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All is set for Volkswagen’s plans to enter the electric vehicle game, as prompted by the so-called Dieselgate scandal. In fact, the German carmaker has already made a commitment to offer at least five battery electric vehicles (BEV) in the next five years. However, Volkswagen is not intending to offer plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEV) in North America, and possibly also in Europe.
This was divulged by Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess in an interview with Car and Driver. The new plans were a contrast to the ones formulated under the former boss of Volkswagen Group of America Michael Horn. The initial plans entailed replacing the group’s diesel vehicles with clean PHEVs. But those plans have been scrapped. As per the interview, Diess remarked that the German carmaker could still make the VW Tiguan as the best-selling SUV even without offering it as a plug-in hybrid in North America and Europe. He noted that the EV incentive scheme in North America doesn’t include PHEVs, which means offering these clean vehicles won't make sense for the carmaker.
For now, Diess’ efforts focus on offering BEVs, 15 of which have already been decided for the group. Five of these 15 pure EVs are earmarked for the VW brand. All of these future BEVs will be underpinned by the new Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) platform, a battery electric architecture. According to Diess, the new MEB platform would result to economies of scale, allowing VW to unleash the potential of its electric vehicles. He believes that by switching into BEVs, VW would be able to save costs, including those related to development. This will allow the brand’s first BEV -- the new Volkswagen I.D. – to be in the same profit range as the VW Polo.Read the entire article VW decides not to offer plug-in hybrids in North America
Just last week, on October 5 and 6, Lamborghini opened two new dealerships in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and in Sterling, Virginia, respectively. The company’s CEO Stefano Domenicali attended both lavish events. The company decided to expand to prepare for the launch of the Urus performance SUV that will soon be available in the North American market.
The automaker hopes for the new dealer in Toronto to act as a hub for the brand in the country, considering that Canada is Lamborghini’s fifth largest market around the world. The Sterling store, on the other hand, is the first in the United States to feature Lamborghini’s new showroom design. The automaker believes that the Washington D.C. VIP will be lured into the new showroom.
The company believes that there is a huge market for the Urus, and that it will potentially be a bestselling car, particularly in the United States. The automaker thinks that this will be attractive to families and even women who want a performance hauler, unlike their two-seater models that are aimed at a niche market.Read the entire article 2 new Lamborghini dealers open in North America to usher in Urus arrival
On August 21, 2017, many people in North America witnessed the once in a lifetime solar eclipse, as the last time it occurred was over 99 years ago. The eclipse crossed what they called the "Path of Totality" as the sun moved from west to east, covering some parts of the United States.
Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon was used by automakers as some kind of marketing tool. For instance, Nissan used this natural event to introduce the Midnight Edition, or blacked out version of models like the Titan, Titan XD, and the Frontier. This is a limited edition blacked out livery of the said models. Volvo, on the other hand, used the solar eclipse to present a protective screen that people can stick on their XC60 SUV's sunroof.
Apart from Nissan and Volvo, other automakers like Land Rover, Mitsubishi, and Karma used the solar eclipse to as a backdrop of their cars. Having said that, all three companies brought out their cars to the field, photographing them during the event.Read the entire article Which automaker was able to best use the solar eclipse for marketing?
Tesla Motors Inc. is tapping executives who would lead its sales operations in Asia, North America and Europe and has appointed Jerome Guillen, currently vice president of global sales and service to a customer-satisfaction role. Tesla is targeting to hike its sales by 74 percent this year after struggling in China and California.
Tesla is also building what will be the world’s largest battery factory, and is creating an energy-storage division as well as launching its first SUV. Tesla said that Guillen was not “demoted in any way,” Tesla said in a statement.
According to the carmaker, it is interviewing candidates for the sales leadership posts, saying that following their appointment, Guillen will focus on post-sales activity from delivery to long-term customer care. Tesla said in a statement that Guillen has taken Tesla to the “highest service satisfaction of any company in the auto industry by far.”Read the entire article Tesla is hiring sales heads for Asia, North America and Europe
Jaguar Land Rover Group is mulling opening an assembly plant in North America as it bids to keep up with growing demand for luxury vehicles around the world. The possible expansion was confirmed by Tata Motors Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata to the South Carolina Automotive Summit. He said that the plant’s final location will be something that JLR will have to decide.
His comments are linked closely to anonymously sourced media reports early February, which said that officials from the state of Georgia in the United Staets were seeking to land a JLR factory. The Birmingham Post recently reported, citing unnamed company sources, that Austria and Turkey were being explored, not the US.
Tata remarked that he is not part of the decision-making process on the site selection as he already retired as chairman of the Tata group in late 2012. He, however, still oversees Tata’s philanthropic activities, which has seats on the company’s corporate board. JLR is among the last premium brands that decided lately to invest in assembly plants in North America.Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover considering a North American auto plant to keep up with the demand
Lex Kerssemakers is now the new chief executive of Volvo Cars North America, replacing Tony Nicolosi who was named as president of Volvo Cars Financial Services of the Americas. Volvo also named Kerssemakers as senior vice president for the Americas, with responsibility for North and South America. Nicolosi was formerly head of Volvo Car Financial Services US.
He became CEO of Volvo Cars North America in October 2013, albeit initially in acting capacity. Kerssemakers, meanwhile, at the latest was Volvo’s global corporate product strategy chief. He has been a member of the carmaker’s global management team and will remain so, reporting to CEO Hakan Samuelsson.
Named as interim global corporate product strategy chief is Henrik Green, Volvo Vice President of Product Planning, a Volvo spokesman told Automotive News in an e-mail. Green used to report to Kerssemakers.Read the entire article Lex Kerssemakers named as new CEO of Volvo Cars North America
Honda North America will expand a recall of faulty driver-side airbag inflators made by Takata Corp. to a nationwide action. Honda will provide affected owners with free loaner cars until the fix is done, Rick Schostek, an executive vice president with Honda, told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He said that Honda will give priority to vehicles located in the high-humidity areas of the United States where they were initially recalled, no thanks limited replacement parts. Schostek said Honda is collaborating with two other airbag makers, Autoliv and Daicel, to speed up production of new inflators. Autoliv has confirmed in a statement it will build more inflators for Honda.
To match the demand for the inflators, Autoliv chief executive Jan Carlson said in the statement that the company is assessing the current and upcoming market needs to match its delivery capabilities. The Swedish auto safety products supplier disclosed adding more capacity at existing plans.Read the entire article Honda North America to expand recall of faulty driver-side airbag inflators
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expecting its Fiat 500X SUV to gather more demand than the 500 minicar in North America, according to senior executives at the carmaker. Fiat Chrysler expects the 500X to catch the attention of buyers seeking for a ride lager than 500.
Jason Stoicevich, head of Fiat in North America, told Automotive News in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show that a major reason for consumers to reject the 500 was its size. As the 500X is basically larger than the 500, it is expected to outsell the smaller version.
Fiat will commence sales of the 500X in Europe in the first quarter of 2015, and in the United States the following quarter. Fiat Chrysler plans to offer the 500X in 100 global markets, relying on a strong US performance.Read the entire article Fiat expects 500X SUV to sell better than 500 in North America
Edwin Fenech is the new President and Chief Executive of Ferrari North America, making him in charge of the company’s largest market in the world. According to Ferrari, Fenech will oversee the strategic vision and new business development throughout this region which includes the United States, Canada as well as all of Central and South America.
Fenech arrived just in time for Ferrari’s 60th Anniversary in the United States, an event celebrated with the launch of F60America, a special model based on the F12berlinetta built in a limited edition of just 10 units.
Prior to becoming President and CEO of Ferrari North America, Edwin Fenech was the President and CEO of Ferrari , Greater China, CEO of Ferrari APAC and Middle East & Africa, GM of Ferrari Middle East & Africa, Sales and Marketing Director Ferrari West EU – France and Regional Sales Manager for Ferrari Europe.Read the entire article Edwin Fenech is the new President and CEO of Ferrari North America
Honda Motor Co. saw its operating profit in North America drop 14 percent to JPY38.92 billion ($355.7 million) in the fiscal second quarter ended September 2014, no thanks to declining sales and heavy discounting. With the drop, North America was Honda’s only major market that failed to post a gain in operating results.
In fact, Honda posted gains in both Japan and Asia, and even managed to cut its losses in Europe. According to Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura, the operating profit drop in North America could be attributed to heavy incentives to sell more cars in the United States, especially to sell down the 2014 Accord.
While Honda posted a 33-percent surge in US sales for the Accord to 84,031 units, it was not enough to offset a 3-percent dive in sales in North America to 434,000 vehicles. The earnings drop in North America also affected Honda’s global operating profit, sending it down 4 percent to JPY164.44 billion ($1.5 billion) in the fiscal second quarter.Read the entire article Honda logs 14% drop in quarterly operating profit in North America
Daimler announced that production of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van will be done in North America, as it tries to improve competitiveness by shifting output from its home turf Germany. Daimler ships Sprinter kits from Germany to Ladson, South Carolina, where the van will be assembled.
Volker Mornhinweg, head of the Mercedes' vans division, said in a statement, that the company can cater better to the growing demand for large vans in North America economically only if it builds them locally in the NAFTA region. He remarked that Daimler will decide on the exact site for the Sprinter’s production in the NAFTA region in the next few months.
Due to high import tariffs, Daimler has been building US-bound Sprinters in Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, both in Germany. The vans are partially disassembled in Germany and then reassembled in Ladson – a time-consuming process.Read the entire article Next-gen Mercedes Sprinter to be produced in North America
Chrysler Group is expecting dealers for Alfa Romeo in the United States and Canada to provide luxury services to customers even though they are only bound to sell just a limited number of cars in the next two years. Dealers for Alfa Romeo will only be allocated with around 1,500 4Cs annually in the US and Canada.
Around 87 of them – the first batch of dealers granted with Alfa Romeo franchises -- will receive their 4C allocation this month, Chrysler said. Chrysler has vowed to have a full lineup of vehicles at showrooms by 2016.
Executives are expecting Alfa Romeo dealers to provide customers luxury services like home pickup and delivery of vehicles for service and technician-led performance briefings. Peter Grady, Chrysler's head of dealer network development, remarked that dealers have to be closer to what customers may require.Read the entire article Alfa Romeo dealers in North America expected to provide luxury services
BMW of North America has made several changes to its executive management team led by president and chief executive Ludwig Willisch. The changes take effect September 1. BMW of North America Chief Financial Officer Stefan Sengewald will be returning to BMW Group headquarters in Germany to serve as Senior Vice President responsible for organizational development and process management.
Sengewald has held vital financial positions since joining BMW in 1987 like Assistant Finance Director for BMW Spain and Director Finance and Administration for BMW Mexico. He was named as chief financial officer BMW of North America in 2009.
Sengewald will be replaced by Stefan Walmrath, who currently serves as Vice President of Strategic Planning in Munich in charge of the long-range business plan of the BMW Group.Read the entire article Stefan Walmrath named as BMW of North America CFO
Nissan North America posted an 11-percent rise in July sales in the United States to 121,452 vehicles. The carmaker logged a 13-percent surge in the first seven months of 2014 to 825,929. According to Fred Diaz, senior vice president for Nissan sales, marketing, parts and service, the surge in overall sales were driven by strong performance of the Versa and Sentra.
He told Automotive News in an interview that the new product portfolio it has launched and will launch is the “building block.” He quipped Nissan was further boosted by pricing discipline and close contact with dealers.
TrueCar Inc. remarked that Nissan and General Motors were the only carmakers to reduce incentive spending in July. Diaz, citing Power Information Network data, disclosed that Nissan’s incentive spending dropped $125 per vehicle to $2,139 in July, compared to a $190 rise per vehicle for the auto industry. He noted in the past, Nissan used to spend heavily on incentives.Read the entire article Nissan North America see sales increase 11% in July 2014 to 121,452 units
Ford Motor Co. has issued six separates recalls involving 100,610 vehicles in North America. Most of those vehicles, around 92,000 units – are being recalled due to a potential issue with front axles that run to right wheels which may have been improperly installed during assembly. According to Ford, that may cause the axle to move outward over time and eventually become disengaged.
Affected units include MY2013-2014 Ford Taurus, Flex, and Interceptor models; Lincoln MKS and MKT models; and MY2012-2014 Ford Edge and 2014 Lincoln MKX models. About 83,000 of them are in the United States and federalized territories, Ford said.
Around 8,200 affected models are in Canada while 600 units are in Mexico. The second of the six recalls covers around 5,264 MY2011-2014 Ford F59 Commercial Stripped Chassis vehicles over an electrical system issue that could short-circuit and possibly lead to a fireRead the entire article Ford is recalling 100,610 vehicles in North America over six issues
Volkswagen AG has already decided to build a crossover in North America. The problem, however, is that it has yet to decide where specifically it would build the vehicle. The financial incentives offered by Mexico and Tennessee are delaying a decision by the German carmaker where to build the midsize crossover.
The tug-of-war is also delaying VW’s efforts to revive its slumping sales in the United States. Sources told Reuters that the state of Tennessee has revived discussions with VW over tax breaks and infrastructure to make the carmaker to build the model in Chattanooga, where it already has a plant.
The revival of the talks comes as Mexico has offered incentives for VW to produce the crossover in a site in its territory. Two sources told Reuters that with the talks ongoing, VW may decide on a production site for the crossover at least until the end of June.Read the entire article VW still undecided where to build new midsize crossover in North America
Ford Motor Co. has issued recalls of almost 1.39 million SUVs and sedans in North America, due to power steering issues, corrosion problems and floor mats. The recalls cover 195,527 Ford Explorer SUVs in North America (model years 2011-2013) and 915,216 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs (MY 2008-2011) for power steering issues; nearly 200,000 Taurus sedans in the region (MY 2010-2014) for the corrosion issue; and 82,576 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ sedans (MY 2006-2011) for floor mats that may interfere with the operation of accelerator pedals.
Ford disclosed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received consumer reports of six injuries and five crashes tied to the Escape and Mariner models. The carmaker said that as of mid-April, it has knowledge of 15 accidents including two minor injuries tied to the loss of power steering in Explorer SUVs.
The accidents involved vehicles running at lower speeds, Ford said. Around 1.186 million of the recalled are in the United States – just 2,200 less than the total number of called back units in the US in entire 2013.Read the entire article Ford is recalling 1.39 million vehicles in North America on several issues
Alfa Romeo has marked its return to North America with the unveiling of the mid-engine 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C at the New York Auto Show. As inspired by Alfa Romeo’s legendary racing history, the 2015 4C features state-of-the-art carbon fiber monocoque, all-aluminum turbocharged engine, and advanced technological solutions – perfectly combined to provide supercar-level performance and driving excitement.
The all-new 4C – which represents Alfa Romeo’s Italian style, performance and technical excellence, maximum driving pleasure and safety -- pays tribute to the brand’s great sporting tradition. Alfa Romeo used the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s to distinguished racing and road cars fitted with powerful eight and six cylinder engines.
Alfa Romeo 4C model's designation continues this tradition with the latest all-aluminum 1750 cc four-cylinder engine. The vehicle comes with a purpose-built cockpit inspired by the iconic 1967 33 Stradale. When one enters the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C, he would feel entering a world derived from motorsport in which only essential performance components are integrated.Read the entire article 2015 4C Launch Edition marks Alfa Romeo’s return to the North American market
BMW is making progress with plans to build a second site in North America to meet growing demand for its offerings in the region. Harald Krueger, BMW's production chief, said in an interview in an internal publication, as obtained by Bloomberg News, remarked that they will decide on the matter in the next months, adding that there is still potential in North America.
People privy with the matter told Bloomberg News that the German luxury carmaker has been narrowing the location candidates, which includes at least two sites in Mexico. One of the sources said that BMW is mulling producing its 3 series at the new site.
BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer remarked in March that the carmaker will need an additional site in North America "at some point" as part of an expansion to repel challenges by Audi and Mercedes-Benz. BMW recently disclosed plans to invest $1 billion to expand its Spartanburg site in South Carolina to become its largest facility globally.Read the entire article BMW to decide in next months over second site in North America
Volkswagen Group of America has formulated a national bonus program that enables dealerships in the United States to recover stair-step incentives jeopardized by this winter’s chilling weather. In order to motivate dealers to recover sales lost in the season, VW will ignore missed January and February sales targets and will pay first-quarter stair-step bonuses according to the number of vehicles they sold in March alone, VW documents show.
Under stair-step program, dealerships would get higher bonuses per vehicle if they reach higher sales targets. VW dubs the program its “Storm Recovery” catch-back. Amy Gushman, VW sales operations manager in Michigan, said in a memo to dealers in early this month that the March is their month to “recover from a very slow start to the year.”
VW is also offering buyers cash and attractive lease and finance rates on vehicles covering 2013-2014 models years. For instance, VW is offering zero percent loans for 72 months on the 2014 Passat and 2014 Jetta. Customers who lease can receive $750 on Passats and Jettas. Ralph Thayer Volkswagen, a dealership in suburban Detroit, sold an average of around 40 new vehicles a month for most of 2013.Read the entire article VW Group of America contrives new US stair-step program
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