General Motors leads the news list this morning on a couple of fronts.
The federal government has extended for one year its oversight of GM’s review, decision making and communications about potential safety issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require GM to continue submitting reports to and meeting with officials on safety related matters. In a press release, the agency said the automaker has made improvements over the past year and this action “will help keep them on the right track.”
Last May the company agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and take part in unprecedented oversight regarding its handling of ignition switch issues in millions of vehicles.
GM will spend $439 million to upgrade the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky including construction of a new paint shop. Work will begin this summer and take two years to complete.
Production of the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot has begun at the company’s plant in Lincoln, Alabama. The upcoming Pilot is said to offer improvement gas mileage and additional space. It will go on sale next month.
Backing up with a trailer attached to your pickup is a skill that some do well with lots of practice and some never master. Now Ford has announced “Pro Trailer Backup Assist” for the 2016 F-150 that it says will make the whole process easier. It works by letting the customer steer the trailer with a control knob. The customer rotates the knob to indicate how much the system should turn the trailer and then automatically steers the truck to turn the trailer the desired amount.
Imagine a synthetic fuel that carried a 100 octane rating, uses no petroleum, and will allow for high compression ratios for enhanced efficiency. Audi calls it “e-benzin.” It will test the new fuel in the lab and in test engines and wants to modify the production process so it requires no biomass, just water, hydrogen CO2 and sunlight.
Audi also confirmed that it will produce a luxury SUV in 2019 called the Q8 to take on the Land Rover Range Rover, upscale Mercedes GL and BMW X7. It is expected to have a coupe like style but other than that Audi released few details.