Fiat Chrysler has started production of the Pacifica Hybrid that the EPA said can travel up to 33 miles on electric power alone. This will be the first hybrid van on the market and the Detroit Free Press said it may be next year before dealers have a full inventory from the Windsor, Canada production plant. FCA said the van has an EPA rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent and 566 miles of total range. Prices start at $34,495 with available tax credits.
Despite lingering subprime bubble rumors, the automotive financing market continues to get stronger and stronger according to Experian. It claims that loans extended to consumers in the subprime tier fell 4.5 percent from the previous year, and loans to deep-subprime consumers dropped 2.8 percent to the lowest level on record since 2011. Newly originated loans to prime borrowers jumped 2 percent to encompass nearly 60 percent of auto loans financed in Q3 2016.
Apple is weighing in on what it sees at the benefits of self- driving automobiles in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Executed properly under NHTSA’s guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience—to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without. It is vital that those developing and deploying automated vehicles follow rigorous safety principles in design and production. Such principles should not, however, inhibit companies from making consequential progress; there is no need to compromise safety or innovation,” Apple said. It called on companies that are studying self-driving cars to share data on crashes and near misses. “By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone,” it said. The letter was written by Steve Kenner Apple’s director of product integrity. Left unsaid, was whether Apple would produce a self-driver or just the needed technology.
Last night, a prized LaFerrari was sold at auction for $7 million to benefit the reconstruction of Central Italy in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes of 2016. The Daytona Beach auction was held in conjunction with RM Sotheby’s and in collaboration with the National Italian American Foundation’s Earthquake Relief Fund. The price represents a record for the most valuable 21st Century automobile ever sold at auction. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the reconstruction efforts in the areas affected by the earthquake.