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Google's artificial intelligence could count as a car's driver, federal regulator says

Automotive / Automotive News /

Google Inc.'s self-driving system, controlled by artificial intelligence, could be considered a car's driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a letter posted on NHTSA's website, the agency responded to Google's request for interpretation of several federal safety standards as they apply to the tech giant's ...Read more

Federal regulator expands investigation into Fiat Chrysler gear shifters

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expanding and upgrading its investigation into electronic gear shifters on more than 856,000 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.

At issue is an electronic gear shifter used to put vehicles in park, drive, reverse or neutral.

The NHTSA said it is concerned that the design of the ...Read more

Honda lurches ahead with pesky nine-speed transmission

Automotive / Automotive News /

Nine-speed transmissions are here to stay. They're being touted as a fuel-efficient selling point in vehicles such as the 2016 Honda Pilot, in top-of-the-line Touring and Elite trim levels.

But these transmissions are also something that might take some getting used to. One aspect of these "teething" pains can be seen in the behavior of our ...Read more

9 reasons why your car won't start

Automotive / Automotive News /

You skipped that second cup of coffee. You are running late. To make matters worse, your car won't start. Why? What can you do?

No-starts fall into two basic categories:

--The engine will not crank or cranks slowly

--The engine cranks, but does not run

NO OR LOW CRANKS

DEAD BATTERY

A dead battery is the No. 1 cause of a no-start. If the ...Read more

Auto review: Range Rover Sport HSE Td6: A posh drive through winter's wickedness

Automotive / Automotive News /

Land Rover has made its reputation by selling cars capable of fording rocky streams and climbing icy slopes to drivers who rarely face anything more challenging than a lentil soup spill in the Trader Joe's parking lot.

But the 2016 Range Rover Sport might be the best vehicle on the market for handling wicked winter weather -- in our accustomed ...Read more

Auto review: Beetle Dune delivers illusion of outdoor agility

Automotive / Automotive News /

Since its rebirth in 1998, the Volkswagen Beetle has been the subject of a key question for those possessing a Y chromosome: Are you man enough to drive one? Its Hello Kitty styling is a bit emasculating.

This is no small thing.

While the Beetle was originally created under the auspices of the Nazi party and engineered by Ferdinand Porsche, ...Read more

Under the Hood: Give your faulty fuel gauge a smack

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I have a 2002 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup with 100,000 miles on the odometer. Around the 76,000-mile mark, I installed a Delco fuel pump and level sensor module, which together cost $1,300. One year later, the truck's fuel gauge started acting up.

After a fuel-up, the gauge stays on full for about 150 miles before its needle finally starts to ...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Nitrogen-filled tires are no 'hoax'

Automotive / Automotive News /

As a follow-up to my column regarding nitrogen use in tires, this from John MacBain, Ph.D:

"Nitrogen obeys the same universal gas law as oxygen, hydrogen, and every other gas known to man. Both nitrogen-filled tires and air-filled tires will show exactly and precisely the same pressure sensitivity to ambient temperature changes. As to comparing...Read more

Continental recalls air bag controls installed in 5 million vehicles

Automotive / Automotive News /

Continental Automotive Systems Inc. is recalling potentially faulty air bag control units that were installed in up to 5 million vehicles worldwide.

In documents posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Continental said the air bag control units have a power supply component that could corrode and prevent the air ...Read more

Toyota is scrapping its youth-oriented Scion brand

Automotive / Automotive News /

Toyota's Scion brand is going the way of Oldsmobile, Mercury and Tucker.

Toyota will scrap the youth-oriented nameplate. Certain Scions will be rebadged as Toyotas. Some Scion employees will continue to work for the parent company.

The Japanese car giant characterized the news as the end of a triumphant period in which the perky, inexpensive ...Read more

Ford, looking to grow profit, to cut staff in Europe

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Ford of Europe will reduce salaried staff, improve productivity and pare its vehicle lineup to ensure sustained profitability as part of continued restructuring efforts.

Ford is finally profitable again in Europe and wants to keep it that way with improved efficiency and cutting cost by $200 million annually.

"We need to be healthy ...Read more

GM posts $6.3B quarterly profit

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- General Motors earned $6.3 billion in the fourth-quarter, helped by a large tax benefit tied to revalued assets in certain European countries.

That was more than five times the $1.1 billion net income the company reported in 2014's fourth quarter.

On a per share basis, GM made $1.39 for the fourth-quarter, easily beating the $1.21 ...Read more

Toyota will compensate black and Asian borrowers to settle bias investigation

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota's financing arm will pay as much as $21.9 million to black and Asian borrowers who paid more for auto loans than whites, settling allegations of discrimination by federal regulators.

Toyota Motor Credit Corp. in Torrance, Calif., had been under investigation by the Department of Justice and the federal Consumer Financial ...Read more

January sales mixed for Detroit 3

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Sales of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rose 7 percent in January from a year earlier, General Motors' sales edged up 0.5 percent, and Ford's dropped 2.6 percent as a massive East Coast snowstorm shut down business in several states for much of last week.

Toyota posted a 4.7 percent decline as a 4.4 percent increase in sales of pickup ...Read more

Tesla stock jumps despite analyst's warnings

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- A Wall Street analyst who has been Tesla's most vocal cheerleader issued a cautionary report Monday warning that continued losses, delays in launching new models and low gas prices will bring the company's meteoric stock trajectory closer to earth.

The company's stock rose anyway, largely fueled by reports that CEO and co-founder ...Read more

Motoring Q&A: Stubborn Charger has dealership stumped

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: My 2013 Charger R/T has a recurrent issue that causes its check engine light to glow. I was told a recent fueling may have caused the issue and that in order to fix the problem, I should open and close the gas tank door.

That didn't help, and the check light has been on again and off again with limited frequency. I had the dealership check ...Read more

Cadillac re-enters luxury competition with CT6 sedan

Automotive / Automotive News /

The CT6 is the most sophisticated, luxurious -- and arguably important -- car in Cadillac's 113-year history.

Developed to beat the world's most prestigious luxury sedans at their own game, the CT6 culminates decades of work and billions of dollars invested in re-establishing Cadillac as one of the world's most advanced and desirable luxury ...Read more

Motormouth: Ford owners seek safety and service satisfaction

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I own a 2002 Ford Sport Trac with a V-6 engine. Once in a while it will completely shut down while driving at 25 to 45 mph. When this happens, I lose the power steering and power brakes. That's dangerous. I can restart it by shifting into neutral and cranking. It has occurred occasionally for several years. It may go several months without ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Higher performance, mpg coming from all-wheel-drive

Automotive / Automotive News /

Get ready for a boom in all-wheel-drive systems as automakers and suppliers reduce their weight and impact on fuel economy.

New electric-drive systems will play a key role, and the possibility of a long-term oil glut and protracted low gasoline prices will only add to AWD's momentum as SUV sales boom and more cars adopt it for performance and ...Read more

Focus on quality brings some of world's most unique and expensive cars to small-town body shop

Automotive / Automotive News /

PACIFIC, Mo. -- He waved his hand over the Mercedes S550 sedan, casting a shadow on its silver surface.

The metallic paint shimmered with evenness. The gap between hood and quarter panel ran with uniformity. The finish lacked any hint of pit or protrusion.

"Can you tell?" asked Scott Witzig.

No, you couldn't.

That was the goal: to erase ...Read more