The Truth About Cars » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/sign-of-the-times/ NHTSA Returning For Second Round Of US Senate Testimony September 16 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nhtsa-returning-second-round-us-senate-testimony-september-16/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910674 A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat. Automotive News reports the […]

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Acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman explains that General Motors will agree to a record fine of $35 million in civil penalties in Washington

A couple of months after General Motors CEO Mary Barra turned up inside the Beltway for a second round of testimony before the United States Senate over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch crisis, it’s now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own second turn in the hot seat.

Automotive News reports the agency, represented by administrator David Friedman, will testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection subcommittee September 16. Committee leader Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri will examine the NHTSA’s role in the aforementioned crisis, as well as its ability to find other auto safety issues:

I’m interested in the capability NHTSA has to get at problems. They’ve obviously missed some big ones. The part of NHTSA that is responsible for monitoring issues like [GM] — they haven’t even asked for an increase in staff and cars have gotten a lot more complicated.

In addition, McCaskill will also explore safety reforms to both vehicle and highway safety legislation, a handful of which — such as increased funding to help the agency better perform its tasks, and the removal of the $35 million cap on fines for automakers who failed to properly act on a defect — haven’t gained much traction as elections take precedent in 2014.

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Ford Debuting Self-Unparking Technology In 2015 Edge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910658 Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go. Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the […]

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Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go.

Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the crossover to parallel-park in those tight spaces, but be able to pull itself out. The system can also do perpendicular parking, such as the sort found at your nearest supermarket. An array of sensors — four up front, six in back — use echolocation to find objects and obstacles, allowing the crossover to calculate how best to get itself out of a rock and a hard place.

In addition, the Edge will have lane-keeping technology and adaptive cruise control, both using a combination of cameras and radar to safely guide the crossover from the house to the office and back.

All of the above will be available to consumers when the new Edge arrives in showrooms next March.

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California Dominates US Plug-In Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910058 A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years. Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between […]

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2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Exterior, Charging Plug, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years.

Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between December 2010 and August 2014 by the California Air Resources Board, Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Baum also reported overall U.S. sales checked-in at around 250,000 units over the same period.

Though California has 40 percent of the plug-in market covered — thanks in part to legislation pushing automakers to bring more ZEVs to market — the milestone is a long way from the goal of 1.5 million plug-in vehicles by 2025, let alone the Obama administration’s target of 1 million such units by the end of 2015.

As for the present, Baum & Associates founder Alan Baum — who says 300,000 total units will hit the road by the end of this year — believes California’s stake in the market will likely shrink “as certain mass-market models that were initially sold only in state are introduced more broadly across the country.”

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Edmunds: 2014 SAAR May Best 2006 Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/edmunds-2014-saar-may-best-2006-peak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/edmunds-2014-saar-may-best-2006-peak/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910034 The surge in United States auto sales last month could push the final figures to a height not seen since 2006 when January 2015 rolls around. According to Automotive News, Edmunds chief economist Lacey Plache said that though the publication is holding at 16.4 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for 2014, “there is definite […]

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Couple + Salesman Sign The Contract Of Blood

The surge in United States auto sales last month could push the final figures to a height not seen since 2006 when January 2015 rolls around.

According to Automotive News, Edmunds chief economist Lacey Plache said that though the publication is holding at 16.4 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for 2014, “there is definite potential for numbers to hit higher than that.”

At present, the SAAR for 2014 is expected to hit 17.5 million, much higher than the previous peak of 16.6 million in 2006. August’s SAAR was fueled by strong Labor Day sales, which may have dinged September’s SAAR as consumers opted to make their purchases before summer drew to a close.

Meanwhile, Plache expects 2015′s SAAR to fall just short of 17 million, fueled by expiring leases. However, she and Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell warn a rise in interest rates in 2016 may put a drag on sales. Caldwell adds that automakers’ finance wings could counter this “by subsidizing lower rates.”

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Mahindra Seeking Alliances With Global Players http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909098 Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence. The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China […]

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Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence.

The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China as part of a “coordinated global branding strategy” between the parent company’s two brands. The United States — where Mahindra has had a difficult time selling more than tractors — and Europe — where Ssangyong lost some of its footing prior to M&M’s purchase in 2011 — are also on the radar.

Speaking of Europe, M&M is in alliance talks with both PSA Peugeot Citroën and SAAB AB as far as branding and technology-sharing are concerned. Regarding the former, Mahindra is interested in PSA’s diesel- and compressed air-hybrid technology, with the aim of jumping “into the future generation,” according to French analyst Gautam Sen. In turn, PSA could piggyback on Mahindra into the Indian market it had abandoned in the 1990s. The company attempted to return in 2011 by breaking ground on a new factory in Sanand, only to be undermined by financial difficulties.

As for SAAB, Sen says Mahindra would like to acquire the Saab brand and resurrect it as another way to enter markets in Europe and the U.S. The strategy would involve rebranding and redesigning Mahindra and Ssangyong products into Saabs, but only if “quality and design can come up to the expectations of the typically discerning Saab enthusiast.” That said, he adds that relaunching the Saab brand would be easier said than done, as both Spyker and National Electric Vehicle Sweden can attest.

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Future Of Industry, Mobility To Be Shaped At Detroit Tech Conference http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908673 Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit. Automotive News reports industry execs, government […]

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Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit.

Automotive News reports industry execs, government officials and researchers will converge to sort out the future of the automobile as shaped by mobility technology. At present, companies like Tesla, Uber and Google are driving the rest of the industry toward a place where vehicles can be upgraded via software, communicate with other vehicles and the road, and drive itself to pick up a passenger or two before driving itself to the intended destination.

As such, the old guard are doing their best to prepare for the world to come. General Motors, for example, plans to introduce V2V and semi-autonomous systems in two Cadillac sedans by 2017, and has joined up with Ford, Honda and other automakers in a research program with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center where shared autonomous vehicles could one day be the norm. Meanwhile, Daimler bought the Mytaxi and RideScout apps last week “to make mobility as simple as possible,” according to subsidiary Moovel’s CEO, Robert Henrich.

The end game for the automotive industry may see automakers go from just building vehicles to becoming “personal-mobility companies,” in the words of Ford chair Bill Ford, upending a business model that has served the industry since it began over a century ago.

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Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908657 Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later. According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-009

Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later.

According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super Cruise — will be an option for “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” possibly the recently green-lit flagship meant to take on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series in the F-segment. The option, meant to take over driving and braking duties on the highway and during rush hour, will likely be as expensive as the $2,400 top-of-the-line safety package offered on all Cadillac sedans.

Meanwhile, the V2V system will be standard on the 2017 CTS, though it may only be able to talk to other CTSs so-equipped if no other manufacturer has V2V ready to go by then. By announcing the feature, however, Barra hopes to “start the conversation” on the technology:

The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accidents we’ll prevent.

GM is currently involved in a partnership with Ford, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to augment 120 miles of Detroit Metro highways with cameras and sensors to provide data to V2V-equipped vehicles, with the goal of reducing accidents in mind.

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Sandoval, Musk Announce Tesla Gigafactory To Be Built In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907097 It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval. KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades. In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and […]

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Elon Musk and Brian Sandoval

It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval.

KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades.

In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and incentives at a special legislative session next Wednesday at the earliest. The package is meant to last for 20 years.

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NICB: Texas No. 1 In Tailgate Theft Claims http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nicb-texas-1-tailgate-theft-claims/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nicb-texas-1-tailgate-theft-claims/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907017 Texas pickup truck owners may need to do more than lock up their daughters from the brodeo clowns tearing up the country music charts (or wanting to, anyway), as the state is No. 1 with a bullet in tailgate thefts. According to Autoblog, the National Insurance Crime Bureau tracked tailgate thefts from New Year’s Day […]

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Luke Bryan Tailgate Disco Brodeo Clown Dancer AMERICA

Texas pickup truck owners may need to do more than lock up their daughters from the brodeo clowns tearing up the country music charts (or wanting to, anyway), as the state is No. 1 with a bullet in tailgate thefts.

According to Autoblog, the National Insurance Crime Bureau tracked tailgate thefts from New Year’s Day 2012 through New Year’s Eve 2013, and found Texas reported the most claims with 752. In addition, six of the Lone Star State’s cities also held the most claims of any location in the United States, with Houston coming in at No. 1 with 145 claims. The second- and third-leading states, California and Arizona, pale in comparison.

Overall, thefts climbed 31 percent from 831 cases to 1,090 between 2012 and 2013, with no clear sign explaining the rise. NICB representative Frank Scafidi offered that the increase may correlate with the expanded awareness surrounding the issue of filing insurance claims on such thefts.

As for how to prevent thieves from making off with your tailgate, the bureau suggests using hinge locks that keep the tailgate from opening.

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Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906993 Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors. Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, […]

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Google Toyota Prius Autonomous Vehicle

Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.

Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, Seigo Kuzumaki. He adds that he and Toyota’s top brass don’t believe such vehicles will have much marketability outside of the technocratic state of Silcon Valley, nor are they certain the technology is ready for primetime.

At the present, Toyota is working on 34 projects with 17 partners, including those involving V2V and V2I communication systems. That said, it believes the human behind the wheel is just as important as the computers running most of the show. Thus, the driver will not become a passenger in the near-term.

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General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906361 Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind. Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 […]

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Distracted Driving Canadian Style

Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind.

Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 cameras in its line of vehicles within a three- to five-year period. The cameras will track eye and head movements to determine if a driver is paying attention to the road or to the office BlackBerry, then alerting them so as to not miss the stop sign or other hazards.

Seeing Machine CEO Ken Kroeger says there could be other uses to the cameras, citing safety’s lack of sexiness. Such future uses could include anti-theft systems, ignition interlocks programmed to prevent a young driver from taking the car out past curfew, or apps that can trigger an action inside the vehicle while driving.

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Japanese Auto Industry, Economy In Danger Of Hollowing Out http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/japanese-auto-industry-economy-danger-hollowing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/japanese-auto-industry-economy-danger-hollowing/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905697 Just like the player character after dying several times in the “Dark Souls” series, Japan may find itself hollowing out as a result of the country’s declining auto market. Bloomberg reports 333,471 deliveries were made in August, the fewest since the same month in 2011, with sales of kei cars leading the way down at […]

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Kei Vans

Just like the player character after dying several times in the “Dark Souls” series, Japan may find itself hollowing out as a result of the country’s declining auto market.

Bloomberg reports 333,471 deliveries were made in August, the fewest since the same month in 2011, with sales of kei cars leading the way down at a decline of 15 percent after cushioning demand for the past few months; the overall decline for August 2014 was 9.1 percent.

The decline may only be the beginning, however, according to analysts at IHS Automotive, Advanced Research Japan and Barclays Plc. Despite a weakened yen, recent increases in Japan’s consumption tax knocked down demand for new vehicles. In turn, automakers are keeping annual production at low levels for the local market, while capital expenditure will fall 7.9 percent for FY 2014, 1.3 percent in FY 2015.

Should the trend continue, the Japanese economy as a whole could follow the automotive industry into a hollowed out new “lost decade,” undoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempts to revive it, such as the aforementioned weakening of the yen. Production is predicted to decline by 1.6 million units in the coming decade while global production climbs to 22 million by 2021, according to IHS Automotive.

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Uber’s Low-Cost UberPop Service Banned In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905633 Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation. The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary […]

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Uber Berlin

Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation.

The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary injunction on the service last week, with fines of $330,000 or jail time hanging over Uber and its local employees should they be found in violation; its drivers would not be directly affected by penalties.

The injunction is the result of a complaint filed by trade group Taxi Deutschland, who made the complaint under allegations that the TNC violated the German Passenger Transport Act by not having properly licensed and insured drivers, being selective in who the drivers pick up, and unfairly upending the local taxi industry overall.

However, the ruling cannot be directly enforced by the court, requiring Taxi Deutschland to file separate complaints for every perceived violation of the injunction prior to the court sending authorities to act on the charges. Uber is aware of this, as a representative for the company explained to the BBC:

Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for Uber in Europe. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer UberPop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany.

Uber plans to appeal the injunction. Meanwhile, UberBlack drivers and passengers are unaffected by the ruling, and the UberPop app is still functioning in all of the TNC’s German cities as of this writing.

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NEVS Gains Creditor Protection, Loses Saab Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-gains-creditor-protection-loses-saab-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-gains-creditor-protection-loses-saab-name/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904905 First, National Electric Vehicle Sweden was going to be taken to district court and forced to file bankruptcy. Then, it was spared. Then, it saw its application for creditor protection denied due to being “vague.” Now? The application has moved forward, but at the price of the Saab name. Autoblog reports NEVS — who owes […]

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First, National Electric Vehicle Sweden was going to be taken to district court and forced to file bankruptcy. Then, it was spared. Then, it saw its application for creditor protection denied due to being “vague.”

Now? The application has moved forward, but at the price of the Saab name.

Autoblog reports NEVS — who owes over 90 creditors kr400 million ($57.56 million USD) — gained protection from the district court in Vänersborg August 29 while the Chinese-owned company continues negotiates with two unknown companies to obtain more funding.

However, the move by the court allowed SAAB AB — whose Viggens birthed many a 99 Turbo and 900S way back when — to pull the naming rights from NEVS. The latter only bought the beleaguered automaker’s physical assets, and had to seek permission from SAAB to use the brand name. Thus, it may now be finally safe to say, “Rest in peace.”

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Russian Government Moves Ahead With Revived Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903274 A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme. Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, […]

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Lada Coupe

A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme.

Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, which is expected to subsidize over 170,000 new vehicles at a minimum discount of P40,000 ($1,086) for scrapping a passenger car, and P350,000 ($9,506) on up for commercial vehicles. Additional discounts from P40,000 to P300,000 ($1,086 – $8,148) will be made to consumers who trade-in vehicles six years of age or older.

The new program begins September 1, and will run through to the end of the year. A decision to revive the program in 2015 will be made no earlier than the middle of September of that year, according to Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and will be based on market conditions at that point in time.

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California ZEV Democratization Initiative Passes State Assembly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903226 Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law. Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected […]

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Charge-Ahead-California

Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law.

Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected to pass through the state’s senate shortly before signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The initiative, sponsored by State Senator Kevin de León of Los Angeles, amends the focus of the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project toward middle- and low-income residents by implementing an income cap on ZEV credits. Further, a minimum of $2,500 would be given said residents exchanging an older vehicle for a ZEV such as the Tesla Model S or the upcoming Toyota Mirai, with an additional $1,500 for the act of retirement itself.

The ultimate goals of the initiative are to reduce credits over the long-term as clean technology becomes widespread, while also boosting the population of ZEVs to 1 million by 2023.

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Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/volvo-restructuring-three-families-configurations-2019/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903194 By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way. Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform […]

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By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way.

Autoblog reports Volvo will align its lineup portfolio around three families (40, 60, 90) and three designations/configurations (S sedan, V wagon, XC crossover). In turn, the 40 family will share a platform with parent company Geely’s offerings, while the 60 and 90 families will use Volvo’s SPA modular platform.

Additionally, the V40/V60/V90 wagons will have a Cross Country variant, matching up with Audi’s and Subaru’s offroad formula for their respective non-rugged base offerings. Meanwhile, R-Design and Polestar will apply their magic performance touches to a few of the new vehicles, going up against similar efforts from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

All of the above are expected to come online within the next four years, but no coupes or convertibles are in the plans, citing a lack of a case for either at this time. Volvo will instead focus on boosting its volume, with a goal of 800,000 units for 2014 alone.

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New Union Goes Up Against UAW For Chattanooga VW Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-union-goes-uaw-chattanooga-vw-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-union-goes-uaw-chattanooga-vw-plant/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902153 In response to the United Auto Workers establishing a union local in Chattanooga, Tenn., anti-UAW Volkswagen employees have begun the process of forming their own union. Reuters reports Mike Burton, who helped in the effort to defeat the UAW’s attempt to unionize the VW plant in Chattanooga earlier this year, is leading the charge for […]

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In response to the United Auto Workers establishing a union local in Chattanooga, Tenn., anti-UAW Volkswagen employees have begun the process of forming their own union.

Reuters reports Mike Burton, who helped in the effort to defeat the UAW’s attempt to unionize the VW plant in Chattanooga earlier this year, is leading the charge for what he says will be the first local of the American Council of Employees. He claims that since the UAW lost in February, VW has strengthened its ties to the union, and wants ACE to become the alternative to Local 42, the local established by ACE’s opponents last month.

Meanwhile, UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel believes Burton’s counterattack doesn’t have much of a chance because of the consensus between his union and the automaker, proclaiming Local 42 has “substantially more than 700 members” from the 1,500 hourly employees who work the floor in Chattanooga. He added that it would be up to VW to recognize ACE.

Though VW has said nothing regarding ACE thus far, it has repeatedly supported the establishment of a works council at its sole U.S. factory.

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Russian Government Considering Revival Of Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899986 In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010. Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward […]

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In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010.

Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward a 25 percent to 30 percent fall in auto sales to date. Thus, the Kremlin is considering bringing back the program, through nothing more has come according to a Ministry of Trade and Industry representative.

The delay of action is also delaying many a consumer’s decision in buying a new vehicle, especially since the original program paid P50,000 ($1,680 USD in 2010 dollars) for a vehicle 10 years old and over. Consumers are also wondering what vehicles would be available under the new program, as well as engine size.

The 2010 program proved successful, though the Russian government spent up to $2 billion back then for 200,000 vehicles to be replaced with newer models. Whether it wants to do so again may not matter as sales continue to fall.

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Artificial Leaves Key To Lowering Hydrogen Fuel Production Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899658 For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE. CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.

CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the Mirai would cost $50, according to Toyota North America senior vice president Bob Caster, who took his information from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caster added that the price could come down to as low as $30 per tank, a goal the DOE aims to deliver as soon as possible with an R&D investment of $20 million.

In the meantime, researchers in Japan, and at MIT and the Australian National University Research School of Biology are developing hydrogen processing techniques involving photosynthesis in so-called artificial leaves. MIT’s approach uses solar energy in a photoelectrochemical process to extract hydrogen, while the Australians swap iron with manganese in a naturally occurring protein named ferritin along with light-sensitive zinc chlorin to do the same. Japan, on the other hand, uses cyanobacteria.

All artificial-leaf projects are currently focused on providing cheap energy in developing countries, but do have the potential to scale to meet the needs of a burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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US Government Seeks Private Company To Run National V2V Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-government-seeks-private-company-run-national-v2v-network/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899498 Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do. Automotive […]

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V2V

Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do.

Automotive News reports the U.S. Department of Transportation, citing “the current fiscal environment” also responsible for the current state of the Highway Trust Fund — is unable to fund, construct or operate the infrastructure needed to make V2V a success. Thus, the agency is seeking to bestow that honor upon a private company, whether it be a Google or a General Motors.

That said, automakers — especially those working with the feds on V2V — aren’t likely so willing to run things, either. Beltway attorney Mark Johnson explains:

Other than the safety benefits from this technology, it’s not clear at this point what benefits the car companies would see from taking on this role. They believe in this technology. We’ve had a sea change over the last two years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to be the administrator of a nationwide system, or are the most capable candidate to do it.

Funding issues aren’t the only quibble as far as the government is concerned, as it, too, has few inclinations toward managing a massive infrastructure project such as this. The prospect of always having to be one step ahead of hackers, with the specter of the HealthCare.gov launch hanging over their heads, may be too much for any one agency to take on regarding V2V. Instead, a company with deep pockets and ambitions to match — like Google — may ultimately be the one leading the future of vehicle connectivity.

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Google Wanted Autonomous Vehicle Driver Interventions Kept Quiet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899122 In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents. Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s […]

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In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents.

Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s state government for amendments to traffic safety legislation that would, in the words of the company’s director of safety Ron Medford, “limit required reporting to accidents involving vehicles operated in autonomous mode.” The company also wanted language removed that obligated it to report “disengagements” — when the car returns control to the driver — to the government, citing lack of relevance regarding vehicle safety.

Though the state’s DMV wants this data for future driver testing when the day of the autonomous vehicle comes, Medford claimed the reporting would create “a significant burden on manufacturers” and the DMV, especially since the agency did not have “the engineering expertise to interpret the data.”

Other concerns Google wanted the state legislature to address included the fear of trade secrets going public — and to its rivals — as well as the possibility for test drivers to simply leave all of the driving to the car than to disengage even once. The company found support from General Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, all wondering what the fuss was about regarding autonomous vehicle testing and reporting obligations.

The California DMV did excuse manufacturers from reporting every disengagement — only those linked to safety reasons will now be reported to the agency — but did want everything else related to autonomous driving. Google, for its part, was disappointed “that the vast majority” of its comments were ignored.

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Employee Files Charges Against UAW, Ford Over Dues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899074 Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now. Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from […]

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Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed charges against both the automaker and the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board on the objection to using a portion of his dues to support the Democratic Party, invoking his Beck rights to claw back $98 of dues over the past three months thus far.

If successful, the legal action would pave the way for others who don’t want to pay dues beyond core union activities, if at all, prior to the September 15, 2015 expiration date of the UAW’s current contracts with the Detroit Three. After that date, new contracts would allow all workers in Michigan the right to opt-out of paying any dues, the result of the state legislature’s passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

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Cadillac Considers Shifting Some Operations To NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-considers-shifting-operations-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-considers-shifting-operations-nyc/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897858 As part of brand boss Johan de Nysschen’s overall plan to boost its image outside of the United States, Cadillac is considering moving some of its functions to New York City. Reuters reports the move to Manhattan would affect marketing, advertising and strategy, putting physical and cultural distance between the three and the rest of […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS V Sport

As part of brand boss Johan de Nysschen’s overall plan to boost its image outside of the United States, Cadillac is considering moving some of its functions to New York City.

Reuters reports the move to Manhattan would affect marketing, advertising and strategy, putting physical and cultural distance between the three and the rest of the brand’s operations in Detroit. The move would also bring new talent that Cadillac may not have obtained if everything remained within the Motor City.

This would not be the first time such a move occurred under de Nysschen’s watch. As head of Infiniti, he moved the brand’s team to Hong Kong in an effort to gain outside input and autonomy beyond parent company Nissan’s influence.

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