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UAW’s Williams Renews Attack on Trans Pacific Partnership

Ford also coming out against the deal.

by on Feb.08, 2016

UAW President Dennis Williams is reiterating the union's disdain for the Trans Pacific Partnership.

United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams renewed his assault on the Trans Pacific Partnership by noting the union now regrets its support for the U.S.-Korea trade pack that was negotiated by the Obama administration.

The TPP is the one of the key items on President Barack Obama’s agenda during his final term in office and enjoys rare support across the political parties as both Democrats and Republicans have spoken out in favor of the proposed agreement, which still needs to be finalized.

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Trade pacts, such as TPP, have hurt American workers, he asserted. NAFTA, the trade pact covering Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, has been a disaster for American workers, said Williams, noting the trade pact have left untouched a “corrupt” system that imposes contracts on workers negotiated by state-sponsored unions that never have to answer to their members. (more…)

GM, Ford Set China Sales Records in January

Buick leads GM to new monthly benchmark.

by on Feb.08, 2016

The Buick Envision helped General Motors set a new January sales record in China.

Both General Motors and Ford set January sales records in China despite the continuing concerns about the Chinese economy.

In January, retail sales by General Motors and its joint ventures in China were up 7.3% year over year to a record 421,023 vehicles, as Buick posted its best-ever monthly sales, GM officials said. Demand was given a boost by the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday in early February.

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Buick sales in January grew 39% from a year earlier to 138,907 units. Monthly sales of the brand exceeded 130,000 units for the first time, led by the Excelle GT and Envision SUV. Sales of the Envision more than doubled last month year over year. (more…)

US Highway Fatalities Surge 9%

Like two jumbo jets crashing each week.

by on Feb.05, 2016

After years of declines, highway fatalities were up through the first nine months of 2015 leaving officials scrambling to figure how to solve the problem.

After decades of relatively constant decline, U.S. highway deaths rose by a worrying 9% during the first nine months of 2015, according to federal safety regulators.

The increase comes at a time when auto recalls are running at record levels and as Americans spend more time on the road due to a recovering economy and plunging fuel prices. If the upward trend continued during the final quarter it would mark only the second time highway deaths were up for a full year during the last decade. At the current rate, Americans are dying on the road at the rate of two loaded 747s crashing every week.

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“For decades, U.S. DOT has been driving safety improvements on our roads, and those efforts have resulted in a steady decline in highway deaths,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “But the apparent increase in 2015 is a signal that we need to do more.” (more…)

KBB Delivers List of Top Family Vehicles

Top 16 list features just three minivans.

by on Feb.05, 2016

Longer, lower, roomier. Honda's 2016 Civic made KBB.com's list of Top 16 vehicles for families.

It happens to so many people around the country each year, the realization that the number kids added to the amount of stuff you need for them equals the ultimate family vehicle: the minivan.

However, not everyone decides that the “station wagon of the ’90s” is the vehicle that best suits their needs and there are plenty of options depending upon how big your family is, where you live, what you do and other variables.

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Kelley Blue Book tested dozens of vehicles with a keen focus on safety, comfort, convenience, spaciousness for both passengers and cargo, and fit of various rear-facing and forward-facing child safety seats, the KBB.com expert editors recommend their choices for a diverse group of vehicles that best meet the needs of today’s modern families. (more…)

New Vehicle Fuel Economy Average Rises in January

Improvement reverses recent trend.

by on Feb.05, 2016

The new vehicle fuel economy average improved in January despite 58% of those vehicles sold being trucks and SUVs.

Trucks and sport utility vehicles accounted for more than 58% of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. during January, but the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold actually improved, according to the monthly survey by the University of Michigan.

Despite some of the lowest gasoline prices in a decade, the average fuel economy or window-sticker value of new vehicles sold last month increased to 25.1 mpg from 24.9 mpg in December—the first time it had fallen below 25 mpg in nearly two years, U-M reported.

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“This increase likely reflects the month-to-month seasonal decrease in sales of pickup trucks and SUVs,” said Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI. (more…)

Mercedes Sales Lift Daimler AG 2015 Profits

Demand for SUVs, C-Class adds to bottom line.

by on Feb.04, 2016

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche says that Mercedes-Benz sales helped to carry the company to strong 2015.

Daimler AG reported its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings were up over the previous year due in large measure to strong sales from its Mercedes-Benz luxury car division.

“2015 was a good year for Daimler,” CEO Dieter Zetsche said in the statement. “Getting to the top is hard, but staying at the top is even harder. That’s our ambition.”

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The company’s fourth-quarter earnings before interest and tax rose 22% to $3.8 billion and its revenue jumped 13% to $45.3 billion. For the full year, EBIT increased  to $15.5 billion: a jump of 36%. (more…)

Honda Expanding Takata Recall, Reveals Separate Airbag Problem

Nearly 2.6 mil Honda, Acura models now facing recall.

by on Feb.04, 2016

The Honda CR-V from model years 2007 to 2011 is now part of the Takata airbag recall.

Honda now says it will recall more than 2.2 million vehicles due to faulty Takata airbags, about 500,000 more than was originally reported on Wednesday. And the maker says a separate airbag defect will force it to recall 341,000 more vehicles.

All told, the problem with Takata airbag inflators forced Honda and its Acura luxury brand to recall 8.51 million vehicles, more than any other manufacturer. But the defect – which can cause airbags to overinflate and spew shrapnel into the passenger compartment – has now forced the recall of more than 20 million vehicles by at least 10 manufacturers in the U.S. alone.

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The second recall involves the popular Honda Accord sedan. Older models can experience a failure of their airbag control units, which means the supplemental restraint system, or SRS, may not deploy in a crash. A number of other manufacturers are affected by this problem, as well. (more…)

Toyota’s U2 Concept Picks Up on Urban Lifestyle Trends

Inspired by invention-focused Maker Faire.

by on Feb.04, 2016

With the success of commercial van offerings from Ford and Nissan, Toyota may be following suit with the U2 Concept coming to the Chicago Auto Show.

Toyota could be the next automaker to target the resurgent market for compact commercial vans.

The maker gave a hint that was something it had in mind when it revealed images of its Urban Utility Concept in late 2014. Now, the Toyota U2 is finally set to make its public debut during the upcoming Chicago Auto Show.

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“Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter president of Calty, Toyota’s North American design studio, where the concept van was developed. (more…)

Kia to Add First Sports Sedan

Production version of Novo aiming at likes of Audi A5.

by on Feb.04, 2016

Kia is looking to challenge Japanese and European brands with its new Nova sports car.

Expect to see a production version of the Kia Novo sports sedan concept come to market next year as part of the Korean carmaker’s increasing push to take on more exclusive Japanese and European competitors.

The production model will be the first sporty model from either Kia or sibling Hyundai since the not-so-sporty Veloster and will be slightly smaller than the current Hyundai Genesis Coupe, according to several sources. A report by the Reuters news service said project is codenamed CK and is expected to reach market by May 2017.

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Once known for its small, affordable – and bland – products, Kia has been trying to reposition itself, much like Hyundai, which is just launching the all-new Genesis luxury brand. Kia is putting more of an emphasis on sporty products after getting a tepid response to its own luxury model, the K900. (more…)

FCA Plans to Trek into India with Jeep This Year

Wrangler, Grand Cherokee first products to be offered.

by on Feb.04, 2016

FCA will begin selling Jeep Wranglers in India some time later this year, according to the automaker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plans to start selling the Jeep brand in India by the middle of this year.

Jeep, which opened a plant in China, the world’s largest vehicle market just year, said it will expand to India with a line-up of three SUVs made in the United States, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the high performance Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Jeep introduced the at the 2016 Auto Expo in New Delhi.

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“Our aggressive expansion in international markets is one of the key drivers behind our current global sales momentum,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand, FCA, and chief operating officer of the Asia Pacific Regional Operations Group. (more…)