Global Light Vehicle Sales Drop -5% in March

AutoInformed.com on Global Light Vehicle Sales - March 2019

A rising U.S. economy with the Federal Reserve pumping money in at low rates per Trump will help U.S. sales – and his re-election.

There was no growth in light vehicles sales anywhere during March  as Global sales fell -5% in year-on-year. However, the selling rate picked up to 91 million  units/year, a slight improvement over the first two months of the year. The slight nudge up came from an easing in YoY losses in China, and an  improved selling rate in the USA. Consultancy LMC notes that Western Europe had a “disappointing month, while the Japanese, Korean and South American markets all continued to struggle in YoY terms.” (See AutoInformed on WLTP How Does It Work? Will it Work?) Continue reading

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World Piece or Pieces? SAE Joins International Alliance for Mobility Testing & Standardization

AutoInformed.com on Connected Vehicle Testing Standards

Bringing together smart and advanced mobility test-beds will be troubled by nationalist protectionism schemes.

SAE International has joined China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC), TÜV SÜD, Shanghai SH Intelligent Automotive and International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC) as charter members of a new Alliance for Mobility Testing and Standardization (IAMTS).

IAMTS is founded “to develop and grow an international portfolio of advanced mobility testbeds that meet the highest quality implementation and operational standards.”  Continue reading

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Renault Nissan Establish Joint Innovation Hub in China

AutoInformed.com

Leaf assembly in Smyrna Tennessee.

It might have been a bad marriage with an ongoing messy divorce, but Renault and Nissan, the French and Japanese automotive alliance partners have opened a new research and development joint venture in Shanghai, China. It’s the opposite of the parents staying together as the children are sticking it out to survive. The Alliance Automotive Research and Development (Shanghai), Ltd., dubbed as Alliance Innovation Lab Shanghai (AIL-SH) has Renault and Nissan each hold 50% of this new entity. Continue reading

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New 2020 Mustang High Performance 330-hp Four Banger

AutoInformed.com on 2020 Mustang High Performance – 330 Horsepower 4-Banger

It’s optional on “entry-level” Mustang EcoBoost fastback coupe or convertible models this fall.

Here comes an SCCA special from Dearborn. The 2020 Mustang this fall has a new 2.3-liter  High Performance Package – yes a force fed four-banger –  for the so-called as yet unpriced entry-level Mustang motor

This appears to be – subject to Dodge and Chevrolet responses – the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker. This comes from an, ahem, EcoBoost engine via Ford Performance and upgraded handling components from the Mustang GT Performance Package. Continue reading

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New 2020 Jeep Gladiator Begins Shipping to U.S. Dealers

AutoInformed.com on The all-new 2020 Gladiator midsize truck.

Revealed in November 2018, Gladiator Sport starts at $33,545 and ranges to $43,545 for the Rubicon and that’s before all the Mopar goodies available are added on.

Jeep says its all-new 2020 Gladiator – claimed to be the most capable mid-size truck ever – began shipping to U.S. dealers from its home at the FCA US Toledo (Ohio) Assembly Complex on Friday 12 April 2019. The Company invested $273 million to retool and modernize the plant for Gladiator production and added 329 full-time positions to support the build.

Revealed in November 2018, the Gladiator Sport starts at $33,545 and ranges to $43,545 for the Rubicon and that’s before all the Mopar goodies available are added on. (AutoInformed.com Mopar Debuts Six Concepts for Moab Easter Jeep Safari) Continue reading

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GMC CarbonPro Has – what else – a Carbon Fiber Bed

AutoInformed.com on 2019 GMC Sierra Denali CarbonPro Edition

CarbonPro bed has best-in-class cargo volume. Sidewalls are pushed out farther by the formability of carbon fiber composite that allows molding deep, complex shapes with variable thicknesses.

The GMC Sierra CarbonPro Editions will begin appearing at some dealerships this summer with a carbon fiber bed on the Sierra Denali 1500 and the Sierra AT4 1500. The purpose-built CarbonPro bed is the first application of its kind for carbon fiber composite and delivers best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance.

“CarbonPro is made of the same raw material found in seven-figure super cars and even aerospace applications,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global GMC. “Coupled with offering the world’s first six-function MultiPro tailgate, the 2019 Sierra packs a one-two hauling punch for whatever the situation demands.” Continue reading

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Final Gen 7 Corvette Auction to Benefit Foundation

AutoInformed.com on Mid-Engine Corvette

The announcement, along with the laughable confirmation of the Next Generation Corvette’s development, was made last night by General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.

General Motors will auction the final production seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette this summer, with the proceeds benefiting veterans and first responder families through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. GM’s current and retired workforce includes 60,000 veterans.

The announcement, along with the laughable confirmation of the Next Generation Corvette’s development, was made last night by General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, who was honored at the foundation’s annual Footsteps to the Future Gala in New York. Continue reading

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Chinese Driver Ye Yifei Joins Renault Sport Academy

AutoInformed.com on Ye Yifei - Renault Sport Academy

In 2018 Yifei finished third in the Eurocup, taking two wins, 10 podiums, one pole position and three fastest laps.

Renault Sport Racing says upcoming Chinese driver Ye Yifei is the latest Renault Sport Academy recruit. The announcement was confirmed at the Shanghai International Circuit in a media and VIP event on the eve of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

The 18-year-old, who hails from Xian, China is claimed to be one of the most promising stars of the junior categories. In 2019 Yifei will race for Hi-tech GP in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Yifei started karting aged ten, taking two national titles. At 14, he made the move to Europe and single-seaters. In 2016 Yifei became the first Chinese driver to win an international title winning  the French F4 championship with 14 wins, 17 fastest laps and 10 pole positions. Continue reading

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F1 Champ Mika Häkkinen to Run Suzuka in McLaren 720s GT3

AutoInformed.com on McLaren 720S GT3Mika Häkkinen will return to the Suzuka circuit in Japan later this year at the wheel of a McLaren, 20 years after claiming his second Formula 1 world championship title with the brand that has collapsed into an also, also ran on F1 circuits during the past couple of years. McLaren confirms that the Finnish driver will contest the Suzuka 10-Hour endurance race in a customer racing McLaren 720S GT3. (See AutoInformed.com on Honda Title Sponsor of Formula One Japanese Grand Prix)

Häkkinen will make his debut start at the Suzuka 10 Hour alongside two-time Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura and Japanese Formula 3 racer Katsuaki Kubota. The trio will drive the new 720S GT3 for the fourth round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli on 23-25 August. Further information on the entry, including details of the customer team  running the car, will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Mopar Debuts Six Concepts for Moab Easter Jeep Safari

The Jeep Gladiator at this year’s Easter Jeep Safari will demonstrate Mopar options and ideas to create six new, custom-built concept vehicles for the annual event that takes place AutoInformed.com on 2019 Moab Easter Jeep Safariin Moab, Utah, April 13-21. For the 53rd year, thousands of off-road enthusiasts will head to Moab for the annual Jeep event to participate in a week of technical off-roading on some of the most challenging and scenic terrain in the country. Continue reading

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Ford Recalls 327,000 F-150s as Previous Fire Recall Failed

AutoInformed.com on 2019 Ford F-Series Fires

Ford is aware of one fire in the United States and one in Canada.

Ford Motor Company is issuing another  safety recall on 2015-19 F-150 and 2017-19 Super Duty vehicles equipped with engine block heaters that had been inspected in accordance with recall 18S45.

In the inspected recalled trucks the engine block heater cable splice connectors may have “inadvertently become damaged during that service procedure.” A damaged block heater cable can cause an inoperative engine block heater and/or tripping of household breakers or GFCI-equipped outlets, or a resistive short, which can increase the risk of overheated or melted wiring and fire while the vehicle is parked, and the block heater is plugged in. Continue reading

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Ford Shakes Up Top Management. Again.

AutoInformed.com on Jim Farley, Ford presidentFord Motor Company today announced leadership changes in the ongoing remake of its under-performing business (Ford Motor Company Declares Q2 Dividend of $0.15*). Joe Hinrichs is appointed president, Automotive, effective May 1. In this role, he will lead Ford’s drive to strengthen its Automotive operations and help deliver a sustainable global EBIT margin of at least 8%, about half that of the world’s leading automotive groups.

Hinrichs will have responsibility for Ford’s global business units – North America, South America, Europe, China, and the International Markets Group. He will also oversee both the Ford and Lincoln brands.** Continue reading

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Ghosn – Muzzled – Bites Back After Nissan Board Ouster

AutoInformed.com on Video by former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn is shown on a screen during a news conference by his lawyers at Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo

Video by former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn is shown during a news conference by his lawyers at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

In a video shown to reporters today in Tokyo by Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers, the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman and ousted board member claimed he was the victim of rivals trying to stop a closer alliance between the automaker and French partner Renault.

“This is not about greed or dictatorship, this is about a plot, this is about a conspiracy, this is about a backstabbing,” Ghosn said. “I am innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me,” he said. Continue reading

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Ford Motor Company Declares Q2 Dividend of $0.15

Autoinformed.con on Ford DividendThe Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company declared a second quarter regular dividend of $0.15 per share on the company’s outstanding Class B and common stock or a return of 6.6%. (Weak Ford 2018 Financial Results Prove Need for Shakeup or Ford Motor 2018 US Sales drop -3.5% to 2.5 Million. Cars at 486,000 dive -18%. Trucks Up Again)

Stockholders and Wall Street are skeptical of Ford investor relations “happy talk.” Shares of common are currently trading at $9.30, well below the five-year high of $17.40. Q1 earnings are due on April 25, 2019. U.S. sales at Ford Motor dropped 1.6% year-over-year in the First Quarter. Analysts are saying hold the stock, likely for the dividend and some unknown upside. Continue reading

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Directors Carlos Ghosn, Greg Kelly Voted Out at Nissan

AutoInfomred.com on Ghosn Scandal

At the center of a conspiracy or just bad corporate governance combined with Nissan infighting?

Citing an internal investigation uncovering serious misconducts directed by him, Nissan resolved to remove Ghosn’s representative rights and position of Chairman on November 22, 2018. Now, shareholders have voted to discharge him from director of the Company at extraordinary general meeting held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo.

Hiroto Saikawa, President, among others, came under shareholder scrutiny for his protested innocence of having any knowledge of the scandal even though he was one of Ghosn’s “ right hand men…” (translated from the Japanese and following). Saikawa punted to Toshiyuki Shiga, a director whose relationship with Ghosn goes back to the original Renault bailout and revival plan of the bankrupt Nissan, said it took him time to digest what had happened. “It was hard to believe.. gradually heard the findings of the internal investigation.. I had to accept it as a fact… I was in a state of soul searching…” Continue reading

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