TTAC News Round-up: Ford's Self-driving Herd Gets Bigger, Takata's All Alone, VW Sends The Cavalry

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

It certainly sounds like Ford is close to selling a self-driving Fusion real soon.

That, Matthias Müller finally comes to the U.S. to ask “You mad, bro?” Nissan has no love for Takata, and business is hot south of the border … after the break!

Ford is bumping up its autonomous herd

Ford will add 20 more cars to its autonomous fleets in Michigan, California and Arizona this year to test its next-generation sensors, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars, which will be Fusion Hybrid models equipped with LiDAR sensors from Velodyne, will be the automaker’s third-generation of autonomous vehicles. According to Ford, the second-generation autonomous Fusion vehicles achieved SAE’s Level 4 automation, which means they could drive without human interaction and were highly automated.

Ford said the new generation of sensors are smaller, more compact and can be fitted on side-view mirrors. There are fewer sensors, too, from four down to two sensors per car.

Nissan has not plans to bail out Takata

Nissan joined Honda in saying it has no plans to bail out embattled auto supplier Takata, whose faulty airbags have led to the company losing millions to fines and recalls, Reuters reported ( via Automotive News).

“Nothing has been decided. There’s not much we can do at the moment,” Nissan COO Hiroto Saikawa told Reuters.

Takata was fined $70 million by regulators in the U.S., but that fine could grow substantially if the parts supplier can’t complete its recall on time. Many automakers including Honda, who owned part of Takata, have backed away from the supplier since the scandal and fine.

ttac news round up ford s self driving herd gets bigger takata s all alone vw

Volkswagen execs coming to smooth things over

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller and brand chief Herbert Diess will meet with U.S. officials to discuss the automaker’s cheating scandal and apparent schism with regulators, Bloomberg reported ( via Automotive News).

Diess, who’s already in Las Vegas for the automaker’s presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show, will also appear at the North American International Auto Show. Müller will travel to the U.S. next week, although his schedule is unclear.

On Monday, authorities in the U.S. filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against VW for its cheating diesel cars and signaled that regulators may be at an impasse with the automaker on how to fix those cars. Officials in Germany have already approved a fix for diesel cars there, which would apply to cars in other countries as well.

Nvidia’s first computer for self-driving cars going into a Volvo

Computer-chip manufacturer Nvidia announced Monday that it has a lunchbox-sized supercomputer for self-driving cars, and that its first application would be Volvo cars, Reuters reported.

Nvidia said its Drive PX 2, which is geared for automotive applications, could process 24 trillion operations per second, or had the computing power of 150 Mac laptops, according to Reuters.

Automakers and computer-makers have turned their attentions to computers in cars as a fast-growing source of revenue.

Mexico’s car business is hot, hot, hot

The car business is good business in Mexico, according to Bloomberg.

The domestic auto sector grew almost 20 percent and demand is climbing thanks to low inflation, cheap credit and more domestic cars. For brands like Volkswagen, who have long built cars in Mexico, that’s helping balance sagging sales in other parts of the world.

“For generations, families at one time or another have owned a Volkswagen and have a first impression of the brand,” Guillermo Rosales, director of that Mexico’s car dealer association, told Bloomberg. “They say, ‘It’s never conked out on me, it’s a car I can trust.’ The scandal doesn’t have the same impact it’s had in other markets.”

Other automakers such as Mazda and Honda are reducing exports from that country and selling more cars to buyers in Mexico, according to the report.

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6 of 21 comments
  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 05, 2016

    I'm gonna do my own News Round-Up bit. Images of the new E-Class were leaked early, before the Detroit Auto Show, by a German website. They took the images down quickly, but not before some other sites got hold of them and published 'em. Thoughts: They made the E look just like the S, which is of course flattering for the E, but undesirable for buyers of the S. To my mind, they've always looked pretty distinct in previous iterations. That has now gone away. It's rather bland looking in general, since it cannot convey the sheer scale/presence of the S with the E's reduced size. Furthermore, the interior is a complete mess of brougham gauche. What's with the piano black trim with chromed strips? It's like a Studebaker in there - some gilded Golden Hawk amalgamation. The piano trim, metal speakers, two-tone leather, quilting. Good grief, Mercedes larger than C are supposed to have some level of taste and dignity.

    • See 2 previous
    • Manny_c44 Manny_c44 on Jan 06, 2016

      I don't mind the styling so much but if that 'piano black' material is the same cheap shite as is in the C-Class then it won't be as nice when your sitting in it, rather than just looking at a photograph. Same plastic as a Renault center console. I think Mercedes definitely caters to its...uh...of non-European-origin demographic. I don't think I could ever lay down serious money for one if I have an Audi dealership anywhere nearby.

  • Funky Funky on Jan 05, 2016

    Has anybody seen this article which lists some of the 2016 model vehicles that still use Takata airbags? According to the article, only three manufacturers have honestly admitted which of their current models are still being sold with Takata airbags. What about the rest of them? For what reason would they hide the truth? Are there other journalists (besides the one who wrote the referenced article) digging into this? It might be interesting to learn more about exactly which new models contain Takata airbags.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 05, 2016

      Hey, that was an excellent article - thanks for sharing it. The 'interim replacements' strategy is an interesting one. I can imagine a car receiving the interim fix (OEM airbag), only to be traded and never fixed with a permanent airbag repair because everyone loses track of it.

  • Alan GM is still dying. The US auto manufacturing sector overall needs to restructure. It is heavily reliant on large protected vehicles with far more protection than the EU has on its vehicles (25% import tariff).Globally GM has lost out in the EU, UK, Australia, etc. GM has shut down in Australia because it is uncompetitive in a global market. Ford still exists in Australia but is reliant on a Thai manufactured pickup, the Ranger which is Australia's second largest selling vehicle.The US needs to look at producing global products, not 'murica only products. Asians and Europeans can do it. America is not unique.
  • Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
  • Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
  • Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation
  • Bill Wade Norm, while true I'll leave you with this. My 2023 RAM is running Android 8 released in 2017.My wife's navigation on her GM truck is a 2021 release, I believe the latest. Android Auto seems to update very week or two. Now, which would you rather have? Anybody with a car a couple of years old NEVER sees any updates. Heck, if your TV is a few years old it's dead on updates. At least cell phones are rapidly updated. If your old phone won't update, buy another $200 phone. If your GM vehicle doesn't update do what, buy another $50,000 GM vehicle?