| The Voice of the Automotive World - Part 2
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Trump Rethinking NAFTA Plans

President-elect adviser examining agreement to make it more U.S. friendly.

by on Dec.07, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump is rethinking his plans for terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Apparently ripping up NAFTA is not Job One for the incoming Trump administration after all.

The Hill, a newsletter and website that follows policy developments in Washington, reported this week that members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team are telling corporate executives that the administration isn’t going to do anything that might prompt a trade war with Mexico or Canada, this country’s principal partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Journal of Record!

Trump announced he will scuttle the Trans Pacific Partnership. But unlike TPP, which was never signed or approved, NAFTA has been in place for more than 20 years and has created a broad web of interests on both sides of the border. It is considered essential by automakers. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Expands Availability of Life-Saving Technology

Maker offering rear-seat warning technology in more vehicles.

by on Dec.06, 2016

General Motors is expanding the availability of its rear seat reminder technology in the hopes of saving more lives.

The number of infant and toddler deaths as a result of being left unattended in the back seat of a sweltering hot vehicles is on the rise. To help stem that tide, General Motors is expanding its new rear-seat reminder feature to 19 models during the next year.

GM introduced the feature on its 2017 GMC Acadia earlier this year. The news comes just one day after Justin Harris, a Georgia man, received life sentence with no chance of parole after being found responsible for the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper, who he claims he forgot was in the back seat in June 2014.

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Harris left his son in the back of the car for seven hours while he was at work. More than 700 children have died from heatstroke since 1998 after being left in vehicles unattended for extended periods. Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Dedicating New Resources to Electric Vehicles

Automaker bulking up teams to accelerate vehicle development.

by on Dec.06, 2016

Vehicles like the Prius are now at the heart of Toyota's green car strategy.

Ever more restrictive environmental rules in markets around the world has Toyota Motor Corp. sending reinforcements to its hybrid and electric vehicle teams, according to top company executives.

The automaker said Tuesday it plans to grow its gasoline-hybrid technology team during the next five years to accelerate development and introduction of new lower-emission engines.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The automaker is also trying to speed up the development of its longer-range battery-electric vehicles, which marks a change from its strategy of focusing on hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles to meet zero-emission guidelines in several countries. Read the rest of this entry »

New Trophy in Store for NACTOY Winners

Distinctive new award designed by retired GM styling chief Ed Welburn.

by on Dec.06, 2016

Ed Welburn displays the new trophy to be given to the 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year winners.

New year, new category and new trophy.

It’s a big year for the North American Car and Truck of the Year. One of the most highly regarded among a slew of best-of awards handed out each year, NACTOY will not only be adding a third category for 2017 but giving winners an entirely new trophy.

Award News!

The statue, depicting an exotic concept vehicle is based on a design developed by recently retired General Motors Global Design Director Ed Welburn. It will be presented as part of the opening ceremonies at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 9, 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Powering Texas Plant Using Wind Power

Company working toward 100 percent renewable energy goal.

by on Dec.06, 2016

GM signed a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems to source 50 megawatts of wind energy to power 16 sites with 100% renewable energy.

GM recently made what the company describes as its largest purchase of renewable energy to date by purchasing enough wind power to equal the electricity needs of 16 of its U.S. facilities, including the Arlington assembly and stamping, GM business offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and 13 parts warehouses east of the Mississippi River.

“GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy.

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“These renewable energy investments drive down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on finite resources, and help keep our air and water clean.” Read the rest of this entry »

Honda Previews a World of “Cooperative Mobility”

Giving emotions to a box on wheels.

by on Dec.06, 2016

It may not be very exciting to look at, but the Honda NeuV concept can develop an emotional bond with its passengers.

Anyone who has struggled to merge lanes at a construction site might find the idea a little hard to swallow, but Honda is imagining what it calls a “cooperative mobility ecosystem” in which cars, if not necessarily their drivers, all work together to reduce highway congestion and improve vehicle safety.

The Japanese maker plans to present its vision – embodied in an “automated EV commuter vehicle” it’s calling NeuV – at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next month. Traditionally dedicated to smartphones, TVs and other gadgets, CES has become an increasingly important place of automakers to show and tell about their latest high-tech concepts.

Product News!

In the case of Honda, it says its “The exhibit will include the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called ‘emotion engine’ that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Looking to Add $2B in New Debt

Automaker looks to bolster its efforts in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's Joe Hinrichs says the automaker is taking advantage of favorable market conditions to raise $2 billion in new debt.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Ford Motor Co. is looking to take advantage of favorable market conditions by raising $2.8 billion in new debt. It marks the first time in four years the automaker has issued new debt.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, told Reuters the funds would be used for investment in new technology including electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles, as well as mobility efforts such as ride-sharing and ride-hailing.

Financial News!

“It’s an opportunistic time,” Hinrichs told Reuters in an interview. “It’s a supportive marketplace for long-term debt given where rates are, and we want to make sure that throughout the cycle of the industry we have the flexibility to do what we need to do and want to do, especially in the emerging part of the business.” Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Asks Agency About Autonomous Autos

Tech giant has questions for NHTSA about self-driving cars.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Apple revealed a little more about its automotive interests in a recent letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Unlike Google with its little marshmallow cars scooting around its California campus and the city of Mountain View, Apple has been much more secretive about its automotive ambitions — until now.

The tech giant’s kept “Project Titan” under wraps until a recent letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking a few questions about autonomous vehicle technology.

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The company believes the technology has the potential to “greatly enhance the human experience,” according to the letter filed with the agency on Nov. 22. In the five-page letter, the company had questions about the Obama administration’s proposed self-driving guidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebuilding the Motor City, One Shovel of Dirt at a Time

GM plows new ground at an urban farm.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Old gear from the GM Tech Center will turn this abandoned apartment into MUFI's new HQ.

If you listen carefully, you just might hear the sounds of the past as you stand on the 7400 block of Brush St., along Detroit’s North End. You can certainly see the shadows and outlines where, just blocks away, one-time automotive factories now stand idle and decaying, as well as the former headquarters of General Motors.

Like much of Detroit’s inner city, the North End has fallen on hard times in recent decades. Where tidy workers’ homes once stood shoulder-to-shoulder, there are now more gaps than in the smile of a veteran hockey player.

We Crop Up Everywhere!

In fact, almost every building is gone on this particular block – but that’s the good news, the site being transformed into the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, a three-acre micro-agricultural project where as many as 200 different types of produce are being grown. It’s an ironic return, quite literally, to the city’s roots as this land was once part of the many farms established by Detroit’s original French settlers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pickup Trucks Are Suddenly Hot in China

Rapturous for the Ford F-150 Raptor.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's soon plans to start shipping the newly updated to F-150 Raptor to China.

They’re banned in Beijing, as well as Shanghai and a number of other cities, but pickup trucks are still expected to be the hot ticket when the Guangzhou Motor Show opens up to the public later this month.

In fact, import trucks like the Ford F-150, as well as little domestic models, are one of the hottest segments of the Chinese auto industry right now, with IHS Automotive expecting a 14% increase in sales for all of 2016, about double the pace of the overall market’s growth.

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And despite hefty import incentives, that’s enough to encourage Detroit-based makers to expand pickup export plans, Ford, for one, planning to start shipping its F-150 Raptor model to China starting in 2017.

Read the rest of this entry »