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London Kicks Uber from the Curb

Transport authority says Uber's not "fit and proper."

by on Sep.22, 2017

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has faced one problem after another since his arrival at the company.

Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi may be rethinking his decision to take the ride-sharing company’s top job after the latest blow: London has revoked its license to operate.

The Silicon Valley company is the world’s largest ride-sharing firm and the loss of London’s 3.5 million users is a severe blow. Transport for London, the city’s transport authority, determined that the company was “not fit and proper to hold a private vehicle hire license.”

The Last Word!

“Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” the agency said. “TfL must also be satisfied that an operator is fit and proper to hold a license.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rural America Less Likely to Buckle Up, More Likely to Die in Car Crash

Study shows unbelted occupants account for half of deaths.

by on Sep.22, 2017

Front occupants are twice as likely to die in a crash if there's someone unbelted in back.

While seat belt usage rates in the United States are – and have been – above 90% for more than a decade, there is still a “problem” area: rural America.

According to a new study from Centers for Disease Control, America’s most rural counties had motor-vehicle death rates 3 to 10 times higher than those in the most urban counties, largely due to a lack of seatbelt use.

Safety News!

“We know seat belts save lives,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “These findings remind us that no matter what kind of road you are traveling on, it is important for everyone to buckle up every time on every trip.” Read the rest of this entry »

Lexus LS: Struggling for Relevance in a Rapidly Changing Market

Retaining an “upstart” mindset critical in an increasingly uncertain industry.

by on Sep.22, 2017

The 2018 Lexus LS 500 features bold new exterior styling, which has been the focus of the company's higher ups.

From automotive upstart to part of the industry’s elite — there’ve been a lot of changes since Lexus made its debut nearly three decades ago. Now, there are new players trying to shake up the established order and its Toyota’s luxury brand that’s on the defensive.

Nothing symbolizes the challenges the Japanese marque faces like the 2018 LS, the fifth-generation remake of its flagship sedan. Since Lexus made its debut in 1989, the LS has symbolized everything the brand stands for: affordable, elegant, high-tech – and green, the full-size sedan becoming the first in its segment offered with a hybrid drivetrain option.

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But at a time when SUVs, rather than sedans, have come to dominate the sales charts, is the LS still relevant? And is Lexus, more broadly, keeping pace with the changes reshaping the auto industry, including the race to electrify that has seen major manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz announce plans to offer battery-based options for every single product they build? Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes Moves Closer to Launch of New SUV Family

Alabama plant will build part of the battery-based family in future.

by on Sep.22, 2017

Mercedes will build its EQC, an SUV-style electric vehicle for the 2019 model year.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t ready just yet to say when it will bring out the EV version of a sport-utility vehicle under the EQ brand, which was first unveiled a year ago at the Paris Auto Show.

Markus Schaefer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, declined to tell reporters during a press conference at the Mercedes-Benz plant outside Tuscaloosa, when the plant would build its first electric vehicle.

Product News!

Major automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, General Motors and Ford are all lining up to build new EVs, but the market outlook for the vehicles still remains uncertain despite pressure from national and local governments around the world, which are concerned about pollution from vehicles in major urban centers. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Talks With Unifor Deadlocked Over New Product

Union holds rally against NAFTA.

by on Sep.22, 2017

With GM talks halted, Unifor President Jerry Dias held a rally against NAFTA in Ottawa.

With negotiations at General Motors’ former CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, at a standstill, Unifor is holding a rally in the Canadian capital of Ottawa today to sound off against the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The union wants the deal renegotiated because it says the deal has cost Canada’s auto sector jobs and investment during the past 25 years, and it is part of the reason the why the workers are on the picket line right now.

News You Can Trust!

The 3,000 workers at the Ingersoll plant went on strike early Monday when negotiators from GM and Unifor reached an impasse over the automaker’s future plans for the plant, which has just started building a new version of the popular Chevrolet Equinox. In August, GM idled 600 employees at the Ingersoll plant as it shifted production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaguar Busting Stereotypes to Build Sales

Three SUVs, with more likely. Now add batteries.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Design Director Ian Callum gives the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace its U.S. preview.

Say the name, Jaguar, and you’re likely to picture a sleek sports car like the F-Type or a sexy sports sedan, like the big XJ. But reality for the British automaker is starting to look quite different.

Sure, it’s getting ready to roll out the $187,500 XE SV Project 8, at 592 horsepower the most powerful street-legal model it has ever produced. But when it comes to moving the sales needle, you need to look in the other direction, starting with the F-Pace, the British maker’s first sport-utility vehicle. After a long, downward spiral it almost single-handedly transformed Jaguar into the world’s fastest-growing automotive brand in 2016.

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Beyond the Headlines!

Now, Jaguar is hoping to pull off a similar feat with the launch of its second utility vehicle, the smaller E-Pace, which it rolled out for a sedate U.S. debut on Thursday after a much more spectacular unveiling in London two months ago. A third ute, the I-Pace, will feature a pure battery-electric drivetrain, will come to market late next year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fiat Chrysler Recalling 50K Pacificas

Second-row seat belt can come unlatched during "extreme" maneuvering.

by on Sep.21, 2017

The Chrysler Pacifica is being recalled by FCA for a seat-belt problem.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling approximately 50,000 Chrysler Pacificas for seat belt issue that may crop up if the minivan is put through “extreme handling maneuvers.”

The second-row seat belt in 2017-18 model year Pacificas with the eight-passenger seating option can unbuckle, according to a new report issued by the automaker. The belt can unlatch in these conditions because the release button comes in contact with the adjacent buckle.

Product News!

The recall affects roughly 48,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 1,900 vehicles in Canada, FCA said in a statement. The problem was revealed during testing by the company and reported to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in May. Read the rest of this entry »

China Might Ease Ownership Rules for Foreign EV Companies

The move could accelerate production of electric vehicles.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Tesla is working on a deal to build its vehicles in Shanghai, which may get accelerated if China eases ownership rules for EV makers.

The recent rush of automakers pairing up with indigenous Chinese automakers to meet tough new EV production mandates may come to a happy end for those producers as the government is mulling plans to allow them to set up shop alone.

The Chinese government is considering reversing decades-old policy requiring automakers looking to do business there to partner with Chinese companies. The move would apply only to EV makers in the country’s free-trade zones, according to Bloomberg.

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Still in its preliminary stages, the move would allow a company like Tesla to set up a wholly owned operation in China, which is the biggest market in the world for EVs. It is a significant policy reversal for the country, if it comes to pass. Read the rest of this entry »

Daimler Investing $1B in US Plant to Electrify SUVs

Move gives company can produce EVs in U.S., China and Germany.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Daimler is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, facility to ensure it can produce EVs and the batteries to run them.

The German automaker, Daimler AG, plans to add $1 billion in new investment and create 600 new jobs at its manufacturing center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make electric vehicles and the batteries to run them.

The investment will finance the company’s strategic plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models Mercedes-Benz U.S. International that are expected to the latest technology needed for automated driving, said Daimler AG officials, noting the investment follow a $1.3 billion investment in 2015 for expanding the Tuscaloosa plant.

Beyond the Headlines!

The battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of the very latest technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the U.S., the company said in the announcement, which coincided with the ceremonies, marking the 20th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz production in Tuscaloosa.  Read the rest of this entry »

Volvo Downsizes With Debut of new XC40

New “Care by Volvo” program could redefine car buying, ownership, maker claims.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Volvo continues to expand its offerings with the new XC40 utility vehicle.

Volvo is rapidly fleshing out its showrooms, and with the launch of the new XC40 sport-utility vehicle it is taking aim at one of the world’s fastest-growing market segments.

The new crossover follows in the tire tracks of the well-received XC90 and XC60 models and marks the debut of an all-new Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA platform, that will be used for a range of additional, downsized products to come over the next several years. It also helps Volvo introduce the new “Care by Volvo” program that, the maker claims, could help redefine the car buying and ownership experience.

Product News!

“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” said Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson during a preview of the new model in Milan on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »