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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Nissan Says “No” to UAW

Union wants talks to discuss organizing drive at Canton plant.

by on Mar.24, 2017

The UAW and Nissan are butting heads again over the maker's Canton, Mississippi, plant.

Nissan has rebuffed new efforts by the United Auto Workers Union to begin organizing the maker’s big assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi.

The factory has landed at the center of the UAW’s attention as it struggles to kick-start long-stalled efforts to represent workers at the many foreign-assembly plants that have sprung up across the South in recent years. Following a March 4 rally outside the plant headlined by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the union demanded to meet with company officials to discuss worker concerns.

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But Nissan executive Scott Becker responded by rejecting the proposed meeting, telling the UAW, “It would be inappropriate to have discussions with your union regarding employees at Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Canton, Miss., without your union first having obtained the support of a majority of employees at that plant.” (more…)

Ferrari Finds the Time to Celebrate 70th Anniversary

High-performance time piece requires a high price tag: $127K to start.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Ferrari celebrates the introduction of its new watch line commemorating the company's 70th anniversary.

Long considered one of the world’s premier automakers, Ferrari is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Of course, any auto aficionado worth his or her salt is desperately searching for a way to take part in this milestone.

Naturally, the first impulse is to simply got out and buy a new Ferrari. Of course, there is that issue of what one to get: LaFerrari? California? 488 Spider? All fine choices, but even with the production increases pushed through by Sergio Marchionne, it’s unlikely you’ll get behind the wheel of a new model this year.

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The used market is always a possibility, but who wants to scour Craigslist or Autotrader for a used Ferrari. The cheapest one currently on Ebay Motors – a 1994 348 in red, of course – has a “Buy It Now” price of $64,995. (more…)

New Legislation Attacks Cyber Security

Democratic senators looking to bolster security measures.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Sen. Ed Markey, above, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced new legislation aimed at eliminating cyber attacks on vehicles.

Republicans controlling Congress and the White House have called for a broad reduction in federal regulations, however, two Democratic senators from New England, Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have introduced bills bolstering cyber security of motor vehicles and aircraft.

“Whether in their cars on the road or in aircraft in the sky, Americans should be protected from cyber attack and violations of their privacy,” said Markey in a joint press release announcing the legislation this week.

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“If hackers access the critical systems of a car or plane, disaster could ensue and our public safety could be compromised.” (more…)

Ally Raises Caution Flag About 2017 Auto Sales

Increase in leasing hurting finance companies.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Ally Financial executives are sounding a warning, suggesting the current sales boom is fading.

As warnings go it wasn’t exactly a call to abandon ship, but it was a reminder that the auto sales boom of recent years is losing steam.

But Ally Financial Inc., which once upon a time was the financial arm of General Motors known as GMAC, has warned investors that its profit might not grow as quickly as it once thought because the demand for new cars is shifting.

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After two consecutive years of record sales, analysts are predicting another big year for auto sales in 2017. But the price that carmakers are paying to maintain that pace is climbing. (more…)

Will the Tesla Model 3 Be the Safest Car Ever?

New battery-sedan could prevent 90% of accidents, says analyst.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Tesla promises to launch Model 3 production in July, with retail sales following later in 2017,

Tesla has promised that its upcoming Model 3 will be loaded with a variety of high-tech features, including the latest version of the maker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system. And now, automotive analysts from Morgan Stanley are predicting the sedan will be the safest car ever made.

With “a supercomputer in every car,” they estimate in a new report that the new Model 3 will be 10 times safer than existing vehicles – or 90% less likely to be the cause of either vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-pedestrian fatal crashes. But that actually could disrupt both the conventional new and used car markets, Morgan Stanley is forecasting.

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“Look for an acceleration of the market’s awareness of the obsolescence of used cars and an acceleration of insurance company awareness to reprice premiums,” the report suggests.

(more…)

Toyota Cleans California Air Using Eco-Friendly Billboards

Maker's zero-emissions Mirai is a "vehicle of change."

by on Mar.23, 2017

The Toyota Mirai eco-billboard campaign will help clear the air from April 3–May 28. This is one of 37 billboards in the Los Angeles area.

The tables are turning in Los Angeles these days when it comes to smog. For decades, the City of Angels has battled a daily haze that comes with the crushing number of cars on its congested freeways.

However, many automakers are now producing vehicles with lower emissions, and no emissions in the case of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell-powered sedan. Toyota is now not only leading with what powers its vehicles, but also advertising the air clean.

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The Japanese maker is showing off its new zero-emissions vehicle with series of 37 eco-billboards in L.A. and San Francisco coated in a smog-reducing layer of titanium dioxide catalyst. (more…)

Ford Taking 50% Hit to Q1 Earnings

Falling sales, big mobility investment cuts into profits.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Ford expects first quarter profits to fall 50% due to sliding sales, the company told investors.

Sliding vehicle sales and the ongoing in investment in mobility enterprises are going to cut Ford Motor Co. profits by 50% and reduce full-year profits by nearly $1.5 billion.

The assertions were made by Ford executives during investor conference calls and in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The company noted it expects first quarter 2017 earnings per share between 30 cents and 35 cents, which equates to just under $1.9 billion and lower than the first quarter of 2016. Last year, the automaker earned 68 cents per share for the first quarter and had a record quarterly pre-tax profit of $3.8 billion: One of its best quarters ever. (more…)

Automakers Joining Rush to Unlimited Data Plans

Approach expected to expand use of in-car tech, hot-spots.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Onboard WiFi hotspots can link to as many as eight different mobile devices in some cars.

Virtually every automaker now offers the ability to pair a smartphone with their vehicles’ infotainment systems. More and more are adding phone-based technologies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as WiFi hotspots that can be used by numerous mobile devices simultaneously. Ford and VW, meanwhile, are now integrating Amazon’s cloud-based voice assistant, Alexa, into their vehicles.

The downside is that all these features can blow through a motorist’s data plan at a frenetic pace, quickly adding unexpected charges to the monthly bill. The four major service providers have been addressing the data drain for smartphone users by introducing new, unlimited data plans. Now, they’re looking to do the same thing for those who subscribe to vehicle data plans.

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Jaguar Land Rover today announced it will offer unlimited data on vehicles using its InControl WiFi system for $20 a month. The prepaid plan retains AT&T as the provider for data services to its vehicles. InControl is offered as a standard feature on some JLR models, and as an option on others.

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Mazda May Bring Back Rotary – as an EV Range Extender

Japanese maker's first EV reportedly on tap for 2019.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Mazda is bringing back the Wankel. The famous rotary engine will be used as a range extender in the maker's new battery-electric car.

After years of trying to find a way to meet tough global emissions and mileage regulations, Mazda officials have apparently given up on plans to bring back the Wankel engine perhaps known for its use in sports cars like the RX-7 and RX-8 – but the rotary isn’t dead and buried.

Several senior Mazda sources have now revealed that the Wankel will make its return under the hood of the Japanese automaker’s first battery-electric vehicle. If that has you scratching your head, the explanation is simple: the rotary will serve as a range-extender for the EV Mazda is expected to launch sometime in 2019.

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It’s the same approach that BMW is using for a range-extender for its little city car, the i3 REx, albeit with a rotary, rather than conventional piston engine. Once the batteries are drained, the Wankel will fire up to keep the car rolling until the driver can stop for a recharge. (more…)

Valmet Building Mercedes Next-Gen Small Cars in Finland

Valmet currently building Mercedes GLC, A-Class already.

by on Mar.23, 2017

Mercedes plans to build its next-gen small car on the same line as the GLC and the A-Class by Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Mercedes-Benz plans to expand its ties to Valmet Automotive, the Finnish company that has built electrified vehicles for companies such as Think and Fisker as well as sports cars for Porsche. It also builds the A-Class and GLC at the plant.

Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced this week that Valmet will produce the next generation of compact cars at its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Finnish company has been building the other Mercedes vehicles at the site since 2013.

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“We are convinced that the next generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars continues on its road to success,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management, in a statement. (more…)