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Found 31 results

  1. From the strange bedfellows' file; Hyundai and Kia have announced a joint investment of 80 million Euros (about $90 million) into Croatia-based Rimac Automobili. Rimac may be known to most people for the fast Concept One electric supercar - the vehicle which Richard Hammond had a serious crash when filming The Grand Tour. "The companies will work closely together to develop prototypes for an electric version of Hyundai Motor's N brand midship sports concept car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. Hyundai Motor Group will leverage the partnership to build on its existing R&D capabilities to meet its electrification plan, which includes deployment of 44 eco-friendly models by 2025," Hyundai said in a statement this week. Hyundai has been teasing the idea mid-ship sports car for the past few years with a number of Veloster based concepts like the RM16 N. Maybe something could come to fruition with the help of Rimac. What does Rimac get out of this deal? This will allow the company to grow into a Tier 1 supplier for the industry for electric components. Source: Hyundai, Rimac HYUNDAI MOTOR AND KIA MOTORS INVEST 80M EUR IN RIMAC AND ESTABLISH A TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIP Hyundai Motor to invest 64M EUR; Kia Motors to invest 16M EUR; Rimac and Hyundai Motor Group form a technical partnership to collaborate on two high-performance electric vehicles by 2020 SEOUL, ZAGREB, 14 May 2019 – Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have jointly invested 80M Euros in Rimac Automobili (Rimac) - the Croatian high-performance electric vehicle technology and sportscar company. The companies have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles. With the new collaboration underway, Hyundai Motor Group aims to speed up its transition towards Clean Mobility and position itself as a global leader in driving this change in the industry. Rimac has established themselves as a leader in high-performance electric vehicle technology and as an electric sportscar manufacturer. The company continues to deliver EV technology supporting many industry partners, including Hyundai Motor Group, to accelerate their way towards an electric future. Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Rimac will work closely together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. “Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us. We look forward to collaborating with Rimac on our road to Clean Mobility.” Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac said: “We are very impressed by the Hyundai Motor Group’s vision and prompt and decisive initiative. We believe that this technology partnership will create maximum value for our companies and their customers. Rimac is still a young and relatively small but fast-growing company. We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry. View full article
  2. From the strange bedfellows' file; Hyundai and Kia have announced a joint investment of 80 million Euros (about $90 million) into Croatia-based Rimac Automobili. Rimac may be known to most people for the fast Concept One electric supercar - the vehicle which Richard Hammond had a serious crash when filming The Grand Tour. "The companies will work closely together to develop prototypes for an electric version of Hyundai Motor's N brand midship sports concept car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. Hyundai Motor Group will leverage the partnership to build on its existing R&D capabilities to meet its electrification plan, which includes deployment of 44 eco-friendly models by 2025," Hyundai said in a statement this week. Hyundai has been teasing the idea mid-ship sports car for the past few years with a number of Veloster based concepts like the RM16 N. Maybe something could come to fruition with the help of Rimac. What does Rimac get out of this deal? This will allow the company to grow into a Tier 1 supplier for the industry for electric components. Source: Hyundai, Rimac HYUNDAI MOTOR AND KIA MOTORS INVEST 80M EUR IN RIMAC AND ESTABLISH A TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIP Hyundai Motor to invest 64M EUR; Kia Motors to invest 16M EUR; Rimac and Hyundai Motor Group form a technical partnership to collaborate on two high-performance electric vehicles by 2020 SEOUL, ZAGREB, 14 May 2019 – Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have jointly invested 80M Euros in Rimac Automobili (Rimac) - the Croatian high-performance electric vehicle technology and sportscar company. The companies have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles. With the new collaboration underway, Hyundai Motor Group aims to speed up its transition towards Clean Mobility and position itself as a global leader in driving this change in the industry. Rimac has established themselves as a leader in high-performance electric vehicle technology and as an electric sportscar manufacturer. The company continues to deliver EV technology supporting many industry partners, including Hyundai Motor Group, to accelerate their way towards an electric future. Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Rimac will work closely together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. “Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us. We look forward to collaborating with Rimac on our road to Clean Mobility.” Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac said: “We are very impressed by the Hyundai Motor Group’s vision and prompt and decisive initiative. We believe that this technology partnership will create maximum value for our companies and their customers. Rimac is still a young and relatively small but fast-growing company. We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.
  3. Since the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, a fair amount of dirty laundry has come to light showing the turmoil and tension between various executives and the relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault. The arrest has also brought questions as to whether Ghosn 'jumped' or 'was pushed'. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to the latter. The paper obtained a transcript from a town hall meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan - days after Ghosn's arrest. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that he disagreed with Ghosn's move to increase market share in the U.S., at the cost of investments for the Japanese market. “The investment in the Japanese market was very weak because there was too much power concentrated in one individual who decided that the Japanese market was less important, and we spent too much money on the U.S.,” said Saikawa. “He felt that there was no point investing in Japan where the population was stagnating.” Ghosn set a goal of achieving a 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2017. Nissan came very close to hitting goal, reaching 9.2 percent last year. For Nissan to reach this goal, they piled on the incentives and made a push with sales to rental car companies - the latter according to industry analysts isn't as profitable, despite the higher volume. Nissan also put a lot of pressure on its dealers to move products. José Muñoz, who was Nissan's chairman in the U.S. from 2014 to this past January introduced a campaign under the slogan “Grow or Go.” Basically, if a dealer wasn't prepared to grow fast to meet the targets, Muñoz urged dealers to sell their franchise. “If a dealer didn’t perform they’d threaten a dealer with termination notice,” said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a brokerage firm that deals with the sales of car dealers. The report doesn't say how much investment was moved from Japan to the U.S. But reading between the lines and noting the relationship between the two became quite tense, we're assuming it was a large amount. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  4. Since the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, a fair amount of dirty laundry has come to light showing the turmoil and tension between various executives and the relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault. The arrest has also brought questions as to whether Ghosn 'jumped' or 'was pushed'. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to the latter. The paper obtained a transcript from a town hall meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan - days after Ghosn's arrest. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that he disagreed with Ghosn's move to increase market share in the U.S., at the cost of investments for the Japanese market. “The investment in the Japanese market was very weak because there was too much power concentrated in one individual who decided that the Japanese market was less important, and we spent too much money on the U.S.,” said Saikawa. “He felt that there was no point investing in Japan where the population was stagnating.” Ghosn set a goal of achieving a 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2017. Nissan came very close to hitting goal, reaching 9.2 percent last year. For Nissan to reach this goal, they piled on the incentives and made a push with sales to rental car companies - the latter according to industry analysts isn't as profitable, despite the higher volume. Nissan also put a lot of pressure on its dealers to move products. José Muñoz, who was Nissan's chairman in the U.S. from 2014 to this past January introduced a campaign under the slogan “Grow or Go.” Basically, if a dealer wasn't prepared to grow fast to meet the targets, Muñoz urged dealers to sell their franchise. “If a dealer didn’t perform they’d threaten a dealer with termination notice,” said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a brokerage firm that deals with the sales of car dealers. The report doesn't say how much investment was moved from Japan to the U.S. But reading between the lines and noting the relationship between the two became quite tense, we're assuming it was a large amount. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required) View full article
  5. General Motors' self-driving unit, Cruise got a huge boost today from Honda. Today at a press conference, the two companies announced a new deal where Honda will invest $2.75 billion ($750 million upfront for a 5.7 percent stake and the remainder to be invested over the next 12 years) and will work together on developing a purpose-built self-driving vehicle. Speaking at GM's technical center in Warren, MI, CEO Mary Barra said Honda would provide "additional engineering, design, and technology expertise" and help assist Cruise's “global reach and the ability to deploy at-scale.” “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale,” said Barra in a statement. Honda's investment comes five months after Japanese holding conglomerate SoftBank invested $2.25 billion into the unit. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle Honda investment of $750 million values Cruise at $14.6 billion SAN FRANCISCO — Cruise and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced today that they have joined forces with Honda (TYO: 7267) to pursue the shared goal of transforming mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology. Honda will work jointly with Cruise and General Motors to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment. In addition, Cruise, General Motors and Honda will explore global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network. Honda will contribute approximately $2 billion over 12 years to these initiatives, which, together with a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, brings its total commitment to the project to $2.75 billion. In addition to the recently announced SoftBank investments, this transaction brings the post-money valuation of Cruise to $14.6 billion. “This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.” “Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” said Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.” “With the backing of General Motors, SoftBank and now Honda, Cruise is deeply resourced to accomplish our mission to safely deploy autonomous technology across the globe,” said Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. “The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.” View full article
  6. General Motors' self-driving unit, Cruise got a huge boost today from Honda. Today at a press conference, the two companies announced a new deal where Honda will invest $2.75 billion ($750 million upfront for a 5.7 percent stake and the remainder to be invested over the next 12 years) and will work together on developing a purpose-built self-driving vehicle. Speaking at GM's technical center in Warren, MI, CEO Mary Barra said Honda would provide "additional engineering, design, and technology expertise" and help assist Cruise's “global reach and the ability to deploy at-scale.” “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale,” said Barra in a statement. Honda's investment comes five months after Japanese holding conglomerate SoftBank invested $2.25 billion into the unit. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), General Motors Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle Honda investment of $750 million values Cruise at $14.6 billion SAN FRANCISCO — Cruise and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced today that they have joined forces with Honda (TYO: 7267) to pursue the shared goal of transforming mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology. Honda will work jointly with Cruise and General Motors to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment. In addition, Cruise, General Motors and Honda will explore global opportunities for commercial deployment of the Cruise network. Honda will contribute approximately $2 billion over 12 years to these initiatives, which, together with a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, brings its total commitment to the project to $2.75 billion. In addition to the recently announced SoftBank investments, this transaction brings the post-money valuation of Cruise to $14.6 billion. “This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.” “Honda chose to collaborate with Cruise and General Motors based on their leadership in autonomous and electric vehicle technology and our shared vision of a zero-emissions and zero-collision world,” said Honda Executive Vice President and Representative Director COO Seiji Kuraishi. “We will complement their strengths through our expertise in space efficiency and design to develop the most desirable and effective shared autonomous vehicle.” “With the backing of General Motors, SoftBank and now Honda, Cruise is deeply resourced to accomplish our mission to safely deploy autonomous technology across the globe,” said Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. “The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.”
  7. Yesterday, Moody's Investment Services dropped some bad news on Ford as they have downgraded their credit rating to Baa3 - one rung above speculative grade. Analysis by the investment service said the downgrade "reflects the erosion in the company's global business position and the challenges it will face implementing its Fitness Redesign program." The erosion that Moody's is referring to includes, Profit margins in North America beginning to soften due to higher costs Continuing losses in Europe and concerns of it getting worse due to Brexit Strains in the Chinese and South American markets Moody's said that downgrading Ford's credit rating further isn't out of the question. "The ratings could be downgraded absent clear progress in pursuing the fitness initiatives by early to mid-2019, with evidence the company is on a strong trajectory for recovery." Downgrading Ford's credit rating will make it harder for the automaker to get money from investors. “There are many investors who currently purchase Ford’s debt that would be unable to do so. That means many investors would have to sell their bonds. It means that there are investors that Ford can currently go to to get money and might not be able to do that in the future,” explained Bruce Clark, senior vice president at Moody’s to the Detroit Free Press. In a statment, Ford spokesman Bradley Carroll said the company has been delivering solid financial results "year after year" and believes the market will come around to see their progress. “Since coming through the Great Recession, Ford Motor Company has delivered year after year of solid financial results and operating cash flows. The company has a strong balance sheet, which provides financial flexibility. We know we can capitalize on our strengths, bolster underperforming products and regions and disposition where we cannot make an appropriate return. We’re confident that as we do, the market will recognize our progress,” said Carroll. Ford's Fitness Redesign program will see the company assessing their portfolio "with the goal of restructuring, contracting or exiting businesses that will not be able to generate adequate returns. Restructuring initiatives could entail $11 billion in charges with $7 billion in related cash expenditures over the next three to five years," Moody's wrote. We've already seen some of this as Ford announced they would be dropping most of their carline up to focus on trucks and utility vehicles back in April. "The company's decision to wind down its car business in North America, which we viewed as credit positive, reflects its willingness to make aggressively disciplined capital allocation decisions," said Moody's. But there is one major concern Moody's says in their report Ford still needs to address. Ford hasn't been fully clear with proving more details about the program. "At the same time, I think Ford needs to be even more transparent. Where’s their five-year plan? Fiat Chrysler has done an amazing job communicating their plan. General Motors has done a good job communicating their strategy. I can’t say I have that same clear vision from Ford,” said Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "The alarm bells should have been going off awhile in Dearborn. Had Ford really had a bullish outlook with China, they might have kept Aston Martin, Volvo or Jaguar Land Rover" — brands it sold, said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for AutoPacific Inc. "Ford is trying to add more crossovers, but they are late to market by years. FCA and others got in while the market was hot. I think the opinion from many on Wall Street is that Ford is a one-trick pony and that pony's name is F-Series." Source: Detroit Free Press View full article
  8. Yesterday, Moody's Investment Services dropped some bad news on Ford as they have downgraded their credit rating to Baa3 - one rung above speculative grade. Analysis by the investment service said the downgrade "reflects the erosion in the company's global business position and the challenges it will face implementing its Fitness Redesign program." The erosion that Moody's is referring to includes, Profit margins in North America beginning to soften due to higher costs Continuing losses in Europe and concerns of it getting worse due to Brexit Strains in the Chinese and South American markets Moody's said that downgrading Ford's credit rating further isn't out of the question. "The ratings could be downgraded absent clear progress in pursuing the fitness initiatives by early to mid-2019, with evidence the company is on a strong trajectory for recovery." Downgrading Ford's credit rating will make it harder for the automaker to get money from investors. “There are many investors who currently purchase Ford’s debt that would be unable to do so. That means many investors would have to sell their bonds. It means that there are investors that Ford can currently go to to get money and might not be able to do that in the future,” explained Bruce Clark, senior vice president at Moody’s to the Detroit Free Press. In a statment, Ford spokesman Bradley Carroll said the company has been delivering solid financial results "year after year" and believes the market will come around to see their progress. “Since coming through the Great Recession, Ford Motor Company has delivered year after year of solid financial results and operating cash flows. The company has a strong balance sheet, which provides financial flexibility. We know we can capitalize on our strengths, bolster underperforming products and regions and disposition where we cannot make an appropriate return. We’re confident that as we do, the market will recognize our progress,” said Carroll. Ford's Fitness Redesign program will see the company assessing their portfolio "with the goal of restructuring, contracting or exiting businesses that will not be able to generate adequate returns. Restructuring initiatives could entail $11 billion in charges with $7 billion in related cash expenditures over the next three to five years," Moody's wrote. We've already seen some of this as Ford announced they would be dropping most of their carline up to focus on trucks and utility vehicles back in April. "The company's decision to wind down its car business in North America, which we viewed as credit positive, reflects its willingness to make aggressively disciplined capital allocation decisions," said Moody's. But there is one major concern Moody's says in their report Ford still needs to address. Ford hasn't been fully clear with proving more details about the program. "At the same time, I think Ford needs to be even more transparent. Where’s their five-year plan? Fiat Chrysler has done an amazing job communicating their plan. General Motors has done a good job communicating their strategy. I can’t say I have that same clear vision from Ford,” said Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "The alarm bells should have been going off awhile in Dearborn. Had Ford really had a bullish outlook with China, they might have kept Aston Martin, Volvo or Jaguar Land Rover" — brands it sold, said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for AutoPacific Inc. "Ford is trying to add more crossovers, but they are late to market by years. FCA and others got in while the market was hot. I think the opinion from many on Wall Street is that Ford is a one-trick pony and that pony's name is F-Series." Source: Detroit Free Press
  9. Last September, Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to begin electrifying their lineup in 2020. This means electrics, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. There is a good reason why JLR is doing this. Bloomberg reports that the company is very dependent on diesels in Europe. In the fourth quarter of last year, 87 percent of JLR sales in the region were made up of diesel vehicles - surprising to say in the least as sales of diesels for other brands were dealing due to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. But it is starting to hurt Jaguar Land Rover. The company said total sales and revenue through March “did not grow as much as we planned” due to customers becoming very concerned about diesel vehicles. Margins and profit also took a hit. To pull this off, JLR needs to spend a lot of money. At a presentation for investors yesterday, the company announced that it would be spending 13.5 billion pounds ($18 billion) for the next three years as part of their electrification plans. A fair chunk of the investment will go to JLR's plants in the United Kingdom for retooling. The goal is to offer three versions of all their models, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Electric-only models will only be offered if there is enough customer demand according to a spokesman. Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required)
  10. Last September, Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to begin electrifying their lineup in 2020. This means electrics, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. There is a good reason why JLR is doing this. Bloomberg reports that the company is very dependent on diesels in Europe. In the fourth quarter of last year, 87 percent of JLR sales in the region were made up of diesel vehicles - surprising to say in the least as sales of diesels for other brands were dealing due to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. But it is starting to hurt Jaguar Land Rover. The company said total sales and revenue through March “did not grow as much as we planned” due to customers becoming very concerned about diesel vehicles. Margins and profit also took a hit. To pull this off, JLR needs to spend a lot of money. At a presentation for investors yesterday, the company announced that it would be spending 13.5 billion pounds ($18 billion) for the next three years as part of their electrification plans. A fair chunk of the investment will go to JLR's plants in the United Kingdom for retooling. The goal is to offer three versions of all their models, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Electric-only models will only be offered if there is enough customer demand according to a spokesman. Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required) View full article
  11. The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have been moving quite rapidly off dealer lots. In January, sales of the Expedition rose 59 percent while the Navigator saw a jaw-dropping 132 percent increase. But this is proving to be a problem for Ford as their dealers can't get enough of either model to satisfy consumer demand. A source told Automotive News that CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Expeditions and Navigators to help get more out into the world. The source said restricting employees from ordering a mainstream vehicle is very rare. "We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service during Ford's monthly sales call earlier this month. Ford will be addressing this issue with a $25 million investment into their Kentucky Truck Plant today. The investment will allow the plant to produce 25 percent more Expedition and Navigator models. "It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles. In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford Press Release is on Page 2 FORD INCREASING PRODUCTION OF ALL-NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR, FORD EXPEDITION TO MEET GREATER-THAN-ANTICIPATED CUSTOMER DEMAND Ford is increasing production of two entirely new SUVs – the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition – to meet surging customer demand A new $25 million investment brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed; company has boosted production targets for full-size SUVs approximately 25 percent since fall This additional investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades all help the company improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 12, 2018 – Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models. The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market. “The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.” A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed. This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades are examples of the company’s quest to improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible. Surging customer demand Lincoln dealers simply can’t keep the entirely new Navigator on dealer lots; the luxury SUVs are spending an average of just seven days at the dealership before they are sold. Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models. Customer demand for the highly-equipped Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. Navigator sales more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40 percent and new interest from younger consumers. Expedition also is off to a strong start, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January. Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57 percent last month and vehicles are spending just seven days on dealer lots. To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts. View full article
  12. The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have been moving quite rapidly off dealer lots. In January, sales of the Expedition rose 59 percent while the Navigator saw a jaw-dropping 132 percent increase. But this is proving to be a problem for Ford as their dealers can't get enough of either model to satisfy consumer demand. A source told Automotive News that CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Expeditions and Navigators to help get more out into the world. The source said restricting employees from ordering a mainstream vehicle is very rare. "We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service during Ford's monthly sales call earlier this month. Ford will be addressing this issue with a $25 million investment into their Kentucky Truck Plant today. The investment will allow the plant to produce 25 percent more Expedition and Navigator models. "It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles. In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford Press Release is on Page 2 FORD INCREASING PRODUCTION OF ALL-NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR, FORD EXPEDITION TO MEET GREATER-THAN-ANTICIPATED CUSTOMER DEMAND Ford is increasing production of two entirely new SUVs – the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition – to meet surging customer demand A new $25 million investment brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed; company has boosted production targets for full-size SUVs approximately 25 percent since fall This additional investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades all help the company improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 12, 2018 – Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models. The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market. “The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.” A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed. This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades are examples of the company’s quest to improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible. Surging customer demand Lincoln dealers simply can’t keep the entirely new Navigator on dealer lots; the luxury SUVs are spending an average of just seven days at the dealership before they are sold. Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models. Customer demand for the highly-equipped Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. Navigator sales more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40 percent and new interest from younger consumers. Expedition also is off to a strong start, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January. Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57 percent last month and vehicles are spending just seven days on dealer lots. To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts.
  13. Tesla is known for building quick vehicles, but they're also known for burning through a lot of cash. Bloomberg recently crunched some numbers on how fast Tesla goes through money and the amount is quite shocking. According to their data, Tesla has been burning through $8,000 per minute (about $480,000 in an hour) for the past 12 months. At this rate, Bloomberg predicts that Tesla could run out of money by next August. Tesla spending money like it is going out of style is not all that surprising. The automaker is trying to ramp up production of the Model 3 along with dealing with various issues. Still, the $8,000 per minute figure gives us an idea of how far Tesla still has to go before exiting what it calls 'production hell'. Investors still are bullish on the electric car builder, with a share price of $317.81 at the close of trading yesterday. Tesla also has a market capitalization of more than $53 billion, beating the likes of Ford ($48 billion). The difference being is that Ford is able to consistently make a profit. Tesla says they have enough cash to meet its target of building 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of March, and expects to “generate significant cash flows from operating activities” afterward. The company is also reservations on their Roadster due in 2020* to help raise funds. Buyers will need to plop down $50,000 for the standard model or $250,000 for the Founders Edition. Tesla will only produce 1,000 models of the Founders Edition, meaning they could possibly produce $250 million in income. “Whether they can last another 10 months or a year, he needs money, and quickly,” said Kevin Tynan, senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Tynan estimates that Tesla needs to raise $2 billion or more in capital by mid-2018 to stay afloat. Source: Bloomberg
  14. Tesla is known for building quick vehicles, but they're also known for burning through a lot of cash. Bloomberg recently crunched some numbers on how fast Tesla goes through money and the amount is quite shocking. According to their data, Tesla has been burning through $8,000 per minute (about $480,000 in an hour) for the past 12 months. At this rate, Bloomberg predicts that Tesla could run out of money by next August. Tesla spending money like it is going out of style is not all that surprising. The automaker is trying to ramp up production of the Model 3 along with dealing with various issues. Still, the $8,000 per minute figure gives us an idea of how far Tesla still has to go before exiting what it calls 'production hell'. Investors still are bullish on the electric car builder, with a share price of $317.81 at the close of trading yesterday. Tesla also has a market capitalization of more than $53 billion, beating the likes of Ford ($48 billion). The difference being is that Ford is able to consistently make a profit. Tesla says they have enough cash to meet its target of building 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of March, and expects to “generate significant cash flows from operating activities” afterward. The company is also reservations on their Roadster due in 2020* to help raise funds. Buyers will need to plop down $50,000 for the standard model or $250,000 for the Founders Edition. Tesla will only produce 1,000 models of the Founders Edition, meaning they could possibly produce $250 million in income. “Whether they can last another 10 months or a year, he needs money, and quickly,” said Kevin Tynan, senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Tynan estimates that Tesla needs to raise $2 billion or more in capital by mid-2018 to stay afloat. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  15. Ford dropped a few bombshells this morning at a press conference in Flat Rock, MI. The big one was the American automaker dropping plans to build $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico (which was in the early stage of construction). Instead, Ford will invest $700 million into their Flat Rock that will add 700 jobs to the plant. “We look at all factors and in our view, we see a more positive U.S. manufacturing environment under President-elect Trump and the pro-growth policies and proposals that he’s talking about. So this is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields during the press conference. Fields was quick to point out this decision was made recently and independent of President-Elect Donald Trump, who has slammed the company for moving production of their small cars to Mexico. The investment will bring a new manufacturing innovation center and the ability to produce electrified and autonomous vehicles, alongside the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental. While Ford has canned the new Mexico plant, that doesn't mean plans for production of the Focus going there haven't. Ford will expand their Hermosillo, Mexico plant to add Focus production. The expansion will add 200 jobs. Ford also announced that within the next five years, they would introduce 13 new electric and hybrid vehicles around the world. Seven of those vehicles were revealed and include, Transit Connect plug-in hybrid for Europe in 2019 Hybrid version of the Mustang in 2020. This promises to have V8 power and " even more low-end torque." F-150 hybrid in 2020. An all-new fully electric small SUV in 2020 High-volume autonomous vehicle built for ride-hailing or sharing in 2021 and be built at Flat Rock. Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. Source: Ford, The Detroit News, Motor Trend Press Release is on Page 2 FORD ADDING ELECTRIFIED F-150, MUSTANG, TRANSIT BY 2020 IN MAJOR EV PUSH; EXPANDED U.S. PLANT TO ADD 700 JOBS TO MAKE EVS, AUTONOMOUS CARS Ford confirms seven of 13 new global electrified vehicles coming in the next five years, including F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid and Transit Custom plug-in hybrid Ford to launch fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles and two new electrified police vehicles The automaker is investing $700 million and adding 700 direct new jobs in Flat Rock (Michigan) Assembly Plant to create a factory capable of producing high-tech electrified and autonomous vehicles – plus the iconic Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental Ford is piloting wireless technology that makes recharging an electric vehicle as easy as pulling into a parking spot; in addition, the company is testing EV prototypes this year in Europe, New York and other large U.S. cities Ford is canceling plans for a new $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and investing $700 million in the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant’s expansion; Ford will build its next-generation Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, to improve company profitability FLAT ROCK, Mich., Jan. 3, 2017 – Ford today detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S., a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally. The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The expansion will create 700 direct new jobs. The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle lineup. The plans are part of the company’s expansion to be an auto and a mobility company, including leading in electrified and autonomous vehicles and providing new mobility solutions. “As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.” Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive. The seven global electrified vehicles announced today include: An all-new fully electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia A high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021 and will be built at the Flat Rock plant A hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pickup available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. The F-150 Hybrid, built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator A hybrid version of the iconic Mustang that will deliver V8 power and even more low-end torque. The Mustang Hybrid, built at the Flat Rock Plant, debuts in 2020 and will be available in the North America to start A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe engineered to help reduce operating costs in even the most congested streets Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. One of the two new hybrid police vehicles will be built in Chicago, and both will be upfitted with their police gear at Ford’s dedicated police vehicle modification center in Chicago In addition, Ford announces that its global utility lineup will be the company’s first hybrids powered by EcoBoost® rather than naturally aspirated engines, furthering improving performance and fuel economy. The company also plans to be as aggressive in developing global electrified vehicles services and solutions. These include EV fleet management, route planning and telematics solutions. Building the Future To support the new era of vehicles, Ford is adding 700 direct new U.S. jobs and investing $700 million during the next four years, creating the new Manufacturing Innovation Center at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Employees there will build the all-new small utility vehicle with extended battery range as well as the fully autonomous vehicle for ride-hailing or ride-sharing – along with the iconic Mustang and Lincoln Continental. “I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.” This incremental investment in Flat Rock Assembly Plant comes from $1.6 billion the company previously had planned to invest in a new plant in Mexico. Ford today announced it is cancelling plans for the new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It also announced that, to improve company profitability and ensure the financial as well as commercial success of this vehicle, the next-generation Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. This will make way for two new iconic products at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, where Focus is manufactured today – safeguarding approximately 3,500 U.S. jobs. Unique ElectrificationTechnology Building on two decades of experience, Ford is applying lessons learned to deliver patented technology, software and services to appeal to truck customers, SUV owners, performance enthusiasts, high-volume commercial fleets and everyone in between. “Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “While some others seem to be focused on marketing claims and numbers, we’re focused on providing customers even more of what they love about their Ford vehicles. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.” This year, Ford begins testing its new generation of EV technology. In Europe, Ford will put the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid on the road later this year, along with a new set of mobility services, telematics and connectivity solutions. In addition, in New York and several major U.S. cities, Ford is testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in some of the world’s most demanding traffic conditions. These Transit Connects build on the success of the world’s first hybrid taxi – the Ford Escape Hybrid – which also was the world’s first hybrid SUV and the first North American-built hybrid. Many Escape Hybrid taxis are still on the road, moving passengers for more than 350,000 miles each and still using their original batteries. Today, Ford is America’s top-selling plug-in hybrid brand and second in overall U.S. electrified vehicle sales. New Services Applying approximately two decades of leadership in EVs and commercial vehicles, Ford also is working on a suite of services to make EVs even easier to live with. “Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electrified vehicles themselves,” said Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of Purchasing and Ford’s EV champion. “We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives.” Ford already has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers in Europe to create an ultra-fast charging network projected to be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. Ford also is piloting wireless technology on company EVs in the U.S. and Europe that make recharging as easy as pulling into a parking spot so drivers never forget to recharge. Wireless recharging extends electric-only range for short distance commuters, even during quick stops. FordPass® also can help consumers reserve charging times. Understanding customers Ford has been extensively studying how past and current EV owners use their vehicles. The company has sold more than 520,000 electrified vehicles in North America since 2005 and 560,000 globally. In studying 33,000 Ford EV owners that have made 58 million unique trips, Ford has learned: 88 percent of customers’ habitual daily driving distance is 60 miles or less. For plug-in hybrids, the average refueling distance is 680 miles, making gas station trips rare Customers want as much electric range as possible, but range anxiety drops over time as they become more comfortable and familiar with the technology 80 percent of Ford EV customers charge once a day; 60 percent during evenings Ford EV customers collectively have plugged in their vehicles a total of 9.4 million nights An overwhelming majority of Ford EV owners expect to replace their current EV with a new one, additional Ford research shows. Specifically: 92 percent of battery electric car customers say they will purchase another battery electric vehicle as their next purchase 87 percent of plug-in hybrid customers want another plug-in for their next vehicle View full article
  16. Ford dropped a few bombshells this morning at a press conference in Flat Rock, MI. The big one was the American automaker dropping plans to build $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico (which was in the early stage of construction). Instead, Ford will invest $700 million into their Flat Rock that will add 700 jobs to the plant. “We look at all factors and in our view, we see a more positive U.S. manufacturing environment under President-elect Trump and the pro-growth policies and proposals that he’s talking about. So this is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields during the press conference. Fields was quick to point out this decision was made recently and independent of President-Elect Donald Trump, who has slammed the company for moving production of their small cars to Mexico. The investment will bring a new manufacturing innovation center and the ability to produce electrified and autonomous vehicles, alongside the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental. While Ford has canned the new Mexico plant, that doesn't mean plans for production of the Focus going there haven't. Ford will expand their Hermosillo, Mexico plant to add Focus production. The expansion will add 200 jobs. Ford also announced that within the next five years, they would introduce 13 new electric and hybrid vehicles around the world. Seven of those vehicles were revealed and include, Transit Connect plug-in hybrid for Europe in 2019 Hybrid version of the Mustang in 2020. This promises to have V8 power and " even more low-end torque." F-150 hybrid in 2020. An all-new fully electric small SUV in 2020 High-volume autonomous vehicle built for ride-hailing or sharing in 2021 and be built at Flat Rock. Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. Source: Ford, The Detroit News, Motor Trend Press Release is on Page 2 FORD ADDING ELECTRIFIED F-150, MUSTANG, TRANSIT BY 2020 IN MAJOR EV PUSH; EXPANDED U.S. PLANT TO ADD 700 JOBS TO MAKE EVS, AUTONOMOUS CARS Ford confirms seven of 13 new global electrified vehicles coming in the next five years, including F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid and Transit Custom plug-in hybrid Ford to launch fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles and two new electrified police vehicles The automaker is investing $700 million and adding 700 direct new jobs in Flat Rock (Michigan) Assembly Plant to create a factory capable of producing high-tech electrified and autonomous vehicles – plus the iconic Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental Ford is piloting wireless technology that makes recharging an electric vehicle as easy as pulling into a parking spot; in addition, the company is testing EV prototypes this year in Europe, New York and other large U.S. cities Ford is canceling plans for a new $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and investing $700 million in the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant’s expansion; Ford will build its next-generation Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, to improve company profitability FLAT ROCK, Mich., Jan. 3, 2017 – Ford today detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S., a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally. The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The expansion will create 700 direct new jobs. The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle lineup. The plans are part of the company’s expansion to be an auto and a mobility company, including leading in electrified and autonomous vehicles and providing new mobility solutions. “As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.” Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive. The seven global electrified vehicles announced today include: An all-new fully electric small SUV, coming by 2020, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia A high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021 and will be built at the Flat Rock plant A hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pickup available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. The F-150 Hybrid, built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator A hybrid version of the iconic Mustang that will deliver V8 power and even more low-end torque. The Mustang Hybrid, built at the Flat Rock Plant, debuts in 2020 and will be available in the North America to start A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe engineered to help reduce operating costs in even the most congested streets Two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. One of the two new hybrid police vehicles will be built in Chicago, and both will be upfitted with their police gear at Ford’s dedicated police vehicle modification center in Chicago In addition, Ford announces that its global utility lineup will be the company’s first hybrids powered by EcoBoost® rather than naturally aspirated engines, furthering improving performance and fuel economy. The company also plans to be as aggressive in developing global electrified vehicles services and solutions. These include EV fleet management, route planning and telematics solutions. Building the Future To support the new era of vehicles, Ford is adding 700 direct new U.S. jobs and investing $700 million during the next four years, creating the new Manufacturing Innovation Center at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Employees there will build the all-new small utility vehicle with extended battery range as well as the fully autonomous vehicle for ride-hailing or ride-sharing – along with the iconic Mustang and Lincoln Continental. “I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.” This incremental investment in Flat Rock Assembly Plant comes from $1.6 billion the company previously had planned to invest in a new plant in Mexico. Ford today announced it is cancelling plans for the new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It also announced that, to improve company profitability and ensure the financial as well as commercial success of this vehicle, the next-generation Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. This will make way for two new iconic products at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, where Focus is manufactured today – safeguarding approximately 3,500 U.S. jobs. Unique ElectrificationTechnology Building on two decades of experience, Ford is applying lessons learned to deliver patented technology, software and services to appeal to truck customers, SUV owners, performance enthusiasts, high-volume commercial fleets and everyone in between. “Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “While some others seem to be focused on marketing claims and numbers, we’re focused on providing customers even more of what they love about their Ford vehicles. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.” This year, Ford begins testing its new generation of EV technology. In Europe, Ford will put the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid on the road later this year, along with a new set of mobility services, telematics and connectivity solutions. In addition, in New York and several major U.S. cities, Ford is testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in some of the world’s most demanding traffic conditions. These Transit Connects build on the success of the world’s first hybrid taxi – the Ford Escape Hybrid – which also was the world’s first hybrid SUV and the first North American-built hybrid. Many Escape Hybrid taxis are still on the road, moving passengers for more than 350,000 miles each and still using their original batteries. Today, Ford is America’s top-selling plug-in hybrid brand and second in overall U.S. electrified vehicle sales. New Services Applying approximately two decades of leadership in EVs and commercial vehicles, Ford also is working on a suite of services to make EVs even easier to live with. “Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electrified vehicles themselves,” said Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of Purchasing and Ford’s EV champion. “We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives.” Ford already has a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers in Europe to create an ultra-fast charging network projected to be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. Ford also is piloting wireless technology on company EVs in the U.S. and Europe that make recharging as easy as pulling into a parking spot so drivers never forget to recharge. Wireless recharging extends electric-only range for short distance commuters, even during quick stops. FordPass® also can help consumers reserve charging times. Understanding customers Ford has been extensively studying how past and current EV owners use their vehicles. The company has sold more than 520,000 electrified vehicles in North America since 2005 and 560,000 globally. In studying 33,000 Ford EV owners that have made 58 million unique trips, Ford has learned: 88 percent of customers’ habitual daily driving distance is 60 miles or less. For plug-in hybrids, the average refueling distance is 680 miles, making gas station trips rare Customers want as much electric range as possible, but range anxiety drops over time as they become more comfortable and familiar with the technology 80 percent of Ford EV customers charge once a day; 60 percent during evenings Ford EV customers collectively have plugged in their vehicles a total of 9.4 million nights An overwhelming majority of Ford EV owners expect to replace their current EV with a new one, additional Ford research shows. Specifically: 92 percent of battery electric car customers say they will purchase another battery electric vehicle as their next purchase 87 percent of plug-in hybrid customers want another plug-in for their next vehicle
  17. It hasn't been a good couple of years for workers General Motors' Orion Assembly, home to the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic. Last year, GM laid off 150 workers. This was followed by GM eliminating a shift at the plant this year due to weak demand for small cars. Yesterday, another dose of bad news hit the plant. Both Automotive News and Detroit Free Press report a $245 investment announced last year for the plant has been shifted to GM's Fairfax, Kansas - home to the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse production. A GM spokeswoman tells Automotive News that workers were told about the investment shift back in January. The switch is “part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business,” a spokeswoman went on to say. The investment is for a new vehicle, although GM is keeping quiet. As we reported last year, the vehicle could be a small crossover for Cadillac. The Detroit Free Press notes that Orion will also phase out production of the Verano beginning this fall. Several production-forecasting firms believe Verano production will move down to Mexico. Not changing is the production of Chevrolet Bolt at Orion. The plant has begun to build pre-production models, with production models expected to roll off the line sometime in the fourth quarter. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Detroit Free Press
  18. It hasn't been a good couple of years for workers General Motors' Orion Assembly, home to the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic. Last year, GM laid off 150 workers. This was followed by GM eliminating a shift at the plant this year due to weak demand for small cars. Yesterday, another dose of bad news hit the plant. Both Automotive News and Detroit Free Press report a $245 investment announced last year for the plant has been shifted to GM's Fairfax, Kansas - home to the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse production. A GM spokeswoman tells Automotive News that workers were told about the investment shift back in January. The switch is “part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business,” a spokeswoman went on to say. The investment is for a new vehicle, although GM is keeping quiet. As we reported last year, the vehicle could be a small crossover for Cadillac. The Detroit Free Press notes that Orion will also phase out production of the Verano beginning this fall. Several production-forecasting firms believe Verano production will move down to Mexico. Not changing is the production of Chevrolet Bolt at Orion. The plant has begun to build pre-production models, with production models expected to roll off the line sometime in the fourth quarter. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Detroit Free Press View full article
  19. General Motors announced this morning a new alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft to develop an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. GM has also invested $500 Million into Lyft as part of a round of a $1 billion round of fund-raising - one of the largest investments GM has made into a company. Lyft is a ride-sharing company that connects passengers who need a ride with those who have a car via an app. The app also automates payments to drivers. The goal of two companies is to build out a network of hubs around the U.S. where people can summon an autonomous vehicle via Lyft's app. The partnership with GM could give Lyft over its competitor Uber, which is also developing a network of autonomous vehicles. In the short term, the two are planning on opening a number of hubs that Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. This gives GM a leg up against the likes of Diamler and Ford who are developing their own ride-sharing services. GM will also have a seat on Lyft's board of directors and access to Lyft's app. “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous. With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. Speaking with the Associated Press, Ammann and Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer said the two companies started having serious discussions about three months ago. Both see massive changes coming in the model of car ownership and have similar visions on how to deal with it. Source: The Detroit News, GM Press Release is on Page 2 GM and Lyft to Shape the Future of Mobility SAN FRANCISCO – General Motors and Lyft today announced a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. GM will invest $500 million in Lyft to help the company continue the rapid growth of its successful ridesharing service. In addition, GM will hold a seat on the company’s board of directors. “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.” John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, said: “Working with GM, Lyft will continue to unlock new transportation experiences that bring positive change to our daily lives. Together we will build a better future by redefining traditional car ownership.” Key elements of the GM and Lyft alliance include: Autonomous On-Demand Network: The joint development of a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles will leverage GM’s deep knowledge of autonomous technology and Lyft’s capabilities in providing a broad choice of ride-sharing services. Rental Hub: Beginning immediately, GM will become a preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers through rental hubs in various cities in the U.S. Connectivity: Lyft drivers and customers will have access to GM’s wide portfolio of cars and OnStar services, leveraging two decades of experience in connectivity. This will create a richer ride-sharing experience for both driver and passenger. Joint Mobility Offerings: GM and Lyft will also provide each other’s customers with personalized mobility services and experiences through their respective channels.
  20. General Motors announced this morning a new alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft to develop an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. GM has also invested $500 Million into Lyft as part of a round of a $1 billion round of fund-raising - one of the largest investments GM has made into a company. Lyft is a ride-sharing company that connects passengers who need a ride with those who have a car via an app. The app also automates payments to drivers. The goal of two companies is to build out a network of hubs around the U.S. where people can summon an autonomous vehicle via Lyft's app. The partnership with GM could give Lyft over its competitor Uber, which is also developing a network of autonomous vehicles. In the short term, the two are planning on opening a number of hubs that Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. This gives GM a leg up against the likes of Diamler and Ford who are developing their own ride-sharing services. GM will also have a seat on Lyft's board of directors and access to Lyft's app. “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous. With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. Speaking with the Associated Press, Ammann and Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer said the two companies started having serious discussions about three months ago. Both see massive changes coming in the model of car ownership and have similar visions on how to deal with it. Source: The Detroit News, GM Press Release is on Page 2 GM and Lyft to Shape the Future of Mobility SAN FRANCISCO – General Motors and Lyft today announced a long-term strategic alliance to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. GM will invest $500 million in Lyft to help the company continue the rapid growth of its successful ridesharing service. In addition, GM will hold a seat on the company’s board of directors. “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.” John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, said: “Working with GM, Lyft will continue to unlock new transportation experiences that bring positive change to our daily lives. Together we will build a better future by redefining traditional car ownership.” Key elements of the GM and Lyft alliance include: Autonomous On-Demand Network: The joint development of a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles will leverage GM’s deep knowledge of autonomous technology and Lyft’s capabilities in providing a broad choice of ride-sharing services. Rental Hub: Beginning immediately, GM will become a preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers through rental hubs in various cities in the U.S. Connectivity: Lyft drivers and customers will have access to GM’s wide portfolio of cars and OnStar services, leveraging two decades of experience in connectivity. This will create a richer ride-sharing experience for both driver and passenger. Joint Mobility Offerings: GM and Lyft will also provide each other’s customers with personalized mobility services and experiences through their respective channels. View full article
  21. Ford announced yesterday a massive investment for electric and hybrid vehicles. Mark Fields, CEO of Ford says the company plans on spending $4.5 billion by 2020 to bring out 13 electric and hybrid models, increasing the current percentage of electric and hybrid models from 13 to 40 percent. Now this announcement comes at an interesting time as sales of electric and hybrid vehicles are dropping due to low gas prices. According to Autodata Corp, sales of Ford's hybrids through November dropped 25 percent to 59,301 vehicles. The Nissan Leaf saw sales drop 41 percent through November. “Certainly, the gas prices that we’re seeing right now don’t help the electric-vehicle sales. We’ve got a lot to do to inform and educate the customer about the advantages of not just the battery-electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrids in particular and hybrids,” said Raj Nair, Ford's product development chief. But Ford is looking to the future with this investment as stricter emission standards are coming. “We’re going to see more and more companies invest in electrified vehicles because at the moment there’s some very stringent 2025 emission standards. The way to get there is using electrification. It’s a significant investment, but it’s the way the industry is moving forward,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.com. Source: Bloomberg
  22. Ford announced yesterday a massive investment for electric and hybrid vehicles. Mark Fields, CEO of Ford says the company plans on spending $4.5 billion by 2020 to bring out 13 electric and hybrid models, increasing the current percentage of electric and hybrid models from 13 to 40 percent. Now this announcement comes at an interesting time as sales of electric and hybrid vehicles are dropping due to low gas prices. According to Autodata Corp, sales of Ford's hybrids through November dropped 25 percent to 59,301 vehicles. The Nissan Leaf saw sales drop 41 percent through November. “Certainly, the gas prices that we’re seeing right now don’t help the electric-vehicle sales. We’ve got a lot to do to inform and educate the customer about the advantages of not just the battery-electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrids in particular and hybrids,” said Raj Nair, Ford's product development chief. But Ford is looking to the future with this investment as stricter emission standards are coming. “We’re going to see more and more companies invest in electrified vehicles because at the moment there’s some very stringent 2025 emission standards. The way to get there is using electrification. It’s a significant investment, but it’s the way the industry is moving forward,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.com. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  23. Last week, Volvo announced that will be building a factory in South Carolina that will go online in 2018 and build 100,000 vehicles per year. Quite ambitious considering the brand only sold 56,366 vehicles in the U.S. last year. But the plant is part of a new comeback plan for Volvo. "We have reinvented ourselves and we believe it now makes sense to go on the attack again in the United States," said Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. Now you might be scratching your head, wondering how a plant that will build more cars than Volvo actually sells at the moment will help the automaker. Well there is precedent with this decision. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz built plants in anticipation of future growth almost two decades ago and it has worked like a charm. But for this happen, Volvo also needs some new products and tech to pull this off. Well the company is rolling out its brand new XC90 crossover and their Drive-E engine lineup. "All the planets are aligning for Volvo right now. They have wanted a bigger U.S. manufacturing presence for a long time. Now they have the investment and the future product lineup, and the U.S. market is expanding to support it," said Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  24. Last week, Volvo announced that will be building a factory in South Carolina that will go online in 2018 and build 100,000 vehicles per year. Quite ambitious considering the brand only sold 56,366 vehicles in the U.S. last year. But the plant is part of a new comeback plan for Volvo. "We have reinvented ourselves and we believe it now makes sense to go on the attack again in the United States," said Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. Now you might be scratching your head, wondering how a plant that will build more cars than Volvo actually sells at the moment will help the automaker. Well there is precedent with this decision. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz built plants in anticipation of future growth almost two decades ago and it has worked like a charm. But for this happen, Volvo also needs some new products and tech to pull this off. Well the company is rolling out its brand new XC90 crossover and their Drive-E engine lineup. "All the planets are aligning for Volvo right now. They have wanted a bigger U.S. manufacturing presence for a long time. Now they have the investment and the future product lineup, and the U.S. market is expanding to support it," said Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  25. General Motors' troubled brand, Opel announced some major changes this past week. For starters, the company announced that it would be pulling out of China in January of 2015. The German marque said poor sales was the major reason as to the brand's departure. In 2013, Opel only sold 4,365 vehicles through twenty-two dealers. That pales in comparison to Buick which moved 810,000 vehicles through 650 dealers. "This is a long overdue decision. It would have cost hundreds of millions of euros to raise awareness of the Opel brand and to expand the distribution network. Buick, however, is one of the market leaders in China and we plan to intensify our future collaboration, with several projects currently under examination," said Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann. More intriguing is the announcement for Opel's Ruesselsheim, Germany plant. The automaker announced a €245 million ($337 million) investment into the plant for a new model that will be announced later this year. Opel announced that Ruesselsheim would be home of a future model that will be sold in the U.S. as a Buick. This bit of news furthers the plans of intertwining Buick and Opel. What could this new model be? We been hearing rumors that it could be the Adam or Cascada convertible. We'll keep you updated. Source: Opel 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 Opel Invests 245 Million Euros in Ruesselsheim Investment for additional vehicle for main German plant at end of decade Additional production of a Buick model for North America Change of export strategy for Chinese market Ruesselsheim. On top of four Insignia variants and the Zafira Tourer, which will be produced as of January 2015, the Ruesselsheim plant will get two additional vehicles later in the decade. This was decided by the Opel Supervisory Board at its meeting this week. A significant investment of 245 million euros will be made to build an additional model. Due to competitive reasons, details about this car will not be announced until the end of the year. The Supervisory Board also gave the green light for the future production of an additional variant of the Insignia. The Ruesselsheim plant has been chosen for the assembly of a future model which will be sold in the US under the Buick brand name. Start of production will also be in the second half of the decade. "With the investment in a new, additional model for Ruesselsheim, we will take another important step in our multi-billion dollar model offensive with which we will pave the way for Opel’s profitable growth,” said GM President and Opel Supervisory Board Chairman Dan Ammann. "And the Buick production in Ruesselsheim will further improve our capacity utilization," added Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. ”The decisions of the Supervisory Board for the production of a Buick and for the investment in an additional model for the Rüsselsheim plant are based on the recently concluded collective agreement. They are part of our extended growth strategy and are further evidence of GM’s confidence in Opel," said Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug, Head of the Opel Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board. In addition, Opel has decided to change the export strategy for the Chinese market. As of January 2015, sales of the Opel brand in China will cease. "This is a long overdue decision,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “It would have cost hundreds of millions of euros to raise awareness of the Opel brand and to expand the distribution network. Buick, however, is one of the market leaders in China and we plan to intensify our future collaboration, with several projects currently under examination." Last year, 22 Opel dealers in China sold a total of 4,365 vehicles. In comparison, Buick – with 650 dealers – sold about 810,000 vehicles in China, including several that were co-developed with Opel. Globally, Buick set an all-time global sales record last year, delivering 1.032 million vehicles worldwide. Buick was GM’s third largest passenger car brand after Chevrolet (4.984 million units) and Opel/Vauxhall (1.064 million units).

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