Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for October, 2017

Waymo Gives Lo-Down on Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving firm looks to take fear out of autonomy.

by on Oct.31, 2017

Waymo launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

Waymo decided to provide a glimpse behind the curtain, allowing a group of media to take test rides in the company’s autonomous vehicles, explaining the testing process of the vehicles and sharing some insights about the company’s future.

The company, which is owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been testing self-driving Chrysler Pacificas and Lexus SUVs in several cities around the U.S., including a trial run at ride-hailing in Phoenix.

Subscribe Now!

The media event featured several structured events at the company’s facility, a former military base, near Atwater, California, designed to replicate real-life situations encountered by test vehicles on test runs, such as cars broken down on the side of the road or roadways littered with debris.  (more…)

Toyota Wants to Take the Air Out of Your Tires

Those round rubber donuts are going high-tech.

by on Oct.31, 2017

Toyota's Fine-Ride Comfort concept vehicle uses a prototype airless tire by Sumitomo.

If Toyota has its way you soon might be running around on airless tires. That doesn’t mean you’ll be riding a flat, though.

The Japanese automaker’s Fine-Comfort Ride concept car, which is making its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, features tires that don’t need to be inflated to be used. The airless design “contributes to greater safety and peace of mind,” according tire manufacturer Sumitomo, “by freeing the driver from worries about punctures and the trouble of having to manage tire pressure.”

We Won't Tire You Out!

Sumitomo isn’t the only manufacturer hoping to develop an airless tire. Michelin is working on a similar concept it has dubbed the “Tweel.” And though neither company is saying when such a design might make it into production, what seems clear is that motorists are going to see a lot of changes in wheels and tires in the coming years, reflecting broader technological changes reshaping the automobile.

(more…)

Toyota Ready to Rumble at Battle of the Builders

Company enlisted four NASCAR drivers to design Camrys.

by on Oct.31, 2017

NASCAR analyst and former Top Gear USA host Rutledge Wood designed a "Blurple" Camry for entry into SEMA's "Battle of the Builders."

Toyota rumbled into the SEMA show ready to do just that with two entries for the show’s famed, “Battle of the Builders.”

The Japanese automaker is entering a 2018 Camry and a Toyota C-HR into the competition featuring the efforts of Real Time Automotive and DG-Spec.

News You Can Trust!

“The Camry and C-HR are two all-new vehicles that we’ve introduced this past year, and we wanted to see just how far we could take them” said Steve Curtis, vice president of Media and Engagement Marketing for Toyota Motor North America. (more…)

Bloodhound Sniffs Victory as it Preps for 1,000 MPH Run

First test “a proper workout,” but the tough part is yet to come.

by on Oct.31, 2017

At 210 mph, the Bloodhound SSC was just warming up. It is designed to top 1,000 mph.

At just 210 mph it wasn’t much of a run for either Andy Green or the Bloodhound. But the first test drive of the jet-powered car was a clear sign that everything is coming together for what will a race for the record books.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Green’s first entry into the Guinness Book. On October 15, 1997, he became the first human to blast through the sound barrier in an earlier jet car, the ThrustSSC, reaching 714.144 miles per hour. Now, the 55-year-old Green is out to boost that number by more than 40 percent.

Setting Records!

It has been 10 years since the Bloodhound Supersonic Car, or SSC, project was first conceived. But it only this month made its first test run at Cornwall Airport Newquay, Green assessing the event as “a proper workout for the vehicle.”

(more…)

Raising Mexican Wages Key to New NAFTA Deal

Canadian, U.S. teams to pressure Mexico on wage concerns.

by on Oct.31, 2017

U.S. and Canadian negotiating teams agree that wages for Mexican workers are too low.

Despite differences, Canadians and negotiators for the United States apparently agree on one thing — the wages of Mexican workers are way too low under the current North American Free Trade Agreement.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, who has become an informal adviser on NAFTA to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross that the U.S and Canada have agreed that addressing the core issue of low Mexican wages is a key to breaking the impasse at NAFTA re-negotiations.

NAFTA News!

“There is a clear understanding that Canadian and American workers have both been injured by the siphoning off of manufacturing jobs to Mexico,” said Dias after the meeting “We agreed that Canada and the U.S. must work together to pressure Mexico to drive up wages significantly or face joint retaliatory measures.” (more…)

Chevy Goes Big at SEMA Show With Luke Bryan’s Suburban

Custom ute focuses on Bryan's outdoors-oriented lifestyle.

by on Oct.31, 2017

Chevrolet customized a 2017 Chevy Suburban for country music star Luke Bryan.

It is “SEMA Week” in Las Vegas and Chevrolet has put together a display that features more than 20 concept and production vehicles, including a special edition of the ever-popular Chevrolet Suburban developed for country music star Luke Bryan.

Bryan introduced the Suburban, which includes a crate engine system and accessories that reflecting his “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day” outlook.

Auto Show News!

“Chevy has been part of our family and a part of our work life on the farm for as long as I can remember,” said Bryan. “If you were a Bryan, you drove a Chevy — and I’m a longtime Suburban owner. (more…)

Are You Ready to “Subscribe,” Rather Than Buy or Lease?

Automakers search for easier, friendlier ways to sell their products.

by on Oct.30, 2017

The third-generation 2018 Porsche Cayenne is part of the German maker's new "subscription" service.

Like the new 2018 Hyundai Sonata sedan but not sure it’s the right model for you? No problem. The automaker just launched the Shopper Assurance program which, among other things, offers potential buyers a three-day, money-back guarantee.

Maybe your taste – and budget – runs more towards Porsche, but you can’t decide between the classic 911 sports car, the Panamera sedan or the big Cayenne SUV. No problem there, either, at least if you’re living in Atlanta, where the German automaker has set up the pilot Porsche Passport program. For as much as $3,000 a month, customers in Atlanta soon will be able to switch between as many as 22 different Porsche models pretty much whenever they want simply by using a smartphone app.

Subscribe Now!

At a time when the Internet has changed the way Americans shop for most everything else, automakers are looking for ways to revise the classic car buying process, an experience often likened to getting a root canal – without the anesthetic. They’re exploring ways to cut out the haggling, speed up the sales process and make it simpler and friendlier. Some are even letting motorists shop at home or office, rather than having to trudge to the dealer showroom. (more…)

Acura Roars into SEMA Show with NSX Racers

NSX models ready for the track.

by on Oct.30, 2017

The "Dream Project" Acura NSX created by ScienceofSpeed hits Vegas at 610 horsepower and 507 lb.-ft. of torque.

Acura is hitting the “Gambling Capital of the World” with a couple of winners: the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international and the “Dream Project” second-generation NSX created by acclaimed NSX specialist, ScienceofSpeed.

The folks at ScienceofSpeed have borrowed the best of the Daytona Prototype as well as the NSX GT-3 to give the Nouvelle Blue Pearl screamer a look that begs to be taken from the road to the track immediately.

Auto Show News!

This version of the NSX features a GT3-inspired carbon fiber aero kit, lightweight forged wheels, custom two-tone interior and subtle enhancements to the supercar’s powertrain and suspension to further elevate performance of the electrified supercar, Acura says, adding there are several nods to the original NSX.  (more…)

The Chinese Are Coming…In Fact, Some Already Are Here

And a lot more are coming, though some will be built in the U.S.

by on Oct.30, 2017

Volvo will soon add a stretched version of its XC90, the Chinese-made Inscription.

The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming! No, that’s not the call of a modern-day Paul Revere, but a warning we’ve been hearing around automotive circles for the better part of a decade.

A number of China’s domestic brands have shown off their wares at big auto events, including the Detroit and Los Angeles Auto Shows, but have yet to make the big leap across the Pacific and actually offer them for sale. That could happen in the very near future. We saw both Chery and Borgward reveal products earmarked for Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show just two months ago and we’d not be surprised to see more Chinese products at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit come January.

Stay Connected!

But for those who still wonder if and when the Chinese will get the quality, design, safety and content up to the demanding standards of the U.S. market, the answer is that they’re already there. And the big surprise is that at least three Chinese-made products are already on sale in the States, albeit wearing, Volvo, Buick and Cadillac badges – and with Ford soon to start bringing in a Chinese-made sedan.

(more…)

Toyota, BMW Get High Marks for Environmental Practices

Automakers make list for second consecutive year.

by on Oct.30, 2017

`

Toyota's prototype hydrogen truck with the automaker's 's fuel-cell-powered Mirai sedan reflect the company's commitment to green technology.

Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW have earned “A” Grades from the Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, which tracks corporate efforts to reduce climate change.

Both BMW and Toyota also received A-Grades from CDP for limiting water pollution. Five other global automakers, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Nissan and Volkswagen AG received A grades for curbing water pollution as the made the CDP list for 2017.

News You Can Trust!

Toyota and BMW also received double A grades in 2016.  (more…)