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Safety Groups Want Tesla Autopilot Name Banned

Groups argue it is “deceptive and misleading.”

by on May.23, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

It’s called Autopilot but, at least for now, Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology is a not completely reliable co-pilot, it can require rapid human intervention to avert a crash. And that, two consumer groups argue, makes the use of the Autopilot name “deceptive and misleading.”

The Center for Auto Safety, or CAS, and Consumer Watchdog aren’t the first to raise concerns about the Tesla technology. German regulators briefly considered banning the name, Autopilot. But the American non-profit safety groups have taken their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to initiate an investigation of how Tesla not only has named, but also how it promotes its semi-autonomous system.

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In a letter to the federal agency, they claim Tesla has taken steps to “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.” (more…)

Uber Shutting Down Self-Driving Testing Ops in Arizona

Pittsburgh, San Francisco testing will resume soon.

by on May.23, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is shutting down the company's autonomous vehicle testing operations in Arizona.

Uber is shutting down its Arizona-based self-driving car operations in the wake of the collision that killed a pedestrian in March. The company told its nearly 200 workers of the decision earlier today.

The company halted its testing after the collision that killed a woman walking across a four-lane road with a bike. The car’s autonomous system failed to recognize the person and take evasive action and the observer in the vehicle was looking down at the time of the crash.

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Since that time, the company put the program on hiatus while paying the remaining drivers as the National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation. Investigators haven’t wrapped up their inquiry. (more…)

Trump Promises Good News for Auto Workers

Presiden implies deal on NAFTA is near, but others dispute the notion.

by on May.23, 2018

President Donald Trump promised American auto workers they'd be "very happy" very soon.

President Donald Trump implied that the end of negotiations over NAFTA are near and that the end result will be good for hourly workers at automakers across the U.S.

“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!” Trump said in a tweet.

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One of Trump’s campaign promises was to secure a new North American Free Trade Agreement that was more favorable to the U.S. The three countries – Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – have been in talks for nearly a year now. (more…)

McLaren’s Growth Means Adding New US Dealers

British sports car gets new stores on both coasts.

by on May.23, 2018

McLaren Automotive's been enjoying record sales and needs two new dealerships including McLaren Sterling just outside Washington D.C.

With its sales of ultra-expensive sports cars steadily climbing, McLaren Automotive has been fortifying its bottom line with new models after its long-expected demise has come and gone.

The growth in new vehicles in the product portfolio has strengthened interest in the company’s largest market: the United States. As a result, the company’s dealership network is growing too and the company is adding new retailers in wealthy communities on the East and West coasts.

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One of the new dealerships will be in Beverly Hills, California, the other in Loudon County in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. The two new stores join McLaren’s network of 80 dealers that stretch across 30 markets around the world. (more…)

Three Quarters of Americans “Too Afraid to Ride” in Self-Driving Vehicles

As more problems reported, acceptance declines, finds new AAA study.

by on May.23, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

They’re expected to flood our roads by the millions over the next decade, and Congress is currently working on legislation that would expand testing on public roads – but a new AAA study reveals that the American public is, if anything, growing more concerned about the safety of autonomous and fully driverless vehicles.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. drivers would be “afraid” to ride in one today, up from 63% when the AAA last polled American motorists in late 2017. The decline in confidence appears to follow an array of incidents involving prototype autonomous vehicles, including the first-known fatal crash near Phoenix when a hands-free SUV being tested by Uber slammed into a pedestrian.

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“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”

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Bosch Exec Predicts 50 Percent Rise in 2018 EV Sales

Annual sales expected to rise from 1% to 1.5% of total sales.

by on May.23, 2018

The Chevy Bolt will be joined by two dozen other GM battery-electric vehicles by 2023.

Sales of battery electric vehicles are growing steadily and impressively, according to a key executive at Robert Bosch Gmbh, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers.

Sujit Jain, Bosch Group regional president, Passenger Cars and Electric Vehicles, Powertrain Solutions Division, noted the market share of battery electric vehicles has steadily grown in the U.S. since 2013, reaching nearly 1%.

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On the surface, the number appears small, but the rate of growth has been impressive with EV sales possibly reaching 1.5% this year, Jain said after a presentation at the Bosch Mobility Experience at the company’s North American test track in suburban Detroit. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Subaru Ascent…Proving Bigger is Better

The Japanese automaker learns its lesson with all-new three-row SUV.

by on May.23, 2018

The Subaru Ascent's X Mode is able to handle a wide variety of conditions, including wet sand.

An hour-some outside of Portland, as you head for the rugged Oregon coast, you’ll pass through the quaint old town of McMinnville. It’s known, it seems, for three things: walnuts, the annual Alien Festival – which celebrates a local farmer’s alleged encounter with a UFO – and the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. Dwarfing an indoor football stadium, the star of the collection is the legendary Spruce Goose, among the biggest aircraft ever built.

With eight radial engines mounted across its 321-foot wingspan, the 220 foot-long “Flying Lumberyard” was designed as a troop transport able to squeeze in nearly 800 soldiers on a trans-Atlantic flight. There are times when having plenty of passenger space, it seems comes in handy – something we had in mind before heading to McMinnville for a couple days to drive the all-new Subaru Ascent.

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While dwarfed by what was officially known as the H-4 flying boat, the 2019 Ascent is the Japanese automaker’s biggest offering yet, capable of seating up to eight passengers in a good bit more comfort than soldiers would have experienced had the Spruce Goose ever gone into service. Equally important, it has the styling and features that were sorely lacking when Subaru launched its first three-row model, the ungainly B4 Tribeca back in 2005.

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Volkswagen Brings a Slew of Concepts to US Version of Wörthersee

Customized VWs taking tour of United States.

by on May.22, 2018

Tanner Foust's SEMA Atlas concept may be the star of VW show of the five concepts touring the U.S. this summer.

Every year, thousands of crazed Volkswagen fan flock to the Wörthersee VW meet in Europe. It features a slew of tricked out and tweaked up cars from across the decades as well as few sneak peeks at what the company is working on.

However, American VW fans with travel budget that doesn’t include a trans-Atlantic flight have an option: SoWo: The European Experience. The show was held last weekend in Savannah, Georgia.

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More importantly, it seems VW likes a good party and rolled up with some modified versions of the Jetta, Golf, Arteon, Atlas and Tiguan. Although very impressive, it’s highly unlikely that any of them will follow in the path of the Golf TCR shown in Europe, which is likely to find its way to dealerships relatively soon. (more…)

Musk Strikes Back After Tough Reviews of Model 3

CEO suggested problems were related to software issue.

by on May.22, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk took to twitter to defend and explain some of the issues Consumer Reports came across in reviewing the Model 3.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to twitter – as he often does – to defend his company and the Model 3 and explain problems that Consumer Reports told its readers about were easily fixed.

The magazine, which stopped short of giving the Model 3 an endorsement, pointed out that the new sedan performed poorly in braking tests. In fact, it said it tested two vehicles and each of them performed worse in the 60-to-0 mph test than a new Ford F-150 truck.

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This happened even after the car it owned received a software update to improve the vehicle’s braking system. (more…)

Trump Signs Bill Erasing Protection of Minority Auto Buyers

Senate-approved legislation finds it way to Trump's desk.

by on May.22, 2018

President Donald Trump signed a bill changing the CFPB's position on third-party lending.

The bill repealing the auto-lending guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, revoking a Obama administration rule that was put in place to protect minority customers from predatory practices has been signed by President Donald Trump

Trump’s signature on the congressional resolution erases the CFPB’s 2013 guidance targeting “dealer markups,” the additional interest that is added to a customer’s third-party auto loan as compensation for the dealer, according to The Hill, a newsletter that follow Congress.

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The Hill reported the president signed the resolution in a private White House signing ceremony. (more…)