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Judge Approves $14.7B VW Settlement

German maker will begin making good on offers immediately.

by on Oct.26, 2016

A federal judge approved the long-awaited $14.7 billion settlement for Volkswagen's diesel scandal.

A federal judge signed off the proposed $14.7 billion settlement for owners of Volkswagen cars with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engines.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in his order approving the long-negotiated deal, said the settlement “in its current form is fair, adequate, and reasonable and is in the best interest of Class Members.”

Breyer noted in the order that the benefits under the order should be made immediately and the automaker committed to making that happen in a public statement about the newly approved agreement.

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“Final approval of the 2.0-liter TDI settlement is an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Buick Breaks Streak, Takes Third on Consumer Reports’ Most Reliable List

Brand's small line-up helps push rankings.

by on Oct.24, 2016

The Buick Encore's strong finish was matched by the rest of the brand's line-up, giving it a third-place result in this year's Consumer Reports survey.

Consumer Reports regularly puts all of the automakers through their paces trying to determine which brands should be deemed most reliable.

And reliably, Asian brands tend to dominate the top 10 list – except this year.

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Buick hatched a surprise and finished third in this year’s listing of the Most Reliable Brands behind Lexus and Toyota. The result marked the first time in three decades that a Detroit-based brand make the top 10 list. (more…)

Takata Airbag Death Toll Rises to 11

California woman is latest victim.

by on Oct.21, 2016

An 11th fatality due to Takata's faulty airbag inflators was confirmed by NHTSA and Honda.

The number of deaths in the U.S. tied directly to defective Takata airbag inflators has risen to 11 after a California woman’s driver-side airbag ruptured in her 2001 Honda Civic.

At least 16 deaths are now linked to the defect, which trigged the largest recall in automotive history: Nearly 100 million airbag inflators worldwide by more than a dozen automakers.

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The most recent U.S. fatality was confirmed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Honda. The 50-year-old woman died after sustaining severe injuries during a Sept. 30 crash. The car was one of more than 300,000 model year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles recalled due to the inflator issue. (more…)

California’s Proposed Autonomous Testing Rules Rile Google, Automakers

Companies claim proposed rules make development difficult.

by on Oct.20, 2016

Google and several automakers expressed concern about California's proposed testing rules for self-driving cars.

As Tesla’s Elon Musk announced all of the maker’s new vehicles will be capable of Level 5 autonomous driving, other automakers were expressing their concerns about the state of California’s proposed rules for testing self-driving vehicles in the Golden State.

During a public hearing outlining the proposed rules Google and several automakers objected to a variety of mandates, claiming that they would hinder the ability to conduct effective testing, including requiring compliance with the guidelines that federal regulators made voluntary last month.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Automated Vehicle Policy was devised to insure that automated vehicles or vehicles that can take over some or all of the driving task can pass a series of uniform tests to ensure the safety of the public, according to information supplied by The White House. (more…)

Tesla Wins Race to Full Autonomy

Musk declines to speculate on regulatory approvals.

by on Oct.20, 2016

All Tesla models going forward will be capable of fully autonomous driving once regulatory approvals happen.

The race to be the first automaker to produce a fully autonomous vehicle is over … according to Tesla’s Elon Musk anyway.

Tech News!

Effective immediately, all Teslas rolling off the production line are being equipped to be fully self-driving, including the maker’s first entry-level sedan, the Model 3, when it goes into production late next year, the CEO noted. (more…)

Surprise! All New Tesla Models Fully Autonomous

Musk says all models equipped for Level 5 autonomy.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced tonight that going forward all Tesla models will be capable of Level 5 autonomous driving.

Tesla’s Elon Musk announced tonight that all of the company’s vehicles going forward will be equipped to be fully autonomous, including its mass-market car, the Model 3, when it debuts late in 2017.

Musk, who delayed the announcement by two days, said the vehicles are Level 5 autonomy capable, which means they are capable of dealing with all environments and traffic conditions. The new vehicles now utilize eight cameras providing 360-degree coverage around the car.

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He believes that the safety level of the fully autonomous vehicle is “twice that of a person, maybe better,” he said during a late evening conference call. “I think that it’s unexpected by most people.” (more…)

Ghosn Likely to Lead Mitsubishi Board After Acquisition

Adding Mitsu may put Renault-Nissan at top of the sales heap.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Carlos Ghosn is likely to be named chairman of Mitsubishi Motors after Renault-Nissan acquires a controlling stake in the maker.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn appears to be adding another title to his business card: Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

The move, reported by Reuters, is expected to come after Renault-Nissan completes the $2.2 billion acquisition of a controlling stake – expected to be about 34% – in Mitsubishi in the weeks to come. Ghosn will helm a company, Mitsubishi, whose shares have fallen more than 40% this year.

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Ghosn, who helped pull Renault out of a financial ditch in the 1990s and improve Nissan’s earnings in the decade following, orchestrated the ongoing purchase of Mitsubishi after its sales plunged in the wake of its fuel economy rating crisis earlier this year. (more…)

Chevy Bolt Predicted to Hit 30K Sales Mark in 2017

U.S. EV sales soaring toward new record in 2016.

by on Oct.19, 2016

LG Chem VP Kang Chang Beom told his shareholders that Chevy Bolt sales would exceed 30,000 units in 2017. The supplier produces the batteries for the Bolt.

Just as Tesla revealed that the initial deliveries of its first mass-market EV, the Model 3, will be slow, one of the car’s competitors, the Chevrolet Bolt, appears to be ready to sprint out of the gate in 2017 with 30,000 deliveries.

The Bolt prediction comes from LG Chem Vice President Kang Chang Beom, whose company makes the batteries for Chevy’s new EV. His forecast that it would be raining Bolt EVs came during a conference call with the company’s shareholders, according to Bloomberg.


Sales of the new five-door plug-in EV begin later this year with production ramping up in early 2017 at General Motors’ plant in Orion, Michigan. However, Tesla’s first Model 3s won’t hit the streets until late next year … and even that’s considered a big assumption given the company’s past adherence to deadlines. (more…)

GM’s Barra Almost Got a Much Bigger Promotion: U.S. Vice President

WikiLeaks latest release reveals CEO was considered as Clinton's running mate.

by on Oct.18, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra made the first round of cuts to be Hillary Clinton's running mate this year.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s spent her entire career with one company. However, the history-making executive was under consideration for a bigger title than the “Chairman” that she added last year: Vice President of the United States.

Barra, who has never publicly espoused any political aspirations, was listed among 39 potential candidates to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, according to a hacked email released today by WikiLeaks.

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In a list broken down by adviser John Podesta into what he labeled as “food groups,” Barra found herself mentioned with several other top executives, including: Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the news group that bears his name and former mayor of New York City; Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, as well as his wife, Melissa; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; and several others. (more…)

Fiat Finishes Last on Consumer Reports Brand List

FCA vehicles garner four of worst six ratings.

by on Oct.17, 2016

Fiat finished last in Consumer Reports latest brand report card with the magazine failing to recommend any of its vehicles.

Buying a new vehicle requires consumers to be cognizant of more than if their favorite crossover is available in their favorite color. Pricing, safety, technology and a myriad of other factors play critical roles in the final decision.

If you’re spending big money on a new car, truck or utility vehicle – and since the average price of a new vehicle is more than $34k, you are – quality is likely to be at or near the top of the list. Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways to find out how “good” your prospective buy may be, including Consumer Reports’ annual Brand Report Card.

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The leaders in automotive quality are fairly well known and don’t seem to change too much from year to year. This year, the top two best makers were Audi and Subaru, according to the magazine. They were followed by Lexus, Porsche, and BMW in the top five.  (more…)