Tag Archive | "BMW"

Tesla Says in Talks with BMW Over Car Batteries, Parts


U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors is in talks with Germany’s BMW over a possible collaboration in batteries and lightweight components, Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk told German weekly Der Spiegel, reported Reuters.

In an interview published on Sunday, Musk described BMW’s production of carbon fibre reinforced car body parts as “interesting” and “relatively cost efficient.”

BMW uses carbon fibres from its joint venture with materials supplier SGL to make reinforced passenger cell parts for its i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.

Officials at BMW were not immediately available to comment.

“We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” Musk was quoted as saying in the interview.

A spokeswoman for Tesla in Germany later described the discussions as informal.

“The conversation between Elon Musk and BMW has been a casual conversation, and not about a formal cooperation,” spokeswoman Kathrin Schira said.

There were no further details on the specific nature of the alliance, however BMW and Tesla executives already met in June to discuss the creation of charging stations usable for different types of electric cars.

Rival Daimler, owner of the Mercedes brand, said last month it would continue to collaborate with Tesla even after selling its remaining four percent stake in the U.S. company. Tesla has also worked with Toyota on electric SUVs.

Tesla’s billionaire co-founder Musk also told Der Spiegel that he expects Tesla to have a battery production plant in Germany in five to six years.

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U.S. Auto Regulator Seeks Nationwide Recall of Takata Air Bags


The U.S. auto safety regulator has told Japanese supplier Takata Corp and five automakers to expand nationwide a regional recall of potentially lethal air bags, increasing pressure on the industry to move faster in a growing scandal, reported Reuters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also scolded Takata for what it called “an unwillingness to move forward” on a nationwide recall, and said the company needs to be open with the U.S. public about the risks of its air bags.

Takata and automakers have so far taken a targeted approach in recalling U.S. vehicles with air bags that can rupture upon deployment, shooting shrapnel into the car. Five fatalities, including four in the United States, have been linked to the air bags.

The U.S. regional recall has involved 4.1 million cars in hot and humid areas where the air bags may be prone to fail, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and parts of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Most of those cars are made by Honda Motor, Takata’s biggest client.

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman declined to estimate how many more cars would be included in a nationwide recall.

Shares in Takata dropped by as much as 7.8 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday, and have now slid 64 percent this year to 5-1/2-year lows.

Takata has already set aside more than $750 million for recall-related costs, but Takayuki Atake, manager of credit research at SMBC Nikko Securities, warned a national recall would need more provisioning and raised the risk of a deeper credit rating downgrade than initially expected.

Japan Credit Rating Agency has put Takata’s single-A rating on negative watch. “However, risk of a (three-notch) downgrade to BBB would increase if the expanded recall leads to further erosion of shareholder equity and/or a negative impact on Takata’s capacity for generating profits and cash flow,” Atake wrote in a report.

Takata, NHTSA, Honda and Chrysler have been called to testify at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, where Takata will be represented by Hiroshi Shimizu, a 36-year company veteran and senior vice president of global quality assurance.

MILLIONS MORE?

Around 16 million cars with Takata air bags have been recalled worldwide over the past six years, with more than 10 million of those in the United States.

NHTSA’s Friedman said the recall expansion was prompted by an August incident involving a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina, outside the area of the regional recalls.

The agency ordered Ford, Mazda Motor, Honda, Chrysler and BMW to send notifications for replacement driver-side air bags to consumers quickly. “We will begin a process both with Takata and the automakers to force them to recall all affected” vehicles, Friedman said.

Ford, Honda, Mazda and Chrysler said they would continue to cooperate with NHTSA and plan to evaluate their call for a national recall. But each stopped short of saying they would expand beyond the current set of cars they are fixing. BMW is already recalling air bags nationally.

Spokesman Alby Berman said Takata would cooperate with regulators and automakers if an expanded recall is required, but noted that “of almost 1,000 passenger and driver inflators from outside the high humidity areas that have been evaluated to date, none have ruptured.”

“Takata is concerned that a national recall could potentially divert replacement air bags from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk,” he said in a statement.

It’s unclear just how long it could take to replace so many air bags. NHTSA said it is pressuring Takata to ramp up production of replacement parts and has said it will explore using other suppliers to help with production if needed.

Takata has said it would add two production lines at its Monclova, Mexico plant in January to make replacement air bag inflators. Workers there have told Reuters that a single line has a typical quota of around 200 inflators an hour, meaning it could take five months to make 1 million inflators working around the clock on two lines, five days a week.

NOT ENOUGH

Auto safety advocates and lawmakers said NHTSA’s latest move may still not capture the scope of the problem, is too late, and may not be enforceable.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal said they were pleased NHTSA recognized the “national scope” of the problem,” but said the call to replace driver-side air bags should be expanded to also include passenger air bags.

NHTSA agreed in June to allow automakers to do a regional recall and use their discretion in deciding how and when to notify customers and replace faulty parts, resulting in confusion for car owners receiving mixed messages.

Friedman criticized Takata for resisting when NHTSA this week called on it to issue a defect notification nationwide for air bags of a certain design. “Takata’s initial response was an unwillingness to move forward, and frankly, that is one of the reasons we are talking to you today, because I believe everyone needs to understand that Takata needs to act,” he said.

Asked about Friedman’s comment, Takata said: “We have been dealing sincerely with U.S. authorities and … will continue to do so, prioritizing customers’ safety.”

NHTSA also addressed lingering confusion over what exactly makes some air bags explode. It said it ordered Takata to provide under oath documents and information on the propellant used in newly designed air bag inflators, after Takata recently said it had changed the chemical mix of its inflators.

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Auto/Mates Completes DMS Integration with BMW


ALBANY, N.Y. — Auto/Mate Dealership Systems has completed integration of its dealership management system, Automotive Management Productivity Suite (AMPS), with BMW of North America (BMWNA)’s DMS Data Transfer system.

BMW dealers using Auto/Mate’s DMS can now enjoy seamless bi-directional information exchange with BMWNA.

“Having a fully integrated solution will save BMW dealers both time and money as it speeds up daily processes and eliminates loss of data, redundant data entry and other inefficiencies,” said Mike Esposito, president and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems.

Auto/Mate has completed integration of the following qualified interfaces with BMWNA’s DMS Data Transfer system: retail delivery reporting (RDR), vehicle inventory download, financial statements and fixed ops such as service appointments and parts inventory.

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BMW Finance Chief Sees Further Growth in 2015


BMW expects sales to rise further next year as new models boost demand, the German carmaker’s finance chief told a newspaper on Saturday, without giving a detailed forecast, reported Reuters.

“Of course we expect further growth in 2015 as we will see the full effect from new models coming to the market on production and sales as early as next year,” Friedrich Eichiner was quoted as saying by Boersen Zeitung.

“We will also introduce more new models next year. At the moment it is difficult say how that will impact our growth.”

The finance chief confirmed the company’s 2014 forecast for group profit to rise by up to 10 percent and operating margin of 8-10 percent in its car segment.

Eichiner also said he saw no reason for BMW to consider a merger with another carmaker.

“I cannot think of a positive example in the car industry,” he said. “Given our broad portfolio and our clear positioning in the premium car segment, I don’t see any need for BMW to think of a merger.”

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NHTSA Urges Owners of 4.7 Million GM and Foreign Cars to get Defective Airbags Fixed


DETROIT, MI – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging owners of some 4.7 million General Motors, Honda, Mazda, BMW and Nissan cars to have defective airbags made by Japanese auto parts company Takata Corp. replaced immediately. The full list of affected vehicles is below, reported Michigan Live.

NHTSA began a probe of the faulty airbags in June. According to the International Business Times, the airbags could rupture and spray pieces of metal into the driver and front-seat passenger in an accident.

NHTSA said it expects areas where there have already been regional recalls for the airbags, including Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii, to be most affected.

Consumers who are uncertain whether their vehicle is affected can search their car’s VIN number at www.safecar.gov. Most of the affected cars are in the early-to-mid 2000s model years.

Based in Tokyo, Takata manufactures seat belts, airbags, steering wheels, interior trims, and child restraint systems at 56 plants in 20 countries. The company had $5.2 billion in annual sales in its most recent fiscal year, ended March 31, 2014.

The list of affected cars follows.

Affected Vehicles, by Manufacturer , Impacted by CY 2013 and 2014 Recalls Involving Takata Airbags:

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

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BMW, Mercedes-Benz of Ann Arbor Dealerships Sold to Troy-based Suburban Collection


Michigan’s largest privately held automotive dealership group just got bigger, reported MichiganLive.

The Suburban Collection – a Troy-based dealership group – just announced its acquisition of BMW of Ann Arbor and Mercedes-Benz of Ann Arbor from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based Sonic Automotive, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The company already has an established Ann Arbor presence, as it owns Ann Arbor Suburban Chevrolet Cadillac, Suburban Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, and Suburban Alfa Romeo and Fiat.

“These stores presented an ideal opportunity for the Suburban Collection to not only widen our footprint in Ann Arbor, but also to bring additional marquee brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz to our portfolio,” David Fischer, chairman and CEO of The Suburban Collection, said in a statement.

We look forward to bringing our sixty-five year heritage and dedication to customer service to these outstanding dealerships.”

The dealerships will now be called Suburban BMW of Ann Arbor and Suburban Mercedes-Benz of Ann Arbor, and are located at 501 Auto Mall Dr. and 570 Auto Mall Dr., respectively.

The Suburban Collection did not specify whether there would be immediate management changes at its newly acquired Ann Arbor dealerships. With the purchase, the company now employs more than 2,000 people, with operations in Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin and California.

It is the 18th-largest dealer group in the country.

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