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0:07 Another Charged in FCA/UAW Scandal
0:45 Ford Riding Success of Big SUVs
1:23 Skoda’s Clever Washer Reservoir Cap
2:04 Battle Heats Up Between SEC & Elon Musk
2:53 Tesla Cancels Mid Range Model 3
3:23 Tesla Pickup Truck Teaser
3:29 Karma Teases New Revero
3:41 Fisker Shows Off Affordable Electric SUV
4:29 Maybach SUV Going Into Production
This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
Another person has been charged in the FCA/UAW scandal. Yesterday, prosecutors in Detroit filed charges against Norwood Jewell, alleging he spent union funds on himself and other UAW officials. Jewell was the head of the union’s FCA department from 2014 to 2018, and is the highest-ranking UAW official to be charged. So far, seven people have been sentenced in the ongoing corruption investigation. FCA says the company isn’t at fault and that it’s “a victim of conduct by certain rogue individuals.”
FORD RIDING SUCCESS OF BIG SUVs
Ford is riding the wave of success from its big SUVs and will once again increase production of the Expedition and Navigator. Last year sales of the big Lincoln were up a whopping 70%, while the Ford was up 35%. But this move is all about generating profits. And between 2017 and 2018 the average transaction price for the Expedition shot up close to $12,000. That should tell you all you need to know. The 20% increase in production will also create 550 new jobs at Ford’s Kentucky plant.
SKODA’S CLEVER WASHER RESERVOIR CAP
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most clever. Check out this cap Skoda designed for the windshield washer fluid reservoir, which when opened turns into a funnel. It will first be available on the new SCALA and if you don’t think this is a clever idea than you’ve likely never poured an ounce of washer fluid in your life.
DEAL BREAKIN’ OR FREE SPEECHIN’?
The Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping up its battle with Elon Musk. The regulator told a judge that Tesla’s CEO hasn’t sought approval for a single tweet he’s made since his court settlement that required him to get pre-approval from Tesla about any information he wants to disclose about the company. Last month, Musk tweeted that Tesla would build around half a million vehicles this year, which the SEC alleges was in violation of the agreement. Musk says he was in compliance with the deal and that the SEC is infringing on his free speech. Reuters spoke to legal experts who say the SEC could pursue fining Musk, impose more restrictions on his activities or seek to remove him from Tesla’s board.
TESLA CANCELS MID RANGE MODEL 3
Tesla continues to hone the Model 3 lineup. It’s no longer going to offer the Mid Range version of the 3, which could go 264 miles on a single charge. Tesla started offering the Mid Range battery in October last year as a way to lower the price for those that wanted to get in on the tax rebate, but didn’t want a Long Range version. The Model 3 will now come with 220, 240 and 310 mile ranges.
PICKUP TRUCK TEASER FROM TESLA
And in other Tesla news, here’s your latest teaser for the upcoming pickup truck.
KARMA TEASES NEW REVERO
And we’ve got a teaser for the new Karma Revero as well. The company says it will be faster, smarter, and even more stunning in design. The new Revero comes out in the middle of the year.
FISKER SHOWS OFF AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC SUV
And the man who originally designed that car, Henrik Fisker, is showing off his latest creation, an electric SUV that’s set to be launched in the second half of 2021. It has a target range of roughly 300 miles, which will require an 80+ kWh battery pack and its base price will be below $40,000. This is said to be the first of three affordable EVs from the company. The SUV will be made in the U.S., but Fisker hasn’t selected a facility yet.
MERCEDES TO BUILD MAYBACH SUV IN THE U.S.
Another luxury brand known for its sedans, is planning on introducing an SUV. Automotive News reports Mercedes will build an upcoming Maybach SUV exclusively at its plant in Alabama. It will share a platform with the Mercedes GLS and is expected to carry a price tag of $200,000, which would make it the most expensive passenger vehicle built in the U.S. The SUV will be powered by a V8 with over 560 horsepower. It’s expected to debut in China this year and go on sale in early 2021. As we’ve reported, consumers around the world are ditching sedans in favor of SUVs and pickups. So it makes sense for Maybach to jump into that market.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.