Acura Launches Production of Fifth-Generation TLX

First Up 09/09/20

Toyota Hires Tech Lobbyist as Next Director of Technology, Innovation Policy

Toyota has hired tech lobbyist Jamie Boone as director of technology and innovation policy within its government affairs branch in Washington, reports Automotive News. Boone, 35, was previously vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, where she led legislative and policy initiatives on automated vehicles, transportation innovation, privacy and emerging technology. She'll start her role with Toyota Sept. 14. She replaces Hilary Cain, who joined Toyota in 2012 as the tech and innovation policy guru — a role the former employee essentially carved out and developed. Cain is now vice president of technology, innovation, and mobility policy for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. "I am excited to join Toyota's government affairs group and work with a world-class team leading the way on advancing mobility and innovation," Boone said in a statement Wednesday. "Toyota is a pioneer in advanced vehicle technology and mobility for all, and I look forward to helping achieve that mission." Read more here (Source: Automotive News).

Nikola Shares Pop as Much as 53% After General Motors Takes 11% Stake in Electric Truck Maker

CNBC reports that shares of Nikola surged Tuesday after General Motors announced it’s taking an 11% stake in the electric truck maker and will produce its marquee hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck the Badger by the end of 2022. Shortly before the opening bell, Nikola shares were up 30% and GM’s were 6% higher. Nikola shares had surged as much as 53% while GM’s jumped as much as 9.1% in the premarket trading. GM is getting a $2 billion stake in Nikola and the right to nominate one board member in exchange for in-kind services. GM will also supply Nikola’s fuel cells globally, except Europe, for its class 7/8 truck. Phoenix-based Nikola specializes in building zero-emission semi trucks using battery or hydrogen fuel cell technology, but it recently introduced its Badger pickup truck for consumers. Read more here (Source: CNBC). 

Acura Launches Production of Fifth-Generation TLX

After committing nearly $50 million to prepare for production of the 2021 Acura TLX, Acura launches mass production of the all-new sport sedan at Honda of America Mfg.’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio., reports WardsAuto. The fifth-generation TLX arrives Sept. 28 at dealerships with an MSRP starting at $37,500. Production at the plant began late last week. “Designed, developed and manufactured by a team of Acura associates in Ohio and California, the 2021 TLX is built on an all-new, Acura-exclusive platform engineered for Type S levels of performance,” Acura says in a news release. Both the new TLX and the TLX Type S high-performance variant will be assembled exclusively at Marysville. Both powertrains will be built at Honda of America’s Anna, Ohio, engine plant: a 2.0L DOHC VTEC Turbo 4-cyl. powering the standard TLX and an all-new 3.0L Turbo V-6 for the TLX Type S due next spring. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission developed in-house. Read more here (Source: WardsAuto). 

Volkswagen Teases New Compact Ute Coming in October

Volkswagen is teasing its newest sport-utility vehicle coming to the U.S. The unnamed offering slots below the Tiguan, reports The Detroit Bureau. Volkswagen sales in the U.S. lagged as it played catch up with its sport-utility vehicle line-up here, and with the introduction of the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, the German automaker appeared to round out its portfolio — until now. On Tuesday, the automaker released the first image and video of its new compact SUV that will fill the void under the Tiguan. The official reveal will take place Oct. 13. “We’re excited to share the first glimpse of the newest member of the Volkswagen family,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “Great things come in small packages, as Volkswagen has proven throughout the years with its iconic Beetle, Golf and Jetta. This next car will be no exception.” There is no word on where this new SUV will be built: in Germany or at Volkswagen of America’s massive plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company has been expanding the plant for some time to account for new product, specifically the new Atlas. Read more here (Source: The Detroit Bureau). 

Most GM Salaried Employees to Work Remotely Until Mid-2021

General Motors has told most of its U.S. salaried employees that they should continue working remotely through June 2021, stretching their work-from-home setup to as long as 15 months, reports Automotive News. A "significant number" of employees have returned to their offices safely on a full-time or part-time basis, but the majority of GM's salaried workforce in the U.S. is still working remotely, spokesman David Caldwell said. GM joins other large companies, including Amazon, Google, and crosstown rival Ford Motor Co., in allowing employees to work remotely into next year during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of instructing more employees to return to their offices soon, GM said its salaried employees will continue to work as they are either remotely or on-site. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Webinar Tomorrow: An Update on COVID-19's Impact on U.S. Auto Sales

Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough returns to AutoTalk for an update tomorrow, September 10, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Topics to be reviewed include: 

  • Economic forecast and impact going into the fourth quarter 

  • Consumer sentiment and buying behaviors 

  • Stock market, interest rates, and employment 

  • An outlook for vehicle sales 

  • Current view of new and used retail sales and prices

Click here to register. 

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