Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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Ford invests $1B into Argo AI for virtual driver system

Ford Motor Co. said it will invest $1 billion over five years into recently formed artificial intelligence company Argo AI to develop the brains for Ford’s self-driving cars. The move bolsters the automaker’s ambitious goal of having fully autonomous cars in the road within five years. Argo AI was founded by former executives from the self-driving car teams at Google and Uber.

[Detroit News]

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Takata to set aside $864 million as part of U.S. Justice Dept. settlement

Japan's Takata Corp. said it will set aside 96.93 billion yen ($864.4 million) as part of a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over the world's largest ever auto recall. In a regulatory filing, the auto parts firm also said it would book and additional 3.5 billion yen special loss over recall-related costs in the third quarter. Takata added that it expects currency related gains of 4.07 billion yen in the April-December period.

[Automotive News]

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Tesla workers reportedly want to form labor union

Tesla Inc. workers at its only auto plant have contacted the United Auto Workers seeking assistance with forming a union, according to a Medium post published by a man claiming to be a factory employee. “I think our management team would agree that our plant doesn’t function as well as it could, but until now they’ve underestimated the value of listening to employees,” wrote Jose Moran, who identifies himself as a worker for the past four years at the plant in Fremont, California. “We need better organization in the plant, and I, along with many of my coworkers, believe we can achieve that by coming together and forming a union.”

[Detroit News]

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Tension high as Tesla prepares to begin production of the Model 3

Tesla will shut down its Fremont, Calif., factory for a week in February to prepare the assembly line for its highly anticipated mid-market electric car, the Model 3.

“This will allow Tesla to begin Model 3 production later this year as planned and enable us to start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018,” is the way the company put it Thursday.

[Los Angeles Times]

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German Automakers Step Up to Silicon Valley Challenge

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen are striving with increasing urgency to ride the digital wave sweeping the industry, before it rolls over them.

[New York Times]

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Report: Driver killed in battery-exploding Tesla crash was drunk

The driver in a deadly, fiery November crash of a Tesla electric vehicle had more than twice the legal driving limit of alcohol in her blood, according to metropolitan police investigators. The blood-alcohol level for Casey Speckman tested at 0.21 percent, according to investigators and an accident report released. The legal limit in Indiana at which a driver is presumed intoxicated is 0.08 percent.

[Detroit Free Press]

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VW to spend $2 billion on zero emissions efforts

An organization set up as part of the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement said it is accepting proposals for $2 billion it must spend in the United States on zero emissions vehicle infrastructure and education. About $800 million of that total is to be targeted at California, "one of the world's largest ZEV markets," but $1.2 billion will fund separate programs across the country, according to a statement from the group, Electrify America. Volkswagen was forced to allocate the money toward the development of electric vehicle infrastructure as part of a federal civil settlement and agreements with U.S. and California regulators involving nearly 500,000 cars. 

[Detroit Free Press]

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VW launches subsidiary to manage push for electric cars

Volkswagen AG has launched a new subsidiary to manage the $2 billion it’s required to spend to boost the use of zero-emission and electric vehicles. The requirement is part of the German automaker’s $14.7 billion settlement with U.S. regulators for rigging hundreds of thousands of cars to cheat pollution standards. Volkswagen said that the new company, which will be known as Electrify America, will be a standalone organization that will manage funding of the effort to promote zero-emission cars.

[Detroit News]

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Toyota, Suzuki to ally as vehicle tech push accelerates

Japanese automakers Toyota and Suzuki, which began discussing a partnership in October, said they would work together in ecological and safety technology — a rapidly growing area in the industry. Toyota Motor Corp., the maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, and Suzuki Motor Corp., which specializes in tiny cars, announced the decision, following approval by the company boards, and signed a memorandum of agreement, both sides said. Another area for possible collaboration is information technology as well as supplying each other with products and components. 

[Detroit News]

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VW to spend $1.2B more to fix or buy back diesels

Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. have agreed to spend $1.2 billion to fix or buy back approximately 78,000 additional diesel vehicles rigged to cheat U.S. emission standards and boost federal spending on environmental protections. The deal, presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in a San Francisco court hearing in December, covers 3-liter diesel cars not included in an earlier $14.7 billion settlement between Volkswagen and U.S. regulators covering about 475,000 2-liter diesel vehicles. Under the agreement, Volkswagen will fix approximately 58,000 affected 2013-2016 Model Year Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles and buy back another 20,000 eligible 2009-2012 model year Volkswagen and Audi 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles.

[Detroit News]

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