Motor Vehicle, Parts, Supplies Wholesalers Added Sales in 2019

U.S. merchant wholesalers posted sales of $8,633.5 billion in 2019, according to estimates from the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (AWTS) released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018, U.S. merchant wholesalers had sales of $8,633.6 billion. What happened during the pandemic will have to wait a year. Continue reading

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Volkswagen Ends Production of Golf For US Market

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Golf stops production in Mexico for US market

EPA-estimated Miles per Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent (MPGe) for the e-Golf was126 city, 105 highway, and 116 combined; the range a mere 83 miles. Introduced early in 2015, it soon was forgotten as a laughable marketing gimmick.

Volkswagen of America announced on Inauguration Day that the Golf ended production for the U.S. market last week. Volkswagen said that the model year 2021 Golf models built at the Puebla, Mexico plant will sustain sales of the European-designed hatchback through year end. The Golf family name will carry on in model year 2022 with the introduction of the all-new Mk 8 Golf GTI and Golf R, arriving this Fall.

First sold in December 1974 as  the “Rabbit” in the U.S. with a 1.5-liter engine with 70 horsepower, almost 2.5 million Golf family models have been sold in the U.S. market. The current Mk 7 Golf debuted for the 2015 model year – an eternity in terms of technical advances, quality and customer satisfaction practices in the auto industry. Continue reading

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We the People Welcome Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – The New Administration of Hope and Self-Evident Truths

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Biden Harris Inauguration

A photographic view of the National Mall in Washington on Tuesday 19 January 2021, ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday.  Image by Susan Walsh, The Associated Press Pool Photographer for AP Members.

In these times that once again trouble men’s and women’s souls, we the people would do well to remember that We Are What We Were. Our revolutionary war was won – against all odds by citizen soldiers or irregulars who forced a standing British Army to surrender in the field for the first time since the tyrant Napoleon. This happened with some help from the French because the Crown and its privileged generals were fighting an idea first put forth in our Declaration of Independence, then codified in our Constitution that “We the People” would govern ourselves and elect our leaders and peaceably transfer power between administrations.

The idea was bigger and more powerful than the British Army and Navy. It remains a bigger and better idea when used against other forces of oppression. The idea trumps white supremacists or treasonous self-proclaimed militias or QAnon believers or a  president who would be king. (We the People Say Again Farewell to Despots and Treason)

“Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” said President Joe Biden in his inaugural address.

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Honda’s New Mobility Business – Cruise to Send First Self-Driving Vehicles to Japan for Testing

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on General Motors Cruise self-driving vehicles for Honda’s autonomous vehicle mobility service

A small but symbolic milestone in the mobility business.

Honda today announced that it will work together with Cruise and General Motors on self-driving vehicles for its autonomous vehicle mobility service (MaaS) business in Japan. This, admittedly small but symbolic milestone, is a direct result of the development and commercial agreements signed in October 2018. (see AutoInformedHonda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle. Honda Investment Of $750 Million Values Cruise At $14.6 Billion, GM, Cruise, Microsoft to Commercialize Self-Driving Vehicles, GM and Honda to Jointly Develop Honda Electric Vehicles)

Cruise will be sending the first of its self-driving test vehicles to Japan and start development for testing this year. Eventually, Honda aims to launch its MaaS business using the Cruise Origin, a vehicle the three companies are jointly developing solely for autonomous vehicle mobility service businesses. Honda Mobility Solutions Co., Ltd., established in February 2020, will be the operator of such MaaS business in Japan. Continue reading

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Stellantis – a Mega Merger of Auto Companies Names Execs

AutoInformed.com on Stellantis - FCA PSA Merger

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Today Stellantis officially announced its Executive Team along with the 9 dedicated committees* covering enterprise-wide performance and strategy for running the merged FCA and PSA companies. It is the latest merger in the capital-destroying automotive industry that seeks to pursue scale where the promise of synergies will – it is hoped – result in competitive rates of return, along with a sustainable business. (see AutoInformed on Bye Bye FCA and PSA. Hello Stellantis)

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, said at its inaugural press conference: This highly competitive, committed and well-balanced team will leverage its combined skills and diverse backgrounds to guide Stellantis to become a great company.” He claimed that this was not a defensive merger. (Stellantis means “brightens with stars”; from the Latin verb stello.)

The Stellantis name will be used exclusively at the Group level, as a corporate brand. The names and the logos of the Stellantis Group’s basic 14 brands remain unchanged. What actually happens to the brands is an entirely different matter. AutoInformed readers likely realized that such mergers are difficult, and the road – looking backward – is littered with abandoned or failed promises of synergies and sales from such ventures. (FCA + PSA = Massive Job Losses, FCA-PSA Merger – Surviving Platforms and Powertrains) Continue reading

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GM, Cruise, Microsoft to Commercialize Self-Driving Vehicles

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on GM and Cruise

Cruise Automation COO Dan Kan (l to r), Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt and then GM President Dan Ammann at Cruise Automation offices in San Francisco, California June 2018.

Cruise and General Motors today announced they have entered a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft to “accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.” The companies claimed they will bring together their software and hardware engineering, cloud computing capabilities, manufacturing ability, and partners to “create a safer, cleaner and more accessible world for everyone.”

Microsoft will join General Motors, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of Cruise to $30 billion. Founded and headquartered in San Francisco, Cruise’s stated goal is to build the world’s most advanced self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles. GM will launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025. Volkswagen and Ford havelinked with Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company Argo AI, already.  Hyundai in with Fiat Chrysler since the summer of 2020  to use Waymo’s driverless car technology.  AutoInformed thinks that making money on autonomous vehicles remains a distant promise. (see AutoInformed on Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle. Honda Investment Of $750 Million Values Cruise At $14.6 Billion and SoftBank Vision Fund to Invest $2.25 B in GM Cruise)

Continue reading

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GM to Make CAMI a Commercial Electric Vehicle Plant

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on CAMI and Electric Commercial Vehicles

Out with the old, in with the new…

General Motors plans to bring production of its recently announced BrightDrop electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600, to its CAMI manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. This is contingent on the almost certain ratification of a tentative 2021 agreement reached with Unifor (agreed on 18 January in the morning -editor) and confirmation of less certain government support. (See AutoInformed BrightDrop? General Motors New Business Claims It Will Electrify, Improve Goods and Services Delivery) The C$1 billion investment will support GM’s plan to deliver BrightDrop EV600s in late 2021. The World Economic Forum estimates so-called urban last-mile delivery emissions are on track to increase by more than 30% by 2030 in the top 100 cities globally

This investment and Canadian workforce will make CAMI into Canada’s first large-scale auto plant converted to produce electric delivery vehicles. GM says work begins immediately to transform the CAMI over the next two years from Chevrolet Equinox production to the production of EV600s, to serve the growing North American market for electric delivery solutions. Continue reading

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Union Strike Saves Rolls-Royce Jobs in Barnoldswick

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on saving the Rolls-Royce Jet Engine Factory in BarnoldswickThe Rolls-Royce jet engine factory in Barnoldswick in the United Kingdom has been saved after a nine-week strike by members the organized labor Unite group. The future of the factory was closure when Rolls-Royce last summer announced that it was transferring the production of its Trent jet engine blade work to Singapore. The workforce voted for industrial action and began targeted strike action on 6 November last year which ran until Christmas Eve. Workers returned to the picket lines at the start of 2021.

The hamlet of Barnoldswick, home to 11,000 people, rallied in defense of their community. The Rolls-Royce factory, in operation since 1943, is the birthplace of the jet engine and the main employer there. The shuttering would have had devastating consequences for the prosperity of the local community. Continue reading

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Alpine and Lotus to Study Joint Development of an Electric Sports Car as Groupe Renault Restructures

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Lotus and Alpine JV

Voila’.

Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have signed a memorandum of understanding to study the joint development of an electric sports car. A feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development of an EV sports car will also explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise to use Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula One to Formula E and Endurance racing is also under study.

It’s a strange twist when French and English performance car purveyors with winning race teams find themselves cooperating. This also comes as the so-called *Renaulution plan that aims to restore Groupe Renault’s competitiveness based on return, not sales or market share was approved in Boulogne-Billancourt by the Board of Directors this morning, Continue reading

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Trump Legacy – FAA Adopts Stricter Unruly Passenger Policy

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Sedition and Trump's legacy.com

The FAA will pursue legal enforcement action.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson today signed an order for a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers in the wake of recent, troubling incidents. “The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol,” the FAA said.

The FAA omitted the fact that Trump incited the violence and sedition against the US government in the waning days of his reign as the despot who would be king. Passengers who interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft face legal penalties, including fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment. “This dangerous behavior can distract, disrupt, and threaten crewmembers’ safety functions,” the FAA said. And the functions of democracy. Continue reading

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Latest Ford Restructuring – Brazil Manufacturing to Cease

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Ford Leaving Brazil and Ford South America

Another Ford retreat.

Ford Brazil will end production at its Camaçari, Taubaté and Troller plants during 2021 as weak  sales have resulted in years of significant losses. Ford has been in Brazil for more than a century. However, Ford maintains at the moment it will keep South America headquarters, a product development center and proving grounds in Brazil. Last March Ford  “temporarily” stopped South American Production at its manufacturing sites in Brazil and at the Pacheco plant in Argentina, in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus in South America and Ford’s profitability. (See AutoInformed – Ford Motor Maxes Out Lines of Credit , Ford Q3 Net Income at $2.4B Treads Water. Q4 $500M Loss?)

Production will cease immediately at Camaçari and Taubaté in Brazil, with some parts production continuing for a few months to support inventories for aftermarket sales. The Troller plant in Horizonte, Brazil, will continue to operate until the fourth quarter of 2021. As a result, the company will end sales of EcoSport, Ka and T4 once inventories are sold. Manufacturing operations in Argentina and Uruguay and the sales companies in other South America markets are not affected. Continue reading

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A Decade of Chinese Ownership – Volvo Cars Posts Strongest Second-Half Sales in Its 93-Year History

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Volvo Car 2020 Global Sales Results

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The Volvo* Brand of Zhejiang Geely Holding has posted the strongest second-half sales in the company’s history. Demand for its electrified cars led the way. The share of so-called Recharge models, with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain, more than doubled in 2020 compared with 2019. In Europe, the share of Recharge cars of overall sales was 29%, making Volvo the leading brand in the region for chargeable cars. It was also a leading plug-in hybrid brand in the US.

In China and the United States, Volvo’s two largest markets, it reported growing sales for the full year as it managed to recover from  a Covid pandemic-related sales drop in the first half during the second half of the year. Continue reading

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BrightDrop? General Motors New Business Claims It Will Electrify, Improve Goods and Services Delivery

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on GM BrightDrop

 BrightDrop introduces GM’s Ultium EV platform to the commercial vehicle segment.

General Motors announced today a new business, BrightDrop, which it claims will offer electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to allow delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. BrightDrop’s electric pallet, EP1, will be available in early 2021, and its electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600, will be on roads in late 2021 – it’s promised. GM estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion. BrightDrop will initially serve customers in the U.S. and Canada.

This is roughly consistent with analysis released at the beginning of the week by the World Economic Forum that estimates so-called urban last-mile delivery emissions are on track to increase by more than 30% by 2030 in the top 100 cities globally. Continue reading

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We the People Say Again Farewell to Despots and Treason

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Trump DespotismGeneral Washington himself in December of 1777 reveled on a day of “Thanksgiving” after the defeat of the British at Saratoga during what is known as our War of Independence. That war was conducted when we were still a loose confederation of colonies who rebelled, in part, because we were resisting the taxation needed to pay for the ongoing folly of foreign wars and entanglements of our government run by the rich, privileged British Monarchy. We the People wanted to govern ourselves.

In these times that once again trouble men’s and women’s souls, we the people would do well to remember that We Are What We Were. Our revolutionary war was won – against all odds by citizen soldiers or irregulars who forced a standing British Army to surrender in the field for the first time since the tyrant Napoleon. This happened with some help from the French because the Crown and its privileged generals were fighting an idea first put forth in our Declaration of Independence, then codified in our Constitution that “We the People” would govern ourselves and elect our leaders and smoothly transfer power to successive administrations. The idea was bigger and more powerful than the British Army and Navy. It remains a bigger and better idea when used against other forces of oppression.

Now, once again, the courtiers of privilege and wealth are presiding over our fate and using hatred, false patriotism and militias of fascists to enrich themselves, expand their unearned privileges and oppress our Citizen Patriots who voted some of the haters out of office. The rest need to go too, especially all the Republicans who wanted to and continue to try to overthrow our votes and cancel our elections. Our new battles of Lexington and Concord will now take place in voter registration procedures and polling places, and our courts. This is our birthright – we will govern ourselves according to our Constitution. Continue reading

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Boeing to Pay More Than $2.5 Billion for 737 Max Fraud

The Boeing Company has a “deferred prosecution agreement” with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane. The deal was announced yesterday as the U.S. Capital was under siege by Trump supporters or treasoners who were sent there by Trump and the Republican party to overturn the election that Trump lost.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Boeing 737 Max Plea Deal

William Barr when he headed his injustice department under Trump.

The Justice Departments reputation and adherence to the law is subject to considerable debate under the pardoner in Chief – soon to be ex-president Trump and the former Attorney General (resume laundering by resigning 23 Dec 2020) and Republican lawyer William P. Barr. He is also known here as no-holds Barr for his relentless interference in Justice Department principles and law enforcement procedures to protect Trump, aka the Man Who would be King. Boeing, debatably, profited from such interference when the Trump Administration refused to ground the 737 Max despite growing incidents and fatalities. It’s a reasonable bet that Boeing  and Barr wanted to cut its ties with Trump after he lost the presidential election last November. Continue reading

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