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Technology Available to End Child Heatstroke Deaths Now

Legislation focuses on automakers, but car seat tech is available immediately.

by on Aug.09, 2017

Child-seat-based technology is available right now that could help eliminate child heatstroke deaths in cars.

Stories about children and pets being left in hot cars needing to be rescued by law enforcement officials or passersby or, worse yet, not being saved at all, have pushed legislators to act.

Both houses of the U.S. Congress have introduced legislation compelling automakers to develop some form of rear seat warning system that would help alert drivers when they exit a vehicle if there is someone in the back seat.

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Thirty children have died this year – a 20% increase over 2016 – as a result of being left in hot cars. The problem is trending in the wrong direction as the number of deaths rose in 2015 and 2016. This doesn’t account for pets left in vehicles. (more…)

Nissan Agrees to Pay $97.7M in Takata Settlement

Less than 30% of Nissan vehicles have been repaired.

by on Aug.08, 2017

Nissan is paying $97.7 million to owners of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags.

Nissan agreed to pay $97.7 million to owners of its vehicles equipped with deadly Takata Corp. airbags to offset economic losses on the 4.4 million cars in the U.S. The move is part of a settlement with those owners.

The automaker said in a statement that it was not admitting fault under the settlement, which is similar to that of other companies that used the potentially lethal airbags.

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In June, a federal judge in Miami granted preliminary approval to settlements with Toyota Motor Corp., Subaru Corp., BMW AG and Mazda Motor Corp. totaling $553 million and affecting 15.8 million vehicles with Takata inflators, according to Reuters. (more…)

Popularity of Convertibles in US Coming from Odd Places

Droptops comprise 11.2% of available models.

by on Aug.08, 2017

According to Cars.com, the Camaro convertible is the most popular droptop in the U.S. this year.

Car buyers looking to engage in a little sun worshipping as the they drive have plenty of options these days. In fact, there 30 vehicles to choose from despite the fact droptops comprise just a little more than 10% of all vehicles sold.

Convertible sales have been on the rise in recent years, as have the number of options for getting a ragtop. Perhaps the biggest driverin the sales increase is the improvement in materials and technology, have made these vehicles increasing popular in new places.

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“There are 30 models categorized as convertibles that are currently available, which is 11.2% of all new vehicles on the market, yet convertibles only capture 0.8 percent of sales at dealerships,” said David Greene, a data analyst with Cars.com. (more…)

Elio Motors Looks to Raise $100 Million with New Offering

Production date of three-wheeler pushed back to 2019.

by on Aug.07, 2017

The Elio will get 84 mpg when the three-wheeler hits the streets.

Paul Elio is still determined to make his three-wheeled dream a reality. Elio Motors, the much-ballyhooed company created to make it happen, is looking to raise as much as $100 million in a new public offering.

The Elio is a three-wheeled, two-seat car that was expected to get 84 mpg. The car was initially featured a target price of $6,800, but that’s risen since its introduction several years ago to $7,450. The car is produced in a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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In addition to asking for the $100 million, the company revealed in the filing that production vehicles will be unlikely to hit the road until 2019, which is a year later than the last estimate. More than 62,000 people have paid for reservations for the vehicles. (more…)

Chevy Bolts Past Tesla Model S in Range Testing

Magazine still ranks Model S as the top EV in its rankings.

by on Aug.04, 2017

The Chevy Bolt exceeded its EPA rating for a single charge traveling 250 miles, beating two Model S variants.

With all of the buzz recently surrounding Tesla other EVs, like the Chevy Bolt, have kind of faded into the background … until a report from Consumer Reports revealed the aforementioned Bolt outdistances the Tesla Model S on a single charge.

The magazine put the Bolt and two Model S versions, the 75D and 90D, to the test for and the smaller and much less expensive Bolt came out on top traveling 250 miles, which exceeds its EPA-expected distance of 238 miles.

The Last Word!

The Model S 75D traveled a mere 235 miles, even though it’s rated to travel 259 miles on a charge. The 90D made it 230 miles before it shut down, falling short of its expected distance of 257 miles. It should be noted that both Tesla vehicles were 2016 models. (more…)

VW Exec Pleads Guilty in Diesel Scandal

Schmidt becomes second VW employee to plead guilty.

by on Aug.04, 2017

Former VW manager Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

As expected, Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty for his role in the German automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. The plea came today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

He is the second VW employee to plead guilty to charges related to the diesel scam, 62-year-old James Robert Liang the first to do so last September.

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Schmidt is expected to face up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000 after admitting to conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violating clean air laws, as part of the plea agreement, according to Reuters. (more…)

Automakers Do About Face on CAFE Standards

Desire for stronger rules cuts across party lines.

by on Aug.02, 2017

AAM President Mitch Bainwol said that recent polling shows consumers believe automakers should have to meet tougher emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

Automakers seem to be really trying to listen to the consumer these days. They’re shifting production to include more SUVs and crossovers and loading vehicles up with new tech, and now they’re suddenly in favor of tougher CAFE standards.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, whose members include General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp., is calling for agreement between the Trump Administration, federal regulators and the State of California.

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During a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, Mitch Bainwol, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said consumers want tougher regulations when it comes to fuel economy and their voices should be heard. (more…)

Michigan Tops Most Expensive Auto Insurance List — Again

Maine comes in as least expensive for coverage.

by on Aug.01, 2017

Michigan residents pay more for auto insurance than drivers in any other state, according to a new study.

For the fourth consecutive year, Michigan residents are the kings of paying more than anyone for auto insurance, according to Insure.com, putting out an average of $2,395 year for coverage: 82% higher than the national average.

The national average for car insurance is $1,076 per year.

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Conversely, drivers in Maine enjoy the lowest premiums in the country. Their rates are 34% lower than average coming in at $864 each year. This is the third year in a row, and sixth time in the last eight years Maine has been the cheapest state. (more…)

Tesla Delivers: First 30 Owners Get New Model 3s

Company ramping up to 5,000 vehicles per week target.

by on Jul.29, 2017

Elon Musk, Tesla founder and CEO, talks through a design issue on Model 3 during the new vehicle's debut.

In front of a crowd of thousands of cheering Tesla employees, Elon Musk may have taken the shortest victory lap ever, driving a new Model 3 onto a stage, a route of probably less than 500 feet to kick off the delivery of the first 30 Model 3s to customers.

Though the hype leading up to the moment was tough to escape, it was a milestone moment in the company’s history — a moment many thought to be a pipe dream about a decade ago when Musk was running around with the Roadster telling folks a mainstream EV was the company’s goal and that it would happen.

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“The whole point of Tesla was to build a great affordable electric car,” Musk said last night. “That’s what this day means. I’m confident it’ll be the best car in its class, gasoline or not, hands down.” (more…)

Wells Fargo Paying $80M to Customers Over Insurance Snafu

Customers charged for auto insurance without being informed.

by on Jul.28, 2017

Wells Fargo will pay $80 million to resolve problems associated with its auto loan programs.

Wells Fargo is ponying up $80 million in refunds and account adjustments to auto loan customers because the bank charged them for auto insurance without telling them. In most cases, the loan customers already had insurance.

Of the 570,000 customers who were charged, 490,000 had auto insurance from some other provider. The loans had a provision that allowed the bank to charge for insurance coverage if there was no evidence the loan customer had it.

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The actions included loans from 2012 through this year. In some instances, customers had their vehicles repossessed because of problems with the additional payments. The bank will pay $64 million in cash and make $16 million in account adjustments as part of the program. (more…)