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2012-11-28

TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * USA

* Oregon - Western Star model hits the road

(Photo: 4900SB model) 
Portland,ORE,USA -Fleet Owner -Nov. 27, 2012: -- Western Star Truck Sales is sending a 4900SB model with fuel efficient (FE) package on a tour of U.S. dealerships. The tour is scheduled for the remainder of this year and throughout 2013, Western Star said... Equipped with the Detroit DD15 engine, the 4900SB FE combines aerodynamic features and lightweight options to improve fuel economy. The 4900SB FE features a wrap-around front bumper, underhood air cleaners and sloped hood, while maintaining classic exterior styling, Western Star said... Additional features, including an airliner suspension, lightweight aluminum fifth wheel and exclusive honeycomb sleeper construction make the 4900SB FE among the lightest trucks in its class, the company added...

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* India - Volvo to Invest Rs 3800 crores; for Buses and Trucks

India,Hyderabad -Phillip 2876 -November 23, 2012: -- Swedish truck, bus and earth-moving equipment maker Volvo on Tuesday announced it planned to invest Rs 3,800 crore in India through the next few years. Of this, Rs 1,800 crore would be invested in its joint venture with Eicher Motors... The remaining amount would go towards enhancing its own operations, he added... The announcement of Volvo’s investment plans comes at a time when the company is seeing slackening demand across Europe. In North America, too, the company has seen demand fall, with dealers cutting on stocks... Volvo also aims to export about 30 per cent of the capacity at its Indian engine plant it plans to open in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, next year, as it looks to leverage costs from India operations... 


* Sweden - The new Volvo FH – a major challenge for Volvo Trucks’ designers

Tbilisi,Georgia -The FINANCIAL, by Ida Mattsson -27 Nov 2012: -- Truck design is about much more than just colour, shape and attractive lines. Behind the new, safer, larger and more ergonomically optimised Volvo FH lies a significant design challenge... From the first stroke of his pen on the drawing board to complete truck, the process took just over five years. Several thousand hours and at least an equal number of decisions and procedures later it was finally ready – the new Volvo FH... In practice what the Göteborg-based design group had to do was to find solutions in which all the individual parts of the truck interlinked smoothly with each other and created a single cohesive feel. Every visible surface, inside as well as out, was examined in minute detail by the design department. So too were the sounds and tactile feel of the buttons and controls, the structure of the textiles and the in-cab lighting – all were tailored to meet the high demands and expectations of an all-new Volvo FH. Demands that are expressed in parameters such as tough standards regarding safety and driver’s environment...

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RULES and REGULATIONS * Russia

* Russia - Acting Governor Sees Complications in Truck Ban 

(MKAD: ring road around Moscow) 
Moscow,Russia -The Moscow Times -26 Nov 2012: -- Acting Moscow region Governor, Andrei Vorobyov, expressed concern on Monday with the planned partial ban of large trucks from the Moscow Ring Road. Vorobyov said that both he and Moscow Mayor, Sergei Sobyaninagreed that they "cannot allow an accumulation of large trucks in the Moscow region while they wait until 10 p.m. to use the MKAD"...   Earlier this month, it was announced that all vehicles over 12 tons will be banned from using the MKAD between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. as part of an ongoing battle against the capital's notorious traffic jams. The ban will come into effect on May 1, 2013. Vorobyov said that both he and Sobyanin were concerned about the amount of traffic on the MKAD and that he intends to draw up a mutually beneficial agreement on the matter...

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CARMAKERS NEWS * USA

* California - Luxury, small cars take charge at L.A. Auto Show

(Photo from GM: GM says its ’14 Chevy Spark EV will be priced under $25,000 after a tax credit) 
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -November 27, 2012: -- California is king when it comes to small cars, and this year's Los Angeles Auto Show will reinforce that title. Automakers — including Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC — will debut nearly 50 vehicles, including 24 world debuts, at this week's show. Most are small, fuel-sipping cars, with many hybrids and electrics. But luxury vehicles will make a strong showing, too...  In advance of the show Monday, Ford revealed the 2014 Fiesta ST, the performance version of its subcompact... GM this week will introduce the 2014 Chevrolet Spark Electric Vehicle, which the automaker showed off this month to the media in Sausalito, Calif.... Chrysler is unveiling new trim levels of its Chrysler Town and Country minivan and Dodge Charger... But the real news will come from Chrysler's parent company, Fiat SpA, which is expected to unveil four new models of the Fiat 500: the all-electric Fiat 500e, a convertible version of the race-ready Fiat 500 Abarth and a longer, five-door version, the Fiat 500L...


* Michigan - Chrysler Italian -Fiat brand- doubles transactions, debuts second model

(Photo from Fiat: For the 2014 model year, Fiat is introducing 500L - the L stands for "large." The five-door multi-purpose vehicle is longer and wider than the 500) 
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -November 28, 2012: -- Fiat is finally finding its stride... With two more months of 2012 sales still to be recorded, Chrysler Group LLC's Italian brand has sold almost twice as many cars as it did last year. By the end of October, Fiat had sold almost 36,500 cars in the United States. It sold fewer than 19,800 cars in 2011. And that is with just a single model: the Fiat 500. At the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Fiat is introducing its second model for the U.S. market — the bigger Fiat 500L — along with new variants of the original 500... 


* California - Chevy unveils MyLink system for 2014 models 

(Video from YouTube, by worldcarfans -27 Nov 2012: Chevrolet introduces updated Mylink system) 
Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -November 28, 2012: -- Technology is stealing most of the spotlight in advance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Friday... General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand on Tuesday unveiled for auto journalists its next-generation MyLink infotainment system... The new system keeps a simple interface but significantly expands capabilities...Chevrolet for the first time will use natural voice-recognition that will allow drivers to make phone calls, enter navigation destinations, and browse and play music by connecting up to 10 mobile devices to the car through Bluetooth technology or a USB connection... Drivers will be able to customize the instrument cluster — which features large, block-like, easy-to-press buttons — for four different personality types and can save up to 60 "favorites": radio stations, contacts, destinations, music and other media... Weather updates will be available through Sirius XM satellite radio...

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DRIVERS' SHORTAGE * USA

* Illinois: Could soon offer driving privileges to illegal immigrants 

 Springfield,Ill,USA -Land Line, by Keith Goble -26 Nov 2012: -- A push is underway by some heavy hitters in Illinois to change licensing rules to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses... In recent years, the list of states providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants has dropped from nine to two – New Mexico and Washington. In Utah, illegal immigrants can obtain licenses to drive, but they cannot be used as identification... Gov. Pat Quinn and others are advocating a change to require a special license and insurance for illegal immigrants. The three-year license would be distinct from a regular driver’s license and would not be valid for identification purposes other than driving or buying auto insurance... There are an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrant motorists in Illinois, according to state figures...

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2012-11-26

ALTERNATIVE FUELS * USA

* Pennsylvania - Natural gas drillers target U.S. truck, bus market

(Photo by Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press: Waste Management driver Alan Sadler fills his truck with CNG gas at the company's filling station in Washington, Pa. Years from now, motorists needing a fill-up might see natural gas pumps sharing space at the neighborhood filling station with ones dispensing gasoline and diesel)
Scranton,PA,USA -Associated Press/The Detroit News, by Michael Rubinkam -November 26, 2012: -- If the trash truck or bus rolling down your street seems a little quieter these days, you're not imagining things. It's probably running on natural gas... Surging gas production has led the drilling industry to seek out new markets for its product, and energy companies, increasingly, are setting their sights on the transportation sector... Touting natural gas as a cheaper, cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline and diesel, drillers, public utilities and government officials are trying to boost demand for natural gas buses, taxis, shuttles, delivery trucks and heavy-duty work vehicles of all sorts, while simultaneously encouraging development of the fueling infrastructure that will be needed to keep them running... The economics are compelling. Natural gas costs about $1.50 to $2 per gallon equivalent less than gasoline and diesel. That can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for vehicles that guzzle the most fuel... Fleet managers are taking notice. Companies as diverse as AT and T, Waste Management and UPS are converting all or parts of their fleets to natural gas, as are transit agencies, municipalities and state governments...


* California - Ford exec: Industry needs new way to show fuel claims

Los Angeles,CAL,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -November 28, 2012: -- Ford Motor Co.'s top marketing executive says the automotive industry needs to be more creative when it comes to fuel economy claims... Fuel economy claims, upon certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, usually appear in advertising and promotions in two ways: as a general "best-in-class" disclaimer for that particular automaker, or with a specific number... But after Hyundai Motor Co. and its Kia Motors unit admitted they overstated gas mileage claims by 1 to 6 miles per gallon for more than 1.1 million vehicles, many in the industry have questioned the strategy of promoting numbers only. Ford, for example, with its new Fusion Hybrid, has decided to promote the vehicle in television advertisements by saying the car, which gets 47 combined miles per gallon, "doubles the fuel economy of the average vehicle" ... Whether that strategy resonates with consumers is yet to be seen, though the Fusion is one of Ford's fastest-turning vehicles on dealer lots. But it does represent a changing mentality for automotive marketeers... 



* Virginia - Fleets in Regional Propane Autogas Program Save $1.62 Per Gallon on Fuel 

Harrisonburg,VA,USA -Press Release: Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program/ GLOBE NEWSWIRE –Nov 26, 2012: -- Vehicle fleets across 12 U.S. states in the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program saved an average of $1.62 per gallon last quarter filling up with propane autogas vs. gasoline. Total fuel cost savings in this quarter alone exceeded $100,000, with almost 250 tons of greenhouse gas emissions displaced... To date, autogas fleets in the Program have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,000 tons and displaced more than 1 million gallons of gasoline...Alliance AutoGas provides the fuel supply, fueling infrastructure and vehicle conversion equipment for Program fleets. Though the Program is concentrated in the Southeast U.S., notable Program fleet Veolia Transportation is converting 300 taxis nationwide to propane autogas, recently launching Baltimore's first propane-powered taxi fleet...

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CARMAKERS NEWS * USA

* Michigan - Ford leads rivals on profits per vehicle

(Photo from Ford: The new versions of the Ford Escape (above) and Ford Fusion are near the top of their segments in transaction pricing, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.com, noting that they are second to Volkswagen AG’s competing models) 
Dearborn,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman and Melissa Burden -November 26, 2012: -- With car and truck sales on the rebound, all of Detroit's automakers are making money. But Ford Motor Co. is making a lot more on each vehicle it sells than its crosstown rivals do... Ford's third-quarter operating margin in North America was 12 percent — the highest since the company began breaking out regional margins in 2000... Simply put, the operating margin is a company's net profit presented as a percentage of revenue. As such, it is a useful metric for comparing the performance of different-size companies...


* Michigan - Chrysler adds pricier Town  and Country as future of minivan studied

(Photo from s3.amazonaws: 2012 Chrysler Town Country Touring Van Passenger) 
Auburn Hills,MICH,USA -Bloomberg News/The Detroit News, by Craig Trudell -November 26, 2012: -- Chrysler Group LLC, which has led the U.S. minivan market since introducing the first model almost 30 years ago, is adding a higher-end version of the Town and Country as the automaker considers its future in the segment... The 2013 Town and Country S, equipped with a Blu-ray DVD player as a standard feature, arrives in dealerships by June and will sell for a $2,000 premium to the base model... Chrysler unveils the minivan this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show... Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and its majority owner Fiat SpA, has said he's evaluating whether the U.S. automaker needs both the Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. The U.S. minivan segment shrank to 3.7 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales last year from 7.9 percent in 2000, according to researcher Autodata Corp...

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SAFETY TRUCKS * USA

* DC - Make collision avoidance technologies standard, N.T.S.B. urges

Washington,DC,USA -The New York Times, by CHERYL JENSEN -November 14, 2012: ... When the National Transportation Safety Board announced its 2013 Most Wanted List on Wednesday at a news conference in Washington, it put motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies on that list... The technologies that the N.T.S.B. mentioned consisted of forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and electronic stability control (on vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more). The technologies can help to improve driver reaction time in unexpected situations... The N.T.S.B. said that with a warning of an imminent collision, a driver might be able to bring a vehicle to a safe and controlled stop... By putting it on the list, the safety board said it would like to see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration establish performance standards for motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies and make them standard equipment in passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicles... The insurance institute released a study this year about how some crash avoidance systems were performing by analyzing insurance claims data for damage and injuries. The analysis found that the two technologies showing the biggest reduction in crashes were adaptive headlights and forward collision avoidance systems, particularly those that braked on their own if a driver didn’t react in time...

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TRUCKING INDUSTRY * USA

* Wisconsin - Schneider offering truckers an ownership route

Green Bay,WIS,USA -Fleet Owner -Nov. 26, 2012: -- Schneider National is trying to offer as many paths to ownership as it can. To help owner-operators and fleets who may not otherwise be able to afford their own tractor, the truckload carrier is launching Schneider Used Fleet Truck Sales... The division gives owner-operators, fleets and wholesalers the opportunity to purchase used Schneider tractors without being required to lease them from Schneider National... Most of the trucks being offered are 2005-2007 model year and range from $20,000 to $35,000, the company said. All trucks for sale have been serviced and maintained to Schneider’s preventive maintenance standards... The company said it has over 800 units currently available at 18 locations across the U.S. and Canada...

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TRUCKER STORIES * USA

* California - Shilling in the Trucking Industry

Sacramento,CAL,USA -Truckers Report, by Mack Way -23 Nov 2012: -- The single greatest asset the modern trucking company has may very well be the shill. Without the shill, the poverty wage, homeless truck driver would realize he/she is being badly abused by the company and force some positive changes like living wages, equitable work rules, tolerable working conditions and not failing to mention the elimination of ‘bullying - intimidation’ tactics while at work... Shills often have poor safety and customer service records. Many reported that shills working for their employer have more than their share of vehicular accidents, many involving large $$$ pay outs. When confronted, the shill will typically respond with ‘I’m a producer’ or ‘the company can’t do without me’ or something similar. Many report that had anyone else experienced even a fraction of the vehicle accidents or customer service complaints they would have been shown the door long ago... No doubt that shills are the worst (or best?) kept secret of the trucking industry. However, there is a ‘wall of silence’ about the origins and training these people receive. Thinking it must pay pretty well as these people continually boast about their ‘above average’ earnings, always well above the typical line employee if true...


* California - Trucking Industry Blames Driver Shortage of Truck Drivers on Safety Regulations

Los Angeles,CAL,USA -Robert Reeves Law -November 20, 2012: -- The trucking industry is poised to face a massive shortage of truck drivers over the next few years. The industry, not surprisingly, is blaming a number of factors for this shortfall, including more stringent trucking safety regulations that are now in place, and a number of soon-to-be implemented dramatic rule changes, like revised hours of service. The industry insists that these changes are driving away truck drivers, leading to the shortfall... Trucking companies as well as trucking accident attorneys agree on one fact – there is a severe shortfall of truck drivers in the United States... Part of the reason why not too many young men are interested in being truck drivers is that the job has lost much of its appeal. Everyone knows now that long-haul truckers have long and stressful jobs that require them to work alone for long periods of time, and stay away from home for weeks at an end. Staying away for such long periods of time wreaks havoc on your family lives, and this is part of the reason why these jobs have lost their lure. Trucking jobs can play well, but once you take away taxes and account for the fact that you may not have much of a work-life balance, the salary seems to lose its glitz as well...


* USA - Important Facts About Freight Trucking Companies And Container Trucking. CDL jobs will always need drivers or probably America will Stop

  (Video from YouTube, by lifeasatrucker - 13 June 2010: Just trucking. Only went through 3 open scales during road check this year. Got checked out once, it was all good)
Indiana,USA -Donanakdapi199 -18 Nov 2012: -- It is primary for the driver and trailers to be licensed for one place they are going that can transport goods. Be prepared to back up wards your statements with proof in order to do so. Or, maybe the carrier never were around to doing anything although the safety auditor didn’t try a very thorough job. Right from the exact transportation of seeds, fertilizers to required machinery for agriculture, you can the transportation of final options and by-products of agriculture, trucking companies help farmers and other humans associated with agriculture based corporations or small industries... Great need of Trucks for Industries – Every day industry needs raw materials then fuels to keep their processes smooth. It is usually a job that is escorted with regulations making it a meaningful bit similar to how agency submit reports or how consultants compute tax amounts to do with tax documents and returns. The best methods for overcoming challenges in regards to a trucking companies career include patience, expectations and dedication...


* Tennessee - Trucking Industry Gearing Up For Strong Holiday Jobs 

Murfreesboro,TENN,USA -TDI Webmaster -November 19, 2012: -- Increases in cargo volume throughout the next few months for the holiday season are an opportunity for an additional increase in trucking jobs... The holiday season it's an special opportunity for new truck drivers to obtain truck driving jobs. While many truck driving schools can take months to complete, in recognition of the holiday season opportunity there are some who offers accelerated truck driving training programs... Truck carriers responsible for transporting increased goods throughout the fall months and the holiday season are recruiting truck drivers now...

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2012-11-23

CARMAKERS NEWS * USA

Michigan - Dodge Dart falls short of recommended grade

(Photo from Chrysler: Consumer Reports testers criticized the 2013 Dodge Dart's powertrains)
Auburn Hills,MICH,USA -The Detroit News -November 20, 2012: -- The Dodge Dart, the first all-new model from Fiat-Chrysler, earned praise from Consumer Reports in the upcoming January editionThe magazine praised its solid feel, handling and ride, and upscale options. But it didn't score high enough to be recommended... Testers criticized the Dart's powertrains. They said the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder was underpowered, while the optional 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is raspy and has drivability issues when mated with the optional dual-clutch automated manual transmission... 


* Michigan - Fiat to Unwrap Electrified Version of 500 Small Car

(Picture: ’13 500e to be offered in California first) 
Auburn Hills,MICH,USA -WardsAuto, by Aaron Foley 
-Nov. 16, 2012: -- Fiat’s 500e, comes despite CEO Sergio Marchionne's remarks calling EVs “economic lemons." ... Fiat’s electric version of its 500 subcompact will make its first public appearance this month on a televised awards program, followed by its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show... Badged the 500e, the electric vehicle will be shown on the “green carpet” of the American Music Awards, airing Sunday. Fiat will release more specifics about the EV, including range, when it is unwrapped at the L.A. show Nov. 26... The 500e will be sold in California in 2013, before being rolled out across the rest of the US... It is the first all-electric vehicle for Chrysler, which has diversified its powertrain offerings and boosted fuel efficiency in recent months...


* Michigan - GE buys 2,000 Ford plug-in hybrids for fleet

(Photo by Ford: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi) 
Dearborn,MICH,USA -Associated Press/The Detroit News -November 20, 2012: -- GE is buying 2,000 plug-in hybrid cars from Ford for its corporate fleet... GE has set a goal of converting half its fleet to alternative energy vehicles. With the Ford purchase, GE now has 5,000 alternative-fuel vehicles, or about 10 percent of its fleet... The two companies plan to work with researchers from Georgia Tech University to study employees' driving and charging habits. The results of those studies will be shared with other companies that want to add electric cars to their fleets... The C-Max Energi went on sale this month. It can go around 20 miles in all-electric mode before a gas engine kicks in...


* DC - Ally: $4.2B agreement set for GM to buy global operations 

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -November 22, 2012: -- Ally Financial Inc., the nation's largest new-car lender, said Wednesday it reached a deal to sell its remaining international operations to its former parent General Motors Co. in a deal valued at $4.2 billion... The move will help GM boost sales annually by thousands of vehicles in key markets around the world by allowing it to offer more competitive financing deals — compared with other automakers that have in-house finance arms... Detroit-based Ally, which is 74 percent owned by the Treasury and 9.9 percent owned by GM, said the sale will help it repay its $17.2 billion bailout... As result of the acquisition, GM Financial's assets will double to about $33 billion and liabilities, including consolidated debt, will increase to about $27 billion from about $12 billion today...


* California - Mazda Miatas morph into street-legal track racers via Catfish kit 

(Photo by Larry Edsall: The body kit gives older-model Miatas a radical aerodynamic body)
Southern California,USA -The Detroit News (USA), by Larry Edsall -22 Nov 2012: -- Automotive designs have been inspired by many things — jet aircraft, crouching cats ready to pounce — but this may be a first: Cord Bauer was looking at a catfish when he started sketching... When he was finished, Bauer not only had a sketch for a very aerodynamic vehicle, but with a 177,000-mile Mazda Miata he bought for $800 and with the help of friends, he turned that sketch into a functioning prototype for the car he'll produce at Bauer Limited Production...


* Indiana - GM's new workforce: Younger and tech-savvy



(Photo by David Coates / The Detroit News: Valerie Myaard, 24, of Flat Rock is the youngest employee at GM’s Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant, and has moved up to team leader) 
Brownstown Township,Jackson County,IND,USA -The Detroit News, by Melissa Burden -November 23, 2012: -- The new generation of automotive manufacturing workers at a General Motors Co. subsidiary here is focused on career and environment, and they want to work with cutting-edge technology... That's part of what attracted many millennials — roughly defined as those born in the 1980s and 1990s — to help create an integral part of the future of the automobile: They're assembling lithium-ion batteries for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and the equivalent cars the automaker sells in Europe and Australia... The Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant, in a former warehouse with little to identify it as a GM plant, represents the Detroit automaker's youngest workforce. It is operated by a GM subsidiary, GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC. And 45 percent of its hourly workforce is composed of 24-to-31-year-olds... That's a huge contrast to other GM plants, where that generation, on average, represents 9 percent of the workforce. The average GM U.S. hourly worker is 47 years old...

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CARMAKERS NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* Germany - BMW X6: Luxury at a steep cost. Pricey vehicle's power and comfort counterweighed by complicated shifter


(Photo from BMW: The 2013 BMW X6 xDrive35i is an all-wheel drive, four- or five-passenger SUV with four doors and hatchback)
Munich,Germany -The Detroit News (USA), OPINION by Doug Guthrie -November 22, 2012: ... The big luxury machine BMW calls a sport activity vehicle was powerful, quiet and comfortable through hours of interstate highway driving. The seats were wondrously adjustable and supportive. The sound system was beautiful. There was plenty of room for luggage, backpacks and hiking boots... And the nearly 5,000-pound vehicle was surprisingly nimble on twisty roads. Wide tires on 20-inch alloy wheels worked in harmony with the electronically adaptive suspension, all the while coming very close to its advertised fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 23 highway... But the electronic automatic transmission gear shifter is overly complicated and so different from what most drivers expect that it almost assures error from anyone who hasn't spent considerable time in the vehicle... I couldn't get it right even after almost 20 hours behind the wheel...


* Europe - Banks downgrade Fiat shares 

Zurich,Swiss -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -November 20, 2012: -- Two banks downgraded shares in Chrysler Group LLC's parent company, Fiat SpA, on Tuesday amid growing concern about the impact of the European economic crisis on the automaker's bottom line... UBS AG cut Fiat's share rating to "neutral" from buy. Deutsche Bank downgraded Fiat to "sell" from "hold" ... Shares in the Italian automaker tumbled Tuesday, falling 5 percent to close at 3.31 euros... Fiat has been particularly hard hit by the decline in European automobile sales and has warned investors that it does not expect to return to profitability in the region for at least three more years...


* USA - GM in discussions with 2 firms to sell French plant
Dearborn,MICH,USA -The Detroit News -November 24, 2012: -- General Motors Co. is in talks to sell its vehicle-transmission factory in Strasbourg, France, to ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Punch International NV... ZF and Punch are bidding jointly to acquire the plant, a GM spokesman said Friday. "We continue to be in discussions, but this is not a done deal" ... ZF and Punch are in "advanced negotiations regarding the production of 8-speed automatic transmissions for ZF in Strasbourg" if the GM plant can be acquired, a Punch spokesman said in an e-mail...


* Japan - Nissan cuts Leaf cost, adds range

(Photo by Junji Kurokawa / Associated Press: Nissan employee Kazuhiro Fujibayashi demonstrates Tuesday the recharging process of the company’s electric Leaf in Tokyo)
Tokyo,Japan -Associated Press/The Detroit News, by Yuri Kageyama -November 22, 2012: -- The upgraded Nissan Motor Co. Leaf electric car can travel farther without recharging, comes in a cheaper model and tells drivers how much battery life is left... Electric cars emit no pollution, but they need to be recharged. Owners have charging equipment installed at home. But the scarcity of recharging stations on the roads has limited electric vehicle use to short commutes and kept zero-emission cars confined to a market niche... The new model can travel 142 miles on a single charge, up from 124 miles as long as you don't use air conditioning, because of improvements such as streamlining the battery system and the vehicle's lighter weight, according to Nissan... It sells for less than 2.5 million yen ($31,000) in Japan when stripped of options and adding government green subsidies — more affordable than the cheapest previous model at just below 3 million yen ($37,000)...


* Sweden - Saab set for early revival?

Trollhaettan,Sweden -Car and Van News -Nov 22, 2012: -- Saab cars could be back on sale as early as next year, and powered by petrol engines. The move comes only six months after the bankrupt Swedish brand’s new owner announced a plan to start selling electric Saabs in 2014...    National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the new company set up to run Saab by the the Japanese-Chinese conglomerate that bought the brand from the administrators in June, believes the early return to sales would help rebuild Saab’s image... The car would be a version of the 9-3 on the company’s new Phoenix platform, as will the first electric vehicle... Saab’s Trollhaettan plant in Sweden has not made any cars since early 2011...

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2012-11-22

MANAGING FLEETS * UK

* UK - Individual driver cost analysis from Mycompanyfleet

Peterborough,UK -Fleet Europe, by Tim Harrup -20 Nov 2012: -- A new function from Mycompanyfleet enables fleet managers and other fleet operators to identify the most costly drivers on an individual basis. A Driver Profiler records all costs incurred by each driver, including fuel, maintenance and repairs, end-of contract penalties, fines, accident costs… Costs are logged according to a grading system. Fleet managers can then use this information to decide whether a particular driver needs special attention or further training. Mycompanyfleet business director, Jon Tandy, spoke of this not being a form of spying on the driver, but a genuine attempt to help companies reduce expenditure in these cost-conscious times...

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TRUCKMAKERS NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* France - Renault launch new model

(Photo: The new Renault Magnum Legend with Alcoa Dura Bright® wheels)
Saint-Priest,France -Irish Trucker News -21 Nov 2012: -- Renault Trucks is offering a new special edition: the Maxity Tipper...   A real little go-everywhere truck, this Maxity is equipped with a universal tipper, a full height trunk and a double coupling which is suitable for all kinds of activities. It is particularly useful for those working in the building and landscape gardening trades. Immediately available at an attractive price, the vehicle can also be personalised. In partnership with body builder JPM, Renault Trucks is offering tradesmen a special edition based on the Renault Maxity. This Maxity Tipper combines the qualities of the Maxity with bodywork which will be ideal for meeting the needs of building contractors and landscape gardening professionals...


* UK - DAF is Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer 

Birmingham’s,UK -HGV UK -November 20, 2012: -- Following a rigorous selection process and for the second year running DAF Trucks has been recognised by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and City and Guilds as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer... The award was announced at The Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC last week at which DAF Trucks was exhibiting... The inclusion of DAF Trucks’ in the prestigious Top 100 list recognises the long-term commitment that the company has to apprenticeships through its flagship National Dealer Apprenticeship programme... Managed by Skillnet and based at the City of Bristol College, the programme has developed and trained over 1,200 apprentices since 1995. Current and former students are now working as trainee or fully qualified technicians across the 130 strong DAF dealer network and a number have used their apprenticeship as a springboard to more senior management and supervisory roles...

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ENGINE MAKERS * WORLDWIDE

* UK - Honda's new 1.6 liter diesel engine is lightest in its class

  (Honda's 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine is explained in the engine above) 
Swindon,U.K -Gizmag, by David Szondy -November 20, 2012: -- Honda apparently wants to show that good things come in small packages, so it's announced that it will be installing its 1.6-liter i-DTEC diesel engine in the 2013 Civic manufactured at the company’s facility in Swindon, UK... Specifically designed for the European market, the 1.6-liter i-DTEC is the lightest in its class, yet puts out 120 PS (118 bhp) and 300 Nm (221 ft-lb) of torque... The 1.6-liter i-DTEC is the product of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology program and was developed using a ground-up approach based on improving a broad front of small details. The engine is intended to not only put a respectable amount of power from a small package, but also to be environmentally friendly with a fuel economy of 78.5 mpg (3 l/100 km) and carbon dioxide emissions of 94 g/km...

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CARMAKERS NEWS * WORLDWIDE

* Germany - Brutal Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Black Series revealed

Stuttgart,Germany -Gizmag, by Vincent Rice -November 20, 2012: -- Due for its public debut at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show, Mercedes-Benz AMG has finally revealed images and details of the SLS Black Series...  The inevitable ultimate (road-going) version,  it'll come as no surprise that the beast in question is wider, harder, faster, and completely awesome... The uprated AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generates a power output of 622 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque making the SLS AMG Black Series the most powerful AMG high-performance automobile with a combustion engine. Only the planned SLS AMG Electric Drive with a maximum output of 740 hp has more power... The vehicle accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, and onward to a top speed of 196 mph (315 km/h)...


* Europe - New car sales decrease slows

Harrow,London,UK -Fleet Europe, by Tim Harrup -20 Nov 2012: -- The latest statistics to be produced by Jato Dynamics show that the decline in Europe's new car market slowed down last month. Europe's new car sales declined by 4.6% in October, bringing the year to date decrease to 7.2% compared to the first ten months of last year. Where the 'Big 5' markets are concerned, the United Kingdom saw a healthy increase of 12.1% last month and Germany was also up, although by a modest 0.5% in October. France was down by 8%, Italy by 12%, and Spain continues to suffer greatly, down 21%... In manufacturer terms, Volkswagen, Ford, Renault, Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall topped the monthly list, although all of them saw decreases in sales compared to October 2011. Audi climbed to sixth place with an increase of almost 10%, while fellow German manufacturer Mercedes came in at tenth with a 3.7% increase. Volkswagen continues to head the model list with the Golf, a model which was replaced (Golf 6 to Golf 7) during the month. Fiesta, 208, Clio and Polo follow...


* Spain - Banco Santander orders 700 Hyundai ix20 in 
Madrid,Spain -Fleet Europe, by Steven Schoefs -16 Nov 2012: -- Hyundai has been chosen as preferred automotive partner of financial instituation Banco Santander in Spain. Hyundai Motor Spain has delivered the first units of a fleet of 700 vehicles ix20 model to Banco Santander... The delivery schedule of all 700 vehicles will be held during the next two years. The model chosen by the bank has been the Hyundai ix20 1.6 CRDi Comfort 115 hp. Hyundai´s Five Year Triple Care package has been highly valued by Santander when choosing the ix20 model. This warranty package, offers peace of mind to its users, with a five-year warranty with unlimited kilometers, five years of roadside assistance and five years of preventive vehicle status...


 - AUTOS RECALL - 

* USA - 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550: Recall Alert

(Photo: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class) 
Washington,DC,USA -The Car Connection, by Suzanne Kane -Nov 21, 2012: -- Mercedes-Benz is conducting a voluntary safety recall of a small number of 2012 model year CLS550 and CLS550 4MATIC luxury sedans to fix a defective hood latch... A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website lists the number of vehicles potentially affected at just 23. Affected vehicles were built over a 13-day period, from December 1, 2011 through December 13, 2011... The problem stems from bolts holding the hood’s secondary latch striker that may not have been tightened to specification... Over time, the bolts fastened with reduced torque may loosen, thus increasing the possibility of accidental hood opening if the primary locking mechanism fails, or if the hood is not sufficiently closed...


* USA - 2012 / 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Recalled For Airbag Issue

Washington,DC,USA -The Car Connection, by Suzanne Kane -Nov 21, 2012: -- Volkswagen is conducting a recall of certain 2012 and 2013 Beetle small cars over concerns that the front passenger airbag may deploy even if a child is secured in a passenger restraint... A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website lists the number of vehicles potentially affected at 2,471. Affected vehicles are those equipped with leather sport seats and were built from February 2012 through August 2012... There is a risk of serious injury to a child in the event of a crash with an airbag deployment. According to Volkswagen, no injuries have been reported as a result of this issue. As the NHTSA and other safety agencies and organizations recommend, children in child restraints should always be properly secured in the back seat of vehicles...

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