befallen Jefferson North in recent years. As Automotive News reports, a worker was stabbed by another worker at the plant in 2012 during a dispute over a woman. The attacker later took his own life off-site.

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McLaren Will Not Go Further Down Market From the 540S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mclaren-will-not-go-market-540s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mclaren-will-not-go-market-540s/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057778   It sounds funny to say a car that costs almost $185,000 is a move downmarket, but the new McLaren 570S introduced at the recent New York Auto Show, and the detuned 540S version of the same “Sport Series” chassis (~$150K), are exactly that. The first McLarens to cost less than a quarter of a […]

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The new McLaren 570S

The new McLaren 570S

It sounds funny to say a car that costs almost $185,000 is a move downmarket, but the new McLaren 570S introduced at the recent New York Auto Show, and the detuned 540S version of the same “Sport Series” chassis (~$150K), are exactly that. The first McLarens to cost less than a quarter of a million dollars are aimed squarely at the Porsche 911. Since I’ve always been a best bang for the buck kind of a guy, whether I’m talking cars or stereo equipment, I wondered if McLaren might be interested in using their resources to bring their kind of high performance to an everyman’s sports car. So I asked Wayne Bruce, McLaren’s global director of communications, if there might be a sub-six-figure McLaren some day.

IMG_0595

I’m guessing that if I had a dollar for every time Bruce has heard a Batman joke referencing his name, I could probably afford even more than one new “entry level” carbon fiber McLaren. In any case, it’s an interesting coincidence he has a last name that’s the same as the first name of the company founder, racer and constructor Bruce McLaren. Speaking of carbon fiber, Bruce said it was just one reason why the company has no interest in making cars for the masses. He said that the company’s carbon fiber technology simply can’t be implemented at such a low price point.

IMG_0627

Understand that McLaren is a relatively tiny company. They don’t have resources the likes of BMW, which is putting over a billion dollars into the supply chain for the CFRP parts used in the i3 and i8. While the i cars at BMW are primarily seen by outsiders as an effort to make electric cars, much of the program is aimed at reducing the cost of making car parts and cars out of carbon fiber.

IMG_0615

The only sub $100,000 car being sold today with carbon fiber architecture is the Alfa Romeo 4C – starting at about $54,000 – though it doesn’t have a completely carbon fiber unibody. It has a carbon fiber passenger cell, with front and rear aluminum subframes attached to the central tub.

IMG_0617

Because it’s located on the bottom of the dihedrally operating door, you can’t see the logo for the Bowers & Wilkins audio system while driving, but you will see it every time you get in the 570S.

Bruce said McLaren is now profitable and they wouldn’t risk their profitability to make the immense investment needed to make a mass market car. A “McLaren Miata” would require economies of scale far beyond the company’s abilities.

IMG_0608

Though he didn’t use the word “cheapen”, he indicated that a mass market McLaren would not be good for the brand; their current customers expect a certain level of exclusivity. In 2013, McLaren delivered about 1,400 cars. Bruce said the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking has the capacity to build about 4,000 units a year and they anticipate reaching that limit once their new Sport models swing into full production. He continued that number would likely be the ceiling for McLaren production and they have no plans to expand the capacity of the Woking facility or to build another factory.

IMG_0545

I didn’t ask Mr. Bruce if McLaren, like other companies associated with high levels of performance or luxury (Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati and Lotus), is also considering some kind of CUV.

Photography by Ronnie Schreiber. For more photos of the vehicles in this post, please go to Cars In Depth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Oshawa Camaro Production Ceases November 20, Reduced To Three Shifts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:50:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057122 First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012. Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three […]

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012.

Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three between the “Flex” and “Consolidated” lines. Currently, the “Flex” line is on three shifts while the smaller line is on one shift. GM Canada will “begin a voluntary retirement canvass” to reduce worker head count before implementing any layoffs. GM Canada President, Stephen K. Carlisle, stated “60 percent of our hourly workforce are nearing retirement” age and the company will offer incentives to eligible employees looking to retire early.

Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS production will continue on the “Flex” line for now. Regal production is scheduled to move to Germany by 2017 while the XTS will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. Both the XTS and Impala are also produced in Michigan. The “Consolidated” line currently builds the Impala Limited – a previous-generation W-body sedan – and the Chevrolet Equinox, the latter which is also produced in Ingersoll, Ontario.

GM Canada and Unifor are working together to “examine a range of longer-term opportunities and competitiveness enhancements for Oshawa Assembly,” stated the release today. The future of Oshawa will be announced after Unifor national bargaining next year.

On the same day, GM also announced $5.4b in investments aimed at the company’s Pontiac, Lansing, and Warren, Michigan facilities.

The announcement comes after GM Canada committed $800m to Ingersoll and another 100 jobs toward expanding connected car and green technology development at GM Canada’s Oshawa Engineering Centre.

 

 

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City Officials Ready To Approve Incentives For Arlington Assembly Expansion Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/city-officials-ready-approve-incentives-arlington-assembly-expansion-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/city-officials-ready-approve-incentives-arlington-assembly-expansion-plan/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055641 City officials in Arlington, Texas will vote Tuesday evening to approve incentives for General Motors’ $1.2-billion expansion of Arlington Assembly. Mayor Robert Cluck says the incentive package – including a reduction of real estate and business taxes by 80 percent over 10 years and waived construction and development permits – is in exchange for an […]

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2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

City officials in Arlington, Texas will vote Tuesday evening to approve incentives for General Motors’ $1.2-billion expansion of Arlington Assembly.

Mayor Robert Cluck says the incentive package – including a reduction of real estate and business taxes by 80 percent over 10 years and waived construction and development permits – is in exchange for an expansion that would add 589 jobs to the factory, Detroit Free Press reports. Cluck added that his city “had a beautiful relationship with General Motors,” and sees no issue with the package being passed.

In addition to the new jobs, the plan would add 1.2 million square feet and approximately $1 billion in equipment to the factory floor, with $300 million going toward building improvements for the 60-year-old facility that assembles Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, as well as GMC’s Yukon and Yukon XL models, and Cadillac’s Escalade. A spokeswoman for GM declined to offer anything more specific about the plans, claiming that the automaker had “nothing to announce at this time.”

The expansion comes as demand for the aforementioned SUVs have climbed 51 percent in Q1 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014. The demand has the 4.4 million-square-foot factory operating on three shifts six to seven days per week just to keep pace.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Canada Loans €400M to Volkswagen for Chance at Supplier Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/canada-loans-e400m-volkswagen-chance-supplier-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/canada-loans-e400m-volkswagen-chance-supplier-table/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055073 As Volkswagen plans to expand in Chattanooga and Puebla, the Canadian government is loaning €400 million ($433.8 million USD) to the German automaker in exchange for possible future supplier business. Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation (an entity owned entirely by the Government of Canada), announced the “financing is designed to create opportunities for qualified small and medium-sized […]

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Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

As Volkswagen plans to expand in Chattanooga and Puebla, the Canadian government is loaning €400 million ($433.8 million USD) to the German automaker in exchange for possible future supplier business.

Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation (an entity owned entirely by the Government of Canada), announced the “financing is designed to create opportunities for qualified small and medium-sized Canadian companies to win new business with the global automotive giant as they grow their operations in North America.” The loan is being extended to Volkswagen with “market-rate interest and administrative fees.”

“There’s no doubt Canada needs Volkswagen more than Volkswagen needs Canada,” said Phil Taylor, spokesperson for EDC, to the Windsor Star.

The financial agreement gives smaller Canadian companies exposure to Volkswagen as they tool up their North American operations for future product. Suppliers can register their products or services on a website run by EDC.

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Gas Prices Rising Again Behind Crude Oil Pricing Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gas-prices-rising-behind-crude-oil-pricing-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gas-prices-rising-behind-crude-oil-pricing-climb/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050201 After a slight decline during Easter, gas prices are once again climbing back up as crude oil does the same. The national average stands at $2.46 for a gallon of regular, the lowest price since 2009 at around this time, reports The Detroit Bureau. The price is a 7-cent increase over the past week, thanks […]

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Fuel Price Circa Mid-December 2014

After a slight decline during Easter, gas prices are once again climbing back up as crude oil does the same.

The national average stands at $2.46 for a gallon of regular, the lowest price since 2009 at around this time, reports The Detroit Bureau. The price is a 7-cent increase over the past week, thanks to crude oil prices climbing 17 percent since the start of April due to a combination of decreased U.S. output, ongoing refinery issues, and possible new geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Heading into the summer, speculation points to an oil glut as Cushing, Okla.’s storage hub quickly climbs to capacity, though a recent drop in oil levels reported by commodity intelligence company Genscape has allayed those concerns for now. The aforementioned refinery issues are another factor in pricing with the West Coast remaining on the high end of the scale.

Currently, California holds the highest average at $3.15/gallon while Alabama and Mississippi are neck-and-neck for the lowest average at $2.24 and $2.23 per gallon, respectively.

[Photo credit: Cameron Aubernon/Instagram]

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Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043722 Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells. A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model […]

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Corn Harvesting

Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells.

A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model to increase both enzymatic generation and breakdown rates by a factor of 10 and three, respectively.

The result is a reduction in both time, capital costs and facility size as far as hydrogen production goes. Lead author Joe Rollin — a former student of Zhang’s, who is also a co-founder with Rollin on a biofuel startup — says the new process can be carried out in a facility the size of a standard gas station, lowering one of the hurdles for widespread hydrogen production and distribution:

We believe this exciting technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.

The project was partially funded by Shell’s GameChanger initiative, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, and was carried out by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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