User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: June 2012

Jun 30, 2012


* France - To require all drivers to carry breathalyzer to curb accidents

 (Photo: Breathalyzer ignition interlock) 
Paris,France -The Detroit News (USA), by David Shepardson -June 29, 2012: -- France on Sunday will become the first country to require all drivers, including tourists, to carry hand-held breathalyzers in all vehicles — a move to help the wine-loving country crack down on drunken driving. The law takes effect July 1 and was approved in March 2011. It is aimed at convincing drivers to check their blood alcohol level before starting their vehicles. The law is being watched closely by auto safety advocates in the United States. In the U.S., 10,228 people were killed in 2010 in alcohol-related crashes, down 4.9 percent over 2009 France had about 4,000 road deaths in 2011, down from 16,000 annually in the early 1970s. Nearly 30 percent of road deaths in France are alcohol-related — or about 1,150. That's about the same percentage in the United States...   Fines for not carrying one are small — 11 euros — or about $14 and begin in November. France has also instituted stricter drunk driving laws and tougher penalties in recent years...

* Denmark - Study: Traffic Noise Linked To Greater Risk Of Heart Attack

(Photo from Flickr, by user paulobar: New York City traffic at night) 
Copenhagen,Denmark -The N.Y.Times/The Car Connection (USA), by Richard Read -Jun 28, 2012: -- If you live near a busy boulevard or interstate, you already know how annoying that traffic can be during your daily commute. But according to a new study, cited in the New York Times, it may also be the source of a bigger pain: a heart attack... The news comes from a group of Danish researchers who tracked the health of 57,053 people in Copenhagen and Aarhus for about 10 years. Participants began the study in middle age, between the ages of 50 and 64... To glean their results, scientists measured the noise of traffic passing by each participant's home, and what they found was alarming, particularly for residents of urban areas: for every 10 decibels of traffic noise, there was an additional 10% risk of heart attack...

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* DC - Lexus is latest Toyota recall. SUV pedals still are pressing problem for Japanese automaker

(Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno / Getty Images: The Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUV is one of the models being recalled) 
Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -June 30, 2012:  --  The long, nagging problem of reports of unintended acceleration and sticky pedals just won't go away for Toyota Motor Corp... The Japanese automaker on Friday expanded its 2009 recall of vehicles for pedal entrapment to include 154,000 model year 2010 RX 350 and RX 450h (hybrid) SUVs from its Lexus luxury line, the first new recall for the issue since early 2011. The automaker told National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it is still seeking a fix for the Lexus vehicles...  Toyota has now recalled more than 7 million vehicles to address the issue since November 2009, when it first recalled 4.5 million vehicles. In total, Toyota recalled more than 10 million vehicles to address trapped pedals and sticky accelerator pedals...



* India - And now, production cuts for trucks and component makers 

Mumbai,India -The WSJ (USA) / Livemint, by Vatsala Kamat -Jun 28 2012: -- With growth drivers for trucks such as infrastructure, mining and construction being stymied in the previous fiscal year, the impact on demand for commercial vehicles was expected... From slowing truck sales a few months ago, it’s now production cuts, signalling the deepening gloom in this automotive segment. The country’s largest truck maker Tata Motors Ltd said it will suspend production of truck and truck parts at its Jamshedpur plant in the last three days of June. This is to align inventory levels to demand...  Signs of weakening sales growth in trucks were visible towards the end of fiscal 2012 (FY12). Truck sales in March grew a measly 1.4%, followed by a contraction in sales by about 11% each in April and May compared with the year-ago period. This was after a massive 17-18% rise in sales in the full year ended March...

* Brazil - Vehicle sales in Brazil: a bump in the road 

(Photo:  2012 Volkswagen Kombi production line in SP factory Brazil)  
Sao Paulo,SP,Brazil -Automotive World (UK)/CARCON Automotive, by Julian Semple -June 29, 2012: -- The market for cars and light commercial vehicles in Brazil expanded 2.9% in 2011, with sales of 3.42 million vehicles. By contrast, the first five months of 2012 showed a year-on-year contraction of 4.3% compared to the same period last year... Brazil's 2012 GDP forecast has been lowered from a 4% growth estimate made by analysts earlier this year to 2.5-3% recently. This slower growth projection, in part caused by a slower global economy and the additional increase in vehicle credit default and lower credit availability, has contributed to lower vehicle sales in Brazil this year. The Brazilian government took actions last month to lower by 3-7% the IPI (Industrial Products) tax depending on engine size; manufacturers agreed in turn to lower their prices to between 1 and 2.5%, in addition to banks expanding credit availability and longer payment terms. These actions reduced entry-level car prices by about 10% and high-end vehicles by a few percent points too. However, most high-end imported vehicles did not see this price reduction, due to the 10% currency devaluation Brazil has witnessed this year... The main reason for the contraction of HCV sales was legislation requiring the switch from Euro III to Euro V on 1 January 2012...


Jun 29, 2012


* Arizona - Swift Pay Incentives Target Truck Driver Retention 

Phoenix,AZ,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Jun 26, 2012: -- $3.3 billion truckload carrier offers quarterly bonuses to high-performance truck drivers... Swift Transportation, the nation's largest truckload carrier, will offer truck drivers quarterly performance-linked bonuses that it says could add up to 6 cents per mile to their pay... The trucking company is launching its Quarterly Performance Pay incentive program as truckload carriers struggle with driver turnover rates as high as 90 percent a year... The average driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers rose 2 percentage points to 90 percent in the first quarter, according to the American Trucking Associations... The $3.3 billion Phoenix-based carrier is experiencing higher freight shipping demand, with total revenue increasing 9 percent in the first quarter to $826.9 million... Many trucking companies, including Swift, are offering signing bonuses to attract potential drivers. Those bonuses may be a factor in rising driver turnover rates, and performance bonuses may counter them...
* Arkansas - Arkansas Best to buy Panther Expedited for $180M 

Fort Smith,ARK,USA -The Associated Press/BusinessWeek -June 14, 2012: -- The trucking company Arkansas Best Corp. said Thursday that it is buying Panther Expedited Services Inc. from Fenway Partners LLC for about $180 million... Founded in 1992, Seville, Ohio-based Panther provides a variety of global freight shipping services and was acquired by the New York-based private equity firm in 2005. Last year, its revenue totaled about $215 million, Arkansas Best said... Arkansas Best said Panther is a good fit for the company, because it will help it provide more complete shipping services for increasing complex supply chains... 

* Sweden - New I-See cuts haulage firms’ fuel bills

Stockholm,Sweden -Volvo Trucks Magazine/I-See, by Anders Eriksson -27 June 2012: -- The truck industry is searching high and low for solutions that cut fuel consumption. One method is to use the vehicle’s kinetic energy to propel the truck. Now Volvo Trucks has developed I-See, which operates like an autopilot and takes over gearchanging and utilises gradients to save fuel...  

Facts: I-See:
1. It accelerates before the incline starts. 
2. If you are near the brow of a hill, the system avoids changing gear if possible. Every gearchange means a drop in speed. 
3. It does not accelerate when approaching a descent, but instead waits and utilises gravity. 
4. It starts freewheeling ahead of an approaching descent. 
5. It starts braking well before the downhill slope ends, but: 
6. It releases the brakes at the end of the slope to pick up speed ahead of a new ascent. 

I-See will become available on the market in 2013.

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* Brazil  - Customs Strikes Disrupt Imports 

Rio Janeiro,RJ,Brazil -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Joseph Bonney -Jun 27, 2012: -- Operations in most major Brazilian ports have been affected... Strikes by Brazilian customs officers are disrupting ports and slowing clearance of imports, maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Services reports... Industrial actions of varying lengths and degrees have affected operations in most major Brazilian ports, including Santos, Paranagua, Salvador, Manaus, Santarem, Santana and Itacoatiara. The customs officers are demanding better salaries and working conditions... Customs officers had originally advised shipping agents that they would stop work for two days a week and work at a minimal level on the remaining days until an agreement is reached, Inchcape said... Inchcape said customs union leaders have warned that if the negotiations over the next few days are unsuccessful, they will start an undefined strike that will affect the whole country, including ports, airports and bonded warehouses...

 * South Korea - Truck Strike Slams Container Trade 

Seoul,SK -The Journal of Commerce Online, by Mike King -Jun 28, 2012: -- Shortage of truck transport impacts cargo movement as strike enters fourth day... A truck strike over working conditions in South Korea continued to paralyze import and export trade Thursday... Most ports in South Korea have been affected, including the Port of Busan, one of the world’s top five container ports by throughput and the country’s biggest international gateway handling 75 percent of the national containerized imports and exports... Unionized truck drivers began their nationwide strike Monday, claiming the government had reneged on a promise to improve working conditions, including improved subcontract fees, accident insurance and a fuel tax exemption... The government has labeled the strike illegal, drafted in military vehicles and boosted rail and water options...



* Auto sales likely to slow in June 

Detroit,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -June 29, 2012: -- Growing concern about the economy appears to be taking its toll on automobile sales in the United States, prompting analysts to dial down their projections for June sales... But new car and truck sales are still expected to be well above last year's tally for the month, and most expect the sales rebound to continue. Sales figures for June will be released Tuesday... TrueCar expects new light vehicle sales in the United States to top 1.2 million units in June. That would translate into an 18.1 percent increase from June 2011, but a 6.9 percent decline from May 2012. Toprak estimates the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate to come in at 13.6 million units for June — down from last month's figure of 13.8 million, but up sharply from the 11.5 million recorded in June 2011..., another automotive research site, expects 1.3 million new cars to be sold in June, a 20.7 percent increase from June 2011, but a 4.7 percent decrease from May 2012. Edmunds said sales continued at a healthy pace for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.9 million light vehicles...

* Michigan - Global problems to result in higher quarterly losses for Ford 

Dearborn,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -June 29, 2012: -- Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it expects its second-quarter international losses to triple compared with the first quarter, brought on by deteriorating economic conditions in Europe, and investment and growth costs in its North American and Asia-Pacific-Africa regions... Pre-tax losses could balloon to $570 million in the second quarter, which ends this week, according to a filing the Dearborn automaker made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission... The Dearborn automaker had a pre-tax loss of $190 million during the first quarter. Approximately 80 percent of those losses came from Europe alone... Ford said it expects to remain profitable for the 12th consecutive quarter, driven by the success of Ford North America and Ford Credit...



* Canada - Mercedes Benz inaugarates worlds first dedicated fuel cell facility in

Burnaby,B.C.,Canada -Rush Lane -24 June 2012: -- Mercedes Benz has successfully launched a new facility for the development of fuel cell. This facility is fully automated and is specially dedicated to production and technology development of fuel cell stacks. It is housed in a 3,300 sq ft building located in Burnaby, British Columbia. The facility will represent the growth and expansion of Mercedes Benz along with Daimler and the part they will play in commercialization of Fuel Cell Technology. Research and development at this new facility is already underway and the first automated fuel cell stack was produced on June 7, 2012...

* Mississippi - Nissan to add 1,000 jobs at Miss. plant 

Canton MISS, USA -The Detroit News, by Christine Tierney -June 28, 2012: -- Nissan Motor Co. will add 1,000 jobs at its Canton, Miss., plant, where it will build the all-new 2013 Nissan Sentra compact... The addition of Sentra production in the fourth quarter, along with the planned November shift of the Frontier pickup truck and Xterra SUV to Canton from Nissan's operations in Smyrna, Tenn., will increase the Mississippi plant's workforce to 4,500 by creating 1,000 jobs...


* California - Tesla Using Apple Outlet Model to Build Network, National Park Service Greens Up Fleet 

Palo Alto,CAL,USA -Automotive Information -28 June 2012: -- Sales for the Tesla Model S sedan will be based on an expand­ing net­work of stores, much like the out­lets for Apple. Tesla CEO says the com­pany already has 10,000 orders for the vehi­cle and will deliver 5,300 this year and 20,000 next year. Ten new stores will be added this year, bring­ing the total to 30 stores, already get­ting 4,000 vis­i­tors a week...


Jun 28, 2012


* Georgia - Composite-body truck cuts fuel use 40% - UPS orders 150 trucks after year-long field test 

Atlanta,GA,USA -Fleet Owner, by David Cullen -Jun. 26, 2012: -- United Parcel Service has ordered 150 “package cars”-- featuring bodies built of composite plastic panels-- that the delivery giant said will reduce diesel fuel consumption by 40% compared to its current aluminum-body P70 package-car model... UPS said it expects to take delivery of the new package cars in this year’s fourth quarter and will place them into service on high-mileage routes, chiefly in the Western United States... Five prototypes for the “plastic truck,” dubbed CV-23, resulted from a three-year development process with truck builder Utilimaster and engine and chassis supplier Isuzu... This April, UPS completed a year of field-testing of the Utilimaster/Isuzu Reach vehicles in five “extreme” operating regions, said UPS director of automotive engineering Dale Spencer...

* Washington - Trailer tester adds ABS, roll stability codes

(Photo: LITE-CHECK advanced trailer ABS diagnostics) 
Spokane,WA.,USA -Fleet Owner -Jun. 26, 2012: -- A new trailer tester from Lite-Check includes all the PLC ABS codes dating from 2001 as well as the latest roll stability codes, consolidating multiple operations for users into one simple process, the company said... The Inspector 920 advanced ABS diagnostics trailer tester with brake and light testing includes a 3-step ABS process to quickly troubleshoot ABS problems. The tester will automatically identify ABS ECU issues and displays the necessary information to make repairs... The three-step process will automatically test the brakes and auxiliary circuit for problems before querying the ECU and will also stop the process if a problem is detected... Using the full-function remote control allows the operator to complete a full walk-around check of lights, brakes and ABS operation in just 4 minutes...



* OOIDA: Say no to EOBRs in highway bill 

Grain Valley,MO,USA -Land Line Magazine, by David Tanner -26 June 2012: -- OOIDA issued a Call to Action on Tuesday to keep pressure on a joint committee of the House and Senate to remove government-mandated EOBRs from the transportation authorization bill. Lawmakers are down to crunch time on the bill, and that means they could be voting any minute on whether to keep or scrap the EOBR mandate in the bill... By the White House’s own figures, a government mandate for electronic on-board recorders would cost the trucking industry $2 billion, and some say that’s a lowball estimate... OOIDA has long held that EOBRs are no more effective than paper logs at improving safety and compliance with trucking hours of service. The devices, which can notify carriers and dispatchers about available time left on a driver’s clock, could lead to pressure on those drivers to keep driving even if they are tired or in need of a break... The Association’s Call to Action targets members in the districts of the 16 U.S. senators and 33 members of the House of Representatives involved in negotiating the transportation bill...



* UK - Operators and drivers need to work together to tackle road transport's skill crisis

London,EN,UK -Commercial Motor, by Chris Druce -22 June 2012: -- The head of a new working group formed to tackle the looming threat of a driver shortage has said he will look to include drivers, not just operators and industry representatives, in the process... Road Haulage Association (RHA) chief executive, Geoff Dunning, has been tasked with chairing the Drivers’ Occupational Craft Skills Group, which intends to hold its first meeting next month... Dunning’s call to action comes after a new report from Skills for Logistics highlighted that the UK faces a driver shortage that will hit by 2014. The report, A Looming Driving Shortage?, reveals there has been a 31% decline in LGV tests passed during the past four years to 22,700 in 2010/11... There is also a shortfall in Driver CPC hours ahead of the September 2014 deadline... The figures chime with CM’s own investigation into the issue, which found tests taken have more than halved from 2005-06 to 2009-10 to just 43,094. Those those passed in the same period fell 45% to 21,749...



* European truck sales to fall 2-4 pct in 2012 

(Photo: A line of trucks blocks a road in Turin, Italy)
Berlin,Germany -Reuters, by Andreas Cremer and Dan Lalor -Jun 22, 2012: -- Western European sales of trucks weighing 6 tonnes or more may drop 2-4 percent this year to as many as 256,000 vehicles, the president of German automakers' lobby group VDA said...   The expected contraction will be minor as the crisis-ridden countries of Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain account for only 15 percent of the region's sales volume...  European Union sales of heavy trucks weighing 16 tonnes or more declined 7 percent in April to 18,930 vehicles with Italy and Greece plunging 41 percent and 52 percent respectively, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association...  Year-to-date sales in the 27-nation European Union fell 4.2 percent, ACEA said. The global market for trucks above 6 tons may grow 5 percent this year to 3.27 million vehicles, powered by the United States which may expand about a fifth to 366,000 vehicles... Chinese truck sales may ease 3 percent in 2012, though keep growing over the medium-term...



* Czech Republic - Ashok Leyland plans new trucks

Prague,Czech Republic -rediff business -June 25, 2012: -- Commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland plans to strengthen its presence in the 5-12-tonne range of vehicles. It is to launch trucks from the Prague-headquartered AVIA, which it had bought in 2006, and would upgrading its light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from the joint venture it has with Nissan of Japan... Leyland had joined hands with Nissan to enter the LCV space. The first model, Dost, was sold under the Ashok Leyland brand. It has 16.6 per cent nationwide in the 2-3.5 tonne segment...

* Sweden - Volvo Trucks Technology Bypasses Map Makers for Cruise Control, Eco-Driving

Copenhagen,Sweden -GPS Business News, by Ludovic Privat -June 27, 2012:  ... Automatic Driving Assistance (ADAS) based on map data has been for a long time promoted by the like of NAVTEQ/Nokia, Tele Atlas/TomTom and smaller companies such as Intermap. But what does happen if the vehicle itself records the road geometry to use it for ADAS? ... This is actually what Volvo Trucks is doing in a new product called I-See that is focussed on saving fuel for long haulage firms... I-See is linked to the transmission's tilt sensor and obtains information about the road topography digitally. I-See can recall about 4,000 gradients, corresponding to a distance of 5,000 kilometres... For the time being the recording of the road topography is made by each truck for its own use, but it is probably not science fiction to believe that Volvo engineers are thinking about ways to mutualize this data between trucks and beyond...



* South Korea - Truckers’ walkout - Union, government should reach compromise quickly

(Photo: Truckers Strike) 
Seoul,S.Korea -The Korea Times -25 June 2012: -- Unionized truck drivers launched a walkout across the country from 7 a.m. Monday, raising fears of turmoil in cargo transportation for the first time in four years... Despite the indefinite strike led by the Korean Cargo Transport Workers’ Union under the wing of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, few problems have as yet been reported concerning transportation. The truckers’ union said about 80 percent of 380,000 truckers all over the country would take part in the nationwide action but it was not immediately known how many took part on the first day... The union, which has about 10,000 members, has made five demands of the government: improvements in the so-called standard freight charge system, a 30-percent increase in transportation fees, industrial accident compensation insurance for all truckers, tax exemption on fuel and the introduction of standardized contracts. At the heart of the latest dispute is the standard freight charge system, which the union claims benefits only large logistics companies... Under the current system drivers, self-employed subcontractors, have to pay commission to logistics firms and middlemen every time they sign a deal to carry goods. The drivers are supposed to receive only 40 percent of the fee for each delivery. The government promised a better system in 2008, when the truckers last staged a strike...



* DC - FMCSA drug/alcohol sweep removes 287 commercial drivers 

Washington,DC,USA -Fleet Owner -Jun. 26, 2012: -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) removed 287 commercial bus and truck drivers from the roads and said over 128 companies face enforcement actions as a result of the agency's annual drug and alcohol “strike force sweep,” which took place from April 30 through May 11... The agency said that during the two-week enforcement action, nearly 200 federal investigators examined the drug and alcohol safety records of commercial drivers employed by bus and truck companies, including school-bus operators, interstate passenger carriers, haz-mat transporters and general freight long-haul trucking companies... What’s more, 128 truck and bus companies face pending enforcement actions for violations, such as using a driver who has tested positive for illegal drugs and for not instituting a drug and alcohol testing program. Both drivers and carriers will have an opportunity to contest the alleged violations and the amount of the civil penalties, FMCSA noted...

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* DC - House panel votes to bar EPA from setting tailpipe limits

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -June 28, 2012: -- The House Appropriations Committee has voted to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from setting vehicle tailpipe emissions limits for the 2017-25 model years, or allowing California to set its own rules... The amendment would allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to finalize corporate average fuel economy requirements for 2017-25, but would not allow EPA to set tailpipe emissions limits... The Obama administration previously has required a 40 percent boost in fuel-efficiency standards for the 2012-16 model years at a cost of $51.5 billion to 34.1 mpg...

* DC - U.S. Appeals Court upholds 2012-16 fuel standards. Panel says EPA also can limit tailpipe emissions 
Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -June 27, 2012: -- A three-judge panel has upheld the Obama administration's ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including setting 2012-16 fuel-efficiency standards and tailpipe limits.The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington dismissed challenges brought by states led by Texas and major industries including chemical, energy, utility, agriculture and mining companies, as well as the National Association of Manufacturers.The decision is a big win for the Obama administration, which plans to finalize the 2017-25 fuel-efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits by August. The rules will hike requirements to 54.5 mpg by 2025.Industries are concerned the Environmental Protection Agency could further limit carbon emissions without congressional action. The National Association of Manufacturers said EPA greenhouse gas regulations could eventually place limits on 6 million stationary sources, including 200,000 manufacturing facilities, 37,000 farms and millions of other sources such as universities, schools and hospitals.In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts vs. EPA by a 5-4 vote that the agency had to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act if it found them to be a danger to human health. In 2009, the EPA named tailpipe emission from automobiles as a danger to human health...

* DC - Compromise bill to hike auto recall fines to $35 million. The new penalty will take affect within one year 

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -June 28, 2012: -- A compromise transportation bill doubles penalties on automakers who fail to recall unsafe vehicles to $35 million, far less than the $250 million sought by the Senate... The bill, which was hammered out between House and Senate negotiators in recent weeks, doesn't include nearly all of the new auto safety regulations that the Senate had wanted to require... The Senate had voted to require new regulations governing vehicle stopping distance and brake override standard, pedal placement, electronic systems performance, pushbutton ignition systems standard, vehicle event data recorders and commercial motor vehicle rollover prevention and crash mitigation. The Senate would have prohibited electronic visual entertainment in driver's view... All of the requirements were dropped — but NHTSA will study vehicle electronics... Increased penalties were pushed in the wake of Toyota Motor Corp.'s agreement to pay nearly $50 million to settle government claims that it delayed three recalls. Critics said the penalties were far too small to deter companies from failing to recall vehicles...

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* Michigan - Newest Ford technology senses distraction, stress

(Photo by Karl Henkel / The Detroit News: The driver workload estimator can determine if a driver is too distracted or stressed)
 Dearborn,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -June 28, 2012:   ... Researchers at Ford Motor Co., are developing a technology based on readings from sensors placed on the steering wheel, seat and safety belt that can measure a driver's heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature...  Coupled with a driver workload estimator — an algorithm that uses data from existing radar and cameras combined with input from the driver's use of the accelerator, brakes and steering wheel — a vehicle could silence in-car distractions if it deems the driver is under too much stress or is too distracted... The system will determine if the driver is already too preoccupied with driving to deal with an outside distraction. The vehicle could then trigger a "do not disturb" feature through MyFord Touch that would delay an incoming phone call or text message until the situation becomes less stressful...



* Thailand - Plant starts producing top-dog Ford Focus

(Photo: Ford Focus on Thailand - Ford regional boss Joe Hinrichs with the Focus at this year’s Bangkok motor show) 
Bangkok,Thailand -Go Auto (Australia), by RON HAMMERTON -27 June 2012:  --  Ford Motor Company today officially opened a new $450 million factory in Thailand that is set to supply Ford’s top-selling car in Australia in 2012, the Focus, as well as related vehicles such as the new-generation Kuga... The new Ford Thai Manufacturing plant will have a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, boosting annual Thai Ford production to 445,000 vehicles...

* Philippines - Ford to close Sta. Rosa factory in December 

Santa Rosa,Laguna,Philippines -GMA News -June 27, 2012: -- Ford Philippines on Wednesday said it will discontinue manufacturing operations in its Santa Rosa, Laguna, factory, starting next year, citing supply and operational efficiencies as main reasons... "The lack of supply base and economies of scale are the major issues in coming up with this very difficult decision," said Peter Fleet, Ford Asean president... The car maker is the only car exporter in the Philippines... The company explored possibilities of bringing a number of different products that might click with the Philippine market, but the two major reasons cited convinced them to stop operations, said Fleet...

* India - Maruti to launch new 800cc car by Diwali

New Delhi,India -The Economic Times -Jun 26, 2012: -- Maruti Suzuki India is gearing up to introduce by the end of this year a new 800cc car that is likely to be more fuel efficient, but also more expensive, than its existing best selling model Alto... According to sources close to the development, the company will start commercial production of the car at its Gurgaon facility from July or August and will launch it by Diwali...

* Japan - Mazda's famed rotary engines roll to end of road this month

(Photo from Mazda Motor Corp.: The last Mazda rotary engine, with its ability to generate more power than traditional power plants of the same size) 
Hiroshima,Japan -Bloomberg News/The Detroit News (USA), by Anna Mukai, Yuki Hagiwara and Ma Jie -June 28, 2012: -- The last Mazda using the rotary, which won fans with its ability to generate more power than traditional power plants of the same size, will roll off the assembly line this month at the company's Hiroshima factory and headquarters... By 2010, the company was making just 2,896 RX-8s... News of the rotary's demise prompted Mazda to add 1,000 cars to its final production run as devotees sought an RX-8...


* China - Beijing Hyundai recalls almost 100000 Elantras due to airbag problem

Shanghai,SH,China -Xinhua/Gasgoo-June 11, 2012: -- Beijing Hyundai has decided to issue a recall order for 97,452 Yuedong Elantras, Xinhua reported today, citing an announcement made by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The recall, which begun yesterday, will target 2008 model year cars manufactured between mid-March 2008 and late January 2010... There is concern that the airbags of the Elantras (pictured) in question may spontaneously deploy when the car is parked or cruising slowly...



Jun 27, 2012


* Michigan - Ford to help drivers back into spot, deal with jams

(Image from Ford: Traffic Jam Assist will use radar and cameras will help vehicles)
 Dearborn,MICH,USA -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -June 27, 2012: -- Ford Motor Co. is developing new driving technologies to help drivers back into parking spaces, as well as reduce traffic gridlock... The automaker said Tuesday at its 2013 model preview that two technologies could curb "mobility challenges" in crowded cities... An advanced version of the already available active park assist that helps drivers parallel park will now help them back into tight spaces... And another project called Traffic Jam Assist will use radar and cameras will help vehicles keep pace with traffic flow and provide steering assistance to keep vehicles in driving lanes, if a driver chooses to use the technology...


Jun 25, 2012


* Washington - T680 receives SmartWay designation

Kirkland,WASH,USA -Fleet Owner -Jun. 25, 2012: -- The new Kenworth T680 tractor model has received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay designation... The T680 features an aerodynamic body with sculpted full-height roof, optimized bumper and hood, full-height side extenders, cab/sleeper-to-fairings closeout panels, chassis fairings extenders, and flush-mounted lighting. It comes standard with the 12.9L Paccar MX engine, offering 380 to 485 hp. and torque up to 1,750 lbs.-ft... According to Kenworth, EPA SmartWay designated tractors are intended for use with 53-ft., box van trailers that are also EPA SmartWay designated. According to the EPA, a SmartWay tractor-trailer combination may reduce fuel consumption by as much as 18% at highway speeds... 

* Texas - Peterbilt to offer ISX12 G

(Photo: A Peterbilt truck)
Denton,TXS,USA -Truck News (CAN) -Jun 22, 2012:  --  Peterbilt has announced it will offer the natural gas Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine when it becomes available in 2013... The engine will be rated at 400 hp with 1,450 lb.-ft. of torque and available with either a liquefied or compressed natural gas fueling system... The engine will be spark-ignited and feature a three-way catalyst. Peterbilt says it has earned about 40% of the commercial truck natural gas market share... It currently offers the Cummins ISL G 8.9-litre gas engine as well as Westport’s 15-litre LGN engine...



* UK - The Mini Clubvan concept is an extremely straightforward Clubman derivative

(Photo: Mini Clubvan)  
Oxford,UK -Autocar (UK) -June 25, 2012:  -- The Mini Clubvan concept is an extremely straightforward Clubman derivative. The Clubman’s side windows have been replaced with polycarbonate panels and the load bay has been moderately increased in size... Although BMW hasn’t officially said that the Mini van will go into production, it is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year. At around the same time, Mini’s Oxford factory will begin to undergo extensive retooling – the first overhaul since 2000 – in preparation for the introduction of the all-new Mini... However, it is expected that a number of Mini models based on the current platform will carry on in production until at least 2015, including the Roadster, Coupé, Clubman and Clubvan...

* China - Dongfeng Nissan to provide EVs for Dalian

Dalian,China -Response (Japan) -June 25, 2012: -- China Dongfeng Motor Co Ltd., joint venture of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., (Dongfeng Nissan), the pilot program to make city government of Dalian in 2014, has agreed to supply 1,000 electric vehicles of Venucia-branded electric vehicles to a pilot programme of alternative energy vehicles, to promote a charging infrastructure and the spread of EV, operated by the Dalian Municipal Government... 


* China - Great Wall Motors recalls 12,340 SUVs
(Photo: Haval H6) 
Baoding,China -Xinhua -June 23, 2012: -- Great Wall Motors, one of China's major privately owned automakers, will recall 12,340 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) regarding fuel pump defects, the country's quality watchdog said Friday... The recall involves units of the Haval H6 model produced in February 23-29 and from March 27 to May 9, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement... Fuel pumps malfunctions may cause engine jitters or flameout and lead to dangers, the statement said, adding that the company will replace the pumps for free...



* Tennessee - FedEx Freight Posts $162 Million Annual Profit 

 (Photo: A FedEx Dassault Falcon 20) 
Memphis,TENN,USA -The Journal of Commerce Online, by William B. Cassidy -Jun 22, 2012: -- FedEx Freight reported a $162 million operating profit for fiscal 2012 on $5.3 billion in revenue, its first annual profit since 2008... The largest U.S. less-than-truckload carrier rolled back into the black in its most recent quarter as well, as stronger pricing and higher volume pushed revenue up 7 percent to $1.4 billion... For the full year ending May 31, FedEx Freight increased revenue 7.1 percent to $5.3 billion — an 18.2 percent increase from its recession low point in fiscal 2010... FedEx Freight plans to make changes to its LTL network next month that it says will speed freight and help the company improve its operating margin...



* Michigan - Consumer Reports gives thumbs down to Scion iQ

 (Photo: A Scion iQ) 
Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News -June 25, 2012: -- Consumer Reports tested Toyota Motors Corp.'s tiny Scion iQ and found it to be slow, uncomfortable and noisy — and no bargain... It assigned the model, new to the U.S. market, a score of 29, ranking it among of the lowest-scoring cars Consumer Reports has tested in recent years... Its testers complained the iQ's rear seat was small and the driving position uncomfortable... Among the pluses, however, the car has an "amazingly tight" turning circle, making it easy to park, and combined city/highway mileage of 34 mpg...

* DC - Supreme Court won't hear appeal in Kia brakes suit 

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by David Shepardson -June 25, 2012: -- The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a $5.6 million verdict against Kia Motors Inc. in a class-action suit over allegedly faulty brakes in Sephia sedans... The high court decision announced without comment Monday ends an 11-year legal battle... The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last December upheld a decision that awarded $600 — $5.6 million total — to 9,400 owners of 1997 to 2000 Kia Sephias in Pennsylvania that had brakes that allegedly wore out much faster than normal... The Pennsylvania suit was first filed by a Kia owner that had gone to a dealer five times to get the brakes repaired on her 2001 Sephia between January and October 2000... Kia changed the brakes beginning in the 2001 model year...