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April Showers Brings … National Car Care Month!

Time to perform preventative maintenance check on vehicles.

by on Apr.24, 2015

Checking lubricants and fluids are part of the preventative maintenance routine recommended in the spring, according to experts.

Most of the nation has shaken off the yoke of winter and spring is upon us, which means its time to live the famous refrain, April showers bring … potholes and rain mostly.

April not only marks the beginning of spring, but also National Car Care month. It’s the time of the year that motorists need to focus on replacing windshield wiper blades, check the air pressure in tires and to ensure brakes are safe and working properly, according to the Car Care Council.

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The council says that cars inspected between April and October 2014 revealed that 84% of vehicles need service or parts, up 5% from the previous year. (more…)

SAE Panel Lays Out Framework for Arrival of Autonomous Vehicles

Executives cite connectivity, more players as key to growth.

by on Apr.23, 2015

Tesla's Model S will be one of the first examples of vehicles using autonomous vehicle technology on the road this summer.

Pandora’s Box is now officially open.

The emergence of self-driving vehicles as a major force in the automotive industry was underscored this week during the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit, where the topic of self-driving easily eclipsed fuel-efficiency as the major topic of discussion.

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Seval Oz, chief executive officer of Intelligent Transportation Systems at Continental AG, said two of the factors that are driving the autonomous car revolution are exponential growth of wireless connectivity in cars and the demand by other companies for the attention of drivers and passengers, who spend upwards of two hours in a vehicle during the daily commute. (more…)

GM CEO Barra Dismisses Notion of Merger with Fiat Chrysler

FCA spurned by GM and Ford, but continues looking.

by on Apr.23, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra said during a conference call today that the automaker will not be merging with FCA.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Sergio Marchionne is making it clear he’s willing to form partnerships with his competitors; however, he’s not getting many takers. General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra ended any speculation about the automaker’s interest before it could begin during the company’s first-quarter earnings call today.

Barra told analysts that the company is not looking to merge with or acquire any other automakers as the focus is on the company’s profitability plans … as currently configured.

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Marchionne and other FCA officials have been directly and indirectly suggesting they’d be willing to enter into a partnership with another automaker for several months even though the ink is barely dry on the deal that completed FCA. (more…)

GM Falls Short of Q1 Analyst Expectations

Maker takes $500 million in special charges related to Russia, victims fund.

by on Apr.23, 2015

GM reported earnings that were lower than expected in the first quarter of this year.

General Motors reported lower than expected first-quarter adjusted earnings of 86 cents per share on revenue of $35.7 billion.

The Detroit-based automaker was expected by analysts to report earnings of 97 cents per share and revenue of $37.6 billion.

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The results were impacted by $050 million in special charges taken by the automaker related to shutting down its business in Russia and the company’s victims compensation program. They amounted to 30 cents per share. (more…)

Lincoln Continental May Push Brand to Give up MK Names

Response to MKS replacement has officials reconsidering monikers.

by on Apr.22, 2015

The Lincoln Continental will return in production form and may be ushering in a return to conventional names for the brand's other vehicles.

When Lincoln rolled out the new Continental recently it not only suggested that Ford was serious about investing in the brand, but also the fact that they called it “Continental” suggested that the luxury brand may be reconsidering its MK nomenclature.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas, threw gasoline on the fire of speculation when he told a crowd that the company was happy with the response it got to the name.

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“Without divulging the future,” Hinrichs said, according to Automotive News, “we’re very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten.” (more…)

Green Car Purchasers More Likely to Pay with Green

Buyers used cash more often for alternative fuel vehicle, study shows.

by on Apr.22, 2015

The Toyota Prius was the most registered green car last year, according to Experian.

If you’re looking to buy a green vehicle, it appears you’re more likely to simply drop a bunch of green to do it, according to a recent study.

Buyers of alternative fuel vehicles last year were more likely to pay cash for their EV or hybrid than those purchasing a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine, said Experian Automotive.

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Sales of those vehicles have been in the decline through the first quarter of this year, but those buying them are pretty much a sure thing for automakers. More than 18% of consumers that purchased a “Green” vehicle paid in cash, compared to 15.2% of those that purchased a gas-powered vehicle, the company said. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe Concept Gets Green Light

New production model gets only few tweaks from concept.

by on Apr.22, 2015

Mercedes officials confirmed in Shanghai that the GLC Coupe Concept will go into production.

Right after the Mercedes GLC Coupe Concept made its world debut at Auto Shanghai, officials revealed it would hit the streets.

Thomas Weber, Daimler AG’s board member responsible for Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, confirmed that the dynamically styled SUV will go into production. The concept car is a “near-production-standard” study that transfers the styling of the GLE Coupe into the midsize segment and shows the design of upcoming SUV generations.

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Weber declined to say when the concept would hit showrooms because “first of all there will be the world premiere for the GLC (in June), followed by the GLS.” (more…)

Regulators, Lawmakers Key to Autonomous Vehicle Success

Rules for self-driving cars lag development.

by on Apr.22, 2015

Delphi is demonstrated the capability of its automated driving system by driving an Audi Q5 from San Francisco to New York City.

Autonomous driving and autonomous vehicles face some serious challenges in the litigious and risk-adverse American society of the 21st century, according to discussions at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Conference in Detroit.

The expectations and challenges of automated driving technology are critical to the future of the automobile business, Toshio Yokoyama, a executive from Honda Research & Development, who is one of the Japanese automaker’s leading experts on electronics during a panel discussion on automated driving.

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‎Steffen Linkenbach, head of Systems and Technology, North America for Continental AG, said the idea that autonomous driving could reduce traffic fatalities and injuries is helping propel the autonomous driving concept and animated projects such as Volvo’s City Safety car, which is aimed at preventing accidents on congested urban areas. (more…)

Google Exec Says Autonomous Cars Are Coming

Futurist Kurzweil isn’t sure exactly when they’ll arrive though.

by on Apr.22, 2015

Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, believes that autonomous vehicles will be here sooner rather than later due to rapidly developing technology.

The steady growth of computing power is certain to disrupt the auto industry in the years to come, a top executive from Google said as the Society of Automotive Engineers opened its annual conference and exposition in Detroit.

Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in the deployment of artificial intelligence who joined Google as the director of engineering in 2012, kicked off the SAE annual conference by noting that the rapidly declining cost of computing power and the advances in artificial intelligence will make autonomous driving sooner rather than later.

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“Coming from Google, Google advised me to share with you they don’t know the answer,” he said by way of telling the attendees he was unsure to say when autonomous or self-driving cars will become a common sight on the world’s highways. But he was enthusiastic about the prospects for the future. (more…)

Cadillac Has Plans to Grow V-Series Performance Line-Up

But forget the Escalade-V. Some models are off-limits.

by on Apr.21, 2015

The Cadillac ATS-V Coupe arrives track-capable from the factory, powered by a twin-turbocharged engine rated at 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

Cadillac will put two tire-spinning models on the road in the months ahead, the latest additions to its V-Series line-up. But the launch of the 2016 Caddy ATS-V and CTS-V will mark just the beginning of what could become a significant line-up of high-performance products to be introduced by the end of the decade.

General Motors’ flagship brand is setting out on the most rapid rollout of new products in its history, with eight new models – five targeting all-new market segments – due to debut before the end of the decade. And a number of those could get V-Series spinoffs, senior officials told following a test drive of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V in Austin, Texas.

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“The ‘V’ will be on more models than today,” said Dave Leone, Caddy’s chief engineer, quickly stressing that not every product in the Cadillac line-up will get the distinctive badge marking the performance sub-brand. (more…)