By on July 11, 2019

Fiat Chrysler will invest $788 million to build a production line for the new 500 electric, according to the company’s European CFO Pietro Gorlier. An extension of automaker’s plan to to dump 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) into Italy, the deal makes good on earlier promises that the automaker would establish a dedicated small battery-electric vehicle platform.  (Find Out…)

By on July 8, 2019

Wary that China might have the battery market totally cornered by the time electric vehicles become mainstream, the European Union is trying to jumpstart the industry at home. This year, the EU has started working with manufacturers and financial institutions to develop a reliable supply chain of the lithium-ion packs that have been difficult to come by.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic is targeting 100 billion euros ($113 billion) for the program, which said would help the EU “act like China.”  (Find Out…)

By on June 27, 2019

Having recently announced plans to “popularize” battery electric vehicles, Toyota now expects half of its global volume to stem from electrified cars by 2025. That’s five years sooner than originally promised.

Toyota may seem perpetually averse to change but it has been making a lot of moves behind the scenes to ensure it’s at the forefront of a shifting market while also trying to future proof itself in the event that electrification winds up being a dead end. The plan is rather complex and, as I don’t want to re-write a 900-word article, I would like to redirect you to the relevant information.

However, as nuanced as Toyota’s overall strategy may be, the company is still going to need to spend truckloads of cash to remain in the game. With that in mind, the Japanese automaker appears to be investing $2 billion to develop electric vehicles in Indonesia over the next four years — with hybrids being first on the docket.  (Find Out…)

By on June 7, 2019

This time last year, we were under the impression that General Motors’ first attempt at an autonomous vehicle would come without pedals, a steering wheel, or any other controls traditionally associated with driving. Cruise Automation, the GM subsidiary tasked with developing the vehicle, seemed confident it could deliver something that didn’t need to rely on human intervention to be truly safe. This promise was reiterated by GM in January of 2018 via a request to produce the car sans controls though federal exemption.

U.S. laws governing what constitutes a safe automobile were written before autonomous vehicles entered development, creating problems. It wasn’t evident to anyone that GM could legally manufacture a vehicle that lacked traditional controls, as existing laws stipulated that all automobiles had to have them. While the Department of Transportation has proven rather lenient on policing AVs in terms of testing, rewriting the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or providing exemptions was a bridge too far — especially when self-driving tech is new, frequently misunderstood, and backed heavily by corporate interests. The existing guidelines remain unchanged and new legislation pertaining to self-driving vehicles has stalled in Congress.

Apparently sick of waiting, General Motors now appears satisfied to just build AVs with manual controls. (Find Out…)

By on May 30, 2019

With pickups and crossover vehicles serving as the lifeblood of domestic manufacturers, General Motors is setting aside $24 million for its Fort Wayne truck assembly plant. While the investment isn’t expected to result in any job creation, it does aim to boost production volume of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Allen County, Indiana.

According to GM, combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab pickups, which launched last year, were up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2019 versus the year prior. This isn’t surprising, considering new versions of popular models typically see an uptick in sales, but General Motors says it anticipates another sizable increase in demand over the second quarter and wants the facility to be ready.  (Find Out…)

By on May 24, 2019

Save for one article about adorable baby ducks, we’ve dumped on Nissan all week. Circumstances being what they are, there wasn’t much of an alternative.

Between a dismal earnings report showcasing a 45 percent decline in annual operating profit for the year ending in March, a forecasted 28 percent drop in profits for this year, corporate strife between the automaker and top shareholder Renault SA, and the ongoing legal troubles with former chairman Carlos Ghosn, it’s been a bad few months.

Nissan’s share price is also in decline for some strange reason, and, following a negative outlook from S&P, Moody’s downgraded the automaker’s credit rating from an A2 to an A3. That’s right, one entire notch lower. That clinches it. Nissan is officially done forever. If the 2008 financial crisis has taught us anything, it’s that you can absolutely trust rating agencies to be arbiters of the future.  (Find Out…)

By on May 15, 2019

On Tuesday, Volkswagen announced its plan to assemble 600,000 electric vehicles utilizing the brand’s MEB platform at two plants in China. The facilities, said to be located in the cities of Anting and Foshan, will help bolster EV volume after the completion of VW’s Zwickau plant in Germany — which the company previously claimed would manufacture 330,000 cars annually.

While that facility is nearing completion and supposed to be up and running before 2020, there’s no firm timeline in place for China. But that’s the least of the issues Volkswagen must solve in order to make this dream a reality.  (Find Out…)

By on April 24, 2019

Not long ago, it was expected that General Motors would sink a pile of cash into upstart electric automaker Rivian. Instead, GM held its horses while Amazon plunked down a $700 million investment in the Michigan-based company.

Now, Ford Motor Company is filling GM’s shoes, offering up half a billion dollars and announcing a co-developed product with the EV company, creator of the long-range R1T pickup and R1S electric three-row SUV. The big question now is: what form will that vehicle take? (Find Out…)

By on April 16, 2019

Over the past several years, the Chinese government embarked on an aggressive electric vehicle push, hoping to mitigate the nation’s severe air pollution, reduce its reliance on oil imports, and foster a high-tech manufacturing sector that could put the rest of the world to shame. The result of these efforts? Hundreds of new EV companies, propped up by Chinese subsidies and investors, with no real future.

While it was known that most of these startups would never make it to the finish line, estimates of their survivability rate has grown increasingly bleak. For a time, it was assumed that most would die out — leaving anywhere between 5 and 10 percent to reach the assembly phase. However, NIO Capital’s Ian Zhu posited that the number was likely closer to 1 percent last August.

China is now pulling back its support, with many believing the industrial bubble is about to pop. And they have the math to back it up.  (Find Out…)

By on March 17, 2019

While the Trump administration is carefully considering whether or not imported vehicles qualify as a threat to national security, and prepares for trade negotiations with Japan, Toyota is being very careful about how it comes across in America. Last week, the automaker announced plans to add about 600 jobs across the Southern United States — raising its proposed American expansion by another $749 million. In total, the company is expected to expend $13 billion inside the U.S. by 2022.

“In a time when others are scaling back, we believe in the strength of America and we’re excited about the future of mobility in America,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said of the decision.

Throwing some casual shade at other automakers who are cutting down their domestic workforce is a sound PR strategy but, according to Toyota, its increased investment has nothing to do with global or industrial politics.  (Find Out…)

By on March 11, 2019

With Sergio Marchionne gone, most assumed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would swiftly enact the late CEO’s plan to convince another automaker to partner with the company. Until recently, FCA was viewed as a dinosaur within the industry — limping along since its Fiat acquisition with a lineup of unpopular European imports and oversized American vehicles that couldn’t possibly endure tightening fuel regulations.

However, the reality turned out to be quite different. While Fiat’s volume in the U.S. fell from its 2014 peak of 46,121 units to just 15,521 deliveries in 2018, Dodge and Chrysler managed to endure their losses more gracefully, cutting less-profitable models from the lineup and focusing instead on larger vehicles requiring less pricey R&D. Meanwhile, Jeep rose like a phoenix from the ashes — with its annual volume going from 231,701 deliveries in 2009 to last year’s 973,227 units.  (Find Out…)

By on March 4, 2019

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, known in its native tongue as Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), says its members have formally committed themselves to investing 60 billion euros (roughly $68 billion USD) into electrification and vehicular autonomy over the next three years.

The claim was made as part of serving as a rundown for what German automakers hope to achieve in a period where nothing seems certain.

The European Union, along with China and several other nations, have committed themselves to embracing electrification in a bid to lower emissions and modernize roadways. “In the next three years, we will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility, in addition to a further 18 billion euros for digitalization, and the development of networked or automated vehicles” said VDA President Bernhard Mattes, adding that German automakers anticipate 100 EV models on offer to the public by the end of that period.  (Find Out…)

By on November 4, 2018

Faraday Future’s path to glory has been complicated to say the least. A series of ludicrously ambitious moves have been plighted with failure, followed by renewed hopes that were ultimately dashed. Incredibly, the aspiring automaker still exists and intends to begin production of its first electric vehicle once its money troubles are over.

Unfortunately, the company is currently engaged in a bitter legal battle with its biggest investor, China’s Evergrande Group, after a planned $2 billion investment went south. The reasons as to why are as foggy as the memory of a heavy drinker but Faraday wanted to trudge onward anyway. Initially, that seemed impossible — especially considering Evergrande held the ability to block any additional investments into the company. However, an interim ruling by a Hong Kong arbitration court has granted Faraday relief to seek financing without approval.  (Find Out…)

By on October 31, 2018

Faraday Future co-founder Nick Sampson has quit his executive post as the aspiring automaker continues struggling with finance issues relating to its latest financial backer and China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande Group.

That leaves CEO Jia Yueting as the company’s only founding executive left on staff. But it would appear he might also leave, albeit under duress, if Faraday’s largest shareholder gets its way. While it’s not obvious exactly who shot first, the electric vehicle firm and Evergrande are at each other’s throats — ruining a $2 billion deal that was supposed to save the company and get its ambitious debut model, the FF 91, into production. Apparently, it was all too much for Sampson. (Find Out…)

By on October 22, 2018

Following a previous article about Faraday Future, the manufacturer reached out to yours truly to clarify a few things. First of all, the company deemed the headline and body a bit “jagged.” Understandable, as no manufacturer wants to be called “America’s Worst Automaker” by some bespectacled creep sitting behind a keyboard. Faraday’s spokesperson also noted that deliveries would not begin in December and that the vehicle fire we referenced was a “minor incident” involving a pre-production model undergoing testing at the firm’s Hanford manufacturing facility.

Actually, that makes things sound a little worse than initially reported, as it appears the company doesn’t have a production date anymore. But I will acquiesce that I could have been clearer with that’s going on with its new financial backer, Evergrande. The pair have been at each other’s throats over money for a while, which is important because the spat is now costing people their jobs. We really need to get into the nitty gritty as to why.  (Find Out…)

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