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    • By William Maley
      Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use.
      Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly.
      "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
      The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation.
      Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    • By William Maley
      Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use.
      Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly.
      "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
      The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation.
      Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      Toyota's polarizing C-HR crossover went on sale earlier this year and it isn't doing so well in terms of sales. Through November, Toyota has only moved 21,889 units, way less than Chevrolet Trax (72,723 units) and Honda HR-V (86,491).
      Speaking to Wards Auto, Toyota Motor Sales USA's president Bob Carter said a key reason the comes down to the C-HR not offering all-wheel drive in North America. Most subcompact crossovers sold in the U.S. have the option of AWD. But if Toyota was to AWD to the C-HR, it would highlight another problem. The C-HR carries a base price of $22,500, making it one of the more expensive models in the class.
      The C-HR isn't the only crossover that will only come front-wheel drive. Nissan's upcoming Kicks crossover will also be FWD only. However, Michael Bunce, senior vice president-product planning for Nissan North America tells Wards that only offering FWD on the Kicks shouldn't dent sales due to the low price of under $19,000. Those who want AWD will need to step up to the Rogue Sport which begins at $22,470 for the base S AWD.
      Source: Wards Auto

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    • By William Maley
      Toyota's polarizing C-HR crossover went on sale earlier this year and it isn't doing so well in terms of sales. Through November, Toyota has only moved 21,889 units, way less than Chevrolet Trax (72,723 units) and Honda HR-V (86,491).
      Speaking to Wards Auto, Toyota Motor Sales USA's president Bob Carter said a key reason the comes down to the C-HR not offering all-wheel drive in North America. Most subcompact crossovers sold in the U.S. have the option of AWD. But if Toyota was to AWD to the C-HR, it would highlight another problem. The C-HR carries a base price of $22,500, making it one of the more expensive models in the class.
      The C-HR isn't the only crossover that will only come front-wheel drive. Nissan's upcoming Kicks crossover will also be FWD only. However, Michael Bunce, senior vice president-product planning for Nissan North America tells Wards that only offering FWD on the Kicks shouldn't dent sales due to the low price of under $19,000. Those who want AWD will need to step up to the Rogue Sport which begins at $22,470 for the base S AWD.
      Source: Wards Auto
    • By William Maley
      General Motors had a field day when Ford switched from metal to aluminum for their truck beds. The company ran a series of ads showing how their metal beds could stand up to the rigors of a pickup truck's life compared to the Ford's. So it seems slightly ironic that GM is planning to use a lightweight material for their next-generation truck beds.
      The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News have learned from sources that GM is planning to use carbon fiber in their full-size pickup beds. According to one source, carbon fiber will be part of a mix of different materials, including aluminum. The move makes sense as stricter fuel economy regulations come into effect. Finding ways to cut down on weight is a good way to boost fuel economy.
      There is a big issue with carbon fiber, price. The material is very expensive to produce due to the long, labor-intensive process. The Journal reports that at first, the beds would be used on the premium versions of the trucks (High Country and Denali). It would trickle down to lower trims as "more efficient production processes" come online.
      The new beds are expected to debut within the next two years.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

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