Another Weird and Wacky Tokyo Motor Show to Open

AutoInfrmed.com on 2019Tokyo Motor Show

Weird or wacky or both? Toyota’s production-ready Ultra-compact battery electric vehicle due for commercial launch in Japan in 2020.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) will hold the 46th Tokyo Motor Show 2019 for 12 days from October 24 through November 4. The theme for this year’s show, “Open Future,” is expanded beyond automobiles, motorcycles and commercial vehicles and auto-related displays. It broadens to include developments (and rentals) from other industries. In short, the traditional auto show as we know it is no longer sustainable.

Tokyo Motor Show 2019 will also be bigger – at least in size, attendance remains to be seen – by taking place at Tokyo Big Sight and in the surrounding Odaiba area to allow more people to experience the new events and programs. Continue reading

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Electrify America, Hubject Announce Launch of Plug&Charge

AutoInformed.com on Electrify America

Hubject’s North American based V2G Root and Certificate Authority is the first of its kind here and the second system globally, based on its established European system.

Electrify America and Hubject today announced a simplified system for electric vehicle charging (EV) called “Plug&Charge.” Drivers will no longer need to reach for a wallet, smartphone or bankcard because the scheme enables EV drivers to simply plug their vehicle into a charger for the  session to begin automatically.

By offering the Plug&Charge in North America, drivers using Electrify America stations will have faster charging session authentication and authorization. The new system will be fully operational in 2020, when Plug&Charge-compatible EVs are projected to be available to customers.
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Group Renault Debuts Hydrogen in Light Commercial Vehicles

AutoInformed.com on  Renault Z.E. 33 H2 Hydrogen Light Commercial Vehicle

Renault is following Daimler AG, which will offer a fuel-cell sport utility vehicle that has a battery to help get it to rare hydrogen refueling stations.

Renault by year-end will introduced electric light commercial vehicles using hydrogen fuel. Renault Kangoo Z.E. Hydrogen appears in 2019 and Renault Master Z.E. Hydrogen in 2020.

The hydrogen fuel cell provides the additional energy for up to 3 times more range than 100% electric vehicles, with a charging time of only 5 to 10 minutes. However, the crucial WLTP emission certification is not yet completed.

Hydrogen at Renault is a complementary offering to its electric and hybrid lines, to provide a new solution  – or hedge – for access to city centers in an ever-tightening regulatory environment spurred by planet destroying global warming. Continue reading

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Mitsubishi Electric Claims Level 4 Autonomous Driving Without High Definition Maps or Auto Parking

AutoInformed.com on Mitsubishi Electric xAUTO Autonomous Concept

The so-called xAUTO is a concept that uses Mitsubishi Electric technologies for autonomous driving.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) said today that it would exhibit the latest version of the xAUTO, a vehicle claimed to be capable of autonomous driving on surface roads without high-definition maps and autonomous parking both indoors and outdoors, during the 46th Tokyo Motor Show 2019.

The system, it’s claimed, is now capable of driving on surface roads without high-definition maps and autonomous parking both indoors and outdoors, has been tested on actual surface roads near Tokyo’s waterfront and in the city of Tsukuba, located north of Tokyo. Continue reading

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SEMA Sues U.S. DOT for Stopping Replica Car Law

AutoInformed - Ford Booth 2018 SEMA Show

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The Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, aka SEMA, has filed a petition in federal appellate court to require the government to allow replica car manufacturers to immediately begin production.

Another Agency run by President Trump’s political appointees is allegedly defying a 2015 law – the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) – passed by Congress to let low-volume automakers sell up to 325 replica cars each year that resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago.
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John Doonan Leaves Mazda Racing for IMSA Presidency

AutoInformed on Mazda Team Joest RT-24P in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship

Good for IMSA and sports car racing. Mazda?

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced yesterday that John Doonan has been named the next president of the sanctioning body effective 1 January 2020. Since his first day on the job is next Monday, the quick driver change in an undercut pit stop likely caught Mazda unaware, since it remained on the trailer with no simultaneous release or web site acknowledgement.

Doonan was previously the director of motorsports for Mazda North America Operations where he developed the strategy and managed Mazda’s high-profile motorsports programs in North America.
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GM-UAW Negotiators Have Tentative Agreement

AutoInformed.com on the UAW

The closing bell has wrung, but there is no decision yet.

Today, after five weeks of negotiations, the UAW GM National Negotiators and UAW GM Vice President Terry Dittes announced the existence of a Proposed Tentative Agreement with General Motors. The elected national negotiators voted to recommend the UAW GM National Council accept the Proposed Tentative Agreement “as the agreement represents major gains for UAW workers.”

Actually, the agreement will not be ratified until UAW-GM membership across the U.S. votes to approve it.
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September New Passenger Car Registrations Up in European Union, But Trend is Downward

AutoInformed.com on EU Passenger Car Registations September 2019

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During September 2019, EU demand for new passenger cars increased by 14.5% to reach 1.2 million units registered in total. To a large extent, according to the ACEA trade group, this strong year‐on‐year growth is the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell significantly in September 2018 (‐23.5%) following the introduction of WLTP testing when it was revealed that many diesel engine cars were dirtier than most – if not all – makers claimed.

During the first nine months of 2019, EU new car registrations were down 1.6% compared to the same period the year before. Despite demand recovering across the European Union in September, Germany (+2.5%) was the only major market to post positive results so far this year. Spain (‐7.4%) saw the strongest drop, followed by the United Kingdom (‐2.5%), Italy (‐1.6%) and France (‐1.3%). Continue reading

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Global Light Vehicle Sales Fall Again in September

AutoInformed on Global Light Vehicle Sales September 2019

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Global Light Vehicle (LV) sales fell 2.7% year-on-year (YoY) in September, while the selling rate dropped to 89.6 mn units/year, from 94.4 mn units/year in August, according to consultancy LMC.

In their view the decline in the selling rate in September seems partly a result of further changes to the WLTP** emissions testing regime in Europe, which may have pulled sales forward to August, at the expense of September. In China, LV sales dropped once again. Unfavorable calendar effects thwarted any chance of YoY growth in the US, even though the selling rate was good.
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Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Win Formula One Constructors’ Championship for Sixth Time in A Row

AutoInformed.com on Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Japanese GP 2019. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton

The season is over before it’s over, as Bottas mugs Vettel at the start.

At the Japanese Grand Prix yesterday Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport won the FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship for the sixth time in a row. Since drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are the only two drivers who can still win the Drivers’ Championship, this marks the first team in Formula One history to win both titles six times in a row.

“Obviously it was a pretty close qualifying and yeah starting third here is never good, but there’s not point ever to give up on anything and I knew anything was possible today and opportunities were there today and the first one was at the start,” said Bottas. “I had a really nice start and obviously Sebastian had an issue, so managed to get in the lead and then the pace was super good. I could really control the race.” Continue reading

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BMW, Rolls Royce, Toyota Backup Camera Software Recall

AutoInformed.com on Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV

Another software bug that made it into production.

BMW of North America is recalling 51 products totaling 257,473 vehicles because the back-up camera and display settings can be adjusted such that the rear-view image is no longer visible, and the system will retain that setting. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, “Rearview Mirrors.”

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will update the back-up camera software, free of charge as is required by law. The recall is expected to begin November 19, 2019. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417 or Rolls-Royce at 1-877-877-3735. Toyota owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-888-270-9371. Continue reading

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Ford Motor Recalls 2019 Ranger Pickups for Fires

AutoInformed.com on Ranger Fire Recall

The part supplier and origin were not named by Ford.

Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for 2019 Ford Ranger pickups for an increased the risk of the HVAC blower motor overheating, melting, smoking or causing a fire.

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this safety defect. Ford listed one customer warranty report of smoke while driving that is potentially related to this concern. Continue reading

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Ghosn Shakeout is Ongoing as Thierry Bolloré, CEO Renault SA, is Fired by the Board of Directors

AutoInformed.com on Frebch versus Japanese Corporate GovernanceThe Board of Directors of Renault on Friday “decided to end the mandate of Mr. Thierry Bolloré as Chief Executive Officer of Renault SA and President of Renault s.a.s with immediate effect.” (Renault Board Confirms Expenses Improperly Used by Ghosn)

The final findings of the Joint Audit Mission that was commissioned with Nissan regarding their mutually owned subsidiary RNBV showed several expenses incurred by RNBV for a total of ~€11 million include questionable air travel expenses for Mr. Ghosn; other expenses incurred for Mr. Ghosn; and gifts to non-profit organizations.

Renault’s Thierry Bolloré is the latest casualty in the ongoing Carlos Ghosn scandal that saw the forced resignation of Hiroto Saikawa as representative executive officer and CEO of Nissan, as of September 16.

The Carlos Ghosn matter has turned into farce as investigations into Nissan and its JVs with Renault  0n corporate governance practices post Carlos Ghosn revealed layers of incompetence and/or malfeasance, as well as various degrees of criminal activity that are rarely observed in western corporations. (Was 2008 the Year When Carlos Ghosn Went Rogue? Ghosn’s Former Speechwriter on What He Did for Nissan – And What That Did to Him) Continue reading

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CAR – Estimated Costs of the UAW-GM Strike are Low

AutoInformed.com on CAR Estimated Employment Multipliers for UAW-GM Jobs

The UAW GM strike is now a serious economic problem for the overall U.S. economy.

Many estimates of the cost of the UAW strike focus on how much the work stoppage is costing GM, but few have estimated the broader costs of the strike to the U.S. economy or individual states, writes Kristin Dziczek, Vice President – Industry, Labor, & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research.

“The UAW-GM strike is sufficiently large to not only affect many sectors of the U.S. economy but also to reach beyond the borders of the nine states that are hosts to UAW-represented GM manufacturing facilities. GM, the UAW, GM suppliers, federal, state, and local governments, and many other businesses incur losses each day the strike continues,” says Dziczek. Continue reading

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Ford Motor Company Q4 Dividend Declared at 15 Cents

AutoInformed on Ford Stock - Chart courtesy Yahoo Finance

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The Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company today declared a fourth quarter regular dividend of $0.15 per share on the company’s outstanding Class B and common stock. It is currently trading at ~$8.60 (7% yield), with a 52-week range of $7.41 – $10.56.

Ford Motor Company Q3 sales dropped -5% year-over-year due to a striking -30% drop in car sales to 77,231. Year-to-date sales at 1,820,836 compared to 1,887,625 in 2018 were off -4% in the first sales report since credit agencies downgraded Ford debt to junk status. Continue reading

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