Five Smokin' Hot Convertibles for Summer

First Up 06/08/18

Japan Automaker Lobby Slams Possibility of U.S. Auto Tariffs
Japan’s automakers association (JAMA) on Friday criticized moves by the United States to explore the possibility of raising tariffs on Japanese auto exports, saying that they could have a negative impact on U.S. customers and the vehicle industry, reports Reuters. “The investigation launched by the United States Department of Commerce to determine the effects on national security of imports of automobiles ... will create uncertainty among automobile users in the U.S. and people involved in the motor vehicle industry,” Akio Toyoda, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and president of Toyota Motor Corp said in a statement. Washington late last month launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports which could lead to new tariffs on one of Japan’s major export products to the United States. Read more here

Maserati, Alfa Romeo Get Much-Needed SUVs in Five Year Plan
Two Italian stallions loaded with horsepower are gearing up to join the global SUV game – long after their competitors already have, reports The Detroit News. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s five-year plan for its Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands envisions big moves into the luxury space dominated by their German rivals. It’s a critical move for the Italian-American automaker as its global competitors chase rising prices and rising demand for SUVs of all sizes, often at the expense of traditional sport sedans.   There's big money in crossovers and SUVs, as competitors as diverse as Germany’s Porsche, Britain’s Jaguar, Japan’s Lexus, and Detroit’s Cadillac and Lincoln are discovering with varying success. That's why Maserati and Alfa Romeo both need new offerings if they want to truly play in the global luxury game. "Having competitive crossovers and SUVs with shorter lifecycles is going to be the difference between a has-been and a sales success in the luxury market for the foreseeable future," said Dave Sullivan, an automotive analyst with AutoPacific. Maserati and Alfa Romeo "have to make the products that people want, and right now those are high seating-position hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs." Read more here

Cadillac Shuns Detroit, Will Keep Its Headquarters in New York
Cadillac's new boss will keep the headquarters of the GM luxury brand in New York despite the ouster of the executive who presided over the move from Detroit, reports The Detroit News. Steve Carlisle will commute to Detroit or anywhere else in the world as is needed to transform Cadillac into a top-selling luxury brand, GM said. "It’s 100 percent that we’re staying here, that was never a question," said Andrew Lipman, Cadillac spokesman in New York. The decision makes sense, analysts said, because Cadillac is not just a Detroit brand anymore. It is a global brand achieving big sales gains in China. Moving its New York headquarters would be costly and might result in a talent flight. In a controversial move at the time, GM nearly four years ago moved Cadillac's headquarters from Detroit to the 15th and 16th floors of a high-rise office building at 330 Hudson St. in the trendy lower Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo. Read more here

VW CEO Presses for Faster Decisions, More Collaboration
Volkswagen AG's top managers must commit to faster decision-making and working more closely together to push the German automaker firmly beyond a diesel-emissions scandal and maintain its industry leadership amid wrenching technological change, CEO Herbert Diess said. "The direction is right," Diess told some 400 managers at a gathering close to the manufacturer's headquarters in Wolfsburg. "Now it's about increasing speed, intensifying cooperation of the brands, coming to the right decisions significantly faster and implementing them vigorously," he said, according to people who attended the session. According to Automotive News, Diess, 59, took over Volkswagen's top job two months ago from Matthias Mueller, who steered the company through the worst crisis in its history after U.S. authorities in 2015 uncovered engine software that allowed as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide to skirt emissions tests and rules. Read more here

Five Smokin' Hot Convertibles for Summer
There’s no substitute for the freedom a convertible provides, whatever your age, reports Forbes. Here are five one of its writers likes, of disparate flavors, horsepower, and stickers. First is the 2018 Ferrari 488 Spider. Speed. Beauty. Craft. Style. Ferocity. There may not be a single better ride on planet earth at the moment, and certainly no sweeter convertible. A few fast facts: It starts at $284,650 and, with options/trimmings, tops out at $393,411. It blasts from 0-60 in about 2.9 seconds. It's got a 3.9 litre, DOHC 32-valve twin-turbo V-8 engine making 661 horsepower @8000 RPM, 561 lb-ft @3000 RPM, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic shift. Also on the list is the 2018 Rolls Royce Dawn. So much has changed in our world, especially in the last two years - but Rolls-Royce remains happily itself. Not that the company doesn't keep up with the times - they certainly do - but the badge still represents the same thing it did in 1925 - class, comfort, and a commitment to hand-built quality, hang whatever else is going on in the world. Read more here

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What's It Like to Drive a Historic Italian Roadster? [Detroit Free Press]

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Porsche at 70 [CNN Style]

Peacocks Attack Cars in British Columbia [NPR]

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