AutoInformed Special Report: More Press Releases than Automated Vehicles as Makers Describe Intentions on ACE and autonomous vehicles.

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It seems a week doesn’t pass without the announcement of the latest technology or partnership or production vehicle that points the way to the Holy Grail of the automaker universe – the super connected and autonomous vehicle. Still, limited appearances start this fall with the Google autonomous car roving  Arizona However, it will likely be more than a decade before the vehicles are proven, and acceptable to enough buyers that a mass market, and therefore mass production will begin. This, of course skips a discussion of formidable legal and insurance issues. Continue reading

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Rising Income Inequality Differs in Racial, Ethnic Groups on Rising Income Inequality

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The income gap between the rich and poor – has increased steadily in the United States since the 1970s. By one measure, the gap between Americans at the top and the bottom of the income ladder increased 27% from 1970 to 2016. However, the rise in inequality within America’s racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

This analysis, which draws on data from the American Community Survey and U.S. decennial censuses, income inequality is measured using a 90/10 ratio – the income of those at the high end (90th percentile) of the income distribution relative to the income of those at the low end (10th percentile). Continue reading

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Automated City Driving Daimler, Bosch and Nvidia AI on Autonomous Vehicles and City Streets

Looks like a ghost town?

Automated vehicles are at heart computers on wheels. Now to get there they need more computing power if they are to negotiate city traffic automatically, with input sourced from an array of disparate sensors. In  their money making alliance – that’s the hope, anyway – designed to put highly automated and driverless vehicles on urban streets, Bosch and Daimler have now specified the computing power necessary for their proposed system. (See on:  2018 S-Class Takes Driver Assistance Upward?) Continue reading

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Porsche Sets Half Year Sales Record. Again on Porsche Sales

A storied marque with a distinguished  and long racing heritage. Given the current sales mix, is NASCAR Truck or car racing next? (Just kidding, we hope.)

With 130,598 vehicles delivered worldwide in the first six months of 2018, Porsche AG passed the previous record posted last year by +3%. This makes the first half of 2018 the most successful in the company’s history. It also means that Porsche is now predominantly a sedan and crossover maker. (see Porsche Q1 2017 Best in History, 70 Years Porsche Sports Cars at Retro Classics or  Porsche Sets Record 5 Minute 19.55 Lap Time at Nürburgring Nordschleife in Marketing Ploy with an outdated 919 Hybrid  or Milestones – One Millionth Porsche 911)

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Modest Tweaks for 2019 Durango and Dodge Line on 2019 Dodge Line

The 2019 Durango SRT is among America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUVs with the venerable 392-cubic-inch HEMI V8 delivering 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque.

Dodge Durango debuts for 2019 with five models – SXT, GT, Citadel, R/T and SRT. The  475-horsepower Durango SRT is claimed to be America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV. Well, it’s certainly faster and more expensive than the V6 powered Durango SXT where the all-wheel-drive system is optional on all models. The 2019 Dodge brand lineup now includes the Durango (~$30k-64k), Grand Caravan(~$27k-33k), Journey (~$24k-36k ), Charger (~$30k-70k) and Challenger (~$29k- 85k). This dangerously top heavy on trucks that are basically only saleable in North America. Dealers can now place orders for 2019 Dodge Durangos. Vehicles are scheduled to start arriving in Dodge dealerships this fall. Continue reading

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Toyota Launches Car Sharing in Honolulu on Toyota HUI Car Sharing Program

This is the latest Big Auto attempt to convert to big cliché Mobility Company.

Toyota and its Distributor in Hawaii – Servco Pacific – have opened a car-share program with Toyota and Lexus vehicles located throughout Honolulu. It’s called Hui – a round-trip, station-based sharing business using Toyota’s proprietary global Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) and a consumer facing app developed by Toyota Connected North America* (TCNA), which is the global technology strategy business unit for Toyota.

Seventy Toyota and Lexus vehicles are available for reservation through the Hui mobile app (for iOS and Android devices) by the hour or day at 25 “easily accessible” locations. The vehicles initially in the program include the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, Camry XSE, as well as Lexus RX350 and RX F Sport vehicles. Hui vehicles are parked in marked, reserved stalls for easy pick-up and drop-off. Prices range from ~$10-$20/hour and $80-$160/day. Continue reading

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Italdesign Nissan GT-R50 Debuts at Goodwood on Goodwood Festival of Speed

The future automotive creativity or the next Batmobile coupe?

The Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign will make its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England, on July 12. The result of the first collaboration between Nissan and Italdesign, the GT-R50 prototype “could become the blueprint” for an extremely limited run of hand-built production vehicles.

The vehicle commemorates the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R, in 2019, and Italdesign, in 2018. Odds on it will be built and be very expensive. Continue reading

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Toyota Supra to Run in NASCAR Xfinity Series on Supra on NASCAR

Does this look stock to you?

Toyota Supra will run in NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) next season. Supra will make its on-track debut in the NXS race at Daytona on Saturday, 16 Feb 2019 – the warmup race before the main event – the 500 on Sunday.

It’s the latest attempt to position Toyota as an American company against the noise of the booming guns of the Trump trade wars. Toyota has 14  manufacturing plants in North America – if you count Mexico, which is also under siege. There are ten in the U.S. , and 1500 dealerships here. All told, Toyota employs 37,000 people in the U.S. American? Well that requires a thought process with nuance absent in the ruling party plutocrats.
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US International Trade Deficit Drops. Maybe

May exports to Mexico ($22.7 billion) were the highest on record.

The U.S. international trade deficit in goods and services allegedly decreased to $43.1 billion in May from $46.1 billion in April (revised), as exports increased more than imports.*

“The Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders estimates are not based on a probability sample, so we can neither measure the sampling error of these estimates nor compute confidence intervals,” said Census. The 90% confidence interval includes zero.

The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero. What this means is that the U.S. continues to run an enormous deficit as President Trump embarks on a trade war that could increase the deficit more. Continue reading

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First Time US Resettles Fewer Refugees Than Rest of World

The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world. The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement. Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide. Continue reading

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Connectivity is Good? Connectivity is Bad? Both? Time to Reflect, Emotions Perpetuate and Increase Divisiveness

The latest report in a series on the “future of the internet” conducted by Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center has personal observations from technology experts, scholars and health specialists on their digital life. Many experts praise the benefits of connectivity and easy access to knowledge in their everyday experiences. However, some rue digital life’s health-threatening qualities, loss of privacy and diminishing trust. Sound familiar? Continue reading

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Fourth of July 2018 – a Divided Nation That’s Lost Its Way on Independence Day 2018The 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 the enduring manuscript. Jefferson, rightly regarded as the clearest, most eloquent writer, drafted most of what remains one of our core documents.

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 2.5 million people at the time reporting English and other ancestry. Small numbers in today’s world, but they were people with far bigger aspirations, people – refugees or immigrants, lettered or illiterate who were fleeing or had escaped from religious and political persecution. Biggest of all was an idea that led to ideals that most of us still aspire to uphold in our conduct. Continue reading

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Porsche Sets Record 5 Minute 19.55 Lap Time at Nürburgring Nordschleife in Marketing Ploy with an outdated 919 Hybrid on WEC

Evo is a recycled rolling publicity stunt of an outlaw car, albeit a tour de force of Porsche Racing’s formidable design, engineering and driving strengths.

Timo Bernhard (D) lapped the 20.832-kilometer (12.94 miles) Nürburgring Nordschleife – aka Green Hell – race circuit in 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds. This is an average speed of 233.8 km/h (145.3 mph) on what is one of the world’s toughest circuits according to drivers, engineers and sports car cognoscenti. Driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Bernhard beat the previous lap record, set by Stefan Bellof, by 51.58 seconds. His drive alternated between the all-out attack and caution that is mandatory on this circuit. Skillfully he found the balance.

For 35 racing years (for a driver you could multiply by 7, it’s a Greyhound’s life) and 31 days Bellof’s 6:11.13 minutes record stood alone. The German driver from Gießen, who died at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985, might have been the biggest racing talent of his time, perhaps anytime. He drove his way into the record book on May 28 in 1983 at the wheel of a 620 horsepower Rothmans Porsche 956 C during practice for the 1000-kilometer World Endurance Cup (WEC) sports car race. His average speed was also more than 200 km/h.

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Autonomous Car Appetizer: Ford and Postmates Link on Ford Transit Connect Self-Driving Delivery Van

The research concentrates on the first and last mile of food delivery as Ford – like all other automakers – is working on self-driving technology in separate test vehicles.

In Ford Motor’s latest engineering-by press-release designed to bolster its sagging stock price, the Dearborn based automaker is working with Postmates, an on-demand delivery platform. It’s claimed the two  will  operate a self-driving delivery service. Research vehicles for the business pilots appear as self-driving, however, they are manually driven by an experienced driver.

Ultimately, Ford says it is  testing how businesses and consumers interact with a self-driving vehicle. Continue reading

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Kia Motors Plans Overseas Business Reorganization

Kia Motors Corporation suffering from flat sales in the U.S. so far this year is making organizational changes within its overseas operations. Following other Asian companies, the Korean company will give greater autonomy to each region to “spur sustainable growth and enhance innovation.” As a first step in its global business reorganization, the company has launched Kia Motors North America Headquarters and Kia Motors Europe Headquarters, effective 2 July.

Kia’s U.S. May sales of 59,462 vehicles, were a +1.6% increase over the same period last year and the brand’s highest monthly sales total in 2018. May sales were led by the Forte and Sorento, with 11,261 and 10,370 units sold, respectively. In addition, the Stinger fastback sports sedan set a monthly sales record with 1,761 units sold in May. Sales in the U.S. year­-to-date are ~236,000 or flat. Kia is also vulnerable to Trump tariff tirades, and it therefore might be facing years of slow growth, if any. In Europe, where Kia is a sales footnote, KIA’s sales of  214,000 YTD are up 5% on a tiny base. (Read on: Kia Motors to Build $1 Billion Plant in Mexico, NAFTA Strikes Again as Kia Opens Pesquería Mexico Plant) Continue reading

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