The Truth About Cars » Global http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 24 Sep 2014 21:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 » Global http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/global-news-blog/ Future Of Auto Industry Linked To Silicon Valley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-auto-industry-linked-silicon-valley/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-auto-industry-linked-silicon-valley/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917650 As companies like Google, Tesla and Uber seek to reshape the auto industry in their own ways, more automakers and suppliers are beating a path toward Silicon Valley and the Center for Automotive Research Stanford to help adapt to the new reality. Ward’s Auto recently sat down with CARS director Sven Beiker, who once worked […]

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Silicon Valley around San Jose

As companies like Google, Tesla and Uber seek to reshape the auto industry in their own ways, more automakers and suppliers are beating a path toward Silicon Valley and the Center for Automotive Research Stanford to help adapt to the new reality.

Ward’s Auto recently sat down with CARS director Sven Beiker, who once worked for BMW as one of the first industry observers sent to report on developments in Silicon Valley’s growing tech culture. From there, he relocated to Detroit for a couple of years to participate in a hybrid project with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler before joining Stanford in 2008.

Regarding his work since then, Beiker states that unlike other automotive industry think tanks that receive funding from federal grants, CARS relies on private funding from more than two dozen sustaining supporters, including Ford, Toyota, Delphi and Panasonic. Further, the supporters develop potential technologies with the center, with access to the university’s Dynamic Design, Interactive Media and Stanford AI Lab to help develop their ideas.

Stanford itself also has been pushing development of automotive technology, such as autonomous vehicles — a long-term project dating back to the first U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored DARPA Challenge in 2005 — electric-vehicle charging and advance batteries, and future business models for the industry as a whole.

When asked if Silicon Valley’s cadre of venture capitalists wanted to invest in a new car company, Beiker stated they were more interested in the next Uber than the next Tesla, going so far as to claim the VCs likely don’t want their home to become a new automotive industry mecca. That may be easier said than hoped, as both automakers and suppliers establish a presence alongside the game-changers in the valley.

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Toyota Camry To Have Aluminum Hoods By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-camry-aluminum-hoods-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-camry-aluminum-hoods-2018/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916882 As Ford prepares to stake its future on an aluminum F-150, Toyota is looking to do the same for at least a single part on its best-selling vehicle. Automotive News reports the automaker will begin stamping aluminum hoods for the Camry in 2018, introducing the metal to its customers in North America with the hood […]

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As Ford prepares to stake its future on an aluminum F-150, Toyota is looking to do the same for at least a single part on its best-selling vehicle.

Automotive News reports the automaker will begin stamping aluminum hoods for the Camry in 2018, introducing the metal to its customers in North America with the hood and liftgate of the Lexus RX 350 in 2015. The move is part of an overall plan “to use aluminum on future vehicles for hood, closures and parts for lightweighting,” according to representative Jana Hartline, who adds the automaker will “increase usage of mix metals and resin materials to enhance lightweighting efforts.”

The plan will be enacted through a joint venture between its trading company, Toyota Tsusho Corp., and Kobe Steel, with Toyota being one of the JV’s first clients. The venture aims to produce 100,000 tons of aluminum sheet annually, and plans to build its operation near producer Wise Alloys of Muscle Shoals, Ala. to help tackle constraints resulting from the increased popularity — a result of tightening CAFE regulations — of the metal.

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Potential Second-Gen Jaguar XF Caught Testing In The Wild http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/potential-second-gen-jaguar-xf-caught-testing-wild/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/potential-second-gen-jaguar-xf-caught-testing-wild/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916794 Now that Jaguar bestowed the XE upon the world, the automaker’s engineers and designers are turning toward updating the XF as the first generation draws closer to the end. Autoblog reports the second-gen XF will likely be based upon the same iQ A1 platform used for the XE, along with losing a few pounds and […]

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Now that Jaguar bestowed the XE upon the world, the automaker’s engineers and designers are turning toward updating the XF as the first generation draws closer to the end.

Autoblog reports the second-gen XF will likely be based upon the same iQ A1 platform used for the XE, along with losing a few pounds and gaining some new tech.

Under the bonnet, firepower will mostly remain the same, from four-pot diesels to supercharged V8, as well as the introduction of a PHEV variant. Rear- and all-wheel drive should still be around, as well as the choice between sedan and wagon.

Whatever happens, the new XF has some stiff competition waiting outside the assembly line, including the Audi A6, Infiniti Q70 and Volvo S90. Until that day, however, a few spy photos shall suffice.

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Cadillac Flagship Sedan May Not Officially Bear LTS Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-flagship-sedan-may-officially-bear-lts-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-flagship-sedan-may-officially-bear-lts-name/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915994 What’s in a name? A lot, if you’re Cadillac. Though the brand’s green-lit flagship F-segment sedan bears the internal codename LTS, it likely won’t keep the name when the 7 Series/S-Class fighter makes its debut next year. Automotive News says the reason for the possible move is due to the bottomless bowls of alphabet soup […]

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What’s in a name? A lot, if you’re Cadillac. Though the brand’s green-lit flagship F-segment sedan bears the internal codename LTS, it likely won’t keep the name when the 7 Series/S-Class fighter makes its debut next year.

Automotive News says the reason for the possible move is due to the bottomless bowls of alphabet soup being served to Cadillac customers entering the showroom, “a weakness of the Cadillac brand” chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus proclaimed earlier this year.

Last month, the premium brand snagged former Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen as its new chief. In his former role, de Nysschen revamped the naming scheme for the Japanese premium brand’s offerings, using Q for cars and QX for crossovers and SUVs. The claim for the method behind the madness was that he wanted Infiniti to have a broader range of vehicles around the world.

No matter what happens, the world will likely know the name of the beast by the time of the New York Auto Show next April.

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Geely FIA-Certified To Supply Engines For Global Formula 4 Series http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/geely-fia-certified-supply-engines-global-formula-4-series/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/geely-fia-certified-supply-engines-global-formula-4-series/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913634 While Formula 1 fans contend with the new, quieter turbo era — a result of rule changes regarding power for the 2014 season — Chinese Formula 4 fans may be celebrating in the stands next year when Geely-powered competitors roar off the starting line. In a partnership with Narcar, the automaker will begin supplying its […]

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While Formula 1 fans contend with the new, quieter turbo era — a result of rule changes regarding power for the 2014 season — Chinese Formula 4 fans may be celebrating in the stands next year when Geely-powered competitors roar off the starting line.

In a partnership with Narcar, the automaker will begin supplying its 2-liter naturally aspirated motor to the Chinese and global Formula 4 series beginning in 2014. The engine is currently found in both the GX7 SUV and Emgrand EC8 sedan.

Geely’s entry as engine supplier marks the first time any Asian manufacturer has been certified by the by the FIA to provide engines for Formula 4, and will be joining three European manufacturers on the global stage from 2015 forward.

Meanwhile, the engines will help power the local Formula 4 series when the seven-race season begins later this year. The automaker recently provided chassis and engine support to the China Formula Grand Prix, which has been ongoing since 2006.

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Mercedes Increases Production To Meet US CLA Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-increases-production-to-meet-us-cla-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mercedes-increases-production-to-meet-us-cla-demand/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913194 [AUTHOR'S NOTE: I erroneously reported production would be increased at MBUSI in Vance, Ala. alongside the Hungary facility. That's what I get for reading the dateline and interpreting things as such. My apologies. -- CA] With demand still strong and supply still tight months later, Mercedes-Benz is pumping up production capacity to bring more CLAs […]

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I erroneously reported production would be increased at MBUSI in Vance, Ala. alongside the Hungary facility. That's what I get for reading the dateline and interpreting things as such. My apologies. -- CA]

With demand still strong and supply still tight months later, Mercedes-Benz is pumping up production capacity to bring more CLAs to showrooms in the United States.

Automotive News reports 14,113 copies of the $30,825 entry-level premium sedan were sold in the United States during the last four months of 2013, with the most sold overall in October at 4,895 units. Additionally, 15,676 CLAs left the showroom floor from January through August of this year.

Thus, the facility in Kecskement, Hungary that produces the CLA added a third shift in May to help meet demand the world over, having made a total of 109,266 in 2013 alone. The plant will also host production of a CLA shooting brake, a vehicle Mercedes has “no current plans” to bring over to the U.S., according to a representative.

As for how many CLAs will be leaving Vance, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche didn’t specify, though he did expect “a positive reaction” to the boost in production.

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Real-Time Mapping Key To Autonomous Travel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-mapping-key-autonomous-travel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-mapping-key-autonomous-travel/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912698 Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond. Automobile News reports mapping technology will become important in an autonomous vehicle’s V2I and V2V systems, with input coming from […]

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Lexus Autonomous Car

Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond.

Automobile News reports mapping technology will become important in an autonomous vehicle’s V2I and V2V systems, with input coming from a collaborative effort between official sources and crowdsourcing.

In particular, mapping could be accomplished between vehicles via data collection and distribution on a real-time basis, such as the case now through smartphone apps that allow drivers to pass such data along to each other.

When the road runs out or hasn’t been mapped, however, it may end up in the hands of the driver passenger to take up where the vehicle left off. In turn, the data would be passed along as normal to others making a similar trek, improving upon what was discovered before so long as the road continues to see traffic on a frequent basis to ensure accuracy.

Meanwhile, government agencies and map makers could be called upon to create a digital infrastructure framework that would allow for “a static and dynamic representation of the physical world that would determine how autonomous vehicles get around,” according to Maxime Flament of ERTICO-ITS Europe. The standardized framework would further ensure accuracy and reliability in the maps for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.

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Delphi Confirmed ITS Technology Supplier For Cadillac http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/delphi-confirmed-technology-supplier-cadillac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/delphi-confirmed-technology-supplier-cadillac/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911090 Earlier this week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that Cadillac would be the first of her company’s brands to receive V2V and V2I technologies, which would be introduced in the 2017 CTS and the unnamed F-segment flagship recently green-lighted. Today, we know who will be supplying those technologies: supplier Delphi. Just-Auto reports the supplier […]

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Delphi HQ Sign

Earlier this week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that Cadillac would be the first of her company’s brands to receive V2V and V2I technologies, which would be introduced in the 2017 CTS and the unnamed F-segment flagship recently green-lighted.

Today, we know who will be supplying those technologies: supplier Delphi.

Just-Auto reports the supplier would be the first off the line in delivering intelligent transport systems, building upon the vision and radar systems already found in the marketplace. The supplier claims output of its ITS technology is “highly flexible,” and can be configured in numerous ways to suit the customer’s preferences.

As for when production will commence, Delphi says the first packages will leave the floor in 2016 for North American markets.

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Ferrari’s Annual Output To Increase Under Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferraris-annual-output-increase-marchionne/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911081 With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand. Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that […]

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With the departure of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo from Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the premium brand’s chair next month, with the first order of business being to increase output to satisfy more demand.

Bloomberg reports Marchionne will gradually increase annual output from 7,000 to a potential 10,000 units, proclaiming that by doing so, they would be able to match pace with the desires of Ferrari’s customer base, lest its waiting list grows too long “and people get tired.” For this year, deliveries are expected to rise 5 percent.

On the same day Marchionne becomes Ferrari’s new chair, FCA will begin trading in New York. While Ferrari is linked to the company — and is considered a defining brand for FCA — he says it won’t be a key brand over the long term.

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Tesla, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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Mahindra Seeking Alliances With Global Players http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909098 Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence. The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China […]

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Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence.

The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China as part of a “coordinated global branding strategy” between the parent company’s two brands. The United States — where Mahindra has had a difficult time selling more than tractors — and Europe — where Ssangyong lost some of its footing prior to M&M’s purchase in 2011 — are also on the radar.

Speaking of Europe, M&M is in alliance talks with both PSA Peugeot Citroën and SAAB AB as far as branding and technology-sharing are concerned. Regarding the former, Mahindra is interested in PSA’s diesel- and compressed air-hybrid technology, with the aim of jumping “into the future generation,” according to French analyst Gautam Sen. In turn, PSA could piggyback on Mahindra into the Indian market it had abandoned in the 1990s. The company attempted to return in 2011 by breaking ground on a new factory in Sanand, only to be undermined by financial difficulties.

As for SAAB, Sen says Mahindra would like to acquire the Saab brand and resurrect it as another way to enter markets in Europe and the U.S. The strategy would involve rebranding and redesigning Mahindra and Ssangyong products into Saabs, but only if “quality and design can come up to the expectations of the typically discerning Saab enthusiast.” That said, he adds that relaunching the Saab brand would be easier said than done, as both Spyker and National Electric Vehicle Sweden can attest.

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Daimler: Unionization Is For The Employees To Decide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-unionization-employees-decide/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908697 Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala. According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the […]

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MBUSI Mercedes-Benz Alabama

Despite allegations to the contrary, Daimler AG chair Dieter “Dr. Z” Zetsche says his company remains neutral on the subject of unionization in regards to the Mercedes factory in Vance, Ala.

According to The Detroit News, Zetsche says the decision to join the United Auto Workers would be left up to the employees at the plant, adding that, “As long as a company does what they should do with their workers: treat them respectfully and treat them correctly, they are never going to unionize.” He also noted the plant’s employees have opted not to unionize over the past two decades.

At the state level, Alabama governor Robert Bentley claimed that if the UAW did win the Mercedes facility, he would have trouble recruiting more foreign companies to his state, especially those who call Japan and South Korea home.

Meanwhile, the UAW is still pursing its Southern strategy, having already established a new local near the Volkswagen AG factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. in August with the aim of attracting its workers to voluntarily unionize. Union president Dennis Williams said the UAW would “respond to concerns raised by pro-union workers” at the Mercedes plant, as well.

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Future Of Industry, Mobility To Be Shaped At Detroit Tech Conference http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908673 Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit. Automotive News reports industry execs, government […]

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Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit.

Automotive News reports industry execs, government officials and researchers will converge to sort out the future of the automobile as shaped by mobility technology. At present, companies like Tesla, Uber and Google are driving the rest of the industry toward a place where vehicles can be upgraded via software, communicate with other vehicles and the road, and drive itself to pick up a passenger or two before driving itself to the intended destination.

As such, the old guard are doing their best to prepare for the world to come. General Motors, for example, plans to introduce V2V and semi-autonomous systems in two Cadillac sedans by 2017, and has joined up with Ford, Honda and other automakers in a research program with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center where shared autonomous vehicles could one day be the norm. Meanwhile, Daimler bought the Mytaxi and RideScout apps last week “to make mobility as simple as possible,” according to subsidiary Moovel’s CEO, Robert Henrich.

The end game for the automotive industry may see automakers go from just building vehicles to becoming “personal-mobility companies,” in the words of Ford chair Bill Ford, upending a business model that has served the industry since it began over a century ago.

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Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906993 Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors. Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, […]

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Google Toyota Prius Autonomous Vehicle

Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.

Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, Seigo Kuzumaki. He adds that he and Toyota’s top brass don’t believe such vehicles will have much marketability outside of the technocratic state of Silcon Valley, nor are they certain the technology is ready for primetime.

At the present, Toyota is working on 34 projects with 17 partners, including those involving V2V and V2I communication systems. That said, it believes the human behind the wheel is just as important as the computers running most of the show. Thus, the driver will not become a passenger in the near-term.

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General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906361 Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind. Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 […]

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Distracted Driving Canadian Style

Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind.

Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 cameras in its line of vehicles within a three- to five-year period. The cameras will track eye and head movements to determine if a driver is paying attention to the road or to the office BlackBerry, then alerting them so as to not miss the stop sign or other hazards.

Seeing Machine CEO Ken Kroeger says there could be other uses to the cameras, citing safety’s lack of sexiness. Such future uses could include anti-theft systems, ignition interlocks programmed to prevent a young driver from taking the car out past curfew, or apps that can trigger an action inside the vehicle while driving.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 01:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905601 This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold. The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility. Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster […]

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This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold.

The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility.

Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster distributes its 2280 pounds of weight — 200 pounds lighter than the current MX-5 — 50:50 between the front and rear. Under the bonnet, a Skyactiv-G direct-injection gasoline engine sends its power to the back through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Part of the weight reduction comes from the use of aluminum forward of the A-pillar as well as the rear bumper reinforcements. Lighter suspension components and soft-top materials contribute to Mazda’s so-called “gram strategy,” also.

Behind the wheel, the automaker’s Mazda Connect next-gen connected-vehicle system “efficiently links the driver to the car and the outside world.” Meanwhile, the soft-top can be operated from within the cockpit, the roadster won’t look awkward like the Nissan Z and Murano CrossCabriolet with the top down, and wind control features will keep your hair or hat from blowing away.

The new MX-5 will go on sale in 2015. No price of admission has been announced at this time.

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North Korea Owes Sweden $428M For 1,000 Volvos Swindled In 1974 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904857 Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and […]

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Stolen Volvos in North Korea

Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and zinc.

But that was 40 years ago.

Newsweek reports North Korea, under Kim Il-sung’s regime, ultimately absconded with the Volvos and other Swedish goods during a Swedish-Korean trade fair in Pyongyang, all within the same year the vehicles were delivered.

Since then, the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board has calculated the interest owed on the debt linked to those goods. Total debt after inflation plus interest holds at kr3 billion ($428 million USD).

As for the Volvos, they were ordered for taxi service within the North Korean capital. As of 2008, those cars were not only still running, but, according to photographer and entrepreneur Tor Rauden Källstigen, were treated well:

I think I’ve never been inside such an old car even back home in Sweden. This taxi was very well maintained too, close to mint condition it seemed.

Were Il-sung’s grandson and current ruler, Kim Jong-un, to sell the vehicles at current book value, he would net $2.6 million — or 0.6 percent of the debt — for the trouble.

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Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

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Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

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Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903194 By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way. Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform […]

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Volvo-XC90-2015-119

By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way.

Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform with parent company Geely’s offerings, while the 60 and 90 families will use Volvo’s SPA modular platform.

Additionally, the V40/V60/V90 wagons will have a Cross Country variant, matching up with Audi’s and Subaru’s offroad formula for their respective non-rugged base offerings. Meanwhile, R-Design and Polestar will apply their magic performance touches to a few of the new vehicles, going up against similar efforts from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

All of the above are expected to come online within the next four years, but no coupes or convertibles are in the plans, citing a lack of a case for either at this time. Volvo will instead focus on boosting its volume, with a goal of 800,000 units for 2014 alone.

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Kia Set To Build “Range” Of Compacts At Monterrey Plant In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/kia-set-build-range-compacts-monterrey-plant-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/kia-set-build-range-compacts-monterrey-plant-2016/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902129 Kia announced Wednesday that it plans to build “a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models” at its new plant in Monterrey, Mexico after Job 1 production begins in H1 2016. Automotive News reports the automaker is still determining which vehicles it plans to produce at the $1 billion plant, as it will be set-up to […]

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2014 Kia Forte EX Exterior-001

Kia announced Wednesday that it plans to build “a range of yet-to-be confirmed compact models” at its new plant in Monterrey, Mexico after Job 1 production begins in H1 2016.

Automotive News reports the automaker is still determining which vehicles it plans to produce at the $1 billion plant, as it will be set-up to produce both compact and subcompact models at a rate of 300,000 units annually once full production begins.

Kia adds that the plant will also serve as a potential launching pad for production throughout Central and South America, as well as a supply line to a new sales channel in Mexico:

With its strong growth forecasts for new vehicle demand, Mexico was chosen as the site for Kia’s next overseas plant given that it is one of the few remaining major markets in the world in which Kia does not have a sales presence.

Kia will begin construction of its new facility in late September.

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Russian Government Considering Revival Of Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899986 In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010. Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward […]

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In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010.

Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward a 25 percent to 30 percent fall in auto sales to date. Thus, the Kremlin is considering bringing back the program, through nothing more has come according to a Ministry of Trade and Industry representative.

The delay of action is also delaying many a consumer’s decision in buying a new vehicle, especially since the original program paid P50,000 ($1,680 USD in 2010 dollars) for a vehicle 10 years old and over. Consumers are also wondering what vehicles would be available under the new program, as well as engine size.

The 2010 program proved successful, though the Russian government spent up to $2 billion back then for 200,000 vehicles to be replaced with newer models. Whether it wants to do so again may not matter as sales continue to fall.

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Artificial Leaves Key To Lowering Hydrogen Fuel Production Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899658 For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE. CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.

CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the Mirai would cost $50, according to Toyota North America senior vice president Bob Caster, who took his information from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caster added that the price could come down to as low as $30 per tank, a goal the DOE aims to deliver as soon as possible with an R&D investment of $20 million.

In the meantime, researchers in Japan, and at MIT and the Australian National University Research School of Biology are developing hydrogen processing techniques involving photosynthesis in so-called artificial leaves. MIT’s approach uses solar energy in a photoelectrochemical process to extract hydrogen, while the Australians swap iron with manganese in a naturally occurring protein named ferritin along with light-sensitive zinc chlorin to do the same. Japan, on the other hand, uses cyanobacteria.

All artificial-leaf projects are currently focused on providing cheap energy in developing countries, but do have the potential to scale to meet the needs of a burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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Cadillac Considers Shifting Some Operations To NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-considers-shifting-operations-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-considers-shifting-operations-nyc/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897858 As part of brand boss Johan de Nysschen’s overall plan to boost its image outside of the United States, Cadillac is considering moving some of its functions to New York City. Reuters reports the move to Manhattan would affect marketing, advertising and strategy, putting physical and cultural distance between the three and the rest of […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

As part of brand boss Johan de Nysschen’s overall plan to boost its image outside of the United States, Cadillac is considering moving some of its functions to New York City.

Reuters reports the move to Manhattan would affect marketing, advertising and strategy, putting physical and cultural distance between the three and the rest of the brand’s operations in Detroit. The move would also bring new talent that Cadillac may not have obtained if everything remained within the Motor City.

This would not be the first time such a move occurred under de Nysschen’s watch. As head of Infiniti, he moved the brand’s team to Hong Kong in an effort to gain outside input and autonomy beyond parent company Nissan’s influence.

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Sixt-BMW DriveNow Partnership Exceeds Membership Expectations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/sixt-bmw-drivenow-partnership-exceeds-membership-expectations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/sixt-bmw-drivenow-partnership-exceeds-membership-expectations/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897258 Germany-based rental car company Sixt SE announced its DriveNow car-sharing venture with BMW has exceeded expectations, with profits to match. Autoblog reports DriveNow’s success is linked to cities where the service has been in operation for at least a year, with new subscriptions coming online in a manner that completely caught CEO Erich Sixt off-guard: […]

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Germany-based rental car company Sixt SE announced its DriveNow car-sharing venture with BMW has exceeded expectations, with profits to match.

Autoblog reports DriveNow’s success is linked to cities where the service has been in operation for at least a year, with new subscriptions coming online in a manner that completely caught CEO Erich Sixt off-guard:

We’ve been surprised about the explosion of new subscriptions, which has helped boost revenue. We didn’t expect such a dramatic rise in membership.

DriveNow, operating in five German cities and San Francisco, saw its membership jump from 215,000 at the end of 2013, to 300,000 at present. However, COO Julian zu Putlitz expects the service — which allows members to rent BMW’s X1 and 1 Series vehicles, as well as models from MINI — to see a “small-to-medium, single-digit” million-euro loss in 2014 due to startup costs.

As for the future, Sixt and BMW are in talks to expand DriveNow to 25 locations in Europe and the United States within the next five years.

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