Three Peat! Corvette Takes Makers’ and Drivers’ Titles in IMSA GT Le Mans

AutoInformed.com on IMSA GT Le Mans - GTLM

Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, drivers of the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R win their second straight IMSA GTLM Driver’s title during the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Garcia and Magnussen shared the ride for during the 10-hour endurance race with hired fast-gun Marcel Fässler.

In a tough outing, Corvette Racing won its third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship  in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class Saturday at the Motul Petit Le Mans run on Road Atlanta. By finishing eighth in the #3 Corvette, co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, joined at Road Atlanta by hired gun Marcel Fassler, defended their Drivers’ title from one year ago with an eighth-place finish. In racing’s version of tortoise and hare, it was Corvettes’ consistency over the season by constantly finishing in the points that proved a winning strategy.

It was the 13th team championship and 12th driver title for Corvette Racing in its 20-year history. The championship-winning#3 team managed to win the championship without scoring a win, riding a remarkable consistency that included eight podium finishes in 11 starts.  Continue reading

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Arizona Picks Intel to Lead Automated Vehicle Safety Institute

The state of Arizona today announced the formation of the Institute for Automated Mobility to advance the safe deployment of automated vehicles. Intel Corporation is a founding partner of the new institute. The public-private consortium will focus on the liability, regulatory and safety implications of automated vehicles and will work to develop standards and best practices for the industry to follow. The group is already working on liability and regulatory research as well as plans for an enclosed 2.1-mile safety test track.

“The Institute for Automated Mobility will bring together global industry leaders, a public sector team and the brightest minds in academia, focused on advancing all aspects of automated vehicle science, safety and policy. Arizona is committed to providing the leadership and knowledge necessary to integrate these technologies into the world’s transportation systems,” claimed Doug Ducey, Arizona governor. Continue reading

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Beware of Self Interest in Mobility Promotion says NADA

AutoInformed.com on Mobility Companies and Wes Lutz NADA Chair

“If Uber and Lyft are dramatically more expensive than personal vehicle ownership, then people aren’t going to stop buying cars, and the auto industry isn’t doomed.”

NADA Chairman Wes Lutz at APA in Detroit this week posed the question if there is enough skepticism in reporting about the auto industry’s headlong rush into the future of mobility, the internet of things and autonomous vehicles. He was particularly irked – and as an auto dealer with as much abundant self-interest as the new mobility soothsayers/stock promoters – by media narratives suggesting that ride-hailing will replace personal vehicle ownership.

Lutz said one of the biggest false narratives is that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are less expensive that personal vehicle ownership. Yet in August, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study finding that the cost of relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation* in 20 of the biggest metro areas in the U.S. was, at minimum, more than twice as much as the cost of owning a personal vehicle. Continue reading

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Freshened Mazda CX-5 Launched in Japan

AutoInformed.com on freshened Mazda CX-5

The last one I drove – a couple of years back – had crisp handling, the badly named “SKYACTIV” technologies, decent all-around performance and build quality. Above all, a good presence in a world over-populated with cookie cutter crossovers.

Mazda Motor Corporation has begun accepting pre-orders for the updated Mazda CX-5 at dealerships throughout Japan. The freshened crossover SUV (their words here and following) has what’s called a distinctive design coupled with the pleasure of Jinba-ittai driving – responsive control over driving, turning and braking – in everyday driving situations.

Pre-orders have also begun for the CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition. This range-topping special edition money maker (Mazda is financially challenged since the Ford Motor divorce that demonstrably hurt both parties) has selected materials that create a look of “warmth and modernity.” Sales of the updated CX-5 and CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition start on November 22. and the crossover will, maybe, eventually find its way to the U.S. Continue reading

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Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to Begin Seven-Year $650m Renovation

AutoInformed.com on The National Air and Space Museum proposed design updaates

The Air and Space Museum renovation will refresh some exhibitions but retain their current themes; others will be completely replaced.

The National Air and Space Museum will begin its major renovation of the building on the National Mall before the end of the year. The revitalization of the building’s exterior and infrastructure, and the transformation of all 23 exhibitions and presentation spaces, will take approximately seven years. Though the museum will remain open, phased gallery closures will begin Dec. 3 with the closure of the “Apollo to the Moon” and “Looking at Earth” exhibitions. Several additional galleries will close in January 2019.

For the first few years, some of the most popular artifacts will remain on display, including the “Spirit of St. Louis,” the 1903 Wright Flyer, Bell X-1, the Apollo Lunar Module and Skylab. The first set of galleries are scheduled to reopen in 2022. Continue reading

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Jami Miscik Appointed to GM Board of Directors

AutoInformed.com on Jami Miscik GM Board of DirectorsGeneral Motors Co. today announced the election of Jami Miscik to its Board of Directors. An expert in global security and intelligence, Miscik currently serves as the chief executive officer and vice chair of Kissinger Associates.

With the addition of eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig, last April as the 11th GM director, The GM Board looks to be well stocked with seasoned business and government insiders.

AutoInformed.com on eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig on GM BoardThus far there is no evidence that Wenig will co-mingle business between GM and eBay Motors, but the possibilities are intriguing in these days of old “blacksmithing” auto companies in upheaval over the ill-defined mobility firms that  these are now morphing into – knowingly or obliviously. (Treasury Makes $245 Million in Added Profits from TARP) Continue reading

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McLaren 570S Spider to £725,000 bid at Elton John Argento Ball

AutoInformed.com on McLaren

McLaren 570S Spider presented to winning bidder at Elton John Argento Ball.

A McLaren 570S Spider auctioned earlier this year at the Elton John Argento Ball has been presented to the successful bidder by Amanda McLaren, daughter of the company’s founder Bruce McLaren, at a Pure McLaren driving event in North America. Special ‘Blade Silver’ 570S Spider raised £725,000 – four times retail – at an auction to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The convertible was hand-finished in metallic ‘Blade Silver’ to honor the 25th anniversary of the charity foundation. Funds raised at the Argento Ball, which took place at Elton John’s Berkshire home in the UK in June 2018, are helping to provide many young people with information about HIV, the means to test themselves and access to medical care, if required. Continue reading

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Hyundai Indonesian Plant: Koreans Versus Dominant Japanese and Versus Looming Chinese Invasion Threat

AutoInformed.com on Hyundai H-1 (Grand Starex) MPV assembled in Indonesia

No word on vehicles to be built at the plant, but LMC’s informed view is that SUVs are most likely with a mix of smaller B- and C-segment models – Kona and Tucson.

Our friends at the LMC consultancy write that Hyundai Motor is finally doing something about its business in Indonesia, one of the world’s most populous markets. Last month, the Korean OEM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian government to invest in a new plant, with a reported annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles from 2020.

“Despite having a presence in the Indonesian market for more than a decade, Hyundai’s local business has been relatively small, with sales of just 936 units in the first eight months of this year. The only vehicle currently assembled locally is the H-1 (Grand Starex) MPV. Hyundai’s other models sold in Indonesia – the Santa Fe, Tucson, i20 and i10 – are imported and therefore subject to import duties,” says LMC. Continue reading

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Critical TechWorks JV with BMW Group and Critical Software

AutuInformed.com on BMW M5 Drift Record

Some things are best done the old fashioned way.

BMW Group and CRITICAL Software have concluded the creation of a joint venture – Critical TechWorks. It allegedly will combine both partners’ expertise in premium mobility and automotive software engineering for the development of on- and off-board applications. The BMW Group holds a 51% stake in the new company, which employs around 200 people at its locations in Lisbon and Porto in Portugal. Critical Software and BMW Group have equal representation on the joint venture’s management team. There are plans to expand the workforce to up to 500 employees in 2019, with further increases going forward.

Critical TechWorks represents an addition of unknown importance to the BMW Group’s global innovation network in IT and software development. With increased involvement in the field of digitalization, BMW Group is pursuing its transformation into a mobility-tech company and actively shaping the digital shift in the automotive industry. Continue reading

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World’s First Female Formula 1 World Champion?

AutoInformed.com on W-Series racing

It will look better with some sponsorship decals.

It’s not as advertised above, but the so-called W Series, a new international women-only single-seater motor racing series, launches today. It’s stated goal is to entice the world’s best female drivers, and their sponsorship money to “fast-track women” to Formula 1, and, ultimately, find the world’s first female Formula 1 champion. It’s been two years in the making, and more news will follow.

The last woman to start a Formula 1 Grand Prix was Lella Lombardi more than 40 years ago in the 1974 British Grand Prix. The Italian female racing driver followed Maria Teresa de Filippis in 1958. There has never been a female Formula 1 Grand Prix race winner, but Lombardi scored points. She drove both Brabham and March versions of Ford Cosworth powered cars. Continue reading

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Graphene the Latest Miracle Material?

AutoInformed.com on Graphene

In the strength test process, the piece of graphene composite is tested next to a material without graphene – showcasing the ability of the nano-material to hold the load.

Ford Motor Company announced the use of graphene – a two-dimensional nanomaterial – in vehicle parts, to concede with National Nanotechnology Day. Graphene is a material used in coating, cell phones and some sporting goods – and soon, Ford alleges it will be used under the hood in Ford vehicles, a first in automotive

Ford, along with Eagle Industries and XG Sciences, has found a way to use a very small amount of graphene – it’s very expensive – while “achieving major property improvements – more lightweight, better heat conductivity and noise reduction – a breakthrough application.” Continue reading

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NAFTA Light – US-Mexico-Canada Agreement Hurts US Workers

AutoInformed.com on US Mexico Canadian  trade agreement AKA Nafta

Free Trade is never free.

The US, Canada and Mexico agreed to update NAFTA, now called USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), following a preliminary US-Mexico trade agreement. The agreement calls for upping auto parts content made in North America to 75% from the current 62.5%, starting in 2020. This means 75% of the parts of every car and truck sold in the U.S. must come from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Roughly 30% of the 2.33 million vehicles imported to the U.S. from Mexico in 2017 don’t meet the current 62.5% content requirement, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told Bloomberg TV in August. Only three vehicles imported to the U.S. — Nissan Versa, Audi SQ5 and the Fiat 500 — are above that 62.5% threshold and below the new 75% requirement. Those three vehicles sold a combined 177,097 units in the U.S. last year, according to Mexican manufacturing publication Manufactura. Continue reading

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Bosch Enters the Car-Sharing Business with Electric Vans

AutoInformed.com on Bosch Van Sharing

It’s 100% electric: driving electric vans generates zero local emissions but they move to the source of the power generation. Concept photo is 100% hype.

Bosch is launching a new sharing service for electric vans. Together with toom, a subsidiary of the German retail group Rewe, the company will be testing the service at hardware stores, which is precisely where there is a demand for vans with enough space to carry heavy and bulky purchases.

Bosch already has a nascent sharing services business, as demonstrated by Coup, its rental service for electric scooters. Since its launch in 2016, Coup has constantly expanded, and now has a fleet of 3,500 scooters in Berlin, Paris, and Madrid. Continue reading

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UN on Global Warming: Rapid, Far-Reaching Unprecedented Changes in All Aspects of Society Needed

AutoInformed.com on Global Warming.Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far- reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the IPCC said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Continue reading

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Bye J Walter Thompson as Ford Sacks Global Marketing, Adds New Creative Agency and More In-House Workers

Auto Informed.com on 2018 Ford Motor Proxy

Money is getting tight as ambitions – and the need for survival – grow.

Ford is redesigning its marketing operations globally to elevate the struggling115-year-old brand. Ford today named BBDO as its lead creative agency; Wieden + Kennedy joins as innovation partner for specific projects; For the moment, WPP remains a smaller part of Ford’s multi-agency team, leading “activation.” wihc means WPP buys the ad space.

Ford also is creating more than 100 new in-house marketing positions tied to brand design, media tools and partnerships, and digital labs. Ford claims this new global marketing approach – is expected to yield $150 million in efficiencies annually. This only part of a series of actions that Ford’s in taking to become more profitable. More white-collar job cuts will assuredly follow.   Continue reading

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