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. Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:20:39 +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/ Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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De Nysschen: Cadillac CT6 Likely To Gain Twin-Turbo V8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008106 The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power. According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to […]

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The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power.

According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to a question by the blog’s own Michael Ballaban:

CT6 is a car that really sets the standard in many respects with regard to advanced new body construction technology. It’s a Cadillac, so it stands to reason that it’s great to drive, very refined and sophisticated. The lightweight body construction allows us to push the envelope when it comes to powertrain in a way we know that the rest of the industry will follow. This includes a very wide mix of engines, starting with a 2-liter turbo, up to, eventually, a high-performance advanced V-8 turbo.

De Nysschen reaffirmed his statement when another commenter asked about the CT6’s ability to keep up with the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, proclaiming the sedan’s “lightweight body structure” would provide the platform for “formidable performance” with a twin-turbo V6, let alone a twin-turbo V8.

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Beshear To Transplants: Kentucky Is Not Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006426 Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go. Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon […]

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at Churchill Downs

Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go.

Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon returning home:

I’m not trying to tell Tennessee or any other state how to handle their economic development efforts. I can just say that in Kentucky we would welcome either type of situation, either companies with unions or without them. We have an open-door policy and welcome companies no matter what their desires may be in terms of labor-management relationships. We don’t try to dictate what that relationship should be. We think that’s up to the company and to the employees.

The comments come after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and his administration, as well as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, did their best to persuade Volkswagen to reject the UAW’s offer to represent the transplant’s workforce in Chattanooga, including a $300-million incentive package that would be paid if labor talks were “concluded to the satisfaction” of the state’s interests.

Beshear adds that Kentucky can best attract economic development — whether from the auto or other industries — by not getting the middle of the labor negotiation process, noting that said lack of interference is “a positive sales point” for the state.

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Williams: UAW Must Balance Member, Corporate Demands In Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006346 Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive. UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes […]

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Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive.

UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes time to sit down with the management at Ford, FCA US and General Motors this summer.

The main issue will be the two-tier wage system that has been in place since 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The policy has been applied at varying rates since the division took hold, with 42 percent of FCA US’ UAW workers — 35,720 — being paid at the second-tier rate of $15.78 to $19.28 an hour; second-tier workers at Ford and GM make up 28 and 20 percent of their respective 50,700 and 49,900 represented employees.

While the union is facing pressure to get as much for its membership as it can, it also has to make sure the Detroit Three remains viable over the long-term. With GM in particular, the UAW has a major political and institutional stake in the automaker’s well-being, as the union is its largest shareholder via its retiree health care trusts.

That said, should push come to shove, Williams says his membership is ready to strike, following in the footsteps of workers at oil refineries and those along the West Coast ports. The UAW hasn’t conducted a major industrial action since the 1990s, and were barred from striking at all at GM and Chrysler as a result of the agreements made in 2009.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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Ito: Honda Won’t Help Takata Sort Its Affairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006282 Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue. The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Touring

Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue.

The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead a bailout of the supplier:

Takata itself needs to figure out how to fulfill its duties, but if it makes any request to auto makers, then we would think about that.

Ito also warned that many of Takata’s clients would be in trouble if it was unable to supply the needed replacements for the defective airbag modules linked to the ongoing recall of 25 million affected vehicles around the world; Honda’s own vehicles account for half of the overall total.

For its part, Honda has begun working with rival suppliers Daicel and Autoliv to quickly replace the defective parts, as well as investigate what factors lead to the catastrophic failure of current units, and implementing recalls as needed.

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A123 Systems Suing Apple, Ex-Employee For Poaching Engineers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004514 Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees. Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes […]

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A123 Battery Systems HQ

Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees.

Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes is hiring away key employees to the tech giant:

It appears that Apple, with the assistance of defendant Ijaz, is systematically hiring away A123’s high tech PhD and engineering employees, thereby effectively shutting down various projects/programs at A123.

The suit follows speculation that Apple is entering the automotive space with its own EV, with a roster of former Tesla employees likely working on the project.

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Buffett, Soros Boost Stakes In General Motors In Q4 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/buffett-soros-boost-stakes-general-motors-q4-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/buffett-soros-boost-stakes-general-motors-q4-2014/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004058 While Harry J. Wilson wants General Motors to buy-back $8 billion in shares, Warren Buffett and George Soros have boosted their stakes in the company. The Wall Street Journal reports Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in GM 1 million shares to a total of 41 million during Q4 2014. Meanwhile, Soros Fund Management added […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

While Harry J. Wilson wants General Motors to buy-back $8 billion in shares, Warren Buffett and George Soros have boosted their stakes in the company.

The Wall Street Journal reports Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in GM 1 million shares to a total of 41 million during Q4 2014. Meanwhile, Soros Fund Management added 728,938 shares in the same period, boosting overall holdings to 4.9 million.

Both purchases were made prior to Wilson’s announcement that he would not only call for the buyback — citing concerns about how the automaker isn’t spending its $25-billion “fortress balance sheet” — but to also push for a seat on its board to help further the cause. Wilson was hired by President Barack Obama to help GM in its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009.

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Sweers: Diesel Power Not Coming To Toyota Tacoma http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sweers-diesel-power-not-coming-toyota-tacoma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sweers-diesel-power-not-coming-toyota-tacoma/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004034 Hoping for diesel power in the new Toyota Tacoma? You can breathe now. According to AutoGuide, Tacoma/Tundra engineering chief Mike Sweers said that diesel power won’t be coming to the Tacoma — despite the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon receiving theirs — due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming Tier 3 regulations, set to go […]

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2016_Toyota_Tacoma_TRD_OffRoad_004

Hoping for diesel power in the new Toyota Tacoma? You can breathe now.

According to AutoGuide, Tacoma/Tundra engineering chief Mike Sweers said that diesel power won’t be coming to the Tacoma — despite the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon receiving theirs — due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming Tier 3 regulations, set to go into effect in 2017. The regs would greatly tighten emissions on diesel-powered light vehicles, making such vehicles more costly to build for automakers, if not consider in the first place:

Diesel, from a fuel economy standpoint, is about a 30 percent improvement right out of the box. The downside to diesel is the emissions has to be certified at the same level as a gas engine. So the way to do that is you have to put on an after-treatment system. So if we consider that cost, versus the fuel economy improvement, and the fact that diesel is $1 more per gallon more than gasoline, is there a return on the investment?

Even if the ROI from each after-treatment system installed — said to add $3,000 to the cost of a vehicle — was worth it now, Sweers warns it wouldn’t be by 2019, when even-tighter diesel-emissions regs would come into force. He says some diesels would be shelved as a result, automakers deciding those engines aren’t worth the headache.

Thus, the Tacoma will be avoiding the green pump handle, opting for either a gasoline-fueled 2.7-liter I4 or 3.5-liter V6 to provide power.

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Tesla Hitting Sales Roadblock In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003778 Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors. Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet […]

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Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors.

Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet to be registered with local authorities, and therefore, have yet to legally hit the road. The country also accounted for 15 percent of the automaker’s global sales in 2014.

The issue is the brand’s cachet with Chinese consumers, who bought the Model S because of its trendiness, not because it’s better for the environment. Thus, Tesla’s popularity will last as long as the next trendy vehicle from a competing luxury automaker.

CEO Elon Musk’s current solution? Fire or demote those “not on a clear path to positive long-term cash flow.” The publication says this approach will only “erode his power base and credibility,” aspects he needs to maintain if he intends to keep to the path of long-term sustainable growth and stability.

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General Motors’ Bankruptcy Protections Could Narrow Pending Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003706 Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed. According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the […]

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Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed.

According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York said that he would reassess the terms that carved Old GM from New GM if the latter violated due process, allowing affected consumers to go after the automaker for defects it knew of after the exit from bankruptcy.

Gerber’s potential decision won’t sit well with those filing lawsuits over issues of lost value, injury and death as a result of those defects. The plaintiffs are asking for GM to pay compensation in the billions of dollars for its pre-bankruptcy actions, which a modified sale order would mitigate. Gerber is expected to make his decision sometime in the coming weeks at the earliest.

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Mazda’s Entire Line ‘Up For Discussion’ In Future Salamanca Expansion Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002818 Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico. According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion: […]

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Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico.

According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion:

We’re continuing to look at opportunities for that plant, and asking what else should we consider putting into it. You don’t build an assembly plant for one product. It’s going to be an ongoing investment.

The decision to add more vehicles to the line is linked to Mexico’s own free-trade agreements with a number of countries throughout the world, a greater influence for automakers to consider building its wares there than the nation’s low-cost labor.

The Mazda2 and Mazda3 are currently in production in Salamanca, with a version of the former for Toyota to begin assembly late in 2016.

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Honda Abandons 2017 Sales Target To Improve Product Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002770 Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017. Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO […]

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2014 Honda Civic Coupe (7 of 29)

Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017.

Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, inspired by the late Soichiro Honda, says he will bring his company “back to basics,” with business expansion no longer in the cards.

The announcement follows a year of quality issues affecting the automaker, from the recalls involving the Fit and Vezel, to the Takata airbag recall crisis that led to Honda’s decision to use units from Autoliv and Daicel. The latter issue also brought scrutiny to the company from the United States government, resulting in a record fine of $70 million for how it handled reporting potential issues to regulators for over a decade.

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Zetsche: Google Better Off As Supplier Than As Automaker http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/zetsche-google-better-off-supplier-automaker/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/zetsche-google-better-off-supplier-automaker/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002106 Google may have the right stuff to shake up the auto industry, but Dr. Z doesn’t believe the tech giant will ever be an automaker in its own right. Reuters reports Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche said as much in a meeting with analysts last week, when he suggested Google focus its energy on learning […]

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Google may have the right stuff to shake up the auto industry, but Dr. Z doesn’t believe the tech giant will ever be an automaker in its own right.

Reuters reports Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche said as much in a meeting with analysts last week, when he suggested Google focus its energy on learning how cars are used instead of entering the industry as an automaker itself.

Meanwhile, he also continued to press his concerns about data privacy, in light of automakers and tech companies growing closer together as vehicles become more connected to the Internet:

When we talk about high safety with Mercedes, it does not apply specifically for protection from accidents, but this means safety of their personal data as well. To be able to provide that, we have to keep control, and we can’t do that when it is collected by Google.

Daimler plans to control data reported by its cars, protecting it from autonomous and connected vehicles alike.

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Wilson: $8B Stock Buyback Would Boost General Motors’ Value http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996682 The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value. Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution […]

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Maeva Advisors LLC Founder and CEO Harry Wilson Interview

The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value.

Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution to take place the following year. The move is meant to provide more value for its shareholders, who are frustrated with the automaker’s reluctance to spend some of the $25 billion it has to withstand another recession if necessary.

Wilson believes the automaker could part with $8 billion and still withstand an economic blow like the one that landed it in bankruptcy court six years prior, and is working with four investment funds that hold a total of 34.4 million shares to help make it so. Wilson was tapped by President Barack Obama to help with GM’s restructuring during said bankruptcy.

That said, GM may still be reluctant to spend that much money. Per Morningstar senior equity analyst David Whiston, the company has to be careful amid a weak industry outside of North America. GM also faces the spectre of a large fine paid to the U.S. Department of Justice due to the former’s handling of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as building up its lending arm GM Financial to boost the automaker’s credit rating.

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Automaker Alliance Seek Kelly For Takata Probe Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/automaker-alliance-seek-kelly-takata-probe-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/automaker-alliance-seek-kelly-takata-probe-panel/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994762 Concerned with Takata’s ongoing airbag woes, ten automakers are assembling to investigate the supplier, with former NHTSA chief David Kelly likely to helm. Autoblog reports the alliance — composed of General Motors, FCA US, Ford, Honda, Toyota and five others — are in talks with Kelly to head the investigation effort, with a final decision […]

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Takata Logo on Belt

Concerned with Takata’s ongoing airbag woes, ten automakers are assembling to investigate the supplier, with former NHTSA chief David Kelly likely to helm.

Autoblog reports the alliance — composed of General Motors, FCA US, Ford, Honda, Toyota and five others — are in talks with Kelly to head the investigation effort, with a final decision expected in the near future. Whomever does ultimately lead the probe will have a few questions needing answers, from how Takata’s airbags failed to protect their occupants, to whether or not newer modules will follow down the same road years from now.

The alliance’s investigation panel joins two others in the works: one involving the supplier and helmed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner, the other led by NHTSA deputy administrator David Friedman with help from outside engineers.

As for the supplier itself, Takata’s bottom line is reddening further with a projected ¥31 billion ($264 million USD) loss through the end of FY 2014 in March. The new projection is higher than the ¥25 billion ($214 million) previously forecasted.

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France Encouraging Diesel Drivers To Go Electric Via €10K Incentive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994258 Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD). Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) […]

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Renault-ZOE-Leclerc-Brittany

Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD).

Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) instead of €22,400 ($25,658), while its partner Nissan would see a drop from €18,090 ($21,650) to €14,390 ($16,483).

France Energy Minister Ségolène Royal says the nation “must eliminate old diesel cars that are more than 13 years old and have no filters,” adding that measures will make diesel “harder and harder” to use overall.

One measure in particular would align diesel taxes with those of gasoline. The alignment would help reduce smog, according to Royal, stating that “60 percent of the French population breathes air that isn’t healthy.”

At present, 80 percent of all French drivers move about with diesel power, though new-diesel sales have declined over the past two years, from 73 percent of all new cars to 64 percent.

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Congress Unsure On NHTSA Funding Increase http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994242 Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal. The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff […]

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United States Capitol

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal.

The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff of the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation to over 100 employees. Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, isn’t sure such an increase is necessary, however:

We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency.

Thune adds that the NHTSA’s mission “is a awfully important one,” and wants to ensure the agency can do the job expected of it. Meanwhile, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the increase in the agency’s budget, though McCaskill wants to see more done still. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut adds that Congress should heed the call for a larger staff, and provide the NHTSA with “the most robust possible resources.”

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Schmidt: Western Europe EV, PHEV Sales Stalling Through Decade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994226 EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come. Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. […]

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Tesla_Model_S_delivery_to_Høyres_Nikolai_Astrup_in_Norway

EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come.

Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. Editor Peter Schmidt, however, warns that this may be the peak of such sales for the next five years:

Effectively, you have no detectable, genuine underlying consumer demand from private individuals. To make things worse, looking ahead at the next couple of years, I would say this is a scary time for electric car makers, chiefly because as the price of oil continues to hover around levels inconceivable a year ago and with fuel prices falling month by month, those people who had thought about buying an electric car may give up when they look at motoring expenses.

Per AID‘s figures, the Nissan Leaf took gold with 14,354 units sold in 2014, with the Renault Zoe winning silver with 10,885 units, and the Tesla Model S in a close third with 8,698 units. BMW and Volkswagen fill out the rest of the standings, with 8,290 i3s and 8,461 E-Ups and E-Golfs sold. Schmidt says those numbers don’t point to a “detectable genuine underlining consumer demand,” with Norway being the sole exception. There, 18,090 EVs and PHEVs took 12.5 percent of the country’s overall market last year, thanks to tax credits that make such vehicles equally as attractive as gasoline- and diesel-fueled models.

He adds that cheap oil “has tempted a rethink” among consumers as far as seeking out such vehicles are concerned, especially among those in the United States, where fuel is cheaper than in Western Europe already. Schmidt believes the lower prices at the pump would hold back the EV/PHEV market for the remainder of the decade, leading to major financial losses among the manufacturers who went all-in on EVs and PHEVs.

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Foxx: NHTSA Needs Staffing Increase To Keep Pace With Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/foxx-nhtsa-needs-staffing-increase-keep-pace-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/foxx-nhtsa-needs-staffing-increase-keep-pace-recalls/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994186 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Tuesday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more staffing to keep pace with recalls. The Detroit News reports the secretary said as much during a brief conference call, asking for 56.5 new full-time positions and 57 people to keep up with the recalls: It’s no longer reasonable […]

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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Tuesday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more staffing to keep pace with recalls.

The Detroit News reports the secretary said as much during a brief conference call, asking for 56.5 new full-time positions and 57 people to keep up with the recalls:

It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year.

With the proposal from President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan that would triple funding of the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million, the agency could bring aboard a mathematician, two statisticians, four investigators and 16 engineers to help fill the staffing gaps currently in play. Total staffing would climb above 100 personnel.

Additionally, the NHTSA would be able to use stronger methods of data mining and monitoring to develop a consumer awareness campaign to encourage owners to have their vehicles repaired, using integrated information pulled from social media, accident and fatality reports, medical records and manufacturing data to identify potential issues.

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Toyota Ordered To Pay $11M In Minnesota Unintended Acceleration Suit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993954 Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million. Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when […]

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1996 Toyota Camry LE

Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million.

Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when Koua Fong Lee’s Camry lost its brakes while its accelerator became stuck, striking Trice-Adams Sr.’s Oldsmobile Ciera. Two other passengers were injured in the accident, and Lee spent three years in prison for vehicular manslaughter before being released in 2010 after reports of unintended acceleration involving Toyota products took the spotlight.

Toyota still claims Lee was 100 percent at-fault for the fatal accident, and is considering legal options to pursue. The car itself also wasn’t under the 2009-11 recall of 10 million vehicles made between 2005 and 2010.

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Ghosn: One-Third Of Russia’s Auto Market Will Vanish Under Recession http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ghosn-one-third-russias-auto-market-will-vanish-recession/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ghosn-one-third-russias-auto-market-will-vanish-recession/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993658 Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn warned Monday that Russia’s auto market will lose a third of itself under the nation’s recession. Automotive News Europe reports Ghosn spoke with Bloomberg about the issue after the unveiling of the Renault Kadjar in Paris, stating the market was well on its way to losing a fifth of itself this […]

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Carlos Ghosn and Renault Kadjar

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn warned Monday that Russia’s auto market will lose a third of itself under the nation’s recession.

Automotive News Europe reports Ghosn spoke with Bloomberg about the issue after the unveiling of the Renault Kadjar in Paris, stating the market was well on its way to losing a fifth of itself this year, adding up to “one-third of the Russian market disappearing in a couple of years.” He added that while there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, whether that light is an opening or an oncoming train remains uncertain.

The overall market witnessed a sales decline of 10 percent in 2014, with around 2.5 million units sold. According to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses, the forecast calls for a 24 percent decline in 2015.

Meanwhile, Renault-Nissan and partner AvtoVAZ saw sales of their offerings drop 7 percent in 2014 to 764,245 units. Market share did increase to 30.7 percent in the same period, up from 29.6 percent in 2013. The Franco-Japanese automaker indirectly owns 50.01 percent of the Russian manufacturer, with the aim of gaining 40 percent of the Russian market by 2016.

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Thwaite: Save Georgia’s EV Incentives From The Guillotine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993594 Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night. Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night.

Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of $5,000,” a bill that Thwaite claims has 60 supporters on-board already.

He says that keeping the credit would also keep $2,242/year in Georgia, due to EVs — including the largest number of Nissan Leafs in a single state — recharging from an outlet as opposed to refueling at the pump; the state boasts one asphalt refinery and no oil-producing wells.

Martin’s last attempt to cap or eliminate state incentives for EVs came in 2014 through House Bill 257, which would cap the number of incentives to just 2,000 EVs/year. The bill was tabled when time ran out to vote upon it, though it could come up during the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, which begins February 4.

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Wright: Tesla’s Camry ‘Not Possible’ Despite Ongoing Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992866 Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely. During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally […]

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Ian Wright

Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely.

During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally thought it would, praising the success of the Model S.

As for Tesla’s overall goal of building EVs “cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until they were outselling the Camry,” he still thinks that isn’t possible, having never been “on board” with the idea among co-founders Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning.

As for his own company, which makes hybrid gas-electric turbine drivetrains for medium and heavy commercial vehicles like garbage and delivery trucks, Wright says there’s a $5 billion market in the United States for his drivetrains, $2 billion alone in garbage trucks. Clients such as FedEx and Ratto Group have installed Wrightspeed tech into their fleets in California, while the California Energy Commission bestowed his company with nearly $7 million in grants.

Speaking of funding, Wright is preparing an IPO in the event he does take his company public, hoping he might do better than when he sold his Tesla shares in 2010 prior to their astronomical appreciation.

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Obama Budget Proposes Tax On Corporate Foreign Earnings For Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992842 President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads. Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected […]

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Syracuse Road Construction - Utah DOT

President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads.

Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected taxes would then be distributed into road infrastructure projects at a rate of $79.7 billion per year over the next six years, totalling $478 billion.

Meanwhile, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Barbara Boxer of California have both offered a “repatriation holiday” to said corporations, giving the latter a tax rate of 6.75 percent over five years on foreign earnings brought back to the United States. The taxes would then go into those projects.

However, such holidays have been frowned upon by Obama over his two terms, warning that corporations would lobby Congress for more tax holidays; the Joint Committee on Taxation found such holidays would lose money over a decade despite the short-term gain.

Another option, proposed by Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, would tax corporate foreign earnings at a rate of 8.75 percent while ending deferrals. The bill would collect $170 billion to be spent on roads for six years.

Whatever happens, a decision would have to be made within the next few months. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund will go empty once again if nothing is done by May 31 of this year, forcing Congress to make do with the gas taxes collected. Since most people are driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles to get around these days, those taxes — which haven’t been raised above 18.4 cents/gallon since 1993 — fall short of the $50 billion per year needed for infrastructure; the current rate is of collection is $34 billion/year.

Two options have been proposed to fix the main issue — increase the gas tax and then pegging it to inflation, or expand drilling on federal lands and collecting the royalties — but neither option is popular among most in the Beltway.

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