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. Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:19:15 +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 » 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/ Michigan Diesel Shop Refuses To Serve Openly Gay Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/michigan-diesel-shop-refuses-serve-openly-gay-customers/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046290 What does a diesel shop in Michigan have in common with a Washingtonian florist and a Hoosier pizza hut? An owner who refuses to serve openly gay customers. WOOD-TV reports the owner of Grandville, Mich.-based Dieseltec, Brian Klawiter, posted a statement to his shop’s Facebook page Tuesday regarding his view that those with conservative, Christian […]

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Dieseltec Ram Diesel Burnout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Virginia Set To Establish Strict Retention Limits On LPR Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046218 The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days. Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One […]

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Alexandria Virginia Police Dodge Charger With License Plate Readers

The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days.

Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One bill would limit data retention to just seven days, the other to 60 days.

McAuliffe would have 30 days to act on the bills before both go into effect without his signature, with the review process set to begin “in the coming days” according to representative Christina Nuckols. Either way, the new limit would be one of the shortest — if not the shortest overall — limits on data retention in the United States; Maine currently holds the record with its 21-day limit.

As for which bill privacy advocates would prefer, the American Civil Liberties Union is pushing McAuliffe to sign the seven-day limit into law, as the other limit also expands the scope of law enforcement’s ability to conduct surveillance.

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Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045250 Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed. Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose […]

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Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed.

Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose of helping would-be hydrogen-station operators build them; each station costs $5 million to build, with the government pitching in $2.5 million in aid.

Though a representative for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry stated the government is considering increasing the amount given to encourage more infrastructure development, energy companies are asking for proof that building the stations are worth the investment in the first place. In turn, consumers may find the lack of said stations off-putting as far as considering an FCV like Toyota’s Mirai goes, while FCVs themselves need government incentives to attract said consumers.

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Hyundai Patent Shows Cell-Phone Disabling Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045106 Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC. Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to […]

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Hyundai Driver Cell Phone Blocking Patent

Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC.

Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to disable on a phone based on vehicle speed, time of day, importance of message, and other factors, and can do so either at the driver’s seat or the entire vehicle.

According to the patent, this is done with cellular-signal-monitoring antennas placed throughout the cabin. When an antenna detects a signal, the system performs the tasks needed to disable functions that would otherwise hinder a driver’s ability to maintain vigilance. However, the system requires the phone in question to have firmware that would accept the former’s commands.

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ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044722 Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution. The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of […]

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Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution.

The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of choice. Property owners would foot the bill for installation of ChargePoint’s Level 2 charging station, as well as set the price for charging. In turn, the company will bill the tenants who subscribe a one-time activation fee and a monthly subscription fee; the tenant can also pay the property owner for charging via their ChargePoint account.

Finally, as the subscription service would last as long as the tenant resides in the building on a month-to-month basis, the service can be deactivated once the tenant moves out or replaces their electrified ride for one that doesn’t require a plug, and can be reactivated when a new tenant with a plug-in vehicle moves into the building.

As for how much it would cost to wire a parking stall for the service, or how much owners could charge for electricity, ChargePoint did not explain at this time.

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Shanghai 2015: Volvo XC90 Excellence Ready For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-xc90-excellence-ready-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-xc90-excellence-ready-debut/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044602 Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show later this month, the Volvo XC90 Excellence is the Sino-Swede’s first foray into high-end luxury. Unlike the standard flagship XC90, the Excellence does away with having an extra three passengers and two back rows of seating. Instead, the two rear occupants will each have their own reclining seats […]

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Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show later this month, the Volvo XC90 Excellence is the Sino-Swede’s first foray into high-end luxury.

Unlike the standard flagship XC90, the Excellence does away with having an extra three passengers and two back rows of seating. Instead, the two rear occupants will each have their own reclining seats with massage functions, ventilated fabric, and plenty of leg room. They’ll also have access to a refrigerator with bottle and glass holders, heated/cooled cup holders, retractable touchscreens, folding tables, and handmade crystal glasses from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.

Other luxury comforts include: Pirelli Noise Cancelling System tires; 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system; Volvo’s CleanZone climate system with ionic air cleaner; leather instrument panel and seats with Nubuck headliner; luggage compartment dividing screen; and passenger footrests.

Those who desire Swedish-style luxury — whether in Sweden, China, the United States, or other global locales — will be able to lease their XC90 Excellence beginning later this year, with digital ordering coming to select markets at the same time.

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Orders For Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition Now Being Taken In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043746 If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history. Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter […]

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If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history.

Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter 4B11T turbo-four and its 473 horses from the Final Concept shown at this January’s Tokyo Auto Salon; the Final Edition uses a 2-liter MIVEC turbo, instead.

Aside from the turbo-four and Mitsubishi’s S-AWC AWD system, Final Edition owners can expect sodium-filled exhaust valves, 18-inch BBS wheels, Recaro seats, Bilstein and Eibach suspension pieces, and Brembo brakes for their ¥4,298,400 (approximately $36,000 USD). Owners can also choose from red, white, blue, black or gray and a white- or black-painted roof panel.

Orders for the 1,000 Evos began last Friday, with deliveries set for August. After that, the Evo will be no more the world over.

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

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Corn Harvesting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Uber Safe Helps Drunk Torontonians Make It Home Safely http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/uber-safe-helps-drunk-torontonians-make-home-safely/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/uber-safe-helps-drunk-torontonians-make-home-safely/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043194 Should you be in Toronto having a few with the TTAC Zaibatsu, and you need a lift home, Uber’s Uber Safe program might be what you need. AdWeek reports the program uses a breathalyzer sidewalk kiosk to help hammered patrons make it home safe. Said patron blows into a disposable straw for six seconds, then […]

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Uber Safe Kiosk

Should you be in Toronto having a few with the TTAC Zaibatsu, and you need a lift home, Uber’s Uber Safe program might be what you need.

AdWeek reports the program uses a breathalyzer sidewalk kiosk to help hammered patrons make it home safe. Said patron blows into a disposable straw for six seconds, then the breathalyzer determines if they are over the legal limit or not. If so, Uber offers the patron a ride home.

The Uber Safe program was developed with ad agency Rethink, and the kiosk was assembled by fabrication studio Stacklab; both companies have offices in Toronto.

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BMW i3 Models Now Available Through Amazon Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039553 You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3. Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-002

You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3.

Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers already selling the model in Japan, widening the sales channel while providing more convenience to potential owners in so doing.

Those who do order their i3 will have their choice of either the electric-only model or the range-extender version. However, the purchase will only be completed once BMW calls up the would-be owner to request documentation regarding parking and charging space for the vehicle.

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NYT’s Bilton Finds Vehicle Broken Into Via Wireless Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039361 Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology. According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they […]

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2014 Toyota Prius

Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology.

According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they could find. Bilton then chased down the two to ask what they used to break into his car, only to come away with nothing but a description and a price tag: a $100 device that broadcasts RF signals to unlock the doors.

Similar instances include a slew of break-ins in 2013 linked to devices pressed against new car doors, cycling through remote-entry codes before happening upon the correct code to unlock the vehicle, and a demonstration at a Blackhat conference with a setup involving a laptop and $1,000 of radio equipment.

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Frankfurt 2015: Jaguar F-Pace Debuting Two Years After C-X17 Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/frankfurt-2015-jaguar-f-pace-debuting-two-years-c-x17-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/frankfurt-2015-jaguar-f-pace-debuting-two-years-c-x17-concept/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039257 Two years ago after the C-X17 concept debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Jaguar F-Pace will make its global debut during the 2015 edition of the show. Autocar reports the SUV is undergoing testing at present, having caught a camouflaged prototype with physical cues suggesting a supercharged 3-liter V6 under the bonnet. Other possible […]

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Two years ago after the C-X17 concept debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Jaguar F-Pace will make its global debut during the 2015 edition of the show.

Autocar reports the SUV is undergoing testing at present, having caught a camouflaged prototype with physical cues suggesting a supercharged 3-liter V6 under the bonnet. Other possible engines for the showroom-ready model include a 5-liter supercharged V8, and the Ingenium family of gasoline- and diesel-fueled four-cylinder mills.

The publication also noted that the F-Pace’s dimensions resemble that of the C-X17 concept, which is 16 inches longer than the Range Rover Evoque at an overall length of 186 inches, and is 65 inches tall. Other features include “an assured driving position” at “a low height” similar to the aforementioned Evoque, a plunging rear roof line, and an interior completely unlike anything currently offered by Jaguar Land Rover.

The F-Pace will face-off against the likes of the Porsche Macan and BMW X4 in the small SUV game when it hits showrooms beginning in 2016, and is expected to help push total sales volume for Jaguar alongside the XE sedan from 80,000 units/year to 200,000, faring well in SUV-friendly markets like the United States and China.

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Homeland Security Re-evaluating License-Plate Reader Database Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/homeland-security-re-evaluating-license-plate-reader-database-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/homeland-security-re-evaluating-license-plate-reader-database-plan/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039049 Over a year after Homeland Security passed on building a national license-plate reader database, the department is once again interested. Autoblog reports DHS is this time seeking a commercial solution already on the market, instead of looking to contractors to build the database as the department once desired. Going the commercial route would help bolster […]

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license plate cameras

Over a year after Homeland Security passed on building a national license-plate reader database, the department is once again interested.

Autoblog reports DHS is this time seeking a commercial solution already on the market, instead of looking to contractors to build the database as the department once desired. Going the commercial route would help bolster its ability to fight crime while providing the path toward minimizing privacy concerns, with the current plan calling for LPR information to be stored for five years barring exceptions as needed pending supervisor approval.

On the other side, critics of the plan cite privacy and First Amendment concerns (the latter specifically about the right to peaceably assemble). Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch says the department’s plan doesn’t do much to protect privacy in a meaningful way, while Center for Democracy and Technology senior counsel Gregory T. Nojeim warns that DHS would have “warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S.” upon implementation.

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Support For Automated Enforcement Only So-So Among Americans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033377 While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is. According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at […]

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red stop light camera

While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is.

According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at 540 communities in October 2012, now since fallen to 461, and while 112 to 140 programs speed camera programs were initiated in the same 30 months, those are now beginning to stumble.

While critics — and the studies that back their statements — have found red-light and speed cameras marginally improve safety at best and are thought to be nothing more than revenue generators, a survey by FindLaw.com found that 61 percent of women and 51 percent of men support red-light cameras, while 53 percent of women and 43 percent of men would support speed cameras, as well.

Geography plays into support as well: 62 percent of residents in the Northeastern United States support speed cameras, while 65 percent support red-light cameras. In comparison, only 33 percent of residents in the Midwest — where opposition to automated enforcement is highest — support the former, 49 percent support the latter.

That said, the voting booth may be the best indicator of support for the cameras: 31 out of 34 referendums in 25 years have shot down automated enforcement, including four ballot measures last November whose disapproval/approval ratio came to approximately 3:1 opposed.

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Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030297 While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales. In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2

While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.

In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, traded like for like.

Either way, both groups have their reasons for choosing models from this segment:

Compact SUV popularity is truly a product story. They are a desirable size, but concede very little in efficiency and are comparably priced with models in other popular segments. They combine aspects of the market’s best-selling and pragmatic segments — establishing a new middle.

The report says that transaction prices for compact SUVs are on par with midsize sedans, averaging $26,420 compared to the latter’s $25,887 average. It adds that the popular segment is having an effect on dealer inventories as well, as midsize and compact cars take the longest to leave the lot; the aforementioned Rogue has 36 days-to-turn, while the Sentra takes 85 days to do the same.

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Oakland PD Turns Over 4.6M License Plate Dataset Via Public Records Request http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030273 Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014. Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to […]

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OaklandPoliceCar

Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014.

Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to organize the dataset for its investigation into the practice.

With the permission of those contacted, the publication was able to track the movements of each individual based on their license plate, information that provides an insight into a given person’s life, according to University of California, Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump:

Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life. Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast—although possibly with a drinking problem.

Crump adds that, as LPR technology comes down in price and becomes ubiquitous on the backs of police cars and in traffic lights, citizens should support restrictions on the data collected, from how long it’s stored and who can access it, to why it should be accessed in the first place.

Ars Technica also obtained data on OPD vehicles, discovering that a single unit — a 2007 Ford P71 — was scanned 879 times between January 15, 2012 and May 31, 2014 while it travelled through Downtown Oakland and North Oakland; nearly all of the 100 OPD in the dataset were also scanned several hundred times over.

As for how the publication was able to have this data in the first place, neither the OPD or the Oakland City Council has set a formal data retention limit; the police department deletes information as needed for new data, however. All OPD officers also have access to the LPR information at any time, and need not give a reason for accessing the data when searching for a given plate, though policy says such searches require “a legitimate law enforcement purpose, such as following up on a criminal investigation.”

Finally, OPD police captain Anthony Toribio explains that the data is publically available to anyone who asks, citing transparency as the reason:

I think it’s important for a law enforcement organization to be transparent, and it goes to being credible and establishing legitimacy in the community.

The OPD dataset is the second-largest LPR dataset to be released via request, the largest being one from a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Seattle Police Department in 2010. The request resulted in a dataset of over 7.3 million scans.

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Mahindra & Mahindra In Negotiations To Buy Pininfarina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029785 Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents. Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, […]

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Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents.

Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, though those negotiations still have a chance to collapse.

If successful, Mahindra could use Pininfarina to add more style to its and subsidiary Ssangyong’s offerings. The design house has worked with the manufacturer in the past, helping to develop its SUVs and designing its Halo electric sports car that was unveiled at last year’s Delhi Auto Show.

Mahindra’s bid for Pininfarina follows ChemChina’s bid for Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli in a series of foreign takeovers of Italian companies as Italy slowly emerges from its cycle of recessions.

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2015 Ford S-Max Can Drive 55 Via Intelligent Speed Limiter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028945 Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter. Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph […]

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2015 Ford S-Max Intelligent Speed Limiter - TTAC Zaibatsu Style

Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter.

Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph (5 mph) increments, as well as doing all the work for the driver.

The latter is accomplished through traffic-sign recognition technology, which provides the driver with speed limit information, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the S-Max’s instrument cluster. Functionality begins at 30 kph (20 mph), and ends at 200 kph (120 mph), and drivers can set a speed tolerance of 5 kph above the limit.

Active safety chief Stefan Knappes says the system is meant to remove “one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit,” explaining that drivers sometimes aren’t aware of their speed until an accident or a fine occurs. The system will hit the road in Europe this summer, when the first S-Max deliveries begin.

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Ford, GM Looking Into Tier 3 Wages For Lower-Skilled Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028897 While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3. Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better […]

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UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3.

Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better compete against the transplants and their non-union employees through lower labor costs.

Meanwhile, the UAW leadership are seeking raises for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, just as its rank-and-file want an end to the two-tier wage system entirely. The thought of a Tier 3 would prove hard to stomach among all in the union, though such a tier could help bring work that had been outsourced to suppliers in-house, as those employees would not be assembling vehicles.

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FCA Planning Industry-First PHEV Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028273 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan. Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan.

Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line in Windsor as the standard minivans — and the 1997 EPIC electric minivan with a range of 120 miles delivered by its advanced lead acid batteries. The new PHEV minivan would also be the first hybrid minivan of any sort to come to market since the hybrid category’s U.S. debut in MY 2000, and would spawn a PHEV crossover to debut in 2017.

While the PHEV would provide improved city fuel economy in its role as a family shuttle, placement of the battery pack would have to be sorted due to the automaker’s signature Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system. Pricing is another concern, especially as the next generation of FCA minivans will be a Chrysler product; Chrysler’s Town & Country has commanded higher transaction prices over the Dodge Grand Caravan.

FCA also has to present a case to hybrid consumers who wouldn’t normally consider its brands, the result of not having hybrids throughout the range, with the PHEV minivan likely cannibalizing sales from the automaker’s traditional minivan consumers.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028233 Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal. Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend […]

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Pirelli F1 Tire Range

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend may be the beginning of a protracted takeover as it and Pirelli’s largest investor, Cam Finanziaria, attempt to secure 90 percent of the stock to take the tire company off of the trading floor; the share price climbed to €15.76 Monday.

The terms of the deal would give ChemChina 50.1 percent of the company, Finanziaria 49.9 percent, and would begin with the former paying €15/share for Finanziaria’s 26.2 percent of Pirelli, followed by a public tender for the rest of the company at the same price. Should that fail, however, ChemChina could merge its 66 percent with Finanziaria’s holdings to force a delisting. Pirelli chair and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera would remain CEO under the deal, while ChemChina will seek a new chair.

The Sino-Italian buy-in is part of a number of takeovers of Italian companies by Chinese buyers, and would be the fifth-largest deal by a state-owned enterprise.

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Mary Barra Among Those To Depose Over GM Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027465 General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers. The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be […]

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Mary Barra with Mark Reuss and some laughing rando at the GMC Eminence Front booth during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers.

The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be the last one.

The process is linked to a consolidated group of lawsuits led by attorney Robert Hilliard, whose plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost resale value, injury and death as a result of GM’s decade-long delay in recalling the defective ignition switch at the center of the maelstrom.

Related documents that were released as part of a recent settlement with the Melton family — one of the families affected by the recall — lead Hilliard to believe the automaker knew more than it let on; thus, the deposition process about to occur:

Given the damning documents we have uncovered throughout the course of this litigation, the dance floor is very, very small and no GM witness will be able to shuffle around the truth. I expect we will find out how high up this cover-up goes.

Other witnesses include former engineer Ray DeGiorgio, former general counsel Michael Millikin, engineering director David Cary, and senior vice president of global connected customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, who will be the first to be deposed.

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Toyota Returning To WRC With 2017 Yaris, Homologation Special Planned http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027441 Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be. Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be […]

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2015-toyota-yaris-wrc

Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be.

Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be driven by a 1.6-liter turbo-four pushing above 300 horsepower to all corners, and is undergoing testing in Europe as of this writing.

Speaking of Europe, that is where the 2,500 homologated versions of the Yaris WRC will likely turn up in order for the automaker to be able to compete two years from now. However, power for the homologated model will come from the Lexus NX 200t’s 2-liter turbo-four, capable of 235 horses and 258 lb-ft torque. The power would be directed by a six-speed manual.

Whether the Yaris WRC will be seen elsewhere is not for certain. Those in Europe who are lucky to get their hands on one will pay around €33,900 ($36,650 USD) for the honor, the same price for Volkswagen’s own WRC entrant, the Polo R.

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