Archive for February, 2018

New Backup Technology Takes Safety Several Steps Forward, Says IIHS Study

Rear autobraking can prevent a wide range of crashes.

by on Feb.22, 2018

IIHS said Subaru and Cadillac had the best rear autobraking systems of the versions tested.

Motorists risk getting into crashes anytime they move their vehicle, including backing into or out of a parking spot. While rear crashes are less likely to result in injuries or death, they can still generate significant repair costs.

That’s where an assortment of new rear crash prevention technologies are coming into play. These cover a range of alternatives, including rear-facing cameras, sonar parking sensors, radar-based cross-traffic alert, and rear auto-braking systems that can not only detect a potential obstacle but also prevent the car from hitting it, even if the driver doesn’t react quickly enough.

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“Let’s face it. Some days we all could use help backing up, whether that’s in a garage with pillars that obscure your view, in a crowded mall parking lot or on a busy downtown street,” said David Zuby, the chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which, for the first time, has evaluated and rated the most advanced of these systems, rear autobraking, on six 2017 models. (more…)

Ford Ousts EVP Nair After Investigation

Company mum on investigation details.

by on Feb.21, 2018

Ford's Raj Nair is out after an internal investigation revealed he engaged in "inappropriate behavior." Nair apologized.

Raj Nair, Ford Motor Co.’s executive vice president and president, North America, resigned from the company effective immediately.

His departure comes after an internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior. The company said the review determined certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.

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“I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused,” Nair said in a released statement. “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.” (more…)

Mercedes Moving to Build New Plant in Germany

New plant comes as competitor expands in U.S.

by on Feb.21, 2018

Markus Schäfer, Mercedes board member, marks the groundbreaking of the company's new plant in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz Cars broke ground on a new factory on its home ground in Sindelfingen outside of Stuttgart that the automaker claims will be the most modern production center in the world when it opens in 2020.

“Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

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“It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production.” (more…)

GM’s Proposed $2.8B Investment Could Head Off Showdown or Shutdown in South Korea

Automaker looking at two new models; but union warning of strike.

by on Feb.21, 2018

GM is looking to shut down its underutilized Gunsan plant in South Korea.

General Motors is offering to add two new models to its South Korean line-up as part of a $2.8-billion, 10-year investment plan that could forestall a clash with the government and its union workers.

A week ago, GM announced plans to close its underutilized Gunsan plant, one of four assembly lines in Korea, and it strongly hinted that it was considering pulling out of the country entirely if it couldn’t reverse deep, ongoing losses.

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In return, the Detroit automaker is seeking financial assistance from the South Korean government and is expected to also seek some aid from its traditionally militant unions. But, in turn, workers are warning that if GM doesn’t move quickly to assure a future for those plants they could strike. (more…)

Lexus Downsizing With New UX Crossover

Are those fins we see?

by on Feb.21, 2018

Lexus is filling a hole in its line-up with the UX compact crossover.

The eagerly awaited Lexus UX is finally set to make the transition from concept to production, Toyota’s luxury brand set to pull the wraps off the compact crossover at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

With utility vehicles gaining ground on conventional sedans and coupes in virtually every major market, the Lexus UX will fill another critical niche, the fast-growing compact crossover segment, just below the brand’s current NX model.

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While the teaser image Lexus has released has been designed to keep most details hidden, it does reveal a few interesting things. The production UX, for one thing, apparently carries over the subtle fins shown on the earlier NX concept. Meanwhile, a bit of Photoshop magic uncovers what appeared to be a UX 250h badge, indicating a hybrid version of the new ute is in the plans. (more…)

Kia’s K900 Getting New Look

Reports of its demise are clearly exaggerated.

by on Feb.21, 2018

Rumored to be going away, the K900 is instead coming back with the promise of being better than ever.

With last year’s launch of the well-reviewed Kia Stinger many folks expected the Korean carmaker would abandon its first foray into the luxury market, the much more staid K900.

But as Mark Twain might have said, reports of the big sedan’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – as this newly released image of the next-generation K900 aims to demonstrate. Set to go on sale later this year, it will keep the Stinger company in Kia showrooms around the world.

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“The new model combines sophisticated exterior design, effortless performance and a spacious cabin distinguished by luxurious materials and elegant styling,” Kia said in a statement accompanying this teaser image. “New technologies protect occupants, enhance interior comfort and give the driver greater confidence at the wheel.” (more…)

BMW Rolling into Geneva with Multiple Debuts

The new X4 to be unveiled, X2, M3 CS and i8 also bow.

by on Feb.21, 2018

The 2019 BMW X4 grows in all dimensions but one, with its roofline lowered a mere 0.1 inches.

BMW plans to show a number of vehicles at the Geneva Auto Show next month, including additions to its line-up of electrified vehicles.

The rollouts will include the new edition of the first Sports Activity Coupe, the X4, which is at the premium end of the midsize class, of which BMW has sold more than 200,000 units.

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The new X4 is described as having expressive exterior design; premium interior ambience, state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and latest BMW Connected Drive functions as well as significantly enhanced driving dynamics thanks to equipment including M Sport suspension. (more…)

New Report: Daimler Software Cheat Beats Emission Tests

German maker cooperating with investigators.

by on Feb.20, 2018

Daimler's claims that its new diesel engine would be able to meet all emissions regulations turned out to be false.

Investigators in the United States are still probing whether Daimler AG cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

The investigations apparently follow the lawsuits filed in 2016 by a number of customers, claiming their cars had software made to fool emission tests. The software is similar to Volkswagen’s, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

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Mercedes-Benz, Daimler’s principal automotive subsidiary, no longer sells cars powered by diesel engines and has no plans to return diesel-powered vehicles to the U.S. market, senior company executives told TheDetroitBureau.com last month. (more…)

Porsche Makes It Official: Diesels are Done

Maker's been slowly cutting diesels from line-up.

by on Feb.20, 2018

Porsche's new Mission E performance electric vehicle is set provide some stiff competition for the Tesla Model S P100D.

Not that it didn’t seem official before, but Porsche is getting out of the diesel engine business in favor of battery-electric powertrains. This will make Porsche the first German automaker to dump diesels entirely.

The company, which is owned by Volkswagen AG, has been slowly divesting its line-up of diesel powerplants for the last couple of years. This was highlighted by the lack of a diesel for the next-gen Cayenne when it debuted last fall.

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Now the Macan and Panamera models equipped with diesels are no longer available with a “no new diesel will be engineered” edict for the Macan S. The move is part of a “cultural shift” a Porsche spokesperson told AutoCar magazine. (more…)

Impact of Looming Interest Rate Hikes on Auto Sales Unclear

Cost of credit going up, but consumers still rolling with changes.

by on Feb.20, 2018

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates at least twice this year, but the impact on auto sales is unclear.

With automakers searching for a way to re-invigorate new vehicle sales, news that interest rates may be on the rise is the last thing that they want to hear, but another increase by the Federal Reserve appears to be on its way.

The Federal Reserve raised the interest rate three times last year. The last hike move the rate from 1.25 to 1.5%. Early indications are that the Fed will raise that rate at least two times this year, and possibly four as it looks to head off inflation concerns.

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While that doesn’t seem like much, those increases could trickle down to car buyers. The hikes may force automakers to stop subsidizing ultra-low loan terms to entice buyers with good credit to continue buying new vehicles. (more…)