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Cadillac Offering Low-Volume Dealers Buyouts

De Nysschen denies division trying to delete dealers.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen has warned it will take time to rebuild the brand's momentum.

Weeks after telling its 925 dealers in the U.S. that they will need to spend big as part of Project Pinnacle, the luxury brand’s quest to once again be a top competitor in the segment, Cadillac is offering some of its dealers a get out of jail free card.

Actually, according to Automotive News, General Motors’ luxury brand is offering 400 dealers as much as $180,000 to close up their stores by the end of next year if they are unwilling or unable to expend the capital needed to upgrade their retail locations.

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The dealers in question are the brands 400 “smallest” dealers in the U.S., the paper reported. Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen quickly tried to allay fears that the brand is trying to thin out the herd and that the program is being offered as an alternative for dealers who don’t have the resources to make the commitment. Read the rest of this entry »

Uber Making Rides Safer with Selfie Security

Facial recognition software makes match possible.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Uber is now using facial recognition software to ensure the driver picking up riders is actually the driver on the Uber profile.

Uber is upping its game when it comes to the safety of its drivers and riders with a new system that requires drivers to confirm their identity before each shift by taking a selfie.

Called Real-Time ID Check the selfie taken is matched to a photo on file to ensure the driver providing rides is actually driver on the account. While the incidence of driver identities being stolen is pretty low, the results in the rare instance it does happen could be disastrous, Uber officials noted.

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During a trial run with “thousands of drivers” more than 99% of drivers using the system were able to match their selfie to their on-file photo. Officials note that in the cases where there was a problem, most of the time it was related to the quality of the selfie, such as a picture taken in low light. Read the rest of this entry »

VW Hints at Design of Upcoming EV Ahead of Paris Debut

Long-range EV could pose challenge to Tesla, GM.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Volkswagen plans to take the covers of several electric vehicles at the Paris Motor Show next month, but released sketches hinting at what's to come.

Volkswagen will come charging into the City of Lights next week, lifting the covers on its newest battery-electric vehicles.

Expected to deliver perhaps 300 miles or more of range, the maker is offering a vague hint of what will be revealed at the biennial Paris Motor Show with a set of sketches. They suggest the unnamed EV will be about the size of a Volkswagen Golf and could be targeted at a variety of electric competitors, anything from the BMW i3 to the upcoming Tesla Model 3, as well as the Chevrolet Bolt set to go sale before the end of this year.

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The German maker has traditionally relied on diesels, but in the wake of its emissions scandal it has been rapidly shifting into electric propulsion, as much as a quarter of its sales expected to come from battery-based models a decade from now. The new concept, says the maker, will be “as revolutionary as the Beetle was seven decades ago.” Read the rest of this entry »

Smart Plugs In with Next-Gen Fortwo Electric Drive

Fifth-generation battery microcar to debut in Paris next week.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Smart's next-generation Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED for short, is coming to the Paris Motor Show.

The Smart brand has long struggled to find a niche for its pint-sized Fortwo city car. It may make a better case with the arrival of the next-generation Electric Drive.

All but identical to the latest, gas-powered Smart Fortwo that made its debut last year, the Electric Drive, or ED, will be available in both coupe and cabriolet configurations when it reaches the U.S. market next year.

Auto Show News!

“The smart is the ideal city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little bit more perfect,” said Annette Winkler, the global Smart brand boss. Read the rest of this entry »

Chevy’s 2018 Equinox Comes with Mileage-Raising Surprise: A Diesel

New compact SUV will be a global vehicle for the brand.

by on Sep.23, 2016

The all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox borrows exterior design cues from other vehicles in the brand's line-up.

General Motors Co. took the wraps off the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox for the first time and revealed that they plan to offer customers a diesel engine in the next generation compact utility vehicle — one of the industry’s most coveted and competitive segments.

Alan Batey, Global Chevrolet president, said GM went all out to insure the next generation Equinox satisfies the desires of a broad swath of customers. The compact SUV segment is now the industry’s single-largest segment surpassing midsized, which was the single most popular vehicle solid in the U.S for nearly three decades.

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However, the ground is shifting around automakers and the compact SUV segment has become critical as automakers battle for the affections of younger buyers. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Anti-Union’ Out at VW’s Tennessee Plant

UAW represents about 55% of employees at Chattanooga plant.

by on Sep.22, 2016

Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is now a one-union facility as the automaker decertified the American Council of Employees.

The uncertainty surrounding the UAW’s status at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, just got a little clearer today.

The automaker decertified the competing union at the plant, the American Council of Employees, saying it no longer had enough members – 15% of the workforce – to qualify for recognition by the company.

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Volkswagen told workers the UAW was again verified as representing at least 45% of workers at the plant, qualifying the union for the top tier of the policy, which enables the UAW to interact regularly with management and have a meeting space within the plant. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Sues to Sell Cars in Michigan

EV maker names governor and attorney general in suit.

by on Sep.22, 2016

Tesla is suing to sell its vehicles, perhaps in a Nordstrom's location, in the State of Michigan.

In a move that came as a surprise to no one, Tesla Motors filed suit against several government officials in Michigan trying to sell its electric vehicles in the Great Lakes State.

The California-based EV maker’s suit named Gov. Rick Snyder, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette as defendants. State law requires automakers to use a dealer network to sell vehicles. Tesla acts as its own dealer network.

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Snyder declined comment on the suit. The company operates in 23 states in the U.S., and in some of those, unleashed its legal team to gain access to those markets. So the maneuver in Michigan wasn’t unexpected. Read the rest of this entry »

Motor City Gains an Edge on Silicon Valley

Detroit evolving from Rust Belt relic to high-tech hub.

by on Sep.22, 2016

As the Detroit automakers rebound, so too is the city, region and other business. Many, like FCA, are re-establishing a presence in the city.

Like the city that helped give it life, Detroit’s auto industry is often seen as a Rust Belt relic, a perception underscored by moves by manufacturers like Ford, which is rapidly expanding its new tech center in Silicon Valley.

But just as the Motor City itself begins to revive after decades of disinvestment and so-called “white flight,” so is the local auto industry gaining new momentum. But it’s not just the traditional Detroit Big Three bouncing back after the Great Recession. The Southeast Michigan region is seeing a flood of new investment from traditional foreign rivals such as Toyota and Nissan, as well as from new, high-tech players including Uber and Google.

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“What we’re realizing is there is a huge critical mass of talent in the Detroit area,” said Sherif Marakby, a long-time Ford veteran who joined Uber as its head of vehicle development earlier this year. At a news conference in the suburb of Novi, he announced this week plans to build a new autonomous vehicle development facility in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Fuel Economy Rules Cost 1.1 mil Jobs – or Save Consumers Billions?

Debate continues as EPA moves forward with mid-term CAFE Review.

by on Sep.22, 2016

Sean McAlinden, lead author of a new study from the Center for Automotive Research, believes the current 2025 CAFE target will harm the auto industry.

If you think the presidential debate has kicked off some angry debate, that’s nothing compared to the furor generated by the mid-term review of the tough Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to phase in between now and 2025.

In fact, some players will get their chance today to express their frustrations – or support – about the looming new standards during the House Energy and Commerce committees midterm review hearing. According to one study, hitting the 54.5 mile per gallon target would cost the country 1.1 million automotive jobs and saddle consumers with significantly higher costs for new vehicles. CAFE proponents, however, dismiss such claims as alarmist and conclude that, if anything, more jobs will be generated while consumers could save billions of dollars on fuel costs.

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Who is right? Federal regulators have so far been leaning towards maintaining the targets announced during the first term of the Obama Administration. But it is a definite possibility that the next president could wind up having the final say. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Expects Improved Second-Half Earnings

Company's positive news runs counter to that of Ford.

by on Sep.22, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra appears to be on track for another solid year as the company re-affirmed its financial guidance for the 2016.

General Motors Co. re-affirmed its earlier forecast, calling for the company to make up to $6 per share and said it expects to exceed its cost-savings target of $5.5 billion, which will be more than enough to offset increased spending on new technology and ride-sharing.

The optimistic outlook was in sharp contrast from its crosstown rival Ford Motor Co., which reduced its profit forecast for the second half. Ford expects slower sales as well as higher costs for incentives and the launch of new vehicles and other initiatives.

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GM also released a new report aimed providing additional insights about the company for the investment community. Read the rest of this entry »