YOUR NEXT CAR MAY LET YOU DRIVE HANDS-FREE. IS THAT A GOOD THING?
Auto makers are starting to sell cars with automated steering and speed control to ease what they say is the tedium of driving, and might even allow drivers to go hands-free in some situations. Those features are raising new questions, though: How to keep people from getting distracted behind the wheel—or picking up their phones—if there is little for their hands to do? Car companies have been adding safety technologies aimed at preventing crashes, such as automatic emergency braking and systems to prevent the car from drifting out of its lane.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
FCA'S PLAN FOR 7 DAYS ON, 7 DAYS OFF WORK SCHEDULE YANKED
Twelve-hour shifts for seven days in a row rotating with seven days off won't be the regular schedule for skilled trades workers at one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' busiest plants. That schedule had been expected in coming weeks at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, but it's now off the table. Concerns about how such a schedule would affect employee benefits prompted a reconsideration, according to the UAW.
Source: Detroit Free Press
MORE FORD F-150 TRUCKS COMING SOON
Ford needs to install seat belts and conduct software checks on early-production F-150 pickups parked in lots around the Kansas City Assembly Plant, as well as thousands in lots around metro Detroit, while some dealers await deliveries of America's best-selling truck, Ford confirmed to the Free Press on Monday. "As part of our commitment to delivering high-quality vehicles, we are conducting final quality inspections on trucks built before dealer shipments started last month to ensure they meet the quality expectations of our customers," said Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and labor communications manager.
Source: Detroit Free Press
BMW COMMITS TO BATTERY POWER
One of the first European automakers to make a serious commitment to battery power, BMW plans to sharply increase production of electrified vehicles, its CEO told a German newspaper. By 2023, said Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse, BMW aims to have about 20% of its sales come from vehicles either fully powered by electric motors or using some form of electric assist. That would be a roughly 250% increase from today.
Source: The Detroit Bureau
AS RETAIL STRUGGLES TO MAINTAIN EFFICIENCIES, AUTOMOTIVE THRIVES
It certainly has been a crazy year, to say the least. Almost every facet of our lives has been turned upside down – including how we buy things. Between temporary shutdowns, restricted hours and limited staff, retail has been spun on its head in 2020. If you asked anyone before COVID-19 if their retail experiences outside of automotive were efficient, most people would have said, "yes."
THE AUTOMAKERS THAT HAVE WON BIG OR LOST GROUND GOING INTO 2021
If you asked automakers in April or May about the outlook for the rest of 2020, answers would have been grim. Plants around the world were shut down, production stalled, workers were furloughed, sales plummeted, and billions of dollars were lost. Early estimates from IHS Markit had yearend U.S. sales barely cresting 12 million new vehicles. By December, many automakers had bounced back—and then some. IHS now predicts 14.5 million new-vehicle units will be sold in the U.S. this year, down roughly 3 million units from 2019. Cox Automotive puts the number at 14.4 million, down 15.3% year-over-year.
TOP APPLE ANALYST POURS COLD WATER ON THE LATEST APPLE CAR REPORTS
A closely watched Apple analyst is warning that investors should be cautious about a report that the iPhone maker is planning to produce a self-driving car in 2024. Last week's report by Reuters sent shares of companies that build parts for autonomous cars, like lidar sensors, soaring. But the hype was purely on speculation some of those companies might supply parts for the Apple car, TFI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warned in a note this weekend.
FCA INVESTS IN POLAND
Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler will invest 755 million zlotys ($203.99 million) in its plant in Tychy in Poland, where new hybrid and electric Jeep, Fiat and Alfa Romeo models will be built, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said on Tuesday. The investment comes as a boost to emerging Europe's largest economy, which is hoping a switch to electric vehicles can help its auto sector catch up with regional rivals including the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
GM DRAWS BACK THE CURTAIN ON NEW CORVETTE'S DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
General Motors designers are ready to share the inspiration that resulted in finally making a mid-engine Corvette. Chevrolet has produced a two-part documentary about developing the super sports car with the intention of offering it free to Corvette enthusiasts. In Part 1 of the documentary, the Corvette Stingray design team shares what inspired the car's groundbreaking design, listing jet airplanes and racing as two areas of influence.
Source: Detroit Free Press
RUSSIAN DESIGNED BREMACH TAOS SUV COMING TO USA FOR $26,000
Rebooted UAZ Patriot will be assembled in California
One of America's newest trucks is literally old-school. Italian commercial truck brand Bremach has announced plans to begin selling a Russian-designed 4x4 SUV in the U.S. sometime in 2021. The Bremach Taos is a rebadged version of the UAZ Patriot that first hit the market in 2005 and is similar in size to the Jeep Cherokee.
However, the Taos is a true body on frame truck like the Toyota 4Runner that's been updated with the modern safety systems required to make it street legal in the U.S.
Final assembly is set to take place in California with prices starting at $26,405, not including delivery fees. That gets you a Taos with a four-wheel-drive system that includes a two-speed transfer case, a six-speed automatic transmission and 150 horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that's covered by a 10-year/120,000-mile warranty, while the rest of the vehicle gets 5 years and 60,000 miles of coverage.
Details on the start of production and dealer network have not been announced, but Bremach is currently accepting reservations with a $100 deposit.
The Taos will be followed by a pickup called the Brio that is currently listed for $27,882.
Source: Fox News
USED-CAR BOOM: CAR BUYERS TAKE REFUGE IN AFFORDABLE SEDANS
With a dearth of new cars priced under $20,000, average new-car transaction prices pushing $40,000 and vehicles lasting longer than ever, the used-car market is primed for growth as cost-conscious buyers shop for their next vehicles. Mix in the COVID epidemic — with financial insecurity and a reluctance to use public transportation — and the used market exploded. And some of the hottest commodities out there? Used Japanese sedans.
Source: The Detroit News
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