Archive for the ‘U.S./North America’ Category

UAW Local 961 Sues to Stop Transfer of FCA Plant to Supplier

Local believes bribery scandal may have influence transfer decision.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Members of UAW Local 961 filed suit to prevent the transfer of FCA's axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to supplier ZF.

Members of United Auto Workers Union Local 961 in suburban Detroit have sued both the UAW International and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to prevent the automaker from transferring an axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, to the giant German automotive supplier ZF.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to halt the transition of the plant, which makes axles for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup, and give the Local the opportunity to determine if any of the corruption cases in which both UAW and FCA officials have plead guilty to violations of federal labor law might have tainted the transaction.

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So far, five UAW officials and three FCA employees, including former FCA vice president of labor relations Alphons Iacobelli, have plead guilty in the federal investigation that originally began nearly several months before the original indictment was made public in 2017. (more…)

First Drive: GMC Sierra AT4

Off-road version of full-size truck could expand its appeal.

by on Feb.19, 2019

The new GMC Sierra AT4 rides higher than a stock truck and also offers plenty of high-line features.

But for the brand badges and subtle differences in grilles and headlights, it has typically been difficult to tell apart General Motors’ two full-size pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. But the automaker seems determined to eliminate this archetypal example of badge engineering.

When it launched new versions of the Silverado and Sierra for 2019, they boasted more dramatic visual differences, inside and out, than ever before. And they even split when it came to appealing new features. The Chevy, for one, got a power-operated tailgate, while GMC’s truck introduced a multi-function tailgate that can be opened and used in a variety of different ways, such as creating a workbench or bed extender.

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Now, GMC is itself planning to broaden out its line-up in a bid to win over more buyers. As a counterpoint to its hly outfitted Sierra Denali model, it is launching the all-new off-road-oriented Sierra AT4. We had a chance to take the new model for a test drive through the mountainous terrain southeast of San Diego recently and found it surprisingly competent, both on-road and off. (more…)

Ford Hit by $151.8 Million Verdict by Alabama Jury

Verdict awarded in injury trial of Alabama man riding 1998 Explorer.

by on Feb.18, 2019

An Alabama man was award $151.8 million in damages after the 1998 Ford Explorer he was riding in rolled over twice, leaving him paralyzed.

A Selma, Alabama, man left paralyzed as a result of a 2015 rollover accident in a 1998 Ford Explorer was awarded $151.8 million in damages by an Alabama jury.

The jury awarded Travaris Smith $100 million in punitive damages and $51.8 million in compensatory damages after finding on Friday that the 1998 Ford Explorer did not meet Ford’s own safety guidelines and that Ford “acted wantonly” in designing the vehicle, according to a court document seen by Reuters and Smith’s lawyers.

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Smith was riding in the SUV when its driver swerved to avoid an animal and the vehicle rolled over twice, attorneys at law firms Beasley Allen and Gamble, Gamble, Calame and Jones said in a statement. He snapped his spine and is now paralyzed. (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…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

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The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

GMC Unveils 2020 Acadia

Mid-cycle refresh sharpens styling, updates tech, adds new engine – and new AT4 model.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The new 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 edition puts the emphasis on off-roadability.

GMC has lifted the covers on an update of its popular Acadia SUV, and it offers more changes than you’d typically expect from a mid-cycle refresh.

The 2020 GMC Acadia opts for a more classic, ute-like face, with a more boxy, upright grille framed by now-standard LED headlamps and C-shaped LED running lights. The front and rear fascia also get new treatments.

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The 2020 refresh sees some all new features added to the midsize ute, including a new turbo engine. But one of the more significant moves comes with the addition of the new Acadia AT4. Something of a counterpoint to the upscale Acadia Denali, the AT4 model puts the emphasis on serious off-road capabilities.

(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…)

Amazon Becoming Lead Investor in Rivian

Rumored GM investment could yet follow.

by on Feb.15, 2019

The Rivian R1T pickup will boast 400 miles range, according to the company.

Just a week after announcing a major investment in an autonomous vehicle development company, online retailer Amazon said Friday it will become the lead investor in a new, $700 million round of financing for Rivian, the Detroit-based battery-electric company.

Rivian is in the final stages of developing two all-electric models, the full-size R1T pickup and R1S sport-utility vehicle. It is aiming to challenge not only electric vehicle rival Tesla but the established Detroit automakers that have long dominated the full-size pickup market.

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Rumors of a deal between Amazon and Rivian began to circulate earlier this week, though some reports had suggested that General Motors would also come up with some financing. Sources tell bingdb.info that this remains a possibility and suggest that Rivian could have more announcements coming. The automaker has scheduled a news conference for the New York International Auto Show in mid-April. (more…)

FCA Changes Windsor Plant Shut Down Due to Mexico Strikes

Supplier strikes along Mexico-U.S. border causing parts shortage.

by on Feb.15, 2019

Fiat Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, plant that builds the company's minivans will be shut down a week earlier than expected due to a parts shortage.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. is shutdown the company’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, the week of Feb. 18, due to a parts shortage created by a problem with what was described as an “external” supplier.

“FCA is re-timing the down week at the Windsor Assembly Plant from the week of Feb. 25 to the week of Feb. 18. Normal production schedules are expected to resume the week of Feb. 25,” FCA Canada spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosselin told the trade publication Automotive News.

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The upcoming shutdown will be the third temporary closure of 2019. The plant did not operate the first two weeks of January to adjust inventories, the company said at the time. (more…)

General Motors’ New eBikes Have ARĪVed

The bikes can travel nearly 40 miles on a charge.

by on Feb.15, 2019

The new ARĪV Merge, in red, and Meld are new eBikes created by General Motors' Mobility division.

General Motors is taking the first step in launching its bike business by launching ARĪV, its new eBike brand in Western Europe.

GM sold off its European passenger car business to PSA in 2017 said the ARĪV line will includes two innovative, integrated and connected eBikes: the Meld, a compact eBike, and the Merge, a folding eBike. The name ARĪV was selected as part of a global crowdsourcing campaign announced in November 2018.

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“The crowdsourcing campaign allowed us to bring consumers into the development of our brand,” said Hannah Parish, ARĪV director. “Combine that with our products and our blend of bike and automotive talent, and the result is a unique brand DNA.”   (more…)