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Tesla CEO Musk Lashes Out at British Diver in Latest Round of Odd Behavior

Twice calls diver a "pedo," slang for pedophile.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called one of the divers that found the Thai boys soccer team trapped in a cave a pedophile.

The wild ride that has been Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk’s behavior took another odd turn over the weekend as he got into a fight with one of the divers who helped rescue the Thai boys soccer team from a flooded cave last week.

Musk called one of the British divers who discovered the boys a “pedo,” slang for pedophile, not once, but twice in a series of angry tweets after the diver dismissed his interest in trying to help save the boys with a small submarine as a publicity stunt.

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“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth told CNN. (more…)

GAC Plowing $4.4M into New Detroit-Area R&D Facility

Chinese automaker expects to sell vehicles in U.S. by 2020.

by on Jul.16, 2018

GAC Motor Chairman Feng Xingya said the company will sell SUVs in fourth quarter of 2019.

China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group in China is taking another step forward in its efforts to become the first Chinese automaker to engage in large scale sales in the U.S. with a new $4.4 million R&D facility in metro Detroit.

During the North American International Auto Show last January, the automaker announced its plans to bring vehicles to the U.S., but acknowledged it needed to make some changes to those vehicles to meet U.S. regulations.

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This new research facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, helps with that process. The company has just begun preparing the building and filling job openings. The new site is expected to create 62 jobs, according to the company. (more…)

Tata Motors “Cheapest Car” is No More: Nano is a No-No

Series of fires, poor marketing doom entry-level sedan.

by on Jul.13, 2018

After several fires, demand for the Tata Nano plunged to just 500 units in 2011.

The car that was once considered the second coming of the Model T is now at the end of its run: Tata Motors killed the Nano.

The small four-door car that was developed because Tata’s Motors Chairman Rajan Tata saw a family of four trying to navigate a street on a motorbike in a rain storm hit the end of its nine-year production run yesterday.

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That was in 2003 and it took Tata about six years to get the first of the small cars to production, including having to shift the plant from one region in India to another after protests by farmers in the area. (more…)

GM Leads Ford in Pickup Sales at Midpoint of 2018

Midsize trucks giving GM the sales lead.

by on Jul.12, 2018

Chevy's Centennial Edition Silverado and Colorado have enjoyed impressive sales since being introduced.

America loves a good rivalry and Americans also love pickup trucks.

Domestic automakers have been relying on the latter, pickups, to help drive profits for much of the last two decades, and Ford and General Motors have long found ways to irritate one another when it comes to sell more trucks than the other.

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Now there is a new way: GM has sold more pickups through the first half of 2018 than Ford. GM sold 478,671 pickups, up 12% from last year, according to Kelley Blue Book data. Ford sold 451,138 pickups, a 5% increase. (more…)

FBI Arrests Apple Secrets Thief While Leaving for China

Former employee had been hired by XMotors.

by on Jul.11, 2018

CEO Tim Cook has been coy about Apple's self-driving car program, but it was the victim of proprietary information theft.

In what looked like something out of a James Patterson novel, FBI agents swooped in and arrested a former Apple employee who was boarding a plane for China after earlier swiping a passel of corporate secrets about Apple’s autonomous vehicle technology.

Xiaolang Zhang was a person of interest in an investigation about the theft of information from Apple by the FBI. He had already interviewed several times by Apple.

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He booked a last-minute flight to China on July 7, and then was arrested at the San Jose International Airport by FBI agents. Zhang has been charged with theft of trade secrets, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Jose. (more…)

McLaren Fills in Holes in New Longtail’s Story at Goodwood

New 600LT debuts at speed fest in Great Britain.

by on Jul.11, 2018

The new 600LT boasts a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque and a 0-62 mph time of 2.9 seconds.

About two weeks ago, McLaren offered up some of its plans for a new, track-ready car named the 600LT, just the fourth longtail edition in the company’s history.

However, the original announcement was a little light on details that speed fans enjoy, such just how fast is the new model. While it was known that the new sport series model is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo putting out 592 horsepower and 457 foot-pounds of torque.

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Now, just before it makes its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren unveiled some performance numbers. The 3.8-liter delivers “astonishing levels of performance,” according to the automaker. (more…)

Tesla Model 3s for Everyone! Invitation to Order No Longer Needed

EV maker opens ordering process to everyone.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Tesla opened up the ordering process for the Model 3 to everyone, not just those with invitations.

Looking to generate more sales — and perhaps more importantly, the cash from reservation deposits — Tesla opened the sale of its entry-level sedan, the Model 3, to anyone who wants to go online and order one.

Prior to now, buyers needed an invitation to purchase the Model 3. Now anyone can go online and place an order; however, the big catch is the $2,500 deposit required at the time the order is placed. The buyer will get a delivery date after the deposit is accepted. The website currently states delivery can be take three to five months.

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The deposit is non-refundable, which is different than what earlier, invite-only orderers were allowed. Reports suggest that nearly a quarter of the 400,000 potential buyers who plunked down deposits have cancelled their orders. (more…)

US Appeals Court Upholds $10B VW Deal With Diesel Owners

Court dismisses objections by small owners group to settlement.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn was indicted by German authorities in May.

After a nearly two-year delay, a $10 billion settlement between Volkswagen AG and diesel car owners involved in the emissions cheating scandal has been approved by a U.S. appeals court.

The 9thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the deal delivered “tangible, substantial benefits” and the federal judge who approved it did more than enough to ensure it was fair, despite several objections from some owners.

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VW will spend up to $10 billion compensating owners of about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines.VW agreed to offer owners of the 2.0-liter vehicles between $5,100 and $10,000 in compensation, in addition to the estimated value of the vehicle. (more…)

Nissan Admits to Second Round of Emissions, Mileage Tampering

Officials say 19 models affected in latest scandal.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan's latest emissions and fuel economy testing scandal impacts the Note, the brand's top-selling vehicle in Japan.

For the second time in less than a year, Nissan Motor admitted to employees improperly measure exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan.

Sample test environments for emissions and fuel economy in final vehicle inspections at most of its Japanese plants were not compliant with domestic standards, according to Nissan, which added the inspection reports were based on altered measurements.

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The measurements do not impact any vehicles shipped overseas, including the U.S., Nissan officials said. The company made a similar admission last October. Then it admitted that the practice had gone on for decades with uncertified inspectors signing off on the test results. (more…)

Bill Allowing National Testing for Autonomous Vehicle Testing Remains Stalled

Foreign competitors are gaining on U.S. in the arena.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan is conducting on-road autonomous vehicle testing in Europe, including London, shown here.

As automakers scramble to find what U.S. states are best for testing autonomous vehicles, Congressional efforts to communize rules for all 50 states, once on the fast track, appears to have stalled and there is no timetable for a restart.

In today’s political climate, it would be easy to assume that partisanship is the reason the efforts have ground to a halt in the U.S. Senate, but the bill had strong bipartisan support coming out of committee.

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However, the Senate is tied up with other responsibilities, such as the looming Supreme Court justice approval process and other legislative agenda items, according to the Automotive News. (more…)

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