By on April 22, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride was the final iteration of the Chevrolet Nova nameplate in North America. An economy car that largely vanished from roads long ago, today’s hatchback example is very clean and very NUMMI.

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2021

Ford/Zotye Agreement

Ford Motor Co. has decided against its plan to launch an electric vehicle joint venture with China’s Zotye Automobile. The American manufacturer confirmed the decision on Thursday, stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had made sweeping changes to its policies since the deal was initially agreed to in 2017.

Few specifics were given beyond that and Ford hasn’t indicated the move might suggest a retreat from the one-party socialist republic. Ford recently confirmed its plan to build Chinese versions of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and maintains numerous joint ventures necessary to continue doing business inside Central Asia.

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By on November 11, 2020

Despite every manufacturer on the planet eager to inject mobility services into the business, the array of programs that encompasses has yet to establish itself as a reliable source of revenue. Frankly, the whole thing seems like a gigantic money pit for the industry made worse by how loosely the term is defined. Customer data acquisition, vehicle connectivity, electrification, subscription programs, over-the-air updates, and autonomous driving all fall under the umbrella of “mobility” that’s costing automakers a bundle with the promise of being profitable later.

This week, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse acknowledged the premium his company has had to pay to maintain such programs and that it’s considering a joint venture with Daimler AG to help mitigate cost. This would presumably expand the German-based Free Now car-sharing program they already share — though BMW was cagey on the details.

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By on April 15, 2020

With the rippling economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak starting to take hold, some industry analysts have begun floating the increasingly popular theory that various markets could stage a retreat from China. While the Chinese Communist Party’s mishandling of the pandemic — including cover-ups (and the possible manipulation of the World Health Organization) that ultimately encouraged the virus’ spread — are often cited as the impetus for the change, the actual decisions will be largely economic. COVID-19 threatens countless nations’ financial welfare as it simultaneously disrupts global supply chains.

The virus has also sent the auto industry into a holding pattern as manufacturers and suppliers hemorrhage money. While the assumption exists that this situation could encourage international automakers to refocus on domestic production, there haven’t been many examples to point to. Renault changed that this week, announcing plans to abandon its joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor Corporation. The move, however, may have less to do with the presumed industrial exodus than the company’s general financial situation.  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: GM

A battery plant mentioned in General Motors’ recently ratified UAW labor contract will soon become a reality in the hard-hit city of Lordstown, Ohio. That locale recently saw the lights go out at GM’s Lordstown Assembly, which closed its doors this spring after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Cruze. The plant’s now in the hands of a fledgling electric automaker.

On Wednesday, GM announced the spending of $2.3 billion and the creation of 1,100 jobs in Lordstown — a necessary move to supply the automaker with battery packs for its electric vehicle push. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

In last Wednesday’s QOTD post we covered all the worst examples of automotive collaboration. Commenters racked up the examples, sharing collaboration failures even worse than the Jaguar X-Type selected for textual pillory in the post.

Today we flip it around and discuss the best outcomes of automaker cooperation.

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By on August 7, 2019

Automakers are keen to pursue partnerships with one another when it means saving money via economies of scale, or when it supports an established corporate structure. Whether it’s in the form of some basic components-sharing or a more intensive joint venture, today we want to hear about the worst possible examples of automotive cooperation.

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By on February 22, 2019

Image: Daimler AG

As the marketplace evolves and the rise of “mobility” threatens to lock laggard automakers out of new revenue streams, old rivals are coming together to get out ahead of the competition. Take BMW and Daimler, for example. The German companies, normally embroiled in high-end sales combat, have cosied up to each other in recent years.

While they’re not sharing platforms and engines, the two do feel there’s benefits in joining forces on mobility. By mobility, we mean carsharing and all that sexy stuff you can’t get enough of. A pact between the two rivals came last March.

On Friday, the two automakers released the details of their mobility partnership, announcing five joint ventures funded by a combined $1.13 billion investment. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

2018 Toyota Camry XLE gauges

Already a pioneer in hybrid drive technology, Toyota’s recent push towards fully electric cars has birthed a joint venture with one of the world’s premier battery makers, potentially opening up a massive revenue stream for the automaker.

On Tuesday, the company announced the creation of a joint venture with Panasonic to supply other automakers with a “stable supply of competitive batteries.” (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2018

2017 Mazda CX-5 Driving, Image: Mazda

There’s 4,000 new jobs coming to Huntsville, Alabama, but there’ll also be 150,000 unnamed Mazda crossovers rolling out to dealers across North America each year — assuming the model’s a success. Our money’s on Mazda giving its new child a name starting with “CX-.”

Mazda and Toyota made their 50-50 joint venture official this week, creating a business entity called Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. and boosting the presence of car manufacturing in the South. Production begins in 2021. For Mazda, it will be the company’s first assembly facility in the U.S., though it’s technically not a wholly-owned, standalone operation. There’ll be just as many Toyota Corollas leaving the factory as Mazdas.

While there are scant clues about the nature of Mazda’s mystery vehicle, the brand’s recent sales, plus a revealing loyalty report, suggest the company could have a hit on its hands. (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2018

By Siyuwj Geely_assembly_line

Is a seemingly unstoppable Chinese automaker slowly amassing a significant ownership stake in Germany’s Daimler AG? That’s what sources tell Bloomberg.

According to the news outlet, sources claim Geely Auto Group, which owns the Volvo, Lotus, and the mysterious Lynk & Co. car brands, is steadily acquiring a $9.2 billion stake in the German giant. That would give the Chinese a near 10-percent stake in the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Are we witnessing the birth of a new alliance? (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2018

Crosstrek Hybrid

If you’re a modern-day automaker without an electrification strategy, you’re in trouble. Not only will you face the global stigma of being truly evil, you might also miss out on the possibility of future sales. Sure, electric vehicles only account for about 1 percent of total domestic deliveries right now, but it’s a growth market, spurred on by political pressure and regulatory action. Some regions, like California, have plug-ins taking up as much as 5 percent of annual car sales.

Subaru needs help, as it doesn’t sell a single electrified vehicle. The brand discontinued the Crosstrek Hybrid, and its only battery-driven plug-in, the long-defunct Stella EV, was sold only in Japan and proved about as popular as VD. While Subaru can certainly build a good car, it hasn’t had the best luck with electric vehicles.

It’s now calling on its “friends” for backup.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

Toyota TNGA platform, Image: Toyota

Of all automakers, no company holds out hope for the gasoline engine’s longevity quite like Mazda. Not only does Mazda anticipate many decades of continued hydrocarbon-fueled driving, it’s also ensuring gas stays viable by inventing a new Skyactiv engine that (supposedly) uses much less of it. That motor, a first-of-its-kind gas compression ignition four-cylinder, debuts in 2019.

For now, Mazda’s North American lineup remains pure in terms of propulsion. The promised CX-5 diesel is taking its sweet time showing up, and neither a hybrid or EV can be found among the model ranks. That will soon change, but given Mazda’s size and finances, it won’t be a Mazda platform underpinning the next Mazda EV. (Read More…)

By on August 25, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Amarok, Image: Volkswagen

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. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2017

Honda Clarity NYIAS 2017

Following early technological success in the electric car field, Honda entered the 21st century with a newfound aim to place hybrid vehicles in the driveways of global carbuyers. While rival Toyota’s hybrids have garnered the most headlines and sales, no one can criticize Honda (CR-Z notwithstanding) for the continued refinement of its electrified powertrains. Just look at the most recent Accord Hybrid or Acura’s growing list of performance-oriented multi-motor products.

Still, as fully electric vehicles began emerging on the scene, Honda found itself lagging behind. The Clarity EV, an electric version of its second-generation fuel cell vehicle, arrives this summer with a paltry 80-mile range. However, we’re promised much more in the year ahead.

As it moves forward with its EV plans, Honda also wants to have a stake in the supply of EV components to automakers — namely, electric motors. As of today, Honda and partner Hitachi have a name for their joint venture: Hitachi Automotive Motor Systems Limited. (Read More…)

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