OEM Headlines: What company is waiting to see how Trump handles NAFTA

Volkswagen maps out plan for U.S. resurgence –  Battered by an emissions scandal that undermined its reputation and sales, German automaker Volkswagen Group on Tuesday mapped out a plan to re-emerge as a major player in the lucrative U.S. automotive market. After a bruising year of investigations, negative publicity and poor sales, Volkswagen outlined a plan to “evolve from a niche supplier into a relevant and profitable volume producer” in North America.

Toyota Makes Breakthrough Battery Discovery, Hopes To Increase EV Range By 15% – Yes, you have read right.  Toyota has developed what it says is “the world’s first method for observing the behavior of lithium ions in an electrolyte when a battery charges and discharges.” Able to observe those ions for the first time in real time, Toyota researchers think they have found the reason why a battery ages. Once the breakthrough is commercialized, which could take “two to three years,” a new lithium ion battery could improve the battery-powered range of an electric vehicle by 15%, Dr. Hisao Yamashige of Toyota’s  advanced R&D and engineering division told a small group of reporters this morning at the company’s Tokyo HQ.

Honda CEO says to stick with North American production plans for now –  Honda Motor Co. (7267.T) will stick with its North American production plans as it waits to see if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will follow through on a campaign pledge to dump the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) when he takes office, the automaker’s CEO said on Monday. “It is still unclear what Trump’s policies will be. We can’t suddenly make production changes and that is a problem not just for us but for all automakers in the U.S.,” Takahiro Hachigo said at a briefing in Tokyo on Monday.

Carmakers want ‘flexibility’ in self-driving car rules –  Carmakers are pushing for “flexibility” and the ability to protect proprietary information in self-driving car testing as federal regulators move to implement new guidelines. The current proposal from the outgoing Obama administration calls for automakers and technology companies to voluntarily report on testing and safety of autonomous cars to federal regulators before the cars are sold to the public. Industry groups were given until Tuesday to submit comments to the agency on the proposed rules.