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Costs of Tougher Fuel Economy Standards Inflated

Report says tougher standard won't cost as much as expected.

by on Mar.22, 2017

A new report shows that the cost of technology that improves fuel economy and emissions is less than predicted by regulators.

A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which reviewed the history of clean air regulations in the United States, the European Union and China, found that regulators have routinely inflated the costs of automotive technology that would benefit the environment.

Last week, the Trump administration announced that it will reopen the review of national fuel-economy standards for model years 2022-25. The report comes as the California Air Resources Board will make a decision, based on its own technical assessment, whether states representing 113 million people will stick with the current program.

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Automakers and other supporters of delaying the 2022-25 standards express concern about the cost associated with achieving tougher fuel economy and emissions standards and the impact on their bottom lines. (more…)

France Investigating FCA for Diesel Emission Violations

Automaker joins Volkswagen, PSA Group and Renault in group of potential violators.

by on Mar.21, 2017

FCA is under investigation by French prosecutors for diesel emissions violations. The company said its vehicles are compliant.

Less than a week after clearing Opel of wrongdoing in diesel emissions testing, French prosecutors are investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over similar allegations, according to Reuters.

“I can confirm that a judicial investigation has been opened into aggravated cheating,” the source told Reuters.

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Recently, four automakers were referred to authorities for further investigation – and possible prosecution – after testing by French authorities revealed higher than allowable diesel emission elvels. The four were Volkswagen, Renault, FCA and PSA Group. (more…)

Buying the Right New Car Could Net Big Profits Later

Own a '71 Plymouth 'Cuda convertible? You may be a millionaire.

by on Mar.21, 2017

This 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible appreciated more than 55,000% — yes, the comma is in the right spot. Photo credit: Barrett-Jackson.com

There’s nothing that beats that “new car” smell — except if you accurately predict that your new car will smell like money in 40 years.

In the vast majority of cases, new vehicles are money losers, or a depreciating asset if you want a fancier term, for the buyer. However, there are a few vehicles that beat the odds and increase in value over time.

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Case in point: the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible. The ‘Cuda featured a drop top and a 426 Hemi all for $4,296 when it debuted more than 45 years ago. Now it’s valued at $2.5 million, a 58,000% increase in value over time, according to Black Book, which provides up-to-date pricing information for classic cars. (more…)

BMW Planning Biggest New Product Blitz in its History

CEO: battery-car sales to nearly double in 2017.

by on Mar.21, 2017

The BMW 740e is one of an assortment of new, electrified models in the pipeline.

BMW plans to roll out about 40 new and significantly updated models during the next two years, the most significant burst in its history. And with a significant number of those vehicles offering battery-based options, CEO Harald Krueger said he expects to nearly double sales of electrified products this year.

BMW needs the product blitz, industry analysts have suggested, if it hopes to catch up with arch-rival Mercedes-Benz, which snatched the global luxury sales crown in 2016 – while also holding at bay aggressive also-ran Audi, which has its own major product offensive in the works.

Electrifying!

While BMW’s new models will include plenty of big SUVs and high-performance M models, there will be an expanded array of so-called “new energy vehicles,” or NEV models, Krueger telling journalists at BMW’s annual earnings conference, “our goal is sustainable mobility. There’s no turning back.”

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China Epicenter of New Development in Car Industry

Zetsche says push for EVs, size of market make country crucial.

by on Mar.21, 2017

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company plans to build and sell the newly unveiled EQ brand of electric vehicles in China.

China will likely serve as the stage where the auto industry’s future plays out in the years to come, two key executives from Daimler AG told a Beijing Forum organized to discuss the future of the Chinese economy.

“The automotive industry is experiencing fundamental change: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. Each of these has the power to turn our entire industry upside down. And I truly believe: China can be ‘the turbo’ of this transformation,” Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the forum as he outlined some of the key trends re-shaping the auto industry.

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“Electric mobility, for instance, is developing quickly here. And we are aiming to further contribute to this development by planning to produce our new generation of electric Mercedes-Benz models also in China. We are committed to delivering innovation and believe to have a common target with our partners: a both sustainable and highly fascinating auto industry in China,” Zetsche noted. (more…)

Another Day, Another Smack for Uber — President Resigns

After company announces plans to add COO, president decides to go.

by on Mar.20, 2017

Another tough day for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick as the company's recently hired president, Jeff Jones, resigned.

The old adage says when it rains, it pours and if you’re Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, it must feel like a hurricane is swirling around your office. The San Francisco-based ride services company suffered another setback over the weekend as Jeff Jones, the company’s recently hired president, resigned.

His departure is just the latest in snafus that have plagued the company, harming its perception with consumers and investors alike. Ironically, Jones, who came over after a stint at mega-retailer Target, came on board to improve Uber’s reputation.

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He quit less than seven months after he joined the company. The reasons for his departure weren’t immediately announced; however, in an email to employees Kalanick praised Jones for his work and dropped a pretty big hint as to why Jones left. (more…)

A Real Gas: First Drive of the 2017 Honda Clarity FCV

Hydrogen-powered sedan is no lightweight.

by on Mar.20, 2017

A bit late, but ready to roll. The new Honda Clarity FCV is the latest fuel-cell powered vehicle to hit the U.S. market.

During a visit to Detroit last week, President Donald Trump all but promised the auto industry his administration will roll back the tough 54.5 mpg federal mileage standard set to go into effect in 2025.

Yet while some manufacturers, especially Detroit’s Big Three, issued a collective sigh of relief, others insisted such a move wouldn’t make much, if any, difference in their long-term plans. That includes Honda, whose CEO recently emphasized his commitment to generating two-thirds of the maker’s sales from electrified powertrains by 2030.

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“Electric” doesn’t necessarily mean “battery,” however, and Honda has become one of the biggest proponents of fuel-cell technology, the Japanese maker recently becoming the third manufacturer to start marketing a hydrogen-powered car in the U.S. market. This past week, it gave TheDetroitBureau.com a chance to put the new Honda Clarity FCV through its paces traversing the mountainous terrain east of Santa Barbara, California. (more…)

Trump Continues to Threaten Foreign Automakers

President tells crowd that there will be "consequences."

by on Mar.20, 2017

President Donald Trump continues to threaten foreign automakers, including German companies, with a border tax.

President Donald Trump continues to make veiled threats against Germany’s automakers, which are among the most successful in the world, apparently as part of a key tactic in negotiating new and more advantageous trade agreements with European countries.

“Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the U.S., and I give them credit for it,” Trump told a White House press conference. “Virtually any country we do business with — it’s not exactly good for our workers.”

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“The U.S. has been treated unfairly and that’s going to stop,” he told reporters at the White House. During a meeting with representatives of both foreign and domestic car makers in Detroit last week Trump urged them to build more vehicles in the U.S. (more…)

CARB, EPA on Track for Emission Showdown

Clash begins with reopening of EPA review.

by on Mar.17, 2017

New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is considering eliminating California's special exemption to following federal emissions rules.

It appears that the State of California and the Trump Administration are on a collision course and the point of impact may be the oft-debated emissions rules that are now up for debate.

Led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Golden State is moving ahead with more stringent car pollution rules for 2022-2025, which were approved by Obama administration just before the Trump camp took over in January.

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California regulators are expected to finalize the rules at a meeting next week. However, the federal rules are expected to be eased. Trump announced the review of the corporate average fuel economy standards as well as the emissions standards will be reopened, much to the delight of automakers. (more…)

Uber Pushes for Arbitration in Intellectual Property Suit with Waymo

Move keeps sensitive information out of public eye.

by on Mar.17, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has his hands full these days, including the latest legal action.

Uber will try and force arbitration rather a face a trial court over charges that it has stolen intellectual property and proprietary technology from Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car subsidiary, which has taken a prominent role in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Arturo Gonzalez, the prominent San Francisco trial lawyer representing Uber, told a federal judge that he planned to file a petition demanding arbitration of Waymo’s claims of trade secrets theft.

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Arbitration, a legal procedure that side steps open court, allows a third party to review the evidence and decide the case rather than a judge. It’s also less drawn out than a trial and usually less expensive but both sides must agree on the person, often a retired judge, who will serve as the arbitrator in the case. (more…)