Archive for the ‘Personalities’ Category

First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by on Dec.11, 2018

BMW's taking the covers off the next-gen 3-Series. The 330i is certainly a step above its predecessors.

There are advantages to being the best in breed – but there are some disadvantages, as well, as BMW is well aware. Since the very first version rolled out in May 1975, the BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark of the compact sports sedan market, delivering a mix of performance, handling and luxury that other brands have struggled to match.

Now, however, as the seventh-generation 3-Series gets ready to roll into showrooms, the Bavarian automaker faces a level of competition never seen before. Traditional rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been zeroing in on the BMW formula, as have new competitors such as Genesis, which recently won high-profile kudos like the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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And Tesla is aiming to redefine the rules with its all-electric Model 3. BMW is even competing with itself. In an SUV-crazed world, more and more traditional 3-Series buyers have been migrating to the brand’s own X3 crossover. (more…)

White House Tells Automakers China Tariffs Coming Down

Automotive levies coming down to 15%.

by on Dec.11, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears to be making progress in talks with the Chinese.

After the first few days of talks, White House officials once again believe China is ready to cut tariffs on U.S. cars, trucks and utility vehicles from 40% to 15%.

Trump administration officials told automakers following a U.S.-China trade call they believe China will cut tariffs on U.S. autos to 15% from the current 40%, an auto executive told Reuters after being briefed on the call.

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Before excitement begins to bubble, this has been heard before. President Donald Trump tweeted a few weeks ago that China was cutting the levies, only to have to backtrack on those assertions. Additinally, there is no actual documentation to support the idea. (more…)

China’s Auto Sales Sliding Downward

EVs and hybrids the only bright spot currently.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are booming in China courtesy of subsidies and mandates by the government.

The world’s largest automotive market continues to face headwinds as auto sales in China dropped for the fifth consecutive month.

The Chinese economy was already experiencing a long-term slowdown, including auto sales, when the tariff fight between the U.S. and China began.

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Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in China fell 16% from a year ago to just under 2.2 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Tuesday. Through November, sales were down 2.8% from a year earlier at 21.5 million, putting 2018 sales on track to shrink for the first time in three decades. (more…)

GM Presses to Extend EV Tax Credits

But automaker’s planned plant closings make it a hard sell.

by on Dec.11, 2018

General Motors is lobbying politicians to extend EV tax credits just a week after CEO Mary Barra was flogged for plans to close five plants and layoff thousands.

General Motors lobbyists are making a push on Capitol Hill to extend the tax credits the automaker’s customers can receive after purchasing one of its battery-electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The automaker is rapidly approaching the sales threshold set by Congress – 200,000 battery models – after which the incentives would be phased out. That would make vehicles like the Bolt as much as $7,500 more expensive and potentially short-circuit demand.

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GM is by no means alone. Tesla has already crossed the sales threshold and will begin to have its tax credits phase out, starting January 1. They will be eliminated entirely at the end of 2019. Nissan and Ford aren’t far behind. Newer entries into the electric car field, such as Volkswagen and Hyundai, would effectively gain an edge by continuing to offer the credits. (more…)

Sales of Electric Vehicles Growing Steadily in California

Year-over-year increase in triple digits.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are up 300% year-to-date in California.

Electric cars accounted for 7.1% of California car sales in the first three quarters of 2019 with fully electric, zero-emission car sales outrunning the plug-in hybrid sales.

EVs accounted for 4.1% of the vehicles sold in California while plug-in hybrids accounted for 3%, according to Veloz, which tracks the development of EV sales in the state.

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“It’s no longer a matter of whether electric vehicles will take off, but how soon,” said Josh Boone, executive director of Veloz, public-private coalition of major electric car industry stakeholders, told bingdb.info. California hit the 500,000 electric-car sales milestone in November. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Expresses Interest in Closing GM Plants

Exec expresses disdain for SEC, approvals.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Elon Musk expressed interest in buying one of the plants General Motors plans to close in the near future.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with General Motors — again.

Not, Musk doesn’t want to challenge GM CEO Mary Barra to appear on the television game show, but he did tell reporter Lesley Stahl on the CBS news show 60 Minutes he would be willing to buy one of the plants GM plans to shut down in the near future.

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“It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over,” he said during the interview. (more…)

Toyota Staying in Car Market for the Long Haul

Cars account for 4 million unit sales.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Toyota EVP Bob Carter noted that despite the popularity of trucks and SUVs, cars still about for 4 million sales.

Toyota officials recently reiterated the company has no intention of leaving the passenger car business.

Speaking at an event in Detroit last week, Bob Carter, executive vice president – sales for Toyota Motor North America, said the Japanese automaker has every intention of remaining in the passenger car business.

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Carter noted even as trucks and utility vehicles grow in popularity, consumers in the U.S. are expected to buy 4 million passenger cars this year. “At 4 million units, the passenger car market is bigger than the market in most countries,” said Carter. “Cars are very important.” (more…)

Daimler, BMW Mobility Joint Venture Delayed

Companies pushing on, meeting with U.S. authorities.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Mobility enterprises, like Daimler's alliance with the Car2Go car-sharing service, are partnering more often, as Daimler is trying to do with BMW.

Delays in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals have forced Daimler AG and BMW Group to push back their effort to establish a joint-venture mobility company.

The delay will force Daimler Financial Services to lower its earnings forecast for 2018. The division now expects EBIT to be significantly lower than in the previous year.

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The forecast for the Daimler Group’s EBIT in the 2018 financial year remains unaffected and unchanged. As previously announced, the transaction will not have any cash-flow impact on the industrial business, Daimler said in a statement, updating the plans for the joint venture. (more…)

VW Denies Chairman Poetsch Knew About Scandal Early

VW officials say it wasn't possible for him to know early.

by on Dec.10, 2018

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetisch denies having knowledge of the scope of the diesel cheating scandal

Volkswagen officials are denying reports that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch knew about the diesel emissions cheating allegations before they were revealed by U.S. authorities in September 2015.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Poetsch found out about the carmaker’s violations of the rules in late June 2015. He was Volkswagen’s head of finance at that time. The company was led by Martin Winterkorn, who later resigned due to the scandal.

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The paper cites a confidential presentation from the VW legal department, which was made available to investigators handling alleged market manipulation. One of the investigations centered on VW is if executives acted quickly enough and if not, was it done to manipulate the company’s value. (more…)

McLaren Offering More Open Air Speed With New 720S Spider

New convertible offered with transparent retractable roof.

by on Dec.10, 2018

The new McLaren 720S Spider is the latest creation born from the company's $1.6 billion Track25 plan.

British supercar maker McLaren Automotive keeps rolling out new models, extending its comeback from the brink of death. The latest is the 720S Spider, which is part of its Super Series product line.

The comeback is part of the nearly $1.6 billion Track25 business plan that was the latest effort to revive the iconic sports car company, and the only one that seems to have taken. The new 720S Spider is available right now.

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“The new McLaren 720S Spider offers an unparalleled blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury, driver involvement and daily usability – all with the additional exhilaration of open-air driving whenever required,” said Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive. (more…)