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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Tesla Stock Price Sliding Due to Low Gas Prices

Analyst revises sales estimates due to fuel prices.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Low gas prices are taking a bite out Tesla's stock price in the last six weeks.

The low gas prices that have been a boon for truck and sport-utility sales are taking a toll on fuel-efficient and electric vehicles… and the stock price of at least one company: Tesla Motors.

The Palo Alto, California-based automaker saw its stock close below $200 a share yesterday for the first time since mid-February at $197.81, which was down $6.23 for the day. The drop below $200 was tied, in large measure, to concerns about declining gas prices.

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While the stock rebounded today, closing at $205.81, that doesn’t mean the impact of gas prices isn’t having a long-term effect. Tesla stock has been sliding steadily since the middle of November when it was in the mid-$250 range. This coincides with the time gas prices were in the early throes of their decline. (more…)

Infiniti May Go from Digital Track to Street with Vision Gran Turismo

GT car could come to life as halo for luxury brand.

by on Dec.17, 2014

The Infiniti Vision is the latest addition to Gran Turismo for PlayStation 3. The car could jump from television screen to the streets.

Pity the poor car designer who comes up with a great idea, only to have to cope with the realities of product development, marketing and manufacturing. The results can be downright depressing when your concept re-emerges looking like a Pontiac Aztek.

No wonder, then, designers line up for a chance to work with the folks from Sony on their Gran Turismo videogame for PlayStation 3. The latest to put a car on that virtual track is Infiniti, which is giving us a look at its new Vision Gran Turismo concept.

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But if you like what you see, hang tight. What started out as an internal competition to “design a pure Infiniti GT car” just might have a practical application, after all, the maker suggesting the digital concept could just be a hint of “what a high performance Infiniti could look like in the future.” (more…)

Your Smartphone Could Soon Replace Your Car Keys

Digital keys could be shared – and could make car-sharing even easier.

by on Dec.17, 2014

The Keyfree digital key system in use.

A small Toronto technology start-up could unlock some major changes in tomorrow’s cars, trucks and crossovers.

Keyfree Technologies plans to introduce what it is billing as the “world’s first digital car key solution” during a preview at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Unlike traditional, metal car keys, or more modern wireless keyfobs, the company’s system would use a digital smartphone app to control a vehicle’s doors and ignition.

Stay Keyed In!

“This is the first technology that allows car owners to leave their keys at home,” explained Shane Wright, CEO of Keyfree.  “The key is in your phone, just like your camera, your maps and your calendar.  Users can share digital keys with their family and never have to hunt for misplaced keys again.  And with military-grade encryption, Keyfree is far more secure than current key fob technology.”

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Car Thefts Plunge By More than Half

Better technology, increased enforcement keep thieves at bay.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Car thefts surged in the 1970s and '80s, but the numbers have been falling since 1991's peak.

There may be far more cars on the road, but car theft has plunged 58% since 1991’s all-time high, according to newly released FBI data.

Increased law enforcement and enhanced automotive technology have combined to make it tougher on car thieves, though nearly 700,000 vehicles were still snatched in the U.S. last year.

By the Numbers!

Nonetheless, “It means that if you own a vehicle, your chances of having it stolen today are statistically and significantly less than at any other time since 1960,” according to a new analysis of the FBI data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB.

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GM Ignition Switch Related Deaths Rises to 42

Feinberg approves four more fatalities for settlements.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Kenneth Feinberg has approved 42 claims for death benefits from the GM victims compensation fund.

While General Motors’ executives continue to speak confidently of having put the ignition switch recall in the rear-view mirror, casualty claims related to the defective vehicles continue to climb.

Four more deaths have been linked to the ignition defect, raising the total to 42 fatalities, according to a report Monday from the attorney running the compensation fund for victims of crashes attributed to the faulty ignition.

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GM has received a total of 2,326 claims — 251 for deaths, 156 for catastrophic injuries and 1,919 for less-serious injuries that required hospitalization — according to the latest report from Kenneth Feinberg, the New York super lawyer, who was selected by GM to administer the claims settlements. (more…)

Reborn Acura NSX Set for Detroit Debut

Redefining the supercar – again.

by on Dec.17, 2014

Acura offers a tease of the 2016 NSX.

When it made its debut in 1990, the original Acura NSX changed the way supercars were supposed to look and feel. And now, with an all-new version of the Japanese rocket set to make its formal debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, Acura hopes to pull off the same magic.

Set to reach showrooms late next year, likely as a 2016 model, the reborn Acura NSX aims to show that hybrid power isn’t just about boosting mileage. The sports car’s unusual drivetrain will pair three electric motors with a turbocharged six-cylinder internal combustion engine to deliver the sort of performance typically associated with exotic European brands, promised a senior company official.

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“The performance is spectacular…an other-worldly experience,” suggested John Mendel, the top U.S. executive for Acura’s parent Honda Motor Co. “It not only puts a smile on your face but helps you pucker in the right place.”

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Feds Will Force Takata, Makers to Expand Airbag Recall

NHTSA preparing court case if companies decline request.

by on Dec.16, 2014

Takata's Hiroshi Shimizu said the company does not feel it's appropriate to expand the recall of its airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to try to reassert itself as the nation’s safety watchdog by announcing its working on building a case it can use in court against Takata Corp. and three automaker to compel them to expand the existing regional airbag recall to a national action.

David Freidman, NHTSA’s deputy administrator, said today the agency is pressuring the Japanese supplier as well as Ford, Chrysler and BMW to enlarge the recall, which would add another 5 million vehicles to action. Currently, there are just under 8 million.

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Regulators will take the companies to court, if necessary, to compel them to take those steps, Friedman told reporters, adding the agency is reviewing tens of thousands of pages to develop “an airtight case” to present in federal court if the makers don’t comply voluntarily. (more…)

Alphabet Soup as Chrysler Becomes FCA US LLC

Familiar name to remain only on Chrysler brand products.

by on Dec.16, 2014

More changes for the newly merged Fiat Chrysler.

After nearly 90 years, it’s the end of the road for the familiar Chrysler corporate name.

Just two months after the maker completed its merger with Italy’s Fiat, the U.S. side of the company will abandon the familiar Chrysler Group LLC to become FCA US LLC.

What's in a Name!

The name is meant to better reflect that of the new parent company, the global Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

“FCA US continues to build upon the solid foundations first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925 as well as a rich Fiat heritage that dates from 1899,” the company said in a prepared statement.

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Volvo Selling Cars to Public Via the Internet

Maker undertaking radical marketing and sales strategy.

by on Dec.16, 2014

The new XC90 was sold on the Internet by Volvo: successfully. The company plans to roll the plan out across its line-up.

For more than a decade, automakers have attempted to sell new cars and trucks on the Internet, but with little success. However, Volvo seems willing to take crack at it.

The Swedish automaker, now owned by China’s Geely, went through a trial run with its new XC90 earlier this year, selling out the entire run of the crossover. It’s using the Internet again for its “Designer’s Choice” XC90, which consists of four models with different equipment and colors determined by the maker’s design team.

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The company now plans to expand its use of the Internet across its entire line-up. The process allows a buyer to order a Volvo online and submit a down payment using a credit card. Volvo forwards the information to a local dealer who then contacts the buyer. A buyer can get a refund if the buyer and the dealer can’t agree on price, delivery date or other particulars. (more…)

Ford Stock Taking Hit over Uncertainty Surrounding F-150

Will customers pay for pricey truck innovations with low gas prices?

by on Dec.16, 2014

The all-new Ford F-150 has some Wall Street analysts worried. Ford's stock is down 7.5% this year.

The launch of the new Ford F-150 pickup truck has been giving the Wall Street a case of the jitters ever since it was unveiled at the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

Ford Motor Co. stock tumbled again after an analyst’s note suggested the recent drop in price of oil, which has cut the price of gasoline to the lowest point in five years, might undercut Ford’s the strategy behind the new truck, which is made of aluminum to reduce weight and improve fuel economy.

Power!

In trading Monday, the value of Ford shares dropped 4.7%, to close at $14.28, the lowest since Nov. 10. By way of comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined than 1% (.58%) on Monday, while the Standard & Poors also declined less than 1% (.63%). Ford’s shares are off 7.5% so far this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen 7.6%. (more…)