2020 Ford Explorer – OK, Not Good in Crash Ratings

AutoInformed.com on 2020 Ford Explorer Front Offset Crash

The safety perils of an all-new platform?

The redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer, a midsize SUV, offers better protection in the driver-side small overlap front test than earlier models, but hasn’t improved enough to qualify for a 2019 safety award, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Crashworthiness ratings for the Explorer also apply to the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator. (see: Driving 2020 Explorer: Big Size and Complexity, Bigger Price)

In the driver-side small overlap test of the Explorer, “the structure held up well overall — an improvement over the severe intrusion seen in the Explorer prior to the redesign. However, in the test of the new model, there was enough intrusion into the outboard part of the footwell to elevate the risk of injury to the driver’s left leg, as indicated by measures taken from the dummy, resulting in an overall rating of acceptable,” said IIHS.

A good rating in the driver-side small overlap crash test is a requirement for both the 2019 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards, so neither the Explorer nor Aviator is eligible.
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Nissan Gets Tiny $24m SESC Kiss for False Filings

AutoInformed.com on Renault FCA Merger

This sounds like Judy Garland singing The Company that Got Away (FCA). “The road gets tougher…

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (“SESC”) has recommended that the Financial Services Agency (“FSA”) should issue an administrative monetary penalty payment order of 2,424,895,000 yen against Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. For false disclosure documents. (The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is Japanese, which is under the authority of the Financial Services Agency. It is responsible for “ensuring fair transactions in both securities and financial futures markets.”) *

They were:

  1. Annual Securities Reports for fiscal years 2014 through 2017
  2. Shelf registration supplement submitted on April 8, 2016

Nissan still reeling from the Ghosn matter and its lax governance processes that benefited senior executives naturally played for time. It said in a statement: “The Company takes this recommendation extremely seriously and will consider its response after receiving the FSA’s official notice. In the absence of any special circumstances or other reasons, the Company intends not to dispute the alleged facts and the amount of the administrative monetary penalty.”
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2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Claimed Best with EPA-Estimated 44 MPG City, 41 MPG Combined Fuel Economy Ratings

AutoInformed.com on Ford Escape 2020 Plug-in Hybrid

Arguably, the most popular, fastest growing segment in the world. It pays to cross brand shop.

Ford says the revised 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid is the best in the small SUV class with a combined EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 41 mpg, although final EPA ratings are pending for other makes. The freshened Escape front-wheel drive version also surpasses its class driving around town, with an EPA-estimated 44 mpg city. The 2020 Escape Hybrid Titanium with front-wheel drive has an EPA-estimated rating of 37 mpg on the highway.

Escape, which debuted the world’s first hybrid SUV in 2005, brings back two hybrid choices for 2020 – a full hybrid and a plug-in variant – and introduces technologies that include selectable drive modes, available driver-assist features and on-board connectivity. Escape pricing, in the $26,000 to +$36,000 range, is roughly $1000 higher than 2019 but competitive in a class dominated by the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, and Nissan Rogue hybrid models.
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Republican Rep. Christopher Collins Guilty of Insider Trading


It is the worst “do-nothing” Congress since 1995, as Moscow Mitch McConnell has refused to bring hundreds of passed bi-partisan bills to the Senate floor.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced settlements with former republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins, his son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, all of whom were charged with insider trading and pleaded guilty to related criminal charges. The sentencing memos have not been issued due to complications caused by ongoing criminal investigations, presumably into Trump’s campaign practices.

Collins was the first U.S. Representative to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States, perhaps recognizing kindred spirit in his approach to self-serving actions, and he served on Trump’s presidential transition team. He resigned his seat in 2019 and afterwards pled guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI. House Democrats this morning released two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate led by Mitch McConnell,aka Moscow Mitch,  is looking for ways to take a long Christmas holiday instead of beginning the Constitutionally mandated trial.
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Cadillac Live – New Digital Showroom Launches

AutoInformed.com on Cadillac Live

Another milestone on the road to a dealer-less sale?

In what is billed as part personal shopper and part interactive digital showroom, Cadillac Live launched today in the United States. This enlarges the reach of Cadillac’s “immersive luxury-shopping experience” to mobile devices and desktops across the country.

With Cadillac Live, shoppers can enter a digital showroom to view the features and specifications of 10 Cadillac models, and also speak with a Live product specialist, who can answer vehicle and purchase-consideration questions thereby eliminating the need for a dealership salesperson.
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OmniVision Claims Only Auto Sensors with HDR to 140dB

AutoInformed.com on Autonomous Vehicle Sensor Technology

A simple diagram for a difficult and safety critical task. Click to Enlarge.

OmniVision Technologies today announced the first two members of its new automotive image sensor platform—the 8MP, front-view OX08A and OX08B.

“The optimal clarity and range offered by this platform, in combination with integrated ASIL-C features, is vital for front-view automotive applications, such as ADAS and level 3+ autonomous vehicles, where the ability to accurately detect people and objects from far away in all lighting conditions is safety-critical,” said OmniVision.
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Two New Safety Recalls at Ford Motor – F-Series and Explorer

AutoInformed on Ford Motor Safety Defect RecallsFord Motor Company is issuing two new safety recalls in North America on some of its newest, best-selling vehicle lines – F-Series, and Explorer. Some 2017-19 Ford F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty vehicles experience unintended tailgate openings. In affected vehicles with an electric tailgate latch-release switch mounted in the tailgate handle, water entering the electrical wiring system may cause a short circuit, resulting in unintended switch activation and release of the tailgate latches. This could cause the tailgate to open unintentionally, whether the vehicle is in motion or parked.

This electrical safety defect  may result in the loss of unrestrained cargo, increasing the risk of a crash. Vehicles with a mechanical tailgate release handle are not affected. Continue reading

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Chicago Auto Show – February 2020

utoInformed.com on Chicago Auto Show Feb 2019 Press Room - Where's Ken

Where’s Waldo, err Ken? Click to Enlarge.

The Chicago Auto Show 2020 public show dates are Feb. 8-17. There is a new website with updated online ticketing and additional social media integration. (Midwest Automotive Media Association Family Vehicles of Year, Pacifica Family Vehicle of Year – Midwest Auto Media Assn)

What purports to be the nation’s largest and best-attended auto show, held annually at McCormick Place, will open to the public Saturday, Feb. 8, and run through Monday, Feb. 17, Presidents Day. The show is open 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. each day, except for the final day of the show, Presidents Day, when it closes at 8 p.m.
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Thanksgiving 2019 – We Celebrate Our 399th Annual Feast


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

General Washington himself in December of 1777 reveled on a day of “Thanksgiving” after the defeat of the British at Saratoga during what is known as our War of Independence. This war was conducted when we were still a loose confederation of colonies who rebelled, in part, because we were resisting the taxation needed to pay for the ongoing folly of foreign wars and entanglements of our government run by the rich, privileged British Monarchy.

It was a war that was won – against all odds by militias, and irregulars forcing a standing British Army to surrender in the field for the first time since the tyrant Napoleon – because the Crown and its privileged generals were fighting an idea first put forth in our Declaration of Independence, then codified in our Constitution that “We the People” would govern ourselves. Now, once again, the courtiers of privilege and wealth are presiding over our fate. Continue reading

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GM Recalls More than 500k Pickup Trucks for Possible Burning Cloth Carpet After Seat Belt Pretensioners Activate

AutoInfomred.com on GM Pretensioner Fire Recall

It isn’t only Shane Bieber who can bring on some high heat.

General Motors is recalling 556,399 2019-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, and 2020 Silverado 2500, Silverado 3500, Sierra 2500, and Sierra 3500 vehicles equipped with carpet floor covering. These are among GM’s most popular best-selling models and might be the reason took a large Q3 charge against earnings.

When the front seat belt pretensioners deploy, hot gas may vent through an opening in the pretensioner bracket, possibly igniting the cotton fibers in the carpet. GM has been aware of the potential problem since July of this year. ZF is the supplier.
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Mercedes-Benz Recalls ‘Confused, Lost’ Emergency Call System

Mercedes-Benz USA. (MBUSA) is recalling 24,226 2013-2017 vehicles due to a software defect that causes the date and time for the emergency call system (eCall) to differ from the actual date and time, potentially relaying an inaccurate vehicle location.

It’s the latest software glitch that can threaten customers lives because of bad computer code. A wrong vehicle location may delay emergency responders, increasing the risk of injury.
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First Electric Lexus Ever Debuts in China Today

AutoInformed.com on Lexus UX 300e

The Lexus UX 300e’s high-output motor should make for sharp acceleration. High-capacity batteries located directly underneath the floor of the cabin deliver a low center of gravity and 400 km-driving range. Combined it’s claimed with new connectivity technology, the 300e maximizes advantages of EVs while realizing driving performance and sale-ability in a popular crossover package.

The world’s largest car market with a communist government that could set the course of clean air vehicles for decades was home to the global debut the first battery electric vehicle from Lexus at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition. Designed to meet the regulations of China and Europe, the world premier was a reminder – as if automakers need another one – that regulators and emerging green customers have a large say in their designs. Lexus of course is late to the amperage party, puzzling since it led the predecessor hybrid segment. Continue reading

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Fasten Your Seat Belt – General Motors Files RICO Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


When President Obama took office, the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) filed a federal racketeering lawsuit yesterday against FCA (FCA US LLC and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV) and former FCA executives who have previously pled guilty in an ongoing federal corruption probe. The lawsuit alleges that a multi-year pattern of corruption at FCA undermined the integrity of the collective bargaining process, causing GM substantial damages. The UAW and its officials are not Defendants, however. At this point there are no credible estimates on potential requested damages but AutoInformed estimates they will  be in the billions of dollars.

The 95-page complaint filed with the United States Court Eastern District of Michigan is sweeping, complex and potentially far-reaching for both companies, the UAW and organized labor, as well as the ongoing consolidation or reordering of the automobile business. It plays against the financial crisis that was the backdrop of the taxpayer bailouts of bankrupt GM and Chrysler that saw the last major regrouping of the Detroit Three – one that is by no means conclusive. (Troubled Asset Relief Program – Total Cost $32B) Continue reading

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Continental, 3M to Develop Intelligent Infrastructure Technology

AutoInformed.com on Connected Vehicles V2V or V2I Telematics

V2V allows vehicles to send and receive from each other information such as location, speed, direction of travel. V2I shares data about traffic signal phase, road attributes and surface conditions. This has the potential to mitigate traffic collisions and congestion. They can be integrated with active safety features, such as forward collision warning and side blind zone alert, already available on production cars. Crucial is also infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) interface between infrastructure-related objects and technologies. It’s a complex problem in execution.

In the latest twist on the bumpy road to autonomous vehicles, Continental has entered into a “collaborative evaluation partnership” with 3M to assess the infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) interface between infrastructure-related objects and technologies. This includes pavement markings, conspicuity film, signs and other landmarks on or near the roadways as well as vehicle-related technologies. In short, many milestones that need to be safely and repeatedly passed if and/or when vehicles are to become more autonomous.

By Continental’s admission, and an awareness of the enormity of the task that is becoming more collective admitted among previously unbridled automaker promoters, “current infrastructure is lacking some aspects of consistency, uniformity, performance specifications, and maintenance standards that are important for the industry to optimize the perception and localization capabilities of automated vehicles…
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GM and Isuzu  Diesel JV Coming at New Ohio Plant


LaShannon Oldham (left) and Thu Dang install lower head covers onto Duramax diesel engines at the Dmax plant in Dayton, Ohio.

General Motors and Isuzu announced today a $175 million investment through its DMAX joint venture to build an all-new, diesel engine components plant in Brookville, Ohio. The new 251,000 square-foot facility would expand the production of engine components for the company’s current DMAX diesel engine manufacturing operation in Moraine, Ohio. DMAX is a joint venture, 60% owned by GM, 40% owned by Isuzu Diesel Services of America, Inc.

The new investment it’s claimed will create more than 100 new manufacturing jobs at the Brookville. Preliminary work has begun and construction on the new facility will be completed by the end of 2020. When the new Brookville site is up and running, it will operate concurrently with the current DMAX operations in Moraine. Continue reading

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