Volkswagen has lifted the veil off of the latest iteration of the company’s ever-growing lineup of Up! city cars, the 2014 e-Up!, which made its debut earlier this week at the Annual Press and Investors Conference in the company’s hometown of Wolfsburg Germany.
As expected, Japan’s new prime minister Shinzo Abe announced today that his country will be joining the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. The objective of the talks is to eliminate trade barriers (specifically, tariffs). The Japanese government estimates that if all tariffs were scrapped, ¥3.2 trillion ($33.3 billion) could be added to Japan’s economy, which would equate to about 0.8 percent of the country’s current GDP. That’s a pretty big chunk.
French automaker Renault has come up with an interesting way of dealing with its overcapacity in Europe. It will boost output and produce more cars there. While the idea may sound crazy, particularly knowing that 1) Europe has plenty of excess auto production capacity, and 2) Europe is, to say the least, a high-cost place to build a car, Carlos Ghosn has an ace up his sleeve.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the insurance industry-funded research organization (which, due to its nature, has an obvious interest in reducing injuries and vehicle damage in crashes and/or preventing crashes in the first place) puts out some interesting research-related press releases from time to time. shows that there is a substantial risk of decapitation if a motorist in a normal car has a rear-end collision with a tractor trailer.
Volkswagen plans to be the world’s largest automaker – a title that has been surprisingly in flux for the past several years, after three quarters of a century of GM occupying that spot – by 2018. Today the company announced another angle of how it plans to get there: expanding global production capacity in a big way. And make no mistake, at this point, it sounds extremely likely that VW will meet its 2018 goal.
As most of the world now knows, the 115 cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected a new pope yesterday, who took the name of Francis I in tribute to St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis is the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina. You know that we’d find a car connection to this news item, though. Francis I gets the keys to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-based Popemobile.
Last week, we engaged in some speculation about the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant, noting that the only two confirmed products the plant produces are 1) not necessarily high-volume models, and 2) are already going to be built elsewhere along with Oshawa. Today, on the occasion of the new 2014 Impala’s launch event in San Diego, GM told us one of the ways they’ll keep Oshawa humming for the next year or two: they’ll keep making the old W-Body Impala, but it will be sold to fleet buyers only. Specifically, we’re talking about .
Henrik Fisker, namesake and founder of plug-in hybrid auto manufacturer Fisker Automotive, has resigned from the company. Most recently, he has served Fisker as Executive Chairman, but he was previously the company’s CEO. We knew that Fisker has been struggling with one issue after another for the past few problematic years, but the company’s namesake and founder leaving cannot be good news.