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  1. The U.S. Commerce Department is asking automakers to spill their secrets; product planning, financing, supply chains, and other bits that aren't in public filings. Bloomberg reports that the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security sent out a 34-page questionnaire asking for sensitive details to several automakers. Failure to do so could result "in a maximum fine of $10,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both" as mentioned on the first page of the survey. “The breadth and depth of this request is invasive, requiring massive amounts of proprietary and confidential business data from global operations -- all under the pretense of national security,” said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - a group that represents a number of companies including General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. “Frankly, it’s stunning from an administration committed to getting government out of the way of business.” This is part of the Commerce Department’s investigation into whether or not the imports of cars and car parts hurt U.S. national security opened in late May. It may result in imported vehicles being hit with tariffs as high as 25 percent. What is being asked in this survey? Other questions deal with the business plan from now until 2020 and whether or not imports hurt sales. Susan Helper, a former chief economist of the Commerce Department during the Obama administration said Bureau of Industry and Security has conducted dozen of these surveys in the past, mostly dealing with sectors closely linked to the defense industry. “This is a consequence of the Trump administration’s expanded definition of national security I hadn’t thought about. I can see both sides on this -- it is burdensome for companies, but on the other hand it’s important for policy makers to understand global supply chains as they have an increasing impact on the U.S. economy,” Helper told Bloomberg. Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific told Bloomberg that the level of information that the government is asking is "disturbing'. “The only time I’ve seen something like that is when a supplier is not doing very well financially and the automaker is trying to understand their financial state and their future. They’re fully undressing automakers and how they do their business to a disturbing level.” The Commerce Department will be holding a hearing on the investigation on July 19th in Washington D.C. Around 45 people, representing various automakers, labor unions, and more will be testifying. Source: Bloomberg, Link to Questionnaire View full article
  2. The U.S. Commerce Department is asking automakers to spill their secrets; product planning, financing, supply chains, and other bits that aren't in public filings. Bloomberg reports that the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security sent out a 34-page questionnaire asking for sensitive details to several automakers. Failure to do so could result "in a maximum fine of $10,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both" as mentioned on the first page of the survey. “The breadth and depth of this request is invasive, requiring massive amounts of proprietary and confidential business data from global operations -- all under the pretense of national security,” said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - a group that represents a number of companies including General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. “Frankly, it’s stunning from an administration committed to getting government out of the way of business.” This is part of the Commerce Department’s investigation into whether or not the imports of cars and car parts hurt U.S. national security opened in late May. It may result in imported vehicles being hit with tariffs as high as 25 percent. What is being asked in this survey? Other questions deal with the business plan from now until 2020 and whether or not imports hurt sales. Susan Helper, a former chief economist of the Commerce Department during the Obama administration said Bureau of Industry and Security has conducted dozen of these surveys in the past, mostly dealing with sectors closely linked to the defense industry. “This is a consequence of the Trump administration’s expanded definition of national security I hadn’t thought about. I can see both sides on this -- it is burdensome for companies, but on the other hand it’s important for policy makers to understand global supply chains as they have an increasing impact on the U.S. economy,” Helper told Bloomberg. Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific told Bloomberg that the level of information that the government is asking is "disturbing'. “The only time I’ve seen something like that is when a supplier is not doing very well financially and the automaker is trying to understand their financial state and their future. They’re fully undressing automakers and how they do their business to a disturbing level.” The Commerce Department will be holding a hearing on the investigation on July 19th in Washington D.C. Around 45 people, representing various automakers, labor unions, and more will be testifying. Source: Bloomberg, Link to Questionnaire
  3. Automakers already have enough of a headache with the current administration in the white house, but news that broke today is only going to make it even worse. Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce has announced that President Donald ordered an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine "whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security." "There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry. The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy," said Ross in a statement. There's also this interesting bit in the statement, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that tariffs as high as 25 percent could be slapped on new cars. Currently, the tariff on imported vehicles is at 2.5 percent. Imported trucks are already hit with a 25 percent tariff via the chicken tax. There are a couple likely reasons for this investigation, Mid-term elections are coming up and this is seen as a way to court voters in the heartland with the promise of bringing back jobs to the U.S. Possibly being used as leverage in negotiations with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the European Union, and China. This investigation could hurt Mexico the most as they are the largest source of U.S. auto imports - delivering just under $50 billion of imports last year. As for automakers, Bloomberg reports that Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, and Mitsubishi would be the most affected as all of their vehicles are imported. The news sent the stock prices of foreign automakers downward. Shares in Mazda dropped 5.2 percent at the close of trade in Japan, while Daimler and BMW saw their stock price drop more than two percent. This announcement has gotten condemnation from various governments, trade groups, analysts, and automakers. Here are just a few. "China opposes the abuse of national security clauses, which will seriously damage multilateral trade systems and disrupt normal international trade order," said Gao Feng, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce in China during a regular press briefing. "We will closely monitor the situation under the U.S. probe and fully evaluate the possible impact and resolutely defend our own legitimate interests." “We have to consider this as something of a provocation. I have the growing impression that the U.S. no longer believes in the competition of ideas, but only the law of power. It fills me with grave concern,” said Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. “The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing. To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America,” said John Bozzella, CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, a trade group that represents Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and others. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required), U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Department of Commerce Initiates Section 232 Investigation into Auto Imports Today, following a conversation with President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. The investigation will determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232. Secretary Ross sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis informing him of the investigation. “There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” said Secretary Ross. “The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.” During the past 20 years, imports of passenger vehicles have grown from 32 percent of cars sold in the United States to 48 percent. From 1990 to 2017, employment in motor vehicle production declined by 22 percent, even though Americans are continuing to purchase automobiles at record levels. Now, American owned vehicle manufacturers in the United States account for only 20 percent of global research and development in the automobile sector, and American auto part manufacturers account for only 7 percent in that industry. Automobile manufacturing has long been a significant source of American technological innovation. This investigation will consider whether the decline of domestic automobile and automotive parts production threatens to weaken the internal economy of the United States, including by potentially reducing research, development, and jobs for skilled workers in connected vehicle systems, autonomous vehicles, fuel cells, electric motors and storage, advanced manufacturing processes, and other cutting-edge technologies. Following today’s announcement, the Department of Commerce will investigate these and other issues to determine whether imports of automobiles and automotive parts threaten to impair the national security. A notice will be published shortly in the Federal Register announcing a hearing date and inviting comment from industry and the public to assist in the investigation.
  4. Automakers already have enough of a headache with the current administration in the white house, but news that broke today is only going to make it even worse. Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce has announced that President Donald ordered an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine "whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security." "There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry. The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy," said Ross in a statement. There's also this interesting bit in the statement, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that tariffs as high as 25 percent could be slapped on new cars. Currently, the tariff on imported vehicles is at 2.5 percent. Imported trucks are already hit with a 25 percent tariff via the chicken tax. There are a couple likely reasons for this investigation, Mid-term elections are coming up and this is seen as a way to court voters in the heartland with the promise of bringing back jobs to the U.S. Possibly being used as leverage in negotiations with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the European Union, and China. This investigation could hurt Mexico the most as they are the largest source of U.S. auto imports - delivering just under $50 billion of imports last year. As for automakers, Bloomberg reports that Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, and Mitsubishi would be the most affected as all of their vehicles are imported. The news sent the stock prices of foreign automakers downward. Shares in Mazda dropped 5.2 percent at the close of trade in Japan, while Daimler and BMW saw their stock price drop more than two percent. This announcement has gotten condemnation from various governments, trade groups, analysts, and automakers. Here are just a few. "China opposes the abuse of national security clauses, which will seriously damage multilateral trade systems and disrupt normal international trade order," said Gao Feng, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce in China during a regular press briefing. "We will closely monitor the situation under the U.S. probe and fully evaluate the possible impact and resolutely defend our own legitimate interests." “We have to consider this as something of a provocation. I have the growing impression that the U.S. no longer believes in the competition of ideas, but only the law of power. It fills me with grave concern,” said Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. “The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing. To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America,” said John Bozzella, CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, a trade group that represents Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and others. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required), U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Department of Commerce Initiates Section 232 Investigation into Auto Imports Today, following a conversation with President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. The investigation will determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232. Secretary Ross sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis informing him of the investigation. “There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” said Secretary Ross. “The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.” During the past 20 years, imports of passenger vehicles have grown from 32 percent of cars sold in the United States to 48 percent. From 1990 to 2017, employment in motor vehicle production declined by 22 percent, even though Americans are continuing to purchase automobiles at record levels. Now, American owned vehicle manufacturers in the United States account for only 20 percent of global research and development in the automobile sector, and American auto part manufacturers account for only 7 percent in that industry. Automobile manufacturing has long been a significant source of American technological innovation. This investigation will consider whether the decline of domestic automobile and automotive parts production threatens to weaken the internal economy of the United States, including by potentially reducing research, development, and jobs for skilled workers in connected vehicle systems, autonomous vehicles, fuel cells, electric motors and storage, advanced manufacturing processes, and other cutting-edge technologies. Following today’s announcement, the Department of Commerce will investigate these and other issues to determine whether imports of automobiles and automotive parts threaten to impair the national security. A notice will be published shortly in the Federal Register announcing a hearing date and inviting comment from industry and the public to assist in the investigation. View full article
  5. Another day, another raid by German prosecutors into Volkswagen's diesel emission scandal. Yesterday, 160 investigators conducted searches in about 10 premises in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg owned by Porsche. Prosecutors said in a statement to Reuters the raids are part of an investigation into Porsche employees on charges of fraud and fraudulent advertising tied to the cheating software used on diesel engines. “The three suspects include a member of the management board and a member of Porsche AG’s higher management. The third suspect is no longer employed at Porsche AG,” said prosecutors. A Porsche spokesman confirmed the searches to Reuters, but declined to comment any further. On the same day, two Audi sites were also searched according to Stuttgart prosecutors and an Audi spokesman. The searches relate to another investigation dealing with the diesel emission scandal. Source: Reuters
  6. Another day, another raid by German prosecutors into Volkswagen's diesel emission scandal. Yesterday, 160 investigators conducted searches in about 10 premises in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg owned by Porsche. Prosecutors said in a statement to Reuters the raids are part of an investigation into Porsche employees on charges of fraud and fraudulent advertising tied to the cheating software used on diesel engines. “The three suspects include a member of the management board and a member of Porsche AG’s higher management. The third suspect is no longer employed at Porsche AG,” said prosecutors. A Porsche spokesman confirmed the searches to Reuters, but declined to comment any further. On the same day, two Audi sites were also searched according to Stuttgart prosecutors and an Audi spokesman. The searches relate to another investigation dealing with the diesel emission scandal. Source: Reuters View full article
  7. Volkswagen isn't the only automaker that has the attention of German prosecutors. Yesterday, prosecutors carried out raids at various Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) buildings. This is part of an investigation into fraud related to false advertising and the possible manipulation of emissions with diesel powered vehicles. The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office told Reuters the raids were carried out "against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars." 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched 11 sites to look for evidence to help build a case. Diamler confirmed the raids to Reuters and said it was "cooperating with authorities." The company is also under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for emission discrepancies with diesel vehicles. Source: Reuters
  8. Volkswagen isn't the only automaker that has the attention of German prosecutors. Yesterday, prosecutors carried out raids at various Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) buildings. This is part of an investigation into fraud related to false advertising and the possible manipulation of emissions with diesel powered vehicles. The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office told Reuters the raids were carried out "against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars." 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched 11 sites to look for evidence to help build a case. Diamler confirmed the raids to Reuters and said it was "cooperating with authorities." The company is also under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for emission discrepancies with diesel vehicles. Source: Reuters View full article
  9. Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is already being investigated by German prosecutors over market manipulation because of the diesel emission scandal. But now, he finds himself under a new investigation by prosecutors on the suspicion of fraud. Reuters reports that prosecutors in Braunschweig believe Winterkorn knew about the cheat used on the 2.0L TDI well before the timeframe he has admittedly publicly. This suspicion comes as the result of numerous interviews with witnesses and suspects, along with raids on 28 houses and offices this week. "Sufficient indications have resulted from the investigation, particularly the questioning of witnesses and suspects as well as the analysis of seized data, that the accused (Winterkorn) may have known about the manipulating software and its effects sooner than he has said publicly," prosecutors said in a statement. At a hearing last week in Berlin, Winterkorn declined to say when he first learned about the cheat, citing the investigation being done by prosecutors. "For now, Dr. Winterkorn is sticking with the statement he made before a German parliamentary committee of inquiry (into the scandal) on Jan. 19," said Felix Doerr, a lawyer representing Winterkorn in an email to Reuters. Prosecutors also revealed that the number of people possibly involved in the scandal has risen from 21 to 37, including Winterkorn. Source: Reuters
  10. Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is already being investigated by German prosecutors over market manipulation because of the diesel emission scandal. But now, he finds himself under a new investigation by prosecutors on the suspicion of fraud. Reuters reports that prosecutors in Braunschweig believe Winterkorn knew about the cheat used on the 2.0L TDI well before the timeframe he has admittedly publicly. This suspicion comes as the result of numerous interviews with witnesses and suspects, along with raids on 28 houses and offices this week. "Sufficient indications have resulted from the investigation, particularly the questioning of witnesses and suspects as well as the analysis of seized data, that the accused (Winterkorn) may have known about the manipulating software and its effects sooner than he has said publicly," prosecutors said in a statement. At a hearing last week in Berlin, Winterkorn declined to say when he first learned about the cheat, citing the investigation being done by prosecutors. "For now, Dr. Winterkorn is sticking with the statement he made before a German parliamentary committee of inquiry (into the scandal) on Jan. 19," said Felix Doerr, a lawyer representing Winterkorn in an email to Reuters. Prosecutors also revealed that the number of people possibly involved in the scandal has risen from 21 to 37, including Winterkorn. Source: Reuters View full article
  11. Last May, Joshua Brown was killed in a crash when his Tesla Model S in Autopilot collided with a tractor-trailer. After an investigation that took over half of a year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their findings today. In a report, NHTSA said they didn't find any evidence of defects with the Autopilot system. The agency also stated that they would not ask Tesla to perform a recall on models equipped with Autopilot. In a statement, Tesla said "the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion." NHTSA's report revealed that neither Autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes to prevent or lessen the impact of the crash. However, NHTSA cleared the Automatic Emergency Braking system as it's “designed to avoid or mitigate rear end collisions” but that “braking for crossing path collisions, such as that present in the Florida fatal crash, are outside the expected performance capabilities of the system.” Speaking of Brown, NHTSA's report said that he did not any action with steering or anything else to prevent this. The last recorded action in the vehicle was the cruise control being set to 74 mph. NHTSA notes that in their reconstruction of the crash, Brown had seven seconds to from seeing the tractor trailer to the moment of the impact, giving him possible chance to take some sort of action. This brings up a very serious concern of how much confidence owners give the Autopilot system. Despite Tesla having statements such as that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it," various videos showing Model Ss narrowly avoiding crashes have caused people to think that Autopilot was fully autonomous - which it isn't. “Although perhaps not as specific as it could be, Tesla has provided information about system limitations in the owner’s manuals, user interface and associated warnings/alerts, as well as a driver monitoring system that is intended to aid the driver in remaining engaged in the driving task at all times. Drivers should read all instructions and warnings provided in owner’s manuals for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies and be aware of system limitations,” said NHTSA. Tesla, to its credit, has been updating Autopilot to make drivers pay attention when using it. These include increasing the warnings for a driver to intervene when needed, and turning off the system if a driver doesn't respond to repeated requests. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Report in PDF), Tesla
  12. Last May, Joshua Brown was killed in a crash when his Tesla Model S in Autopilot collided with a tractor-trailer. After an investigation that took over half of a year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their findings today. In a report, NHTSA said they didn't find any evidence of defects with the Autopilot system. The agency also stated that they would not ask Tesla to perform a recall on models equipped with Autopilot. In a statement, Tesla said "the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion." NHTSA's report revealed that neither Autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes to prevent or lessen the impact of the crash. However, NHTSA cleared the Automatic Emergency Braking system as it's “designed to avoid or mitigate rear end collisions” but that “braking for crossing path collisions, such as that present in the Florida fatal crash, are outside the expected performance capabilities of the system.” Speaking of Brown, NHTSA's report said that he did not any action with steering or anything else to prevent this. The last recorded action in the vehicle was the cruise control being set to 74 mph. NHTSA notes that in their reconstruction of the crash, Brown had seven seconds to from seeing the tractor trailer to the moment of the impact, giving him possible chance to take some sort of action. This brings up a very serious concern of how much confidence owners give the Autopilot system. Despite Tesla having statements such as that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it," various videos showing Model Ss narrowly avoiding crashes have caused people to think that Autopilot was fully autonomous - which it isn't. “Although perhaps not as specific as it could be, Tesla has provided information about system limitations in the owner’s manuals, user interface and associated warnings/alerts, as well as a driver monitoring system that is intended to aid the driver in remaining engaged in the driving task at all times. Drivers should read all instructions and warnings provided in owner’s manuals for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies and be aware of system limitations,” said NHTSA. Tesla, to its credit, has been updating Autopilot to make drivers pay attention when using it. These include increasing the warnings for a driver to intervene when needed, and turning off the system if a driver doesn't respond to repeated requests. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Report in PDF), Tesla View full article
  13. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't out of the dog house when it comes to vehicles rolling away. A few months after issuing a recall on a number of models equipped with the stubby transmission lever for rolling away, NHTSA is investigating models equipped with the rotary knob gear selector for the same problem. The investigation is looking at the 2013–2016 Ram 1500 and the 2014–2016 Dodge Durango which have the rotary knob selector. NHTSA has gotten 43 complaints about these models moving away. Out of the 43 complaints, 25 have resulted in crashes and another 9 resulted in injuries. NHTSA also says that 34 complaints said the vehicle was moving while in park. FCA said it is cooperating with the investigation. In the meantime, FCA and NHTSA are urging owners to engage the parking brake Source: NHTSA, Reuters
  14. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn't out of the dog house when it comes to vehicles rolling away. A few months after issuing a recall on a number of models equipped with the stubby transmission lever for rolling away, NHTSA is investigating models equipped with the rotary knob gear selector for the same problem. The investigation is looking at the 2013–2016 Ram 1500 and the 2014–2016 Dodge Durango which have the rotary knob selector. NHTSA has gotten 43 complaints about these models moving away. Out of the 43 complaints, 25 have resulted in crashes and another 9 resulted in injuries. NHTSA also says that 34 complaints said the vehicle was moving while in park. FCA said it is cooperating with the investigation. In the meantime, FCA and NHTSA are urging owners to engage the parking brake Source: NHTSA, Reuters View full article
  15. As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues its cooperation with the federal investigation into its falsified sales, they have begun to issue restate monthly sales results. They reveal that the Chrysler 200, a midsize sedan the company was hoping to be a success was even less popular than we first though. Automotive News reports that in a three-month period from July to September 2015, FCA reported that it sold 21 percent more 200s (8,577) than the new numbers. To put this in perspective, the second-largest discrepancy in sales was the Dodge Charger with 2,258 over-reported sales. "There was a lot of pressure on the 200 to offset the loss of sales from discontinuing the Dodge Avenger," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific. "FCA was under pressure to deliver a midsize car that could compete with the Accord and Camry after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were vilified for not offering competitive cars after we saw gas spike to $4. The 200 was meant to show how FCA was committed to offering passenger cars that could compete." There was also a $1 billion investment FCA made into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the 200. There was a lot of pressure for this sedan to succeed and could explain some of the reason as to the inflated sale numbers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears View full article
  16. As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues its cooperation with the federal investigation into its falsified sales, they have begun to issue restate monthly sales results. They reveal that the Chrysler 200, a midsize sedan the company was hoping to be a success was even less popular than we first though. Automotive News reports that in a three-month period from July to September 2015, FCA reported that it sold 21 percent more 200s (8,577) than the new numbers. To put this in perspective, the second-largest discrepancy in sales was the Dodge Charger with 2,258 over-reported sales. "There was a lot of pressure on the 200 to offset the loss of sales from discontinuing the Dodge Avenger," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst with AutoPacific. "FCA was under pressure to deliver a midsize car that could compete with the Accord and Camry after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were vilified for not offering competitive cars after we saw gas spike to $4. The 200 was meant to show how FCA was committed to offering passenger cars that could compete." There was also a $1 billion investment FCA made into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the 200. There was a lot of pressure for this sedan to succeed and could explain some of the reason as to the inflated sale numbers. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  17. Volkswagen can take a sigh of relief as it appears the current CEO, Matthias Müller, didn't have any prior knowledge of the diesel emission cheating. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) got their hands on a report done by Jones Day which said Müller didn't find out the scandal till the EPA made the announcement - September 18, 2015 if you're wondering. Only a week later, Müller would be named CEO of Volkswagen. Still, Müller's track record on dealing with the diesel emission mess is spotty. He has said the scandal was just a 'technical problem' and a misunderstanding about U.S. law - claims that were deemed false and got Müller in hot water. Source: Bild am Sonntag via Reuters View full article
  18. Volkswagen can take a sigh of relief as it appears the current CEO, Matthias Müller, didn't have any prior knowledge of the diesel emission cheating. German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) got their hands on a report done by Jones Day which said Müller didn't find out the scandal till the EPA made the announcement - September 18, 2015 if you're wondering. Only a week later, Müller would be named CEO of Volkswagen. Still, Müller's track record on dealing with the diesel emission mess is spotty. He has said the scandal was just a 'technical problem' and a misunderstanding about U.S. law - claims that were deemed false and got Müller in hot water. Source: Bild am Sonntag via Reuters
  19. Seems Ford is under a new investigation for all of their 2015 and 2016 F150 Pickup trucks with the 3.6L V6 engine after multitude of customer complaints that the brakes just fail at random times. Ford says they are working with the NHTSA on this, but customers are clearly not happy. Ford F150 Brake Story @ Reuters Seems 271,000 of the 2013 and 2014 versions of this same F150 truck have brake issues also. Ford F150 Recall
  20. If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers. According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers. As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers. Source: The Wall Street Journal View full article
  21. If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers. According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers. As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers. Source: The Wall Street Journal
  22. Mitsubishi Motors brought in investigators to answer a question; why did they manipulate fuel economy figures on a number of their models? The results of the investigation were announced yesterday and it was a combination of various decisions and factors that led to it. The investigation criticized the company for "not having the manufacturing philosophy of an automaker". A key example comes from the company not rallying their workers to help them back on track after two major scandals. Instead, it was focused on cutting costs wherever it could. This caused Mitsubishi engineers to pull off the impossible task of improving fuel economy on their current engines and not developing new ones. There was also the feeling that workers couldn't speak up about reaching these impossible targets. The investigation also revealed that management failed to the address the possibility of something fishy going on with the fuel economy testing. In 2005, a new employee brought up concerns about fuel economy figures being made up. This was brushed off by managers. Six years later, a compliance survey addressing other falsifications were not brought to Mitsubishi executives. “The problem is not only with the testing, certification, or the development department. It’s a collective failure of Mitsubishi Motors as a whole, starting from the management,” said Yoshiro Sakata, one of the investigators appointed by the company at a briefing yesterday. “I take the panel’s recommendation seriously,” Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko in a statement. “The efforts we’ve been making since I took over in 2005 haven’t been enough.” The investigators made a number of recommendations to prevent something like this from happening again. They include, Revamping development Making vehicle certification department independent from the research and development department Restructure the organization structure Being more transparent Understanding laws Be willing to find and tackle violations Source: Bloomberg, Reuters View full article
  23. Mitsubishi Motors brought in investigators to answer a question; why did they manipulate fuel economy figures on a number of their models? The results of the investigation were announced yesterday and it was a combination of various decisions and factors that led to it. The investigation criticized the company for "not having the manufacturing philosophy of an automaker". A key example comes from the company not rallying their workers to help them back on track after two major scandals. Instead, it was focused on cutting costs wherever it could. This caused Mitsubishi engineers to pull off the impossible task of improving fuel economy on their current engines and not developing new ones. There was also the feeling that workers couldn't speak up about reaching these impossible targets. The investigation also revealed that management failed to the address the possibility of something fishy going on with the fuel economy testing. In 2005, a new employee brought up concerns about fuel economy figures being made up. This was brushed off by managers. Six years later, a compliance survey addressing other falsifications were not brought to Mitsubishi executives. “The problem is not only with the testing, certification, or the development department. It’s a collective failure of Mitsubishi Motors as a whole, starting from the management,” said Yoshiro Sakata, one of the investigators appointed by the company at a briefing yesterday. “I take the panel’s recommendation seriously,” Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko in a statement. “The efforts we’ve been making since I took over in 2005 haven’t been enough.” The investigators made a number of recommendations to prevent something like this from happening again. They include, Revamping development Making vehicle certification department independent from the research and development department Restructure the organization structure Being more transparent Understanding laws Be willing to find and tackle violations Source: Bloomberg, Reuters
  24. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. Bloomberg learned about the investigation from two sources this morning and since then, FCA has confirmed it. This investigation stems from lawsuits filed earlier this year by dealers in Florida and Illinois saying the automaker inflated sales numbers by having them file false 'New Vehicle Delivery Reports'. At the time, FCA denied the charges made and is seeking dismissal of the suit. But as Automotive News notes, FCA added a disclaimer to their sales reports in April about how sales are reported. “FCA US reported vehicle sales represent sales of its vehicles to retail and fleet customers, as well as limited deliveries of vehicles to its officers, directors, employees and retirees. Sales from dealers to customers are reported to FCA US by dealers as sales are made on an ongoing basis through a new vehicle delivery reporting system that then compiles the reported data as of the end of each month. Sales through dealers do not necessarily correspond to reported revenues, which are based on the sale and delivery of vehicles to the dealers. In certain limited circumstances where sales are made directly by FCA US, such sales are reported through its management reporting system.” Investigators from the FBI and SEC visited various FCA field staff at their homes and offices on July 11th. That same day saw federal attorneys visit FCA's headquarters to gather information. According to a source, FCA employees were advised not to speak with investigators without counsel. In a statement today, FCA said that it would "cooperate fully" with the SEC investigation into its "reporting of vehicle unit sales to end customers" in the U.S. It also mentioned that is has received similar inquiries from the DOJ and will cooperate with them. The DOJ, FBI, and SEC declined to comment. Source: Bloomberg, Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  25. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. Bloomberg learned about the investigation from two sources this morning and since then, FCA has confirmed it. This investigation stems from lawsuits filed earlier this year by dealers in Florida and Illinois saying the automaker inflated sales numbers by having them file false 'New Vehicle Delivery Reports'. At the time, FCA denied the charges made and is seeking dismissal of the suit. But as Automotive News notes, FCA added a disclaimer to their sales reports in April about how sales are reported. “FCA US reported vehicle sales represent sales of its vehicles to retail and fleet customers, as well as limited deliveries of vehicles to its officers, directors, employees and retirees. Sales from dealers to customers are reported to FCA US by dealers as sales are made on an ongoing basis through a new vehicle delivery reporting system that then compiles the reported data as of the end of each month. Sales through dealers do not necessarily correspond to reported revenues, which are based on the sale and delivery of vehicles to the dealers. In certain limited circumstances where sales are made directly by FCA US, such sales are reported through its management reporting system.” Investigators from the FBI and SEC visited various FCA field staff at their homes and offices on July 11th. That same day saw federal attorneys visit FCA's headquarters to gather information. According to a source, FCA employees were advised not to speak with investigators without counsel. In a statement today, FCA said that it would "cooperate fully" with the SEC investigation into its "reporting of vehicle unit sales to end customers" in the U.S. It also mentioned that is has received similar inquiries from the DOJ and will cooperate with them. The DOJ, FBI, and SEC declined to comment. Source: Bloomberg, Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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