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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Feds Fine Ferrari $3.5 Million for Form Failure

Maker failed to report three deaths.

by on Oct.31, 2014

NHTSA fined Ferrari $3.5 million for failing to file appropriate forms for three years.

Federal safety regulators levied a $3.5 million fine against Ferrari after the sports car maker failed to report three deaths and simply neglected to file reports of any kind with U.S. officials.

The news follows official reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to sell the exotic carmaker.

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“There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscores the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. (more…)

Takata Slapped with Second Class Action Suit

Latest filing in California also names Honda as defendant.

by on Oct.31, 2014

Takata's been hit with a second class action lawsuit and a fourth overall. The latest suit was filed in California.

Even before the dust has settled on the first class action suit against airbag maker Takata, the Japanese supplier has been slapped with a second class action suit. The suit was filed in California.

Hagens Berman, a national class-action law firm, filed suit against Takata as well as Honda Motor Co. alleging the two companies were more interested in their bottom lines than the safety of consumers.

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The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Takata may have cut corners to build cheaper airbags, and that Honda may have bought its airbags from Takata to reduce manufacturing costs. The result, according to the complaint, is that instead of saving lives, defective Takata airbags in Honda automobiles are killing and maiming drivers and passengers involved in otherwise minor and survivable accidents. (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Teaming Up with Agusta

German maker returns to its roots.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The new Mercedes-AMG GT S and the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago: the best of the new business partners.

Mercedes’s performance division AMG has launched what it’s billing as a “long-term partnership” with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Agusta Motor SpA. The deal will give Mercedes-AMG GmbH a 25% stake in Agusta.

Exactly how the alliance will work remains to be seen – though Mercedes had a previous alliance with another high-performance bike maker, Ducati, before that Italian firm was snapped up by rival automaker Audi. Indeed, Mercedes is given credit for the invention of the motorcycle itself.

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“The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts,” explained Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes-AMG, in a prepared statement. The two, he added, “are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future – allowing the experience of utmost perfection, optimal performance and motorsport technology for the road.” (more…)

Ram Truck Sales Bolstering Chrysler Group Profits

Brand making inroads in full-size pickup segment.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the brand's fastest-selling model. Ram is gobbling up marketshare in the full-size pickup segment.

The battle for pickup truck supremacy is getting more intense and Ram is enjoying a run that is not only gaining it a larger marketshare, but also a major contribution to Chrysler Group’s bottom line.

While Ram is still No. 3 on the list of full-size truck sales, it’s an active player in the segment and, perhaps more importantly, the brand’s leadership is ready to jump in and scrap for sales.

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Bob Hegbloom, the new head of the Ram brand, said during a luncheon meeting with reporters that he was both surprised and disappointed with the Chrysler Group’s showing in the Consumer Reports annual quality survey, adding the company was moving to fix the problems cited by he influential magazine. (more…)

Cadillac Confirms New ATS-V Debut in LA

First V-Series model to go V-6.

by on Oct.31, 2014

Cadillac will up the performance quotient of the ATS sedan and coupe models with a new V-Series.

True, it might be lifting another maker’s tagline, but Cadillac will be going “vroom, vroom,” when it rolls into the Los Angeles Auto Show a couple weeks from now.

General Motors’ once-dominant luxury brand is planning a massive expansion of its product line-up over the next few years, and it will start bottom to top with the roll-out of the all-new ATS-V, the maker has confirmed. It’s the first high-performance version of the compact sedan and coupe models, and the first V-Series addition in some years.

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The debut will be equally significant if, as expected, the top-secret powertrain that will be used in the new ATS-V proves to be a twin-turbo V-6. That would mark the first time Caddy’s V-Series line shifts away from the classic V-8s that it has traditionally relied on.

(more…)

Porsche Pushes Into Bentley Territory with Panamera Exclusive Series

Limited-edition sedan lands above “base” Continental GT.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series is creating a little sibling rivalry with the Bentley Continental GT.

When it comes to the upper reaches of the luxury car market, it’s getting hard to tell the players without a scorecard. And that means some sibling brands are suddenly turning into rivals.

The latest example comes with the unveiling of the new Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series. While it’s not the most expensive model the German maker has ever offered – at barely a third the price of the 918 Spyder ultracar – the limited-edition sedan lands well above the “base” Bentley Continental GT and not much below the British maker’s top-line Mulsanne model.

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Then again, Bentley is getting ready to roll out an all-new luxury SUV, which could start siphoning sales away from Porsche, its Volkswagen Group partner. (more…)

Nissan Leaf Breaks EV Sales Record for U.S. – Again

Maker tracking to hit 30,000 units.

by on Oct.30, 2014

The Nissan Leaf broke it's on single-year sales record, which it set last year, with two months left this year.

And the winner is…the Nissan Leaf! Again.

The best-selling electric vehicle in the world set a new annual sales record in the U.S. with two months to spare. Through September, the company sold 21,822 Leafs and was on pace to beat the previous high of 22,610 in 2013.

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The Leaf set that record too. For the record, Leaf sales are up 36% this year and are on track to approach 30,000 units. (more…)

Michigan, Israel Join Forces in Advancement of Autos

New alliance may speed progress of EVs, safety technology.

by on Oct.30, 2014

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed an agreement to promote joint industrial research and development projects.

Aside from having reputations for being tough, resolute and gritty, the State of Michigan and Israel are adding a new entry to their list of descriptors: technology leaders.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Israeli Ministry of Economy are partnering to form the Michigan-Israel Technology Connect program to spawn new ideas for electric vehicles and driver protection.

The Automotive Journal of Record!

Using their respective networks and databases, the MEDC and MATIMOP, the Israeli Center for R&D, will help companies identify potential partners for this program. In addition, it is anticipated that companies will be seeking their own partners independently. Each project will require one partner based in Michigan and another based in Israel. (more…)

Sao Paulo Show Spotlights Some Hot Concepts

Nissan, Fiat and Chevy roll out some edgy possibilities.

by on Oct.30, 2014

The new Nissan Kicks concept takes the Nissan Extrem from pure fantasy to a market position that is a little closer to reality.

While we media scribes tend to focus on a handful of big car shows in Europe, North America and Asia, we risk missing some promising prospects that show up in other locales, this year notably the car show in Brazilian capital Sao Paulo.

Among the makers rolling out concepts for the occasion are Fiat, Chevy and Nissan. Each appears focused on finding distinct new white space between conventional product segments. That’s a tradition in Brazil, but according to several industry sources, don’t be surprised to see some of these show cars wind up in production – possibly even making it to the American market.

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That’s a particularly solid possibility, we’re being told, for the Nissan Kicks, a second take on the Japanese maker’s 2012 Extrem concept. (more…)

Federal Regulators Turning up Heat on Takata

NHTSA pushes supplier to speed up replacement part production.

by on Oct.30, 2014

NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman is pushing Takata to speed up production of replacement airbag components.

Takata is feeling the heat from federal safety regulators who are pushing the Japanese supplier to speed up the production of components necessary to repair the 7.8 million vehicles recalled due to their faulty airbags.

David Friedman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sent a letter to the supplier telling it to expedite the production of replacement inflators as well as informing Takata that it is insisting automakers that used the airbags make every effort to get the repairs done as quickly as possible, including extending service hours at its dealerships.

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Letters were sent to Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, BMW and Chrysler Group. Additionally, the agency wants to meet weekly with Takata executives weekly, according to a separate letter, Bloomberg reported. (more…)