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Chevy Rolls Out New 2016 Colorado Diesel

Oil-burner offers significant boost in mileage and towing capacity.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Chevrolet will be the first maker in the midsize pickup segment to offer a diesel option.

A year after launching its new midsize Colorado pickup, Chevrolet is back with a new diesel-powered version of the truck.

The new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel will be offered in the near-twin GMC Canyon, as well, making the pair the only diesels offered in the rebounding midsize pickup market. While no hard figures for the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel were released, it has been widely anticipated that highway mileage will top 30 mpg when the truck goes on sale this fall.

Keep on Truckin'!

“Along with greater capability and efficiency, it expands the Colorado lineup to give customers more choices and the capability of exploring more possibilities on and off the road, said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing.

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Ford Motor Co. Sets Records, Beats Earnings Forecasts

Few clouds on the immediate horizon.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Ford hopes to drive revenues even higher with the new Limited version of its F-150 pickup.

Just about any way you look at it, the second quarter was a good one for Ford Motor Co., the second-largest domestic automaker not only handily beating Wall Street analysts’ forecasts but delivering record numbers in North America and Asia/Pacific.

Even Europe came close to breaking even after years of heavy losses, noted Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. All told, the maker delivered net income of $1.9 billion per share, a 44% or $544 million year-over-year rise. On a per-share basis, Ford made 47 cents. That was up seven cents per share compared to the second-quarter of 2014 – and 10 cents more than the Wall Street consensus forecast.

By the Numbers!

“We delivered an outstanding second quarter, a great first half of 2015, and we are confident the second half of the year will be even stronger,” declared Fields in a prepared statement accompanying the earnings report. “The entire Ford team is focused on accelerating our One Ford plan, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in every part of our business.”

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Acura Chief Accavitti Unexpectedly Exits

New Acura boss is veteran designer Jon Ikeda.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Mike Accavitti with a prototype Acura TLX at its preview during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

With sales growing well ahead of the industry overall, everything seemed to be going right for Acura boss Mike Accavitti. But the industry veteran has unexpectedly exited the Japanese luxury brand, parent Honda Motor Co. offering no explanation for his departure.

Accavitti will be succeeded by Jon Ikeda, who had served as head of Honda’s U.S. R&D operations and who was trained as a designer before joining Honda in 1989.

Your Inside Source!

“Jon Ikeda brings tremendous knowledge and talent to Acura,” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, said in a statement. “From deep R&D experience with the brand, he has emerged as the ultimate advocate for Acura and has built a record of solid achievement and success.”

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Automakers Struggle to Keep Hackers Out of Increasingly Automated Vehicles

Chrysler recall not likely to end the problem.

by on Jul.27, 2015

A Wired journalist winds up in a ditch after hackers took control of this 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Sometime next month, if all goes well, California battery carmaker Tesla Motors plans to ask a select group of owners to begin testing its latest vehicle operating system. Dubbed version 7.0, it will include a beta version of Tesla’s new Pilot system which will offer the ability to drive on the highway hands-free.

As with previous updates for the Model S sedan, Tesla will upload the software wirelessly, rather than requiring owners to visit its showrooms. It’s an approach many other automakers are expected to adopt in the coming years. But it also raises some serious concerns among industry observers who question whether such an approach might make it easy for hackers to shift their focus from computers to cars.

We'll Keep You In the Know!

The risk was highlighted this past week when a pair of professional hackers gained access to a 2014 Jeep Cherokee driven by a reporter working for Wired magazine. They turned on the Jeep’s windshield wipers, shut the engine down while it was being driven down the highway, took control of the steering wheel and then disabled its brakes, sending it into a ditch.

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Fiat Chrysler Hit with Record $105 Mil Fine Over Mishandled Recalls

Maker also will offer buybacks and trade-in discounts.

by on Jul.27, 2015

A fire involving a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The consent order calls for FCA to speed up the recall of over 1.5 million Jeeps.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has agreed to pay a record $105 million in fines due to a series of mishandled recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Sunday evening. The largest fine ever levied again an automaker, the consent order will also see FCA buy back more 500,000 vehicles due to suspension defects.

The settlement follows what has been described as an “unprecedented” hearing by federal regulators examining allegations that FCA failed to follow federal safety guidelines in 23 separate recalls. In an appearance in Detroit last Monday, NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind warned that the agency may yet examine how FCA handled other safety problems.

Reviews You Can Trust!

“Today’s action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

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GM Launches New Active Safety Test Center

Crash-avoidance tech becoming better, cheaper, more common.

by on Jul.24, 2015

A Chevrolet Malibu with a pedestrian braking system stops short of hitting a "child" during a test.

As the big Chevrolet sedan races down the asphalt the driver seemingly misses the young boy who steps out on to the pavement. But his car doesn’t. An artificial vision system not only spots the pedestrian but slams on the brakes, stopping just a few feet before what might have been a deadly impact.

In fact, the demonstration run out at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan used a pint-sized dummy rather than risking an actual child, but it provided a clear look at a new technology that the maker plans to begin offering in 2016 on several models, including the new Chevy Malibu.

The Last Word!

Front Pedestrian Braking is, in fact, one of 22 different crash-avoidance technologies GM says it will offer through its four North American brands next year. And It promises more will follow, some already under development at a 52-acre Active Safety Test Area carved out of the suburban Detroit engineering complex.

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Mitsubishi Reportedly Abandoning US Assembly Plant

Will long-troubled Japanese maker walk away from the US Entirely?

by on Jul.24, 2015

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is meant to help the Japanese maker regain ground in the U.S. market.

After failing to find a new manufacturing partner, long-struggling Mitsubishi Motors reportedly will abandon its assembly plant in Normal, Illinois – a move that raises questions about the maker’s longer-term commitment to the U.S. market.

The Japanese maker is said to be making a strategic shift in focus to the Asian market, according to a report in Japan’s Nikkei news service. But the move comes as little surprise to those familiar with the Illinois operation. It has been operating for years at well under its production capacity, running up millions of dollars in annual losses.

The Complete Story!

“We have no statement at this time,” said Alex Fedorak, senior spokesman for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, or MMSA.

The mayor of the southern Illinois community, Chris Koo, said, meanwhile, that he has “heard nothing” from the automaker on any change in plan. Nor had Kyle Young, the vice president of United Auto Workers Union Local 2488, which represents the 918 workers at the factory.

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Honda Goes High(er) Tech with 2016 Accord

CarPlay and Android Auto, lower-price safety package added.

by on Jul.24, 2015

The 2016 Honda Accord gets minor styling tweaks and lots of new technology.

Honda will be loading up the 2016 Accord with an assortment of new high-tech features, the maker revealed during a preview staged, appropriately enough, in Silicon Valley.

Sure, Dodge has gotten plenty of attention by offering a 707-horsepower Hellcat package, but these days, automakers have learned that digital technology is really what sells – as was made abundantly clear in the results of the latest J.D. Power APEAL study which showed that owner satisfaction has been surging on products loaded up with the latest digital features.

High-Tech News!

Honda isn’t breaking ground with the 2016 Accord, but it’s not letting competitors like Chevrolet, Ford or Hyundai steal much of a march, either. And, considering Accord’s traditionally loyal following, that may be more than good enough.

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FCA Sets Ferrari IPO into Motion

Iconic brand intends to retain “exclusivity,” but changes are likely.

by on Jul.23, 2015

Ferrari's 458 Speciale A during its debut at the Paris Motor Show last autumn.

The spin-off for Fiat Chrysler’s Ferrari brand officially got underway this morning as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed the regulatory papers necessary to launch the long-awaited IPO of the iconic sports car maker.

Hoping to raise some desperately needed cash for FCA’s five-year expansion plan, CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to sell off 10% of Ferrari’s shares in the initial public offering. Another 80% will be distributed to existing Fiat Chrysler shareholders. The remaining 10% is currently held by founder Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi.

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“It won’t be a difficult (sell),” Marchionne said earlier this year, reflecting the general expectation that investors will snap up the shares of Ferrari if priced properly. The CEO has said he expects the brand will be valued at around $11 billion.

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GM Beats Q2 Forecast with Nearly $1.2 Bil Net Income

EBIT-adjusted earnings are best for any quarter since 2009 bankruptcy.

by on Jul.23, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra remains upbeat about the coming months despite problems in China.

Despite being hit with a $1.1 billion special charge, General Motors managed to deliver a second-quarter profit of nearly $1.2 billion, or $0.67 a share – its biggest three-month profit since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009 – with strong demand for its North American trucks helping fuel the strong performance.

Factoring in one-time charges equal to $0.62 a share, GM handily outperformed the Wall Street consensus forecast of $1.08 per share. And the second-quarter numbers compared with the modest $190 million, or $0.11, GM reported for the April-June 2014 numbers.

We Earn Your Trust!

“The first two quarters of the year were strong as we fully capitalized on a robust North American industry and maintained our strength in China, despite the challenging conditions in that market,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We said our goal was to improve our earnings and margins this year, and we are on plan.

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