Archive for August, 2017

Delphi Inks Partnership Deal with Israeli Tech Start-Up

Auto supplier will use Innoviz lidar in its autonomous vehicle package.

by on Aug.21, 2017

Delphi's a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, and just inked a deal with Innoviz, an Israeli technology firm, for lidar development.

Delphi Automotive has signed a commercial partnership agreement with Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli technology firm developing Lidar systems for autonomous vehicles.

In addition to the agreement, Delphi has taken a minority stake in Innoviz, although the size of that ownership share was not revealed.

News You Can Trust!

Innoviz’s proprietary Lidar sensing solutions, one of the key building blocks needed for self-driving vehicles, will be integrated into Delphi’s systems to provide makers of autonomous cars and trucks with a comprehensive portfolio of autonomous driving technologies.  (more…)

China’s Great Wall Planning Bid for FCA – But Will Trump Be a Roadblock

Chinese maker could seek a complete acquisition or just go for the lucrative Jeep brand.

by on Aug.21, 2017

FCA CEO Donald Trump, right, met with Pres Trump and GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this year.

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors is expected to make a formal bid to acquire all, or at least some of the assets of, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to several reports out of Asia Monday morning.

The news comes a week after initial reports surfaced that FCA had rejected an earlier bid from an unspecified Chinese automotive manufacturer. At the time, there was speculation several of that country’s native carmakers might seek such a deal with the spotlight focusing on both Great Wall and Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently has a joint venture with FCA to produce Jeeps.

Breaking News!

Great Wall is the largest Chinese producer of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, something that would be a “perfect fit” with FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. It is not clear if Great Wall would seek to acquire just those two divisions or all of Fiat Chrysler.

(more…)

Ex-UAW Official Indicted in FCA-UAW Corruption Probe

Long-time UAW employee received designer shoes and clothes.

by on Aug.21, 2017

Virdell King, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, allegedly accepted money and gifts from Fiat Chrysler.

A former official from the United Auto Workers has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit for criminal violations of federal labor statutes for taking bribes from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Virdell King, 65, of Detroit, Michigan, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, was charged Friday with taking part in a multiyear conspiracy for UAW officials to accept money and things of value from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents filed in Detroit.

News Now!

The money came from a UAW-FCA training fund controlled by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations staff and violated the Federal Labor Management Relations Act – Landrum Griffin – of 1958, which was drafted to prevent union officials from taking money and gifts from third parties outside the union. (more…)

Dream On! Woodward Dream Cruise Brings Back Memories

World’s largest classic car event continues gaining momentum.

by on Aug.20, 2017

A little Deuce Coupe works its way down Woodward Ave. on Saturday during the Dream Cruise.

He might only be 10, but Ashley McInnis didn’t need much time to find the car of his dreams. Walking down the sidewalk along Woodward Avenue his eyes grew wide as he spotted a pearl white Ford GT.

“I love it,” the youngster from Yorktown, Virginia gushed to his grandfather, adding “I may have to take out a loan to get it.” When advised it would cost more than $400,000, he paused for a moment, trying to figure out how long that would take on the money he makes on his paper route. “It may take me a little while to pay it off,” he said.

We're Cruising!

McInnis was just one of as many as 1.5 million people estimated to line a 17-miles stretch of Woodward Ave., metro Detroit’s main thoroughfare, for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.  And while there were a handful of new GTs and Ferraris, even the occasional Lamborghini and McLaren, the real focus was on the classic sort of muscle cars and hot rods that used to cruise the once quiet suburban roadway back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

(more…)

Dream Cruise Muscles Up on the Fun Factor

Not everything rolling down Woodward Avenue is classic car.

by on Aug.20, 2017

Not a fresh accident on Woodward, but an upside down van driving backwards looking to do yard work. (Photo credit: Brendan Strong)

Annually more than 1 million motor heads, car nuts, nostalgic souls and simple car fans descend upon the Motor City to take part in the Dream Cruise.

The cruise, which features America’s classic muscle cars — and future classics — rumbling up and down Woodward Avenue, which is one of metro Detroit’s primary thoroughfares, for all the enjoy.

We're Cruising!

However, what appears to qualify as a “classic muscle car” is different from person to person. And while that may ruffle the feathers of a few purists, most don’t seem to mind too much taking it all in stride. (more…)

Hippies Rejoice: VW Putting I.D. Buzz Electric Microbus Into Production

Both passenger and commercial versions of long-range EV van planned.

by on Aug.19, 2017

Volkswagen confirmed the rumors that it's bringing the I.D. Buzz, better known as the Microbus EV, to market.

The Volkswagen Microbus was an icon of the Hippie era. Could the German maker score again in an age when the youth generation is focused on environmental issues? It’s certainly hoping so, as it confirmed widespread rumors that it will put a modern version of the Microbus, the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, into production.

First shown at the January 2017 North American International Auto Show, the I.D. Buzz Concept picked up on many of the classic microvan’s design cues, starting with the relatively blunt nose and flat roof. But instead of the rear-mounted engine of the classic Microbus, the I.D. Buzz will rely on a pure battery-electric drivetrain.

EV News!

“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car,’” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at a presentation today, ahead of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The location, he added, made sense, since “The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle.” (more…)

What a Vision! Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet is a Retro-Futuristic Show-Stopper

It may also offer some hints as to ultra-luxury products to come.

by on Aug.19, 2017

Mercedes continues to push boundaries with the new Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet.

Think you know what an electric vehicle looks like? Then the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet is likely to leave you scratching your head.

The successor to the Vision 6 Coupe, the extreme luxury wing of Mercedes-Benz revealed last year, defies the logic that says tomorrow’s battery-cars are going to have small exterior footprints with large cabins inside, thanks to burying the driveline under the load floor. While there is plenty of interior space, the Maybach concept measures nearly 20 feet, nose to tail, with extra storage space, rather than a powertrain, hidden under that impossibly long hood.

Global Auto News!

“The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy. Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience,” explains Daimler AG’s design chief, Gorden Wagener. (more…)

Bad Week for Those Suing Takata, GM

Courts side with airbag maker; GM derails $1b settlement over faulty ignition switches.

by on Aug.18, 2017

As many as 18 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

Motorists looking for settlements related to two of the biggest safety scandals in recent years were in for some unpleasant surprises this week.

General Motors derailed a deal that could have forced it to provide $1 billion in stock to thousands of plaintiffs suing over the company’s faulty ignition switches which were linked to more than 100 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The Last Word!

Separately, a Delaware bankruptcy court halted a collection of lawsuits filed against the Japanese auto partsmaker seeking damages related to faulty airbags now linked to as many as 18 deaths and about 180 injuries worldwide – though the suits may continue after a 90-day ordered by Judge Brendan Shannon.

(more…)

Ford Patent Shows How Autonomous Car’s Steering Wheel, Pedals Could Fold Away

Design would allow manual driving or completely driverless operation.

by on Aug.18, 2017

A patent application illustration shows how Ford would hide the controls in driverless mode.

Autonomous vehicles, we’re regularly told, are just around the corner, and fully driverless vehicles will soon follow. Ford, for one, has said it hopes to remove the driver from the picture entirely by 2021.

Now, a patent granted Ford this month reveals that the self-driving cars Ford is working on could give an owner the option to choose which mode it will operate in. Push a button and the steering wheel and pedals fold up and out of sight. Push again and they reappear, allowing manual driving.

Stay in the Loop!

That option may be essential, at least initially, as autonomous vehicle experts warn that coming up with a vehicle that can operate without a driver on all roads and under all conditions, may take years to develop, despite the optimistic prognostications of automakers like Ford, Daimler, Nissan and tech companies such as Google spin-off Waymo.

(more…)

Fiat Chrysler Moves Excite Speculation

Automaker attracting interest from Chinese companies.

by on Aug.18, 2017

Sergio Marchionne's continuing search for a partner for Fiat Chrysler has attracted interest from potential buyers and investors.

(CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect an error regarding the financial status of Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors. The country’s largest producer of SUVs and light trucks has not undergone a reorganization or a Chapter 11-style filing, as we originally reported. We apologize for that error.)

Even when he fails to consummate a transaction, as he did two years ago, Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne still enjoys a reputation as an astute deal maker.

So it’s not exactly a surprise that shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. climbed to a record high following reports that FCA was dickering with Chinese companies about a possible deal. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S.-listed shares surged 8.5% to $12.60, the highest close since trading began in October 2014. The stock has risen 38% this year.

Global News!

In an e-mail, FCA declined to comment on the rampant speculation of a potential alliance or sale of the company. (more…)