First GT Only IMSA Race Saturday at Lime Rock

AutoInformed.com on sports car racing

Legge up?

This is an IMSA GT weekend, the first of two where only GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes are run this Saturday at Lime Rock Park. The fast and constricted track should have the IMSA GTD cars turning sub 60-second lap times around the 1.4-mile, 7-turn circuit comprised of one left hand turn and six right handers. (Saturday’s two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix begins at 3 pm ET and will be televised on a delayed basis that afternoon starting at 4 p.m. ET on FS1. The race will be carried live by IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 138/XM 202/App 972).

The Connecticut track rewards good handling race cars because of the  fast-downhill starting at West Bend (Turn 6) through the Downhill turn (Turn 7) that leads onto the main straight. Pit stop execution is vital at such speeds. Any team needs any advantage it can get in a tough GTD class, which AutoInformed thinks is among the  best racing in the world. It’s full of experienced cars and drivers with pace. This will likely characterize the racing to the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on 13 October as stressed as it is uncertain. Continue reading

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Ford Issues Two Safety Recalls on ~550,000 Vehicles

AutoInformed.com on Fird Safety Defects

The Fusion is aimed at the heart of the family car market long dominated by the Japanese Three – Toyota, Nissan and Honda – all of whom historically provide a lower overall cost of ownership, much higher quality and customer loyalty.

Ford is issuing two safety recalls in North America. The first covers 2013-2016 Fusion cars and Escape crossovers for serious defects that appear to be a routine supplier matter. On 2013-16 model year Ford Fusion and 2013-14 Ford Escape vehicles the  shifter cable bushings are bad. It’s the bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission, but it can detach from the transmission. This safety defect can allow the transmission to be in a gear different than the gear shift position selected by the driver. Continue reading

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Baseball All Stars – Alex Bregnan and Chevrolet

The 2018 Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, Alex Bregman, third baseman for the Houston Astros, and (left to right) his mother Jackie, father Sam and sister Jessica, with a new Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe, awarded during the All-Star Game MVP award ceremony presented by Chevrolet last night at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Bregman is giving the Camaro SS to Jackie – his mother.  Continue reading

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Oshkosh Silliness? First Flying Car Slated for 2019

AutoInformed.com on Flying Cars

Terrafugia – AutoInformed’s barnstorming translation – Fleeing the Ground.

Terrafugia, Inc. announced new features in the long-promised Transition production vehicle, a two-seat auto and aircraft. The latest updates are interior, safety systems, motor, and flight instrumentation. The systems will be incorporated and verified in the next test vehicles. The first production vehicles will come to market in 2019, it’s said. Terrafugia’s next generation concept is the TF-2, a VTOL aircraft (vertical takeoff and landing) for cargo and passengers.

The roads and airways are littered with aviation startups that didn’t fly. Terrafugia (AutoInformed’s barnstorming translation – Fleeing the Ground) might be different. Founded in 2006 by five award-winning MIT graduates, there is certainly brain power in the DNA of the fledgling. Since 2017 this ground fleer is a wholly-owned subsidiary of  the Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which among other things now wholly owns Volvo. Continue reading

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AutoInformed Special Report: More Press Releases than Automated Vehicles as Makers Describe Intentions

AutoInformed.com on ACE and autonomous vehicles.

Click to enlarge.

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

AutoInformed.com on Rising Income Inequality

Click to Enlarge

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

AutInformed.com 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 AutoInformed.com on:  2018 S-Class Takes Driver Assistance Upward?) Continue reading

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Porsche Sets Half Year Sales Record. Again

AutoInformed.com 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)

Continue reading

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Modest Tweaks for 2019 Durango and Dodge Line

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com 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

AutoInformed.com on Supra AutoInformed.com 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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