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Found 14 results

  1. The current laws and regulations concerning how vehicles are sold are, to put it mildly, a complete mess thanks to states having different versions. Experts can't seem to agree whether the current rules are good or bad. One thing that they can agree on is buying a vehicle is an unpleasant experience due to the current regulations. The Federal Trade Commission held a workshop yesterday as a possible first step to unravel the mess. The big topic that was covered was in the workshop was direct sales with a variety of people on either side of the argument to make their case. For Direct Sales: Tesla Motors is leading the charge for doing direct sales to consumers. Todd Maron, Tesla Motor's lawyer argued the traditional model doesn't work for the company as their electric vehicles compete with gas vehicles and dealers would likely not push electric vehicles since they are dependent on sales of gas vehicles. Maron went on to say Tesla doesn't offer “insurance products and add-ons” or require regular service work. But the key point Maron said Tesla needs a different store design and location. “Our stores are small and in high foot-traffic areas such as shopping malls. When new technology comes out, consumers don’t go to it. You need to bring the technology to consumers,” said Maron. Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at Yale University said the FTC should allow "vertical integration" (another way of saying direct sales from automakers) to improve the buying experience. For the Franchise System: Those standing up for the current system of franchised dealers say intrabrand competition gives consumers a fair price on a vehicle. Automotive analyst Maryann Keller said the direct sales model doesn't offer any savings to consumers. Peter Welch, the president of the National Automobile Dealers Association said dealership laws help American consumers and only a few states have banned direct sales. “Empirical research has demonstrated that intense competition among franchised dealers lowers new-car prices by hundreds of dollars. But the benefits to consumers don’t end there -- they extend to service, warranty work, recalls, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that’s invested in local communities,” Welch went on to say. “Independent dealers add an extra layer of credibility in the auto industry. Imagine how much more difficult the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies would have been to resolve had the manufacturers had to bear the high costs of the distribution system, too,” said Paul Norman, a partner at Boardman & Clark law firm. What Happens Next? For the time being, the FTC is taking public comment on direct sales and franchise system till March 4th. After that, we might have an idea of what will happen next. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Autoblog, FTC Comment Form
  2. The U.S. Congress is voting on a new highway bill that if passed, would bring some much needed money and changes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Automotive News reports the new bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would be the first long-term highway plan in a decade. If passed, the bill would provide roughly $300 billion for roads, bridges, and mass-transit projects. The bill would also increase NHTSA's budget for defect investigations from $10 million a year to $30 million. But for NHTSA to get the increase in the budget, they would need to implement a number of reforms outlined by Transportation Department’s inspector general. Along with the increase in the defect investigation budget, FAST would some much-needed changes in how recalls and defects are dealt with. The maximum fine for safety violations will increase from $35 million to $105 million Employees who report on potentially dangerous safety violations will be rewarded If there is a financial penalty put on an automaker or supplier, a whistleblower could get up to 30 percent of the penalty Automakers will need to keep safety data for 10 years (up from the current 5) and provide part numbers for defective parts to NHTSA Dealers will be required to notify customers of an open recall Rental car companies will not be allowed to rent out vehicles that have an open recall States would be given funds to notify owners who renew their vehicle registration that a recall is due Currently, the bill has bipartisan support and the White House announced that President Obama would sign the bill if passed. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Volkswagen and U.S. regulators have finally agreed to a plan on the diesel emission scandal and possible dates have been set up for fixing the various the vehicles involved. Despite this, some of the diesel vehicles will not be fully compliant with clean air laws. According to Bloomberg, the oldest 2.0L TDI engines found in the last-generation Jetta and Golf, and 2009 Beetle will emit more emissions even with a possible fix. According to the California Air Resources Board, the possible fix will cut the emissions down by 80 to 90 percent. But even with the cut, the vehicles could emit as much as 40 times the permitted amount of NOx. This has some environmental advocates angry at the U.S. Government. “For reasons they didn’t state, they’re allowing fixed vehicles to not be fixed, but to allow vehicles to emit twice as much pollution as they otherwise would allow,” said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. Part of the reason Volkswagen might not be able to fully fix some of the diesel vehicles comes down to cost. There was talk about adding a urea-tank system on older models, but it was deemed to be too expensive. Instead, Volkswagen and regulators came up with alternate ways of cleaning up the air such as buy backs. We got our first indication of this back in March when a CARB official said that some of the affected TDI vehicles will only get a partial fix. At the current moment, a fix for any of the 2.0L TDI vehicles hasn't been approved by the government. Bloomberg says Volkswagen will send a proposal for the so-called third-generation 2.0L TDI vehicles as soon as July 29th and could be approved by October. Here is the remainder of Volkswagen's schedule, First-Generation 2.0L TDI: Proposal by November 11th, could be approved in January 2017 Second-Generation 2.0L TDI: Proposal by December 16th, could be approved by March 2017 Source: Bloomberg
  4. Bentley is considering whether or not they should offer an electric powertrain for their flagship sedan, the Mulsanne. Hans Holzgartner, product and marketing manager for the Mulsanne told Autocar part of the reason for this comes down to Chinese lawmakers possibly passing legislation banning all vehicles except EVs in certain cities. “At the moment, the indication is that full electric will be the only way that you’ll get into some of the cities in China. I wouldn’t say we’re discounting [hybrid engines] completely, but it looks like if you don’t have a full electric drive, even some of the hybrid drives just won’t get into some cities in China,” said Holzgartner. Similar legislation is being considered in other European countries, causing Bentley to put the idea of electric powertrains as a possible high priority item. But why the Mulsanne? Why not one of their small and 'lighter' models? Holzgartner explained that adding an electric powertrain into the Mulsanne would improve some of the key traits such providing a quiet ride. “With a Mulsanne-sized car, it’s all about torque anyway,” he added. “The delivery characteristics of electric drive — loads of bottom-end torque, almost silent delivery, very smooth — they all fit," said Holzhartner. “Our challenge is to make something that’s as interesting to drive as a current Bentley, because while a Mulsanne will be driven in almost silent mode even with a petrol engine, if you’ve got a Mulsanne Speed you’ll want to let rip every so often. That’s going to be the challenge: creating something that can be fun as well.” Source: Autocar
  5. It seems a week can't go by without another automaker being embroiled in either a fuel economy or emission mess. This week, the German Government has requested Opel to provide more information on a piece of software that turns off the emission controls in the Zafira. The issue at hand is whether or not this software violates regulations. "Shut-off devices are fundamentally illegal, unless it is truly necessary to safeguard the engine," said Alexander Dobrindt, Germany's transport minister after a meeting with Opel to discuss this issue. "Therefore it's clear that in this situation, we have our doubts." This meeting comes after a joint investigation between Spiegel magazine, ARD television's Monitor program and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmentalist group. The investigation found software used in the Insignia and Zafira that would turn off emission controls under various conditions such as going above 90 mph. Opel went on the defensive, saying the conclusion was wrong. "We at Opel don't have any illegal software," said Opel president Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement on Tuesday. Opel explained they do have software that can turn off the emission controls at high speeds, but this was only done to protect the engine. The automaker says this software is legal. But the committee who is looking into this issue has their doubts. "The investigating committee has doubts about whether this practice is completely justified by the protection of the engine," said Dobrindt. Opel has promised to cooperate with the investigation. The committee gave the automaker 14 days to provide technical information on the software. Dobrindt said he would ask other automakers if they use something similar to Opel's software. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
  6. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has submitted revised rule to the White House and missed two self imposed deadlines. We'll start with the revised rule. On December 25th, NHTSA submitted a revised rule which could cause automakers to make backup cameras standard on vehicles. The regulation would set new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States. Details on the regulation were not given. This is aimed at reducing the number of kids being run over and killed when a vehicle is put into reverse. Automotive News says that automakers might install backup cameras on their whole line dependent on how strict the regulations are. NHTSA hopes to have a rule finalized by next January. As for the two missed self imposed deadlines, The Detroit News reports that NHTSA missed deadlines on automatic braking and requiring vehicle to vehicle communication in the next-generation of vehicles. Last January, then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said he planned to make a decision by December 31 on whether or not the agency would make automakers to install devices to allow vehicles to communicate with each other as a way to avoid collisions. The added benefit of this tech is the improvement in traffic flow. “The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have made significant progress in determining the best course of action for proceeding with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communication activities and expect to announce a decision in the coming weeks,” said NHTSA. NHTSA and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted a 3,000 car study looking at this tech. Then in May, Strickland said a decision would be made at the end of year as to whether or not new vehicles should be required to have automatic braking systems to prevent forward collisions. This technology has been shown to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the roads. At this time, no decision has been made on this. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  7. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 24, 2013 The federal mandate for new vehicles to come equipped with backup cameras has been delayed, once again. According to Automotive News, the mandate has been pushed back to 2015 due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examining the cost of implementing this mandate. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that more analysis on how much this rule will cost automakers is necessary. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the cost of implementing the rule would be around $2.7 billion. Automakers aren't fully happy with this regulation due to the cost and that the regulation should apply to large vehicles, not all of them. "Automakers are providing cameras in cars today for greater vision and for new driver assists, and consumers should decide how best to spend their safety dollars on these technologies. This is a decision for consumers," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Regulators are considering giving out incentives in their safety ratings to vehicles that have a backup camera. Currently, regulators give out incentives to those that have electronic stability control. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  8. Bentley is considering whether or not they should offer an electric powertrain for their flagship sedan, the Mulsanne. Hans Holzgartner, product and marketing manager for the Mulsanne told Autocar part of the reason for this comes down to Chinese lawmakers possibly passing legislation banning all vehicles except EVs in certain cities. “At the moment, the indication is that full electric will be the only way that you’ll get into some of the cities in China. I wouldn’t say we’re discounting [hybrid engines] completely, but it looks like if you don’t have a full electric drive, even some of the hybrid drives just won’t get into some cities in China,” said Holzgartner. Similar legislation is being considered in other European countries, causing Bentley to put the idea of electric powertrains as a possible high priority item. But why the Mulsanne? Why not one of their small and 'lighter' models? Holzgartner explained that adding an electric powertrain into the Mulsanne would improve some of the key traits such providing a quiet ride. “With a Mulsanne-sized car, it’s all about torque anyway,” he added. “The delivery characteristics of electric drive — loads of bottom-end torque, almost silent delivery, very smooth — they all fit," said Holzhartner. “Our challenge is to make something that’s as interesting to drive as a current Bentley, because while a Mulsanne will be driven in almost silent mode even with a petrol engine, if you’ve got a Mulsanne Speed you’ll want to let rip every so often. That’s going to be the challenge: creating something that can be fun as well.” Source: Autocar View full article
  9. Volkswagen and U.S. regulators have finally agreed to a plan on the diesel emission scandal and possible dates have been set up for fixing the various the vehicles involved. Despite this, some of the diesel vehicles will not be fully compliant with clean air laws. According to Bloomberg, the oldest 2.0L TDI engines found in the last-generation Jetta and Golf, and 2009 Beetle will emit more emissions even with a possible fix. According to the California Air Resources Board, the possible fix will cut the emissions down by 80 to 90 percent. But even with the cut, the vehicles could emit as much as 40 times the permitted amount of NOx. This has some environmental advocates angry at the U.S. Government. “For reasons they didn’t state, they’re allowing fixed vehicles to not be fixed, but to allow vehicles to emit twice as much pollution as they otherwise would allow,” said Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. Part of the reason Volkswagen might not be able to fully fix some of the diesel vehicles comes down to cost. There was talk about adding a urea-tank system on older models, but it was deemed to be too expensive. Instead, Volkswagen and regulators came up with alternate ways of cleaning up the air such as buy backs. We got our first indication of this back in March when a CARB official said that some of the affected TDI vehicles will only get a partial fix. At the current moment, a fix for any of the 2.0L TDI vehicles hasn't been approved by the government. Bloomberg says Volkswagen will send a proposal for the so-called third-generation 2.0L TDI vehicles as soon as July 29th and could be approved by October. Here is the remainder of Volkswagen's schedule, First-Generation 2.0L TDI: Proposal by November 11th, could be approved in January 2017 Second-Generation 2.0L TDI: Proposal by December 16th, could be approved by March 2017 Source: Bloomberg View full article
  10. It seems a week can't go by without another automaker being embroiled in either a fuel economy or emission mess. This week, the German Government has requested Opel to provide more information on a piece of software that turns off the emission controls in the Zafira. The issue at hand is whether or not this software violates regulations. "Shut-off devices are fundamentally illegal, unless it is truly necessary to safeguard the engine," said Alexander Dobrindt, Germany's transport minister after a meeting with Opel to discuss this issue. "Therefore it's clear that in this situation, we have our doubts." This meeting comes after a joint investigation between Spiegel magazine, ARD television's Monitor program and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmentalist group. The investigation found software used in the Insignia and Zafira that would turn off emission controls under various conditions such as going above 90 mph. Opel went on the defensive, saying the conclusion was wrong. "We at Opel don't have any illegal software," said Opel president Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement on Tuesday. Opel explained they do have software that can turn off the emission controls at high speeds, but this was only done to protect the engine. The automaker says this software is legal. But the committee who is looking into this issue has their doubts. "The investigating committee has doubts about whether this practice is completely justified by the protection of the engine," said Dobrindt. Opel has promised to cooperate with the investigation. The committee gave the automaker 14 days to provide technical information on the software. Dobrindt said he would ask other automakers if they use something similar to Opel's software. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters View full article
  11. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has submitted revised rule to the White House and missed two self imposed deadlines. We'll start with the revised rule. On December 25th, NHTSA submitted a revised rule which could cause automakers to make backup cameras standard on vehicles. The regulation would set new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States. Details on the regulation were not given. This is aimed at reducing the number of kids being run over and killed when a vehicle is put into reverse. Automotive News says that automakers might install backup cameras on their whole line dependent on how strict the regulations are. NHTSA hopes to have a rule finalized by next January. As for the two missed self imposed deadlines, The Detroit News reports that NHTSA missed deadlines on automatic braking and requiring vehicle to vehicle communication in the next-generation of vehicles. Last January, then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said he planned to make a decision by December 31 on whether or not the agency would make automakers to install devices to allow vehicles to communicate with each other as a way to avoid collisions. The added benefit of this tech is the improvement in traffic flow. “The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have made significant progress in determining the best course of action for proceeding with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communication activities and expect to announce a decision in the coming weeks,” said NHTSA. NHTSA and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted a 3,000 car study looking at this tech. Then in May, Strickland said a decision would be made at the end of year as to whether or not new vehicles should be required to have automatic braking systems to prevent forward collisions. This technology has been shown to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the roads. At this time, no decision has been made on this. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  12. The U.S. Congress is voting on a new highway bill that if passed, would bring some much needed money and changes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Automotive News reports the new bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would be the first long-term highway plan in a decade. If passed, the bill would provide roughly $300 billion for roads, bridges, and mass-transit projects. The bill would also increase NHTSA's budget for defect investigations from $10 million a year to $30 million. But for NHTSA to get the increase in the budget, they would need to implement a number of reforms outlined by Transportation Department’s inspector general. Along with the increase in the defect investigation budget, FAST would some much-needed changes in how recalls and defects are dealt with. The maximum fine for safety violations will increase from $35 million to $105 million Employees who report on potentially dangerous safety violations will be rewarded If there is a financial penalty put on an automaker or supplier, a whistleblower could get up to 30 percent of the penalty Automakers will need to keep safety data for 10 years (up from the current 5) and provide part numbers for defective parts to NHTSA Dealers will be required to notify customers of an open recall Rental car companies will not be allowed to rent out vehicles that have an open recall States would be given funds to notify owners who renew their vehicle registration that a recall is due Currently, the bill has bipartisan support and the White House announced that President Obama would sign the bill if passed. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  13. The current laws and regulations concerning how vehicles are sold are, to put it mildly, a complete mess thanks to states having different versions. Experts can't seem to agree whether the current rules are good or bad. One thing that they can agree on is buying a vehicle is an unpleasant experience due to the current regulations. The Federal Trade Commission held a workshop yesterday as a possible first step to unravel the mess. The big topic that was covered was in the workshop was direct sales with a variety of people on either side of the argument to make their case. For Direct Sales: Tesla Motors is leading the charge for doing direct sales to consumers. Todd Maron, Tesla Motor's lawyer argued the traditional model doesn't work for the company as their electric vehicles compete with gas vehicles and dealers would likely not push electric vehicles since they are dependent on sales of gas vehicles. Maron went on to say Tesla doesn't offer “insurance products and add-ons” or require regular service work. But the key point Maron said Tesla needs a different store design and location. “Our stores are small and in high foot-traffic areas such as shopping malls. When new technology comes out, consumers don’t go to it. You need to bring the technology to consumers,” said Maron. Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at Yale University said the FTC should allow "vertical integration" (another way of saying direct sales from automakers) to improve the buying experience. For the Franchise System: Those standing up for the current system of franchised dealers say intrabrand competition gives consumers a fair price on a vehicle. Automotive analyst Maryann Keller said the direct sales model doesn't offer any savings to consumers. Peter Welch, the president of the National Automobile Dealers Association said dealership laws help American consumers and only a few states have banned direct sales. “Empirical research has demonstrated that intense competition among franchised dealers lowers new-car prices by hundreds of dollars. But the benefits to consumers don’t end there -- they extend to service, warranty work, recalls, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that’s invested in local communities,” Welch went on to say. “Independent dealers add an extra layer of credibility in the auto industry. Imagine how much more difficult the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies would have been to resolve had the manufacturers had to bear the high costs of the distribution system, too,” said Paul Norman, a partner at Boardman & Clark law firm. What Happens Next? For the time being, the FTC is taking public comment on direct sales and franchise system till March 4th. After that, we might have an idea of what will happen next. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Autoblog, FTC Comment Form View full article
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 24, 2013 The federal mandate for new vehicles to come equipped with backup cameras has been delayed, once again. According to Automotive News, the mandate has been pushed back to 2015 due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examining the cost of implementing this mandate. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that more analysis on how much this rule will cost automakers is necessary. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the cost of implementing the rule would be around $2.7 billion. Automakers aren't fully happy with this regulation due to the cost and that the regulation should apply to large vehicles, not all of them. "Automakers are providing cameras in cars today for greater vision and for new driver assists, and consumers should decide how best to spend their safety dollars on these technologies. This is a decision for consumers," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Regulators are considering giving out incentives in their safety ratings to vehicles that have a backup camera. Currently, regulators give out incentives to those that have electronic stability control. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article

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