Consumer Reports: Infotainment, Transmissions Hurt Reliability. Detroit Three Quality Dismal

The latest published Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Reliability Survey data shows that “growing pains” for new models is common for many manufacturers. The survey of 640,000 vehicles revealed that all-new or updated models are now more likely than older ones to have a “wonky engine, a jerky transmission, or high-tech features that fail outright.”

“These new technologies can add features and improve fuel efficiency, but are more prone to have issues. Often our data suggests it’s prudent for consumers to wait for the technology to mature” said Jake Fisher of CR. Nothing new here as veterans of the car wars will tell you. For example, more eight- and nine-speed and continuously variable transmissions (CVT) are coming to market with many owners have reported issues with them breaking down or shifting badly. Infotainment systems were another frequently noted trouble spot in new or newly redesigned models. CR’s survey showed that owners of first-year models had twice as many complaints about in-car electronics. Continue reading

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IMSA Classic 24 Coming November 8 – 12 at Daytona on IMSA Classic

John Surtees 1967 Lola T70 Mk3B Lightweight Spyder.

The entry list for the third running of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24 Hour at Daytona was announced today by HSR officials. The race has nearly race cars and more than 250 drivers from around the world. In total, drivers and teams from 18 different countries, including past and current champion drivers, sports car racing stars are heading to the shamelessly boastfully named “World Center of Racing” next month. (Ever hear of Indy or LeMans?)

The race cars cover a six-decade timespan, back to the iconic prototypes and GT cars of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to the more “modern” but not necessarily more exciting machines of this century that have been retired from competition. Continue reading

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Bad Breaks, err Brakes – 640,000+ Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs Recalled for Brake Failures. Again. on odge and Jeep safety Recalls

“If a resistive short does occur, it does not always result in a fire due to the variability of the short,” said NHTSA on another Jeep and Dodge safety recall. See More Chrysler Group Recalls on Dodge and Jeep SUVs

In keeping with ongoing quality and safety problems at FCA, the Italian company is conducting a recall of a previous recall on 646,394 potentially unsafe 2011-2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. The affected vehicles had brake booster shields installed under a previous safety recall to prevent water from entering the brake booster and limiting or severely inhibiting braking ability. This recall is to verify that the brake booster shield installation was performed properly.

The failure rate is a, gulp, 41%, yes 41% –  because of incorrect dealer installation of a brake booster shield as part of recall P14 (NHTSA 14V-154), another FCA recall that had a 100% failure rate on more than 647,000 Dodge and Jeep vehicles. Continue reading

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TSB Investigating Quebec Drone Crash with Passenger Aircraft

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is investigating the collision between a drone and a passenger aircraft that took place on approach to Jean Lesage International Airport (CYQB) in Québec City, Quebec with 2 crew members and 6 passengers on board.

The Beechcraft King Air turboprop was approaching runway 24 and had just completed the final approach fix when the crew noticed a drone – an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – at the extremity of the left wing. The aircraft hit the UAV at an altitude of 1500 feet and the crew declared an emergency. Continue reading

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WEC: Toyota Bests Porsche with One Two Finish at Fuji on WECToyota beats Porsche at Fuji – aka Suzuka – during the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the 7th of 9 rounds of 2017 season. The Porsche LMP Team settled for third and fourth place finishes.

The six-hour race on the Fuji International Speedway was hindered by persistent rain, plus fog and staged in only 14-degree Celsius ambient temperature and 16-degree track temperature. Continue reading

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NAFTA Talks Stalled. Doomed?

Click to enlarge for NAFTA Trade in auto sector for 201

The fourth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico began October 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

“So far, the previous rounds of negotiations have produced little progress on the issues of greatest concern to the automotive industry, and this slow pace of resolving issues on the table calls into question the prospect of wrapping up negotiations by the end of the calendar year, according to the respected think tank The Center for Automotive Research, aka CAR. Continue reading

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Brinks Trucks Not Going to the Bank. ATM Machines to Empty? on Brinks versus Unifor

With the 72-hour strike notice Brink’s now risks simultaneous labor disputes in Ontario and British Columbia.

Unifor, representing more than 1,000 members in British Columbia and Ontario, has issued a strike notice to Brink’s Canada Limited.

The crucial dispute continues to be the “all off” crewing practice, where the use of two-person crews means the driver and messenger (bag person? grin) are both forced to disembark from the vehicle at drop-offs and pick-ups, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Continue reading

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BMW Group Sales of EVs Pass 10,000 in September 2017 on EV and Hybrid sales

It bodes badly for the Detroit Three that China, the world’s largest market, and India, soon to surpass North America as the world’s second largest market,  have both embraced EVs as the future.

BMW Group sales of electrified vehicles  – hybrid and pure EVs – in the first three quarters of 2017 exceeded those of all of 2016. During September, electrified sales topped the 10,000 point for the first time in a single month. With the company’s electrified line-up totaling­ nine models, a sum of 10,786 (+50.5%) BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles were delivered in September. This brings the year-to-date total to 68,687 (+64.2%).

The results show that GM and Ford Motor are lagging badly on the EV racetrack. FCA isn’t even out of the paddock. Continue reading

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Unifor Workers Agree to Weak CAMI Deal from GM Unifor Local 88/GM-CAMI Bargaining Committee

“The end result was not the result we were hoping for, it shows the true colors of GM. They have the capability to produce globally, and that is where our fight must continue. Our strike truly shows that unless the government takes an active interest in saving jobs, the corporations will continue to look elsewhere for every cent of profit,” said Mike Van Boekel, Unifor Local 88/GM-CAMI Bargaining Committee Chair.

Unifor Local 88 members working at GM CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll ratified an Agreement by 85.9% and Trades by 78.7%. Unifor Local 88 members attended local ratification meeting today and voted to ratify a four-year contract after a 4-week strike.

In a clear victory for General Motors the agreement does not get what Unifor said it wanted since workers walked out on Sept. 17 –  a pledge from GM that Ingersoll jobs wouldn’t be sent to the carmaker’s two plants in Mexico. Those plants also assemble the company’s strong selling Chevrolet Equinox.  To be fair, Unifor was taking on a rich, powerfull American corporation and the NAFTA treaty as well. Continue reading

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Deal in Ontario, Québec Class Actions against Ford. Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Repair Steps Taken in U.S., Mexico

Autoinformed.con on Ford Explorer Exhaust Odor Service CampaignA deal has been proposed in class action lawsuits in Ontario and Québec against Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company of Canada alleging that exhaust odor may enter the passenger compartment of the 2011-2015 Ford Explorers sold and leased in Canada. The so-called “Class Vehicles” are allegedly defective. It’s a dream settlement for Ford in Canada, as it turns out in the U.S. with far more numerous owners, and Mexico.
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Drone Hits Passenger Skyjet Inbound for Quebec City

On 12 October 2017, a Skyjet turboprop flight (not pictured) was struck by a drone while inbound to Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City. This is the first time a drone hit a passenger aircraft in Canada. The jet landed safely. During 2017 to date, 1,596 drone incidents have been reported to Transport Canada. Of these, 131 are deemed to have been of aviation safety concern. Canada has more than 33,000 registered aircraft.

It is only inevitable that drones will continue to pose a threat to people who fly commercially. Unfortunately, the growth in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, will more than triple in size from an estimated 1.1 million vehicles at the end of 2016 to more than 3.5 million units by 2021 according to the U.S. FAA. Will it take fatalities to get drones under control? (FAA Proposes Talking About Regulations for Drones and FAA Belatedly Issues Rules for Some Drones) Continue reading

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Chinese Junk Recall – Martha Stewart Whiteware Cake Knife on Macys Recalls Martha Stewart Whiteware Cake Knife

More Chinese made-junk. This time military personnel are at risk.

Macy’s Recalls Martha Stewart Whiteware Cake Knife and Server sets due to cutting hazard for users including U.S. Military personnel. The handles on the Chinese-made knife and server can break during use. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cake knife and server sets and contact Macy’s for a full refund.

Macy’s says it has received four reports of the handles on the knife and server breaking, resulting in lacerations, including cuts requiring stitches. They were sold to unsuspecting consumers at Macy’s stores nationwide and online, and at Military Exchanges between January 2014 and July 2017 for about $25 at Macy’s and $15 at Military Exchanges.  Continue reading

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Auto Parts Maker Y-Tec Fires Workers for Unionizing on Y-Tec Union Busting

Y-Tec brings charges against the Union President then fires him because he has charges against him.

A Japanese-owned auto parts manufacturer in Thailand – Y-Tec – is conducting a brutal crackdown after workers formed a union, according to IndustriALL, a global federation of trade unions. Y-Tec monitored union members with closed circuit televisions, submitted them to random drug tests, dismissed some and forced others to resign, and laid a defamation charge against the union president over a social media post.

The auto parts manufacturer in Prachinburi, Thailand is owned by Yamashita Rubber. It employs about 2,000 workers, and produces hose tubes, engine mounts, suspension bushings and dynamic dampers for Daihatsu, Isuzu, Suzuki, Sanyo and other companies. It has two plants in Prachinburi, opened in 1997 and 2013.   Continue reading

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Goodbye to American Sports Car Racer Bruce Leven on Bruce Leven and Sports Car RacingGentlemen racer and privateer Bruce Levin has taken his final checkered flag just as the 2017 IMSA season was in its final laps. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Seattle business competed at the top level of North American sports-car racing, driving Porsche’s with Hurley Heywood, Al Hulbert and David Hobbs among other hot shoes. He was born in Chicago on June 12, 1938, and two years later moved with his family to Seattle. Chicago of course is the home of Wacker Drive. Fred Wacker was also a sports car racer until a tragic accident into the crowd at Watkins Glen when it was a street race caused him to put away his leather driving gloves. Continue reading

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Ford Dropping Car Business – Reallocating $7B in Capital on FOrd Ceding the Car Business

Where the pieces fall is unknown – whether Humpty Dumpty comes together again as a benign HAL transportation robot is anybody’s guess.

What do you do when your stock is languishing on Wall Street at ~$12 a share and you have grown during eight straight years of expanding U.S. vehicle sales, but are still short of achieving an 8% Automotive Operating Margin that is routinely obtained by offshore automakers? It gets worse when your costs have grown as fast as revenue. It’s even grimmer when capital spending has grown even faster, and the Family – you know the name on the building people – is restive and infighting.

It’s time for Ford to reorganize yet again. This time around it’s as radical a turnaround plan as ever seen in Dearborn with Ford essentially ceding the car market to other major auto makers and reallocating the $7 billion saved to bets – with wildly uncertain odds – in the connected car and autonomous car areas, as well as the newly emerging interactive road system.   Continue reading

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