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Sent to over 30,000 recipients every weekday morning, FirstUp conveys the day's auto-related news quickly, concisely, and accurately. Topics covered in FirstUp range from new vehicle releases, to the latest legislation concerning the auto industry. This is news designed with you in mind.
March 7, 2014
Toyota's New Subcompact Will Use Mazda's Skyactiv Engine
According to Automotive News, Toyota Motor Corp. will add Mazda’s fuel-efficient Skyactiv engine to its tiny stable of borrowed powerplants when it sources a new Mazda2-based subcompact from Mazda’s just-opened assembly plant in Mexico. The car will get Toyota-designed sheet metal on the outside but Mazda’s high-compression, fuel-injected Skyactiv gasoline engine under the hood, said Keishi Egawa, CEO of Mazda’s operations in Mexico and director of its plant in Mexico. “They will make model-specific investment for the Toyota vehicle,” Egawa said in an interview at last month’s factory opening. “Stamping, dies – that is theirs,” he said, as well as “some of the interior design work.” But the Toyota spinoff will use “our engine,” he said. The factory will allocate about 50,000 vehicles for Toyota from its full annual capacity of 230,000 units. Output for Toyota is expected to begin after April 1, 2015, but before March 31, 2016. Mazda has not released details of the next-generation Mazda2, but it is expected to enter production in Mexico as early as the second half of this year. The company began producing the Skyactiv-equipped Mazda3 sedan and hatchback at the site in January. For more on Mazda and Toyota’s cooperative work, click here.
Carmakers Hold Smartphones at Bay
Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are stepping on the gas to integrate their smartphones with car communications systems, but big car companies insist the dashboard screen belongs to them and the only role for the pair is as app supplier. According to The Wall Street Journal, one reason car makers are reluctant to let Apple and Google get too close to their in-car networks is that no one can say with any certainty how valuable the online services revenue and data generated by drivers and passengers will become. Big Data, the information created by every mouse click and song pick online, is a growing source of digital revenue. "We are trying to figure out what Big Data means for us, also in respect to our partners," said Norbert Reithofer, chief executive of BMW AG. "We've brought our own group of specialists on board." Another reason car makers want to retain control of the car's network is for service revenue and branding. As drivers and passengers use the system the car manufacturer has a unique opportunity to connect with its customers for a fee. For more on how automakers are approaching the integration of technology into their vehicles, click here.
Nissan to Make 85% of the Vehicles It Sells Here in U.S.
Autoblog reports that we could be in for a big push from Nissan in the manufacturing realm if Vice President of U.S. Sales and Marketing Fred Diaz has anything to say about it. Speaking to the Automotive Press Association recently, Diaz expressed a desire to build some 85 percent of the vehicles Nissan sells to Americans in the US, claiming it will happen "in the very near future." Nissan has already moved to increase exports of its U.S.-built products, and in 2013, it built just over 76 percent of the models it sold in this market within our country's borders. "Any issues of us taking advantage of the value of the yen, we want to dispel that," Diaz told reporters, pointing out the contentious issue of currency manipulation. There's also the obvious goal of positive PR – Americans like things made in America. Diaz is quick to point out that Nissan had done just that: "While a lot of people retrenched [during the recession], instead we leaned into it and we continued investing and in fact made over $5 billion in investments, bringing a lot of production from Japan to the United States and to Mexico," Diaz said. For more on Nissan’s U.S. investment, click here.
NHTSA wants Graco to Explain Why It Won't Recall 1.8M Car Seats
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants Graco Children's Products Inc. to answer detailed questions about why it refuses to recall 1.8 million car seats the agency wants fixed for buckles that may not unlock. Last month, Graco — a division of Newell Rubbermaid — agreed to recall 3.77 million toddler and booster seats built from 2009-13 under pressure from NHTSA. The agency formally asked Graco in January to recall 5.6 million car seats. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA's 14-page document sent Thursday seeks "all documents related to Graco's reasoning and rationale for excluding" the bucket seats including all internal emails related to the decision to shift to a new buckle and reports of all consumer complaints. Graco said it is recalling the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite, and Argos 70 models. Graco said the alleged defect involves difficulty in depressing the red button that unlatches the harness buckle. “In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button,” NHTSA said. For more on NHTSA’s investigation into Graco, click here.
BMW Details Specifications for X4 Ahead of New York Debut
BMW has unveiled details and photos of its new X4 crossover with coupe styling. The vehicle is scheduled to make its world debut next month at the New York auto show, with production beginning this spring in Spartanburg, S.C., reports Automotive News. The X4, based on the technical blueprint of the X3, is a half-inch longer, at 184.3 inches, and 1.5 inches lower than the X3. In the United States, it will be available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system and a choice of two turbocharged engines. The xDrive28i will have a 240-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a sticker price of $45,625. The xDrive35i will have a 300-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder with a sticker price of $48,925. Both prices include shipping. Both models will have an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Standard equipment includes a sports leather steering wheel, variable sport steering, performance control, and rear park distance control. Click here for details on BMW’s X4.
AIADA Affinity Partner Shell Oil and Hyundai Motor America Launch Lubricants Program to Expand Express Oil Change Program
Hyundai Motor America recently announced a relationship with Shell Oil to recommend its Quaker State® branded motor oils for Hyundai’s dealer network as part of a new lubricants program. No one knows motor oil better than Quaker State and no one changes oil in Hyundai vehicles better than Hyundai dealership technicians. Beginning in March, Hyundai dealers participating in the Hyundai Lubricants Program will provide Quaker State branded motor oils for the vehicles they service. Hyundai also uses Quaker State as the primary supplier of initial motor oil for its vehicles as they roll off the assembly line. Quaker State, one of the industry’s most innovative motor oil brands, makes it its mission to help consumers get the most out of their vehicles by extending vehicle longevity and improving durability. “Shell and Hyundai have a global relationship that dates back to 2005 and it is our shared focus of putting our customers first that makes this U.S. dealership program a natural fit,” stated Shell Lubricants Global Key Accounts Vice President Steve Reindl. “We are pleased that Hyundai’s customers in the U.S. can benefit from our Quaker State products.”
Around the Web
Mercedes to Build All-Electric S-Class [TopGear]
Alfa Shows 4C Drop-Top in Geneva [MSN Autos]
Meet the Guy Jeff Gordon and PepsiMax Punked [Jalopnik]
Mazda Says 83 Percent of New Cars Bear Skyactiv Moniker [AutoblogGreen]