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. Mon, 27 Apr 2015 21:34:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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/ High Auto Insurance Rates Plague Michigan, Legislators Seek Relief http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/high-auto-insurance-rates-plague-michigan-legislators-seek-relief/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/high-auto-insurance-rates-plague-michigan-legislators-seek-relief/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055417 Michigan is the state with the most expensive insurance in the United States. However, a potential overhaul could bring down those costs. As it stands, Michigan’s motorists pay 136 percent above the national average of $815 a year for a policy, with the state’s overall average coming to $1,923/annually, Detroit Free Press reports. Additionally, Wayne […]

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Michigan is the state with the most expensive insurance in the United States. However, a potential overhaul could bring down those costs.

As it stands, Michigan’s motorists pay 136 percent above the national average of $815 a year for a policy, with the state’s overall average coming to $1,923/annually, Detroit Free Press reports. Additionally, Wayne County is the most expensive place to have a policy in Michigan, averaging $2,789 — 45 percent above the state’s average — per year.

According to insuranceQuotes.com senior analyst Laura Adams, the reasons behind Michigan’s No. 1 rank are due to it being the only state to offer unlimited lifetime personal injury protection, and because it has an unusually high amount of uninsured motorists.

That said, the state’s legislators are planning to retune the no-fault auto insurance system, which would maintain the unlimited benefit for those who suffer injuries costing over $545,000, but would place caps on other parts of the system, such as rates for home health care providers. The reform is expected to be passed sometime within the week.

[Photo credit: Angela/Flickr]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Fears Hover Over Detroit Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055241 The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry. Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry.

Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit News reports. The urgency comes amid warnings that if the TPP isn’t put into effect as soon as possible, China, not the United States, would be the one creating similar trade deals.

Though the TPP has few fans among unions, activists, and most Democrats in Congress, the Detroit Three have their own concerns about the fast-tracking proposal: once enacted, the 2.5-percent tariff on cars and parts, as well as the infamous 25 percent “Chicken Tax” on imported light-duty trucks, would disappear over a period of time. The latter has been used to protect the domestic truck market by keeping competitors out unless the latter were willing to build trucks in the U.S.

According to the trio, were the tariffs – which they want to keep around for 25 more years at minimum – to disappear, and if Japan weakens its currency to better compete against them, domestic automakers would eventually be undercut by Japanese automakers. In turn, the Detroit Three would face considerable pressure to return fire, with those on the factory floor likely to be the hardest hit.

Another issue surrounding Japan is importation of U.S. vehicles, which the trio state has been difficult to accomplish over the years due to a number of trade barriers, tariffs not being among them as far as Japan’s importation policy is concerned. Japanese automakers counter that so few U.S. vehicles are imported annually because the Detroit Three haven’t made much of an effort to sell them to Japanese consumers in the first place. While the former has spent billions and employed thousands to build vehicles in the U.S., Detroit hasn’t done the same at all.

Currently, their lobbyists are working to add an enforceable currency provision to the TPP to protect Detroit’s standing. So far, the provision has yet to be added to the pact.

[Photo credit: Gobinero de Chile/Flickr]

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More Legislators Move To Ban Red Light Cameras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/legislators-move-ban-red-light-cameras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/legislators-move-ban-red-light-cameras/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053273 The bane of many a motorist and freedom advocate alike, the red light camera’s days may be drawing to a close as more governments move to ban them. Over the past two months alone, legislators in California, Illinois and Texas have moved to do away with the devices based on both civil rights and financial […]

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Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon

The bane of many a motorist and freedom advocate alike, the red light camera’s days may be drawing to a close as more governments move to ban them.

Over the past two months alone, legislators in California, Illinois and Texas have moved to do away with the devices based on both civil rights and financial concerns, Business Insider reports. The bans in California and Texas would be statewide if made into law, while Illinois’ ban would only apply to suburbs outside of Chicago and other communities with local authority.

The three states join 10 others that have imposed bans on red light cameras and another 19 that never bothered with the issue in the first place. The devices have garnered criticism from those who were caught by them, then received tickets in the mail, all without a chance to defend themselves under due process.

Meanwhile, the cities that once had them in place – such as the majority of the 110 municipalities in California that used red light cameras; only 39 of the 110 remain currently – took them down when they found that revenue from tickets issued didn’t do much to fill the coffers in the first place.

[Photo credit: Chris Phan/Flickr]

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Mercedes Slapped With $56M Fine in China for “Price Fixing” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-slapped-56m-fine-china-price-fixing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-slapped-56m-fine-china-price-fixing/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052089 The Chinese province of Jiangsu has levied a 350 million yuan ($56 million USD) fine against Mercedes-Benz in continued efforts to break perceived monopolies in car and part sales. It’s the largest fine given to an automaker to date. The latest fine aimed at a foreign automaker comes after similar actions against a “Chinese venture of […]

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Mercedes-Maybach-S600-Pullman

The Chinese province of Jiangsu has levied a 350 million yuan ($56 million USD) fine against Mercedes-Benz in continued efforts to break perceived monopolies in car and part sales. It’s the largest fine given to an automaker to date.

The latest fine aimed at a foreign automaker comes after similar actions against a “Chinese venture of Volkswagen and a sales unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler division” amounted to a combined $46 million, says the report from Automotive News. The specifics of the Mercedes fine point at the automaker forcing dealers to set minimum prices for cars and spare parts. The pricing regulator in Jiangsu province also fined Mercedes dealers to the tune of 7.7 million yuan ($1.25 million USD).

Mercedes-Benz China said they accept the decision taken by the provincial pricing regulator and has “taken all appropriate steps” to comply with the law in the future.

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Supreme Court Rules Police Cannot Drag Out Traffic Stops http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/supreme-court-rules-police-cannot-drag-traffic-stops/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/supreme-court-rules-police-cannot-drag-traffic-stops/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050905 In a 6-3 decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police cannot hold motorists beyond what is necessary to conduct routine traffic stops. The majority opinion in Rodriguez v. United States – penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – determined “without additional reasonable suspicion, the officer must allow the seized person to depart once the […]

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In a 6-3 decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police cannot hold motorists beyond what is necessary to conduct routine traffic stops.

The majority opinion in Rodriguez v. United States – penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – determined “without additional reasonable suspicion, the officer must allow the seized person to depart once the purpose of the stop has concluded,” Autoblog reports.

The ruling comes from a case between Nebraska police officer Morgan Struble and driver Dennys Rodriguez, the latter pulled over for a routine stop before a drug-sniffing dog was used to find drugs in the vehicle. The issue that led to the Supreme Court’s ruling was the amount of time it took to complete said stop, which would have ended the moment Struble issued the written warning to Rodriguez. Instead, the officer kept the driver stopped until backup arrived to conduct the search.

Though lower courts had ruled that a wait of less than 10 minutes was a minimal intrusion into the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights at worst, the Supreme Court declared that the stop could only last for as long as was needed to conclude the original purpose for the stop.

Law enforcement groups warn the ruling could actually lengthen the time for a given stop or force officers to forego safety to conduct a stop as quickly as possible, a view shared by Justice Samuel Alito in his dissenting opinion. Alito wrote Struble’s apparent mistake “was following prudent procedures motivated by legitimate safety concerns.”

[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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Colorado DOT Celebrates 420 Day With Marijuana Use Campaign http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/colorado-dot-celebrates-420-day-marijuana-use-campaign/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/colorado-dot-celebrates-420-day-marijuana-use-campaign/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050121 While the Internet celebrated Monday with Snoop Dogg, Cheech and Chong, the Colorado DOT did its part to ensure 420 Day revellers didn’t get high and drive. Per AutoGuide, CDOT kicked off its safe marijuana use campaign over the weekend with a number of sites offering games, activities, and assorted snacks featuring guidance on what’s […]

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Educational Munchies

While the Internet celebrated Monday with Snoop Dogg, Cheech and Chong, the Colorado DOT did its part to ensure 420 Day revellers didn’t get high and drive.

Per AutoGuide, CDOT kicked off its safe marijuana use campaign over the weekend with a number of sites offering games, activities, and assorted snacks featuring guidance on what’s legal in Colorado and how much one can be fined for being caught driving while high.

According to CDOT Communication Manager Sam Cole, the agency has a responsibility “to pioneer marijuana education campaigns to keep our roadways safe” via “unique and eye-catching” methods meant to grab the attentions of cannabis consumers in the hope of reinforcing safe consumption and laws surrounding the legal use of pot in so doing.

Current legislation states a driver with 5 nanograms of THC in their blood can be arrested for DUI, as determined by a given officer’s observations at the time of the stop. Critics of the legislation state that those levels will still be in the bloodstream long after the other more intoxicating effects have worn off, especially among regular chronic users.

[Image source: Nick Harper/CIG]

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Norway Set To Review EV Incentives Amid Soaring Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1049953 The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales. Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use […]

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Tesla Model S delivery to Høyres Nikolai Astrup in Norway

The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales.

Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use of charging stations, and bus-lane usage in addition to the usual tax credit scheme, Reuters reports. The milestone arrived three years earlier than expected by the government, whose official data shows that one-fifth of 2015 new-car sales in Norway are of electric models. Norway, a nation of 5.1 million, now accounts for one-third of all battery-powered vehicle sales in Europe based on 2014 sales figures.

As such, the nation’s finance ministry is looking to revise those incentives, especially in light of losing kr3 billion to kr4 billion ($380 million to $510 million USD) in revenue, as well as complaints about increased sales of the Tesla Model S, which made up 3 percent of overall EV sales last year. The latter issue has led to calls from critics to remove the incentives for wealthy consumers.

The finance ministry will present the outcome of its review when the revised budget is presented May 1.

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Hillary Clinton Throws Support Behind Ethanol While In Iowa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hillary-clinton-throws-support-behind-ethanol-iowa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hillary-clinton-throws-support-behind-ethanol-iowa/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046370 During a campaign tour stop in Iowa, Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton threw her support behind corn ethanol. Autoblog reports Clinton met with a number of Democrats at a private affair in Marshalltown, Iowa Thursday, including America’s Renewable Future co-chair Patty Judge and Iowa Corn Growers board member Bruce Rohwer. Judge stated via a press release […]

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Hillary Clinton Boarding Chevrolet Scooby Van In New York

During a campaign tour stop in Iowa, Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton threw her support behind corn ethanol.

Autoblog reports Clinton met with a number of Democrats at a private affair in Marshalltown, Iowa Thursday, including America’s Renewable Future co-chair Patty Judge and Iowa Corn Growers board member Bruce Rohwer. Judge stated via a press release that Clinton “was extremely receptive” about ethanol, and felt encouraged “by by her comments about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).” Rohwer added that he was able to thank Clinton for her support, and believed future conversations on the topic would be “just as positive.”

Clinton has supported RFS since at least 2007, when she first made a go for the presidency, though The Daily Beast found that in a 2002 joint letter with Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California and Barbara Boxer of California, then-Senator Clinton described legislation that would bring ethanol into the United States gasoline supply as being “the equivalent of a new gasoline tax” forced upon consumers; she would vote against ethanol 17 times during her time in the U.S. Senate.

Clinton’s re-enforcement of her current stance follows support of ethanol by most Republican hopefuls, as noted during a GOP candidate gathering during last month’s Iowa Ag Summit.

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Virginia Set To Establish Strict Retention Limits On LPR Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046218 The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days. Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One […]

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Alexandria Virginia Police Dodge Charger With License Plate Readers

The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days.

Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One bill would limit data retention to just seven days, the other to 60 days.

McAuliffe would have 30 days to act on the bills before both go into effect without his signature, with the review process set to begin “in the coming days” according to representative Christina Nuckols. Either way, the new limit would be one of the shortest — if not the shortest overall — limits on data retention in the United States; Maine currently holds the record with its 21-day limit.

As for which bill privacy advocates would prefer, the American Civil Liberties Union is pushing McAuliffe to sign the seven-day limit into law, as the other limit also expands the scope of law enforcement’s ability to conduct surveillance.

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General Motors Saved From Pre-Bankruptcy Ignition Lawsuits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045274 Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall. Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall.

Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” for said damages. Though the claims come to $32 billion, Old GM’s assets in October 2014 totaled around $9.25 billion, a recovery of 29 cents on the dollar.

Gerber added that economic-loss plaintiffs could bring their claims against “New GM” based on the automaker’s behavior since leaving bankruptcy, and would certify the case for direct review by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He also said there were due process failures involved in GM’s exit, but that those failures weren’t enough to become violation-level issues due to lack of evidence by plaintiffs demonstrating that they were denied their day in court because they did not receive notice in time.

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Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045250 Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed. Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose […]

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Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed.

Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose of helping would-be hydrogen-station operators build them; each station costs $5 million to build, with the government pitching in $2.5 million in aid.

Though a representative for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry stated the government is considering increasing the amount given to encourage more infrastructure development, energy companies are asking for proof that building the stations are worth the investment in the first place. In turn, consumers may find the lack of said stations off-putting as far as considering an FCV like Toyota’s Mirai goes, while FCVs themselves need government incentives to attract said consumers.

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Ford To Announce $2.5B Investment In Mexico On 90th Anniversary http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-announce-2-5b-investment-mexico-90th-anniversary/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ford-announce-2-5b-investment-mexico-90th-anniversary/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044762 This Friday, Ford will announce a $2.5-billion investment plan for two of its factories in Mexico. According to Reuters, Ford will spend $1.3 billion to expand its engine production facility in northern Chihuahua for two new diesels, with the remaining $1.2 billion to go a transmission plant in Guanajuato. A government representative said the Chihuahua […]

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Ford Chihuahua Plant in Mexico

This Friday, Ford will announce a $2.5-billion investment plan for two of its factories in Mexico.

According to Reuters, Ford will spend $1.3 billion to expand its engine production facility in northern Chihuahua for two new diesels, with the remaining $1.2 billion to go a transmission plant in Guanajuato. A government representative said the Chihuahua investment would create 4,000 jobs as a result.

The announcement will be made in Mexico City in celebration of Ford’s 90th anniversary in Mexico, with Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto set to attend. Ford’s previous major investment occurred in 2008, when the automaker spent $3 billion to update the Cuautitlan plant for production of the Fiesta.

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Chevrolet Spark EV Sees Price Drop, Bonus Cash For Base Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044706 In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model. Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months […]

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model.

Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months with no money down upon signing; the down payment was $999.

In addition to the new lease and purchase figures, the brand is also throwing bonus cash on the hood, the amount varying depending on which of the three states — California, Maryland (as of this summer), Oregon — one happens to reside. The California bonus comes to $1,000 in addition to the state’s $2,500 rebate, while Oregonians receive $3,500 outright, and those in Maryland gain $1,200 on top of the state’s $2,300 excise tax exemption.

With the price cuts, bonus cash, state incentives, and the $7,500 federal tax credit, one could drive away from the lot having paid just $14,995 for the pleasure of bouncing around from the office park to the coffee shop and bakery in a vehicle meant to help General Motors come into compliance with fleet economy standards.

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Fate Of Jeep In Toledo Rests On Supplier Park, Partnerships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043698 The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park. The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park.

The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park came about when FCA US — then DaimlerChrysler — didn’t want to spend too much capital on building the then-new four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Thus, it struck a deal with suppliers Mobis North America and Kuka Systems to build the body and chassis, which would then be handed off to Magna International to be painted, and then onto Jeep for final assembly. FCA US bought the paint operations from Magna in 2012, and may wish to buy the rest of the process from Mobis and Kuka.

In the meantime, city officials have presented FCA US and its CEO Sergio Marchionne with a so-called “aggressive” incentive plan to keep the Wrangler in Toledo, which includes unspecified state and local tax credits and other financial incentives to expand or build a new facility on 100 acres of land purchased and cleaned by the city for over $7 million. The plan was presented in mid-March, and FCA US is expected to make the final decision on Toledo’s fate by June of this year.

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US Army Puts Dummies To Work To Improve Combat Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043658 Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume. Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development […]

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Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume.

Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command. The WIAMan project’s mission will be to assess how soldiers handle explosions caused by IEDs, land mines et al while inside a vehicle, with the goal of improving safety on the battlefield.

To do this, military casualty data from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq is combined with biomedical sensors meant to simulate the human body when attached to a dummy. The dummy is then subjected to the same sort of underbody explosions and blast waves soldiers hope not to experience on the field, which is then recorded to equally small data boxes, each holding up to 16 GB of data.

dts-blast-dummy-0 dts-blast-dummy-2 dts-blast-dummy

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NHTSA’s Rosekind Calling For Automaker Safety Summit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nhtsas-rosekind-calling-automaker-safety-summit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nhtsas-rosekind-calling-automaker-safety-summit/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043218 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind is calling for a summit with industry CEOs to improve automotive safety. Automotive News reports Rosekind wants to hold the summit as soon as June to discuss with the CEOs of automakers how each of their companies handle safety and defect issues, and ways to improve upon […]

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2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind is calling for a summit with industry CEOs to improve automotive safety.

Automotive News reports Rosekind wants to hold the summit as soon as June to discuss with the CEOs of automakers how each of their companies handle safety and defect issues, and ways to improve upon those approaches. He plans to invite the CEOs of the Detroit Three, as well as those helming foreign automakers with business in the United States, though formal invitations, timing, location and other details have yet to be sorted.

Prior to the summit, Rosekind and the NHTSA is hosting a recall workshop later this month to determine the best methods for bettering the recall process. The all-day workshop will be held at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, and will feature presentations from automakers, suppliers, dealers and the agency itself.

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General Motors Looking Toward Arlington Assembly Expansion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-looking-toward-arlington-assembly-expansion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-looking-toward-arlington-assembly-expansion/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041745 General Motors is looking to expand its factory in Arlington, Texas to help boost production of its SUVs. Reuters reports the expansion would cost $1.3 billion, and would add 1.2 million square feet and 589 jobs in so doing. The additional jobs would also raise the city’s minimum employment requirement at Arlington Assembly to 3,179; […]

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General Motors is looking to expand its factory in Arlington, Texas to help boost production of its SUVs.

Reuters reports the expansion would cost $1.3 billion, and would add 1.2 million square feet and 589 jobs in so doing. The additional jobs would also raise the city’s minimum employment requirement at Arlington Assembly to 3,179; the plant currently employs 4,125, nearly 1,000 employees above the requirement.

The city council is proposing an 80-percent tax reduction over the next 10 years on the plant and its equipment, as well as waive building permit and development fees. The council will vote on approving a reinvestment zone at Arlington Assembly next Tuesday, with the vote on incentives to come April 28 should the zone be approved.

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Lyft, Uber Lobby Texas Legislature For Statewide TNC Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lyft-uber-lobby-texas-legislature-statewide-tnc-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lyft-uber-lobby-texas-legislature-statewide-tnc-legislation/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041649 Transportation network companies Lyft and Uber are lobbying the Texas Legislature to enact legislation that would help TNCs better operate in the state. Autoblog reports the TNCs are spending over $1 million on more than three dozen lobbyists during the 2015 legislative session to push for rules that would supercede local laws, allowing the duo […]

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Uber Austin

Transportation network companies Lyft and Uber are lobbying the Texas Legislature to enact legislation that would help TNCs better operate in the state.

Autoblog reports the TNCs are spending over $1 million on more than three dozen lobbyists during the 2015 legislative session to push for rules that would supercede local laws, allowing the duo and other potential TNCs to operate freely in San Antonio as they do now in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock and Austin.

The issue in San Antonio comes from the local taxi industry, who claim Lyft, Uber and other TNCs hurt the livery industry, and wants them to operate within the same standards as yellow taxis and black cars. Industry group Texas Taxi — representing 2,500 drivers — has hired eight lobbyists to counter the TNCs’ efforts, while the industry as a whole spending $500,000 to block the legislation.

Said legislation, co-sponsored by Chris Paddie of Marshall and Lyle Larson of San Antonio, would require TNCs to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $5,000, as well as conduct driver background checks and provide commercial insurance.

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Homeland Security Re-evaluating License-Plate Reader Database Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/homeland-security-re-evaluating-license-plate-reader-database-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/homeland-security-re-evaluating-license-plate-reader-database-plan/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039049 Over a year after Homeland Security passed on building a national license-plate reader database, the department is once again interested. Autoblog reports DHS is this time seeking a commercial solution already on the market, instead of looking to contractors to build the database as the department once desired. Going the commercial route would help bolster […]

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license plate cameras

Over a year after Homeland Security passed on building a national license-plate reader database, the department is once again interested.

Autoblog reports DHS is this time seeking a commercial solution already on the market, instead of looking to contractors to build the database as the department once desired. Going the commercial route would help bolster its ability to fight crime while providing the path toward minimizing privacy concerns, with the current plan calling for LPR information to be stored for five years barring exceptions as needed pending supervisor approval.

On the other side, critics of the plan cite privacy and First Amendment concerns (the latter specifically about the right to peaceably assemble). Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch says the department’s plan doesn’t do much to protect privacy in a meaningful way, while Center for Democracy and Technology senior counsel Gregory T. Nojeim warns that DHS would have “warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S.” upon implementation.

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NHTSA To Gain Broader Powers Upon Transportation Bill Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033457 A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems. Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases […]

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A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems.

Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases where there is an imminent risk of injury or death,” which would be used before a determining a problem exists, and without input from the affected automaker or supplier.

The bill also triples the funding and doubles the staffing for the NHTSA, increases the fine it can levy from $35 million to $300 million; introduces a pilot program to improve the recall process on the owner’s end; requires dealers to check for recalls every time a vehicle comes in for servicing; and mandates that all used and rental vehicles with open recalls to be repaired before sale or rental.

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Support For Automated Enforcement Only So-So Among Americans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033377 While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is. According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at […]

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red stop light camera

While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is.

According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at 540 communities in October 2012, now since fallen to 461, and while 112 to 140 programs speed camera programs were initiated in the same 30 months, those are now beginning to stumble.

While critics — and the studies that back their statements — have found red-light and speed cameras marginally improve safety at best and are thought to be nothing more than revenue generators, a survey by FindLaw.com found that 61 percent of women and 51 percent of men support red-light cameras, while 53 percent of women and 43 percent of men would support speed cameras, as well.

Geography plays into support as well: 62 percent of residents in the Northeastern United States support speed cameras, while 65 percent support red-light cameras. In comparison, only 33 percent of residents in the Midwest — where opposition to automated enforcement is highest — support the former, 49 percent support the latter.

That said, the voting booth may be the best indicator of support for the cameras: 31 out of 34 referendums in 25 years have shot down automated enforcement, including four ballot measures last November whose disapproval/approval ratio came to approximately 3:1 opposed.

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Oakland PD Turns Over 4.6M License Plate Dataset Via Public Records Request http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030273 Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014. Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to […]

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OaklandPoliceCar

Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014.

Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to organize the dataset for its investigation into the practice.

With the permission of those contacted, the publication was able to track the movements of each individual based on their license plate, information that provides an insight into a given person’s life, according to University of California, Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump:

Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life. Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast—although possibly with a drinking problem.

Crump adds that, as LPR technology comes down in price and becomes ubiquitous on the backs of police cars and in traffic lights, citizens should support restrictions on the data collected, from how long it’s stored and who can access it, to why it should be accessed in the first place.

Ars Technica also obtained data on OPD vehicles, discovering that a single unit — a 2007 Ford P71 — was scanned 879 times between January 15, 2012 and May 31, 2014 while it travelled through Downtown Oakland and North Oakland; nearly all of the 100 OPD in the dataset were also scanned several hundred times over.

As for how the publication was able to have this data in the first place, neither the OPD or the Oakland City Council has set a formal data retention limit; the police department deletes information as needed for new data, however. All OPD officers also have access to the LPR information at any time, and need not give a reason for accessing the data when searching for a given plate, though policy says such searches require “a legitimate law enforcement purpose, such as following up on a criminal investigation.”

Finally, OPD police captain Anthony Toribio explains that the data is publically available to anyone who asks, citing transparency as the reason:

I think it’s important for a law enforcement organization to be transparent, and it goes to being credible and establishing legitimacy in the community.

The OPD dataset is the second-largest LPR dataset to be released via request, the largest being one from a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Seattle Police Department in 2010. The request resulted in a dataset of over 7.3 million scans.

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Operation Ruse Control Brings The Hammer Down On Deceptive Dealer Practices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030209 The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices. The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements […]

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Cory Fairbanks Mazda Dealership

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices.

The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements of over $2.6 million.

Two of those cases involved vehicle purchase add-ons, defined by the agency as “the practice of a dealer or other third party adding to the vehicle sales, lease, or finance agreement charges for other products or services.” In both, National Payment Network made promises to save consumers money, but the associated fees were too high to deliver on the promise. NPN agreed to refund $1.5 million and waive $949,000 in fees, while partner New Jersey-based dealership network Matt Blatt — the latter having received commissions for each of the 1,000 consumers it enrolled into NPN’s scheme — will pay $184,000 in fines to the FTC.

Three cases involving deceptive advertising on the part of Cory Fairbanks Mazda of Longwood, Fla., Jim Burke Nissan of Birmingham, Ala. and Ross Nissan of El Monte, Calif. led to all three from “misrepresenting the purchase cost or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle,” with the former two also barred from “representing that a discount, rebate, bonus, incentive or price is available unless it is available to all consumers or all qualifications and restrictions are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

The last of the six involves a lawsuit against Florida-based Regency Financial Services. The company is alleged to have charged consumers upfront for auto loan modifications, only to deliver nothing in exchange. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction to stop RFS’ practices, as well as to refund deceived consumers.

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Reithofer: Government Programs Key To BMW i3 Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028841 BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures for the BMW i3 soar.”

The CEO cited Norway as an example, where the government not only has a charging infrastructure where owners can park and recharge for free, but does not levy sales or registration taxes on EVs. Those incentives have helped BMW move 2,000 i3s in 2014.

Meanwhile, significant financial subsidies in the United States, as well as privileges such as use of dedicated HOV lanes, led to sales of 3,000 units in California alone, a figure that is half of all i3s sold in the U.S.

Other incentives include looser licensing restrictions in Shanghai, circulation tax exemptions for 10 years from date of first registration in Germany, and company car tax exemptions for life in France.

Speaking of Germany, where 2,000 i3s were sold in 2014, Reithofer said his country’s government needs to “pick up the pace” in pushing electric mobility. Germany wants 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020, and has plans to offer additional incentives to achieve its goal.

In the meantime, BMW will introduce its DriveNow car-sharing service this spring, beginning in London. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city in the program by May, while the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Munich will join in July. The program is meant to help boost acceptance of electrification, and widening the tech’s appeal among younger drivers.

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Takata Recall Sees More Rapid Response In Japan Than US http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027417 While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster. Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic […]

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Takata information steering wheel + airbag combo

While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster.

Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic failure — 2.13 million — 70 percent — have been repaired through the end of February 2015.

Meanwhile, out of the 17 million vehicles in the U.S. under recall for the same issue, less than 2 million — 12 percent — were repaired through late February.

The stark differences between the two countries are the result of how Japan’s authorities and consumers deal with recalls compared to those in the U.S. In the former, consumers respond well to recalls, and few keep vehicles for as long as those in the latter do. Further, tighter safety and emission inspections not only help keep vehicle records up to date, but can serve to warn consumers of potential problems. Finally, the used car market isn’t as robust as it is in the U.S., making it easier for automakers to contact owners in case of a recall, as cars don’t change owners as often.

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