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    • By William Maley
      We have heard countless promises and teases from various Chinese automakers about entering the U.S. market. But one automaker appears to be making a serious effort to make it a reality.
      Last week at the Detroit Auto Show, Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC) announced that it plans on launching the GS8 SUV in later 2019, and will attend this year's National Automobile Dealers Association convention in March. 
      "We will attend the NADA convention in preparation for entering the North American market in the fourth quarter of 2019," said GAC President Yu Jun.
      “We will explore all sorts of channels, including partnering” with other dealership groups, he said. “We will also try to build our own dealership network in the future. All of these options are on the table.”
      GAC has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes preparing to launch in the U.S. They have already opened a technical center in Silicon Valley and is planning on opening a second one in Detroit. The company has also been studying the marketplace and conducting research to measure demand.
      "They've been doing preparation on the ground, talking to consumers. They've been running clinics to find out what consumers care about. This is the real deal," said Michael Dunne, president of Dunne Automotive Ltd. and an adviser to GAC.
      But there a number of issues that GAC needs to address. For one, GAC was planning to introduce the Trumpchi brand for the U.S. But given current affairs, the name could be problematic and executives have hinted that a name change could happen. There is also the impression that Chinese-built product doesn't have the same quality as others. GAC could use J.D. Power’s Initial Quality study where it has been the top-scoring Chinese automaker for the past five years.
      "It looks like they have a good quality product. There is still a stigma of 'made-in-China,' but it's largely a perception issue," said David Sargent, vice president of J.D. Power's global automotive unit.
      "If you talk to the automakers, they'll say the quality they are getting in China is as good as anywhere else — and sometimes better."
      But the biggest roadblock that GAC could face is the U.S. Government. Both President Donald Trump and the top U.S. Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York cited GAC's plans and used this as a launching pad to criticize China's automotive trade rules. China levies a 25 percent tariff on U.S.-built vehicles. The U.S. only slaps a 2.5-percent on Chinese-built vehicles.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2, Reuters

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    • By William Maley
      We have heard countless promises and teases from various Chinese automakers about entering the U.S. market. But one automaker appears to be making a serious effort to make it a reality.
      Last week at the Detroit Auto Show, Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC) announced that it plans on launching the GS8 SUV in later 2019, and will attend this year's National Automobile Dealers Association convention in March. 
      "We will attend the NADA convention in preparation for entering the North American market in the fourth quarter of 2019," said GAC President Yu Jun.
      “We will explore all sorts of channels, including partnering” with other dealership groups, he said. “We will also try to build our own dealership network in the future. All of these options are on the table.”
      GAC has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes preparing to launch in the U.S. They have already opened a technical center in Silicon Valley and is planning on opening a second one in Detroit. The company has also been studying the marketplace and conducting research to measure demand.
      "They've been doing preparation on the ground, talking to consumers. They've been running clinics to find out what consumers care about. This is the real deal," said Michael Dunne, president of Dunne Automotive Ltd. and an adviser to GAC.
      But there a number of issues that GAC needs to address. For one, GAC was planning to introduce the Trumpchi brand for the U.S. But given current affairs, the name could be problematic and executives have hinted that a name change could happen. There is also the impression that Chinese-built product doesn't have the same quality as others. GAC could use J.D. Power’s Initial Quality study where it has been the top-scoring Chinese automaker for the past five years.
      "It looks like they have a good quality product. There is still a stigma of 'made-in-China,' but it's largely a perception issue," said David Sargent, vice president of J.D. Power's global automotive unit.
      "If you talk to the automakers, they'll say the quality they are getting in China is as good as anywhere else — and sometimes better."
      But the biggest roadblock that GAC could face is the U.S. Government. Both President Donald Trump and the top U.S. Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York cited GAC's plans and used this as a launching pad to criticize China's automotive trade rules. China levies a 25 percent tariff on U.S.-built vehicles. The U.S. only slaps a 2.5-percent on Chinese-built vehicles.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2, Reuters
    • By William Maley
      For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari.
      Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain.
      Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months.
      Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable.
      “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne.
      Other bits from Marchionne:
      When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend
    • By William Maley
      For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari.
      Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain.
      Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months.
      Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable.
      “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne.
      Other bits from Marchionne:
      When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is trying to put the past behind them with the 3.0L EcoDiesel emission mess. The company has restarted production of the engine for the 2017 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, and is in the process of getting a fix out there for older models. Now, talks about a possible settlement for owners of the 3.0L EcoDiesel are making some significant progress.
      At a hearing yesterday in San Fransisco, court settlement master Ken Feinberg said that proposed settlement documents have been passed between lawyers for FCA and owners of the 3.0 EcoDiesel. The proposal was also discussed at a meeting where the lawyers for both groups were joined by the Justice Department, California Air Resources Board, and supplier Bosch.
      “We’re looking for different substantive ways to secure an early comprehensive settlement,” Feinberg said.
      “Everybody in good faith is certainly trying to figure out how we might achieve a comprehensive settlement.”
      An agreement on a settlement could happen before tests of the proposed fix are finished in March.
      Source: Reuters
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

      View full article
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