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GM Powering Texas Plant Using Wind Power

Company working toward 100 percent renewable energy goal.

by on Dec.06, 2016

GM signed a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems to source 50 megawatts of wind energy to power 16 sites with 100% renewable energy.

GM recently made what the company describes as its largest purchase of renewable energy to date by purchasing enough wind power to equal the electricity needs of 16 of its U.S. facilities, including the Arlington assembly and stamping, GM business offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and 13 parts warehouses east of the Mississippi River.

“GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy.

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“These renewable energy investments drive down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on finite resources, and help keep our air and water clean.” Read the rest of this entry »

Honda Previews a World of “Cooperative Mobility”

Giving emotions to a box on wheels.

by on Dec.06, 2016

It may not be very exciting to look at, but the Honda NeuV concept can develop an emotional bond with its passengers.

Anyone who has struggled to merge lanes at a construction site might find the idea a little hard to swallow, but Honda is imagining what it calls a “cooperative mobility ecosystem” in which cars, if not necessarily their drivers, all work together to reduce highway congestion and improve vehicle safety.

The Japanese maker plans to present its vision – embodied in an “automated EV commuter vehicle” it’s calling NeuV – at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next month. Traditionally dedicated to smartphones, TVs and other gadgets, CES has become an increasingly important place of automakers to show and tell about their latest high-tech concepts.

Product News!

In the case of Honda, it says its “The exhibit will include the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called ‘emotion engine’ that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Looking to Add $2B in New Debt

Automaker looks to bolster its efforts in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's Joe Hinrichs says the automaker is taking advantage of favorable market conditions to raise $2 billion in new debt.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Ford Motor Co. is looking to take advantage of favorable market conditions by raising $2.8 billion in new debt. It marks the first time in four years the automaker has issued new debt.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, told Reuters the funds would be used for investment in new technology including electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles, as well as mobility efforts such as ride-sharing and ride-hailing.

Financial News!

“It’s an opportunistic time,” Hinrichs told Reuters in an interview. “It’s a supportive marketplace for long-term debt given where rates are, and we want to make sure that throughout the cycle of the industry we have the flexibility to do what we need to do and want to do, especially in the emerging part of the business.” Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Asks Agency About Autonomous Autos

Tech giant has questions for NHTSA about self-driving cars.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Apple revealed a little more about its automotive interests in a recent letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Unlike Google with its little marshmallow cars scooting around its California campus and the city of Mountain View, Apple has been much more secretive about its automotive ambitions — until now.

The tech giant’s kept “Project Titan” under wraps until a recent letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking a few questions about autonomous vehicle technology.

News Now!

The company believes the technology has the potential to “greatly enhance the human experience,” according to the letter filed with the agency on Nov. 22. In the five-page letter, the company had questions about the Obama administration’s proposed self-driving guidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebuilding the Motor City, One Shovel of Dirt at a Time

GM plows new ground at an urban farm.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Old gear from the GM Tech Center will turn this abandoned apartment into MUFI's new HQ.

If you listen carefully, you just might hear the sounds of the past as you stand on the 7400 block of Brush St., along Detroit’s North End. You can certainly see the shadows and outlines where, just blocks away, one-time automotive factories now stand idle and decaying, as well as the former headquarters of General Motors.

Like much of Detroit’s inner city, the North End has fallen on hard times in recent decades. Where tidy workers’ homes once stood shoulder-to-shoulder, there are now more gaps than in the smile of a veteran hockey player.

We Crop Up Everywhere!

In fact, almost every building is gone on this particular block – but that’s the good news, the site being transformed into the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, a three-acre micro-agricultural project where as many as 200 different types of produce are being grown. It’s an ironic return, quite literally, to the city’s roots as this land was once part of the many farms established by Detroit’s original French settlers.

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Pickup Trucks Are Suddenly Hot in China

Rapturous for the Ford F-150 Raptor.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's soon plans to start shipping the newly updated to F-150 Raptor to China.

They’re banned in Beijing, as well as Shanghai and a number of other cities, but pickup trucks are still expected to be the hot ticket when the Guangzhou Motor Show opens up to the public later this month.

In fact, import trucks like the Ford F-150, as well as little domestic models, are one of the hottest segments of the Chinese auto industry right now, with IHS Automotive expecting a 14% increase in sales for all of 2016, about double the pace of the overall market’s growth.

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And despite hefty import incentives, that’s enough to encourage Detroit-based makers to expand pickup export plans, Ford, for one, planning to start shipping its F-150 Raptor model to China starting in 2017.

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It’s a Gas: Nikola Unveils Hydrogen Heavy-Hauler

Utah start-up hopes to build 50,000 fuel-cell trucks annually.

by on Dec.05, 2016

The Nikola One heavy-duty rig will be able to travel up to 1,200 miles on a fill-up.

A Utah-based start-up hoping to transform the heavy-duty truck industry has rolled out its first hydrogen-powered prototype.

Dubbed Nikola One, the big rig replaces the conventional diesel truck engine with a fuel-cell stack capable, it claims, of delivering the equivalent of 20 miles per gallon – or twice what the best of today’s heavy trucks can deliver. And officials from Nikola Motor Co. claim the rig will get up to 1,200 miles on a tank – though the big challenge today would be finding places to fill up.

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“There are many out there that wondered if we would deliver, but today we proudly show off the most advanced semi-truck ever built,” declared Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton, during a well-attended debut in Salt Lake City.

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Fed Sends Warning About Subprime Auto Loans

The loans have been helping to fuel the current sales boom.

by on Dec.05, 2016

The Federal Reserve is concerned about the subprime loans that are helping fuel the current automotive boom.

While carmakers were celebrating strong sales in November that are expected to aim the industry towards its second consecutive sales record, the Federal Reserve sent a signal that the industry ought to be a little bit more cautious about the subprime loans that have helped fuel the boom during the past couple of years.

In a press release issued the same day that sales figure appeared, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which keeps an eye on consumer credit noted in its latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit that there has been a “small” increase in overall debt in the third quarter of 2016, bolstered by gains in non-housing debt.

The Journal of Record!

“Mortgage balances continue to grow at a sluggish pace since the recession while auto loan balances are growing steadily. The rise in auto loans has been fueled by high levels of originations across the spectrum of creditworthiness, including subprime loans, which are disproportionately originated by auto finance companies,” the New York Fed noted. Read the rest of this entry »

Barra Accepts Post on Trump Economic Advisory Panel

GM boss only top executive from an automaker in the group.

by on Dec.02, 2016

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra accepted a spot on President-elect Donald Trump's newly formed economy and trade forum.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra’s success has apparently made her very popular in Washington D.C. these days.

President-elect Donald Trump asked Barra to be part of his Strategic and Policy Forum that will advise him on economic and trade issues.

The Last Word!

Trump included Barra in the group composed of “some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders” that “is designed to provide direct input to the president from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic and non-partisan manner,” according to Trump officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Chrysler 200 Rolls off Sterling Heights Line Today

Marks end of FCA compact car production in U.S.

by on Dec.02, 2016

An FCA employee installs a center console on a Chrysler 200. Production on the 200 ends today.

“Imported from Detroit” no more. Today marks the end of production for the Chrysler 200, a sedan seen only a few years ago as critical to the revival of the once-bankrupt automaker.

But like the Dodge Dart sedan that was pulled from production in September, Chrysler’s four-door has fallen victim to shifting market trends. Sedans, especially midsize ones, have taken a beating as motorists by the millions switch to sport- and crossover-utility vehicles. Light trucks, in general, now account for more than 60% of U.S. new vehicle sales.

Product News!

The precise time when the last Chrysler 200 will roll down the assembly line at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, isn’t clear. The 1,700 hourly employees are scheduled to work the line until around 3 p.m., “but it’s all a matter of parts,” noted spokesperson Jodi Tinson. When they run out, workers will be sent home. Read the rest of this entry »