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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Judge Approves $15 Bil VW Diesel Deal

But more legal problems await.

by on Jul.26, 2016

Judge Charles Breyer gives the deal a tentative go.

The $15 billion settlement last month in the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal has won the tentative approval of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer — but despite the record price tag, it doesn’t end the automakers legal problems.

The deal includes $10 billion to buy back or repair about 475,000 VW vehicles equipped with diesel engines that were rigged to illegally pass emissions tests. The rest of the settlement will go to various programs meant to compensate for the excess pollution those vehicles produced.

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“Volkswagen appreciates the constructive engagement of all the parties,” the maker said in a statement that followed Breyer’s ruling, “as the settlement approval process moves forward. The parties believe that the proposed settlement program will provide a fair, reasonable and adequate resolution for affected Volkswagen and Audi customers.”

The ruling brought an equally positive response from those on the other side of the courtroom.

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Fiat Chrysler Putting $1.48B into Detroit-Area Plant

Upgrades part of plan to convert U.S. plants to truck, utility production.

by on Jul.26, 2016

Chrysler is plowing $1.48 billion into the Sterling Heights Assembly plant to ready it for Ram 1500 production early next year.

The transformation of Fiat Chrysler’s North American production footprint continued forward today with the announcement of $1.48 billion in upgrades to one of its suburban Detroit plants.

FCA is moving all of its car production out of the country and concentrating its U.S. manufacturing resources on its highly profitable truck and utility line-ups. The Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant currently builds the Chrysler 200 sedan, but after the changes, it will make the Ram 1500 pickup truck.

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Chrysler 200 production will end in December, at which point, the company will begin work on the changeover. The announcement follows the company’s first step: a $1 billion overhaul of plants in Toledo, Ohio, and Belvidere, Illinois. (more…)

Nissan Expands Titan, Titan XD Line-Up with New Single Cab Models

Both models deliver added cargo, tow capacity.

by on Jul.26, 2016

Nissan introduced its new single cab versions of the 2017 Titan and Titan XD.

Aiming to do a better job competing with the established Detroit pickups, Nissan is adding an assortment of different versions of its second-generation Titan truck, and the latest to roll out is the Single Cab model.

Make that “models,” as there will be single-row version of both the standard-duty 2017 Nissan Titan and the maker’s medium-duty Titan XD.

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“Once we complete the roll-out of all Titan cab, bed, powertrain and grade level configurations, our all-new TITAN family will cover about 85% of the total light pickup marketplace,” said Rich Miller, Nissan North America’s director of Product Planning for Trucks, SUVs and Commercial Vehicles. (more…)

Aiming at Tesla, Audi Planning Three Battery-Cars by 2020, CEO Says

Porsche boosts hiring plans for Mission E sports car project.

by on Jul.26, 2016

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

As the brand shifts attention away from its diesel line-up to new, greener technologies, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler wants to have three pure battery-electric models in the line-up by 2020, even if that means dropping some conventional models to come up with the necessary R&D dollars.

Audi has already confirmed plans to launch a battery-electric SUV by 2018 and, in a new interview with German newspaper the Heilbronner Stimme, Stadler confirmed the maker wants 25 to 30% of its total sales to come from electrified models by 2025.

Clearing the Air!

In the wake of parent company Volkswagen AG’s diesel emissions scandal, Audi and other VW brands have been shifting emphasis to battery-based models. Porsche, which is developing the Mission E electric sports car, said on Tuesday that it now expects to create 40% more jobs to handle that project than originally planned.

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Judge to Decide on $15 Bil VW Settlement

Deal likely to get okay, but other challenges remain in diesel scandal.

by on Jul.26, 2016

Judge Charles Breyer will address the proposed 2.0-liter settlement during today's hearing.

The $15 billion deal covering Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating faces a critical test in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.

The jurist is widely expected to approve the settlement between the German maker and various federal and state agencies. It includes $10 billion to buy back or repair about 475,000 VW vehicles equipped with diesel engines that were rigged to illegally pass emissions tests. The rest of the settlement will go to various programs meant to compensate for the excess pollution those vehicles produced.

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The deal only covers a 2.0-liter diesel engine, however. VW is still trying to negotiate a settlement for charges it rigged a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, as well. Meanwhile, the automaker faces a variety of other legal issues that could add billions to the final cost of the scandal – including lawsuits filed this month by three individual states.

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Get Safer Teen Drivers by Giving Them Better Cars

U.S. News unveils new car list for teens.

by on Jul.26, 2016

New safety technologies offer parents some peace of mind as their youngsters get behind the wheel.

Parents of soon-to-be-teenage drivers are often faced with a tough decision: what should the newly minted motorist tool around town in?

There two trains of thoAdd an Imageught on this: an older car that when it gets a dings, scratches and dents that often come with learning the rules of the road won’t require a call to the insurance company or a newer vehicle replete with the latest in safety technology, but often comes with a monthly payment and a much higher insurance tab.

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If the latter of the two is your choice, then you’re facing a mountain of choices, all of which will likely be pretty good. However, the folks at U.S. News and World Report have compiled their annual list of Best New Cars for Teens to help parents weed through the options. (more…)

Study Finds 45 Million Vehicles on US Roads With Unrepaired Recalls

Problem has grown as annual recall rates have surged to record levels.

by on Jul.25, 2016

A recent J.D. Power survey concludes there are 45 million recalled vehicles on U.S. roads in need of repair.

More than 45 million vehicles roam U.S. roads with unrepaired problems subject to safety recalls since just 2013, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates – and the figure doesn’t include millions of vehicles subject to older recalls.

With the number of recalls reaching record levels for the last two years, the problem has been growing more serious, the consumer research company warns. In just 2015, 51 million vehicles were involved in safety campaigns, stretching the limits for manufacturers to supply replacement parts and dealers to free up the necessary service bays.

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“The steady surge in recalls, combined with NHTSA’s stated goal of 100% recall completion rates have made the number of un-remedied recalls still on the road a critical statistic for automakers and dealers,” said Renee Stephens, the head of automotive operations at J.D. Power. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Facing Potential Legal Battle about Sales Reporting

Automaker allegedly reported incorrect sales results.

by on Jul.25, 2016

FCA Sales Chief Reid Bigland put a stop to the automaker's sales practices designed to keep its 75-month streak of increasing sales alive.

Fiat Chrysler is in the midst of one of the most impressive sales streaks ever. The automaker’s on a 75-month run of consecutive month-over-month sales, although an internal review conducted by the automaker is revealing that the streak may not be true.

At certain times during the run, thousands of vehicle sales reported by FCA brands for which there were no actual buyers, according to two company sources, according to a report in Automotive News.

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U.S. sales head Reid Bigland put a stop to the practice, which resulted in FCA US reporting sales of 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles. After they had been reported as sold by dealers, they were then “unwound,” the publication reported. (more…)

Pokemon Go, er, Stop

Driving and augmented reality don’t always play well together.

by on Jul.25, 2016

Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people across America are hunting for Pokemon as part of Nintendo's new Pokemon Go game.

Nick Johnson was close to living up to his childhood dream of becoming a Pokemon master. He had captured all but a few of the remaining 142 monsters in the augmented reality reboot of the long popular game.

But try as he might, he couldn’t seem to catch up to those remaining Porygons and Dratinis, so he finally gave up on using shoe leather and hired an Uber car to drive him around New York City before finally earning a spot in the gamer’s hall of fame as the first player confirmed to have swept up all the monsters available in North America.

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Unfortunately, other Pokemon Go players aren’t quite as conscientious as Johnson, who works for a platform innovation company. There are growing reports of motorists staring at their smartphones as they drive around on their Poke-quests. One, in Baltimore, plowed into a police cruiser, while another slammed into a tree in Auburn, New York. (more…)

GM Reveals More About Supercruise

Semi-Autonomous tech delayed until late 2017.

by on Jul.25, 2016

GM will debut Supercruise on the Cadillac CT6.

Wary of the problems that appear to have caused the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S running in semi-autonomous mode, General Motors wants to take a bit more time before rolling out its own Supercruise system.

And that should allow GM to be much more confident that the technology will work as planned, said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ global product development chief. Among other things, once Supercruise makes its debut on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it will feature a retinal recognition system designed to make sure that a driver is paying attention to the road, even if their hands aren’t on the wheel.

Tech Talk!

The May 9th Tesla crash appears to have been the result of a system malfunction that failed to recognize when a truck turned in front of the Model S sedan. But there are also some indications the 40-year-old driver was distracted, possibly watching a video on a laptop computer, rather than acting as a human backup to the Autopilot system.

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