Category: Government

By on January 23, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Reactions are varied following this morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and pull the country out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

North of the border, however, the leader of Canada’s Detroit Three autoworkers was apparently dancing a jig. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed thrilled when he appeared on talk radio to sing the praises of the president’s executive actions. Trump’s moves are “a great opportunity to right the ship,” he said. Read More >

By on January 23, 2017

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Parking your car at Walgreens shouldn’t require a tutorial.

That’s the gist of comments made by outgoing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind, who really doesn’t like fancy, overly complex automatic transmission gearshifts.

In fact, if Rosekind had his way, automakers would need a green light from the country’s road safety regulator before incorporating a new gearshift design into a production vehicle. Read More >

By on January 19, 2017

traffic speed camera

Abraham Lincoln said that someone who represents themselves in a legal proceeding has a fool for a lawyer. Somewhat removed from his popular homespun image is the historical fact that Honest Abe was an experienced, high-powered attorney whose clients included entities like railroad companies. The man knew a thing or two about the practice of law.

The same can probably be said about Adam MacLeod, who teaches law students how to litigate at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Prof. MacLeod not only risked living down to Lincoln’s aphorism, he also violated many of the rules that he teaches his students how to act in court when he fought a ticket generated by a traffic camera in Montgomery, Alabama. Read More >

By on January 18, 2017

checker-pickup-1

Being a non-conformist used to mean driving a German or Japanese car. For those who really wanted to make a scene, Sweden was more than happy to provide a quirky Volvo or Saab. Well, that strategy is out. Everything’s just too mainstream.

What’s an individualist to do? Electric cars have become too commonplace, and regulations make building your own car too much of a hassle. Enter Checker, which tentatively plans to build two offbeat versions of an already offbeat classic starting next year. Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

traffic gridlock

A great philosopher once said that you can’t start a fire without a spark, followed by something about rhythmic movements in unlit spaces.

Well, if there’s a war brewing against autonomous technology and self-driving vehicles, the flashpoint might have occurred in New York — City and State — last week. A large trade group and labor union joined forces in denouncing the driverless scourge headed their way, with one of the groups angling for a 50-year-ban on the automotive heathens. Read More >

By on January 16, 2017

BMW Manufacturing plant

After being warned against producing vehicles in Mexico, German automakers are not scrambling to re-think their production plans.

In an interview with the German publication Bild, President-elect Trump issued a now-familiar warning to the country’s manufacturers — essentially, any vehicles imported into the U.S. from Mexico will face a 35 percent tax.

The Germans, for the most part, aren’t buying it. Meanwhile, the country’s economy minister saw Trump’s remarks as an opportunity to engage in some not-so-friendly automotive ribbing. Read More >

By on January 14, 2017

2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 EcoDiesel

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles started off the week in solid form. It deftly preempted the Detroit auto show by unveiling its futuristic Portal minivan concept at the youthful Consumer Electronics Show a week prior, then dangled a big Mopar tease in front of enthusiasts with its yet-to-be-revealed SRT Hellcat Demon variants of the Dodge Charger and Challenger.

Then, just like that, the Environmental Protection Agency held a media conference and FCA found its legs kicked out from under it. After Thursday’s accusation of emissions violations (via eight undeclared emissions control devices found on 3.0-liter EcoDiesel models), the automaker finds itself playing defense as controversy grows.

As the EPA’s investigation continues, the U.S. Department of Justice has now opened a criminal probe. Read More >

By on January 13, 2017

pumping fuel

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy has decided to maintain current emissions and fuel economy standards through 2025, cementing a central pillar of the Obama administration’s green legacy.

Many automakers have been critical of Obama’s rather strict climate policies and were hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump might roll back some of the more stringent regulations. Of the policies, none is more controversial than the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) mandate, which began a midterm review earlier this year.

While the EPA’s ultimate determination wasn’t due until April of 2018, choosing not to alter 2025 vehicle emission and CAFE rules effectively locks in the standard before Trump can take office.  Read More >

By on January 13, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, Image: FCA

Well known as a leading voice in the fight against climate change and a host of other progressive issues, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now has Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in his sights.

After yesterday’s bombshell announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, in which the regulator accused FCA of violating federal laws with its 3.0-liter diesel Jeep and Ram models, Scheiderman revealed that his office will investigate the automaker.

A noted environmental attack dog, Schneiderman isn’t the guy you want on your tail. Read More >

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

The Environmental Protection Agency calls the emissions control devices found on diesel Jeep and Ram vehicles a “clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act” — something the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t very happy about.

In their morning announcement, EPA officials claimed the automaker hasn’t done anything to prove the devices found on 2014-2016 EcoDiesel models aren’t regulator-tricking “defeat devices.” According to Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne is mighty steamed, calling the insinuation of cheating “unadulterated hogwash.”

So, what are these eight auxiliary devices, and what penalty could the automaker face if found in violation of the law? Read More >

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.

According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.

Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

Volkswagen TDI

The United States has now laid charges against six former or current Volkswagen officials for their role in the diesel emissions scandal.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today, fingering the execs for playing key roles in a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the U.S. government and public. While five of the men live in Germany, one man — Oliver Schmidt, former head of VW’s regulatory compliance department — was nabbed by the FBI in a Miami airport on Saturday while attempting to return to Germany.

As the charges were handed down, the embattled automaker pleaded guilty to three criminal federal counts and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. Read More >

By on January 9, 2017

Volkswagen TDI

A Volkswagen executive who allegedly spent more than a year throwing up smoke screens around the emissions-cheating automaker has been arrested in sunny Florida.

Oliver Schmidt, a former top emissions compliance manager assigned to the U.S., ran defense for the company in the long run-up to the diesel revelations. As allegations mounted and regulators began asking questions, Schmidt and other company officials blamed phony technical problems for the sky-high emissions levels seen during real-world testing.

According to the New York Times, Schmidt, a German national, was nabbed on Saturday and charged by the FBI with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.  Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan Monroney, Made in Mexico, Image: © Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

Update: Added dealer info, sales background.

Contrary to a statement released two days ago by General Motors, it seems not all Cruze sedans sold in the United States are made in the United States.

According to TTAC alum Ed Niedermeyer, a number of 2017 Chevrolet Cruzes — even those for sale at a dealer in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM manufactures the Cruze in the United States — are Hecho en Mexico.

Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

First, it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products with a tendency to roll away, even after owners placed them in park. Then, Ford decided to make sure vehicles with rotary shift knobs didn’t do the same thing, offering a “Return to Park” feature on the 2017 Fusion.

Two weeks ago, it was FCA’s turn again. The automaker found itself the focus of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation after more reported rollaways, this time with rotary-shift Rams and Dodges.

Well, NHTSA now has Jaguar Land Rover in its crosshairs. Care to guess why? Read More >

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