CARB Sets Tropical Forest Standard Rules

AutoInformed.com on CARB Tropical Forest Standards

Tropical forests are on the verge of losing their role as one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks.

The California Air Resources Board today endorsed a “science-based” standard that is claimed to help protect tropical forests*, their communities and natural biodiversity for decades to come.

The so-called Tropical Forest Standard – a decade in the making – is the first government-enacted, global standard for maintaining and protecting tropical forests throughout an entire state or province by incentivizing responsible action and investment.” The standard provides a minimum set of requirements for such large-scale programs to reduce emissions from tropical deforestation.  Continue reading

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First Ford Performance Off-Road Leveling Kits

AutoInformed.com on Ford Performance Truck Parts

Available through Ford dealers for $1,495 before installation.

Taking a page from the Mopar and the aftermarket, Ranger and F-150 owners can now buy the first-ever Ford Performance off-road leveling kits with tuned suspension. Yes, the era of the performance truck is well underway as growing OE and aftermarket offerings keep expanding. (New Colorado ZR2 – an Off-Road Performance Pickup, More Trucks – Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, Chevy Performance Releases Colorado ZR2 Race Parts, First Look – New or Revised 2020 Jeep Gladiator)

Most Ranger and F-150 trucks are purchased with four-wheel drive, and it’s said the leveling kits will enable off-road drivers to risk more challenging terrain. Beyond adding additional ground clearance, off-road performance is improved with Ford truck-optimized FOX  shocks. Continue reading

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GM Strike Gets Nasty as it Cancels UAW Healthcare Plan

AutoInformed.com on GM

Well, one real no-deal point is now clear – health care costs.

On Monday night as UAW workers from nearly 70 facilities in 19 states were standing on the picket lines, GM chose to terminate their health coverage immediately. The company’s decision was made without any warning to the UAW, leaving more than 48,000 members and their families at risk of being suddenly uninsured.

The UAW activated the strike fund as soon as it became aware of GM’s strategic (ham-fisted?) decision to cut healthcare. (Watch Laura Prater Video) Continue reading

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UAW Strike Cost at GM Builds Substantially with Duration

AutoInformed.com on UAW GM Strike

Click to Enlarge.

Last Sunday morning the UAW declared a national strike on General Motors, leading to ~46,000 hourly workers to walking off at 11:59 p.m. This is the first UAW national strike since 2007. Yesterday morning negotiations resumed.  (Teamsters to Honor Picket Lines of 50,000 UAW GM Workers, General Motors Offers UAW $7 Billion in U.S. Investments, an $8000 “Signing Bonus” or is that Bribe?,  UAW to Strike GM – Contract Talks Deadlocked)

The two sides claim to be at odds over wages, benefits, investments, job security and temporary workers, but the real sticking points that mean no deal are not publicly known. How far apart the sides really are will determine the length and cost of the strike. The strike shuts down more than 30 manufacturing plants in the US, including 12 vehicle assembly plants and eight engine and transmission plants. Worse, the Teamsters won’t deliver vehicles in inventory to dealers. (The GM Grinch that Stole Christmas, or Did It?) Continue reading

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Sonic Financial Takes Over Speedway Motorsports

AutoInformed.com on Speedway Motorsports Takeover by the Smith FamilySonic Financial Corporation (“Sonic Financial”)  and Speedway Motorsports (NYSE: TRK) today announced that Sonic Financial’s tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Speedway Motorsports expired one-minute past 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on September 16, 2019. This means that barring a last minute legal challenge Speedway will be taken private and no longer publicly traded and subject to stock exchange rules. (Speedway Motorsports Ownership Scuffle Underway)

Sonic Financial intends “to promptly complete the acquisition of all shares of Speedway Motorsports through a merger of Speedway Motorsports and a subsidiary of Sonic Financial, without a vote of Speedway Motorsports stockholders, in accordance with Delaware law.” Continue reading

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Teamsters to Honor Picket Lines of 50,000 UAW GM Workers

AutoInformed.com on Democrqats and the union movement

Most Democrats are silent on unions these days. They want you to forget that this is the party that promoted and passed NAFTA. Only Joe Biden has strong labor support.

“Teamsters and the UAW have a decades-long relationship of having each other’s back. And that continues with the UAW’s notification that it will go out on strike against General Motors at midnight. Our 1.4 million members stand in solidarity with the UAW and will honor their picket lines,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa this afternoon.  Continue reading

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General Motors Offers UAW $7 Billion in U.S. Investments, an $8000 “Signing Bonus” or is that Bribe?

AutoInformed.com on the UAW

First Round – no GM decision.

In its latest statement – with perhaps a hint of desperation – GM said today that “We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways, and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.” GM Claims the Offer contains… 

Continue reading

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UAW to Strike GM – Contract Talks Deadlocked

AutoInformed.com on GM andthe UAW

The opening day for contract talks this year arguably began with baseball. An example of idiocy from the tone-deaf management of General Motors, the opening day lineup was changed as UAW members arose in anger and successfully got a Mexican-Made Chevrolet Blazer removed from the Chevrolet Fountain at Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers. Both the Union and GM leadership just watched the Mexican stolen base with defensive indifference. In the Blazer’s place now is a U.S.-made Traverse.

Local UAW Union leaders from across the nation met Sunday morning after the 2015 General Motors collective bargaining agreement expired last night and opted to strike at midnight on Sunday. In a widely expected development, the autoworkers are calling on the Big 3 automaker “to recognize the contributions and sacrifices that the company’s UAW members have made to create a healthy, profitable, industry.”

There are other issues in play that thus far have not been part of the publicly known parts of the negotiations. UAW President Gary Jones, of course is under an investigation by the FBI in the fraudulent diversion of funds from FCA Fiat that were supposed to support UAW worker training. He refused to stand down as president during the contract talks as criminal investigations ensue. Continue reading

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August Global Light Vehicle Sales Drop -3.9%

AutoInformed.com on Global Light Vehicle Sales August 2019

Trump’s economic whims are the cause of the prolonged US-China trade conflict, and a slowing economy continues to present a major risk to the automotive market.

Global Light Vehicle (LV) sales fell 3.9% in year-on-year (YoY) terms in August, but the selling rate accelerated to 94.9 mn units/year, from 90.9 mn units/year in July, according to the LMC* consultancy. However, in a whistling past the graveyard qualifier, LMC notes that “the selling rate was the strongest since August 2018’s WLTP-distorted result, though additional WLTP requirements may have contributed to the surge in Europe’s selling rate in August 2019 as well.” (WLTP How Does It Work? Will it Work?)

Elsewhere, selling rates in the USA and China appear stabilized. “However, in YoY terms, China is still firmly in negative territory, while the US comparison was positive, helped by calendar effects. Meanwhile, August brought some renewed weakness in South America, too.” (AutoInformed: July Global Vehicles Sales Drop More Than 3M) Continue reading

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Ford Recalls 311,907 Explorer SUVs for Dangerous Seat Frames

AutoInformed on Safety RecallsFord Motor Company is issuing a safety recall on 2017 Ford Explorer vehicles for an improperly coined seat-frame edge that cuts users hands. Affected Explorers are equipped with power seats and may have seat frames with sharp edges. Customers could come in contact with the sharp edges when reaching between the power front seat and center console, presenting the risk of injury.

It took 31 reports of hand injuries before Ford acted on replacing the dangerous part. This is the seventh safety defect recall – thus far – on the 2017 model Explorer. Continue reading

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GM Finally Recalls 3,456,111 SUVS, Pickups for Bad Brakes

AutoInformed.com on GM's reluctant bad brake recall.

If the vacuum level drops, customers may experience increased brake pedal effort, hard brake pedal, and/or potentially increased stopping distance. The Driver’s Information Centre “Service brake assist” alert will activate 2-5 minutes after the vacuum level drops, and a Diagnostic Trouble Code will also be set. The safety defect is more prevalent at low speed when softly applying the brakes. At all times, the brakes remain functional and exceed the requirements of S7.11 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems, GM claimed.

General Motors LLC is recalling 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade, 2014-2018 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, 2015-2018 Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Yukon vehicles. The amount of vacuum created by the vacuum pump may decrease over time. As the vacuum level drops, the brake assist decreases, increasing braking effort, extending the distance required to stop the vehicle –  increasing the risk crashes on these large and heavy vehicles. GM did not disclose the source of the U.S.-made pump. Continue reading

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Electric Vehicle Charging Emissions – Good and Better?

AutoInformed.com on WattTime Automated Emissions Reduction Software

Click to Enlarge. See text for electric power utilities studied in chart.

It’s a simple problem with potentially complex answers and political sub-problems. If EVs are the future of automobility because they pollute less than internal combustion cars, how much do they pollute when recharging? A new report from WattTime* explores the question and offers Automated Emissions Reduction software as a solution. It is in AutoInformed’s view a closely reasoned – albeit self-interested – argument that is devoid of the usual hype, omissions and prevarications of many EV producers and actors.

The number of electric vehicles (EVS) on U.S. roadways allegedly will grow from 1 million in 2018 to nearly 19 million in 2030. In tandem, electric vehicle charging points are also expected to increase, including nearly 10 million level 2 charging stations distributed across homes, offices, and public locations. Continue reading

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alice + olivia: The Rag Trade Meets a VW Rag Top

AutoInformed.com on alice + olivia VW Beetle

Translating the fashion babble into an English-like language: The brand’s collection includes bold, striped jumpsuits, high-waisted trousers, cheeky, graphic t-shirts and silky nude evening gowns.

Fashion week in New Yawk City this year sees the Spring Collection of alice + olivia festooning a final edition model of the Volkswagen Beetle. Designer Stacey Bendet’s Spring 2020 fashion staging eschews a catwalk for nine “vignettes” described by Volkswagen as “social-media-ready sets ranging from frothy pink flowered swings to a backdrop of neon orange teddy bears.”

It’s a latter-day version of Janice Joplin’s bathtub Porsche without the superstar musical talent owner or the 1960s backdrop. This century, Volkswagen joined Bendet by displaying its Beetle Final Edition, wrapped in alice + olivia’s quirky hero print for Spring 2020. Guests were able to participate in the set “experience” and take pictures inside and around a whimsical VW Beetle – sort of a Jetta platform on hallucinogens.
Continue reading

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Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa Forced Out Over Ghosn Matter

AutoInformed.com on Renault FCA Merger

This is starting to sound like Judy Garland singing the Company that Got Away from the law:  “The road gets tougher…

The Board of Nissan Motor Co. has “asked” Hiroto Saikawa to resign as representative executive officer and CEO of the company, effective September 16. The same day, Nissan’s representative executive officer and COO, Yasuhiro Yamauchi, will become acting CEO. Group Renault thus far has been silent on significant changes at its alliance partner.

AutoInformed.com on Carlos Ghosn Scandal

Details that are now known allege that from Japanese fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2017, Ghosn and former Representative Director Greg Kelly concealed a total of 9.078 billion yen in compensation payable to Ghosn.

Hiroto Saikawa is the latest casualty in the Carlos Ghosn matter that has turned into farce as investigations into Nissan corporate governance practices post Carlos Ghosn reveal layers of incompetence and/or malfeasance, as well as various degrees of criminal activity that are virtually unheard of in western corporations. (Was 2008 the Year When Carlos Ghosn Went Rogue? Ghosn’s Former Speechwriter on What He Did for Nissan – And What That Did to Him)

The move comes following a report from the beleaguered company’s Audit Committee that recognizes several instances of misconduct from the findings of the internal investigation that is only partially available publicly in filtered form. On May 14, 2019, Nissan belatedly issued numerous amendments to its past annual securities reports, correcting director compensation figures to reflect the amounts that should originally have been disclosed. Continue reading

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Porsche Opens Zuffenhausen Factory for All-Electric Taycan

AutoInformed.com on Porsche Taycan

German automakers whose entire reputations – especially in expensive segments – are built on technology and they are struggling to catch up with Toyota and Lexus on hybrid models and have few EV entries thus far. European Regulations are forcing the issue.

Porsche has opened the new factory for the Taycan in front of 320 guests from politics, business and media. “We have a level of responsibility for the environment and society. Production of the Taycan is already carbon-neutral. Heritage meets the future at our parent plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, which is the heart of the brand,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.

The brand’s first all-electric sports car was revealed less than 48 months ago with the debut of the Mission E concept vehicle at the IAA motor show in 2015 and the start of production for the first Taycan customer vehicles. “The investment by Porsche sends out a strong message about Stuttgart. Where others just talk, Porsche acts,” said Fritz Kuhn, Mayor of Stuttgart not without self-interest. (Porsche Claims 20,000 Potential Taycan Buyers) Continue reading

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