Next Stop In Ford’s Plan Mexico

Posted by jg on April 9th, 2016 in Category Car News, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The auto industry is a tight competition where a single concept or model can change everything, which is why a new factory is important. Ford Motor Co. plans to build a new $1.6 billion auto assembly plant in Mexico, creating about 2,800 jobs and shifting small-car production from the U.S. at a time when moving jobs south of the border has become a major issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

The company announced the plant in the San Luis Potosi state Tuesday without saying specifically what cars it will build there. But the United Auto Workers union has said Ford plans to shift production of the Focus compact and C-Max small gas-electric hybrid from suburban Detroit to Mexico, where the cars can be made at lower cost and more profitably.

The UAW’s new four-year contract with Ford, signed last year, guarantees new vehicles for the Wayne, Michigan, assembly plant and a $700 million investment that preserves the plant’s 3,924 jobs. Union members have said they expect the factory to get a new version of the Ranger small pickup and a new small SUV called the Bronco.

Ford announced the Mexican plant on the day of the key Wisconsin primary. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has railed about corporate America moving jobs to Mexico to take advantage of what he calls a lopsided trade deal. He has vowed to rewrite the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, tax imports and punish U.S. companies including Ford.

In response, the automaker has highlighted its investments in the U.S. At the New York auto show in March, CEO Mark Fields said Ford spends more than 80 percent of its capital in the U.S. and has committed to spending another $8 billion to $9 billion in the next four years.

“Since 2011 we’ve invested over $10 billion in our facilities. We’ve hired over 25,000 people” in the U.S., Fields said.

Auto and other manufacturing jobs have been moving south for years. Mexican auto production more than doubled in the past decade, and the consulting firm IHS Automotive expects it to rise another 50 percent to just under 5 million vehicles by 2022. U.S. production is expected to increase only 3 percent, to 12.2 million vehicles, in the next 7 years.

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“Smart” Tires, Leaps And Bounds Ahead Of Todays Tires, Ready For Autonomous Driving

Posted by jg on March 14th, 2016 in Category Car News, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

When driving your car one major concern of companies is making sure that the car can drive and stop safely, which relies heavily on the tires itself.

Perhaps a bit lost among the myriad exotic car introductions at this week’s Geneva Auto show are automotive concepts of a different nature. Let’s call them “smart tires.”

Designed specifically for the coming generation of autonomous driving cars, Goodyear unveiled two concepts that are miles ahead of today’s tires in terms of technology and safety.

The most advanced of them is the Goodyear Eagle-360. For starters, it’s spherical-shaped, looking like a kids’ playground kickball from the side. The tire maker says this unusual profile will allow a car to move in all directions, thus enabling easier and safer maneuvering and the ability to navigate and park in tight urban environments. Meanwhile, the irregular tread design is said to mimic the pattern of brain coral so it can essentially behave like a sponge, remaining stiff while dry, but softening when wet for improved performance and added protection against aquaplaning on slick roads.

Someone say “connectivity?” Indeed Goodyear’s futuristic concept incorporates sensors that would communicate road and weather conditions to the vehicle (as well as other cars in the area), with advanced tire-pressure monitoring to help maintain even wear and extend its longevity.

But perhaps the most futuristic aspect of the Eagle-360 is that it would incorporate a magnetic levitation system that could suspend the vehicle (slightly we assume) from the pavement, thus affording a smooth and quiet ride. We can see the advertising banner now: “It’s like driving on a ball of air!”

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In Terrible Road Conditions It Pays To Go Slow But Will You Have To Pay For A Ticket Too

Posted by jg on February 9th, 2016 in Category Car News, News from Canada, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Slow and steady wins the race, especially when the driving conditions and the roads are dangerous. When the roads are lousy, don’t be afraid to slow down – going the speed limit could actually get you a ticket in British Columbia, says the RCMP.

“Safety first,” says RCMP Corporal Ronda McEwen, with E division traffic services, in an e-mail. “The posted speed limit is the maximum in ideal conditions so, in many cases, travelling at a reduced speed is very much appropriate and required.”

Driving too fast when roads are snowy or slippery or when you can’t see due to fog or snow could get you a $167 fine and 3 demerit points in British Columbia – even if you’re driving at or below the speed limit.

If the speed limit is 120 km/h but you can only go 70 km/h without losing control, then that’s the speed you have to go, McEwen says.

“If a driver travels at a speed that is appropriate given the road conditions, they will not be ticketed,” McEwen says.

The rules vary by province. In Ontario, you could be charged with careless driving if you’re going the speed limit in lousy conditions – but it’s not likely, says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.

“Careless driving is a pretty high threshold,” Schmidt says. “The speed limit is the maximum for ideal conditions – in less than ideal conditions, we don’t want people driving dangerously or carelessly.”

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Will People Miss Driving With Autonomous Driving

Posted by jg on January 15th, 2016 in Category Car News, Go Green, News from Canada, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Technology keeps advancing quickly especially with self driving cars, but will you miss driving once you don’t have to any more.

Mercedes-Benz , Cadillac, Volvo–not to mention Google GOOGL -1.51%, Tesla and, rumor has it, Apple AAPL +0.00%–are all racing to relieve drivers of that fun. Within five years, most automakers say, they’ll offer highly automated cars that can handle stop-and-go traffic and freeway speeds without any driver input. In ten years drivers will be able to work or even take a nap during their commute. Volvo just unveiled the Time Machine, a futuristic cockpit with a 25-inch flat-screen that rotates out of the dashboard as the steering wheel retreats and the driver reclines. Google is developing self-driving cars that don’t even come with a steering wheel or gas pedal.

This is the future, asserts Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk. “Any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy will have negative value,” he predicted in a November conference call with Wall Street analysts. “It will be like owning a horse. You’re really owning it for sentimental reasons.”

Not everyone thinks so. “It’s not just getting from point A to point B,” says Mazda’s soft-spoken CEO, Masamichi Kogai, who heads up perhaps the only major automaker that is not working on autonomous cars. “Our mission is to provide the essence of driving pleasure.

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The Process Of Creating A Car Before You Drive It Off The Lot

Posted by jg on December 2nd, 2015 in Category Car News, Charity News, News from Canada, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

When you go to purchase a car off the lot have you ever thought of what it takes for each car to get there? You may not be surprised to hear that cars do not spring all shiny and dew-studded from beneath lily pads, ready to hit the road. In fact, the car-creation odyssey makes NASA’s Journey to Mars program seem like a Caribbean luxury cruise. While we frequently address elements of the design and development process on this page, this is the first time we’ve presented the entire start-to-finish plan; this year’s 10 Best celebration seemed like the perfect time and place to do so. One domestic and one import manufacturer—both requesting anonymity for competitive reasons—helped compile this guide to how cars are made.

We gathered related tasks under five headings.

The time required is the most interesting and secretive part of a car’s gestation; a crash program to replace a dead-on-its-wheels product may take only half the time invested in a normal, full-redesign effort.

In our illustrations, the clock begins when the generals gather to spur their troops to action. The end is when the new model reaches showrooms. On average, the entire process takes 72 months. There’s overlap to save time, as revealed by the start and finish months listed in each of the five category headings. After-sale activities—including service issues, continuous improvement, and midlife face lifts—are not included in this account. That’s for another 10Best.

  1. INVENTION

MONTHS 0–72

Research market, including in-house and field investigations, to identify the role of this product and its components in the global portfolio; define separation from similar models sold by sister brands

Identify special features, advantages, and potential world, U.S., or segment firsts

Define competitive set, target customers; set curb-weight, fuel-economy, and performance goals

Competitive assessment

Powertrain selection

Budget, funding, pricing, investment considerations

Computer-aided-engineering (CAE) analysis

Customer, press, analyst clinics

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What Are The Rules When A Car Drives Itself? DMV Is Still Deciding

Posted by jg on November 2nd, 2015 in Category Car News, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

If the car makes a wrong turn, goes to fast or to slow because of the technology controlling it rather than the driver, who is to blame the one in the driver’s seat or the car controlling it.

When the Florida Highway Patrol pulled him over this month for driving too fast, Brooks Weisblat didn’t bother telling the officer that his Tesla Model S had been driving itself.

“That would have definitely got me a ticket,” said Weisblat, who got a warning notice instead.

Florida doesn’t have a driver’s handbook dictating robot rules of the road. No state does, but California could become the global model next year when it publishes first-in-the-world consumer rules for self-driving cars.

Those regulations are already a year behind schedule. Among the problems vexing officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles is how to handle not just the machines but their overtrusting owners.

“The technology is ready. I’m not sure the people are ready,” said Weisblat, who along with his Model S and its new Autopilot feature didn’t notice the sign warning that the freeway speed limit had dropped by 10 miles per hour as it approached Miami. “You still need to pay attention.”

Google has for years been testing vehicles near its Mountain View headquarters that are meant to be fully autonomous, requiring no human intervention except a rider’s voice saying “Take me to the supermarket.” But most carmakers developing self-driving technology are working on tools that relieve but don’t entirely replace human drivers.

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What Volkswagen Is Doing To Handle The Scandal

Posted by jg on October 15th, 2015 in Category Car News, Go Green, News from Canada, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The car industry is looking into different car companies emissions test now after Volkswagen cheated.

As Volkswagen AG strategizes to keep its business afloat and put its current crisis – the rigging of its “clean” diesel cars to cheat on U.S. emissions tests and misleading customers about its TDI vehicles’ green credentials — behind it, it must face the fact that the debacle will likely dog its reputation for years.

Not only will the actual fixes to diesel cars take two years or more to sort out, but New York Times reporter Jack Ewing has struck a six-figure book deal to write the yarn of what happened. Megastar Leonardo DiCaprio has already signed on to be a co-producer of the film version and might even star in the story. With the book taking a year or so to produce, and the movie presumably taking another year after that to make, VW can count on an epic rehash of the debacle after two years of damage control.

Conversations with several current and former Volkswagen executives over the past week since VW of America CEO Michael Horn testified before Congress portray a company that is vast and layered with bureaucracy, on top of a culture of fear and engineering arrogance.

One longtime executive said, “I can totally see how this could happen and very top managers not know. … I’m not saying that they didn’t know, but it is possible.”

How could that be? “You have no idea how much stuff lands on the desk of these senior guys to approve and sign, and they rely on their underlings to organize it,” said another former executive who now works for a different car company. Said another: “It’s possible, too, that the engineers couched the software addition in language that very senior people who signed off were meant to not see what it really was.”

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Starting Off The Fall Season With Big Discounts At Car Dealerships

Posted by jg on September 2nd, 2015 in Category Car News, Charity News, Donations, Go Green, News from Canada, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

With school starting, now is not a generally busy car-buying month for most people. However, car dealerships have been trying to rectify that, their silence seems to hint that big deals are on the horizon.

This makes for a buying opportunity.

Take Kia. The 2015 Soul qualifies for an extra $1,000 in bonus cash as part of Kia’s end of summer “Best-in-Class” 12-day sale. That brings the combined factory and dealer discounts to about $3,000 on a $22,195 wagon-like runabout.

Ford, of course, will wind down summer with its annual Employee Pricing extravaganza. The $2,551 discount on the Fusion sedan can be combined with 1.49 per cent financing for up to 60 months. Insiders suggest the savvy shopper will be able to squeeze out even more in hard negotiations.

Also consider models like the Hyundai Elantra, which is coming to the end of its current body style (Hyundai has released teaser illustrations of the next-generation Elantra). To keep interest healthy, Hyundai has slapped a $4,000 spiff on a $25,549 Elantra. And you should get at least another $1,000 in a negotiated dealer discount. That comes to at least a 20 per cent total discount on this Elantra.

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Ford Cools Down The Temperature To Test Winter Driving

Posted by jg on August 23rd, 2015 in Category Car Humor, Car News, Charity News, Go Green, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Fall is just around the corner and winter testing for cars is already here.

It’s a steamy 35 C in this small city on the Florida panhandle. Meanwhile, I am inside a giant chamber, suited up in full winter gear and watching snowflakes fall from the ceiling onto a line of vehicles below.

It’s -28 C inside the McKinley Climatic Laboratory on the Eglin Air Force Base, and Ford is showing me how it tests its cars and trucks for winter compatibility.

“One of the things we’re looking at is cold starts,” says Rich Shimon, technical expert on gasoline powertrain calibration for Ford. “When drivers get into the vehicle, they expect it to start right away and have a comfortable idle speed. Our job is to make sure our vehicles do that under any conceivable condition and with any conceivable fuel, and now we’re doing the extreme cold-weather testing.”

Accurate testing depends on stable conditions, which is why McKinley was constructed in the first place. Many fighter planes wouldn’t start in the cold during the Second World War, and since it couldn’t count on consistent weather outside, the U.S. government commissioned the facility for testing during equipment development. It was finished in 1947, and following a major renovation that wrapped up in 1997, it was then opened up to outside companies. It runs 24 hours a day and is fully booked for the next three years.

Its five chambers can reproduce any type of weather, except tornadoes and lightning strikes. It’s the largest in the world at 5,110 square metres, can go from a high of 48 C to a low of -65 C overnight, and can replicate hurricanes, fog, freezing rain and sandstorms.

Depending on the chamber used and the type of weather requested, rental costs range from $8,000 to $30,000 (U.S.) per day.

Ford uses the big chamber for three weeks each year, primarily because of its capacity. “We’re able to get 72 vehicles and 54 engineers into the chamber,” Shimon says. Back in Michigan, his team has to share Ford’s four smaller test chambers with other departments, and it would take months to do what he can achieve in Florida in three weeks.

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Car Sales New Technique Is To Focus On Tech

Posted by jg on July 30th, 2015 in Category Car Humor, Car News, Charity News, Donations, Go Green, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The new generations of car buyers love their social media, smart phone and tablets and having a car with compatible technologies is right up their ally.

Targeting techies is an important marketing strategy for automakers, according to a study released today by J.D. Power.

The company’s 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report — Summer edition found that 30 percent of new-vehicle drivers cited their vehicle’s latest technology as a reason for purchasing.

 

J.D. Power has released the report twice a year since 1987, but this is the first time respondents were asked about technology features as a reason for purchase.

 

Among luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 43 percent said cutting-edge technology features influenced their purchase. Lincoln, Infiniti, Cadillac and Audi drivers had the highest proportions of respondents who cited technology features as a reason for purchasing.

 

Among non luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 28 percent were looking for the latest technology. Mazda, Buick and Chrysler drivers were the most interested in technology when deciding on a vehicle.

 

“Targeting these technology seekers with the right messaging is critical to using marketing dollars effectively to reach consumers who will actually buy new vehicles because of technology,” Arianne Walker, J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive media and marketing, said in a statement today.

 

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