Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

BMW, Daimler Launching New Ride-Sharing Service, Other Mobility Ventures

New partners open door to other participants.

by on Feb.22, 2019

BMW Chief Harald Krueger, left, and Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche are all smiles after announcing plans to merge mobility operations.

Nearly a year after announcing plans to combine their ambitious mobility services operations, Mercedes’ parent Daimler and erstwhile rival BMW have announced an array of new joint venture projects that will include car and ride-sharing operations that could challenge upstarts like Uber, Lyft and China’s Didi Chuxing.

The two luxury automakers plan to invest a combined 1 billion euros, or about $1.1 billion, to expand the five projects BMW CEO Harald Krueger and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche outlined at a news conference Friday, which also include parking and electric vehicle charging. The two newly minted partners also opened the door to cooperation with other automotive manufacturers.

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“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously,” said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger. (more…)

Musk Says Tesla to Have Driverless Car Ready This Year

CEO says regulators will determine when vehicle's can be self-driving.

by on Feb.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's vehicles would be able to be run without a driver by the end of this year.

Elon Musk continues to push the narrative that Tesla Inc. will have vehicles ready to operate without a driver by the end of this year.

Tesla’s CEO made the claim during the company’s recent earnings call and repeated it on a podcast hosted by two executives at ARK Invest, which is an investor in Tesla.

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“I think we will be feature complete – full self-driving – this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.” (more…)

New IIHS Tests Show Wide Disparity in Automakers’ Pedestrian Crash Avoidance Tech

BMW system sent dummies “airborne.”

by on Feb.21, 2019

The BMW X1 failed the IIHS pedestrian test, sending the dummy airborne during the exercise.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on a rapid rise in recent years, something some experts blame on the shift to blunt-nosed utility vehicles. Whatever the reason, automakers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the problem.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has launched a study to evaluate and compare the performance of new pedestrian crash avoidance technology and the first pass found wide disparity between the 11 small SUVs put to the test. The majority of the vehicles earned top ratings, but two performed poorly, the BMW X1 sending a crash dummy “airborne” when it failed to come to a stop.

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“We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems,” said David Aylor, the IIHS manager of Active Safety Testing. “We also want to arm consumers with information about these systems so they can make smart choices when shopping for a new vehicle.” (more…)

Mid-engine Corvette C8 Caught Testing in (Unexpected) Snow Storm

by on Feb.21, 2019

A pair of camouflaged C8 Corvettes are caught driving through heavy snow outside San Diego.

It never rains in Southern California, but singer Albert Hammond never mentioned snow in his 1973 hit. So, you can imagine the surprise for the folks from Chevrolet when they headed out for a long test drive of mid-engine C8 Corvette prototypes through the mountains outside San Diego only to be greeted with lots of the white stuff drifting down from leaden skies.

That clearly didn’t stop them from continuing their test drive, which was good news for us – thanks to the quick thinking of TDB friend and videographer Tom Voelk. He also was caught in the snowy weather on a long drive route testing another manufacturer’s vehicle when the convoy of Corvettes shot by. He grabbed one of his cameras and started shooting.

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Mssr. Voelk was kind enough to provide us with some still shots from the serendipitous shoot, and if you’d actually like to see the mid-engine Corvette C8 in action, you can check out his Youtube post by .

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February New Vehicle Sales Expected to Drop

Drop comes after better-than-expected January.

by on Feb.21, 2019

New vehicle sales are expected to fall 2.2% compared with last February's results.

With cold weather gripping the nation’s midsection, sales of new vehicles are expected to drop significantly in February, according to analysts and signals from the Federal Reserve Board.

Edmunds predicts that 1,271,009 new vehicles will be sold in the U.S. in February for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 16.7 million. This reflects a 12.3% increase in sales from January 2019 and a 2.2% decrease from February 2018.

Business News!

“Although the drop off in sales is rather subtle year over year, February is shaping up to be a good barometer of the gradual sales decline we expect through 2019,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. (more…)

Honda Recalls 106K Ridgeline Trucks

Faulty fuel lines may crack and cause a fire.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Honda recalled more than 106,000 Ridgelines due to a fuel pump problem.

Owners of dirty Honda Ridgelines are being told to not wash their trucks as part of a recall of more than 100,000 2017-2019 model year trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for 106,683 of the vehicles because they could catch fire after being washed. The acid from car wash soaps could cause the line in the fuel pump feed to crack.

Recall News!

If fuel leaks from the line, that significantly increases the odds the truck will catch fire. The problem was uncovered in January, but the recall won’t begin until March 7. (more…)

Tesla Readying to Lease Model 3s to Employees

EV Maker's general counsel departs.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Tesla is readying to offer leases on its new Model 3 to employees to help boost demand for the sedan.

Tesla Inc. is readying for the next step in the evolution of its Model 3: leasing.

According to Electrek, the Palo Alto, California-based EV maker is looking to boost demand for the new mainstream sedan by offering employees a leasing program for the vehicle. Initial reports suggested the program would be in place in as little as two weeks.

Electrifying News!

The leasing availability was outlined in an email to employees. However, the company denied it will be ready that quickly, although did confirm it was coming. (more…)

Aston Teases Project 003 Hypercar Ahead of Geneva

Only 500 will be built.

by on Feb.20, 2019

The latest Aston Martin hypercar will use an F1-influenced gas-electric drivetrain.

From a company struggling to avert yet another bankruptcy only a few years ago, Aston Martin has bounced back with a vengeance, as it plans to demonstrate with the debut of a new hypercar at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Codenamed “Project 003,” it’s set to become the British marque’s third hypercar, following up on the earlier Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro models.

Auto Show News!

“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “It was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendent that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialised, limited production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models.”

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Ghosn’s Lawyer Blasts Japanese Prosecutors, Nissan

“This should have been dealt with as an internal matter,” says lawyer known as “The Razor.”

by on Feb.20, 2019

Former Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn's new lawyer is ready to shake up his defense efforts.

Ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s new lawyer hasn’t wasted any time going on the offensive, calling out not only the automaker that has accused the former exec of financial misdeeds, but also the prosecutors who have refused to release Ghosn on bail after three months in detention.

The 64-year-old Ghosn was arrested on Nov. 19, shortly after his corporate jet landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. He has been charged with several crimes, including the concealment of about $88 million in income. The allegations arose out of an internal investigation Nissan said was triggered by a whistleblower.

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“This should been dealt with as an internal matter,” Junichiro Hironaka said at a Wednesday media briefing in Tokyo. Hironaka is known as “the Razor” for his ability to help high-profile clients win acquittal in a country where prosecutors routinely win convictions in over 90% of their cases. (more…)

Japan Waiting on US for Signal on Trade Talks

Abe believes Trump won't raise tariffs before two sides talk.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Trump and Abe discussed the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Japan during Trump's visit.

Japanese officials believe the Trump administration will avoid slapping higher tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts that are imported into the United States as it faces off with China and the European Union on various trade issues.

While the majority of vehicles that Toyota, Honda and Nissan sell in the United Sates are built at factories in the U.S., they also import large number of finished vehicles as well as key components, such as engines and transmissions.

Trade News!

In total, Japan’s auto industry would suffer a value-added loss of about 8 billion euros or $9 billion and Germany would lose 7 billion euros, according to a new study by the German research institute Ifo. South Korea’s auto industry would suffer a loss of more than 3 billion euros. The Ifo study looked at long-run effects, about 90% of which typically occur in five years and 99% in 10 years. (more…)

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