TTAC News Round-up: India Bans Big Diesels, Fed Raises Rates and Australian Judge Needs a Mechanic (or Google)

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

On Wednesday, Dehli, India banned the registration of diesel SUVs and luxury cars with larger (over 2,000 cc) engines.

That, and a judge in Australia is really confused about Volkswagen’s “defeat device,” the Federal Reserve interest rate hike and California not doing exactly what Google wants, after the jump.

India is having air quality issues and it’s banning diesels to fix it

Delhi, India has banned the registration of diesel SUVs and luxury cars with engines larger than 2,000 cc, The Times of India reported. The action is similar to those taken in China where air quality has become a rising concern.

India’s Supreme Court imposed the restriction Wednesday and it will stay in place until March 31. Trucks not bound for Delhi have been banned from National Highways 1 and 8, while those looking to get into the city will have to pay a stiff environment compensation charge between $21 and $40.

In California, autonomous cars must have a steering wheel and driver

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has published draft regulations for autonomous cars — and Google isn’t particularly happy about it.

According to The Detroit News, autonomous cars in the state will need to be fitted with a steering wheel and must be accompanied by a licenced driver when operating on public roads.

However, the part of California’s framework that will likely have a larger impact is how those vehicles are certified for public use. Unlike self-certified conventional vehicles, autonomous cars will need to be certified as safe by a third party. If everything falls into place properly, autonomous cars could be in the hands of public lessees as soon as 2017.

Note to self: Don’t visit California after 2017.

Ford, Honda fingered for not paying taxes in Australia

Tax collectors in Australia are pissed and have published a list of companies that have paid little or no tax in the country. Included in the list are tech giants Google and Apple, but also automakers Ford and Honda.

According to Reuters, Australia has been attempting to close loopholes in its tax code. The list itself doesn’t call out the companies for being tax dodgers, instead highlighting how those companies report taxable income.

Ford plans to stop manufacturing vehicles in Australia by October 2016.

Australian judge presiding over Volkswagen lawsuit needs to have things explained to him

It’s been a common misconception in the general media that Volkswagen’s “defeat device” is a physical object or mechanism instead of software designed to cheat a test. It seems a judge in Australia has been reading the wrong reports and thinks the same thing, reports GoAuto Australia.

Even though it’s been widely reported that the “defeat device” is, in fact, a software program, Volkswagen referred to exhaust gas recirculation in a filing to the federal court, and the judge is really, really interested in how it works.

From GoAuto:

Justice Lindsay Foster ordered that Volkswagen Australia should brief him with a full explanation of EGR.

“I want to know what it is technically and how it works,” he said.

But the best part is how Volkswagen responded, also from GoAuto:

The barrister for Volkswagen Group, Ruth Higgins, told the court that the person best placed to provide the explanation to the court was out of the country and would not be returning to Australia until late February.

Hey, you two — here you go. You can send the cheque to Mark in Canada.

The economy is completely and totally fixed now so the Federal Reserve has raised its interest rate a quarter of a percent

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised by a quarter point its benchmark target federal funds rate as the American economy continues to improve.

More people are working. More people are buying. More people are borrowing. The Federal Reserve wants to keep it that way — but they also don’t want to see a rapid increase in inflation and be behind the eight ball.

From Reuters:

The central bank made clear the rate hike was a tentative beginning to a “gradual” tightening cycle, and that in deciding its next move it would put a premium on monitoring inflation, which remains mired below target.

“The process is likely to proceed gradually,” Yellen said, a hint that further hikes will be slow in coming.

[Photo credit: By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • Hummer Hummer on Dec 17, 2015

    So a 2.1L Diesel engine is now big? Talk about funny stuff, I thought they had to mean 10+L not motorcycle sized engines.

    • Brettc Brettc on Dec 17, 2015

      Hey, they're trying to clean things up. Everyone knows that brand new diesel SUVs with 2.1L and larger engines is the root of all their problems.

  • RHD RHD on Dec 18, 2015

    How will California deal with an intoxicated driver in an autonomous Googlecar? Are they drunk drivers or just passengers? This has the potential to kill the lucrative DUI enforcement industry. What if someone has a suspended license? Could they take a ride legally, or would they be violating the law? Would multiple offender drunk drivers have to blow in a Breathalyzer to start an autonomous car?

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Dec 19, 2015

      For answers to all your questions, see a local California trial attorney. They paid good money to legislators to keep those questions unanswered in the law, so they can be settled at trial.

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.
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