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According to Autoblog, Honda started production of their 2019 Insight Hybrid car. This will be slotted between the Civic and Accord Hybrid.
This brings the Honda family of Green Cars to the following 5 models:
Clarity Fuel Cell Clarity Electric Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Insight Hybrid Accord Hybrid These are all cars in the age of CUVs & SUVs. Does it make sense for Honda to be building all these new car models when the newest Honda Accord is sitting on the lots with 104 day supply at the end of March and now at over 145 day supply Honda is idling for 2 weeks the 4,200 employees at the Marysville Ohio plant. This is in comparison to the average of just 70 days for all other car models out for sale.
EPA rating are not out yet, but Honda expects to get 55 mpg equal to the Toyota Prius and hyundai Ioniq for City driving and no word on Highway driving.
Does it make sense that Honda is continuing to invest in cars at a time that the public is ignoring them as they move to trucks / CUVs / SUVs?
EV Battery War Heats UP, Asia Versus America!
Seems America, Tesla and the department of energy have created the next war. This is the Battery war, Lithium Ion versus Solid State batteries and Japan is behind. As such according to the story in the Nikkei, the Japanese government is funding research by leading Japanese manufacturers to develop what they believe will power the EVs of the future.
This group brings together the Japanese Consortium for Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (Libtec) with Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Panasonic and battery maker GS Yuasa to develop rapid charging solid-state batteries that are easier to manufacture, safer, denser energy and costs less.
The story goes on to say that Toyota's Solid State battery technology is considered to be the most advanced in the world, but is not commercialized yet. This new consortium is meant to make this happen by being funded by the Japanese government. This should help Japan beat China, Korea and the US in having the fastest charging, safest and densest battery packs in the world. Current market numbers are that global battery market shows Japan had 70% in 2013 but shrunk to 41% today, China and Korea combine for 26% today from 3% in 2013
The consortium is quoted as bringing the smaller but denser 400km Toyota solid state battery pack to market in the next 18 months in current EVs and have the size grow of the solid state batteries grow very little while having 550km batteries by 2025 and 800km batteries by 2030. For those that are a bit rusty on their metric, this equates to 249, 342, and 497 miles of range in a small dense battery pack.
Japan industry ministry is eager for the country to reclaim its global dominance by setting the standard for solid-state batteries.
By William Maley
In April of 2013, Ford and General Motors announced they would be working together on developing new nine and ten-speed automatic transmissions. The nine-speed automatic would be for front-wheel drive models, while rear-drive models got the ten-speed. Already, a number of Ford and GM vehicles are using the ten-speed. But GM will be the only one using the nine-speed.
Automotive News reports that Ford is electing to use a new series of eight-speed automatic transmission on their vehicles. The company said the new nine-speed didn't provide enough of an improvement in fuel economy to justify the added cost and weight. According to a source, Ford made this decision before GM began to use this transmission on their production models.
"Typically, if anyone gave me a transmission that didn't require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, I would take it and run. It's a lot of design work after the fact to come up with their own flavor. It shows there might be some different schools of thought in terms of transmission efficiency," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific Inc.
While GM claims the nine-speed brings “smoother shifts” and a better driving experience, it hasn't brought any real gains to fuel economy. The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu 2.0T only saw an increase of one mpg on the highway when compared to the 2016 model with a six-speed automatic (33 vs. 32). The 2019 Buick Envision 2.0T saw its highway fuel economy drop by one when equipped with the nine-speed auto (25 vs. 26).
It should be noted that one of the eight-speed transmissions Ford is using is based on the new nine-speed, minus a gear.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
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By William Maley
Cadillac's leadership is seeing a major change as current president Johan de Nysschen will be stepping down effective immediately. In his place will be Steve Carlisle who is currently president and managing director of GM Canada.
“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac. Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann in a statement.
No reason was given as to why de Nysschen is leaving after leading the brand for over three years. His tenure saw Cadillac make a number of dramatic changes including moving the brand's headquarters to New York City and introducing a new nomenclature system.
Steve Carlisle has been part of GM since 1982 when he was an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa assembly plant. He was named the president of GM Canada back in 2014 and helped the region get back on its feet. Last year, GM was number one in retail sales in Canada, with Buick, Cadillac, and GMC posting their best ever sales.
“The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible and I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future. I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury,” said Carlisle.
We'll be updating this story if any new information comes out.
UPDATE: Automotive News and Wards Auto have learned some possible reasons as to why de Nysschen was shown the door. One is Cadillac's slumping sales. In 2017, sales in the U.S. dropped eight percent - the second straight year of a sales decline. Sales are doing slightly better in 2018 - up 8.1 percent - some of this is due to incentives being placed on slow-selling models.
Project Pinnacle which was de Nysschen's ambitious incentive plan that would divide dealers into five tiers based on sales volume. Each tier would have different requirements in terms of showroom and service, along with perks. One contentious point that irked a number of dealers was smaller dealers setting up a "virtual showroom" where buyers could order vehicles. These dealers would not be able to stock Cadillac vehicles. Since then, Project Pinnacle has undergone a number of changes.
Wards Auto says de Nysschen didn't move fast enough to join the fast-growing trend of crossovers. Cadillac has introduced the XT4 at the New York Auto Show last month are there plans to launch a couple more in the coming years, but this is only going to widen the gap between Cadillac and competitors.
Both outlets report there has been growing tension between de Nysschen and GM. Such examples include him proclaiming that "Cadillac would be the technical leader at GM in the future," partly due to the launch of SuperCruise. Apparently, de Nysschen forgot about the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt. There was also the comment he made about Apple's CarPlay saying it was “extremely clunky”. (Mr. de Nysschen, have you even used CUE?! -WM)
Source: General Motors
GM Names Steve Carlisle Senior VP and President, Cadillac
Johan de Nysschen leaves GM to pursue other interests; Travis Hester becomes president and managing director, GM Canada DETROIT — General Motors today announced the appointment of Steve Carlisle as General Motors senior vice president and president, Cadillac, replacing Johan de Nysschen, who is leaving the company effective immediately.
Travis Hester, currently vice president, Global Product Programs, is named president and managing director, GM Canada, replacing Carlisle. The transition will begin immediately.
“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.”
Carlisle was most recently president and managing director of GM Canada, where he led a resurgence of the GM Canada franchise. In 2017, GM was number one in automotive retail sales in Canada, with Buick, GMC and Cadillac achieving their best ever sales years. Carlisle also reestablished key relationships in Canada with retailers, employees and government officials.
“The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible and I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future,” said Carlisle. “I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury.”
Carlisle will report to Dan Ammann.
Carlisle began his GM career in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. Over the course of his career with General Motors, Carlisle has held several senior leadership positions that have taken him across the globe, including vice president, Global Product Planning (2010-2014); vice president, U.S. Sales Operations (2010); and president and managing director, Southeast Asia Operations (2007-2010).
Hester brings extensive global leadership and global product development experience to his new role at GM Canada. Since 2016, he has led the team responsible for balancing all aspects of vehicle development, including quality, cost, appearance, purchasing, customer acceptance and performance targets.
Hester will report to Alan Batey, president, GM North America.
Hester began his GM career in 1995 in Australia as a technical support engineer for GM Holden. He held a variety of positions in Australia before moving to the U.S. in 2005. Since 2005, Hester has held engineering positions in both the U.S. and China, including chief engineer for several global premium luxury vehicles, the Buick Regal, Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Sonic. Hester became vice president, Global Product Programs, in 2016.
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By William Maley
Lexus offers two powertains for the LS; a twin-turbo V6 producing 415 horsepower and a hybrid system featuring a 3.5L V6 that makes 354 horsepower. But Lexus is considering adding more powertains to their flagship sedan.
Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the LS told Australian outlet GoAuto that all powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid, hydrogen, and electric were “all on the table” for the current model. The most likely reason for this is competitors such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have plug-in hybrid models of their flagship sedans and are working on new electric models. There is also the elephant in the room known as the Tesla Model S.
Hydrogen isn't that much a surprise. Parent company Toyota has been pushing hydrogen for a number of years. But the lack of an extensive hydrogen infrastructure has limited its appeal and caused Toyota to put more focus on electrics. It should be noted that the LF-FC concept shown in 2015 was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. On the electric front, Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries that promise more range and quicker charging. Plans are to have batteries go into production beginning in 2022.
Asahi also mentioned that engineers are looking into improving the current hybrid powertrain - possibly adding more power.
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