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Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

Waymo Kicks Off Autonomous Taxi and Ride Sharing Service

Autonomous service starts in Phoenix.

by Michael Strong on Dec.05, 2018

This scene may become more common as Waymo One kicks off service in Arizona.

Self-driving ride-sharing service is here. Well, it’s in Arizona, technically, but the day that Uber, Lyft and others have waiting for has arrived with the debut of Waymo One, Waymo’s autonomous taxi and ride-sharing service.

The service operates in a 100-square-mile zone covering four Phoenix suburbs: Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The company has been testing its vehicles in the area since 2016, including offering free rides earlier this year to generate some goodwill for autonomous vehicles.

Business News!

“Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public,” John Krafcik, Waymo’s CEO wrote in a blog post. “Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully.” (more…)

Live from Los Angeles!

EVs, SUVs and sports cars on display in City of Angels.

by tdb on Nov.28, 2018

The 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show now winding down. This year’s event has a parade of EVs, AVs, plug-in hybrids as well as a few – gasp – cars!

Top executives and designers have been on hand in Southern California offering insights to the compelling new vehicles  and their development and production, and TheDetroitBureau.com is still there, making sure to catch the breaking news as executives leave town and still offering looks at the latest models so keep checking back with us. (more…)

VW Reveals Commercial Version of All-Electric I.D. Buzz Microbus

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo “could” reach production by 2022.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.27, 2018

Volkswagen continues pushing the evolution of its Microbus with the new I.D. Buzz Cargo.

In its push into electrification, Volkswagen plans to bring back a retro-futuristic version of its legendary Microbus, the all-electric I.D. Buzz. And, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, the German automaker will reveal a commercial version of the van it is calling the I.D. Buzz Cargo.

The commercial version will offer as much as 340 miles of battery range — which it says can be extended by the use of a solar roof. The I.D. Buzz Cargo also will feature full autonomous driving capabilities, according to a VW statement released ahead of the commercial van’s formal unveiling in L.A. on Wednesday.

Park Yourself Here!

“The Cargo could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022,” VW said. It did not confirm whether it plans to bring the commercial version of the I.D. Buzz to the U.S. market, as well, however. (more…)

FedEx to Add 1,000 Chinese EV Vans to Delivery Fleet

Delivery service hopes to reduce costs, as well as emissions.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.20, 2018

FedEx plans to add 1,000 of the Chanje vans to its U.S. delivery fleet.

FedEx Corp. is plugging into battery power, the delivery service announcing today it will add 1,000 Chinese-made vans to its fleet as part of a commitment to reduce both energy consumption and vehicle emissions.

It joins a growing list of delivery services, including UPS and Deutsche Post, that are testing out the capabilities of fully electric trucks for use on both short and long-haul routes.

Green News!

“FedEx continually seeks new ways to maximize operational efficiency, minimize impacts and find innovative solutions through the company’s Reduce, Replace, Revolutionize approach to sustainability,” said Mitch Jackson, FedEx Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our investment in these vehicles is part of our commitment to that approach of serving our customers and connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully.”

(more…)

Driving to Thanksgiving Dinner? It’ll Cost More and Take Longer

Gas prices hitting five-year high, drivers up 4.8%.

by Michael Strong on Nov.09, 2018

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, drivers can expect to spend as much as four times longer getting to their destination.

For the past few years, more and more Americans have been racking up miles on their cars, trucks, minivans, etc., setting new records for miles traveled. That’s also been the case for big holidays and it’s expected to continue for Thanksgiving this year.

AAA predicts that more than 54 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Turkey Day later this month. That is a 4.8% increase over last year’s total.

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The 2018 holiday weekend – defined as Nov. 21–25 – will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.  (more…)

FCA, Honda and VW Lead October Auto Sales

Ford, Toyota and Nissan struggle in first month of new quarter.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.01, 2018

The Jeep Wrangler led Fiat Chrysler to a 16% sales jump in October. The vehicle is setting new sales records.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Honda and Volkswagen of America set the mark for industry sales in October, reporting sales increases, while rivals such as Ford Motor Co, Toyota and Nissan struggled as sales of new vehicles slowed in October.

FCA’s 15% jump in sales was paced by Jeep, particularly the new Jeep Wrangler, which is setting sales records, and the Ram brand.

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Honda, meanwhile, said its sales increase by 6.4% thanks not only to strong sales of its trucks and sport-utility vehicles, but also of its electrified vehicles, which set a record for the second consecutive month, according to the company’s sales release.  (more…)

Ford, Baidu Ink Autonomous Test Deal in China as Waymo Starts in California Despite Protests

Disparate reactions to autonomous vehicle testing.

by Michael Strong on Nov.01, 2018

Ford's Sherif Marakby and Baidu's Zhenyu Li shake hands, confirming the new autonomous testing deal between the two companies.

Ford Motor Co. just inked a deal with Baidu Inc. to conduct two years of autonomous vehicle testing on the roads of China as Waymo is getting approval to engage in its own self-driving vehicle tests in California despite the protests of watchdog groups.

The Baidu-Ford L4 Autonomous Vehicle Test Project is set to begin by the end of this year, the automaker noted. The project will develop and test autonomous vehicles that are designed to meet the Level 4 (L4) driving automation standard as defined by SAE International.

Global News!

Level 4 vehicles are capable of operating autonomously within a specific geographic area and under certain weather conditions. Ford engineers have already started the process working at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center, which was set up to convert the vehicles into Autonomous Vehicle Platforms in order to prepare them to be fit with Baidu’s Apollo Virtual Driver System.  (more…)

Daimler AG Stumbles as Third Quarter Earnings Drop

CEO Zetsche expresses optimism about fourth quarter.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.25, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche expressed optimism about the fourth quarter.

Daimler Group earnings declined by 26% during the third quarter as earnings before interest and taxes dropped to 2.5 billion euros from the 3.4 billion posted in the third quarter of 2017.

Daimler’s net earnings of 1.76 billion euros were significantly below the prior-year figure of 2.23 billion euros but Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the outlook for the balance of the year was encouraging.

Insight!

“The automotive industry and thus also Daimler are still in a very challenging environment. The continued high demand from our customers makes us confident for the fourth quarter,” Zetsche said. (more…)

Consumer Reports: Domestic Vehicle Reliability Slipping

Domestic brands struggled in this year's survey.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.25, 2018

Toyota and its luxury sibling topped this year's Consumer Reports reliability survey of 29 brands.

Toyota and Lexus came out on top in Consumer Reports annual reliability survey thanks in large part to a cautious approach to adapting to new technology.

However, the Toyota Tundra, the automaker’s entry into the full-size truck segment, slipped off Consumer Reports list of recommended vehicles, Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing, disclosed during a meeting of Detroit’s Automotive Press Association.

News You Can Trust!

Fisher said overall it was a difficult year for domestic brands as Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Chrysler were among the brands that dropped in the Consumer Report’s new car reliability survey. Honda, which performed well in earlier years, also has slipped, he said.  (more…)