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  1. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller told a group of 20,000 employees today in Germany that the company will be cancelling and delaying a number of projects in light of the diesel emission scandal. "Therefore we are putting all planned investments under review. What is not urgently needed will be scrapped or delayed. And therefore we will adjust our efficiency program. I will be very open: this won't be painless," said Muller. Fixing around 11 million vehicles around the world that are affected by the rigged software is a costly prospect for Volkswagen. Muller says the $7.29 billion set aside for repairs will not be enough to pay for fines and lawsuits. Volkswagen has been criticized for being an “incredibly inefficient” company. Last year, the automaker had set aside $17.4 billion research and development. That is higher than what Ford and General Motors spent on r&d combined last year. “Where’s the innovation? Obviously not in diesel engines. There’s a culture of spending and a lack of focus on efficiency in favor of striving to be bigger,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst with Evercore ISI. Source: Bloomberg
  2. Volkswagen may have put the Phaeton redesign on the back burner to improve profitability. Bloomberg has learned from sources that the German automaker is looking at ways of lowering the costs of materials and production, despite a new version of the Phaeton is ready to go. The Phaeton was never a big seller for Volkswagen. However, the model seemed to find a foothold in Asian markets - notably China and South Korea - in 2010 and 2011. But the fallout of the Chinese automaker and the age of the Phaeton has caused sales to drop. With the possibility of Volkswagen reworking the Phaeton, this could signal a change at the German automaker from the Piech era where profit making seemed to be off the radar, to one that cares about it more. It is surprising VW is sticking with the Phaeton, said Tim Urquhart, a London-based analyst at market researcher IHS Automotive. “And given the current drive to save costs at VW, it is even more lucky to survive.” Source: Bloomberg
  3. The long wait for the Acura NSX continues. Automobile reports that Acura has pushed back production from this fall to next Spring due to a change in engine layout. The original plan was to use a naturally-aspirated V6 for the vehicle, but it was decided to add turbochargers to the engine. This has caused Acura to build a bespoke twin-turbo V6 and change the engine layout to a longitudinal configuration. This delay puts the transformation from the NSX being a concept car to production car at about four years. One item that is still up in the air is when the Acura NSX will go on sale. Jon Ikeda, Acura VP and general manager tells the magazine that meeting with dealers in October will hold the answer. Source: Automobile
  4. Earlier this month, we reported that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was delaying a number of products due to company trying to find a partner. One of those products that was reportedly delayed was the Jeep Grand Cherokee, originally planned to have a redesigned launched in 2017. Now we have confirmation of the Grand Cherokee delay. Jeep CEO Mike Manley told reporters yesterday that the next Grand Cherokee would launch in late 2018 or 2019. No reason was given as to the delay, but Manley revealed a 'mild refresh' would be incoming before the redesign. Source: Reuters
  5. What is going on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? Reuters reports that a number of new and redesigned vehicles have been pushed back as the company searches for a new partner. The delays allow FCA to save billions of dollars in investment. Suppliers who have seen say at least 12 future vehicle programs from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram have been delayed. Two of those vehicles, the next Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 are reportedly moving to dates later in 2017. Suppliers say there are a number of reasons as to the delays such as last-minute design and engineering changes - some of which are helping save a fair amount of cash. FCA declined to comment on the delays, but did say the plans outlined in their latest five-year plan "need to be flexible and fluid, with the potential to add some vehicles, pull some forward and extend the life cycle of others. We look at these programs on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis." While FCA is delaying a number of vehicles, they are also moving some up. Suppliers tell Reuters that Alfa Romeo may be getting more models on a quicker basis. Source: Reuters
  6. During their first quarter presentation, Tesla announced that it would be accelerating plans to produce 500,000 vehicles from 2020 to 2018. This in part due to the demand for the recently announced Model 3. This is an ambitious goal to say in the least and one that could haunt Tesla if they don't meet. Already, they might have hit a roadblock. Reuters reports that Tesla hasn't finalized the design of its new Model 3. During a call with analysts last week, CEO Elon Musk said design is still being worked on. Musk also said it would take another six to nine weeks for various engineering decisions to be finalized. No reason was given as to why Tesla hasn't finalized the design yet. This affects a number of key parts to getting the Model 3 to production such as the design for parts, finding suppliers, and plans for manufacturing. “We may experience delays in realizing our projected timelines and cost and volume targets for the production, launch, and ramp of our Model 3 vehicle,” the company wrote in an SEC filing. "Finalizing the design work, and lining up the suppliers and launching in one and a half years seems not possible," said Barclays analyst Brian Johnson. Source: Reuters, Car & Driver
  7. We could count on both hands the number of stories we have written about the Alfa Romeo Giulia being delayed for one reason or another. But according to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, the reason for all of those various delays is to make sure it would be a true rival to models such as the BMW 3-Series. "The project was technically immature. We will start only when we are on par with the Germans, otherwise it is not worth the effort," Marchionne told Automotive News. We're not sure how much of this comment we can take as seriously considering the Giulia was supposed to originally come out in 2013. Let us look at the list of delays, Issues with Manufacturing and Styling of the vehicle Engines suited for the vehicle not being ready Changing from a front-wheel drive to a rear-drive platform Problems with getting NVH to an acceptable level Failing to pass internal crash tests (though Alfa Romeo vehemently denies this) Alfa Romeo says that orders for the Giulia will open in April. The U.S. will see Giulia arrive this fall with the high-performance Quadrifoglio, followed by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder towards the end of the year. We'll believe it when we see it. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  8. The decision on where Volkswagen's upcoming crossover should be built has ended up becoming a tug-of-war between Mexico and Tennessee. Reuters reports that Volkswagen has delayed a decision that was expected this month on where the crossover will be built after the respective governments negotiating with VW over incentive deals. "VW is taking way too long again to tackle another pressing U.S. problem. The crossover will be a gainful addition to their portfolio, VW has got no time to waste," said Arndt Ellinghorst, London-based analyst at ISI Group. Two sources tell Reuters that the company is planning to make a final decision at the end of the month. In other Volkswagen news, Bloomberg has learned that company could expand its SUV lineup from two to six models. Volkswagen believes to reach its goal of becoming the number-one global automaker by 2018, more SUVs will be needed as they become more popular in other markets. Among those are redesigned versions of the Tiguan and Touareg, and a production version of the T-Roc Concept. Source: Reuters, Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. We have to say when Mazda announced that diesel engine would be available on the new Mazda6 midsize, our interest was very piqued. A midsize sedan that could give the Volkswagen Passat TDI a run for its money and fun to drive? Where do we sign up? But unfortunately, the Mazda6 diesel has been delayed again. Back in September, Mazda announced that the release date for Mazda6 diesel was pushed back to next spring due to certification testing taking longer than expected. Now the company has delayed the engine once again. In a short press release, Mazda announced that the engine needs more development "to deliver the right balance between fuel economy and Mazda-appropriate driving performance." The company also said the engine in its current state "can meet emission regulation requirements". One item that Mazda is keeping quiet on is when the diesel engine would launched. The company said further information will be announced at a later date. We'll keep you posted. Source: Mazda William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Mazda SKYACTIV-D Update Mazda's SKYACTIV-D clean diesel program for North America is being further delayed from its Spring 2014 announced debut timing. While Mazda understands its SKYACTIV-D engine can meet emission regulation requirements, it was decided that further development is required to deliver the right balance between fuel economy and Mazda-appropriate driving performance. Further information on the program, including a timeline of launch for North America, technical specifications and fuel economy will be available at a later date, closer to launch.
  10. While the BMW i8 Coupe is heading into production, the convertible version has hit a snag or two. Autocar has learned from a BMW spokesperson that the i8 Spyder has presented "major challenges" in the engineering department. The problem is due to the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic construction that provides the rigidity and lightness for i8. If you take off the roof like on the i8 Spyder, it becomes very difficult to add rigidity to the shell. "The last architecture presented some fairly major challenges, to be able to produce a convertible in that format. The rigidity was hard to find with that particular architecture," said a BMW spokesman. The spokesman went onto say that there isn't a set time frame for the i8 Spyder. Earlier reports put the production date around late 2015. Source: Autocar William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 11, 2013 The Ford F-150 is a very important model for the blue oval since it's the top seller and one of the key ways Ford makes a profit. With a new model on the horizon, it has been rumored that Ford would be utilizing aluminum in it as way to improve fuel economy and give the F-150 a unique edge. But that decision seems to be causing more problems. The Truth About Cars has learned from a number of sources that Ford has rejected aluminum from Alcoa and other Tier 2 suppliers since it didn't meet internal forming requirements for the “tooling tryout” phase of pre-production. Because of this, Ford has pushed back the launch date of the next F-150 from Memorial Day to late 2014 and shorten the validation process. The problem with using aluminum in vehicles is that it can return to its original form after being struck with a die. This in turn could cause a program to be completely derailed. Now Ford usually will go through two phases of pre-production vehicles before building production vehicles (MP1 and MP2). They have decided to put these vehicles into the sales channel since they are considered saleable units. This also introduces increased risk for bugs and problems for Ford's most important product. Source: The Truth About Cars William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  12. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 22, 2013 Jeep's long-standing nightmare is over. Automotive News is reporting that deliveries of the Cherokee will be heading off to dealers within the next ten days. Chrysler is in the process of installing new software smooth out how the engine, nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system interact. After the new software is installed, car haulers are loaded up and sent out. The trucks drop the Cherokees are taken to a test facality where they are unloaded and driven on a test track to see if the software has worked. From there, Cherokees are either sent to a lot where they await being shipped or to another lot where they will get additional tuning. Now this sounds somewhat surreal and unusual. But the Cherokee is an important vehicle and Chrysler wants to make sure the vehicle has all of its bugs fixed before it arrives at a dealer. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 7, 2013 It has been about two years since Audi announced that the Q3 Crossover would be coming to the U.S. Since that time, no word has come out of Audi HQ about when the Q3 would be arriving on our shores. We have a answer and a possible timeframe. According to Car and Driver, Audi is planning to launch the Q3 in the U.S. within the next eighteen to twenty-four months. The reason is due to the way the U.S. classifies vehicles. Audi wants the Q3 to be classified as a 'light truck', however it doesn't meet certain criteria such as the vehicle's approach angle. Audi will be addressing this with a mid-cycle refresh. Source: Car & Driver William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 24, 2013 From the 'we delayed it once again' file, Bloomberg is reporting that Alfa Romeo's return to the U.S. has been delayed once again. Rick Deneau, a Chrysler spokesman says the first Alfa Romeo for the U.S., the 4C has been pushed back to the second quarter of 2014. No reason was given for the delay. Back in January, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters that the Alfa Romeo 4C would be coming to the U.S. by the end of the year, “For sure it’s coming back this year with the 4C. We’ll be selling the Alfa Romeo 4C. We’re finalizing the car now so it should be here by the end of the year.” Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 14, 2013 Mazda made big news last year when they announced that the 2014 Mazda6 would be coming with diesel engine sometime next year. Now, Mazda has postponed the launch of the Mazda6 diesel to next April. Automotive News got their hands on a letter from Mazda North American Operations' senior vice president of U.S. operations, Robert Davis. Davis told employees in the letter that emissions testing on the 2.2L SKYACTIV-D engine is taking longer than thought. "I know we had discussed it being in showrooms before the end of the year, and everyone involved in the program is disappointed it will not be, but final certification testing -- the results of which are looking encouraging -- is taking longer than we had initially expected," Davis wrote in the letter. Mazda confirmed the delay in a brief statement and said the Mazda6 diesel would be coming in late-spring. In the meantime, a source tells AN that Mazda will be shipping an extra 4,000 Mazda6s in the first quarter of 2014 due to the delay. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 30, 2013 More news coming out concerning General Motor's small car lineup. During labor talks with the South Korea labor union, GM announced that the next-generation Chevrolet Spark will go into production in the first half of 2015. GM also announced that new Sonic (a.k.a. Aveo) which was supposed to come out in late 2015 has been pushed back. "The management said it originally planned to launch the redesigned Aveo in late 2015, but the plan was pushed back. It also said it will produce the new Spark in the first half of 2015," said South Korean labor union spokesman Choi Jong-hak. This comes a couple weeks after a report from Reuters that says the next-gen Cruze has been pushed back till late 2015. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 19, 2013 According to a report from Reuters, General Motors has pushed back the launch timeframe of the next Chevrolet Cruze from 2014 to late 2015. Sources say the reasons for the push is for the company to squeeze out more sales out of the current model and to put more engineering changes into the model. We don't know much about the next-generation Cruze, besides that it will ride on GM's new D2XX platform. Our best guess as to why GM is pushing back the Cruze by about a year? They don't want another 2013 Malibu disaster. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  18. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 24, 2013 The federal mandate for new vehicles to come equipped with backup cameras has been delayed, once again. According to Automotive News, the mandate has been pushed back to 2015 due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examining the cost of implementing this mandate. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that more analysis on how much this rule will cost automakers is necessary. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the cost of implementing the rule would be around $2.7 billion. Automakers aren't fully happy with this regulation due to the cost and that the regulation should apply to large vehicles, not all of them. "Automakers are providing cameras in cars today for greater vision and for new driver assists, and consumers should decide how best to spend their safety dollars on these technologies. This is a decision for consumers," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Regulators are considering giving out incentives in their safety ratings to vehicles that have a backup camera. Currently, regulators give out incentives to those that have electronic stability control. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  19. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com March 11, 2013 Tesla is quietly pushing back the start of production for their next model, the Model X. Originally Tesla said production of the Model X crossover would begin this year, with sales beginning in early 2014. However in a filling with Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla push back the production date to 2014. "We currently plan to start production of Model X in late 2014. We anticipate that we will make Model X available with 60 kWh and 85 kWh battery pack options, with pricing of each version similar to those of a comparably equipped Model S. We currently intend to target an annual production rate of approximately 10,000 -15,000 cars per year from our Tesla Factory," Tesla said in their filling. So why the delay for the Model X? Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks told the Los Angeles Times the company is focusing on the production of the Model S, which is expected to reach 20,000 units this year. Source: Los Angeles Times, Securities and Exchange Commission William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  20. Volvo's Concept Coupe surprised everyone when it debuted last year. This concept was a preview of what Volvo had in mind for their next design language. But the coupe garnered fans not only outside of Volvo, but inside as well. So does this mean that the Concept Coupe will go into production? Possibly. Auto Express sat down with Volvo designer Anders Gunnarson who said that at the moment, Volvo is focusing on its core models. “The Concept Coupe is on hold. The coupe style of car is something that the British and Americans have always done very well - a coupe is the car a car manufacturer wants. We very much want to build the Concept Coupe," said Gunnarson. Volvo's focus at the moment is getting the XC90 out into the world. "It is our focus 100 per cent. The XC90 represents what Volvo is exactly about - simplicity, trustworthiness, solidity, functionality and simplicity. It is the absolute Volvo. For us, the XC90 is the bolt that holds everything together. If you remove the bolt, everything falls apart. This car is a must and has to be a success - there is no going back, we cannot do it wrong,” said Gunnarson. Source: Auto Express
  21. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 16, 2012 When we last checked in on the Fisker Atlantic, the mid-size sedan that would take on the 5-Series, A6, CTS, and others, was delayed from next year to sometime in 2014. A new report from Reuters says Fisker has pushed back production of the Atlantic to late 2014 or 2015, a full two years behind the original production date. "The Atlantic is really the volume car that begins to build growth. It creates a business model that is one where we can really generate cash in the future," Chief Executive Tony Posawatz said during a conference call with investors and analysts. The conference call also revealed the Atlantic has a target base price of $55,000 and the underpinnings will be used to spawn several other models, including a new crossover. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  22. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 16, 2012 The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf that was originally due out in the U.S. next fall has been pushed back to 2014. Rainer Michel, Volkswagen of America’s vice president of product marketing and strategy told Car & Driver about the delay. The reason is due to Volkswagen wanting to avoid unnecessary manufacturing complications at launch since the Golf is the key vehicle in Europe. Volkswagen officials are saying that North America market planning is ongoing.That includes where the Golf and GTI will be assembled. Currently, the Golf and GTI are built at the Wolfsburg plant. Speculation also has some production moving to Mexico. Source: Car & Driver William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  23. During their first quarter presentation, Tesla announced that it would be accelerating plans to produce 500,000 vehicles from 2020 to 2018. This in part due to the demand for the recently announced Model 3. This is an ambitious goal to say in the least and one that could haunt Tesla if they don't meet. Already, they might have hit a roadblock. Reuters reports that Tesla hasn't finalized the design of its new Model 3. During a call with analysts last week, CEO Elon Musk said design is still being worked on. Musk also said it would take another six to nine weeks for various engineering decisions to be finalized. No reason was given as to why Tesla hasn't finalized the design yet. This affects a number of key parts to getting the Model 3 to production such as the design for parts, finding suppliers, and plans for manufacturing. “We may experience delays in realizing our projected timelines and cost and volume targets for the production, launch, and ramp of our Model 3 vehicle,” the company wrote in an SEC filing. "Finalizing the design work, and lining up the suppliers and launching in one and a half years seems not possible," said Barclays analyst Brian Johnson. Source: Reuters, Car & Driver View full article
  24. What is going on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? Reuters reports that a number of new and redesigned vehicles have been pushed back as the company searches for a new partner. The delays allow FCA to save billions of dollars in investment. Suppliers who have seen say at least 12 future vehicle programs from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram have been delayed. Two of those vehicles, the next Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 are reportedly moving to dates later in 2017. Suppliers say there are a number of reasons as to the delays such as last-minute design and engineering changes - some of which are helping save a fair amount of cash. FCA declined to comment on the delays, but did say the plans outlined in their latest five-year plan "need to be flexible and fluid, with the potential to add some vehicles, pull some forward and extend the life cycle of others. We look at these programs on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis." While FCA is delaying a number of vehicles, they are also moving some up. Suppliers tell Reuters that Alfa Romeo may be getting more models on a quicker basis. Source: Reuters View full article
  25. Earlier this month, we reported that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was delaying a number of products due to company trying to find a partner. One of those products that was reportedly delayed was the Jeep Grand Cherokee, originally planned to have a redesigned launched in 2017. Now we have confirmation of the Grand Cherokee delay. Jeep CEO Mike Manley told reporters yesterday that the next Grand Cherokee would launch in late 2018 or 2019. No reason was given as to the delay, but Manley revealed a 'mild refresh' would be incoming before the redesign. Source: Reuters View full article

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