Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive

Industry Interests

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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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Aston Martin electric car goes limited edition after LeEco exit

British sports car maker Aston Martin has scaled back production plans for its first electric model after cash-strapped investment partner LeEco pulled out of the project, Chief Executive Andy Palmer told Reuters. The result, though, may be an even more exclusive car, aimed at customers who consider Tesla's top of the range $130,000 Model S to be a little too run of the mill. Aston Martin will build only 155 of its RapidE, about a third of the initial plan, and lean more heavily on Formula One engineering specialist Williams after the withdrawal of Chinese TV and smartphone vendor LeEco, Palmer said.

[Reuters]

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Takata files for bankruptcy following air bag recalls and lawsuits

Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people. The company's bankruptcy filings cleared the way for a $1.6-billion takeover of most of Takata's assets by rival Key Safety Systems, which is based in Detroit but owned by a Chinese company. Takata's inflators can explode with too much force when they fill up an air bag, spewing out shrapnel. Apart from the fatalities, they're responsible for at least 180 injuries worldwide.

[Los Angeles Times]

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BMW and Volkswagen Try to Beat Apple and Google at Their Own Game

European carmakers and suppliers are trying to build the computing capacity they will need as vehicles digitize and become driverless.

[New York Times]

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Kia tops J.D. Power quality rankings amid shake-up

Kia took the top spot in J.D. Power's annual report card on vehicle quality for a second consecutive year, as industry ratings reached a new record and domestic brands maintained their edge over foreign rivals. Kia, with 72 problems reported per 100 vehicles, was able to retain its No. 1 position despite a shake-up in the 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study rankings that included significant shifts with the German and Japanese brands -- most notably, Toyota and Lexus -- falling behind many U.S. and Korean brands. "This is without question the best quality the world has ever seen," Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power, said when releasing the results at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit.

[Automotive News]

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Uber CEO Kalanick quits under pressure from investors

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned after a series of controversies that rocked the world's largest technology startup and exposed deep problems with its male-dominated culture. The man most closely identified with the ride-hailing giant's meteoric global ascent said he was ceding to investors' wishes that he step aside, in part to avoid yet another conflict. Uber has been hit by scandal after scandal this year, from allegations of sexual harassment and the use of "Greyball" software to bypass regulators to the mishandling of a 2014 Indian rape case.

[Automotive News]

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