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Uber Posts Positive Q1 Earnings After Tough 2017

Shuttering of Arizona ops stings as Waymo, Lyft take off.

by on May.24, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made an impact on the company in the short time he's been there.

After nearly a year of problems and attempts to rectify them, including the addition of a new CEO, Uber Technologies’ first quarter results reveal some of the positive impact of changes implemented across the ride-sharing company.

Uber reported net income of $2.5 billion on gross bookings of $11.29 billion, an increase of 55% compared with the year-ago period. The company’s net revenue grew 67% to $2.5 billion.

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Much of the company’s positive results can be attributed to the changes implemented by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and two significant transactions: the sale of GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and a joint venture with Yandex N.V. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Auto Tariff Threat Triggering Backlash

President calls auto industry "critical to our strength as a nation," but critics warn new tariffs could "undermine" global trade.

by on May.24, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra welcomes President Donald Trump's efforts to "level the playing field."

President Donald Trump is once again threatening to slap steep tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, his latest in a series of moves challenging free trade that also sees a continuing effort to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump said he asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate whether auto imports are a threat to national security. If so, he would be able to sidestep Congress and institute tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — one of the strongest trade tools in the president’s arsenal. But the proposal is already triggering a backlash from trade partners in Europe and other parts of the world.

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“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation,” Trump said in a short statement released by the White House Press Office. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaguar Land Rover Profits Cut By Falling Diesel Sales

Overall sales rose 1.7% with China leading the way.

by on May.24, 2018

Ralf Speth, Jaguar president, touted the company's full-year sales set a new record, driven by a 19% increase in China.

Jaguar Land Rover reported its annual pre-tax profits fell to 1.5 billion pounds, or $2 billion, from 1.6 billion pounds the year before, and fourth quarter profits during the January to March period was almost cut in half from 676 million pounds, or $905.3 million, to 364 million pounds.

The drop in profits during January to March period was affected by the higher charges in its vehicle development program and the drop in sales of diesel-powered vehicles. But the company said its annual pre-tax profit was boosted a 437-million-pound, or $585.2 million, credit from its pension scheme in the first quarter of the year.

Global News!

The automaker, which was re-organized 10 years ago after Ford Motor Co. sold it to Tata, the Indian industrial conglomerate, noted that “consumer uncertainty surrounding diesel models, Brexit and vehicle taxation” hurt sales in the United Kingdom.  Read the rest of this entry »

First Look: 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

Trail-blazing.

by on May.24, 2018

Ford launched its off-road truck in 2010, originally naming it the SVT Raptor.

While most of today’s sport-utility vehicles have migrated to soft-roading, there’s still a solid market for serious trail-blazers, especially in the pickup segment, and Ford’s F-150 has earned serious credibility since the launch of what was originally known as the SVT Raptor in 2010.

The latest version, simply known as the Raptor has underscored Ford’s claims for the ruggedness and capabilities of its aluminum-bodied F-150. And the automaker intend to enhance that off-road credibility even more with the updated 2019 model. Among other features, the update gets what Ford is billing as “smarter,” electronically controlled shocks, a new Trail Control system and Recaro sport seats.

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“Raptor’s success is rooted in its incredible suspension, superb vehicle control and the confidence the truck instills in its owners,” Hermann Salenbauch, global director of the Ford Performance vehicle program, said in a statement announcing the update. “Upgrades to the 2019 F-150 Raptor have improved all three to new levels that the competition will have to benchmark – again.”

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Safety Groups Want Tesla Autopilot Name Banned

Groups argue it is “deceptive and misleading.”

by on May.23, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

It’s called Autopilot but, at least for now, Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology is a not completely reliable co-pilot, it can require rapid human intervention to avert a crash. And that, two consumer groups argue, makes the use of the Autopilot name “deceptive and misleading.”

The Center for Auto Safety, or CAS, and Consumer Watchdog aren’t the first to raise concerns about the Tesla technology. German regulators briefly considered banning the name, Autopilot. But the American non-profit safety groups have taken their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to initiate an investigation of how Tesla not only has named, but also how it promotes its semi-autonomous system.

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In a letter to the federal agency, they claim Tesla has taken steps to “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.” Read the rest of this entry »

Uber Shutting Down Self-Driving Testing Ops in Arizona

Pittsburgh, San Francisco testing will resume soon.

by on May.23, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is shutting down the company's autonomous vehicle testing operations in Arizona.

Uber is shutting down its Arizona-based self-driving car operations in the wake of the collision that killed a pedestrian in March. The company told its nearly 200 workers of the decision earlier today.

The company halted its testing after the collision that killed a woman walking across a four-lane road with a bike. The car’s autonomous system failed to recognize the person and take evasive action and the observer in the vehicle was looking down at the time of the crash.

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Since that time, the company put the program on hiatus while paying the remaining drivers as the National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation. Investigators haven’t wrapped up their inquiry. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Promises Good News for Auto Workers

Presiden implies deal on NAFTA is near, but others dispute the notion.

by on May.23, 2018

President Donald Trump promised American auto workers they'd be "very happy" very soon.

President Donald Trump implied that the end of negotiations over NAFTA are near and that the end result will be good for hourly workers at automakers across the U.S.

“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!” Trump said in a tweet.

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One of Trump’s campaign promises was to secure a new North American Free Trade Agreement that was more favorable to the U.S. The three countries – Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – have been in talks for nearly a year now. Read the rest of this entry »

McLaren’s Growth Means Adding New US Dealers

British sports car gets new stores on both coasts.

by on May.23, 2018

McLaren Automotive's been enjoying record sales and needs two new dealerships including McLaren Sterling just outside Washington D.C.

With its sales of ultra-expensive sports cars steadily climbing, McLaren Automotive has been fortifying its bottom line with new models after its long-expected demise has come and gone.

The growth in new vehicles in the product portfolio has strengthened interest in the company’s largest market: the United States. As a result, the company’s dealership network is growing too and the company is adding new retailers in wealthy communities on the East and West coasts.

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One of the new dealerships will be in Beverly Hills, California, the other in Loudon County in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. The two new stores join McLaren’s network of 80 dealers that stretch across 30 markets around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Quarters of Americans “Too Afraid to Ride” in Self-Driving Vehicles

As more problems reported, acceptance declines, finds new AAA study.

by on May.23, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

They’re expected to flood our roads by the millions over the next decade, and Congress is currently working on legislation that would expand testing on public roads – but a new AAA study reveals that the American public is, if anything, growing more concerned about the safety of autonomous and fully driverless vehicles.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. drivers would be “afraid” to ride in one today, up from 63% when the AAA last polled American motorists in late 2017. The decline in confidence appears to follow an array of incidents involving prototype autonomous vehicles, including the first-known fatal crash near Phoenix when a hands-free SUV being tested by Uber slammed into a pedestrian.

Safety First!

“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”

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Bosch Exec Predicts 50 Percent Rise in 2018 EV Sales

Annual sales expected to rise from 1% to 1.5% of total sales.

by on May.23, 2018

The Chevy Bolt will be joined by two dozen other GM battery-electric vehicles by 2023.

Sales of battery electric vehicles are growing steadily and impressively, according to a key executive at Robert Bosch Gmbh, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers.

Sujit Jain, Bosch Group regional president, Passenger Cars and Electric Vehicles, Powertrain Solutions Division, noted the market share of battery electric vehicles has steadily grown in the U.S. since 2013, reaching nearly 1%.

EV News!

On the surface, the number appears small, but the rate of growth has been impressive with EV sales possibly reaching 1.5% this year, Jain said after a presentation at the Bosch Mobility Experience at the company’s North American test track in suburban Detroit. Read the rest of this entry »