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Friday, October 31st, 2014

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Today's Headlines

RECALL: Airbag Issue Continues to Grow; May Dwarf Toyota Recall

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Do we have short memories?  A headline in a mainstream news provider today asks "Will Takata Airbags Drive the Biggest Recall Ever?"

While this editor is prevented legally from sharing all of the details, Japan's Takata Corp. has already been involved in the world's largest recall of any product, note, any product in history, during the 1990s when plastic seat belt connectors in virtually every Japanese-made car were failing.  The issue never made headlines and all of the Japanese auto manufacturers involved quietly agreed with the NHTSA to recall all of the vehicles involved and replace the seat belt buttons.  I was involved in performing research as a consult…

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RECALL: Airbag Recall Could Doom Takata

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Automakers are in the process of recalling millions of cars to repair airbags that were produced by Japanese auto safety equipment supplier Takata Corp.  And while global auto manufacturers prepare to warn customers who own cars with the faulty airbags, a Manhattan U.S. attorney's office is said to be investigating whether Takata made misleading statements about the safety of its airbags to U.S. regulators.

The issue related to the airbags is with an igniter that Takata said last June did not affect all of the cars in which its airbags had been installed.  Based on Takata's statements, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) allowed the involved car co…

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SIGN OF THE TIMES: Ford Reduces Price of EV

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

They can't sell them in China, nor in the US.  Tragic. 

There is a market for EVs (electric vehicles) but somehow the companies, and for that matter the governments - that promote them can't seem to find it.

Ford Motor Co. today announced that it will reduce the price of its Ford Focus EV in an effort to increase sales.…

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BODY PANELS: New PVC from Teknor Apex Makes Great Body Panels

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

New from Teknor Apex, Pawtucket, R.I., is a line of extrusion PVC (polyvinyl chloride) compounds that are said to be ideal for exterior automotive moldings and trim that can be smooth or textured with blemish-free surfaces, even after prolonged outdoor exposure.

According to the company, the self-texturing capability built into Apex 1545-D40 ST extrusion compounds makes secondary “texturing” steps such as top-coating or milling unnecessary.  The compounds can be coextruded, bond well to metal, and exhibit physical properties comparable to standard PVC.  Teknor Apex can provide custom color and gloss matching to many OEM standards, including the various shades…

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ELECTRICS: Daimler Sells Stake in Tesla; Will Retain Relationship

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Daimler AG today announced that it has sold its 4% stake in California-based EV-maker Tesla Motors, but assured investors that its cooperation with Tesla would continue. 

The financial details of the sale of the stake are too complicated to ascertain, but analysts claim that Daimler sold the stake for $780 million, a fraction for what it paid in 2009 when it took a 10% stake in the capital of Tesla.  Rumors at the time estimated that amount to be $50 million, a portion of which a year later was sold to interests in Abu Dhabi for an unknown figure.  Abu Dhabi, of course, is a major investor in Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen.

In making the announcement, Diet…

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CHINA: What's Built in China May Not Sell In China

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Earlier this week India's Tata Motors announced the opening of its new Jaguar Land Rover Assembly plant in China.  The plant, said to be one of the most modern assembly operations in the world was inaugerated amongst a lot of hoopla and excitement. 

But guess what?  On the same day the plant was opened the Chinese government announced a new round of regulatory efforts aimed at encouraging Chinese auto buyers to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles.  Today, JLR announced that it has halved its sales goals for JLR cars in China for the balance of this year and will reduce even further its estimates for sales in 2015. 

China’s auto market grew in Se…

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