By on October 7, 2015


The Town & Country is back at home and, frankly — no pun intended — I’m exhausted.

As I had been warned, the necessary tests required an overnight stay for the van at the research facility and the two trips there and back sapped a lot of my energy. I was at the mercy of my iPhone’s navigation app — UConnect’s navigation, of course, doesn’t work in Japan — that led pell-mell all over the damn countryside without any real idea of where I was at any given moment. To make matters worse, when I wasn’t behind the wheel, there was an equally confusing three-hour train ride to deal with.

Once upon a time, I might have considered this a grand adventure. Right now, I’m just tired and in need of a beer. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2015


While working on a story about some very old cars, I stumbled upon something relevant to the latest big story in the automotive world.

I ran into a Model T collector who’s also a powertrain engineer for Ford. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if he could tell me what he was working on (sometimes they say no). He said that he was responsible for developing computerized engine controls. Because of that expertise, I started to ask him some questions about the software program that Volkswagen apparently used to cheat on the EPA’s diesel emissions testing.

What he was willing to say and what he wouldn’t say intrigued me. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2015

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

While the EPA recently revealed Volkswagen’s diesels were cheating emissions tests, two newspapers learned VW was warned about cheating as early as 2007.

(Read More…)

By on December 17, 2014


The prevailing narrative seems to be that the United States lags behind Europe in addressing issues like fuel economy and emissions. U.S. regulatory standards are seen as not as rigorous as those used in the European Union. Cars sold in the European market get better gas/diesel mileage and put out less supposedly harmful carbon dioxide and other products of combustion. Now, the Economist is reporting that an environmental group is claiming that the Euro standards are a bit of a sham because the system in Europe allows automakers to game the testing procedures, resulting in poorer real-world performance than that indicated by testing.

(Read More…)

By on July 31, 2013


GM tabbed the automaker’s head transmission engineer to be interim chief of the firm’s global powertrain operations while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement for Sam Winegarden, who was fired in the wake of an emissions testing scandal in India.

Jim Lanzon, 62,  is currently vice president of GM, global transmissions, a position he’s held for 11 years and had an important role in negotiating the recently announced agreement between GM and Ford Motor Co. over jointly developing new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Like Winegarden, Lanzon has been a longtime GM employee. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2013

Tavera SUVs at GM India assembly plant

Automotive News is reporting that Sam Winegarden, GM’s vice president for global engine engineering, the company’s highest ranking powertrain executive, was fired this week along with about 10 other GM Powertrain employees in the U.S. and India, over cheating in GM’s emissions testing at its Indian subsidiary.

(Read More…)

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