Last week, General Motors’ long-idled Venezuela assembly plant fell into the hands of the country’s autocratic government, sparking the automaker’s exit from the strife-ridden nation.
With its material assets out of its hands, the automaker’s Venezuelan subsidiary jettisoned the plant’s entire 2,700-person workforce today, Reuters reports. It did so in as abrupt a manner as the takeover itself. Meanwhile, the government wants to chat. (Read More…)
It’s no secret that the success of Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 will dictate its position as a mainstream automaker for the foreseeable future. Tesla’s current status as the most valuable carmaker in the United States is riding, almost entirely, on the problem-free assembly of its “affordable” EV this summer. So, when one of its German suppliers threatened to go on strike earlier this month, you can imagine the series of panic attacks CEO Elon Musk probably suffered.
Last week, the company’s recently acquired industrial robotics unit Grohmann began labor negotiations over insufficient wages and Tesla’s decision to suspend all contracts that didn’t pertain specifically to the Model 3. And, to ensure things went his way, Musk has become directly involved in the process.
Earlier this month, we detailed the plight of a Toronto-area man whose newly delivered Tesla Model S 90D — a six-figure vehicle boasting cutting-edge technology — arrived from the factory with a sizable crack in the A-pillar.
Because the A-pillar forms part of a one-piece aluminum side member, the defect represented a structural fault that couldn’t be ignored. It wasn’t the kind of PR Tesla wanted, especially as it ramps up production (and stock value) ahead of the Model 3 launch, and it certainly wasn’t something a first-time owner and admitted Tesla fan wanted to find.
After airing his story on the Tesla Motors Club forum, the owner provided TTAC with updates on his vehicle’s status. (Read More…)
General Motors will be idling multiple North American plants for 10 weeks this year to allow for the factory retooling necessary to build upcoming models. It also provides a buffer for the overabundance of product it currently has. At the moment, GM has a 97-day supply of vehicles. That’s well above industry average and substantially higher than its domestic peers. As of April 1st, Ford Motor Co. had 80 day’s worth of product and FCA had 82.
“Our inventory is high because we’re going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we’re modifying our plants, particularly with pickup trucks,” Alan Batey, GM’s head of North America, explained to reporters after GM unveiled a redesigned Buick Enclave. (Read More…)
Thanks to the weird and inexact science of pinning down a model year for a new introduction, Jeep finds itself playing a game of “hide the Compass.” The old Compass, that is.
You know the one. Barely updated over its decade-long lifespan, hated by TTAC but loved by consumers? That Compass. Certainly not the larger, second-generation model, with its new platform, upgraded looks and carryover engine. That global model is the one Jeep wants everyone to know about and, of course, buy.
Unfortunately, the model year conventions found in some overseas countries means the global model launching this spring carries a 2017 designation. As does the final cohort of the old Compass. (Read More…)
After deciding that its analytic tools are top-notch and will tell it everything it needs to know, Tesla is skipping the “beta” phase of the Model 3’s development cycle.
In a conference call to investors last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker doesn’t need to bother with that crop of pre-production models. Early release model 3s built on the company’s production assembly line — not specialty one-offs built in a corner of the shop — should be rolling by this week or next, he said. (Read More…)
Not content with just offering Chinese buyers the Lincoln Continental, Ford Motor Company plans to take a page from General Motors’ playbook and offer the expansive market its own home-built SUV.
The automaker intends to partner with China’s Changan Automobile Group to build Lincolns in the city of Chongqing, starting in late 2019, Ford claims. The two companies reportedly began talks early last year. (Read More…)
Mitsubishi Motors needs a pickup truck for the U.S. and Nissan wants a cheaper one for the global market. While the Red Diamonds’ Raider filled a ten year gap in the company’s lineup after the American discontinuation of the Mighty Max in 1996, sales were disappointing and production ended back in 2009. Now Mitsubishi and its new parent Nissan are investigating joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia as they hunt for savings within the Renault-Nissan partnership.
The two Japanese automakers may combine the technical basis and eventual production of the future replacements for the South Asian-built Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton, Mitsubishi chief operating officer Trevor Mann said in an interview at the Geneva car show. (Read More…)
With the possible exception of the upcoming Ford Bronco, no automotive product has more Americans feeling giddy with anticipation than the pickup version of Jeep’s beloved Wrangler.
Dreamed of by wistful Jeep aficionados for years, the go-ahead given to the Holy Grail of Jeepdom seemed to signal that yes, your dreams really can come true. Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of “all good things come to those who wait,” because wait you will. Two and a half years, to be exact.
Some of that time will be spent figuring out a name that doesn’t offend people. (Read More…)
In the international poker game of NAFTA re-negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump should not assume his Mexican opponent will be playing with a losing hand, an auto industry expert says.
“I’m going to be surprised if we see a heck of a lot changed,” said John Holmes, researcher at the Automotive Policy Research Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. “The industry now is so highly integrated.” (Read More…)
After posting a profitable fall quarter, Tesla returned to spending more than it made. However, its fourth quarter losses, announced on Wednesday, were substantially less than originally assumed by analysts. The electric carmaker’s stock price continued to climb during the final three months of 2016, despite losing $448 million from its operations.
Tesla has been throwing a lot of money at projects and acquisitions. It recently purchased SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering, so going into the red was to be expected. However, the dark cloud looming in the distance isn’t related to capital — it’s about production. (Read More…)
“Buick revealed its Cascada convertible, an elegant four-seater that will go on sale in the USA in the first quarter of 2016. This marks another example of the two brands’ successful collaboration, which already includes the jointly-developed Buick Encore and Opel Mokka, the Buick Verano and Opel Astra notchback as well as the Buick Regal and Opel Insignia,” proclaimed Opel in January 2016, just ahead of the Cascada’s reveal in Detroit.
One paragraph. Four products that intrinsically link Opel and Buick.
It’s no surprise, then, that General Motors’ possible sale of Opel to Peugeot has those in and out of the RenCen wondering: What of Buick?
Tesla is planning to halt vehicle production for one week in February to prepare for Model 3 pre-production, which the company says will begin February 20.
According to Reuters, the short-term shutdown of its Fremont, California assembly plant will give Tesla time to add capacity to its paint shop as it plans for full-scale production of the Model 3.
After surviving a very rough patch that could have easily sunk it for good, Volvo is feeling confident enough to be boastful, albeit in a restrained, Scandinavian way.
The Swedish automaker is riding high after posting record worldwide sales last year, and its CEO claims the groundwork is in place to have that trend continue in 2017 and beyond. Part of that optimism lies in a South Carolina plant expected to come online in 2018.
While the Berkeley County plant will be home to the next-generation S60 sedan, a second promised model is no clearer now than when shovels broke ground in 2015. (Read More…)
Automakers are waiting with bated breath to see where the pieces land once President Donald Trump complete’s the country’s trade revamp. One proposal would see a border tax of 20 percent placed on goods imported from other countries — a move that would impact the cost of manufacturing vehicles, and buying them.
Not every automaker would see a similar financial hit. Domestic manufacturers that use a high degree of parts built in the U.S., especially those that build few models in Mexico for delivery in the States, wouldn’t see much on an impact. For those that import most or all of their U.S. fleet from foreign factories, the cost per vehicle could be enormous. Customers, of course, would need to make up the difference.
While the tax proposal might come to nothing, a recent study shows what consumers could expect to see on window stickers if the idea becomes policy. (Read More…)