Former VW Executive Sentenced to Seven Years for Diesel Scandal Role

Oliver Schmidt could face seven years in prison.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Former VW manager Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty as part of diesel gate, but now says in a letter to the judge he was used by the automaker.

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, the second person to admit guilt in the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in VW’s diesel scandal in Detroit today.

Schmidt, seeking some leniency in his sentencing, wrote a letter to the federal judge hearing the case claiming he was “misused by VW.”

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Lawyers for both sides argued about level of Schmidt’s involvement in the scandal. Ultimately, the judge sided with prosecutors sentencing him to seven years rather than the 40 months his lawyers were seeking. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Heavy Duty Laying Claim to Biggest, Baddest Truck

New beast puts out 450 horsepower, tows 34,000 pounds.

by on Dec.06, 2017

The 2018 Ford Super Duty boasts a new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel putting out 450 horsepower and can tow 34,000 pounds.

Ford is looking to eliminate any doubt about which heavy-duty truck line-up with the introduction of its 2018 portfolio that may be best described as bigger, badder and better than anything else courtesy of the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel.

The new power plant lets Ford’s Super Duty haul and tow more than its competitors, which is the most common measuring stick for claiming the title of “The Best.”

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“Super Duty customers expect the best, and for 2018 we’re giving our customers even more power and torque from our 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel – delivering the most horsepower and torque available among all heavy-duty pickups,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. Read the rest of this entry »

Rinspeed Snap Offers Lego-Like Flexibility to Driverless Vehicles

Concept pairs autonomous EV platform with mix-and-match pods.

by on Dec.06, 2017

This rendering show the Rinspeed Snap's platform and passenger pod before docking.

Think of it as a sort of motorized Legomobile. Swiss think tank Rinspeed is known for coming up with creative – and sometimes wacky – concept vehicles and the one it plans to bring to the Consumer Electronics Show next month would allow a user to plug different bodies onto a flat, skateboard-like electric vehicle platform.

Rinspeed is by no means the first to adopt an essentially self-contained platform that could be used with a variety of different bodies. General Motors first revealed that concept more than a decade ago in the form of its hydrogen-powered Hy-Wire. And most modern electric vehicles now mount their batteries and other key components in or below the load floor.

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But the appropriately named Rinspeed Snap would allow the passenger compartment to separate from its electrified, autonomous platform and be used for other purposes. “(The) pod can even be useful when stationary,” says a release. “it can be anything from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod and even provide a breathtaking, fully connected user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. The sky is here the limit for the possible applications.”

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Lexus Taking Wraps Off New Crossover in Detroit

Maker has history of unveiling new models at NAIAS.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Lexus will unveil its latest creation, the LF1 Limitless, at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Lexus has always made a point of unveiling its newest most important cars and concept vehicles at the North American International Auto Show and it plans to do it again this coming January.

Lexus announced it plans to reveal a new concept that reflects “the next genre” in luxury crossover vehicles. Created by the CALTY design studio in Southern California, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless is a flagship crossover that redefines the boundaries of luxury, Lexus officials said.

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The Lexus LF-1 Limitless will make its official debut in Detroit next month, but released a teaser pic of the vehicle to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Production on the Rise, Keeping Gas Prices Down

Demand is lower while production levels are up.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Gas prices continue to fall as demand drops during the winter driving season.

With the winter driving season fast approaching, the price of gasoline is continuing to drop, according to AAA.

At $2.48, the national gas price average is at its cheapest level since early November. More so, pump prices nationally have been steadily dropping during the last two weeks. Today’s gas price is three cents less than a week ago, four cents cheaper than one month ago and 30 cents more than a year ago, according to AAA.

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“Cheaper winter gas prices are being seen for the bulk of the country as gasoline demand hits the lowest mark since February,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “On the week, 90% of states saw their gas price average drop – some even by double digits.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Ford to Test Online Sales in China

Expected to announce partnership with Chinese online giant Alibaba on Thursday.

by on Dec.06, 2017

Up til now, Ford and its Lincoln brand have relied on a relatively conventional dealer model in China.

The vast majority of car buyers around the world now rely on the Internet during at least some part of the shopping process, according to industry data, but Ford Motor Co. is expected to take the next big step this week as it announces a new partnership with Chinese online retail giant Alibaba.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett and Chairman Bill Ford are expected to attend a ceremony in Hangzhou on Thursday where they will be joined by representatives of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to announce new venture that could include the use of a new “auto vending machine” store concept, reports the Reuters news service.

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The tie-up, which is also expected to involve at least some of Ford’s existing Chinese dealers, will come just days after the Detroit-based automaker announced plans to launch 50 new vehicles in the booming Asian nation, 15 of them to rely on electrified propulsion technology. Ford is making an aggressive push to expand its presence in China where it lags well behind rivals General Motors and Volkswagen. Read the rest of this entry »

Forget Those Smokestacks; Transportation Now the #1 U.S. Source of Greenhouse Gas

Gap is widening as power plant operators shift to renewables and natural gas.

by on Dec.05, 2017

Even though automakers have been reducing emissions, transportation sources haven't kept up with gains by power plant generation.

They were once the symbol of American manufacturing might, though in recent decades industrial smokestacks – and power plants, in particular – have come to represent a major problem as the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

But that has seen a radical shift. For the first time in 40 years, power plants are no longer the single-largest source of global warming gases. That dubious honor now goes to the transportation sector, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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That includes a broad mix of different sources within the transport sector, reports Bloomberg News, which analyzed the EIA data, including automobiles and trucks, as well as aircraft, trains and boats.

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Ford Adding 50 New Vehicles in China, 15 of Them “Electrified”

Detroit automaker hopes to regain momentum in world's largest auto market.

by on Dec.05, 2017

Ford's Peter Fleet faces a tough challenge gaining share in a slowing Chinese market.

Ford, a latecomer to the booming Chinese automotive market, said Tuesday it will launch 50 new models there by 2025, 15 of them “electrified.”

The announcement, made in Shanghai on Tuesday, is meant to shore up the company’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market — Ford’s Chinese sales sagging in recent months. It also indicates the Detroit-based carmaker will fall in line as Chinese regulators push the industry to introduce more low and zero-emissions vehicles in an effort to deal with endemic pollution problems.

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“Between now and 2025, we will launch 50 new vehicles in China, and of those 50 new vehicles, 15 of them will be all-new electrified vehicles,” said Peter Fleet, Ford’s head of Asia Pacific operations.

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Toyota’s Hollis Expects Solid Sales in 2018

Automaker expects new Camry to lead the way to good year.

by on Dec.05, 2017

Toyota executive Jack Hollis told the Automotive Press Association that the company expects U.S. new vehicle sales to exceed 16.5 million in 2018.

Toyota expects 2018 to be another strong year as industry sales once again exceed hit 16.5 million units or better, Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America, told the Automotive Press Association.

Hollis cited several factors contributing to the continuing strength of car sales in the U.S., including a healthy U.S. economy, continuing job and wage growth, low fuel prices and improvement in consumer confidence.

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“It might not be a record but still good strong pace,” Hollis said during in his speech during the APA meeting in Detroit. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Marketplace Will Let You Order Coffee, Donuts, Even Make Reservations While Driving

Automakers look for new revenue sources; see big opportunities when driverless vehicles come to market.

by on Dec.05, 2017

A customer places an order for coffee to go using the new GM Marketplace service.

Every morning, millions of American commuters stop for fuel or coffee on the way to work, and the new GM Marketplace is designed to make that process even quicker and easier.

Now, with the tap of a button on their vehicle’s touchscreen, motorists driving late-model General Motors vehicles will be able to order coffee or food from several popular fast food chains, such as Starbucks, locate a nearby gas station, even make dinner or hotel reservations using the Priceline service. It’s part of a push by GM and other automakers to provide new, in-vehicle features that could become major sources of revenues as autonomous and fully driverless vehicles come to market in the near future.

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“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for global connected customer experience at GM. “We have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back.”

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