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Archive for December, 2017

Chevy May Be Ready to Unplug the Volt

GM shifting from plug-in to all-electric.

by on Dec.27, 2017

After a strong start, the second-gen Chevy Volt has been losing sales momentum this year.

General Motors is reportedly looking at unplugging the Chevrolet Volt, although the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid might remain in production until the end of its current lifecycle, around 2022, according to a report by AutoForecast Solutions.

The move would reflect not only sluggish sales but also a shift in strategy by GM. When the Volt came to market in 2010 many experts believed that plug-in hybrids would be the wave of the future. But as batteries become cheaper, more powerful and quicker to charge there’s a growing push for pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs like the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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GM was expected to add several spin-offs based on the Volt plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, or PHEV, but none has been forthcoming. Instead, the Detroit automaker now says it will launch another two BEVs over the next 18 months, with at least 20 all-electric or fuel-cell-powered models due out by 2023.


Uber Taking More Lumps Over Evasive Tactics

Company's problems expanding in Europe, Asia

by on Dec.27, 2017

Uber continues to face problems in London and now that's expanded to Vietnam.

Uber, even though it has promised to clean up its odious management culture, is still getting into trouble of trying to evade laws and regulations in various countries where it operates.

Taxi drivers in London, in one case that his gotten an enormous amount of attention, want to charge Uber’s top management in the United Kingdom with perjury after Transport for London accused ride-sharing company of lying to the High Court.

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In a 21-page letter to Uber seen by The Sunday Times, TfL says it refused to renew the company’s operating license in September because Uber had given it “materially false and misleading” information many times. (more…)

Elon Musk is “Dying to Build” a Pickup

Tweets it will follow launch of Model Y compact SUV.

by on Dec.27, 2017

A rendering shows the Tesla pickup which bears a strong resemblance to the Tesla Semi.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the battery-carmaker is moving forward on plans to bring a pickup truck to market – though he said it will have to wait until the launch of a new compact electric SUV to be called the Model Y.

Musk has been hinting about a pickup for some time, and said in a series of tweets that he is “dying to build it.” The basic design has been something the South African-born entrepreneur said he’s been working on for almost five years.

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A rendering of a possible pickup was revealed in mid-November during Tesla’s preview of its planned Semi truck and Roadster models. When asked earlier this year how the Tesla pickup might compare with the Ford F-150 Musk said it would be of “similar total size.”


Fiat Chrysler Recalling 1.8M Ram Pickups

Automaker is working on a fix for the problem.

by on Dec.26, 2017

FCA is recalling 1.8 million Ram pickups due to a problem with the shift interlock.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.8 million Ram pickups. The trucks can shift out of park due to a problem with the shift interlock and roll away without pressing the brake pedal.

The company said the problem is potentially related to seven injuries and a “small number” of accidents. According to FCA, testing show the interlock is exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time. The interlock is designed to keep the transmission from shifting out of park when the brake pedal isn’t depressed and there is no key in the ignition.

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The recall is limited to trucks with shifters on the steering column. Rotary-dial shifters or floor-mounted shifters are not impacted by the recall. Model year 2017 trucks build after Dec. 31, 2016, are also exempt. (more…)

Is This the Apple Car?

Patent application hints at Apple’s plans.

by on Dec.26, 2017

A sketch of a possible Apple Car interior helped illustrate the tech giant's patent application.

Despite the company’s traditional reticence to discuss projects in the works, it’s widely believed that Apple is working on a major automotive project – speculation that took on new life when CEO Tim Cook described self-driving vehicles as “the mother of all AI.”

As expected, Apple isn’t saying anything, but it gave another hint as to what’s apparently in the works this past week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the company’s application for a patent on a new “autonomous navigation system” last week.

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Many of the autonomous systems being developed are intended to operate by linking up a broader network that would provide things like weather and traffic information. The Apple filing, which actually occurred in 2015, appears to focus on ways to make self-driving technology more efficient and able to operation on its own, rather than depending on a link to other vehicles or a highway infrastructure system.” (more…)

US Tax Cuts Provides 1B Euro Boost to Daimler Shareholders

Company increasing dividend to global shareholders.

by on Dec.26, 2017

Daimler AG will benefit from the new tax cuts in the U.S. to the tune of $1 billion.

Daimler AG expects the reduction in U.S. federal taxes to boost the company’s net income by roughly 1 billion euros, which will lead to higher dividends next year for automaker’s shareholders around the world, the company said in a statement released during the Christmas holidays.

The new tax law pushed by President Donald Trump includes the permanent reduction of the U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, starting Jan. 1, 2018.

Global Auto News!

“Due to the broadly based U.S. industrial and financial services business, combined with a material value added, Daimler — similar to many other local U.S. companies — benefits from the decided tax reform,” according to a statement by Daimler, which builds, cars, heavy-duty trucks and large diesel engines at operations spread across the United States with major employment clusters in Portland, Oregon, Detroit and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (more…)

More Automakers Adding Life-Saving Auto-Brake Technology

Most hope to make it standard by early in next decade.

by on Dec.22, 2017

Automatic Emergency Braking, or AEB, is designed to step in when a driver misses a potential collision.

Its been shown to reduce the odds of a frontal crash, saving lives and preventing serious injuries in the process, and a new study finds that automatic emergency braking is rapidly becoming standard gear on cars sold in the U.S.

A number of automakers have, in fact, set out a goal of adding AEB to all of their products well ahead of the 2022 target most manufacturers agreed to as part of a precedent-setting industry-government consortium unveiled last winter.

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“IIHS is pleased to see that automakers are steadily moving toward the shared goal of putting standard AEB into every new car they sell,” said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which conducted the latest study with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “This is a big win for safety on our nation’s roads, which will see fewer crashes and injuries because of this commitment.” (more…)

Tesla, Porsche and Genesis Top CR Owner Satisfaction Study

Consumer Reports takes cover off 2018 Owner Satisfaction Survey.

by on Dec.22, 2017

Tesla owners are the most satisfied of all vehicle brand owners, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.

It’s the time of year for parties and if you stand around long enough, beverage and hors d’oeuvres in hand, talk will invariably turn to cars. Generally, this chatter centers on “what do you drive” and “how do you like it?”

Well, it would seem if someone at the party owns a Tesla, Porsche or Genesis, they’re going to fancy their vehicle the most, according to Consumer Reports’ 2018 Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey.

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Oddly, none of those three brands were even ranked last year. The biggest surprise may be Chrysler, which ranked fourth, up four spots from last year. Its FCA siblings are often panned in quality and satisfaction studies, but Chrysler appears to be immune to those criticisms. (more…)

Ford CEO Hackett Apologizes, Tells Harassers: “We Don’t Want You Here”

“Gut-wrenching” comments come as report reveals extensive problem at Chicago plants.

by on Dec.22, 2017

Ford CEO Jim Hackett has declared a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual and racial harassment.

Responding to reports of extensive and “gut-wrenching” sexual and racial harassment at two large Chicago plants, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett sent an open letter to company employees this week advising harassers, “We don’t want you here.”

Problems at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant and Chicago Stamping Plant were the subject of a detailed report by the New York Times this week. Women at the facility said they received little support and essentially no resolution when they tried to get the carmaker to address their concerns.

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“On behalf of myself and the employees of Ford Motor Company, who condemn such behavior and regret any harassment as much as I do, I apologize. More importantly, I promise that we will learn from this and we will do better,” wrote Hackett, who assumed the CEO post at Ford in May following a management shake-up.


Uber Loses Critical Court Case in Europe

Ruling puts Uber on par with taxis, subject same more restrictive rules.

by on Dec.22, 2017

Uber has been ruled a transportation company in the European Union, making it subject to tougher rules.

In a ruling with potential ramifications for the growing business of mobility services, the European Court of Justice, the top court in the European Union, has ruled that Uber is a transportation company.

Uber, the world’s best-known ride-hailing economy, with a valuation estimated $68 billion and operations in 600 cities worldwide, had argued it was a “digital platform” rather than a transportation services company just like any trucking or taxi company with deep roots in the industrial age.

European Union News!

The ruling basically confirms that Uber will continue to face regulation not only by local and national governments across Europe, but also by the EU itself. (more…)