By on July 5, 2017

Concept EQ, Exterieur Concept EQ, exterior

Daimler AG is dumping half of a 5 billion yuan sum, or 735 million dollars, into China as part of a joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp. Together, the companies plan to establish the groundwork for competent EV production in the region — meaning a good ol’ fashioned battery factory.

The bill is split between the two firms, as China requires every foreign automaker to partner with a domestic one to do business within the country. The new factory will be a product of Beijing Benz Automotive, a blandly named limited liability company created to further Mercedes’ interest within the country and bolster its EV production capabilities globally. (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Chrysler’s minivans have been a never-ending beacon of purity and goodness for over thirty years. Less so lately, but the segment remains an important part of the FCA lineup. Intended to replace both the Chrysler and Dodge minivans, the Pacifica did not outsell either at launch. While Pacifica deliveries eventually eclipsed the Town & Country, it was really only due to the venerable model’s extermination. Meanwhile, Dodge’s Grand Caravan continues as the stronger seller and remains a popular option for rental fleets.

This has convinced Fiat Chrysler to extended the Caravan’s death date more than once, but it won’t last forever. In fact, it’s about to suffer a sort of prelude to non-existence as production will go on an extended hiatus in mid-August and won’t resume until December, when the 2018 models appear.  (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2017

2016 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda

With trucks and crossovers dominating more of the market every month, Japanese automakers are making every effort to bring in new models that will satisfy consumer demands. Soundly constructed economy vehicles have long been the cornerstone of most Japanese nameplates but, with reliability improving among many brands and fuel efficiency being less important to consumers, we’re seeing a shift in the Far East.

Everyone from Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Nissan have all expressed plans to focus on light trucks this year. Some Japanese brands are even banking on the continued growth of the segment to stage their comeback. “I think SUV sales will continue growing even if gas prices rise,” Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko explained, citing the consumer appeal of higher seating and overall sense of safety. “The SUV segment is increasing its market share worldwide, and this is where we have long been strong,” he said. “So, we will continue to make full use of this technology.”  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas yellow front quarter on road

Volkswagen Group’s core brand has targeted an end to profit losses in the North America by the end of the decade, setting its break-even point for 2020. Central themes of the plan are dependent on cost cutting measures and higher-margin SUV models it believes will bring it back from emissions scandal purgatory. In its most recent announcement, VW continued to tout electric vehicles as an inevitable key focus by 2025, but hasn’t lifted the veil on all that entails.

In the short term, however, Volkswagen is promising the “biggest product offensive in its history,” with ten new models coming this year alone. In actuality the number is half that, as five of those vehicles are updated versions of existing models. The real number could be even smaller if VW is counting the Atlas/Teramont as separate vehicles; the same goes for the two wheelbases of the Tiguan. And, based on the information it provided us, that does appear to be the case.  (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2017

Nissan Sentra NISMO 2017 debuta en el Auto Show de Los Ángeles

Nissan is about to embark on a global expansion plan that would double the number of models wearing the NISMO performance badge. The brand says that it is aware that enthusiasts only make up a small fraction of prospective buyers, but it doesn’t want to ignore them — especially in segments where NISMO hasn’t left much of an impression. For North America, that means trucks. However, Nissan says the it is seriously considering adding the emblem to crossovers, MPVs, and even minivans. Assumedly, since the Quest was retired in 2016, the company is referring to new models.

The timeline for the tuner sub-brand has set for itself wraps in 2020. By then, Nissan wants 100,000 NISMO specific sales annually, up from last year’s 15,000. How it plans to accomplish that is slightly worrying, however.  (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

Volkswagen can’t wait for the day when it doesn’t have to spend time and resources dealing with a huge, stressful scandal.

Grey skies will clear up eventually, so the automaker has 250 employees busily crafting its Strategy 2025, a plan designed to carry the company out of its darkest chapter and into future prosperity, Bloomberg reports.

Volkswagen has big, expensive (but not too expensive) things in the works, so say goodbye to the boring, sensible company you thought you knew. At least, that’s the implied message. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

Volkswagen Chattanooga Tower

Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. want to be compensated for financial losses stemming from the diesel emissions scandal, and if the results of a recent meeting with company brass is any indication, the demands will soon grow louder.

Alan Brown, chairman of Volkswagen’s U.S. dealer council, led a small delegation of dealers to Germany last week to talk reparations and get a firm grip on the company’s strategy, Automotive News reports.

The size of the settlement they were seeking is unknown, but the meeting with global brand chief Herbert Diess and new Volkswagen Group of America head Hinrich Woebcken didn’t yield any plan to compensate dealers.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2015

jeep_j8

Jeep is a pillar of financial strength for FCA. The brand is poised to deliver its sixth consecutive year of growth. Even if you despise the Compass and Patriot, it would be difficult to argue that Jeep CEO Mike Manley has been anything but a good steward of the brand.

But how is Jeep going to keep its 6,500 UAW members in Toledo working after 2017 when the Cherokee departs and there’s a gaping 240,000 unit hole to fill? Uncertainty over how this gap will be filled, in conjunction with the failure of union negotiators to eliminate the two-tier wage system, were the primary factors in a strong no vote from UAW members in Toledo last week. Nonetheless, FCA has a unique opportunity to address their workforces’ legitimate concern over job security, give consumers what they want, and find new homes for Jeep products across the globe.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2011

I was listening to a local radio station and as will happen in a regular Detroit newscast, they mentioned something newsworthy going on in the domestic auto industry. In this case they said that Ford would be spending $1 billion on 7 new products to revamp the Lincoln brand. Well that wasn’t really news so I wondered what really was going on and it turns out that the radio station’s news team grabbed a headline from an Alisa Priddle article at the Detroit News. Though the headline was nothing new, Priddle has interviewed Ford designers and product managers and has managed to give us a better idea of what the Lincoln brand will mean once Lincoln’s new team of 120 or so engineers, designers and marketing experts gets done reinventing the marque.

(Read More…)

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