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By on September 22, 2016

2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist, Interior, fuel economy, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

As low gas prices persist and electric vehicles fail to find the widespread traction once predicted by the Obama White House, automakers have supercharged their fight against the country’s lofty 2025 fuel economy target.

Fuel prices and the popularity of trucks and SUVs means the federal 54.5 mile per gallon target isn’t reasonable, automakers say. Continuing down the same road and pretending the landscape hasn’t changed? That’s a recipe for disaster, according to industry groups. Read More >

By on September 22, 2016

Nassim Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb has authored a series of books he labels Incerto, that Amazon tells us is “an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand.” The best known work in the series is “The Black Swan,” which teaches that highly improbable things happen frequently. His most recent work is “Antifragile,” which explains how successful systems deal with the random disorder of reality.

A recent essay by Taleb on Medium talks about how a small minority* of just 3 or 4 percent of a greater population can force accommodations by the majority. Taleb uses a broad range of examples — business, cultural, political, religious and culinary — to make the point that if a minority is large enough and intransigent enough in its needs or wants, that what it wants in specific doesn’t really matter to the majority, that minority’s wishes will prevail.

What does this have to do with cars? How many customers really want an illuminated vanity mirror in their sun visor?

Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate

Trucks are coming back to Oshawa — kinda.

According to The Globe and Mail, a $400-million investment will fund upgrades necessary for Oshawa to perform final assembly of General Motors pickups using bodies manufactured in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and shipped to Canada.

Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

MINI JCW Clubman

Having been a player in the small car category since its 2001 reboot, Mini now seeks to take on the burgeoning premium sporty compact segment with this, the new John Cooper Works Clubman.

With sales of the Mini brand reaching only nine-tenths of its 2013 high in the U.S. last year, will this model bait new customers into the brand’s retina-searing showrooms?

Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

2016 Honda Civic sedan

It’s long past time to put the bike (myth) away.

Outside of certain urban centers, Millennials are cuckoo for cars. Jobs and families and lifestyles, you see. As more members of the youngest car buying cohort show up at dealers looking to sign on the dotted line, their method of payment is evolving, too. Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

McLaren Apple

British supercar maker and racecar developer McLaren Technology Group has refuted a report claiming it is talks with tech giant Apple ahead of a possible takeover.

A McLaren spokesperson has told Street Insider that the earlier report, published in the Financial Times, is incorrect. Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Jeff writes:

I recently started shopping for my first new car in a decade. I have looked at Infiniti, Audi, VW, Cadillac, Genesis, Tesla and BMW.

Something that really stuck out about the process was the different dealership experiences. The quality and happiness factor of each dealership seemed to coincide with the price of their cars.

Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

Ford F150 assembly line

It seems as though you can’t turn around on the streets of Atlanta or the suburbs of Austin or the outskirts of Albuquerque without seeing a Ford F-Series pickup truck.

For 34 years running, Americans have registered more copies of the F-Series than any other pickup truck. A wide-ranging model lineup (just like its competitors) and top-selling rivals that split their sales between brands means Ford consistently and overwhelmingly sells more full-size pickup trucks than any other automobile brand in the United States. At the current rate of growth, Ford will sell more than 800,000 F-Series pickups in 2016, more than at any point since 2005.

While it’s impressive that Ford owns 30 percent of the American pickup truck market, perhaps the more daunting figure shows that 1 out of every 22 new vehicles sold in the U.S. is a Ford pickup truck.

But don’t be so easily impressed. Look northward, where the Ford F-Series is far more popular than it is in the United States. Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

Tesla Model S In Hero Blue, Image: Tesla

Electric-vehicle buyers in Norway enjoy hefty perks, from tax exemptions to free parking, but not everything is rosy in the world’s EV-friendliest country.

A group of 125 Norwegians has sued American automaker Tesla, alleging that the company’s Model S P85D with “Insane Mode” is simply not fast enough, Bloomberg reports. Read More >

By on September 21, 2016

Comma One Front

George Hotz burst into the autonomous driving space last year with promises of a sub-$1,000 driver assistance package. It could be added to any car, he said, and proved it by showcasing his prototype system on his Acura ILX. When I spoke to Hotz in December, his system had promise, but I was skeptical.

Since that interview, Hotz further refined his system, released data collection apps, and picked up $3.1 million in funding. These updates culminated in a splashy announcement at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last week, where Hotz announced he’d ship his Comma One semi-autonomous driving add-on by the end of the year — at a price of $999*.

Hotz kept many of the promises he made last year, but he’s made vast changes between then and now. I dug into the Comma One’s hardware and software specs, and signed up for his Dash data collection app, to see what all the excitement was about.

Read More >

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