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Google Has No Plans to Go into Carmaking Business

Tech giant hopes to find partner for autonomous vehicle technology.

by on Jan.15, 2015

Google would like to find a partner to help it put the technology in this prototype into production.

Google is on a mission to change the world with its autonomous vehicle technology. But it doesn’t plan to launch its own carmaking division, instead hoping to find partners to work with, the tech giant’s automotive guru said.

There’ve been a lot of questions raised about Google’s plans since it revealed last year it was building 100 autonomous vehicle prototypes with the help of Roush, an automotive engineering and racing company based in suburban Detroit. The first of those are just beginning fleet tests around Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Automotive Insight!

But program director Chris Urmson stressed that, “We’re definitely not in the business of making cars,” during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress, an industry confab in Detroit. Instead, he added, Google will be, be “looking for a partner to build entire vehicles….at some point.” (more…)

Tesla Won’t Deliver a Profit Until 2020, CEO Musk Warns

But founder also promises to push volume to 500,000 by 2020, and “a couple million” by 2025.

by on Jan.14, 2015

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has no plans to leave Tesla anytime soon.

Don’t expect to see a profit from Tesla Motors – at least not using generally accepted accounting rules – until at least 2020, CEO Elon Musk cautioned during an appearance in Detroit on Tuesday. That’s despite a big jump in sales the company founder is predicting.

By the end of the decade, Musk is promising to sell at least 500,000 vehicles annually – a nearly 3,000% increase over 2014’s total of 17,300 Model S sedans — as Tesla adds new products and works out the admitted kinks in its production system.

Electrifying!

In the meantime, Musk says he’ll be sticking around to oversee Tesla, at least until it gets its first mass market battery-car, the Model III, into production.  Musk suggested that he intends to stay at Tesla “until I die,” but opened the door to turning over the role of chief executive to someone else once he reaches his most immediate goal of bring an electric vehicle to the masses.

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Honda Admits Under-reporting Crash Deaths, Injuries

“We acknowledge the problem,” says senior executive.

by on Nov.25, 2014

Honda's safety problems mount.

The recall scandal continues to rock the auto industry with new and damaging revelations.

The latest company to have its reputation seriously smeared is Japanese automaker Honda, which admits it failed to file more than 1,700 accident reports with federal safety regulators as required by law.

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“At Honda, we acknowledge this problem as our management responsibility,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America.

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Rearview Cameras Saving Lives, Says AAA

But some systems are better than others.

by on Oct.29, 2014

Backup cameras are already common - even before the new government mandate takes effect.

Advancing autumn darkness increases concerns about pedestrian safety and one innovation that does help reduce accidents is the back-up camera, according to studies by AAA.

On average, these rear-view systems improved visibility an average of 46%, the travel and safety organization found. That’s a significant improvement, and something that can save 100s of lives a year, which is why federal regulators will beginning mandating the technology a year from now.

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“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering.

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No Room for Complacency, Says GM CEO Barra

Maker aiming to “annihilate the opposition,” she tells Detroit leaders.

by on Oct.28, 2014

GM intends to win, proclaims CEO Barra, during a speech to Detroit business leaders.

General Motors is no longer going to act a polite competitor, GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said during an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club.

“I want to win,” Barra said. Not get by. Not hold on. Not be competitive. But win.

“I want GM to excel. To build relationships with customers for life. To be the most valued automotive company in the world,” Barra added. “If we aren’t here to win, to lead, to excel, why are we here?”

A Winning News Source!

In her speech to the leaders of the Detroit business community, Barra made it clear she wasn’t chosen to be CEO just to put a friendly face on the once-bankrupt automaker. Already having walked through fire as she has had to steer GM through an embarrassing and costly recall crisis, Barra has shaken up the maker and is clearly planning more major changes.

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Ford F-150 Lassoes Truck of Texas Trophy

Ford, Jeep and Ram corral a hatful of victories.

by on Oct.13, 2014

Ford's new F-150 snags a welcome honor.

The Ford F-150 scooped up the first of what the company’s executives hope will be several awards over the weekend as it was named Truck of Texas at the 2014 Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo.

That’s particularly good news for Ford considering the growing concerns about whether the maker can pull off a smooth launch for the “aluminum-intensive” remake of what has long been the country’s best-selling motor vehicle.

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Ford actually got a triple-dose of good news from the Lone Star State’s automotive scribes who named the 2015 Lincoln MKC the crossover of Texas, while Ford also was named the Truck Line of Texas. But the Detroit carmaker couldn’t pull off a clean sweep, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee capturing the SUV of Texas title for the fifth straight year.

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September Car Sales Hold Strong as Summer Fades Away

Sales likely the best since 2007.

by on Sep.26, 2014

If anything, Mercedes-Benz USA says it could double sales of the new CLA if it could get more.

Summer may be fading into fall, but the U.S. auto market continues to sizzle, industry analysts anticipating sales will be the best, when the final numbers are tallied, since before the recession began.

On a seasonally adjust annual rate, or SAAR, the industry is expected to report a 16.4 million pace, well above the initial forecast for all of 2014 — and a hint that the car market could show even more momentum in the months to come as fuel prices fall and the economy gains more momentum.

Auto Insight!

“We expect another strong month for the industry with the best September since 2007,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.

Equally significant, the late-summer surge seems to have come without the hefty incentive push seen in the past to build market momentum.

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Lincoln Sticks with Old Name for (Almost) New Truck

Major update in the works – but not for now.

by on Sep.22, 2014

The most visually obvious change to the 2015 Navigator is the use of the new Lincoln grille.

Already confirming plans for four new vehicles by 2016, Ford Motor Co. has a number of additional new products in the pipeline for the years that follow, including a sporty coupe that will share the same platform as its new-for-2015 Ford Mustang.

There’s also a new version of its long-in-the-tooth Lincoln Navigator in the works – though, for now, buyers who want the full-size luxury SUV will have to settle for a largely warmed-over version of the big truck.

Stay on the Fast Track!

At least they won’t have to try to figure out a new nomenclature. While everything else in the Lincoln line-up has adopted a name starting with MK, the Navigator will remain the Navigator going forward.

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Toyota Eyeing Plant for Mexico

Maker reportedly eyeing several possible locations.

by on Sep.11, 2014

Toyota may be the next to head South of the Border.

Toyota may soon become the next major automaker to open an assembly plant in Mexico, following other global manufacturers including BMW, Kia and Mercedes-Benz, all of whom announced plans to set up operations “South of the border” in recent months.

Toyota, which already operates an extensive manufacturing network in the U.S. and Canada, would not be a stranger to Mexico. It already operates a so-called “kit car” plant in Baja, California an hour south of Tijuana, that assembles about 50,000 small pickup trucks annually.  But unlike other global manufacturers, Toyota has not built a full-scale assembly plant in Mexico, which has seen automotive-oriented investments boom in recent years.

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Mexico is already the world’s sixth-largest auto producing nation, with manufacturers including Detroit’s Big Three, Volkswagen and Nissan, firmly entrenched. Audi is in the midst of readying a plant near Puebla that will become the first to build luxury cars. Honda joined the procession in February, and, just since June, Kia Motor Corp. BMW AG and Daimler AG have announced plans for Mexican operations.

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Toyota Taking Advanced Crash-Avoidance Tech Mainstream

Maker sets target of zero deaths in its new vehicles.

by on Sep.05, 2014

An advanced safety research vehicle using one of Toyota's upscale Lexus models.

With a new industry study set to be released this month showing how the latest high-tech automotive safety features are saving thousands of lives, Toyota Motor Co. plans to become the first automaker to offer key crash-avoidance technologies on all its models by 2017.

A Safe Bet!

Electronic stability control is already showing tremendous results, according to a study that will be released by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. The technology is already mandated by the government for all new vehicles sold in the U.S. But even more advanced systems using radar to detect a potential crash and, in some cases, actually stop a vehicle without driver intervention, could save thousands more.

Toyota indicated it will offer some version of pre-collision technology across the board, Seigo Kuzumaki, its chief safety technology officer, declaring, “We are entering an entirely new era of mobility,” during a seminar in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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