Archive for the ‘China’ Category

FCA Adds Two New Executives to Company’s Top Ranks

Stewart, Golightly come from outside auto industry.

by on Dec.07, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley added two new executives from outside the automotive industry.

Many thought that CEO Mike Manley would be Sergio Marchionne’s successor, and his first big decisions have largely followed Marchionne’s most recent five-year plan. However, today is a new day and Manley is proving to be an executive willing to make his own decisions.

After nearly a decade of developing and renewing its leadership team internally, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hired a pair of executives from outside the automotive industry to man key leadership posts.

Business News!

Manley named former Amazon Vice President Mark Stewart Fiat Chrysler’s North American COO, a job held at the beginning of this year by CEO Sergio Marchionne before his death in July and then by Manley. (more…)

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign Going Into Production and it Won’t Be Cheap

You have to pay for all that gold.

by on Dec.07, 2018

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of the GT-R with a special edition model: the GT-R50.

Nissan has traditionally billed the GT-R as an “affordable supercar,” the price tag for a 2019 model starting at $99,990. But if you’re interested in the special edition 50th anniversary model that the Japanese automaker has now confirmed for production, beware that you’ll have to add another zero at the end of that sticker price.

First revealed last June in concept form, the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign will move right up there with some of the more expensive supercars on the market at a price tag starting 990,000 euros, the automaker says – a figure that, at current exchange rates works out to a cool $1,129,498.92.

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“The car’s exterior is virtually unchanged from the prototype first shown in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England,” notes a company release detailing its collaboration with Turin, Italy-based Italdesign. (more…)

Ousted Nissan Chairman Ghosn Expected to Be Indicted Monday

Japanese reports anticipate charges for financial misconduct.

by on Dec.07, 2018

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to be indicted next week by Japanese prosecutors.

After languishing in the Tokyo Detention Centre for nearly three weeks, facing regular grilling by Japanese prosecutors, ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to be formally indicted on Monday, the Nikkei business daily is reporting.

Ghosn and Nissan board member Greg Kelly were arrested nearly three weeks ago as they flew into Japan, authorities responding to a report by the second-largest Japanese automaker that alleged the pair engaged in financial misconduct. Ghosn, in particular, allegedly failed to report millions of dollars in income while also misappropriating Nissan funds, among other things, to purchase homes in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut. He is Lebanese by heritage but grew up in Brazil.

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The Nov. 19 arrests, which marked the downfall of one of the industry’s most powerful executives, have stunned the automotive community. They have also generated a number of questions about why Ghosn was taken into custody and put in the position of possibly serving a decade in prison, rather than simply facing civil penalties. Some observers have suggested he may be an unwitting pawn in a battle for control between Nissan and the French automaker Renault which rescued the then-failing Japanese automaker in 1999. (more…)

Tesla Hustling to Build New Plant in China

New site will build only Model 3s at launch.

by on Dec.06, 2018

Tesla Inc. has reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build an assembly plant in China.

Tesla’s $2 billion Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, may begin construction sooner than observers expected as the EV maker is accepting bids from companies to build the plant that will theoretically build all of the batteries for the maker in China.

The company is accepting bids from construction companies wanting to build the plant, and in fact, much of the prep work is complete, according to Reuters. The new plant will be noteworthy for two reasons: it’s going to accelerate Tesla’s ability to sell vehicles in the country.

Dig Deeper!

Perhaps more importantly, it will be the first wholly foreign-owned facility in China — a concession the government made to get more electric vehicles into the country. (more…)

Hyundai Workers Plan Strike to Protest New Venture

Automaker teams with city for non-union auto plant.

by on Dec.05, 2018

Hyundai workers in South Korea are planning to strike in protest of a new joint venture planned between the automaker and Gwangju to build a non-union plant.

Union workers in Hyundai Motor’s plants in South Korea plant to walk off the assembly line in protest about a potential joint venture between the automaker and the city of Gwangju to build small vehicles using non-union labor.

The plan, which is still in negotiations, calls for the two sides to jointly own a plant employing 1,000 workers to produce mini-SUVs. The employees would earn a little more than $31,000 annually, which is less than half of what unionized workers earn at existing auto plants.

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South Korean workers often strike to during wage negotiations, walked this time for four hours to protest the salaries and use of non-union workers. (more…)

Trump, White House Backtrack on Claims of China Car Tariff Deal

“White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels” to not say the president lied.

by on Dec.04, 2018

President Trump is revealing that China's plan to cut tariffs wasn't actually plan, but a starting point for negotiations.

Just days after President Donald Trump emerged from a 2-1/2 hour dinner with China’s Xi Jinping claiming to have an “incredible” trade deal that would, among other things, roll back automotive tariffs, it appears that little to nothing concrete was resolved between the two leaders.

That leaves the auto industry in limbo as manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific try to figure out precisely what to do now, especially when it comes to bilateral automotive exports. Several manufacturers, notably including BMW and Volvo, have been hinting that if the trade war continues they may have to transfer some of their U.S.-based production to plants in China.

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Following the meeting with Xi at the end of the G-20 conference in Argentina last Sunday, Trump tweeted, “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” But he and others in the White House have been forced to backtrack, Trump’s National Economic Council advisor Larry Kudlow telling Fox News a deal “hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.” (more…)

Trump Claims China Will Cut Tariffs on U.S.-Made Cars

A possible truce in trade war?

by on Dec.03, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping is temporarily reducing the tariff on U.S.-built vehicles coming into China.

Following a 2-1/2 hour meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump said the two had agreed to a truce in the U.S.-Chinese trade war, the Asian leader agreeing to drop tariffs on American-made vehicles.

That would be part of a 90-day cease-fire that could lead to a rollback of broader tariffs that have been implemented in recent months, and a halt to the $200 billion in additional duties Trump had threatened to place on Chinese-made goods at the beginning of the new year.

Trade News!

“China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%,” Trump announced in a Sunday night tweet. But it was unclear if his social media comments were completely accurate given his history of misstatements and the fact that the official White House news feed differed with the president on some key elements of the trade talks with China during the weekend. (more…)

Chinese EV Maker Byton Unwraps 2nd Model at L.A. Auto Show

“We need a lot of funding,” CEO admits, outlining challenges ahead.

by on Dec.03, 2018

Byton CEO Carson Breitfield talks about the new K-Byte EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The global automotive market is in the midst of a revolution, something obvious to anyone attending this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Not only are we seeing a push into new technologies like electrification and autonomy, but the established carmakers are being taken on by a variety of automotive upstarts.

To a list that already includes the likes of Tesla, Faraday Future and Rivian, add China-based Byton. The company helped anchor the first day of previews at the L.A. Auto Show by unveiling a prototype of what it says will be its second new model, the K-Byte. But Byton officials also acknowledged that they still face challenges in their road to production.

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The debut of the K-Byte follows Byton’s original prototype, the M-Byte, and targets a relatively mainstream buyer, at least by the standards of the electric vehicle market. According to Breitfeld, the sleek battery-sedan will come in at a starting price of around $45,000 when it comes to market. The target, at least, is to have it reach showrooms in China next year, followed by a late 2019 launch in the U.S., and a European roll-out in 2020. (more…)

Kia Has More Soul(s) Than Ever

Quirky crossover now available in a variety of distinct forms.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Kia now boasts six versions of the Soul crossover for 2020, including the new GT model.

Consider it food for the Soul: Kia has introduced six distinct new flavors of its quirky Soul crossover.

The car that showed us boxy can be beautiful will be back in an all-new form next year and Kia hopes to increase its appeal by adding new versions, including the GT and X-Line, while improving the appeal of the Kia Soul EV by boosting range and speeding up its charging system.

The Last Word!

“The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction, establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, product planning chief for Kia Motors America. “Even with a new generation of competitors crowding the marketplace, the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender, with its unparalleled style and impressive level of technology and customization options.” (more…)

Nissan’s Flagship Maxima Only Gets Better for 2019

Part family car, part racer powered by 300 hp V6.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, left, and Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Global Design unveil the 2019 Nissan Maxima.

Just as more and more automakers seem to be fleeing from passenger cars, Nissan appears to be doubling down — at least if the 2019 Maxima unveiled in Los Angeles is any indication.

The Maxima has long been the company’s flagship sedan. It’s part family hauler and part race car — maybe more race car. In an era that has seen passenger car sales fall precipitously, the Maxima roars on for next year, especially since it sports a standard 300 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 powerplant.

Product News!

“As our flagship sedan, Maxima is an important contributor to the Nissan brand,” said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan Division U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. “Maxima is our longest running nameplate, having thrilled owners for four decades with style, performance and quality.” (more…)