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Fiat Chrysler Moves Excite Speculation

Automaker attracting interest from Chinese companies.

by on Aug.15, 2017

Sergio Marchionne's continuing search for a partner for Fiat Chrysler has attracted interest from potential buyers and investors.

Even when he fails to consummate a transaction, as he did two years ago, Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne still enjoys a reputation as an astute deal maker.

So it’s not exactly a surprise that shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. climbed to a record high following reports that FCA was dickering with Chinese companies about a possible deal. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S.-listed shares surged 8.5% to $12.60, the highest close since trading began in October 2014. The stock has risen 38% this year.

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In an e-mail, FCA declined to comment on the rampant speculation of a potential alliance or sale of the company. (more…)

Traffic Fatalities in US Decline 1 Percent in First Half of 2017

Second half of year typically sees typically numbers rise.

by on Aug.15, 2017

The National Safety Council reports that motor vehicle deaths decline 1% in the first half of 2017.

For the first time in two years, motor vehicle deaths are on the decline, albeit only slightly.

The National Safety Council estimates reveal that traffic fatalities through the first six months of 2017 are down 1% from the same period last year. Totals have steadily risen since the end of 2014, making the organization cautious.

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The NSC notes the increase has been the “steepest estimated two-year increase in motor vehicle deaths since 1964, and it is too early to conclude whether the upward trend is over.” The totals are still 8% higher than the results from the first half of 2015. (more…)

Teamsters Sets Up Road Blocks to Autonomous Semi-Trucks

Union works with politicians to limit self-driving trucks testing.

by on Aug.15, 2017

A pair of autonomous Otto trucks carrying prototype autonomous Volvos being tested by Uber. The Teamsters are watching autonomous laws carefully.

Tesla, Daimler, Uber and other companies are pushing ahead with the development of self-driving semi-trucks, but the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are determined to put up road blocks in an effort that could eventually eliminate the jobs of thousands of truck drivers and union members.

The Teamsters, which has 1.3 million members, has lobbied lawmakers to exclude commercial trucks from a bill that would allow more autonomous vehicles on the roads and limit the ability of individual states to regulate automated vehicles.

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The union also praised Congress for recognizing that a starting point for any discussion on this subject was that no legislation should impact commercial motor vehicles or traditional commercial drivers. (more…)

More Power, Better Mileage, More Features – Ford Wants to Expand F-Series’ Lead

Add some subtle design tweaks for 2018.

by on Aug.14, 2017

The 2018 Ford F-150 gets a slew up updates under the hood and on the outside.

If you’re a fan of Ford’s F-150 you’ll quickly spot some changes for 2018, starting with the new “C-Clamp” headlights and updated grille and taillamps.

But that’s just where things start for the upcoming model-year, according to the Detroit automaker. The new F-Series line-up will get a big boost in power on two of its five powertrain options, while increasing fuel economy across the board. There are also an array of new and updated features that, Ford is betting, will help keep momentum building as it gains market share at the expense of key competitors Chevrolet and Ram.

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“The 2018 F-Series is even tougher, even smart, even more capable,” boasted Todd Eckert, Ford’s truck marketing manager, during a background media briefing on the updates to what has been, for four decades, the best-selling pickup on the U.S. market. (more…)

Automakers Wary of Trump’s Plans for NAFTA Talks

President's plans contradict auto industry interests.

by on Aug.14, 2017

Negotiating points outlines by the Trump Administration have U.S. automakers concerned.

Despite continued promises to bring back automotive manufacturing jobs to the U.S. through a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trump Administration’s efforts are likely to harm to the auto industry.

The NAFTA talks are nearly set to begin and a few of the major sticking points outlined by U.S. negotiators have auto industry officials wringing their hands over the anticipated negative impact they’ll have.

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In attempt to increase the number of auto jobs, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wants to strengthen the rules of origin to block more parts from Asia as well as set a U.S.-specific content requirement for vehicles coming into the U.S. from Mexico. (more…)

Bid Rejected, but Will Another Chinese Offer Soon Follow

Chinese may be only ones left to fill CEO Marchionne’s search for partner or buyer.

by on Aug.14, 2017

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is looking for an alliance, but hasn't ruled out selling the company outright.

Though Fiat Chrysler Automobiles appears to have rejected an acquisition bid from an unnamed Chinese automaker, many analysts and observers are now betting the Detroit carmaker will eventually partner up with, and possibly sell out to, a deep-pocketed Chinese manufacturer with global aspirations.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has made no secret of his desire to find a partner, and possibly a buyer. But after being rejected by a range of major manufacturers, including General Motors, PSA and Volkswagen, the Chinese may present his best, and possibly his only remaining, opportunity, several sources told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Global Auto News!

“We could see a mad scramble among the top three of four players in China to tie up with an American partner and FCA is the one most open,” said Joe Phillippi, head of AutoTrends Consulting. (more…)

Turns Out Millennials Can’t Exist Without Their Cars

Study shows half would give up social media for a week before their car.

by on Aug.11, 2017

Millennials can't live without their cars, but aren't prepared for what happens when their car is being repaired after an accident.

For so long it was thought that millennials were content to lives without cars, and now it appears they cannot live without them.

A new study shows that half of millennials would rather give up social media for a week than go without their cars. Additionally, 41% would give up an hour of sleep each day and 39% would skip a meal before giving up their vehicles.

The Last Word!

Enterprise, the rental car company, polled millennials to determine how strongly they felt about the possibility of going without a car for an extended period of time, such as if it were in for repair. What the company discovered is that millennials are just like most folks: they feel they need their vehicles. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Nissan Titan

Truck offers plenty of power, creature comforts.

by on Aug.11, 2017

The 2017 Nissan Titan features a strong grille that is often the hallmark of popular full-size pickups.

Trucks are in right now and their strong appeal has helped keep showrooms humming and factories busy.

One of the reasons that trucks are so popular is that they are solid and appealing vehicles. Case in point is Nissan Titan, which faces off against enormously popular Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

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The Titan may not command the loyalty of the American brands but it is made in the United States in Canton, Mississippi, and it has the rugged style, driving characteristics, dynamics and features that Nissan’s competitors have used to define and re-define the segment in recent years. (more…)

Ride- and Car-Sharing Cuts into Vehicle Sales, Study Claims

Sudden lack of options forced change in habits.

by on Aug.11, 2017

Through the first half of 2017, Lyft has already exceeded its total ridership for all of 2016.

A new study by researchers from three universities reveals that the consumers are likely to buy or lease fewer vehicles in areas served by ride-sharing companies, such as Uber or Lyft, or car-sharing oufits.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Columbia University surveyed more than 1,200 people in Austin, Texas, to examine how their habits changed after Uber and Lyft pulled drivers out of the city due to change in a local law.

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“On-demand, ride-sourcing services have grown tremendously in the last decade and they promise a host of potential public benefits—reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, easing of road congestion, as well as affordability, and accessibility,” said Robert Hampshire, a professor at UMTRI and lead author of the new study.  (more…)

GM Recalls 800K Full-Size Pickups Due to Steering Issue

Company will update software to fix problem.

by on Aug.11, 2017

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado is being recalled for a potential problem with its electric power steering.

General Motors Co. is recalling 800,000 full size pickups worldwide due to a potential problem with the trucks electric power steering.

The action impacts 690,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks in the U.S., the automaker noted. The recall impacts 2014 model year vehicles.

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The trucks could suffer a temporary loss of the power steering, particularly during low-speed turns, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dealers will reflash the software in the truck to resolve the problem. (more…)