News & Comment

BMW appears to back off on a key element of its first big EV effort — carbon fibre

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Posted: November 27, 2017

In yet another admission by BMW of the failure of its i brand EV initiative, the company has sold its 49 percent stake in SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers in Germany and SGL Automotive Carbon Fibres in the United States. Those two joint ventures supported the i3 and i8 models, but BMW will now apparently turn to a less […]

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The focus returns to an expansion of the FCA-GAC partnership

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Posted: November 27, 2017

Fiat Chrysler’s and Guangzhou’s joint venture always seemed like a logical starting point for FCA’s post-Marchionne partnerships, but it was always overshadowed by the General Motors courtship, Volkswagen rumors, talk of a Geely deal and, lately, Great Wall’s interest in Jeep. But now GAC is back as the principal contender. Now, Guangzhou’s plan to sell its […]

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Mazda has a few cards to play before becoming the next Mitsubishi

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Posted: November 27, 2017

Mazda’s efforts at course correction, especially in North America, are now focused on what vehicle to produce at a new plant that will be jointly operated with Toyota. CEO Masamichi Kogai has made it known that Mazda will fit an all-new SUV into its lineup along the CX3, CX5 and CX9. This follows some new technology tricks, […]

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What’s behind Toyota’s tough talk with its Kentucky workforce?

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Posted: November 27, 2017

Toyota’s calling for cost cuts at its Georgetown, Kentucky complex to retain a lock on Camry production — could be another indication of Akio Toyoda’s ongoing effort to instill a sense of unease and even trauma inside his family’s company. But Toyota insiders say it is really part and parcel of the company’s effort to […]

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Re Volvo-Uber: Will Volvo’s speed and alertness end up being a significant advantage?

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Posted: November 27, 2017

Volvo seems to have found yet another opening in the race to the future, becoming the first carmaker to sign an important volume autonomous vehicles deal with a ride-sharing giant — Uber. This is becoming fascinating to watch: Are Volvo’s various out-in-front moves just hustle or true signs that the Li Shufu-Hakan Samuelsson combine is an […]

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PSA’s big push in North Africa

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Posted: November 17, 2017

The internationalization of PSA continues. The maker of Peugeots and Citroens has done a joint venture deal with three Algerian partners to build cars in the country. The company is trying to increase investment in its former French colony rather than cede the ground to Chinese companies. PSA wants to sell 700,000 vehicles in the […]

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Li Shufu’s reputation keeps growing among industry cognoscenti

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Posted: November 17, 2017

Amid all the talk of Tesla and Waymo-like disruptors, Geely has quietly emerged among the industry’s intelligentsia as perhaps the more formidable tactical alternative to the mainstream. Last week’s acquisition of a flying car company may have been symbolic, but insiders at the giant auto groups are taking Chairman Li Shufu very seriously as a […]

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The race to profitable EVs. Who’ll get there first?

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Posted: November 17, 2017

Electric vehicle platforms are one of the industry’s critical strategic battlegrounds these days. All the many ambitious announcements of multiple EV models by the early 2020s are based on platforms currently in development. Nissan a few days ago showed its IMx concept, which sits on a new EV platform. General Motors last week described plans […]

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Suppliers are beginning to feel short-term pressure

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Posted: November 17, 2017

You hear it all the time – giant global suppliers are perfectly positioned for the autonomous future. The idea is that in the world of self-driving vehicles, they will be software platform providers partnering with other suppliers and automakers, enjoying enormous economies of scale in electronics and other artificial intelligence realms, and ultimately dictating terms […]

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How reluctant is General Motors to take a controlling stake in a Chinese joint venture?

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Posted: November 17, 2017

Beijing is committed to the development and production of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars, and thus its new willingness to allow foreign automakers to own more than 50 percent of joint ventures –- if they build electric vehicles. Of course, that has generated interest from Tesla, which is moving closer to becoming the first foreign […]

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