Loss of Control, Viruses Top Hurdles for Autonomous Vehicles

Ford charging ahead with AVs by trying to establish trust.

by on Aug.21, 2018

Ford says consumers need to believe they can trust AVs, and that will take time and energy.

A new study found that losing control of the vehicle and the threat of computer virus are the two most important reservations or fears consumers have about autonomous vehicles.

The study done by the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology also found that AVs have yet to break through as status symbols. The study found that improving social status among peers is the least important incentive to adopting AVs. In addition, fewer than 5% of respondents indicated their households are willing to pay an additional $20,000 to add automation and greater connectivity to their vehicle.

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One very interesting finding was that the feeling of losing control was more important than safety concerns for people. In addition, the threat of computer virus penetrating the vehicles was considered an important barrier to adoption. Read the rest of this entry »

Lucid Hunting for Money from Saudi Fund Eyed by Musk

Saudis buying Tesla on open market, may be money left for Lucid.

by on Aug.21, 2018

Lucid executives are on the hunt for additional investors, like the Saudis.

Tesla apparently has competition looking to tap Saudi Arabia’s money to finance Elon Musk’s plan for taking the electric car company he founded private in the near future.

PIF, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund that Musk has said could help him fund a $72 billion deal to take his electric car maker private, is also in talks to invest in aspiring Tesla rival Lucid Motors Inc., according to Reuters.

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The talks between privately-held Lucid Motors and PIF highlight the Saudi’s desire to invest in electric car makers to diversify their investment portfolio. Moreover, PIF has already made substantial commitments to other technology companies, including a $45-billion agreement to invest in a giant technology fund led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which recently offered more than $2 billion to help finance General Motors’ autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruze. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Looks to Expand Production in China, Secure No. 3 Spot

Toyota, Honda and Ford also looking to grow sales.

by on Aug.20, 2018

Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa laid out plans to grow sales in China by 2022.

Nissan Corp. is wasting no time playing catch up with General Motors and Volkswagen AG in China, nor is it wasting money spending $900 million to ramp up its vehicle production in the country.

Working with its Chinese joint-venture partner Dongfeng Group, Nissan’s plans call for expansion of production capacity during the next few years to 2.1 million vehicles annually, according to Reuters.

Global News!

Currently, Nissan sold 1.5 million vehicles last year in China, trailing GM and VW which put out about 4 million vehicles each. It wants to sell 2.6 million by 2022, and secure the No. 3 spot in the country by then, according to reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Administration Shifts US Energy Policy Away From Conservation

Country's leadership in oil production feted.

by on Aug.20, 2018

The president has ordered or supported the rollback of numerous Obama-era regulations.

The Trump administration is advocating a more relaxed approach to oil conservation, pointing to the rise of oil supplies from fracking as well as natural gas and other alternatives reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

This new direction is in direct conflict with decades of efforts and programs by the federal government to promote fuel-efficient vehicles as well as conservation of natural resources.

Dig Deeper!

It was spelled out in a new in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month, according to the Associated Press. Read the rest of this entry »

Aston Martin Rolls Out Limited Line of “Goldfinger” DB5s

Continuation models will offer plenty of gadgets like revolving license plates – but no word on machine guns and ejection seat.

by on Aug.20, 2018

The original James Bond, Sean Connery, with the original Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger.

“Bond. James Bond.” For those who’ve always fantasized about being able to speak that familiar line, they can now lay claim to another feature from one of Agent 007’s most iconic adventures.

Working with the special effects team from the most recent James Bond film, Aston Martin has recreated the classic DB5 that originally appeared in “Goldfinger,” and it plans to offer 25 full-size reproductions that, the British marque claims, will include an assortment of “working gadgets.” Those will include “revolving number (license) plates and more,” we’re told, though Aston isn’t ready to reveal whether that also includes the machine guns and ejector seat Bond had at the ready.

Behind the Scenes!

“The connection between Aston Martin and James Bond is something of which we are very proud and it is remarkable that the DB5 remains the definitive James Bond car after so many years,” said Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “To own an Aston Martin has long been an aspiration for James Bond fans, but to own a Silver Birch DB5, complete with gadgets and built to the highest standards in the very same factory as the original James Bond cars? Well, that is surely the ultimate collectors’ fantasy.”

Read the rest of this entry »

CEO Musk Risks Becoming Liability for Tesla

Stock plunges again after weepy interview, SEC probe revealed.

by on Aug.20, 2018

Musk has said he's been working up to 120 hours a week - but is that really benefitting Tesla?

(This story has been updated with a comment by former GM V.Chairman Bob Lutz.)

Since the era when Lee Iacocca was the seemingly ever-present face of Chrysler, perhaps no other automotive executive has been more closely linked with his company than Tesla’s constantly tweeting CEO Elon Musk – and Iacocca didn’t have access to the social media tools that routinely help Musk make headlines.

But the events of recent weeks have started raising questions about the 47-year-old Tesla chief’s role, some observers beginning to wonder whether Musk is starting to become more asset than liability. That has become underscored in recent days as backlash continues to mount over the tweet Musk posted early this month announces his goal of taking Tesla private and suggesting that the necessary funding had been “secured.”

News Now!

That has triggered a new probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was revealed last week, about the same time Musk sat down by an unexpectedly emotional interview with the New York Times that raised questions about both his health and his ability to remain at Tesla’s helm and, as this week begins, it has led to new warnings about Tesla finances, the automaker’s shares taking a sharp tumble as Monday trading began on Wall Street.

Read the rest of this entry »

NAFTA Negotiations Stalling Out Again

Auto industry concerned about lack of consistency.

by on Aug.20, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been holding talks with Mexico only these days.

Negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement are ongoing, but anxiety continues to grow inside the auto industry, which is looking for measure of stability, due to the slow pace of the talks.

While some progress has been made during bilateral talks between Mexico and the United States, key issues revolving around automotive content and an automatic, five-year “sunset” provision proposed by Trump administration remain unresolved.

We Keep You Plugged In!

“I am less optimistic than I was,” said Julie Fream, president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, which represents a broad cross-section of automotive suppliers. The critical content requirements for automobiles still haven’t been addressed, she said after a recent event sponsored by the OESA. Read the rest of this entry »

Woodward Avenue Dreaming

Over 1 million turn out, but the cars are the stars at the 24th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

by on Aug.18, 2018

Bob Chesnicki and his wife have long wanted to make it out for the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. They finally showed up in this T-Bucket for their 32nd anniversary.

It’s either “the world’s largest car show,” or “the world’s largest parking lot,” said Robert Angel, as he watched a procession of muscle cars, hot rods and sports cars slowly creep by on Woodward Avenue.

Angel was one of an estimated 1.5 million people who lined a 16-mile stretch of the eight-lane boulevard that bisects Detroit and its northern suburbs for the 24th Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual event that was expected to draw cars and spectators from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and the former Soviet Union.

Cruise Along with Us!

Angel, a former school teacher, only had to travel from Savannah, Georgia, but waited until he retired to finally get to see the Dream Cruise, he explained, because the school year in Georgia normally started in early August.

Read the rest of this entry »

Woodward Dream Cruisers Out Early and Often

Fans and cruisers get an early start on the event.

by on Aug.18, 2018

Classic car fans and owners began trekking up and down Woodward Avenue Friday in advance of the Dream Cruise.

The roar of powerful engines and the smell of exhaust began filling the air as the classic car fanatics began their annual trek to Woodward Avenue, north of Detroit, for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

The event begins today, but there is plenty of “pregaming” on the days leading up to the main event. On Friday afternoon, cruisers were out in force as car aficionados had already set up shop to enjoy the cars of their youth.

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“I like the classic muscle cars,” said Charles Kinsley of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I don’t care for the cars they remake.” Despite not being a big fan of the retro-based efforts of the Big Three automakers. Kinsley has attended almost every Dream Cruise since its inception in 1995. Read the rest of this entry »

New Vehicles Sales Fell in Q2, as Leasing Rates Rose

Mercedes-Benz boasts highest average lease price.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Leasing rates rose in the second quarter of 2018 with SUVs accounting for the largest portion of those leases.

Though auto sales were down overall in the second quarter of 2018, folks leasing instead of buying new vehicles were doing their level best to keep sales numbers high despite lower incentives, according to a new study.

Swapalease.com notes the average months remaining in leases rose during the second quarter to 28.8 months compared with 25.1 months in the first quarter. The rise is an indication that people were looking to get out of their leases early in search of a better vehicle or deal.

The Last Word!

Not only was that measure up, the average miles remaining fell from 23,115 to 22,617 left in their contract, which is only a slight decrease. The ratio of months remaining to miles remaining, according to the website, is an indicator that people are driving more. Those looking to get out leases early could have been creeping up on their contract limit, forcing them to make a move earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

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