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Found 22 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. While Volkswagen and the U.S. Government are finishing negotiating the final agreement over the diesel emission scandal, some interesting bits of the agreement have leaked out. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have learned from sources that Volkswagen will pay $10.2 billion as part of a settlement over the scandal. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will compensate owners of affected TDI models between $1,000 to $7,000. The payment amount will vary on a number of factors such as the age of the vehicle. Volkswagen will also offer owners the choice having their vehicles fixed for free or buying them back at the value before the scandal came to light (September 18, 2015). One item still up in the air is whether or not Volkswagen will be able to fix all of the TDI models to the EPA's satisfaction. A source tells the AP, "any fix likely would require a bigger catalytic converter or injection of the chemical urea into the exhaust to help neutralize the pollution." Along with the owner compensation, Volkswagen will use the $10.2 billion to pay various penalties and setting up a fund to clean up air pollution. The sources do stress that the terms of the settlement could change before being presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer next Tuesday. Also, this settlement is for the 2.0L TDI engine. The 3.0L TDI V6 is being dealt with separately. Source: Bloomberg, Associated Press View full article
  4. While Volkswagen and the U.S. Government are finishing negotiating the final agreement over the diesel emission scandal, some interesting bits of the agreement have leaked out. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have learned from sources that Volkswagen will pay $10.2 billion as part of a settlement over the scandal. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will compensate owners of affected TDI models between $1,000 to $7,000. The payment amount will vary on a number of factors such as the age of the vehicle. Volkswagen will also offer owners the choice having their vehicles fixed for free or buying them back at the value before the scandal came to light (September 18, 2015). One item still up in the air is whether or not Volkswagen will be able to fix all of the TDI models to the EPA's satisfaction. A source tells the AP, "any fix likely would require a bigger catalytic converter or injection of the chemical urea into the exhaust to help neutralize the pollution." Along with the owner compensation, Volkswagen will use the $10.2 billion to pay various penalties and setting up a fund to clean up air pollution. The sources do stress that the terms of the settlement could change before being presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer next Tuesday. Also, this settlement is for the 2.0L TDI engine. The 3.0L TDI V6 is being dealt with separately. Source: Bloomberg, Associated Press
  5. It seemed like it would never happen. But today in a federal courtroom in Calfornia, Volkswagen and the U.S. Justice Department announced they have reached an agreement over the 570,000 2.0L diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that cheated EPA emission tests. The preliminary "agreement in principle" states the Volkswagen will give owners the option of selling their affected TDI vehicles back to VW or have the vehicle modified to meet U.S. emission standards. Those who are leasing a TDI model can cancel their lease agreement. The agreement also includes two different compensation funds. The first will be for owners that will give them a substantial amount of compensation - the amount is currently unknown. The second will be for “appropriate remediation efforts” against the excess NOx emissions the affected Volkswagen diesel models emitted. Volkswagen will also be required to promote "green automotive technology." One other detail revealed in the hearing is that Volkswagen will be settling all of the class-action lawsuits against it in the coming weeks. "Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America," said VW lawyer Robert Giuffra. The agreements are "an important step forward on the road to making things right," added Giuffra. The agreement must be finalized by June 21st. A court hearing will follow on July 26th discussing the full details. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has issued a gag order on the discussion of the agreement. As the for the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6, negotiations between Volkswagen and Justice Department are continuing. This agreement is the beginning for Volkswagen to begin closing this dark and devasting chapter. There are still fines that need to levy against the German automaker, along with various investigations that need to be finished up. But it seems the madness is starting to come to an end. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Bloomberg, Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle with the US authorities In connection with the diesel issue, Volkswagen AG confirms that an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been reached in the United States. This agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks. Furthermore, Volkswagen has reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks. The judge presiding over today's court hearing in San Francisco, Charles R. Breyer, expressly welcomed this development. The arrangements in the making in the United States will have no legal bearing on proceedings outside of the United States. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and the State Attorneys General are not prejudiced by these agreements in principle.
  6. It seemed like it would never happen. But today in a federal courtroom in Calfornia, Volkswagen and the U.S. Justice Department announced they have reached an agreement over the 570,000 2.0L diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that cheated EPA emission tests. The preliminary "agreement in principle" states the Volkswagen will give owners the option of selling their affected TDI vehicles back to VW or have the vehicle modified to meet U.S. emission standards. Those who are leasing a TDI model can cancel their lease agreement. The agreement also includes two different compensation funds. The first will be for owners that will give them a substantial amount of compensation - the amount is currently unknown. The second will be for “appropriate remediation efforts” against the excess NOx emissions the affected Volkswagen diesel models emitted. Volkswagen will also be required to promote "green automotive technology." One other detail revealed in the hearing is that Volkswagen will be settling all of the class-action lawsuits against it in the coming weeks. "Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America," said VW lawyer Robert Giuffra. The agreements are "an important step forward on the road to making things right," added Giuffra. The agreement must be finalized by June 21st. A court hearing will follow on July 26th discussing the full details. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has issued a gag order on the discussion of the agreement. As the for the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6, negotiations between Volkswagen and Justice Department are continuing. This agreement is the beginning for Volkswagen to begin closing this dark and devasting chapter. There are still fines that need to levy against the German automaker, along with various investigations that need to be finished up. But it seems the madness is starting to come to an end. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Bloomberg, Reuters, Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle with the US authorities In connection with the diesel issue, Volkswagen AG confirms that an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been reached in the United States. This agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks. Furthermore, Volkswagen has reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks. The judge presiding over today's court hearing in San Francisco, Charles R. Breyer, expressly welcomed this development. The arrangements in the making in the United States will have no legal bearing on proceedings outside of the United States. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and the State Attorneys General are not prejudiced by these agreements in principle. View full article
  7. Finally, some good news in terms of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. According to German newspaper Die Welt, Volkswagen has reached a deal with U.S. authorities over its cheating of EPA emission tests. Not much is known about the deal, but sources tell Die Welt that key part of the deal will see Volkswagen paying owners in the U.S. $5,000 in compensation. This deal will be presented tomorrow to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer at a hearing. We'll likely learn more about the agreement and what else it entails. UPDATE: Reuters has learned from their sources that Volkswagen has agreed to buy back up to 500,000 2.0L diesel vehicles in the U.S. Volkswagen may also offer to repair the affected vehicles down the road if given the go-ahead by regulators. Stay tuned. Source: Die Welt, Reuters, (2)
  8. Finally, some good news in terms of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. According to German newspaper Die Welt, Volkswagen has reached a deal with U.S. authorities over its cheating of EPA emission tests. Not much is known about the deal, but sources tell Die Welt that key part of the deal will see Volkswagen paying owners in the U.S. $5,000 in compensation. This deal will be presented tomorrow to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer at a hearing. We'll likely learn more about the agreement and what else it entails. UPDATE: Reuters has learned from their sources that Volkswagen has agreed to buy back up to 500,000 2.0L diesel vehicles in the U.S. Volkswagen may also offer to repair the affected vehicles down the road if given the go-ahead by regulators. Stay tuned. Source: Die Welt, Reuters, (2) View full article
  9. The EPA released their annual report on the trends of emissions and fuel economy for light vehicles and the results are a bit mixed. The average fuel economy of new cars and trucks came to 24.3 mpg for 2014. This was the same fuel economy average for 2013, when the average increased by 0.6 mpg. 2014 was the first year since 2011 where fleet-wide fuel economy didn't increase. Why no increase? The EPA says growing demand for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks along with lower gas prices offset the fleet-wide efficiency gains. Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality tells Automotive News that he's not worried about the slowdown in fleet-wide mpg improvements. “The whole policy was designed explicitly to preserve consumer choice. In 2014, the mix shifted a little bit, but overall we are exactly where we expected to be with greenhouse gas reductions,” said Grundler. There was some good news from the report. The average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles were 13 grams per mile lower than 2014 targets. Also, the average fuel economy for trucks climbed 0.6 mpg to 20.4. The EPA says that 0.6 mpg increase in the second-highest gain in 30 years. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), EPA
  10. The EPA released their annual report on the trends of emissions and fuel economy for light vehicles and the results are a bit mixed. The average fuel economy of new cars and trucks came to 24.3 mpg for 2014. This was the same fuel economy average for 2013, when the average increased by 0.6 mpg. 2014 was the first year since 2011 where fleet-wide fuel economy didn't increase. Why no increase? The EPA says growing demand for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks along with lower gas prices offset the fleet-wide efficiency gains. Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality tells Automotive News that he's not worried about the slowdown in fleet-wide mpg improvements. “The whole policy was designed explicitly to preserve consumer choice. In 2014, the mix shifted a little bit, but overall we are exactly where we expected to be with greenhouse gas reductions,” said Grundler. There was some good news from the report. The average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles were 13 grams per mile lower than 2014 targets. Also, the average fuel economy for trucks climbed 0.6 mpg to 20.4. The EPA says that 0.6 mpg increase in the second-highest gain in 30 years. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), EPA View full article
  11. 2014 will go down as the year as the recall, but also the year where many glaring issues of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were made evident - mostly due to the GM ignition switch mess. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Tuesday couldn’t keep pace at current staffing levels with 75,000 complaints coming in every year. “It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year,” said Foxx. Now there appears to be change in the air. The Detroit News reports that President Barrack Obama is proposing to increase NHTSA's budget for its Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million. The increase would add NHTSA to add add 57 people to a staff of more than 100 and also use stronger data mining and monitoring tools to detect problems faster. “This is about giving NHTSA the tools it needs,” said Foxx. However, some folks on the Senate Commerce Committee isn't fully on board with a budget increase. “We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency,” said Senator John Thune, R-S.D, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Others think the increase is a step in the right direction. NHTSA needs to do something and obviously they are getting a lot of complaints. (NHTSA’s) ability to field all of the complaints has been difficult in the last couple of years — and people paid a price for that,” said Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev. Source: The Detroit News, 2 View full article
  12. 2014 will go down as the year as the recall, but also the year where many glaring issues of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were made evident - mostly due to the GM ignition switch mess. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Tuesday couldn’t keep pace at current staffing levels with 75,000 complaints coming in every year. “It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year,” said Foxx. Now there appears to be change in the air. The Detroit News reports that President Barrack Obama is proposing to increase NHTSA's budget for its Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million. The increase would add NHTSA to add add 57 people to a staff of more than 100 and also use stronger data mining and monitoring tools to detect problems faster. “This is about giving NHTSA the tools it needs,” said Foxx. However, some folks on the Senate Commerce Committee isn't fully on board with a budget increase. “We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency,” said Senator John Thune, R-S.D, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Others think the increase is a step in the right direction. NHTSA needs to do something and obviously they are getting a lot of complaints. (NHTSA’s) ability to field all of the complaints has been difficult in the last couple of years — and people paid a price for that,” said Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev. Source: The Detroit News, 2
  13. The US House Energy and Commerce Committee announced late this week that they have scheduled a hearing on the General Motors Ignition Switch recall on April 1st. Testifying in the hearing will be GM CEO Mary Barra and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head David Friedman. The hearing will look into the timing and response of GM and NHTSA over the problem and recall. "We look forward to hearing from both Mary Barra and Administrator Friedman. Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) in a statement. Now the House Energy and Commerce Committee admits that the two people being called to testify didn't know about the problems till they came to their posts. Source: US House Energy and Commerce Committee Press Release is on Page 2 GM CEO Mary Barra and Lead Federal Vehicle Safety Official Expected to Testify April 1 March 20, 2014 WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today announced that General Motors Company CEO Mary Barra will testify at an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. The committee has also invited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman to testify on the same day. "We look forward to hearing from both Mary Barra and Administrator Friedman. Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it," said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). "The problems originated long before Barra and Friedman took the helms of their respective organizations, but their actions and input now, as our investigation proceeds, will be essential to getting answers about what went wrong. We want to know if this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life due to safety failures like this don't happen again." "I look forward to this hearing so we can find out from GM and NHTSA how this happened and why these dangerous vehicles were not fixed in a timely fashion," said full committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO). Additional hearing details, the Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. BACKGROUND: The committee has opened a bipartisan investigation into the General Motors Company's (GM) and NHTSA's response to consumer complaints related to stalling, airbag non-deployment, and ignition switch problems. GM announced a recall in February covering over 1.6 million vehicles worldwide to correct the problems, but reports indicate drivers first complained of the safety defects over 10 years ago. The company has stated that the defects may have been linked to 31 frontal crashes and a dozen fatalities. Committee staff has now been briefed by both NHTSA and GM on the recalls, and currently awaits production of the documents and information requested last week. View full article
  14. William Maley

    Ms. Barra Goes To Washington

    The US House Energy and Commerce Committee announced late this week that they have scheduled a hearing on the General Motors Ignition Switch recall on April 1st. Testifying in the hearing will be GM CEO Mary Barra and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head David Friedman. The hearing will look into the timing and response of GM and NHTSA over the problem and recall. "We look forward to hearing from both Mary Barra and Administrator Friedman. Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) in a statement. Now the House Energy and Commerce Committee admits that the two people being called to testify didn't know about the problems till they came to their posts. Source: US House Energy and Commerce Committee Press Release is on Page 2 GM CEO Mary Barra and Lead Federal Vehicle Safety Official Expected to Testify April 1 March 20, 2014 WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today announced that General Motors Company CEO Mary Barra will testify at an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. The committee has also invited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman to testify on the same day. "We look forward to hearing from both Mary Barra and Administrator Friedman. Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it," said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). "The problems originated long before Barra and Friedman took the helms of their respective organizations, but their actions and input now, as our investigation proceeds, will be essential to getting answers about what went wrong. We want to know if this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life due to safety failures like this don't happen again." "I look forward to this hearing so we can find out from GM and NHTSA how this happened and why these dangerous vehicles were not fixed in a timely fashion," said full committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO). Additional hearing details, the Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. BACKGROUND: The committee has opened a bipartisan investigation into the General Motors Company's (GM) and NHTSA's response to consumer complaints related to stalling, airbag non-deployment, and ignition switch problems. GM announced a recall in February covering over 1.6 million vehicles worldwide to correct the problems, but reports indicate drivers first complained of the safety defects over 10 years ago. The company has stated that the defects may have been linked to 31 frontal crashes and a dozen fatalities. Committee staff has now been briefed by both NHTSA and GM on the recalls, and currently awaits production of the documents and information requested last week.
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 30, 2013 Ford has gotten a slap on the wrist for their Chicken Tax work-around on the Transit Connect. Back in January, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection asked the company to stop the practice of bringing in Transit Connects as passenger vans, and then removing the windows and shredding the back seats to make into a cargo van. This practice allowed Ford to pay a lower 2.5% tariff for a passenger vehicle and not a 25% tariff for cargo vehicles. "It is clear that the Connect is a commercial vehicle first and foremost," said the ruling. Ford's strategy "serves no manufacturing or commercial purpose" other than to "manipulate the tariff schedule." Automotive News has learned from a Ford spokesman that the company is currently appealing the decision and is importing the Transit Connect with the higher 25% tariff. Ford is also lobbying the U.S. Government for a trans-Atlantic treaty which would eliminate the Chicken Tax. 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.
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 30, 2013 Ford has gotten a slap on the wrist for their Chicken Tax work-around on the Transit Connect. Back in January, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection asked the company to stop the practice of bringing in Transit Connects as passenger vans, and then removing the windows and shredding the back seats to make into a cargo van. This practice allowed Ford to pay a lower 2.5% tariff for a passenger vehicle and not a 25% tariff for cargo vehicles. "It is clear that the Connect is a commercial vehicle first and foremost," said the ruling. Ford's strategy "serves no manufacturing or commercial purpose" other than to "manipulate the tariff schedule." Automotive News has learned from a Ford spokesman that the company is currently appealing the decision and is importing the Transit Connect with the higher 25% tariff. Ford is also lobbying the U.S. Government for a trans-Atlantic treaty which would eliminate the Chicken Tax. 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
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 26, 2013 The past couple of years has seen the rise of diesel powered vehicles in the U.S. Automakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet have introduced diesel vehicles to acclaim. Other automakers such as Mazda and Audi are readying vehicles to join in the fun. But there are still a number of roadblocks for automakers to bring diesel vehicles into the marketplace. To fight this, The Detroit News reports that Volkswagen is urging officials to level the playing field. “We’re not feeling the love. This is one of the greenest choices... It’s time the U.S. government included clean diesel in its ‘all of the above’ strategy’ for greening U.S. roads. Putting these vehicles on the road should be incentivized and not penalized, and that’s our goal,” said Anna Schneider, vice president for industry and government relations at VW Group of America. The big thing Volkswagen would like to see is the tax on diesel fuel be reduced. Second is that number of credits for the upcoming 54.5 mpg regulations be increased for automakers that produce diesel vehicles. Finally, Volkswagen is asking the EPA to adjust how it calculates its combined fuel economy rating. Currently the EPA calculates it by using a ration 55 percent city and 45 percent highway. Schneider said that the current way the EPA is figuring it out doesn't reflect real-world driving. Source: 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
  18. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 26, 2013 The past couple of years has seen the rise of diesel powered vehicles in the U.S. Automakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet have introduced diesel vehicles to acclaim. Other automakers such as Mazda and Audi are readying vehicles to join in the fun. But there are still a number of roadblocks for automakers to bring diesel vehicles into the marketplace. To fight this, The Detroit News reports that Volkswagen is urging officials to level the playing field. “We’re not feeling the love. This is one of the greenest choices... It’s time the U.S. government included clean diesel in its ‘all of the above’ strategy’ for greening U.S. roads. Putting these vehicles on the road should be incentivized and not penalized, and that’s our goal,” said Anna Schneider, vice president for industry and government relations at VW Group of America. The big thing Volkswagen would like to see is the tax on diesel fuel be reduced. Second is that number of credits for the upcoming 54.5 mpg regulations be increased for automakers that produce diesel vehicles. Finally, Volkswagen is asking the EPA to adjust how it calculates its combined fuel economy rating. Currently the EPA calculates it by using a ration 55 percent city and 45 percent highway. Schneider said that the current way the EPA is figuring it out doesn't reflect real-world driving. Source: 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.
  19. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 3, 2013 The U.S. Department of Energy announced a updated strategy to promote green cars and lower the costs over the next nine years at the Washington D.C. Auto Show on Thursday. One part of the original strategy which stated a goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 has been eased off. "Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that's less important than that we're on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road," said a Department of Energy official. Auto experts say the strategy is more realistic since consumers aren't fully sold on electric vehicles due to the high cost, recharge times, and limited charging infrastructure in the U.S. The DOE is backing a new plan to promote research into lithium-ion battery tech to help lower costs. Source: Reuters 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.
  20. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 3, 2013 The U.S. Department of Energy announced a updated strategy to promote green cars and lower the costs over the next nine years at the Washington D.C. Auto Show on Thursday. One part of the original strategy which stated a goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 has been eased off. "Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that's less important than that we're on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road," said a Department of Energy official. Auto experts say the strategy is more realistic since consumers aren't fully sold on electric vehicles due to the high cost, recharge times, and limited charging infrastructure in the U.S. The DOE is backing a new plan to promote research into lithium-ion battery tech to help lower costs. Source: Reuters 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
  21. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 29, 2013 Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary of the Obama administration announced today that he would be stepping down. "I have let President Obama know that I will not serve a second term as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the Department, and I am grateful to President Obama for giving me such an extraordinary opportunity," LaHood wrote in an email. LaHood has put forth a number of initiatives during his time as transportation secretary including a campaign to reduce distracted driving, promote high-speed rail, and repair roads and bridges. "I plan to stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth transition for the Department and all the important work we still have to do," LaHood said. Source: Associated Press 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
  22. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 29, 2013 Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary of the Obama administration announced today that he would be stepping down. "I have let President Obama know that I will not serve a second term as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the Department, and I am grateful to President Obama for giving me such an extraordinary opportunity," LaHood wrote in an email. LaHood has put forth a number of initiatives during his time as transportation secretary including a campaign to reduce distracted driving, promote high-speed rail, and repair roads and bridges. "I plan to stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth transition for the Department and all the important work we still have to do," LaHood said. Source: Associated Press 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.

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