BMW said half of its sedans, SUVs and Mini vehicles will be electrified in Europe by 2030. That seems like an ambitious target, as industry forecasts predict substantially less than 40% for the overall industry by then. In a statement about its sustainability commitments, BMW said currently 13.3% of BMWs and Minis are either all-electric or plug-in hybrid-powered. This compares with an average of around 8% for all manufacturers across Europe. BMW didn’t mention its super-luxury subsidiary Rolls-Royce in its statement.
With social distancing the new COVID-19 norm for dealerships and other retailers and public spaces, some of the features of the new Mercedes-Benz dealership that Baker Motor Co. wants to open by the end of the year might be even more valuable. Stretching over 13 acres at 425 Sigma Drive off Interstate 26 in Summerville, S.C., Baker highlighted its planned dealership is designed to be a nice place to relax or entertain customers while waiting on their vehicles to be serviced. It includes walking and biking trails, a kiddie-land play area and a pond for fishing. The company said the site will also include a car wash for all Baker Motor Co. clients, an eight-car showroom, consultation desks, conference rooms and lounges. The interior design is fully open with screens separating different sections.
Source: Auto Remarketing
Eight state dealer associations are pushing back on Hyundai and Genesis facility programs as costly and coercive at a time when auto retailers are struggling with the coronavirus impact and consumers are increasingly doing their vehicle shopping online and not in showrooms. In a letter addressed to Hyundai Motor America CEO José Muñoz and Genesis Motor America CEO Mark Del Rosso, the leaders of the dealer associations from states including California, Texas and Florida are seeking changes in Hyundai's Accelerate and Genesis' Keystone store-upgrade programs.
Source: Automotive News
A high-profile feud among members of the Stronach family, whose father founded Canadian auto supply giant Magna International, has been resolved out of court, ending a potentially messy legal drama. Under a settlement announced Thursday by The Stronach Group, control of the family fortune is basically split between two factions. Former politician and business executive Belinda Stronach will remain chairwoman and president of The Stronach Group, with full control of its horse racing, gaming, real estate and related assets.
Her Austrian-born parents, Frank and Elfriede Stronach, will assume full ownership and control of a stallion and breeding business, all farm operations in North America and all European assets.
The family fortune stems from Frank Stronach, who built the global Magna automotive manufacturing business — where Belinda worked for a time before entering federal politics.
Father and daughter issued a joint statement saying they were glad their disagreements had been settled. "I am pleased that my father will be able to focus on an agricultural business and related projects that are his passion. The settlement will allow The Stronach Group to continue building successful companies with quality jobs that contribute to the community," Belinda said.
"I am glad that our disagreements have been resolved amongst ourselves and have utmost confidence in The Stronach Group's thoroughbred racing and gaming businesses, which will remain under Belinda's management," Frank said. The cool but conciliatory tone stands in stark contrast to the lawsuit Frank launched in September 2018. The auto magnate sued his daughter, two grandchildren and former business associate Alon Ossip for more than $500 million in Ontario Superior Court, alleging they mismanaged the family's assets and conspired to take control of them.
The allegations portrayed a trusting father who gave up control of family trusts in 2013 to serve in Austria's parliament, with the understanding that he was still in de facto control and could retake his position when wanted. The suit claimed that "corporate documents were falsified as part of a scheme...to limit or eliminate Frank's role in running the Stronach family business," and that repeated breaches of trust precipitated a breakdown in the relationship between his daughter and family members.
In a statement of defence, Belinda alleged that her father lost vast sums of money on pet projects. She countersued her father in January 2019, claiming Frank owed her $33 million from funds she gave him for his run at politics in Austria and to settle unpaid taxes in the country.
Belinda claimed in her statement of defence that she also had to intervene to stem losses from the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on a cattle ranch, golf course, and other endeavours.
The agriculture business ran up losses of more than US$100 million, according to court filings. Expenses took flight with two steel Pegasus statues for a horse-racing course, whose initial cost was estimated at US$6 million but soared to US$55 million, the countersuit said. "His refusal to let go of his failing business ventures has become financially disastrous," said Ossip in his statement of defence. "Frank was, in his day, a giant of Canadian business...today, at 86 years of age, Frank's business judgment is not at all what it once was."
Source: The Canadian Press
A federal-court judge has denied a motion filed by General Motors Co. to revive its civil-racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, once again striking down a legal battle between the two Detroit rivals. GM earlier this month asked the court to reconsider tossing a lawsuit filed last fall, alleging Fiat Chrysler bribed officials at the United Auto Workers union to gain an advantage in labor-contract negotiations.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Bailout talks between Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel with the U.K. government have ended, leaving both companies to rely on private financing to overcome the impact of coronavirus on business, the Financial Times reported. Talks for an emergency funding fell through as Jaguar Land Rover did not qualify for taxpayer support, the paper said. Jaguar Land Rover also was unwilling to accept decarbonization requirements that would have forced the automaker to accelerate its program of vehicle electrification and phase out the diesel cars that still make up most of its fleet, the Financial Times said, citing a source with knowledge of the discussions.
The bailout plan, titled "Project Birch," had been authorized by U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak in May to rescue companies that are seen as strategically important, with the Treasury saying it may step in to support crucial businesses on a "last resort" basis after other options run out. The report, citing a source familiar with the matter, said that the funding scheme became infeasible for Tata as it imposed strict conditions on any lending. "Tata Steel remains in ongoing and constructive talks with the U.K. Government on areas of potential support," Tata Steel said in an emailed statement.
The U.K. Treasury said it would not comment on individual companies. Tata Motors did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Jaguar Land Rover parent Tata Motors and Tata Steel are both owned by Indian conglomerate Tata Group. Tata bought JLR from Ford Motor in 2008. Jaguar Land Rover increased its savings target for this year to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) after booking a 413 million-pound pre-tax loss for the quarter that ended in June. The automaker has entered into agreements with lenders in China for a secured term loan facility of 5 billion yuan ($704.5 million), its first debt financing in China.
Former Renault CEO Thierry Bollore will replace Ralf Speth as JLR boss on Sept. 10. Speth, who turns 65 in September, will retire from the post and become the automaker's non-executive vice chairman.
Source: Reuters and Automotive News Europe
General Motors Co. shares rose to their highest level in almost three months after a Deutsche Bank analyst speculated the automaker could spin off its electric-vehicle unit to create more value. The stock pared a gain of as much as 10.5% in Monday trading before closing up 7.7% at $30.01 a share – the biggest one-day jump since May 18 and its highest close since June 8. That came after Deutsche Bank’s Emmanuel Rosner wrote in a report published Monday the automaker could be worth as much as $93 a share if GM spins out its electric-vehicle business.
People of a certain age sometimes reminisce about their first car. The way things are going, generations will soon ruminate, not about their first car, but rather their first CUV, SUV or pickup. That’s because cars are becoming endangered species of sorts. CUV, SUVs and pickups are at about 75% of market share. Domestic automakers have all but abandoned car segments, except for performance-oriented ones such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger.
Wholesale vehicle prices are on pace for a third straight month of record highs, according to a mid-month update of the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. After the first 15 days of August, the index was at 163.4, which is up 15.6% from mid-August 2019. The Manheim index finished July at a record high of 158.0, beating prior-year figures by 12.5% and the previous record set in June (149.3) by nearly nine points.
AutoNation Inc. is closing its aftermarket collision parts business by the end of the year in a continued cost-cutting effort by the auto retail giant. The nation's largest new-vehicle retailer said Wednesday it expects to incur about $52 million in charges in the second half of the year, including $12 million in cash, related to closing AutoNation Collision Parts. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson indicated last month on the company's second-quarter earnings call that the AutoNation Collision Parts business was struggling and called it "an area of concern."
Volvo leads all automakers in innovation rankings in J.D. Power's 2020 U.S. Tech Experience Index, while BMW ranked No. 2 and Cadillac was the only domestic brand in the top 10 at No. 3. Mercedes-Benz and Genesis rounded out the top 5, and Lincoln was just outside the top 10 at No. 11. It was disappointing overall showing for Detroit's automakers, who only had two brands that performed better than the overall industry's average score, which is based on a calculation of how effectively each automaker brings new technologies to market, measured on a 1,000-point scale.
Source: The Detroit News
The powerful and expensive Level 3 fast chargers are coming to both cities and suburbs.
“The two companies will add fast charging stations to cities and suburbs, unlocking new EV customer segments and providing increased charging access to drivers who live in multi-unit homes, rent their homes and can’t install chargers, or might not have access to workplace charging,” GM and EVgo said in a joint statement. As of March 2020 there were 78,544 electric vehicle chargers in America, with over 10,000 of them high-speed DC fast chargers, according to the Department of Energy. California leads the nation with over 22,000 of those, with Florida second at over 3,000. Heck, even Kansas has 815.
A Level 3 charger like the ones announced can usually refill a car’s near-empty battery to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. That makes long-distance travel via EV more of a viable option. Most electric car owners who have home recharging operate on a Level 2 capacity, which refills their cars at 240 volts of AC power usually overnight, depending on the battery’s state of charge. Level 3 charging means the system uses 480 volts of DC power. DC power can flow into a car’s battery pack at a higher rate than AC power.
“We are moving quickly to bring new EVs to market that customers will love,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “We know how important the charging ecosystem is for drivers, one that includes access to convenient and reliable public fast charging. Our relationship with EVgo will bolster the public fast charging network available to EV customers ahead of increased market demand and reinforce our commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future.”
Without being specific, the joint release said the fast chargers will be placed outside of “grocery stores, retail outlets, entertainment centers and other high-traffic locations.” The first of the new chargers will go online in early 2021 and will each be able to accommodate four vehicles simultaneously, with 100- to 350-kilowatt capabilities. “115 million Americans already live within a 15-minute drive of an EVgo fast charger station,” the statement said. “With EV choices rapidly increasing, building more fast charging station across the U.S. is necessary to extend the power of EVs for more drivers.”
GM and EVgo also claim all the new chargers will be powered by 100-percent renewable energy. Without offering any specifics, the statement said that both companies had made “significant investments and commitments to running on renewable energy.” That follows GM’s earlier commitment to have all its U.S. plants running on renewable energy by 2030, followed by all global plants by 2040.
The initiative will be funded by private investment along with government grant and utility programs.
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