General Motors announced last week that it would develop a fleet of autonomous Volts for its Warren, Michigan campus by 2017, despite announcing earlier in the year that its struggling Oshawa, Ontario facility would be a hub for connected vehicles in April.
GM spokesman Dan Flores said the Warren campus was the best fit for the self-driving Volts that will shuttle GM employees.
“We have several global engineering centers in the world and they all play a role in development,” he said. “There shouldn’t be anything read into the autonomous center being based in Warren. It’s the company’s main technical center.” (Read More…)
The investigation that Volkswagen installed illegal “defeat devices” on its cars to cheat emissions tests will reach the U.S. Department of Justice, Bloomberg (via Automotive News) reported.
Sources within the department said they would investigate the automaker, but no details were given.
The Justice Department recently suspended prosecution of General Motors for covering up a faulty ignition switch that was linked to 124 deaths. It’s unclear what, if any charges, could be brought against Volkswagen for the illegal emissions, however the Justice Department charged GM with wire fraud violations in conjunction with its ignition switch coverup. (Read More…)
Two sources have told Reuters that the government will levy a $900 million fine on General Motors for its failure to recall and subsequent attempts to cover-up of faulty ignition switches linked to at least 124 deaths.
Criminal charges will be filed against GM for its role in hiding the defect from regulators, but will defer prosecution while the automaker complies with its penalty. The agreement is expected to be announced Thursday.
The massive fine is smaller than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in March 2014 for its role in concealing that its cars could accelerate suddenly. (Read More…)
General Motors may use an advanced cylinder deactivation technology, co-developed with Delphi and Silicon Valley startup Tula Technologies, in its SUVs and V-8 cars to shut down up to six cylinders to maximize fuel economy, Automotive News reported.
According to the automaker, GM in 2012 invested in Tula, which specializes in automotive engineering. The automaker announced in January that it would pursue the advanced cylinder deactivation technology for some of its SUVs, which could improve fuel economy by 15 percent in cars with engines with more than four cylinders.
The system, dubbed Dynamic Skip Fire, keeps the throttle open during operation and controls cylinder firing through a special valve that cuts off oil to the deactivated cylinders’ valve lifters. According to the company, the engine computer changes the deactivated cylinders to avoid vibration or noise.
Speaking at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that a merger with General Motors was at the top of his list.
“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” Marchionne told Reuters. “We consider it to be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”
(Emphasis mine. But what are the other “strategic alternatives?”)
Automakers may try to negotiate a massive health care co-op with the United Auto Workers — similar to the one it has with its retirees — and potentially change private health care in the U.S., Bloomberg is reporting.
At issue are the roughly 300,000 workers and beneficiaries, and 750,000 retirees and their families who rely on the UAW for health care.
The pool of more than one million workers and their families could give the Big Three unprecedented negotiating power with U.S. hospitals and clinics.
In the opening moments of the above scene from the flick “Fargo,” Oldsmobile dealership sales manager Jerry Lundegaard is working up some bogus paperwork to cover his tracks with General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). We can infer that he sold some floor-planned cars and did not pay back GMAC, which was the impetus for the movie’s storyline of his bumbling attempt to extort money from his father-in-law.
Jerry’s store may have been “out of trust” with GMAC on a few dozen 1987 Cutlasses, but that pales in comparison to the scheme concocted by New York car dealer John McNamara.
Between 1980 and 1991, McNamara convinced GMAC to advance him $6.2 billion to pay for 248,000 conversion vans that did not exist. It was one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history and ended up costing GMAC $436 million, equal to $725 million in today’s dollars.
We would like to show you a photo of McNamara but none are to be found. That may be because it is believed he went into the Witness Protection Program a few years after his conviction for fraud in 1992. Just picture Lundegaard with a really big brain.
McNamara’s brilliant swindle was deliciously simple. It was based on one undeniable truth he learned from his years of owning a Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealership on Long Island: General Motors and GMAC were too incompetent and too bureaucratic to figure out that they were being scammed.
Farmers are the ultimate craftsman when it comes to small-scale production. The level of management needed to stay competitive and above the high water line is, simply put, astounding. Consolidation in certain areas of agriculture has lead to factory farming, the widespread adoption of automation and genetically modified seeds that keep seed producers competitive. Private farmers are constantly at war with the market and their own budgets.
The agriculture industry has wholly transformed itself over the last 100 years. The automotive industry, which has only really existed for that same period of time, has seen similar levels of change. We are now building more cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, trikes and quadracycles than ever before, just like we are growing more food than we’ve ever seen in human history.
But, there’s one major stumbling block ahead — and Sergio Marchionne sees it.
“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”
You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just.
Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the one you are driving today. Everything will still be perfect, in its place, and the power will be just as intoxicating. Except next year the price will go down $5,000 thanks to a “Made in China” stamp on the doorjamb.