The Truth About Cars » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:32:09 +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 » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/people/ Wall Street Journal v. GM: A Public Battle For Editorial Independence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053417 Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won. According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants […]

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Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won.

According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants began over 60 years ago this May.

The story goes that GM CEO Harlow “Red” Curtice happened upon a report in the WSJ about the tactic of selling excess inventory through smaller independent dealers at cut-rate prices – bootlegging – a tactic used by his company and his competitors in Detroit. The report also covered the editorial policies of the newspaper’s local competitors – which had banned advertising of non-franchise dealers involved in bootlegging – citing the Detroit Three’s influence in advertising departments had begun to creep into the newsroom.

As a result, Ward’s Automotive Reports had cut the WSJ off from its weekly newsletter subscription. However, an exclusive published in late May – styling renders of the 1955 models from the Detroit Three – was the straw that broke Curtice’s back.

Fearing that sales of 1954 models would crash as a result of the exclusive, GM cancelled all of its advertising with the newspaper that day and barred access to its weekly production figures; the Associated Press was also barred when GM learned the Journal had tried to go through the media organization to get the figures. Editor Barney Kilgore later told Time magazine his paper declined to attend the “off-the-record” new-model briefing that year, citing the Detroit Three’s tendency to go “off the record” nearly all the time as the reason for not playing the game.

What followed was two months of editorials defending its stance on the two stories, letters to the editor from readers who either weren’t happy with Kilgore’s decision or stood behind the newspaper, and a number of other publications, such as Ad Age and Tide magazine (an advertising trade journal, not to be confused with Time), calling out GM and Curtice’s behavior in the matter.

Speaking of the letters, Kilgore chose one from a reader to pass along with one of his own – calling for a way to settle the issue reasonably – to Curtice. The letter, by Roy Brenholts of Columbus, Ohio, stated that Brenholts would trade one of his two Cadillacs for a Ford instead of trading the Ford he owned for a Chevrolet, adding that he would avoid Cadillac until GM stopped their “Hitlerite attitude” toward the newspaper.

The meeting between Curtice and Kilgore led to two letters being published back-to-back in early July. Curtice wrote that breaking off relations with the WSJ was better than suing – though he wouldn’t hesitate to consider the latter next time – but that he never intended to interfere with editorial. Kilgore, in return, noted that the flow of information – weekly sales figures, news releases et al – had come back to normal, his paper had the right to publish news from authorized and unauthorized sources, and he, not the advertisers, would be the final arbiter in what was published in the first place. This established the WSJ as a newspaper with unflappable independence and integrity before the public in so doing.

[Photo credit: Robert Emperley/Flickr]

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Saudi Prince Offers Bentleys To Pilots In Yemen Bombing Raid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/saudi-prince-offers-bentleys-pilots-yemen-bombing-raid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/saudi-prince-offers-bentleys-pilots-yemen-bombing-raid/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052425 After the end of the first phase of a military campaign in Yemen, one Saudi prince decided to reward the pilots with Bentleys for a job well done. Saudi royal family member Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal tweeted that he would give the 100 pilots involved in the bombing operation 100 Bentleys “in appreciation of their […]

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After the end of the first phase of a military campaign in Yemen, one Saudi prince decided to reward the pilots with Bentleys for a job well done.

Saudi royal family member Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal tweeted that he would give the 100 pilots involved in the bombing operation 100 Bentleys “in appreciation of their role” in said operation, the BBC reports. The tweet was shared over 28,000 times and favorited by over 5,000, with many praising the prince for his “generosity.”

However, those affected by the bombing weren’t too thrilled by the proposal. One Yemeni chastised the gesture, stating that no ambulances would be coming to the hospitals the pilots likely helped fill. Others noted the disparity between Al-Waleed’s wealth and the poverty among those in Yemen, with one Jordanian saying “100 or 200 lives for a Bentley” was how “cheap” a human life was for the Saudis.

The original tweet was eventually deleted, with Saudi media reporting the account as having been hacked; the prince himself did not claim this happened.

[Photo credit: Bentley]

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Marchionne Isn’t Finding Any Potential Dates For Marriage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-isnt-finding-potential-dates-marriage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-isnt-finding-potential-dates-marriage/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:09:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052385 Though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is still looking to merge his company with another automaker, no one is all that willing to tie the knot. Despite Marchionne’s quest to consolidate the industry by leading by example, he’s managed to strike out in some way with Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Renault-Nissan and Volkswagen. Regarding GM, CEO Mary […]

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2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is still looking to merge his company with another automaker, no one is all that willing to tie the knot.

Despite Marchionne’s quest to consolidate the industry by leading by example, he’s managed to strike out in some way with Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Renault-Nissan and Volkswagen.

Regarding GM, CEO Mary Barra stated Thursday that her company already had plans of its own and that it wasn’t interested in consolidation with another automaker, according to Detroit Free Press:

We laid out a comprehensive plan that takes us through the early part of next decade. We’re already in that top tier. We have a well-articulated plan and we are not going to entertain anything that would distract us from achieving that plan.

Meanwhile, a proposed tie-up with Volkswagen came to naught, though Marchionne stated such a thing was never in the cards in the first place, despite claims by VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch of having met with FCA officials to discuss buying a part or all of FCA.

Though there are still other smaller automakers Marchionne could pursue in the spirit of consolidation, like Mazda and Tata, there’s the issue of his own company’s performance as of late. Already stuck with large debts, Forbes states profitability is a major issue among shareholders regarding the automaker. In the U.S. alone, the issue stems from its pursuit of sales volume over profit via aggressive incentivizing. As a result, margins remain at 4 percent and pre-tax earnings have climbed a mere $2.7 billion, even with revenues doubling by $40 billion since the start of the new decade. Thus, no company would likely consider consolidating with FCA.

As for why Marchionne is banging the drum of consolidation, especially as far as his company is concerned, it comes down to survival in the face of competition from outsiders like Google and Apple. The arrival of non-traditional companies like the two tech giants could force automakers to keep up with the pace of change such companies would set the further the latter group digs into the former.

For now, though, the FCA CEO laments the difficulty in finding a partner, going as far as to provide Bloomberg with a metaphor about the search earlier this month:

One of the most difficult things to do is to get the turkey to invite himself to Thanksgiving dinner.

[Photo credit: FCA]

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James May Bidding Farewell To Top Gear Unless Clarkson Returns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/james-may-bidding-farewell-top-gear-unless-clarkson-returns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/james-may-bidding-farewell-top-gear-unless-clarkson-returns/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:17:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052281 Top Gear presenter James May is saying farewell to the show, as hosting it with Richard Hammond and a “surrogate” Jeremy Clarkson would be “lame.” May explained hiring a replacement for the dismissed host is a “non-starter” at best, as the chemistry that made the trio what it was would be hard to replicate without Clarkson, […]

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James May

Top Gear presenter James May is saying farewell to the show, as hosting it with Richard Hammond and a “surrogate” Jeremy Clarkson would be “lame.”

May explained hiring a replacement for the dismissed host is a “non-starter” at best, as the chemistry that made the trio what it was would be hard to replicate without Clarkson, according to The Guardian:

It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that.

May added he’d like to continue working with the BBC on other projects and there may be a possibility of all three returning to Top Gear someday.

Regarding Clarkson’s dismissal as a result of the “fracas” between he and producer Oisin Tymon in March, the host says the BBC “haven’t completely closed the door on Jeremy’s return,” adding the broadcaster only decided not to renew his contract instead of outright firing and/or banning him.

Whether the trio would reunite for a production elsewhere, May did not rule it out, though non-compete clauses in at least one of the presenters’ contracts would make the jump difficult for now.

May also said he would be happy to film new studio and other footage for the remaining three episodes of Top Gear previously cancelled. The BBC says those three would air sometime this year, with this summer being the earliest.

[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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Volkswagen Takes Silver In Quarterly Sales Amid Lingering Leadership Battle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052129 While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015. Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next […]

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2013 Volkswagen Up

While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015.

Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next month, the chairman denied the allegations to German newspaper Bild, Automotive News Europe reports.

Piëch said he had agreed to support Winterkorn following a meeting with board members in Austria last week. However, broadcasting network NDR says the chairman doesn’t feel bound by the agreement, and is seeking support from the Porsche and Piëch families to oust the CEO. The two families hold 50.7 percent of VW voting rights, a factor that could sway the state of Lower Saxony and German unions to vote in favor of Piëch’s chosen champion for the role. Both groups, though, stand firm behind Winterkorn and the board’s decision.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015. According to AutoGuide, the automaker sold 2.49 million units from its family of brands between January and March 2015, edging out General Motors for the second spot on the sales podium by 70,000 units; Toyota retains the gold for now. The figure is also a 1.8-percent improvement compared to 2014.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Volvo Group Appoints Martin Lundstedt To CEO Role http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volvo-group-appoints-martin-lundstedt-ceo-role/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volvo-group-appoints-martin-lundstedt-ceo-role/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050953 In a surprise move by Swedish truck builder Volvo Group AB, the company has replaced president and CEO Olof Persson with Scania AB boss Martin Lundstedt. Group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told The Wall Street Journal the board came to the conclusion the company would be “better served by someone with longer experience in the truck industry” […]

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Martin-Lundstedt

In a surprise move by Swedish truck builder Volvo Group AB, the company has replaced president and CEO Olof Persson with Scania AB boss Martin Lundstedt.

Group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told The Wall Street Journal the board came to the conclusion the company would be “better served by someone with longer experience in the truck industry” than Persson, who had been its CEO for four years prior to Wednesday’s announcement. Svanberg added that one couldn’t reach world leadership via cost-cutting – such as the kr10-billion ($1.15 billion USD) program from 2012 through 2015 that cut 4,000 jobs – but through “clear vision” of what the company seeks to accomplish.

The move comes after Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri reported claims of Svanberg seeking to replace Persson amid frustrations with Volvo Group’s performance despite the overhaul program meant to improve profit margins. The company’s shareholders held similar criticisms of Persson’s restructuring program and the pace at which it was implemented.

As for what Lundstedt will bring to the table, Svanberg praised his 25 years of experience in the commercial truck industry as well as his “winning leadership style.” Lundstedt shares some of the credit in maintaining Scania’s margins in the market, which had stood at 9.2 percent throughout 2014.

Lundstedt will take over as Volvo Group’s CEO in October. Chief Financial Officer Jan Gurander – who worked under Lundstedt as Scania’s CFO in the early 2000s – will be the company’s interim leader effective immediately.

[Photo credit: Scania]

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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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VW Group Board Supporting Winterkorn In Leadership Conflict http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050873 VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch. The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, […]

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Winterkorn, Piech, Piech - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch.

The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, and the German state of Lower Saxony. The board also let it be known they may extend Winterkorn’s contract beyond 2016 and should Piëch refuse to agree to public support of the CEO they would demand Piëch’s resignation.

The leadership battle is linked to a few problems Piëch has had with Winterkorn for some time, particularly VW’s ongoing sales woes in the United States. Alongside similar problems in Brazil, overall profits taking a downturn, and competitor BMW grabbing the green-car title among the German automakers, Piëch believes the CEO lacks the vision needed to pull his company into a better place in the industry. For now, though, Piëch is holding to his part of the deal with the board.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Lincoln Turning To Proper Names For Future Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050825 Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all. Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention […]

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Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all.

Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten,” Automotive News says. Lincoln had made it known during the Continental Concept’s appearance at the 2015 New York Auto Show this month that the production model — set to replace the outgoing MKS — would also be called Continental.

Hinrichs also had this to say about the MK nomenclature as a whole:

I get it. I know MKX and C and Z and T. I’ve studied them very well. I know them well, but we also understand the issue. It’s, frankly, where the auto industry — the premium industry — has gone, if you look at all the nameplates. But another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I’ll leave it at that.

The MK scheme was originally thought of as a tribute to the Continental Mark series, though then-CEO Alan Mulally told the media at the time that he wasn’t enamored with the scheme; he would later come to terms with the change. Now that Lincoln is coming back under the tutelage of current CEO Mark Fields, however, one of the ways it aims to stand apart from other premium brands is to return to using names like Continental, Town Car et al.

Proper names may also help on the showroom floor: while sales of the MK models are down 7.2 percent thus far in 2015, sales of the Navigator — the sole bearer of a proper name in Lincoln’s lineup — have climbed 84 percent over the same period, though part of that could be attributed to lower prices at the pump fueling renewed overall demand for trucks and SUVs, as well.

[Photo credit: Lincoln]

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USC Students Fund Nugg Medical Marijuana App Via Lyft Referrals http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/usc-students-fund-nugg-medical-marijuana-app-via-lyft-referrals/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/usc-students-fund-nugg-medical-marijuana-app-via-lyft-referrals/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050393 What happens when medical marijuana meets pink mustaches? For one thing, an app called Nugg. Los Angeles Times says a trio of University of Southern California students — Alex Milligan, Collin Mann and Kam Babazade — unveiled Nugg on Monday in honor of 420 Day. The app provides medical marijuana patients in Los Angeles and […]

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What happens when medical marijuana meets pink mustaches? For one thing, an app called Nugg.

Los Angeles Times says a trio of University of Southern California students — Alex Milligan, Collin Mann and Kam Babazade — unveiled Nugg on Monday in honor of 420 Day. The app provides medical marijuana patients in Los Angeles and Orange counties the ability to not only order their prescriptions, but to set up delivery from the dispensary of choice or pick up.

To use Nugg, the patient submits a photo of their ID and a doctor’s note for verification. Barring that, the patient can also schedule an evaluation prior to using the app.

As for how the students funded development for the app, they referred rider upon rider to transportation network company Lyft, netting $10 to $20 per referral. Thirty thousand referrals later, the trio raised $100,000 to develop Nugg.

Though the Lyft cash is still being spent, Milligan says a number of venture capital firms have sent associates to be signed on as advisors. He adds that the main challenge is keeping pace with regulations surrounding medical marijuana, as well as making the service appeal to a wide range of users, young and old.

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Yahoo Autos, Autoblog Gain New Editors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/yahoo-autos-autoblog-gain-new-editors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/yahoo-autos-autoblog-gain-new-editors/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1048561 The Truth About Cars isn’t the only online auto publication to bid farewell/say hello to editors today, as Yahoo Autos and Autoblog have done the same. First off, now-former Autoblog editor Sharon Carty has taken the role of editor-in-chief of Yahoo Autos, where she will lend her extensive industry and digital media experiences to the […]

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Yahoo - Autoguide Editor Swap

The Truth About Cars isn’t the only online auto publication to bid farewell/say hello to editors today, as Yahoo Autos and Autoblog have done the same.

First off, now-former Autoblog editor Sharon Carty has taken the role of editor-in-chief of Yahoo Autos, where she will lend her extensive industry and digital media experiences to the search engine’s latest digital magazine. Carty’s industry career began in 2002, and has included stories such as the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, the emerging Southeast Asia automotive markets, and Toyota’s unintended acceleration woes.

Meanwhile, Autoblog‘s new editor-in-chief is Michael Austin, whose industry career began with Automobile magazine in 1999. Since then, Austin has worked in editorial for Car and Driver and Popular Mechanics, and was also employed at PR firm Tiny Toy Car – founded by former Jalopnik editor Ray Wert – as its director of creative strategy.

[UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated Michael Austin was still with Tiny Toy Car based on his LinkedIn profile. Austin clarified with TTAC by email he left Tiny Toy Car when he accepted his previous Executive Editor role at AutoBlog in March, stating, “That was a mistake I made on my LinkedIn page.”]

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Jeri Ward Appointed To Vacated CCO Role At Audi Of America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeri-ward-appointed-vacated-cco-role-audi-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeri-ward-appointed-vacated-cco-role-audi-america/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1047385 After serving as Audi of America’s customer experience director since 2011, Jeri Ward moves on up to the roles of CCO and vice president for the subsidiary. Ward originally came on with AoA in 2007 as its launch strategy general manager after spending time in the marketing department of Ford — including managing marketing efforts […]

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Jeri Ward
After serving as Audi of America’s customer experience director since 2011, Jeri Ward moves on up to the roles of CCO and vice president for the subsidiary.

Ward originally came on with AoA in 2007 as its launch strategy general manager after spending time in the marketing department of Ford — including managing marketing efforts for the then-new Edge — as well as a nine-year stint at General Motors in its powertrain engineering division. In between, she took a two-year break between 1999 and 2001 to obtain her master’s in engineering and business at Northwestern University, as well as interning at General Electric.

During Johan de Nysschen’s time at the helm of AoA, Ward became a member of the automaker’s executive management team in November 2011, where she was tasked with bettering the customer experience from every point of ownership, including development of Audi’s presence in the digital and social media spaces. The results led to a climb from 13th place to the customer experience podium as determined by J.D. Power and Associates’ CSI ranking system.

In her new role as CCO, Ward is set to lead AoA’s public relations efforts throughout all departments, with the long-term goal of continuous improvement of the customer experience. Her appointment follows former CCO Joseph Jacuzzi’s departure for General Motors last month, where he now heads up Chevrolet’s global communications efforts.

The appointment will go into effect 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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Hyundai To Build Mexican Factory After Sales Exceed 50K Per Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046314 Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels. Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that […]

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Hyundai Grand i10 Receiving Service in Mexico

Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels.

Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that the target could come as soon as 2018; 2014 sales totalled 12,000.

As for where it could be built, Albarran says the state of Nuevo Leon — where Kia is investing $1 billion into building a new factory of its own — would be an ideal location, and that Kia’s move to build the factory made Mexico more desirable for Hyundai, thanks to the factory attracting suppliers.

When operational, the Hyundai factory would produce over 100,000 units per year, and would include subcompacts popular in the country.

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Michigan Diesel Shop Refuses To Serve Openly Gay Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046290 What does a diesel shop in Michigan have in common with a Washingtonian florist and a Hoosier pizza hut? An owner who refuses to serve openly gay customers. WOOD-TV reports the owner of Grandville, Mich.-based Dieseltec, Brian Klawiter, posted a statement to his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday regarding his view that those with conservative, Christian […]

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Dieseltec Ram Diesel Burnout

What does a diesel shop in Michigan have in common with a Washingtonian florist and a Hoosier pizza hut? An owner who refuses to serve openly gay customers.

WOOD-TV reports the owner of Grandville, Mich.-based Dieseltec, Brian Klawiter, posted a statement to his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday regarding his view that those with conservative, Christian values are being drowned out by those who don’t hold those values. Said statement includes the following passage:

I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)

When interviewed by the NBC affiliate, Klawiter said that while he’d fix a vehicle in need of repair, he would not welcome a gay male couple openly displaying their affection in his shop, proclaiming he and his shop doesn’t believe in homosexuality. Klawiter adds that he isn’t going to ask customers about their sexuality, while also reaffirming his stance on PDAs by same-sex couples.

Asked to view his post from the eyes of a gay individual, he said he would find the statement of belief “enlightening,” and that he would cross off Dieseltec from his list of shops.

UPDATE: And just like the aforementioned theoretical gay customer — and myself, if I had diesel business in the first place — Cummins wants no part of Dieseltec. Per their Twitter to another consumer who noted the engine manufacturer’s support of the LGBT community:

Diversity = our core values. We have no affiliation with this business and are notifying them to stop using our logo.

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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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Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043722 Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells. A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model […]

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Corn Harvesting

Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells.

A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model to increase both enzymatic generation and breakdown rates by a factor of 10 and three, respectively.

The result is a reduction in both time, capital costs and facility size as far as hydrogen production goes. Lead author Joe Rollin — a former student of Zhang’s, who is also a co-founder with Rollin on a biofuel startup — says the new process can be carried out in a facility the size of a standard gas station, lowering one of the hurdles for widespread hydrogen production and distribution:

We believe this exciting technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.

The project was partially funded by Shell’s GameChanger initiative, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, and was carried out by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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IHS: PHEVs To Overtake EVs In Europe Within Two Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043242 Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close. Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling […]

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nissan-leaf-marathon-de-paris-2

Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close.

Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling EV and PHEV in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (15,134 units vs. 19,855), while the largest markets were Norway for EVs (18,090 units), Netherlands for PHEVs (9,938).

According to IHS Automotive senior analyst Ben Scott, PHEVs will overtake EVs this year or in 2016 as far as production goes, forecasting 1.35 million units by 2020, and 2.7 million by 2025. Meanwhile, EV sales will be under 1 million by 2020, as consumers are likely to choose PHEVs for their flexibility in range and use over electric-only vehicles.

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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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Jeremy Clarkson Pulls Out Of Planned BBC Program Appearance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeremy-clarkson-pulls-planned-bbc-program-appearance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeremy-clarkson-pulls-planned-bbc-program-appearance/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041713 Aside from not presenting cars on BBC anymore, former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson won’t be appearing on another BBC program, as well. The Daily Mirror reports Clarkson was to guest-host the satirical show “Have I Got News For You” later in April, but has pulled out for the time being. Hat Trick Productions managing […]

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Jeremy Clarkson Thankfully Not Smiling

Aside from not presenting cars on BBC anymore, former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson won’t be appearing on another BBC program, as well.

The Daily Mirror reports Clarkson was to guest-host the satirical show “Have I Got News For You” later in April, but has pulled out for the time being. Hat Trick Productions managing director Jimmy Mulville, whose company produces the show for the BBC, says he and his staff “fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.”

Until then, Clarkson and his colleagues Richard Hammond and James May will be hosting a number of live shows in the United Kingdom, Norway, South Africa and Australia. However, the shows will have no association with “Top Gear” or the BBC — meaning no clips from the show or appearances by The Stig — and will be billed simply as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live.

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De Niro To Play Enzo Ferrari In Upcoming Biopic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-niro-play-enzo-ferrari-upcoming-biopic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-niro-play-enzo-ferrari-upcoming-biopic/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041689 Nearly three decades ago, Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari passed from this mortal coil. Now, actor Robert De Niro will play him in an upcoming biopic. Motorsport reports the film — titled “Ferrari” and produced in a collaboration between De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises and former photographer Gianni Bozzacchi’s Triworld Cinema — will be shot in Italy, […]

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robert-de-niro

Nearly three decades ago, Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari passed from this mortal coil. Now, actor Robert De Niro will play him in an upcoming biopic.

Motorsport reports the film — titled “Ferrari” and produced in a collaboration between De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises and former photographer Gianni Bozzacchi’s Triworld Cinema — will be shot in Italy, and will hit theatres sometime in 2016.

When interviewed by Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, De Niro had this to say about playing the legendary founder:

For me it is an honour and a joy to tell the life of an extraordinary man who revolutionised the automotive world and across historical periods.

Bozzacchi, who is producing the film, adds that “Ferrari” would have a large budget, and would be based upon “an epic story” covering the period between 1945 and 1988. Actor/director Clint Eastwood was approached to direct the project, while “Nixon” writers Stephen J Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson have also been linked.

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Eberhardt: No Separate Brand Above Range Rover For Ultra-Luxury SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041625 Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover. Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet […]

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2016-Land-Rover-Range-Rover-SVAutobiography-106-876x535

Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover.

Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet seen “where Range Rover can go.” Eberhardt also said that he wasn’t too worried about the ultra-luxury SUV competition stealing sales from the high-end brand.

Presently, the most expensive Range Rover in JLR’s lineup is the recently introduced Range Rover SVAutobiography, which tops out the range with a base price of $200,490; the Bentley and Roller SUVs are expected to begin between $300,000 and $400,000 for comparison.

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Auditor, Others Ordered To Preserve General Motors Ignition Documents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041185 Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall. The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall.

The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and eight Wall Street analysts.

The reason for the order from U.S. District Judge Linda Parker involves the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund, who is leading a securities fraud class-action lawsuit against GM on the claim that the “faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles caused loss to the value of their investments.” Parker said she allowed the order to maintain the status quo “until the court rules on defendants’ pending motions to dismiss.”

None of the parties have turned over said documents to those involved in the lawsuit thus far.

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Reedy: CarMax Lending Arm Won’t Fully Play In Subprime Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/reedy-carmax-lending-arm-wont-fully-play-subprime-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/reedy-carmax-lending-arm-wont-fully-play-subprime-market/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041145 Though CarMax’s lending arm will press forward with its subprime lending test program, it won’t be a major player in the subprime game. According to Automotive News, CarMax CFO Tom Reedy said as much during an earnings call with the media and analysts this month, stating that the company has three partners already doing well […]

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Carmax

Though CarMax’s lending arm will press forward with its subprime lending test program, it won’t be a major player in the subprime game.

According to Automotive News, CarMax CFO Tom Reedy said as much during an earnings call with the media and analysts this month, stating that the company has three partners already doing well for CarMax in the subprime market; thus, no reason for CarMax Auto Finance to take a greater role in said market like it does in the prime lending market.

For now, the lending arm will continue loan originations at 5 percent of subprime vehicle sales for the duration of the testing period, which began January 2014. The arm originated $72.2 million of receivables under the program through the end of February 2015.

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No Charges For Jeremy Clarkson Over ‘Fracas’ With Tymon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/no-charges-jeremy-clarkson-fracas-tymon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/no-charges-jeremy-clarkson-fracas-tymon/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039633 Former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson may be out of a TV job, but at least he won’t be going to jail anytime soon. The Guardian reports no further action will be taken by the North Yorkshire Police regarding the investigation of the “fracas” between the presenter and producer Oisin Tymon, having completed all interviews […]

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Jeremy Clarkson

Former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson may be out of a TV job, but at least he won’t be going to jail anytime soon.

The Guardian reports no further action will be taken by the North Yorkshire Police regarding the investigation of the “fracas” between the presenter and producer Oisin Tymon, having completed all interviews with those who witnessed the incident.

The end of the investigation follows Clarkson’s dismissal from the BBC after the media corporation concluded its own investigation into the 30-second fight over Clarkson’s claim of being denied hot food that took place at a hotel last month.

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