Porsche Forms New Import JV in Taiwan

AutoInformed on Taiwan Porsche JVPorsche AG is forming an importer joint-venture with its long-time business partner, Universal Motor Traders (UMT). The new subsidiary, Porsche Taiwan Ltd, is expected to be inaugurated in 2018. Martin Limpert has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer. The formation of the transaction is subject to merger control approval by the regulators. Terms were not disclosed. Continue reading

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Toyota Global Hybrid Sales Exceed 10 Million

AutoInformed.com on Toyota Hybrid SalesIn one of the most graphic demonstrations of the benefits of being a first mover in technology, Toyota has now sold more than 10 million hybrid vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, as of 31 January.

The milestone was achieved a mere eight months after total sales reached 9 million units at the end of April 2016. Toyota Motor North America also saw its sales of hybrids and plug-in hybrids reach a cumulative total, exceeding three million units as of 31 December 2016. Continue reading

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Goodyear Wingfoot Two Arrives in California by Year End

AutoInformed.com on Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot TwoThe Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT) today revealed plans for major facilities upgrades at its blimp Airship Operations base in Carson, California. The improvements will include an inflatable hangar for the new Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two, which is scheduled to arrive in Southern California by the end of the year.

The rubber company has flown its blimps for more than 90 years and has operated its base in Carson since 1968. Continue reading

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NASCAR Expands Concussion Protocol to SCAT3

AutoInformed.com on NASCAR Concussion SCAT3 Protocol

Dale Earnhardt Jr Winning the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Daytona – February 2016

NASCAR today announced it is changing its concussion protocol for competitors with a screening tool for all venues and increasing available neurological support for race event weekends through its new partnership with AMR, aka American Medical Response, a national ambulance company.

The move comes at a time when  news organizations – Bloomberg, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, among many others – are questioning the viability of the National Football League over its massive concussion problem and scandal. Continue reading

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Mopar 80th: 2017 Dodge Challenger Limited Editions

AutoInformed.com on Mopar 2017 Dodge ChallengerThe Mopar brand is noting its 80th anniversary with the introduction of the limited-edition Mopar 2017 Dodge Challenger. The pony car is available with a pair of hand-painted, show car trim options. Only 80 models will be sold in Pitch Black/Contusion Blue, with another 80 in Pitch Black/Billet Silver, in a nod to 80 years of the Mopar brand. The Mopar 2017 Dodge Challenger also includes Mopar performance parts, accessories, an owner’s kit and the now requisite serialized badge.

It’s sad to hear rumors on the street that FCA is considering dropping the Hemi in favor of smaller turbocharged engines. This is brand treason if true. Continue reading

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Robert Bosch Invests in TetraVue for Lidar Skills

AutoInformed.com on TetraVue and Robert Bosch

Photo of car hitting wall of cardboard boxes taken with TetraVue LIDAR.

Robert Bosch has invested in TetraVue for LIDAR – Light Detection and Ranging – expertise that Bosch says will help enhance the capabilities of autonomous vehicles. This latest deal adds to a growing Bosch portfolio of companies in the field of sensors and software for autonomous vehicles.

In theory, TetraVue’s expertise helps address challenges with autonomous vehicles encountering unexpected or dangerous obstacles during operation. (Does that include the non-driver? <grin>) Continue reading

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Maven Expands Los Angeles Car Sharing with Chevrolet Bolt

AutoInformed.com on Maven Los AngelesMaven, General Motors’ personal mobility  or car sharing brand, is adding more than 100 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in the Los Angeles market, allowing for a claimed ~250,000 all electric miles per month. Once fully deployed, more than 100 Bolt EVs will be available in Maven Los Angeles. Maven City car sharing in Los Angeles has seen an average of 56 percent member growth month-over-month since launching in October 2016. (Maven Launches City Car Sharing in Atlanta)

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, with an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles, has launched in Los Angeles in Maven City car sharing and the Lyft Express Drive program. Maven supplies vehicles for Lyft’s Express Drive program, providing Lyft drivers with access to weekly rentals of GM vehicles in some cities. Continue reading

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Win, Win? GM to Sell Opel to PSA

AutoInformed.com on GM Sale of Opel to PSAPSA wants to buy the European operations of General Motors that are connected to the Opel and Vauxhall brands. This could result in a major shift in the European Light Vehicle industry just as the effects of Brexit are unknown. Opel was the lead at GM engineering for both small and mid-size cars. (Brexit Automaker Winners, Losers – Predictable and Surprising or ‘Bloody Hell,’ What Does Brexit do to Automakers?) The combined volume of the groups could exceed current second-placed Renault-Nissan, excluding Russia and the CIS* countries, making the regional European total more than 3 million vehicles (full-year 2016). Market leader Volkswagen Group is just over 4 million. GM now appears ready to cut losses in the region. (General Motors Posts Record 2016 Results) Continue reading

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Affordable Used Vehicles Becoming Scarce

AutoInformed.com

CR averages the overall reliability scores (used car verdicts) for the most recent three model years, provided that the model remained unchanged.

For consumers considering trading in older used vehicles, 2017 could be the time. The latest study predicts a record number of off-lease vehicles will fill dealer lots and that a declining number of older trade-ins will put significant upward pressure on the late model used market this year. The average used vehicle trade-in is six-years-old, with Edmunds, source of the data, opining the number of trade-ins will be below six million this year for the first time since 2012.

“While low interest rates and consistent values are making it possible for the market to absorb these newer, more expensive off-lease vehicles, demand for older, less expensive used vehicles hasn’t waned,” Edmunds Senior Analyst Ivan Drury said. “Fewer older vehicles available puts sellers at an advantage, particularly those looking to sell vehicles that are in high demand like trucks and SUVs.” Continue reading

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General Motors to Sell Opel Vauxhall and Leave Europe?

AutoInformed.com on PSA Buying Opel VauxhaulPSA Group and General Motors confirmed today that widespread European news reports that GM is in talks with the French firm to sell its loss-making Opel Vauxhall operation to PSA were underway.

If the deal goes through, it would mean GM’s presence in Europe would be limited to niche sales of Cadillac, and Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette models – all of them exports. PSA is the second largest automaker in Europe behind Renault.  In Europe, the Groupe’s sales were 1,930,000 vehicles and grew by 3.6% in 2016. In 2016, global sales increased by 5.8%, to 3,146,000 units Continue reading

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EPA – Cruze Diesel Sedan 52 MPG Highway

AutoInformed.con on Cruze DieselThe 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan is rated EPA-estimated highway mileage of 52 mpg, the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in America. Based upon the EPA highway estimate, your mileage may and almost certainly will vary.  With the six-speed manual transmission  it has an estimated range of up to 702 highway miles on one tank of diesel fuel. The previous version was rated at 46 mpg. Since the 2014 model year 7570 Cruze diesels have been sold. To put that in perspective, during January of 2017 ~20,000 Cruzes were sold. (Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Rated at 46 MPG Highway, 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Debuts in Detroit, Un-Sweet Tweet – Trump Outburst Against Chevrolet Cruze) Continue reading

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Ford Places $1B Bet in Argo AI on Autonomous Vehicles

AutoInformed.com

Ford CEO Mark Fields placing the license plate on the Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicle.

Ford Motor is investing $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI, a startup company with robotics experience and artificial intelligence software, in a claimed attempt to advance its autonomous vehicles programs. Founded by former Google and Uber leaders, Argo AI will include roboticists and engineers from inside and outside of Ford working to develop a new software platform for Ford’s fully autonomous vehicle coming in 2021. (Ford Wants Fully Autonomous Ride-Sharing Car in 2021) Continue reading

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U.S. Helicopter Accidents Decrease

Helicopter accidents and fatal helicopter accidents fell for the third consecutive year, according to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The overall accident rate at 3.19 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2016 compares with 3.67 accidents in 2015. The fatal accident rate declined slightly at 0.51 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2016 compared with a 0.52 in 2015. However, this is down from 0.65 in 2014 and 1.02 in 2013. In total, there were 106 helicopter accidents in 2016, including 17 fatal accidents. That is a 12% decrease compared to the previous year and a 27% decrease compared to 2013. Continue reading

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Ford Settles Navistar Diesel Class Action in Canada

AutoInformed.com on Navistar Diesel Quality DisasterCourts in Ontario and Quebec approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging Ford Super Duty Trucks with Navistar diesel engines were defective. During the warranty period (60,000 kilometers or 3 years and 100,000 km / 5 years), the plaintiffs say Ford would refuse to authorize necessary major engine repairs or engine replacements, instead only offering cheaper services, such as injector replacements) knowing that they would merely serve as a temporary measure until the warranty expired.

Ford has denied the wrongdoing asserted in these suits, including any claims that the engines are defective, or that Ford is liable to any member of the proposed class. Nonetheless, Ford has agreed, in a national settlement agreement that settles all litigation in Canada relating to these vehicles, to provide partial reimbursement for post-warranty repairs to engine components or reimbursement of certain deductibles paid. Ford fired Navistar as a supplier over the quality control issues.
Continue reading

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Top Ten Future Collectible Cars in 2017 Production

AutoInformed.com on Collectable CarsTen vehicles in production by automakers stand out as the likeliest to grow in value and appeal as collectible cars to enthusiasts, claims Hagerty. To be eligible for the “Hagerty Hot List,” a vehicle must be produced within the 2017 model year and have an MSRP of less than $100,000.

“All ten have that ‘it’ factor that makes them stand out from the crowd,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “In some cases, it’s power, in some cases it’s innovation or drivability, but all of them have the qualities that define a future classic.” Continue reading

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