Posts Tagged ‘auto news’

Lexus Mulls Addition of Subscription Service

Luxury brand follow lead of Volvo, Porsche and Cadillac.

by on Mar.21, 2018

Lexus is considering offering a subscription service much like that of Cadillac, Volvo or Porsche ... and soon Lincoln.

Subscription services are still something of a novelty in the car business but more brands, including Lexus, are contemplating offering them in the not too distant future.

“There’s nothing to announce,” said Michael Moore, Lexus senior manager of product marketing. “But it’s certainly something we’re looking at.”

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Moore noted Lexus is continuously reviewing its retail approach in effort to make it better ensure that it can exceed customer expectations. (more…)

Toyota Will “Pause” Testing of Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads

Hyundai adding “caution” to its program; Boston mayor wants autonomous tests halted in city.

by on Mar.20, 2018

In light to Uber's autonomous vehicle killing a pedestrian, other companies are revisiting their testing plans and procedures.

Reaction has been quick in the wake of a fatal Phoenix crash involving a prototype autonomous vehicle operated by ride-sharing service Uber, at least one major automaker saying it will temporarily “pause” testing of its own self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Though police in the suburb of Tempe say preliminary evidence indicates the Uber-modified Volvo SUV was not at fault in the death of a pedestrian Sunday night, the incident has raised flags that could slow the race to put self-driving technology on the road.

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While Toyota issued a statement noting that it “cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” the automaker added in a statement that, “Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads.” (more…)

Jeep Design, Mopar Letting It All Hang Out for Moab

Seven new concepts ready for Easter Safari.

by on Mar.20, 2018

The Jeep Sandstorm concept is one of seven that Jeep will be taking to the 52nd Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

Jeep is making its yearly trek out to Utah for the Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari with seven concept utes in tow that reveal what the brand and its Mopar aftermarket sibling can do with a Jeep.

The brand has been bringing out concept vehicles for nearly a decade, seeking to inspire and be inspired by the thousands of enthusiasts who flock to this event — this year is the 52nd annual edition — to show off the capability of their Jeeps and learn from others how to make what they’ve got even better.

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“Pushing the limit is something the Jeep brand is no stranger to and these seven new, exciting and capable concept vehicles are the latest example of that,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand, FCA. (more…)

2019 Fusion to Be Ford’s “Most Technologically Sophisticated Sedan Ever”

But is the Fusion nameplate going to be around much longer?

by on Mar.20, 2018

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi will boost its EV-mode range from 21 to 25 miles.

There’s been plenty of speculation in recent months about the long-term fate of the Ford Fusion but, at least for now, it will remain an anchor of the automaker’s sedan line-up and get some major new technologies for 2019.

The emphasis will be on safety, the 2019 Fusion introducing Ford’s new Co-Pilot360 driver assistance suite, company officials revealed during a background session ahead of the midsize model’s official debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. They also confirmed a big increase in EV-mode range for the plug-in hybrid version of the Fusion.

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“The 2019 Fusion will be the most technologically advanced Ford sedan ever,” said Corey Holter, Ford’s Car Group Marketing Manager, during a media briefing in Detroit on Tuesday.


Long-Term Outlook for US Auto Sales — Stable

Only a major event would impact sales.

by on Mar.20, 2018

New vehicle sales are expected to stabilize in the 16.8 million to 17 million unit range.

Barring a sudden shock such as a financial crisis like the one in 2008 or another foreseen disruption of the economy in the U.S. or other parts of the world, the auto industry appears headed for a long period of stability, according to an updated forecast by IHS Markit.

Sales appear to have reached a very sustainable plateau quite similar to the that started in the early 1990s and survived the bursting of the “” bubble and 9/11, Peter Nagle, an IHS analyst noted in a briefing for reporters in Detroit. The long period of steady, stable sales could stretch out to 2025.

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Sales in the U.S. market have been slowing since the middle of 2016, he added. “We’re entering a replacement cycle but at a very level even as the plateau tilts slightly downward.  IHS expects total sales in the U.S. to reach 17 million this year and tail off to 16.8 million in 2019. (more…)

Ford Negotiating Deal to Revive Long-Time Symbol of Detroit Decay

Automaker reportedly looking to purchase long-abandoned Michigan Central train station.

by on Mar.20, 2018

The 18-story Michigan Central Station was once the world's tallest railroad depot.

Ford Motor Co. is negotiating the purchase of the old Michigan Central train station a mile from the city’s downtown, according to numerous sources.

The 500,000 square-foot tower, once the world’s tallest railroad depot, has served as a symbol of the Motor City’s decay since closing three decades ago. But if the deal comes together, insiders suggest, it could serve as a sign that Detroit’s nascent renaissance is truly taking hold.

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It would also bring Ford back in a big way to the city where it was born. The automaker was incorporated along the Detroit riverfront and founder Henry Ford’s earliest factories were just miles away from the Michigan Central Station. But for most of the last century, Ford has centered its operations in Dearborn, a suburb to the west of Detroit that largely escaped the economic collapse of Motown.


Teamsters Highlight Safety Problems with Autonomous Testing

Pedestrian death highlights gaps in safety, union says.

by on Mar.20, 2018

The Teamsters have been concerned about the impact that autonomous trucks will have on its membership.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters re-iterated its concerns with the ongoing testing and implementation of self-driving technology after an Uber test vehicle in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The union has been instrumental in the ongoing fight about proposed legislation making it easier to put self-driving cars on public roads.

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The sparring has become a struggle between some biggest car and technology companies in the world against not only the Teamsters but also consumer and safety advocates who argue that the driverless are not yet roadworthy. (more…)

NHTSA Opens Probe into Hyundai, Kia Airbag Issue

Airbag problem could extend beyond named makers.

by on Mar.19, 2018

The Kia Forte's airbag is subject to an investigation by NHTSA for the 2012–13 model years.

Less than a month after Hyundai declared there is a problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating airbag problems affecting 425,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The agency is also looking to see if the problem – airbags not inflating during a collision – is affecting other automakers.

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Over the weekend, NHTSA said it was opening a query into 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012–13 Kia Forte vehicles. The move comes after the agency said it received reports that because of the problem in sixn instances, there have been four deaths and six injuries. (more…)

VW Charged Up About EV Racer Heading to Pikes Peak

“It’s about time we settled the score.”

by on Mar.19, 2018

VW hopes to leave the competition in the dust when it takes the I.D. R up Pikes Peak.

Volkswagen has put in an order for a whopping $25 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries and related technology, as we reported last week. A small share of that will be going into its new electric motorsports program which is charged up and ready to challenge Pikes Peak a few months from now.

These pics preview the new I.D. R electric race car that VW plans to use as its first entry into the grueling Pikes Peak International Hill Climb since 1987. I.D. is the new sub-brand the German automaker will begin rolling out late in the decade, with a total of 20 full-electric models due out by 2025, so it’s no surprise the hill climb car will share that badge.

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“We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family,” said Frank Welsch, the Volkswagen board member overseeing its electrification efforts. “Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars.”


Self-Driving Uber Test Vehicle Kills Pedestrian

Company halts all autonomous testing.

by on Mar.19, 2018

An Uber Volvo XC90 was involved in a minor crash, getting flipped onto its side, during a test program near Phoenix last year.

Company’s testing autonomous vehicles and self-driving technologies have one giant fear, a fatality. That fear became a reality last night for Uber as one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The incident occurred when the vehicle was in autonomous mode; however, there was a safety engineer behind the wheel, which is standard Uber practice. There were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time.

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According to a USA Today report, the woman, who has not yet been named, was crossing outside the designated crosswalk at about 10 p.m. when she was hit, police said. (more…)