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Ford Reveals Tidal Wave of New Products Coming by 2020

Executives look to change perception about company's future.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Ford plans to drive SUV growth with two all-new off-road models: the new Bronco and this yet-to-be-named off-road small utility.

In a bid to reverse the narrative that the company was in decline in recent months, Ford Motor Co. offered reporters and analysts a glimpse at a product plan that will renew three quarters of the vehicles in dealer showrooms by 2020.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that the revamp will build on the company’s strength in trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles and include the incorporation of hybrid technology in its popular vehicles.

Product News!

The push for hybrid-electric vehicles will bring new capability and features to customers on high-volume vehicles like the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and the Bronco, Hackett said. (more…)

GM Investing $100M in Tooling for Cruise AV, Autonomous Roof Racks

by on Mar.15, 2018

The Cruise AV will be built at the Orion Township, Michigan plant were GM builds the Chevy Bolt EV.

General Motors continues to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to autonomous vehicles, this time to the tune of $100 million.

The company is investing that cash in two Michigan facilities that will build its Cruise AV driverless car as well as the roof modules that contain all of the equipment needed to make the vehicle drive on its own, such as radar, LiDAR, cameras, etc.

Automotive Insight!

The new Cruise autonomous vehicles will be built at GM’s Orion Township assembly plant, north of Detroit. This makes sense as another self-driving vehicle produced by GM, the Bolt EV, is also built at the plant. (more…)

Waymo Lets Folks Peer Behind the Autonomous Curtain

CEO Krafcik promotes self-driving cars with videos at SXSW.

by on Mar.15, 2018

These girls commemorated their ride in Waymo's autonomous minivan with a selfie.

Surveys are showing that a majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of riding in an autonomous, or self-driving vehicle.

In fact, the most recent AAA study shows that 63% of Americans are reticent to get into an autonomous car. That number is down from 78% from the previous year.

Tech News!

Although the numbers of nays are shrinking, its apparent that it’s going to require some heavy marketing on the part of automakers that are heavily investing in self-driving technology development, and Waymo CEO John Krafcik is helping to lead the charge. (more…)

Magna, Lyft Pairing Up to Develop Self-Driving Technology

Magna takes $200 million equity stake in Lyft.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Lyft and Magna are partnering up to develop self-driving vehicle technologies.

Magna is purchasing a $200 million equity stake in ride-sharing behemoth Lyft as part of a multi-year plan to develop a self-driving vehicle platform together.

The collaboration calls for the two companies to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems. The establishment of this partnership subject to regulatory approval. This partnership positions Magna and Lyft to enable the development and manufacturing of self-driving systems at scale.

News You Can Trust!

In addition to self-driving vehicles that will be deployed on Lyft’s own ride-sharing network in the coming years, Magna can deploy the technologies across a wide range of uses to benefit the entire global mobility ecosystem. (more…)

Delaware Testing Smartphone Driver’s License

Six-month pilot study could lead to broad shift in personal ID.

by on Mar.14, 2018

A state-issued sample of the new mDL.

You can make reservations, buy groceries, pass through airport security and pay bills with your smartphone. Now, the State of Delaware wants to see if it makes sense to let motorists use their smartphones as mobile driver’s licenses, rather than issuing conventional plastic or paper cards.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles has launched a six-month pilot program in which 200 state employees and other “stakeholders” will participate. The “mDL” project is meant to test the effectiveness of using a license app – and also to make sure it can remain secure from hackers. It could eventually be rolled out to Delaware’s 800,000 licensed drivers and eventually copied by other states.

Licensed to Inform!

“This six month pilot will help us see what mDLs look like in real-world scenarios and address any issues that arise as a result before we decide to fully adopt and implement this application for our more than 800,000 licensed drivers and ID card holders,” said Delaware Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.


Tesla Struggling With Major Quality Issues

Current, former employees claim poor quality parts adding to delays.

by on Mar.14, 2018

Tesla's Fremont plant is churning out poor quality parts and vehicles, according current and former employees.

California-based EV maker Tesla’s ongoing struggles with two major problems – executive retention and manufacturing quality – reared their ugly heads again this week.

The company saw two high-level executives, Susan Repo, Tesla’s corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, and Eric Branderiz, chief accounting officer, leave the company within about a week of one another.

News Now!

Repo left to become the chief financial officer of another company and Branderiz left for personal reasons, according to reports. (more…)

Ford Recalling More Than 1.3M Vehicles

Automaker takes action on steering wheel problem.

by on Mar.14, 2018

Ford is recalling 1.3 million 2014–18 model year Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs for a problem with the steering wheel.

Ford Motor Co. is recalling approximately 1.3 million Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans due to a problem with the steering wheel detaching from the steering column.

The automaker says the affected vehicles are from the 2014–18 model years. The cars have a steering wheel bolt that could potentially loosen over time, causing steering wheel to detach from the steering column.

Safety News!

Ford said it is aware of two accidents with one injury that was allegedly related to the steering wheel bolt problem. (more…)

VW Ups EV Ante as it Places $25B in Battery Orders

German giant now outspending rival Tesla.

by on Mar.14, 2018

VW plans to have 30 fully electric vehicles ready by 2025, including models based on the ID Buzz and ID Crozz concepts.

As it ramps up plans to sell at least 3 million electrified vehicles annually by 2025, Volkswagen has announced orders for $25 billion worth of batteries and battery components – dwarfing the spending plans of all-electric competitor Tesla.

Longer-term, VW said it plans to more than double that total as it prepares to offer some form of electrified drivetrain for every vehicle in its line-up – including dozens of all-electric models. It plans to roll out its first three long-range battery-electric vehicles this year, including offerings from its Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi brands. It also will launch a new sub-brand, Volkswagen I.D., which will include in its portfolio the all-electric Buzz, a modern take on the automaker’s iconic Microbus.

News You Can Trust!

Among all 12 brands in the Volkswagen Group family, CEO Matthias Mueller said that there will be new battery-powered models launched “virtually every month,” as the new program ramps up, adding that “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world.” (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Genesis G80

Low-priced alternative to European models.

by on Mar.14, 2018

The 2018 Genesis G80 offers performance, elegance and comfort at a lower price than Euro competitors.

New vehicles have become so sophisticated, so well-built and so expensive, the differentiators of what used to be called a mass-market car and a luxury sedan have blurred and faded away.

As the lines blur, it has created an opportunity for a new brand, such as Genesis, Hyundai’s fledgling luxury brand, to make a name for itself.

Reviews You Can Use!

Indeed, the formula behind Genesis is appealing elegance. It simply calls for building a car so good that it will quickly meet the demands or desires of luxury buyers while offering them something different and fresh and unbound by stuffy tradition at the same. (more…)

Feds Charge Fifth Person in UAW-FCA Training Funds Scandal

Holiefield's assistant latest to be charged by investigators.

by on Mar.14, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams continues to deny that members charged in the FCA-UAW fund scandal impacted negotiations.

The drip, drip, drip of charges in the scandal surrounding the training funds at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. administered jointly by FCA and the United Auto Workers continues as federal prosecutors disclosed they filed charges against another former UAW official.

Keith Mickens, 64, of Detroit, a former senior official in the UAW’s FCA Department, became the fifth person, including two from the UAW and two from FCA, charged in a corruption scandal that has led to four convictions.

Union News!

Mickens was charged with using credit cards linked to the joint training fund to purchase luggage, electronics, designer clothes and golf equipment in a criminal investigation, which means a guilty plea is expected. (more…)