Report: Honda Engineers Berated Takata Before Scandal Erupted
Bloomberg ( via Automotive News) reported that engineers at Honda demanded to know why Takata airbags were injuring drivers and passengers during a 2009 meeting held four months before investigators started their inquiry.
“Why does it explode? I want to know the truth,” an engineer identified as “Otaka” asked Takata’s CEO at the meeting, according to Bloomberg.
Minutes from a July 2009 meeting between Honda executives and Takata officials were made public as part of a lawsuit against the airbag maker.
Consumer Reports Has Tips If You're Buying Your Teen a Car for the Holidays
It’s never too late to snap up a last-minute gift for your teenager, such as a car. Consumer Reports has nifty practical advice for parents looking to make this Christmas one to remember for their teen — until next Christmas when you have top a friggin’ car.
For your teen’s first ride, according to Consumer Reports, avoid anything with a big engine (“Generally speaking, the ideal car for a teenager is a four-cylinder mid-sized sedan”), lots of numbers on the speedometer (“If too much speed is to be avoided, then it should be a no-brainer to avoid high-performance sports cars.”) or minivans (” … a carload of teens is not a recipe for safety.”)
There are other considerations, according to the report:
Judge Overturns Sale of Miller Motorsports Park
A Utah judge has blocked the sale of Miller Motorsports Park to a Chinese investment firm because county commissioners may have illegally lowered the price to below fair-market value, KSL reported Thursday.
In a filing, Judge Robert Atkins said Tooele county officials tasked with selling the shuttered racetrack ignored higher bids to sell the racetrack for $20 million to Geely-backed Mitime Investment and Development Group. According to the report, county tax officials estimated the value of the track at $28.1 million.
A competing bidder, Center Point Management, said it offered $22.5 million for the park. The Wyoming-based company filed a lawsuit to stop the sale because they said county officials ignored their bid based on unverified promises by the Chinese group.
Subaru, Lexus Retain KBB's Top Resale Crown for 2016
Subaru and Lexus brands topped Kelley Blue Book’s annual resale list for the second year in a row, the auto industry group announced Tuesday.
Subaru claimed four model winners for 2016 and Lexus nabbed six honors in the annual survey that measures projected retained value for five years of ownership. Toyota and General Motors each earned five segment winners this year and Tesla earned its first award for its Model S.
According to KBB, the top 10 cars with the best resale value were: Chevrolet Camaro and Colorado; GMC Canyon and Sierra; Jeep Wrangler; Subaru Forester and WRX; Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra.
'New GM' is Paying 'Old GM' Claims, Even Though They May Not Have To
General Motors victims compensation fund is paying for injury claims older than the company’s 2009 bankruptcy and, in some cases, for injuries sustained by drivers who were drunk or weren’t wearing their seatbelts, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper reported the findings by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by the automaker to manage the company’s fund to pay for victims of its faulty ignition switch that killed 124 people.
According to the report, 128 claims — roughly one-third of the claims against the automaker — were for injuries before the company’s 2009 bankruptcy. GM fought successfully this year to protect itself from lawsuits against “Old GM.” In April, a judge protected “New GM” from many of those lawsuits.
How Stoned is Too Stoned to Drive? The Feds Want To Know
Puff, puff, pass that bill. Federal authorities want to know how stoned is too stoned for drivers, according to a provision in the recently signed Federal Highways Bill.
The new law directs U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to study the effects of marijuana on drivers and present those findings to Congress by the end of 2016.
As more states legalize marijuana — Oregon and Alaska joined Washington and Colorado with legal pot, and 12 states have decriminalized possession — Congress asked the department to determine how to train police to spot stoned drivers and how to test them.
According to a Gallup Poll this year, 47 percent of American surveyed said they thought marijuana would make the roads less safe in states with legalized cannabis.
Report: General Motors Cheated Fuel Economy, Emissions With Opel Zafira
General Motors on Thursday denied that its own internal testing revealed the Opel Zafira 1.6-liter diesel flouted European emissions and fuel economy standards, Bloomberg reported ( via Automotive News).
A German news magazine program, Monitor, said officials at Opel knew its midsize crossover polluted up to 15-percent more carbon dioxide than advertised, and that the automaker knew its fuel claims couldn’t be substantiated. The report also said that separate testing at a Swiss facility showed the Zafira exceeded advertised fuel consumption and emissions by 20 percent.
Or, in other words: Another chapter in the “ Everyone Cheated/Just Volkswagen Cheated” saga.
Driverless Cars Are Coming, But Will Cities Be Ready?
According to a study by the National League of Cities, only 6 percent of future city plans consider the potential impact autonomous vehicles will have in the next few years, including driverless car lanes and scaling back parking as ride-share services become more popular.
The study collected transportation plans of the 50 biggest U.S. cities, as well as the most-populous cities in every state. In all, 69 city plans were amassed and studied for future traffic and road plans.
Despite automakers rushing to put autonomous cars on the road by 2020, the study suggests that many cities won’t be able to adequately accommodate those cars, nor will they adapt fast enough to changing transportation modes that may challenge conventional public transportation and infrastructure wisdom.
Report: Volkswagen Officially Recalls Dirty Diesels in Germany, Fixes Start January
Volkswagen will officially recall all of its illegally polluting diesel engines in Germany, German newspaper Die Welt reported Monday (via Reuters), the first step in a wave of recalls to fix 11 million cars worldwide.
Roughly 2.5 million cars in Germany will be recalled — 1.5 million Volkswagens, 500,000 Audi and 500,000 Skoda- and Seat-branded cars — with work beginning in January. Last week, t he German transportation authority approved Volkswagen’s fix for 1.6-liter cars, which included an “air calming” pipe ahead of the intake’s air sensor. The company’s 1.2- and 2-liter cars may only need software fixes.
Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board will review Volkswagen’s proposal submitted earlier this month for fixing 482,000 cars in the U.S. It’s unclear what those fixes may be. During congressional testimony in October, Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn said it would be a combination of hardware and software fixes.
Report: Volkswagen Knew Fuel Consumption Claims Were Bogus Last Year
German newspaper Bild Am Sonntag (via Reuters) reported Sunday that engineers within Volkswagen knew more than one year ago that its cars didn’t meet reported fuel consumption and even pulled a model from sale because of the deception.
Volkswagen admitted in October that 800,000 cars sold in Europe didn’t meet advertised fuel economy and that the company would pay more than $2.1 billion for the scandal.
According to Reuters, Volkswagen didn’t comment on the claim that executives knew about the cheating crisis before October, and said that the slow-selling Polo BlueMotion was pulled due to poor sales.
German Environmental Group Claims Renault Van Pollutes Up To 25 Times Euro Limit
A German environmental group said Tuesday that its testing has revealed Renault’s Espace, when equipped with a 1.6-liter diesel engine, could emit up to 25 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxides with a warm engine running on roads — or you know, the real world.
According to the New York Times, the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) didn’t directly accuse Renault of including cheating software in its cars — a la Volkswagen — but said the van polluted significantly less when the engine was cold. The results could show the schism between European testing standards — where tires can be over-inflated, doors taped up, batteries disconnected, seats removed — and real-world conditions.
Renault said in a statement Tuesday that its van complied with regulations and that tests done by researchers at the University of Bern “are not all compliant with European regulations.”
Study Aims To Determine If Ride-sharing Services Are Putting More Cars on The Road
The National Resources Defense Council’s Urban Solution program will study the impact ride-sharing services have on the environment, the group announced Friday. The study will be conducted with the University of California Berkley Transportation Sustainability Research Center to determine what environmental impacts services such as Lyft and Uber have on pollution and congestion.
” … Others wonder if these companies are competing with public transit, substituting for walking and biking trips, or perhaps adding more cars to the road,” wrote Amanda Eaken, a researcher for the NRDC, a non-profit environmental group.
Volkswagen's Apology and How It Might Save Millions
Volkswagen’s Goodwill Program in the U.S., which may cost the company nearly half a billion dollars all told, may be a form of corporate apology that could insulate the automaker from further lawsuits.
Michael Siebecker, a professor of law at the University of Denver, says the company’s gift cards could be a form of “corporate apology” that studies have shown help shield some doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.
“I believe that this is a type of watered-down apology. They may be saying ‘You must be hurting, here’s a little something to get by.’ I don’t know what exactly they think consumers need right now,” Siebecker said.
Report: Volkswagen Alone in Cheating So Far, Testing Shows
Increased scrutiny on diesel-powered cars’ emissions hasn’t revealed any other cheating cars beyond Volkswagen’s models, German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported ( via Reuters).
In an interview with California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, the German outlet reported that Nichols said Volkswagen appeared to be alone in cheating so far.
“Up until now we have found no fraudulent defeat device in vehicles of other brands,” she told the magazine. “There is nothing that comes close to the magnitude of the excess in VW vehicles. “
Bridgestone Offers $835M to Buy Pep Boys Chain
Japanese tire giant Bridgestone agreed Monday to buy Pep Boys for $835 million and potentially create the largest chain of U.S. automotive service centers, the companies announced.
The deal would create a chain of more than 3,000 auto care stores — 2,200 Bridgestone-owned centers including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works, and more than 800 company-owned Pep Boys stores.
According to the companies the deal will finalize in early 2016.
The Penalty for 50,000 Feet of Freedom? About 200 Pounds
Jared Gall at Car and Driver has compiled a fantastic list of coupe vs. convertible weights and found that, on average, roughly 200 pounds is needed to give God a direct look into your car. But there’s hardly any consensus among different automakers.
Porsche, for example, has no difference in weight between its Cayman and Boxster, whereas BMW’s 4-series carries a 500-pound penalty for plein-air cruising. Many bespoke two-seaters carried small penalties for drop-top enthusiasts: Jaguar’s F-Type, Alfa Romeo’s 4C and Chevrolet Corvette convertibles were all only 1 to 2 percent heavier.
TTAC on The Trading Floor: Ferrari Good, Tesla Bad*
According to The Truth About Cars’ stock exchange bureau chief, Ferrari is good and Tesla is bad today.*
Tesla shares have dropped 10 percent on news today that Consumer Reports would pull its “Recommended” rating from the Model S because of concerns about the car’s reliability. That’s bad.
Also, initial shares of supercar-maker Ferrari may be going for more than expected due to the stock’s appeal on office walls and potential value people may find in owning another Ferrari-branded item beyond overpriced shirts.
Report: Multiple Versions of Cheating Software Developed by Volkswagen
Reuters reported that sources within Volkswagen and its ongoing investigation have said the automaker created multiple versions of its “defeat device” to cheat emissions tests.
The news agency said a manager within Volkswagen and an official close to the external investigation ordered by the automaker have revealed the multiple programs, which were developed for four different engine types.
If true, the multiple emissions programs could indicate a widespread cheating program — stretching nearly a decade — that could have needed funding to continue, which would be in stark contrast to the “rogue engineer” explanation offered by executives so far.
Toyota, Honda Dominate List of Cars Kept for More Than 10 Years
Nearly 30 percent of buyers who purchase a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Prius car will keep that car for more than 10 years, according to data from iSeeCars.com.
Data from 400,000 car purchases was analyzed for the poll, according to the study group. The industry average for owners keeping their cars 10 years or longer was 13.5 percent.
Of those top 15 vehicles whose buyers keep them longer than a decade, nine of them were Toyotas; 5 were made by Honda. The Honda CR-V was tops at 28.6 percent of buyers who kept that car for 10 years or more.
Report: Volkswagen Scandal Involved At Least 30 Managers, Not 'Small Group'
German magazine Der Spiegel reported Wednesday that at least 30 Volkswagen insiders and managers had knowledge of the illegal “defeat device” and there may be more.
The claim would somewhat refute to what Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn testified in front of a congressional subcommittee last week when he told representatives that “a couple of software engineers” at Volkswagen in Germany were responsible for the the scandal that has cost the company billions of dollars.
Volkswagen hired U.S. firm Jones Day to conduct an external investigation while the company inquires internally how engineers installed software on 11 million diesel cars that would cheat emissions tests.
Report: Volvo Will Enter Compact Crossover Market in 2018
Automotive News Europe reported that Volvo will offer a new compact crossover, based on a new architecture, in 2018 that will likely be called the XC40.
The crossover will be built in Ghent, Belgium and possibly in China, using the same platform being developed for compact cars in Europe.
The crossover will get Volvo power plants that include a hybrid variant. It would also likely get some sort of semi-autonomous driving feature as the Swedish automaker further develops its technology.
Report: Volkswagen's Reported Death and Injury Claims May Be Too Low
A study commissioned by Bloomberg, conducted by Stout Risius Ross, revealed that Volkswagen’s rate of injury or fatal crashes reported by the automaker was significantly lower than 11 other automakers and nine times less than the industry average.
“The data demonstrates that even on a fleet-adjusted basis, the number of reported incidents by Volkswagen is significantly below what one would expect based on those reported by other automakers,” Neil Steinkamp, a Stout Risius managing director, told Bloomberg. “They are also significantly below the reporting of automakers that have already been cited for non-compliance.”
The report calls into question whether Volkswagen has been accurately reporting crashes, as required by law. Volkswagen didn’t comment on the report.
Report: New UAW Contract Could Boost Tier 2 Pay Up to $29 Per Hour
Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News) Thursday that a proposed contract brokered Wednesday night between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would raise Tier 2 workers’ pay to $29 per hour, up from $25 per hour, after an eight-year, “grow-in” period.
The separation between the two classifications of union employees — veteran Tier 1 and more recently hired Tier 2 — was a major point of contention for the workers, who voted down the proposed contract last week by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.
Roughly 40 percent of FCA’s union employees are Tier 2 workers, a much higher proportion than General Motors and Ford. On average, those employees are paid $9 to $12 less per hour less than workers hired before the recession. The proposed contract, according to the report, would not eliminate the tiered system, but instead bring closer the two pay scales. The contract also wouldn’t cap the number of Tier 2 workers hired by the automaker.
Interbrand: Toyota Most Valuable Car Brand, Volkswagen Sinks
Interbrand’s annual survey of Top 100 Brands lists Toyota as the most valuable car company (No. 6) with BMW and Mercedes-Benz the next most-valuable brands at Nos. 11 and 12, respectively. Volkswagen’s brand declined 9 percent, according to the survey, down to No. 35.
Mini entered the list for the first time at No. 98. Nissan was among the list’s significant gainers, gaining 19 percent and moving up to No. 49 on the list.
Apple was listed No. 1, ahead of Google and Coca-Cola. Apple’s brand value was estimated by the survey at $170 million.
Apparently, FCA-UAW Workers Don't Really Like Proposed Deal
United Auto Workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly Plant and its Kokomo Transmission Plant voted down a contract proposal over the weekend, marking the latest and perhaps the most significant defeat to the union’s proposal, the Detroit Free Press reported.
According to reports, 66 percent of the workers, who build Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos at the Jefferson facility, vetoed the contract.
The contract faces an uncertain future with the rest of UAW workers at FCA, and while overall passage is mathematically possible, the growing rate of rejection doesn’t look particularly promising.
Report: Taxpayers Paid $20.7 Million For 'Clunker' Volkswagen Diesels
Justin Hyde at Yahoo Autos has fine, fine reporting that U.S. taxpayers paid more than $20 million in incentives for Volkswagen diesel models under the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
According to the report, 4,599 VW Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen diesel cars qualified for the maximum $4,500 incentive under the program. Those cars were equipped with a 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that the Environmental Protection Agency said used an illegal defeat device to cheat emissions.
The Yahoo report follows a report by the L.A. Times that shows that more than $51 million was paid to Volkswagen by the U.S. for now-bogus “green” claims.
Feds Say They'll Tighten Emissions Tests to Catch Cheaters
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Wall Street Journal forum Tuesday that the agency would be “upping its game” to stop automakers like Volkswagen from creating two dramatically different emissions cycles for its cars — a cleaner “testing mode” and a dirtier real-world mode. The agency said it would also crack down on automakers who lie about real-world fuel economy.
“Writing regulations takes time,” EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Chris Grundler told the Detroit News. “When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”
Lawyers Quicker Off The Line To Sue Volkswagen Than Broken TDIs
Only hours after Friday’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars were illegally polluting, David Fiol, a personal injury attorney in San Francisco, had filed a class-action lawsuit through a Seattle law firm in federal court.
He wasn’t alone either. Reuters reported that at least 25 class-action lawsuits were filed within hours of the EPA’s announcement as lawyers line up to take the lead on what could be one of the largest lawsuits against an automaker in history. Being the lead firm could be lucrative for the lead attorneys: A $2.65 billion 2006 judgement against AOL Time Warner on behalf of shareholders netted the lead firm’s owners $70 million in fees.
And according to the report, law firms don’t have to look far for clients. Many attorneys are VW TDI owners — a clear downside for having an highly educated customer base.
NHTSA Chief: VW's Cheating Hurts 'Public Confidence' in Industry
Speaking at an event in suburban Detroit, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind said Volkswagen’s admission that they lied about emissions in their diesel cars erodes confidence in automakers.
“They tell you one thing, you question it,” Rosekind said to reporters, according to Automotive News. “You just have to question every assumption when information is provided.”
Recent scandals including VW, hackable cars and airbag defects erode consumer confidence and that more must be done by automakers before cars go on sale, he said.
“Accountability in leadership is literally at the top of the list, and we’ve just got to be out front, acting, talking and doing everything we can to demonstrate that it should be in their genes,” Rosekind said, according to Automotive News.
Report: Mitsubishi Preparing To Close Plant In Normal Soon
Mitsubishi is planning to end operations at its Normal, Illinois plant and notify workers at the end of September of their plans to close the facility after failing to find a buyer for the plant, Reuters (via Automotive News) reported.
It’s unclear what may happen to the 900 hourly workers who make Mitsubishi Outlanders if a buyer for the plant isn’t found by November. According to the report, last year the plant churned out nearly 70,000 crossovers.
Mitsubishi and the United Auto Workers union this month were negotiating a contract for the workers that would extend to the original closing date for the plant, which was slated for next spring.
Corrupt Red Light Camera Company Sued By Chicago for $300M
Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started in 2003. City officials are suing for roughly triple that amount, including penalties.
Redflex has been accused of handing out thousands of unnecessary tickets to motorists, including 13,000 in Chicago alone, according to the Tribune.
Terrorists Could Make Autonomous Cars A Security Nightmare
Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot).
Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.
“A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself.”
Criminals in Denver have already used burners, pre-paid cards and fake names to rent Car2go cars for drive-by shootings.
Americans Buying More Cars Than Ever, And They Can't Stand Them
Sick of recalls and rising costs, Americans are buying cars now, more than ever, and apparently they don’t like it, the Associated Press is reporting.
An annual survey of 4,300 new car owners revealed that overall satisfaction with new cars is at its lowest point since 2004. Most of that is due to repeated recalls, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. Overall, consumer satisfaction dipped 3.7 percent, to 79 out of 100 points.
“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,” Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder, said in a statement. “The number of recalls is at an all-time high. This should not happen with modern manufacturing technology and has negative consequences for driver safety, costs and customer satisfaction.”
Who Reads The Instruction Manual? (Update: No One)
J.D. Power and Associates on Tuesday released its study of in-car technology that showed many new car buyers either don’t use features available on their car or aren’t aware they exist.
According to the study, at least 20 percent of buyers haven’t used 16 of 33 features targeted by the study, including in-vehicle concierge services such as OnStar (43 percent); mobile Internet connectivity (38 percent); automatic parking aids (35 percent); heads-up displays (33 percent); and apps (32 percent).
Owners said their smartphones probably do all those things better, and who has time to learn systems when you have to text and drive anyway?
Interest in Hybrid Cars the Same, But Not When Money is Involved
Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.
According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.
Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.
Report: Jeep Renegade Trackhawk Confirmed for Production, Why? (Or, Why Not?)
Jeep will build a performance version of its Renegade for 2018, complete with boosted four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, MotorAuthority is reporting (via AutoGuide).
The busy 2.4-liter four could produce more than 300 horsepower, according to the report, but it’s not clear what transmission the Renegade Trackhawk could see. Jeep offers its Renegade with a six-speed manual for the smaller 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, but that mill only cranks half of the estimated final horsepower for the Trackhawk.
That leaves us with one question: why?
Cheap Gas, More Driving Leading To More Fatal Crashes
The number of fatal traffic crashes has risen 14 percent over last year, and deaths on the road could top 40,000 — the first time since 2007 — the National Safety Council is reporting (via Autoblog).
The council points to lower gas prices and a better economy as reasons why people are driving more and crashing more.
The estimated economic impact of the crashes through the first six months of 2015 was $125 billion according to the council, up 24 percent from last year.
Report: Tesla Losing $4,000 on Each Car, and is Burning Cash Faster
After Tesla Motors announced last week that it had lost $184 million in the second quarter of this year on lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model, analysts say the company could have a bumpier road ahead if it can’t raise cash soon.
According to a Reuters report, Tesla is losing $4,000 on each car it sells, and the company’s ability to raise capital could be severely hampered by its spending now and its inability to create positive cash flow in a luxury market that is extremely favorable.
“A capital raise, given the way they’re burning cash today, given the fact that they have future investment needs, seems very likely at some point,” UBS Securities analyst Colin Langan told Reuters.
Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Tesla Edition
Two men say they’ve managed to shut off a Tesla Model S at low speeds, proving that no car is actually safe on the streets anymore and we should all go back to driving Chevrolet Vegas.
The hack, which was reported by the Financial Times and detailed exhaustively by Wired, requires physical access to the car’s infotainment system to exploit the vulnerability. The car can then be remotely disabled.
Similar to hackers who recently said they could start and stop OnStar-enabled vehicles, the two men who broke into Tesla’s software said they presented their findings to the automaker and Tesla released a patch for its cars Thursday. Last month, a vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Uconnect system forced the automaker to recall 1.4 million cars.
J.D. Power Ranks Porsche Most Appealing for 11th-straight Year
For the 11th-consecutive year, Porsche topped J.D. Power and Associate’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, which measures owners’ satisfaction with their new car.
The study surveyed 84,000 new car owners 90 days after their purchase to determine their satisfaction with their purchase. Porsche topped the list, just ahead of Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Land Rover.
So in other words, “Owners Pumped About Paying A Lot for Really Nice Cars.”
Fiat Chrysler Tops Annual 'Total Quality' Survey
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality.
Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors.
FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, including the Fiat 500 and 500e; Dodge Charger, Challenger and Durango; and, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
Tesla Dead Last in Dealer Experience, First in PR
We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is truly a marketing and public relations genius.
Given that, it is fascinating when a negative story surfaces about Tesla’s way of doing business and the slobbering media is strangely silent.
Report: Hummer Recall Only Happened After NHTSA Threatened GM
Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation.
Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire.
GM knew about the problem in 2008, Jalopnik writes, and did nothing until issuing a recall this July.
Study: Men Prefer Brighter, Bolder Car Colors More Than Women
A recent study by iSeeCars.com shows men prefer brighter, bolder car colors — orange, brown and yellow — compared to women, who preferred more neutral colors such as gold, silver and beige. The study analyzed more than 25 million used cars and 200,000 shoppers.
Orange was the big polarizer for 2014; men were 25 percent more likely to pick that color than women. Last year’s popular picks for men, red and black, fell out of the top three this year in favor of brown and yellow.
Women’s picks of gold, silver and beige may have more to do with the segment in which females traditionally shop. iSeeCars said men’s interest in muscle cars can help explain the palette preferences.
Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020
In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.
Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.
Study: Nine Out Of 10 Millennials Consider Car Ownership Important
Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important.
NHTSA Facing The Music Over Role In 2014 GM Ignition Recall Crisis
A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest.
Study: Virtual Drivers Possible Key Toward Autonomous Vehicle Acceptance
Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency.
Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years
Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market.
Study: 2025 54.5 MPG CAFE Target Within Reach
Per a new study by the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. average new-car fuel efficiency is well on its way to hitting the 54.5-mpg target set for 2025.
OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s
Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s.
AAA: Memorial Day 2015 To See Highest Travel Volume In Ten Years
Memorial Day 2015 will see the highest volume of travel in a decade as 37.2 million Americans hit the road to begin their summer season.
GAO: Current Natural Gas Standards Cost Taxpayers Millions
A new report by the Government Accountability Office says the Bureau of Land Management has yet to revise standards over natural gas, costing taxpayers.
US New-Car Average Fuel Economy Down To 25.2 MPG In April
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the monthly average U.S. new-car fuel economy fell 0.2 mpg to 25.2 mpg in April.
JD Power: Millennials Buying More New Vehicles Than Expected
Millennials giving up on cars? Not according to a recent J.D. Power study.
AAA: Millennials Drive Increase In US Fuel Consumption Amid Low Prices
With fuller wallets and lower prices at the pump, millennials are leading the charge toward the highest consumption among Americans since 2007.
Study: Millennials Love Cars, Not So Much EVs
Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified.
Study: Battery Pack Costs Fell 14 Percent Annually Over Seven Years
Though the most expensive part of an EV or PHEV is its battery pack, a new study shows those costs are falling at a hefty clip.
Report: Clean Diesel NOx Levels Exceed European, US Standards
Is clean diesel the cleanest diesel in the tub? Not as previously hoped, according to a new report.
Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars
While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.