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2021 Maserati MC20

Maserati Bolts Ahead with Product Blitz

The more Maseratis the merrier? That’s the plan at least as Fiat Chrysler’s trident brand prepares to introduce 13 new models by the end of 2024.

Each of the vehicles is due to get an electric variant, which will be marketed under the company’s new Folgore (Italian for thunderbolt) sub-brand.

FCA is trying to reposition the Italian nameplate to better compete against its German luxury brand rivals (Audi, BMW and Mercedes) as well as take on Ferrari, Lamborghini and Tesla.

But it first has to revive Maserati, which saw its global deliveries plunge 45% last year. Exacerbated by COVID-19, Maserati’s year-over-year sales fell another 52% in the second quarter that led to a $117 million operating loss for the period.  

Help is on the Way

The new car ...READ MORE

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Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around since the advent of the automobile. At the turn of the 20th century, they were quite popular in urban areas in the US with access to electricity. However, a new innovation called the assembly line lowered the cost of building internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and the availability of cheap and abundant gasoline quickly turned electric-powered vehicles into a novelty, where they would remain for the rest of the 20th century. And now, 100 years later, with the growing awareness of global climate change, advances in battery technology and changing consumer attitudes, could the moment for EVs finally have arrived? The implications of this transition — from everyday personal transport to corporate fleets, battery manufacturing to ...READ MORE

VW Hikes Bid 23% for U.S. Truckmaker Navistar

Volkswagen has upped its offer to buy Navistar International to $3.6 billion.

VW’s Traton heavy-truck subsidiary already owns nearly 17% of the U.S. company. VW, which acquired the stake in 2017, considers Navistar’s strong dealer network as a North American beachhead for its MAN and Scania truck brands.

No-Rival Bid?

Traton offered $35 per share in January to vacuum up the remainder of Navistar for $2.9 billion. Negotiations were suspended as the coronavirus pandemic spread.

Last week Bloomberg News reported that the VW unit was eager to resume talks. The company is now offering $43 per share, with VW confirming it will fund the 23% richer bid.

Bloomberg says a buyout—unlikely to prompt a rival bid—appears inevitable. The only big question is price. ...READ MORE

McLaren Expects to Sell HQ to Raise Cash

British supercar maker McLaren Group intends to sell its zoomy global headquarters complex.

The company, which sold fewer than 4,700 cars in 2019, has been struggling to stay afloat this year after the COVID-19 pandemic slashed its revenue by nearly 70%.

Cash Quest

McLaren raised £300 million ($385 million) through an equity sale early this year. The funds were intended to keep an adjusted version of the company’s five-year product plan on track and deliberately cut production to drawn down dealer inventories and position the business for a robust 2020 sales year.

That plan quickly unraveled as the coronavirus dried up global demand and disrupted McLaren’s supply enough to build some of its models. April-June wholesales slumped to fewer than 300 cars from nearly ...READ MORE

Daimler Slapped with Second Injunction over Patent Use

Daimler faces a second sales ban in Germany over its unlicensed use of patented connectivity technologies.

A regional court in Munich has granted electronics supplier Sharp an injunction to block sales of Daimler vehicles because the carmaker refuses to pay the demanded licensing fee. Cellular service Nokia won a similar injunction from a court in Mannheim last month.

“Essential” Patents

Both vendors want Daimler to pay them royalties on so-called “standard-essential patents” covering telematics technologies that connect Mercedes-Benz cars to their surroundings—via the driver’s smartphone, for example.

Standard-essential patents apply to a special class of technologies that are, in effect, mandated by regulation. Daimler contends that Nokia, Sharp ...READ MORE

Toyota Expands Woven Mobility Universe

“Mobility to Love, Safety to Live.”

That’s the motto of Toyota’s Woven Planet unit announced in July to oversee the carmaker’s advanced mobility research efforts.

Now Toyota is adding some financial wherewithal to help realize the vision with an $800 million global investment fund.

Early and Later

The new Woven Capital unit will expand upon Toyota’s current AI Ventures portfolio, which focuses on early-stage technologies, by investing in “growth-stage companies that are developing innovative technologies and business models.”

Focus areas include autonomous vehicle systems, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity and smart cities.

"Woven Capital's investments will enable us to ...READ MORE

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