Posts By: Matt Posky

By on March 28, 2017

supreme-court

A Supreme Court ruling between two food companies may benefit the Detroit Three and its many domestic suppliers.

The case of TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands focused on where plaintiffs in an intellectual property or patent infringement dispute can file a lawsuit. Current U.S. law dictates that the plaintiff may file a patent infringement suit in any court district where the defendant does business. This has saturated the Eastern District of Texas with countless patent and I.P. lawsuits. Plaintiffs prefer the region because rural Texas juries are more likely to rule against big businesses and the district is known for expediting proceedings.

According to a January study by the Stanford Technology Law Review, only about 15 percent of cases heard in the court actually involved a patent invented within the district or had an accused party that had an office in the area. However, the Supreme Court is expected to put the kibosh on the practice by forcing plaintiffs to try cases near the defendant’s headquarters — meaning domestic automakers could have the home field advantage in future legal proceedings.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

enzo ferari

Italian investigators said on Tuesday that they had prevented a criminal plot to steal the body of automotive legend and Formula One racing pioneer Enzo Ferrari. The scheme involved using two cars and a van, breaking into San Cataldo cemetery, absconding with the corpse, and then holding it for ransom.

Just imagine the incredible movie that would have resulted from the heist had the police not immediately foiled the plan. It would have equal parts The Italian Job and Weekend at Bernie’s.

Così buono.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

Ford Factory

Ford Motor Company has announced that it will invest $1.2 billion into three Michigan facilities to strengthen its status among truck and SUVs manufacturers and to further enhance its role as a “mobility company.” Most importantly, the cash is needed if Americans ever want to get their hands on a Bronco or Ranger again.

Many of the investments are included in the automaker’s 2015 promise to pour nine billion dollars into its U.S. plants over the next several years. In an agreement with UAW made almost two years ago, Ford said it would pour $700 million into the Michigan Assembly plant, $150 million into the Romeo Engine plant, and $400 million for Flat Rock Assembly.

While these were not the only locations promised capital, Ford released an official statement that all three would see the promised amount — or better.   (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

uber volvo autonomous

After Friday’s high-speed crash, it’s back to business as usual for Uber’s autonomous programs. Last week, one of the company’s self-driving Volvos was struck by a flesh-piloted Ford Edge — causing Uber to temporarily ground its entire test fleet. With the exception of the wrecked unit, all of those vehicles are now back in action as the business attempts to get on with R&D while simultaneously moving its legal dispute with Waymo out of the public eye.

Meanwhile, Volvo’s 300-million-dollar alliance with the ride-sharing company remains unperturbed. In the crash’s aftermath, Volvo maintained that it would continue to support Uber and preserve the partnership.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

pumping fuel

California has green-lit light-vehicle pollution targets that the Trump administration has placed under review. As expected, the Golden State is going to continue playing hardball over Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Already critical of the automotive industry for asking the president to reconsider federal guidelines through 2025, the California Air Resources Board hinted that it wouldn’t stray from the emission targets set by the Obama administration in 2012. On Friday, CARB finalized its state emissions rules while setting an updated ordinance on zero-emission vehicles. “We’re going to press on,” said Mary Nichols, head of the board, during last week’s press conference.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

autonomous testing tesla

Every time we write an article about autonomous vehicles, our comments section is quickly populated with discourse over how litigation would be handled in the event of a crash. Who do you sue?

You can’t fault the driver, because a truly self-driving car takes them out of the equation. Suing the manufacturer doesn’t work because, assuming the system functions properly, they’re still saving lives and shouldering all of the risk would discourage companies from bothering to pursue the technology.

However, autonomous accidents will happen and someone is inevitably going to appear in a courtroom. The justice system has to decide how that will be handled, but Automotive News’ Katie Burke has an interesting solution. It relates to how the United States deals with legal actions involving vaccinations.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

navigation car GPS

A new study suggests drivers who follow GPS directions regularly do not engage their hippocampus, highly limiting the development of an internal map and making them more dependent on navigation devices. We’ve all heard accounts of London cabbies with juicy, swollen central lobes, stemming from the requisite training and memorization of city streets and landmarks. It turns out the inverse may also be true. This may be another classic case of if you don’t use it, you lose it.

The University College London discovered the hippocampus (used for direction and memory) and the prefrontal cortex (used for decision-making) both saw elevated levels of activity whenever drivers turned down unfamiliar streets or had free-choice to follow along their route. However, those making use of navigational systems produced no additional activity in those areas whatsoever. Zero, zilch, nada.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

mercedes-benz EQ

China’s Chery Automobile Company has filed a formal complaint against Daimler AG over is usage of “EQ” as designation for an upcoming lineup of Mercedes-Benz electric cars. That’s bad news for Benz, as China possesses the world’s largest EV marketplace and Daimler has already begun promoting its future electric lineup using the name.

The German automaker said last year that it would begin producing EQ models in Europe before the end of the decade, with the global sub-brand sold in both eastern and western markets. Unfortunately, Chery already has a fully electric minicar named the eQ that was launched in China in November of 2014. The car is based on the current Chery QQ, which was the centerpiece of a 2005 lawsuit from General Motors following claims that its design was stolen from the Daewoo Matiz and Chevrolet Spark.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

2016 BMw X1 white

Europe always seemed like a safe haven for the sort of car lover who turns up their nose over North America’s obsession with the sport utility vehicle. That’s now changing, as European demand for SUVs and crossovers continued to grow in 2016. While it may have a penchance for slightly smaller models, the EU saw disproportionately high sales of compact crossovers last year.

In total, SUV sales accounted for 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016 — up from 21 percent the previous year. That doesn’t quite equal the United States’ fervent addiction but, if the European Union keeps this pace, it’ll be less than a decade before it closes the gap.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

Pontiac Silverdome in 2006

After a lengthy death rattle spanning from 2006 to 2012, Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome finally closed for good in 2013. Its parking lot, however, remains in use thanks to Volkswagen’s legal obligation to buy back scores of diesel cars following its infamous emissions scandal. In stasis since January, the cars have become an unwelcome addition to the deteriorating stadium and the city of Pontiac has opted to sue the property’s current owners for holding them.

While the site’s parking lot is being used for its intended purpose for the first time in years, city officials claim that Triple Investment Group has violated numerous safety codes, zoning ordinances, and a municipal code relating to the proper storage of used vehicles at the property. Six complaints were filed with the 50th District Court in Pontiac on February 27th, roughly a month after hundreds of VWs arrived in the wake of the company’s emission’s crisis.

Now, the doomed diesels number in the thousands.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2017

Hyundai Logo. Picture courtesy of autoblog.com

Hyundai Motor Group has received added attention from investors this week over expectations that the family-run business could undergo a major reorganization into a public holding, with the same separate, multifaceted structure as Hyundai Heavy Industries.

News spread that Hyundai Motor could be preparing a restructuring campaign after it issued a disclosure statement last Friday that explained it would be charging Hyundai Steel and Hyundai Glovis Co. 13.9 billion won ($12.4 million) for the use of the Hyundai brand name. This is the first time the company has ever collected from either over the use of its corporate trademark.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2017

pumping fuel

An economic assessment conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that, due to recent improvements in technology, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rationale for its 2025 fuel efficiency standards may have overestimated the cost for automakers to comply. The ICCT’s study shows average per-car investments 34 to 40 percent lower than the previous EPA appraisal.

While this information, had it come out sooner, may not have kept automotive executives from bending the president’s ear to reevaluate EPA guidelines, it certainly reframes their reasons for doing so. The ICCT, famous for turning researchers loose on Volkswagen diesels, makes a good case that manufacturers have the tools to meet current standards without spending a lot of money.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

General Motors began taking pre-orders in South Korea last week for the all-electric Bolt. In under two hours, the entirety of the first shipment was spoken for. By the end of that day, March 17, more than 2,000 additional orders had been placed, proving — once again — that GM is killing it in Asia and Koreans are tech-obsessed.

Incredibly, most of those customers hadn’t even laid eyes on the vehicle. The Bolt doesn’t make its official Korean debut until March 30th, when it will appear at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show.  (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2017

Subaru STI bobsled

Most automotive advertising has little to nothing to do with the actual car. It’s usually about presenting an image or hawking brand identity and then loosely associating it with a vehicle — Mercedes’ current “Grow Up” campaign is a perfect, cringeworthy example. However, enthusiasts know that the best car ads feature incredible shenanigans and loads of life-or-death action.

Dave Chapelle mocked Mitsubishi for its pop-and-lock Eclipse spot, while Top Gear honored Land Rover for winching a Defender up the side of a dam. Keenly aware of this is Subaru, which, after sending Mark Higgins and a WRX STI around the Isle of Man TT course in 2014, brought both man and vehicle to the world’s oldest bobsled run in St. Moritz, Switzerland to record another automotive spectacle.

Unfortunately, Subaru is more than 50 years too late for this particular publicity stunt. Ford filmed an identical feature in the Italian Alps with the Cortina GT way back in 1964. It even named the car after the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort, where it later held the event. Subaru may be calling it “boxersledding” today, but it’s really just a rehash of Ford’s classic “auto-bobbing.”  (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2017

U.S. Mexico Border

Now that Mexican negotiators aren’t reacting specifically to President Trump’s heated rhetoric over foreign trade policies, their terror and rage has begun to subside. The North American Free Trade Agreement might even continue to exist for the time being.

Trump’s previous attacks on NAFTA, import tariff threats, and promise of a border wall incensed Mexican officials to a point where many suggested Mexico should simply abandon the renegotiation talks on principle. However, now that cabinet officials will be speaking on behalf of the president and the focus of the negotiators have shifted toward the fundamentals — and not the politics — Mexico can relax a little.  (Read More…)

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