Sen. Corker Unveils Bill to Check President Trump's Ability to Impose Tariffs

First Up 06/07/18

Sen. Corker Unveils Bill to Check President Trump's Ability to Impose Tariffs
Sen. Bob Corker unveiled legislation Wednesday to check President Donald Trump's ability to impose tariffs despite personal objections from the president, reports CNBC. Corker's bill, co-sponsored by five other Republican and four Democratic senators, would require congressional approval for tariffs levied for national security reasons. The Trump administration used a national security justification when putting steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from key U.S. allies, prompting fears about a trade war and deteriorating relations with foreign countries. Trump called Corker to urge him to abandon the plan Wednesday morning. AIADA responded with support for the measure. “The Trump administration’s demonstrated willingness to use section 232 to declare certain industries, including steel, aluminum, and autos, threats to national security, and punish them with harsh tariffs, is an actual threat to the American economy,” said AIADA President and CEO Cody Lusk in a statement. “Senator Corker has introduced an amendment that reclaims Congress’ constitutional authority to regulate foreign trade through the section 232 process. The amendment could save hundreds of thousands of American jobs, including 570,000 auto retail jobs, being threatened by tariffs.” Read more here

Volvo Sets New Golf for Autonomous Cars in Big Industry Bet
Volvo Cars is betting driverless vehicles will make up one-third of its deliveries by the middle of the next decade, reports Automotive News. Half of the cars the Swedish company offers will be available through its subscription service, creating links to more than 5 million consumers and generating new sources of revenue, Volvo said Thursday in a business update. It reiterated a target to match other luxury-auto makers' profit margins, saying sales growth will be propelled in part by demand from robo-taxi operators. "These initiatives will help transform Volvo from being purely a car company to being a direct consumer-services provider," CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement. The carmaker was formerly the auto unit of truck manufacturer Volvo AB and is now owned by Chinese billionaire Li Shufu's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. While several automakers have included robo-taxis in their planned future line-ups, Volvo Cars is the first prominent global brand to set a target for deliveries. Its sales rose 7 percent last year to 571,577 vehicles. Read more here

Mazda Views Diesel as an Opportunity, Not as a Risk
Mazda Motor Corp. will continue to develop diesel technologies and won’t rush to embrace electric vehicles, even as tougher emission rules globally spur rivals including Nissan Motor Co. to step up their plans for environmentally friendly cars. According to The Detroit News, the Hiroshima-based carmaker sees diesel as an opportunity rather than a risk, and will continue to develop next generation engines for the fossil fuel, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, who oversees research and development at Mazda, told reporters in Tokyo. The automaker doesn’t see customer interest in EVs picking up any time soon, Fujiwara said. “Consumers won’t buy EVs just because of Elon Musk,” he said. Mazda is one of the slow movers in EVs, although it started a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp. to develop such technologies last year. While Mazda plans to introduce EVs from next year to meet emission regulations — including one in China with its local joint venture partner — it will continue to focus on internal combustion engines and will enhance its operations in the U.S., where it’s building a plant with Toyota. Read more here

GM, Honda Sign Deal to Develop Batteries for Electric Vehicles
General Motors and Honda have signed a deal to collaborate on battery development for electric vehicles, reports USA Today. The move deepens the advanced technology alliance between Detroit-based GM and Japan-based Honda, which are already working together on hydrogen fuel cells. The latest accord involves the development of battery components, including cells and modules, "to accelerate both companies' plans for all-electric vehicles," GM and Honda said Thursday in a statement. The goal is better battery performance, including longer range, lighter parts and speedy charging. The work is "based on GM's next-generation battery system," the companies said. Both companies already offer electric cars, such as GM's Chevrolet Bolt and Honda's Clarity, but are expected to greatly expand their range of offerings. As part of the deal, Honda will buy battery modules from GM, which has established battery manufacturing at operations in Michigan. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Read more here

A Battery-Powered Lamborghini Supercar? Keep Waiting
Lamborghini plans to launch a plug-in hybrid version of the Urus SUV in the next 18 months. But a completely battery-powered supercar? Maybe never, Lamborghini Chief Technical Officer Maurizio Reggiani said at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Turin on Wednesday. "Our target is to deliver a super sports car, and these specifications don’t exist with a battery package in terms of energy and power," Reggiani said. A battery pack suitable for a Lamborghini supercar should deliver more than 300 kph (186 mph) of top speed and be able to make three full laps of the Nuerburgring racetrack in Germany. Lamborghini's r&d department is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a three-year partnership to develop a battery with the high-performance characteristics necessary for a super sports car, such as better energy storage. After the lab tests are finished in 2019, Lamborghini "can start to think about what this sort of car would be," Reggiani said. In 2017, the year the company hatched the partnership, Lamborghini and MIT unveiled an electric-powered supercar concept called Terzo Millennio, with MIT calling it "the electric car of the future." Read more here

June Webinar: Modern Search for Automotive Dealerships
June’s exciting AutoTalk webinar will be presented by Kelly McNearney, Senior Automotive Strategist and Peter Leto Head of Industry – Automotive Retail Sales, Google, Inc.

Kelly and Peter will discuss:

  • The latest data on automotive shoppers

  • How to identify and communicate with customers in your market

Happening Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Sessions held at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 4:00 p.m. EDT. To register, click here.

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Mercedes-Benz Unveils a Subscription Program [Insider]