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  1. Autoline has reported that Cadillac is hard at work preparing the Fairfax Assembly Plant, in Kansas City, Kansas, for the upcoming Cadillac XT3 CUV . This vehicle is slated to come in under the XT5, and be FWD based, riding on a new version of GM's Epsilon Platform (E2xx) designated "ETUL." They also note that the next ATS will be named CT3. Correction - An earlier version of this article mentioned the CT3/ATS moving to the Epsilon platform. This is not the case.
  2. We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. In March, Volkswagen will end production of the current Phaeton at the Dresden plant. A pet project of former Chairman Ferdinand Piëch, the Phaeton never gained traction in the luxury flagship market for over a decade. Last year, Volkswagen only built 4,000 Phaetons. Volkswagen will bring back the Phaeton nameplate in 2020 for a fully electric luxury sedan. As for the Dresden plant where the Phaeton is built, it will be renovated to build an upcoming electric vehicle. Carsten Krebs, a spokesman at the factory tells Bloomberg that the renovation will take about year to complete. Source: Bloomberg
  3. General Motors' midsize trucks has become a bright spot for the company. Originally forecasted to sell around 80,000 this year, the company is now on track to selling near 120,000 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks by the end of year. The two model are also the fastest-selling vehicles this year with the average time a Colorado sat on a dealer lot landing around 27 days. The Canyon was slightly longer with a 37 day average. But this has caused a supply problem for GM. The Wentzville, Missouri plant where both trucks are built has been pushed to the limits. Currently, the plant has three shifts and also builds models during the weekend. Even workers at the plant have agreed to plan to adjust break times to eliminate a six-minute lull between shifts. This appears to be not enough and GM is now looking into other measures. Automotive News has learned that GM is looking into outsourcing production of cutaway models of Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, the other models built at Wentzville, to AM General. This was revealed to workers by a note sent out by GM earlier in the week. “The truck and van continue strong sales. This potential partnership would free up production capacity and allow the organization to capitalize on our ability to build midsize trucks to further satisfy customer demand,” said the note. According to a source, cutaway vans account for one-third of total production at Wentzville. AM General, the folks who brought you the Hummer, has been in the process of expanding its contract manufacturing business. Back in August, the company announced a deal with Mercedes-Benz to build the R-Class crossover that would then be sent over to China. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  4. If there is one thing that we can pull from this latest round of contract negotiations between the Detroit three and the UAW is that amount of car production that will be heading to Mexico. According to a report from Automotive News, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobile will have moved production of most of their mass-market vehicles from the U.S. to Mexico. General Motors will be the only Detroit automaker who is keeping some sort of production of their compact and midsize cars. Why the shift to Mexico? It comes down to what vehicles make money for the three automakers. Currently, pickups and SUVs carry a much higher profit margin than cars. "You can afford to pay a little more when you're making trucks, but the structural change in the industry has been so huge that I was kind of surprised by that -- trucks here and cars in Mexico," said Dave Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. But some point out this change in production could put the Detroit three in a situation they found themselves back in the early 2000's with sales of SUVs dropping due to the increase in gas prices. Models that will be moving to Mexico include the Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart, and Ford Fusion. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  5. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is going forward on building their own vehicle. According to sources, the company recently gave the approval for the project after spending a year investigating the feasibility of it. Codenamed 'Titan', the team behind the vehicle will grow from 600 to around 1,800 people. Not much is known about the vehicle except for that it will be electric and feature some sort of autonomous technologies. A fully autonomous vehicle isn't expected till later on. The report says Apple has set a 'target ship date for 2019.' Whether that means it will be launched or reaching a major milestone in 2019 is unknown. Rumors about the Apple car have been flying around for a number of years. But this year has seen a number of people leaving Tesla and other jobs in the automotive industry to work for Apple, causing reports to intensify. Adding on this were reports from last month saying that officials from Apple met with officials from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  6. More details about the tentative labor agreement between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is coming to light. Automotive News has learned from sources that more production moving would be taking place. As we reported last week, FCA's Toledo factory would be saying good-bye to the Cherokee to make room for more Wranglers and the possibility of a new truck. The Cherokee is expected to be built Belvidere Assembly in Illinois. The big change in production is the Ram 1500 moving from the Warren Truck Plant to the Sterling Heights Assembly plant. This will mean production of Chrysler 200, currently built in Sterling Heights, will move to another plant. According to a source, that plant will be the Toluca, Mexico one. This is the current home of the Dodge Journey and North American version of the Fiat 500. Along with the 200, the Dodge Dart will move to Toluca. So what is happening with the Warren Truck Plant? That will be retooled and converted from a body-on frame to a unibody production facility to make way for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the rumored three-row luxury SUV. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  7. The past eleven months at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Toledo plant - home of Cherokee and Wrangler production - has been tense. Rumors and talk about moving Wrangler production out the factory have been floating around for that time. But Automotive News has learned that the Wrangler will be staying at Toledo; while the Cherokee moves to another plant. An official announcement will be made once FCA finishes up contract talks with the UAW. But this announcement also gives Jeep an interesting situation. For the past few years, we have been reporting on rumors and chatter from executives on building a diesel version of the Wrangler and possibly a pickup truck. The problem was Jeep currently sells every Wrangler that comes out of the plant, meaning those models had to sit on the sidelines. But with the Cherokee moving to another plant, this allows for more capacity and the chance for these models to go into production. The publication reports that Jeep will be going forward with Wrangler pickup that will be built at Toledo within the next few years. No information was provided on a timeline for a diesel Wrangler. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2
  8. Ever since Ford ended production of the Ranger in the U.S. in 2011, many have been clamoring for the blue oval to bring the Ranger sold elsewhere to the U.S. But Ford has said no since the current Ranger since the new model is close in size to the F-150, and would be very close in terms of pricing. But the blue oval could be changing that. The Detroit News has learned from sources that Ford wants to resurrect the Ranger pickup and build it at the Michigan Assembly Plant. Sources explained that Ford and the UAW are currently in contract talks, with one of the items being bringing the Ranger to the U.S. for the production. Now this will need to be agreed by the UAW and then Ford’s board of directors. Now bringing the Ranger over to the U.S. would allow Ford to take advantage of a marketplace that seems interested in mid-size trucks again - thank the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Colorado. “There’s a real hunger for midsize trucks right now. Once upon a time, there were a lot of midsize trucks in this market. The ones that are available are cashing in on the demand,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. Bringing the Ranger to the U.S. would also solve the problem of what would be built at the Michigan Assembly plant. As we reported last month, Ford will be moving Focus and C-Max production from Michigan Assembly to a new plant, most likely Mexico. Source: The Detroit News
  9. The Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat has been a large success since going into production for the 2015 model year. The factory hasn't been able to keep up with the demand, so they had to put on hold on orders and increase the production of the Hellcat engines. That wasn't enough, so Dodge has announced they will be doubling production for the 2016 models. There is a downside to this announcement. Anyone who has a 2015 Challenger or Charger Hellcat on order may find out it has been cancelled. Dodge says they will finish building vehicles that are scheduled, while the remaining orders will be cancelled. Now Dodge is offering those whose order has been cancelled the chance to get 2016 models at 2015 prices. Not changing is how many Hellcats every dealer will get. Allocation will be decided by how many Dodge models are sold and how long the Hellcats stay on their lots. Source: Dodge Press Release is on Page 2 Dodge Launches 2016 SRT Hellcat Plan of Attack; Increases Production; Set to Open Orders for the Fastest, Most Powerful Muscle Cars Ever Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 models, Dodge significantly increases production for 2016 model-year Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats Plan includes building the remaining 2015 SRT Hellcat scheduled orders at Brampton (Ont.) Assembly All unscheduled 2015 model year SRT Hellcat sold orders will be cancelled; these customers will receive discounted 2016 model year pricing Dealers will receive details on the full 2016 model year allocation plan in August 2015 Two allocation cycles to occur – August 2015 and February 2016 2016 model year SRT Hellcat allocation eligibility will continue to be based on past Dodge sales performance Allocation will be adjusted based on dealers’ average historical Dodge SRT Challenger and Charger Hellcat “days on lot” performance If dealers keep inventory moving, they will qualify for February allocation plan Dealers will only be able to order their given allocation. SRT Hellcat orders open in the second week of August 2015; production starts in September 2015 New for 2016, both Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat now feature standard ultra-premium Laguna Leather interior appointments, Uconnect 8.4AN with navigation, HD radio and five years of SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic July 27, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Dodge will soon be opening the dealer order banks for 2016 model year Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats, streamlining the process and significantly increasing production to ensure that the fastest, most powerful muscle cars ever continue to move off dealer lots. “We could not have asked for a more enthusiastic response to the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats – it was absolutely unprecedented, but then again, these 707-horsepower muscle cars are unprecedented,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge and SRT brands, FCA US. “To meet this demand, we are more than doubling our SRT Hellcat production for 2016 and simplifying the process to make it easier for our enthusiasts to get their hands on the hottest muscle cars in history. In addition, customers with verified sold orders that weren’t built in the 2015 model year will receive special discounted pricing if they re-order in 2016.” The plan for 2016 model year includes: Remaining 2015 SRT Hellcat scheduled orders will be built at Brampton (Ont.) Assembly All unscheduled 2015 model year SRT Hellcat orders will be cancelled; these customers will receive discounted 2016 model year pricing Dealers will get a 2016 model year potential allocation total for the entire model year in August 2015 2016 model year SRT Hellcat allocation eligibility will continue to be based on past Dodge sales performance Allocation will be adjusted based on dealers’ average historical Dodge SRT Challenger and Charger Hellcat “days on lot” performance They will receive half of the 2016 model year allocation (net of adjustments) beginning in August 2015. They will receive the second half of the 2016 model year allocation (net of adjustments) in February 2016 Dealers will only be able to order their given allocation The ordering system will open the second week of August. Production of the 2016 Dodge Charger and Challenger is scheduled to start at the Brampton, (Ont.), Assembly plant in September.
  10. Infiniti has decided to pull the camouflage off the Q30 before its official debut at Frankfurt Motor Show in September. This new model marks Infiniti's entrant in the entry-level luxury class. We have to give Infiniti a bit of credit for keeping much of the design from the Q30 concept shown at the 2013 Frankfurt show. The swoopy lines and squared off front end are here. We can't tell if the rear end design is the same as Infiniti only released one picture of the Q30 - the image seen here. The Q30 will go into production later this year in Sunderland, England. Sales are expected to begin sometime next year. Source: Infiniti Press Release is on Page 2 Jul. 21, 2015 Infiniti Q30 Premium Active Compact set for Frankfurt IAA 2015 premiere Daring, expressive design meets advanced ride and handling performance Category-breaking Q30 faithful to 2013 concept car World premiere for global media September 15th at Frankfurt Motor Show Hong Kong – The first-ever Infiniti Q30 Premium Active Compact is ready for its world premiere at the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year. Featuring Infiniti's iconic design language, the all-new Q30 represents a category-breaking vehicle concept developed for customers seeking urban individuality. Its dynamic drive characteristics provide for Infiniti-typical confident and responsive performance as well as excellent ride and handling. Crafted trims and expressive interiors extend the striking design approach from the exterior into the passenger cabin. The public premiere of the Q30 Active Compact comes exactly two years after its precursor, the Q30 Concept, was introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt show. The unmistakable approach of that winning concept has been fully maintained as Infiniti's all-new Q30 compact vehicle is introduced to the market. "Design is a key pillar of the Infiniti brand, and the new Q30 Active Compact perfectly embodies this approach," said Infiniti president Roland Krueger. "The Q30 Active Compact delivers the distinctive design, the driving dynamics and the individuality that our customers expect of an Infiniti vehicle. With our first ever entry in the compact car segment, we continue the product offensive and provide additional options for our discerning customers." The Q30 Active Compact underwent final testing and development in Europe. It will be built in Sunderland in the UK, which then becomes the fourth country on three continents to build Infiniti vehicles. Press days for the international motor show in Frankfurt this year are on September 15 and 16; public days are held September 17 to 27.
  11. The Nissan Rogue crossover is proving to be a very popular vehicle for the brand. Through the first half of the year, Nissan has moved 135,397 Rogues - making this the second best-selling model behind the Altima. According to Automotive News, Nissan will be tapping its Kyushu, Japan factory to produce an extra 100,000 Rogues starting next year. This will help give Nissan the ability to sell 300,000 Rogues. Automotive News also reports that the company will be introducing two new variants of the Rogue in the future. According to two sources, Nissan will launch a hybrid Rogue next year. Following this will be the smaller Qashqai crossover. Based on the Rogue's platform, the Qashqai is about 10 inches shorter and two inches narrower. This is expected to be the replacement for the Rogue Select, which is the last-generation Rogue. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  12. Since being bought by Chinese auto parts supplier, Wanxiang Group, Fisker Automotive has been quietly ramping back up with a new headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA, and an upcoming factory in Moreno Valley, CA. But one item that has been up in the air is when production of the Karma would restart. Speaking with The Oakland County Register, Fisker's chief marketing officer Jim Taylor said the automaker will relaunch sometime in the middle of 2016. “We want to be out next year. Midyear is our target. That’s what we’ve told the plants and our suppliers, but we won’t make any promises to say this is our launch date, get ready,” said Taylor. There is still a number of items and issues that Fisker has to work on before having vehicles rolling down the production line. At the moment, Fisker is busy hiring people for their headquarters and production facility. Complicating matters are number of delays and no real information as to changes for the model. Source: The Orange County Register
  13. After 2018, the Ford Focus and C-Max will not be calling the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI home. Automotive News reports that Ford will end production of the two models at the plant in 2018 as a sign the company sees slow demand for small vehicles to continue in the future. The company didn't say what vehicles would take their place or where the Focus and C-Max will be built in the future. "We currently are reviewing several possible options for the Focus and C-Max and will share details once our studies are complete,” said Kristina Adamski, Ford spokeswoman in an email. The news comes on the heels of the layoffs at the plant where the third shift and 700 jobs were cut. This also comes a couple weeks before talks with the UAW begin. “We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations,” the company said in statement. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  14. We know that Lexus is planning to produce a production version of the LF-LC coupe concept shown a few years ago, but details about it have been somewhat scarce. However, Automobile has some tantalizing details about it. First up, the coupe will wear the SC nameplate. This name was last seen on a hardtop convertible in 2010. The SC will use the underpinnings of the next-generation LS and feature 3 engine choices: a high-output version of the 5.0L V8, a hybrid powertrain, and a twin-turbocharged V8 with close to 600 horsepower. We could be seeing the SC next year as a 2017 model. Source: Automobile
  15. Nissan was the first automaker to offer hybrid version of their 7-seat crossovers, the Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 Hybrids. It now seems they are first one to kill off their hybrid crossovers. Green Car Reports found out that if you visit the Pathfinder Hybrid page, you are shown a message that says the "Pathfinder Hybrid is no longer available". When asked for comment, Nissan's senior communications manager Dan Passe said, "Pathfinder Hybrid is no longer on sale at Nissan dealers. Nissan is focusing its manufacturing, marketing, and dealer resources on the 3.5-liter V6-powered Pathfinder, which achieves up to 27 highway miles per gallon." No reason was given as to why the Pathfinder/QX60 Hybrids were shown the door, but we would guess it comes down to poor sales. Considering that hybrid version only achieved 3 MPG better on the combined cycle compared to the standard model, many buyers just didn't see why they should spend an extra $3,000 for it. Source: Green Car Reports
  16. General Motors announced this week that it would be investing $245 million and adding 300 new jobs at its Orion Assembly plant - home of the Chevrolet Sonic, Buick Verano, and soon to be Chevrolet Bolt. Now this investment is for an "all-new vehicle program unlike any in the plant's 32-year history." So what could this vehicle be? Motor Trend reports that a source says the program is "a future crossover with no predecessor" and that "the gaps in [Cadillac's] product lineup are obvious." So in other words, the possible program is a small Cadillac crossover. Now we have been hearing and reporting that Cadillac is planning to have a range of crossovers in the next few years with the XT5 - the replacement for the SRX. There will be two crossovers sitting underneath and one sitting above the XT5. At the moment, we don't know if it will be a compact or subcompact crossover that will be built at Orion. Source: Motor Trend
  17. When the Lincoln Continental begins production sometime next year, it won't be at Chicago Assembly plant where the current MKS is built. Ford announced this week that it will be phasing out the MKS in 2016. This announcement came at a event where the company was promoting the increase of Ford Explorer output at Ford’s Chicago plant. “Chicago Assembly Plant is vital to our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to manufacture the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor vehicles even after we phase out production of the MKS in 2016. We will continue to match production to demand,” the company said in a statement. Automotive News says this statement echoes a comment made by Ford's President of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs earlier in the week. “When the Continental comes out next year, the Lincoln fades away.But once it fades away, we’re going to use that capacity to make more Explorers,” said Hinrichs to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. So where will the Continental be built? Industry sources say the Continental could be produced at Ford's Flat Rock, MI plant where the Fusion is built. The Continental uses a longer version of the Fusion's platform, so building it at Flat Rock makes sense. A Ford spokesman decline to comment on the Contiental's production plan, saying the location would be revealed closer to the vehicle's launch next year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  18. Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will begin rolling out their second model, the Model X, in the next three to four months. The model which was first shown in 2012 and was supposed to start production in 2014, has been hit with a number of delays and problems for various aspects. Musk said engineers are working on a number of parts of the Model X including the Falcon Wing doors just right before production models begin rolling off the line. “The Model X will be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan,” said Musk. Source: Bloomberg
  19. It has been a long wait for Lamborghini to learn if they could move forward with their SUV project, the Urus. First shown at Beijing Motor Show in 2012, the concept made the rounds at different shows. Since it was first shown, the car generated a lot positive response and caused Lamborghini to make plans for a production model. The only thing in the way was getting the approval from its parent company - Volkswagen. This week, Lamborghini finally got the green light for their new SUV which will come out in 2018. The new SUV doesn't have a name, but it will be built at their Sant’Agata Bolognese facility in Italy. Lamborghini plans on building 3,000 SUVs per year, with many heading to USA, China, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia. "This is a proud moment for everybody in Lamborghini. The introduction of a third model line endorses the stable and sustainable growth of the company and signifies for us the beginning of a new era," said Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Source: Lamborghini Press Release is on Page 2 New Lamborghini SUV: Production in Sant'Agata Bolognese and investment of hundreds of millions of Euros Rome/Sant'Agata Bolognese, 2015-05-27 Lamborghini prepares for a new era Automobili Lamborghini announces a luxury SUV as a third model to join its product range. The market introduction of the series model is planned for 2018. A concept of the car was first presented as the Lamborghini Urus in 2012 at the Beijing auto show. The new vehicle will be produced in Sant'Agata Bolognese and will herald additional growth and significant opportunities across the marque with the expansion of the product range. It will also determine a substantial increase in the production capacity of the factory. Over the lifecycle of the new vehicle the company will invest hundreds of millions of Euros. The project will be realized due to the joint commitment of several parties involved, including Volkswagen Group with AUDI AG as Lamborghini shareholder, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Invitalia (Italian national agency for inward investments and economic development), Emilia Romagna Region, the Union Representatives and the entire Automobili Lamborghini team. Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann declares: "This is a proud moment for everybody in Lamborghini. The introduction of a third model line endorses the stable and sustainable growth of the company and signifies for us the beginning of a new era." He adds: "The new SUV will be made in Sant'Agata Bolognese, demonstrating our commitment to safeguarding the values of 'Made in Italy' worldwide." Production of the new Lamborghini SUV in Sant'Agata Bolognese will see significant development of the factory site, increasing from the current 80,000 square meters to an area covering ca. 150,000 square meters. The project will include the construction of new facilities, such as a new production line, warehousing and enlargement of the R&D department. The addition of a third model line will also provide important opportunities for the supplier network in Italy and internationally, and have a strong impact on human resources: Lamborghini intends to hire 500 new employees. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management Audi AG states: "Lamborghini, Italdesign Giugiaro and Ducati have developed very successfully under Audi parentage, and kept their Italian identity. With the decision to produce the Lamborghini SUV in Sant' Agata Bolognese we have proven once more our commitment to Italy as an important automotive industrial nation." Luca de Meo, Board Member for Sales and Marketing Audi AG underlines: "Lamborghini is today one of the world's most exclusive brands. We at Audi are very proud of all our Italian subsidiaries. I am delighted at this outcome for both Lamborghini and Italy, and thank the Italian government for their collaboration in helping to make this possible." A luxury SUV sees Lamborghini challenging an unexploited, fast-growing and fascinating car segment, and expanding its clientele significantly. These will include Lamborghini super sports car customers who to date have driven SUV models from other brands, as well as families and customers new to the Lamborghini marque. Distribution of volumes will be well balanced among the three major sales regions: EMEA, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Target markets will be primarily the USA, China, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Germany and Russia. The annual volumes will be around 3,000 vehicles and will double the company's current sales performance.
  20. Buyers can't get enough of GM's midsize trucks. The company says that the Chevrolet Colorado only sit on dealer lots for an average 12 days before being snapped up. This is causing dealers to asking to ask for more trucks. GM's Wentzville, Mo plant is already pumping out as many as they can. But GM has a found a few ways to wring out a few more models. Automotive News reports that the plant has recently instituted a broader schedule reshuffling which saw a unpaid lunch break be cut to eliminate a six-minute production lull which means an extra 18 minutes of production in a three shift day and more importantly - an extra 3,500 trucks per year. GM is also hiring as many as 1,000 'flex' workers to fill weekend shifts which should boost production by more than 2,000 trucks per month. This comes after the plant brought on a third shift in March to help with the massive demand. With this increase in truck production, something had to be cut. In this case it was GM's full-size vans. For every two trucks built, one van rolls off the production line. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  21. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will produce no more passenger cars in the U.S. early next year. The Dodge Dart will end production in September, while production of the Chrysler 200 will cease in December. This is to make way for more production of SUVs and trucks - Jeep Cherokee at Belvidere, Illinois and Sterling Heights, MI for the next-gen Ram 1500. "By the time we finish with this, hopefully, all of our production assets in the United States — if you exclude Canada and Mexico from the fold — all those U.S. plants will be producing either Jeeps or Ram," said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne during a call with analysts yesterday. Why would FCA end passenger car production in the U.S.? Profit margins. The Detroit Free Press reports this is part of Marchionne's multibillion-dollar plan to match the profit margins seen at Ford and General Motors. Part of the plan involves taking advantage of the popularity of crossovers, SUVs, and trucks in the U.S.; low gas prices, and the lower costs of producing passenger cars in Mexico. "When you look at the economics of car manufacturing ...the margins that we were getting from our experience of both the Dart and the Chrysler 200 ...yielded returns that would not, on a competitive basis, match even anything close or remotely close to what we could derive from utilization of those assets in the Jeep or Ram world. So we have made that shift," Marchionne said. Despite FCA ending production of both the Dart and 200, Marchionne said he is still looking for a partner to build these vehicles. “I think we have made progress. We’re not in a position to announce anything." But would any automaker be willing to take up FCA's offer? "Who would want to commit to that capacity in their own plant when they didn't sell well when they were new?" said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific to Automotive News. "No one wants to build sedans when their own capacity is at a premium and they can't build enough crossovers to satisfy demand." Source: Detroit Free Press, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  22. While the replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot is just around the corner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has made the decision to extend production of the two models into the 2017 model year. Sources tell Automotive News that FCA has a plan to end production of both models on December 23rd at the Belvidere, Illinois plant. North American production of the replacement model will begin on January 30, 2017, at FCA's Toluca, Mexico. With a month's gap, FCA wants to make sure they have a stockpile of both models until the replacement model starts arriving at dealers on a regular basis. An FCA spokesman declined to comment. As for Belvidere, the plant will be closed from the holiday break to May 14, 2017 to retool for producing the Cherokee. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  23. Back in April, we reported that the current Dodge Journey would soldier on for another two years due to a change in strategy in FCA's passenger car lineup - outsourcing production of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. This caused plans for the next-generation Journey - due sometime this year - to be pushed back. Now, a possible new plan for the Journey has come to light. Automotive News has learned from supplier sources that FCA will shift Journey production from Mexico to Italy when the crossover is redesigned for the 2019 model year. Why Italy? Sources explain that the Journey will share the platform underpinning the Alfa Romeo Giulia, meaning a transition from front-wheel to rear-wheel drive. With production moving to Italy, this would free up production capacity at FCA's North American plants where more trucks and SUVs can be produced. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  24. General Motors is building as many Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups as they can, but they are still not able to keep up with the demand. Currently, there is a 41 day supply of Colorados and 58 day supply of Canyons in dealers or being sent out. Part of the problem of not meeting demand is the Wentzville, MO is working at full tilt producing as many midsize trucks, along with full-size commercial vans. But GM has a possible solution to increasing production of their midsize trucks; outsource some of the van production. In a statement released on Friday, GM and Navistar, Inc announced a new partnership where Navistar would build the cutaway version of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. Production will take place at Navistar's Springfield, Ohio plant starting in the first half of next year. "This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full size vans," said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President. Automotive News has learned from a source that the move of the cutaway vans will enable GM to produce an additional 40,000 trucks at Wentzville. But what about the possible deal between GM and AM General to produce the cutaway vans last November? The same source says the discussions between the two didn't pan out. Source: Navistar, Automotive News (Subscription Required) Press Release is on Page 2 Navistar Partners With GM To Manufacture Cutaway G Van LISLE, Ill., June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Navistar, Inc. today announced it has reached an agreement with General Motors (GM) to manufacture the cutaway model of GM's G Van at Navistar's Springfield, Ohio plant starting in the first half of 2017. With this multi-year contract, Navistar will add at least 300 jobs and recommission its second line at the plant. "We're very pleased to partner with GM on this important manufacturing opportunity," said Persio Lisboa, president, Navistar operations. "Our Springfield plant is an important part of our manufacturing footprint, and we've been preparing it for a higher volume concentration of light- and medium-duty products as part of our manufacturing strategy. This is an important step towards our goal to drive automotive quality into the commercial vehicle industry." GM produces cutaway vans for commercial customers. The company's Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, which are full-length on frame, are upfitted into utility or service vehicles, ambulance or rescue vehicles, shuttle buses or school buses. "This partnership will provide our Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant more flexibility to keep up with continued demand for mid-size trucks and full size vans," said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President. Navistar and GM are not disclosing any further details of the agreement at this time. Navistar primarily manufactures its DuraStar® and WorkStar® models at the Springfield plant. Last September, Navistar and GM announced a separate long-term agreement to develop and assemble a medium-duty, conventional cab Class 4/5 commercial vehicle at Navistar's Springfield plant starting in 2018. The future products will be jointly developed using Navistar's expertise in rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM's commercial components and engines. The trucks will be available under both the International® and Chevrolet brands, and will mark Navistar's reentry into the Class 4/5 market.
  25. Ford has big ambitions for Lincoln in the Chinese marketplace. CEO Mark Fields has said that China could eclipse the U.S. as the biggest market for the luxury brand. During the first year of selling vehicles in the country, Lincoln moved over 11,000 vehicles. According to Fields, this is the fastest start for a luxury-auto brand there “in recent history.” “It’s different in the U.S. than in China. In China, our heritage plays very strong. Our favorable opinion in China is actually ahead of Lexus and on the factor of prestige, we’re actually ahead of Audi,” said Kumar Galhotra, head of Lincoln. Ford wants to take the next step and possibly start building Lincolns in China. Bloomberg has learned from sources that the blue oval is in talks with its partner in China, Changan Automobile Group. The possible location is in Chongqing and would serve the Chinese market, along with acting as an Asian export base. One source says production could begin as early as 2018, but another says it could be 2020 or later as these discussions are still in the preliminary phase. “There’s no detailed plan at the moment” on producing the Lincoln brand in China, said Zhu Huarong, president of Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. on the sidelines of a fourm earlier this week. Source: Bloomberg

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