Archive for March, 2018

NHTSA Opens Probe into Hyundai, Kia Airbag Issue

Airbag problem could extend beyond named makers.

by on Mar.19, 2018

The Kia Forte's airbag is subject to an investigation by NHTSA for the 2012–13 model years.

Less than a month after Hyundai declared there is a problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating airbag problems affecting 425,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The agency is also looking to see if the problem – airbags not inflating during a collision – is affecting other automakers.

News Now!

Over the weekend, NHTSA said it was opening a query into 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012–13 Kia Forte vehicles. The move comes after the agency said it received reports that because of the problem in sixn instances, there have been four deaths and six injuries. (more…)

VW Charged Up About EV Racer Heading to Pikes Peak

“It’s about time we settled the score.”

by on Mar.19, 2018

VW hopes to leave the competition in the dust when it takes the I.D. R up Pikes Peak.

Volkswagen has put in an order for a whopping $25 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries and related technology, as we reported last week. A small share of that will be going into its new electric motorsports program which is charged up and ready to challenge Pikes Peak a few months from now.

These pics preview the new I.D. R electric race car that VW plans to use as its first entry into the grueling Pikes Peak International Hill Climb since 1987. I.D. is the new sub-brand the German automaker will begin rolling out late in the decade, with a total of 20 full-electric models due out by 2025, so it’s no surprise the hill climb car will share that badge.

Motor Sports News!

“We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family,” said Frank Welsch, the Volkswagen board member overseeing its electrification efforts. “Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars.”


Self-Driving Uber Test Vehicle Kills Pedestrian

Company halts all autonomous testing.

by on Mar.19, 2018

An Uber Volvo XC90 was involved in a minor crash, getting flipped onto its side, during a test program near Phoenix last year.

Company’s testing autonomous vehicles and self-driving technologies have one giant fear, a fatality. That fear became a reality last night for Uber as one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The incident occurred when the vehicle was in autonomous mode; however, there was a safety engineer behind the wheel, which is standard Uber practice. There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time.

Autonomous News!

According to a USA Today report, the woman, who has not yet been named, was crossing outside the designated crosswalk at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said. (more…)

VW Adding Two-Row Atlas to Line-Up

Five-seat SUV "concept" set to make NYIAS debut.

by on Mar.19, 2018

Bound for the Big Apple - Volkswagen gives us a first look at the 5-seat version of the Atlas.

It may have been late to the SUV party but Volkswagen seems determined to catch up with a rapidly expanding line-up of new models.

The latest offering will make its debut at this month’s New York International Auto Show – albeit in concept form. And with a two-row version of its largest crossover, VW appears to be ready to chase another niche in the booming utility vehicle market.

Auto Show News!

“The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.


Mercedes Moving into New NA Headquarters in Atlanta

Maker makes trek south from New Jersey.

by on Mar.19, 2018

Mercedes-Benz new North American headquarters opened its doors in Atlanta.

Three years after leaving New Jersey, Mercedes-Benz USA is moving into its new $93 million permanent home in Atlanta.

“All the stars are aligned. Our new Atlanta headquarters marks a highpoint for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. market,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA.

News You Can Trust!

“Not just in terms of being the leading luxury brand in the U.S. for the past two years, but also in terms of this building which is designed from the inside out to enable a creative, innovative and empowered workforce more representative of a start-up than a conventional corporation,” Exler said. (more…)

Lincoln Launching New Aviator in New York

Ford's luxury brand introducing another SUV.

by on Mar.19, 2018

The new Lincoln Aviator will debut at the New York International Auto Show.

On the heels of the announcement last week by the Ford Motor Co. that it plans to spend $7 billion to bring new SUVs to showrooms, Lincoln is preparing to show off the production ready version of the all new Lincoln Aviator at the New York International Auto Show.

The Lincoln Motor Co. offered few details about the launch, but said the debut a production preview of the all-new Lincoln Aviator will happen Wednesday, March 28 in New York.

Auto Show News!

The Aviator, going on display in New York, is the first of two all-new utilities that Lincoln will bring to market in the next two years as it grows its utility portfolio and commits to electrification across its lineup globally.  (more…)

Want Your Car to Hold It’s Value? Buy Yellow, Study Says. reveals that gold cars are money-losers.

by on Mar.16, 2018

If you want your car to retain its value longer, yellow is your color.

The old axiom says if you want to get a speeding ticket, own a red car, however, new research shows if your vehicle to retain its value, buy a yellow one. analyzed the sale of more than 2.1 million vehicles sales from the 2014 model year and discovered that yellow cars held their value the best, depreciating only 27% after three years. The average rate of depreciation of 33.1% for all vehicles.

The Last Word!

Other vehicles that held their value well were orange and green vehicles, which posted depreciation rates of 30.6% and 30.9% after three years.

The most popular or common colors, which are typically white, black and gray or silver, paced the average rate of depreciation, the website noted. (more…)

Buick, Infiniti Top J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index

Industry overall posts major gains in service arena.

by on Mar.16, 2018

The new QX80 helped Infiniti to the top of the latest J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index.

In an unexpected and potentially critical move, Infiniti unseated Lexus as the top-ranked brand in J.D. Power’s annual Customer Satisfaction Index, while Buick ranked tops among mass-market brands.

But the auto industry on the whole managed to post big improvements, reflecting an increased focus on keeping customers happy when it comes to receiving service at franchised dealers, according to the annual Power study.

Pushing the Envelope!

Keeping customers happy is critical, said Chris Sutton, Power’s vice president of U.S. automotive retail practices. “Satisfied customers tend to stay with a brand and bring others with them,” said Sutton, adding that, “Anything less opens the door for customers to shop elsewhere.” (more…)

FCA Recalling 300K Ram Pickups for Gas Tank Problem

Automaker's second Ram pickup recall in last month.

by on Mar.16, 2018

FCA is recalling 300,000 Ram pickups due to a problem with the gas tank.

Fiat Chrysler issued another gas tank-related recall, ordering more than 300,000 Ram pickup trucks to head to dealers because the fuel tanks can sag.

The action affects Ram 1500 pickups from 2009–12, mainly in cold-weather U.S. states and Canada where salt is used to clear snow from roads. In the U.S. the trucks are in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

Safety News!

An investigation found a bracket can corrode, allowing the tanks sag, the company noted. The remaining structure will stop the tanks from falling. Fiat Chrysler says it’s not aware of any crashes, fires, leaks or injuries due to the problem. (more…)

Ford Plans for Growth in New Product Segments

Exec says new EV should help spur battery-electric sales.

by on Mar.16, 2018

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's product development chief, says promoting better EVs will help spur sales of battery-electrics.

Ford Motor Co.’s product development chief says one way to make electric vehicles more popular is to give them wider appeal.

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president for product development, said noted that even when gas prices were high, consumers didn’t especially gravitate towards EVs or hybrids. Thus, Ford is preparing to roll out a unique EV with the broad appeal of a crossover and more performance.

Stay Plugged In!

“EVs have great instantaneous low-end torque,” Thai-Tang told after briefing by senior Ford executives, including CEO Jim Hackett. (more…)