Archive for the ‘Trade’ Category

Japan Waiting on US for Signal on Trade Talks

Abe believes Trump won't raise tariffs before two sides talk.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Trump and Abe discussed the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Japan during Trump's visit.

Japanese officials believe the Trump administration will avoid slapping higher tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts that are imported into the United States as it faces off with China and the European Union on various trade issues.

While the majority of vehicles that Toyota, Honda and Nissan sell in the United Sates are built at factories in the U.S., they also import large number of finished vehicles as well as key components, such as engines and transmissions.

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In total, Japan’s auto industry would suffer a value-added loss of about 8 billion euros or $9 billion and Germany would lose 7 billion euros, according to a new study by the German research institute Ifo. South Korea’s auto industry would suffer a loss of more than 3 billion euros. The Ifo study looked at long-run effects, about 90% of which typically occur in five years and 99% in 10 years. (more…)

Honda Shutting Down Lone UK Auto Plant

Maker says Brexit not the reason, but move highlights problems.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Honda announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Swindon. It means the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will close its only auto plant in Great Britain in 2021 becoming the latest automaker to say it was leaving and turning what was once a trickle into a torrent of closures due to Brexit. The facility makes the Civic.

The Swindon plant closure means the loss of 3,500 jobs and a tenth of all vehicles produced in Britain. However, despite early reports, Honda officials claim Brexit had little to do with the move. Honda officials said the company was focusing manufacturing in the areas where it has the largest sales, and Europe isn’t one of those.

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“We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” said Honda Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”  (more…)

Commerce Dept. Report Could Trigger Tariffs on Auto Imports

Auto industry worries, waits – and raises strong opposition.

by on Feb.18, 2019

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross submitted the department's report determining if automotive imports could be declared a threat to national security.

Just hours before the deadline, the U.S. Commerce Dept. delivered a long-awaited report to the White House that could lead President Donald Trump to enact stiff new tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

The administration has not revealed what the report recommends, but Commerce was widely expected to support the president’s position that auto imports posed a threat to national security, a view that Trump has suggested could lead to the imposition of tariffs of as much as 25%.

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Criticism was swift and broad, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association noting, ““Not a single company in the domestic auto industry requested this investigation.” Like other critics, the group has warned that new tariffs could backfire and not only result in the imposition of tariffs on U.S. auto exports but also slam consumers with substantially higher prices, even on vehicles assembled in the U.S. (more…)

Commerce’s Report on Auto Imports Affecting National Security Comes Sunday

Trump expected to do little with report right away.

by on Feb.15, 2019

President Donald Trump will soon have to decide if using punitive tariffs makes sense in negotiations.

Just days after proclaiming a national emergency that would take $8 billion from the U.S. budget to construct additional border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, President Donald Trump will be faced with another massive decision involving foreign countries.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to tell Trump on Sunday whether or not foreign vehicle imports constitute a national safety risk and offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation.

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He’ll have 90 days to act on the Commerce Department’s recommendation. However, President Trump already has a plan in place for the issue: a 25% tariff on vehicles imported into the country. (more…)

Ford Warns Britain No-Deal Brexit Could Mean UK Departure

Automaker tells British PM it could pull up stakes if Brexit goes poorly.

by on Feb.14, 2019

Ford may pull operations from the UK if the Brexit goes poorly, the company warned.

New speculation about Ford Motor Co.’s post-Brexit plans for its operations in the United Kingdom have led to reports that the automaker is preparing to exit the British Isles once the UK leaves the European Union next month.

Ford executives told British Prime Minister Theresa May during a conference call this week that the automaker, which is facing $1 billion in extra costs, may have to move some production out of Britain because of Brexit, a source on the call told the BBC.

Global News!

Ford told May it might have to use alternatives sites outside Britain, the BBC’s source – who spoke on condition of anonymity – said.  “They were just making clear that they have other options. This isn’t the only one,” the source said. (more…)

BMW Pumps Up with New X3 M and X4M Utes

Competition package delivers 503 hp.

by on Feb.13, 2019

BMW will start delivering the new X3 M and X4 M to U.S. customers in April.

BMW is putting the emphasis on “sport” with two new sport-utility vehicles, the 2020 X3 M and X4 M.

The compact models get the BMW M treatment for the first time, and it starts out with a twin-turbo inline-six that, in Competition trim, will push as much as 503 horsepower to the pavement – enough to launch from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.

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Both of the new models will be assembled at the Bavarian automaker’s South Carolina assembly plant, BMW notes, something that should minimize the impact should Pres. Donald Trump authorize new tariffs on European auto imports, as he has been threatening. That said, don’t expect them to come cheap. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer

Politics, rather than vehicle attribute, could prove the focus for some potential buyers.

by on Feb.04, 2019

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS offers a choice of two engines, front drive or two AWD options.

Everything old is new again, it seems, with all sorts of once-forgotten nameplates rising from the dead. That includes the Chevrolet Blazer which will be rolling back into U.S. showrooms in the coming months.

For those who may remember the Blazer as a classically stocky, body-on-frame SUV, the arrival of the 2019 model could come as a big surprise, however. It’s now taking the form of a sleekly styled, car-based crossover that puts emphasis on the word “sport” and only marginally on the idea of off-roadability.

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A couple days of driving the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer through San Diego and the surrounding countryside proved it to be one of the better new entries for those who will never see anything rougher than a gravel road. But the new ute will have to clear a few obstacles, nonetheless, as it has become the cause célèbre for those upset by Chevy parent General Motors’ decision to close three North American assembly plants this year.

(more…)

Nissan Shifts SUV Production From England to Japan Due to Brexit

Maker cites "uncertainties" in marketplace.

by on Feb.04, 2019

Nissan is moving production of the X-Trail from its plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan due to Brexit issues.

Nissan has confirmed it is shifting production of the X-Trail sport-utility vehicle from its big plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan.

In a letter to workers, it said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future,” according to the BBC. In 2016, the then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn said the company would build the new model in the UK after “assurances” from the government, the BBC said.

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Unions described the news as “disappointing” and said they were “seriously concerned.” (more…)

Tesla Strongly Hints at Q1 Loss as Musk Warns of “Very Difficult” Road Ahead

Automaker’s stock continues tumble triggered by job cuts.

by on Jan.29, 2019

Weaker-than-expected Q4 demand is expected to mean just a modest profit.

Tesla is expected to report a small profit for the final quarter of 2018 but the automaker’s CEO is now signaling it may have some bad news for the current quarter.

The automaker delivered a solid surprise when it announced a $311.5 million profit for the third quarter of last year, well exceeding analysts’ expectation. CEO Musk earlier this month warned that the final three months of the year would bring a much smaller profit. While Wall Street has already digested that forecast, there are concerns about Musk’s latest advisory.

Breaking News!

While Musk, on January 18th, suggested the company might still be able to deliver “a tiny profit… with great difficulty, effort and some luck” as it headed into 2019, his latest advisory suggests its luck may be running out, at least for now. With Musk warning of a “very difficult” road ahead, there’s a growing consensus the first quarter now will bring another dose of red ink.

(more…)

Toyota Teaming Up With Paccar to Build a Test Fleet of Clean Hydrogen Semis

Project will focus on heavily polluted Port of Los Angeles.

by on Jan.09, 2019

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar to develop a next-generation fuel-cell powered semi-truck to be used at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar, one of the world’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, to build 10 hydrogen-powered Class 8 prototypes.

The rigs will go into operation at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where the thousands of diesel trucks currently in use catch blame for a disproportionate share of the region’s air pollution. The project comes as environmental regulators are putting into place plans to completely eliminate conventional diesel trucks at the two ports by 2035.

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“This is not just a science experiment,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America. “The goal is to make a difference in society, to remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles.” (more…)