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Aldred: “We've got a good start, but there's a lot more to do.”
 

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
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 consternation among dealers: GM has stuck a 'global' tag in front of his title, giving Aldred oversight o ...
     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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Self-driving building blocks already in place

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 14
blogs
The Audi SQ5 SUV that Delphi used during a coast-to-coast autonomous vehicle demonstration was outfitted with many technologies and systems the company already has -- or soon will have -- in production. (DELPHI)
No one had ever done it before.
And for such a massive undertaking, it didn’t really get a lot of media attention. On the surface, you could, I suppose, see it as some kind of flashy PR stunt. But what auto supplier Delphi Automotive just did -- completing a 3,400-mile drive from San Francisco to New York in a self-driving car -- is an amazing technological feat. And it shows just how rapidly engineers and software code slingers are working the bugs out of autonomous cars.
It will largely be the work of software writers that determines the safety, performance and comfort of autonomous cars. Engineer ...
     Continue reading "Self-driving building blocks already in place" » Apr 14, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Look-alike cars? Whether by design or not, it's an old, familiar story

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, April 7
blogs
Bentley: The Lincoln Continental Concept, top, mimics the Bentley Flying Spur, bottom.
Ford found itself in an uncomfortable position yet again last week over design.
By now you’re aware of the kerfuffle over the new Lincoln Continental.
Ford is very familiar with this kind of controversy.
Let’s go back to 1960. Check out the grille on Ford’s final Edsel.
It looks like a twin of the one used on the 1959 Bonneville, doesn’t i ...
     Continue reading "Look-alike cars? Whether by design or not, it's an old, familiar story" » Apr 7, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Meet South Korea's newest automaker

Posted 11:10 am U.S. ET, April 3
blogs
Cony's trucks are funky little retro-styled two-seaters with flared fenders, mini-running boards and pie-pan wheels.
SEOUL -- Cony Motor Co. doesn’t have a factory or a single customer. Its vehicles aren’t even street-legal yet.
But South Korea’s youngest would-be automaker -- at less than a year old -- just splurged on a front-and-center stand at the country’s premier auto show, right next to Bentley no less.
The audacious startup hopes its prime and pricey position at the Seoul Motor Show will spur interest from investors and potential partners, COO Choi Jong Youn says.
Its bold ambition: Sell mini-pickups, powered by pint-size diesel engines or electric mo ...
     Continue reading "Meet South Korea's newest automaker" » Apr 3, 2015 11:10 am U.S. ET
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Apple is a no-show at the New York show

Posted 10:19 am U.S. ET, April 2
NEW YORK -- Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are finally here!
Well, almost here.
Kia unveiled its 2016 Optima sedan in New York and announced the car would offer both CarPlay and Android Auto, the heavily hyped and eagerly anticipated software systems designed to get your car and smartphone to operate seamlessly as one device.
But the real ...
     Continue reading "Apple is a no-show at the New York show" » Apr 2, 2015 10:19 am U.S. ET
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