Author Archive

Ford Investigates Potential Errant Fuel Economy, Emissions Testing

Automaker hires outside law firm to lead query.

by on Feb.22, 2019

Ford employees began questioning the results of fuel economy and emissions testing on the 2019 Ranger.

Ford Motor Co. may be suffering from déjà vu, the automaker announcing it is in the midst of self-imposed investigation of its fuel economy and testing procedures that may have produced incorrect mileage and emissions data.

The query has been going on since last fall and began when several employees voiced concerns about the process and the resulting data. The automaker is quick to point out that these potential problems do not involve cheat devices like those used by Volkswagen AG or other automakers.

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Kimberly Pittel, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Reuters the investigation began with the test results for the 2019 Ford Ranger. The company is evaluation alterations made to the testing process and calculations used to determine fuel economy and emissions results submitted to federal regulatory agencies. (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…)

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…)

Ford Cutting Operations in Brazil, Closes Oldest Plant

Automaker not waiting on tie-up with VW to improve business.

by on Feb.19, 2019

São Bernardo do Campo is Ford's oldest plant in Brazil. It makes the Fiesta and will be closed later this year.

When Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG announced they were talking about potential partnerships in the near future, one area many believed they would discuss was their businesses in South America.

The South American market has been tough sledding for much of the last decade and the two sides had linked up before with AutoLatina, which ceased operations in 1995.

Global News!

However, Ford isn’t waiting on a tie-up with VW to make moves down there, saying today it plans to close its oldest plant in Brazil resulting in 2,700 layoffs as it exits the commercial truck business in South America. (more…)

General Motors Investing $56M in Two Michigan Plants

Moves come after salaried personnel layoffs.

by on Feb.19, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra meets with a Romulus plant employee during an announcement of a $20 million investment there.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra must be feeling a little Oprah Winfrey these days; however, she’s handing out millions of dollars to GM plants instead of new cars.

Just a day after the company announced plans to invest $36 million in Lansing, Michigan plant, the GM today announced it will invest $20 million in its engine plant in Romulus, Michigan, a suburb just south of the company’s Detroit headquarters.

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The cash infusion will purchase new equipment to increase the plant’s capacity for future 10-speed transmission production. Romulus currently builds V6 engines and 10-speed transmissions used in several GM cars, trucks and crossovers, the company said. (more…)

Honda Shutting Down Lone UK Auto Plant

Maker says Brexit not the reason, but move highlights problems.

by on Feb.19, 2019

Honda announced plans to close its manufacturing plant in Swindon. It means the loss of 3,500 jobs.

Honda will close its only auto plant in Great Britain in 2021 becoming the latest automaker to say it was leaving and turning what was once a trickle into a torrent of closures due to Brexit. The facility makes the Civic.

The Swindon plant closure means the loss of 3,500 jobs and a tenth of all vehicles produced in Britain. However, despite early reports, Honda officials claim Brexit had little to do with the move. Honda officials said the company was focusing manufacturing in the areas where it has the largest sales, and Europe isn’t one of those.

Business News!

“We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” said Honda Chief Executive Takahiro Hachigo. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”  (more…)

Ford Hit by $151.8 Million Verdict by Alabama Jury

Verdict awarded in injury trial of Alabama man riding 1998 Explorer.

by on Feb.18, 2019

An Alabama man was award $151.8 million in damages after the 1998 Ford Explorer he was riding in rolled over twice, leaving him paralyzed.

A Selma, Alabama, man left paralyzed as a result of a 2015 rollover accident in a 1998 Ford Explorer was awarded $151.8 million in damages by an Alabama jury.

The jury awarded Travaris Smith $100 million in punitive damages and $51.8 million in compensatory damages after finding on Friday that the 1998 Ford Explorer did not meet Ford’s own safety guidelines and that Ford “acted wantonly” in designing the vehicle, according to a court document seen by Reuters and Smith’s lawyers.

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Smith was riding in the SUV when its driver swerved to avoid an animal and the vehicle rolled over twice, attorneys at law firms Beasley Allen and Gamble, Gamble, Calame and Jones said in a statement. He snapped his spine and is now paralyzed. (more…)

Ford CFO Shanks May Retire at End of This Year

He spent 34 years at the automaker.

by on Feb.15, 2019

Ford CFO Bob Shanks may be retiring at the end of the year, according to media reports. He's been with Ford 34 years.

Ford Motor Co. is working on thinning its employment numbers this year, apparently it will be able to add one C-Suite executive to those numbers: Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.

According to a report on CNBC, Shanks, the automaker’s CFO since 2012, is planning to retire at the end of 2019. He was vice president and controller before taking over his current role. The company declined to comment on Shanks plans specifically.

The Last Word!

“As all boards of responsible companies do, our board of directors regularly reviews executive succession plans to ensure we have access to the best talent available and are prepared for orderly transitions to take place should the need arise,” a Ford spokesman said in a statement. (more…)

Commerce’s Report on Auto Imports Affecting National Security Comes Sunday

Trump expected to do little with report right away.

by on Feb.15, 2019

President Donald Trump will soon have to decide if using punitive tariffs makes sense in negotiations.

Just days after proclaiming a national emergency that would take $8 billion from the U.S. budget to construct additional border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, President Donald Trump will be faced with another massive decision involving foreign countries.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to tell Trump on Sunday whether or not foreign vehicle imports constitute a national safety risk and offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation.

Global News!

He’ll have 90 days to act on the Commerce Department’s recommendation. However, President Trump already has a plan in place for the issue: a 25% tariff on vehicles imported into the country. (more…)

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