Electric Cars Can’t Take the Cold – Bloomberg Business #buy #a #car #uk


#v cars
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Batteries generate power less efficiently as temperatures drop.

California’s mandatory sales targets for electric and hydrogen-powered cars will go from less than 1 percent today to more than 15 percent by 2025. The targets, the result of legislation passed in 2003, are a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The same targets will go into effect in nine other states that have chosen to adopt California’s emissions-reduction standards rather than follow laxer federal rules: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. “Electrification is a needed part of the solution,” says Matt Solomon, transportation director of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, a nonprofit consortium representing the air quality agencies of eight states.

The trouble is, except for Oregon, none of the states have California’s temperate weather. The batteries used by the greener cars generate electricity from chemical reactions that work less efficiently as temperatures drop. In tests conducted by the American Automobile Association, an electric car that ran for 105 miles at 75F went only 43 miles at 20F—a 60 percent reduction in range.

That’s causing anxiety in places such as Maine, a mostly rural state where people drive long distances for work, shopping, and recreation. “People said don’t worry about it,” says Tom Brown, president of the Maine Automobile Dealers Association of the battery range problem. But, he says, “California is not Maine. They’ve got more people in five city blocks than we do in the whole state.”

In California, which leads the U.S. in sales of zero-emissions vehicles, automakers are on track to meet the mandatory sales targets, which are backed up with fines of $5,000 for every car below quota. Three types of cars on the road today meet the zero-emissions standard: electric-only vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Teslas, hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt that switch between electric and gas power, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars such as the Toyota Mirai. (Tesla, which only sells electric cars, has built a side business selling quota credits to other automakers that haven’t yet brought zero-emissions models to market.)

Sales in the nine states that have adopted the same emissions-reduction targets haven’t kept up and lag behind those in the South, where the weather is better for batteries. “The challenge you face with technology-forcing mandates is picking winners and losers,” says John Bozzella, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Global Automakers. “There are distinct and different challenges in the Northeast.” Bozzella’s group and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers succeeded in defeating a 2014 attempt by New Hampshire lawmakers to join the rest of New England in adopting the California standards.

Officials are counting on improved batteries to overcome the weather problem. “The longer the range [and] the better the batteries are, the less there’s an issue,” says Solomon of the Northeast air quality consortium. Tesla, whose electric cars are the most expensive, has introduced models with ranges of up to 200 miles and is promising cheaper models as early as 2016. General Motors says it expects to achieve a similar range with Volts next year. “Two hundred miles will be a game changer,” says Roland Hwang, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s energy and transportation program.

The states following California’s lead have pledged to step up construction of charging stations, which would help alleviate the threat of drivers getting stranded with dead batteries. None appear to have any interest in easing up on automakers by relaxing the electric vehicle sales targets, says Peter Iwanowicz, a New York-based environmental lobbyist. “If you have these goals, and that’s what the science tells us you have to do,” he says, “you need to get moving today.”

The bottom line: Nine states have adopted California’s targets for electric car sales, even though the batteries don’t work well in the cold.


Apple Wants to Start Producing Cars as Soon as 2020 – Bloomberg Business #discount #cars


#the car people
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Apple Wants to Start Producing Cars as Soon as 2020

Apple Inc. which has been working secretly on a car, is pushing its team to begin production of an electric vehicle as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The timeframe — automakers typically spend five to seven years developing a car — underscores the project’s aggressive goals and could set the stage for a battle for customers with Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co. Both automakers are targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.

“That’s the inflection point — the proving ground — that brings on the electric age,” Steve LeVine, author of “The Powerhouse,” a book about the automotive battery industry, said on Bloomberg TV Thursday. “Now you have Apple coming in and this is critical mass. Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.”

Apple, which posted record profit of $18 billion during the past quarter, has $178 billion in cash with few avenues to spend it. The Cupertino, California-based company’s research and development costs were $6.04 billion in the past year, and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is facing increased pressure to return cash to shareholders. The CEO has been pushing the iPhone maker to enter new categories to further envelop users’ digital lives with Apple’s products and services.

Apple’s possible foray into cars follows a similar path it’s taken to break into other industries. The company wasn’t the first to make a digital-music player or smartphone, and only entered those markets once it had a product that redefined those categories.

Apple representatives declined to comment for this story.

Car Team

Tesla’s success in creating a startup car company has shown that the traditional barriers of entry into the auto industry aren’t as difficult to overcome as originally thought, said one person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. At the same time, automakers have struggled to bring technical leaps to car development, something that Silicon Valley is also seeking to accomplish. For example, Google Inc. has invested in developing an autonomous vehicle since 2010.

“Apple would have some advantages as a new entrant to the auto industry,” including its cash, ability to connect with its own devices and the infancy of the electric-vehicle market, Barclays analysts Ben Reitzes and Brian Johnson wrote in a note to investors. “Finally, Apple’s brand – arguably the most important advantage – is a big attraction for the next generation of car customers.”

Apple may decide to scrap its car effort or delay it if executives are unhappy with progress, as they’ve done before with other secret projects, the people said. The car team, which already has about 200 people, began ramping up hiring within the past couple of months as the company sought out experts in technologies for batteries and robotics, said one of the people.

Battery Lawsuit

An experienced automaker typically spends five to seven years developing a new vehicle before bringing it to market, according to Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group.

“If you’re starting from scratch, you’re probably talking more like 10 years,” Virag said. “A car is a very complex technological machine.”

A lawsuit filed this month gives a window into Apple’s efforts to create a automotive team for the project. Apple began around June an “aggressive campaign to poach” employees from A123 Systems LLC, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based battery maker said in the lawsuit .

Apple hired five people from A123 and has tried to hire battery experts from LG Chem Ltd. Samsung Electronics Co. Panasonic Corp. Toshiba Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc. according to the lawsuit.

“Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123,” the battery maker said in a separate state-court filing.

The recent hiring effort at A123 began with Mujeeb Ijaz, a former Ford Motor Co. engineer, who founded A123’s Venture Technologies division. which focused on materials research, cell product development and advanced concepts. He began at Apple in June and began hiring direct reports from A123’s venture technologies division, which he had headed.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek this month that Apple was seeking to hire away his workers, offering $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases.

Bricks and Mortar

“Apple is good at developing technology but car making is, and will continue to be, a bricks-and-mortar proposition,” Matt DeLorenzo, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, wrote in an e-mail. “Apple will need a partner, perhaps a Chinese manufacturer, with an infrastructure if it’s going to hit the five-year goal.”

Some parts of the automotive industry seem unfazed by Silicon Valley’s increasing interest in the market. Last month, before Apple’s efforts were revealed, Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn brushed off the increasing competition.

“We’re not afraid of these new competitors,” Winterkorn said at a reception outside Stuttgart, Germany, according to a transcript obtained by Bloomberg. “The opposite is true: they encourage us to look more intensively into the chances of the digital world.”


Toyota Sends Hydrogen Stations to Dealers for Sold-Out Mirai – Bloomberg Business #car #audio #systems


#hydrogen cars
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Toyota Sends Hydrogen Stations to Dealers for Sold-Out Mirai

Toyota Motor Corp. will supply temporary hydrogen stations to California dealerships selling its Mirai fuel-cell sedan as some buyers put off taking delivery of their cars until refueling infrastructure is set up.

Mobile hydrogen trailers from Air Products Chemicals Inc. will serve as a stopgap until the state opens more stations, Doug Coleman, a Toyota marketing manager for fuel cell vehicles, said in an interview.

The collaboration with Air Products builds on Toyota’s efforts to support California’s nascent hydrogen fueling infrastructure, after it provided funding for closely-held startup FirstElement Fuel last year. Only four stations were open for retail use as of last month in the state, the lone place in the U.S. where Toyota sells the car that emits only water.

“Did we expect more stations to be available by the end of 2015? Absolutely,” Coleman said by phone. “We felt like this was a sensible interim step to help supply hydrogen fuel to Mirai customers that are out there on the roads right now.”

California Stations

Toyota, which started a wait list for Mirai buyers in California in October, will sell about 1,000 Mirai sedans for the 2016 model year and demand for the car is meeting the company’s expectations, Coleman said. Forty-three hydrogen stations are being built or getting permits, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Another six are open only for demonstration purposes and need to be upgraded for full retail capabilities.

“There are a number of customers who’ve said ‘you know, I’m going to hang on; I don’t need the car right away; I’m waiting for my station to be built and fully operational before I take the car,’” Coleman said. “That’s totally fine with us.”

Toyota rose 0.8 percent at the midday break in Tokyo, outpacing the 0.3 percent gain for the benchmark Topix index.

Air Products’ mobile fueling trailers operate using battery and solar power. They’re only capable of providing half-fills of Mirai tanks, giving drivers about 150 miles of range. With capacity for about 85 kilograms, they can supply hydrogen to about three dozen cars.

Dealers will keep the stations on their premises or nearby for as long as it takes for infrastructure to catch up, Coleman said.

Japan Stations

California is not alone in falling behind schedule with hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Japan missed its target to have about 100 stations operating by March, with only 81 opening as of October. Regulatory hang-ups also are delaying orders for compact fueling stations developed by Honda Motor Co. and hydrogen producer Iwatani Corp.

Buying fuel-cell cars can also take a while — Japan consumers placing new Mirai orders now may have to wait until 2019 or later for delivery.

“Customers are pretty excited. Some are more patiently waiting than others,” said April Conner, the Mirai specialist at Tustin Toyota, one of eight dealerships selling the car in California. “We haven’t had a customer say after they drove the car that they didn’t like it. Everybody loved the car.”


Japan Bans Certain Takata Air Bag Inflators for Future Cars – Bloomberg Business #car #sales #websites


#japan cars
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Japan Bans Certain Takata Air Bag Inflators for Future Cars

Japan banned certain Takata Corp. air bag inflators from future cars and set time frames for the components to be phased out from existing models, taking measures nearly identical to a U.S. regulator’s order one month ago.

Automakers won’t be allowed to use Takata air bag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant in cars under development, Japan’s transport ministry said in a statement issued Friday in Tokyo. Inflators without a moisture-absorbing substance will be phased out from driver-side air bags by 2017 and passenger-side devices by 2018.

The air bag inflator ban and phase-out plan that applies even to models spared from air bags malfunctions follows similar enforcement action one month ago by the U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After the agency’s order, carmakers including Honda Motor Co. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. said they wouldn’t use Takata’s air bag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant.

“We will make every efforts in our production and distribution of our products to be able to supply replacement parts as soon as possible,” Akiko Watanabe, a Takata spokeswoman, said by phone. The company takes the ministry’s instructions seriously and seeks to restore credibility with automakers, regulators and other stakeholders, she said.

Deaths, Injuries

In the U.S. NHTSA punished Takata after seven deaths and almost 100 injuries linked to air bag inflators that deployed with too much force and sprayed plastic and metal at vehicle occupants. Automakers have recalled about 19 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace Takata’s inflators.

Japan will phase out use of ammonium nitrate air bag inflators without a desiccant, which absorbs moisture, from models that have been involved in accidents in the country by June 2016, the transport ministry said today.

In air bag replacements for recalled cars that have been involved in accidents, non-desiccated inflators must be phased out by the end of 2016, Japan’s transport ministry said.

As many as 48 percent of recalled vehicles in Japan have had air bag inflators replaced as of the end of September, Masato Sahashi, the transport ministry’s director of recall enforcement, said Friday at a press conference in Tokyo.

Chief Executive Officer Shigehisa Takada acknowledged risk to the company’s survival at a press conference last month after NHTSA’s order. Takata and Honda, its largest customer, lost a bid to toss out a class-action lawsuit this week. Consumers will be able to sue over losses tied to the defect that led to recalls, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno ruled.

Tataka has said it’s aware of the potential for costs related to air bag replacements and lawsuits. The company has put off booking charges until investigations into the root cause of its air bag ruptures are resolved.


Japan Bans Certain Takata Air Bag Inflators for Future Cars – Bloomberg Business #used #vehicle #prices


#japan cars
#

Japan Bans Certain Takata Air Bag Inflators for Future Cars

Japan banned certain Takata Corp. air bag inflators from future cars and set time frames for the components to be phased out from existing models, taking measures nearly identical to a U.S. regulator’s order one month ago.

Automakers won’t be allowed to use Takata air bag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant in cars under development, Japan’s transport ministry said in a statement issued Friday in Tokyo. Inflators without a moisture-absorbing substance will be phased out from driver-side air bags by 2017 and passenger-side devices by 2018.

The air bag inflator ban and phase-out plan that applies even to models spared from air bags malfunctions follows similar enforcement action one month ago by the U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After the agency’s order, carmakers including Honda Motor Co. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. said they wouldn’t use Takata’s air bag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant.

“We will make every efforts in our production and distribution of our products to be able to supply replacement parts as soon as possible,” Akiko Watanabe, a Takata spokeswoman, said by phone. The company takes the ministry’s instructions seriously and seeks to restore credibility with automakers, regulators and other stakeholders, she said.

Deaths, Injuries

In the U.S. NHTSA punished Takata after seven deaths and almost 100 injuries linked to air bag inflators that deployed with too much force and sprayed plastic and metal at vehicle occupants. Automakers have recalled about 19 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace Takata’s inflators.

Japan will phase out use of ammonium nitrate air bag inflators without a desiccant, which absorbs moisture, from models that have been involved in accidents in the country by June 2016, the transport ministry said today.

In air bag replacements for recalled cars that have been involved in accidents, non-desiccated inflators must be phased out by the end of 2016, Japan’s transport ministry said.

As many as 48 percent of recalled vehicles in Japan have had air bag inflators replaced as of the end of September, Masato Sahashi, the transport ministry’s director of recall enforcement, said Friday at a press conference in Tokyo.

Chief Executive Officer Shigehisa Takada acknowledged risk to the company’s survival at a press conference last month after NHTSA’s order. Takata and Honda, its largest customer, lost a bid to toss out a class-action lawsuit this week. Consumers will be able to sue over losses tied to the defect that led to recalls, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno ruled.

Tataka has said it’s aware of the potential for costs related to air bag replacements and lawsuits. The company has put off booking charges until investigations into the root cause of its air bag ruptures are resolved.


Electric Cars Can’t Take the Cold – Bloomberg Business #quinn #car #insurance


#v cars
#

Batteries generate power less efficiently as temperatures drop.

California’s mandatory sales targets for electric and hydrogen-powered cars will go from less than 1 percent today to more than 15 percent by 2025. The targets, the result of legislation passed in 2003, are a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The same targets will go into effect in nine other states that have chosen to adopt California’s emissions-reduction standards rather than follow laxer federal rules: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. “Electrification is a needed part of the solution,” says Matt Solomon, transportation director of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, a nonprofit consortium representing the air quality agencies of eight states.

The trouble is, except for Oregon, none of the states have California’s temperate weather. The batteries used by the greener cars generate electricity from chemical reactions that work less efficiently as temperatures drop. In tests conducted by the American Automobile Association, an electric car that ran for 105 miles at 75F went only 43 miles at 20F—a 60 percent reduction in range.

That’s causing anxiety in places such as Maine, a mostly rural state where people drive long distances for work, shopping, and recreation. “People said don’t worry about it,” says Tom Brown, president of the Maine Automobile Dealers Association of the battery range problem. But, he says, “California is not Maine. They’ve got more people in five city blocks than we do in the whole state.”

In California, which leads the U.S. in sales of zero-emissions vehicles, automakers are on track to meet the mandatory sales targets, which are backed up with fines of $5,000 for every car below quota. Three types of cars on the road today meet the zero-emissions standard: electric-only vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Teslas, hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt that switch between electric and gas power, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars such as the Toyota Mirai. (Tesla, which only sells electric cars, has built a side business selling quota credits to other automakers that haven’t yet brought zero-emissions models to market.)

Sales in the nine states that have adopted the same emissions-reduction targets haven’t kept up and lag behind those in the South, where the weather is better for batteries. “The challenge you face with technology-forcing mandates is picking winners and losers,” says John Bozzella, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Global Automakers. “There are distinct and different challenges in the Northeast.” Bozzella’s group and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers succeeded in defeating a 2014 attempt by New Hampshire lawmakers to join the rest of New England in adopting the California standards.

Officials are counting on improved batteries to overcome the weather problem. “The longer the range [and] the better the batteries are, the less there’s an issue,” says Solomon of the Northeast air quality consortium. Tesla, whose electric cars are the most expensive, has introduced models with ranges of up to 200 miles and is promising cheaper models as early as 2016. General Motors says it expects to achieve a similar range with Volts next year. “Two hundred miles will be a game changer,” says Roland Hwang, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s energy and transportation program.

The states following California’s lead have pledged to step up construction of charging stations, which would help alleviate the threat of drivers getting stranded with dead batteries. None appear to have any interest in easing up on automakers by relaxing the electric vehicle sales targets, says Peter Iwanowicz, a New York-based environmental lobbyist. “If you have these goals, and that’s what the science tells us you have to do,” he says, “you need to get moving today.”

The bottom line: Nine states have adopted California’s targets for electric car sales, even though the batteries don’t work well in the cold.


Three American Cars Make Consumer Reports Top Ten – Bloomberg Business #auto #train


#consumer reports auto
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Three American Cars Make Consumer Reports Top Ten

U.S. cars, including the battery-powered Tesla Model S, account for three of the top 10 picks by automobile testers at Consumer Reports for the first time since 1998.

Tesla Motors Inc.’s $89,650 Model S was the top overall pick for the second year in a row by the independent product-testing magazine. General Motors Co.’s Buick Regal was named the best sports sedan, a category the BMW AG 328i won last year, and its Chevrolet Impala was the top luxury sedan.

“For years, domestic automakers built lower-priced and lower-quality alternatives to imports, but those days are behind us,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “Today many domestic models can go toe-to-toe with the best imports.”

Consumer Reports tests and evaluates cars for how well they drive, interior-finish quality, safety and reliability. The 2015 rankings, released Tuesday, influence car buyers and are published in the Yonkers, New York-based magazine’s annual automobile issue.

For GM, which spent much of the past year grappling with the fallout from an ignition-switch defect, the rankings bring needed exposure to Buick and Chevrolet models with stodgy images. Tesla, which has had no shortage of attention for its all-electric cars, would need to find a way to boost production capacity to use the rankings to increase sales.

Youngest Automaker

Tesla is the smallest and youngest publicly held U.S. automaker, delivering a record 9,834 vehicles last quarter worldwide. Including product-development and other costs, Tesla is the only unprofitable automaker among the world’s 20 largest on the basis of market valuation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Elon Musk, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla, plans to increase capital expenditures to $1.5 billion this year to boost production, build a battery factory and add at least two vehicles to the company’s lineup. Tesla said last month it will be able to assemble 2,000 vehicles a week by the end of 2015 as it works toward 500,000 automobiles a year by 2020 and millions by 2025.

Despite the company’s small sales, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla has roughly a $26 billion market capitalization. Detroit-based GM, which sold 9.93 million vehicles worldwide last year, has a market value of about $61 billion

Buick Surprise

While GM’s vehicles may not hold the same public cachet as Tesla’s, Consumer Reports heaped praise on the Buick unit, which became the first lineup by a U.S.-based automaker to crack the top 10 on the magazine’s rankings of overall brand quality

The Buick Regal was deemed by the magazine to be “surprisingly agile” in defiance of its brand’s stereotype. While the model has been around for years as a “comfy cruiser,” the Regal now has Opel underpinnings, delivering “Teutonic ride control that provides a Europhile driving experience,” the magazine said. It surpassed BMW’s 328i, which had won the category each of the last two years.

GM’s gains in the rankings came after a record-breaking year of recalls in 2014. Automakers recalled a combined 64 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, with GM alone accounting for about 27 million.

Better Manufacturing

Consumer Reports predicted increased public attention on safety will spur automakers to continue to “run scared,” pulling the trigger faster when defects are detected. Concerns that would have been overlooked in the past won’t be, resulting in better manufacturing practices and safer cars overall, the magazine said.

Still, Detroit-made models have leaped in the magazine’s tests since 2012. Ford Motor Co.’s overall road scores are better than Honda Motor Co.’s, and its latest offerings have scored especially well. The brand is still weighed down by “legacy vehicles we cannot recommend,” the magazine said.

GM and Ford are improving in repair costs, but there’s still a gap with Japanese brands.

Japanese automakers still dominate both the list of top-pick cars and the brand report card. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Subaru brand earned three top picks with its Legacy, Impreza and Forester. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus was the highest ranked brand.

Toyota’s Highlander earned honors for best mid-sized SUV, and its Prius was named best green car for the 12th year in a row. Honda Motor Co.’s Odyssey was honored as best minivan.

VW’s Audi

One European automaker, Volkswagen AG’s Audi subsidiary, remains on the list of top picks, with its A6 luxury car.

Consumer Reports saved its biggest praise for Tesla.

Tesla’s Model S surpasses every other vehicle for sale in the U.S. scoring well as a sports car, a luxury car and a green alternative to a gasoline-powered engine. More is expected this year with an upgraded performance 85-watt version with separate motors for front and rear wheels.

“It has moved the needle so dramatically,” said Mark Rechtin, the magazine’s autos editor. “Nothing is usurping it. It accomplishes everything people wanted in an electric car.”

Tesla can’t get complacent though, GM is targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000 and Apple Inc. has been working secretly on an electric vehicle that may begin production as early as 2020, Bloomberg News reported last week.


TrueCar – s New CEO Says Top Goal to Be Mending Ties With Dealers – Bloomberg Business #bennett #auto #supply


#internet auto sales
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TrueCar’s New CEO Says Top Goal to Be Mending Ties With Dealers

TrueCar Inc.’s new chief executive officer, Internet auto pioneer Chip Perry, said his top priority for the online vehicle pricing and data provider when he takes over for co-founder Scott Painter next month is to repair relations with car dealers.

The company has had contentious relations with dealers, which it charges $300 a car or a subscription fee to provide consumer leads that turn into sales in showrooms. In July, TrueCar and AutoNation Inc. the biggest U.S. new-car retailer, ended their agreement after AutoNation decided not to provide data TrueCar required to charge them for its services.

“Many dealers have had misgivings about working with TrueCar,” Perry said in an interview Monday after his hiring was announced. “My goal is going to be to earn their trust back by listening to them and building their feedback into our future plans.”

Perry, 62, is taking on the TrueCar job amid the company’s loss of two auto-industry veterans. Larry Dominique, a former Nissan Motor Co. executive, is stepping down as an executive vice president next month and John Krafcik, former head of Hyundai Motor Co.’s U.S. operations, left as president in September to lead Google Inc.’s self-driving car project. Painter will step down as CEO on Dec. 15 and will also resign as chairman and a director, after TrueCar said in August that he would keep the chairman post.

Perry was the first employee at AutoTrader.com in 1997 and built it into the world’s largest online vehicle marketplace with $1.5 billion in revenue, TrueCar said in a statement. He resigned from AutoTrader in 2013 after it withdrew a plan for an initial public offering. Since July of this year, he has been CEO of RentPath LLC, parent of ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com.

“Scott did an amazing job getting TrueCar to this stage and for him to step aside does enable a clean, new chapter to open up,” Perry said. “To be able to signal a clean sheet of paper in terms of how we work with car dealers will be very helpful.”

TrueCar’s shares gained 5.7 percent to $7.83 at 3:42 p.m. New York time. The Santa Monica, California-based company’s stock slid 68 percent this year through Friday, including a 36 percent plunge on July 24 after cutting its 2015 sales forecast.

The company may need “some adjustments to the business model” to get its dealer relations and stock price turned around, Perry said. Six million people a month now visit TrueCar’s website and 10,000 dealers a day interact with the company’s marketing tools, he said.

“We’ll be able to come up with an action plan that works for car dealers and makes TrueCar a friendlier, stronger, better marketing partner,” Perry said.

He said he plans to begin visiting dealer showrooms in his first week on the job, with AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson one of the first he wants to meet.

“I’m hoping we can find a way to work together again,” Perry said. “It will be an important priority to build a bridge that AutoNation would be comfortable crossing.”


Renault Seals Lotus Deal, Signaling Full Return to Formula 1 – Bloomberg Business #trade #in #value #for #car


#renault cars
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Renault Seals Lotus Deal, Signaling Full Return to Formula 1

Renault SA said it signed principal contracts for the takeover of the U.K.-based Lotus Formula 1 team, paving the way for the French carmaker to return to world motor sport’s premier competition next year after last competing as a constructor in 2009.

The purchase was agreed on Dec. 3 and will be completed “in the shortest time-frame possible,” Renault said in a statement Friday. Details of the Boulogne-Billancourt-based company’s plans for the 2016 championship will be announced in January.

Renault has competed in Formula 1 only as an engine-maker after selling its own team, rebranded Lotus, to Genii Capital in 2009. An agreement to power cars built by Red Bull GmbH delivered four consecutive driver’s crowns for Sebastian Vettel through 2013, before the partnership soured when a rule change to hybrid engines saw Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton win the last two titles.

“Renault had two options — to come back at 100 percent or leave,” Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said in the statement. “After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula 1, starting 2016.”

In it to Win

Ghosn said that “final details” supplied by the sport’s main stakeholders had given Renault “the confidence to accept this new challenge,” adding: “Our ambition is to win, even if it will take some time.”

Formula 1, which claims to be the world’s second-most watched sport after soccer, has about 450 million television viewers a year and is a “technology showcase,” according to Renault. It said “enormous” growth potential in online viewing, social media, and video games has “yet to be fully exploited.”

Renault previously won the world championship with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 after returning to Formula 1 with the purchase of the Benetton team in 2000 after an earlier break. Following the 2009 exit, Renault Formula 1 was rebranded to Lotus, though isn’t directly related to the original Team Lotus, which won six drivers’ championships between 1954 and 1994.

Red Bull, which in August nullified the partnership with Renault that had been due to last until 2017, now plans to stick with the French company’s engine next season, though as a customer rather than a joint builder. The team had suggested it might abandon the sport after failing to agree terms with other possible suppliers including Ferrari.


Toyota Sends Hydrogen Stations to Dealers for Sold-Out Mirai – Bloomberg Business #car #guide


#hydrogen cars
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Toyota Sends Hydrogen Stations to Dealers for Sold-Out Mirai

Toyota Motor Corp. will supply temporary hydrogen stations to California dealerships selling its Mirai fuel-cell sedan as some buyers put off taking delivery of their cars until refueling infrastructure is set up.

Mobile hydrogen trailers from Air Products Chemicals Inc. will serve as a stopgap until the state opens more stations, Doug Coleman, a Toyota marketing manager for fuel cell vehicles, said in an interview.

The collaboration with Air Products builds on Toyota’s efforts to support California’s nascent hydrogen fueling infrastructure, after it provided funding for closely-held startup FirstElement Fuel last year. Only four stations were open for retail use as of last month in the state, the lone place in the U.S. where Toyota sells the car that emits only water.

“Did we expect more stations to be available by the end of 2015? Absolutely,” Coleman said by phone. “We felt like this was a sensible interim step to help supply hydrogen fuel to Mirai customers that are out there on the roads right now.”

California Stations

Toyota, which started a wait list for Mirai buyers in California in October, will sell about 1,000 Mirai sedans for the 2016 model year and demand for the car is meeting the company’s expectations, Coleman said. Forty-three hydrogen stations are being built or getting permits, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Another six are open only for demonstration purposes and need to be upgraded for full retail capabilities.

“There are a number of customers who’ve said ‘you know, I’m going to hang on; I don’t need the car right away; I’m waiting for my station to be built and fully operational before I take the car,’” Coleman said. “That’s totally fine with us.”

Toyota rose 0.8 percent at the midday break in Tokyo, outpacing the 0.3 percent gain for the benchmark Topix index.

Air Products’ mobile fueling trailers operate using battery and solar power. They’re only capable of providing half-fills of Mirai tanks, giving drivers about 150 miles of range. With capacity for about 85 kilograms, they can supply hydrogen to about three dozen cars.

Dealers will keep the stations on their premises or nearby for as long as it takes for infrastructure to catch up, Coleman said.

Japan Stations

California is not alone in falling behind schedule with hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Japan missed its target to have about 100 stations operating by March, with only 81 opening as of October. Regulatory hang-ups also are delaying orders for compact fueling stations developed by Honda Motor Co. and hydrogen producer Iwatani Corp.

Buying fuel-cell cars can also take a while — Japan consumers placing new Mirai orders now may have to wait until 2019 or later for delivery.

“Customers are pretty excited. Some are more patiently waiting than others,” said April Conner, the Mirai specialist at Tustin Toyota, one of eight dealerships selling the car in California. “We haven’t had a customer say after they drove the car that they didn’t like it. Everybody loved the car.”