Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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U.S. reopens Harley Settlement, cutting funds for pollution reduction plan

Last year the United States government fined Harley-Davidson $15 million for selling devices that shut down its motorcycles’ emissions controls — and said part of that money would go toward a project to reduce pollution from wood-fired stoves. The Trump administration said Harley-Davidson was no longer required to fund the antipollution program, knocking $3 million off the company’s bill. The move followed a decision last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to halt a longstanding practice under which polluters could be compelled to pay for environmental or community projects, in addition to fines and direct compensation to victims.

[New York Times]

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UAW talking to GM about impact of car sales slump on U.S. jobs

The president of the United Auto Workers union said the union is talking with General Motors Co about the potential threat to plants and jobs from slumping U.S. car sales.  "We are talking to (GM) right now about the products that they currently have" at underused car plants such as Hamtramck in Michigan and Lordstown in Ohio, and whether they might be replaced with newer, more popular vehicles such as crossovers, Dennis Williams told reporters.  "We are tracking it (and) we are addressing it," Williams added.  

[Reuters]

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House Subcommittee OKs Self-Driving Vehicle Legislation

A U.S. House subcommittee approved proposed legislation that would federally regulate self-driving vehicles, a bipartisan effort that legislators on both sides of the aisle said was driven by a desire to improve safety on the nation’s roadways.  The Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act moved out of the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection after a voice vote and will now go before the full Energy and Commerce Committee.  The proposal requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work on several rules governing autonomous vehicles and defines the roles of the federal, state and local governments in regulating such automobiles.

[Law360]

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VW Bondholders Can Press On In Emissions Scandal MDL

Bondholders can continue to bring a putative class action against Volkswagen alleging inflated bond values caused by the 2015 diesel emissions scandal, a California federal judge ruled, though he trimmed some claims against corporate and individual defendants.  Lead plaintiff Puerto Rico Government Employees and Judiciary Retirement Systems Administration purchased more than 4,100 bonds as part of a May 2014 offering from Volkswagen Group of America Finance LLC.  It accuses the company of violating the Securities Exchange Act by failing to disclose its emissions fraud in bond offering documents, causing the bonds to sell at inflated prices.

[Law360]

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U.S. says 2.7 million additional Takata air bag inflators to be recalled

A former Audi AG manager is being charged with fraud by the Justice Department for his alleged role in helping Volkswagen AG skirt U.S. emissions standards, a person familiar with the matter said. Giovanni Pamio is facing charges of conspiracy, fraud and violating the Clean Air Act in a criminal complaint filed in Detroit, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn't been made public. Pamio is the eighth person charged in the U.S. case, which has cost Volkswagen more than $24 billion in government penalties and owner restitution. 

[Reuters]

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Audi A8 adopts new level of autonomous driving

The retooled A8 will become Audi's first production vehicle capable of Level 3 autonomous driving, the company said at the sedan's launch. Audi becomes the first car company to claim to offer Level 3 capability on a production vehicle, which allows hands-off capability but requires the driver to take back control at any time. The car can drive autonomously at speeds up to 37 mph (60 kph) in a setting Audi calls Traffic Jam Pilot.

[Automotive News]

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U.S. EPA chief says to treat diesel emissions cheating 'very aggressively'

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said the agency must ensure Volkswagen AG's excess diesel emissions is not repeated, and will treat improper behavior by automakers "very aggressively." Since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to illegally using software to evade emissions regulations, the EPA has been investigating diesel issues in a number of other automakers including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Daimler AG. In March, VW pleaded guilty to three felonies in a U.S. court and faces three years of probation and oversight by a court appointed monitor.

[Reuters]

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NHTSA reconsidering maximum fuel efficiency penalties

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is indefinitely delaying the institution of higher maximum penalties for automakers who don’t meet fuel efficiency standards as the agency seeks further comment on the proposed change, according to two notices released. A final rule that would’ve increased the maximum penalty for exceeding Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards from $5.50 to $14 per 10th of a mile per gallon was due to take effect, but the NHTSA opted to hold off on implementing the change because it hadn’t adequately considered “all of the relevant issues.” Those issues included the possible economic consequences of increasing CAFE penalties by possibly $1 billion per year, the agency said.

[Law360]

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Neomi Rao, the Scholar Who Will Help Lead Trump’s Regulatory Overhaul

Neomi Rao is expected to run an obscure but powerful office at the heart of President Trump’s plan to reshape government rules.

[New York Times]

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Waymo drops most patent claims in car tech fight with Uber

Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car division, dropped three of four patent-infringement claims in its lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. over the startup’s autonomous vehicle program.  Waymo’s decision to include patent claims in its complaint against Uber was a surprise move for Google parent Alphabet, which normally prides itself on limiting patent fights. The bulk of Waymo’s case is not over patents, but trade secrets.

[Bloomberg]

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