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Mercedes-Maybach is Coming Back

Super-luxurious crossover being built in Alabama.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

Mercedes-Benz plans to build the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS at its plant in Alabama for global distribution.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is already churning out the GLS and a few other models, but the German automaker is adding one more to the line: The Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

Introduced in China last year as an EV concept, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will join the next-generation sport-ute getting ready to hit dealerships later this year, according to Autonews. The plant will build the new Maybach for global distribution, the automaker noted.

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Ultra-luxurious crossover is obviously playing up the theme from the original Maybach, which had its admirers, but didn’t sell in large enough numbers to build as a regular model in the 1990s and early 2000s. (more…)

Former UAW VP Jewell Charged by Feds in FCA-UAW Scandal

He's the highest ranking UAW official charged.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

Norwood Jewell, left, is the highest ranking UAW official to be charged in the ongoing investigation into the theft of UAW-FCA training funds.

Just days after rallying the troops in Detroit for the upcoming contract negotiations, the UAW received another black eye as former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell was charged Monday by federal prosecutors for violating the Labor Management Relations Act.

Jewell, according to court documents, allegedly received more than $40,000 in travel, lodging and meals between 2014 and 2016 from people working for Fiat Chrysler.

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He is the latest in a string of FCA and UAW executives and family members who have been indicted or convicted in the FBI investigation. Representatives from the FBI and the UAW have been available for comment. (more…)

Millennials Bucking the Automotive Trend With Driving Choices

Honda Accord is vehicle at the top of the list.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

The Honda Accord is the top choice for millennials despite the fact they could likely afford a more expensive vehicle.

For so long, they’ve been the generation of non-drivers content to Uber their way through the world while staring at their iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. However, now that millennials are indeed driving, it’s time to see WHAT they’re driving.

Millennials may be content to spend big money on electronics, it appears that doesn’t translate to their vehicles, according to new study showing that the most popular vehicle among drivers 22 to 37 years old is the Honda Accord.

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This choice of a $23,000 sedan reinforces that millennials aren’t bound to follow the choices made by their parents or others. (more…)

Safety Advocates Push for Adoption of Drunk Driving Deterrents

Groups pushing for installation of devices in new vehicles.

by Michael Strong on Mar.15, 2019

Former NHTSA Chief Joan Claybrook is leading the charge for ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving.

Safety advocates and other groups are looking to add some momentum to new ignition interlock technology that would prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and driving, saving thousands of lives annually.

Joan Claybrook, a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urged Congress to pass a law forcing automakers to include passive ignition-interlock systems in all new motor vehicles within as little as three years.

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“I don’t know what’s the matter with the industry on this issue,” Claybrook said during testimony Thursday before the House consumer protection and commerce subcommittee. (more…)

Porsche Grabs Top Score in Power Customer Service Index

Buick takes top honors in non-premium segment.

by Michael Strong on Mar.14, 2019

Porsche took first place in JD Power's 2019 Customer Satisfaction Index, ahead of Lexus and Cadillac.

Communication is key to the success or failure of any relationship, and perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the service department of an auto dealership.

Auto dealers that communicate the best, i.e. the way consumers want, finished atop J.D. Power’s new Customer Service Index ranking. This year, that means Porsche, Lexus and Cadillac took the top three spots in the luxury car rankings.

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In the mainstream results, Buick, Mini and somewhat surprisingly, Mitsubishi took the first three spots. Mitsubishi’s third-place finish came as a result of the greatest improvement (27 points) in the entire study year-over-year. (more…)

Ford Officials Confirm Looming Salaried Employee Cuts

Numbers of white-collar jobs to be slashed not revealed.

by Michael Strong on Mar.13, 2019

Ford plans to cut thousands of salaried jobs as part of an $11 billion restructuring taking place between now and next year.

With General Motors caught square in the crosshairs by critics chastising the recent salaried job cuts and plant closures, Ford Motor Co. officials may be the next target, confirming today they plan to cut an unspecified number of salaried employees.

The job cuts were announced last year as part of an $11 billion global reorganization. However, no specifics were applied to how many or where they would occur. Ford officials even now won’t confirm how many.

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Said Deep, a Ford spokesman, declined to tell Reuters say how many jobs are being cut but said the company expects the process to be completed by the end of June. He said the restructuring “has resulted in some separations of salaried employees and the reassignment of others.”  (more…)

Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance Reconfigures Board of Directors

Ghosn denied board meeting appearance by judge.

by Michael Strong on Mar.12, 2019

The leaders of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi celebrate the reconfiguration of the Alliance's board of directors.

Former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Chairman Carlos Ghosn may be free from jail, the leaders of the three-headed monster don’t want him free to exercise any more influence over the company in his role on the board of directors.

Fortunately, a Tokyo court gave them what they wanted, banning the former boss from taking part in the meeting of the board of the directors.

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“Mr. Ghosn is disappointed that the Court denied his request to attend the Nissan Board of Directors meeting,” according to a statement issued by a spokesman.  (more…)

Honda Recalling 1.1M Vehicles to Replace Airbags

Automaker just the latest to make big push to complete repairs.

by Michael Strong on Mar.12, 2019

American Honda is recalling 1.1 million vehicles due to faulty Takata airbags.

American Honda’s Takata nightmare continues with a voluntarily recall of about 1.1 million Acura and Honda vehicles in the United States to replace, for free, Takata desiccated replacement driver front airbag inflators that may rupture if an airbag deploys in a crash.

Takata’s faulty airbags triggered the largest automotive recall in history. The airbags deployed with such force that pieces of plastic and metal were propelled into the vehicle cabin killing nearly two dozen and injuring more than 125 people.

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Honda was one of Takata’s biggest customers. The vehicles involved in this recall were previously repaired using specific Takata desiccated replacement inflators (PSDI-5D) or entire replacement airbag modules containing these inflators, neither subject to recall at that time. Those replacement inflators are now deemed defective as well. (more…)

Tesla Backtracks on Store Closures; Raises Prices 3% Instead

$35K Model 3 exempt from price increase.

by Michael Strong on Mar.11, 2019

Tesla announced it will only close half of its stores and offset that by raising prices 3%.

Tesla buyers looking to walk into a store to buy a new vehicle were disappointed recently when Chief Elon Musk said the company would close the stores to cut costs — now they can rejoice.

In a blog post, the company announced it would only close about half of the stores across the country, after a spate of negative feedback about the move initially.

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“Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced,” the electric carmaker said.  (more…)

February Auto Sales in China Drop 13.8%

New energy vehicles, i.e. EVs, rose 53.6% last month.

by Michael Strong on Mar.11, 2019

New vehicle sales in China, like the Mazda CX-4, fell during the month of February 13.8%.

Automakers hoping that China might bail them out of sluggish sales in the U.S. are going to be disappointed as sales in the world’s largest market fell 13.8% in February.

The drop is eight consecutive month that China, only just two years ago posting double-digit increases, has seen buyers keep their money in their wallets. Sales fell 16% in January and 13% in December. Overall, 1.48 million new vehicles were sold in China last month, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

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“The trend experienced last year has continued into this year, and the economic situation has also been weak. This has dragged down consumption,” CAAM’s Deputy Secretary General Shi Jianhua told reporters at a news briefing in Beijing. (more…)