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. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:00:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/government-news-blog/ Mass Transit In Greece Free This Week Due To Economic Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102009 Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money. As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of […]

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Electric Bus In Athens, Greece

Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money.

As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of the failing bailout of the nation’s economy — transportation minister Christos Spirtzis declared transit service in Athens would be free to all until next week, Business Insider says.

The move would affect only those in the greater Athens metro area, where 40 percent of the nation’s population call home; the next-largest city, Thessaloniki, can’t waive its fares because its system isn’t fully run by the Grecian government. Meanwhile, Greece stands to lose €4 million ($4.44 million USD) as a result of the declaration; typical fares are around €1.20 ($1.33).

(Photo credit: hans-johnson/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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California’s Black License Plates Are Back In Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099905 Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses. The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in […]

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CAblackplate_700

Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses.

The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in Folsom prison,” per Gatto’s legislative director Aaron Moreno. Moreno adds the molds were found intact once the dust was cleared, paving the way toward reintroduction.

However, the three plates could only be made if each one garnered a minimum of 7,500 pre-orders between January 2013 and December 2014. While the black plates blew away the rest with 20,000 pre-orders to date, the yellow and blue plates only had few thousand each.

When the new plates leave Folsom in the next few weeks, there will be two key differences between the 2015 edition and the originals made between 1963 and 1969: the “63” stamped in the right-corner sticker window will not be there, and the plate overall will be covered in a reflective coating as required by law. Otherwise, it will appear as if stamping never ceased.

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Julie Hamp Could Face Criminal Intent Charges Over Controlled Drug Importation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/julie-hamp-could-face-criminal-intent-charges-over-controlled-drug-importation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/julie-hamp-could-face-criminal-intent-charges-over-controlled-drug-importation/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:15:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100065 Toyota PR exec Julie Hamp isn’t having the best time in Japan right now, and the situation could worsen thanks to the nation’s strict drug importation laws. As explained by Jalopnik‘s Kat Callahan, Japan requires users of any controlled substance brought into the nation to walk in a limited amount of the prescribed meds before […]

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Julie Hamp Not In BlackToyota PR exec Julie Hamp isn’t having the best time in Japan right now, and the situation could worsen thanks to the nation’s strict drug importation laws.

As explained by Jalopnik‘s Kat Callahan, Japan requires users of any controlled substance brought into the nation to walk in a limited amount of the prescribed meds before customs, declare the drugs, and present a doctor’s note translated into Japanese before they can be allowed into one’s medicine cabinet. Otherwise, narcotics like the Oxycodone brought in by Hamp are verboten, and cannot even be sold by or found in a pharmacy in Japan; they can’t also be mailed.

Non-controlled drugs, meanwhile, don’t need a translated note, but must now be walked in and declared, and only a one-month supply is allowed to enter the country.

While Hamp could attempt to plead ignorance on the laws of the land, her case would need to depend on her not hiding the Oxycodone in a box marked “Necklaces” among a ton of toy necklaces, and thus, avoiding customs declarations in so doing. Unfortunately, this is the scenario which played out, giving prosecutors the ability to declare criminal intent on the part of Hamp; it’s also why Toyota’s HQ was raided by police a few days ago.

Should the criminal intent charge stick, Hamp would be in prison for a long time before finally given the boot out of the country for the rest of her life.

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Report: NHTSA Failed Consumers Over Automotive Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097473 Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety. The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, […]

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BMW 325Ci on Fire

Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety.

The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, to carefully collecting data and properly training its employees, The Detroit News reports.

The report — the result of the NHTSA’s stumblings surrounding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall crisis — notes the agency ignored complaints as early as 2003 from consumers regarding air bag deployment failures in certain GM models over the years.

The issue isn’t out of the ordinary, unfortunately, as the agency was found to ignore 90 percent of all consumer complaints arriving daily. The screeners responsible for reading them spent mere “seconds” on each complaint, with one screener having gone over 78,000 in one year — 330/day — while working in other duties.

Regarding self-reporting from automakers, the NHTSA isn’t doing all it can to determine accuracy in what is reported. According to Jalopnik, what everyone else would call a fire, manufactures call it something else:

However, according to [NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation] staff, manufacturers routinely miscategorize safety incidents. For example, staff told us that some manufacturers avoid using the word “fire” in non-dealer field reports and instead use phrases such as “strange odor” to avoid categorizing an incident as fire-related.

The Inspector General’s report lists 17 major recommendations needed to extensively reform the NHTSA, reforms administrator Mark Rosekind plans to “aggressively implement” by June 2016. Rosekind and the Inspector General, Calvin Scovel, are among those set to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday on automotive safety.

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

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Republican Hopeful Donald Trump Threatens Ford With Tariffs Over Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/republican-hopeful-donald-trump-threatens-ford-with-tariffs-over-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/republican-hopeful-donald-trump-threatens-ford-with-tariffs-over-mexico/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 19:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095409 Republican presidential hopeful and billionaire Donald Trump wants to bring the pain via punitive tariffs to Ford for manufacturing vehicles in Mexico. During his announcement of his 2016 campaign Tuesday, The Detroit News says Trump vowed he would levy a 35 percent tariff on Ford parts and vehicles imported from Mexico if the automaker presses […]

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Smug Motherfucker Donald Trump Douching It Up Like He Always Does

Republican presidential hopeful and billionaire Donald Trump wants to bring the pain via punitive tariffs to Ford for manufacturing vehicles in Mexico.

During his announcement of his 2016 campaign Tuesday, The Detroit News says Trump vowed he would levy a 35 percent tariff on Ford parts and vehicles imported from Mexico if the automaker presses forward with a $2.5 billion investment in the nation, claiming the move would “take away thousands” of jobs from American workers.

Trump then proceeded to roleplay how he would deliver the “bad news” to “the head of Ford,” CEO Mark Fields:

Let me give you the bad news: every car, every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax — OK? — and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction. They are going to take away thousands of jobs.

Announced in April, the $2.5 billion investment would add 3,800 jobs to the 11,300 already employed by Ford in Mexico, and would include new engine and transmission plants aimed toward the export market in the United States and other global markets.

Trump continued on with his roleplay, stating Ford would use lobbyist power to persuade “President Trump” to drop the tax, only for him to sandbag the automaker into submission. He added he knew Fields personally, and thought Ford was a good company overall.

In response, spokeswoman Christin Baker reiterated Ford’s investments into its home market:

We are proud that we have invested $6.2 billion in our U.S. plants since 2011 and hired nearly 25,000 U.S. employees. Overall, 80 percent of our North American investment annually is in the U.S., and 97 percent of our North American engineering is conducted in the U.S.

Of course, Trump wouldn’t be legally able to punish Ford for building its plants wherever it wanted, let alone single-out Ford with his plan without also doing the same to General Motors and FCA (how he would deal with Fiat owning Chrysler would be a whole other round of metaphors and hyperbole altogether).

At least one thing is for certain in Trump’s campaigning thus far: the dead cat on his head is actually his hair.

(Photo credit:Gage Skidmore/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Survival Of Canadian Auto Industry Hinging On FCA Brampton Reinvestment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/survival-of-canadian-auto-industry-hinging-on-fca-brampton-reinvestment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/survival-of-canadian-auto-industry-hinging-on-fca-brampton-reinvestment/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092793 The fate of Canada’s auto industry is linked to whether or not the nation’s leaders can convince FCA to reinvest into its Brampton, Ontario facility. The Brampton Assembly plant is home to three of FCA’s biggest draws, the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger. Yet, the high rate of production and quality found there […]

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2015 Chrysler 300S

The fate of Canada’s auto industry is linked to whether or not the nation’s leaders can convince FCA to reinvest into its Brampton, Ontario facility.

The Brampton Assembly plant is home to three of FCA’s biggest draws, the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger. Yet, the high rate of production and quality found there clashes against the oldest paint shop the automaker has in North America, an aging line of assembly robots, and the trio themselves looking for a major makeover, Automotive News reports.

There’s also the fact FCA is already investing $2 billion into the Windsor Assembly facility in Windsor, Ontario, where a new generation of minivans are expected to begin production in 2016. The Brampton facility needs $1 billion to modernize, something CEO Sergio Marchionne may be wary of doing.

According to the Windsor Star, Marchionne approached the Canadian and Ontario governments last year with a request for a financial incentive package totalling $700 million to augment the $3.6 billion he planned to put into Windsor and Brampton. He explained his reasoning before reporters during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show:

This commitment that we’re making is a multibillion dollar commitment. We have to resolve the issue about the competitiveness of this investment in Windsor. So, I have to make sure the environment and the conditions that support the investment are adequate to ensure a proper return on our capital. That means labour costs, that means everything.

Months later, Marchionne backed down from moving forward with the proposal, choosing to invest in Windsor on his own while Brampton remains left out in the cold.

Unfortunately for those holding onto hope Brampton will remain, the business case may not be there to continue. Despite exchange rates between Canada and the United States providing a level playing field regarding unionized labor costs for now, nonunion factories in the Southeastern U.S. and Mexico offer both competitive incentive packages and labor-cost advantages.

Finally, Marchionne’s preference toward running factories flat-out through three shifts may prompt a reallocation of production if another model couldn’t be added to Brampton’s schedule. Thus, FCA could send the three full-sizers to either Toluca or Saltillo, Mexico, with the latter more likely than the former as a result of supplying engines like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 6.4-liter HEMI V8 to Brampton.

The only issues with either location amount to retooling Toluca and sending Fiat 500 production elsewhere — the Dodge Journey will move to Windsor to join the new-gen minivans next year — or adding a new line to assemble the cars in Saltillo.

[Photo credit: Chrysler]

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Citroen’s Famed Hydraulic Suspension Rides Comfortably Into The Sunset http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/citroens-famed-hydraulic-suspension-rides-comfortably-into-the-sunset/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/citroens-famed-hydraulic-suspension-rides-comfortably-into-the-sunset/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092753 The suspension setup known for helping to save the life of late French president Charles de Gaulle will soon join him in the pages of time. Citroen’s famous hydraulic suspension is being discontinued by PSA Peugeot Citroen, Reuters reports, and will self-level its last car when the current C5 sedan concludes its production run. The […]

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Charles de Gaulle's Citroen DS

The suspension setup known for helping to save the life of late French president Charles de Gaulle will soon join him in the pages of time.

Citroen’s famous hydraulic suspension is being discontinued by PSA Peugeot Citroen, Reuters reports, and will self-level its last car when the current C5 sedan concludes its production run.

The discontinuation of the decades-old system, which combined a hydraulic pump with several nitrogen-filled pneumatic spheres to deliver a ride unmatched for decades, is part of CEO Carlos Tavares’ ongoing cost-cutting actions throughout the company. A source close to the Tavares says he believes other modern suspension systems can offer a comfortable ride just as well as the one under classics like the DS and SM.

Speaking of the DS, the hydraulic suspension under the DS of de Gaulle helped the car’s driver maintain control during an assassination attempt in 1962, where 12 gunmen killed two of the president’s motorcycle guards, as well as shot out two of the DS’ tires. In spite the assassins’ efforts, de Gaulle and his wife survived.

Similar systems were implemented by Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and Audi, but few others took the legendary setup beyond Citroen’s assembly lines.

[Photo credit: Davide Oliva/Flickr/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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US House Resolution Would Allow Factory-Direct Turnkey Replica Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091529 Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model. U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and […]

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Factory Five Mk4 Roadster

Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model.

U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Gene Green of Texas. According to Autoblog, the resolution would grant low-volume vehicle manufacturers — those producing no more than 500 units per year — the right to sell their wares direct from the factory with no assembly required, instead of only shipping them as kits to their customers as occurs now.

Though the vehicles would still need to follow safety and environmental standards as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, those standards would be applied separately from high-volume manufacturers.

HR 2675 was introduced last week, and will arrive before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a yet-to-be-determined date.

[Photo credit: Factory Five Racing/Facebook]

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Fatal Accident In Louisiana Could Be Seventh Linked To Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090689 A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis. Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side […]

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Takata Agua Prieta Mexico Facility

A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis.

Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side airbag catastrophically deployed, spraying metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

As noted in the complaint filed in federal court Monday, a recall notice for her Honda arrived in the mail two days after the crash, two days before her passing.

The most recent fatality linked to Takata’s airbags came in January, when Carlos Solis IV of Spring, Texas lost his life following a crash in his 2002 Honda Accord, marking the fourth fatal accident in the United States reported by Honda prior to Langlinais’ accident. Three other confirmed deaths, another under investigation, and at least 60 injuries were also reported by the automaker for the U.S. market, while another fatality was confirmed in Malaysia.

The report of a new accident possibly linked to Takata comes nearly a month after the supplier admitted as many as 34 million vehicles in the U.S. could be affected, leading to one of the largest product recalls in U.S. history.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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Renault Testing Canadian Waters With Limited Kangoo EV Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089049 Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV. The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports. Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will […]

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Renault Kangoo Z.E. Recharges At A Construction Site

Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV.

The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports.

Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will bring over up to 1,000 Kangoo Z.E. EVs for a two-year period per the terms of the compliance waiver. This move would give Renault an opportunity to see if it would be worth bringing its EV products in line with the Canadian and U.S. standards.

According to EV sales manager Vincent Square, it would four to five years for volume to be sufficient enough to merit building products specifically for the Canadian market, and hopes the waiver will be enough to put the automaker on the path back to a market vacated by the French automakers in 1991.

Should Renault’s two-pronged attack not pan out as hoped, however, the automaker plans to have an after-sales network for the EVs and their owners.

[Photo credit: Renault]

[H/T: Jonathan Roy/Twitter]

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US Attorney’s Office Consider Charging General Motors With Criminal Wire Fraud http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088961 Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or […]

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Renaissance Center At Night Circa January 2011

Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or early fall of this year, Reuters reports.

The basis for the wire fraud claim is linked to the prosecutors’ findings suggesting GM possibly hid information about the defects in the ignition switches installed in 2.66 million vehicles made in the early through mid-2000s, as well as made misleading statements on the issue.

The yet-to-be-finalized action is one more legal action GM has on its plate, following numerous civil lawsuits, over 4,300 compensation claims, and an ongoing criminal probe set to conclude the interview phase by October.

As far as settlements with the government are concerned involving the wire fraud charge, CEO Mary Barra informed shareholders her company fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and any settlements to be made would occur on the company’s timeline.

[Photo credit: John Marino/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Indiana Latest To Penalize Slow Left Lane Motorists http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/indiana-latest-to-penalize-slow-left-lane-motorists/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/indiana-latest-to-penalize-slow-left-lane-motorists/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088545 For those who despise being stuck behind left lane hogs, days could be short thanks to a handful of states cracking down on slow drivers. Indiana is the latest to establish fines on motorists who choose to remain in the left lane rather than moving back onto the right to let faster motorists pass by, […]

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Passing_vehicle_I-15_rural_Utah_July_2011

For those who despise being stuck behind left lane hogs, days could be short thanks to a handful of states cracking down on slow drivers.

Indiana is the latest to establish fines on motorists who choose to remain in the left lane rather than moving back onto the right to let faster motorists pass by, The Detroit Bureau reports. The fine would be up to $500/ticket for a driver caught driving in the left lane 10 mph under the speed limit.

Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan are among those with similar policies, with Florida docking three points on a motorist’s license in addition to a monetary fine, and Michigan fining drivers who remain in the left lane after passing; said law is rarely enforced, especially in metropolitan area due to high traffic levels. Overall, a total of 40 states have left lane legislation on the books, with states like Oregon and Ohio planning to join soon.

Critics of such legislation believe penalization of slower left lane drivers would only serve to encourage speeding, while advocates and experts counter by stating encouraging said drivers to remain or return to the right lane leads to greater passing and overall traffic safety. Leaving slow drivers in the left can create situations leading to greater chances of injury and death by forcing faster motorists to pass on the right.

[Photo credit: Garrett/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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NHTSA Facing The Music Over Role In 2014 GM Ignition Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087617 A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest. According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest.

According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found in certain GM models from being repaired for over a decade, says The New York Times.

While the reports did lay the majority of the blame on GM, the blunt assessment of the NHTSA’s part of the story is now leading to improvements and revisions with the agency’s methodology into potential safety problems. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed as much during a conference call with reporters following the release of the reports, acknowledging “deficits” in the methodology, and admitting there was “room for self-improvement.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind added he had not disciplined or dismissed any officials involved in the GM recall, but did note the improper handling of the situation “changed the culture” at the agency to the point where questioning the information received and assumptions pursued were encouraged.

The changes planned for the agency including putting automakers “on notice” without the need for gathering more evidence beforehand if a potential problem comes up, adopting a so-called “risk control” program to better align its departments and foster sharing of safety information, and instituting a formal process to contact lawyers representing affected litigants.

Finally, the NHTSA will be monitored by a team of experts over the next year, including those formerly of NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as a professor of medicine and engineering from the University of Michigan.

The two reports are only the first to give the agency the once-over; the Transportation Department inspector general will give their assessment later in June.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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FCA Set To Meet NHTSA Over Recalls Despite Desire To Cancel Hearing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 20:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085601 Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order. The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-013

Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order.

The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, and was sent a 12-page questionnaire to answer by June 1. FCA sent an 18-page response back to the NHTSA, giving details on its safety record, repair completion rates, and how it will handle safety concerns moving forward.

Thus, FCA believes a meeting the NHTSA is no longer necessary. However, NHTSA representative Gordon Trowbridge said the hearing will go on as planned, explaining the procedure “is a part of the process for determining whether the company has met its obligations.”

The agency itself praised FCA Thursday for its compliance with the order and thoroughness it was undertaken, while the automaker said it has taken a number of actions to improve product safety, including reviews of the recall process and creating a stand-alone organization to help with safety and compliance.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Takata, NHTSA Face Uncertainty Over Safety Of Replacement Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085529 Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced. What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant […]

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Takata Driver Airbag

Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced.

What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant wafer, Reuters reports. Another 500,000 units were found to be safe, as those were assembled for Takata by competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive, both of whom use a different propellant compared to Takata’s ammonium nitrate mix.

However, determining how many of the 34 million vehicles under recall need new units for original and repaired vehicles is easier said than done. Eight of the 10 automakers affected by Takata’s ongoing airbag issues expanded earlier or created new recalls following last month’s announcement by the supplier regarding the number of affected U.S. vehicles, amounting to only 3.3 million recalled since then.

Further confusion comes from how many repaired vehicles will also need to come in again for a new replacement unit, though Honda said those owners who had their airbags replaced since September 12, 2014 would not need to come back. The automaker explained the replacement units assembled by Takata used a different design made by Takata and other suppliers.

Meanwhile, the NHTSA said Takata and the affected automakers would be the ones responsible for demonstrating the replacement parts would be safe over the life of a given vehicle, with finding those needing to return to the repair shop a priority. Administrator Mark Rosekind told legislators this week owners would be best served by checking with their dealership’s service department for news about their vehicles, adding the replacement issue was “confusing.”

[Photo credit: Alexauto123/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Google’s Autonomous Cars See 12th Accident, Virginia Opens Highways For Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084305 Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing. Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, […]

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google-self-driving-car

Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing.

Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, the seventh or eighth occurrence of such a scenario per Brin.

Safety advocates want the company to release all records pertaining to the accidents so the public can know where each instance went wrong, a request reinforced by shareholder and Consumer Watchdog advocate John Simpson during the meeting. Brin gave a synopsis of each accident in response, adding Google would be open to giving more information, an action it has yet to take thus far.

The latest accident follows a disclosure made by Google in May, wherein 11 accidents involved its fleet of autonomous cars over a six-year period, with all accidents attributed to human error by the tech giant.

Meanwhile, Northern Virginia drivers may soon see Google’s autonomous cars on their way to work. Richmond Times-Dispatch says over 70 miles of highway on Interstates 95, 495 and 66, as well as U.S. 29 and U.S. 50, will become so-called Virginia Automated Corridors under the oversight of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The vehicles would be first certified for safety by VTTI at its Smart Road test track in Montgomery County, and at Virginia International Raceway in Halifax County prior to highway testing.

VTTI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Systems Director Myra Blanco says the aim of the program is for Virginia to show other states how to make testing of autonomous technologies easier, adding the program would “advance the technology and… attract companies and satellite offices in the Northern Virginia area to develop these new concepts.”

Testing is set to begin within a year, with the Center providing insurance and license plates for those companies looking to prove their concepts. The Virginia Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles are partners in the program.

[Image credit: Google]

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Electronic Stability Control Required On All Heavy Trucks, Large Buses By 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/electronic-stability-control-required-on-all-heavy-trucks-large-buses-by-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/electronic-stability-control-required-on-all-heavy-trucks-large-buses-by-2017/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084225 Two years from now, all heavy trucks and large buses will be required to equip electronic stability control per a new rule from the NHTSA. The new rule, finalized Wednesday, would affect all trucks and buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in total weight, USA Today reports, and is expected to prevent over 1,700 crashes, 649 injuries, […]

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Heavy Truck Rollover Circa April 2006

Two years from now, all heavy trucks and large buses will be required to equip electronic stability control per a new rule from the NHTSA.

The new rule, finalized Wednesday, would affect all trucks and buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in total weight, USA Today reports, and is expected to prevent over 1,700 crashes, 649 injuries, 49 fatalities, and up to 56 percent of rollovers on the road per year once it comes into force in 2017.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind both offered praise for the new rule. Foxx declared ESC “a remarkable success story” in its implementation on cars since 2012, while Rosekind added the technology would be “a win for the safety and convenience of the traveling public and for our economy.”

The rule’s finalization, coming after a 2011 recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board to mandate ESC’s use in trucks and buses, was announced on the same day three were killed in an accident in Pennsylvania involving a semi-trailer colliding with a bus ferrying Italian tourists. Whether ESC would have prevented the accident remains unknown at this time.

[Photo credit: Bjørn Bulthuis/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Rosekind Will Give Prepared Statement Before Congress Over Funding Concerns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082161 Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function. Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety […]

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Mark Rosekind At Work With The NTSB Circa January 2015

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function.

Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety issues surrounding the supplier’s airbags, Reuters reports.

His prepared statement will address the NHTSA’s analysis of the data from its investigation into Takata, as well as the aforementioned budget concerns his agency faces. Of the latter, Rosekind said the agency’s budget is, when adjusted for inflation, 23 percent lower than a decade ago, making the agency’s work difficult as technology pushes forward.

[Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation/Facebook]

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General Motors Files Third Application For GMC Granite Nameplate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-files-third-application-for-gmc-granite-nameplate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-files-third-application-for-gmc-granite-nameplate/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082057 While General Motors dealt with trademarking issues over the Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker filed a new application last month for the GMC Granite nameplate. The application is the third to secure the Granite name for a product which may see the light of day, AutoGuide reports. The name was originally used for a concept compact […]

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gmc-granite-concept-01

While General Motors dealt with trademarking issues over the Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker filed a new application last month for the GMC Granite nameplate.

The application is the third to secure the Granite name for a product which may see the light of day, AutoGuide reports. The name was originally used for a concept compact crossover, which made its debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

GM filed its first application for the nameplate a couple of months prior in early November 2009, abandoning it the following September. Nearly two years later, the automaker filed for a new application with the intent to use the name on “motor land vehicles, namely on-road passenger automobiles.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office required the company to provide proof the name would be used in commerce within six months.

Since then, GM filed all five of its six-month extensions, the last in November. With no product bearing the Granite nameplate in sight, however, the automaker had to start the process once more with its third application filed May 26 of this year. Time will tell if anything comes out of this ongoing effort to hold onto the name.

[Photo credit: GMC]

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Chevrolet Bolt Trademark Application Active Once Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chevrolet-bolt-trademark-application-active-once-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chevrolet-bolt-trademark-application-active-once-again/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081033 Last week, we reported on the second suspension of Chevrolet’s trademark application for the Bolt nameplate. Said application is now active once again. According to Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm, who contacted us this morning regarding the trademarking process for its low-cost, 200-mile EV: Chevrolet has been working closely with the USPT on Bolt trademark. Our […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex

Last week, we reported on the second suspension of Chevrolet’s trademark application for the Bolt nameplate. Said application is now active once again.

According to Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm, who contacted us this morning regarding the trademarking process for its low-cost, 200-mile EV:

Chevrolet has been working closely with the USPT on Bolt trademark. Our legal staff has consent from Yamaha to use the Bolt name. According to our legal team, our USPT application is back to active status.

The most recent suspension came about when a custom sleeper cab company in Indiana applied to protect its name, Bolt Custom Trucks. Though the email addressed only the first suspension by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — Yamaha had reserved Bolt for motorcycles and related parts prior to the brand’s application — it would appear the second suspension involving the builder was resolved, as well.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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General Motors Bolt Trademark Application Suspended Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-bolt-trademark-application-suspended-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-bolt-trademark-application-suspended-again/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 19:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078146 For the second time since applying for the name, General Motors has seen its trademark application suspended for the Chevrolet Bolt. The application for the Bolt nameplate was originally suspended by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it was learned Yamaha already held the trademark for its motorcycles and related parts, AutoGuide reports. GM […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – rear ext

For the second time since applying for the name, General Motors has seen its trademark application suspended for the Chevrolet Bolt.

The application for the Bolt nameplate was originally suspended by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it was learned Yamaha already held the trademark for its motorcycles and related parts, AutoGuide reports. GM and Yamaha came to terms to allow the former to use the name for its EV, only for the second suspension to occur soon after.

The cause behind the recent snag comes from Bolt Custom Trucks in Fort Wayne, Ind. The custom sleeper cab builder applied to protect the name before GM, with owner Brian Callan not being aware his company’s application was now in the way of the automaker being able to call its EV “Bolt.”

Whatever name it does end up wearing, the low-cost EV is set to hit showrooms 16 months from now barring delays. Even with said potential delays, the Bolt is expected to leave the assembly line ahead of its competitor, the Tesla Model 3, entering showrooms with a $30,000 starting price and a 200-mile range.

[Source: Chevrolet]

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Automakers Rage Against UK’s Possible ‘Brexit’ From EU http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/automakers-rage-against-uks-possible-brexit-from-eu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/automakers-rage-against-uks-possible-brexit-from-eu/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078034 A handful of European automakers are lashing out against the prospect of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” from the European Union via referendum in 2017. Ford Europe, Renault-Nissan and BMW have made it known there would be serious ramifications for the European auto industry and the U.K.’s role in it if the nation left the E.U. […]

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Jaguar F-Type S AWD

A handful of European automakers are lashing out against the prospect of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” from the European Union via referendum in 2017.

Ford Europe, Renault-Nissan and BMW have made it known there would be serious ramifications for the European auto industry and the U.K.’s role in it if the nation left the E.U. following the results of a referendum vote in 2017, The Detroit News reports. Both Ford Europe CEO Jim Farley and BMW board member Ian Robertson have said the U.K. should remain in the union for the sake of the nation’s auto industry, while Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he would have to reconsider his company’s dealings across the Channel if the so-called Brexit became reality.

However, the trio of automakers, as well as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), may be doing more harm to themselves by joining in the political conflict than anything the Brexit could muster upon execution. Garel Rhys, emeritus professor of Motor Industry Economics and director for Automotive Industry Research at the Cardiff Business School, explains:

It’s possible I suppose that there could be a massive trade war, with protection and trade barriers but I think that’s very unlikely. Firstly the WTO (World Trade Organization) would have a view on that. But much more importantly, Britain has a huge balance of trade deficit with the rest of the E.U.. It’s a tremendous market for E.U. countries for a whole range of goods and especially for upmarket BMWs, Audis and Porsches.

Rhys adds a free trade agreement following the Brexit would be “very, very likely” and in the best interests of both parties, saying fear of change is the main driver for the automakers opposed to the U.K.’s departure. Cimigo analyst Michael Burrage agrees with the assessment, stating the opposition should have done more research into the Brexit and its effects before sounding the alarm:

Companies with serious interests at stake should conduct risk assessments and ask if these serious consequences are likely. I don’t believe they have taken serious studies. I believe exit would be far less disturbing than these large manufactures would wish us to believe, and they need to do studies. I would listen more seriously if they showed some research. This is just off the top of their heads. It is very superficial>

The Brexit referendum in 2017 comes amid increasing disapproval among Britons with how a trade agreement approved in a 1975 referendum became loaded with political ramifications over the decades to the point, according to the U.K. Independence Party, where 70 percent of all legislation in the U.K. comes from Brussels.

[Source: Jaguar]

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County Officials Seek New Partner For Miller Motorsports Park http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/county-officials-seek-new-partner-for-miller-motorsports-park/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/county-officials-seek-new-partner-for-miller-motorsports-park/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 15:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076754 Earlier this month, Miller Motorsports Park said it would cease operations this October. Now, Tooele County, Utah officials intend to keep the track open. The Tooele County Commission is seeking a partnership with a new operator possessing a “core competency” in operating the 500-acre facility about to be abdicated by the Miller family, The Salt […]

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Miller Motorsports Park Circa May 2008

Earlier this month, Miller Motorsports Park said it would cease operations this October. Now, Tooele County, Utah officials intend to keep the track open.

The Tooele County Commission is seeking a partnership with a new operator possessing a “core competency” in operating the 500-acre facility about to be abdicated by the Miller family, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The county owns the land Miller Motorsports Park rests upon, and would sell to a new owner if possible, according to County Commissioner Sean Milne:

I would say there have been dozens of potential suitors of one fashion or another [who are] interested in the entire facility down to specific parts of the facility.

Meanwhile, tenants at Miller were given a notice to vacate by the end of this October, though both the county and the Miller Group want them to stay. Milne says the county will “figure out a way to bridge that gap” during the management transition, going as far as to sign the tenants onto new leases meant to carry tenancy past October should new management not be in place by October 31.

Of the parties interested in operating Miller Motorsports Park, Milne says several were “quickly dismissed [as] not serious, not capable of taking care” of the track and surrounding property. However, a decision as to who will operate Miller — or when the decision will be made — remains too early to say, as discussions with potential suitors are in the early stages.

[Source: Mike Renlund/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Boston To Host IndyCar Event Beginning 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/boston-to-host-indycar-event-beginning-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/boston-to-host-indycar-event-beginning-2016/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073018 Any plans for Labor Day Weekend next year? If you’re in Boston, those plans could include an IndyCar event on its streets. The Grand Prix of Boston will be held on an 11-turn 2.25-mile temporary street circuit around the Boston Convention Center, Boston.com reports. The agreement made between city officials and IndyCar to hold the […]

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Boston Circa May 2015

Any plans for Labor Day Weekend next year? If you’re in Boston, those plans could include an IndyCar event on its streets.

The Grand Prix of Boston will be held on an 11-turn 2.25-mile temporary street circuit around the Boston Convention Center, Boston.com reports. The agreement made between city officials and IndyCar to hold the competition is set to last until 2020, with the first event to take place September 5 and 6 of 2016.

The course is designed to be “minimally invasive” to its surroundings, with construction to take place between 18 and 21 days in overnight shifts from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Safety features include four-foot concrete barriers and 10-foot fencing with a four-foot overhang.

Price of admission and sale dates are yet to be announced, and while cost estimates are too early to determine according to city spokeswoman Kate Norton, the event will be privately funded.

[Source: Trenten Kelley/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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NHTSA Will Partially Continue GM Safety Oversight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:53:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072386 Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year. GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year.

GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million civil penalty as part of the ignition switch saga in May 2014. The letter – dated May 14th, 2015 – says NHTSA is opting to extend some requirements from the agreement. NHTSA can extend the agreement up to May 2017.

The meetings have proven “to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects. I understand that GM shares that sentiment and has found the process to be a positive one in facilitating communication between GM and NHTSA,” stated NHTSA lawyer Timothy H. Goodman.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

With the spotlight again on the NHTSA thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, the move to extend GM oversight may also be political, showing the government agency’s resolve in handling wide-scale safety matters.

Why the extension wasn’t made public when the letter was sent is unknown at this time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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