Restructuring Storm Building as Ford Announces Senior Retirements in Treasury, Product Development, Manufacturing on Built Ford Proud Ad Campaign - October 2019

The future in North America, maybe. The problem remains that big trucks are not saleable globally so there is no way to hedge this gas-guzzling bet.

Ford Motor Company announced late yesterday the retirements of three long-serving global executives – Kenneth R. Kent, 64, vice president and treasurer; Joe Bakaj, 56, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe; and Bill Russo, 56, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Asia Pacific – effective at the end of the year.

A couple of the exits are noteworthy for signaling that major disruptive actions are about to occur. For example – was Kent responsible for floating the addled-brained idea that Ford Motor would cut its dividend that Ford Family members depend on? Nevertheless, the pressure remains for Ford to cut costs and start once again, yet again on a restructuring plan to increase shareholder value and boost a ~$9 per share price of common. Continue reading

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Brick-Built McLaren in Central London PR Stunt

AutoInformedcom on McLaren Lego PR Stunt - December 2018Who says the British don’t have a sense of humor? When they aren’t busy gushing over an archaic Royal System or working hard to destroy the auto industry and trencherman jobs through BREXIT, a laugh comes forward. (Brexit Panic Takes Hold. Auto Industry Urges – Begs? – Negotiators to Avert the Business Killing Worst-Case Scenario)

Consider that a new McLaren has been spotted during dynamic testing ahead of its introduction in January. The car’s brick-based construction has made it necessary for development to move from McLaren’s usual secret facility near Idiada in Spain to a busy LEGO Store in Central London. Continue reading

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Ford Begins Construction at Michigan Central Station on Ford Begins Construction at Michigan Central Station

The restoration project will bring approximately 2,500 Ford employees to Corktown.

Ford Motor this week begins its renovation of 105-year-old Michigan Central Station in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. In this Detroit landmark, Ford seeks to shape the largely unknown, amorphous future of transportation at a time when analysts are questioning whether it can survive the next downturn in the business cycle.

The three-phase project begins with the winterization of the building to dry it out from extensive water damage it sustained over the years, and then stabilizing the structure. Phase two includes replacing mechanical and electrical systems and restoring exterior masonry. Continue reading

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Ford First Automaker to Outline UN Human Rights Issues - Ford Driving Skills for Life for Her - Saudi Arabia

Do you think there are some human rights issues in Saudi Arabia?

Ford Motor Company has announced the completion of a badly named but socially important “saliency assessment,” identifying nine of the most important human rights issues relevant to the company.

Ford claims to be the first automaker to complete this assessment, thought to be key in identifying the issues that are at risk of the most severe negative impact through activities or business relationships. Studies are one thing, of course, corporate actions are another matter entirely. Continue reading

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BMW Group Threatens Trump on US Jobs

Long before Trump, BMW was making crossovers in South Carolina with a positive impact on jobs and trade.

At what BMW describes as a constructive working meeting with representatives of the U.S. administration at the White House yesterday, “the BMW Group explained in detail the extent of its footprint in the USA. The mandate to talk about international trade politics rests solely with the relevant political institutions.”

Buried at the bottom of the release was the following threat clearly aimed in AutoInformed’s view at President “tariff” Trump and his own trade bluster and politically-motivated policies that are threatening US jobs as he runs up huge deficits by giving tax breaks to the very wealthy who buy European cars, not build them here.

As communicated recently, the BMW Group is considering setting up a second site for power trains in the United States. With our plant in Spartanburg and the new plant in Mexico coming on stream in summer 2019, we will increase our production in North America. We will therefore in future have the scale where a step like this may make business sense. As of today, no decision has been taken on this topic.” Continue reading

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Chevrolet to Power Fernando Alonso’s 2019 Indy 500 McLaren on Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso will compete in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren Racing entry powered by Chevrolet’s 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V6 IndyCar engine.

Chevrolet and McLaren have a formidable racing history dating back to the mid-1960s. In 1966, Chevrolet and McLaren appeared in the Can-Am Series – one that makes the current Indy spec cars and their limited aero packages laughable given what was then an all-out racing series – ‘run what you brung.’ Their teams won more than 70% of the races during the next seven years, including 23 in a row from 1968-1970. Given the open spec nature of the series, development was as quick as the cars, and the best Can Am cars were faster than the Formula One cars of the time. The so-called  “Bruce <McLaren> and Denny <Hume >show” was brought to you by a big-block Chevy V8. Continue reading

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Toyota Motor November US Sales Flat on Toyota Tacoma record sales - November 2018

Is the blue sky of solid sales in the U.S. clouding over?

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) posts November 2018 sales of 190,423 units. With the same number of selling days in November 2018 compared to November 2017, sales were slightly down -0.6% on a volume basis and a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Reflecting prevailing U.S. market trends TMNA, Toyota and Lexus divisions posted best-ever November for light truck sales. 

Continue reading

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Hyundai Partners with Netradyne on Vision Technology on LIDAR mapping

Developing HD Maps for the next generation of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

Netradyne, a startup Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology company today announced a global partnership with Hyundai Mnsoft, a Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary working on so-called location-based services (LBS), cloud-based connected navigation software and – it’s claimed in the future – high definition (HD) maps for autonomous vehicles. The partnership wants to develop HD maps for future vehicle technologies. Commercial applications -trucking and delivery services – appear to be the initial target market.

The two organizations say they  will create a “strong collaborative environment” for their individual artificial intelligence and research and development teams. HYUNDAI Mnsoft will use Netradyne’s dynamic crowd-sourced deep vision technologies for the development of HD Maps in its next generation of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Continue reading

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Ford Motor November U.S. Sales Drop -7% on November US Vehicle Sales - Courtesy AutoData

Import car sales aren’t strong either.

Sales at Ford Motor Company during November totaled 196,303 vehicles,  a 6.9% decline as recession thunderclouds build across the country’s horizon apparently affecting most makers. Ford fleet sales were down 7.1%; daily rental was down 32.7%, while commercial sales were up 11.8%. Continue reading

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FCA and Trade Unions Meet in Turin on Employment on FCA Labor Relations

The storied Fiat plant in Turin is guaranteed a future. Others?

At a little noticed meeting in Turin befogged by the Los Angeles Auto Show and autonomous vehicle mania, FCA CEO Mike Manley said: “Mirafiori will represent the first installation of a full BEV platform applied on the new Fiat 500, capable of scaling to other applications worldwide.” Future investments at FCA according to the business plan are focused on Full Electric and Hybrid powertrains.

The fate of other FCA plants is murkier given the FCA stated goal of “strong synergies achieved through common application of electrified powertrains and platform sharing” as presentedin the 2018-2022 Business Plan at FCA’s Capital Markets Day last June in Balocco. Other FCA Italian plants are currently operating under capacity without full employment. Overall Italian unemployment is more than 10%; Germany is ~3%. Continue reading

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US Army – $1.69 Billion Order for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles

Oshkosh Defense says the U.S. Army has placed a $1.69 billion order for 6,107 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) and associated installed and packaged kits. This order marks the tenth order a contract that was awarded to Oshkosh in August 2015. on Joint Light Tactical Vehicles

To date, Oshkosh has delivered more than 2,600 vehicles.

The JLTV is said to be engineered with industry leading suspension and protection systems, and the ability to support many mission kits and weapon systems. JLTV fills a “capability gap” for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy up-armored HMMWV fleet with a modern light protected vehicle. Continue reading

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IndustriALL – Shell workers in Nigeria are just working to die on IndustriALL Campaign Against Shell Oil Labor PracticesIndustriALL reports that its mission to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in September this year saw Shell workers living in shocking conditions and “found that Shell workers were falling ill and dying as a result of inadequate healthcare insurance.”

Contract workers outnumber permanent workers 2:1 at Shell and do the most dangerous jobs. Workers also said that if they asked for better wages or wanted to join a union, they would be threatened with dismissal. Continue reading

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Cruise and GM Closer to Sale of Self Driving Vehicles on GM and Cruise

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

General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Cruise are taking the next step toward what it says  will be commercializing autonomous vehicle technology. GM President Dan Ammann is CEO of Cruise, leaving GM to prepare for the launching of a self-driving taxi service late next year and a likely a stock spin-off that will be lucrative for GM and him. Kyle Vogt, Cruise co-founder, will work with Ammann “to set strategic direction for the company” and will lead technology development as Cruise president and chief technology officer.

The appointments are effective 1 January 2019. With Ammann’s appointment, GM’s global regions and GM Financial will now report directly to Mary Barra. (SoftBank Vision Fund to Invest $2.25 B in GM Cruise, Honda Joins with Cruise and General Motors to Build New Autonomous Vehicle. Honda Investment Of $750 Million Values Cruise At $14.6 Billion) Continue reading

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GM Canada to Train, Help Find Jobs for Fired Workers on FCA Unifor 2016 Contract Talks

Canada is GM’s fourth-largest global market—at average prices, GM’s sales in Canada are worth well over $10 billion each year.

After the Trump tantrum over his job-destroying trade and tariff policies that was partially responsible for GM’s latest reorganization, GM Canada and its local dealers  have announced they will train and hire workers fired at the Oshawa Assembly plant to become auto service technicians at GM dealerships if they so choose. (AutoInformed: Unifor Blasts GM Canada Closings)

GM Canada will also join with Durham Region educators and governments to train and transition Oshawa Assembly employees to new careers in Durham  Region. “These efforts will help address the significant open requirements for talented workers from other regional employers,” GM said.   Continue reading

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First Look – New or Revised 2020 Jeep Gladiator on Jeep

Mopar-modified 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon display at the 2018 AutoMobility LA.

The all-new or revised body-on-frame 2020 Jeep Gladiator debuted at the Los Angeles show immodestly boasting it’s the most capable midsize truck ever. It’s recognizable as a real Jeep design, with a claimed best-in-class towing and 4×4 payload, fuel-efficient powertrains, good on- and off-road dynamics and contemporary safety and advanced technology features. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available in four different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. Built in Toledo, Ohio, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

“There is tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of Jeep North America. Continue reading

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