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Archive for October, 2016

Qualcomm Pays $38B to Get into Autonomous Vehicle Game

Allure of self-driving vehicles bringing about new deals.

by on Oct.27, 2016

The deals to get to the top of the autonomous vehicle market are picking up with Qualcomm's $38 billion deal with NXP following others like, GM's investment in Lyft.

Automakers have been scrambling to gain an edge over one another to bring the first viable autonomous vehicle to the market. Already tough competition has been made more difficult with tech behemoths like Google and, potentially, Apple in the fray.

Add in Qualcomm now after its announcement that it agreed to acquire NXP Semiconductors for about $38 billion. NXP owns about 14% of automotive semiconductor sales globally and those semiconductors are crucial to the advent of the self-driving car.

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“With innovation and invention at our core, Qualcomm has played a critical role in driving the evolution of the mobile industry,” Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in a statement. (more…)

Ford Profits Slump in Third Quarter

Automaker still on track for most profitable year ever.

by on Oct.27, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields described the company's outlook for the industry for this year as "realistic."

Ford Motor Co., whose executives predicted that the auto industry was facing challenges, saw its net income drop by 47% to $1.08 billion during the third quarter.

The third quarter is generally regarded as the toughest for automakers because they have to absorb the high cost of models change over. However, rival automakers, such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Daimler AG, have already reported their earnings increased during the third quarter.

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“This quarter we delivered key elements of our growth plan by fortifying our core business, with the launch of the all-new Super Duty pickup, transforming Lincoln with the new Continental and investing in emerging opportunities with the acquisition of the Chariot crowd sourced shuttle service. Importantly, we remain on track to deliver one of our best profit years ever,” noted Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive officer. (more…)

Mazda Teases All-New CX-5 Ahead of LA Auto Show Unveiling

Refined design and new technologies expected for 2017 crossover.

by on Oct.27, 2016

Mazda uses more of its Kodo design language with the 2017 CX-5 makeover.

It’s promising to be one of the busiest L.A. Auto Shows in years, with manufacturers already signaling plans to preview as many as 50 new cars, trucks and crossovers at the Los Angeles Convention Center next month.

Include Mazda in that list, the Japanese maker adding an all-new version of the CX-5 to the list. Considering current market trends, this could be one of Mazda’s most important launches in several years.

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While the automaker isn’t saying much, it issued a statement with this teaser image promising it has “refined all aspects of its award-winning compact SUV’s design and technology to deliver new dimensions of driving joy.”


Electronic Safety Tech and Car Washes Aren’t Always a Good Mix

Auto-braking systems could leave you stranded.

by on Oct.27, 2016

This wasn't a problem in the old days?

The latest electronic safety systems are doing a great job curbing crashes on the highway, but they’re also creating some headaches when it’s time to get your car washed, it seems.

That automatic emergency braking, or AEB, system that can prevent a rear-end collision just might also prevent your car from moving through a car wash tunnel, according to a report published by car buying website

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Radar and cameras sensors can mistake the brushes inside a car wash for another vehicle and jam on the brakes, the report said, pointing to 33 different vehicles from 14 brands it found had problems. But the issue could get more severe in the coming years as more models adopt the technology.


Volkswagen Delivers Solid Profit Despite Diesel Scandal

U.S. buyback program set to get underway.

by on Oct.27, 2016

The Porsche Macan helped drive big profits for the brand - and for parent Volkswagen AG.

As it begins to see its massive diesel scandal fade into the rearview mirror, Volkswagen AG reported Thursday a big jump in third-quarter earnings.

The German maker had a net, after-tax profit of 2.34 billion euros, or $2.55 billion. By comparison, VW went 6.7 billion euros into the red a year ago as it set aside funds to cover fines and legal costs triggered by the revelation it had rigged emissions tests on its 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines.

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On Tuesday, a judge in San Francisco gave final approval to a nearly $15 settlement with U.S. and California regulators covering the smaller of the two powertrains. That includes up to $10 billion to buy back the 475,000 Audi and Volkswagen brand vehicles sold in the U.S. using that engine. VW says buybacks are likely to begin by mid-November, though the maker still hopes to come up with a technical fix for at least some of those vehicles.


Tesla Delivers Unexpected Profit

Shares surge, though not everyone is convinced.

by on Oct.26, 2016

Tesla overcame quality problems enough to boost production and crawl into the black during Q3.

Long struggling in the red, Tesla Motors delivered a surprise profit, the maker delivering more cars than expected for the third quarter, after a shortfall during the first half of the year.

The black ink, a total of $22 million, or $0.14 a share, was a much-needed boost for a carmaker struggling to launch its first mainstream product next year. The announcement came just days after Tesla took a sharp hit from influential Consumer Reports magazine, which declared the California carmaker suffers from serious quality and reliability issues.

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The black ink sent shares of Tesla soaring after months of weak performance to $211.83 a share. But not all observers were convinced the company had achieved a long-sought breakthrough.


Judge Approves $14.7B VW Settlement

German maker will begin making good on offers immediately.

by on Oct.26, 2016

A federal judge approved the long-awaited $14.7 billion settlement for Volkswagen's diesel scandal.

A federal judge signed off the proposed $14.7 billion settlement for owners of Volkswagen cars with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engines.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in his order approving the long-negotiated deal, said the settlement “in its current form is fair, adequate, and reasonable and is in the best interest of Class Members.”

Breyer noted in the order that the benefits under the order should be made immediately and the automaker committed to making that happen in a public statement about the newly approved agreement.

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“Final approval of the 2.0-liter TDI settlement is an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Less Mini, More Countryman

New Mini-ute gets brand’s first plug-in drivetrain.

by on Oct.26, 2016

The 2017 Mini Countryman gets an injection of size and power in the new model, which is 8.1 inches longer than its predecessor.

When it first drove onto the scene in 2011, the Mini Countryman rewrote the rules for the downsized brand. And so, with the rest of the line-up growing a bit bigger this generation, it would seem only appropriate that the latest Mini ute also adds a few inches.

But it also gets the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid driveline – the first battery system since the all-electric Mini-E was pulled from production in 2010.

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Already the biggest seller in the Mini portfolio, the British maker is hoping to take even bigger advantage of the surge in compact SUV sales with the arrival of the Countryman. Growing by 8.1 inches in length and 1.3 inches in width, it’s “not only the largest Mini we’ve ever built, but it’s also the most technologically advanced,” explains Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini of the Americas. (more…)

Renault-Nissan Ready to Partner Up in Connected Car Space

Alliance's tech leader says teaming up makes sense.

by on Oct.26, 2016

Renault-Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn has said that partnerships are likely in the coming age of the connected car.

Under Carlos Ghosn, the Nissan-Renault alliance has leaned forward in areas such as the development and sales of electric cars and autonomous vehicle technology even when the returns have been scant.

Ghosn, however, also has been open to alliances of various kinds and Ogi Redzic, the executive overseeing connected vehicles at Nissan and Renault, said this week that developing a common technology for connectivity outweighs the risks of from a possible defect or a common breach in cyber security.

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Redzic, senior vice president of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said for automakers, connectivity with links to family, navigation aids and remote control of vehicles is an area where all automakers are looking for an edge. (more…)

Mercedes Reveals AMG E63 Ahead of LA Debut

At 603 hp, the fastest E-Class ever.

by on Oct.26, 2016

Mercedes unveiled its most powerful E-Class ever: The 603-hp Mercedes-AMG E63.

We’ve just barely started getting familiar with all the fancy technology onboard the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but like children with short attention spans, the e-mail from the German automaker has us looking off at another new toy to play with.

And for good reason. Making a jaw-dropping 603 horsepower, the S version of the new Mercedes-AMG E63 is the fastest and most powerful version of the maker’s mid-range model ever. And it even has a new Drift Mode to play with.

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“The new E63 models represent the biggest step forward we’ve ever taken from one generation to the next,” boasts AMG Chairman Tobias Moers, pointing to the new variable all-wheel-drive system that gets paired with a biturbo 4.0-liter V-8 on the new E63. (more…)