Archive for the ‘Markets’ Category

China Car Market Tumbles, Complicating Problems for U.S. Automakers

BMW plans to be first foreign maker to take control of Chinese joint venture.

by on Oct.12, 2018

President Donald Trump is engaged in a trade war with China, and automakers are beginning to pay the price.

After nearly two decades of double-digit growth, the Chinese car market is entering a tailspin, and that could be particularly problematic for American automakers caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.

But other foreign automakers could better weather the downturn, in part due to changing rules that have lowered import tariffs – except on American products – and will now allow foreign manufacturers to take control of joint ventures. BMW is set to become the first to take advantage of the relaxed rules, agreeing to spend $4.2 billion to up its stake in an ongoing alliance with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

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“The automotive industry has been a driver of China’s economic growth for years. Now it is pulling back,” Xu Haidong, the assistant secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said during a Friday news briefing, responding to questions about the market’s third straight monthly decline. (more…)

Tesla Sales Surge Past Mercedes; But Loss of Fed Tax Credits Could Hit Future Demand

Orders placed before 10/15 will be delivered in time to collect $7,500 giveback, Tesla says.

by on Oct.12, 2018

Tesla is quickly approaching the 200,000 vehicle limit that ends the $7,500 federal government tax incentive for EV buyers.

With its manufacturing problems largely overcome, Tesla sales have been booming in recent months, the California battery-carmaker delivering more cars in the U.S. than luxury mainstay Mercedes-Benz in the most recent quarter.

But whether Tesla can maintain that momentum is uncertain, especially with federal tax incentives of as much as $7,500 about to go away, even as a flood of new, long-range electric alternatives come to market, complete with those tax credits.

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Tesla is advising potential buyers that they will have only until the end of Monday, Oct. 15, to place a an order for one of its new vehicles and be sure of getting the $7,500 federal incentive. Starting in January, the credits will be halved. They will be cut again mid-year, and then vanish entirely under the revised U.S. tax law passed by Congress last December. (more…)

Germans Top Total Quality Awards – Again

Mercedes-Benz SL named #1 model in 2018 owner survey.

by on Oct.11, 2018

The Mercedes-Benz SL took the top honors in this year's Total Quality Awards, which were dominated by German automakers.

The Mercedes-Benz SL was the top-ranked vehicle in the annual Total Quality Awards, narrowly beating out last year’s winner, the Porsche Macan.

The awards are designed to measure not only conventional quality data, but also how owners click with their vehicles on an emotional level, according to Strategic Vision, the California-based research firm that pulls the study together. And the SL easily overwhelmed the competition with a mixture of real and perceived quality.

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“Mercedes-Benz is in a Renaissance period for the brand,” said Strategic Vision President Alexander Edwards. “With current innovative features and performance styling, Mercedes has clearly focused on answering the challenge of being a brand for our current generation of luxury buyers. Based on the voice of the consumers, Mercedes has unquestionably answered.” (more…)

Toyota Rated as Best Automotive Brand

Sixteen auto brands make Top 100 — GM and FCA brands not on the list.

by on Oct.11, 2018

Toyota was the top automotive brand in this year's Best Global Brands Top 100 list, taking seventh overall.

A quick poll of people asking what automaker is the best might net several folks saying “Tesla!” and while it does have a massive market cap, they’d be wrong. The best brand? Toyota.

According to Interbrand’s 2018 Best Global Brands report, Apple was the top company on the list with a valuation of $214 billion. Toyota was seventh on the list at $53 billion, which was up 6% over last year’s result.

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Overall, 15 automotive brands made the Top 100 list and while there aren’t really any surprises about what ones are on the list, those that are not on the list may be reason to take pause. None of the General Motors brands made this year’s list. The aforementioned Tesla did not make the list either. Nor did any of Fiat Chrysler’s brands. (more…)

Bollinger Takes Wraps off New B2 Pickup Truck

New truck expected to be available by 2020.

by on Oct.11, 2018

The new Bollinger B2 pickup truck is expected to hit U.S. roadways in 2020.

Plenty have talked about it – Elon Musk most prominently – but only one company seems close to producing a battery-electric truck and that’s Bollinger Motors.

The now-Michigan-based EV maker debuted its B1 SUV less than a year ago with a promise of a pickup truck in the near future. Well, as one prominent politician likes to claim: promises made, promises kept. Only this time, it appears to be true.

Electrifying!

“The new B2 incorporates everything that we’ve learned in making the B1, and takes it in an exciting new direction. It’s always been the plan to have both the B1 and B2 start off our line-up,” said Robert Bollinger, founder and CEO, Autoblog reported.  (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Readying to Launch New S-Class Hybrid

Third-gen model puts out more than 400 horsepower.

by on Oct.11, 2018

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz S 560 e is being readied for launch by the automaker.

Mercedes-Benz is preparing for the launch of the third generation of the new S 560 e plug-in hybrid sedan.

The modified components and the intelligent powertrain management in S 560 e new anticipatory functions give the customer enhanced electric performance and added convenience thanks to faster charging times.

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In the luxury sedan – available exclusively with a long wheelbase – the efficiency of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and a new lithium-ion battery are good for an all-electric range of around 50 kilometers or about 30 miles.  (more…)

New Chevy Silverado Turbo-Four Nabs Top Mileage Rating

For many truck buyers, mileage matters as much as payload, towing.

by on Oct.10, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will get up to 20 mpg in the city with the new turbo-four engine.

Who says pickup buyers only focus on power, payload and towing capacity? Operating costs are, for many customers – and especially those operating truck fleets – one of the most important factors they consider when choosing what model to buy.

That includes service and repairs, of course, but fuel costs are one of the biggest concerns, which is a key reason why automakers have been offering buyers a growing range of alternatives to the classic, big displacement V-8s that long dominated the full-size pickup segment.

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Chevrolet is hoping it will score a hit with potential buyers with the new, 2.7-liter turbocharged engine it is adding to its powertrain option list for the all-new 2019 Silverado. While not quite up to the numbers delivered by some of the diesel engines now available in the full-size segment, Chevy’s turbo-four nabs a tie as the most fuel-efficient gas engine available for U.S. buyers.

(more…)

New Reports: Tesla to Name James Murdoch Chairman to Replace Musk

Will he be able to rein in company founder’s itchy finger?

by on Oct.10, 2018

James Murdoch appears to be the top choice to take over the chairman's role from Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.

James Murdoch, the outgoing CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox and an outside director on the Tesla board of directors, appears to be the favored candidate to replace the carmaker’s founder and CEO Elon Musk, who must relinquish the chairman’s role as part of a settlement with the SEC.

Murdoch’s name has surfaced several times since Musk agreed to step down from the chairman side of his dual role to settle charges of fraud leveled against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission for claiming Tesla had “funding secured” for a bid to go private. Musk later confirmed there was no firm plan or funding and subsequently canceled the move to privatize Tesla.

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According to a report by the Financial Times, several sources close to the discussions inside Tesla said Murdoch was a primary choice for chairman. He has been serving as a non-executive director since 2017. But while the son of Australian mogul Rupert Murdoch has extensive media experience, his time with Tesla marks his only involvement in the auto industry. (more…)

Woebcken Out as CEO of VW America, Audi Boss Keogh Takes Over

Bentley's Del Rosso takes over Audi for Keogh.

by on Oct.10, 2018

Hinrich Woebcken is out as the CEO of VW's North American operations, replaced by Audi chief Scott Keogh.

Volkswagen Group of America is shuffling the deck at the top for a new leader, but didn’t go too far to find him: former Audi of America chief Scott Keogh is replacing Hinrich Woebcken as President and CEO.

Keogh, 49, joined Audi in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer and ascended to President in 2012. He’s played a major role in the near-luxury brand’s continuous sales growth for more than a decade. In fact, sales doubled between 2010 and 2015.

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Woebcken took over VWofA in January 2016. He came on during a difficult time for the brand as it was in the early stages of dealing with a global diesel scandal, which was uncovered by U.S. federal environmental regulators. (more…)

Volvo Scrambles as Trump Tariffs Shatter Export Plans for New U.S. Plant

China market closed, “I need to find a substitute," says US CEO.

by on Oct.10, 2018

Volvo's new plant near Charleston, S.C., is churning out new S60s. It will add the XC90 in 2021.

Volvo’s plans for its first-ever American assembly plant have been thrown into turmoil as a result of Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war with China, something that will result in fewer auto exports from the South Carolina factory, potentially impacting hiring plans, the automaker’s U.S. CEO told bingdb.info.

Volvo initially planned to use the Charleston facility as its global source for the all-new S60 sedan, while also producing some of its popular XC90 crossovers. Fully half of the assembly plant’s production was earmarked for China and other overseas markets, noted Anders Gustafson. But the administration’s escalating trade war has resulted in China boosting tariffs on American-made vehicles and parts from 25% to 40%, even as it reduces duties on auto imports from other trade partners to 15%.

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“Now, we cannot export to China” because the S60 would be priced out of the market, Gustafson, the president and CEO of Volvo Car USA, said during an interview near Los Angeles, where the company was offering journalists a first drive of the S60. “In this segment, you can’t raise prices because of competitiveness.” (more…)