Archive for the ‘Europe’ 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.

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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…)

Ford, Volkswagen Talks Could Wrap Up Soon

Two companies finding plenty of common ground.

by on Dec.05, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and Chairman Bill Ford both confirmed the talks with Volkswagen are progressing quickly.

Ford Motor Co. top executives said they think they can wrap up discussions on a broad alliance with Germany’s Volkswagen AG fairly soon since both sides have demonstrated a serious interest in the discussions.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told reporters during a gathering at Ford plant outside Detroit that the company’s discussions with Volkswagen were moving forward at a steady clip and could conclude soon.

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“We have nothing to announce yet,” Hackett said. “But I just want to confirm we’re serious. I think the industry feels at the margins are under pressure. So these accommodations are more normal than not. There is real momentum there,” he said of the talks with VW. (more…)

European Auto Execs Meet with Trump, Aim to Head Off Expanded Trade War

VW signals a second U.S. plant is in the works.

by on Dec.05, 2018

President Donald Trump met with the leaders of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Even as President Donald Trump was backpeddling on earlier comments suggesting the trade dispute with China had been defused, the former New York businessman was meeting with European auto industry executives worried that they could become targeted by yet another front in the trade war.

The president has signaled he may enact duties of 25% or more on vehicles imported from Europe, even though his own Commerce Dept. has backed away from plans to declare imported automobiles a threat to national security.

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Trump “shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment,” the White House said in a statement that followed the meeting with officials from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. (more…)

Toyota, PSA Extend Partnership in European Market

PSA selling more commercial vehicles to Toyota.

by on Dec.03, 2018

Toyota will take full ownership of the plant in the Czech Republic it shares with PSA in 2021.

Toyota Motor Corp. and PSA, the Paris-based automaker that operates Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, have made a deal to expand their long-term partnership in the European market.

Under the terms of the new agreement, PSA will expand the range of commercial vehicles that it supplies to Toyota for sale in Europe under the Toyota brand starting in fourth quarter of 2019.

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In return, Toyota will take full financial ownership, starting in 2021, of the Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech joint-venture plant in Czech Republic, which produces the compact A-segment models, which Toyota will continue to build. (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.

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“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.

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“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…)

Mercedes Debuts New GLE Ute in Los Angeles

The new GLE is bigger than its predecessor.

by on Nov.30, 2018

Mercedes-Benz rolled out its new 2020 GLE sport-ute at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Most of the L.A. Auto Show product intros centered either a new EV or SUV – sometimes both – Mercedes-Benz took on the latter with the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The new GLE is more evolution than revolution with the updates for the 2020 model focusing more on innovation than design makeover. The new model gets updates on its existing advanced driver assistance systems.

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“The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has a wealth of innovations. For example, the active suspension system E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL on a 48-volt basis is a world first,” said Dietmar Exler, president and USA, Mercedes-Benz USA. (more…)