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Audi Takes Heat Over Ad Suggesting Husbands Shop for Brides Like They Do Used Cars

Chinese commercial sparks global outrage, sharply counters anti-sexism Audi Super Bowl spot.

by on Jul.20, 2017

Shown on Chinese TV and movie screens, an Audi ad depicts a bride-to-be being closely inspected by her future mother-in-law.

The same automaker that aired an ad about a young girl overcoming sexism during the 2017 Super Bowl is now facing a global backlash over a television spot that suggested husbands-to-be give their prospective brides the same scrutiny they do a used car – or horse.

The 30-second commercial shows the mother of the groom running up to closely inspect the bride-to-be, at one point opening up her mouth to check her teeth. She later gives a disapproving look at the young woman’s chest, which the bride quickly tries to cover up.

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“An important decision must be made carefully. Only with an official certification can you relax,” the narrator says in an English translation of the Chinese script, the commercial then cutting to a shot of a new Audi vehicle.

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Big Changes to NAFTA Could Put Big Hurt on US Consumers

Study shows automakers could see a big increase in costs.

by on Jul.19, 2017

The Big Three automakers would like NAFTA to remain status quo; however, the Trump administration is renegotiating the deal next month.

The proposed border adjustment tax and withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement are unlikely to achieve President Donald Trump’s goals of keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and could actually hurt manufacturing in the process.

Those moves by Trump, if enacted, wouldn’t reverse the trend of moving manufacturing jobs to low-cost countries and could potentially harm the U.S. motor vehicle industry by driving up the cost of new vehicles by hundreds of dollars and leading to the elimination of thousands of jobs in the U.S., a new study found.

Insight!

The study, commissioned by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and conducted independently by the Boston Consulting Group examined the real-world implications of a border tax and changes to NAFTA on the motor vehicle sector, which now depends on an integrated supply chain the depends on plants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »

Takata’s ‘Fix’ for Explosive Airbags May Not Work

Automakers could be on the hook to recall all vehicles again.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Takata's most recent recall of 2.7 million airbags revealed that the replacement inflators may be defective too.

Is the automotive world ready for a repeat of the Takata recall? Perhaps it should be.

Recent recalls on now-bankrupt Takata airbag-equipped vehicles has revealed a startling possibility: the repaired vehicles may not actually be fixed and could be recalled again. In the U.S. alone, that means 60 million units.

Safety News!

When Takata offered up a solution to the problem in 2015, U.S. regulators said the company had just four years to make sure that it worked. The supplier added a drying agent to combat moisture that can set off the ammonium nitrate compound in an inflator. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyundai Struggles as New Vehicle Market Changes

Sales continue to fall as maker awaits new crossovers.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Hyundai is a latecomer to the SUV and crossover over party, but the 2018 Kona aims to help remedy that problem.

One automaker under pressure from the shift away from cars is Hyundai, which has watched its sales tumble as the shift from passenger cars to utility vehicles and trucks has undercut its sales momentum this year.

Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of corporate and digital product planning and development, noted Hyundai sales dropped significantly during May and June as the company elected to reduce sales to rental fleets.

Beyond the Headlines!

The sales drop followed a steady increase in Hyundai sales that reached all the way back to the 2008-2009 recession when the South Korean automaker’s sales took off, beginning a long period of growth. The steady increases in sales continued through 2016 when the company set a sales record, O’Brien said. Read the rest of this entry »

All-New Nissan Leaf to Add e-Pedal Technology

System will allow one-foot driving under most conditions.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Nissan plans some major changes when it launches the next-gen Leaf in September.

When Nissan launches an all-new version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle later this year it is planning to do more than just double its range. You can expect to see the new model add a range of new technologies, as well.

That includes both the semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist, as well as e-Pedal, a new system that essentially transforms the throttle into a multifunction control that can be used to accelerate, slow and even come to a complete stop.

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“Drivers can cover 90% of their driving needs with the e-Pedal, making the process of driving more exciting,” Nissan said in a statement released Wednesday. “In heavy traffic and during city commutes, drivers will greatly reduce the need to shift from one pedal to the other, making your drive simpler and more engaging.”

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Buick Takes on the Import Hot Hatch Crowd With 310-hp Regal GS

“A driver-focused, engaging and entertaining” 5-door sportback.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Buick bulks up at it brings back the Regal GS with a new 310-hp V-6.

Narrowly sidestepping oblivion when General Motors emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, the Buick brand has since set out to make itself relevant again, scoring some moderate gains with an assortment of small, medium and large SUVs. But the big challenge has been reaching younger, hipper buyers for whom Buick remains all but invisible.

That just might happen with the latest entry into the Buick line-up, the new Regal GS taking direct aim at some of the latest import hot hatches. Making a solid 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque, it actually delivers a bit more power than the new Honda Civic Type-R, in fact. And the Regal RS sends torque to all four wheels, rather than just the front two.

Power to the People!

“With the all-new 2018 Regal GS, we set out to make a driver-focused, engaging and entertaining sport sedan without sacrificing the smooth ride and refined character expected of any modern Buick,” said Martin Hayes, the chief engineer for the five-door sportback.

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Doing the Demon (D)Rag

Behind the wheel of the mind-boggling new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

by on Jul.19, 2017

With 840 horsepower at your feet, it should be easy to rile up the Demon into a smoke-inducing frenzy.

With 840 horsepower ready to roar at the slightest twitch of my right foot, one might think it’d be easy to burn rubber. But as I pull up to the box on the Lucas Oil Speedway, it seems like I’ve forgotten how to get my arms, legs and brain to sync up. There’s a short squeal and then … nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. I’ve managed to disengage the Car’s Launch Control. The Christmas Tree has turned green. My cherry red Dodge Demon has stopped cold. My co-pilot is nothing if not patient, admitting he’s new to drag racing himself and blew a couple starts before he figured it all out.

Come Along for the Ride!

Another attempt and this time the tires kick up enough smoke the track could be declared an EPA hazard site. Of course, that’s just to get the rubber warm. I pull into the box, engage Launch Control, simultaneously step on the gas and brake, and wait for the green again. As my left foot comes off the pedal, my right foot this time slams the throttle to the floor, delivering enough G force for my vision to tunnel. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Administration Outlines Priorities for NAFTA Talks

Automakers nervous about potential steel tariffs.

by on Jul.18, 2017

The Trump administration outlined its list of priorities for the upcoming negotiations with Canada and Mexico over NAFTA.

The Trump administration fired its first salvo in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by informing U.S. lawmakers it plans to shrink the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico.

The 17-page document is the first look at the “agenda” for the talks, which are expected to get underway next month. The early look has some items that may seem like they’re going to make automakers happy.

Global Auto News!

One of the first items pushes the idea that none of the countries should manipulate their currently to gain an advantage on the exchange rate. Japan and China have been accused of this tactic in the past, however, this is not currently an issue with either Canada or Mexico. That said, the administration did receive some support for this measure. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes-Benz Parent Daimler Recalling 3m Diesels to Fix Emissions Systems

Porsche CEO says maker may abandon diesel technology.

by on Jul.18, 2017

Mercedes decided not to offer diesel models, like this ML320 BlueTec, in the U.S. for 2017.

Daimler AG plans to spend about $255 million to recall and repair 3 million diesel vehicles that are at the center of a probe looking at whether the automaker rigged them to illegally pass emissions tests.

The automaker has been accused of using a so-called “defeat device,” an approach similar to that used by Volkswagen AG to rig 11 million diesel vehicles sold around the world. The Daimler recall, for now, is limited to models sold in Europe. But an investigation is underway in the U.S., as well, the Environmental Protection Agency stating it is “continuing to evaluate light-duty vehicles from a number of manufacturers.”

Clearing the Air!

Separately, the CEO of Porsche AG said the automaker is considering whether to halt the sale of diesels all together. Porsche shared one of the two rigged diesels produced by its parent Volkswagen in a number of different models.

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GM Extends Production Shutdown at Chevy Bolt EV Plant

Sales for Bolt remain sluggish despite Model 3 frenzy.

by on Jul.18, 2017

GM extended the shutdown period for the Orion, Michigan, plant that produces the Chevy Bolt and Sonic due to slow sales for both.

With sales lagging and inventories bulging, General Motors is extending the shutdown of a plant in the Detroit suburbs that produces its Chevrolet Bolt EV, along with the conventionally powered Chevy Sonic subcompact.

The decision to extend a prior production cutback comes as a disappointment for GM, which had hoped to break into the mass market with the Bolt, the world’s first long-range battery-car to be sold at a mainstream price – just over $35,000 before applying a federal tax credit.

Product News!

The automaker says the shutdown at the Orion Township, Michigan, plant is “due solely” to weak demand for the Sonic. But there are nonetheless bulging inventories of the Bolt on U.S. dealer lots. By contrast, Tesla Motors is claiming it intends to rapidly ramp up production in order to meet what is believed to be an 18-month backlog of initial reservations for its similarly priced Model 3 battery-car. Read the rest of this entry »