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Used Car Buyers Charged Up about EVs and Hybrids

Top three fastest selling used cars in U.S. are electrics.

by on Jul.22, 2016

The Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid is the fastest-selling used car in America through May.

Looking for a good used car? Well, if you find a hybrid or an EV you like, don’t dawdle on buying it because it’ll be off the lot before you know it.

According to iSeeCars.com, five of the top 10 fastest selling used cars in the U.S. in the first half of this year were hybrids or full electrics, including the top three movers. Perhaps even more astonishing, only one of the top 10 is an American car.

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Overall, iSeeCars.com found that one- to three-year-old used cars took an average of 42.4 days to sell. The top 10 fastest selling cars, however, were much faster—ranging from just 19.7 days on the market to 29.4 days. Read the rest of this entry »

Mini Takes the States – Again

Cross-country trek gives eccentric brand new life, great feedback.

by on Jul.22, 2016

A thousand people, and several dogs, are taking part in the biennial Mini Takes the States cross-country road trip, which ends in Palm Springs.

“We plan to keep the car until the rims fall off, and then we’ll probably just replace the rims,” laughs Kevin Evans, as he and wife Nancy took a break at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

They’ve already clocked a fair bit of mileage on the 2006 Mini Convertible, and they had more coming during the next few days.

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The Missouri couple were among the thousands of people who were expected to join in and at various stages of the biennial Mini Takes the States drive, a mobile, two-week festival that began in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 9 and will wrap up after a meandering, 4,500-mile trek, in Palm Springs during the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

General Motors Taking “Step Back” in Push to Autonomous Driving

CEO Barra says no “specific date” for launch of Supecruise system.

by on Jul.22, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra said the company is rethinking its timeframe for the introduction of semi- and fully autonomous vehicles.

The fatal crash of a Tesla Model S using the maker’s Autopilot system appears to be having some serious repercussions across the auto industry as manufacturers and regulators re-think the rush to put semi- and fully autonomous vehicles on the road.

Among the automakers taking a “step back” is General Motors, where Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the maker is taking another “look at what technology is in the best interest of consumers.” One consequence may be a delay in the roll-out of GM’s Supercruise, a system believed to be similar in function to the Tesla Autopilot.

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Until recently, GM was indicating it would launch the Supercruise software on its new Cadillac CT6 sedan sometime in 2017. But at this point, Barra told reporters in Detroit, “We aren’t putting a specific date on it,” but officials later added the feature is still expected to debut in 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

GM’s Tab for Takata May be $870 Million

Company doesn't believe it will have to make Takata-related repairs.

by on Jul.22, 2016

General Motors faces an $870 million liability related to Takata airbags in 6.8 million vehicles.

General Motors Co. faces potential liabilities of $870 million if it has to replace 6.8 million Takata airbags in cars, full-size trucks and sport-utility vehicles, according to documents filed by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company doesn’t believe there is a safety defect at this time in any of its vehicles related to the airbags it has filed reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covering 2.5 million full-size pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles.

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“As a result of discussions with NHTSA and as described in the Preliminary DIR, GM will have an opportunity to prove to NHTSA that the inflators in these vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety,” the company noted in the filing. Read the rest of this entry »

Diversity of Daimler AG Board Growing

Company puts Seeger in charge Mercedes-Benz marketing and sales.

by on Jul.22, 2016

Daimler AG Chief Dieter Zetsche is working to find the next generation of Daimler executives, ideally a more diverse group of leaders.

Daimler AG’s top board appointed Britta Seeger to the company’s board of management, responsible for marketing and sales at Mercedes-Benz cars to replace Ola Kallenius.

The 46-year old Seeger, one of the few women to hold a senior executive post within Daimler AG, is one of a group of younger executives being groomed by Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s CEO, for leadership roles with in the German industrial giant.

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Seeger’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2017. She is currently head of Mercedes-Benz operations in Turkey and previously was in charge of Mercedes-Benz operations in South Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

Ralph Nader Inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame

Safety advocate changed the industry, saved "1,000s of lives."

by on Jul.22, 2016

Ralph Nader turned safety into a serious issue for the auto industry.

The man once accused of trying to destroy Detroit now has a permanent home in the Motor City.

Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate credited with changing the way the auto industry operates with his critical book, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” was one of four industry legends inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on Thursday night, joining retired Ford CEO Alan Mulally, automotive engineer Roy Lunn and Bertha Benz, the wife and financier of pioneer Karl Benz.

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“There are thousands of people who would be dead if it weren’t for Ralph Nader,” said publisher Keith Crain as he introduced the 82-year-old Nader to an audience of industry managers and executives gathered for the black tie affair.

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Forget Leather and Wood; Automakers Struggling to Redefine Luxury

Focus shifts to the “total customer experience.”

by on Jul.21, 2016

Lincoln will increase its suite of customers services with the launch of the new Continental.

Leather, wood, a big engine and lots of chrome. Those have been the traditional signatures of a luxury car. But what happens when you can add those same features to an entry-level sedan? That’s a question high-line brands have been struggling to deal with as they face increasing competition from more mainstream manufacturers.

That new reality is forcing luxury marques to shift focus a bit. You’ll still find massaging leather seats on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, open-pore wood on a BMW 7-Series, and a choice of high-performance engines for your next Audi. But you’re likely also to find a variety of new features and services designed, among other things, to simplify and speed up the car buying and service processes.

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What a Luxury!

“Because so many things that used to be considered luxury are now available across the line, the only way to differentiate yourself as a luxury manufacturer is to make the total ownership experience painless and seamless,” said Joe Phillippi, senior analyst with AutoTrends Consulting.

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Tesla, GMC Favorites Among New Vehicle Owners

AutoPacific survey shows Volvo XC70 top vehicle for 2016.

by on Jul.21, 2016

Tesla and the Model S took top honors in AutoPacific's 2016 Ideal Vehicle Awards.

Despite a recent series of high-profile problems, Tesla captured the hearts and minds of its owner group to earn top brand honors on AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards.

The EV maker scored the 2016 Most Ideal Brand Overall while GMC took this year’s Most Ideal Popular Brand title. The top vehicle in the survey was the 2016 Volvo XC70, which won in 2011 and 2012 as well.

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The awards are born out of the automotive research firm’s survey of vehicle owners 90 days after they purchase their vehicles. They ask them what they would change about their vehicles after having some time behind the wheel. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Master Plan Calls for Pickups, More SUVs – and More Non-Auto Ventures

“Part Deux” offers few details on broad strategy.

by on Jul.21, 2016

Tesla CEO Musk outlines a broad new strategy that goes far beyond just offering green cars.

Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk is nothing if not ambitious, based on the expansive new “Master Plan, Part Deux” the executive released late Wednesday, a week later than originally planned.

The blog posting from Musk calls for the California company to flesh out its line-up with an assortment of new battery-electric vehicles, including a “new kind of pickup truck,” as well as an SUV smaller than the current Model X. But it also appears to envision Tesla as a supplier of a broad range of green technology solutions, a move that is based on its planned acquisition of solar panel company SolarCity.

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The theme of the Master Plan is “sustainability,” said Musk, in an almost apocalyptic blog post warning of dire consequences if the world doesn’t get off its oil fix.

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US Truck Sales Battle Begins Heating Up

GM tagged for higher incentives, Ford called out for towing claims.

by on Jul.21, 2016

GM's competitors are wondering if supply levels are low then why do they need spend more on incentives.

(This story has been updated with additional information.)

Sales of pickup trucks have boomed this year, but so too has the competition for sales, which is heating up across the board.

General Motors, for example, has been called out for raising incentives recently, according to a widely circulated piece from Bloomberg News.

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Incentives averaged $7,962 on the Chevrolet Silverado, up 76% from June levels, and $9,457 on the GMC Sierra, an increase of 147%, according to J.D. Power data obtained by Bloomberg. Read the rest of this entry »