IMSA Showdown at Laguna Seca Today

The infamous blind left-hand Corkscrew section at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca provides a high-speed glance of the downhill run and to the final stages of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship battle. The Michelin GT Le Mans class technical partner factory teams from BMW, Corvette, Ford and Porsche and independent Risi Competizione Ferrari will be on hand to provide some spectacular sports car racing.

 “Drivers arrive at the entry to The Corkscrew in fifth gear at 130 miles per hour and pointing at the sky,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports, Michelin North America. “Traffic is usually stacking up and the drivers must be very precise in car placement and spot-on in braking to set up for the downhill run.” Continue reading

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Mahindra, Ford to Study Links in India, Emerging Markets on Mahindra and FordThe $19 billion Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company will work together for up to three years on what is described as the beginnings of what could be a longer-term cooperation between the two companies. (Translation: Mahindra and subsidiary SsangYong of South Korea – will likely develop and build a vehicle with Ford or as Ford watches.)

A revised Transit Connect could be one program because of Mahindra’s prominent role in the previous one that occurred when perennial loss-making Ford Europe was cash-strapped. Highly likely are utility and battery electric vehicles. (See also General Motors India to End Manufacturing, Sell Halol Plant)


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World Endurance CUP Round 6 – Texas: Porsche 1, 2, Toyota 3

Winning car #2 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid – Timo Bernhard (DEU) / Earl Bamber (NZL) / Brendon Hartley (NZL) – WEC 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas – Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas.

Maybe Porsche should withdraw from racing more often if the Texas World Endurance Cup race is of any importance. With its fourth consecutive race win – seizing a one-two victory in Austin, Texas, the Porsche LMP Team extended its world championship lead. Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ), the championship leading Le Mans winners, crossed the finish line first at the Circuit of The Americas.

The result was the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s 17th race win and the seventh one-two victory since its debut in 2014. Porsche now has eleven fastest race laps to its tally. It’s trying to complete prototype’s career on top in its final season this year as Porsche withdraws for WEC following sister brand Audi as collateral damage in the spin-out and financial multi-car crash that is the ongoing Volkswagen diesel emissions fraud debacle.
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Daimler Launches First All-Electric Truck – FUSO eCanter on Fuso eCanter all-electric truck

eCanter has 66 miles of range between electric charging of its lithium ion batteries..

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), part of Daimler Trucks has launched the FUSO eCanter the world’s first series-produced all-electric light-duty truck. eCanter will be delivered to customers starting this year in the US, Europe and Japan.

MFTBC is planning to deliver 500 units of this generation to customers within the next two years. Larger scale production is intended to start in 2019. FUSO says the company’s first U.S. commercial partner for the eCanter as UPS will use the zero-emission trucks with an eye to making its fleet more sustainable. The company is part of Daimler Trucks – the global leader with truck brands such as Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz and FUSO. Continue reading

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Pennsylvania State Police Crash Reports Now Online on Web Crash Reports

“The paperwork associated with even a minor crash can feel overwhelming. By embracing technology, creating an online portal to obtain relevant documents, we hope to relieve some of the stress associated with a motor vehicle crash.”

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has launched a website that allows people to search forand electronically obtain copies of crash reports for crashes investigated by PSP. The crash report database can be queried by case number or the date of the crash and last name of an involved party. The fee for an electronic copy of a crash report is $22, payable online by credit card or bank account draft. Reports are typically available 15 days after a crash is reported. The Pennsylvania State Police investigated 79,704 crashes in 2016.

Pennsylvania law states that only certain parties may access a crash report, including those involved in the crash, their attorney, and their insurance company. Users of the crash report site must affirm that they are one of these parties – or another privileged party as defined by section 3751(b) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code – before completing their transaction. Continue reading

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Volkswagen Prices 2017 e-Golf at $31,315 on 2017 Volkswagen e-Gulf Pure EVVolkswagen of America said today that the pricing of the 2017 e-Golf. It’s fully-electric e-Golf with a longer EPA-estimated range, better fuel economy and more power than its predecessor starts at a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) with delivery for the e-Golf SE is $31,315. It’s available at 651 independent U.S. dealers, who were badly hurt during the Dieselgate fraud scandal.

For 2017, Volkswagen is using an updated lithium-ion battery with an increased energy capacity of 35.8 kWh, up from 24.2 kWh. The revised battery increases the range from an EPA-estimated total range of 83 miles to 125 miles on a single charge – under ideal conditions, your mileage can and likely will vary. Continue reading

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New Position: Pierre Leclercq Head of Styling at Kia Motors on Automotive styling.

Styling is an emotional prompt to buy as cars become more alike, and offer the same comfort, safety, and convenience accoutrements.

Kia Motors has named Pierre Leclercq as its new Head of Styling. Based at Kia’s design headquarters in Namyang, Korea, Leclercq’s appointment will allegedly accelerate the establishment of a consistent design across and expanding Kia model range. As the newly-established Head of Styling, Belgian-born Pierre Leclercq is responsible for developing Kia’s long-term design strategy, and lead design innovation for exteriors, interiors, materials and textiles.

He will also work to strengthen design co-operation between Kia’s global design network, which is made up of design studios in the USA, Europe and China, as well as Korea.

Leclercq takes up his new role at the end of September, working with – it’s unknown how well – Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group, and Seon Ho Youn, Head of Kia Design Center in Korea. Continue reading

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Sierra Club Michigan Opposes CAFE Cuts

Estimates for the cost of compliance ranged from zero to $10,000 per vehicle for what is a difficult engineering task. The higher estimates – industry driven – never materialized. Click to Enlarge.

The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should maintain current fuel economy standards that “protect our air, land and Great Lakes.” The comments – not surprisingly –  mirror the national position of the Sierra Club.

Under the beleaguered, under legal attack Trump Administration, the EPA is re-examining previously finalized clean cars standards that reduce tailpipe carbon pollution, improve fuel economy, and combat climate change.

In 2009, automakers agreed to the Obama administration’s rules, which would bring the average fleetwide fuel economy to between 50 and 52.6 mpg in 2025. (see AutoInformed on President Obama Unveils 54.5 MPG Fuel Economy Regulation for 2017-25. It will Alter Vehicle Choices and Increase Costs, DOT and EPA Issue Record 54.5 MPG Fuel Economy Standards, EPA Keeps 54.5 MPG Fuel Economy Rules in Place, California Proposes Strict Greenhouse Gases, Fuel Economy Rules for 2030) Continue reading

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Non-Fake News: Americans Differ in Trusting Sources – Pew

A new Pew Research Center survey shows people fall into a spectrum ranging from enthusiastic to wary when it comes to dealing with information and improving digital skills. Whites are the most disengaged. Simply put whites are not interested (Supporters of Treasonous Trump dealing with 21 word Tweets?) and are over-represented in the wary and doubtful categories.

This survey, says Pew, represents a snapshot of where adults are today in a changing information environment. There’s no doubt that technology will change in the future, as will people’s competency in using it. It is also likely that the way people engage information will evolve as technology and its users do. Continue reading

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Toyota Begins Alliance with Grab Ride-Hailing Service

This is a vastly greater business chance or opportunity than Toyota sharing cars with small numbers of tourists on Okinawa.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota Financial Services Corporation (TFS), Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. (Aioi) and Grab, I (Grab), the largest ride-hailing service company in Southeast Asia, will work together to provide ride-hailing services throughout Southeast Asia. It’s just the latest example among many of traditional automobile companies linking with 21st century firms whose business model in part threatens automaker production and sales models -if not the existence of smaller auto companies.

The stampede to cooperation with car sharing companies began with GM’s acquisition of Lyft – a Uber competitor –  for $500 million in January of 2016. This was a surprising move to some – including other automakers – who were out of touch with what they thought and long derided as a moribund company. However, GM was moving fast post-bankruptcy with a new generation of leaders.  (Lyft and GM Express Drive Expands to Colorado, California*) Global car sharing services revenue will grow from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $6.5 billion in 2024, according to Navigant Research. Continue reading

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Social Media Providing News to Most Americans, Alas

In an ominous, ongoing trend, two thirds (67%) of U.S. adults report getting at least some of their news on social media, with two-in-ten (20%) doing so often, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. This is a modest but troubling increase from early 2016, when 62% of Americans reported getting news on social media. Not surprisingly, the 2017 growth is caused by increases among Americans who are older, less educated and non-white. For the first time in Center surveys, more than half (55%) of Americans ages 50 or older report getting news on social media sites, up 10 percentage points from 2016. Continue reading

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Mercedes ‘EQ Ready’ App Picks EV or Hybrid for You on Mercedes-Benz EV APP

“The general conclusion is that electric cars and hybrids in e‑mode are much more suitable for everyday use than most people believe,” claims Mercedes.

A new Mercedes “EQ Ready app” allegedly helps motorists decide whether it makes sense for them personally to switch to an electric car or hybrid. The smartphone app can record real journeys made by the user, analyze his or her everyday driving and compare it with numerous parameters of electric and hybrid vehicles. (Mercedes-Benz to Build at Bremen Its First Electric Car – EQ)

This, according to Mercedes-Benz, makes it possible to try e-mobility in a virtual way. The EQ Ready app also recommends which alternatively powered model from – guess where – Smart or Mercedes-Benz – that best matches the user’s activities. The new app will go online for the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt where it can also be experienced at the stand in Hall 2, Level 0. Continue reading

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Mazda Recalls Takata Airbag Inflators with New Supplier As Replacement

As more inflator production becomes available from other suppliers, automakers will abandon Takata.

The curse of the deadly Takata airbag inflators continues as Mazda expands its Takata recalls to more than 300,000 Mazda6 and RX-8 models from 2003-2008. It turns out that the replacement parts from a previous recall are also potentially defective. The remedy part is an air bag inflator manufactured by a different part supplier – unnamed – that is free from the “phased stabilized ammonium nitrate” Takata uses. New part number GJYC-57K80 for Mazda6, Mazdaspeed6 and RX-8.

In the original recall on 2 June 2015 after a Takata NHTSA submission, Mazda decided to conduct recall campaign on 2003-2008MY Mazda6, 2004-2008MY RX-8 and 2006-2007MY Mazdaspeed6 equipped with PSDI-4 frontal driver side air bag inflators. Continue reading

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Toyota, 7-Eleven Japan to Study Fuel Cell Trucks on Toyota fuel cell trucks, where the refrigeration/freezer unit, and the truck itself, are powered by fuel cells, will be introduced as refrigerator/freezer trucks for stores with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions.Toyota Motor Corporation and 7-Eleven Japan Co reached a basic agreement for studies on energy conservation and CO2 emissions reduction in convenience store distribution and operation.

The two companies say they aim to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon and hydrogen-based society in the future, by way of introducing vehicles and power generators to be newly developed by Toyota that use hydrogen. Continue reading

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Labor Day 2017 – September Fourth

AutoInformed.comThe first observation of Labor Day was probably on 5 September 1882, when some 10,000 workers amassed in New York City for a parade, according to the Census Bureau. To this day New York continues to have the highest union membership rate at 23.6%, while South Carolina continues to have the lowest at 1.6%. (Does the KKK, recently associated with the Charlottesville violence, constitute a Labor Union? No Tweets from Trump on this. So far.) The Union movement is one clear way to reestablish the middle class.

The NYC parade prompted similar events across the country. By 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, Congress passed legislation and President Grover Cleveland signed into law on 29 June that the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” Continue reading

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