Pew Research Center on Americans’ Views About Privacy, Surveillance and Data-Sharing on Pew Research Center - American Attitudes toward Data Collection

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Pew Research Center notes that today’s digitally networked society runs on, well, quid pro quos. In this non-impeachable case, people exchange details about themselves and their activities for services and products on the web or apps. “Many are willing to accept the deals they are offered in return for sharing insight about their purchases, behaviors and social lives. At times, their personal information is collected by government on the grounds that there are benefits to public safety and security,” says Brooke Auxier,  a research associate focusing on internet and technology research at Pew Research Center.

Attitudes are relevant to the so-called mobility companies that most automakers claim to be metamorphosing to since the sale and use of your personal data are key revenue aspects of the business plan. Continue reading

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Audi Debuts 2020 e-tron Sportback, all-new RS, S models at Los Angeles Auto Show on Audi 2020 e-tron SportbackAn all-new Audi e-tron Sportback makes its global debut at the  Los Angeles Auto Show this week. The first electric Sportback from Audi combines electric driving in a five-passenger SUV package. Consumers will also be able to see the all-new 2020 RS models including the Audi RS 6 Avant, RS 7 and highlighted by the global debut of the high-performance SUV, the Audi RS Q8.

The Audi e-tron Sportback, is the second fully electric model to bear “e-tron” badging that it’s claimed emphasizes emotional design that conveys a stylish presence on the road. The five-passenger SUV coupe will have German driving dynamics and is equipped with standard electric all-wheel drive to help provide  good control on a variety of surfaces and driving settings.
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All-Electric Ford Mach-E ‘SUV’ Debuts in 2020 on All-Electric Mustang Mach-E SUV

A pony SUV crossover?

From the people who brought you the ill-fated Mustang 2 here comes an all-electric ‘Mustang’ hatchback dubbed the Mach-E SUV. It too is pursuing buyers that were not in the equation that made the real thing successful. The electric non-pony car is pursuing an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles with the optional – as yet unpriced – extended-range battery, along with rear-wheel drive and software that can direct you to public charging stations. All-wheel drive powered by permanent magnet motors will be optional.

Depending on your point of view, it’s either the corruption of the Mustang brand name or a creative use of it. Time and sales reports will provide some real data. Either way, it’s the latest come from behind assault on Tesla from an old-line automaker with an in-demand body style. (Porsche Claims 20,000 Potential Taycan Buyers,Porsche Opens Zuffenhausen Factory for All-Electric Taycan)
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Volkswagen Group Debuts Investment Plan for 2020-2024 on Volkswagen Group Together 2025 Plan

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The Volkswagen Group has revealed its investment plan for 2020 to 2024*. The Group plans to spend nearly €60 billion on hybridization, electric mobility and digitalization in the next five years. This is slightly more than 40% of the company’s investments in property, plant and equipment and all research and development costs during the period. Compared with the Group’s last Planning Round, it’s an increase of around 10%. The Group intends to invest around €33 billion of this in electric mobility. (Drinking the Electrolyte? Audi Plans to Sell 800K EVs in 2025)

“We are resolutely pressing ahead with the transformation of the Volkswagen Group and focusing our investments on the future of mobility. This is part of our systematic and consequent implementation of the Group’s strategy,” said Hans Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group.
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UAW-Ford Agreement Closes Engine Plant, Protects 8500 Jobs on UAW Ford Contract

“Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement.”

Ford Motor the largest producer of vehicles and the largest employer of UAW-represented autoworkers, with ~55,000 hourly employees in the U.S., confirmed today that it has reached a four-year contract. It will result in a $700 million Q4 charge, primarily associated with a ratification bonus that prompted only 56.3% of  UAW Ford members to ratify the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement,” said Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who is Director of the UAW Ford Department. “This is a life-changing.”

The International Executive Board recently put Gamble in charge to address the egregious misconduct that was revealed by FBI criminal investigations of Gary Jones, in the fraudulent diversion of funds from FCA Fiat that were supposed to support UAW worker training1.
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New Ford Thanksgiving Parade Float Debuts on New Ford Thanksgiving Parade Float

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Ford Motor Company’s “Creating Tomorrow Together” will be on display with an all-new float making its debut at the 93rd America’s Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Detroit on Thursday 28 November.

At more than 100 feet long and 25 feet tall, Ford’s new float claims to showcase its future –from the innovation hub being developed at the historic Michigan Central Station in Detroit, to the transformation of Ford’s research and engineering campus in Dearborn, and to its robotics lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Continue reading

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First ‘Renault City’ opens in France on Renault City - Concept Store

Not Exactly Amazon Prime, yet.

Groupe Renault, in partnership with the Sofibrie Group has established its first ‘Renault City’ concept store in the Val d’Europe shopping center in Seine-et-Marne. With this new experimental format in the heart of a major shopping area, Renault is establishing itself close to the places most frequented by potential customers. Open 7 days a week, it welcomes visitors from 10am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 8pm on Sunday. It’s the latest attempts by an automaker to address new age shopping habits. (Group Renault Debuts Hydrogen in Light Commercial Vehicles and Renault, Klépierre Join on Shopping Center Mobility Services)

“A site manager and five ambassadors take turns accompanying visitors in their discovery of the latest innovations from Renault through a physical and digital journey specifically designed for Renault City. The concept store is structured around several areas: an exhibition area for the two latest combustion and electrical or hybrid vehicles, and information corners, including a personalization and accessories area, equipped with a digital configurator,” said Renault. (Unattended Car Buying versus Traditional Purchasing Carvana Ups Size, Price of Common Offering. Results Unknown,  Carvana Launches First Vending Machine in California) Continue reading

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McLaren Wants Tailors and Dressmakers to Build Cars on composite materials

Composite materials, together with future Powertrain technology, will save vehicle weight, boost performance and provide more energy-efficient vehicles.

British luxury supercar maker McLaren is hiring for its new £50m innovation and manufacturing facility in Yorkshire in the North of England. Applicants with experience in a variety of sectors from boat-building to the textiles trade and sporting goods industries are urged to apply for jobs, apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships that will help double the workforce at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre  to ~200 when it is in full production next year.

Those skills are required because materials such as carbon fiber start life as a fabric that has to be cut, put into molds before being treated and becoming a hard material. McLaren claims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight composite materials, a claim that could plausibly challenged by other automakers. (See stories below) Continue reading

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Capital Punishment Day for Auto Workers at Daimler on Daimler Business Plan

“This will have a negative impact on our earnings in 2020 and 2021.”

Daimler is cuttings costs and workers as it focuses on a “sustainable business strategy,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG in its Ambition 2039 plan that embraces the Paris Climate Accord. It will take three product cycles.

Daimler will continue to concentrate on individual mobility and transportation of goods and people, but its profitability is negatively impacted by CO2 reduction and the ongoing transformation of automotive industry to new-age mobility providers, Källenius claimed at a presentation for the financial industry yesterday in London.

Personnel costs will drop by the  end of 2022 as Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to save more than €1 billion in personnel costs. Jobs will be cut in both management and “indirect areas.”
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Volkswagen Breaks Ground on Expanded US EV Production on Volkswagen Chattanooga - EV Production

Expanded EV Production at Chattanooga site begins in 2022, Volkswagen’s North American assembly base for electric vehicles.

Volkswagen of America today marked the start of construction for its electric vehicle production facility at Chattanooga. The company also announced it intends to build a 198,000–square-foot plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.

Volkswagen began EV production earlier this month in Zwickau, Germany, and will then roll out assembly worldwide, including in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020 and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022. The Chattanooga site will be VW’s North-American hub for EV manufacturing. Continue reading

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Hyundai Motor Group Refines Active Noise Control on active noise cancellation

Cabin quietness becomes more important as internal combustion vehicles are phased out.

Hyundai Motor Group has announced the development of what it claims reduces noise within the cabin of a vehicle. RANC builds on the Group’s current Active Noise Control (ANC) technology, which reduces noise by emitting soundwaves inverted to incoming noise thereby cancelling each other out. ANC is a well-known technology that analyses inside cabin sound to decrease engine and road noise, versus the older passive method of blocking noise through sound insulation.

There is almost no powertrain noise from electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, so mitigating road and wind noise becomes more vital. Using RANC can significantly reduce road noise and create a serene cabin for future electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. The technology will begin to be applied to an upcoming Genesis model.
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Nissan Motor Net Income Dives -73.5% to 65.4 Billion Yen on Nissan FY 2019 Financial Results

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Nissan Motor Co. today announced financial results for the six-month period ending September 30, 2019 that showed consolidated net revenue of 5.00 trillion yen, consolidated operating profit was 31.6 billion yen, with an operating profit margin of 0.6%. The Renault Nissan Alliance remains in turmoil over issues surrounding the Carlos Ghosn departure. (Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa Forced Out Over Ghosn Matter)

First half net income1 decreased by, gulp, 73.5% to 65.4 billion yen. The board of directors today set an extraordinary meeting of shareholders to be held in February 2020 to consider proposals for current directors leaving their positions and for new director nominees. The committee took into consideration candidate recommendations from Nissan (Makoto Uchida and Jun Seki), Renault (Pierre Fleuriot), and Nissan and Renault jointly (Ashwani Gupta).
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FCA-PSA Merger – Surviving Platforms and Powertrains

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If the proposed FCA-PSA merger goes forward it’s a complicated  way to spread costs as a consolation would result in FCA-PSA group emerging as the fourth-largest Global Automaker. Its annual production volume would be +8 million Light Vehicles per year. It would be larger than Hyundai Group, General Motors, Ford and Honda. It could compete with the current Global Big Three – Volkswagen Group, Toyota and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Consultancy AutoForecast Solutions says that right now FCA primarily uses four global front-drive platforms for passenger cars and crossovers. ( Continue reading

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FCA US Recalls More Than 107,000 Diesels for Engine Fires on fires on Ram EcoDiesel engines

EGR coolers may fail from fatigue.

FCA US is recalling 2014-2019 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel engines because of fires starting in the center of the engine, between the intake manifold and the fuel rail. FCA  has been aware of the problem since last May when its Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization opened an investigation into engine compartment fires in Ram 1500 3.0L Eco Diesel trucks.

Thus far no fix is proposed even though the company is aware of four injuries related to the safety defect. Continue reading

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New Executives For Safety, AV, Strategy, and Ford Credit

Autoinformed.con on Ford Executive ChangesFord Motor Company has made public the retirement of two longtime executives, new assignments for two corporate officers, and promotions to senior positions for three people at the company.

Kim Pittel, Ford’s vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, will retire on Dec. 1, ending a 34-year career.  For the past four years, Pittel has led the execution of the company’s global environment and safety strategy, policy and performance. In previous assignments, Pittel’s responsibilities included development and launch of Ford Mustang, Escape, Focus and Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ models; Global Transmission and Driveline Engineering; Quality in North and South America; and Global Supplier Technical Assistance. Continue reading

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