Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Marchionne Predicts SEC Will Clear FCA of Wrongdoing

CEO declined to comment on progress of Magneti Marelli sale.

by on Aug.26, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne predicted today that the SEC's investigation into FCA will find no wrongdoing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will ultimately show that FCA has done nothing wrong, FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said today.

The SEC is investigating whether FCA deliberately misstated its sales results during the past five years. Dealers have sued FCA over the sales reporting practices, including a Chicago area dealer claiming it amounted to fraud.

The Last Word!

FCA restated its sales totals for the five years and conceded its long string of monthly sales increases actually ended in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Getting Harder to Justify a Hybrid

Cheap gas, improved mileage offset one-time cost advantage over conventional vehicles.

by on Aug.26, 2016

The Toyota Prius hatchback no longer has a cost advantage over a similar gas model.

If you’re picking a new car, truck or crossover based on the bottom line, you may be in for a surprise, according to a new study. While hybrids tend to deliver better mileage than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, you may actually wind up spending more in the long run.

Less than one out of four of the 29 hybrids covered by consulting firm Vincentrie’s U.S. Hybrid Ownership study actually had lower costs than comparable gas-powered models. Lower pump prices are certainly a factor, but other issues play into the equation – notably including the fact that the fuel efficiency of non-hybrid vehicles has been fast on the rise.

Tech Talk!

Add the higher cost of hybrid models, said Vincentric President David Wurster, and “Hybrids … may be losing their competitive edge.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bigger Isn’t Better When it Comes to Uber Profits

Report estimates leading ride-share service lost $1.3 billion.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A subscriber orders a car through the Uber app.

It may be the nation’s leading ride-sharing service, but that hasn’t helped Uber deliver a profit.

The Silicon Valley start-up lost a hefty $1.3 billion during the first half of the year, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service which cited sources with access to a conference call the company had with its investors.

Come Along for the Ride!

According to the report, Uber finance chief revealed that the ride-sharing service went $520 million into the red during the first quarter of the year, with another $750 million loss racked up during the April-June quarter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Jury Finds in GM’s Favor on Ignition Switch Case

Automaker gets another victory in court.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A Texas jury to tossed out a lawsuit against GM involving its faulty ignition as the automaker claimed the plaintiffs fabricated evidence.

General Motors has won a significant legal victory as a Texas jury tossed out a case that claimed a defective ignition switch was the root cause of a fatal accident that killed one motorist.

A jury in Harris County, Texas, decided in favor of GM rather than plaintiff Zachary Stevens, who alleged that a defective switch caused him to lose control of his 2007 Saturn Sky and crash into another vehicle, killing the other driver. GM said Stevens’ reckless driving was at fault.

News Now!

The manslaughter charges initially filed against the plaintiff in the civil suit were dropped after GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles with the switch in 2014, according to his lawsuit. It was one of a number of cases in which criminal charges lodged against drivers were set aside after reports of the defective switches became public. Read the rest of this entry »

New Car Sales Slide in August

Decline comes as makers are spending big on incentives.

by on Aug.26, 2016

Analysts are expecting August new vehicle sales to dip despite the highest incentives on new cars in a year.

Sales of new vehicles have hit a speed bump during August, even as incentive spending increased, according to a new estimate by analysts.

A monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive indicates that new-vehicle retail sales in August are expected to drop 6.5% from a year ago, and total new-vehicle sales are expected to slip 5.2%.

Subscribe for Free!

The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of sales or SAAR is also expected to drop to 16.8 million units in August, according to the J.D.Power and LMC Automotive model, which leans heavily on sales data collected from new car dealers around the country. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Nu’ Autonomous Taxi Service Beats Uber to Punch

Singapore-based service using nuTonomy produced self-driving taxis.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Starting today in Singapore, nuTonomy's robo-taxis will offer free rides as part of the company's ongoing research and development.

Just days after Uber announced it would be encouraging folks to get free rides in its autonomous ride-share vehicles in Pittsburgh, another company, nuTonomy, began a limited public trial of its “robo-taxi” service in Singapore: For free.

Using a Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEv electric vehicle – with an emergency “engineer” behind the wheel – a select group of users are being offered free rides as part of the company’s ongoing research and development, which began in April.

Subscribe Now!

“This is really a moment in history that’s going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings,” nuTonomy executive Doug Parker told Reuters. Read the rest of this entry »

Dealers Latest to Settle With VW Over Diesel Scandal

Funds to be paid out over 18 months.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Livingston VW, of Woodland Hills, CA, is one of the maker's 650 American franchisees.

(This story has been updated to reflect the cost of the new settlement.)

Two months after agreeing to a $14.7 billion deal with federal regulators over its cheating on diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen has reached another settlement covering its 650 U.S. dealers.

The maker will pay about $1.2 billion over the next 18 months to cover the losses dealers claim to have run up as a result of the scandal, in large part due to a sharp drop in the maker’s sales. Along with cash payments, VW will provide “additional benefits” to those dealers. The announcement moves Volkswagen closer to resolving its ongoing legal problems, though it still faces a number of additional challenges, including lawsuits by shareholders.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Breaking News!

“We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “This agreement, when finalized, will strengthen the foundation for our future together and further emphasize our commitment both to our partners and the U.S. market.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Expansive Cadillac Product Plan Getting Squeezed

Product portfolio delayed, some models could be cut.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Cadillac smooths out the edges of its Art & Design design language with the Escala concept.

(This story has been updated to include additional insight into Cadillac plans, including the brand halo product frequently referred to as the CT8.)

Cadillac offered a hint of its future design direction last week, in the form of the Escala concept car unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. But plans to launch a large luxury sedan that might share that design theme have been delayed and could even be cut, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned.

With General Motors’ flagship luxury brand struggling to boost U.S. sales, despite the addition of several new models, Caddy is facing the prospect that the aggressive product growth strategy outlined by brand boss Johan de Nysschen will be sharply paired back, according to various company sources and industry observers. Among the projects being delayed are the full-size sedan, which was expected to be called either the CT8 or CT9, but also the twin-turbo V-8 that would be used to power it.

What a Concept!

While the South African-born de Nysschen declined to discuss specific changes to the Cadillac product program, he did indicate there could be some slowdowns during a conversation following the reveal of the Escala show car. The twin-turbo V-8, for example, might not make it into production until “the next-generation CT6.” Since biggest sedan in Caddy’s current fleet just came to market, that might mean the high-performance engine wouldn’t be available until around the 2023 or 2024 model-year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Clinton or Trump: Change Coming to Auto Industry

Regardless of who wins election, industry facing new landscape.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Republican nominee Donald Trump wants to rip up NAFTA and doesn't favor the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The automobile industry will face changes with the departure of the Obama administration, regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump emerges as the next U.S. President in November.

A Clinton presidency would be the most stable in terms of the regulatory environment for the auto industry. The most likely changes would be to the terms of NAFTA, although we would expect less drastic proposals than those from Trump, according to a new analysis from BMI Research, Fitch Group’s research arm.

Subscribe for Free!

The report noted that both presidential candidates elected to deliver speeches on the economy in Michigan highlighting the importance of the state, and the autos sector as its major industry, to the general election campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Gas Prices Ticking Upward as Summer Ends

If demand drops after Labor Day, prices are expected to follow suit.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Gas prices rose for the first time in months in August; however, if demand drops after Labor Day, prices are likely to follow.

A rise in the price of crude oil has pushed up the price of gasoline at pumps across the United States for the first time in two months.

The increase follows a summer-long streak during which the national retail average price of gasoline dropped on 54 of 55 days. But prices at the pump have now increased steadily during the past three weeks, according to AAA.

The Journal of Record!

The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.16 per gallon, which is four cents more than one week ago, but is two cents less than a month ago and 46 cents less than the same date last year, and the lowest price for this date since 2004, AAA said. Read the rest of this entry »