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Ford Seeking Fifth Truck Crown at SEMA

Two designs give maker shot at another victory.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Ford Racing’s Brian Deegan built the Deegan 38 F-150 with the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost engine for the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

Ford is attempting to stake its claim for the “Hottest Truck” award at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas next month with two entries. If Ford takes the honor, it’ll be the fifth year in a row.

Ford Racing’s Brian Deegan created the Deegan 30 F-150 that uses the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost engine. He partnered with several top-flight suppliers to produce what he believes to be the “world’s most capable truck,” according to the maker.

Award-Winning News!

“This F-150 should inspire the vast off-road, extreme-lifestyle-loving fan base to push the possibilities of the kick-ass new 2015 F-150 and the awesome 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine,” said Deegan. Read the rest of this entry »

Honda HR-V Making U.S. Debut at L.A. Auto Show

Slotting below CR-V as new entry-level crossover.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Honda's new compact CUV, the HR-V, was shown during the Paris Motor Show recently and will hit U.S. shores later this year.

We were offered a sneak peek at the Honda HR-V earlier this year, and got a first look at it in Paris, a few weeks back. But if it strikes your fancy and you live in the U.S., you’ll have to wait another month for a look at the actual sheet metal. The good news is that Honda is providing a teaser image of the compact crossover that will become the new entry point into its growing CUV line-up.

Original hinted at with the 2013 Urban SUV Concept, Honda plans to put the new HR-V on sale shortly after its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The new crossover utility vehicle will be positioned below the CR-V both in price and overall size, but if the Fit is any indication, the new crossover may deliver nearly as much cargo and passenger space. Read the rest of this entry »

Takata Airbag Problem Engulfs Toyota

Latest recall pushes maker’s total over 2 million vehicles.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Toyota recalled the 2003-2005 Sequoia as part of an action involving 247,000 vehicles using Takata airbags.

Takata’s defective airbags forced another automaker to recall additional vehicles today as Toyota announced it is recalling 247,000 vehicles with airbags that may rupture. The Japanese maker has already recalled more than 2.2 million vehicles for faulty Takata inflators.

This action follows a series of recalls by several automakers that used Takata’s airbags in their vehicles, including Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Honda, BMW and others. In all, more than 16.5 million vehicles have been recalled since 2008 due to the faulty airbags, according to Bloomberg News.

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Toyota is recalling the 2002-05 Lexus SC, 2002-05 Toyota Sequoia, 2003-05 Toyota Tundra and 2003-05 Corolla and Corolla Matrix. Read the rest of this entry »

Acura Prepping “Substantially New” ILX for 2016

Remake to debut at LA Auto Show next month.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Acura tosses out a teaser of the 2016 ILX.

Hoping to salvage its sluggish-selling entry-level model, the ILX, Acura is promising to reveal a “substantially new” version of the compact sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

Launched for the 2013 model-year, the ILX got off to a slow start amidst mixed reviews, though it has been bringing in some of the Gen-X and Gen-Y buyers that Acura has been desperate to win over. But playing in one of the market’s hottest – and most competitive – market segments, “good enough” clearly isn’t enough to put Acura back on the map.

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“The new 2016 ILX stands to solidify and broaden its appeal with a comprehensive update that includes a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling, and substantially upgraded interior design,” declared a statement from the Honda luxury brand.

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Nissan Readying Replacement for Titan Pickup

High-mileage diesel expected to enhance truck’s appeal.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Nissan's Titan replacement will reach market about four years later than originally planned.

Better late than never? Nissan is certainly hoping so – as are those who’ve long been hoping for an update to the maker’s slow-selling full-size pickup.

It’s been a long 11 years since the original Titan made its debut – and four years since the Japanese maker originally planned to offer a replacement. But plans for the update fell apart, forcing Nissan to return to the drawing board.

A Real Winner!

What it’s come up with will make a debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and several inside sources have confirmed to that the plans call for that preview to put the spotlight on a new diesel developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan.

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China Plays Critical Role in GM’s Intelligent Vehicle Development

Maker plans to leverage expertise to produce smart cars.

by on Oct.20, 2014

General Motors is planning to further develop its autonomous vehicle technology in China, in particular its ENVI-style vehicles.

General Motors plans to bring its latest technology to China and use its technical resources in there to develop vehicles that can fit into the country’s growing megacities that continue to expand, GM top executive in China said this week.

“China has indeed has been a very rewarding market for GM we’ve benefited from the tremendous growth,” noted Matt Tsien, president of GM China. China plays very big role in GM strategic considerations and China’s voice is a very strong voice within GM, Tsien added during a discussion at the annual Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan, China.

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China became the world’s largest single automotive market in 2009 and the size of country’s car fleet has doubled in the last five years and is expected to double again by 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

Embattled GM Chief Counsel Millikin Retires Early

Whether a man of “impeccable integrity” or “gross incompetence” is a matter of debate.

by on Oct.17, 2014

Millikin became GM General Counsel in 2009.

Embattled General Motors General Counsel Michael Millikin will retire early, the automaker has announced, a move that comes shortly after the maker was hit with a $10 billion class action lawsuit alleging it long concealed a series of safety problems.

While GM CEO Mary Barra issued a statement praising the 66-year-old attorney for his “tremendous career,” it is likely that Millikin’s departure comes as something of a relief considering the way he has been portrayed as a pivotal figure in the mishandling of a long-delayed ignition switch recall now linked to 27 deaths.

The Last Word!

Just three months ago, Millikin came under direct fire during a series of Capitol Hill hearings looking into the GM recall brouhaha. At one point, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Maryland Democrat, directly accused Millikin of “incompetence,” asking CEO Barra why he hadn’t been fired.

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Honda May Have Underreported Injuries, Deaths to NHTSA

Automaker hires outside firm to review reports.

by on Oct.17, 2014

Honda may have underreported the number of deaths and injuries related to a defective airbag problem.

With outside pressure mounting, Honda announced it hired an outside firm to determine if it has underreported fatality and injury claims to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The audit of the Japanese maker began last month after the Center for Auto Safety, a safety watchdog group, accused the company of failing to file Early Warning Reports (EWR) for one death and one injury with NHTSA and demanded an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The group suggests that those two incidents are indicative of a broader pattern.

Safety News!

“Examination of EWR reports filed by Honda versus GM and Toyota suggest that Honda is systematically under reporting Death and Injury claims against the company,” Clarence Ditlow, the group’s executive director, wrote in the letter to the agency earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Audi Set to Track Test New Autonomous Race Car

Piloted RS7 Concept set to take on the Hockenheim circuit on Sunday.

by on Oct.17, 2014

Audi hopes to lap the Hockenheim circuit in just 2:10 with the autonomous RS7 race car.

“Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Might that classic announcement no longer be necessary? Then again, would NASCAR or Formula One fans be willing to pay for tickets to see a line of unmanned vehicles lapping tracks like the Indianapolis Brickyard or even the streets of Monte Carlo?

We may get a better sense this weekend, when Audi unleashes its Piloted RS7 Concept on the Hockenheimring race circuit prior to the finale of the DTM race series. Despite what the name might seem to suggest, the prototype will run laps without anyone onboard.

Fueling Up the News!

Autonomous vehicle technology has been gaining plenty of attention in recent months. Nissan has promised to put its first self-driving vehicle into production by 2020. Cadillac’s SuperDrive will allow autonomous highway driving when it reaches showrooms in 2017. And Google is already rolling out the first of its new autonomous vehicle prototypes.

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GM Hit with 2nd $10 Bil Lawsuit

Suit claims losses on 27 million vehicles.

by on Oct.17, 2014

The lawsuit claims a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro has lost $2,000 in value due to the recall crisis.

General Motors has been hit with another lawsuit that could seek as much as $10 billion in compensation for owners who have allegedly seen the value of their vehicles fall due to the maker’s ongoing recall crisis.

Filed in Manhattan federal court, the lawsuit was prepared by the same, Seattle-based firm that brought another $10 billion claim against GM earlier this year, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

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“The value of all GM-branded vehicles has diminished as a result of the widespread publication of those defects and New GM’s corporate culture of ignoring and concealing safety defects,” the lawsuit states, referring to the post-bankruptcy carmaker as “New GM.”

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