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Tesla tells hundreds of its employees they're not good enough to work there

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Firing hundreds of workers all at once is rare, at least in the auto industry. But Tesla Inc. does things differently.

Word leaked out Friday that the electric car, battery and solar roof company had bulk-fired several hundred employees.

The Mercury News, which broke that story, said Tesla made clear that workers were ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Decoding automakers' promises about electric vehicles

Automotive / Automotive News /

Car buyers need to add a new nugget to their vocabulary: the difference between what automakers are promising -- and charging for -- when they talk about "electrification" vs. "electric" vehicles. The difference matters, in price, fuel economy, emissions, and perhaps most important, drivers' expectations.

At the same time, people like me who ...Read more

Auto review: 2018 Buick Enclave delivers luxury-car style, room and comfort

Automotive / Automotive News /

Buick takes another big step in its transformation into a legitimate luxury brand with the 2018 Enclave Avenir, an elegant and advanced family-carrying SUV arriving in dealerships this fall. The Enclave (I give it four out of four stars) carries seven people in comfort and style. "Avenir" is Buick's new top-of -the-line trim, an analogue to GMC'...Read more

Under the Hood: Collision causes door-open light troubles

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: The rear bumper and left quarter panel of my 2010 Prius were damaged in getting hit by a truck. About a week after getting the damaged sections replaced, I noticed the open-door alarm was turning on while I drove and turning off when I stepped on the brakes. I continuously ensure all the doors are closed, but this keeps on happening.

I took ...Read more

Totally driverless cars could be on California roads by June 2018

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Driverless cars -- with nobody behind the wheel -- could be on California roads and highways by June 2018.

That doesn't mean you'll be able to buy a completely driverless car next year, or even hail a ride in one. The technology is still being developed. The driverless cars that may begin appearing next year will be test ...Read more

Auto review: 2018 Lexus LC 500 is both beauty and beast

Automotive / Automotive News /

With the 2018 LC 500, Lexus now has a thrilling sports coupe.

Yet the market is jaded. The question I heard most from people was: Who needs another $100,000 sports coupe? Lexus does.

The RC F and GS F, from which the V-8 engine is derived, are fun, powerful cars, but they don't turn heads and make people wonder what it is and, more importantly...Read more

It's no use honking: The robot at the wheel can't hear you

Automotive / Automotive News /

WASHINGTON -- As auto accidents go, it wasn't much: twelve minutes before noon on a cool June day, a Chevrolet Bolt was rear ended as it crawled from a stop light in downtown San Francisco.

What made this fender bender noteworthy was the Bolt's driver: a computer.

In California, where companies like Cruise Automation and Waymo are ramping up ...Read more

Auto review: Cadillac XT5 comes with room for five

Automotive / Automotive News /

Cadillac for 2017 rolled out the all-new XT5 midsize crossover, replacing the SRX.

It's a move to get Cadillac more in line with the current trends in the crossover market, with a stylish, carlike premium sport utility meant for a range of consumers, from young families to aging baby boomers.

Outside, the XT5 looks a lot like the vehicle it ...Read more

Self-driving big-rig technology moving quickly down the on-ramp

Automotive / Automotive News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- From behind the wheel of his big rig, Eric Feehan can't quite envision a future when 18-wheelers drive themselves.

"There are so many variables, I don't think anybody's going to make it work," the Minnesota truck driver said during a break in Sparks, Nev.

In 24 years on the road, Feehan has learned that it takes experience and ...Read more

Adventure Rally draws riders and generates profit for motorcycle magazine publisher

Automotive / Automotive News /

Most motorcycle industry veterans are painfully aware that their business model is broken.

New riders are not coming into the sport as fast as old riders are aging out of it.

Bonnier Motorcycle Group, which publishes 11 moto-centric titles including Cycle World, Motorcyclist and Dirt Rider magazines, sponsors several events a year that are ...Read more

Austin police again encounter carbon monoxide problem with Ford SUV

Automotive / Automotive News /

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin police department's effort to return its fleet of Ford Police Interceptor SUVs to the street is facing new setbacks and may be significantly delayed after one of three cars put back on patrol this week tested positive for deadly carbon monoxide, officials said.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said the car was ...Read more

Complex infotainment systems are putting driver lives at risk, says AAA

Automotive / Automotive News /

American drivers are demanding increasingly complex infotainment systems when they shop for new cars.

But a new AAA study says they're putting themselves at risk if they use the systems while driving.

The news is worse for luxury car buyers. The infotainment systems that could prove most distracting are those installed in some of the most ...Read more

Under the Hood: Taking the environment into consideration

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I believe global warming will destroy our planet. If you agree, I would like to see your responses to readers better reflect concerns for the environment.

In a recent reply, you suggested a reader choose a larger engine for its supposed longevity over a smaller, more fuel-efficient option. In support of this advice, you talked only about the...Read more

Auto review: 2018 Honda Accord zooms to front of midsize pack with turbos, new features

Automotive / Automotive News /

New technology, advanced safety features and a roomy, comfortable interior propel the 2018 Honda Accord to the top of the midsize sedan class.

The base Accord goes on sale this month with a 192-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. A more powerful model follows in November. A fuel-efficient hybrid is due early in 2018.

Accord prices start ...Read more

Auto review: Hot, hot hatch: Mercedes-AMG 45 is a more refined sport

Automotive / Automotive News /

Kryptonite is known to drain Superman of his powers. The color kryptonite green has the opposite effect on mere mortals getting behind the wheel of the super AMG GLA45.

The No. 1 comment we got about this hot, hot hatch was about the color; the second was, Who is it for?

The second question is harder to answer, especially as a middle-aged ...Read more

Talking custom motorcycles with award-winning designer Max Hazan

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Max Hazan has become, at only 35 and with dizzying speed, one of the custom motorcycle industry's most admired bespoke bike builders. But he only turned his head to design after a motorcycle injury sidelined him for several months.

The accidental artist: Hazan wasn't aiming for the artistic life. The New York native and son of a ...Read more

Chevy trucks celebrate 100 years of shaping how Americans drive

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Forget the '57 Chevy, the Corvette and Camaro.

With 100 years of production and the auto industry's oldest continually used nameplate, the archetypal hero vehicle for General Motors' biggest brand is a Chevrolet truck, and it's celebrating a century on the market.

Chevy trucks turn 100 this fall, just in time for the brand to ...Read more

Harley-Davidson comes close to getting everyone in Ryder, ND, to become motorcycle riders

Automotive / Automotive News /

Some people rejected the offer, but Harley-Davidson Inc. says it has persuaded most residents of Ryder, N.D., to become motorcyclists.

About four months after Milwaukee-based Harley launched its effort to get nearly every adult in Ryder (population 84) licensed to ride, about 70 percent of the town's eligible residents have completed the free ...Read more

GM promises more than 20 electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2023

Automotive / Automotive News /

Auto giant General Motors said Monday it will begin selling two new all-electric vehicles in the next 18 months and will have at least 20 new zero-emission electric vehicles in its lineup by 2023.

Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, making the announcement in Detroit, said the new cars are part of a sweeping plan to move toward an automotive world ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Europe braces for incentive war, auto plant openings and closings after Brexit

Automotive / Automotive News /

Britain's upcoming departure from the European Union could set off a mad scramble as automakers and suppliers rearrange their manufacturing footprint and seek incentives for new plants in the U.K. and around Europe.

"It'll be a feeding frenzy," Mark Barrott, principal of Plante Moran's consulting practice, told me this month at the U.S. ...Read more