Maven Gig Expands to San Francisco

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com 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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Automotive CX Summit – Dual Style to Customer Development?

Jon Munzel looks to the auto industry’s future with Apple, Inc. in his eye — not for the the next generation of driving apps or even the company’s plans for a self-driving car, but for the way the ubiquitous tech developer cultivates customers.

Apple’s move years ago to buck the prevailing tech market trend toward telephone and online shopping and open retail showrooms — Apple Stores — proved to be both a bottom-line and popular success, says Munzel. He spent more than eight years managing prototype vehicle development programs for Toyota and another five years as an automotive product marketing manager at Siebel Systems before founding the Thought Leadership Summits, which since 2005 has produced the customer-focused Automotive CX Summit, designed to attract senior-level global executives. Continue reading

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First Non-Toxic Garage Floor Coating Claimed

Rainguard has released a garage floor coating that it claims is the automotive industry’s first non-toxic technology. It’s a single part polyurethane solution that doesn’t require mixing and is said to be the industry’s fastest drying compound – allowing homeowners and racing teams to drive vehicles onto coated floors in one hour when mixed with a quick cure additive. Continue reading

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Kiss Your Privacy Goodbye as Mastermind Grows

U.S. Porsche dealerships now have access to technology that will allow them to use so-called behavior prediction analytics from Mastermind. The theory behind the technology sounds benign at first. However, more than 6,000 dealerships now have access to Mastermind technology that uses thousands of data points, gathered from the dealer management system (DMS) and combines it with Big Data – social media profiles, financial records, product and consumer life-cycle information, socio-demographics among other privacy invasion data – to calculate when a customer is ready to buy and why. Continue reading

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Canada Moves Ahead on Fuel Cell Vehicles

Hyundai is also partnering with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to make the Tucson Fuel Cell available to consumers at select locations in the Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

The Canadian Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Coalition of automakers will be hosting two hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle test-drive events this week. The coalition is working with government to ensure hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles play the integral role they will need to for Canada to be successful in its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These events present an opportunity to see, touch, drive, and learn about the several models of hydrogen FCEVs that will be present from Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, according to FCEV. Note the conspicuous absences of the Detroit Three.
Continue reading

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Eleven Japanese Firms to Share Building of Hydrogen Stations

AutoInformed.com on Infrastructure an Hydrogen Fuel CellsWhile nit-twit tweet Trump is bellowing about infrastructure with no plan, no bills, no timeline, Japan is building – not talking – as illustrated by 11 Japanese companies signing a memorandum of understanding aimed at the acceleration of the construction of hydrogen stations.

It’s classic pump priming – both senses – in the current early stage of fuel cell vehicle commercialization using an “all Japan” approach. Continue reading

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GM Shareholders Reject Greenlight Overwhelmingly

AutoInformed.com on GM 2017 Annual Meting and GreenlightThe shareholders of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) have elected all 11 of GM’s Board nominees with preliminary results also showing that  the shareholders have rejected Greenlight’s proposal to create a dual-class common stock structure.

“On behalf of our Board and management, we appreciate the significant support of our shareholders as we continue to transform GM and increase the value of their investment,” said a clearly pleased and victorious Mary T. Barra, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Continue reading

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Lawsuit Claims Emissions Cheating in GM Duramax Diesels

AutoInformed.com

More dirt from litigation on diesels?

A Hagens Berman lawsuit alleges General Motors knowingly sold Duramax diesel trucks that are designed to pass emissions tests, but during actual on-road driving emit two to five times the legal limit of NOx pollutants.

GM in reply tersely says: “These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves. The Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations.”

Hagens Berman is also leading litigation against Chevrolet, Fiat-Chrysler and Mercedes for illegal use of emissions-cheating software. Continue reading

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US v Fiat Chrysler on Diesel Emissions Defeat Devices

AutoInformed.com on alleged defeat devices on Chrysler EcoDiesel engines

Not as clean as thought?

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, against Fiat Chrysler alleging 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles with 3-liter liter EcoDiesel engines are equipped with software that defeat the emissions controls.The action is wide ranging against FCA US, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., V.M. Motori S.p.A., and V.M. North America, Inc.

The complaint alleges that the undisclosed software functions cause the vehicles’ emission control systems to perform differently, and less effectively, during certain normal driving conditions than on federal emission tests, resulting in increased emissions of harmful air pollutants. In other words, Volkswagen2 – the American-Italian sequel. Continue reading

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Mark Fields Out, Jim Hackett in as Ford Motor CEO

AutoInformed.com on Ford CEO ShakeupJim Hackett, 62, was named today as Ford Motor Company president and CEO, succeeding Mark Fields, 56, “who is retiring” after 28 years at the Dearborn-based vehicle maker.

Hackett, who will report to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, led Steelcase’s turnaround to become the world’s largest office furniture maker during a 20-year career in Western Michigan, the football player also served briefly as interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan.

Hackett led Ford Smart Mobility – arguably the future of the industry with ride sharing, electric vehicle, sales of big data and autonomous cars thrown in –  since March 2016. Ford is far, far far behind the industry here, and needs to make partnerships or buy companies. He served on Ford’s board from 2013 to 2016. No word on whether he will redecorate Fields’ office with Steelcase regalia. Continue reading

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Milestones – One Millionth Porsche 911

AutoInformed.com on the Porsche 911In Zuffenhausen the one-millionth 911 sports car model has left the production line – a 911 Carrera S in “Irish Green,” which was not popular on the original 911 in 1963. The two-door performance car remains the most important reputational model as Porsche maintains its position as one of the most significant car manufacturers in the world – even though sales of trucks and sedans now provide most its profits.

The one-millionth 911 will not be sold. Before it moves on to join  the collection at the Porsche Museum, it will take a world tour -including sprints in the Scottish Highlands, around the Nürburgring, and events in the USA, and  China. This remains a selling or leasing business. Continue reading

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