Ford and Austin Launch Mobility Challenge Program

AutoInformed.com on Ford City Challenge Austin, Texas

The average Austin driver now spends more than 50 hours in traffic annually.

Ford and the Austin Transportation Department’s Smart Mobility team are launching the Austin City: One Challenge, a crowdsourcing program for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility.

The goal is to help improve the quality of life for Austin residents and visitors through dynamic mobility options that complement the existing transportation system.
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Giant Porsche Recall for Unintentional Rollaways

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Can’t blame cheap materials on the Metal Workers Union.

Porsche Cars North America is recalling 100,000 vehicles for rollaways. The bushing that attaches the gear selector lever to the gearbox may degrade over time, causing the bushing to detach. This safety defect could allow the driver to move the shift lever to Park and remove the ignition key, while the transmission may not be in Park, with no warning message or audible chime. Continue reading

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Roadkill Nights – Drag Racing Back on Woodward Avenue

AutoInformed.com on Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

On Saturday, drag racing has two classes, Big Tire and Small Tire, competing for a cash purse of $30,000.

MotorTrend Group’s “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” is bigger this year with the addition of Friday night activities, while bringing back legal street drag racing that will lay some rubber down on the iconic Woodward Avenue pavement on Saturday. For the fifth year, this festival revels in Motor City’s automotive culture with its racing, classic and modern muscle car show, and other activities that will take over the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, MI.

Roadkill is now the  traditional kick off to southeast Michigan’s week-long celebration of classic cars and car culture. There will be  thrill rides in the 717-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the 707-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat models, more participants in the celebrity showdown races, and an overall $40,000 purse with $10,000 going towards United Way. Continue reading

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Walmart Guilty of Violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Walmart with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to operate an adequate anti-corruption compliance program for more than a decade as the retailer pursued international growth.

Walmart consented to the SEC’s order after a seven year multi-continent investigation finding that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It was one of the largest FCPA probes in history.
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UAW Post Chattanooga Loss Calls for Labor Law Reviews

AutoInformed.com on Volkswagen Chattanooga - the Only Non-Union VW Plant in the World

The irony is that Union-busting propaganda is not only unacceptable, but also rare in the world of Volkswagen where 121 out 122 global manufacturing sites are unionized.

In a replay of five years ago, the UAW lost elections at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Union activists say that right wing politicians, pressure groups, the company and union busting law firms invested all they could to prevent the IndustriALL affiliate from winning the union elections.

In the end, the difference between a unionized workplace and one without real worker representation was narrow: 833 employees voted against union representation and 776 in favor, a difference of a mere 29 votes. Continue reading

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Renault, Nissan Ink Deal with Waymo on Driverless Mobility

AutoInformed.com on Waymo

Driverless vehicles will not be monogamous. They will come with multiple partners. Here’s a Waymo Chrysler Pacifica.

In the latest volley in the autonomous vehicle wars, Groupe Renault and Nissan have become the first automotive manufacturers to explore driverless mobility services with Waymo. They have entered into “an exclusive agreement for an initial period to explore all aspects of driverless mobility services for passengers and deliveries.”

The agreement is claimed to be designed to bring together the “strengths of each party and expand expertise by assessing market opportunities, working together to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in France and Japan.” Continue reading

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Trade Wars: Commerce Finds Dumping, Countervailable Subsidies of Chinese and Thailand Propane Cylinders

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced affirmative final determinations in the anti-dumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of steel propane cylinders from China and Thailand (AD only), determining that exporters from China and Thailand have sold steel propane cylinders at less than fair value in the United States.

During 2017, imports of steel propane cylinders from China and Thailand were valued at an estimated $89.8 million and $14.1 million, respectively. In addition, Commerce found that exporters from China received countervailable subsidies at rates from 37.91 to 142.37%.
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EU Passenger Car Sales off -2.1% Through May 2019

AutoInformed.com on EU Passenger Car Sales through May 2017-2019

The EU  automotive economy remains fragile and subject to disruption with BREXIT, Trump tariffs and Iranian war threats.

During May 2019, the EU passenger car market remained flat  (+0.1%) after eight consecutive months of decline. Demand in the region was mainly from Central European countries, where registrations went up by 6.2% last month.

However, the five major Western European markets posted mixed results: with demand in Spain (-7.3%), the United Kingdom (-4.6%) and Italy (-1.2%) slowing down but growing in Germany (+9.1%) and France (+1.2%).   Continue reading

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FAA Issues Waiver for Drones with Parachutes, New Supersonic Rulemaking, 737 Max Modifications Still Stalled

AutoInformed.com on Drone Rules

Shades of Boeing? The FAA determined – without testing – parachutes on drones would be safe?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  issued a Part 107 waiver on June 1 to operate a DJI Phantom 4 drone, equipped with a parachute, over people. A waiver is required by Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Greeley, Colorado, to operate a drone contrary to the rules in Part 107, the small unmanned aircraft rule.

In a separate action, at an Innovation Panel before Paris Air Show attendees, FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said the U.S. “will ensure and enable safer and more innovative technologies to enter new aviation segments. ”

This remains to be seen at the beleaguered agency that appears to be too close to the aircraft industry it is supposed to be regulating. Consider, the FAA’s tardiness in grounding a deadly Boeing 7 airliner after pilot complains aaboutthe control system. Now the  Boeing 737 Max software modifications needed to prevent additional fatalities appears to be stalled. Continue reading

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LMP1 Repeat – Toyota Second Straight Win at Le Mans

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, win 2019 Le Mans LMP1 in the #8 TS050 Hybrid.

Toyota Gazoo Racing won the 87th Le Mans 24 Hours with a one-two finish at the Circuit de la Sarthe –  skirting disaster during the a final hour of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso, in the #8 TS050 HYBRID, defended their Le Mans crown after years of Toyota hard luck and also secured the drivers’ World Championship in the effort, winning by 16.9 secs from team-mates Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López in the #7.

In the last year before Le Mans class rules change yet again,  the Toyota curse re-appeared when the #7 blew what seemed a certain victory in front of an estimated 252,500 spectators.  For all provisional results and championship points, please click HERE . Continue reading

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Aston Martin On GTE Pole, Ford 2nd, Corvette 3rd at Le Mans

It’s more fun watching cars that look like and have some of the pieces of production cars. Stay tuned – rule changes coming to reflect this.

Aston Martin Racing is on the GTE Pro pole position for this weekend’s 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s 60 years since a famous 1959 win led by team director John Wyer with a DBR1 driven by Roy Salvadori, and a man who would kick Ferrari’s “ass” many more times, notably with Ford GTs a few years later – Carroll Shelby, again working with Wyer. Continue reading

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Ford Recalls 1.2M Explorer Models and Others for Defects

AutoInformed.comFord is recalling 1.2 million 2011-17 Ford Explorer SUVs that are exposed to frequent full rear suspension articulation – jounce and rebound in the engineering trade. Over time, a rear suspension toe link can fail. The fracture of a rear toe link significantly diminishes – if not eliminates – steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

One Explorer customer reported hitting a curb when the toe link broke. Ford is not aware of any reports of injuries related to problem. This safety defect affects approximately 1.2 million vehicles in the United States and federalized territories, approximately 28,000 in Canada and one in Mexico. Affected vehicles were built at the Chicago Assembly Plant, May 17, 2010 to Jan. 25, 2017.
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Hyundai, Kia Announce Autonomous Investment in Aurora

AutoInformed.com on Hyundai and Kia Announce Investment in Aurora - June 2019

Aurora Driver, comprises the lidar, radar, and cameras that perceive the world around it and the computer that runs the software modules.

Hyundai Motor Group and Aurora Innovation today announced that Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have invested in Aurora to “accelerate development of autonomous vehicle technologies.”

The move strengthens a partnership formed between the companies in 2018, under which Hyundai, Kia, and Aurora have been collaborating on self-driving technologies on Hyundai’s flagship fuel cell vehicle NEXO. With the new investment, the companies have agreed to expand research to a wide range of models and to build an optimal platform for Hyundai and Kia’s autonomous vehicles. (See Hyundai Delivers First 2019 NEXO Fuel Cell SUV Continue reading

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GM Invests $150M in Flint to Increase Pickup Production

AutoInformed.com on GM Flint Full-Size Pickup Truck Investment June 2019

The party is on – until the next fuel crisis?

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today announced a second major expansion of its full-size pickup production capacity this year: a $150 million investment at Flint Assembly to increase output of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, which begin shipping to dealers this week. Opened in 1947, Flint Assembly currently operates three production shifts.

This news follows GM’s announcement last month to expand light-duty, full-size pickup production capacity in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in response to strong customer demand. (GM to Invest $1.2 Billion in Fort Wayne Pickup Plant) Continue reading

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Ford House Previews Spring ‘Driven by Design’ Exhibit

AutoInformed.com on Design and Edsel Ford

The public can get a sneak peek for a sneak peek of the 1939 Lincoln Continental prototype during the annual Father’s Day Eyes On Design car show.

Ford House, aka Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, has given the press a preview of its new exhibit planned for the visitor center set to open in the Spring of 2020. It will also include a new restaurant, museum shop, rental space, classrooms, and exhibit galleries in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI.

Three rare vehicles never shown together will be the centerpiece: a breathtaking1939 Lincoln Continental prototype, the 1932 Ford Model 18 Speedster and 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster. These three vehicles tell the story of Edsel Ford’s role in bringing design to Ford Motor Company. Continue reading

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