Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

Daimler Cuts Earnings Estimates as Outlook Gets Tougher

Mercedes-Benz Cars saw earnings slip, driving new forecast.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Sales of the Mercedes-Benz GLE are off this year as are other models, causing Daimler to revise its earnings forecast downward.

Daimler AG trimmed its earnings outlook for 2018, blaming the rising cost of fines and litigation over the emissions from the company’s diesel engines and a sharp reduction in the earnings by Mercedes-Benz Cars for the expected decline.

“The main factor is an increase in expected expenses in connection with ongoing governmental proceedings and measures in various regions with regard to Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles,” said as the company revised its financial guidance.

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“Furthermore, against the backdrop of a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice, provisions have been recognized for the potential need to take action on certain vehicles still operating with the previously used refrigerant R134a,” the company said. (more…)

Ford Boosting by 1/3 Production of $400,000 GT Supercar

“Demand outstripping supply by more than six-to-one.”

by on Oct.19, 2018

Ford is extending its production run of the current Ford GT to 1,350 cars. Fans have until Nov. 8 to apply to buy one.

Ford now plans to produce 1,350 of its $400,000 GT supercars, more than a third higher than the original 1,000-vehicle run it had planned when the two-seater was getting ready to come to market in 2016.

As with the original batch, however, potential buyers still will have to go through a qualification process, the Detroit automaker primarily targeting loyal customers, particularly those who purchased an earlier version of the GT.

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“The response to our Ford GT has been unprecedented, with initial demand outstripping supply by more than six-to-one,” Hermann Salenbauch, director of Ford Performance, said in a statement. “By extending the Ford GT production run for a limited period, we’re able to maintain the exclusivity of the ultra-desirable supercar while offering the ownership experience to a greater number of customers.” (more…)

Departure of Manufacturing Chief Accelerates Tesla Management Defections

Three top execs have bailed out since September, including brand new accounting chief.

by on Oct.18, 2018

Tesla's VP of Manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, has left the electric vehicle maker without offering an explanation.

While a variety of factors may be in play, Tesla is having more and more trouble holding onto key executives, three top members of its management team bailing out since just the beginning of September.

The latest to walk: Gilbert Passin, the battery-carmaker’s vice president of manufacturing. His departure comes barely a month after both Tesla’s chief accounting officer and chief people officer quit. While the company contends it has a deep enough pool of talent to weather these and prior departures, the management turmoil comes at a time when Tesla is under heavy pressure to accelerate production and sales in order to deliver the long-sought profit that CEO Elon Musk has promised for the second half of 2018.

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Musk himself is facing a variety of pressures, among other things to find a new chairman for Tesla, a role he agreed to forfeit as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk also paid a $20 million fine after settling SEC allegations of fraud linked to the company’s abortive effort to go private. (more…)

BMW Officially Pulls Wraps Off Flagship X7 SUV

“Hey, BMW.”

by on Oct.17, 2018

The new 2019 BMW X7 is ready to take on whatever Mother Nature sends its way.

BMW has been dropping plenty of big hints in recent months as it prepared to launch an all-new flagship. And now, we’re finally getting a look at the production version of the 2019 X7.

As the name might suggest, you can think of the big ute as the SUV counterpoint to the Bavarian brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. And it reflects the massive shift in the global luxury market as highline buyers by the millions switch from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, mirroring what’s happened in mainstream segments.

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The 2019 BMW X7 is more than just a stretched version of the familiar X5. It’s not only nine inches longer but loaded with the sort of luxury features you’d expect on a 7-Series – or the also-new 8-Series. It also introduces BMWs new voice assistant infotainment system which, like Amazon’s Alexa, is always listening for its wake words, “Hey, BMW.” (more…)

Porsche Adds GTS Variants to Panamera Line-up

New models fill gap between top and bottom offerings.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Porsche added the GTS Sport Turismo, left, and GTS to give Panamera fans a couple of sportier options.

Porsche is adding two new models to its Panamera line-up: Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models, positioned between the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo variants, giving customers seeking a sportier driving experience, said Porsche officials.

As compared to the previous Panamera GTS with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8, the current engine — a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with output of 453 horsepower from 6,000 to 6,500 RPM and peak torque of 457 lb.-ft. from 1,800 to 4,500 rpm — offers an increase of 13 hp and an additional 73 lb.-ft. of torque.

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The engine, which sends power to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission via the standard Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive system, allows both the Panamera GTS and Panamera GTS Sport Turismo models to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The former reaches a top track speed of 181 mph, and 179 mph for the latter. (more…)

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)

Porsche May Add Battery-Electric Macan Next, Hints CFO

Battery models set to generate 50% of Porsche sales by 2025.

by on Oct.16, 2018

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

Porsche is not only just getting ready to roll out its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan, but also it apparently sees the opportunity to electrify more of its line-up, with battery-powered products generating more than half its sales by 2025.

The automaker revealed one possibility at the Geneva Motor Show last winter, a concept battery-SUV dubbed the Mission E Cross Turismo that is essentially a high-riding version of the original Mission E concept that will become the Taycan sports car when it goes into production next year. Alternatively, the performance division of Volkswagen Group could electrify the smaller of its two current crossovers, the Macan. And still models will follow, according to Porsche’s chief financial officer.

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“There is no final decision yet, but you can expect that this will be the case because we need a large-volume model that is fully electric. This idea will then progress further with the next generations of the Panamera and Cayenne model lines,” CFO Lutz Meschke told reporters during a tour of the company’s product development center. (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…)

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…)

Hyundai Shows Off Electric Version of Kona Crossover

New electric crossover gets 258 miles on a charge.

by on Oct.10, 2018

The new 2019 Hyundai Kona electric has a range of 258 miles.

Hyundai has unveiled a battery-electric version of the Kona crossover, the company’s first compact electric crossover for the U.S. market, which it hopes appeals to consumers with active, eco-focused lifestyles of all kinds.

“Our new Kona Electric crossover is a stylish and efficient compact CUV, tailored to the needs of customers who pursue eco-focused active lifestyles requiring generous range,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning, Hyundai Motor America.

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“We’re confident it will set new standards for the electric-propelled compact CUV segment, with outstanding range flexibility, appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class-leading available safety features,” O’Brien added. (more…)