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Jaguar Hopes Startup Incubator Accelerates Tech Development

Automaker follows lead of other companies looking for new technologies.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Tyfone is one of two companies to join the Jaguar Land Rover technology incubator in Portland, Oregon.

With the auto industry in the midst of technological revolution, Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC has found a way to get a look at new developments by nurturing tech startups at the company’s small outpost on the West Coast.

The new additions to JLR’s “technology accelerator” program, Tyfone and Simplenight, focus on increasing data security and personalizing consumer experiences two key areas of interest and concern to consumers.

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Located in Portland, Oregon, the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator was launched in January 2016 and offers the company an opportunity to get a firsthand look at new technology as it develops. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Moves Excite Speculation

Automaker attracting interest from Chinese companies.

by on Aug.15, 2017

Sergio Marchionne's continuing search for a partner for Fiat Chrysler has attracted interest from potential buyers and investors.

Even when he fails to consummate a transaction, as he did two years ago, Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne still enjoys a reputation as an astute deal maker.

So it’s not exactly a surprise that shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. climbed to a record high following reports that FCA was dickering with Chinese companies about a possible deal. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S.-listed shares surged 8.5% to $12.60, the highest close since trading began in October 2014. The stock has risen 38% this year.

Global News!

In an e-mail, FCA declined to comment on the rampant speculation of a potential alliance or sale of the company. (more…)

Teamsters Sets Up Road Blocks to Autonomous Semi-Trucks

Union works with politicians to limit self-driving trucks testing.

by on Aug.15, 2017

A pair of autonomous Otto trucks carrying prototype autonomous Volvos being tested by Uber. The Teamsters are watching autonomous laws carefully.

Tesla, Daimler, Uber and other companies are pushing ahead with the development of self-driving semi-trucks, but the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are determined to put up road blocks in an effort that could eventually eliminate the jobs of thousands of truck drivers and union members.

The Teamsters, which has 1.3 million members, has lobbied lawmakers to exclude commercial trucks from a bill that would allow more autonomous vehicles on the roads and limit the ability of individual states to regulate automated vehicles.

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The union also praised Congress for recognizing that a starting point for any discussion on this subject was that no legislation should impact commercial motor vehicles or traditional commercial drivers. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Nissan Titan

Truck offers plenty of power, creature comforts.

by on Aug.11, 2017

The 2017 Nissan Titan features a strong grille that is often the hallmark of popular full-size pickups.

Trucks are in right now and their strong appeal has helped keep showrooms humming and factories busy.

One of the reasons that trucks are so popular is that they are solid and appealing vehicles. Case in point is Nissan Titan, which faces off against enormously popular Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

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The Titan may not command the loyalty of the American brands but it is made in the United States in Canton, Mississippi, and it has the rugged style, driving characteristics, dynamics and features that Nissan’s competitors have used to define and re-define the segment in recent years. (more…)

Ride- and Car-Sharing Cuts into Vehicle Sales, Study Claims

Sudden lack of options forced change in habits.

by on Aug.11, 2017

Through the first half of 2017, Lyft has already exceeded its total ridership for all of 2016.

A new study by researchers from three universities reveals that the consumers are likely to buy or lease fewer vehicles in areas served by ride-sharing companies, such as Uber or Lyft, or car-sharing oufits.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Columbia University surveyed more than 1,200 people in Austin, Texas, to examine how their habits changed after Uber and Lyft pulled drivers out of the city due to change in a local law.

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“On-demand, ride-sourcing services have grown tremendously in the last decade and they promise a host of potential public benefits—reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, easing of road congestion, as well as affordability, and accessibility,” said Robert Hampshire, a professor at UMTRI and lead author of the new study.  (more…)

Daimler AG Gobbles Up Another Mobile App Company

Latest acquisition folded into existing subsidiary.

by on Aug.10, 2017

Daimler AG acquired Familonet Gmbh as part of its expanding mobility efforts.

Daimler AG continues to expand its portfolio of mobility companies with the acquisition of Familonet Gmbh, a startup company from Hamburg, Germany, which has created an app with more than 2 million registered users.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the moovel Group, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, acquired 100% of Familonet. In addition, personnel from Familonet will become part of the moovel Group’s development team in Hamburg. Daimler noted it was interested not only in the firm’s registered in users, but also the talent behind firm’s app.

Tech News!

“The expertise and skills of Familonet are an ideal addition to the moovel development team at the Hamburg site. Both the geo-fencing technology and the team of developers with location expertise are a major win for moovel,” said Oliver Wahlen, chief technology officer of moovel Group. (more…)

FCA Analyst Pleads Guilty in UAW Scandal

UAW's Williams thinks scandal affected Nissan vote.

by on Aug.10, 2017

UAW President Dennis Williams believes the FCA-UAW scandal impacted the organizing vote at Nissan's plant in Mississippi.

One of two Fiat Chrysler officials charged with participating in conspiracy to defraud a joint FCA-UAW training fund of more than $2 million pleaded guilty in federal court and could face up to 37 months in prison when he is sentenced in December.

Jerome Durden, 61, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, a felony, and one misdemeanor charge of failing to file a tax return for the approximately $4,000 he received in 2013 from the conspiracy. Durden allegedly used the money to pay a credit-card bill.

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Durden, who was a financial analyst at FCA, is expected to cooperate with prosecutors as they build their case against other conspirators, including Al Iacobelli, FCA’s former head of labor relations, and Monica Morgan, the wife of the late General Holiefield, former head of the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler department. (more…)

GM Sales Climb in China as Ford’s Slip in July

Ford sales down year-to-date as well.

by on Aug.09, 2017

Cadillac sales rose 37% in July. ATS sales performed well during the month.

General Motors Co. sales may have dropped in the U.S. last month, but the automaker posted record sales in China, the company’s largest single market. Conversely Ford Motor Co. reported its sales slipped despite steady growth in sales by the company’s Lincoln brand last month.

GM and its joint ventures reported that retail sales increased 6.3% from a year earlier to 287,581 vehicles. For the year, GM surpassed 2 million deliveries in China as sales in the first seven months totaled 2.05 million units down 1.3% from last year’s pace.

Global Auto News!

The Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands reached all-time highs for July sales, while Chevrolet posted growth of 24% on an annual basis. GM’s performance was strong across many segments, with SUVs remaining the biggest riser – generating growth of 50% year over year. (more…)

New Vehicle Fuel-Economy Averages Improve in July

Rise attributed to decline in truck sales.

by on Aug.08, 2017

The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during July improved compared to June.

The average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased by Americans improved during July, according to a monthly survey by the University of Michigan.

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in July was 25.4 mpg—up 0.3 mpg from June, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, researchers from U-M’s Transportation Institute said.

Beyond the Headlines!

The increase likely reflects the decreased proportion of light trucks in the sales mix in July compared to June. The value for July is up 5.3 mpg since the first month of the organization’s monitoring began in October 2007, but still down 0.1 mpg from the peak of 25.5 mpg reached in August 2014, the report for July sales noted. (more…)

Demand for Cybersecurity Experts in Auto Industry Soars

Makers searching for help with hacking.

by on Aug.07, 2017

Automakers, like Tesla, are searching for cybersecurity experts to help keep vehicles and occupants safe.

The demand for automotive cybersecurity researchers is outstripping supply as automakers continue to cram more and more computer-based technology into new vehicles.

This offers hackers more and more opportunities to breach systems in vehicles. Stories abound of vehicles being hacked in various scenarios, including one where a tech publication paid hackers to take control of a vehicle while driving.

Technology News!

The list of “definitely hacked” includes Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen and Delphi Automotive, reports the Hill, the Washington D.C. based website focused on policy and political issues. Add Tesla and others to list as well. (more…)