Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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Toyota turns to rental lots for lift in slowing market

As automakers in the U.S. struggle to keep selling new cars to American consumers at a record clip, Toyota Motor Corp. plans to turn to rental car companies and other fleet operators for a boost. Toyota will nearly match last year's total sales to fleet customers, which means the company has some catching up to do. Deliveries to rental car companies and other fleets were down by about 20 percent during the first six months of the year, according to Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota's North American operations.

[Automotive News]

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GM tops Tesla as most valuable carmaker in U.S.

After three months as the nation’s most valuable automaker, a bad week in an otherwise stellar year has knocked Tesla from the top perch. Tesla’s growth remains stellar, with shares soaring close to 50 percent this year, twice that at General Motors Co., which retook the spot. Ford Motor Co. has actually fallen in value this year.

[Detroit News]

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Dodge Ram Drivers Sue Fiat, Cummins Over Diesel Engines

A proposed class of Dodge Ram owners has sued Fiat Chrysler and Cummins Inc. in Michigan federal court, claiming Fiat knowingly sold hundreds of thousands of trucks with defective Cummins diesel engines that dramatically reduced fuel efficiency and engine performance. The drivers allege that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC and Cummins have known since at least 2014 that the selective catalytic converter, or SCR, was defective in Dodge Ram 2500s and 3500s with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines built for model years 2013-2017. The SCR system breaks down, clogging the engine’s diesel particulate filter with soot and requiring more fuel to be used in an attempt to burn off that soot, the complaint says.

[Law360]

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Companies want feds to take charge on self-driving cars

Until now, states have been driving self-driving vehicle regulations, but the federal government appears poised to take the wheel in a move that could have sweeping effects on interstate travel and commerce, vehicle manufacturing and the United States’ position as a global competitor.  “For this technology to reach its potential, you’re going to need some certainty and not have this patchwork of state and local regulation,” said Michael Drobac, a senior adviser on technology and public policy for McGuireWoods LLP. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection discussed 14 separate proposals for federal regulation of autonomous vehicles.

[Law360]

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High-tech dashboards signal big changes for auto parts suppliers

Peer at the instrument panel on your new car and you may find sleek digital gauges and multicolored screens. But a glimpse behind the dashboard could reveal what U.S. auto supplier Visteon Corp found: a mess.  As automotive cockpits become crammed with ever more digital features such as navigation and entertainment systems, the electronics holding it all together have become a rat's nest of components made by different parts makers.

[Reuters]

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Acura owners denied cert. in Honda autodialing suit

A California federal judge declined to certify a proposed class of Acura owners who accused American Honda Motor Co. of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making unsolicited calls, finding that not all claims were uniform because some plaintiffs had consented to receive the calls.  U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall said that although named plaintiff Samuel Katz had not consented to the calls, Honda had shown that some plaintiffs had signed lease agreements in which they consented to receiving calls. He said this meant Katz’s claims were not typical of the class and the issue of consent would be better determined on an individualized basis rather than under the umbrella of a class action.

[Law360]

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Ford creates robotics, artificial intelligence team

Ford Motor Co. plans to create a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Research team aimed at boosting technology development for the automaker as autonomy and mobility become more important parts of the company.  Ken Washington, Ford vice president of research and advanced engineering and chief technology officer, wrote that “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous,” and the new team will help Ford focus on developing elements to help the company meet its goal to change how people move.  The team brings parts of Ford’s research wing onto one team to evaluate vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and “other aerial robotics to enhance first-and-last mile travel,” according to Washington’s blog.

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FTC and other consumer protection agencies unveil updated website for International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network

The Federal Trade Commission and consumer protection agencies in more than 60 other countries that are part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) today unveiled an update of ICPEN’s website – www.icpen.org – to help members identify and respond to consumer challenges that cross international borders.  ICPEN is an international network of consumer protection authorities that aims to protect consumers from fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair commercial practices around the world by sharing information about cross-border issues and encouraging global cooperation among law enforcement agencies. ICPEN’s updated website, which includes a mobile-friendly version, provides consumers with information on how to avoid scams and shop safely online. The site also includes information about how consumers can find help and file a complaint in cross-border disputes.

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Cities lure self-driving car jobs in a gold rush

The development of self-driving cars has pitched a handful of cities into a new gold rush, a chance to be on the forefront of a new technology that will give rise to billion-dollar companies and thousands of new jobs. The stakes are enormous. Last year, Goldman Sachs projected the market for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles would grow from about $3 billion in 2015 to $96 billion in 2025 and $290 billion in 2035.

[Detroit Free Press]

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Google car firm Waymo signs self-driving car deal with rental firm Avis Budget

Former Google car project Waymo has signed a deal with Avis Budget Group to service and house a fleet of self-driving vehicles being tested in Phoenix, giving the rental car agency a foothold in the budding market for autonomous transportation. The agreement accelerates Waymo's effort to commercialize its self-driving car technology, which is beginning a real-world pilot program after years of tests. Google parent Alphabet Inc. owns Waymo.

[Detroit Free Press]

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