Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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BREAKING: Michelin, Takata Win $80M Rollover Crash Suit In Fla. Trial

A Florida jury on Wednesday afternoon cleared Michelin and Takata in an $80 million suit that alleged a defective tire and seatbelt caused catastrophic injuries in a 2009 rollover crash of a Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Following a two-month trial, the jury found in favor of Michelin North America Inc. and Takata Corp. in Kiara Dukes' suit claiming that her accident was caused by a defective tire. She had also alleged that her Takata seatbelt unlatched and caused her to fly out the car during the crash. The jury unanimously ruled Wednesday that neither Dukes nor co-plaintiff Brandon Ellis was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

[Law360]

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Industry Interests, Litigation
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Uber’s $100 Million Driver Pay Settlement Rejected by Judge

Uber Technologies Inc. may come out ahead by failing to win court approval of a $100 million settlement with drivers.

A San Francisco federal judge rejected the agreement on Thursday, a turn of events that would typically encourage the ride-hailing giant to sweeten the deal with more cash or concessions. In this case though, Uber may walk away from further negotiations because an appeals court has hinted it might overrule a key pretrial ruling in the fight over whether drivers must be treated as employees, the drivers’ lawyer has warned.

[Bloomberg]

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Industry Interests
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Self-driving cars go public; Uber offers rides in Pittsburgh

The option to hail a ride in a self-driving car, which was science fiction just a few years ago, will soon be available to Uber users in Pittsburgh, the first time the technology has been offered to the general public.

Within weeks, the company announced Thursday, customers will be able to opt into a test program and summon an autonomous Ford Fusion. But since the technology has not been perfected, the cars will come with human backup drivers to handle any unexpected situations.

[Associated Press]

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Industry Interests
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VW to cut hours for 10,000 workers in Wolfsburg amid supplier row

Volkswagen will cut working hours for more than 10,000 staff at its Wolfsburg base and reduce output at two more German sites, a source close to the company said, as the carmaker faces supply problems caused by a parts maker not keeping to delivery commitments. Europe's largest automaker had said that production of its top-selling Golf model at Wolfsburg was being hit because supplier ES Automobilguss GmbH has stopped delivering cast iron parts needed to make gearboxes. A spokesman for ES Automobilguss said by email: "Our consortium is in a legal dispute with Volkswagen and is obliged maintain confidentiality." 

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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VW gets German approval for tech fixes on 140,000 2.0-liter cars

Volkswagen has received approval by Germany's motor vehicle authority KBA for technical fixes on another 140,000 2.0-litre diesel cars with illegal emissions control software, a spokesman said. The number of Volkswagen vehicles cleared for repair by the KBA since the start of the year has risen to about 5.2 million, the spokesman told Reuters. Approval by Germany's KBA is valid for countries throughout Europe, where 8.5 million diesel cars are affected by VW's emissions-test cheating scandal.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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Alexa, fire up that Genesis: Amazon and Hyundai partnership links connected homes With connected cars

Amazon and Hyundai have teamed up to pair Alexa with Genesis, adding smarts for more convenience when it comes to connected cars and connected. Alexa is Amazon's increasingly popular digital assistant, which enables users to issue voice commands via their Amazon Echo speakers or Fire TV. The voice-controlled assistant just got even more interesting, as it can now boot up Hyundai's Genesis G80and G90.

[TechTimes]

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Industry Interests
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In race to get driverless cars on the road, Ford speeds ahead

Ford Motor Co. revealed in broad strokes Tuesday an ambitious strategy to make fully autonomous cars available for sale by 2021. At first they’ll be used for ride sharing and ride hailing, with sales to individual drivers an indeterminate number of years after that, Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said. 

“This is a transformational moment in our industry and it is a transformational moment for our company,” Fields said outside Ford’s Palo Alto research center in Silicon Valley. “The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago.”

[Los Angeles Times]

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Industry Interests
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Bosch worked 'hand-in-glove' with VW in emissions fraud: lawyers

German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH was a "knowing and active participant" in a decade-long scheme by Volkswagen AG to evade U.S. emissions laws, according to lawyers for U.S. owners of polluting VW diesel vehicles. In a court filing late in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the lawyers cited confidential documents turned over by the German automaker to plaintiffs attorneys in making the new allegations against the auto supplier. Volkswagen declined to comment on the filing, except to say that it had no effect on its multibillion-dollar settlement of a civil complaint over the diesel scandal.

[Reuters]

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Hyundai Motor says it’s discussing partnerships with Google

Hyundai Motor Co. is in discussions with Google about further partnerships as South Korea’s largest carmaker seeks external expertise to remain competitive. The two companies have some common areas that may require cooperation, Hyundai Motor President Jeong Jin Haeng said in an interview in Seoul after a meeting between the trade ministry and local carmakers. Hyundai has been among the most aggressive automakers adopting Apple Inc.’s CarPlay and Alphabet Inc.’s Android Auto, which integrate iPhone and Android handsets with car dashboards.

[Bloomberg]

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Industry Interests
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GM labeled faulty ignition switch a ‘customer satisfaction issue,’ not a safety concern

General Motors failed to designate a flawed ignition switch linked to multiple deaths as a safety concern, chief executive Mary Barra told jurors at a Texas trial. GM engineers in 2004 and 2005 “misdiagnosed it as a customer satisfaction issue and not a safety issue,” Barra said in a video deposition taken last year and played at trial by attorneys for the plaintiff. “A series of mistakes were made over a period of time that caused the ignition-switch defect,’’ Barra testified. 

[Washington Post]

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