Archive for September, 2018

New Vehicle Costs On the Rise as Insurance Premiums Skyrocket

Know what it'll cost to insure your vehicle before you buy.

by on Sep.20, 2018

The Tesla Model S is the most expensive mainstream vehicle to insure, according to a new report.

Car insurance premiums are rising quickly, and when interest rates are also climbing, new vehicle buyers have a lot to consider when determining what kind of car they can afford.

The average monthly car payment is more than $500 now and insurance rates have jumped by more than a third between 2010 and 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Finding ways to cut those burdensome premiums should be a top priority for shoppers.

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How much you pay for car insurance depends on a variety of factors, including age, driving record and location as well as the type of vehicle you want to buy. (more…)

Jackson Stepping Down as AutoNation CEO

Former Mercedes-Benz USA president remains executive chair until 2021.

by on Sep.20, 2018

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson is stepping down from the post next spring.

The auto industry is going to be a little less colorful in the near future as AutoNation’s Mike Jackson is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer next year; however, he will remain executive chairman until 2021.

“AutoNation is the retail automotive industry leader,” Jackson said in a statement. “The company is ready for its next chapter with a strong foundation, a coast to coast brand, a comprehensive Brand Extension strategy, and a transformational digital consumer car buying experience.”

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Jackson is one of the industry’s most outspoken figures, often a go-to executive for reporters looking for an expert perspective on almost any industry topic. He took over as AutoNation CEO in 1999, hired by founder H. Wayne Huizenga from Mercedes-Benz USA where was president. (more…)

Nvidia Unveils Plans for Higher Powered Processor

New model aimed at working seamlessly with AI-based technologies.

by on Sep.20, 2018

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed the company's latest processor that will enable more AI-oriented tech.

High-flying Nvidia has emerged during the past decades as one of the auto industry’s key suppliers of advanced technology and is now working on developing the technology needed for the development of self-driving vehicles.

Jensen Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, one of the Silicon Valley firms eager to promote self-driving vehicles, said his company has developed a new processor that uses artificial intelligence to carry out its assigned tasks.

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Huang said Nvidia AGX, a series of embedded AI high-performance computers built around Nvidia Xavier, is now the world’s first processor designed for autonomous machines. (more…)

Cadillac Expanding V-Series – Even as it Drops ATS-V, CTS-V Models

Performance models have “sparked new life.”

by on Sep.20, 2018

Even as it cuts its performance sedans, Cadillac is likely adding replacements, like a CT6-V.

High-performance models have become an essential part of a luxury brand’s line-up, as the BMW M, Mercedes-AMG and Audi S and RS models clearly demonstrate. So, it should be no surprise to see that Cadillac wants to play in the performance segment, as well.

General Motors’ luxury brand plans to expand the availability of its V-Series, Caddy now says, and that will be marked with the arrival of the new CT6-V version of its flagship sedan next spring. That said, two current V-Series models will soon be going away, Cadillac pulling the plug on both the ATS-V and CTS-V in the near future.

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“Beginning with the debut of the CTS-V Sedan in 2004, the V-Series sub-brand sparked new life into Cadillac,” GM’s product development chief Mark Reuss said in a statement. “As a result of the overwhelming response the CT6 V-Sport received when revealed in early 2018, we’ve decided to formally make it a V-Series, signaling the expansion of V-Series.” (more…)

Daimler Invests Millions in Electric Busmaker Proterra

U.S.-based company expands Daimler's battery-electric capabilities.

by on Sep.20, 2018

Daimler Truck has invested millions in California-based electric busmaker Proterra to help with its battery-electric development.

Daimler Trucks & Buses agreed to put up part of a $155 million investment in an electric bus company founded and based in the United States.

Proterra Inc., with offices in California’s Silicon Valley, South Carolina and Los Angeles, announced it closed a $155 million investment round co-led by Daimler, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, and Tao Capital Partners.

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Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses, noted Proterra has emerged as a leader in the electric-bus business with more than 90 customers across the United States. (more…)

Trump’s Latest Round of Tariffs Impacts Car Prices

Prices will really jump after Jan. 1 when 25% tariffs hit.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Prices on new cars may jump 25% after the first of the year due to the new tariffs on China by the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump must be out of eyes by now. His ongoing, eye-for-an-eye style trade tariff war continues, and will raise prices on Chinese goods another 10% starting next week, fanning fears about the prices of new vehicles and parts.

The Trump administration levied the new 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Monday night. They take effect on Sept. 24, and are set to jump to 25% on Jan. 1. To keep pace, of of course, China retaliated with $60 billion worth of new tariffs of its own.

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As usual automakers have decried the new tariffs, complaining the new levies impinge their ability to import or export vehicles as well as the parts for repairs. Thus far, Trump has turned a deaf ear to the complaints. (more…)

Former Ford Design Chief Mays Joining Whirlpool

Move has him following in footsteps of predecessor.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Ford's former design chief J Mays, shown with the 2015 Mustang, is taking a new job at Whirlpool.

Once Ford Motor Co.’s top designer, J Mays, is heading back to Michigan as vice president and chief design officer of Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Mays left Ford in 2013 after a long career in the automobile industry that included stints at BMW, Volkswagen and Audi before he joined Ford in 1997 as the company’s top designer.

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Before his appointment at Whirlpool, which makes a variety of home appliances, Mays has been working as consultant in a variety of areas, including in the movie industry. He also has been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London. (more…)

German Automakers Enduring More Diesel Scrutiny

Government regulators continue investigation of companies.

by on Sep.19, 2018

An Audi A3 TDI Sportback, one of the vehicles that was equipped with a rigged diesel engine.

German automakers are facing more headaches and potentially huge fines as the fallout from the “Dieselgate” scandal continues to seep through the legal and regulatory system in Europe and North America.

Antitrust regulators from the European Union are investigating if major German automakers, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen AG conspired to limit the rollout of emission technology used on diesel-powered vehicles heavily promoted by the three automakers.

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In the latest twist to the three-year-old “Dieselgate” scandal, the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation this week. The investigation comes a year after it raided the companies and two years after it slapped a record 2.93 billion euro ($3.4 billion) fine on a group of truck makers, including Daimler, for fixing prices and delaying the adoption of cleaner engine technology, according to Reuters. (more…)

BMW Fills in the Blanks on New Z4

Production will launch with four-cylinder version, but I-6 and M packages will follow.

by on Sep.19, 2018

The 2019 BMW Z4 revs up the excitement for the next-gen roadster with more power and plenty of style.

Nearly a month after giving us a first look at the all-new BMW Z4, the Bavarian automaker is filling in some critical blanks, offering timing on the rollout of the new roadster, as well as specs on the first two versions in the pipeline.

First unveiled during the annual classic car week in Pebble Beach, California, the new Z4 is seen by many as the most significant update since the nameplate was first launched 17 years ago. That is, in part, due to the unusual approach BMW took to develop the all-new Z4, partnering with Toyota which will use the underpinnings for its own new entry, the reborn Supra.

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The good news is that the next-generation Z4 will be offering more power than the outgoing roadster. The bad news, at least for fans of rowing their own transmission, is that there’ll be no manual offered on the new model. (more…)

Musk Facing Justice Department Probe

Feds looking into possible “fraud” in aborted privatization effort.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the focal point of investigations by the Department of Justice as well as the SEC.

Elon Musk now says he may try to hitch a ride along with the Japanese billionaire who plans to buy a ride on a SpaceX rocket trip around the moon.

Considering the mounting legal problems facing the 47-year-old executive, the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, Musk may need to find a way out of town in the near future.

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Musk and Tesla are now facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department looking into his brief flirtation with taking the California carmaker private, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating that aborted move. Separately, Musk is facing lawsuits in both Los Angeles and London filed by a British diver who the South African-born executive has accused of being a “pedo,” or pedophile, as well as a “child rapist.” (more…)