Ford Motor Company is engaged in hurried discussions with Volkswagen, with the German automaker seen as a sure-fire way to reverse falling fortunes in overseas markets. Ford needs help in Europe and Latin America, especially — a situation made clear in Thursday’s quarterly earnings report.
Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding with VW in June, the scope of Ford’s partnership has expanded from its initial focus on commercial vehicles. There was already room in the MOU’s wording for the two companies to go further. Now, it looks almost certain that passenger vehicles will become part of the plan.
Back in June, we brought you news that Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seemed to be working on a relationship — potentially yielding jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. At the time, both companies issued a joint memorandum of understanding about potential product alliances.
With the Blue Oval’s stock price in the dumpster, Jim Hackett constantly nattering about “fitness,” and VW’s desire to increase its market share in America, it wouldn’t be the oddest of marriages if these two companies joined forces in more than just the commercial market.
Stranger things have happened … like DaimlerChrysler. Wait, that’s probably a bad example.
Toyota Motor Corp. is set to drop about $500 million into Uber Technologies Inc. under an agreement that will see both companies work jointly on self-driving vehicles. The ultimate goal is for Toyota to bring to market its own autonomous vehicles using some of Uber’s hardware, with direct access to its ride-sharing network.
According to the automaker, the initial push will use the Sienna minivan as a platform for the “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet. This makes the arrangement sound very similar to Waymo’s deal with FCA, which allows Alphabet’s autonomous arm to use the Chrysler Pacifica as a test platform for its self-driving hardware in exchange to having improved access to autonomous technology. However, Toyota said the partnership’s primary goal is improving safety and lowering transportation costs for the public.
A report in a Japanese business publication claims the partnership that gave us the Infiniti QX30 crossover — built on the same MFA platform as the Mercedes-Benz GLA — won’t yield a compact Infiniti luxury car, as was planned.
This isn’t a case of bad blood between the two automakers, however. The United States just isn’t a ripe target for such a vehicle anymore, apparently, and the vastly uncertain trade situation doesn’t help.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn is busy trying to convince shareholders of Nissan and Mitsubishi stock that Renault isn’t aiming to take over its Japanese partners. It’s proving to be no easy task.
While Ghosn has been clear of late that a merger isn’t in the works, he’s simultaneously adamant that the relationship between the companies must become “irreversible” before he retires from the industry in 2022.
Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seem to be on the verge of a relationship that could yield jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. It’s looking a lot like the rumored FCA/VW partnership we reported on last year, only that date ended with cold showers.
Late Tuesday, Ford and VW issued a joint statement announcing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two automakers. This “potential alliance” might lead to the conception of any number of vehicles.
Not if you’re planning on leasing a Clarity Electric, of course, though future iterations of Honda’s greenest model could use what General Motors is pushing. Which is: a far more energy dense battery.
On Thursday, the two automakers announced a partnership to develop smaller, longer-ranged batteries for use in electric vehicles, primarily those sold in North America. Once the two achieve a breakthrough, GM will become Honda’s supplier.
General Motors is updating its on-board digital marketplace to allow customers to purchase fuel without ever having to leave the vehicle. You’ll still have to leave the confines of the vehicle to actually pump the gas, unless you live in New Jersey, but the exchange of money is handled entirely by the world’s first “in-dash fuel payment system.”
What a time to be alive.
The new service is available via the Shell widget, which is already featured on GM’s Marketplace app (providing directions to the nearest Shell station). The corporate collaboration allows respective patrons to select a nearby Shell station, use the map to navigate there, park, select a pump, fill up, and drive away. Payment is automatically charged through Shell’s Fuel Rewards program.
Let’s hope future robo-taxi passengers appreciate a sport-tuned suspension and crisp driving dynamics, because there’s a slim chance they’ll notice it when shuttling around in a driverless Jaguar.
On Tuesday, Waymo, autonomous car unit of Google, announced its intent to purchase up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace electric crossovers for its future fleet of AV EVs. Fitted with an array of self-driving hardware and software, Waymo says the cars will hit the road in 2020. Testing begins this year, which has us wondering what kind of wait a regular I-Pace customer faces.
Unlike German auto titans BMW Group and Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler didn’t have the stabilizing effect of a family or individual with a massive, long-term cache of company shares. That’s no longer the case, as Geely Group owner Li Shufu has announced his purchase of a 9.69 percent stake in the German automaker.
This makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder.
The Chinese auto tycoon, whose Zheijang Geely Holding Group manages car-producing Geely Group, already owns Volvo Cars and Lotus, and is a major shareholder in truck builder Volvo AB. Always on the hunt for opportunities, the near 10-percent stake in Germany’s largest luxury automaker should give Shufu the partnership he’s looking for.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the manufacturer currently at the center of rampant speculation over a possible Chinese buyout and a spin-off of its Italian luxury brands, is reportedly in early talks with Volkswagen over the joint production of certain light utility vehicles.
Volkswagen, which has made crystal clear it wants nothing to do with a merger, might have products the Italian-American automaker could find beneficial. Despite the awkward back-and-forth between FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW Group chief Matthias Müller earlier this year, the German automaker didn’t rule out discussions with FCA.
According to a source close to the issue, the discussions include future versions of VW’s small commercial van and, interestingly, a midsize pickup truck.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been hoping to sell the company to the right kind of buyer for a while now. But, with no serious contenders, FCA has been forced to trudge onward into the future without a bonafide suitor.
That’s rumored to have changed, as numerous sources are claiming Chinese automakers have taken an interest in the Italian-American company. However, whether these are potential one-night stands or a serious courtship remains unknown. Marchionne has previously specified he only wants to see FCA enter into the warm embrace of an established automaker and, while China has them, some would be better partners than others.
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.
Mazda loves its Skyactiv engine technology, as the high-compression fuel-sippers eliminate the automaker’s need for pricey hybrids or battery electric vehicles.
Boasting an increasingly rare all-gas U.S. fleet, Mazda has said it can handle increasingly stringent fuel economy requirements with improved second-generation Skyactiv engines, including their diesel variants.
It now looks like that plan won’t be enough.
Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles division is eager to enter the U.S. heavy truck market, and it just found a partner to help pull it off.
Volkswagen Truck & Bus has announced it will buy a 16.6 percent stake in U.S. truck maker Navistar International Corp., a share buy worth $256 million. Both companies hope to save money (and make more of it) through the technology-sharing deal, with joint products on the horizon.
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- Sayahh Story idea or car design competition: design a compact sedan, a midsize sedan, coupe and/or wagon specifically for people 6'4" through 7'2". Not an SUV nor a crossover nor a raised chassis like the US Toyota Crown or Subaru Outback.
- Sayahh I only check map app only when absolutely necessary and only at a red light. An observation: lots of ppl leave 2 car lengths (or more) between themselves and the car ahead of theirs so that they can text or check the internet (because they are afraid they might roll forward and hit the car in front of them?) This drives me crazy because many ppl do it and 3 cars will take up almost 7 car lengths and ppl cannot get into the left turn lane when it's bordered by a cement "curb." Worse is when they aren't even using their phone and have both hands on the stewring wheel and waiting for the green light. Half a car length is enough, people. Even one car length is too much, but 3 or 4 car lengths? At 40 MPH, maybe, not at 0 MPH please.
- 6-speed Pomodoro My phone never leaves my pocket while driving. This is fine in my daily with bluetooth and also fine in my classic car, but people get mad in a hurry that I'm ignoring them.
- BklynPete Maverick has had recalls but overall seems reliable. Consumer Reports recommends it for whatever that's worth, buyers think they're better than sliced bread, they're sold out, and look like a long-term success.I suppose you're right that DCT can be laid at Mulally's feet too but as COO Fields was in charge of product. When he got Mulally's job, Fields brought back mgmt siloes and lost shareholder value. Maybe Fields took the fall for other's bad decisions. But ultimately as CEO the axe had to land on him. I cannot believe that Farley won't meet the same fate if 2023 warranty claims make Ford lose money again.
- Inside Looking Out All that is BS. Nissan just tries to buy time. By 2028 every Tesla will have fusion reactor under the hood. Commercial fusion reactor is under development as we speak 5 miles away from my home in Sandia labs in Livermore.