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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Other Automakers Cheating on Diesel? Not So Fast.

“No hard evidence,” though NOx numbers do exceed standards.

by on Oct.09, 2015

Diesels are inherently dirty, though modern pollution control systems can clean them up - if used properly.

In the wake of the VW diesel emissions scandal, a series of reports have suggested that other manufacturers might also be cheating, rigging their vehicles to do well on government tests while producing far more pollution in the real world.

The latest is a report in British newspaper The Guardian, its headline blaring, “Wide range of cars emit more pollution in realistic driving tests, data shows.” The paper cites real world test results from a UK lab that supposedly show some European diesel models emit up to 20 times the smog-causing oxides of nitrogen as EU rules permit.

The Last Word!

But that’s no surprise, and not necessarily a problem – never mind anything illegal — stressed Nick Molden, the CEO of that lab, Emissions Analytics, in an exclusive interview with and NBCNews.


Ford Hopes to Gain the Edge at SEMA

Three concepts based on Edge CUV to make Las Vegas debut.

by on Oct.09, 2015

Ford Edge Ignition gets a dynamic red and black paint job and enough power upgrades to make you wonder if it's not really a Mustang.

Though it may be closed to the general public, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas has become a major showcase for the auto industry, mainstream and luxury manufacturers frequently using the annual event to reveal some of their more extreme concept vehicles.

Ford, for one, will be there in force this year, showing off more than 50 different vehicles – including three distinctive takes on its popular Edge crossover, as well as some distinctively modified versions of the 2016 Ford Explorer Sport.

Pushing Boundaries!

They range from modest styling updates to some seriously bad-ass performance packages developed by Ford and some of the market’s hottest aftermarket parts companies and tuners. (more…)

One in Three Americans Skips Vehicle Service, Repairs

Unnecessarily increasing the odds of a breakdown.

by on Oct.09, 2015

AAA made 24 mil roadside calls in 2014.

Are you tempting fate? You are if you are among the 35% of Americans who have been skipping or delaying vehicle service and repairs, according to a new study by AAA.

The motoring and travel organization wants that putting off repairs, such as oil changes, and battery and tire replacements, can not only leave a family stranded on the side of the road but put their health and safety at risk. A delayed repair also can mean higher costs later.

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“According to a survey of AAA’s certified Approved Auto Repair shops, consumers that forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher repair costs,” cautioned John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “These repair facilities estimate drivers can save an average of one hundred dollars per visit simply by properly maintaining their vehicle.”


Best Type of First Cars for Teens: Slow and Safe

IIHS lists suggest bigger, less powerful vehicles are top choices.

by on Oct.09, 2015

Stylish in its day, the 2009 Saab 9-5 is one of the better choices for first-time teenage drivers.

If your teenager’s first car doesn’t make them yawn, it may not be a good choice.

Putting teenagers behind the wheel is scary enough when a parent is in the vehicle with them, but what to choose for their vehicle not only heightens those fear, but it can also be a source of friction if their wants and a parent’s choice don’t align.

Product News!

However, a new list from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that boring and bigger are better when it comes to that first car. Fortunately, there are plenty of options in a variety of price ranges that meet those options. (more…)

UAW Taking Heat for Newest Version of FCA Contract

Critics of first deal already harping about second tentative pact.

by on Oct.09, 2015

UAW President Dennis Williams told FCA workers that he got the message, but critics are already picking apart the second tentative deal with FCA.

As the United Auto Workers’ top officers prepare to present a second tentative contract with FCA U.S. to the union’s Chrysler Council, they are already beginning to run into opposition from union members who scuttled the first contract.

The proposed agreement, which is supposed to set the UAW’s pattern for bargaining at General Motors and Ford, is expected to include a larger pay increase for second-tier workers. The new wage proposal would gradually move second-tier workers to close to $29 per hour over eight years. The raise represents a 53% bump for workers now getting the second-tier maximum of $19 per hour.

Union News!

UAW President Dennis Williams has said the new deal addresses many of the concerns workers had about the rejected contract. (more…)

Just Following Orders? Who Was Really Responsible for VW’s Emissions Cheating?

VW’s US CEO blames a “couple of software engineers.”

by on Oct.08, 2015

"This was not a corporate decision," VWoA CEO Michael Horn told lawmakers.

During a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told lawmakers that the German automaker’s emissions cheating scandal was the work of a handful of rogue employees and not a high-level corporate conspiracy.

His comments drew a skeptical response from members of the House Oversight and Investigations panel looking into the discovery that Volkswagen rigged the software controlling its four-cylinder diesel engines so that they would sharply reduce emissions while being tested. In real world use, however, they were allowed to produce as much as 40 times the U.S. mandate for smog-causing oxides of nitrogen.

Getting the Truth Out!

The Oversight panel has joined a growing list, including the U.S. Justice Department, the EPA and German federal prosecutors, trying to find out just how high up the command chain at Volkswagen the emissions rigging project was approved or, at least, known about. But some experts suggest the real question is whether VW management simply set the tone that made such subterfuge possible, even necessary.


VW’s Horn Tells Congress Maker Will Fix Diesel Problem

Claims he knew of a problem, but was told it was fixable.

by on Oct.08, 2015

VW's Michael Horn testified before a Congressional subcommittee today about the company's plans to resolve its problematic diesels.

Volkswagen of America Chief Michael Horn knew 18 months ago that there was an emissions problem with the German maker’s four-cylinder diesels, but was told it was a fixable problem.

Horn sat before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and led off with an apology for the problem that will require the recall of more than 500,000 vehicles in the U.S., then told them essentially he didn’t know what was going on.

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As Horn sat before angry group of politicians in Washington D.C., German prosecutors raided the company’s headquarters and other offices as part of the investigation in there about the problem. (more…)

VW Planning to Cut US Diesel Line-Up

Embattled German maker could face problems with planned recall.

by on Oct.08, 2015

VWoA CEO Michael Horn, shown with the CrossCoupe Concept, will testify before Congress.

It is, by far, the largest seller of diesel passenger cars on the American market, but in the wake of its embarrassing and costly emissions scandal, Volkswagen is planning to cut back the number of diesel products it will offer in the U.S. – at least for the coming year.

The decision to withdraw a request for regulators to certify some of its new models comes at the same time VW is working with the EPA to develop a fix for 482,000 diesels already sold in the States that were equipped with software designed to cheat on emissions tests. In real-world use, they may produce as much as 40 times the legal limit of pollutants such as smog-causing oxides of nitrogen.

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VW’s new CEO Matthias Mueller said this week the automaker plans to begin repairing the 11 million small diesels it sold worldwide with so-called “defeat device” software starting in January. But the U.S. recall could take longer to start. And there is concern that many current owners simply may refuse to get their vehicles repaired.


Buyers Continue Purchasing New Vehicles with Lower Fuel Efficiency

Fuel economy average drops again in September.

by on Oct.08, 2015

As sales of full-size trucks, like the F-150, continue to tick upwards, fuel efficiency averages for new vehicles slides downward.

As the sales of trucks and utility vehicles continue to surge, the fuel-economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. continues to drop, according to a monthly study by the University of Michigan.

In fact researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found the fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. as rated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency fell for the second month in a row. The average fuel economy, or window-sticker values, of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in September was 25.2 mpg, down 0.1 mpg from August.

Welcome to the Future!

“This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in September, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers,” said Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI. (more…)

Toyota Debuting 3 Concept Cars – And a Painfully Cute Robot – at Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota will cover the gamut with its Tokyo display.

by on Oct.08, 2015

The Toyota S-FR is expected to anchor a three sports car line-up Toyota is developing.

It’s long been known for plain vanilla design and lackluster performance, an image Toyota is intent on transforming. And with the addition of a trio of new sports cars, it just might.

Just three weeks ahead of the biennial Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota is giving us a hint of what it will be putting on display, and the list includes three “very different” concept cars, as well as a downsized version of the talking robot it sent into space.

What a Concept!

While the Kirobo Mini might push the cute factor to new limits, the Toyota S-FR will lead the Japanese giant into more sporty territory as one of three performance models it is soon expected to have in its line-up.