The Truth About Cars » united states http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » united states http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Chinese-Built Volvo S60 Sedans to Arrive in U.S. in “About Two Months” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:18:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076298 Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months. Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020. […]

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2015 Volvo S60 Sedan

Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.

Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.

The S60s bound for the United States are built in the Chinese city of Chengdu before transported to Shanghai for export. Volvo also produces the XC60 in Chengdu. Another plant in Daqing builts the previous generation XC90 that Volvo markets as the XC90 Classic.

Volvo did not say how many cars it plans to export from China, Automotive News Europe reports.

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US Shale Oil Production Rising Amid Strengthening Dollar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-shale-oil-production-rising-amid-strengthening-dollar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-shale-oil-production-rising-amid-strengthening-dollar/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 13:35:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075874 Despite OPEC’s desire to keep its stranglehold on the market, U.S. shale oil production looks to rise again amid a strengthening dollar. Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch notes the 23-week decline in U.S. drilling activity seemed to have stopped, while the pricing level needed to increase production is being aided by “the significantly appreciating U.S. dollar,” […]

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Sergeant Major Oil Well - Arnegard, North Dakota Circa July 2013

Despite OPEC’s desire to keep its stranglehold on the market, U.S. shale oil production looks to rise again amid a strengthening dollar.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch notes the 23-week decline in U.S. drilling activity seemed to have stopped, while the pricing level needed to increase production is being aided by “the significantly appreciating U.S. dollar,” Reuters reports. Tuesday, the prices for Brent and West Texas Intermediate were both down 75 cents, coming in at $64.77 and $58.97 per barrel, respectively.

Goldman Sachs came to a similar conclusion, stating only one well was cut from the production rolls last week, adding producers would ramp production back up “given improved returns” were WTI to remain near $60/barrel. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley says “the USD downward correction is complete,” making dollar-priced commodities like oil more expensive for those who buy with other currencies.

Increased production would also head-off the potential for a tighter oil market down the road, though with OPEC’s ongoing strategy to hold the line regarding its own production targets among the member states involved — a strategy not likely to change when the group meets in Vienna next month — the possibility for an ongoing oil glut remains.

[Source: Tim Evanson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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American Motorists On Pace To Break 2007 Miles-Driven Record http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072290 Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015. The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 […]

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Seattle Circa November 2010

Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015.

The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 billion miles, The Detroit News writes.

In month-to-month figures, Americans drove 3.9 percent more in this March than they had in March 2014, netting 261.7 billion miles for the month since record collections began 79 years ago; March 2015 also marks the 13th consecutive month of an increase in miles driven.

Overall, the United States saw 3.02 trillion miles driven in 2014, the highest amount recorded since 2007. The increases are helped by lower fuel prices, currently standing at a national average of $2.731 as of this writing. At the current rate, Americans will surpass the 2007 peak of 3.03 trillion miles driven.

[Photo credit: Wonderlane/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Takata Expands US Airbag Recall Nationwide, Covering 34M Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:06:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071026 The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States. The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate […]

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Takata TTAC Style

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States.

The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate with the agency in its investigation into the recall. The NHTSA also declared it would begin the process to sort and organize the replacement schedule of the defective airbags.

The expansion comes after Takata issued a regional recall last summer affecting units in vehicles located in humid locales in the U.S. The units were prone to catastrophic failure upon detonation, scattering shrapnel into the cabin and injuring or killing the occupants inside. Six fatalities have been linked thus far, with five occurring in the U.S.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised the agreement made between the supplier and his department, declaring it “a major step forward for public safety.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind agreed with the assessment, adding all parties involved had more work ahead of them to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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US Uber Users Latest Victims In Hacking, Selling Scheme http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061154 Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1. The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests […]

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uber fashion shoot 02

Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1.

The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests made for travel in London, even though she lives in North Carolina. After posting the fraudulent attempts to her Twitter account, the transportation network company refunded her bank account for the three trips that did go through, ranging from $40 to $120 per trip; she also cancelled the card associated with her Uber account.

Meanwhile, others who have seen their accounts hacked and sold haven’t been as fortunate to have their money refunded. The TNC’s representatives said the investigation “is now in the hands of the authorities” upon finding no breaches into the company’s systems. They add the hacks were “a good opportunity to remind people to use strong and unique usernames and passwords and to avoid reusing the same credentials across multiple sites and services.”

The publication’s own investigation couldn’t confirm if the fraudulent uses happening to U.S. consumers were the result of Uber accounts being sold on the dark web that affected U.K. customers, nor how those accounts were snagged in the first place.

[Photo credit: Uber]

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Volkswagen Won’t Cut Prices to Chase Market Share in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 15:37:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059338 Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing. “We believe it’s […]

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volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08

Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing.

“We believe it’s the right strategy over the long term,” Christian Klingler told AN.

He stated Volkswagen has a long-term approach to protecting profits and won’t try to chase volume at its expense. Similar problems are being experienced in other markets like Brazil. Also, even with the euro down versus the American dollar, most U.S. sales volume comes from North American-built vehicles, negating any possible positive currency impact.

Much of Volkswagen’s sales slump can be attributed to their current model mix. The brand does not offer a competitive crossover between the long-in-the-tooth Tiguan and much more expensive Touareg, a segment currently experiencing significant growth.

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AAA: Millennials Drive Increase In US Fuel Consumption Amid Low Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aaa-millennials-drive-increase-us-fuel-consumption-amid-low-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aaa-millennials-drive-increase-us-fuel-consumption-amid-low-prices/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058378 With fuller wallets and lower prices at the pump, millennials are leading the charge toward the highest consumption among Americans since 2007. AAA says motorists under 35 are nearly twice as likely to report increased driving than those above 35 because of the drop in gas prices, Chicago Tribune reports. The motoring group noted 13 […]

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Las Vegas Standard Station Circa February 2013

With fuller wallets and lower prices at the pump, millennials are leading the charge toward the highest consumption among Americans since 2007.

AAA says motorists under 35 are nearly twice as likely to report increased driving than those above 35 because of the drop in gas prices, Chicago Tribune reports. The motoring group noted 13 percent of all drivers – 19 percent of drivers 18-34, 10 percent of those 35 and over – are putting more miles on their vehicles as a result of said decreases, which have fallen by $1 per gallon compared to last year.

Though oil companies blamed millennials for using mass transit and living in the city as two of the reasons for low demand for their offerings, they may soon have them to thank for reducing the glut in the supply chain – strengthening prices in so doing – as transportation analyst Alan Pisarski explained to the newspaper:

That millennial who didn’t even bother to get a car because they knew they couldn’t afford to buy it or the gasoline to drive it can now afford to go to the movies, afford to go to the beach, afford to go places with friends. Because of the economy coming around and fuel prices decreasing, they’re beginning to be able to afford these things again.

Demand for gasoline in the U.S. this year is expected to average 9.07 million barrels/day, compared to 8.92 million/day in 2014, as a result of lower prices at the pump. However, AAA says 17 percent believe $2.50/gallon is cheap while 39 percent claim it’s still too much; 58 percent agree $1.50/gallon is cheap.

The low prices have also affected wallets this year by adding $400 to each household’s bank account. The savings may come in handy on vacation or other long-distance travel: 6 in 10 Americans are more likely to drive 50 miles or more, with 68 percent of those under 35 making those plans compared to 57 percent 35 and over.

[Photo credit: Minale Tattersfield/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Fears Hover Over Detroit Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055241 The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry. Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry.

Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit News reports. The urgency comes amid warnings that if the TPP isn’t put into effect as soon as possible, China, not the United States, would be the one creating similar trade deals.

Though the TPP has few fans among unions, activists, and most Democrats in Congress, the Detroit Three have their own concerns about the fast-tracking proposal: once enacted, the 2.5-percent tariff on cars and parts, as well as the infamous 25 percent “Chicken Tax” on imported light-duty trucks, would disappear over a period of time. The latter has been used to protect the domestic truck market by keeping competitors out unless the latter were willing to build trucks in the U.S.

According to the trio, were the tariffs – which they want to keep around for 25 more years at minimum – to disappear, and if Japan weakens its currency to better compete against them, domestic automakers would eventually be undercut by Japanese automakers. In turn, the Detroit Three would face considerable pressure to return fire, with those on the factory floor likely to be the hardest hit.

Another issue surrounding Japan is importation of U.S. vehicles, which the trio state has been difficult to accomplish over the years due to a number of trade barriers, tariffs not being among them as far as Japan’s importation policy is concerned. Japanese automakers counter that so few U.S. vehicles are imported annually because the Detroit Three haven’t made much of an effort to sell them to Japanese consumers in the first place. While the former has spent billions and employed thousands to build vehicles in the U.S., Detroit hasn’t done the same at all.

Currently, their lobbyists are working to add an enforceable currency provision to the TPP to protect Detroit’s standing. So far, the provision has yet to be added to the pact.

[Photo credit: Gobinero de Chile/Flickr]

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Reithofer: Government Programs Key To BMW i3 Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028841 BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures for the BMW i3 soar.”

The CEO cited Norway as an example, where the government not only has a charging infrastructure where owners can park and recharge for free, but does not levy sales or registration taxes on EVs. Those incentives have helped BMW move 2,000 i3s in 2014.

Meanwhile, significant financial subsidies in the United States, as well as privileges such as use of dedicated HOV lanes, led to sales of 3,000 units in California alone, a figure that is half of all i3s sold in the U.S.

Other incentives include looser licensing restrictions in Shanghai, circulation tax exemptions for 10 years from date of first registration in Germany, and company car tax exemptions for life in France.

Speaking of Germany, where 2,000 i3s were sold in 2014, Reithofer said his country’s government needs to “pick up the pace” in pushing electric mobility. Germany wants 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020, and has plans to offer additional incentives to achieve its goal.

In the meantime, BMW will introduce its DriveNow car-sharing service this spring, beginning in London. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city in the program by May, while the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Munich will join in July. The program is meant to help boost acceptance of electrification, and widening the tech’s appeal among younger drivers.

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Study: Mercedes Holds Highest Average Labor Costs Among US Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028817 Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz. According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and […]

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2015-mercedes-benz-c63-amg-11

Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz.

According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and among the transplants, coming out to $38 and $39 per hour, respectively.

As mentioned previously, General Motors and Ford have the highest costs among the Detroit Three, averaging $58 and $57 per hour compared to FCA US’ $48. The three automakers are also the only ones whose employees are represented by the United Auto Workers, whose 2007 contract created the two-tier wage system meant to help the trio remain competitive against the transplants, as well as to stay afloat during the darkest days of the Great Recession.

Other automakers with business in the U.S. include Honda ($49/hr.), Toyota ($48/hr.), Nissan ($42/hr.), and Hyundai/Kia ($41/hr.).

The averages in the study were based on pay for both direct-hire and temporary employees working full-time. The research group also found that Japanese transplants had the highest percentages of temporary employees, helping to cut down on labor costs.

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Takata Recall Sees More Rapid Response In Japan Than US http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027417 While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster. Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic […]

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Takata information steering wheel + airbag combo

While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster.

Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic failure — 2.13 million — 70 percent — have been repaired through the end of February 2015.

Meanwhile, out of the 17 million vehicles in the U.S. under recall for the same issue, less than 2 million — 12 percent — were repaired through late February.

The stark differences between the two countries are the result of how Japan’s authorities and consumers deal with recalls compared to those in the U.S. In the former, consumers respond well to recalls, and few keep vehicles for as long as those in the latter do. Further, tighter safety and emission inspections not only help keep vehicle records up to date, but can serve to warn consumers of potential problems. Finally, the used car market isn’t as robust as it is in the U.S., making it easier for automakers to contact owners in case of a recall, as cars don’t change owners as often.

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UMTRI: US New-Car Fuel Economy Averaged 25.3 MPG In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/umtri-us-new-car-fuel-economy-averaged-25-3-mpg-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/umtri-us-new-car-fuel-economy-averaged-25-3-mpg-2014/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006746 The final numbers are in for new-car fuel economy in the United States for 2014, and they are better than they were in 2008. According to Autoblog, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the average U.S. fuel economy for a 2014 model landed at 25.3 mpg, 22 percent higher than six years […]

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The final numbers are in for new-car fuel economy in the United States for 2014, and they are better than they were in 2008.

According to Autoblog, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the average U.S. fuel economy for a 2014 model landed at 25.3 mpg, 22 percent higher than six years ago.

The same percentage of improvement holds up when it comes to vehicles rated at 16 mpg or less, where only one in 30 new cars held that distinction. On the other end of the spectrum, one in six new cars garnered a rating of 32 mpg or above in 2014; only 1 percent could say the same in 2008.

UMTRI 2008 - 2014 US New-Car Fuel Economy Comparison Chart

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Hyundai Bolstering Commercial Business For Go At US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002794 Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020. Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional […]

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Hyundai Trago Xcient

Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020.

Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional ₩1.6 trillion ($1.45 billion) to go into R&D over the same period.

Currently, Hyundai is building its Trago Xcient heavy commercial truck in China for the automaker’s largest market — the U.S. is second — and has plans to assemble the H350 light commercial truck in Turkey beginning next month for the automaker’s foray into Western Europe. Meanwhile, the factory in Jeonji, South Korea will see its production capacity rise from 65,000 units per year to 100,000 by 2020.

However, just like its experience in building its market share in the U.S. consumer market, Hyundai’s assault on the commercial market will take some time. Per Korea Investment & Securities analyst Suh Sung-moon, the automaker would need to boost total commercial production capacity to 10 million units, up from the 8 million made annually.

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Middle Eastern, Asian Demand Fuels Booming US Auto Exports http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/middle-eastern-asian-demand-fuels-booming-us-auto-exports/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/middle-eastern-asian-demand-fuels-booming-us-auto-exports/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 15:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995394 Demand from the Middle East and Asia has helped fuel a new record in U.S. auto exports for the third consecutive year. The Wall Street Journal reports 2.1 million vehicles from factories in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States left for export markets in 2014, breaking the 2-million barrier for the first time. The figure […]

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Jeep Cherokees Departing West From Grays Harbor Washington

Demand from the Middle East and Asia has helped fuel a new record in U.S. auto exports for the third consecutive year.

The Wall Street Journal reports 2.1 million vehicles from factories in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States left for export markets in 2014, breaking the 2-million barrier for the first time. The figure is an 8 percent increase over 2013, and a 73 percent jump from a decade ago.

While around half of the exports head north to Canada or south to Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea welcomed U.S.-made BMWs, Jeeps, Toyotas et al to their ports over the past year.

Factors for the booming export market include a dollar that was weak long enough to lay down the foundation, and is now strong enough against the yen and euro to encourage more production in the U.S., leaner manufacturing, competitive labor rates, and the aforementioned increased demand from newer markets in the Middle East and Asia.

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US Ethanol Exports Reach Near-Record Levels In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/us-ethanol-exports-reach-near-record-levels-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/us-ethanol-exports-reach-near-record-levels-2014/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994874 Of the 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the United States in 2014, a near-record 836 gallons were exported. Per a report by the Renewable Fuel Association, those exported gallons went to 51 countries around the world, with the top five importers being Canada, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and India. The amount of […]

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2008 Chevrolet Corvette E85 Indy 500 Pace Car Concept

Of the 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the United States in 2014, a near-record 836 gallons were exported.

Per a report by the Renewable Fuel Association, those exported gallons went to 51 countries around the world, with the top five importers being Canada, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and India. The amount of U.S.-made ethanol exported in 2014 comes second to the amount in 2011, when 1.2 billion gallons were sent abroad.

While most export markets continue to flourish, producers saw a continued reduction of exports to the European Union in 2013 and 2014, the result of tariffs against U.S. ethanol.

On the other side, ethanol imports into the U.S. market fell 79 percent in 2014 from 400 million gallons to just 84 million. The figure is the second-lowest on record, behind the 18 million gallons imported in 2010. The majority of the imported ethanol was Brazil, which sent 60.8 million gallons to the U.S. last year, down 83 percent from 2013’s shipment of 348.2 million.

The industry group hopes to add more markets for U.S. ethanol in 2015, having gone on trade missions in Panama, China, Peru, Japan and South Korea in 2014 to help encourage importation, and vowing to “keep at it until all countries understand the value of U.S produced ethanol.”

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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IIHS: US Driver Fatalities Fall One-Third In Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991274 Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years. Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an […]

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Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years.

Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an all-time industry record.

The IIHS added that nine vehicles made in 2011 or earlier had no fatalities recorded between 2009 and 2012: Audi A4 4WD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 4WD, Mercedes-Benz GL-class 4WD, Subaru Legacy 4WD, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequoia 4WD and Volvo XC90 4WD. The list marks an improvement in safety according to the non-profit group, when only eight years ago, “there were no models with driver death rates of zero.”

However, while most of the vehicles with zero fatalities are SUVs and crossovers, most of the vehicles with the highest number of deaths over the same period are compacts like the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio. The report confirms this, proclaiming that “with some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.” This is a change from a decade earlier, when SUVs and crossovers had higher numbers of deaths due to a lack of stability controls and other systems meant to prevent roll-over.

As far as total elimination of traffic fatalities in the U.S. goes, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer David Zuby says such a thing is decades away, and would require not only continued improvements in vehicle safety, but changes in road construction and public safety policy, as well. The report adds that the Great Recession helped to contribute toward the decline in deaths, warning that as the economy continues its recovery, and without said policy changes, the decline could reverse.

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German Automakers Rally In Support of US-EU Trade Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989578 Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition. Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela […]

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Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition.

Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, would be the largest such agreement put into play when signed. The deal would deliver a gain of €119 billion ($135 billion USD) for the EU and $131 billion for the U.S. by 2027, which equals an average of €545 ($620) and $910 for a family of four in their respective locations. Eighty percent of the gains would be the result of eliminating duplication costs linked to maintenance of two different bureaucracies and regulations.

However, German union IG Metall and various consumer groups take issue with key parts of the agreement, if not the entire agreement itself. For the union, the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism — which grants corporations the right to sue the government if revenue is lost due to government policy — is unacceptable, as are the threats of softening environmental and consumer protections, and hollowed workers’ rights. Other groups fear U.S. companies could force European legislators to draft policies in the former’s favor, and “harmonize safety or product standards downward.”

As for why the German automakers are rallying, the aforementioned harmonization would allow all automakers to focus on one set of safety and emission standards, thus allowing for the possibility of buying a new car from a different market without waiting 25 years first. That said, the agreement could collapse without majority support from all 28 members of the European Parliament.

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Marijuana Legalization Prompting Examination Of Impaired-Driving Laws http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/marijuana-legalization-prompting-examination-impaired-driving-laws/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/marijuana-legalization-prompting-examination-impaired-driving-laws/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969889 How much marijuana is too much before getting the wheel? No one seems to know for sure despite the overwhelming support for related impaired-driving laws. According to The Detroit Bureau, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 85 percent of Americans are in support of marijuana-impairment legislation, but the definition itself is up in smoke. […]

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Cheech & Chong

How much marijuana is too much before getting the wheel? No one seems to know for sure despite the overwhelming support for related impaired-driving laws.

According to The Detroit Bureau, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 85 percent of Americans are in support of marijuana-impairment legislation, but the definition itself is up in smoke. President and CEO Peter Kissinger explained that 16 states “forbid any presence of prohibited drugs, while five others have specific limits for marijuana.”

Other consistency issues go beyond just the amount in one’s bloodstream, such as when one would be fine to drive, and the low concern for drug-impaired driving compared to alcohol’s own effects, with only 50 percent feeling a “very serious” threat from Jeff Spicoli & Co.

Prescription drugs were found to be less a threat to other drivers than marijuana et al, where only 25 percent found usage of cold medications, certain antidepressants and medical marijuana a major threat on the highway.

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Daimler Expanding Sprinter Production To North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934770 When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America. Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the […]

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When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America.

Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the NAFTA region,” according to Mercedes’ head of vans, Volker Mornhinweg.

Presently, the U.S.-bound Sprinters are made in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, then sent over in CKD form to Ladson, S.C. for reassembly. Around 23,000 Sprinters were sent in this manner to U.S. customers in 2013, the sales second only to Germany.

As for where the new plant will be built, Mornhinweg says the exact location would be chosen in the coming months, with sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico being examined.

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Saudis Accept Lower Barrel Prices In Fight Against US Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/saudis-accept-lower-barrel-prices-fight-us-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/saudis-accept-lower-barrel-prices-fight-us-production/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931394 While some OPEC nations are panicking over oil prices not being above $100/barrel, Saudi Arabia says it wouldn’t mind accepting barrels worth $90 or $80 for the next year or two, so long as it slows down production elsewhere. Reuters reports the nation is playing the short-term, low-profit game for medium-term gains, with the long-term […]

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Rock the Casbah

While some OPEC nations are panicking over oil prices not being above $100/barrel, Saudi Arabia says it wouldn’t mind accepting barrels worth $90 or $80 for the next year or two, so long as it slows down production elsewhere.

Reuters reports the nation is playing the short-term, low-profit game for medium-term gains, with the long-term goal of retaining its market share for years to come in mind. The move would affect other OPEC members financially, forcing reductions throughout the industry.

In particular, lower barrel prices would put a dent in North American petroleum production, from the oil sands in Alberta and the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, to deep-sea reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.

Whatever cuts do occur, they would likely happen after the group’s meeting November 27, which may prove contentious as most members would rather raise the price than reduce production. That said, the Saudis have already cut prices for its Asian customers earlier this month, a sign of price wars to come.

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Looming Retaliatory Sanctions Threaten Western Automakers In Russia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895362 Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States. Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The […]

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Mercedes-Benz; H2 World Drive 2011; Europe 2

Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States.

Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The move would be in addition to an import ban on food, and was on the table before President Vladimir Putin rejected the proposal.

The automotive ban would give Chinese and Korean manufacturers a chance to make their mark upon a muted market. Western imports made up 27 percent of passenger vehicle sales in 2014 thus far, while trucks and buses took 46 percent and 13 percent of the market.

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US-Korea Free Trade Agreement Results Darken Trans-Pacific Partnership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-korea-free-trade-agreement-results-darken-trans-pacific-partnership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-korea-free-trade-agreement-results-darken-trans-pacific-partnership/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881026 Two years after the Obama administration heralded its free trade deal between the United States and South Korea, the latter’s market remains relatively closed to the former’s exports. The Detroit News reports U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairing her first Finance Committee subcommittee on international trade, proclaimed the free trade agreement fell short of […]

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Ford Korea

Two years after the Obama administration heralded its free trade deal between the United States and South Korea, the latter’s market remains relatively closed to the former’s exports.

The Detroit News reports U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairing her first Finance Committee subcommittee on international trade, proclaimed the free trade agreement fell short of expectations, noting the increasing deficit between the U.S. and South Korea by 50 percent in favor of the latter party, especially regarding automotive exports:

The agreement aimed to open Korea’s markets to American automakers. But agreeing to phase-out tariffs on U.S.-made automobiles hasn’t been enough. Due to non-tariff barriers, Korea remains one of the most closed auto markets in the world.

Ford vice president for international government relations Steve Biegun, also in attendance, said his employer will sell just 7,000 units in South Korea this year after 20 years of attempts to boost sales. Biegun said access to the Korean auto market remains a challenge, citing regulatory challenges.

This comes on the heels of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which seeks to do with Japan, the United States and 10 other nations what the U.S. had sought with South Korea. Biegun, CEO Mark Fields and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. warn the deal needs increased measures to hinder Japan’s ability to influence the value of the yen, while Stabenow adds there are “outstanding disputes” on agriculture and automobiles along other “very sticky issues” between all parties involved, especially Japan.

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Exporters Caught In Crossfire Over US Auto Exports To Chinese Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/exporters-caught-in-crossfire-over-us-auto-exports-to-chinese-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/exporters-caught-in-crossfire-over-us-auto-exports-to-chinese-customers/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871418 Though most automakers prohibit sales of their wares to exporters, and though the government can sometimes block an export despite such exportation being legal, exporters in the United States are finding themselves in the crossfire over premium vehicle exports to Chinese consumers who prefer to pay lower U.S. prices over higher local prices. Automotive News […]

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Though most automakers prohibit sales of their wares to exporters, and though the government can sometimes block an export despite such exportation being legal, exporters in the United States are finding themselves in the crossfire over premium vehicle exports to Chinese consumers who prefer to pay lower U.S. prices over higher local prices.

Automotive News reports automakers are seeking help from the Secret Service and Customs to prevent any vehicle sold to a straw buyer from leaving port to the real customer residing in China, even though the exports are legal under current law.

Further, as the dealerships are paid in full for premium vehicles like the Land Rover Evoque or Tesla Model S, one federal judge in Ohio dismissed the alleged victimization of the dealer and automaker in her decision to make the federal government return two premium vehicles and $1.2 million in cash to an exporter.

Meanwhile, dealers must tread carefully around exporters, lest their automakers penalize such transaction, from chargebacks to being stripped of their franchise agreements. BMW, Porsche, Land Rover and Mercedes conducted the former to the tune of $30.4 million between 2008 and 2013.

Most of the legal trouble for exporters comes via tax evasion and identity faith, though those are ancillary to the civil lawsuits related to exporting premium vehicles to Chinese customers, who would otherwise be forced to pay two to three times the U.S. price at home. Said prices include heavy taxation and a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles.

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US Politicians Appeal To Base Through Humble Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-politicians-appeal-to-base-through-humble-vehicular-vocabulary/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-politicians-appeal-to-base-through-humble-vehicular-vocabulary/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:10:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=847993 As campaign season rolls out, politicians are appealing to their constituents — or at least, trying to appeal to them — by appearing to be on their level, including their choice of vehicle that they otherwise may have traded in for a Lexus or Mercedes a long time ago in their political career. Bloomberg reports […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior

As campaign season rolls out, politicians are appealing to their constituents — or at least, trying to appeal to them — by appearing to be on their level, including their choice of vehicle that they otherwise may have traded in for a Lexus or Mercedes a long time ago in their political career.

Bloomberg reports candidates are trading in their luxury rides for image-building vehicles such as Chevrolet Silverados, Harley-Davidson Road Kings, Toyota Prii, or — if vehicles in general would negatively affect their campaigning — the Shoe Leather Express. The strategy is meant to bring an air of humility on the campaign trail, which is needed to counter the charge that those who work on Capitol Hill are out of touch with the people they represent.

Aside from those who already see this tool through a cynical lens, vehicular appeal can have its drawbacks. In his failed bid for presidency, 1988 Democrat nominee Michael Dukakis turned up in a tank to appeal to those who heavily support the military. While the tactic worked for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and despite his service in the United States Army, the photo-op turned into a tool for opponent George Bush’s campaign, lambasting Dukakis for looking silly.

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