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Google Wants to Know More About New Auto Industry Safety Consortium

Autonomous vehicle chief Krafcik upbeat about Obama Admin’s new proposals.

by on Jan.14, 2016

This time the government is moving fast, said John Krafcik (l), head of Google's autonomous vehicle program, in Detroit.

The head of Google’s autonomous vehicle program said he wants to learn more about a precedent-setting auto industry consortium that will be announced in Detroit on Friday.

Organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the group will be aimed at bringing new safety technology to market faster than would be possible through the traditional regulatory process while also pushing those breakthroughs on to as broad a consumer market as possible.

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“I’d guess I’d want to see more and understand more,” John Krafcik, the CEO of Google’s self-driving car program said in response to a question from TheDetroitBureau.com. He was at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to attend another announcement by NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. (more…)

Google Says It’s Looking for Partners – But Won’t Discuss Ford Deal

New chief says only full autonomy will work.

by on Jan.13, 2016

John Krafcik, former Hyundai CEO, recently signed on as head of Google autonomous program.

Google is going the full Monty. While some other research programs are looking to phase in autonomous vehicle technology, a step at a time, The head of the Silicon Valley’s self-driving project says his company doesn’t believe in taking baby steps.

In a visit to Detroit coinciding with the annual North American International Auto Show, Google’s John Krafcik said that as the company’s autonomous vehicle project moves ahead, Google will be “partnering more and more and more.” But Krafcik pointedly avoided answering the obvious question: what about Ford?

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Numerous reports over the last month have suggested Google and Ford are ready to team up to put the Silicon Valley firm’s technology on the road. The move, insiders claim, would help the Detroit automaker kick-start an autonomous vehicle program that has lagged behind key rivals’ efforts.

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Ford and Google Deal to Go Beyond Autonomous Vehicles

Partnership will expand Ford’s push into alternative mobility solutions.

by on Jan.04, 2016

Ford is just beginning its own on-road autonomous vehicle testing at its Silicon Valley R&D center.

(c) TheDetroitBureau.com 2016

While last-minute snags could yet delay a formal announcement, Ford Motor Co. and Google are planning to reveal the details of an extensive new partnership during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The expansive alliance will provide Ford access to Google’s cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology, but several sources involved in the program told TheDetroitBureau.com that the deal will go well beyond self-driving cars and explore ways in which connected car technology can create alternative mobility solutions, a pet project of Ford CEO Mark Fields.

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Other high-tech providers will join the alliance and, among other things, Ford will be able to test its new technologies at a 1,000-acre proving grounds being set up in North Carolina, according to those sources.

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Google’s Autonomous Car Unit Set to Become Stand-Alone

But what sort of business will it become is far from clear.

by on Dec.17, 2015

A Mountain View, CA police officer recently gave a warning to a Google Car for driving too slowly. Photo courtesy Google autonomous vehicle blog.

Google plans to spin off its autonomous vehicle operations next year, turning the unit into a stand-alone business under the corporate umbrella of Alphabet, Inc.

That could serve as a prelude to actually putting the company’s first self-driving vehicles on the road in a commercial application, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service. While Google has clocked more than 1 million miles testing its autonomous technology it has not laid out a public plan for turning that research into an actual, for-profit business.

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But a plan to put driverless cars on the road, possibly through a new ride-sharing service to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft, could be endangered by draft regulations proposed by the State of California. Those new rules would require all vehicles to have conventional controls, including steering wheel and pedals, with a trained “operator” behind the wheel in case of a system failure.

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Battery-Car Buyers a Young and Affluent Lot

EVs a powerful draw for wealthy deal seekers.

by on May.06, 2015

EVs tend to draw more affluent buyers who are looking for a deal to offset the high price of the vehicles.

While sales of battery-based vehicles have lagged well behind industry expectations, manufacturers have been pleasantly surprised to discover that buyers are both younger and more affluent than those buying comparable gas-powered models.

But for most of those folks, going green wasn’t necessarily the only reason to buy a car like the Ford Focus Electric or Toyota Prius Plug-in. They were also attracted by the great deals manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Honda have been offering in an effort to build momentum for their electrified models, according to research by auto data firm TrueCar.com.

Power Up!

“EV buyers are affluent deal-seekers benefitting from big OEM discounts and (as much as) $10,000 of federal and state tax subsidies,” noted TrueCar President John Krafcik. (more…)

U.S. Auto Industry Generates Record $1.1 Trillion in 2014 Sales

But that number likely to double by decade’s end.

by on Dec.19, 2014

More than 54 million new and used vehicles will be purchase in 2014 accounting fro $1.1 trillion.

When the books are closed on 2014, combined new and used auto sales are likely to reach a record $1.1 trillion in the U.S. And that figure could double by decade’s end, according to various industry studies.

In all, Americans will have purchased 54 million new and “previously owned” cars, trucks and crossovers, reports data service TrueCar. The year appears to be ending with a solid December, according to other industry analysts, with new vehicle sales for the month expected to be up around 11% compared to year-ago numbers.

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On top of that, automakers have been able to boost prices at a time of strong demand during a period of sustained economic expansion and falling gas prices. So, forecast TrueCar, total revenues for the year will be up about 8.3%. (more…)

TrueCar’s Krafcik Suggests VW, Fiat Chrysler Merge

by on Nov.05, 2014

TrueCar's John Krafcik today suggested that a merger between VW and Fiat Chrysler would produce a "well-balanced" and "highly profitable" carmaker.

A new analysis from TrueCar suggests that Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen are a natural fit for each other, if they were to partner up.

TrueCar President John Krafcik said during an appearance at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today that if the two companies were to merge, it would be “well-balanced” and “highly profitable.”

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“This is an absolutely brilliant combination,” Krafcik said. “For sure, these two companies have a natural attraction to each other.” (more…)

TrueCar Exploring Used-Car Market Options

Fresh off IPO, company developing new service.

by on May.19, 2014

John Krafcik, TrueCar's new president, said the company is working on new service to buy and sell used cars.

With the money from its initial public offering of stock in the bank, TrueCar plans to move quickly to use its resources to expand its reach.

John Krafcik, TrueCar’s new president, said one of the areas in which it will be putting a substantial effort is a new service that would make it easier to sell used vehicles.

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“We’re not a shopping site; we’re a buying (site),” noted Krafcik. “Once you’ve made the decision you want to buy a Sonata, we help you find it at a competitive price.” (more…)

TrueCar IPO Falls Short of Expectations -Then Rebounds

After dropping price, traders quickly drive shares back up.

by on May.16, 2014

John Krafcik, third from left, TrueCar president, and Scott Painter, founder and CEO of TrueCar, right of Krafcik, celebrate the its debut on the NASDAQ.

With some of the fizz going out of internet stock in recent weeks, the initial public offering of stock by auto buying service TrueCar fell short of its own, cautious expectations as it began its first day of trading — but then quickly rebounded.

Initially expected to command between $12 and $14 per share when shares began trading today, they actually wound up launching under the NASDAQ symbol “TRUE” at a much more modest $9.00. Considering the nearly 8 million shares of common stock TrueCar offered, it will have raised about $70 million, down from initial expectations of somewhere around $100 million.

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The firm expects to use the cash it did raise for expanding its business operations and possibly making additional acquisitions according to the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. It purchased the influential ALG, the former Automotive Leasing Guide, two years ago.

(more…)

Ex-Hyundai CEO Krafcik Named New TrueCar President

Unexpected move comes as Web service prepares for IPO.

by on May.02, 2014

John Krafcik is no longer just a board member at TrueCar, he's added the title of President.

John Krafcik, former Hyundai Motor America President and CEO, has been named the President of TrueCar, the automotive sales and data website that is preparing for a stock offering.

The announcement ends speculation about the future of Krafcik, who left Hyundai in December after the South Korean automaker declined to renew his contract. Because of the talent he demonstrated while leading Hyundai’s American operations through a period of rapid growth, speculation about Krafcik’s future has been intense at times.

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Krafcik himself told TheDetroitBureau.com that he was considering “a number of opportunities” during a brief conversation at the New York Auto Show in April. (more…)