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Get Safer Teen Drivers by Giving Them Better Cars

U.S. News unveils new car list for teens.

by on Jul.26, 2016

New safety technologies offer parents some peace of mind as their youngsters get behind the wheel.

Parents of soon-to-be-teenage drivers are often faced with a tough decision: what should the newly minted motorist tool around town in?

There two trains of thoAdd an Imageught on this: an older car that when it gets a dings, scratches and dents that often come with learning the rules of the road won’t require a call to the insurance company or a newer vehicle replete with the latest in safety technology, but often comes with a monthly payment and a much higher insurance tab.

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If the latter of the two is your choice, then you’re facing a mountain of choices, all of which will likely be pretty good. However, the folks at U.S. News and World Report have compiled their annual list of Best New Cars for Teens to help parents weed through the options. (more…)

Study Finds 45 Million Vehicles on US Roads With Unrepaired Recalls

Problem has grown as annual recall rates have surged to record levels.

by on Jul.25, 2016

A recent J.D. Power survey concludes there are 45 million recalled vehicles on U.S. roads in need of repair.

More than 45 million vehicles roam U.S. roads with unrepaired problems subject to safety recalls since just 2013, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates – and the figure doesn’t include millions of vehicles subject to older recalls.

With the number of recalls reaching record levels for the last two years, the problem has been growing more serious, the consumer research company warns. In just 2015, 51 million vehicles were involved in safety campaigns, stretching the limits for manufacturers to supply replacement parts and dealers to free up the necessary service bays.

Breaking News!

“The steady surge in recalls, combined with NHTSA’s stated goal of 100% recall completion rates have made the number of un-remedied recalls still on the road a critical statistic for automakers and dealers,” said Renee Stephens, the head of automotive operations at J.D. Power. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Facing Potential Legal Battle about Sales Reporting

Automaker allegedly reported incorrect sales results.

by on Jul.25, 2016

FCA Sales Chief Reid Bigland put a stop to the automaker's sales practices designed to keep its 75-month streak of increasing sales alive.

Fiat Chrysler is in the midst of one of the most impressive sales streaks ever. The automaker’s on a 75-month run of consecutive month-over-month sales, although an internal review conducted by the automaker is revealing that the streak may not be true.

At certain times during the run, thousands of vehicle sales reported by FCA brands for which there were no actual buyers, according to two company sources, according to a report in Automotive News.

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U.S. sales head Reid Bigland put a stop to the practice, which resulted in FCA US reporting sales of 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles. After they had been reported as sold by dealers, they were then “unwound,” the publication reported. (more…)

Pokemon Go, er, Stop

Driving and augmented reality don’t always play well together.

by on Jul.25, 2016

Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people across America are hunting for Pokemon as part of Nintendo's new Pokemon Go game.

Nick Johnson was close to living up to his childhood dream of becoming a Pokemon master. He had captured all but a few of the remaining 142 monsters in the augmented reality reboot of the long popular game.

But try as he might, he couldn’t seem to catch up to those remaining Porygons and Dratinis, so he finally gave up on using shoe leather and hired an Uber car to drive him around New York City before finally earning a spot in the gamer’s hall of fame as the first player confirmed to have swept up all the monsters available in North America.

Safety News!

Unfortunately, other Pokemon Go players aren’t quite as conscientious as Johnson, who works for a platform innovation company. There are growing reports of motorists staring at their smartphones as they drive around on their Poke-quests. One, in Baltimore, plowed into a police cruiser, while another slammed into a tree in Auburn, New York. (more…)

GM Reveals More About Supercruise

Semi-Autonomous tech delayed until late 2017.

by on Jul.25, 2016

GM will debut Supercruise on the Cadillac CT6.

Wary of the problems that appear to have caused the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S running in semi-autonomous mode, General Motors wants to take a bit more time before rolling out its own Supercruise system.

And that should allow GM to be much more confident that the technology will work as planned, said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ global product development chief. Among other things, once Supercruise makes its debut on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it will feature a retinal recognition system designed to make sure that a driver is paying attention to the road, even if their hands aren’t on the wheel.

Tech Talk!

The May 9th Tesla crash appears to have been the result of a system malfunction that failed to recognize when a truck turned in front of the Model S sedan. But there are also some indications the 40-year-old driver was distracted, possibly watching a video on a laptop computer, rather than acting as a human backup to the Autopilot system.

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GM Examining UK Operations After Brexit Approval

GM could see hard-earned Europe profits disappear.

by on Jul.25, 2016

General Motors is re-examining its European operations, specifically, the UK, in light of the recent "Brexit" vote.

General Motors is looking at various options, including closing operations and broad cost cuts, to shore up GM Europe’s bottom line in the wake of the “Brexit” vote.

Chuck Stevens, GM’s chief financial officer, told analysts that the automaker was prepared to re-evaluate its entire business in United Kingdom in the wake of the decision by British voters to leave the European exit.

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“We will look across the whole business,” Stevens said during a conference call after the company released its second quarter earnings. “We will look to optimize our cost structure. We will go through the whole list of drivers. That may involve the footprint.” (more…)

Chrysler Pacifica Surges Out to Strong Start

Town & Country replacement luring buyers with lower sticker price.

by on Jul.25, 2016

Perhaps no other type of vehicle does a better job of delivering what it offers than a minivan.

The new Chrysler Pacifica is off to a strong start as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pumps new life into the segment many analysts had written off long ago.

Matt McClear, senior manager for the Chrysler Brand said during a briefing outside FCA headquarters that sales of the new Pacifica have steadily grown since it was launched in April. During June the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica continued to gain momentum in the marketplace, selling 7,207 units, up significantly, from May, said McClear, even though dealers didn’t have a full supply.

The Journal of Record!

FCA also sold more than 8,000 Town & Country minivans during June. But FCA has stopped building the older Chrysler Town & Country at the company’s assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario. The last 2016 Town & Country has been shipped to dealers and Chrysler is now totally dependent on sales of the new Pacifica going forward, McClear said. (more…)

The Old Arsenal of Democracy Could Be Reborn for the Autonomous Era

Willow Run bomber plant to be reborn as a self-driving test center.

by on Jul.25, 2016

A rendering shows part of the planned layout for the new American Center for Mobility.

It served as a key part of the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II, but the site of the old Willow Run Assembly Plant, just outside Detroit, could come back to life as part of the auto industry’s future.

The newly established American Center for Mobility aims to transform more than 300 acres of the tract into the country’s largest test center dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles. Until now, most of the research on self-driving cars has taken place in California and other warm-weather states. The ACM would allow automakers and suppliers to test their technology in a broader range of climactic conditions.

News You Can Trust!

A number of steps have to fall in place before the project can come together – with a goal set to begin testing at the suburban site sometime in 2018. But one key move was approved last week when the Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved the purchase of the property for $1.2 million.

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Used Car Buyers Charged Up about EVs and Hybrids

Top three fastest selling used cars in U.S. are electrics.

by on Jul.22, 2016

The Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid is the fastest-selling used car in America through May.

Looking for a good used car? Well, if you find a hybrid or an EV you like, don’t dawdle on buying it because it’ll be off the lot before you know it.

According to iSeeCars.com, five of the top 10 fastest selling used cars in the U.S. in the first half of this year were hybrids or full electrics, including the top three movers. Perhaps even more astonishing, only one of the top 10 is an American car.

The Last Word!

Overall, iSeeCars.com found that one- to three-year-old used cars took an average of 42.4 days to sell. The top 10 fastest selling cars, however, were much faster—ranging from just 19.7 days on the market to 29.4 days. (more…)

Mini Takes the States – Again

Cross-country trek gives eccentric brand new life, great feedback.

by on Jul.22, 2016

A thousand people, and several dogs, are taking part in the biennial Mini Takes the States cross-country road trip, which ends in Palm Springs.

“We plan to keep the car until the rims fall off, and then we’ll probably just replace the rims,” laughs Kevin Evans, as he and wife Nancy took a break at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

They’ve already clocked a fair bit of mileage on the 2006 Mini Convertible, and they had more coming during the next few days.

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The Missouri couple were among the thousands of people who were expected to join in and at various stages of the biennial Mini Takes the States drive, a mobile, two-week festival that began in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 9 and will wrap up after a meandering, 4,500-mile trek, in Palm Springs during the weekend. (more…)