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Chevy Sonic Could Be Next as GM Kills Off Slow-Selling Passenger Cars

Several more plants also on endangered list.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.18, 2019

The Chevy Sonic is limping along and appears ripe to be discontinued by GM.

In the northern Detroit suburb of Orion Township, one of General Motors’ assembly plants is hanging on by a thread. The factory is barely running on one shift and, were it not for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, might have been a fourth plant on the list of assembly lines GM said it would shut down last November.

The automaker has actually increased production of the all-electric Bolt in recent months, but demand for the Chevrolet Sonic, the other model rolling off the line there has dropped to less than 2,000 a month, barely enough to bother, it seems.

The Last Word!

TheDetroitBureau.com first warned that the subcompact Sonic was on the endangered list in April 2017 and now, it seems, its fate may be sealed. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Sonic’s days are numbered, though a spokesperson for Chevy says that, at least for now, there is nothing formal to be announced. (more…)

Dodge Likely to Produce Hybrid-Based Hellcat in Future

CEO Manley says the days of an 800-hp beast are numbered.

by Michael Strong on Jan.18, 2019

Smokin'! The Challenger Hellcat Redeye's Line Lock lets you spin the rear tires before launch. Will the hybrid do that?

Hybrids have long had a reputation as slow, eco-friendly city cars, but recently automakers have discovered the benefits of slapping some electric motors on their high-powered gasoline-fueled sports cars to generate even more power.

Add Dodge to the list.

Product News!

There may be no brand more synonamous with fossil fuels that Dodge and its line-up of Hellcat-branded Challengers and Chargers. The Hellcat broke new ground pushing past 700 horsepower when it came out two years ago and its variants have since pushed past 800 hp. (more…)

GM, Ford Smacked with Harassment Lawsuits

Employees suffer racial and sexual harassment at plants.

by Michael Strong on Jan.18, 2019

Several employees have reported incidents of racial intimidation at GM's powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The U.S. automotive assembly plant is the last bastion of approved racial and sexual discrimination if recent events, i.e. lawsuits, are to be believed.

In the past two days, lawsuits filed against General Motors and Ford for racial and sexual discrimination have brought to light behavior thought by many to have been banished to the history books.

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GM’s powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, was allegedly the scene of racial discrimination and intimidation on a daily basis, according to the contents of lawsuits and complaints filed with state agencies in Ohio. Two supervisors at the facility were taunted, disrespected and their complaints ignored by management, including the discovery of a noose in an area where one of the men worked. (more…)

Tesla Cutting 7% of Workforce, Warns “Road Ahead is Very Difficult”

Move comes days after cuts at CEO Musk’s SpaceX announced.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.18, 2019

Tesla chief Elon Musk, in atter to employees announced plans to cut 7% of the company's workforce.

Warning that Tesla faces some serious challenges, despite delivering a solid third-quarter profit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans to cut 7% of the battery-carmaker’s staff in a letter sent to employees on Friday.

All told, that would work out to about 3,150 of the people who work at Tesla’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, plants in Fremont, California, and Reno, Nevada, and other facilities. The move comes just days after Musk outlined plans to cut 10% of the workforce at his SpaceX rocket company.

Business News!

“I want to make sure that you know all the facts and figures and understand that the road ahead is very difficult,” Musk said in the memo sent to the Tesla workforce, adding that, “While we have made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people.” (more…)

Infiniti, Ford, Lexus Walk Off with NAIAS Design Awards

Automotive design celebrated at annual event.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.18, 2019

Infiniti's QX Inspiration EV concept was the big winner in this year's Eyes on Design competition taking home three awards.

Throughout the course of its 30-year run, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit’s Cobo Center became known as a “designers’ show” because of the large number of concept cars that emerged during the annual press preview.

For 2019, the tradition carried on with the annual “Eyes on Design” Award singling out three vehicles, one from Infiniti, one from Lexus and one from Ford for honors.

News You Can Trust!

One of the big winners this year was Infiniti, which walked off with honors in three separate categories. (more…)

Lotus to Build Cars in China

Geely gets approval for new plant in Wuhan.

by Michael Strong on Jan.17, 2019

As it develops new products, like the 3-Eleven, Lotus needs more manufacturing space, and it's getting it – in China.

Geely Holding’s acquisition of a majority stake in Lotus in 2017 virtually assured the oft-troubled sports car company would survive well into the future, and at some point, some of its cars would be produced in China.

Well, the future is now.

Global News!

Lotus’s Chinese parent plans to open a $1.3 billion factory in Wuhan that opens up a world of possibilities for the super car producer. The company could build more over-the-top vehicles, i.e. faster and better handling, or it could simple build more, i.e. volume. (more…)

Musk Puts Halt to Tesla Referral Program to Cut Costs

CEO says its too costly to keep the program.

by Michael Strong on Jan.17, 2019

Musk is cutting the referral program as the EV maker looks to cut costs and improve profits.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk means business when he talks about cutting costs to improve profitability. The company’s founder tweeted the company will eliminate the customer referral incentive plan on Feb. 1.

Musk wrote the referral program is ending because “it’s adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3.”

News Now!

The program was introduced in 2015 by the EV maker, aimed at luring buyers and creating disciples. The owners were given personal referral codes providing them with six months of free supercharging and prizes for existing owners such as launching personal photos into deep space or invites to a Tesla event.  (more…)

Union, Activists Plan GM Protests Outside Charity Preview

Rally to call to light unfairness of plant shutdowns.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.17, 2019

The UAW plans to hold a candlelight vigil outside of the NAIAS charity preview to protest GM's planned plant closures.

The Union Auto Workers and union activists are planning demonstration ahead of North American International Auto Show charity preview to protest General Motors’ plans to close five plants.

The UAW is organizing a candlelight vigil at the Labor Monument on Jefferson a short distance from Cobo Center, starting at 4:30 p.m. “Recent announcements from GM concerning plants in the U.S. will have a devastating effect on members of the UAW family,” the union said in announcing the vigil.

News You Can Trust!

The union, along with Unifor, the union representing autoworkers in Canada, has been waging a letter-writing campaign to protest GM’s plans to close five assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. (more…)

Key Message Lost in GM’s Plant Closing Announcement, Barra Says

Company offered jobs to all 2,700 employees affected.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.17, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra told the Automotive News World Congress that she understood why people were upset by GM's plans to close five plants.

General Motors fumbled its recent announcement about its plans to close plants in the U.S. and Canada, GM’s top executive acknowledged.

During an appearance at the annual Automotive News World Congress, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the timing of the announcement in November that the company planned to close plants in and around Detroit, Lordstown, Ohio, Baltimore and Oshawa, Ontario, was driven by the change in customer preferences away from cars and to SUVs.

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“Having been at General Motors for 38 years, I feel a huge obligation to make sure that General Motors is successful not just a for a few years. I want GM to be successful for many, many decades,” Barra said. (more…)

Farley Says Ford Following a Different Game Plan for EVs

"Mustang-inspired" EV to make profits fast too.

by Michael Strong on Jan.16, 2019

Ford's Jim Farley said the company is comfortable trailing the pack on EV development, as it has a different plan.

Once considered one of the leaders in race to produce a viable electric vehicle, Ford Motor Co. has fallen behind rivals like General Motors and its new partner, Volkswagen AG.

However, if you listen to Jim Farley, Ford president of Global Markets, the company feels just fine about trailing the pack.

All Charged Up!

“Our strategy is different,” Farley said last night at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. “In a way we had the advantage of watching what happened the first time around. What customers have told us is ‘Just give us the good stuff.’ We’re going to change a lot of people’s minds.” (more…)