Over seven years, California has spent $430 million on low-emission vehicle subsidies to help lower the cost for car buyers. Now the state Legislature is looking to extend that by another seven years, but with a price tag of $3 billion. Assembly Bill 1184 is being slammed for leaving basic questions unanswered, including the biggest one: Where would the money come from?
While a proposed border adjustment tax on goods including cars and trucks appears to have been pulled off the political stove by House Republicans, the North American Free Trade Agreement is still on a burner. A new study commissioned by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and conducted by Boston Consulting Group suggests that the U.S. leaving NAFTA would drive up prices of vehicles sold in the U.S. through suggested tariffs on autos and auto parts coming into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. A renegotiation of NAFTA, however, could benefit the auto industry, said Ann Wilson, senior vice president for government affairs for the association.
United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said he is “confident” the union can win a vote at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, plant early next month, which would mark a major victory for the union in its attempts to organize in the South. Williams, who met with members of the media at the union’s headquarters in Detroit, said he feels at the moment that the vote will pass, but cautioned that “any campaign you do is an ongoing evaluation.” He said the UAW has received reports of Nissan employees intimidating plant workers that the Canton factory could close, or other things would change if the plant was unionized.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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