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Ford to introduce all-electric Mustang Mach-E

For the first time in 55 years, Ford is expanding the Mustang family with Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric SUV. The move is seen as a bold one for Ford, lending the muscle-car brand name to an electric SUV (a competitor to Tesla's Model Y).

"At the first-ever Detroit auto show, Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning," said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. "That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Company is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again. The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It's fast. It's fun. It's freedom. For a new generation of Mustang owners."

Ford says it brought the Mustang Mach-E to life through a development process concentrated entirely on customer needs and desires. The result, it claims, is a sleek, beautiful SUV that delivers spirited ride and handling, with connected vehicle technology that makes Mach-E even better over time.

When it arrives in late 2020, Mustang Mach-E will be available with standard and extended-range battery options with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powered by permanent magnet motors. Equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive, Mach-E has a targeted EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles, Ford says. In extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque – with the standard all-wheel-drive variation targeting quicker times to 60 mph than the base Porsche Macan series.

Ford also will offer two special performance versions. The GT is targeting 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds, making it faster off the line than a Porsche Macan Turbo3. The GT Performance Edition, meanwhile, is targeting a comparable 0-60 mph in the mid-3-second range to a Porsche 911 GTS.3 Both GT configurations are targeting an estimated 342 kW (459 horsepower) and 830 Nm (612 lb.-ft.) of torque.

PSA opens electrified line at French powertrain hub

PSA has officially opened its electrified powertrain assembly line at its Tremery plant, now designated as the main source for EV drivetrains for the four current group electrified models and those coming soon.

The new line will have capacity for 120,000 units in 2020 but flexible design will help it reach 180,000 by 2021. The powertrains will go into all group fully electric vehicles - both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Trémery eventually is expected to produce 900,000 electric motors thanks in large part to the Nidec-PSA emotors joint venture begun in 2017 with Nidec Leroy-Somer.

This deal allows the plant to produce a comprehensive range of electric motors both for all electric and hybrid vehicles. The joint venture supplies both group and rival carmakers.

Opened in 1979, Tremery has made 50m internal combustion engines, both petrol and diesel. Adding electrified powertrain assembly line took place over 10 months, making its the only PSA group plant which can produce all types of powertrains.

The plant is part of the Tremery-Metz manufacturing hub, the leading private sector employer in Lorraine, with almost 4,000 employees. Powertrains made at Tremery and Metz go into vehicle built by all five group brands.

In 2018, the hub made 1,750,000 internal combustion engines and 982,000 transmissions.

Volkswagen making new software organisation independent

Volkswagen's new Car.Software organisation will operate as an independent business unit from 1 January, 2020. As a VW group company, it will centralise workers and subsidiaries which develop software for cars and so called digital ecosystems.

Initially, around 3,000 people will be grouped into this unit based at Audi Electronics Venture with other German sites including Berlin, Bochum, Ingolstadt, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg. International locations include Seattle and Beijing.

Digital specialists at group brands and regions will also work under the Car.Software mantle. Expansion plans include recruiting skilled workers from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi und Porsche brands to transfer to the organisation.

By 2025, 10,000 people will develop software for vehicles, digital systems and customer focused functions at dealers. Further development may see a software brand added to the VW group.

VW's Christian Senger, head of digital car & services, with group-wide responsibility for in-vehicle software, said: "We will increase our competitiveness in the group by controlling a much larger share of the value creation in the digitalisation of our vehicles. We will also develop software on a cross-brand basis. This will allow us to achieve important synergies and economy of scale for all brands."

Human resources chief Gunnar Kilian said: "Together with employee representatives, we have agreed that the new organisation will have competitive working conditions based on collective bargaining agreements."

Volkswagen aims to boost its in-house share of car software development from less than 10% now to at least 60% by 2025. Car.Software will develop cross-brand software for: Connected Car & Device Platform, Intelligent Body & Cockpit, Automated Driving, Vehicle Motion & Energy and Digital Business & Mobility Services. The goal is one uniform software architecture for the group and combination of parallel development paths in the brands.

Development will be done on one standard vehicle operating system - vw.os - for all group vehicles and their connection to the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, a standardised infotainment platform, all assistance systems including automated driving functions, software functions for connecting the drive system, chassis and charging technology, and systems for all of the brands' mobility services and digital business models.

Car.Software will spend EUR7bn by 2025. "Having a uniform software architecture will enable VW to generate sizeable group economy of scale, substantially reducing per vehicle software costs across all brands," the automaker said.

Continental announces restructure due to e-mobility

Continental has announced a restructuring to its manufacturing footprint over the next decade as it says an accelerated transition to electric mobility necessitates adjustments and the phasing out of production for combustion engine components at several locations worldwide. Over 5,000 jobs will be affected by the changes over the next ten years.

The company's Supervisory Board has approved the structural adjustments at the locations in Roding and Limbach-Oberfrohna (Germany), Newport News (US) and Pisa (Italy).

Continental says that in recent months the management and the works councils at the affected locations have discussed the situation and the next steps.

Continental will discontinue its business in hydraulic components for gasoline and diesel engines 'in the coming years' (the plan goes through to 2029). This, it says, is against the backdrop of the automotive industry's disruptive transition to electric mobility, which has been accelerated by stricter emissions laws, resulting in a 'drastic decline in demand for hydraulic components'.

In a further resolution, the Supervisory Board approved the structural adjustment at the Babenhausen location in Germany, in line with the decision to phase out production of display and control technologies there by the end of 2025. Moreover, certain research and development activities in Babenhausen are to be transferred to other locations by the end of 2021. This, the company says, is necessary due to the industry's abrupt switch from analog to digital technologies, as well as a rapidly deteriorating competitive situation and a corresponding sharp increase in cost pressure.

The company says its 'Transformation 2019–2029' program aims to strengthen the company's competitiveness in the long term and to ensure its viability in the future.

In addition, the company's management informed the Supervisory Board that talks will be held as soon as possible with the local works council in Rubí (Spain) about the future prospects of the location. The company currently employs around 760 people in Rubí, producing mainly analog displays and controls.

Continental's CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart said: "We are making good progress. With its resolutions today, the Supervisory Board is supporting our urgently needed technological transition and thus the strengthening of our competitiveness and future viability. We are focusing on profitable growth areas, quickly and rigorously. These include assisted, automated and connected driving; services for mobility customers; and the tire, industrial and end-customer businesses. The jobs of the future will evolve in these growth areas."

Referring to the next steps, Degenhart added: "We have been holding intensive, constructive talks with employee representatives for some time. The crucial question now is: how can we implement the necessary measures responsibly and with foresight so that we can emerge stronger from the current reorganization. We will be supporting those employees affected as much as possible."

In total, some 5,040 jobs are impacted by the plans:

  • Roding (Germany): Discontinuation of production and development of hydraulic components for gasoline and diesel engines (high-pressure pumps) in 2024, resulting in the closure of the location. As things stand, around 520 jobs will be affected.
  • Newport News, Virginia (US): Closure of the location in 2024, where around 720 people are currently employed. Hydraulic components for gasoline engines (injectors) are manufactured at the plant.
  • Limbach-Oberfrohna (Germany): Discontinuation of the hydraulic components business for diesel engines (injectors) in 2028. As things stand, around 850 jobs will be affected at this location.
  • Pisa (Italy): Discontinuation of production of hydraulic components for gasoline engines (injectors) from 2023 to 2028. As things stand, around 750 jobs will be affected at this location.
  • Babenhausen (Germany): Phasing out of production of display and control technologies of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit by the end of 2025. Moreover, certain research and development activities are to be transferred to other locations by the end of 2021. As things stand, over 2,200 jobs will be affected. The business unit will continue to be managed from Babenhausen, including development and administration activities.

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