U.S. Sales Drop in September. Domestics Struggle with Cars

September U.S. auto sales dropped notably when compared to September 2016, but were still relatively strong,according to AutoData. It said that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in September was 17.76 million units compared to 18.05 million units a year ago. Industry-wide, 1,435,689 light vehicles were sold in September, compared to 1,512,556 in August and 1,522,297 in July.

Un-adjusted for business days, sales for all brands were down 0.5% from September 2015 but up 0.5% year-to-date. Offshore brands outperformed the market last month as crossover and truck sales increased and cars held their place and up 0.7% for the year.

FCA sales dropped for the calendar year -7.9% at 1.58m (year-over-year); Ford Motor was off -2.7% at 1.9m; General Motors sales declined -0.8% at 2.2m.

Detroit Three makers continued to have problems selling cars – as Ford’s announcement that it is mostly abandoning the car market (the Fiesta ST is the first known casualty) and spending the $7 billion saved on crossovers and autonomous vehicles, as well as a new Dearborn campus that allegedly will attract Silicone Valley talent away from California weather and lifestyles, the unlimited capital Google and Tesla, which trades in stories and promises, but not actual earnings. Michigan Makes Rules for The Research, Testing, Use, and Ultimately Public Sale of Autonomous Vehicles Continue reading

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Lies and Deflections Worth Noting on Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico from Bureaucrats Doing Nothing to help U.S. Citizens

AutoInformed.com on Trump's Katrina

Incompetence and racism(?) from Beltway bureaucrats on roads easily traveled by a Detroit 4X4 SUV or pickup.

The mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city earned a rebuke from President Donald Trump Saturday after pleading for more federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The 3.5 million U.S. citizens are at a considerable disadvantage because they are Spanish speaking, not white, and they have zero, non, null set votes in the electoral college. This makes President Bush’s Hurricane Katrina disaster look like a charity event.  Meanwhile Trump has between carrying out a vendetta with black NFL players who are exercising their constitutional rights by protesting police brutality and murders against people of color. AutoInformed is not sure that Trump knows what a U.S. territory is.

“We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency, and the bureaucracy,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said Friday at a news conference. She highlighted donations from companies and others, including 200,000 pounds of food donated by Goya, as a contrast to federal help.

“This is what we got last night. Four pallets of water, three pallets of meals, and 12 pallets of infant food — which, I gave them to the people of Comerio, where people are drinking off a creek,” she said. “So, I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell,” said Carmen Yulín Cruz. See Puerto Rico Crisis: San Juan Mayor Pleads for Federal … – NBC News and In Puerto Rico, Containers Full Of Goods Sit Undistributed At Ports – NPR and Media accesses Puerto Rico roads FEMA won’t drive with aid – MSNBC, and the most outrageous of all under the category how to keep minorities in their place now that we can’t lynch them anymore: Doctor quits Puerto Rico medical relief team over ‘spa day’ – MSNBC.  Do my toe nails greaser and maybe I’ll give you a sip of water. 

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Autonomous Vehicles Buying Stampede – GM and Strobe

AutoInformed.com on LIDAR and Autonomous Vehicles

Betcha designers just love the roof mounted sensors even though their IQ is higher than…

General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) has acquired LIDAR technology company Strobe, Inc. As part of the deal, Strobe’s engineering overhead joins GM’s Cruise Automation team to “define and develop next-generation LIDAR solutions for self-driving vehicles.”

LIDAR uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar alone. As self-driving technology continues to evolve, LIDAR’s accuracy will play a critical role in its deployment. Long gone is the original fantasy that State and Federal road markings would be adequate – the confusing signs don’t even work for human-directed vehicles.
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IMSA – Corvette Racing Wins GTLM Class Championship

Chevrolet won its second consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a 2nd place finish by Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R last weekend during the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

Garcia and Magnussen also won the GTLM Driver’s Championship.  Garcia finished second in the race, but along with co-driver Jan Magnussen and the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R team, went on to win the GTLM driver championship beating Ford GT. The duo was joined by Mike Rockenfeller in the runner-up effort at Road Atlanta. Continue reading

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IMSA Finale Today at Road Atlanta

AutoInformed.com on 2017 IMSA Sports Car acingEven though the speeds rarely top 104 mph in the 5-hour snore fest that is the MLB playoffs, the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship reaches its conclusion today Saturday 7 October at the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at a considerably faster pace. Road Atlanta is the site of the season finale – and a good place as the Braves are not playing super money ball in the MLB post season – after which champions in each of the four classes will be crowned. Alas the commercialism as in all pro sports will slow down the racing action.

IMSA is truly a second-class citizen when it comes to American sporting events. Fans at Road Atlanta will also see champions crowned in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Presented by Yokohama. These races will be streamed on IMSA.com and the IMSA mobile app throughout the weekend. That right, no broadcast. Continue reading

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IMSA Motul Petit Le Mans Fun Facts

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Motul Petit Le Mans, IMSA supplied 20 statistics about drivers, teams and manufacturers that have competed in the famous 10-hour endurance race.

0.172: The closest Motul Petit Le Mans margin of victory (2011- Ken Dobson, Ryan Lewis and Henri Richard won for PR1/Mathiasen in the LMPC class in an ORECA FLM09).

2: Drivers who started the 1998 Motul Petit Le Mans who will be starting this year. Scott Pruett and Bill Auberlen are the drivers who started in 1998 and who will be on the grid this Saturday.

2.709: The average starting position for Motul Petit Le Mans race winners. Continue reading

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DENSO to Spend $1 billion in Tennessee

DENSO is expanding its U.S. presence with a $1 billion investment in its Maryville, Tennessee location. DENSO will create more than 1,000 jobs to make it a primary manufacturing center in North America for electrification and safety systems.

Globally, DENSO claims to be a leading developer of electrification systems for automobiles, tasks involved in vehicle safety and security, and newer areas that connect vehicles and society. These systems will play a crucial role in meeting increasing electric vehicle demand, says DENSO. Continue reading

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GM Roughs in Choices for Autonomous Fuel Cells

General Motors in an active and thus far unsuccessful “pump up the moribund stock price with press releases” claims today that it will solve some of the transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts. The company will display its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities, at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from Oct. 9-11, 2017. The commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use. ***

SURUS uses GM’s newest Hydrotec prototype fuel cell, with claimed autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm.  Claimed benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times.  Continue reading

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FCA Auto Dealer Wes Lutz 2018 NADA Chair

AutoIformed.com on NADA 2018 officersThe National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) 63-member board of directors elected Wes Lutz as chair for the 2018 term.

Lutz, president of Extreme Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Mich., said he will continue to advocate new-car dealer concerns in the industry, legislative and regulatory affairs arenas as well as encourage dealers to adapt to the retailing challenges ahead.

Lutz represents Michigan’s new-car dealers on NADA’s board. The new term officially begins at the 2018 NADA Show in Las Vegas next March. Continue reading

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Chinese Junk Watch – Braun Infant Wiggle Ball

AutoInformed.com on Unsafe or recalled Chinese made productsToys “R” Us is recalling almost 33,000 Chinese made Bruin Infant Wiggle Ball playthings, aka a giggle ball in the U.S. and Canada.

It’s no laughing matter as chunks of wiggle ball pieces have been found in infants’ mouths.

The blue ball has textured bumps for gripping and has orange, green and yellow rubber knobs around the ball. The ball wiggles, vibrates and plays three different musical tunes. It has an on/off switch and requires 3 AA batteries to operate. The recalled wiggle balls have model number 5F6342E and Toys “R” Us printed on the product. Continue reading

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2018 Nissan Frontier Pickup Starts at $19,965

AutoInformed.com on mid-size pickup trucks

An idea whose time has come again after Ram and Ford abandoned the market to the Japanese.

Nissan has announced U.S. pricing for the 2018 Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup, which is on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide.

Changes for the 2018 model year include the addition of standard RearView Monitor on all models and updated base grade content – including standard air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, 5.0-inch color display audio and Siri® Eyes Free. Continue reading

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GM Ups Ante Calls Out Other Automakers on EVs?

AutoInformed.com on pure EVs

The future GM products are invisible, as are existing EV sales.

In the next 18 months, GM claims it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based on experience with the Chevrolet Bolt EV. They will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023, according to GM.

This marketing move obviously ignores the minuscule sales of EVs currently – about 1% of the total market -, and does not bode well for taxpayers as more subsidies seem inevitable to ignite EV sales from the wisp of electrons they are now. Continue reading

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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio World’s Fastest SUV

AutoInformed.com on Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio at Nürburgring

Range Rover response undoubtedly coming.

An Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio lapped Nürburgring in a record 7 minutes 51.7 seconds, fastest time ever posted by a production SUV, according to Alfa.

The top-of the line Stelvio has the best-in-the-silly-class  at 505 horsepower, thereby powering it from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph.

The mid-size SUV was named for a challenging driving road, not a track – the meandering Stelvio Pass.

AutoInfomred.com on performance SUV marketing.

The place that named Stelvio.

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Glub? Aston Martin Going into Submarine Business!

AutoInformed.com on Project Neptune - Triton Submersible

The latest twist in promoting expensive cars. But will it, ahem, float?

Aston-Martin is calling it, appropriately, Project Neptune, but for those knowledgeable about the brand it may as well be from Mars as Aston is working with Triton on designing submarines. Yes – it’s too early for April Fool’s Day spoofs – the storied purveyor of sports cars and fierce competitor and sometimes winner in the world greatest sports car races for almost a century is going underwater once again, not from lack of finance but deliberately.

In the latest example of what has become of the luxury car business as it has evolved into a giant complex of experience, outside the car racing and/or business celebrity, superegos – always there – but now reinforced with borrowed interest from people who are famous for being famous as laughable “brand ambassadors.” In AutoInformed’s view, if you need someone else to reinforce or justify your purchase of an insanely expensive car, then you shouldn’t be playing the game because you are being gamed. Continue reading

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Mega Recall from Chrysler for Fires

AutoInformed.com on FCA Cummins Turbo Diesel Recall

The fire recall  was a long time coming – something NHTSA has criticized and fined FCA for in the past.

Chrysler continues to recall numerous vehicles for safety defects as the latest RAM truck safety recall affecting more than 440,000 cab-chassis vehicles with bad Cummins supplied water pumps. In the Ram pickup truck case, 2013- 2017 Ram 3500 models with the Cummins 6.7L Turbo diesel engine (Sales Code ETK) were built with either a Concentric water pump with a vent hole, or a non-Concentric water pump may encounter a water pump failure that may result in an engine compartment fire. Either way, due to lack of quality control the pumps are a fire hazard.

“Compromised water-pump function may activate a warning light in an affected vehicle’s instrument cluster. Customers are urged to consult their dealers whenever they observe warning lights,” said FCA.

Why So Long to Recall?

  • On June 16, 2016, through active field report monitoring, it was discovered that two Ram vehicles with Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel engines experienced fires which appeared to originate around the water pump.

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