California Gets $153m More from VW on Dieselgate

AutoInformed.comThe California Air Resources Board (CARB) says that it filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America (VW) over the fraudulent certification of diesel emissions, often referred to as dieselgate. Payment includes penalties and cost recovery. Volkswagen Group will pay an additional $153.8 million to California over the company’s use of illegal “defeat devices” in 2009-2016, 2.0 and 3-liter diesel passenger cars.

VW already had agreed to pay $533 million to California on dieselgate, of which $422 million will go to the state through a mitigation trust. The new additional consent decree was negotiated by attorneys and technical experts from CARB and the California Attorney General’s Office, and is subject to court approval.  The overall VW settlement is the largest ever for violations of vehicle air quality rules. Continue reading

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Pieter Nota to take over BMW Sales as Ian Robertson Retires on BMW Board of ManagementOn 1 January 2018 Pieter Nota will join the Board of Management of BMW AG and be responsible for the sales and brand BMW, as well as aftermarket sales for the BMW Group. Ian Robertson, current Board of Management member for BMW sales, will as a “Special Representative of the BMW Group in the UK,” before retiring on 30 June 2018.

“For almost a decade on the Board of Management of BMW AG, Ian Robertson has shaped the image and future direction of the BMW brand and the BMW i and BMW M sub-brands”, said Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW AG. Continue reading

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BMW at Lime Rock with IWSC Championship at Stake on IWSC Championship Lime Rock Park in Connecticut is claimed – dubiously – by BMW of North America as its home track because it’s 90 miles from its Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey headquarters, but it is a long way from its non-union plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

That said, the small, fast circuit has been the site of BMW victories since 1975, and possibly a third consecutive IMSA Sports Car Championship (IWSC) with a win this weekend at the Northeast Grand Prix in the GTLM class. Continue reading

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Group Renault Sets Half-Year Sales Record – 1.88 Million

Group Renault registrations worldwide, including Lada, increased 10.4% in the first half of 2017, in a light-vehicle market that was only up 2.6%. Group market share now stands at 4.1% (+0.3 points on 2016).

The Group and the Renault and Dacia brands set half-year sales records. The group sold 1,879,288 vehicles, the Renault brand 1,342,320 vehicles and the Dacia brand 332,845 vehicles. Renault Samsung Motors sales rose 12.5% (52,776) and those of Lada rose 12.2% (150,347).

In Europe, group registrations continued to grow faster than the market. They increased +5.6% in a market up 4.4% to a total 1,025,146 during the first half of the year. However, the Group took only a 10.8% share of the European market, up 0.1 points. The Renault brand grew 4.3%, for a market share of 8.2%. Renault says it benefited from the complete renewal of the Megane family in 2016. Clio 4 is the second best-selling vehicle in Europe, while Captur ranks as the number one crossover in its category. The Dacia brand posted a first-half-year sales record in Europe with 245,453 vehicle registrations (+9.3%) and a 2.6% share of the market. These results came from Sandero phase 2, launched in late 2016, and Duster. Continue reading

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2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Models Grow on S-ClassThe first of the new Mercedes-Benz S‑Class vehicles – orders started in May – are on their way to European dealerships. after debuting in Shanghai last April. They will eventually find their way to North America. 

Now, sales of more models are beginning. These will take the new S‑Class family to a total of 24 models. Buyers have choices of nine gasoline and diesel engines, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel-drive, short and long wheelbase, and models branded Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach, one of the more expensive automotive failures in its first revival as a freestanding model. (Mercedes-Maybach Convertible Debuts at Los Angeles) The latest models should arrive in German dealerships in October. Continue reading

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Prescription Painkillers

“One American dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are ensnared in addiction to prescription painkillers.

“Every day, because of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted and broken apart, friendships ended, and promising lives cut short. Drug addiction is causing more and more crime and violence in communities across the country.

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients.  Amazingly, some have made their practices into multi million dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start. The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards. Continue reading

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Major Greed Baseball – All Star Game Ruined by Ads on 2017 MLB All Star GameRobinson Cano Mercedes – of the Seattle Mariners, an ex-Yankee, right-handed second baseman (2005-2013) and an eight-time all-star with a World Series ring – accepts his new Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport that was given during the MVP award ceremony Tuesday 11 July 2017 at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Chevrolet is the Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball of course.

Cano’s 10th inning wining home run made him the easy choice for MVP. He picked the Corvette over a truck. (Corvette Racing Wins Third Straight Twelve Hours of Sebring)

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Hoffa: Opioid Use Due to Broken System on Opioid EpedemicJimmy Hoffa the head of the Teamsters’ union says,” Our country’s opioid epidemic – which claims the lives of 91 Americans every day – is hurting far too many families in Michigan and across the country.”

Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in the U.S. during 2015, a record. The epidemic is hurting or busting public services and state budgets.

“With a problem this big, there is no one solution that will help everyone. But elected officials and groups like the Teamsters are getting involved to help stop this scourge. Continue reading

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The Fourth of July 2017

The issue remains an amorphous U.S. strategy conducted and – alas – at times directed in Washington by big money interests that care not about the health and welfare of the United States or its citizens – we the people.

Let us note well and observe solemnly that the Declaration of Independence was approved today on the Fourth of July 1776 by the Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted our Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, rightly regarded as the clearest, most eloquent writer, drafted most of our document.

Then, 13 colonies embarked on a distinguished experiment in self-governance as an independent, autonomous nation. That was the foundation of something immense and thus far enduring. The colonies had but 24,382,182 people at the time reporting English ancestry. Small numbers in today’s world, but they were people with far bigger aspirations – that was clear then and now even clearer on our latest Fourth of July. Continue reading

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Autonomous Vehicles to Cut Auto Insurance Biz 71% By 2050

Autonomous drive allows for more efficient time-management behind the wheel, but it disrupt established major sectors of the auto based economy.

Autonomous vehicle and related driver assist technologies could upset the auto insurance market by 71%, roughly $137 billion by 2050, according to the latest research by KMPG, named The Chaotic Middle: The Autonomous Vehicle and Disruption in Automobile Insurance.

KPMG stretched its actuarial model finding because the pace of change has accelerated, resulting in projections that illustrate greater declines to the auto insurance sector than KPMG’s previous 2015 study. It also shows an increasing need for new types of insurance products. Continue reading

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Maven Gig Expands to San Francisco on Maven GigMaven Gig is expanding its initial offering in San Diego to now include San Francisco. The service will also launch in Los Angeles later this year. Maven Gig provides cars for independent driving firms such as GrubHub, Instacart, Roadie and ridesharing services.

Maven has also partnered with claimed industry-leading apps in package delivery, food delivery and ride-hailing, creating in its view “a one-stop shop to maximize earning potential for gig drivers.” Initial partners include GrubHub, Instacart, Roadie and ridesharing services. Continue reading

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American Airlines Using Toxic Uniforms Made in Asia on American Airlines toxic uniformsThe Association of Flight Attendants – CWA (AFA) has renewed its demand for a full recall of toxic uniforms that were made in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. (See Turbulent Romance for a history of the union.)

AFA has a team of experts working with American Eagle carriers to address the issues of its members and to ensure their health comes first. AFA has uniform health reports from more than 16% of the Flight Attendant population at American’s three wholly-owned subsidiaries: Envoy, PSA and Piedmont. Continue reading

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Magna to Make BMW 5-Series Plug-in Hybrid on Magna contract assembly of BMW 530e0BMW’s new 530e plug-in hybrid will be produced at Magna’s contract manufacturing plant in Graz, Austria, starting in summer 2017. As a contract manufacturing partner for two premium electrified vehicles – the BMW 530e and the previously awarded Jaguar I-PACE – Magna’s Graz facility is growing by making small volume luxury hybrids

Production of the new BMW 5 Series marks the successful continuation of a  partnership between the BMW Group and Magna that started over 15 years ago. The first BMW produced in Graz, an X3 SUV, rolled off the assembly line in Graz in 2003. Continue reading

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Truck Sales Can’t Pick Up Slack from Sliding May Car Sales on U.S. Car Sales - May 2017While truck sales remain hot, up 6% from a year ago, May car sales are not at -9.3%, a continuing negative trend. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (aka SAAR) in the U.S. for May 2017 was 16.66 million units sold, a significant slide from 17.17 million units a year ago. Total light vehicle sales declined -0.5% compared to last May despite inexpensive fuels and low interest rates.

Worrisome is increasing incentives in an economy that is allegedly recovering. Incentives are up 33% from May 2016. However, transaction prices are also up, averaging $33,261, as consumers buy more expensive light trucks instead of cars. Continue reading

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Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Owners Sue GM

AutoInformed.comA lawsuit just filed says GM lured race-enthusiast Chevrolet Corvette customers with “bells and whistles,” and then sold them “unreliable” cars with a “performance-limiting defect” that leaves 2015-2017 Corvette Z06 drivers limping on the track. Attorneys estimate there are more than 30,000 affected Corvette Z06 cars in the proposed class action.

The suit alleges that GM knowingly sold defective Z06 models that, while marketed as having “track-proven structure and technologies,” cannot be operated safely on a racetrack because they enter a performance-limited “limp mode” when the cooling system can’t keep up with the heat generated under hard driving. This happens on public roadways, too, according to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, one of two law firms attempting to get a large and – potential lucrative – class action suit initiated.  Roth Yaffa Cohen is a co-counsel representing the plaintiffs. Continue reading

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