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Archive for May, 2017

Small Car Driver Risks on the Rise, Study Shows

Drivers of compacts more likely to die than larger vehicles.

by on May.26, 2017

The Hyundai Accent is one of the more dangerous cars on the road today, if involved in a collision, a new study shows.

Drivers of small cars have long known that they are at greater risk when involved in collisions with larger vehicles. However, the risk is increasing, according to a new study.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report suggests that traffic fatality rates are on the rise overall, but noted that of the top 10 vehicles involved in fatal crashes, five are minicars and three are small cars. The vehicle at the top of the list if the Hyundai Accent.

Safety News!

Despite the increase in the overall rate, the worst vehicles actually saw some improvement. The 2014 Hyundai Accent’s death rate of 104 compares with 120 for the 2011 Accent. The worst vehicle among the 2011 models was the Kia Rio with a rate of 149. The 2014 Rio’s death rate is 102. (more…)

Ousted Ford CEO Mark Fields May Get Nearly $60m Parting Gift

Payout likely to dwarf initial paycheck for new CEO Jim Hackett.

by on May.26, 2017

Former Ford CEO Mark Fields.

He may have lost one of the top spots in the auto industry, but Mark Fields won’t go away empty-handed.

Ousted Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields will receive a parting gift of as much as $57.5 million, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service, including pay, stock awards, retirement benefits and bonuses. That figure is expected to dwarf what his successor, Jim Hackett will make, at least during his first year at the helm of the second-largest U.S. automaker.

Officially, Fields resigned last Friday, though it was made clear to him that Ford Chairman – and the grandson of founder Henry Ford – Bill Ford Jr. was intent on replacing the 56-year-old company veteran with the 62-year-old Hackett, a former chief executive at Steelcase, the Michigan-based office furniture manufacturer.

Stay in the Loop!

Elevated to CEO in July 2014, Fields saw Ford’s profits hit an all-time record last year. But the maker’s sales and market share have been sliding, and earnings tumbled 38% during the first quarter of 2017, to $1.6 billion. What may have sealed his fate was the sharp decline in the carmaker’s stock price. It dropped 40% since Fields replaced his mentor Alan Mulally nearly three years ago.

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Project 8: “Most Extreme Performance Jaguar Ever”

Only 300 to be produced.

by on May.26, 2017

The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 promises to make somewhere close to 600 hp.

Jaguar is working up what it promises will be the brand’s “most powerful, agile and extreme performance vehicle ever.” It will also be one of the most exclusive, the British maker planning to roll out just 300 copies of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8.

The 591 horsepower sedan is a product of the Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations unit that has been turning out a variety of other limited-edition models from the new technical center it opened in the U.K. last year. Earlier projects included the Range Rover Sport SVR, as well as the Jaguar F-Type Project7.

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“Our clients worldwide were thrilled by the F-TYPE Project 7,” said John Edwards, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. “The time is right for SVO to produce the most extreme performance road car in the history of Jaguar,” he continued, adding that, “The new XE SV Project 8 takes aerodynamics and performance engineering to another level.”

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Trump Puts German Automakers in Crosshairs — Again

President criticizes car makers, calling them “bad, very bad.”

by on May.26, 2017

President Trump criticized German automakers during a recent meeting with European leaders.

German car makers have once again emerged as a target for President Donald Trump.

During a meeting with European leaders, Trump said “the Germans are bad, very bad,” according to participants in the room who spoke to one of Germany’s most famous publications, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

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“See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S. Terrible,” Der Spiegel reported. “We will stop this.” (more…)

Crossover Sales Rage May be Hitting Peak

Analyst believes CUVs will top out at 40% of market.

by on May.26, 2017

The era of the crossover, or ute, is nearly over, according to one analyst; however, not everyone believes that prediction.

The end of the crossover boom could be approaching its peak even as car makers continue to push new models into showrooms, says a top automotive analyst.

As he presented the annual “Car Wars” study, John Murphy of Bank of America Merrill Lynch told the Automotive Press Association that the CUV market share now stands at 35%, but even as new, luxury models enter the segment 40% could be the limit.

News You Can Trust!

In the past, the “Car Wars” studies pointed to the fact that Asian car makers were generally replacing vehicles in their showrooms with new models at a faster rate than their North American and European models. (more…)

GM Sued for Allegedly Cheating on Diesel Emissions Testing

Class-action suit claims Duramax diesels exceed limits by two to five times.

by on May.25, 2017

GM is accused of cheating on diesel emissions tests on its Duramax diesels in 705,000 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

No automaker appears to be able escape unscathed. General Motors Co. became the sixth automaker accused of using some form of cheat device to pass its diesel emissions tests, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in Detroit.

GM joins Volkswagen, which admitted guilt and has paid more than $25 billion in fines and fees, Daimler AG, Subaru, Peugeot, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler in being accused of or sued for using some sort of software or hardware to get around emissions rules.

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In fact, FCA was sued yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department over 104,000 Dodge Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees that allegedly used cheat devices. (more…)

20 Years in the Making: the BMW 8-Series is Back

Concept set to become production model in 2018.

by on May.25, 2017

The Concept 8 is expected to translate quite closely into the newly revived BMW 8-Series.

Its been nearly two decades since BMW pulled its flagship coupe from production. Now, we’re getting a good look at the reborn 8-Series.

Set to replace the lower-level 6-Series, which BMW recently said will be dropped, a concept version of the new 8-Series is set to make its sheet metal debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este along Italy’s Lake Como over the weekend.

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The Big Picture!

“The BMW Concept 8 is our take on a full-blooded high-end driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design for the Bavarian maker.

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Tesla Workers Suffer Injuries “On Regular Basis,” Reveals New Report

Rate of injuries declining, company says.

by on May.25, 2017

The Tesla plant in Fremont originally was built by GM and later run as a GM-Toyota joint venture.

Workers at the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California suffered injuries at a 31% higher rate than the auto industry average, according to a new study by the non-profit group Worksafe, and more serious injuries occurred almost twice as often.

The study could complicate Tesla’s challenges at its only plant – which is getting ready to start production of the critical new Model 3 battery-electric vehicle at the same time there is a push by some workers to create a local union.

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Beyond the Headlines!

For its part, Tesla confirmed it has had problems, though it insists the issue is rapidly being addressed. “We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made. We now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far.”

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Ford Continues Management Shake-Up

New CEO names his own top team.

by on May.25, 2017

Raj Nair will shift from running product development to serve as head of Ford's North American operations.

Just days after Ford Motor Co. announced a new chief executive officer, incoming CEO Jim Hackett has revealed a sweeping realignment of his top management team, shuffling over a dozen senior executives into new position, ousting others, and even rehiring one Ford veteran who had quit to take a job heading Uber’s autonomous vehicles program.

Separately, Ford said that Hackett, the former head of furniture maker Steelcase, is now eligible for at least $13.4 million in compensation this year. That includes $1.8 million in salary, $7 million in stock-based compensation and various bonuses.

We Track the Changes!

“The leadership changes we are announcing today across our global business are important as we foster even greater teamwork, accountability and nimble decision-making,” the 62-year-old Hackett said in a statement released Thursday.

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First Drive: 2017 Kia Soul EV

Zippy performance overrides limited range.

by on May.25, 2017

The 2017 Kia Soul EV provides plenty of oomph to get around town while keeping its popular exterior design.

Driving a pure battery electric vehicle in the heartland can be a challenge.

But after a spending a week with the 2017 Kia Soul in around and around Detroit, I found it could be done with a little bit of planning and forethought.

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For starters, I enjoyed driving the Kia Soul. The electric motor is fitted into the shape of the gasoline version of the Kia Soul, which has become popular in recent years and is consistently one of the South Korean-brands most popular and best-selling models. (more…)