Over a year has passed since my quest to regain my license began. A lot has happened since then.
Posts By: Cameron Aubernon
There’s a whole lotta shaking going on at Volkswagen’s boardroom, with two new members coming in and one set to oversee the ongoing diesel scandal.
Via press release, the parent company announced Wednesday the arrivals of VW veteran Ralf Brandstätter and Skoda’s Dr. Frank Welch to the namesake brand’s Board of Management. Welch will succeed Heinz-Jakob Neusser — suspended from his post since September 2015 — as the Board Member for Development, while Brandstätter replaces Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz as the brand’s Board Member for Procurement.
Toyota announced Wednesday it would lower its global sales goal for the 2016 Prius in light of low fuel prices curbing sales of fuel-efficent vehicles.
According to Reuters, Toyota’s new target is to move an annual average of 300,000 to 350,000 Prii out of the lot around the world, compared to the 300,000 to 400,000 annual sales average sought for the outgoing model. A company representative said a decline in global sales of the hybrid since 2013 was one of the reasons behind Toyota’s decision.
Per VW’s PR machine, the automaker found “no unlawful change to the stated fuel consumption and CO2 figures” in the majority of its European lineup, with only nine vehicles for the 2016 model year having slight variations in conflict with their originally stated fuel consumption and CO2 stats.
The nine vehicles found out of step?
If you ever wondered whether you could transport a donkey in the back of a Ford Crown Victoria, the Norman Police Department have your answer.
Norman, Oklahoma police Officer Kyle Canaan happened upon a miniature donkey wandering around the 8100 block of of 120th Avenue NE on the morning of December 1, following up on a report from a woman who called in the sighting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says.
Wanting to keep the donkey from being hit by traffic, Canaan used feed to lure the animal off the road, then pushed and pulled the little donkey into the back seat of his P71. As the photo from Norman PD can tell you, animals of the donkey’s size can fit comfortably in the back. (Read More…)
Nissan has announced a proposal which would end Renault’s control of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and would curtail interferance by the French government.
When we last left off, Nissan was looking to gain a voice in the alliance it made in 1999 with Renault by increasing its stake while mitigating the stake shared between Renault and Paris. The Japanese automaker has held a 15 percent non-voting stake since alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn turned around its fortunes in the early 2000s, as French law prevents affiliates owning less than 40 percent of a French-led company from voting at the shareholders’ table.
Nissan has other ideas. (Read More…)
Automotive News reports the program could bring as much as $850 million to $1 billion USD “in incremental profit” for the brand’s dealership network over the next four to five years, according to president Johan de Nysschen:
If we want to have a strong brand, we need to have a strong franchise. To do that, it means the dealers are profitable and that they’re able to invest in the business and to build the customer experience.
Playboy and the Pirelli Calendar had one thing in common (nudity), and as of the 2016 edition of the calendar, they still do (no nudity).
According to Bloomberg, the 2016 Pirelli Calendar has gone in a different direction for 2016, discarding its traditional theme of nude models and actresses for one focusing on 13 women who’ve made a huge impact on society and culture around them.
Shot by photographer Annie Liebovitz (who also has the 2000 calendar on her résumé), the subjects gracing the new year’s edition include musician/poet Patti Smith, tennis phenom Serena Williams, and commedienne Amy Schumer, the latter two posing topless while obscuring their breasts.
FIA’s Formula E first brought its electrified take on open-wheel racing in 2014. Come 2016, the series will bring autonomous racing to the party, as well.
Which begs the question: Is it still racing if there are no drivers in the cars?
Through a partnership with technology investment company Kinetik, Formula E’s 2016-17 season will do away with the driver entirely in a new support series dubbed ROBORACE. Ten teams will field two autonomous cars each, competing on the same circuits as the main Formula E series in one-hour races throughout the entirety of the championship season. The cars will be identical through and through, with “real-time computing algorithms and AI technologies” making the difference between taking the checkered flag first or last.
How many among Volkswagen’s ranks were involved in the automaker’s ongoing diesel scandal? Works council boss Bernd Osterloh says it’s anyone’s guess.
In a joint interview with VW brand CEO Herbert Diess, Osterloh told Reuters the scandal could involve 10, 50, or 100 people, if not more. He added those involved would still “remain a limited group” out of a global workforce of 600,000.
The battle between Nissan and the French government over the former’s voting stake in the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues on.
This month, after temporarily raising its stake to 19.7 percent, the French government cut back its stake to around 15 percent, which is still enough voting power under the Florange Law to block anything it didn’t like from Nissan and its allies during shareholder meetings.
However, second-in-command at Nissan, Chief Competitive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, expressed it wasn’t enough to go back to “the situation of seven months ago,” desiring “a better balance between the two companies,” a source told Reuters.
Instead, Nissan responded to the draw-down with a proposal establishing a “better-balanced” 25-percent/35-percent crossed shareholding, with Nissan finally having a say after 16 years of merely owning a piece of the company which rescued it from death back in 1999.
General Motors announced Thursday it will import a Buick crossover from China to the United States by the end of 2016, much to the UAW’s disappointment.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the crossover in question, the Envision, is currently produced at a facility in the Shandong province. The Buick brand itself is doing well for itself in China, where it’s GM’s best-known brand, and in the U.S., where the brand is experiencing rapid growth as of late. In both instances, the main draw for Buick is its small and medium crossovers and SUVs.
Volkswagen will announce Thursday a deadline for whistleblowers to come forward with information related to the ongoing diesel scandal without reprisal.
According to the CBC, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday the automaker is working to gather as much information on the scandal as possible by applying more pressure to employees who may have known anything about what happened regarding the rigging of diesel emissions through software.
Nissan may soon be the next guest to arrive with its own take on semi- and fully autonomous driving, but the Leaf won’t be the one to carry the torch.
Though Nissan’s Intelligent Driving autonomous concept from this year’s Tokyo Auto Show resembles a future-forward Leaf, and while the automaker is using Leafs to test its form of semi- and fully autonomous driving, Green Car Reports says the first version of Nissan’s Piloted Driving will appear in a luxury model when the rollout begins next year in Japan.
For markets such as China and the United States, an Infiniti may be the first to bring the tech over to each country’s respective shores.
Volkswagen has halted production of the Passat TDI at its Tennessee plant, because if you can’t sell ’em you may as well stop building ’em.
The stop-order comes as the automaker is ramping-up production of the new Passat in Chattanooga for sales set to begin later this month or in early December, according to Automotive News, and is yet another result of the ongoing diesel emissions scandal.