Archive for the ‘Markets’ Category

Ford Investigates Potential Errant Fuel Economy, Emissions Testing

Automaker hires outside law firm to lead query.

by on Feb.22, 2019

Ford employees began questioning the results of fuel economy and emissions testing on the 2019 Ranger.

Ford Motor Co. may be suffering from déjà vu, the automaker announcing it is in the midst of self-imposed investigation of its fuel economy and testing procedures that may have produced incorrect mileage and emissions data.

The query has been going on since last fall and began when several employees voiced concerns about the process and the resulting data. The automaker is quick to point out that these potential problems do not involve cheat devices like those used by Volkswagen AG or other automakers.

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Kimberly Pittel, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Reuters the investigation began with the test results for the 2019 Ford Ranger. The company is evaluation alterations made to the testing process and calculations used to determine fuel economy and emissions results submitted to federal regulatory agencies. (more…)

BMW, Daimler Launching New Ride-Sharing Service, Other Mobility Ventures

New partners open door to other participants.

by on Feb.22, 2019

BMW Chief Harald Krueger, left, and Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche are all smiles after announcing plans to merge mobility operations.

Nearly a year after announcing plans to combine their ambitious mobility services operations, Mercedes’ parent Daimler and erstwhile rival BMW have announced an array of new joint venture projects that will include car and ride-sharing operations that could challenge upstarts like Uber, Lyft and China’s Didi Chuxing.

The two luxury automakers plan to invest a combined 1 billion euros, or about $1.1 billion, to expand the five projects BMW CEO Harald Krueger and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche outlined at a news conference Friday, which also include parking and electric vehicle charging. The two newly minted partners also opened the door to cooperation with other automotive manufacturers.

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“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously,” said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger. (more…)

Ford Making Switch to Green Power for Detroit-Area Facilities

Ford is first automaker to enlist in the program.

by on Feb.22, 2019

Ford's electricity for its facilities stretching from Dearborn to Detroit will now come from green resources, like this wind turbine.

The smoke and grit from the Ford Motor Co.’s sprawling Rouge complex embodied in Charles Sheeler’s fabled pictures from the 1920s have long been part of the of the Motor City’s lore and heritage.

However, Ford and DTE Energy, a local energy provider, are vowing that key parts of the Rouge as well as other key Ford installations stretching from Dearborn to Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, including the Michigan Central Train Station that will become a part of the company’s research and engineering campus, will be powered by electricity generated by wind and solar power.

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Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn Truck Plant, the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, as well as several new buildings on the Ford Research and Engineering Campus and will soon be powered by 100% locally sourced renewable energy, Ford announced this week.  (more…)

Musk Says Tesla to Have Driverless Car Ready This Year

CEO says regulators will determine when vehicle's can be self-driving.

by on Feb.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's vehicles would be able to be run without a driver by the end of this year.

Elon Musk continues to push the narrative that Tesla Inc. will have vehicles ready to operate without a driver by the end of this year.

Tesla’s CEO made the claim during the company’s recent earnings call and repeated it on a podcast hosted by two executives at ARK Invest, which is an investor in Tesla.

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“I think we will be feature complete – full self-driving – this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.” (more…)

New IIHS Tests Show Wide Disparity in Automakers’ Pedestrian Crash Avoidance Tech

BMW system sent dummies “airborne.”

by on Feb.21, 2019

The BMW X1 failed the IIHS pedestrian test, sending the dummy airborne during the exercise.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on a rapid rise in recent years, something some experts blame on the shift to blunt-nosed utility vehicles. Whatever the reason, automakers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the problem.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has launched a study to evaluate and compare the performance of new pedestrian crash avoidance technology and the first pass found wide disparity between the 11 small SUVs put to the test. The majority of the vehicles earned top ratings, but two performed poorly, the BMW X1 sending a crash dummy “airborne” when it failed to come to a stop.

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“We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems,” said David Aylor, the IIHS manager of Active Safety Testing. “We also want to arm consumers with information about these systems so they can make smart choices when shopping for a new vehicle.” (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Plenty of comfort and convenience with great fuel economy.

by on Feb.21, 2019

The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited features the S appearance package with blacked out wheels and other updates to make it appealing to men.

Minivans were invented by the old Chrysler Corp. back in the early 1980s and through the company’s various transitions and permeations have been a mainstay in its product portfolio ever since the Reagan years.

Facing stiffer fuel-economy and emission regulations, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has brought on a hybrid version that has all the advantages that have made of the traditional minivan a practical choice for families or anyone that needs to carry multiple passengers of all ages to a destination in comfort and with minimal fuss.

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The sliding doors on the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid remain as practical as ever for dropping children off for school while changes to the powertrain have given it greater range and fuel economy FCA also has loaded up with the latest technology, including the ability to connect multiple devices to the Internet and useful driver-assistance features such as blind spot detection that help justify its $50,375 price tag, which includes the $1,395 destination charge. (more…)

February New Vehicle Sales Expected to Drop

Drop comes after better-than-expected January.

by on Feb.21, 2019

New vehicle sales are expected to fall 2.2% compared with last February's results.

With cold weather gripping the nation’s midsection, sales of new vehicles are expected to drop significantly in February, according to analysts and signals from the Federal Reserve Board.

Edmunds predicts that 1,271,009 new vehicles will be sold in the U.S. in February for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 16.7 million. This reflects a 12.3% increase in sales from January 2019 and a 2.2% decrease from February 2018.

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“Although the drop off in sales is rather subtle year over year, February is shaping up to be a good barometer of the gradual sales decline we expect through 2019,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. (more…)

Honda Recalls 106K Ridgeline Trucks

Faulty fuel lines may crack and cause a fire.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Honda recalled more than 106,000 Ridgelines due to a fuel pump problem.

Owners of dirty Honda Ridgelines are being told to not wash their trucks as part of a recall of more than 100,000 2017-2019 model year trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for 106,683 of the vehicles because they could catch fire after being washed. The acid from car wash soaps could cause the line in the fuel pump to crack.

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If fuel leaks from the line, that significantly increases the odds the truck will catch fire. The problem was uncovered in January, but the recall won’t begin until March 7. (more…)

Tesla Readying to Lease Model 3s to Employees

EV Maker's general counsel departs.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Tesla is readying to offer leases on its new Model 3 to employees to help boost demand for the sedan.

Tesla Inc. is readying for the next step in the evolution of its Model 3: leasing.

According to Electrek, the Palo Alto, California-based EV maker is looking to boost demand for the new mainstream sedan by offering employees a leasing program for the vehicle. Initial reports suggested the program would be in place in as little as two weeks.

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The leasing availability was outlined in an email to employees. However, the company denied it will be ready that quickly, although did confirm it was coming. (more…)

Aston Teases Project 003 Hypercar Ahead of Geneva

Only 500 will be built.

by on Feb.20, 2019

The latest Aston Martin hypercar will use an F1-influenced gas-electric drivetrain.

From a company struggling to avert yet another bankruptcy only a few years ago, Aston Martin has bounced back with a vengeance, as it plans to demonstrate with the debut of a new hypercar at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Codenamed “Project 003,” it’s set to become the British marque’s third hypercar, following up on the earlier Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro models.

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“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “It was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendent that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialised, limited production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models.”

(more…)

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