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Makers Putting Some Old Models Out to Pasture with Big Discounts

Edmunds suggests a list of new vehicles with great deals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

The Chrysler 200 will be dropped later this year, creating great deals for savvy buyers looking for a car on a big discount.

Auto sales are cruising along at near-record levels this year and automakers have become relatively good at monitoring production levels to ensure they don’t end up with a glut of some models they have to give away.

Pretty good isn’t perfect though and there are always a few vehicles that get away from them a bit and find their way into the “bargain bin” of new vehicle purchases. Most are perfectly lovely vehicles, but because they’re due for a redesign, get a bad rap or consumer tastes shift, these vehicles can be had for a fantastic price.

Your Auto Insider!

“Even though these vehicles are being redesigned or going away altogether, they still have the same great technology and performance that you’d find in most new cars, but at a much better value,” says Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. (more…)

GM Amps Things Up with 2017 Colorado, Canyon Trucks

New V-6 for Chevy, GMC adds two new midsize pickup models.

by on Aug.30, 2016

GM is looking to continue the growth of its midsize truck entries, including new marketing campaigns.

General Motors has made some major inroads into the rebounding midsize truck market with the reborn Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. Now, it’s looking to build even more momentum with a mix of new variants and improved powertrain options.

That includes an all-new V-6 mated with an eight-speed automatic for mainstream Chevy, while the “professional grade” side of the house adds two new models, the GMC Canyon Denali, and the “off-road-inspired” Canyon All Terrain X.

Product News!

Once written off for dead, the midsize market has shown new life during the last two years, in large part due to the return of the Colorado and Canyon models, analysts contend. In turn, the strong demand for the two GM models “has justified our continued investment in midsize pickups,” said Anita Burke, chief engineer for Colorado. (more…)

GM, US Army Team Up on Fuel-Cell Pickup

Chevrolet Colorado hydrogen truck to be unveiled in October.

by on Aug.30, 2016

GM is partnering with the Army Tank Command on a hydrogen-powered pickup.

The U.S. Army is enlisting some help from General Motors. They’re partnering on a prototype fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado that could eventually find applications at military bases and perhaps even on the front lines.

The prototype, set to make its formal debut in October, is a joint project of GM and the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC. It’s the latest in a series of partnerships between the Detroit automaker and the U.S. military, GM earlier this year announcing plans to develop a hydrogen-powered deep sear research mini-sub that will be tested by the Navy.

Tech News!

”Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities,” TARDEC Director Paul Rogers said in a statement accompanying a teaser image of the hydrogen-powered Colorado.

(more…)

Volvo Tailors City Safety System for Rural Roads

System now helps drivers avoid large animals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

Volvo adapted its City Safety collision mitigation system to avoid large animals instead of cyclists.

There are more than 1.2 million accidents every year involving vehicles and large animals, such as deer or elk, that result in the deaths of about 200 motorists and cause some $1 billion worth of damage, according to insurance industry statistics.

Now Volvo is attempting to reduce the number of these types of collisions by equipping its latest vehicles, including the new 2017 Volvo S90, with a “large animal” detection system that will apply the vehicle’s brakes if it senses anything from a fleet-footed deer to a lumbering bear in the roadway.

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The system is described as an industry first and addresses a growing problem in many parts of the country, such as the heavily-wooded Northeast, where wildlife has proliferated in suburban and urban areas. (more…)

U.S. Setting New Record for Miles Driven

However, individual drivers not close to high-water mark.

by on Aug.29, 2016

U.S. motorists have set a new record for miles driving through June at 1.58 trillion miles.

Cheap gas, an improving economy and a bunch of new cars, trucks and utility vehicles sold all add up to one thing: Americans are driving. In fact, they’re driving at a record pace through the first half of 2016, according to the latest figures.

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for the first six months of 2016 hit 1.58 trillion million miles through June, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) most recent Traffic Volume Trends report. The previous record of 1.54 trillion miles was set last year.

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FHWA says for comparison, 1.58 trillion miles, which is a 3.3% increase over last year, equates to roughly 250 round trips from Earth to Pluto. (more…)

How to Keep Your Car From Becoming a Theft Statistic

High-tech thieves create new challenges.

by on Aug.29, 2016

A thief uses a laptop computer, possibly to pair his own key to the Jeep's electronic ignition.

Police in Houston have finally nabbed two suspected crooks responsible for a rash of more than 100 car thefts. But what’s worrying authorities is that they introduced a new, high-tech wrinkle into their toolbox.

According to police, the pair used a laptop computer and software intended to allow Fiat Chrysler dealers to work on vehicles without having the owner’s key. There’s growing concern that sophisticated cyber-thieves are finding new ways to steal vehicles, something that could lead to a surge in car thefts after two decades of decline.

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Even though the numbers have been falling, FBI statistics show that about 500,000 cars, trucks and crossovers are stolen each year – about one every 44 seconds. And, all too often, owners make it all too easy – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting that roughly half of all car thefts are the result of owner error. (more…)

Truck Carrying Takata Airbags Explodes, Killing One, Injuring Four

Supplier’s inflators already blamed for 14 deaths.

by on Aug.29, 2016

A drone image shows the scene of a Takata truck explosion. Photo courtesy Jalopnik.com.

A 69-year-old woman was killed as the result of a crash and subsequent explosion involving a truck carrying airbag inflators and the explosive ammonium nitrate used in those devices that was bound for a Takata Corp. warehouse in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Takata is the Japanese airbag supplier whose faulty inflators have so far been blamed for at least 14 deaths worldwide. That has triggered the recall of about 50 million inflators in the U.S. and more than 100 million worldwide.

Breaking News!

The incident occurred last week on U.S. Highway 277 not far from the Southern Texas Takata plant when the truck, operated by a contractor, was involved in a crash. The driver, 20-year-old Mario Alberto Rodriguez, and a passenger were able to escape before the vehicle caught fire and exploded. But the inferno that touched off damaged or destroyed a number of nearby homes, including one in which victim Lucila Robles was living.

(more…)

Canadian Auto Workers OK Strike at Detroit’s Big Three

Union demanding new investments but automakers want cost cuts.

by on Aug.29, 2016

GM has cut thousands of jobs in Canada, most recently by moving Camaro production to Michigan.

Union workers in Canada have overwhelmingly authorized union leaders to call a strike next month as contract talks with Detroit’s Big Three automakers race towards their deadline.

Negotiations have turned contentious in recent weeks as the two sides struggle to find common ground amidst conflicting demands. Unifor, the union representing thousands of Canadian auto line workers, wants General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler to commit to new investments that would keep the country’s auto plants open. But the Detroit makers are, in turn, demanding cost cuts they claim are necessary to remain competitive.

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Workers voted almost unanimously to approve strikes, and “With this clear mandate our members have demonstrated they are in full support of their bargaining committees and our direction in this set of negotiations,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias.

(more…)

Marchionne Pushing for FCA Manufacturing Revival

CEO plowing hundreds of millions of dollars into North American plants.

by on Aug.29, 2016

FCA put another $166 million into the Sterling Heights (Michigan) stamping plant to ensure the company can make more parts for the new Jeep Wrangler.

Since taking over as head of the Chrysler Group seven years ago, Sergio Marchionne has changed course any number of times during his time at the helm of the old Chrysler Group.

He has junked plans for an IPO of Chrysler stock; moved to halt production of passenger cars and delayed the roll out of Alfa Romeo’s ambitious product plan.

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But one project to which he has remained actively engaged during at the helm of Chrysler and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has been rebuilding the old Chrysler Group’s industrial plants. The company’s assembly plants in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have been completely retooled. (more…)

Marchionne Predicts SEC Will Clear FCA of Wrongdoing

CEO declined to comment on progress of Magneti Marelli sale.

by on Aug.26, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne predicted today that the SEC's investigation into FCA will find no wrongdoing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will ultimately show that FCA has done nothing wrong, FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said today.

The SEC is investigating whether FCA deliberately misstated its sales results during the past five years. Dealers have sued FCA over the sales reporting practices, including a Chicago area dealer claiming it amounted to fraud.

The Last Word!

FCA restated its sales totals for the five years and conceded its long string of monthly sales increases actually ended in 2013. (more…)