Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Tesla Looks to Upgrade Controversial Autopilot, Raise More Cash

Company wants cash for Gigafactory, superchargers and stores.

by on Aug.31, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company plans to release an updated version of its controversial Autopilot program.

Tesla plans to raise additional funds later this year and offer an updated version of its Autopilot system that has been the center of controversy for the California-based electric vehicle manufacturer.

Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, tweeted earlier today the automaker plans to release updated software for the controversial Autopilot program that has been blamed for at least one fatal crash and alleged to have played a role other accidents.

Tech News!

The update, which will be delivered “over the air” to vehicle owners, will contain “major improvements” to the existing system. Critics have chided the Musk and Tesla officials for not shutting down the function in light of the fatal crash in May, but Musk steadfastly maintained that the system was not being used properly and that the company would continue with its development program. Read the rest of this entry »

Momentum for Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal Stalls

Pact could have streamlined safety standards, saving billions of dollars.

by on Aug.31, 2016

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche is one of many auto executives who were in favor of the now stalled trans Atlantic free trade partnership.

Global automakers appear to have suffered a political setback as discussion on a sweeping trade agreement between the United States and Europe appear to have stalled.

Sigmar Gabriel, German vice chancellor, said during an appearance in Berlin that talks on a trans Atlantic free-trade zone have run aground amid the rising political anxiety over trade on both sides of the Atlantic.

Subscribe for Free!

In the U.S. both Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presidential candidate, and Donald Trump, her Republican rival for the Presidency, have cast doubts on new trade agreement. Trump, in fact, has made the anti-free trade rhetoric central to his campaign. In Europe, the British vote to exit the European Union has served to exacerbate the political tension surrounding trade issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Gas Prices Ascending into Labor Day Weekend

Rising crude prices and Louisiana floods causing price jump.

by on Aug.31, 2016

With the Labor Day weekend looming, gas prices continue to rise.

Gasoline prices continue to move upwards heading into the Labor Day weekend.

After dropping for two months, including a streak of 53 out of 54 days, pump prices are increasing and the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has risen for 14 consecutive days, according AAA.

Financial News!

The average price of $2.22 per gallon nationwide marks an increase of six cents per gallon compared to one week ago and eight cents per gallon compared to one month ago, AAA reported. Despite the increase, drivers are paying 27 cents less than they did at this same time last year and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Midsize function with sports-car performance and handling.

by on Aug.31, 2016

Ford took the wraps off the 2017 Fusion Sport revealing a snarling beast under the hood.

When Ford Motor Co. pulled the wraps off the 2013 Fusion sedan, it sent heads turning. It was as striking and game-changing a design as any the automaker had rolled out since the launch of the original Ford Taurus nearly three decades earlier.

The midsize model was handsome and distinctive in a segment largely known for look-alike styling. And it was reasonably well-equipped, as well, offering a range of high-tech gear as part of Ford’s strategy of “democratizing” advanced safety and infotainment systems. What it needed, however, was a little more muscle.

Product News!

Now, the carmaker has addressed that shortfall. The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport packs a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 under its nicely sculpted hood. But instead of just upgrading the sedan’s powertrain, the new model also boasts major suspension enhancements as well as some well-conceived tweaks to both its interior and exterior styling. Read the rest of this entry »

Virtual Keys Looming on the Horizon

New technology pivotal to expansion of car sharing.

by on Aug.31, 2016

A Continental joint venture, OTA keys SA, is developing a virtual key that could make car sharing a reality.

Carmakers are moving closer to using “virtual keys” that can be embedded in smart phones, according to a leading auto supplier.

Representatives from Continental, a leading supplier of a variety of automotive technology, said this week that the virtual keys that can unlock the vehicle and start the engine are developing quickly and will begin showing up on some cars next year.

Product News!

“With the variety of solutions Continental offers in its portfolio, the customer has the freedom to decide what technology they want and can choose the key they feel most secure and comfortable with,” said Michael Crane, vice president business Unit Body & Security for the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Heats Up Car-Sharing Battle

High-tech firm could challenge Uber as it ramps up carpooling project.

by on Aug.31, 2016

Commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area will now be able to use Waze to carpool.

Everyone, it seems, wants to get into the car-sharing business, even as Uber, the emerging industry’s leader, reportedly lost more than $1 billion for the first half of the year.

Google is the latest player to toss its car keys into the ring. The high-tech firm began a limited test in May of a carpooling project in its home base in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is expanding that venture, which relies on Google’s Waze smartphone app.

We'll Do the Driving!

While not a direct competitor to Uber or its smaller rival Lyft, the carpooling project could create a future outlet for Google as it pushes forward with its aggressive autonomous vehicle development program, some observers suggest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Makers Putting Some Old Models Out to Pasture with Big Discounts

Edmunds suggests a list of new vehicles with great deals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

The Chrysler 200 will be dropped later this year, creating great deals for savvy buyers looking for a car on a big discount.

Auto sales are cruising along at near-record levels this year and automakers have become relatively good at monitoring production levels to ensure they don’t end up with a glut of some models they have to give away.

Pretty good isn’t perfect though and there are always a few vehicles that get away from them a bit and find their way into the “bargain bin” of new vehicle purchases. Most are perfectly lovely vehicles, but because they’re due for a redesign, get a bad rap or consumer tastes shift, these vehicles can be had for a fantastic price.

Your Auto Insider!

“Even though these vehicles are being redesigned or going away altogether, they still have the same great technology and performance that you’d find in most new cars, but at a much better value,” says Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Amps Things Up with 2017 Colorado, Canyon Trucks

New V-6 for Chevy, GMC adds two new midsize pickup models.

by on Aug.30, 2016

GM is looking to continue the growth of its midsize truck entries, including new marketing campaigns.

General Motors has made some major inroads into the rebounding midsize truck market with the reborn Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. Now, it’s looking to build even more momentum with a mix of new variants and improved powertrain options.

That includes an all-new V-6 mated with an eight-speed automatic for mainstream Chevy, while the “professional grade” side of the house adds two new models, the GMC Canyon Denali, and the “off-road-inspired” Canyon All Terrain X.

Product News!

Once written off for dead, the midsize market has shown new life during the last two years, in large part due to the return of the Colorado and Canyon models, analysts contend. In turn, the strong demand for the two GM models “has justified our continued investment in midsize pickups,” said Anita Burke, chief engineer for Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »

GM, US Army Team Up on Fuel-Cell Pickup

Chevrolet Colorado hydrogen truck to be unveiled in October.

by on Aug.30, 2016

GM is partnering with the Army Tank Command on a hydrogen-powered pickup.

The U.S. Army is enlisting some help from General Motors. They’re partnering on a prototype fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado that could eventually find applications at military bases and perhaps even on the front lines.

The prototype, set to make its formal debut in October, is a joint project of GM and the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC. It’s the latest in a series of partnerships between the Detroit automaker and the U.S. military, GM earlier this year announcing plans to develop a hydrogen-powered deep sear research mini-sub that will be tested by the Navy.

Tech News!

”Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities,” TARDEC Director Paul Rogers said in a statement accompanying a teaser image of the hydrogen-powered Colorado.

Read the rest of this entry »

Volvo Tailors City Safety System for Rural Roads

System now helps drivers avoid large animals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

Volvo adapted its City Safety collision mitigation system to avoid large animals instead of cyclists.

There are more than 1.2 million accidents every year involving vehicles and large animals, such as deer or elk, that result in the deaths of about 200 motorists and cause some $1 billion worth of damage, according to insurance industry statistics.

Now Volvo is attempting to reduce the number of these types of collisions by equipping its latest vehicles, including the new 2017 Volvo S90, with a “large animal” detection system that will apply the vehicle’s brakes if it senses anything from a fleet-footed deer to a lumbering bear in the roadway.

Subscribe for Free!

The system is described as an industry first and addresses a growing problem in many parts of the country, such as the heavily-wooded Northeast, where wildlife has proliferated in suburban and urban areas. Read the rest of this entry »