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Archive for February, 2018

Prices of Replacement Parts Helps Drive Rise in Auto Thefts

Vehicles offer thousands in black market replacement parts.

by on Feb.16, 2018

The NICB reveals the individual prices for different replacement parts for vehicles.

Auto thieves had a strong year in 2017 with thefts up 4%, according to FBI statistics, and that number is expected to remain “strong” as many of these vehicles end up being chopped up for replacement parts.

The average car has nearly $10,000 in “replacement” parts that are sold on the black market.

The Last Word!

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) notes that today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident. Getting these parts from less-than-reputable sellers can equate to big profits for repair shops. (more…)

Global Auto Sales Set to Hit Record in 2018

Industry coming tantalizing close to 100 million mark.

by on Feb.16, 2018

Despite sluggish sales in the U.S. and China, global auto sales are expected to set a new record in 2018.

Global auto sales are expected to hit an all-time record in 2018 of 97.3 million vehicles, according to a new forecast by LMC Automotive.

That 2.1% jump over 2017 would come despite a weak market in North America, as well as softening growth in what is now the world’s largest automotive market, China, LMC researchers said during a media conference call.

News Now!

The U.S., in particular, posted its first annual decline in vehicle sales since the market hit bottom in 2010, and it remains unclear what will happen in 2018, LMC Managing Director Pete Kelly cautioning that it “could go either way.” (more…)

Another Transmission Recall at Fiat Chrysler

Move targets over 200,000 Pickups that could roll away.

by on Feb.16, 2018

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 229,000 Ram pickups due to a problem with the the trucks unexpectedly shifting out of park.

Fiat Chrysler will recall 229,000 Ram pickups due to a defect that cause them to unexpectedly roll away.

Because a pin can become dislodged inadvertently if a driver keeps a foot on the brake when it is shifted into park, the normal shift interlock mechanism can be deactivated, allowing the vehicle to unexpectedly shift out of park without a key in the ignition or a foot on the brake.

Safety News!

It is the latest in a series of transmission problems for the Detroit automaker, though most of the recent issues have involved new electronic shifters that don’t have a direct mechanical linkage to the gearbox. One issue was linked to the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, who was crushed by his Jeep two years ago. (more…)

Union Group Claims Racist Activities Increasing in Auto Plants

Reports of hanging nooses, harassment on the uptick.

by on Feb.16, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams said that the union is trying to eliminate racism and sexual harassment in plants.

Union activists have detailed a recent series of racial slurs and taunts in plants belonging to car makers and suppliers.

The report follows recent complaints by the EEOC detailing a climate of sexual harassment at Ford Motor Co. plant in Chicago that prompted warnings such behavior would not be tolerated from the company’s top executives, including CEO Jim Hackett, who visited the plant to re-inforce the message.

Union News!

United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams also said the union, which represents more than 415,000 employees at work sites across the country, harassment should not and would not be tolerated. (more…)

Autonomous Cars Will Have Same Impact as Smart Phones, Experts Claim

AI will make an enormous difference in future cars.

by on Feb.16, 2018

Autonomous vehicles are going to impact society as much as smart phones and the Internet, some experts say.

Autonomous vehicles will re-shape the world as decisively or even more decisively than the Internet or smart phones, one of the automotive industry’s top authorities on artificial intelligence told a panel sponsored by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

David Atkinson, head, Systems & Technology and Chief Research Scientist for Artificial Intelligence Silicon Valley Research & Development Center Continental AG, noted he spent most of his career, which stretches back into the 1980s working on variety of projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Technology News!

Atkinson said he took a job with Continental to work on the artificial intelligence applications that are critical to the development of autonomous vehicles. (more…)

EPA’s Pruitt Lets Polluting Diesel Trucks Glide Through Loophole

Gliders spew diesel pollutants at rate 43x more than new trucks.

by on Feb.15, 2018

A Fitzgerald employee mates an older diesel engine to a new truck body.

Less than a year after Volkswagen was hit for more than $4 billion in fines, penalties and fees related to the German maker’s noncompliant diesel engines, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to exempt U.S.-built “gliders” that spew emissions 13 times worse than all of VW’s diesels combined.

According to the New York Times, EPA Administration Scott Pruitt is not only set to approve the vehicles, he’s contemplating removing the cap on how many of them can be sold annually. The Obama administration was attempting to cap their production at 300 units annually.

News You Can Trust!

“Gliders” are trucks that use new truck bodies from Peterbilt, Freightliner and other manufacturers that are mated to rebuilt engines exempt from pollution standards. The resulting truck is cheaper, less expensive to maintain cheaper to repair and, in some instances, gets higher fuel economy than new trucks. (more…)

Mercedes-AMG GT Four-Door Caught Blowing in the Wind (Tunnel)

Debut coming at Geneva Motor Show.

by on Feb.15, 2018

The new Mercedes-AMG GT four-door is among the slipperiest sedans money can buy.

Think of them as tattoos, rather than camouflage, for there’s little left to the imagination in these shots of the new Mercedes-AMG GT four-door as it goes through wind tunnel testing ahead of its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The current GT is one of the more wind-slick models on the market, but stretching its length and wheelbase and then adding two more doors threatened to change aero equation massively, so it’s no surprise the German automaker designers have been spending so much time in the tunnel.

Performance News!

“Final tests will be carried out in the wind tunnel before the new member of the AMG GT family has its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show,” the automaker said in a statement accompanying these images, adding that, “It is already clear that the new family member is also a fine aerodynamic performer.” (more…)

China Extending Incentives for Electric Vehicles

Government pushing hard to increase number of EVs on roads.

by on Feb.15, 2018

Good news for Tesla and other EV makers in China as the government has extended incentives on electric vehicles.

The Chinese government appears to have extended the hefty incentives that helped ignite the rapid sales of electric vehicles in China, according to Bruce Belzowski, managing director of the automotive futures program at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Belzowski said during a UMTRI-sponsored conference on “Marketing New Powertrain Technologies,” said the Chinese government is prepared to go great lengths to promote the development of electric vehicles.

Global News!

While the Chinese now build millions of internal combustion engines every year, the government has concluded that the global automakers Japan, the United States and Western Europe have a major edge built around 100 years of experience, he noted.   (more…)

Highway Fatalities Dip After Two-Year Surge

“Complacency is killing us.”

by on Feb.15, 2018

More than 40,000 Americans died on the highway in 2017, despite a modest dip in fatalities.

Preliminary figures reveal that U.S. highway deaths declined nearly 1% last year but, at 40,100 fatalities, there’s no room for “complacency,” warned the National Safety Council.

Last year’s numbers were still significantly higher than in 2014 which marked the end of a decade-long decline in traffic deaths. And it is still the second year in a row that there were more than 40,000 Americans killed on the highway. The question, according to the NSC, is whether 2017’s decline was just brief a respite or the start of another era of improved automotive safety.

Breaking News!

“The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety.”

(more…)

Toyota Set to Reveal Supra at Geneva Motor Show

New model likely to come with Gazoo Racing badges.

by on Feb.15, 2018

Japanese auto magazine, Best Car, revealed several pictures of the yet-to-be-unveiled sports car, including this racing version.

This story has been updated with new information.

Toyota Motor Co. dropped a broad hint that it is preparing to unveil a concept car at the upcoming 2018 Geneva Motor Show that will signal the impending return of one of its most famous nameplates, the Supra.

However, a Japanese auto magazine, Best Car, released early pictures of the alleged sports car along with a smattering of technical information. The pictures show a vehicle closely related to its MKIV concept car from a few years ago.

Product News!

The automaker offered only a partial look at the new Supra, a car that helped embellish the Japanese automaker’s reputation for building some of the world’s best cars. The Supra has been gone – but hardly forgotten – from the Toyota model line for the better part of two decades. (more…)