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Consumer Reports Takes Another Swipe at Tesla Model S

Electric sedan downgraded over lack of emergency auto-braking.

by on Apr.26, 2017

Tesla says its Model S has standard Emergency Auto Braking, but it isn't active on some vehicles.

The influential Consumer Reports magazine has again downgraded Tesla’s Model S sedan, this time due to a lack of an important safety feature that was supposed to be included as standard equipment.

CR has downgraded Tesla products on several occasions, though past moves focused on quality concerns. This time, the magazine said, the Model S produced over the last six months did not have a working emergency auto-braking, or AEB, system, apparently because of a problem with software that was supposed to control an updated version of the AEB hardware introduced in October 2016.

Breaking News!

It’s the latest in a series of problems involving Tesla’s high-tech safety technology. Last week, Tesla was hit with a lawsuit claiming that its optional, semi-autonomous Autopilot system is “unusable and demonstrably dangerous.” Days later, the battery-carmaker announced a recall covering a parking brake problem affecting 53,000 vehicles.

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New Vehicle Sales Expected to Slide in April

Sales roller coaster continues to provide chills and thrills.

by on Apr.26, 2017

New vehicle sales are expected to drop at least 2% in April, according to several analysts.

Sales of new vehicles are expected to drop in April by between 2% and 3% year-over-year despite steadily rising incentives, according to estimates by Kelly Blue Book and J.D. Power, fueling concerns that the industry is facing a broad decline in 2017.

“After a weaker-than-expected March, it’s becoming more likely that 2017 will be the first down year for the industry since 2009,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Kelley Blue Book expects April to continue this downward trend, however, the SAAR should bounce back to approximately 17.1 million as a result of one less selling day.

Financial News!

“Beyond April, we will continue to closely monitor still high levels of inventory and elevated incentive spending by manufacturers, both of which are signs of overproduction following last year’s sales peak,” he added in his new analysis of industry sales trends. (more…)

Hyundai Closes Potential Opening for Hackers

Experts discover Blue Link shortcoming.

by on Apr.25, 2017

Hyundai's BlueLink service can be accessed through a smartphone or smart watch — and by hackers until last month's security software update.

Hyundai’s latest attempt to expand its technological appeal could have ended up becoming a costly snafu for owners and the company.

Last December, the South Korean automaker unveiled a new app for its Blue Link system permitting car owners to start their vehicles remotely, a la General Motors and several other automakers. However, Hyundai unwittingly left an opening in the software that left it susceptible to hackers.

News You Can Trust!

The issue, which was resolved in March, allowed potential car thieves to locate vehicles with the new upgrade, unlock and start them, putting them in a position to be stolen, according to Reuters. (more…)

Uber Hopes to Elevate Riders with Flying Taxis

“Push a button, get a flight.”

by on Apr.25, 2017

An artist's rendering shows an Uber Elevates VTOL approaching Dallas.

It looks like ride-sharing service Uber is about to take off – quite literally.

Already running tests on a network of autonomous vehicles, Uber now wants to launch a flying taxi service. At a summit meeting in Dallas, Uber officials revealed plans to begin test flights by 2020 in Dallas and Dubai for what the company plans to call Uber Elevate.

Travel News!

“Urban aviation is a natural next step for Uber,” chief product officer Jeff Holden said ahead of the opening of the three-day Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas. “That’s why we’re working to make ‘Push a button, get a flight’ a reality.”

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Gearing Up: Driving Ford’s New 10-Speed Automatic

Better mileage and a smoother ride.

by on Apr.25, 2017

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator will share the 10-speed automatic that debuted in the '17 Ford F-150.

When the complete makeover of the Lincoln Navigator comes to market later this year it will feature, among other things, Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Automakers are on a binge, adding more gears in an effort to drive up fuel economy. But the approach hasn’t been without its drawbacks, consumers frequently complaining about issues like drivability. That’s the sort of headache buyers of a vehicle like the Navigator won’t readily tolerate.

Product News!

To get a sense of how the new transmission performs, TheDetroitBureau.com has been clocking time in the Ford F-150, the first of the maker’s vehicles to get the first mass-market 10-speed gearbox.

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Waymo Invites Public to Join Autonomous Test Program

First public test for Google’s self-driving vehicle spin-off is good news for FCA, as well.

by on Apr.25, 2017

One of the first Phoenix families to join the Waymo pilot climbs into an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica.

After eight years of testing Waymo is ready to go public, Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off offering families in the Phoenix area the chance to try out its self-driving cars as part of a new pilot ride-sharing program.

The move brings the technology a step closer to becoming a day-to-day reality and coincides with efforts by other entrants into the fast-emerging field who are rapidly expanding the number of autonomous vehicles now on public roads. The pilot program could cement Waymo’s position as a leader in the technology while also giving a big boost to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the automaker that will now provide another 500 Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans for use in the Arizona project.

We'll Do the Driving!

Waymo quietly began offering rides to a “handful of Phoenix, AZ residents…over the last month,” the Alphabet subsidiary’s CEO John Krafcik revealed in a statement issued overnight. “Now residents in the Phoenix area can apply” to join the trial, Waymo planning on “accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars.”

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Mercedes Expanding Car-Sharing Options

Maker expands program after successful trial period.

by on Apr.25, 2017

Perhaps the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C230 is available in the maker's new car-sharing platform, Croove.

Mercedes-Benz is expanding the trial of a new platform for sharing private cars, following the success of a pilot program in Munich that was launched four months ago.

The Croove platform allows subscribers to use a smart phone app or the Croove website to find a private vehicle that meets their specifications and price expectations.

News Now!

The service is not tied to rental stations in fixed locations and can be certain of being given the exact model of car requested. It is also separate and distinct from the fleets of shared vehicles belonging to Car2Go service operated by Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz parent company. (more…)

Amazon Investigating Development of Autonomous Technology

Company has team looking at impact of self-driving vehicles on business.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Might Amazon join the ranks of Uber, Waymo and others in the autonomous vehicle market?

Amazon is looking at more than just drones to help deliver tomorrow’s books, shoes and electronics: it’s got a team of a dozen people investigating autonomous vehicles.

Before the folks at General Motors, Ford, Waymo or Uber get nervous, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company is really looking into how it can best exploit the technology for its delivery services.

What a Conceptt!

The team is really an investigative unit to see how it can best take advantage of the technology rather than a group of engineers looking to build a working model. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to story. (more…)

Supreme Court Ignition Switch Ruling Could Be Costly for GM

Court opens the door to new lawsuits.

by on Apr.24, 2017

A replacement for the faulty GM ignition switches.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from General Motors, a move that means the automaker could be exposed to a spate of new lawsuits stemming out of its cover-up of an ignition switch defect blamed for killing at least 124 people.

The automaker had hoped that it was protected from lawsuits that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy, a position taken by the court that handled the GM run through Chapter 11. But a 2016 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that position. And, with the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case, GM now could face claims predating its bankruptcy.

Legal News!

“Hundreds of death and injury cases have been frozen in place for years as GM wrongly tried to hide behind a fake bankruptcy,” Robert Hilliard, a lead counsel for plaintiffs affected by the ignition switch defect, said in a statement. “Now, GM can hide no more.”

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Tesla Doubling Up Number of Superchargers

EV maker planning to have 10,000 chargers by end of 2018.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Tesla says this is going to become a more common sight in 2017 as it plans to build another 5,000 Supercharging stations.

Tesla’s all charged up about the pending introduction of the Model 3 later this summer and to prove it, apparently, they’re making sure that more Tesla owners than ever will be able to charge up while driving America’s highways and byways.

The EV maker has more than 5,400 Supercharger stations worldwide and plans to nearly double that to 10,000 units by the end of 2017. In North America, the company pledged to increase the number of super chargers by 150%, including adding 1,00 0 Superchargers in California.

Tech News!

“As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority,” the company noted in its corporate blog. (more…)