Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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Tesla, Panasonic to make solar cells in Buffalo

Japanese electronics company Panasonic and U.S. electric car maker Tesla said they plan to begin production of solar cells at a factory in Buffalo, New York. The two companies said they finalized an agreement calling for Tokyo-based Panasonic to pay capital costs for the manufacturing. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla made a “long-term purchase commitment” to Panasonic.

[Detroit News]

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U.S. regulators open investigation on 2007-2009 Ford Fusion

U.S. safety regulators are investigating Ford Motor Co's Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2007 to 2009 model years for brakes that may fail in certain conditions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. There have been three reported crashes related to this issue, but no injuries, NHTSA and Ford officials said. The probe involves one of Ford's most popular models, the Fusion. 

[Reuters]

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VW to show new electric, self-driving concept in Detroit

Volkswagen AG said it will show an all-electric concept car next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that will be able to drive autonomously. The German automaker said the new I.D. family model is based on its modular electric drive kit and is described as a “multi-functional vehicle for a new era.” The concept car to be shown at the Detroit auto show has two electric motors and all-wheel drive.

[Detroit News]

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California puts brakes on Uber’s self-driving car rollout

California has put the brakes on Uber’s weeklong experiment with using self-driving cars on the streets of San Francisco. Regulators revoked the registrations of the self-driving cars Uber had been using on its hometown roads after the failure of a week of talks between the state and the ride-hailing company, officials said. Hours after Uber launched the service, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action.

[Detroit Free Press]

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VW agrees to fix, buy back more polluting U.S. diesel vehicles

Volkswagen AG has agreed to a $1 billion settlement to fix or buy back another 80,000 polluting diesel vehicles sold in the United States as the German automaker took new steps to put its emissions cheating scandal behind it. The settlement deal covered luxury VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter engines, meaning Volkswagen has now agreed to spend as much as $17.5 billion in the United States to resolve claims from owners as well as federal and state regulators over polluting diesel vehicles. The world's No. 2 automaker still faces the possibility of spending billions of dollars more to resolve a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation and federal and state environmental claims, as well as oversight by a federal monitor. 

[Reuters]

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Honda, Alphabet's Waymo in talks over self-driving technology

Honda Motor Co said it had entered into formal talks with Alphabet Inc's new self-driving division Waymo to add self-driving technology to its vehicles, marking the second potential customer for the automation software. The move comes after Google spun off its self-driving unit into its own company named "Waymo" with a mandate to strike partnerships with automakers and others and commercialize the research it has been developing for over seven years. The potential deal illustrates how automakers faced with the high costs of developing the new technology in-house are separating into those betting on developing it alone, such as Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co, and those turning to partnerships with suppliers to spread the costs.

[Reuters]

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U.S. delays hiking fuel economy fines until 2018

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will delay until 2018 a planned jump in fines for automakers who fail to meet fuel efficiency requirements in response to concerns from the sector over their impact. Two major auto trade associations representing carmakers including General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG had urged U.S. regulators to reconsider plans to more than double fines for failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements, saying the move could have boosted industry compliance costs by $1 billion annually. In 2015, Congress ordered federal agencies to adjust civil penalties to account for inflation and, in response, NHTSA proposed to raise fines to $14 from $5.50 for each 0.1 mile per gallon each vehicle is below required standards. 

[Reuters]

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Excess inventory could lower auto sales in 2017

The U.S. auto industry is likely to set a record for industry sales in 2016, before declining slightly next year in part due to bloated inventory that is already beginning to impact Detroit Three production, according to one forecasting firm. IHS Markit predicts the U.S. auto industry will sell a record number of vehicles this year, surpassing 2015’s record of 17.47 million sold. For 2017, it is lowering forecasts to 17.37 million from an earlier predicted 17.5 million in part because of rising inventories and automakers’ use of incentives.

[Detroit News]

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VW Reaches $1B Deal In Diesel Scandal Suit

A California federal judge on Tuesday announced Volkswagen has reached a tentative deal worth at least $1 billion over 80,000 3.0 liter cars that were implicated in the company’s emissions scandal.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said he was “extremely pleased to report the parties have reached an agreement about what to do about 80,000 3.0 liter cars on the road and the associated environmental consequences of these vehicles.” The judge said Tuesday’s announcement — which was originally scheduled for Nov. 30, and was delayed several times — was the result of “nearly round the clock” negotiations, and at the end of the hearing he told the parties to continue hashing out the details.

[Law360]

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Feds probe Ram, Dodge gearshifts for rollaway risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating about 1 million more Fiat Chrysler trucks and SUVs after drivers reported the vehicles can roll away after their gearshifts are placed in park. The agency said in documents posted on its website that it has received 43 complaints about 2013-16 Ram 1500s and 2014-16 Dodge Durangos that allege the vehicles roll away after being shifted into a “parked position.” The reported faulty gearshifts have been linked to nine injuries and 25 crashes, according to federal regulators.

[Detroit News]

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