Auto News for Feb. 28 – FCA-Geely Were Talking – Pedestrian Accidents On The Rise

 One of China’s automakers, Geely, approached Fiat Chrysler about a possible takeover offer last year, but the two sides were unable to come to any agreement in informal talks, according to Bloomberg News. The head of Geely then made a $9-billion investment in Daimler (Mercedes) and became its largest shareholder. Geely owns the Swedish automaker, Volvo.

 Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes last year and a group said that raises a “red flag” in the traffic safety community. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association made the projection from preliminary data submitted by the states.

 “Two recent trends present an interesting correlation with rising pedestrian fatalities: the growth in smartphone use nationally and the legalization of recreational marijuana in several states. While the report does not find or imply a definitive link between these factors and pedestrian deaths, it is widely accepted both smartphones and marijuana can impair the attention and judgment necessary to navigate roadways safely behind the wheel and on foot,” the group said.

 The seven states and D.C. that legalized recreational marijuana use between 2012 and 2016 experienced a collective 16.4% increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first half of 2017, while all other states saw a combined 5.8% decrease, the association said.

 Two cities, Montclair California and Honolulu have passed laws making it illegal to use a smartphone while crossing a street.

 But officials said you have both distracted pedestrians and distracted drivers and “You can’t out-regulate distraction.”

  So what to do about all this remains up in the air.

  Ford has created the world’s largest billboard and has its claim certified by Guinness World Records. The size of 20 tennis courts, the billboard promotes the new Ford EcoSport SUV in Madrid, Spain.

 The automaker has selected Miami as the site of a test program for its self-driving cars, with a human on board for safety reasons. Initially, it will collect mapping data, test customer reaction to food being delivered by autonomous vehicles that will not be allowed to double-park to make a Dominos delivery, and it is partnering with Postmates to bring other goodies to residents.

Miami’s mayor said it is “preparation” for what’s to come in the future.

 Autotrader has named the best interiors in vehicles that sell for under $50,000. They are:

 Audi Q5

 BMW i3

 Buck Enclave

 Genesis G80

Kia Stinger

Lincoln Continental

Mazda CX-9 Signature

Mercedes C-Class

Ram 1500

Volvo VC60

 “Aside from being used as transportation, drivers also want their vehicle to be a comfortable place, with quality materials that are laid out in a logical, thoughtful manner, and that may even be as eye-catching as the exterior,” Autotrader said.

 February new vehicle sales will fall 3 percent but transaction prices are expected to go up, according to J.D. Power.  

 “The industry is expected to deliver mixed results in February, with a decline in retail sales volume, higher transaction prices and the potential for the first year-over-year drop in incentive spending in more than four years,” said Thomas King, Senior Vice President of the Data and Analytics Division at J.D. Power. 

 Basically, incentives have been cut back in the hot market for SUV’s, trucks and crossovers.

 The average new-vehicle retail transaction price to date in February is $32,237, a record for the month.

 And for the first 18 days, trucks accounted for 67 percent of new vehicles sales, the highest level ever for February.

 Automakers will release February sales figures tomorrow.



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