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Standards for bumpers, headlights and other safety features vary from market to market, adding to engineering costs for automakers. (BLOOMBERG)
 

Marchionne is so right and so wrong about consolidation

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, May 5
Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne is absolutely right in his call for industry consolidation.
But he is absolutely wrong about what needs consolidating.
In a call with analysts last week to discuss Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ first quarter earnings, Marchionne went rogue and launched into a discussion further pressing his case for automaker megamergers. Car companies, he believes, must make more efficient use of their capital.
It makes no sense, Marchionne argued, for dozens of automakers to spend money developing the same technologies.
My colleague Larry P. Vellequette listened to Marchionne’s entire 2½-ho ...
     Continue reading "Marchionne is so right and so wrong about consolidation" » May 5, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Mercedes G class latest victim in China's clone wars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 1
blogs
How affordable will this G-class copy be once it goes on sale in China? (NEWSPRESS)
Last week at the Shanghai auto show, Land Rover was coming to terms with selling the Range Rover Evoque alongside its half-priced Chinese clone, the Land Wind X7.
Not to be outdone, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding unveiled its own version of a western SUV, opting for the classic Mercedes-Benz G class.
The relationship between Daimler, Mercedes' parent, and BAIC differs from that between Jaguar Land Rover and Jiangling Holding Co., the parent company of Land Wind, which cribbed the Evoque's design.
For one thing, Daimler owns a 12 percent stake in BAIC Mo ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes G class latest victim in China's clone wars" » May 1, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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The knock on higher octane

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, April 28
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High octane gasoline opens the door to smaller, high performing engines that can yield real-world fuel economy gains of between 3 and 6 percent, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions about 2 percent, experts say. (BLOOMBERG)
Look for the debate over raising the octane levels at U.S. gasoline pumps -- perhaps making 93 octane the new regular -- to get a lot louder between now and 2017.
Here’s why: Automakers and suppliers are spending record amounts of money on product development to meet the government-mandated 54.5 mpg fleet fuel economy average in the 2025 model year.
They very likely will need higher octane gasoline to get there.
Octane is a measurement of gasoline’s resistance to ignite when compressed in an engine’s cylinder. High octane can make a small engine prod ...
     Continue reading "The knock on higher octane" » Apr 28, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Mercedes G-Wagen latest victim in China's clone wars

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 28
blogs
How affordable will this G-wagon copy be once it goes on sale in China? (NEWSPRESS)
Last week at the Shanghai auto show, Land Rover was coming to terms with selling the Range Rover Evoque alongside its half-priced Chinese clone, the Land Wind X7.
Not to be outdone, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. unveiled its own version of a western SUV, opting for the classic Mercedes-Benz G class.
The relationship between Daimler AG and BAIC differs from that between Jaguar Land Rover and Jiangling Holding Co., the parent company of Land Wind, which cribbed the Evoque's design.
For one thing, Daimler owns a 12 percent stake in BAIC Motor Corp., a ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes G-Wagen latest victim in China's clone wars" » Apr 28, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Buick chief says new China duties won't distract from 'a lot more to do' in U.S.

Posted 6:00 am U.S. ET, April 24
blogs
Aldred: “We've got a good start, but there's a lot more to do.”
SHANGHAI -- In the year since he took over the Buick and GMC brands in the U.S., Duncan Aldred has made a lot of fans among dealers.
He's earned a reputation as a sales and marketing exec willing to try new things, such as a 16 percent cash-back offer tied to the 'Sweet Sixteen' during the NCAA men's basketball tournament last month.
He also successfully pushed for a 50 percent increase in supply of the hot Buick Encore crossover. And he greenlighted what is likely GMC's largest-ever advertising campaign.
All are reasons why his latest promotion could cause some const ...
     Continue reading "Buick chief says new China duties won't distract from 'a lot more to do' in U.S." » Apr 24, 2015 6:00 am U.S. ET
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With 3-D printing, product development flies

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 21
blogs
An axle casing made of resin.
It’s not uncommon for an engineer or designer at Fiat Chrysler’s tech center in Auburn Hills, Mich., to see a prototype part deposited on his or her desk less than 24 hours after ordering it.
That kind of speed -- never before consistently possible in the auto industry -- reduces development costs by cutting dramatically the amount of time and labor expended in the vehicle creation process.
What makes this possible? 3-D printing, which uses a type of plastic powder and technology similar to an inkjet printer. The device “sprays” sintered plastic powder in layers and builds the thre ...
     Continue reading "With 3-D printing, product development flies" » Apr 21, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Who's using whom in the Mazda-Toyota Mexican marriage?

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 21
blogs
Scion's Doug Murtha reveals the Scion iA sedan in New York.
TOKYO -- From the beginning, Mazda Motor Corp.’s deal to build a small car for Toyota Motor Corp. at Mazda’s new plant in Mexico was a marriage of convenience. But the debut this month of the vehicle, the Scion iA sedan, raises the question of which company is getting the better bargain.
Mazda is loaning a rival one of its biggest brand assets: its distinct Kodo design language. Scion, meanwhile, is rolling the dice on a car even Mazda thinks U.S. demand can’t support.
The Scion iA, unveiled at the New York auto show, goes on sale this fall. It is a very thinly disguised ...
     
Continue reading "Who's using whom in the Mazda-Toyota Mexican marriage?" »
Apr 21, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Why it could be the Volt's time to shine in China

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs

SHANGHAI -- Since the Chevrolet Volt hit U.S. showrooms in late 2010, it's been dogged by a central question: How can General Motors drive down the plug-in hybrid's cost enough to make it affordable to more people, and eventually turn a profit?
I think I know at least part of the answer: Sell a boatload of them in a Chinese market that's fast warming to EVs.
GM has sold a miniscule number of Volts since it began exporting the car for sale in China in 2012. There are two big reasons for that.
First, the U.S.-built car is subject to Chinese tariffs, which makes it prohi ...
     Continue reading "Why it could be the Volt's time to shine in China" » Apr 20, 2015 7:17 am U.S. ET
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Shanghai show cleans up its act

Posted 6:36 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs
Attire at this year's Shanghai auto show displays is much more conservative than in recent years. (HANS GREIMEL)
SHANGHAI -- Automakers in China have once again proved where there’s a will, there’s a way.
And this time, they found a way around a much-ballyhooed ban of floor models at this year’s Shanghai auto show. The new code had been foisted upon exhibitors by organizers looking to clean up an image largely associated with plunging necklines, see-through blouses and crowds of camera nerds craning to click pics of the wrong types of models on display.
Yet when doors opened today to the press, there were plenty of models striking a pose.
The difference: The ta ...
     Continue reading "Shanghai show cleans up its act" » Apr 20, 2015 6:36 am U.S. ET
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Super-sized Shanghai more survivable than Frankfurt

Posted 5:22 am U.S. ET, April 20
The Shanghai auto show’s new home is bigger than the fairgrounds used for the Frankfurt show, but it is less brutal on the body.
The recently opened National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai calls itself with world’s largest exhibition complex with 400,000 square meters of covered space.
The Messe Frankfurt, home to the biennial Frankfurt show, has 355,678 square meters of hall space, according to its website.
In 2013, exhibitors at the Frankfurt show occupied more than 230,000 of those square meters. I couldn’t get an accurate account of ...
     Continue reading "Super-sized Shanghai more survivable than Frankfurt" » Apr 20, 2015 5:22 am U.S. ET
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More »    
Product news
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Freshened GM full-size pickups
9:24 am U.S. ET, May 5
Recent spy photos signal that General Motors is freshening its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size, light-duty pickups, which have been... ...
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Scion FR-S gets light refresh for 2016
Toyota is giving the rear-wheel-drive Scion FR-S a light refresh for the 2016 model year. ...
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Caddy wants unique team, unique powertrains
Dave Leone, Cadillac's chief engineer, says he wants to differentiate Cadillac powertrains ...
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Audi to focus on plug-in hybrids even as it plans EV to take on Tesla
Although Audi plans an electric crossover to challenge Tesla's Model X, CEO Rupert Stadler ...
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Sleek Malibu may be just the start for GM
Much of General Motors' sedan lineup in coming years will go on the same diet that shaved ...
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Bentley concept coupe aims for Aston's turf
Bentley wants a piece of Aston Martin's sports car business. ...
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Honda's HR-V hope: Better late than never
Honda's all-new HR-V is showing up to the party later than expected, but that hasn't dimme ...
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2016 Chevy Volt gets a $1,115 price cut
Chevrolet is dropping the price of the redesigned Chevrolet Volt by $1,115. ...
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Q&A
Cadillac seeks unique engineering team, powertrains
Cadillac's chief engineer hopes to differentiate the brand's powertrains in terms of power ...
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FUTURE PRODUCT
Honda hopes HR-V is better late than never
Honda's all-new HR-V is showing up to the party later than expected, but that hasn't dimme ...
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Aston Martin secures funds to build DBX crossover
Aston Martin Lagonda is set to receive more than $300 million for the development of its g ...
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SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW: PRICED TO SELL
China's cheap car strategy for the U.S.
Wu Song, boss of China's Guangzhou Automobile, says his cars need to be 30 percent cheaper ...
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Lexus reworks ES with bolder looks
After surveying customers in China and the U.S. ...
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Next BMW i to be based on 5 series, report says
BMW will add a plug-in hybrid based on the 5 series to its i subbrand, according to a Germ ...
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VW coupe-style sedan concept previews a new look
Volkswagen's C Coupe GTE concept unveiled at the Shanghai auto show would be positioned be ...
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