Tesla Crosses One Thing Off Their List Of Many

Posted by Guest Post on April 16th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

The car industry can be hit and miss and Tesla may have just hit one out of the park.

The incredible response to Tesla’s Model 3 is great news for the company. The company has more than doubled the 115,000 pre-orders it had received before unveiling the car last night, with CEO Elon Musk reporting more than 232,000 orders as of late Friday. For a company with just $1.2 billion on its balance sheet, $1,000 deposits on those vehicles represents nearly a quarter billion dollars — a significant boost to working capital. But that’s not the best part of what has happened for Tesla over the past two days.

Most importantly for the company, Tesla has — without spending more than a token amount on an intro event and some extra staffing in its retail stores — found buyers for what likely amounts to the first two years of production for the Model 3. And given that the car won’t ship until the end of 2017 at the earliest, it’s possible the vehicle will be sold out through sometime in 2020 before the first owner receives a set of keys.

Big steps, small footprint

As I wrote 2 years ago, Tesla’s relatively small footprint of dealerships puts it at a major disadvantage versus other luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes. Musk made a nod to this at the Model 3 event, saying Tesla would expand from 215 showrooms to 441 by the end of next year. But even with that growth it will have far fewer locations than competitors to go see a car, talk to an expert about it, and get comfortable with making a purchase. Thanks to those Model 3 reservations, Tesla now has a lot more breathing room to build out its footprint of dealerships. It also might find a solution to the legal woes that make it unable to sell directly to consumers in a handful of states (e.g. Texas) and restrict the number of stores it can have in several others (including New York.)

Tesla won’t close every sale from those deposits, of course. They are fully refundable and the long lead time will lead to some cancellations. A few would-be buyers will also be disappointed to learn they won’t be receiving the $7,500 federal tax credit for buying a Model 3 as Tesla will cross over the threshold of selling 200,000 cars sometime very soon after the first deliveries occur (More on this in an upcoming post). But it wouldn’t be surprising to find most of those deposits converting into orders.

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Cars Are Not The Only Self Driving Vehicles Out There

Posted by Guest Post on March 18th, 2016 in Category Car News, Engines, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized (no responses)

One day it won’t only be cars that are driving themselves, and we are about to take one more step forward towards the possibility of other autonomous vehicles. In a move that could pave the way for self-driving commercial trucks, the U.S. Army plans a highway test this summer of driverless convoy technology. The experiment will examine how the vehicles communicate with one another, with nonmilitary vehicles and with the roadway infrastructure through radio links. The trucks, for example, will send their speed and location to roadside transponders that will reply with data such as lane closures and speed limits.

The test will take place in June with at least four vehicles on a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan.

For now, drivers will keep control of the trucks, but the Army plans tests on the interstate of driverless capability — robotic control of the vehicles, said Douglas Halleaux, an Army spokesman.

“It won’t be in June, but it won’t be long,” Halleaux said.

The autonomous vehicles have been tested in self-driving mode before but not on public roads.

“We’re very sensitive to the safety of our engineers and our neighbors on the roadways,” Halleaux said.

The Army is “taking this extra step with the radios before we make the big plunge to give our engineers and the public confidence in the trucks’ capabilities,” he said.

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Connectivity In Cars, What You Want To Know

Posted by Guest Post on February 9th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

By creating so many new opportunities when it comes to technology in cars in connectivity also creates many questions, people want to know.

  1. How will Google bring self-driving cars to market? Google wants to bring shared self-driving cars to market by 2020. In 2015, it showed signs of inching toward the marketplace by bringing aboard John Krafcik to lead the program and commencing testing in Austin, Texas. With a manufacturing deal with Ford reportedly in the works, 2016 may bring more concrete signs of Google’s go-to-market plan. Meanwhile, Google’s archrival Apple Inc. continues to explore cars in secrecy.
  2. Will vehicle-to-vehicle communications really happen? For more than a decade, the U.S. government has pushed technology that would allow cars to “talk” to one another to avoid crashes, using a wireless communications frequency. It hasn’t hit the market — though General Motors says it’ll be offered on the 2017 Cadillac CTS — and the government hasn’t built any roadway infrastructure to enable it. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has vowed to propose rules by the time President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017, but will that happen?
  3. Can the auto industry patch its security holes? The dark side of connected cars is that every additional connection creates another way for a wrongdoer to gain access to a car’s internal network. A big reminder of this risk arrived in 2015, when security researchers showed they could wirelessly tap into a Jeep Cherokee and slam the brakes or shut off the engine. In 2016, automakers will be racing to make their cars more secure in hopes of outrunning the bad guys — and hoping nothing happens that might chill customers’ acceptance of connected cars.

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Don’t Let The Drive Stop You From Getting Things Done

Posted by Guest Post on January 7th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

There is so much more that needs to be done in a day, so how are we supposed to get it done, Microsoft has the answer.

Microsoft is moving closer to putting your living room on wheels, introducing several features that will make your drive more productive and entertaining.

On Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft announced four partnerships that will usher the next generation of cars into the cloud. “The industry is going through a digital transformation,” said Sanjay Ravi, Microsoft Worldwide Managing Director of Manufacturing. “The automotive companies want to be digital companies.”

In other words, say “connect to conference call,” and your car will connect you to your officemates. Say “Skype with Mom,” and the line will soon be ringing. Say “find a gas station,” and you won’t have to worry about running on empty.

“Think of the car of the future as your living room on wheels,” Ravi said. “Or your office on wheels.”

Nissan, for example, will use the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform to allow the all-electric Leaf and certain vehicles from its luxury Infiniti brand to tap into the benefits of cloud-based connectivity. Moving telematics information from Nissan’s own global data center to the cloud will increase the network’s storage space, which means drivers can perform functions such as finding places of interest and monitoring the car’s battery capacity faster.

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Federal Department Of Transportation Changes Views Of Autonomous Driving

Posted by Guest Post on December 5th, 2015 in Category Car News, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

LOS ANGELES – Cars that drive themselves have changed the rules of driving quite a bit, al the way to figuring out who would be at fault for accidents that happen. This is why the government has had trouble deciding where they stand on this matter.

Federal transportation officials are rethinking their position on self-driving cars with an eye toward getting the emerging technology into the public’s hands.

Just two years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation struck a cautious tone. Its official policy statement, published in May 2013, says cars should be limited to testing and not “authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes.”

For several years, Google and several traditional automakers have been running prototypes equipped with a suite of sensors and cameras around public streets and highways, mostly in California.

Those cars must have someone behind the wheel, ready to take over. Some have gotten into collisions, though the companies say a person in another car caused the accident in each case.

Google has advocated spreading self-driving cars into the public, once the tech titan concludes the technology is safe.

While states have taken the lead on regulating self-driving cars, policymakers in Washington hold some sway over states’ decision-making. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles in particular has asked for federal guidance as it struggles with how to move the cars safely from small-scale road tests to broader adoption.

In a written statement Monday, U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Suzanne Emmerling said that with rapid development of the technology, federal policy is being updated.

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Volkswagen Offers “Goodwill Package” As A Start Of The Compensation, But Attorneys Are Cautious

Posted by Guest Post on November 12th, 2015 in Category Car News, Engines, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

When you first purchase a car you are told certain facts, figures and features about the vehicle. To find out later that some of those figures were modified causes a growing problem, which Volkswagen is just starting to deal with.

Volkswagen is offering $500 in cash and $500 in VW dealer credit to owners of its diesel cars, a first step in compensating them in the wake of a global emissions-test cheating scandal.

The “goodwill package” is a stopgap measure while the automaker works on a way to fix the cars, which contain software designed to evade U.S. pollution regulations.

The automaker says customers don’t have to give up their right to sue the company — as thousands already are — but some attorneys are disputing that and warning customers not to sign an arbitration clause required to get the money.

It is a complete end run around the litigation that is in place,” said Amy Williams-Derry, an attorney with Keller Rohrback, one of the law firm’s pursuing class action litigation against the automaker. “They are trying to buy off plaintiffs who have already sued and consumers who would benefit from a class-action recovery.”

Some of the hundreds of cases already filed seek to have VW buy back the vehicles for the full price the customers originally paid.

To get the money, VW customers must visit www.vwdieselinfo.com, enter their Vehicle Identification Number, their mileage and contact information. They will also have to take their car to a dealer to activate the gift cards to prove that they own the vehicle.

Customers will also get access to a free 24-hour roadside assistance program for three years.

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More Electric Cars Then Plugs In LA

Posted by Guest Post on October 12th, 2015 in Category Car News, Engines, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

SAN FRANCISCO —Electric Cars have been becoming more popular over the years throughout the states but, the continuing growth may run into an issue.

Of all the states, California has set the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions in coming decades, and an important pillar of its plan to reach those goals is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles.

But the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner.

The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. Electric owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window.

In the moments after Don Han plugged in his Nissan Leaf at a public charging station near his Silicon Valley office one day this summer, he noticed another Leaf pull up as he was walking away. The driver got out and pulled the charger out of Mr. Han’s car and started to plug it into his own. Mr. Han stormed back.

“I said, ‘Hey, buddy, what do you think you’re doing?’ And he said, ‘Well, your car is done charging,’ ” Mr. Han recalled. He told him that was not the case, put the charger back in his own car and left “after saying a couple of curse words, of course.”

Such incidents are not uncommon, according to interviews with drivers and electric vehicle advocates, as well as posts from people sharing frustrations on social media. Tensions over getting a spot are “growing and growing,” said Maureen Blanc, the director of Charge Across Town, a San Francisco nonprofit that works to spread the adoption of electric vehicles. She owns an electric BMW and recently had a testy run-in over a charging station with a Tesla driver.

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Study Depicts The New Stats On How Speed Cameras Can Help And Save Drivers Today

Posted by Guest Post on September 6th, 2015 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

While driving if you saw my camera was recording just be going a little too fast would you slow down? That is not the question as cities are starting to put up speed cameras to record how fast you’re going to hopefully bring you below the speed limit.

Speed cameras can substantially reduce the likelihood of deadly collisions and result in long-term changes in driver behavior. If all U.S. communities had speed-camera programs like the one recently studied, some 21,000 deaths or serious injuries would have been prevented in 2013.

Those are the main findings of a report released earlier this week by theInsurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit financed by the insurance industry.

“We hope this research will help energize the discussion around speed,” Adrian Lund, president of the institute, said in a statement. “We’re all accustomed to seeing posted limits ignored, but it’s a mistake to think nothing can be done about it. Automated enforcement is one of the tools we have at our disposal.”

The study was based in Montgomery County, Md., a large community near Washington, D.C., where speed cameras were introduced in 2007 and used on residential streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less and in school zones. After seven years, cameras reduced the likelihood of a driver exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph by 59 percent, compared with similar roads in two nearby Virginia counties that did not have speed cameras, according to the study.

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The Older Demographic Is Majorly Profitable To Automakers

Posted by Guest Post on August 13th, 2015 in Category Car News, Engines, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

Usually retirees are the demographic that purchases a luxury vehicle, more often than not because that is when they can actually afford it.

Richard Emmons, 83, likes to spend his weekends cruising around in a 1995 Jaguar convertible with a big 12-cylinder engine. His weekday drive is either a 2009 Volkswagen Eos or the $82,000 Audi A8 sedan he bought in November. After all, this octogenarian needs something reliable for his 10-mile commute to the Pratt & Whitney plant in Windsor, Conn., where he works full-time as a jet engineer. “I’m bad at retiring,” Emmons says. “I don’t really have a lot of hobbies anymore. I just like cars and investing.”

American seniors have never been healthier or wealthier. At the same time, cars have never been crammed with more features to safeguard drivers with fuzzier vision, slower reactions, and stiffer necks. Those forces have created a powerful economic engine for car manufacturers. This might just be the first time ever that one of the most promising demographics for the auto industry is represented by Social Security recipients.

“Honestly,” says Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer Mark Hans-Richer, “we sell new bikes to guys in their 80s all the time.”

The roads in America are going gray. From 2003 to 2013, the number of licensed drivers over the age of 65 surged by 8.2 million, a 29 percent increase, according to U.S. Census data. The very old were particularly stubborn about pulling over for good. There are now about 3.5 million U.S. drivers over 84, a staggering 43 percent increase over a decade ago.

On the other end of the age spectrum, teenagers no longer have the income or inclination to own a car. Over that same 10- year period, the ranks of drivers under age 20 declined by 3 percent.

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Is Your Car Older Than The Average Age?

Posted by Guest Post on July 29th, 2015 in Category Car News, Engines, Fun and Humor, Site News, Transmissions, Uncategorized, Used Auto Parts (no responses)

The money invested in a car to keep the engine running can increase as it begins to age, the care and maintenance will depend on how long the car lasts on the road.

The average age of vehicles on the road in the U.S. is rising, even as consumers snap up more new ones — a paradox attributable to substantial increases in reliability.

The typical car on the road in the U.S. is a record-high 11.5 years old, according to a new IHS Automotive survey.

Yet Americans are buying cars at an annualized rate of more than 17 million vehicles, marking a high not seen since before the Great Recession. In fact, U.S. vehicle owners bought 42% more cars than they scrapped in 2014, according to IHS. The number of light vehicles registered in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 257.9 million units.

How are vehicles getting older, while Americans are buying newer cars, too?

Simple: They’re either keeping the old ones along with the new ones — know anyone who bought a new car and kept their old one in the driveway? — or the vehicle made its way into the used-car market, where someone else bought it.

“Vehicles are simply lasting longer than ever before,” Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive, told USA TODAY. “The consumer is hanging onto their vehicle longer than ever before.”

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