You Not Having a Car With 'Superpowers' is Somehow Donald Trump's Fault

Supposedly, everyone eagerly anticipates the day they can own a shiny-new self-driving car, but automakers, regulatory agencies, consumer advocates, Silicon Valley, and the White House are debating how exactly that’s supposed to happen. They haven’t reached a consensus yet — and that’s probably not likely to change anytime soon.

Most autonomous cars rely on array of cameras, LIDAR, GPS, inertial measurement devices, and complex control systems used to interpret sensory information before reacting accordingly. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems (V2V) are regarded by many as essential components to establishing fully automated travel. The theory is that, by allowing cars to communicate directly on a broadband frequency, they can better predict each other’s movements.

However, a recent Bloomberg article accuses the technology of “going nowhere fast,” citing the Trump administration as the chief culprit, and alluding to the direct stifling of technology that would give cars “superpowers” in the next few years.

I probably won’t have the opportunity to say this often — and it feels kind of strange to say it now — but these accusations aren’t entirely fair to the president or his administration.

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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.

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Bloomberg: Subaru "has to Decide What Kind of Company It Wants to Be"

Subaru has a problem, though it’s a problem many other automakers would love to have. The small Japanese automaker is growing at a rapid rate and it’s fully expected to run out of capacity to fulfill demand sooner rather than later. Most automakers would simply expand and flood the market with more units to feed the sales rush, but for Subaru it might mean becoming the opposite of the market position and perception they’ve taken years to cultivate.

As Bloomberg‘s Kyle Stock puts it, “Being small, though, is the reason Subaru has become such a big deal. With manufacturing capacity maxed out, it now has to decide what kind of company it wants to be.”

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Bloomies Crowns Lagging Mercedes King Of The Luxury Pile, Thanks To A & B Class Sales

Our cross-cultural adviser, showing a little A-Class

Bloomberg relentlessly covers a fight very few care about: Who sells the most “luxury cars?” Never mind that the only way to win this is to sell more, what do they call them, “approachable” cars. Which Bloomberg’s latest dispatch from the upper class struggle aptly proves.

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Bloomberg Recommends Reliable Used Porsches Using Picture Of Famously Unreliable Used Porsches

Are you ready to have the value of your car double while you own it? From $25,000 to $50,000 and beyond? And are you ready to experience this appreciation for an incremental maintenance cost of between $2,400 and $5,000 a year?

Then Bloomberg has a car for you. Just make you read the article instead of staring at the pretty pictures.

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Bloomberg Interview: American Car Design Rennaissance?

If you have a spare four minutes and four seconds (plus time for the commercial) take the time to check out the following discussion over at Bloomberg.com. As a layman, I find these kind of discussions very interesting and would like to hear the best and the brightest, many of whom I know to be connected with auto industry, give a little perspective to what seems to me to be a very shallow look on the subject of modern car design.

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Bloomberg: Daimler Still Owning Chrysler

From Bloomberg’s intellectual property news, February 15, 2012:

Daimler AG (DAI)‘s Chrysler unit’s Super Bowl advertisement featuring Clint Eastwood was temporarily taken down from Google Inc. (GOOG)‘s YouTube video-sharing service Feb. 13 following an infringement claim from the National Football League, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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Partly Truth And Partly Fiction: How Bloomberg Crowned The Wrong King Of Carmakers. And Why They Don't Teach Math At J-School

Someone asked yesterday: “And what exactly is the difference between journalism and blog anyway?” Let me tell you a story:

Last Wednesday, I walked down the shop floor of Nissan’s humungous factory in Smyrna, Tennessee. A monitor pronounced that Volkswagen would end the year as the world’s largest automaker. My stomach knotted.

Two days before, Bloomberg had made the same proclamation : “VW Likely to Overtake Toyota as Top Carmaker in 2011, GM to Remain Second.”

I immediately warned the world that this is nonsense. But it didn’t stop the story from going viral. After all, who are you going to believe, a blogger at TTAC, or the professional journalists at Bloomberg?

The following day, I received a surprising email from someone very high up the food chain at Bloomberg …

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Slow Newsday Edition: Ford Proposes Merger To GM

Or was it GM that proposed? “General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner secretly proposed a merger with Ford Motor Co. in 2008, a year before GM’s bankruptcy filing, the New York Times reported.” That explosive revelation is made today by Bloomberg. And OMG, Rick Wagoner turned down the deal! Isn’t anything secret sacred anymore?

Of course, TTAC goes straight to the source. Here it is! In the New York Times!

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Germans Trump Lexus In Japan. And Bloomberg Blows It Bigtime

Japan’s March 11 tsunami had more destructive effects than just washing pint-sized (ok, ok, 0.6 liter sized) kei cars to the top of Japan’s sales charts. It also resulted in considerable menboku o tsubusu (literally “breaking of face”, dishonor) for Lexus. On its home-turf Japan, Toyota’s lux-brand was outsold by doitsu (German) BMW, even by Mercedes, a brand said to be popular with the yakuza. Speaking of major menboku o tsubusu: BMW did certainly not top Toyota, as Bloomberg insinuates.

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China In July 2010: The Ice Age Now

Ooops. Time to send our patent-pending TTAC China sales oracle on vacation. Send the China Automotive Technology & Research Center (and Bloomberg) right with them. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has given the official word on Chinese car sales in July 2010. And they are down. Way down.

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Mystery Of The Month: How Many Cars Did The Chinese Buy This Time?

It’s that time of the month again, and welcome to another episode of Chinese Numerology. As it has become a TTAC tradition, the China Automotive Technology & Research Center jumps the gun again with an off-the-wall number. Shameless Bloomberg prints it and reports that “retail deliveries of cars, sport-utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles rose 15.4 percent last month from a year earlier to 822,300, the China Automotive Technology & Research Center said in a statement today. That compared with 10.9 percent growth in June.” No, it did not. The CATRC is known for pretty good safety research and for awfully wrong numbers. You can safely ignore them, along with the rest of that Bloomberg tale.

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Saab's Last Gasp: A Garage Sale?

Bloomberg seems to be down to two informants. More and more Bloomberg stories are attributed to their “two people familiar with the plan.” Again, the familiar duo is the source for Bloomberg’s latest report from death row in Trollhättan, where Saab is quickly running through its last reprieves. Bloomberg’s usually unreliable sources say that GM “may sell parts of its Saab unit to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. and shutter the brand.”

Assets would be tooling, production machinery and the like. There is a GM board meeting today, and we may know more in the evening. If they would ask me (but they won’t) I would tell them that BAIC needs used production machinery like the proverbial hole in the head.

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  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.