2020 Ford GT More Power, Special Edition Trim at $750k

AutoInformed.com on 2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon

Deliveries of the 2020 Ford GT are ongoing, with production stopping in 2022.

Ford Performance today at the Chicago auto show confirmed tweaks to the GT supercar for 2020 with increased engine power to 660 horsepower and improved cooling. With 13 additional horsepower compared to 2017-19 GT, the 2020 EcoBoost engine has a broader torque band and revised engine calibration. Gallery-cooled pistons and higher-energy ignition coils are borrowed from the limited-edition, track-only GT Mk II, which has more than 700 horsepower at $1.2 million.

Additional engine cooling and airflow updates includes new buttress air ducts designed to increase air flow by 50% while larger intercoolers keep charge air temperatures cooler, preserving peak power for high-temperature sessions at the track. Suspension damping is increased in track mode to increase handling and body control, particularly for those high-speed transient sections of closed-course circuits.
Continue reading

Posted in performance, racing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

General Motors Posts Huge Q4 Strike Losses and a Weak 2019

AutoInformed.com on GM 2019 Global Vehicle Deliveries

Click to Enlarge.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today reported 2019 full-year earnings that were heavily damaged by a UAW strike in Q3 and Q4. However, sales of GM’s all-new full-size pickups and the company’s ongoing cost-cutting actions ameliorated what would have been a total rout for GM investors.

U.S. market share declined year-over-year because of the UAW strike and discontinuation of some passenger cars. China market share declined y-o-y due to segment shifts, lower demand for outgoing models and the slower rate of adoption of new fuel-efficient technology.
Continue reading

Posted in financial results | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

First Look – 2021 Cadillac Escalade

AutoInformed.com on Cadillac Escalade 2021 Model

Media look at the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Last Tuesday  in Hollywood, California. The new Escalade has been completely redesigned and is said to have improved driving dynamics and significantly greater passenger and cargo capacities.

Cadillac last night unveiled the all-new 2021 Escalade in Hollywood, an SUV that is longer than Scorsese’s Irishman, and likely far more enjoyable. With (thus far) exclusive technology including a curved Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, the first AKG automotive audio system and Cadillac’s  Super Cruise driver assistance technology. The fifth-generation of Cadillac’s flagship will expand – it’s hoped – on its more than 20 years of enriching GM’s coffers.

Launching in the third quarter this year in North America, the 2021 Escalade built in Texas – as befits its size – has been  redesigned to deliver improved driving dynamics and significantly greater passenger and cargo capacities. Continue reading

Posted in autonomous vehicles, new vehicle | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ford Posts Weak Q4 Earnings Losing $1.7 Billion

AutoInformed.com on Ford Financial Challenges

Can Hackett, well, hack it any longer?

Ford Motor Company lost $1.7 billion (42 cents a share) during Q4 2019 compared to a loss of $100 million, or 3 cents a share, year-over-year.  This  included a previously disclosed $2.2 billion charge for underfunded pensions. Adjusted for one-time items, Ford said it gained 12 cents a share during the year, compared with 30 cents a share a year ago.

Revenue fell 5% to $39.7 billion from $41.8 billion a year ago. Global sales, share, earnings, and profits all decreased.

AutoInformed.com on Weak Ford 2019 Results

Click to Enlarge.

“Financially, the company’s 2019 performance was short of our original expectations, mostly because our operational execution, which we usually do very well, wasn’t nearly good enough,” said Chief Executive Jim Hackett in an understatement. Continue reading

Posted in financial results | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Global Light Vehicle Sales Slump. The Party’s Over?

AutoInformed.com on Global Light Vehicle Sales 2017-2020

Looking like Harry Truman for a one-handed economist?

With 2019 as the second successive annual decline in global Light Vehicle sales, and a lifeless year projected for 2020, our friends at LMC Automotive are pondering whether we have reached peak auto. “Was the 2017 high of 95.2 million units the best we will ever see?”

LMC posits we must look at why the market has dropped 5 million units below the 2017 record. A recent blog entry entitled 2019 Review highlights some of the challenges faced by the auto industry. Chief among them are developments in China, with a protracted hangover from the temporary tax cuts of a few years ago, disruption coming from the launch of State VI-compliant vehicles (which varies region by region), along with a slowing economy.
Continue reading

Posted in news analysis, sales | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

GMC Hummer EV – Its First All-Electric Truck

AutoInformed.com on GMC Hummer EVGMC says it will introduce the Hummer EV with “remarkable capability” to the overcrowded electrified vehicle segment  during this weekend’s Super Bowl event with an ad titled “Quiet Revolution.” It’s scheduled to air during the second quarter.

The spot contrasts the, allegedly, staggering anticipated performance of GMC’s first all-electric truck with the quietness inherent in the operation of an electric vehicle. Continue reading

Posted in electric vehicles, new vehicle | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mazda Marks its 100th Anniversary

Mazda Motor Corporation celebrated its 100th anniversary today with an employee event at its headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan. Approximately 500 people including executives, employees and representatives of workers’ union and affiliated companies attended the ceremony.

“Mazda originated as a company producing cork and then took the path to manufacturing automobiles. Now, our cars have found friends with many customers from over 130 countries and regions. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the customers, dealers, suppliers, business partners and the local community, who have supported us over the years through good and bad times, to whom we owe our 100 years of existence,” said Akira Marumoto, Representative Director, President and CEO. Continue reading

Posted in milestones | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rivian to Develop Lincoln’s First All-Electric Vehicle

Rivian confirms it will develop an all-new electric vehicle previously announced as part of Ford Motor Company’s original investment in Rivian. (Rivian Gets $500 Million for New Ford Battery Electric Vehicle). Since Ford Motor struggles selling passenger cars, smart money will be on another SUV joining the line. However, no details were released.

What should become Lincoln’s first fully electric vehicle will join the Aviator and Corsair Grand Touring plug-in hybrid vehicles as Lincoln plays catch up in a segment that is dictated by Chinese, EU and California regulations and dominated by the Germans and Tesla. Lincoln claims the so-called zero-emissions vehicle will have connected and “intuitive” technologies designed to (marketing babble alert) “create an effortless experience for Lincoln clients.”
Continue reading

Posted in electric vehicles, new vehicle | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Marijuana’s Role in Easing the Opioid Epidemic?

A recent study challenges the role that legalizing medical marijuana might play in easing the opioid epidemic. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in June 2019, indicates that a previously reported relationship between medical marijuana laws and declining opioid overdose deaths has not held up over time.

The paper uses the same research methods as a2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which found that states that had legalized medical marijuana during the study period – 1999 to 2010 – had 24.8% lower annual opioid death rates, on average, compared with states that had not legalized medical marijuana. (currently passing drug tests is a major challenge to auto industry hiring – editor)
Continue reading

Posted in news analysis, people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Groupe Renault Changes Execs – outsider Luca de Meo as CEO, Clotilde Delbos Deputy CEO

AutoInformed.com on Luca de Meo as Chief Executive Officer of Renault -July 2020

Luca de Meo will be Chief Executive Officer of Renault – July 2020.

After a year of chaos starting when then Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn was arrested by Japanese authorities, the Groupe Renault Board of Directors, meeting today under chair Mr. Jean-Dominique Senard appointed a 52-year-old Italian outside Mr. Luca de Meo as Chief Executive Officer of Renault S.A., and Chairman of Renault effective 1 July 2020. (Renault Board Confirms Expenses Improperly Used by Ghosn)

De Meo becomes the second executive to lead Renault (RNLSY) since Ghosn was arrested in Japan in 2018 and subsequently charged with financial fraud. Ghosn’s successor at Renault, Thierry Bollore, left last fall, in part it seems because he was a Ghosn protégé and after the collapse of a proposed merger with Fiat Chrysler in June that Nissan nixed. (Ghosn Shakeout is Ongoing as Thierry Bolloré, CEO Renault SA, is Fired by the Board of Directors, FCA Balks at French Government In-Laws. Renault Marriage Off, Renault’s Board of Directors Continue FCA Merger Study, Ghosn Shakeout is Ongoing as Thierry Bolloré, CEO Renault SA, is Fired by the Board of Directors)

Mrs. Clotilde Delbos, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Renault S.A. will continue until Mr. Luca de Meo takes office. In addition, the Board of Directors “gave a favorable opinion” on her appointment – bound to be controversial after she successfully held the job –  to the position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Renault S.A. Continue reading

Posted in news analysis, people | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MAMA Finalists for Family Vehicle of the Year Awards

The choices don’t get any tougher since they reflect the current automotive state of the art as Midwest Automotive Media Association members drove and debated and debunked family vehicle and luxury family vehicles at Road America in the spring and at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet this fall. AutoInformed was an active and vocal participant.

Voting MAMA members chose as Family Vehicle of the Year finalists: 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, and 2020 Subaru Outback. The Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award finalists: 2020 Cadillac XT6 and 2020 Lincoln Aviator. The above vehicles joined the list of finalists from the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally, and a final round of voting takes place online: 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Toyota Supra.

Reporter’s  Notebook – Family Vehicle of the Year Finalists:

Ford Explorer – The new 2020 model year Explorer is a 4300-4700 lbs. 6-passenger unibody SUV, with stronger construction, the broadest model lineup ever, more powerful EcoBoost engines and increased towing capacity.

AutoInformed.com on MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year

Most sophisticated and expensive Explorer yet.

Powertrain offerings include a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 at 365 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque using 93-octane gas, making this the most powerful Explorer ever. It’s also the most expensive, most complex Explorer ever, even though the all-new rear-wheel-drive and AWD platform is shared by the Ford Police Interceptor Utility and the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator and upcoming revisions to the Mustang. Continue reading

Posted in awards, new vehicle | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU Passenger Car Registrations Barely Up in 2019

AutoInformed.com on 2019 EU Passenger Car Registrations

Click to Enlarge.

In December 2019, EU passenger car demand grew for the fourth month in a row (+21.7%), marking the highest December total on record to date. However, most of this was a statistical anomaly not caused by real growth. This was largely the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell by 8.4% in December 2018.

There were significant market interventions in France (+27.7%) and Sweden (+109.3%), as both countries announced large changes to the “bonus-malus” (negative incentives for poor performance) component of CO2-based taxation for 2020. The Netherlands (+113.9%) decided to increase taxation of electric company cars from 4% to 8% from January 2020. As a result, all EU countries – including the five big markets – posted solid growth rates in December. Continue reading

Posted in sales | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I – Best in Arizona Auction?

AutoInformed.com on Sotheby's 2020 Arizona Auction

The most valuable performance car brand in the universe?

A 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I is set to star at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction, says Sotheby’s with abundant self-interest. The 250 GT Cabriolet Series I joined by a 250 Europa GT Coupe, alongside additional Ferrari highlights  and tomorrow at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The Arizona lineup also includes modern performance and supercars, led by Pagani Huayra Roadster.

There are 147 motor cars and a selection of memorabilia on the block. Ferrari’s road cars of the 1950s and 60s were some of the fastest -and these days – some of most expensive automobiles on the planet. The built-for-touring 250 GT Cabriolet Series I – sold to support Enzo’s racing addiction – had smooth lines defined by its covered headlamps, bumperettes, and tiny taillights in the rear wings. Considered by some to be one of Pinin Farina’s most elegant designs, ownership of a 250 GT Cabriolet signaled a taste for engineering and performance and transportation as a statement.   Continue reading

Posted in design and styling, performance, prices | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Isuzu, Honda to Research on Fuel-Cell HD Trucks and Vehicles

AutoInformed.com on 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Honda is a leader in fuel cell vehicles.

Isuzu Motors and Honda R&D today signed an agreement to undertake joint research on heavy-duty trucks, using fuel cells as the powertrain. (GM and Honda to Make Fuel Cells in Michigan)

In a statement datelined Tokyo, they said: “Today, the automobile industry is facing demand to reduce exhaust gas/carbon emissions from mobility products in order to address the on-going global challenge of reducing humanity’s environmental footprint. Moreover, from the perspective of energy security, the industry is required to take initiatives to promote utilization of renewable energy.”
Continue reading

Posted in alternative fuels, environment, fuel economy or emissions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Genesis Launches Its First SUV –  GV80

AutoInformed.com on Genesis GV80 launch

Late to the luxury truck market dominated by the Germans and Japanese.

Today, Genesis officially launched GV80, its first sport-utility vehicle. GV80 has a six-cylinder diesel (not in the US), electronically controlled suspension, and active noise cancellation. The launch and media test drive took place at the Korea International Exhibition Center west of Seoul. (Hyundai Motor Group Refines Active Noise Control)

The GV80 SUV joins the lineup alongside the G70, G80 and G90 sedans with more than a common thread of design identity. The interior and exterior styling of GV80 was the result of a collaboration between Genesis Design studios located in South Korea, the United States and Germany. (Hyundai to Try to Make Genesis a Global Luxury Brand and Hyundai Genesis – a Rebadging Flop?) Continue reading

Posted in marketing, new vehicle | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment