Auto News for Sept. 22 – Big MB Investment!

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 Mercedes Benz will spent $1 billion to expand its facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where it will start production of electric cars and SUV’s, while a new battery plant will be constructed to help power them. MB said the investment will “created more than 600 new jobs in the region.”

 Final details of the plan are still being worked on in partnership with the State of Alabama.

 “With this one billion dollar investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

 The plant in Tuscaloosa provides worldwide clients with the SUV models GLE, GLS and GLE Coupe.

 Elsewhere:

MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

 Mitsubishi will unveil an all-new flagship concept car, the e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT, at the Tokyo auto show next month. This “very high performance” car will be 4WD with an electric powertrain and advanced Artificial Intelligence technology under a low slung aerodynamic SUV Coupe shape, the company said. Mitsubishi is now a part of the Renault/Nissan alliance and has signed a new P.R. agency to raise its visibility here in the U.S.

 Adult motor vehicle drivers and passengers in America’s most rural counties have motor-vehicle death rates 3 to 10 times higher than those in the most urban counties, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control.

 Overall, the study found lower seat belt use, higher death rates, and a higher proportion of drivers and passengers who were not buckled up.

 “We know seat belts save lives,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “These findings remind us that no matter what kind of road you are traveling on, it is important for everyone to buckle up every time on every trip.”

 The proportion of drivers and passengers who were not buckled up at the time of a fatal crash was 44.4 percent in the most urban counties, compared with 61.3 percent in the most rural counties.

 Hyundai has added 100 vehicle charging stations for employees at its new headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif. It says may be able to commute without using a drop of gas.

 

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Auto News for Sept. 21 – Colors & Personality plus a new Volvo

The vast majority of drivers are in the wrong-color car for their personality. That’s the surprise finding of a pan-European study by Nissan, which reveals a staggering 86% of those polled made an incorrect choice in the showroom.
The research found that even though there are now more vibrant exterior colors and personalization options than ever before, car buyers are still too conservative when it comes to picking paint.
Vibrant shades should be top choices, not conservative colors such as black, silver and grey, Nissan said. Based on the 5,000 responses across Europe, high-energy colors such as orange should top the table. These signify energetic, fun and optimistic traits within someone’s personality, yet many are sticking to the more tradition paint jobs, the study concluded.

New Volvo XC40 - exteriorNew Volvo XC40 - interior
Volvo today introduced the compact SUV.
“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up.”
From start of production, the XC40 will be available with a T5 four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain with all-wheel drive. Further powertrain options, including a hybridized as well as a pure electric version, will be added later. Production starts in November at the Volvo plant in Ghent, Belgium.
Along with the expected Volvo safety features is an emphasis on interior storage and there should be lots of it using large door pockets, integrated bag hook and a customizable cargo area. Wireless mobile phone charging of course, and a standard 9” touchscreen.
The development of a unique air-ventilated woofer located behind the dashboard allows for more storage in the door panels without sacrificing stereo sound in the cabin.
As for prices, the T5 all-wheel drive Momentum trim will start at $35,200. In summer 2018, a T4 front wheel drive will be introduced starting at $33,200.
Honda’s redesigned 2018 Odyssey van has won the top safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That would be Top Safety Pick+. IIHS said the new model includes two things the 2017 lacked – a high-performing automatic braking system and acceptable headlights.

Auto News for Sept. 20 – Ford To Idle 5 Plants – Ram Recall

 Ford will idle a total of five plants due to the slowing demand for the cars they produce.

 They include the Flat Rock plant for two weeks, and the Michigan Assembly plant for one week. Both are in Michigan.

 The Kansas City Assembly plant will be shuttered for two weeks, the Cuautitlan Assembly for three weeks and the Hermosillo Assembly facility for two weeks. Both are in Mexico.

 Those plants turn out the Ford Fiesta, Fusion, Mustang, Transit and Focus, along with the Lincoln MKZ, according to the Detroit News.

 A company spokesman said Ford is trying to match production with customer demand.

 Ram Truck is recalling more than 443,000 with the 6.7-liter engines due to a faulty water pump that could spark an engine compartment fire. There have been no reported accidents or injuries involving the pump, Ram said.

 Involved in the recall are 2013-17 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups; and 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. If you have one, keep an eye out for a warning light that may signal trouble.

 Visitors to the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit will soon have an opportunity to see Henry Ford’s “Secret Experimental Room” for the first time in more than 100 years.

 The first Ford Model T actually rolled out of a secret room constructed in the corner of Ford Motor Company’s Piquette Avenue factory more than a century ago. Henry Ford spent months working there behind closed doors on the creation of his “universal car.”  

 Only a handful of people were allowed inside the room in the early 1900s, but a recreation of the secret room will soon be open to the public.  Grand opening ceremonies for Piquette’s newest exhibit area take place on Sunday, Sept. 24, followed by free public admission to the plant.

 The plant is a National Historic Landmark owned and operated by a nonprofit organization

 Motor Trend has named the Ferrari 488 GTB as the Best Driver’s Car for 2017. “The Ferrari 488 GTB is one of the purest distillations of driving enjoyment ever created,” says  Editor-in-Chief Ed Loh. “The way the engine, transmission, and chassis systems all work together reflects Ferrari’s deep understanding of high-performance road cars and long history in racing at the highest level.”

 With 661 hp and only 3,412 pounds of carbon fiber and aerospace-grade aluminum alloy to move, the 488 GTB screams to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and past the quarter-mile in a stunning 10.6 seconds at 135.2 mph. From 60 mph, the car comes to a complete stop in just 94 feet.

 Factoid:

Toyota Forklift is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the United States.