Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 07:02 PM
The machinery may be creaky and the model basically a rehash, but two and a half years after Sweden produced what could have been its last Saab automobile, the brand rolled a new sedan off its assembly lines in Trollhattan, Sweden, today.
Newly owned by Chinese company National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought Saab out of bankruptcy last year, the venerable automotive brand presented its new Aero 9-3 sedan as the first in a series of new cars it will produce, according to the Associated Press.
"It's very similar" to the old 9-3 sedan that Saab stopped making in April 2011, Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for the Hong Kong-based new owners, according to the BBC. "We acquired the assets in August last year. Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 11:22 AM
Elon Musk is going on a rocket ride this evening, and it has nothing to do with the price of Tesla's stock. The serial entrepreneur will be watching as his other high-profile startup, SpaceX, is scheduled to make a critical commercial-satellite launch at 5:41 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral.
It'll mark entry by SpaceX into the commercial-satellite market with its Falcon 9 rocket after a series of test flights and launches for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. It will be the second of three flights the upgraded Falcon 9 must make before it can qualify for US military-launch business. The launch also will mark a crucial update on the progress of a company that plans to put rank-and-file passengers into space sometime in 2014.
And, of course, the launch will mark another testament to the engineering and entrepreneurial skills of the much-lauded Musk. He's been busy lately with Tesla, the electric-vehicle startup that has rocketed to the national and investor forefront over the last several months.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 01:47 PM
Hyundai continues to be practically unsurpassed at doing interesting things in the US car market. The latest is its vow to debut for retail customers a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV by next spring.
Interestingly, such a showing would leapfrog the plans of both Toyota and Honda to introduce a retail fuel-cell vehicle in the United States. And while the fuel-cell Tucson will be extremely limited as a Hyundai sales opportunity for at least the first few years, the move does indicate that Hyundai wants to go hard and establish an unassailable foothold in fuel-cell technology as Toyota did over a decade ago with Prius to gain early dominance of the hybrid segment.
"Today, right here, the hydrogen fuel cell is making a shift from a research project to a real consumer choice," John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said at the unveiling of the fuel-cell Tucscon at the Los Angeles Auto Show, according to Automotive News.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 05:42 PM
In one corner is Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, newly named CEO of the Year by MarketWatch and Business Person of the Year by Fortune, hailed on six continents and four planets as a brilliant inventor, a far-sighted scientist, a visionary business leader, and even an environmental savior.
In the other corner is David Strickland, public servant, head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). And in the space of a few days, Strickland has taken on Musk on not just one, but two, serious counts. Because he's got the clout of the federal government behind him, Strickland has a fighting chance.
Their latest confrontation is coming because NHTSA is warning automakers this week against claiming their vehicles have received ratings higher than the federally authorized five stars in their crash ratings in agency tests, saying that such a boast is "misleading the public."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 8, 2013 03:37 PM
Elon Musk, meet Clarence Ditlow. The CEO of Tesla now has to cope with the most legendary auto-safety gadfly in US history, because Ditlow doesn't like the fact that three Tesla Model S fires now have occurred in the short space of just six weeks.
So Ditlow, a former Naderite and executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, wants to see the federal government investigate why the Model S seems to have a soft underbelly. “It appears there’s inadequate shielding on the bottom of these vehicles,” Ditlow told Bloomberg. "Road debris is a known hazard to the undercarriage of vehicles.”
And if Musk doesn't wrap his exquisite brain around this problem quickly, the trio of fires could end up proving big trouble for the Tesla brand and its $70,000 Model S. On Thursday, Tesla shareholders—who already were concerned about disappointing third-quarter results from the company—knocked more than 7 percent off the company's market value.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 8, 2013 11:33 AM
Cadillac has "a relevance issue," its new CMO told brandchannel—and Uwe Ellinghaus means to fix it in a way that may surprise: Highlight the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid that isn't due out until next year.
The brand's CTS mid-size sedan was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2013. Its ATS compact sedan is bringing younger luxury buyers into the fold who wouldn't have considered Cadillac before, and Caddy is due to introduce not only coupe and performance versions of the ATS next year but also a long-awaited new iteration of its flagship, the hulking Escalade SUV.
But Ellinghaus—who joins Cadillac following a 14-year stint at BMW that included serving as head of brand strategy from 2010 to 2012, followed by a non-automotive detour to luxury pen brand Montblanc—believes the key to elevating Cadillac in the accelerating premium-car wars in the US and worldwide is the Tesla-fighter known as ELR.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 5, 2013 10:48 AM
Investors may be weighing their options with Tesla in advance of its quarterly financial report next week. But at least two significant constituencies—rich California car buyers, and Daimler AG—have made up their minds about the all-electric-vehicle phenomenon: They want more of it.
Tesla suffered its biggest one-month loss of market value in October amid concern among some investors that a previous fivefold stock-price surge had outpaced true growth prospects for Elon Musk's EV company, Bloomberg reported.
The stock dropped by 10 percent after a fire consumed a Tesla in an accident in Washington state a month ago. There was a second fire in Mexico a couple of weeks later. The company still promotes the car as the "safest" in America after Model S got top safety ratings in every category from federal tests.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2013 11:49 AM
It's time for a new kind of "hybrid" to take to the American roads, one that leverages the realities of the green-power marketplace rather than tries to buck them. That's why General Motors is betting big on a new "bi-fuel," natural-gas powered Chevrolet Impala that it plans to whisk to market by next summer.
GM CEO Dan Akerson himself announced the development at an energy-security conference in Washington, D.C., this week that was convened on the 40th anniversary of the start of the OPEC oil embargo, which altered so many aspects of American life and industry—and was a huge factor in re-setting the course of the US auto industry over the last 40 years.
Akerson cast the 2015 bi-fuel Impala as a potential game-changer that will help GM, the auto industry, and the American consumer take proper advantage of burgeoning domestic supplies and falling prices of natural gas with a high-mileage, clean-burning fuel that would allow Impala drivers to go up to 500 miles on a single stock-up of fuel.Continue reading...