Posts By: Matt Posky

By on June 25, 2020

Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling roughly 752,000 vehicles due to a presumed faulty hybrid system. Around 267,000 of the affected units are Prius vehicles sold in the United States.

According to the manufacturer, certain Prius (MY 2013-2015) and Prius V (2014-2017) models can fail to enter fail-safe driving mode in response to certain hybrid system faults. While the conditions for this are said to be fairly specific (though not explained by the automaker in any detail), the resulting failure would see the car lose power and stall. Obviously, this represents a safety risk.  (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

Unifor hopes to sway the Canadian government toward an automotive strategy centered around the adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles and a totally revised economic system. On Wednesday, the union released its “Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery” while announcing that corporations have failed everyone.

It’s all part the #BuildBackBetter campaign, which sees the coronavirus pandemic that made 2020 a collective — yet strangely isolating — hell for all of us as a unique opportunity to rebuild society under the banner of economic justice. “Unifor’s plan is designed to build a more strategic and self-reliant economy that can both withstand and prevent future crises,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said in the initial announcement.

“This is an ambitious road map but I think ambition is what our country and its workers need right now.” (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

Following reports that Rivian might decide to move a large portion of its operations out of Michigan, news has reached us that it’s all but abandoning the Mitten State for sunny California.

Starting its life as Avera Motors in Florida back in 2009, the EV startup moved to Plymouth, Michigan in 2015 to poach talent from the Big Three and lay down some roots. However, the company doesn’t appear to have wormed its way into the soil all that deeply. It now plans to move a sizable portion of its operations to Irvine, California, with some employees heading to its plant in Normal, Illinois, to prepare for production.

This has got to be a slap in the face for some Michigan residents, since many were instrumental in the development of Rivian’s first models. The business fired a gaggle of people at its engineering and design center near Detroit at the start of June, only to slot in a couple of high-paid executives. Now it’s starting to look like it may pull up stakes and skip town. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

Over the weekend, NASCAR incurred what was assumed to be a racist incident after a member of outspoken Richard Petty Motorsports driver Bubba Wallace’s team claimed someone had hung a noose in Wallace’s garage. Earlier in the month, the diver released a new livery on his No. 43 Chevrolet promoting Black Lives Matter, saying he and his team stood in broad support of the organization. He also requested NASCAR ban the Confederate flag from all future events — getting his wish and causing a minor ruckus within the community.

The context helped frame the noose that appeared in his garage on Sunday as a racist action and drew massive support from every corner of the sport. Richard Petty came out to said he would stand with Wallace and practically everyone walked with him down Talladega’s pit lane in solidarity. NASCAR President Steve Phelps likewise expressed his backing for Wallace on Monday, saying whoever committed the hateful act would be barred from the sport for life.

This was followed by Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Jay Town saying his office had launched an investigation along with the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. The wheels of justice were put swiftly into motion, but it turned out that the noose was just a door pull someone had set up in 2019.   (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday it has launched an investigation into Tesla’s Model S. Frequent complaints have arisen of the vehicle’s media control unit going on the fritz and knocking out the vehicle’s touchscreen.

We’ve seen several outlets minimize the issue by suggesting gaps in Tesla’s Autopilot should be seen as more pressing. Apparently, many see potentially faulty touchscreens as small potatoes. But we can’t agree; not when they happen to operate the brunt of the car’s auxiliary functions, and we’ve heard reports of this very problem for years. If you need a refresher course, we covered the matter extensively in the fall of 2019. The gist is that the embedded Multi-Media Controller (eMMC) on MCUv1 units seem to be overworked. Constantly logging data is tough on the system, and this setup didn’t appear to be capable of handling the high load, resulting in flash-memory wear.  (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2020

On Monday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that his state will embrace California-crafted emissions rules that are at odds with the national rollback finalized by the Trump administration in March.

Officially, Sisolak said the rules would not require residents to abandon their current ride “or choose one that does not work for their lifestyle or business needs.” Nevada has, however, decided to adopt higher mpg standards, as well as the Golden State’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rules that require manufacturers to sell a certain number of electric or plug-in hybrid models each year based on the total number of vehicles sold within the state.

Companies in compliance accrue ZEV credits, which can then be traded or sold to other manufacturers for money. As with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system, those that cannot hit their targets (or afford to buy up credits) will be fined. Tesla actually used such arrangements to make $594 million off its rivals in 2019, with the prospect of things only getting more lucrative for the all-electric brand.  (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2020

General Motors Renaissance Center

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has appointed a new board to address racism and discrimination that may be lurking within the company. The automaker has taken a vocal stance against racism following widespread protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd and wants to be clear as day that it’s committed to diversity and inclusion. While not the most novel of concepts, as there isn’t a single company taking the counter argument, GM believes it can become the least racist of them all, with a little work.

“The board will guide our work to improve diversity and inclusion in our company, with the ultimate aspiration of making GM the most inclusive company in the world,” Barra wrote Monday in an internal document scooped by Automotive News(Read More…)

By on June 23, 2020

When Sir Thomas More coined the term “utopia,” he lifted two words from Ancient Greek that roughly translate into “not a place.” Turns out people from the 16th century still understood satire, perhaps better than we do today. After all, we are the ones operating under the assumption that we can remap society in order to build consequence-free transportation network without a shred of humor to keep us grounded.

We may not need satire in this instance, however. A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health asks questions about how just effectively the shift to autonomy will benefit society as a whole. Industry leaders have broadly framed the shift toward self-driving as kicking down the door to an idyllic universe where no one wants for transportation, with autonomous taxis serving as the first wave of this planned paradise. The reality may be vastly different that what’s being sold, however.  (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2020

Bavaria-based BMW says it aims to cut roughly 6,000 positions from its lineup on account of coronavirus complications. Times are tough and the manufacturer needs to tighten its belt, just like many of its peers.

The alley-oop that precedes the slam dunking of these jobs into the wastebasket will be tempting retirement packages for those of a certain age. But BMW also said it is interested in offering younger people financial assistance for full-time higher education with a guarantee of a job when they’re done — offering some amount of hope.  (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2020

If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that you can keep people isolated in their homes without any negative consequences whatsoever.

Sure, we’ve seen articles from scientific journals like The Lancet warning that similar experiments run on a much smaller scale resulted in psychological stress and disorder, including low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger, general irritability, emotional exhaustion, paranoia, drug abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms, but where’s the evidence of that happening this time?

Don’t answer that.

Employers the world over are already seeing the benefits of remote work and have begun to consider how to make it a long-term proposition. In addition to protecting companies against any new COVID-19 outbreaks, stay-at-home orders mean paying for less office space and utilities. Automakers are starting to think this is a pretty sweet deal — especially with productivity not having taken much of a hit — and are now considering whether to extend at-home employment indefinitely.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission has urged the recently bankrupted Hertz to halt the sale of stock. The rental agency had hoped to raise half a billion on the sale but repeatedly warned that would-be buyers were gambling, as the stock may soon be worthless.

Bizarrely, this hasn’t discouraged investors from glomming onto shares of bankrupt and near-bankrupt companies. Despite the global economy supposedly hurdling into a recession and mass unemployment, Wall Street hasn’t signaled that anything is amiss.

Still, the SEC has grown concerned with the trend and decided to address them with Hertz, according to a recent filing. Trading of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. was halted on Thursday, placing investors in a holding pattern as everyone speculates whether the bankrupt car renter will have to revise its plan to raise cash by selling new shares.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2020

On Wednesday, ride-hailing company Lyft announced every vehicle using its platform will be electric by 2030. Since its fleet is comprised primarily of contractors using private vehicles, one might assume the company is planning to offer some financial assistance upon their next purchase. But being sensible rarely means being correct in the postmodern era.

Rather than encouraging its own drivers to make the switch, Lyft plans to work with NGOs, lawmakers, and pressure its industry rivals to make electrification mainstream. Obviously, this will include financial incentives for organizations willing to make the switch to EVs in exchange for a fat wad of cash. That’s what you’re now supposed to focus on. Ignore that Lyft’s announcement literally offers no personal commitment and passes every scrap of responsibility it pretends to be taking on to the government.

Lyft is trying to play the hero, and thinking about it too hard is going to muck everything up.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2020

Television’s Top Gear recently resumed filming on the upcoming season (series 29, if you acknowledge the authority of the Queen), and news of a crash has your author feeling excited about the program for the first time in a while. It also provided an opportunity to actually learn the names of the presenters who aren’t Chris Harris, who was not at the helm of the vintage Lamborghini Diablo that unexpectedly went off-road.

Comedian Paddy McGuinness hopped on social media to let fans know he was safe on Tuesday, following numerous reports that he had suffered an off while the boys were filming it running around in North Yorkshire alongside a Ferrari F40 and Jaguar XJ220. Neither McGuinness nor the other two vehicles/hosts are said to have sustained damage, though the Lambo took a beating, potentially providing us with some top-flight entertainment later this year.  (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2020

Thanks to last year’s prolonged UAW strike and this year’s global pandemic, production of Chevrolet’s new Corvette is way behind schedule. As reported previously, GM had already dialed back the expected number of 2020 C8s headed to dealers by roughly 20 percent before the coronavirus touched down in North America.

Unfortunately, reopening factories hasn’t magically transported the manufacturer into a scenario where C8 ‘Vettes are abundant and customers can rest assured they’ll see their new toy by the end of this year.

Plenty of orders have already been rolled over for 2021 model-year vehicles, especially if they’re convertibles. Now, supply chain troubles all but guarantee 2020 will be an unfortunately weak year for the mid-engined Corvette, and GM knows it. The company’s doing everything it can to get as much product out the door as possible. However, the obstacles placed in GM’s path have proven too large — and timed too perfectly — for it to ever had much of a chance at a normal product launch.  (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2020

Italy is on the cusp of approving a 6.3 billion-euro ($7.1 billion) loan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Suppressed sales stemming from coronavirus lockdowns have encouraged governments around the globe to lend businesses a hand or — more accurately — fists full of money.

Bloomberg claims FCA’s payday will be Europe’s biggest government-backed financing of an automaker since the start of the pandemic, but it’s hardly the only company needing money. General Motors and Ford utilized credit lines to amass billions of dollars for their rainy day funds — and it’s definitely pouring outside. Ford figures it lost roughly $5 billion in operating costs in the three months leading up to June. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler estimates it lost $5.5 billion through the first quarter of this year.  (Read More…)

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