The Truth About Cars » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +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 » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/government-news-blog/ NHTSA Returning For Second Round Of US Senate Testimony September 16 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910674 A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat. Automotive News reports the […]

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Acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman explains that General Motors will agree to a record fine of $35 million in civil penalties in Washington

A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat.

Automotive News reports the agency, represented by administrator David Friedman, will testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection subcommittee September 16. Committee leader Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri will examine the NHTSA’s role in the aforementioned crisis, as well as its ability to find other auto safety issues:

I’m interested in the capability NHTSA has to get at problems. They’ve obviously missed some big ones. The part of NHTSA that is responsible for monitoring issues like [GM] — they haven’t even asked for an increase in staff and cars have gotten a lot more complicated.

In addition, McCaskill will also explore safety reforms to both vehicle and highway safety legislation, a handful of which — such as increased funding to help the agency better perform its tasks, and the removal of the $35 million cap on fines for automakers who failed to properly act on a defect — haven’t gained much traction as elections take precedent in 2014.

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Nevada Legislature Deliberates Tesla Tax Package In Special Session http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevada-legislature-deliberates-tesla-tax-package-special-session/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevada-legislature-deliberates-tesla-tax-package-special-session/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910626 Last week, Tesla and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval jointly announced the automaker would be bringing its Gigafactory to Reno. Now, it’s up to both houses of the state’s legislature to pull it all together with a $1.3 billion tax break. Reuters reports the Nevada Legislature gathered in Carson City for a special session at noon […]

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Tahoe Reno Industrial Center

Last week, Tesla and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval jointly announced the automaker would be bringing its Gigafactory to Reno. Now, it’s up to both houses of the state’s legislature to pull it all together with a $1.3 billion tax break.

Reuters reports the Nevada Legislature gathered in Carson City for a special session at noon Wednesday to hammer the details of the package, which Sandoval believes will spur $100 billion worth of economic benefits for his state during the next two decades at an investment payoff of 80:1.

The package would provide the following for Tesla in exchange for hosting the Gigafactory:

  • $725 million in tax exemptions through 2034
  • $300 million in various tax savings through 2024
  • $120 million in tax credits for meeting the state’s investment threshold of $3.5 billion
  • $75 million in tax credits for up to 6,000 jobs created
  • Reduced utility rates

In turn, Tesla will invest over $37 million into Nevada’s education systems during the next five years, and will bring a total of 25,500 jobs to the state, from construction to indirect employment.

As of this writing, both houses are set to return for a second day of deliberation Thursday morning. Until then, this is the tax break bill as established during Wednesday’s session.

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California Dominates US Plug-In Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910058 A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years. Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between […]

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2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Exterior, Charging Plug, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years.

Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between December 2010 and August 2014 by the California Air Resources Board, Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Baum also reported overall U.S. sales checked-in at around 250,000 units over the same period.

Though California has 40 percent of the plug-in market covered — thanks in part to legislation pushing automakers to bring more ZEVs to market — the milestone is a long way from the goal of 1.5 million plug-in vehicles by 2025, let alone the Obama administration’s target of 1 million such units by the end of 2015.

As for the present, Baum & Associates founder Alan Baum — who says 300,000 total units will hit the road by the end of this year — believes California’s stake in the market will likely shrink “as certain mass-market models that were initially sold only in state are introduced more broadly across the country.”

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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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VW-Up-Japan-December-2012

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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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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GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908633 The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard. Autoblog reports General Motors and the […]

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2003 Saturn Vue

The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard.

Autoblog reports General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held three meetings with each other from mid-June through late July regarding 152 reports of the Vue’s ignition key being easily removable despite the switch not being turned to the “off” position. The reports were first discovered in April by the automaker.

In addition to the meetings, GM’s own Open Issue Review panel looked over the data near the end of July, with the go-ahead for recall given by the Safety Field Action Decision Authority July 31, as noted in a memo sent to the NHTSA the day prior to the issuance of the recall.

On August 8, 215,243 2002-2004 Vues around the globe — 202,155 in the United States — were brought aboard the recall train as part of six recalls issued that day, affecting a total of 312,280 units worldwide.

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Sandoval, Musk Announce Tesla Gigafactory To Be Built In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907097 It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval. KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades. In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and […]

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Elon Musk and Brian Sandoval

It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval.

KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades.

In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and incentives at a special legislative session next Wednesday at the earliest. The package is meant to last for 20 years.

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Tesla Gigafactory May Land In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906057 After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City. AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though […]

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Tesla Gigafactory

After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City.

AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though Tesla hasn’t said much as of this writing. Four other states were in contention to be the Gigafactory’s host: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Local ABC affiliate KOLO-TV — which has live-streaming news, if you wish to tune in later this afternoon — adds that the factory will be placed in the city’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, where 3.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved in less than four weeks to establish a pad for a large structure, all under the project name Project Tiger.

Once up and running, the Gigafactory will supply packs for as many as 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, including the upcoming $35,000 Model 3 due around 2017. Project cost is projected at $5 billion, with the host state expected to chip in $500 million in the form of massive tax breaks.

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Uber’s Low-Cost UberPop Service Banned In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905633 Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation. The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary […]

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Uber Berlin

Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation.

The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary injunction on the service last week, with fines of $330,000 or jail time hanging over Uber and its local employees should they be found in violation; its drivers would not be directly affected by penalties.

The injunction is the result of a complaint filed by trade group Taxi Deutschland, who made the complaint under allegations that the TNC violated the German Passenger Transport Act by not having properly licensed and insured drivers, being selective in who the drivers pick up, and unfairly upending the local taxi industry overall.

However, the ruling cannot be directly enforced by the court, requiring Taxi Deutschland to file separate complaints for every perceived violation of the injunction prior to the court sending authorities to act on the charges. Uber is aware of this, as a representative for the company explained to the BBC:

Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for Uber in Europe. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer UberPop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany.

Uber plans to appeal the injunction. Meanwhile, UberBlack drivers and passengers are unaffected by the ruling, and the UberPop app is still functioning in all of the TNC’s German cities as of this writing.

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NEVS Gains Creditor Protection, Loses Saab Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-gains-creditor-protection-loses-saab-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-gains-creditor-protection-loses-saab-name/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904905 First, National Electric Vehicle Sweden was going to be taken to district court and forced to file bankruptcy. Then, it was spared. Then, it saw its application for creditor protection denied due to being “vague.” Now? The application has moved forward, but at the price of the Saab name. Autoblog reports NEVS — who owes […]

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saab97

First, National Electric Vehicle Sweden was going to be taken to district court and forced to file bankruptcy. Then, it was spared. Then, it saw its application for creditor protection denied due to being “vague.”

Now? The application has moved forward, but at the price of the Saab name.

Autoblog reports NEVS — who owes over 90 creditors kr400 million ($57.56 million USD) — gained protection from the district court in Vänersborg August 29 while the Chinese-owned company continues negotiates with two unknown companies to obtain more funding.

However, the move by the court allowed SAAB AB — whose Viggens birthed many a 99 Turbo and 900S way back when — to pull the naming rights from NEVS. The latter only bought the beleaguered automaker’s physical assets, and had to seek permission from SAAB to use the brand name. Thus, it may now be finally safe to say, “Rest in peace.”

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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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Russian Government Moves Ahead With Revived Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903274 A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme. Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, […]

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Lada Coupe

A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme.

Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, which is expected to subsidize over 170,000 new vehicles at a minimum discount of P40,000 ($1,086) for scrapping a passenger car, and P350,000 ($9,506) on up for commercial vehicles. Additional discounts from P40,000 to P300,000 ($1,086 – $8,148) will be made to consumers who trade-in vehicles six years of age or older.

The new program begins September 1, and will run through to the end of the year. A decision to revive the program in 2015 will be made no earlier than the middle of September of that year, according to Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and will be based on market conditions at that point in time.

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California ZEV Democratization Initiative Passes State Assembly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903226 Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law. Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected […]

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Charge-Ahead-California

Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law.

Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected to pass through the state’s senate shortly before signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The initiative, sponsored by State Senator Kevin de León of Los Angeles, amends the focus of the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project toward middle- and low-income residents by implementing an income cap on ZEV credits. Further, a minimum of $2,500 would be given said residents exchanging an older vehicle for a ZEV such as the Tesla Model S or the upcoming Toyota Mirai, with an additional $1,500 for the act of retirement itself.

The ultimate goals of the initiative are to reduce credits over the long-term as clean technology becomes widespread, while also boosting the population of ZEVs to 1 million by 2023.

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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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US Government Seeks Private Company To Run National V2V Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899498 Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do. Automotive […]

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V2V

Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do.

Automotive News reports the U.S. Department of Transportation, citing “the current fiscal environment” also responsible for the current state of the Highway Trust Fund — is unable to fund, construct or operate the infrastructure needed to make V2V a success. Thus, the agency is seeking to bestow that honor upon a private company, whether it be a Google or a General Motors.

That said, automakers — especially those working with the feds on V2V — aren’t likely so willing to run things, either. Beltway attorney Mark Johnson explains:

Other than the safety benefits from this technology, it’s not clear at this point what benefits the car companies would see from taking on this role. They believe in this technology. We’ve had a sea change over the last two years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to be the administrator of a nationwide system, or are the most capable candidate to do it.

Funding issues aren’t the only quibble as far as the government is concerned, as it, too, has few inclinations toward managing a massive infrastructure project such as this. The prospect of always having to be one step ahead of hackers, with the specter of the HealthCare.gov launch hanging over their heads, may be too much for any one agency to take on regarding V2V. Instead, a company with deep pockets and ambitions to match — like Google — may ultimately be the one leading the future of vehicle connectivity.

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Google Wanted Autonomous Vehicle Driver Interventions Kept Quiet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899122 In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents. Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s […]

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In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents.

Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s state government for amendments to traffic safety legislation that would, in the words of the company’s director of safety Ron Medford, “limit required reporting to accidents involving vehicles operated in autonomous mode.” The company also wanted language removed that obligated it to report “disengagements” — when the car returns control to the driver — to the government, citing lack of relevance regarding vehicle safety.

Though the state’s DMV wants this data for future driver testing when the day of the autonomous vehicle comes, Medford claimed the reporting would create “a significant burden on manufacturers” and the DMV, especially since the agency did not have “the engineering expertise to interpret the data.”

Other concerns Google wanted the state legislature to address included the fear of trade secrets going public — and to its rivals — as well as the possibility for test drivers to simply leave all of the driving to the car than to disengage even once. The company found support from General Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, all wondering what the fuss was about regarding autonomous vehicle testing and reporting obligations.

The California DMV did excuse manufacturers from reporting every disengagement — only those linked to safety reasons will now be reported to the agency — but did want everything else related to autonomous driving. Google, for its part, was disappointed “that the vast majority” of its comments were ignored.

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Employee Files Charges Against UAW, Ford Over Dues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899074 Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now. Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from […]

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Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed charges against both the automaker and the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board on the objection to using a portion of his dues to support the Democratic Party, invoking his Beck rights to claw back $98 of dues over the past three months thus far.

If successful, the legal action would pave the way for others who don’t want to pay dues beyond core union activities, if at all, prior to the September 15, 2015 expiration date of the UAW’s current contracts with the Detroit Three. After that date, new contracts would allow all workers in Michigan the right to opt-out of paying any dues, the result of the state legislature’s passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

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NHTSA 2016 V2V Proposal Open For Public Comment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-2016-v2v-proposal-open-public-comment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-2016-v2v-proposal-open-public-comment/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897786 As reported earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled plans to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle technology within the next few years through a proposal that could take just as long to make it through Congress. Since then, more details and reactions about the V2V proposal have come out. Autoblog reports the plan, which will be available […]

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V2V Intersection

As reported earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled plans to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle technology within the next few years through a proposal that could take just as long to make it through Congress. Since then, more details and reactions about the V2V proposal have come out.

Autoblog reports the plan, which will be available for public comment for the next 60 days, points to two specific applications of V2V that could prevent as many as 592,000 accidents and 1,083 fatalities annually by 2020 if implemented: left-turn assist and intersection-movement detection systems. The agency also adds V2V could be used to aid with detecting blind spots, alert drivers regarding forward collision, and warn them when not to pass on the road. Many of these systems are already in modern vehicles, where radar and similar technologies help in functionality.

As far as the potential for hacking is concerned, the NHTSA stated V2V data transmitted would only be used in enhancing driver safety, with “several layers” of protection keeping hackers at bay. In turn, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement that the Federal Communications Commission should reserve certain frequencies for V2V communication in the early phases of development “until it is definitively established that sharing will not interfere with the safety of the driving public.”

In addition to V2V, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication is in the proposal, allowing for vehicles to talk to roads and other pieces of infrastructure for safety purposes.

The proposal is set to make its run toward becoming law beginning in 2016 at the earliest.

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NHTSA Unveils VIN Recall Look-up Tool For Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897234 With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however. Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN […]

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SaferCar VIN Recall Lookup Tool

With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however.

Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN look-up tool, where consumers can find out if their vehicle is under recall. The tool covers all “major light vehicle and motorcycle brands,” and is part of the NHTSA’s new mandate that all manufacturers provide VIN search tools on their own sites for uncompleted recalls, updated weekly.

At the moment, however, the tool can only report on vehicles that have yet to be repaired, instead of any and all possible campaigns a VIN may fall under. That information would need to be found by combing through the agency’s database separately from the look-up tool. Customer service and non-safety campaigns are also not searchable within the tool, as well.

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Uber Hires Obama Campaign Manager, Senior Advisor David Plouffe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uber-hires-obama-campaign-manager-senior-advisor-david-plouffe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uber-hires-obama-campaign-manager-senior-advisor-david-plouffe/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896794 In an effort to convince governments that its services are key to making transportation “as reliable as running water,” transportation network company Uber has hired the man who helped Barack Obama become President of the United States in 2008, David Plouffe. Forbes reports Plouffe will begin his role as the TNC’s senior vice president of […]

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David Plouffe and Barack Obama

In an effort to convince governments that its services are key to making transportation “as reliable as running water,” transportation network company Uber has hired the man who helped Barack Obama become President of the United States in 2008, David Plouffe.

Forbes reports Plouffe will begin his role as the TNC’s senior vice president of policy and strategy in September, with the goal of swaying legislators toward supporting the right for all TNCs to enter markets legally and with few operation restrictions.

As explained within a blog post by CEO Travis Kalanick regarding his hiring, the former campaign manager and Senior Advisor to the President after David Axelrod believes his new employer is a “once in a decade if not once in a generation company,” with the taxi industry standing in the way of success in the near-term:

As Uber succeeds like I believe it can, it will spur the creation of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and directly create millions of jobs; deliver rapid, easy and affordable transportation alternatives to workers, parents, businesses and people out having a good time; make our roads safer, drastically cutting down on drunk and distracted driving; and give those who choose not to purchase an automobile a more viable way to live their lives day to day.

Uber also hired Ashwini Chhabra away from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in May, where he worked as deputy commissioner of policy and planning. Chhabra serves as the TNC’s policy development chief.

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New York State Outlaws Posing With Big Cats, Chauncey the Cougar Snarls Somewhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-state-outlaws-posing-big-cats-chauncey-cougar-snarls-somewhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-state-outlaws-posing-big-cats-chauncey-cougar-snarls-somewhere/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:30:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893882 If a law recently signed into effect by New York Governor Andrew Coumo had been on the books in the 1960s, it’s possible that the Mercury Cougar might have been named something else. In that alternative universe, the law would also have likely completely changed the direction of the Mercury brand in the 1960s and […]

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Full gallery here.

Full gallery here.

If a law recently signed into effect by New York Governor Andrew Coumo had been on the books in the 1960s, it’s possible that the Mercury Cougar might have been named something else. In that alternative universe, the law would also have likely completely changed the direction of the Mercury brand in the 1960s and 1970s. A.9004/S.6903 prohibits exhibitors of big cats, lions, tigers, jaguars/panthers, and cougars (aka mountain lions), from allowing the public to have “direct contact” with the exotic animals. For the purpose of the law, direct contact includes both physical contact like petting or posing with the animal, proximity to it, as well as allowing photography without a permanent physical barrier between them, protecting the animal and the public. The bill was sponsored in the New York Assembly by Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), an animal rights advocate. Somewhere, Chauncey the Mercury Cougar snarls.

The act is primarily aimed at roadside zoos and traveling carnivals, things that have existed for generations. Rosenthal says that she became aware of the practice before people apparently recently started posting photos of themselves posing with big cats online, tiger selfies. It’s one of more than a dozen bills the assemblywoman has introduced on the premise of protecting animals.

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Without a doubt, had the law been in place when the Mercury Cougar was introduced in 1966, while it’s possible that Ford Motor Company might have still named the car the Cougar, the use of live animals in that model’s introduction and marketing probably wouldn’t have happened, at least the way it was implemented. Also, since the success of the Cougar car and the use of live animals in its promotion led to Mercury’s use of “The Sign of the Cat” tagline in overall brand marketing, that too would have been unlikely under New York state’s new legislation.

The name Cougar as a car model name at Ford predates its use by Mercury as it was one of the names under consideration for what became the Mustang. As a matter of fact you can see photos of a mockup of what looks very much like the Mustang II concept car from when Ford stylists were still trying out ideas in 1963 and it’s wearing badging with a big cat, not a pony.

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Ford had used the name publicly on a couple of concept cars including the Cougar II, a potential Corvette competitor built on a Shelby Cobra chassis with a 289 V8 that was shown at the same 1964 New York World’s Fair where the production Mustang first debuted. Apparently, the idea for a “man’s car” to slot in below the Thunderbird in Ford’s pricing scheme had resulted in a project called the T-7, also predating the Mustang. When the pony car was introduced to huge success, the T-7 project and the Cougar name were moved over to the Mustang platform.

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Introduced as a 1967 model by Lincoln Mercury on Sept. 30, 1966, the Cougar’s launch had been preceded by an elaborate public relations campaign to introduce the car, and it seems that a particular large cat, Chauncey the cougar, was part of that campaign from the beginning. The idea to use a live animal is attributed to Gayle Warnock, Ford’s PR director, and his assistant, Bill Peacock. Chauncey, then three years old, had been born in captivity. It’s owners had fed it dog feed and a nutritional deficiency resulted in temporary paralysis and lifelong hip problems. It’s thought that Chauncey’s trademark snarl was a defensive mechanism to compensate for his lack of leaping ability.

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Animal trainers Ted and Pat Derby rescued Chauncey as a four month old kitten, nursed it to health and put him to work in their California business, Animal World, that supplied exotic animals to the television and movie industry. One of Chauncey’s stablemates, Roxanne the bobcat, was used to promote the Mercury Bobcat, that brand’s version of the Ford Pinto. In later years, big cats would be used to sell another small Mercury, the Lynx, a badge engineered Ford Escort.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Chauncey’s work in Cougar commercials is well known. The big cat appeared in commercials with the likes of Farah Fawcett and won the first of multiple P.A.T.S.Y awards in 1969. That was an award that was formerly given to animal performers in Hollywood. With changing attitudes towards animal rights and animal performers, that award has since been retired.

From the Suburbanite Economist on July 31, 1974: "A television celebrity with a flair for a snarl will appear Aug. 3 at Van Dahm Lincoln Mercury Inc . 10201 S. Cicero Ave, Oak Lawn. Chauncey the H-year-old cougar star of Lincoln- Mercury division's Cougar XR 7 and Sign-of-the-Cat commercials, and Christopher -- the two-month-old cougar cub featured in Mercury Comet commercials. The cougars are two of 150 wild animals orphans who live at Ted and Pat Derb's Love is an Animal, a 300-acre farm near Buellton, California"

From the Suburbanite Economist on July 31, 1974:
“A television celebrity with a flair for a snarl will appear Aug. 3 at Van Dahm Lincoln Mercury Inc . 10201 S. Cicero Ave, Oak Lawn. Chauncey the H-year-old cougar star of Lincoln- Mercury division’s Cougar XR 7 and Sign-of-the-Cat commercials, and Christopher — the two-month-old cougar cub featured in Mercury Comet commercials. The cougars are two of 150 wild animals orphans who live at Ted and Pat Derb’s Love is an Animal, a 300-acre farm near Buellton, California”

Chauncey and Roxanne also made public appearances, which is where the Derby’s would have run afoul of the new law in New York. The animals were put on display at Mercury dealers, where the public was invited to watch them walk around, climb up on the cars and hopefully reproduce Chauncey’s famous pose on top of a Cougar. Photography was encouraged, and the public was protected from the big cats by just velvet ropes and the Derby’s training and handling of the animals. Those dealer appearances lasted at least until 1975, when Chauncey went on to big cat heaven.

Click here to view the embedded video.

It’s not clear when Lincoln-Mercury ended the dealer visits, but they continued to use live exotics into the 1980s, with cougars appearing live at the Chicago Auto Show in both 1980 and 1981.

That velvet rope used to keep the crowd from the cougar (and vice versa) at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show would not pass muster in New York State today, which now requires permanent physical barriers between the public and live big cats on display.

That velvet rope used to keep the crowd from the cougar (and vice versa) at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show would not pass muster in New York State today, which now requires permanent physical barriers between the public and live big cats on display.

The Cougar more than doubled original sales expectations, selling more than 150,000 units in the first year it was on sale. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Cougar nameplate would go on to more or less keep the Mercury brand on life support for the next four decades. When the Mustang was downsized to the Pinto platform in the mid 1970s, Chauncey eventually got a bigger Cougar to lay upon as it moved to the midsize Torino platform to become a sibling to the Thunderbird. Chauncey became the face of the brand, sitting on dealer signs in brand advertising as he had lounged on the roofs of Cougars. “The Sign of the Cat” became the brand’s overall tagline, as mentioned, other Mercury models were given feline names, and Chauncey’s snarl graced most Mercury commercials.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Despite the Cougar’s success, the bean counters in Dearborn wanted to kill the model in the 1970s. Ben Bidwell, who later was the number two executive at Chrysler, was then in charge of Lincoln-Mercury and he didn’t want to lose the model. By then, “The Sign of the Cat” was being used to promote Lincoln-Mercury dealers, with whom the tagline, and Chauncey, were popular.

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There was a meeting in Ford’s Glass House HQ presided over by Henry Ford II. While the source doesn’t say when, I’m guessing that the time frame was when Ford was busy creating the Mustang II and trying to decide what to do with the Cougar, still based on the large 1972-73 Mustang.

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Bidwell was in the minority at the meeting. Most of those attending thought the current, rather bloated, Cougar wasn’t very good and that it was going to be too expensive to replace it. The Deuce went around the room, asking for opinions, which were mostly negative. Finally he turned to Bidwell and said, “We haven’t heard from you yet, Bidwell. What do you think?” Bidwell replied, “I just have one thing to say, Mr. Ford. You can’t have a cat house without a cat.” After The Deuce started to laugh, the other executives joined in and the Cougar was saved. The nameplate survived until 2002, though by then it shared a platform with the front wheel drive Ford Probe.

Pat Derby seems to have changed her thoughts over the years about the use of animal performers. A year after Chauncey died she and Ted Derby divorced, reportedly over his use of cattle prods in animal training.  She always asserted that she used kind, humane training methods. Pat Derby continued to display live cougars for Mercury for a few years but by 1984 Derby had retired her own animals and Pat and her companion Ed Stewart started PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a sanctuary for captive wildlife. Here is their mission statement:

PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues.

Pat Derby passed away in 2013 at the age of 70. Her ex-husband Ted was killed in 1976 by a neighboring rancher upset over the alleged killing of some livestock by Derby’s animals.

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Pat Derby, Ed Stewart and Christopher, Chauncey’s replacement, at the 1979 Chicago Auto Show.

In his day Chauncey became quite the star, he even had two “doubles” to keep up with the demand for appearances. However, in a 1975 interview with a local newspaper covering a dealer appearance, Ted Derby insisted that anytime you’d see a cougar with a Mercury car, a Mercury sign or a model like Ms. Fawcett, that was Chauncey. Besides his doubles, Chauncey was also reproduced as a plush toy in  a variety of sizes, both as promotional items and for sale. If I have the story down correctly, one  life-size version came as standard equipment with the first high performance XR-7 Cougars in 1967. Those big stuffed cougars were also used as part of showroom displays, resting on top of Cougars.

To give you an idea of what the 1967 Mercury Cougar looks like with the roof down, here's a survivor from the Mid Michigan Mustang Show.

To give you an idea of what the 1967 Mercury Cougar looks like with the hood down, here’s an original condition survivor from the Mid Michigan Mustang Show. Full gallery here.

While the white Cougar with a black vinyl top pictured here apparently came with a plush Chauncey, it’s not original equipment, the car or the plush toy. The car has been restored and the owner told me that his copy of Chauncey was new old stock from a dealer’s back room. The car is an XR-7 Dan Gurney Special and the photographs are from two different events, Greenfield Village’s 2014 Motor Muster and the 2013 Mustang Memories show. Gurney won races in Cougars for FoMoCo in TransAm and he was a member of the Lincoln-Mercury Sports Panel with other notable athletes like Jesse Owens and Byron Nelson.

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Dan Gurney and Cale Yarborough raced this Bud Moore prepared Mercury Cougar successfully in the Trans Am series. Full gallery here.

I’m not sure how many people or exotic cats New York’s new law will protect. The institutions it targets, roadside attractions and carnies, are not known for treating animals to the standards of Pat Derby, and wild animals don’t have thousands of years of domestication and breeding out of aggression, so it’s probably a good idea. Still, I wasn’t able to find any record of anyone being hurt in all the years that Mercury used live big cats at dealer and other public appearances.

If you attend enough car shows you’ll see how owners like to add magazines, documentation and scale models to make their cars’ displays stand out. The live sized plush Chauncey, because it came with the cars and was used by dealers, and even more so, because the real cat and its image was so instrumental in establishing the Mercury brand’s subsequent identity, not only helps the car stand out at a car show, it also reminds show visitors of some of the now deceased nameplate’s history.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Looming Retaliatory Sanctions Threaten Western Automakers In Russia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895362 Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States. Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The […]

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Mercedes-Benz; H2 World Drive 2011; Europe 2

Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States.

Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The move would be in addition to an import ban on food, and was on the table before President Vladimir Putin rejected the proposal.

The automotive ban would give Chinese and Korean manufacturers a chance to make their mark upon a muted market. Western imports made up 27 percent of passenger vehicle sales in 2014 thus far, while trucks and buses took 46 percent and 13 percent of the market.

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NHTSA Unveils Plan Instituting New V2V Technology By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-plan-instituting-new-v2v-technology-by-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-plan-instituting-new-v2v-technology-by-2020/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895322 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled its plan to institute minimums regarding vehicle-to-vehicle communications in an effort to bolster driver safety. Automotive News reports the agency and eight automakers — Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Daimler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — collaborated on the development of V2V technology that will become standard equipment between […]

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V2V

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled its plan to institute minimums regarding vehicle-to-vehicle communications in an effort to bolster driver safety.

Automotive News reports the agency and eight automakers — Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Daimler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — collaborated on the development of V2V technology that will become standard equipment between 2017 and 2020 as part of a proposed mandate.

The draft proposal includes minimums on the messages sent between two or more vehicles, along with the decision as to what safety features to include in a vehicle left to the automaker.

The intended goal, as explained by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, is to move from “helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.” The plan projects 25,000 to 592,000 crashes and 49 to 1,083 lives saved annually once every vehicle in the United States is equipped with the technology.

As for how the new V2V technology will be managed and financed, the NHTSA plans to solicit interested private companies. The systems are expected to cost between $341 and $350 per unit by 2020.

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