Maserati Debuts Levante Hybrid SUV at Shanghai Auto Show

Ken Zino of on Maserati Levante Hybrid SUV

Maserati Levante Hybrid is also present in a virtual world at the brand’s website

As the largest Auto Show in the world reopens – Shanghai 2021 – Maserati debuted the Levante Hybrid, the first electrified SUV in its history. The MC20, Maserati’s super sports car, also makes its first appearance at the Shanghai Auto Show alongside the global premiere of the F Tributo Special Edition.

“Shanghai Auto Show is an extremely important event for our Brand. The Show marks a rebirth in difficult times. We believe strongly in this new beginning, and today we are showcasing several world premieres that project us straight into the future,” said Maserati CEO Davide Grasso. (New FCA Italy Covid Credit Line €6.3 billion) Continue reading

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Toyota, Subaru at Shanghai Introduce Latest Joint-Venture EVs

Ken Zino of on Toyota and Subaru jointly developed EVs

As it stands now, Toyota plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025.

In the growing partnership between Toyota and Subaru to become carbon-neutral to ameliorate the devastating effects of global climate change, the companies used Auto Shanghai, a motor show held in Shanghai, China, to introduce their latest jointly developed electric vehicle –  the bZ4X.  The Toyota bZ4X Concept, is the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles to be introduced under the “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella. Other partners in the green juggernaut under full sale include BYD, Daihatsu and Suzuki. Toyota plans to introduce 15 BEV models by 2025, including seven new BEV models of the Toyota bZ series. (Japan Inc: Toyota and Hino to Pioneer Light-Duty Fuel Cell Electric Trucks with Seven-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson)

Toyota plans to produce the Toyota bZ4X in Japan and China, with worldwide sales of the model by the middle of 2022. U.S. product details eventually will emerge, but the product lines were under development with during the previously failed administration, currently ensconced in exile at Mira-lardo, that was hostile to globalization and started a losing trade war with China, the world’s largest auto market. Some delays were inevitable. The Toyota US lineup that, in total, accounts for more than 40% of all alternative powertrain vehicles sold in the U.S. – including battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell electrics, hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Continue reading

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Toyota Recalls 280,000 Venza Models for Defective Side Airbags

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 2009-2015 Venza crossovers. The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) wiring may become damaged with regular use of the driver-side door. This can prevent the side airbag and curtain shield airbag on the driver side from deploying in collisions, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.

The Venza models  are equipped with an airbag sensor installed in the driver- side front door. The sensor is connected to the Supplemental Restraint System Electronic Control Unit by a pair of twisted wires in a Yazaki North America supplied harness routed from the door to the vehicle body through a grommet. Because of a larger difference between the wire harness length and grommet length, there is a tighter bending radius for the wire harness inside the grommet. Continue reading

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GM and LG Energy to Build Second Battery Cell Plant in US

Ken Zino of on General Motors and LG Energy

Why do Republicans – the party of No – oppose the creation of American Jobs? Click to enlarge.

Ultium Cells, a joint-venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, today announced a $2.3 billion investment to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States. The Ultium Cells facility will be located in Spring Hill, Tennessee – the home of the original Saturn plant. Through Ultium Cells, LG Energy Solution and GM will merge their advanced technologies to accelerate automotive electrification. (GMC Adds Hummer SUV EV. Direct Selling Without Dealers?GM Needs Range, Battery Cost Cuts to Speed EV PlansEnvironmental About Face – General Motors Ditching Internal Combustion Engines by 2035. Carbon Neutral by 2040?)

Ultium Cells will build the new plant on land leased from GM. The new battery cell plant will create 1,300 new jobs. Construction on the approximately 2.8 million-square-foot facility will begin immediately, and the plant is scheduled to open in late 2023. Once operational, the facility will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant. The latest move clearly positions Korean company LG as the key partner in GM’s push for leadership in the growing Electric Vehicle market. Continue reading

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Commerce Adds Seven Chinese Super-computing Entities to List Restricting Export or Transfer of Technologies Contrary to National Security or US Foreign Policy Interests

Ken Zino of on Chinese supercomputing entities contrary to the national security

Advanced nuclear weapons are at the core of the issue here.

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) today has added seven Chinese super-computing entities to the so-called Entity List for conducting activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

US automakers have transferred significant amounts of technology and intellectual capital as the price of access to the world’s largest auto market, but thus far the industry has escaped sanctions, albeit with some mild criticism over the loss of jobs.
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Stellantis 2021 Annual Meeting Yeas €1 Billion Cash Payout

Stellantis N.V. (NYSE / MTA / Euronext Paris: STLA)  at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) held virtually today says that all resolutions proposed to shareholders were adopted, including the proposal to approve a €1 billion extraordinary cash distribution on common shares. This resulted from the merger agreement entered into by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot S.A. on December 17, 2019. Continue reading

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Subaru Recalls More than 870,000 Vehicles for Safety Defects

Subaru of America said today that it will conduct two large safety defect recalls. Owners will be notified within 60 days. The first recall is to check and/or update the engine control module (ECM) programming and to replace all ignition coils which could, over time, degrade and cause starting or dangerous stalling issues. This safety recall covers 466,205 vehicles comprising 2017-2019 Impreza and 2018-2019 Crosstrek models. No accidents or injuries have been reported due to this issue, according to Subaru. Continue reading

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California EV Rebate Demand Exceeds Funding

Ken Zino of on California EV Rebate Demand

Nearly 65% of all California EV owners have received a CVRP incentive. The project has issued more than $926 million to state residents for more than 405,750 new EVs.

The demand for electric vehicles has the California Air Resources Board saying today that rebate funds for the statewide Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) will be exhausted within 30 days. California residents get up to $7,000 for the purchase or lease of a new, eligible zero-emission or plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicle. A wait-list will be established for application. Wait listed will receive a rebate contingent on funding appropriated through the legislative budget process. CARB also notes that there are additional opportunities throughout the state that consumers can take advantage of, including the Clean Fuel Reward, the Clean Air Vehicle Decal, and various local incentives offered by air districts and local governments.

“Existing funding for both standard and increased rebates is projected to be fully reserved in the coming weeks,” CARB said. Clearly CARB is trying to preempt or shape a potential political debate about EV subsidies are yet another example of how the system is rigged for the rich – the wealthier they are, the more taxpayer subsidies – aka socialism for the rich – accrue. Continue reading

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Mazda Finally Joins the Electric Vehicle Parade

Ken Zino of on Mazda Finally Joins the Electric Vehicle Parade

The half rear-suicide-door was on the Saturn Ion Coupe decades ago. Maybe it’s time has come again?

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today semi-announced the introduction of the Mazda MX-30, its first battery-electric vehicle, in the US market beginning in fall 2021 at California dealerships. This is the first step in Mazda’s “multi-solution electrification strategy” that is lagging numerous other industry leaders.

“Mazda is preparing for the fast-changing US market demands by taking a multi-solution approach to electrification,” said Jeff Guyton, President of Mazda North American Operations, said. “The battery-powered MX-30 will begin the introduction of additional electrified models, including a series plug-in hybrid with a rotary generator for MX-30, a plug-in hybrid for our new, large platform, and a traditional hybrid for our new American-made crossover. While these powertrains will be optimized for their platforms.” Continue reading

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New Household Pulse Survey on COVID-19 Vaccinations Active

Ken Zino of on Census Bureau Vaccination Tracker

Click to Enlarge.

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a new data tool to examine changes in vaccination rates and vaccine hesitancy for the nation, states and some population characteristics. Executive summary: the higher the education level, the greater the rates of vaccinations.

Unfortunately President Biden’s thus far excellent COVID-19 vaccination crusade hit a giant wall (not paid for by Mexico) when regulators recommended a “pause” in administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine even though the odds of blood clotting are more than one in a million. Biden, optimistically, noted that with a temporary loss of J&J ’s one-shot vaccine, there is enough of a supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “for every single, solitary American.” But data show tens of millions of Americans are uncertain about getting shots that doctors and other experts say are compulsory for the nation to rid itself of the pandemic. Continue reading

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First Look –  2022 Infiniti QX55

Ken Zino of on 2022 Infiniti QX55

Infiniti Now – so to speak…

The ’22 Infiniti QX55 is now reaching North American showrooms. For US consumers, the Nissan sub-brand had a new digital reservation program that allowed shoppers to buy their car. QX55 has –  it’s claimed – “generous” standard equipment, including wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility, 20-inch wheels, and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive for $46,500 MSRP to start.

The QX55 is the only compact “coupe” crossover available – it’s just a fastback version of the old four-door QX50 – with a VC-Turbo engine that changes compression ratio to deliver better fuel economy or power, as the driver wants. It has three trim levels – LUXE, ESSENTIAL and SENSORY, in marketing babble.
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Mustang – World’s Best-Selling Sports Car, Sports Coupe Titles on Pony Cars -Ken Zino of on Mustang Claims World’s Best-Selling Sports Car, Sports Coupe Titles

The car that named a whole, ongoing segment.

For the second straight year, Ford Mustang is the world’s best-selling sports car. The famed pony car – it celebrates its 57th birthday Saturday – held its title of best-selling sports coupe for the sixth straight year. With good sales in high-performance Bullitt, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT350R and Shelby GT500 models, Mustang led all competitors with 80,577 global sales in 2020, according to the most recent vehicle registration data from IHS Markit*. That sales total represents 15.1% of the sports coupe market, up from 14.8% a year earlier.

“Mustang enthusiasts love their performance cars, and they showed that yet again,” said Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer, Ford Motor Company. “In a challenging year for the entire auto industry because of the global pandemic, Mustang performed very well, increasing its share in the global sports car segment.” Continue reading

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Radioactive Pollution Dilution – the US Backs Japan Dumping Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Waste Water?

Say it ain’t so Joe! The United States is thus far backing the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency who claimed as one of the mouthpieces of the Nuclear industry that it would see that the dumping of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Waste Water into the Pacific ocean wouldn’t hurt human health and the environment. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that Japan’s solution was both “technically feasible and in line with international practice.”

This, laughable promise in the eyes of many critics – including China, South Korea and US client state Taiwan – who decried Japan’s announcement today that it would conduct allegedly controlled releases of potentially cancer-causing ionized water that are expected to last for three decades into the Pacific ocean The whole ongoing life-threatening Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was caused, of course, by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s utter inability to monitor, and safely operate the now infamous plant, which melted down. This is not exactly a credible witness for the defense in our view.
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NLRB Announces Union Loss in Amazon Election

Ken Zino of on Results of Amazon Union Election in Bessemer, AlabamaThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) completed a vote count today in an election involving employees at Amazon’s facility in Bessemer, Alabama. There were approximately 3,041 employees who mailed in ballots indicating whether they want to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. In a clear setback for unions, and what critics say are inhuman working conditions, challenges are not sufficient in number to affect the results of the election. More than twice as many employees voted against the union than those who voted for it. The AFL-CIO and GBAO had released earlier this week a nationwide poll of registered voters that found more than three-quarters of Americans support workers’ efforts to organize a union at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Continue reading

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Honda, Acura Recall 628,000 Vehicles for Fuel Pump Failures

Honda has expanded a fuel injection system recall from last year to include 628,000 vehicles across 25 model lines because the vehicles can suddenly stall. The estimated date to start notifications to owners is May 18, 2021. Affected vehicles – now all 628,000 – may be equipped with a fuel pump module manufactured with low density impellers from the supplier Denso. If the surface of a lower density impeller is exposed to production solvent drying for longer periods of time, higher levels of surface cracking may occur. Continue reading

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