• Ford to build Lincoln Continental in Michigan

    July 16, 2015
    Ford has confirmed that its upcoming Lincoln Continental will be built in Michigan.
    The resurrected luxury sedan will be built at the Flat Rock Assembly plant, where the company currently produces the Mustang and Fusion.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, the plan was made public by Ford manufacturing chief John Fleming as the automaker begins contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

    “I think it will do very, very well,” the executive said at a Dearborn event, without elaborating, as quoted by Dow Jones Business News.

    The disclosure follows an announcement that Focus and C-Max production will move in 2018. Mexico is rumored to be the leading candidate, however Ford claims a final decision has not been made yet.

    The Continental Concept gathered plenty of attention when it was unveiled earlier this year in New York, introducing an entirely new design language for Ford’s luxury marque. The production version will be built upon the same platform that underpins the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, potentially with all-wheel drive as a standard feature.

    The Continental will serve as a replacement for the Lincoln MKS, reintroducing traditional naming that departs from Lincoln’s current MK-based scheme. The MKS will end production at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant ahead of the Continental’s arrival.

  • Magna to buy transmission maker Getrag?

    July 16, 2015
    Canada-based supplier Magna International is said to be closing in on a bid to acquire transmission maker Getrag.
    According to Bloomberg, Magna, North America’s largest auto parts supplier, could announce a deal to buy Germany-based Getrag as soon as this week. No price tag has been linked to the potential deal.

    Getrag currently builds transmission for OE automakers like BMW, Ferrari, Renault and Volvo. In 2013 Getrag generated $3.6 billion in sales. Magna’s powertrains system unit, which would takeover Getrag’s transmission business, recorded $5 billion in sales last year.

    Although not exactly peanuts, Getrag hasn’t been able to match its main rival, ZF, in terms of revenue. Last year ZF, which is also based in Germany, generated $33 billion in revenue, largely due to the company’s recent acquisition of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.

    Magna is no stranger to large acquisition bids, but they haven’t always worked out. Magna failed to acquire Chrysler in 2007 and missed out again on purchasing the Saturn and Opel brands from General Motors in 2009.

  • Acura recalls MDX, cites ‘road hazard’ from falling parts

    July 16, 2015

    Acura has recalled the 2014-2015 MDX and MDX AWD to replace corroded bolts.
    The company received several hundred warranty claims related to missing bolts that secure the air-conditioning compressor clutch plate. Due to a lack of proper anti-corrosion coating from a supplier, the bolts can eventually break or loosen and fall out.

    Notably, the company is not recalling the vehicles due to safety concerns for the occupants of affected vehicles. A missing clutch plate merely causes non-functioning AC, however the part poses a threat to other vehicles once it falls off the MDX.

    “The AC clutch drive bolt may loosen or break, which could cause the AC clutch drive pulley to fall under the vehicle while in motion, potentially presenting a hazard to other vehicles,” the company said in a statement. “No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this issue.”

    It is unclear if the recall decision was partly influenced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent tougher stance on safety issues.

  • Report: Tesla Model S took lead from Nissan Leaf in Q1

    July 16, 2015
    Tesla Motors’ Model S has reportedly displaced the Nissan Leaf as the most popular EV in the US market, according to data published by IHS.
    “Based on volume, the most popular EV/PHEV in the U.S. is the Tesla Model S,” the research firm said in its latest EV report.

    Tesla began releasing sales numbers earlier this year, however the company only confirms global sales totals for each quarter. IHS counted 5,813 new Model S registrations throughout the US in the first quarter, according to a clarification sent to Forbes.

    Nissan reported Leaf sales of just 4,085 units in the first three months of the year, down 21 percent from the same period in 2014. Comparing registrations to sales can be problematic, but IHS appears confident the 1,728-unit margin affirms the Model S’ lead.

    Tesla delivered a record 11,507 units globally in the second quarter, up from 10,030 sedans in Q1 and jumping by more than 50 percent compared to Q2 2014. The company expects to sell 55,000 EVs by the end of the year.

    With a head start in the EV market, Nissan early this year sold its 75,000th Leaf in the US. The company hopes to sell 50,000 EVs in North America each year, nearly doubling 2014′s numbers, despite lackluster sales so far in 2015.

  • Subaru recalls 2012 Impreza to fix airbag glitch

    July 16, 2015

    Subaru has issued a recall for the 2012 Impreza to fix an airbag glitch.
    Unlike four-door model uses an occupant detection system that measures electrical capacitance to determine if an adult or a child is seated in the front passenger seat. The capacitance measurement is thrown off if the passenger is touching a grounded metal part of the vehicle, such as the seat adjuster lever, or using a cellphone or other device that is plugged into the power outlet.

    When the system receives an incorrect capacitance reading, it sometimes disables the front passenger airbag regardless of the occupant’s size. Some passengers consequently face a higher risk of injury in a frontal crash.

    The company has been aware of the problem since the 2012 Impreza first arrived on the market. A software revision was created in 2012 and the resolution was detailed in a technical service bulletin, however Subaru did not view the behavior as a safety concern at the time. The company presumably believed activation of the airbag warning light on the dash and “off” indicator on the center stack both served as safeguards.

    After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated a formal investigation in April, citing dozens of owner complaints, Subaru reconsidered its position and decided to elevate the handling to a formal safety recall.

    Affected vehicles will receive a new occupant control unit to restore normal behavior and prevent the system from improperly disabling the front passenger airbag.