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Jeep Museum May be in the Works With Help From FCA

New gallery might be at Toledo plant.

by on Aug.13, 2018

The success of this year's Jeep Fest in Toledo has organizers thinking there might be enough support for a museum.xx

Auto museums aren’t exactly thriving these days but the fans in Toledo, Ohio, the birthplace of the iconic Jeep, are talking up the possibility of creating a Jeep Museum with help from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Dozens or rare Jeeps turned up this past weekend for the Jeep fest at the Sea Gate Convention Center in Toledo, which only served to bolster support for the idea, according to local news reports.

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Organizers of Jeep Fest, which attracted Jeep fans from 27 states, said they have held talks about establishing a museum with FCA, which has made the Jeep brands its major profit center since the old Chrysler Group’s 2009 bankruptcy. (more…)

Car Dealership Numbers Holding Steady in US

Online sales not hurting auto dealers yet.

by on Aug.10, 2018

Auto dealership levels are virtually unchanged year-over-year, according to a new report.

Urban Science released statistics and insights today from its 2018 mid-year Automotive Franchise Activity Report, indicating continued stability in the number of automotive dealerships in the United States.

As of July 1, 2018, there were 18,252 dealerships (rooftops), a 0.2% increase from the Jan. 1, 2018, total of 18,213. The number of franchises, or brands a dealership sells, also experienced a period of stability, slightly decreasing from 32,029 on Jan.1, 2017 to 32,024 as of July 1, 2018.

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Despite the shrinkage of “brick-and-mortar” retailing that has emptied shopping malls across the country and threats from online sales, car dealerships, the centerpiece of automotive retailing are holding their own, according to a new study by Detroit-based Urban Science. (more…)

California Thumbs Nose at Trump on Clean Air Standard

State plans to adhere to Obama-era rules.

by on Aug.10, 2018

California plans to stay with its tougher, Obama-era fuel economy and emissions standards.

The California Air Resources Board has come out swinging in its battle with over clean-air and fuel efficiency standards.

CARB, which will bear the burden of any clash with the administration, re-affirmed its commitment to the standards set in place by an agreement between the State of California and the Obama administration to ensure that cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2021–25 continue to meet standards that protect public health, save consumers money, and fight climate change.

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“Dirty, gas guzzling vehicles are a direct assault on public health and foreclose our ability to rein in air pollution and greenhouse gases,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols in a statement. “California will take all actions to ensure that the smart standards we developed in partnership with the auto industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles stay in place.” (more…)

Ford Preparing Hybrid Version of Mustang

New powertrain will be about performance, not fuel economy.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Ford EVP Jim Farley took time during the celebration of the 10 millionth Mustang to discuss the evolution of the Mustang, including the upcoming hybrid model.

Ford Motor Co. is eager to keep the buzz around the Mustang alive as the company makes the transition to a world where autonomous and electrified vehicles are common, one of the company’s top executives told reporters after the automaker marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang.

Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of Global Markets, said the long-running success of the Mustang, which has become a global brand, can serve as a beacon for the company as it goes through what amounts to once-every-100-years transition.

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“Mustang is the heart and soul of the Ford Motors Co. It’s a global product and it’s one of the reasons we’re different as a company.” Farley said. “It inspires other vehicles in the line-up. The ‘Mustangness’ of the company is starting with its products,” such the electric vehicles Ford has under development now. “The company has confidence in the Mustang and it knows the customer really well. (more…)

Ford Celebrates Production of 10 Millionth Mustang

Just like the first one, it came out Wimbledon White.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Ford marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang with a huge party, including the very first Mustang built. Both are in Wimbledon White.

Ford Motor Co. celebrated the building of 10 million Mustangs in style with a parade, air show and lunch for hundreds at the assembly plant outside Detroit in Flat Rock, Michigan, where the fabled pony car is now built.

A parade of 54 Mustangs, one from each year the car has been sold during the past half century since it debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City was organized in the parking lot in front of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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As the Mustang owners sipped coffee and munched on donuts, they talked about how much their lives intertwined with the car and its storied history that includes a starring role in more movies than any other vehicle. (more…)

Nissan Selling Electric Vehicle Battery Business

Automaker offloading group to China's Envision.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Nissan is selling its EV battery operations, including the plant in Tennessee, to Envision, a Chinese company.

Nissan is preparing to sell its battery business, including a piece in the United States, to a company, based in China, specializing in production of sustainable energy, the automaker announced.

The deal covers Nissan assets in Japan, United Kingdom and U.S., including a battery factory in Smyrna, Tennessee that now employs 400.

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Nissan Motor Co. said it has entered into a definitive agreement with Envision Group, a sustainable energy operator, for the sale of Nissan’s electric battery operations and production facilities to Envision. Nissan will retain a 25% stake in a new company set up when the deal with Envision Group closes. (more…)

GM Hopes for Compromise in Looming CAFE Clash

Consistency is key for product development.

by on Aug.07, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann said the automaker is hoping government policy on fuel economy will help foster innovation.

Despite the uncertainty, General Motors is hoping the unfolding debate over fuel economy triggered by the administration of President Donald Trump will lead to an outcome that can foster innovation.

Ammann acknowledged as he fielded questions from reporters after an appearance at the Billington Cybersecurity Automotive Summit in Detroit that the proposal by the administration to freeze fuel-economy standards has created challenges.

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“We’re obviously in a long-cycle business,” said Ammann, who was careful not to endorse the administration’s proposal, which also challenges the state of California’s ability to set its own fuel-economy and emission rules for automakers.  (more…)

Cybersecurity Efforts Critical to Automotive Industry

Car companies focused on ensuring safety of self-driving cars.

by on Aug.06, 2018

GM President Dan Ammann said recently that the company's focus on cybersecurity is critical to its long-term goals.

The operation of self-driving vehicles will require an intense focus on cybersecurity, experts said during a conference in Detroit organized by Billington Cybersecurity, which brought together representatives from the automobile and tech industry as well as the government.

Dan Ammann, General Motors president, told the conference that GM cybersecurity is one of “the key enablers” to making GM’s vision of “zero crashes, zero emission and zero congestion” a reality.

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“As we continue to develop our Autonomous Vehicle program, safety is paramount, just like it is in everything that we do,” Ammann said. “For our customers, that means providing the safest products possible, including the strongest cybersecurity.” (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Cadillac Escalade

Once an add-on to the line-up, the luxury ute is now the icon.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Once almost an afterthought in Cadillac's line-up, the Escalade is now the brand's centerpiece.

It seems the Escalade has been the heart and soul of Cadillac’s line-up of luxury vehicles forever.

No other car or sport-utility vehicle comes close, in the mind of the broad public anyway, to representing Cadillac’s nameplate in any kind of meaningful way.

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I suspect this has caused no end of consternation in General Motors headquarters over the years because the Escalade seems to have been an afterthought by GM product planners who were thinking along the lines of up-level Chevrolet Suburban with a bright Cadillac badge. (more…)

GM Adds Trump Trade Rep to Head Global Public Policy

Eissenstat joins automaker immediately.

by on Aug.02, 2018

Former Trump deputy Everett Eissenstat has moved on to GM at vice president of Global Public Policy.

General Motors has recruited a veteran of the Trump administration with broad experience on trade issues to serve as senior vice president of Global Public Policy.

Everett Eissenstat will assume his new effective immediately and he will report to GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, GM said.

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Eissenstat, 55, had been with the Trump White House as Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council from June 2017 to July 2018. Jointly appointed to the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.  (more…)