On behalf of those of us who have worked in journalism, let me start this morning by saying there are few things in this life more treasured than freedom of the press. Now more than ever, let us do everything we can to ensure this basic right is defended and endures.
Now for today’s auto news:
Honda has been fined $70-million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to “report deaths, injuries and certain warranty claims to the federal government. “Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to – no excuses,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The two $35 million fines were the maximum amount that NHTSA is allowed to access. Honda said it has resolved this matter and will “move forward to build on the important actions” it has taken to address “past shortcomings in early warning reporting.” The fine is the largest that the agency has levied on an automaker. Honda admitted last year it failed to tell NHTSA about 1,729 incidents involving deaths or injuries in its products.
Volvo has released a picture of the S60 Cross Country that it will unveil next week at the Detroit show. Here in the states it will be offered with all-wheel drive. Volvo said the S60 is its “first premium sedan with the same level of capability … of the cross country wagons.” We will learn more next week. The first press day of the Detroit extravaganza will be next Monday, so please plan on checking back here for frequent updates as the covers come off.
GM CEO Mary Barra believes the strong auto sales figures of 2014 will carry over to the New Year. Barra told reporters in Detroit that light vehicle sales could top 17-million this year, something that has not occurred since 2001. She attributed it to the strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery in home prices that has consumers “feeling pretty good about the future.” Barra said younger and first-time buyers are returning to the market, a portion of the market considered of utmost importance to automakers.
GM is offering “The Engine Build Experience” for customers of its very hot Z06 Corvette. You can literally watch your engine being made in the company of an assembly technician along with a personalized engine plaque identifying the owner and the date of the engine build. Customers can also watch their car being assembled in a separate program organized by the National Corvette Museum. Best of all you then get to drive it home!
Related to that, Dodge has released a video that shows how its Viper is made. You can see it at:
It is called, “Viper: DNA of a Supercar.” Dodge said it takes 140 to 160 hours to hand paint each car. Did I mention they are kind of fast?