Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for July, 2018

US Trade Partners Plan Next Steps Against Potential New Tariffs

Geneva meeting represents $1 trillion auto exports.

by Michael Strong on Jul.31, 2018

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and President Donald Trump met to discuss a new trade deal.

A large group of the United States’ top trading partners gathered in Geneva this week to discuss a variety of countermeasures against the U.S. should the Trump administration decide to implement a new set of automotive tariffs.

Deputy trade ministers from Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and the European Union created an outline of possible actions they could take in the event Trump imposes tariffs on foreign imports as a result of the U.S. Commerce Department’s investigation to determine if those imports represent a threat to U.S. national security.

Subscribe Now!

The group revealed it is considering several options, including an appeal to the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system and the imposition of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods, Bloomberg News reported.  (more…)

Auto Suppliers Growing Pessimistic About Near-Term Prospects

Trump trade policies causing negative outlook.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jul.31, 2018

Auto suppliers are concerned about their near-term prospects due to Trump administration trade policies.

The near-term outlook among both large and small automotive suppliers is growing more pessimistic, according to a new survey.

Despite a relatively strong sales and production environment, the darker outlook prevails due to trade policy uncertainty across the automotive supply base in the third quarter of 2018.

Stay in the Loop!

The OESA Automotive Supplier Barometer, a quarterly survey of executives at North American automotive suppliers on their 12-month outlook, posted a negative reading of 43 for the third quarter of 2018, seven points below a neutral level of 50. (more…)

Automakers Offer Possible Solutions as Child Heatstroke Deaths Rise

Issue shows rare Washington bipartisanship, but Hot Cars Act yet to pass.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.31, 2018

Nissan's Rear Door Alert system uses the horn to sound an alert to remind the driver to check the back seat.

The record heat scorching the country has been blamed for a series of devastating wildfires and other natural disasters, while contributing to what is on pace to become a record year for heatstroke deaths among children left in hot cars.

As July draws to a close, authorities have so far counted 29 child heatstroke deaths, a figure expected to soon surge pass the annual average of 37. Heatstrokes are not only the number one cause of non-crash vehicular deaths among children 15 years of age and younger, but also one of the most preventable. That’s led to a bipartisan push for new legislation on Capitol Hill, while several automakers have begun taking steps that could lower the deadly toll.

News Now!

“No one thinks a hot car tragedy can happen to them or their family and that is why these tragedies continue to happen,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of the nonprofit child safety organization KidsAndCars.org. (more…)

Rental Car Business Being Squeezed by Ride Sharing

Autonomous vehicles present major change in prices.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jul.31, 2018

Fully driverless vehicles, like the ones Ford plans to build for Lyft, may be the death knelll for some rental car companies.

The rental-car business faces a growing threat to its future from ride-sharing companies, according to a new survey from AlixPartners.

“Results from our survey suggest that the $30-billion U.S. car-rental industry is already undergoing a tectonic shift, with boundaries not just blurring but being obliterated between car-rental and ride-hailing and other forms of new mobility,” said Arun Kumar, a director in the Automotive and Industrial Practice at AlixPartners and a co-author of a new report focusing on the rental-car business.

News You Can Trust!

“The companies that survive this shift will be those that act now to transform themselves to be relevant in a world which seems to much prefer simply clicking on an app than standing in line at the rental counter,” Kumar said. (more…)

Uber Shuts Down Otto Autonomous Truck Division

Ride-sharing service puts emphasis on self-driving cars.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.31, 2018

An autonomous Otto truck like the one that hauled 45,000 cans of beer across Colorado last year.

Just a week after it restarted its autonomous passenger car program, Uber has shuttered Otto, the division that was charged with developing self-driving trucks.

The ride-sharing company says it wants to concentrate on developing the driverless cars and SUVs that could eventually lower the cost of using its services. But the decision to shelf Otto comes as Uber struggles with a series of setbacks, including not only the death of a pedestrian hit by one of its self-driving prototypes but also a legal battle with Google spinoff Waymo that saw a key employee accused of stealing critical intellectual property.

We Keep You In the Know!

“We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement referencing the company’s decision to restart its self-driving program after the fatal crash near Phoenix back in March. “As we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on (the passenger car) effort is the best path forward.” (more…)

Audi Set to Reveal PB 18 e-tron Concept

Pebble Beach debut sets in motion Audi’s entry into battery-car market.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.30, 2018

For now, Audi is billing the PB 18 as a concept, but could it be working up a challenge to the planned Tesla Roadster electric supercar?

With its first long-range battery-electric SUV set to make its launch later this year, Audi is setting the stage for its entry into the emerging market with the upcoming debut of the PB 18 e-tron Concept.

The name is a bit of code, though one not difficult to figure out, as the electric supercar will be unveiled during this coming month’s series of classic car events capped off by the Aug. 26 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Electrifying!

“It also recalls the LeMans-series winner Audi R18 e-tron, whose technology inspired the solutions for various details,” the German automaker says in a statement accompanying this teaser image, adding that, “The Audi PB 18 e-tron was conceived and designed by the new Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California.” (more…)

Cowabunga! Tesla Lets Fans Hang 10 with New Surfboard

Just 200 will be made and check eBay — they're already sold out.

by Michael Strong on Jul.30, 2018

Tesla is producing just 200 of its limited edition surfboards costing $1,500 each.

Electric cars and trucks, solar roofs, rockets, tunneling equipment, a rescue sub, flame throw, er, not-a-flame throwers and now surfboards.

Is there anything Elon Musk won’t take stab at designing and manufacturing during his seemingly unused seven minutes each day?

Subscribe Now!

Tesla’s latest novelty product is the Limited Edition Tesla Surfboard. The black and red shortboard gives company aficionados the ability to hang 10 without worry about battery range or potential glitches beyond the rider’s own skill level. (more…)

Tesla Faces the “Big Short” Ahead of Q2 Loss Announcement

Worries grow about carmaker’s finances, but brokerage tells short-sellers to put up or shut up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.30, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be tested during the 2nd half of 2018 to prove Tesla can be profitable.

Just days before Tesla is expected to announce another big loss for the second quarter, the money manager made famous by the film, “The Big Short” is raising serious questions about the carmaker’s future.

And Steve Eisman, who became a financial legend by calling out the impending collapse of the housing bubble before the Great Recession, isn’t alone. A growing number of analysts and investors are souring on Tesla stock, one key brokerage warning that the company could need to raise $10 billion by 2020. Tesla shares have been riding a roller-coaster, ranging from a low of $244.59 to a high of $373.73 this year. And that’s leading at lead one big brokerage to raise margin requirements for those trying to short Tesla shares.

The Full Story!

“Elon Musk is a very, very smart man, but there are a lot of smart people in this world and you’ve got to execute. He’s got execution problems,” Neuberger Berman Group’s Eisman said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “He’s nowhere in autonomous driving, as far as I can tell, and big competition is coming in his space next year.”

(more…)

Trump Mileage Rules Could Cost U.S. Motorist $Billions

But White House claims “societal cost” savings of $500 billion.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.30, 2018

You may be spending significantly more at the pump under the CAFE rollback plan.

The planned revisions to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to be announced by the Trump Administration could save as much as $500 billion in “societal costs,” according to a draft proposal revealed over the weekend – but on an individual basis, motorists could wind up spending thousands of dollars each, while the potential to the environment may also be substantial, as the new plan could increase U.S. fuel consumption by as much as 500,000 barrels a day.

In April, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt took the first steps towards officially rolling back the rules set by the Obama Administration which would steadily increase the fuel economy of the average vehicle sold in the U.S. to 54.5 mpg in 2025. The draft of a plan crafted jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published over the weekend by the New York Times would freeze mileage standards at a level reached by 2020 – or around 37 mpg.

We Keep You In the Know!

The draft appears to have been completed in May, and sources have told several news outlets that revisions could be made before the final proposal is released – something that could happen as early as this week, according to comments made by Andrew Wheeler, the former coal industry lobbyist and acting EPA chief who took over the agency after Pruitt was forced out due to ethical concerns.

(more…)

Daimler Truck Inks 6-Year Deal with UAW Workers

New deal includes raises and lump-sum payments.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jul.30, 2018

Daimler Trucks North America reached a new six-year deal with its 6,000 hourly workers in the U.S.

Daimler AG and the United Auto Workers confirmed workers have approved a new six-year labor contract that covers more than 6,000 employees in the United States.

“Daimler Trucks North America is very pleased that UAW members at six of our U.S. manufacturing and distribution locations have voted to ratify new collective bargaining agreements,” Daimler AG said in a statement.

Union News!

“The agreements represent the continuation of a long and fruitful relationship between the UAW and DTNA, and we are proud to renew our partnership with them for another six years.” (more…)