Archive for March, 2017

Uber Exec Could Face Injunction – or Possible Criminal Charges in Waymo Lawsuit

Lawsuit could shut down Uber’s autonomous vehicle program.

by on Mar.31, 2017

An Uber autonomous prototype rolled on its side following a crash in Tempe, Arizona.

A lawsuit filed by Waymo is taking a potentially nasty turn for Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded one of Uber’s self-driving vehicle units.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google, has gone to court claiming Uber stole some of its intellectual property, and the spotlight has fallen on Levandowski. He was a senior employee at Waymo before leaving to start his own self-driving enterprise, Otto, which focuses on autonomous trucking.

The Last Word!

Called to testify, Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify, one of his attorneys saying that move was made because of “the potential for criminal action.” That appears to mean the potential Levandowski could be charged with stealing intellectual property.

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Subarus Now Officially Produced by … Subaru!

Fuji Heavy Industries changes name to Subaru Corp.

by on Mar.31, 2017

Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga can officially call himself Subaru CEO after Fuji Heavy Industries changed its name to Subaru Corp.

With the effort of about the stroke of a pen, years of wondering and waiting ended: Staring April 1, all Subarus will now be built and sold by … Subaru Corp.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. changed its named to Subaru Corp. matching the moniker that’s adorned its much-beloved vehicles for decades. The move was not a surprise as officials announced last summer that it would change the name at some point in the future.

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“We have long strived to make excellent products,” said Fuji CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in a statement about the transition. (more…)

Jaguar Rolls Out 10 Fully Restored E-Types

Project will hold to original specs, down to the spot-welds.

by on Mar.31, 2017

The first restored E-Type was shipped to California and has been in storage since 1983.

The Jaguar E-Type is more than just a legend. It’s been wildly popular with classic car collectors and now, as part of its “Reborn” program, Jaguar will fully restore 10 of its Series 1 E-Types for a handful of lucky aficionados.

All 10 of the Series 1 models were produced between 1961 and 1968, the very first to go through the restoration process rolling off the line in 1965. Jaguar promises each will be restored to factory spec – albeit for a price: they’ll start at around $355,000 – or more if you want some upgrades, such as a syncromesh transmission.

We're a Classic!

“The E-Type is the most iconic sports car of all time, so we are delighted to be able to give new life to expertly selected examples for discerning customers around the world to own and enjoy,” said Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic. “The resources and information available to Jaguar Classic’s expert technicians are unrivalled, which results in the most authentic E-Type restorations possible.”

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Hyundai Belatedly Plugging In

Korean maker planning array of plug-ins, EVs and FCVs for Hyundai, Kia, Genesis brands.

by on Mar.31, 2017

Hyundai will roll out its first EV, the Ioniq Electric, next month, but plans a wave of new EVs.

Slow to charge into the electric vehicle market, Hyundai Motor Co. is about to get charged up, with an assortment of electrified models set to debut for the Hyundai and Kia brands, as well as the new Genesis luxury marque.

The three brands will add a number of new battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Hyundai also plans to launch an all-new fuel-cell SUV model next year that, it claims, will offer greater range than any hydrogen car now on the market.

Charge Up!

Hyundai has been slow to enter the electric vehicle market and is now racing to catch up. Key to its new program will be an all-new platform specifically dedicated to battery-based vehicles, the automaker said this week.

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Former GM Design Chief Heads List of 2017 HOF Inductees

Ed Welburn joined by Jack Roush and two other entrepreneurs.

by on Mar.31, 2017

Ed Welburn was not only the first African-American design chief but only the sixth man to head design for General Motors.

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, released its 2017 list of inductees and the four figures set for induction reflect the industry’s diversity, reach and rich history by naming a top designer and a trio of innovative entrepreneurs.

The list of nominees includes former General Motors Vice President Edward Welburn, who retired last year after sparking a renaissance inside GM’s design studios.

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“Welburn was once referred to as ‘the man who brought beauty back to GM,’” the Hall of Fame noted in the statement nominating the former GM design chief. (more…)

Jeep Goes Forward into the Past with Latest Moab Concepts

Seven concepts head out onto the trail.

by on Mar.30, 2017

The Jeep Switchback is meant to highlight the range of parts in the Mopar catalog.

Forget the Easter Bunny and all those chocolate eggs. If you’re an off-road fan, you know the real sign of spring comes with Jeep’s yearly trek out to Moab. And for the 51st annual Easter Jeep Safari, the Fiat Chrysler brand is blending together some future and some retro designs.

Among those looking forward into the past, the CJ66 pulls us back to the days of old by borrowing frame, body and components from a variety of different, classic CJ Jeeps – otherwise known as the Wrangler. The Grand One Concept, meanwhile, starts out as a 1993 Grand Cherokee before undergoing an extensive list of more modern modifications.

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The Full Story!

“It’s truly a labor of love for the Jeep team to develop exciting, capable concept vehicles each year for Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari,” said , the head of Jeep Brand, as the seven new concepts were unveiled. “We look forward to the reaction and back from enthusiasts and our most loyal customers as these new Jeep concepts are put through their paces on the trails in Moab.”

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Pedestrian Deaths Reach Record Numbers in 2016

Numbers increase for second consecutive year.

by on Mar.30, 2017

The number of pedestrian traffic deaths is expected to rise 11% in 2016 compared with 2015 numbers.

More people are dying on America’s roads than ever and nearly 6,000 aren’t even in a vehicle, according to new figures from the Governors Highway Safety Association. The group forecast pedestrian deaths will rise 11% in 2016 compared with 2015.

In simple terms, 620 more people died last year than the previous, marking the highest number in more than 20 years, the GHSA notes.

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“This latest data shows that the U.S. isn’t meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA executive director. “Every one of these lives represents a loved one not coming home tonight, which is absolutely unacceptable.” (more…)

Toyota Recalling Another 3M Vehicles for Faulty Takata Airbags

Airbag defect the root of the largest safety scandal in automotive history.

by on Mar.30, 2017

The Toyota RAV4 gets hit with a big recall due to faulty Takata airbags.

Toyota says it is recalling about 3 million more vehicles to replace faulty airbags provided by scandal-plagued Japanese supplier Takata.

It is the latest in what is expected to be a continuing series of recalls related to airbag inflators that can, under some circumstances, over-inflate, sending shrapnel into a vehicle’s passenger compartment following a crash. At least 16 deaths have been associated with the Takata debacle, most of those in the United States.

Recall News!

All told, about 100 million of the airbags are being targeted for recall, though some vehicles use multiple Takata devices. In the U.S. alone, the recall as so far impacted about 40 million vehicles, but millions more are expected to be added to the list over the next several years. (more…)

VW Gets EPA Approval to Sell Off Remaining 2015 Diesels

German maker reaches agreement with 10 states over enviro claims.

by on Mar.30, 2017

Volkswagen can now sell the "new" diesels that have sitting in limbo since the EPA ordered them to stop selling the vehicles in fall 2015.

Volkswagen has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency that will allow it to sell off about 67,000 diesel vehicles that have been in limbo since the EPA accused the German maker of cheating on emissions tests in September 2015.

The EPA previously approved a fix for about 70,000 VW diesel vehicles already in consumer hands. But the carmaker will still have to repurchase roughly 500,000 vehicles using its 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel engines that cannot be brought into compliance with Clear Air Act standards.

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Separately, VW on Thursday said that it had reached an agreement with 10 states about environmental and consumer claims related to the diesel emissions scandal. The deal will cost the maker an estimated $157.45 million, but in a statement, VW said, it “avoids further prolonged and costly litigation,” and will let the carmaker “work to earn back the trust of its customers, regulators and the public.” (more…)

Despite Trump Pressure, Daimler Not Expanding US Production

Zetsche said Germany will remain "backbone" of manufacturing.

by on Mar.30, 2017

Daimler executives said that despite pressure from President Donald Trump, the company will not be adding to is production footprint in the U.S.

At this point, Daimler AG has no plans to expand its production capacity in the United States, executives said during the course of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin.

Since even before taking office in January, President Donald Trump has been leaning on automakers, both domestic and foreign, to build more vehicles in the U.S.

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Trump was barely mentioned during the Daimler meeting. One shareholder suggested that the company set up a fund to help defend the European Union from Trump. But Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Daimler Supervisory Board, said the measure could not be taken up at the meeting because it had not submitted prior to the meeting. (more…)