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Asian Automakers Dominate in Consumer Reports Reliability Survey

Tesla, Cadillac suffer from some serious problems.

by on Oct.19, 2017

The 2017 Kia Niro received favorable reviews from owners in the latest Consumer Reports reliability study.

Asian automakers once again topped the annual Consumer Reports Automotive Reliability Survey, though there were some notable exceptions in the study which looked at the problems owners have experienced with their 2017 model-year cars, trucks and crossovers.

Toyota and Lexus, perennial charter-toppers, repeated as the most reliable brands, according to Consumer Reports, or CR, which tallied owner surveys covering about 640,000 vehicles from the 2017 model-year. But Kia, a brand long dismissed for questionable quality, came in third, a surge reflected by several other recent studies.

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At the other end of the spectrum was Cadillac, ranked the least reliable brand in the annual study by the influential non-profit publication. Cadillac’s big Escalade SUV, meanwhile, tied as the single worst vehicle, in terms of reliability. The other model at the bottom was the much-troubled Tesla Model X. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Shutting Down Plants in Japan for Two Weeks

Company violated quality check rules.

by on Oct.19, 2017

The newly introduced next-gen Nissan Leaf is one of the vehicles impacted by the company's plant shutdown in Japan.

Nissan is shutting down its six manufacturing plants in Japan for two weeks to address issues surrounding product quality levels after a recall and the Kobe Steel problems.

The Japanese automaker will revise final inspection procedures on its assembly lines to ensure they meet the transport ministry’s requirements, the company said. The moves will impact less than 10% of Nissan vehicles manufactured in Japan each month.

Global Auto News!

The company admitted that uncertified technicians performed final checks for vehicles sold in Japan. The techs were used because some inspection steps had been transferred to other inspection lines, in violation of ministry rules, according to Reuters. Read the rest of this entry »

Spare Me? Not So Fast

Almost a third of new vehicles no longer come with a spare tire.

by on Oct.19, 2017

Some manufacturers have eliminated the spare tire in favor of run-flat tires, such as in the Lexus LC 500.

There are few things more frustrating than being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire – unless, that is, you also don’t have a spare.

In an effort to reduce weight, improve fuel economy and, yes, in some cases to save money, automakers have been cutting back the number of models equipped with spare tires, though they also note that they’re doing so on products like the new Lexus LC 500 sports coupe in order to give owners more cargo space.

Beyond the Headlines!

The silver lining is that today’s tires tend to be more rugged and reliable, and many vehicles are now equipped with run-flat tires that are designed to keep going for as much as 50 miles if they lose air pressure, enough to get to a service station for a repair or replacement, the manufacturers claim. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Caves to German Workers’ Salary Demands

Big raises in Germany may heighten tensions in California plant.

by on Oct.19, 2017

Tensions are reportedly high at Tesla's Fremont, California, plant after the company reportedly fired hundreds of underperforming workers.

Facing what it admits are production bottlenecks as it moves to roll out its critical Model 3 from its big factory it Fremont, California, Tesla has agreed to give workers at its German engineering unit a substantial pay increase.

German daily newspaper Die Welt reported the wage pact that included a new pay structure that will raise workers’ salaries by about 30% from current levels, the division’s works council said.

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“We will now get to a competitive wage level,” a spokesman for the company’s works council, which is required by German law, said this week after a staff gathering at Tesla Grohmann Automation GmbH. Read the rest of this entry »

Mitsubishi Ready to Implement Three-Year Comeback Plan

Japanese maker looks to grow portfolio.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Mitsubishi is going to need more vehicles like Eclipse Cross concept to become reality in order to meet its three-year goals.

The resurrection of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. begins with a plan that calls for a 30% increase in sales during the next three years, coming in three major markets: China, the U.S. and Japan, its home market.

The recovery in Japan may be most difficult since the company was rocked by a mileage cheating scandal that ultimately led to the takeover by Nissan Motor Co. The new plan is the result of that new partnership.

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Getting to those markers will be tough, but an improved product portfolio will help and the company’s put in place some ambitious investment plans for its research and development as well as capital spending. Read the rest of this entry »

Bigger is Better with Hydrogen Power, GM Concludes

Automaker’s fuel-cell efforts will target big SUVs, pickups, commercial and military vehicles.

by on Oct.18, 2017

SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis.

It’s been four decades since General Motors rolled out its first fuel-cell vehicle, a large van offering the room needed to haul around all the powertrain hardware and tanks full of hydrogen.

These days, all that technology has been downsized to the point where it can fit inside a compact car and leave plenty of room for passengers and cargo. But while some competitors – including Toyota, Hyundai and Honda – are focused on bringing to market small, hydrogen-powered passenger cars, GM is, in a sense, going back to its roots.

Beyond the Headlines!

The automaker is betting that it makes more sense to electrify small vehicles, like its Chevrolet Bolt EV and the roughly 20 other BEVs it plans to bring to market by 2023. When it comes to hydrogen, the head of its fuel-cell program sees the biggest opportunity for vehicles like large SUVs, full-size pickups and commercial and military vehicles. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Recalling 1.3M F-Series Trucks

Action is the second recall in less than a week for the automaker.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Ford is recalling 1.3 million F-Series trucks due to a problem with door latches.

Ford is recalling 1.3 million F-Series trucks in North America to resolve a door-latch problem. The recall involves about 1.1 million pickups in the U.S., plus 222,408 in Canada and 21,090 in Mexico.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is recalling certain 2015-17 Ford F-150 pickups and 2017 Super Duty trucks due to frozen door latches or damaged actuation cables that may prevent a door from opening or closing.

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“In affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent or kinked actuation cable may result in a door that will not open or will not close condition,” according to the maker. Read the rest of this entry »

Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride Concept Could Deliver 620 Miles on a Tank of Hydrogen

Barely longer than Prius, fuel-cell vehicle boasts Mercedes S-Class-sized interior.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Toyota's Fine-Comfort Ride concept coming to the Tokyo Motor Show demonstrates the maker hasn't given up on fuel cells.

Though Toyota appears to be shifting some of its considerable resources into the development of battery-electric vehicles, the automaker isn’t walking away from its commitment to hydrogen power – as it plans to demonstrate at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show with the debut of the Fine-Comfort Ride concept vehicle.

The prototype is barely a foot longer than the familiar Toyota Prius but because of the distinctive powertrain, the layout offers about as much interior space as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Meanwhile, with an estimate range of 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles between fill-ups, the Fine-Comfort Ride would deliver about twice the range of Toyota’s current production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai.

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Toyota is billing the Tokyo Motor Show concept vehicle as “a new form of premium saloon,” and says it wants passenger to feel like they are “being wrapped in comfort,” rather than simply go along for a ride. Read the rest of this entry »

Chevy Unveils Two Special Edition Colorados to Mark Truck Centennial

GM kicks off truck part at State Fair of Texas.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Chevrolet is marking 100 years of truck production with two new Colorado ZR2 special editions: Dusk and Midnight.

As Chevrolet celebrates a century of building trucks during the 2018 Model Year, it is expanding its midsize truck line-up with two new editions for the Colorado as it readies for the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The 2018 Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition features an all-black exterior finish, black Chevy bowtie emblems and 17-inch five-spoke black accessory wheels, including the spare. The ZR2 Midnight also features a black sport bar with off-road LED lighting and ZR2 logos on the sport-bar sail panels.

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The ZR2 Dusk Edition offers the same content as the ZR2 Midnight, but can be purchased in all other ZR2 exterior finishes, with black accents throughout. Read the rest of this entry »

NAFTA Talks Bog Down as Sides Take Recess

Canadians suggest U.S. demands undoing 23 years of progress.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo said that each country in the NAFTA talks has its "limits" and warned against rash decisions.

Top trade officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico squabbled openly as they wrapped up the most recent round of negotiations aimed at changing the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has become a key prop for auto production in the U.S.

Representatives were openly critical of each other’s positions, acknowledging in a joint statement that “new proposals had created significant conceptual gaps” between them.

News on NAFTA!

Talks are expected to resume in Mexico Nov. 17, but are not expected to be completed until sometime next year, which means they would bump into the Mexican presidential campaign. Observers have warned pushing the talks into the next year could lead to serious political problems, particularly in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »