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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

Motoring Q&A: Window wonders about maintenance

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: In 2009, we purchased a new 2008 Ford Edge. My husband followed all required maintenance. He passed away last year and last October I took the car in for a complete check and oil change. The mileage was 37,244 at the time. I am 81 years old and generally only drive around our retirement area. The current mileage is just under 39,000 and I ...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

Under the Hood: Trailer hitches and parking brakes

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I recently installed a trailer hitch on my Camry so that I can transport my bicycle when I visit my daughter at college. When I drive the car with two people in the front seats, there is no problem. The trouble pops up only when I add a passenger to the back seat.

Then, when I enter or exit a parking lot, the trailer hitch, without a tongue ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Cutting weight helps new GM vehicles save fuel, money

Automotive / Automotive News /

Hidden in a General Motors presentation on how the automaker has taken hundreds of pounds out of the weight off its new vehicles is an innovation with huge implications for the automaker's costs and conversion to new materials.

Stick with me. In about five seconds, you're going to think "So what?" but this is a big deal and I'll tell you why.

...Read more

Takata scandal adds to the troubled history of automotive air bags

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Driving a 2002 Honda Civic, Huma Hanif was traveling on a highway outside Houston on March 31 when the high school student ran into a car in front of her.

Hanif's car was equipped with an air bag made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. The air bag ruptured with the collision, sending a metal shard into her neck, and the 17-year-...Read more

Auto review: Not looking for a track star? Check out the aptly named 2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Automotive / Automotive News /

Thinking of the compact Chevrolets fielded over the decades is like reviewing a litany of punch lines to bad jokes. Their names are so infamous, they need no further explanation: Corvair, Vega, Monza, Nova, Chevette, Cavalier and Cobalt. Finally, in 2010, the Chevrolet Cruze ended four decades of crummy compacts.

So you have to wonder if ...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

Senior drivers confront confusing proliferation of new car technology

Automotive / Automotive News /

CHICAGO -- Before settling on a new 2014 Ford Edge SE, Cynthia Manson resisted sales pressure to move up to a trim level that had, along with a bigger price tag, more onboard technology and available options.

The lower-grade SE had suited her fine. Although the newly retired Manson could've afforded a more loaded vehicle, all she required was a...Read more

Auto review: 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid is most fuel-efficient AWD compact crossover

Automotive / Automotive News /

There are two trends that show no signs of slowing: Gas prices will continue to rise and Americans will continue to buy crossovers.

Toyota is hoping that Americans will start to buy hybrids again.

The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is a first for the trailblazing compact crossover launched in 1996.

Toyota's eighth hybrid model aims to stay ahead of 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

Auto review: The Low Rider S is exceptionally light and exceptionally powerful

Automotive / Automotive News /

Harley-Davidson's new Low Rider S is a big, beefy, bad-ass bike -- and quite intentionally so.

The country's biggest motorcycle manufacturer set out to build an exceptionally light, exceptionally powerful, exceptionally Harley motorcycle. It's good news for a certain kind of biker -- and bad news for another -- that they succeeded.

The Low ...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

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