Auto News for Aug. 17 – No steering wheel, no pedals on this future Ford

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Ford has announced its intent to have a high volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing in 2021 and by fully autonomous, they mean a vehicle without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals.  “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. It has signed a number of contracts with high tech firms and will add two new buildings and 150,000 square feet of work space to its research center in Palo Alto, California. It is investing in or collaborating with four startups on autonomous vehicle development. “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” Fields said. A Fusion test car is pictured.

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What Bentley calls the “most luxurious” model ever – the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase – will make its U.S. debut at the Monterey Auto Week. “The pinnacle luxury limousine is designed for those who prefer to be driven, and provides a first class air-travel experience for the road”, the company said. The new model will first appear on Friday.

Along that line, Edmunds.com said its research shows the wealthy opt for practicality over pomp when it comes to their daily drivers. “America’s wealthiest car buyers are all-in on the trend toward bigger vehicles,” says Edmunds.com Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “And they’re not just gravitating toward luxury brands — eight of the ten most popular vehicles among these buyers are non-luxury vehicles. It suggests that affluent buyers are satisfied with the technology, utility and performance that mainstream brands have to offer.” Those in households with $250K or more coming in yearly, bought a Ford F-150 or a Jeep Grand Cherokee for their daily ride. When it comes to luxury wheels, exotics from Jaguar, Audi, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Bentley dominated.

Automotive News says Cadillac will display a concept vehicle at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d”Elegance but it is not known if it will be a car, SUV or crossover.

If you are looking ahead to a Labor Day trip, AAA reports that the national average price of gasoline has held steady over the past week. The average price for regular unleaded is now $2.12 per gallon. That is nine cents less than one month ago and 54 cents less than the same time last year. The West Coast has the highest prices, while a gallon will cost you less than a dollar a gallon in a dozen states.

South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, New Jersey, Virginia, Arkansas, Delaware, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.

 

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