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Google to open self-driving development center in Detroit area

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- John Krafcik, CEO of Google's self-driving car project, said Wednesday that the tech giant will open a 53,000-square-foot development center in suburban Detroit.

Krafcik, in a Google Plus post, said the development center will serve as a hub that Google will use to work with a number of partners in the automotive industry.

Google ...Read more

Ford recalls 271,000 pickups to fix brake fluid leak

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford is recalling some of its top-selling vehicles in the U.S. to fix a fluid leak that can reduce braking power.

The recall covers about 271,000 F-150 pickups in North America from the 2013 and 2014 model years that have 3.5-liter V-6 engines.

Ford says brake fluid can leak from the master cylinder. That could reduce the ability of...Read more

Toyota invests in Uber

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Toyota said Tuesday it is investing in Uber, the nation's largest ride-hailing service, and the companies will explore new leasing options for Uber drivers.

Neither company disclosed the size and scope of the investment. The companies plan to create new leasing options so Uber drivers can lease Toyota vehicles and cover their payment...Read more

Auto Word: Acura Builds a Beautiful Beast

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

On the racetrack, the Acura NSX howls like an Indy-500 racer. But on the street, in its Quiet mode, it purrs like a Honda kitten.

In 2012, Acura announced it would bring back its high-tech sports car, and this time, it would be a supercar with a hybrid gasoline-electric power unit.

While pricing starts at $157,800 (including the $1,800 freight...Read more

Inaccurate mileage stickers to cost GM

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- General Motors said Friday it will compensate customers who purchased certain 2016 crossover vehicles whose window stickers overstated the vehicles' fuel economy.

Those customers, who number about 135,000, will receive debit cards worth $450 to $900 or extended warranties, depending on a number of factors.

The vehicles involved -- ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Buick smart to trade up from Verano to SUV

Automotive / Automotive News /

I like the Buick Verano a lot, but I also like reports that Buick will stop building the compact luxury sedan in the U.S.

It's a simple case of return on investment. Dropping the Verano frees Buick to pursue bigger game: crossover SUVs.

GM won't talk about the Verano's future, but a usually reliable Mike Colias recently wrote in Automotive ...Read more

Auto Word: More Beauty and More Growl in the Redesigned Jaguar XF Sedan

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

The new Jaguar XF might be the prettiest large sedan in the luxury segment.

The redesigned second-generation car is more mature, more sophisticated and more focused, Jaguar says. But that's not to say that the first model, launched in 2007, was a mere cockney flower child.

The redesign rendered more clean-and-lean sleekness that continues the ...Read more

Under the Hood: Van can't pass emissions

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I have a 2001 Chrysler Town & Country with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine that's been experiencing some issues with its oxygen heater sensor.

The car has 65,000 miles on it and is otherwise in great condition. My problem began last October when I first tried to renew my auto registration at the local test station. After the vehicle failed the oxygen...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Safe to drive faulty car?

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I have a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue with only 127,000 miles on it. It has been well maintained, is in very good condition and runs well. We like the car very much and would like to keep it.

However, several dashboard warning lights have recently been on, leading me to have a full diagnostic done, which pulled up service engine codes PO122 and ...Read more

GM halts sales of 2016 large crossovers; fuel economy was overstated

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- General Motors has told dealers not to sell about 60,000 of its top-selling 2016 large crossovers because their window stickers overstate the vehicles' fuel economy ratings by 1-2 miles per gallon.

"GM discovered an inadvertent error which affected the fuel economy information on the fuel economy labels on the 2016 model year Acadia,...Read more

Mark Phelan: Truck bed audio makes 2017 Ridgeline life of party

Automotive / Automotive News /

When the all-new Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup rolls into dealers next month, it'll offer a unique new audio system that turns the pickup's bed into a speaker cabinet to kick out the jams for outdoor parties.

Honda calls it "the ultimate tailgating experience," and it promises to make the new Ridgeline the center of attention at plenty of ...Read more

Auto review: With 2017 Ridgeline, Honda produces ultimate tailgating truck

Automotive / Automotive News /

I admit I am not a guy who tailgates. The redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, however, might change all that.

Don't believe me? I don't blame you.

Despite winning a pair of major awards when it debuted in 2005, the Ridgeline's sales peaked at 50,193 the following year before sinking to a mere 13,389 units in 2014. Comparatively, Toyota sold 75,...Read more

Auto Word: 2016 Miata Redesign Gets Back to Basics

Automotive / Mark Maynard /

There is just no other car like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Pleasure is part of its DNA, and the re-engineered 2016 model, the fourth-generation MX-5, is no exception.

This little roadster was a charmer when it debuted in the U.S. in 1990. Its Miata magic is still quite apparent, and possibly even more enjoyable now. Its lightweight, rear-wheel-drive...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Check your pressure

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I recently purchased a 2004 Nissan Sentra with the four-cylinder 1.8-liter engine and 74,000 original miles. From day one it's had off-and-on hard starting. The dealer finally replaced the crankshaft position sensor, which seemed to help some. Then the starter failed, and my mechanic put in a new starter and another crankshaft position sensor...Read more

Under the Hood: How to silence your pesky alarm

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: We own a 2007 Ford Escape with 42,000 miles on it. For about three years now, we've experienced an issue with the alarm going off in warm weather. The vehicle is not running when it happens.

Several times while on a shopping trip, I have come out to the parking lot and found my parking lights flashing, meaning the alarm was going off while I...Read more

Why a historic highway that united California's two halves may never reopen to cars

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Harrison Scott discovered the Ridge Route in 1955. Then 18, he was out freewheeling in a brand new Ford he'd bought with a loan from his parents.

The sinuous route, an engineering marvel that tamed the San Gabriel Mountains through the highway corridor that is now known as the Grapevine, was already a relic.

Opened in 1915, and ...Read more

Harley-Davidson cracks the millennials' code with bikes, events

Automotive / Automotive News /

MILWAUKEE -- Harley-Davidson loves millennials, no doubt about it, with much of the company's marketing aimed at motorcycle buyers ages 18-34.

Do the millennials love Harley back? It looks that way, as the world's largest manufacturer of heavyweight bikes says it's the market leader in sales of new on-road motorcycles to young adults.

In 2015,...Read more

Auto review: Luxurious Lexus RX makes cheaper NX look bad in comparison

Automotive / Automotive News /

Interested in a new Lexus SUV? Don't do what I did. Don't drive the best one first.

Lexus has done exceedingly well with its utility vehicle line, a family of four models that includes the brand's top-selling vehicle -- the Lexus RX, which far outsells the most popular Lexus sedan.

The premium Toyota-owned car division sold more than 100,000 ...Read more

Auto review: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited doesn't stand out in congested hybrid class

Automotive / Automotive News /

Hybrids are like the salad section on today's paleo-heavy, crossover-rich menu: You probably should, but there so many more appetizing selections.

It's a tough time to be a hybrid sedan. Internal combustion engines have improved their efficiency, crossovers are America's preferred segment and hybrids aren't worth the estimated 10 percent ...Read more

My Car Does What? Website addresses new-car confusion

Automotive / Automotive News /

One of the first things you'll notice in a new car -- after the high sticker price -- is the array of icons.

There are icons showing hot coffee, or the letter P with a triangle, or a bag holding an exclamation point, or just a series of lines.

And they aren't just on the center stack where we'd expect them. The iconography has migrated to the ...Read more