Video: Google's Waymo Exhibits the Total Lack of Excitement Inside Driverless Cars

After getting the go-ahead from Arizona, autonomous tech firm Waymo has implemented the first ride-hailing service in the country that doesn’t employ human drivers. One month after securing approval, and with no major incidents to date, the company has begun offering its autonomous taxi service to paying passengers. On Tuesday, Waymo CEO John Krafcik gave a speech at South by Southwest (the indie music festival that evolved into a media and tech bonanza) to showcase how things were getting on.

He said Waymo ditched the Phoenix test drivers and is readying its fleet of driverless Chrysler Pacificas for other parts of the country. The festival was then treated to a short video of passengers yawning. Those yawns are actually trumpets, however, heralding the introduction of autonomous vehicles in North America.

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TrueCar Hires Former AutoTrader CEO, Probably Has Different Feelings Toward AutoNation

TrueCar announced Monday that it hired former AutoTrader CEO Chip Perry to help the third-party vendor turn around a turbulent year of departing executives and crumbling business relations.

According to a statement released by TrueCar, Perry will take over for current CEO and founder Scott Painter on Dec. 15. Perry will also be president of the company, a position which was also vacated earlier this year.

“My initial focus will be on TrueCar’s dealer partners – listening to them and finding ways to serve them better,” Perry said in a statement. Painter had a public, messy breakup with AutoNation this summer and a $14.7 million loss in the second quarter.

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Google Hires Krafcik To Head Autonomous Vehicle Program

Former Hyundai America CEO and TrueCar president John Krafcik has been hired by Google to head the California tech giant’s autonomous vehicle program.

Per Automotive News, Krafcik will begin his new work as the program’s director in late September, while current director and former Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Chris Urmson will remain aboard to lead technical development.

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Nissan, Hyundai Execs Play Musical Chairs

Hyundai’s U.S. sales chief Bob Pradzinski left abruptly Tuesday and was promptly replaced by Nissan’s U.S. sales chief — and former Hyundai exec — Derrick Hatami, Automotive News is reporting.

Separately, Nissan announced that Chief Marketing Officer Dan Mohnke would assume lead sales responsibilities after Hatami’s departure.

Pradzinski’s sudden departure may have triggered the moves, but it’s not unusual for Hyundai, according to the report. Pradzinski assumed his No. 2 role after former CEO John Krafcik abruptly left Hyundai and became president of TrueCar.

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Quote Of The Day: Gas Price Amnesia

“I think it’s fairly interesting from a cultural memory standpoint, that American car buyers, for the most part, don’t seem to have memory of gas prices two, three or six months ago,”

TrueCar President John Krafcik speaking to NPR about slumping hybrid sales.

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Former Hyundai NA CEO Krafcik Now TrueCar President

TrueCar founder Scott Painter and former Hyundai North America CEO John Krafcik both announced that Krafcik is now president of the online automotive shopping company.

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QOTD: At What Price Connectivity?

From this week’s Automotive News, editor Jason Stein talks to former Hyundai CEO and now TrueCar board member John Krafcik about connected cars

“Do you notice that as we talk about increased connectivity in the car, we are also talking about being less connected with the car?” Krafcik asks through a phone line. “Connectivity and autonomy. Sounds like those are at odds with each other, hey?”

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TTAC Salutes John Krafcik

Automotive News reports that Hyundai CEO John Krafcik will be stepping down from his post as of January 1st, at the completion of his contract. While this would normally be the sort of thing reported by TTAC Staff, Krafcik has been as influential as former EIC’s Bertel Schmitt and Ed Niedermeyer in my understanding of the auto industry.

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QOTD: Better Off Mainstream?

Speaking at a preview event for the next-generation Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik defended his company’s decision to forgo establishing a seperate luxury channel for cars like the Genesis and Equus. While the rationale put forth usually revolves around the exorbitantly expensive pricetag for launching a new brand and an all-new sales network, Krafcik put it from another angle.

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Hyundai Slashes Sonata Production & Incentives

The Hyundai Sonata is the oldest car in its segment and a new model is expected next year. Normally, when a car is about to be replaced by the next generation of that model, automakers usually start increasing incentives to move the metal. Sonata sales are down 11% from last year. Now, Hyundai has slashed production of its midsize car, allowing it to reduce incentives to the second lowest in the segment. Average incentive spending on the Sonata is down to ~$2,200. Only Honda’s Accord, with about $840 in incentives available is discounted less.

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Government Shutdown Affecting Car Sales, Hyundai's Krafcik Says. Hyundai & Toyota Offer Relief to Furloughed Federal Workers

The head of Hyundai Motor Company’s U.S. sales unit, John Krafcik told the Bloomberg news agency that the continued partial shutdown of the United States government is affecting consumer confidence and may result in as much as a 10% drop in October sales. Krafcik said that the political impasse in Washington is creating “anxiety” for many people.

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224,000 Google Results Later, Hyundai CEO Closes The Door On Luxury Brand

If it weren’t for auto bloggers, the question of a separate Hyundai luxury brand would have been dead and buried long ago. But auto bloggers, with a desperate need to generate news out of thin air, won’t let the story die. 224,000 Google results later, and we finally have a definitive answer.

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  • Scott Miata for the win.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X On a list of things to spend my time and money on, doing an EV conversion on a used car is about ten millionth.
  • TheEndlessEnigma No, no I would/will not.
  • ChristianWimmer If I want an EV then I’ll buy an EV. For city use a small EV with a 200-300 km range (aka “should last for a week with A/C or heater usage”) is ideal. But I only have space for one daily driver and that daily driver also needs to be capable of comfortable long-distance cruising at high speeds and no current EV can do this without rapidly draining its battery charge.
  • SCE to AUX I prefer original, no matter what the car is. If the car has some value, then an electric drivetrain lowers its value. But if it's just a used car, why spend a fortune to install an electric drivetrain?