Auto News for March 18

 Cars and trucks are “increasingly vulnerable” to hacking, according to the FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles,” the agencies said in the bulletin. The FBI warned that criminals could exploit online vehicle software updates by sending fake “e-mail messages to vehicle owners who are looking to obtain legitimate software updates. Instead, the recipients could be tricked into clicking links to malicious Web sites or opening attachments containing malicious software.” That could allow car thieves to open a vehicle’s doors for instance.  The two agencies said automakers must move fast to address hacking issues.

A Japanese firm that supplies power window switches to Honda has agreed to pay a $4.55 million fine for conspiring to rig bids on those parts. The switches were installed on Honda Civics sold in the U.S. The Department of Justice said Omron Automotive Electronics conspired with another firm to rig the bids. Justice said its investigation is continuing and it will “continue to hold accountable companies and executives across the auto parts industry who chose to conspire rather than compete.”

In a short press release this morning, Ferrari said it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for the licensing, design, construction and operation of a Ferrari theme park in China. It would be located in one of the primary cities there.

Mazda announced its redesigned CX-9 will carry a starting price of $31,250. The three row crossover is the largest in the Mazda inventory.

Ford said sales of its SUV’s are off to their best calendar year start in history, with demand especially strong for the Explorer. Sales to Millennials and women were cited for the strong start. Check back tomorrow, right here, for a road test of the Ford Edge.



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