Category: Congress

By on January 16, 2016

Recalled GM ignition switch

The man in the middle of GM’s faulty ignition switch has finally spoken, and the word “mistake” came up at least twice.

That, does anyone have the number for Google, GM and Honda may join forces, and take a cab … after the break!

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By on January 15, 2016

2012 Lexus RX450h Autonomous Car By Google. Photo courtesy Wired Magazine.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday said his department would seek nearly $4 billion over the next 10 years to standardize rules for self-driving cars and make it easier for carmakers to offer more autonomous vehicles.

The plan was mentioned Tuesday by President Barack Obama during his final State of the Union address and detailed by Foxx at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The plan would create a uniform autonomous vehicle policy for states to adopt and would allow more exemptions from current safety regulations for self-driving technology.

Only a few states currently allow autonomous vehicles on their roads, including California, Nevada and Michigan.

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By on December 28, 2015

2016 Mazda CX-3 GT (18 of 25)

Newly promoted, high-priced executives at Mazda seem to think there’s something to this crossover fad.

That, Hyundai’s landed a Benjamin Button to lead Genesis and I wish I would have known how cheap I could have purchased an F1 team … after the break.

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By on December 9, 2015

Photo credit: Factory Five Racing/Facebook

For decades, enthusiasts came to dread new motor vehicle laws, as they typically conspire against the use of motor vehicles for fun. Post-Nader safety regulations that made cars heavier and less nimble came first. Emissions laws came a few years later, which strangled the previously-unrestricted engines into submission. The death of leaded fuel helped many of those old dinosaurs meet their untimely end.

For once, however, a massive new bill has actually lifted some restrictions. The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 (as we covered in June) was passed last week as part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.

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By on December 2, 2015

Anthony Foxx + Barack Obama et al

Auto executives from nearly every major U.S. automaker met in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss safety, recalls and technology with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Automotive News reported.

Senior executives from 15 automakers, including General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn and Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz, met to address Foxx’s concerns that “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety,” according to a letter obtained by Automotive News.

The recent snowballing recall crises at GM, FCA and other automakers concerning Takata’s airbag inflators prompted the meeting, according to reports. A spokesman for the Transportation Department said the meeting was “very productive.”

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By on October 21, 2015

United States Capitol

In its proposal Wednesday, U.S. House Republicans offered a carbon credit plan for automakers to trade tougher emissions standards for more safety technology. (You know, the safety features that people are already willing to pay for.)

“This is a life-saving endeavor,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said according to Reuters (via Automotive News). Trading pollution for safety, “incentivizes automakers to invest in new safety technology that will save more lives.”

The plan would relax future carbon dioxide requirements up to 9 percent in cars with advanced safety systems. An automotive lobby group said reducing crashes would reduce CO2 emissions.

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By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn testifying

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.

Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.

“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.

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By on October 8, 2015

By on October 8, 2015

Meanwhile, over in the EU, no one appears to have lost their minds over the Volkswagen scandal. Not at all. Totally sane.

By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)

In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.

(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)

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