Cyber threats have emerged as a big concern for automakers, as researchers have exposed serious holes in vehicle security that could allow hackers to commandeer cars. Those worries might be small compared to what's ahead.
Center For Automotive Research
Honda has been dinged by the media – us included – for recent lackluster designs, most notably the 2012 Civic. While the company has mostly adhered to its public position that everything is fine, clearly there are some changes being wrought behind the scenes at the Japanese automaker. For one, Honda's North American product development team is going to be taking over the next-generation Civic, according to Automotive News.
The last we heard, the auto industry was booming. Sales are healthy and recovery from the multi-year slump brought on by the global economic meltdown of 2008 is well on its way, with domestic sales projected to reach as high as 14.5 million vehicles. We even heard a rumor that Ford would soon be installing cash machines in its executive lavatories that dispensed well-worn twenties.
How important is the auto industry to state and federal governments? According to the Center for Automotive Research, the industry accounts for $135 billion in annual taxes. In fact, a reported 13 percent of all state taxes comes from the automobile, or $91.5 billion in total.
According to a top researcher, labor costs for salaried employees at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors will surpass those of workers represented by the United Auto Workers for the first time next year. A report in Automotive News says the calculation was performed by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), and made public at a recent conference.
The fourth quarter of 2010 showed strengthening auto sales, and analysts believe 2011 will reveal further sales growth. That will likely lead to more profit for automakers, and The Detroit News reports that Michigan jobs could follow. The report cites findings by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) that show up to 23,000 new Michigan jobs in 2011 alone.
The Center for Automotive Research has released a new study detailing the impact of the auto bailout of 2009. According to The Detroit Bureau, the group found that the government's involvement in the automotive industry saved 1.14 million jobs and $96.5 billion in personal income in 2009. The study also says that in 2010, around 314,400 jobs were saved by the bailout and that, in total, the loans to General Motors and Chrysler allowed $28.6 billion in social security and income taxes to be paid
David Cole is the chairman of the Center For Automotive Research. As such, he is deeply connected to the industry and played a big role in organizing the Business of Plugging In expo in Detroit last week. We've talked with Cole in the past, and caught up with him at the expo to hear what the Michigan-centric conference can tell us about the future of plug-in vehicles in the mitten state.
Among the technologies being looked at by carmakers as a means of reducing emissions and fuel consumption are vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (telematics). The idea is that real-time traffic information can be passed around among vehicles in the area allowing drivers or navigation systems to adjust and find alternate routes. Electronic signals could provide guidance to drivers about areas to avoid and automatically adjust traffic light timing.
Speculations that Ford Motor Co. may be selling its Jaguar brand may have been lessened, if not outright stricken, during a seminar at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields, who spoke at the seminar, suggested the luxury marque would be repositioned as a "niche brand" which would sell fewer, but more profitable vehicles. This is similar to Porsche' strategy and a recapitulation of Ford's redirection of Jaguar since 2004. However, Fields did no
GM recently announced a program to lower gas costs for buyers of some of the company's most gas-inefficient vehicles. GM's "fuel price protection program" reimburses the buyer enough money to bring the cost of all of that buyer's gas during the first year down to $1.99 a gallon. The reimbursement process is slightly confusing, and GM, the supposed "Live Green, Go Yellow" company, has taken a lot of flack since its introduction a few weeks ago. Instead of encouraging less gas consumption, the pro
The beating of the drums calling for the head of [General Motors'] Rick Wagoner continues to crescendo. The embattled chief executive has been stung by a growing chorus of critics in light of the company's recent financial restatement in which it disclosed that the company had lost a further 2 billion dollars. As a former chief financial officer, pundits argue that it is particularly disturbing that a company helmed by a money-man would have such issues.