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Ford Recalling 285,000 Vehicles

Automaker issues action for transmission, suspension and airbag problems.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Ford's Police Interceptor Utility is part of a recall of SUVs due to suspension issues.

Ford is recalling more than 280,000 sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks due to suspension and transmission issues.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker will recall 201,900 pickups due to a flaw in the transmission. A faulty speed sensor can cause it to downshift into first gear at the wrong time, potentially causing the driver to lose control or affect the vehicles around it.

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Thus far, the automaker is aware of three accidents that have occurred due to the sensor on transmission model6R80. It is found on 2011-12 Ford F-150, 2012 Expedition and Mustangs built in Michigan from Aug. 19, 2011 through Feb. 12, 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Wants to Go Green in China

US maker says 25% of Chinese vehicles will be battery-based by 2020.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Ford plans to launch the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid in China sometime in 2017.

One in four of the vehicles Ford Motor Co. hope to sell in China by the end of the decade will use some form of battery-based powertrain, company officials said during the Beijing Motor Show.

Ford has already announced plans to invest $4.5 billion in its electrification program, CEO Mark Fields saying the goal is to have 13 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles in the Blue Oval and Lincoln line-ups by 2020.

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But China could become the maker’s largest market for these green vehicles, a shift that reflects government pressure at least as much as consumer demand in the world’s largest automotive market. Hoping to deal with endemic smog problems, Beijing regulators are using both carrot and stick – incentives and new mandates – to get the auto industry to ramp up production of battery-based vehicles.

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Top Mitsubishi Execs Likely to Fall in Fuel Economy Scandal

Domestic sales tumble by half, raising concerns about maker’s viability.

by on Apr.27, 2016

It remains to be seen if the maker falsified data for other models, such as the 2017 Mirage.

The top two executives at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. are expected to resign in the wake of revelations that the sixth-largest Japanese automaker has been falsifying fuel economy data for as much as 25 years.

The company has acknowledged the scam, which was designed to make its microcar models more competitive in the mileage-minded Japanese market. But a new panel empowered to investigate the matter could reveal even more widespread cheating affecting vehicles sold beyond Japan’s borders.

Global News!

The impact of the scandal is quickly being felt by Mitsubishi, the carmaker reporting its domestic sales have tumbled by half since the cheating was first reported. That is raising concerns for the survival of the maker which, only a few years ago, was pulled out of a financial tailspin by a consortium of Japanese banks. Read the rest of this entry »

Carmakers, Tech Companies Form Self-Driving Auto Alliance

Group pushing for uniform testing regulations – quickly.

by on Apr.27, 2016

NHTSA has already declared Google's autonomous tech is the equivalent of a human driver.

Companies from Silicon Valley and the auto industry are teaming up to create a coalition to influence lawmakers and regulators, who are destined to play a huge role in shaping the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Google, Uber and Lyft have joined forces with Volvo and Ford in establishing “The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets,” which has recruited David Strickland, long-time safety watchdog and former head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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In 2014, the most recent available numbers from the NHTSA, there were 6.1 million reported crashes on U.S. roads, resulting in 2.3 million injuries and 32,675 fatalities. Advocates of self-driving cars suggest an influx of these accident-averse vehicles on to America’s roadways would greatly virtually eliminate fatal accidents. Read the rest of this entry »

Despite Diesel Dilemma, VW Snatches Global Sales Lead from Toyota

Toyota loses momentum due to production snags.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Despite some serious problems, VW could retain the sales lead during the second quarter.

It’s had to suspend sales of its popular diesels in the U.S. market, and it’s already taken an $18 billion hit in the wake of its ongoing diesel emissions scandal, but not all is doom-and-gloom for Volkswagen AG.

The embattled automaker can celebrate the fact that it surged into the global sales lead for the first quarter of 2016, narrowly squeaking by Japanese giant Toyota which has had its own problems in recent months. General Motors continued to hold down the third spot in the global sales sweepstakes.

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Whether VW can hold the lead for the rest of the year is far from certain. It was, in fact, the top-seller for the first half of 2016, only to slip behind Toyota once again as the diesel disaster began to take its toll. But wildcard factors have a way of upsetting the industry’s apple cart, and Toyota is currently dealing with problems that will likely scuttle its chances of regaining the sales crown for at least another quarter.

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Karma Set to Build Renamed Battery Car in the U.S.

Plug-in hybrid now dubbed the Karma Revero.

by on Apr.26, 2016

The original Fisker Karma relied on a 2.0-liter I-4 range extender gas engine from GM.

The recently reborn Fisker Automotive will formally unveil its revived battery vehicle this coming summer, but both car and carmaker will be carrying a new name.

Now owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, Fisker has now been christened Karma Automotive, picking its name up from the plug-in hybrid vehicle it was building before its 2012 bankruptcy. That battery car will now be known as the Revero.

Stay Charged Up!

The original Fisker Karma cost around $110,000, around the same price as a well-equipped version of the current Tesla Model S P85d battery-electric vehicle. The company’s new, California-based management team isn’t saying when the new model will go on sale, nor what it will cost, Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taylor cautioning that, “We are being careful about making promises.” But the goal is to start taking orders over the summer.

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Ford Plowing $1.6B into Michigan, Ohio Plants

Investment focuses on profitable trucks and components.

by on Apr.26, 2016

Ford moved production of its F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio. It's spending nearly $200 million on the plant for the trucks.

Ford Motor Co. announced plans to spend $1.6 billion to upgrade factories in Michigan and Ohio, saying the new investment will create as many as 650 new jobs.

The announcement comes as Donald Trump, who has used Ford as a punching bag during his campaign, moves closer to the Republican nomination for President. Trump has repeatedly attacked Ford over its plans to invest in a new plant in Mexico and in several speeches has said it wouldn’t happen if he were president.

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Ford CEO Mark Fields said last month in New York Ford is a global company that invests in markets around the world. However, overall Ford’s efforts to correct the record have been relatively ineffective in the face of attacks from Trump. Read the rest of this entry »

Volkswagen Appealing Recent NLRB Ruling

Maker still believes entire plant must be represented.

by on Apr.26, 2016

Volkswagen plans to appeal the National Labor Relations Board's most recent ruling about union representation in its Tennessee plant.

Volkswagen of America plans appeal a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that would have cleared a path for the United Auto Workers to negotiate a labor contract for 160 maintenance workers at VW plant in the state of Tennessee for the first time.

A three-member NLRB panel earlier this month had denied Volkswagen’s request for the agency to review a December 2015 election in which skilled-trades employees in Chattanooga voted overwhelmingly to designate UAW Local 42 as their collective bargaining representative, upholding results of an election supervised by the NLRB.

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Volkswagen spokesman Scott Neal Wilson said the German automaker had not yet filed the actual appeal, but has decided to challenge the ruling. “We didn’t state that an appeal was filed, only the decision to do so,” he said.  Read the rest of this entry »

US Motorists on the Road Again in Record Numbers

Winter storms in January caused a drop in miles traveled.

by on Apr.26, 2016

Americans set a new record for driving in February with 232.2 billion miles traveled.

After a bit of a hiccup due to strong winter storms, U.S. drivers are climbing behind the wheel once again enjoying low gasoline prices and new vehicles that are more fuel efficient than ever, according to new studies.

January figures were down significantly causing many observers to wonder if it was the beginning of a trend or simply the impact of rough winter weather. Now they have their answer.

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Motorists set a new record for February looing 232.2 billion miles, which was up 5.6% compared with year-ago figures, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. Read the rest of this entry »

Debt Rises, But Fiat Chrysler Earnings Exceed Expectations

After temporary layoffs, CEO Marchionne sees rise in US employment.

by on Apr.26, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne reported the automaker made $539 million last quarter, but that the maker's debt level has risen.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted better than expected earnings on Tuesday, largely as a result of strong pickup and SUV sales in North America. But rising debt has nervous investors quickly driving down the maker’s share price.

For his part, CEO Sergio Marchionne tried to buoy confidence in the trans-Atlantic automaker by forecasting an increase in production once temporary cutbacks at two U.S. plants are completed. Shifting capacity more towards the booming truck side of the market, Marchionne said he expects to see an increase in North American factory employment.

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“I confirm now that the realigning of the footprint of NAFTA is going to yield an increase of manpower, subject to temporary layoffs,” Marchionne said during a conference call with analysts and reporters. Read the rest of this entry »