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March 18, 2016 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Honda CEO Pledges Quality Over Quantity
Pact Puts Auto-Braking on Fast Track, NHTSA Says
FBI Warns Automakers, Owners About Vehicle Hacking Risks
VW Seeks Comprehensive Deal on Emissions with U.S. Regulators
Ford Says Millennials are Buying Bigger SUVs
Top Stories
Honda CEO Pledges Quality Over Quantity

The company aims to make better cars and improve production.

Last fall, Honda celebrated the North American launch of its redesigned 2016 Civic sedan at its Greensburg, Ind., plant, where it had invested $97 million in upgrades over three years. Six days before the event, an engine on one of the new Civics seized up during quality-control checks. By early January, three more engines had failed in the field and another had broken down at a Honda facility north of Toronto. More reports emerged of engines seizing up, resulting in a fire and one alleged injury, according to filings by the company to U.S. regulators. By month’s end, Honda had to recall 53,000 cars.

The Civic is Honda’s best-selling model, and the misstep is a setback for the Japanese automaker and its new chief executive officer, Takahiro Hachigo. Since he took over in June, the 56-year-old engineer and Honda lifer has been trying to reassure analysts, dealers, and consumers that the spate of recalls in recent years associated with faulty air bags made by Takata and other quality-control problems are a thing of the past. He chalks up many of the challenges to a complicated organizational structure and inadequate communication among Honda’s units. “We need to improve on that,” Hachigo says.
Source: Bloomberg

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Pact Puts Auto-Braking on Fast Track, NHTSA Says

An industrywide agreement to make automatic emergency braking standard will bring the technology to the nation’s new-vehicle fleet at least two years faster than a government mandate would have, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. The agreement -- brokered by NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and announced here today -- commits major automakers to equipping nearly all new light-duty vehicles with automatic braking and forward collision warning by 2022. According to a recent IIHS study, automatic emergency braking can cut rear-end crashes by as much as to 40 percent. But fewer than 10 percent of new cars offer automatic emergency braking as a standard feature.
Source: Automotive News

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FBI Warns Automakers, Owners About Vehicle Hacking Risks

The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a bulletin warning that motor vehicles are "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking. "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 on Thursday. In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software after a magazine report raised concerns about hacking, the first action of its kind for the auto industry.
Source: Reuters

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VW Seeks Comprehensive Deal on Emissions with U.S. Regulators

Volkswagen aims to agree a deal with U.S. authorities that resolves as many issues related to its emissions cheating scandal as possible at once, a senior manager at the German carmaker told Reuters. "It must be our goal to negotiate a comprehensive solution, which could also include the lion's share of expected penalties," the person, who asked not to be named because talks with U.S. authorities were confidential, said on Thursday. Almost six months after it admitted to installing test-rigging software, Europe's largest carmaker has still to reach an agreement with U.S. regulators on how to fix almost 600,0000 affected cars. VW also faces mounting legal action - the U.S. Justice Department sued the company in January for up to $46 billion for violating environmental laws and this week sent VW a civil subpoena under a bank fraud law.
Source: Reuters

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Ford Says Millennials are Buying Bigger SUVs

Ford is finding that Millennials are opting to buy its midsize Explorer SUV, rather than its compact Escape, a departure from the conventional wisdom that the group would rather use public transportation, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft or smaller cars to get around. Up to now auto executives around the world had generally agreed that Millennials interested in driving SUVs preferred small ones because they have lots of space inside, are cheaper to buy and run and are easier to park than larger vehicles. The fact that the Explorer is the automaker's most popular SUV among buyers ages 25 to 34 is surprising not only because it's larger — and would seem more appropriate for families with a lot of kids — but also because it's pricier.
Source: USA Today

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      Quotable
      "We have given the full control back to R&D, appointing people to be responsible for planning a product and strengthening its competitiveness."

          --- Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, on the automaker's plan to focus on quality over quantity, Bloomberg, March 17


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