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New Vehicle Sales Expected to Slide in April

Sales roller coaster continues to provide chills and thrills.

by on Apr.26, 2017

New vehicle sales are expected to drop at least 2% in April, according to several analysts.

Sales of new vehicles are expected to drop in April by between 2% and 3% year-over-year despite steadily rising incentives, according to estimates by Kelly Blue Book and J.D. Power, fueling concerns that the industry is facing a broad decline in 2017.

“After a weaker-than-expected March, it’s becoming more likely that 2017 will be the first down year for the industry since 2009,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Kelley Blue Book expects April to continue this downward trend, however, the SAAR should bounce back to approximately 17.1 million as a result of one less selling day.

Financial News!

“Beyond April, we will continue to closely monitor still high levels of inventory and elevated incentive spending by manufacturers, both of which are signs of overproduction following last year’s sales peak,” he added in his new analysis of industry sales trends. (more…)

Hyundai Closes Potential Opening for Hackers

Experts discover Blue Link shortcoming.

by on Apr.25, 2017

Hyundai's BlueLink service can be accessed through a smartphone or smart watch — and by hackers until last month's security software update.

Hyundai’s latest attempt to expand its technological appeal could have ended up becoming a costly snafu for owners and the company.

Last December, the South Korean automaker unveiled a new app for its Blue Link system permitting car owners to start their vehicles remotely, a la General Motors and several other automakers. However, Hyundai unwittingly left an opening in the software that left it susceptible to hackers.

News You Can Trust!

The issue, which was resolved in March, allowed potential car thieves to locate vehicles with the new upgrade, unlock and start them, putting them in a position to be stolen, according to Reuters. (more…)

Mercedes Expanding Car-Sharing Options

Maker expands program after successful trial period.

by on Apr.25, 2017

Perhaps the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C230 is available in the maker's new car-sharing platform, Croove.

Mercedes-Benz is expanding the trial of a new platform for sharing private cars, following the success of a pilot program in Munich that was launched four months ago.

The Croove platform allows subscribers to use a smart phone app or the Croove website to find a private vehicle that meets their specifications and price expectations.

News Now!

The service is not tied to rental stations in fixed locations and can be certain of being given the exact model of car requested. It is also separate and distinct from the fleets of shared vehicles belonging to Car2Go service operated by Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz parent company. (more…)

Amazon Investigating Development of Autonomous Technology

Company has team looking at impact of self-driving vehicles on business.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Might Amazon join the ranks of Uber, Waymo and others in the autonomous vehicle market?

Amazon is looking at more than just drones to help deliver tomorrow’s books, shoes and electronics: it’s got a team of a dozen people investigating autonomous vehicles.

Before the folks at General Motors, Ford, Waymo or Uber get nervous, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company is really looking into how it can best exploit the technology for its delivery services.

What a Conceptt!

The team is really an investigative unit to see how it can best take advantage of the technology rather than a group of engineers looking to build a working model. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to story. (more…)

Tesla Doubling Up Number of Superchargers

EV maker planning to have 10,000 chargers by end of 2018.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Tesla says this is going to become a more common sight in 2017 as it plans to build another 5,000 Supercharging stations.

Tesla’s all charged up about the pending introduction of the Model 3 later this summer and to prove it, apparently, they’re making sure that more Tesla owners than ever will be able to charge up while driving America’s highways and byways.

The EV maker has more than 5,400 Supercharger stations worldwide and plans to nearly double that to 10,000 units by the end of 2017. In North America, the company pledged to increase the number of super chargers by 150%, including adding 1,00 0 Superchargers in California.

Tech News!

“As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority,” the company noted in its corporate blog. (more…)

Waymo Levels New Charges Against Uber

Google subsidiary suggesting Uber autonomous system will be identical to Waymo's.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's company has been hit with a new set of allegations by Waymo.

Uber faces additional charges by Waymo, Google’s autonomous car subsidiary, which has accused the San Francisco-based ride hailing of stealing intellectual property.

In new court filings last week, Waymo claimed that Uber has been developing a secret, secondary self-driving technology that copies digit-for-digit Waymo’s autonomous driving designs.

News Now!

In addition, the new complaint from Waymo also claims Uber intentionally concealed this project from the U.S. District Court judge assigned to the case after the Google subsidiary filed its original suit back in February. (more…)

GM Hustling to Get First All-Electric Car on Road in China

Government accelerating EV mandates causing automakers to hurry.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Matt Tsien, who heads up GM China, said the company will have an all-electric vehicle on Chinese roads within two years.

General Motors will have a pure electric vehicle on the road in China within two years and eight more will follow by 2020. The automaker is jump starting its efforts to keep pace with the Chinese government’s accelerating demand for EVs.

Matt Tsien, head of GM China, unveiled the plan during a press conference at the Shanghai auto show. He said GM expects annual sales of 150,000 electric and hybrid cars in China by 2020 and possibly in excess of 500,000 by 2025.

The Last Word!

“In the next several years, out to 2020, we expect to launch at least 10 new energy vehicles into the marketplace,” said Tsien, using the government’s term for electric and hybrid vehicles. “We have a pipeline that is going to materialize, that’s going to put us in a very good position from a fuel economy requirement perspective.” (more…)

Tesla CEO Musk Flies to Germany to Help Avert Strike

EV maker’s founder appeals to workers, bolsters compensation.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk went to Germany to speak with workers at the company's engineering subsidiary to avert a strike.

Ensuring the introduction of the Model 3 on time this summer must be important to Tesla CEO Elon Musk — he’s flown to Germany to speak directly with employees at the company’s engineering subsidiary in hopes of heading off a strike that could make it impossible to meet the car’s deadline this summer.

While Tesla’s hourly workers in the U.S. are non-union, the 700 employees of Tesla Grohmann Automation belong to IG Metall. The workers have two primary concerns: salaries and layoffs.

Tech News!

According to Electrek, the workers are unhappy that they are paid 30% less than the union scale calls for. Tesla’s offered a nearly $300 a month bump in pay, although that would still leave them a bit short of their target number. (more…)

Ford Continues Tinkering With Bamboo in Vehicles

Super strong, light weight and quickly renewable among advantages.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Center, shows the strength of bamboo.

Facing constant pressure to make vehicles of any kind lighter and more efficient, carmakers are constantly experimenting with a variety of natural materials that help reduce a vehicle’s overall weight or even just to dress up its interior.

Thus, Ford Motor Co. engineers in China have been experimenting with using bamboo, a fast-growing natural material that’s been used for everything from furniture, flooring, storage containers and housing as well ships, carts and weapons, in the construction of new vehicles. Bamboo is also plentiful in the heart of the world’s largest new vehicle market – China.

News You Can Trust!

“Bamboo is amazing,” said Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Center. “It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.” (more…)

Volvo Autonomous Driving Software Venture With Autoliv Comes to Life

Zenuity will license software to customers.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Jan Carlson, chairman, CEO of Autoliv with Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

Zenuity, a 50/50 joint venture between Volvo Cars and Autoliv Inc., has begun operations, developing leading advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technologies.

“Volvo Cars combined its know-how with Autoliv’s to create a world leader in autonomous driving safety systems. With Zenuity starting operations we move a step closer to delivering this exciting technology,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars.

Global Auto News!

Autoliv is perhaps best known as an airbag supplier, and in recent times, for being the company jumping into help Takata produce replacement kits to replace the Japanese suppliers faulty airbags that have killed nearly a dozen people in the U.S. (more…)