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Takata Runs Full-Page Ad Claiming It Will Do More

Supplier declines to join Ford to expand recall nationally.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Ford is the latest automaker to expand its recall of Takata airbags from a regional action to a national one.

Beleaguered auto supplier Takata took out full-page ads in several newspapers today saying more must be done to resolve the problem with its airbags, but a national recall of the faulty devices was not the answer.

And then Ford expanded its recall of the airbags to a national action.

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The ad, which was an open letter from Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, was published in The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and three German papers. In the letter, Takada, who is the grandson of the company’s founder, outlined what the company was doing to try and rectify the situation, such as increasing the number of replacement parts being manufactured from 300,000 a month to 450,000, asking other airbag suppliers to produce parts and tripling the amount of testing it’s conducting on airbags. Read the rest of this entry »

Cadillac Set to Debut World’s First Streaming Video Rearview Mirror

Like “driving a convertible with the top down.”

by on Dec.18, 2014

Cadillac will introduce a new streaming video alternative to the traditional rearview mirror late next year on the planned CT6 premium luxury sedan.

Cadillac will introduce a new streaming video alternative to the traditional rearview mirror late next year, a move the luxury maker says will result in significantly improved visibility on the planned CT6 premium luxury sedan.

The move lifts a page out of what was once science fiction technology. The new technology could signal the demise of conventional mirrors, in general, with automakers hoping to replace outside mirrors with video cameras, as well.

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Cadillac clams the new streaming video mirror will improve a driver’s field of vision by as much as 300%, CT6 Chief Engineer Travis Hester suggesting, “The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down.” Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Plowing $126 Million in Michigan Facilities

New effort increases decision-making impact of campus.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Toyota plans to invest $126 million into its Ann Arbor, Michigan-based technical center and, by extension, giving the it more decision-making responsibilities.

The definition of “Made in America” is getting rewritten again by Toyota as it announced it plans to invest $126 million into its Ann Arbor, Michigan-based technical center and, by extension, giving the center more decision-making responsibilities.

Toyota is expanding its powertrain operations in Ann Arbor as well as consolidating its vehicle development operations a new facility in nearby York Township, Michigan. The moves will cause the relocation of 85 jobs from California to Michigan.

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“The Technical Center continues to be a vital part of our growing North American operations that enables Toyota to package greater value for our customers,” said Ed Mantey, senior vice president at the Toyota Technical Center. Read the rest of this entry »

Airbag Safety Problems Delay Honda Hydrogen Vehicle Launch

But near-production concept set to debut at Detroit Auto Show.

by on Dec.18, 2014

The latest version of the Honda FCV Concept will make its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Honda’s new fuel-cell vehicle has fallen victim to the maker’s airbag safety problems. With key engineering talent diverted to deal with the exploding Takata airbag issue, Honda won’t launch the production version of the new FCV model until early in 2016, senior company officials revealed.

But a near-production concept version of the new fuel-cell vehicle will still make its debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

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It will show “the styling evolution” that has taken place since Honda first showed off its FCV Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in late 2012, said John Mendel, Honda’s top U.S. executive.

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First Drive: 2016 Kia Sorento

Maker’s new SUV aims to compete with Grand Cherokee, MDX.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Kia is debuting a revised and refined version of the Sorento, which will reach showrooms in January as a 2016 model.

In recent years, Kia has proven adept at reading consumer trends.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2008-2009 recessions, the Korean automaker introduced the Kia Soul, a versatile, small vehicle designed to fit into tight urban spaces and appeal to the nascent “back-to-the-city” vibe among the rising millennial generation.

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As the demand for fuel efficiency has ebbed, Kia has deftly introduced its own version of practical luxury, the K900 earlier this year to catch the move towards expensive vehicle. Now with gas prices sinking and Americans clamoring for sport-utility vehicles, Kia is ready to bring on the revised and refined version of the Sorento, which will reach showrooms in January as a 2016 model. Read the rest of this entry »

Spyker Declared Bankrupt

“Not the end,” insists CEO Muller.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Spyker CEO Victor Muller with the B6 Venator.

After failing to line up new funding, Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker has been declared bankrupt and put into receivership.

It was the final shoe to drop for the company that attempted to revive Sweden’s Saab, only to have that operation also collapse in 2011, its assets sold off the following year to a Chinese consortium.

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“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end,” proclaimed Victor Muller, Spyker Automobielen BV founder and        CEO, quoting Winston Churchill. “I will relentlessly endeavor to resurrect Spyker as soon as practically possible.”

Founded in 2000, reviving a long-gone Dutch auto brand, Spyker attempted to create a line-up of expensive, limited-edition sports cars. But it tried to go mainstream with the 2009 acquisition of Saab, only to have that effort fail catastrophically. A shift back to the original Spyker brand didn’t fare much better.

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Lexus Confirms “Track-Ready” Model Coming to Detroit

Likely to be new 2016 Lexus GS F.

by on Dec.18, 2014

Is this the 2016 Lexus GS F?

Hoping to add still more performance to its traditional mainstream luxury line-up, Lexus has confirmed it will introduce a second, “track-ready” model at the North American International Auto Show next month.

While it isn’t providing any specific details about the new model, there’ve been plenty of sightings of prototype Lexus GS F sedans running around, notably while undergoing testing at Germany’s famed Nurburgring race track.

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The new model would all but certainly share the basic 5.0-liter V-8 found under the hood of the 2015 Lexus RC F model launched over the summer. But given the bigger size and weight of a mid-range GS, the performance version will but certainly get a bump up from the 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of the smaller RC F model.

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Tesla Stock Price Sliding Due to Low Gas Prices

Analyst revises sales estimates due to fuel prices.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Low gas prices are taking a bite out Tesla's stock price in the last six weeks.

The low gas prices that have been a boon for truck and sport-utility sales are taking a toll on fuel-efficient and electric vehicles… and the stock price of at least one company: Tesla Motors.

The Palo Alto, California-based automaker saw its stock close below $200 a share yesterday for the first time since mid-February at $197.81, which was down $6.23 for the day. The drop below $200 was tied, in large measure, to concerns about declining gas prices.

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While the stock rebounded today, closing at $205.81, that doesn’t mean the impact of gas prices isn’t having a long-term effect. Tesla stock has been sliding steadily since the middle of November when it was in the mid-$250 range. This coincides with the time gas prices were in the early throes of their decline. Read the rest of this entry »

Infiniti May Go from Digital Track to Street with Vision Gran Turismo

GT car could come to life as halo for luxury brand.

by on Dec.17, 2014

The Infiniti Vision is the latest addition to Gran Turismo for PlayStation 3. The car could jump from television screen to the streets.

Pity the poor car designer who comes up with a great idea, only to have to cope with the realities of product development, marketing and manufacturing. The results can be downright depressing when your concept re-emerges looking like a Pontiac Aztek.

No wonder, then, designers line up for a chance to work with the folks from Sony on their Gran Turismo videogame for PlayStation 3. The latest to put a car on that virtual track is Infiniti, which is giving us a look at its new Vision Gran Turismo concept.

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But if you like what you see, hang tight. What started out as an internal competition to “design a pure Infiniti GT car” just might have a practical application, after all, the maker suggesting the digital concept could just be a hint of “what a high performance Infiniti could look like in the future.” Read the rest of this entry »

Your Smartphone Could Soon Replace Your Car Keys

Digital keys could be shared – and could make car-sharing even easier.

by on Dec.17, 2014

The Keyfree digital key system in use.

A small Toronto technology start-up could unlock some major changes in tomorrow’s cars, trucks and crossovers.

Keyfree Technologies plans to introduce what it is billing as the “world’s first digital car key solution” during a preview at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Unlike traditional, metal car keys, or more modern wireless keyfobs, the company’s system would use a digital smartphone app to control a vehicle’s doors and ignition.

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“This is the first technology that allows car owners to leave their keys at home,” explained Shane Wright, CEO of Keyfree.  “The key is in your phone, just like your camera, your maps and your calendar.  Users can share digital keys with their family and never have to hunt for misplaced keys again.  And with military-grade encryption, Keyfree is far more secure than current key fob technology.”

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