The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/are-you-ready-for/ Online Publication Believes Tesla Is Under SEC Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951433 Tesla may be under investigation by the Security Exchange Commission, if the tin-foil hat crowd can be believed, anyway. AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested in learning more about. Based on […]

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2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boat

Tesla may be under investigation by the Security Exchange Commission, if the tin-foil hat crowd can be believed, anyway.

AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested in learning more about.

Based on the responses received, the publication reads the tea leaves to determine if the SEC is investigating a given company. The request regarding Tesla was denied per a letter from the agency, citing the “law enforcement exemption” aspect of FOIA as the reason. Thus, Probes Reporter suspects Tesla is being investigated in an “undisclosed probe,” and added the company to its watch list.

As for what Tesla itself has to say, representative Liz Jarvis-Shean says her employer doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

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EFF: ECU Modification May Result In DMCA Notice http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951321 Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood. Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the […]

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Auto Repair

Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood.

Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to exempt hobbyists and shade-tree mechanics from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically Section 1201 (which we’ve talked about before).

For now, modifications to the ECU, such as boosting fuel economy or horsepower, would void a given warranty at worse. As automakers continue toward the path of consolidation, though, the potential profit in the untapped remapping market would be enough for them to lock out competitors and grab all rights to the technology.

However, a ruling could curb those DMCA notices: a 2012 case involving Lexmark and printer cartridges resulted in the decision that “companies like Lexmark cannot use the DMCA in conjunction with copyright law to create monopolies of manufactured goods for themselves.” The ruling provides protection for the original work, but not to the extent of using security measures — such as those lovely, Red Book-violating CDs from the 2000s — to protect said work.

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Honda Admits Underreporting US Death, Injury Claims Since 2003 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950929 Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003. Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said […]

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Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003.

Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said interpretation and data entry and computer programming errors when a report was made.

The admission of guilt comes from a third-party investigation’s findings in September of this year, conducted after the Center for Auto Safety accused Honda of failing to report two Takata-related incidences of death and/or injury. The results were handed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in compliance with a special order regarding the lapse.

Honda is already making adjustments to its reporting system, adding oral and written claims to the standard reports, and will make changes to its organization methods and staffing. In the meantime, the automaker will likely face a fine of $35 million, as well as a $7,000/day fine for every day it was in violation of the TREAD Act since 2003, a fine that could exceed the NHTSA’s maximum.

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VW Bringing Golf SportWagen 4Motion, Alltrack To US In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949993 Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016. Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike. The Alltrack variant, unveiled […]

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Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016.

Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike.

The Alltrack variant, unveiled at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, will be paired against the Subaru XV Crosstrek with the aim of capturing a piece of the U.S. small crossover market, gain more overall U.S. market share, as well as using more of the Puebla, Mexico factory where the Golf is assembled now.

As for the standard SportWagen, FWD versions will arrive sometime this coming spring, while tooling for the AWD 2016 model is beginning to be installed. Horn expects the SportWagen to make up 50 percent of all Golf sales once VW completes its lineup expansion.

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Honda Calls For Compliance From Consumers Regarding Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949969 Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair. Even if it means involving the government. Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per […]

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Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair.

Even if it means involving the government.

Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek in testimony before Congress last week. One of his suggestions would be to decline registration of a vehicle under recall until the defects were repaired, in a manner similar to emissions testing.

Schostek’s suggestions have found support from the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Center for Auto Safety, with Nissan stating it was too early to comment, and General Motors, Toyota and Ford remaining silent thus far.

At present, automakers are required to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of any problems a model may be experiencing, while owners aren’t required to do anything.

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De Nysschen: $250K Cadillac Flagship Ready By 2029 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/de-nysschen-250k-cadillac-flagship-ready-2029/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/de-nysschen-250k-cadillac-flagship-ready-2029/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949177 The upcoming Cadillac CT6 may be the premium brand’s flagship for now, but president Johan de Nysschen has a grander flagship in mind for the next decade. Reuters reports the future flagship would likely arrive in 2029 with a price of $250,000, bringing Cadillac up to par against the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This […]

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Cadillac President de Nysschen poses with the Cadillac ATS-V during the model's world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles

The upcoming Cadillac CT6 may be the premium brand’s flagship for now, but president Johan de Nysschen has a grander flagship in mind for the next decade.

Reuters reports the future flagship would likely arrive in 2029 with a price of $250,000, bringing Cadillac up to par against the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This would supercede not only the CT6, but a planned range-topping flagship due to arrive by 2020 per de Nysschen’s roadmap for his brand.

In the meantime, the CT6 is expected to be priced “in the 70s,” just above the current XTS. De Nysschen is also eyeing a vehicle below the ATS that would go up against the Mercedes-Benz CLA, as well as pondering additional crossovers to lend aid to the SRX, citing the Germans’ wide array of crossovers for inspiration.

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Grand Cherokee, Durango Going Grayscale Until February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949153 Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months. Automotive News reports […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-004

Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months.

Automotive News reports the grayscale look will be in until at least next February due to upgrades at Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North Assembly’s paint shop in Detroit. The upgrades would allow the shop to paint vehicles with more complex colors than it could prior to the changeover.

The changeover, which follows those at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ subsidary’s Warren Truck and Sterling Heights facilities, will also shut production down for three weeks beginning December 22, the first time the plant has been shut down for that long in several years.

Until then, shoppers can comb through the lot to find a red or maximum steel SUV of their dreams: around 19 percent of 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees and 8 percent of 719 unsold Dodge Durangos come in colors outside of the grayscale range.

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Toyota’s Texas Move Could Reduce US White-Collar Workforce 70 Percent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-texas-move-reduce-us-white-collar-workforce-70-percent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-texas-move-reduce-us-white-collar-workforce-70-percent/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946602 As Toyota prepares to consolidate the majority of its U.S. operations into its new headquarters in Plano, Texas, it may end up retaining as little as 30 percent of its engineering, sales, finance and corporate workforce after the move as uncertainty takes hold. Automotive News reports the automaker is doing all it can to hold […]

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Toyota Texas

As Toyota prepares to consolidate the majority of its U.S. operations into its new headquarters in Plano, Texas, it may end up retaining as little as 30 percent of its engineering, sales, finance and corporate workforce after the move as uncertainty takes hold.

Automotive News reports the automaker is doing all it can to hold onto as many of its employees as possible with the move to Texas drawing closer with every passing day, going as far as to offer a generous package to help employees remain with the company:

  • Lump-sum payment based on job level to those who follow Toyota into Plano, then remain on-board for two years after
  • Rentention bonuses based on salary/tenure for those who stay until their departments move to Plano
  • Full reimbursement of relocation costs for those in supervisory or management roles and above
  • Real estate assistance for those selling their homes to buy one in Texas

Though it has budgeted its package for 50 percent of its U.S. workforce — the figure proposed to help make for a smooth transition while avoiding the continuity issues Nissan faced in a similar move in 2006 — a source inside Toyota stated the company would be lucky to retain 30 percent:

They would be happy to have 50 percent. It’s hard to tell [how many people will go] because nobody has been offered their jobs yet.

Toyota plans to offer new job classifications beginning in January, with the goal of realigning most of its employees under one set of guidelines. The classifications will also affect benefits and bonuses, along with how a given job is conducted and administered. Since the announcement of those changes this past summer, however, morale and productivity have fallen amid the long wait, per another inside source.

Around 4,050 employees from California, New York and Kentucky are expected to make the move to Plano by 2017.

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Report: US Median Income Could Soon Outpace Falling Car Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946258 Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise. According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — […]

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Woman Receiving Car Keys For Her Death Ride 1969 Extravaganza

Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise.

According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — of a new vehicle with an average transaction price of $30,382, as recorded in October 2014.

ABAI publisher Requisite Press stated that while the current percentage was still high, “transaction prices have recently begun to weaken under ideal conditions for strength,” such as the rise in income among consumers. There, the ABAI found said income had climbed 3.8 percent above the 52.1 percent value reported in April of this year, corresponding to an extra $653 in spending ability.

The publisher adds that should the center hold, the U.S. median household income would continue to outpace automotive pricing, a status not seen since 1980. President Phil Kelton explains:

New-car affordability is likely to improve in the coming days if we can avoid an income slowdown. The selection of affordable models is best increased by competition, but a sustained improvement in affordability will certainly give it a boost.

As for taking advantage of this burgeoning reality, Requisite Press suggests consumers “maximize their buying power” along every step of the car-buying process, with a suggestion to follow the 20-4-10 rule: 20 percent down, four-year loan term max, 10 percent of income spent on car payments.

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Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Takata Chairman In Hiding, Mexican Plant Increasing Airbag Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945033 Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and […]

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Takata Car Seats

Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and General Motors’ respective recalls.

Autoblog reports Takata chairman and CEO Shigesha Takada — whose grandfather founded the company he currently helms — has not been seen since June of this year, giving only a published statement that Takata would work with authorities regarding the defective airbags. Takada won’t be turning up anytime soon, either; the company plans to send COO and president Stefan Stocker to an upcoming analyst briefing in place of the missing chair.

South of the border, Automotive News reports the supplier is adding two new production lines at its Monclova, Mexico facility to help boost supplies of replacement modules. The new lines are expected to go online in January, contributing to the 1.47 million units expected to ship out by February. Takata recently called upon competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive to help with the production, though that could take months while the suppliers build, test and validate their respective contributions for use by Takata’s client base.

Over in the Beltway, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold its first Takata hearing next Thursday, which will include testimony by the supplier, Honda and the NHTSA. The supplier also stated that it had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordering it to produce documents related to the airbag recalls. This is in addition to the NHTSA’s own request for documents, which must be answered by December 1.

Speaking of the NHTSA, Edmunds reports Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Bill Nelson of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, urging him to initiate a full reform of the agency:

NHTSA must alter its practices to require automakers to publicly release more information about accidents that could be caused by safety defects, upgrade its own safety databases, and do a better job of enforcing compliance with transparency measures intended to provide early warnings about potentially danger defects to the public.

The senators are calling for an end to regional recalls in light of the Takata action, citing that affected vehicles could move into and out of regions where high humidity — the condition needed for catastrophic failure to occur — is prevalent, as well as for safety regulators to pull potentially dangerous vehicles “off the road,” such as those affected by the respective recalls by Toyota, General Motors and Takata.

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VW Establishes New Labor Organization Engagement Policy For Chattanooga Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944745 Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives. Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent […]

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Volkswagen Chattanooga

Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives.

Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent for any group of employees,” but does allow those groups three levels of access and dialogue with the plant’s top brass when a given group represents at least 15 percent of the employees.

The first level grants groups who represent 15 percent of the floor the right to hold a meeting once a month during non-work hours, along with monthly meetings with VW HR, and the ability to post announcements. The second level — 30 percent representation — allows groups to meet once a week, as well as invite non-employee group personnel to meet up once per month, and quarterly meetings with the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee. Finally, groups who represent 45 percent or more of the floor can reserve floor spaces “as reasonably needed,” meet with HR biweekly, and the executive committee monthly.

Eligibility for any of the tiers includes adhering to the standards set by the National Labor Relations Board, with membership rolls evaluated by a third party twice per year.

UAW treasurer Gary Casteel said his union would soon meet with VW officials to “remind them” of the commitments made between the union and the automaker earlier this year in Germany, as well as offering to help verify the roll for UAW Local 42, which claims to have more than a majority of the plant’s 3,200-plus workers.

Meanwhile, American Council of Employees interim president Sean Moss applauded the policy, proclaiming Volkswagen had “officially recognized the need for a local group that puts the needs and interests of its members ahead of outside political forces,” and ensures groups aside from the UAW have a say in how the plant will be organized.

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GM Discloses More Fatalities, Faces Questions Amid Email Revelation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944553 General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place. According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths […]

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place.

According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths and 614 injuries linked to the ignition switch at the center of the recall. The breakdown this quarter is as follows:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt: 302 injuries, 26 deaths
  • Chevrolet HHR: 122 injuries, five deaths
  • Saturn Ion: 56 injuries, seven deaths

The overall total linked to the ignition issue thus far comes to 975 crashes, 1,101 injuries and 69 deaths, most occurring within the past several years.

As for the recall, the recently revealed email exchange between GM and supplier Delphi in December 2013 over a parts order of 500,000 switches — two months prior to the recall action — further showed the communication breakdown that has kept the automaker and those affected by its actions in the spotlight for most of this year. The emails weren’t a part of the Valukas report, and would have remained unknown to all but the attorneys fighting the automaker in class-action cases if a judge ruled in favor of keeping the documents confidential.

Regarding where Barra was, she and other senior GM brass all maintain that they didn’t know about the seriousness at-hand until the end of January. Barra had been the company’s executive vice president of product development, purchasing and supply chain prior to becoming CEO January 15. Further, the exchange was between mid-level employees — specifically a contract employee named Sarah Missentzis — and the supplier, suggesting that Barra still wasn’t told about the problem due to where she was in the chain of command.

That said, the automaker still had a responsibility to alert consumers to, at minimum, unload their keyrings to prevent the slipping issues affecting the switches, according to attorney Robert Hilliard, the attorney who fought to have the emails go public:

Part of the recall was to tell customers to take weight off the key chain. Why delay telling customers that?

For its part, GM said the emails were “further confirmation” that its reporting system “needed reform,” an issue that the automaker has gone to great pains to correct, per representative Alan Adler.

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GM To Lay Off 510 Employees In Two Separate Actions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944513 A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns. According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes […]

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2015 Cadillac ATSs at Lansing Grand River Assembly

A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns.

According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes from the loss of a second shift at the plant, a planned cut in production as part of Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen’s promise to make his brand more exclusive, and to allow excess inventory to be sold off.

A second shift is expected to return when GM begins production of the next-gen Chevrolet Camaro — based upon the same platform underpinning the two Cadillacs — between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. In the meantime, GM plans to relocate some of the 350 to one of its two nearby plants.

Closer to Detroit, Detroit Free Press says the remaining 160 employees at Lake Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich. will have their positions permanently phased-out starting in January. The plant is slowing down production of the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic to meet projected sales. Representative Chris Bonelli says the process will conclude by the end of 2015, but the number of workers ultimately laid-off “could be reduced by planned retirements and general attrition.”

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VW Unveils New 10-Speed DSG, Other Technologies From Innovation Workshop http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944441 At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels. On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 […]

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Volkswagen TDI

At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels.

On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the new 239 horsepower twin-turbo diesel unit in the Passat could be pushed to 268 horsepower with electric assist, variable valve trains, and an optimized gas exchange cycle. The mill also burns a gallon of diesel for every 44 miles, while VW’s newest stop-start system cuts power at 4 mph, as well as at higher speeds when the accelerator is released. A mild hybrid system uses energy recovery to further efficiency.

Inside, the driver will be able to make use of either Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto thanks to the latest version of MirrorLink and its App Connect software. VW also introduced a prototype navigation system that “takes notes” of where the driver prefers to go without the need to be first called upon. They can also check on their car’s vitals via updates to VW’s Car Net’s Security & Service suite, connecting drivers to the Internet to determine what fluids, if any, need to be topped-up prior to a trip, as one example.

Other technologies on display at this year’s workshop include dashboards and glass sunroofs whose pigments and coatings block infrared radiation; lightweight construction and materials techniques derived from motorsport — specifically the 2014 Polo R WRC; and need-based air-conditioning systems for EVs such as the e-up! and e-Golf.

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Honda UK Launches First Commercial Solar Hydrogen Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944001 In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England. SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas […]

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UK’s_first_commercial_scale_green_hydrogen_refuelling_facility_opens_in_Swindon

In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England.

SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s heat. The first customers will be limited to a pair of forklifts and a commercial fleet on the grounds of Honda’s Swindon production plant, as well as an education center next door.

The hydrogen will be delivered through 300-meter long pipes to a refueling point inside the factory, where two Briggs lithium-ion/hydrogen hybrid forklifts will replenish their tanks as needed. The fueling process is expected to take five minutes, each full tank generating 5.5 hours of run time.

Honda hopes the new facility, parts of which were already in operation since 2011, “will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow” as well as reinforce the United Kingdom’s potential among automakers as a place to contribute to the new hydrogen future with vehicles and infrastructure.

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NYC Lowers Speed Limit To 25 MPH For Safety Reasons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943969 Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel. WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of […]

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NYC 25 MPH Limit Legislation

Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel.

WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of approximately 3,000 signs going up at “key gateways to the city,” per NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. An NYC DOT representative added that the stop lights would be recalibrated to reflect the new change.

The move comes on the order of Mayor Bill de Blasio — inspired by pedestrian fatalities linked to speeding — and is part of his “Vision Zero” plan aimed at reducing traffic deaths. Trottenberg stated the reduction would “cut in half” the chances an accident would be fatal, citing research to back up her claim.

While some of the city’s denizens applaud the move, others believe the 25-mph limit is a money grab — $150 ticket if pulled over, $50 if caught by automated law enforcement — and doesn’t change much in the way people drive as it is.

The last time 25 mph was the law was 50 years ago, when the New York Legislature raised it to 30 mph.

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GM Parts Order Center Of New Evidence Surrounding Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943945 Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall. According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly a year ago in mid-December 2013, when GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches from its supplier a day after senior execs discussed the issue surrounding the Chevrolet Cobalt. The automaker also asked for an aggressive timetable between production and delivery.

The emails come from a discovery order linked to a case currently being heard in New York, led by attorney Bob Hilliard. While Delphi and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both declined to talk about them, GM representative Alan Adler said his company followed protocol in submitting a complete timeline regarding the recall, and “wasn’t required to disclose details of a parts order.”

The emails also don’t appear in the 315-page Valukas report, the results of the independent investigation led by attorney Anton Valukas. Valukas stated that he was hired by GM to only look for why the recall didn’t happen sooner than it had, Adler adding that the automaker did not attempt to influence the investigation. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut thinks GM might as well have done as much:

This order for 500,000 parts raises deeply disturbing questions about the validity of the Valukas report, but more important, the timeline of GM’s effort to protect its car owners. The question is why the delay and how many lives were put at risk since GM waited at least two months before issuing a recall even though it had already decided to order parts?

The emails surrounding the parts order will likely be used by a number of attorneys representing numerous class-action suits, seeking damages for everything from injury and death, to loss of resale value.

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Los Angeles 2014: Jaguar F-Type Coupe R AWD Unveiled In South Africa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-jaguar-f-type-coupe-r-awd-unveiled-south-africa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-jaguar-f-type-coupe-r-awd-unveiled-south-africa/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943489 Deciding two wheels weren’t enough, Jaguar unveiled its 2016 F-Type Coupe R in South Africa, which puts all four on the floor instead of just the two in the back. AutoGuide reports the sports car is able to charge from the starting grid to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, hitting the speed wall at […]

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jaguar-f-type-coupe-r-awd

Deciding two wheels weren’t enough, Jaguar unveiled its 2016 F-Type Coupe R in South Africa, which puts all four on the floor instead of just the two in the back.

AutoGuide reports the sports car is able to charge from the starting grid to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, hitting the speed wall at 186 mph. The AWD R will be just one of 12 options available to F-Type shoppers by 2016, expanding from just six at present. The expansion is due to the introduction of AWD.

The F-Type Coupe R was also used to help establish communications protocol between the pilot behind the Bloodhound SSC — who will break the sound barrier on the ground on its way to over 1,000 mph — and the vehicle’s team, radioing a jet flying 50 feet above the ground at 500 mph over the Hakskeen Pan.

More details and photos will come next week, when the AWD F-Type Coupe R rolls down the ramp at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943465 The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall. Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an […]

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Honda Integra Type R DC2

The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall.

Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.” While the flagship — the NSX — is set to leave Ohio beginning next year, the reincarnated Integra/RSX would likely begin its return to the showroom floor in 2017 at the earliest.

Though Marek couldn’t be more specific regarding the supporting actor, he did acknowledge that Honda went the wrong way in making Acura too upscale, not at all helped by the Great Recession that turned what would have been the next NSX into a non-homologated Super GT combatant.

Meanwhile, Acura will debut a refreshed ILX next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which he says is a harbinger of things to come:

There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming. It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction. There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.

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First GM Ignition Lawsuit Trial Set For January 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/first-gm-ignition-lawsuit-trial-set-january-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/first-gm-ignition-lawsuit-trial-set-january-2016/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942425 It’s official: the first bellwether trial involving a lawsuit against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall is set for January 2016. Reuters reports the first trial, to be selected by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York in the near future, will focus on […]

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thurgood-marshall-courthouse

It’s official: the first bellwether trial involving a lawsuit against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall is set for January 2016.

Reuters reports the first trial, to be selected by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York in the near future, will focus on personal injury or wrongful death. The case will be chosen from a pool of 130 suits, with claims linked to personal injury, wrongful death and lost vehicle value.

The trial, which could be the first of many bellwether trials to come, could help both sides in determining a given case’s strengths and weaknesses. No decisions made in each case will be binding to the overall pool.

The case was originally scheduled for October 2015, but GM wanted a date for June 2016, citing time constraints to prepare its case were the original proposal accepted. The vehicle in question for the first trial will be addressed when the case is selected by Furman.

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GM Offers Gift Cards To 700K Affected By Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941017 Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the […]

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Gift Cards Woo-Hoo

Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall by December 1.

The Detroit News reports brochures about the gift card incentive began landing last week in the mailboxes of those who have yet to bring in their affected vehicle for a 30-minute part swap. Per GM representative Ryndee Carney, the promo went out to around 700,000 who haven’t ordered parts; those who did, but haven’t come in, weren’t eligible for the offer.

After said owners have their vehicles repaired, they will be given a code to redeem online for a $25 card from either Amazon, AMC, Applebee’s, Bass Pro Shops, Red Robin, Starbucks or Walmart, with delivery due between two to four weeks. Were all 700,000 to turn up, a total of $17.5 million would be given away in the promotion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is on-board with the initiative, encouraging GM to do everything it can to repair those affected vehicles. A similar program was offered by Toyota in 2010 during its unintended acceleration recall drive, one that made a huge splash with response rates, according to vice president of corporate communications, Mike Michels.

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GM, Harman Delivering Android-Equipped Vehicles By Late 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-harman-delivering-android-equipped-vehicles-late-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-harman-delivering-android-equipped-vehicles-late-2016/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940961 Remember how the heads of Volkswagen and Daimler were urging their fellow automakers not to drink so much Google Kool-Aid? General Motors thinks the punch isn’t spiked at all, pressing forward with a plan to bring Android into its brand portfolio by late 2016. Automotive News reports supplier Harman International will be the one to […]

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Chevrolet MyLink

Remember how the heads of Volkswagen and Daimler were urging their fellow automakers not to drink so much Google Kool-Aid? General Motors thinks the punch isn’t spiked at all, pressing forward with a plan to bring Android into its brand portfolio by late 2016.

Automotive News reports supplier Harman International will be the one to supply the new connected-vehicle system to GM, having won a $900 million contract in 2012 for the right to do so. CEO Dinesh Paliwal explains what’s in store for consumers when they sit behind the wheel of an Android-powered vehicle:

As you would expect, this next-generation infotainment solution will enable an app store, which allows this infotainment system to stay technologically relevant over the life cycle of the vehicle. Apps will be developed by General Motors, Harman and a bunch of other third parties, not just Google and Apple.

Harman, a member of the Open Automotive Alliance, will also make their system available to other automakers, so long as they don’t mind being “one life cycle behind” GM, who would be the first to use the system.

As for where in the lineup the first Harman/Android units will turn up, Paliwal didn’t say. At present, though, it may be a while before full assimilation occurs; within Chevrolet alone, QNX, Linux and Microsoft rule the day in vehicles like the Malibu, Impala and Sonic.

Meanwhile, GM hasn’t commented on Paliwal’s announcement. The automaker had planned to roll-out a service called AppShop, announced during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, only to bail this summer when the service failed to meet consumer expectations.

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Report: Electric Turbocharging Could Provide Fuel Economy Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-electric-turbocharging-provide-fuel-economy-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-electric-turbocharging-provide-fuel-economy-boost/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940937 Though full electrification might not be in the cards for most consumers, those looking for turbo power for their vehicles could find a little bit of that black magic in the turbo itself down the road. A report by Navigant Research posits that the best way to eliminate lag without using a supercharger to make […]

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Valeo Electric Turbocharger

Though full electrification might not be in the cards for most consumers, those looking for turbo power for their vehicles could find a little bit of that black magic in the turbo itself down the road.

A report by Navigant Research posits that the best way to eliminate lag without using a supercharger to make up for said lag — at the expense of increased friction at higher speeds — an electric turbocharger may be the best bet yet. The technology offers a handful of improvements over exhaust-driven units, including packaging of components, responsiveness and flexibility.

Supplier Valeo recently unveiled such a piece — for 12V and 48V electrical systems — with the first applications coming online in 2016. According to their findings, the best application for the turbo is with an engine that uses cylinder deactivation to maintain fuel economy. As power is reduced with cylinder count, an electric turbo can help with small boosts in power to tackle situations that would otherwise switch all of the cylinders back on, such as mild-and-above inclines.

Meanwhile, engineers wouldn’t have to figure out where to package all of the plumbing required for an exhaust-driven turbo with an electric unit, allowing for a placement that provides the best peformance and setup.

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Mercedes Vision G-Code Study Shows Off Possible Future For SUV/CUV Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940225 Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe. The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all […]

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Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014 Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014

Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe.

The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all other vehicle configurations. Thus, aside from its muscular coupe profile — measuring 13 feet long and 4.9 feet tall — and 21-inch wheels riding a 6.2-foot wide track, the G-Code offers a few technological wonders that may someday appear in Mercedes’ portfolio of SUVs and crossovers.

The first is the paint itself. The silver paint is a “multi-voltaic” coating that pulls energy from the sun and/or wind to help aid in the methane/hydrogen synthesis process; the G-Code is also an FCV. The driver can use their smartphone to start the vehicle, then place it in the docking station to access the study’s connected-vehicle system.

Moving both pairs of wheels, a turbocharged hydrogen mil delivers power to the front, while an electric motor selectively moves the rear wheels via a dual multi-disc clutch. Power regeneration is carried out via the aforementioned coating, plug-in technology, and a suspension system that transmits energy into a compact current generator.

The grill adds still more flash to the G-Code by indicating the state its HYBRID system is in, from blue light moving toward the star in eDrive, to vivid red and reverse movement in sport.

Finally, the driver and their passengers can enjoy niceties, such as: GPS, 3D cameras, leather-upholstered seats with 3D body scanning for improved comfort, a pair of stand-up scooters in the back for additional mobility, and photosynthetic air conditioning for cleaner cabin air.

Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014

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