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Chevy Adding Apple CarPlay, Android Auto to 14 Models

“Smartphones are essential,” says GM CEO Barra.

by on May.27, 2015

A total of 14 Chevrolet models, including the next-gen Volt, Malibu and Camaro, will add Apple CarPlay.

It’s becoming ever harder to walk – or drive — away from your smartphone. A day after Hyundai became the first automaker to formally confirm plans to add the new Android Auto system to its Sonata sedan, Chevrolet says it will go one better, rolling out both the Google-based system and Apple’s new CarPlay on 14 of its models next year.

Both technologies allow a motorist to go beyond basic pairing. It lets them actually operate a variety of different smartphone apps directly through the vehicle’s infotainment system, whether by using a touchscreen or voice commands. Chevy owners will be able to access 10 different audio services, for example, from Spotify to NPR to Major League Baseball – with more apps to follow, the maker hinted.

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They’ll also be able to have text messages read out by artificial speech and dictate a reply. And whether using an Apple iOS or Google Android-based phone, motorists will be able to access the smartphone’s built-in navigation, potentially saving $1,000 or more on a factory-installed navi system.

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Worldwide Road Deaths Decline in 2014

Fatalities drop 54 percent for car occupants.

by on May.27, 2015

Despite scenes like this one, traffic fatalities around the globe are falling, according to the International Transportation Forum.

Road deaths continued falling in 2014 in many parts of the world, according to latest data compiled by the International Transport Forum, which studied data from more than two dozen countries in Europe, East Asia and the Americas as well as Australia.

Moreover, while substantial overall fatality reductions have been achieved since the year 2000, the pace of improvement for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, is lower than for car occupants, according to the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) organized by the ITF.

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While fatalities among car occupants were reduced by 54% between 2000 and 2013, decreases were only 36% for pedestrians, 35% for cyclists and 22% for motorcyclists. As a consequence in many countries, road safety priorities have recently shifted from motorized rural traffic to vulnerable road users in urban areas, the ITF noted. Read the rest of this entry »

Lamborghini Gives Urus SUV the Green Light

Production model due in 2018.

by on May.27, 2015

Lamborghini first revealed the Urus SUV concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show.

Put Lamborghini on the fast-growing list of luxury automakers adding an SUV to their product lines. The maker is officially confirming plans to produce a version of the Urus concept vehicle it first unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in April 2012.

Expect to see the high-performance ute reach showrooms sometime in 2018, Lambo joining such high-end brands as Porsche, Bentley, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and likely Aston Martin who will by then be selling SUVs pushing well into the six-figure price range.

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Lamborghini’s move comes as little surprise. It has been toying with the idea for a number of years and come close to giving the Urus project the green light on several previous occasions. It recently pulled back, however, blaming that on the Italian government which had been dangling the idea of incentive money if the luxury ute were to be built in Italy.

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Traffic Deaths on Unexpected Rise

“Uptick shows no sign of subsiding,” says National Safety Council.

by on May.27, 2015

After steady declines for decades, highway fatalities are on the rise again.

After several decades of generally steady declines, automotive highway deaths have begun ticking upward again, notes the National Safety Council.

The organization warns that the situation could grow worse during what safety groups call “The 100 Deadliest Days,” the period when Americans tend to travel most for summer vacations. The new report coincides with the release of a separate study by the AAA outlining the safety risks posed by teen drivers off from school.

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“While the statistics point out a dangerous trend, we have the ability to influence outcomes through our choices and behavior,” said Deborah Hersman, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council, or NSC. “Summer is typically a high-exposure period with lots of miles driven and several long holiday weekends. Take your responsibilities behind the wheel this summer seriously and ensure that you get to your destination safety.” Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Reportedly Planning Radical, 3-Seat Sports Car

Concept said to be on tap for Tokyo Motor Show.

by on May.27, 2015

Toyota has been studying a number of extreme options, including the i-Road commuter car.

Ever since he came onboard as the top executive at a company long known for its sturdy and reliable – but plain vanilla – products, Akio Toyoda has been pressing his team to pump some “passion” into its line-up.

Toyota has offered some hints of what’s in store with concepts like the exotic FT-1, as well as more stylish production models such as the Lexus RC coupe. But now, it seems, the Japanese giant is ready to take things to the next level.

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A variety of sources have indicated that Toyota will roll out a new sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next October. But this isn’t just a new version of the Lexus RC – or even a production version of the FT-1. The open-wheeler apparently will have room for three and use a high-performance hybrid drivetrain.

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May New Vehicle Sales Expected to be Strong

Total numbers will be lower due to fewer selling days.

by on May.27, 2015

Small SUVs and crossovers like the 2015 Lincoln MKC are still selling strong in May despite rising gas prices.

Early reports show that May will be a strong month for new car sales, but when the numbers come out they are likely to show sales being down on a year-over-year basis.

According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), sales are likely to come in at 1.59 million units this month, which will be down 1%. So what’s with all the optimism? There’s one less day this year to sell cars, trucks and SUVs than last May so the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is actually higher (17.3 million versus 16.5 million last May) even though fewer vehicles will leave dealer showrooms.

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“May sales will reach the highest total year-to-date, and could remain the highest until December of this year,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  “While we expect an overall decline in volume versus last year, the difference is the result of one fewer sales day from May 2014, and total SAAR will reflect year-over-year improvement. Read the rest of this entry »

Teen Drivers Pose a Risk to Everyone on the Road

New study finds 2/3 of fatalities and injuries involve passengers, other drivers.

by on May.27, 2015

Motor vehicle crashes have long been one of the primary causes of death and injuries among teen drivers. But a new study by AAA finds that young motorists are also a danger to everyone else on the road.

In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed in teen crashes in 2013, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, with nearly 400,000 injured. But a new AAA study finds that nearly two-thirds of the people injured or killed during a crash are people other than the teen behind the wheel.

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“Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group, and this data confirms that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel,” notes Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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Daimler Partnership May Lead to Wireless EV Charging

Company teams with Qualcomm to develop new technologies.

by on May.27, 2015

A new partnership with Qualcomm aims to develop electric vehicle charging technologies as well as other connected car projects.

Luxury vehicles often get the latest technology first and Mercedes is looking to burnish its reputation as a tech leader through a new partnership that may ultimately develop an electric vehicle that charges wirelessly.

Daimler AG and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., are partnering on connected car projects ranging from Internet connectivity to charging technologies.

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“It’s important that we remain on the cutting edge of technology and continue to deliver unparalleled experiences to our customers,” said Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyundai Plugs and Plays with Android Auto in New Sonata

Automakers expected to add Android and Apple systems to new vehicles.

by on May.26, 2015

Hyundai is making Android Auto Play available in its 2015 Sonata. The system can even be added to already-purchased Sonatas.

The race to see what automaker will get Android Auto Play into a vehicle has a winner: Hyundai. The company is making the service an option on its 2015 Sonata models right now.

Hyundai will roll the service out to other vehicles in its U.S. line-up throughout the year, but the Sonata gets it first and it’s also available free-of-charge on already-purchased Sonatas equipped with a navigation systems with just a quick stop at a dealership.

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“Android Auto aligns with Hyundai’s core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We launched this highly anticipated feature on our best-selling Sonata, adding to our promise of value. With the launch of Android Auto, we provide more owners with the experience of cutting-edge technology.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ford May Cut Production as Chinese Car Market Falters

Domestic Chinese makers gaining ground on foreign rivals.

by on May.26, 2015

Ford recently unveiled its Focus ST in China.

With the economy faltering, the Chinese car market is growing at its slowest rate in 15 years – and Ford Motor Co. says it may respond by trimming production in the once-booming China.

That would be a sudden shift in direction for Ford which, only two months ago, announced the opening of a major new plant in Hangzhou, part of its plan to double production capacity in the populous Asian market to 1.2 million vehicles annually.

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“If there is softness in the market, I won’t let stocks build and we’ll cut production,” said David Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific. So far, he added, “We have had some production cuts, but it’s nothing material.”

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