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Average Price for Gasoline Continues Sliding

Inventories building so prices likely to keep falling.

by on Oct.17, 2017

Gas prices are falling as inventories continue to build after the hurricanes. (Photo credit: Brendan Strong)

The price of gasoline continued to drop in states east of the Mississippi River, with the exception of a handful around the Great Lakes, paying as much as eight cents less at the start of this week, according to AAA.

While gas prices are more expensive than a year ago, the past five weeks of sustained weekly declines indicate that demand may be leveling out as travel declines after a busy summer alongside refineries and pipelines returning to pre-hurricane operations, AAA reported.

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“Gas stations are steadily dropping pump prices for the majority of motorists, especially regional markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South and Southeast,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Drivers will see stabilized or decreasing prices at the pump throughout this month due to high refinery production rates and seasonal demand.” (more…)

Ford Addressing Exhaust Fume Concerns with 1.4 million Explorer SUVs

Detroit maker offering free inspections, repairs; recall could be in offing.

by on Oct.17, 2017

Ford is addressing concerns about exhaust fumes entering the cabins of 1.4 million Explorers.

Facing concerns about possible exhaust fume leaks in more than 1 million of its midsize Explorer SUVs, Ford is telling owners it will inspect the vehicles and, if necessary, make free repairs.

The Explorer came under scrutiny when reports began to surface that some versions of the popular SUV, modified for use by police, may have been experiencing exhaust fume leaks, including deadly carbon monoxide, into the passenger compartment. That briefly led some police departments to pull their Explorers out of use until repairs could be made.

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But despite the automaker’s insistence that civilian versions of the SUV “are safe,” there has been growing concern that the issue is more widespread than initially thought. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently has an open investigation underway. (more…)

Daimler Recalling 1M Vehicles Worldwide

Action taken to fix airbags that deploy for no reason.

by on Oct.17, 2017

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is part of Daimler's recall of 1 million vehicles to fix an airbag problem.

Daimler AG is recalling more than 1 million Mercedes-Benz vehicles around the world to resolve a problem causing airbags to unexpectedly and unnecessarily deploy in the affected cars and sport-utility vehicles.

The company said 400,000 vehicles in Great Britain and “a few hundred thousand” in Germany were impacted as well, but it doesn’t have a complete total yet.

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The recall affects 495,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 76,000 in Canada, according to officials. No deaths or severe injuries, just “a handful of instances” of “minor abrasions or bruising” have been reported resulting from the unintentional deployments. (more…)

Volvo’s Polestar Unveils First Electric Model

Plug-in Hybrid Polestar 1 to push performance but also deliver 95 miles in EV mode.

by on Oct.17, 2017

Volvo unveiled its first offering from its Polestar high performance division, the Polestar 1.

Polestar, the performance arm of Swedish automaker Volvo, rolled out its first electrified model during a ceremony in Beijing on Tuesday, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1.

Originally formed as a race car team, Polestar began producing high-performance versions of Volvo products like C30 and S60 a decade ago. Polestar Performance was purchased by Volvo in 2015 and is now focusing exclusively on sportier models relying on battery-based drivetrains. An all-electric Polestar model targeting the Tesla Model 3 is now in development, the company said.

Performance News!

While Volvo itself now plans to shift exclusively to battery-based drivetrains, “There will be a clear difference between the two brands that add to each other in a very good way,” Thomas Ingenlath, the former head of Volvo design who was named Polestar CEO in June, told the Associated Press. (more…)

BMW Expects to Sell 100K Electrified Vehicles in 2017

German maker's already set new record.

by on Oct.17, 2017

BMW Board Member Ian Robertson stands alongside the updated i3 and new i3s models.

The sales of electrified vehicles by the BMW Group in the first three quarters of 2017 have increased 64.2 % and have exceeded those achieved in the whole of 2016, the German automaker reports, adding it now expects to sell 100,000 electrified units for the first time ever this year.

Carmakers all over the world have made commitments, under pressure from government policy makers in places such as China, to build and sell more electric vehicles despite consumer resistance.

Global Auto News!

In September, BMW’s sales of electrified exceeded 10,000 units for the first time in a single month, the automaker reported. With the company’s electrified line-up totaling nine models, the automaker’s sales of electric vehicles increased by 50.5%. In all, BMW delivered a total 10,786 BMW i, BMW iPerformance and Mini Electric vehicles were delivered during September, bringing the year-to-date total to 68,687. (more…)

Canadian Workers Ratify New Pact with GM

Longest strike in nearly two decades over.

by on Oct.16, 2017

The strike by Unifor workers at GM's plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, ended with a new four-year deal.

This story contains updated information.

Striking workers at the General Motors plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, have ratified a new four-year contract with the automaker, ending the longest walkout at a GM plant in nearly two decades.

Unifor Local 88 announced the results of the ratification vote Monday afternoon and said workers would begin returning to work begin immediately. The agreement was passed by 85.9% members and 78.7% of trades, the local said.

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“The ratification of a new four-year agreement between GM Canada and Unifor Local 88 at CAMI Assembly is welcome news for our company, employees and the community,” Steve Carlisle, president and managing director, General Motors Canada, in a statement.

“We have an outstanding new product at CAMI with the Chevrolet Equinox and I am confident that we will quickly pull together to continue to demonstrate to the world the outstanding productivity, innovation and quality that is synonymous with the CAMI workforce.”

The tentative agreement came late Friday after GM had warned Unifor Local 88, the union representing some 2,750 workers employed at the plant, the company was prepared to shift more production of the popular Chevrolet Equinox from Canada to Mexico if the four-week-old strike continued.

(GM reaches deal with Canadian workers. For the story, Click Here.)

The threat had appeared to lead to a deadlock in the talks, which had stalled out the previous week.

Local 88 employees were angry about GM's decision to move production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico.

Details of the tentative agreement are being withheld pending ratification, but one of the union’s key demands was a commitment from GM that the Ingersoll plant would remain the lead plant for production of the Equinox, a compact sport utility vehicle that is one of the most popular vehicles sold by GM in North America.

The union wanted a written commitment from GM that Ingersoll would be the lead plant, meaning production would be reduced at factories in Mexico if production of the Equinox need to be reduced because of a decline in sales.

(Click Here for details about Unifor’s demand for new product in Ingersoll.)

Inventories on dealer lots had dwindled to less than 40 days and GM faces stiff competition for sales in the segment from competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV and Ford Escape.

The dispute over the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement. GM has long-favored NAFTA, which allows it to build vehicles and components in Mexico duty free, while Unifor, like its counterpart in the U.S., the United Auto Workers, has criticized the trade pact claiming it’s destroying jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

The dispute in Ingersoll intensified in July after GM laid off 600 employees and shifted production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. GM countered that it had already invested $800 million in the remodeling the plant but layoffs led directly to the strike union representatives said when the strike began Sept. 17.

(To see more about the negotiations between GM and Unifor, Click Here.)

“This strike has shown all of Canada why a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement must address the needs of working people first,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias in a statement after the tentative settlement was reached.

Secrets Are Out! 2018 Jeep Wrangler User Guide Leaked

Guide shed light on what to expect with new model.

by on Oct.16, 2017

The user's guide for the next-gen Jeep Wrangler was leaked by fan forum, revealing many details about the new model.

In today’s ever-shrinking, internet-based world, no secret goes unshared, especially when it’s the user’s guide for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which has been leaked, and reveals the new 4x4’s equipment including push-button start and a power sliding top among others.

The new Wrangler, who’s goodies were revealed by a fan site called JL Wrangler Forum, is set to roll down Fiat Chrysler’s revamped assembly line in Toledo, Ohio, beginning next month. Perhaps the most identifiable Jeep on the planet, the Wrangler boasts off-roading fans as well as open-air mavens around the world.

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The go-anywhere ute used to be a bare-boned beast, but over the years, more and more convenience features crept into the truck. The push-button start and power top are new for this iteration, but other niceties will include keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and a backup camera, according to the newly — albeit unceremoniously — debuted user’s guide. (more…)

Daimler Restructuring Move Could Lead to Break Up

Company splitting up Mercedes and truck unit.

by on Oct.16, 2017

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche outlined the company's plans to restructure its business into two units.

Daimler is taking steps to transform its Mercedes and Daimler Truck units into legally independent entities, a move that has some observers wondering if the parent company may be preparing to break up.

For its part, Daimler said Monday that the new structure will turn the two units into more entrepreneurial operations at a time when they need to be more flexible to respond to a fast-changing world.

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Mercedes itself is restructuring its various automotive brands to reflect the evolving auto industry, and the truck unit is exploring various new technologies, including electrification and autonomous driving. (more…)

Toyota to Highlight Cars that Can Read Motorists Emotions at Upcoming Tokyo Motor Show

Japanese giant to begin testing autonomous EVs by 2020.

by on Oct.16, 2017

The next iteration of Toyota's Concept-i can determine if a driver is sleepy or hungry and adapt accordingly.

Hungry? Tired? Frustrated? Toyota plans to reveal a concept vehicle that will be able to not only tell if you are too tired to drive but also read more subtle emotions and adjust the way it drives – or even take over driving duties entirely. It will also be able to converse with a motorist using artificial intelligence.

The Japanese giant gave a hint of what it has in mind at last January’s Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas. A more advanced version of the Concept-I prototype will make its debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, and Toyota said Monday that it plans to begin testing autonomous electric vehicles by 2020 that will share many of the features found in the concept car.

Auto Show News!

“By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,” said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota’s EV business planning division, during a preview in Tokyo. (more…)

Tesla Purges Hundreds of “Underperforming” Employees

EV maker says workers will be replaced.

by on Oct.16, 2017

Tesla reportedly fired hundreds of underperforming workers at its plant in Fremont, California, as well as its Palo Alto headquarters.

Claiming it was weeding out underperforming employees, Tesla dismissed hundreds of employees at its Palo Alto, California, headquarters campus and its Fremont assembly facility, according to multiple reports.

The San Jose Mercury News puts the number of firings at between 400 and 700 people, and they affected everything from factory workers to engineers to managers. According to that report, workers were not given advance notice of the decision.

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Tesla, in a statement, cited a company-wide annual review and said that it had not laid employees off, but rather that it let employees go based on lackluster job performance. (more…)