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Daimler AG Latest Under Diesel Emissions Microscope

Some Mercedes-Benz vehicles may have used cheat devices.

by on Feb.19, 2018

Daimler is the latest automaker to be investigated about cheating to beat U.S. emissions tests for diesel engines.

Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler have been investigated by U.S. officials for using “cheat devices” to pass diesel emissions tests in the U.S. and it appears Daimler AG is next to put its head on the block.

Investigators found Mercedes-Benz cars were equipped with software which may have helped them to pass diesel emissions tests, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported citing confidential documents.

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A Daimler spokesman said the company was cooperating fully with U.S. authorities and had agreed to strict confidentiality with the U.S. Department of Justice.  (more…)

Dodge, Mopar Sponsoring NHRA Event

Dodge enhancing racing status with NHRA partnership.

by on Feb.19, 2018

Dodge and Mopar continue to support NHRA racing with the sponsorship of the Mile High Nationals in Denver.

With the releases of the Hellcat and Demon models, it may seem like Dodge is looking to fill the world with street-legal drag racers. Well, now it’s working with the track-only monsters as it has signed on as title sponsor of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national event at Bandimere Speedway in Denver.

The brand has a long history with the NHRA, including its aftermarket performance brand, Mopar. The 2018 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar marks the 30th year that FCA US LLC brands are race sponsors, one of the longest partnerships in all of motorsports.

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“Performance and competition fuel Dodge owners and the Dodge//SRT team every day,” said Steve Beahm, head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. (more…)

Prices of Replacement Parts Helps Drive Rise in Auto Thefts

Vehicles offer thousands in black market replacement parts.

by on Feb.16, 2018

The NICB reveals the individual prices for different replacement parts for vehicles.

Auto thieves had a strong year in 2017 with thefts up 4%, according to FBI statistics, and that number is expected to remain “strong” as many of these vehicles end up being chopped up for replacement parts.

The average car has nearly $10,000 in “replacement” parts that are sold on the black market.

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) notes that today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident. Getting these parts from less-than-reputable sellers can equate to big profits for repair shops. (more…)

EPA’s Pruitt Lets Polluting Diesel Trucks Glide Through Loophole

Gliders spew diesel pollutants at rate 43x more than new trucks.

by on Feb.15, 2018

A Fitzgerald employee mates an older diesel engine to a new truck body.

Less than a year after Volkswagen was hit for more than $4 billion in fines, penalties and fees related to the German maker’s noncompliant diesel engines, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to exempt U.S.-built “gliders” that spew emissions 13 times worse than all of VW’s diesels combined.

According to the New York Times, EPA Administration Scott Pruitt is not only set to approve the vehicles, he’s contemplating removing the cap on how many of them can be sold annually. The Obama administration was attempting to cap their production at 300 units annually.

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“Gliders” are trucks that use new truck bodies from Peterbilt, Freightliner and other manufacturers that are mated to rebuilt engines exempt from pollution standards. The resulting truck is cheaper, less expensive to maintain cheaper to repair and, in some instances, gets higher fuel economy than new trucks. (more…)

Lincoln Adds More Star Power to its Ads with Serena Williams

Tennis star talks about role Navigator played in her life.

by on Feb.15, 2018

Tennis great Serena Williams is promoting the new Lincoln Navigator.

All right, all right, all right. It’s time for a new Lincoln spokesperson and new mom Serena Williams — already once a Navigator owner — is stepping into the role.

Lincoln has pinned a lengthy ad campaign on actor Matthew McConaughey and now expands its celebrity spokesperson stable to include Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam tennis titles, to promote the newly redesigned Navigator.

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“Serena is an amazing athlete who has won 23 Grand Slams, but she also has a family, she has her own clothing line, she sits on major boards, she’s philanthropic – she has all these competing demands on her time,” said John Emmert, group marketing manager, The Lincoln Motor Co. (more…)

Dyson’s EV Efforts Following a Familiar Path

Entrepreneur plans to start with a low-volume, premium car then add two.

by on Feb.14, 2018

James Dyson confirmed plans to produce an electric vehicle by 2020.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a quirky entrepreneur decides to get into the automotive business by developing an electric vehicle, even though he has no real experience in that arena. The grand plan calls for three vehicles to anchor the company.

Sound familiar?

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Yes. But it’s not Elon Musk and Tesla, but rather James Dyson, the famous inventor of the Dyson vacuum and many other products. Dyson recently revealed plans to produce an EV using a solid state batteries rather than the lithium ion panels currently used by automakers. (more…)

Pot Smokers Not Only Thing High on 4/20 – Traffic Accidents Too

New study shows double-digit percent increase in traffic fatalities.

by on Feb.13, 2018

Marijuana advocates celebrate "4/20" annually by smoking pot. Researchers say that traffic fatalities rise by 12% that day. Photo credit: Daily Camera

Each year on April 20, thousands of people in the United States celebrate 4/20, the date 2o-plus years ago that High Times, a marijuana advocacy publication, designated to celebrate what it perceived as the virtues of smoking pot.

However, a new study shows that it’s not only people that get high on that day, traffic fatality rates get high(er) as well.

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Actually the results of the study are more educated guess than stone cold fact. Researchers cannot not fully determine if marijuana-intoxicated drivers caused the rise in vehicle deaths on 4/20, but they appear to be the most likely culprits, according to John Staples, an internist and researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. (more…)

Ford, Mazda Expand ‘Do Not Drive’ Takata Recall

Automakers broaden small pickup recall after additional testing.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Owners of certain 2006 Ford Rangers are being told to park their trucks immediately as part of a recall to repair faulty Takata airbags.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Ford and Mazda issued a warning to about 35,000 Ranger and B-Series small pickups to stop driving the trucks immediately due to potential problems with Takata-made airbags. The action is essentially an extension of a smaller recall Ford issued last month.

In January, Ford issued the same order for 2,900 Ranger pickups for the 2006 model year because of the faulty inflators from Takata. The company became aware of a second death that occurred in a truck from the same “production run” of vehicles causing Ford to send out the urgent warning to owners.

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Mazda Motor Corp. followed suit for about 1,800 2006 Mazda B-series trucks that were built by Ford after it had issued a warning for 160 trucks last month. NHTSA said the vehicles pose “an immediate risk to safety” and asked owners to immediately schedule a free repair. (more…)

Uber Settles With Waymo for $245 Million

Company says it "regrets" the issue; promises to use only Uber technology.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to rehabilitate the company's image.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to knock down the roadblocks to the ride-sharing company’s progress as the company settled a long-running dispute with rival Waymo over trade secrets.

The company paid $245 million of its own stock to Waymo, the spinoff of Google’s autonomous vehicle business, and an agreement to not use any Waymo-based technology in its development of self-driving vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

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The settlement came as the two sides were about to begin a fifth day in court over the dispute, which has been costing Uber time and money as it looks to rehabilitate its reputation on multiple fronts. (more…)

Toyota Offers Toughened Up TRD Pro Series Trucks for 2019

Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner get new TRD packages.

by on Feb.08, 2018

Toyota's 4Runner TRD shows off its new logoed skid plate at the Chicago Auto Show.

With many truck makers arguing about which one has the toughest this or most rugged that, Toyota’s offers up its new TRD Pro Series line-up to remind folks that there are more than just two or three tough options.

For 2019, the company’s Tundra and Tacoma pickups as well as its 4Runner sport-ute get the updated TRD treatment, which mean a nice surprise for many buyers. According to Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America, plenty of folks have decided that Toyota’s vehicles are plenty tough.

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He noted that more than 40% of Tundra and 4Runner buyers upgrade to the TRD Pro Series package and that number soars to 56% for Tacoma. (more…)