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GM “Absolutely” Could Re-Enter or Europe, Says CEO Barra – or Quit Even More Markets

Addressing workplace harassment a high priority for industry's first female CEO.

by on Dec.11, 2017

GM CEO Mary Barra covered a variety of topics with reporters during a Q&A with the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

Just months after closing the sale of its long-troubled Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she would “absolutely” consider the option of returning to the European market if the right opportunity came along – especially with new, “transformative” technologies, such as autonomous and electrified vehicles.

Barra, who was named the first female CEO of a major automaker four years ago this week, took on a wide range of topics, including autonomous and electrified vehicles, tax reform, NAFTA and sexual harassment, during a Q&A session with reporters at a meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association on Monday.

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The 56-year-old Barra has been credited with ushering in widespread change at the largest of the Detroit automakers, a company that emerged from Chapter 11 protection in 2010 only with the help of a massive federal bailout. That has required her to balance the traditional, metal-bending side of the business with next-generation technologies, including electrified powertrains and autonomous driving. She has shown a willingness to break with a tradition that had, for 100 years, translated into bigger is better. Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Newest EV Looks to be World Champion

WM Motor's Weltmeister is the first of many.

by on Dec.11, 2017

WM Motor's founder Freeman Shen introduced the company's first sport-utility EV in Shanghai.

The electric vehicle market in China is quickly becoming highly competitive and this is before Tesla has been given the all clear from the government to build vehicles there without a local partner.

The competition got a little stiffer today as new player in the market to borrow a phrase, announced its presence with authority: WM Motor’s Weltmeister.

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Borrowing the German phrase, “world’s best” or “world champion” the new company showed off its new electric sport-utility vehicle at an event in Shanghai that also unveiled the logo for the company. Read the rest of this entry »

From Track to Street, New Senna is McLaren’s Most Extreme Machine Ever

$1 mil apiece – but they’re already all spoken for.

by on Dec.11, 2017

McLaren's new Senna is a $1 million hypercar with a 500-unit production run that is already sold out.

At first glance, it seems more than appropriate that the “ultimate” McLaren would be named the Senna; after all, Ayrton Senna is readily ranked among the best drivers to ever dominate the Formula One circuit.

The new entry into the British marque’s Ultimate Series, and the successor to the older P1, the new McLaren Senna is meant to dominate both track and street, thanks to a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that punches 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.

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“The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalized for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit,” declares Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive. Read the rest of this entry »

Greensboro, NC and Honolulu Top Best/Worst Places to Drive

GPS app Waze releases annual driver satisfaction survey.

by on Dec.11, 2017

Greensboro, North Carolina, was topped the Waze Driver Satisfaction Index for 2017.

Drivers in every city in the country can find something that makes commuting around their town or metropolis the worst or best, but GPS app Waze has compiled a list of the best and worst cities to drive in the U.S. for 2017.

Called Waze’s annual Driver Satisfaction Index, the company uses driving data from its millions of users across America to rank the 61 best and worst metropolitan areas. The best? Greensboro, North Carolina while the worst is Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Greensboro topped the list of best places to drive, which is determined using six different metrics, with a score of 8.7. At the other end was Honolulu with a 4.69 score. The U.S. average is 7.55, according to Waze. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan to Test Robocabs Ahead of 2022 Launch of First Fully Autonomous Vehicles

Japanese maker plans to bring increasingly sophisticated self-driving tech to market each year.

by on Dec.11, 2017

A prototype, 1st-gen Nissan Leaf is shown during testing in Tokyo traffic.

One of the first automakers to commit to developing autonomous vehicle technology, Nissan plans to begin field-testing its first robocabs in Japan next year, part of an expanding development program aimed at putting fully autonomous vehicles into production by 2022.

The pilot program, pairing Nissan with technology development firm DeNA, will operate near the Japanese automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama. It will be the latest in a fast-growing series of self-driving ride-share programs, including one started by Google spin-off Waymo this year. Lyft is launching its own field test in Boston. And Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault has been testing similar technology in France.

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Nissan last week revealed it intends to have its first fully autonomous vehicle in production sometime during the 2022 calendar year. But the carmaker plans to introduce a series of increasingly sophisticated, semi-autonomous technologies before then, starting with the ProPilot system debuting on the 2018 Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

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Next-Gen Toyota Avalon Debuting at Detroit Auto Show

Automaker readies for second product reveal at NAIAS.

by on Dec.11, 2017

Toyota plans to take the wraps of its next-generation Avalon at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Toyota Motor Corp. is going to have a full schedule at next month’s North American International Auto Show as the automaker revealed it will have a second major product debut in Detroit.

The Japanese automaker will premiere its all-new 2019 Avalon Monday, Jan. 15, during the 2018 NAIAS. The fifth generation Avalon shares the new platform utilized by the Toyota Camry and will be built at the automaker’s big assembly complex in Georgetown, Kentucky.

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Last week, it was revealed that Lexus plans to unveil a new concept vehicle in Detroit as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Readies to Deliver Model 3 as Truck Reservations Roll In

Sysco, Anheuser-Busch order 90 trucks combined.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Reddit user ry8 posted the email he received from Tesla informing him his vehicle will be delivered next week.

Is Tesla ready to cross a major threshold? Reports suggest that the Palo Alto, Calfornia-based EV maker is going to deliver the first Model 3 sedans to non-employees.

The initial allotment of vehicles went to employees, family members and Tesla “insiders.” However, according to Autoblog, a Reddit user, ry8, revealed on the Tesla subreddit that his Model 3 was being delivered on Monday.

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To further prove his claim, he posted a copy of his confirmation email from the company, complete with a photo of a white Model 3, the vehicle’s VIN and a request for final payment. Apparently, ry8 is a San Francisco-area resident and was one of the day one reservation holders. Read the rest of this entry »

Lyft Launches Autonomous Test in Boston

Long-term goal is to go fully driverless.

by on Dec.08, 2017

An autonomous prototype developed by nuTonomy, one of the models Lyft will begin using in Boston.

Lyft has become the latest ride-sharing service to begin testing autonomous vehicles.`

The pilot program, launched in Boston this week, is being run in partnership with self-driving tech firm nuTonomy. Lyft has also been working with both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, two carmakers that share its long-term goal of going completely driverless in a bid to slash costs while also improving safety.

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“Based on feedback from pilot participants, nuTonomy’s engineers will adapt and improve our system, so that we can deliver an autonomous transportation experience that is extremely safe, efficient, and comfortable,” nuTonomy said in a statement.

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Fuel Economy of New Vehicles Continues to Drop

Strong sales of large vehicles means average mpg continues falling.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Despite efforts to improve the fuel economy of large SUVs, their popular cuts into the U.S. national fuel economy average.

The fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during November dropped by 0.1 miles per gallon to 25 mpg—the lowest mark this year, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The value for November is up 4.9 mpg since October 2007 – the first full month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle – but still down 0.5 mpg from the peak of 25.5 mpg reached in August 2014.

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In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Ride-Sharing Company Eyes Move into Mexico

If Didi goes to Mexico, it would mark second showdown with Uber.

by on Dec.08, 2017

Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi is contemplating a move into Mexico where it will compete with Uber.

A report out of China indicates Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-sharing company in China and perhaps the world, is preparing to expand internationally for the first time by setting up shop in Mexico.

Didi basically ran Uber out of the Chinese market where Uber sustained losses totaling roughly $2 billion. If Didi moves into Mexico it would set the stage for a huge clash where Uber has established a large presence with more than 7 million users spread across 45 cities.

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Speculation about Didi’s plans, like Ford Motor Co.’s efforts to partner with Alibaba, underscore the growing influence the Chinese have on the global automotive industry. During the next decade ride-sharing companies are expected to become the major buyers of new vehicles around the world. Read the rest of this entry »