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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.

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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…)

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.

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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…)

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.

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

China’s Chery Set for Big Introduction in Frankfurt

Automaker appears ready to expand European presence.

by on Aug.18, 2017

Chery plans to unveil its new M31T sport-ute at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Chery, one of China’s most aggressive automobile companies, is preparing to unveil a new sport-utility vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month as a prelude to entering the intensely competitive market in Western Europe, company officials said this week.

The SUV model, known as M31T, is the first of Chery’s all-new 3.0 product matrix. By debuting this SUV model in Europe market, “Chery hopes to make its first step of entering Europe and America market while showing its Global Strategy has reached a new height,” the company said in the announcement laying out its plans for Frankfurt Show.

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Chery noted the Frankfurt show, which has a long history, is known as “the Olympics” in the world automobile industry. It is one of world’s “A-level” auto shows, and offers Chery the opportunity to show of its technology and brand in front of a critical audience. (more…)

Hyundai Set to Expand Line-up of Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Hyundai, Kia to introduce 31 new vehicles by 2020.

by on Aug.17, 2017

The Hyundai Tucson fuel cell model is about to get a sibling in the near term, according to Hyundai officials.

Hyundai Motor Co. is moving ahead with the launch of a group eco-friendly vehicles that include fuel-cell-powered models and a long-range electric vehicle with the capability of traveling more than 310 miles on a single charge.

Executives from the South Korean auto giant said the new fuel-cell model, now slated to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, will spearhead Hyundai Motor’s plans to accelerate development of low-emission vehicles.

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The move is in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s renewed goal of introducing 31 eco-friendly models between its sibling automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, by 2020.  (more…)

Trump Disbands Economic Councils – Could Impact Auto Industry at Critical Time

GM CEO Barra faced growing pressure to resign in wake of president’s Charlottesville comments.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier with Pres. Trump before he resigned from the council and found himself rebuked in a presidential tweet.

(This story has been updated to include comments from GM CEO Mary Barra on the closing of the economic councils and the controversy over Charlottesville.)

Turning again to Twitter, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is disbanding two economic advisory groups formed as he entered the White House last January and originally consisting of some of the nation’s top business leaders.

The move came shortly after the well-publicized resignation of an eighth council member, 3M CEO Inge Thulin. While some of the business leaders had resigned earlier in the year, the exodus had ramped up in recent days following a series of controversial remarks the president made regarding the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia as neo-Nazis, KKK members and other White Supremacists marched through the city.

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Other members of the council faced increasing pressure to resign, as well, including Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. But several industry insiders said Barra, in particular, faced a perplexing situation. The Trump Administration is considering several measures – including a possible rollback of mileage standards, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement – that could have substantial impact on GM. As part of the two councils, Barra had unusually good access to the president.

(more…)

Jaguar Hopes Startup Incubator Accelerates Tech Development

Automaker follows lead of other companies looking for new technologies.

by on Aug.16, 2017

Tyfone is one of two companies to join the Jaguar Land Rover technology incubator in Portland, Oregon.

With the auto industry in the midst of technological revolution, Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC has found a way to get a look at new developments by nurturing tech startups at the company’s small outpost on the West Coast.

The new additions to JLR’s “technology accelerator” program, Tyfone and Simplenight, focus on increasing data security and personalizing consumer experiences two key areas of interest and concern to consumers.

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Located in Portland, Oregon, the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator was launched in January 2016 and offers the company an opportunity to get a firsthand look at new technology as it develops. (more…)

Teamsters Sets Up Road Blocks to Autonomous Semi-Trucks

Union works with politicians to limit self-driving trucks testing.

by on Aug.15, 2017

A pair of autonomous Otto trucks carrying prototype autonomous Volvos being tested by Uber. The Teamsters are watching autonomous laws carefully.

Tesla, Daimler, Uber and other companies are pushing ahead with the development of self-driving semi-trucks, but the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are determined to put up road blocks in an effort that could eventually eliminate the jobs of thousands of truck drivers and union members.

The Teamsters, which has 1.3 million members, has lobbied lawmakers to exclude commercial trucks from a bill that would allow more autonomous vehicles on the roads and limit the ability of individual states to regulate automated vehicles.

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The union also praised Congress for recognizing that a starting point for any discussion on this subject was that no legislation should impact commercial motor vehicles or traditional commercial drivers. (more…)

Roadkill Nights Comes on Strong

Fan crowd Woodward Avenue to catch event.

by on Aug.14, 2017

Thousands of Dodge and muscle car fans flocked to Pontiac, Michigan, for Roadkill Nights.

Despite some rain showers that left a quarter mile of Woodward Avenue’s asphalt too wet for the final heats, “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” again drew a large crowd of car buffs, young and old to Pontiac, a suburb north of Detroit.

“I’m a gear head,” said Cameron Milavec, 18, of New Baltimore, Michigan, who drove in with a group of friends as evening settled over Pontiac’s M1-Concourse, the 87-acre “playground for automobiles,” which has become the venue of choice for the event with its noise and smoking tires and fast cars.

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“We’re into diesels,” said Milavec, who explained both he and his pal, River Lamb, 18, also of New Baltimore, own diesel-powered heavy-duty pickups as they watched the last-ditch effort to dry off the track under bright floodlights for what would have been the final heats of the day. (more…)

First Drive: 2017 Nissan Titan

Truck offers plenty of power, creature comforts.

by on Aug.11, 2017

The 2017 Nissan Titan features a strong grille that is often the hallmark of popular full-size pickups.

Trucks are in right now and their strong appeal has helped keep showrooms humming and factories busy.

One of the reasons that trucks are so popular is that they are solid and appealing vehicles. Case in point is Nissan Titan, which faces off against enormously popular Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

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The Titan may not command the loyalty of the American brands but it is made in the United States in Canton, Mississippi, and it has the rugged style, driving characteristics, dynamics and features that Nissan’s competitors have used to define and re-define the segment in recent years. (more…)