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Takata Troubles Could Grow Significantly

NHTSA reduces earlier recall total – but launches new investigation.

by on Sep.03, 2015

Until now, the focus has been on frontal airbags in older vehicles using Takata inflators. The new investigation could broaden the issue substantially.

For embattled Japanese supplier Takata, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has both good news and bad.

U.S. safety regulators earlier this week announced that the recall linked to potentially deadly frontal airbags will be smaller than originally predicted. But NHTSA now says it has begun an investigation that could yet add millions more vehicles using Takata’s airbags inflators due to new reports of dangerous malfunctions.

News You Can Trust!

What’s particularly worrisome to observers is that the latest investigation could expand a future recall to cover not just older vehicles but millions of newer models. And the new NHTSA probe is targeting a wider range of airbag types, including side-impact restraints, and not just the frontal devices covered by the original Takata recall.

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First Drive: 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6

No-compromise diesel is fuel-efficient, quick and powerful.

by on Sep.02, 2015

In the U.S. both the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport now offer a Td6 diesel option.

The rock and gravel path seems to vanish as we approach the edge of the cliff. But we’re determined not to give up. So, tapping a few buttons on the center console , we press on – and over, the big SUV maintaining complete control all the way down.

A moment later, we come to an equally daunting challenge. The only way to continue is to climb up and over a slick wall of granite. It’s the sort of obstacle that might leave other vehicles stranded. But not the 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6. We point the noise, tap another button on the steering wheel and lift our feet off the pedals. Requiring only a little guidance on the steering wheel, the Range Rover begins its climb as confidently as a mountain goat.

Trailblazing!

The British SUV has long had a reputation as one of the most competent trailblazers you could find. The 2016 model takes things to an entirely new level. And with the addition of the first diesel powertrain bound for the U.S., the 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6 adds to the formula unexpectedly compelling fuel economy.

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Jeep Will Keep Wrangler Production in Toledo, Add New Wrangler-Based Picked

But maker will relocate production of popular Cherokee model.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The question has been answered: Jeep is re-entering the truck market with the Wrangler-based truck.

After a long debate that put thousands of jobs at risk, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to retain production of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio. And CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the maker will add a long-rumored, Wrangler-based pickup to the Jeep line-up.

But Toledo did get one setback in its bid to maintain its long-standing role as Jeep’s ancestral home. FCA will now move production of the Cherokee model to another, as yet-unspecified plant. The compromise follows an intense round of negotiations by Toledo and Ohio officials who struggled to help the automaker reduce costs and update the Toledo plant to handle what will be a radically redesigned version of the ever-popular Wrangler.

Your Reliable Source!

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne told trade publication Automotive News. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.” (more…)

Takata Airbag Recall Likely to Be Smaller Than Projected

More than 19 million vehicles still impacted, and figure could yet grow.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The number of vehicles recalled due to Takata's potentially deadly airbags is likely to get cut to 19 million: a 40% drop.

Federal regulators have sharply reduced the number of U.S. vehicles that will be covered by the recall of potentially deadly Takata airbags – but the total is still expected to be more than 19 million.

The Japanese supplier has been linked to a defect that can cause airbags in older vehicle to trigger with too much force, sending metal and plastic shrapnel spewing into the passenger compartment. At least eight deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the problem.

Your Source for Auto Safety News!

After expanding the scope of the recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 11 different automakers would have to replace inflators used in 34 million driver and passenger airbags. The agency has now reduced that by about 40%, to 23.4 million airbags used in 19.2 million vehicles. (more…)

Autonomous Technologies Coming to Market Faster Than Expected

But regulations, insurance issues could stall tech push, industry leaders warn.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The new 2016 BMW 7-Series will be capable of driving on its own for short periods of time..

“Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel,” Doors frontman Jim Morrison sang in Roadhouse Blues. But that traditionally healthy line of advice soon may no longer be necessary.

With the debut of the 2016 BMW 750i, motorists will be able to take their hands off the wheel for as long as 15 seconds at a time, the car’s semi-autonomous technologies temporarily taking over driving duties. And a year from now, Cadillac is promising to go a step further. The Detroit maker’s new Super Cruise system will allow drivers to cruise well-marked freeways for an extended period of time hands-free. Or so Caddy can only hope.

Global Insight!

Some automakers are promising to go even further, bringing fully autonomous vehicles to the road within the next decade. But it’s far from certain they can pull it off. It’s not necessarily the technical issues that could derail the push, but regulatory and insurance hurdles, industry leaders warn. (more…)

Going Topless, Mercedes Pulls Covers off New S-Class Cabriolet

Top can be operated at speeds up to 37 mph.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The new S550 will be the first Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet in 45 years.

After offering up a few teaser images, Mercedes-Benz is finally revealing the new ragtop version of the big S-Class, the fourth variant of its flagship line set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in barely two weeks’ time.

The launch of the 2016 S-Class Cabriolet will mark the first flagship convertible from Mercedes since 1971, and in keeping with its position in the line-up, the German maker says the new model will be one of the most lavishly equipped in the S-Class family.

Clear the Air!

“Two years after its launch, the S-Class family is complete,” proclaimed Thomas Weber the Daimler AG board member in charge of passenger car development for Mercedes-Benz.

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Fiat’s Reborn 124 Spider to Make LA Auto Show Debut

New model will share platform with latest Mazda Miata.

by on Sep.01, 2015

The new Fiat 124 Spider will share platforms with the Mazda Miata, shown here, but get a unique body and its own powertrain options.

Fiat will bring an old name back to life next year when it launches an all-new version of its once-popular 124 Spider.

But it has gotten a helping hand from an unusual ally. The little two-seater will share platforms with the recently redesigned Mazda Miata, and both models are expected to be produced side-by-side at the Japanese maker’s plant in Hiroshima.

Your Inside Source!

That said, company officials promise that the new Fiat 124 Spider will feature a distinctly different look than the well-reviewed Mazda. And it is expected to opt for a different powertrain line-up, as well.

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Land Rover Betting Big on Diesels

U.S. Range Rover models set to get first “oil-burners.”

by on Sep.01, 2015

The 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport (shown here) will offer new diesel options for the first time.

Even the most affluent motorists want to improve their fuel economy, it seems, and that has Land Rover betting it can expand its position in the U.S. market by adding a new, high-mileage diesel for its Range Rover line.

The new six-cylinder turbodiesel will deliver a 32% bump in combined fuel economy compared with the maker’s current gasoline-powered V-6, while delivering more towing capacity and nearly the same level of acceleration, Land Rover officials announced during a preview in Barcelona, Spain.

News from Around the World!

For the maker, there are several potentials benefits: adding the higher-mileage technology will make it easier to meet increasingly tough fuel economy mandates, while also drawing in new buyers to the brand.

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Infiniti Offers Inside Look at New Q30 “Active Compact”

Interior features “horizontal dissymmetry.”

by on Sep.01, 2015

Infiniti opts for a cockpit-like interior for the new Q30 compact model coming to Frankfurt.

Infiniti is downsizing its ambitions, entering the booming market for small luxury cars with the new Q30. And after giving us a first look at the exterior of the new “active compact,” it is offering an inside look at the new model, as well.

Set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 15th, the Infiniti Q30 picks up many of the design cues first seen when it unveiled a concept model in Frankfurt two years ago. That includes the long nose, short overhangs and high beltline, as well as the concept’s split grille and distinctive, almost human eye-like headlights.

Your Auto Show Source!

Inside, the production version of the Q30 isn’t quite as radical as the 2013 Frankfurt show car, but still should turn some heads, with a more expressive and upscale look than many entries in this near-luxury segment. That includes an Italian-made, suede-like material called Dinamica.

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VW and Suzuki End Angry Feud

Arbitration ends failed green car alliance.

by on Aug.31, 2015

Suzuki pulled out of the US with the failure of its midsize model, the Kizashi.

An arbitration tribunal has pulled the plug on a once-promising green car alliance between Volkswagen AG and Suzuki Motor Corp. The German maker has now been ordered to sell back the 19.9% stake it had purchased in the Japanese car company.

But VW says that may yet sue Suzuki for damages as a result of the break-up of the alliance which was formed in 2009 but never got off the ground, instead developing into a bitter public dispute between the two companies.

Global News!

“It used to feel as if a small bone were stuck in my throat,” Suzuki Chairman and Chief Executive Osamu Suzuki told a news conference after learning of the decision. “I feel so refreshed now.”

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