More than one in three drivers doesn’t know when their tires are bald

Enlarge (credit: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The most important safety feature on your car isn’t its airbag or even the seat belts—it’s the tires. This should be obvious; those four round black things are the only part of the vehicle to actually touch the road, after all. Sadly, most American drivers fail to take care of their tires, with 35 percent of drivers not able to tell if their tires are bald. When you consider that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that vehicles with worn out tires were three times more likely to end up in a crash, you can see the problem.

That data is from a 2015 survey conducted by the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), which held its annual National Tire Safety Week in May. “[The Tire Safety Week] was born as a way to allow us to talk about tire safety to consumers,” Kimberly Kleine, USTMA’s vice president of public affairs, told me recently. The trade group has been running the program since 2001 to promote consumer awareness about checking tire pressure, suspension alignment, and tread depth, as well as the need to rotate tires.

When we spoke, Kleine and her colleague Tracey Norberg, senior VP and general counsel at USTMA, shared some other scary statistics. In addition to so few people knowing when their tires are out, 40 percent think they can tell if a tire is under-inflated just by looking at it. And just 17 percent knew how to check their tire pressures. You’d think that in the age of government-mandated tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), this would be a thing of the past. Not so. “Even if a car has TPMS, the warning light will only go on once a tire is at 25 percent of its recommended pressure,” Norberg explained.

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Source: Ars Technica

Red Bull Racing to ditch Renault for Honda power in 2019

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing has used Renault power since 2007

Multi-year contract with Japanese firm intends to bring Red Bull back into title contention

Honda has signed a multi-year contract with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to supply powertrains from 2019 for at least two seasons of Formula 1.

Team principle Christian Horner (below) said the move aims to promote his squad back into its world championship-winning ways, following several seasons of disappointing results that have been linked to an underpowered Renault hybrid powertrain.

Red Bull last won the title in 2013, which was the last of four years of dominance led by its then star driver Sebastian Vettel. However, in the latest V6 hybrid era, the Austrian-owned and British-based team has since fallen behind rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

Horner said: “We have always taken decisions such as this dispassionately and with only one criteria in mind — do we believe the outcome will allow us to compete at a higher level? After careful consideration and evaluation, we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team.”

F1 2018: Sebastian Vettel regains points lead in Canadian GP

Citing the improving performance of the Red Bull junior team, Toro Rosso (below), which has used Honda power since the start of this year, as a motivating factor in the deal, Horner added that Red Bull has “been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own”.

The move will be a significant boost to Honda, which until this year had struggled as an engine supplier to McLaren. McLaren ditched Honda for Renault for the 2018 season, but Honda’s new partnership with Toro Rosso saw the team secure its best finish since returning to the sport in 2015: fourth place at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

It is not yet known how the deal will affect Aston Martin’s role at Red Bull. Andy Palmer, boss of the British car maker that is title sponsor and technical partner to Red Bull, had hinted previously that Aston Martin could supply engines to Red Bull following the introduction of new engine regulations from 2021. Autocar is awaiting comment on whether this is still a possibility following the Honda partnership.

Red Bull’s deal with Honda will end a 12-season partnership with Renault (its engines have been branded as Tag Heuer since 2016). Red Bull switched to Renault power during the V8 era, following the use of a Ferrari V8 engine in 2006 and a Cosworth V10 in its maiden F1 season in 2005.

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Source: Autocar Online

UK fuel stations overcharging motorists by 5p per litre, says study

UK fuel stations overcharging motorists by 'at least' 5p per litre

Minister calls for independent monitoring body to prevent unfair pricing

UK motorists are paying on average 5p more per litre for fuel than they should because fuel stations have not reduced their prices in line with crude oil rates, which today have fallen to a six-week low of $72.45 (£55.06) per barrel.

A study by fuel price campaigner FairFuelUK revealed that fuel stations have made £500 million in “opportunistic profiteering” by not reducing prices of petrol and diesel accordingly in the past three months.

The report found that on 15 June, whoelsale oil prices were at £55.36/barrel, while the UK average retail price for diesel was £1.322/litre and petrol £1.292/litre. On 4 May, when oil prices were a comparable £55.45/barrel, diesel was just £1.268/litre and petrol £1.239/litre.

FairFuelUK says inconsistencies in pricing have favoured the seller and equated to an average overspend per tank of about £2.50 per car.

“In Germany and France, pump prices can fluctuate on the forecourts daily, even hourly,” said Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK. “The cost of filling up in these countries accurately reflects oil and wholesale prices.”

However, Cox said that in the UK “motorists and businesses are exploited ruthlessly by the fuel supply chain”. He called on the Government to “protect hard-working consumers and the economy from this recurring disingenuous manipulation”.

His comments were echoed by a Conservative MP for Scotland, Kirstene Hair, who said that the UK needs “an independent price monitoring body” to “ensure households and businesses are no longer charged unfairly for fuel”.

By contrast, fuel duty’s impact on petrol and diesel prices has remained consistent for seven years. Chancellor Philip Hammond’s latest budget confirmed that it would stand at 57.95p per litre.

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Source: Autocar Online

UK fuel stations overcharging motorists by 5p per litre

UK fuel stations overcharging motorists by 'at least' 5p per litre

Minister calls for independent monitoring body to prevent unfair pricing

UK motorists are paying on average 5p more per litre for fuel than they should because fuel stations have not reduced their prices in line with crude oil rates, which today have fallen to a six-week low of $72.45 (£55.06) per barrel.

A study by fuel price campaigner FairFuelUK has revealed that fuel stations have made £500 million in “opportunistic profiteering” by not reducing prices of petrol and diesel accordingly in the past three months.

The report found that on 15 June, whoelsale oil prices were at £55.36/barrel, while the UK average retail price for diesel was £1.322/litre and petrol £1.292/litre. On 4 May, when oil prices were a comparable £55.45/barrel, diesel was just £1.268/litre and petrol £1.239/litre.

FairFuelUK says inconsistencies in pricing have favoured the seller and equated to an average overspend per tank of about £2.50 per car.

“In Germany and France, pump prices can fluctuate on the forecourts daily, even hourly,” said Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK. “The cost of filling up in these countries accurately reflects oil and wholesale prices.”

However, Cox said that in the UK “motorists and businesses are exploited ruthlessly by the fuel supply chain”. He called on the Government to “protect hard-working consumers and the economy from this recurring disingenuous manipulation”.

His comments were echoed by a Conservative MP for Scotland, Kirstene Hair, who said that the UK needs “an independent price monitoring body” to “ensure households and businesses are no longer charged unfairly for fuel”.

By contrast, fuel duty’s impact on petrol and diesel prices has remained consistent for seven years. Chancellor Philip Hammond’s latest budget confirmed that it would stand at 57.95p per litre.

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Source: Autocar Online

Citroen Berlingo 2018 review

Citroen Berlingo 2018 first drive review hero front

Boxy, slightly quirky van-based car returns to top form in only third iteration in more than two decades

A little over two decades and 1.7 million vehicles ago, Citroën invented a brand new class of affordable van-based MPV called Berlingo. It was compact, simple and flexible, designed to utilise plentiful small hatch components to control cost and complexity while having so much cabin space that it outshone all other forms of family car.Pretty soon everyone had something like it, with two sliding rear doors, five spacious seats and a huge rectangular prism of carrying space in the rear capable of swallowing a mighty stash of family luggage and a kitchen sink as well. It became so successful that there have only been two iterations in 22 years.Now, the third-generation Berlingo is upon us in two versions: a familiarly sized 4.4-metre, five-seat model and a new seven-seat version that’s 35cm longer. Best news for Berlingo lovers is that, with this thoroughly modern product, Citroën has deliberately moved to recapture the look and spirit of the admired original, admitting in private that the second-gen car, while successful, wasn’t its best design work.

Source: Autocar Online

Tesla CEO: New “tent” assembly line is “way better” than conventional factory

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla CEO Musk hints at German location for Euro Gigafactory

Tesla acquires German engineering company, Grohmann Engineering

After Tesla’s acquisition of German production tech firm Grohmann Engineering, the American car maker will build a European Gigafactory nearby

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted that the firm’s next Gigafactory production plant will be on the French-German border. 

Musk confirmed the plans for a European Gigafactory at a press conference in Germany in late 2016, after he announced Tesla’s acquisition of Grohmann engineering – a German automated production technology firm. Its next Gigafactory, however, is almost certain to be in Shanghai, pending talks with the local Government. A European gigafactory will arrive after this. 

Tesla‘s buyout of Grohmann Engineering was aimed at accelerating its manufacturing technologies as it prepared to put the Model 3 saloon into production. The proposed site is on the German-French border, with a view to being near to the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) countries. At the moment, however, Germany is “a leading choice” rather than a confirmed decision. 

Read more about Tesla’s Gigafactory here

In relation to a question about bringing production of Tesla models to Europe, Musk previously said: “This is something that we plan on exploring quite seriously with different locations for very large scale Tesla vehicles, and battery and powertrain production.”

Tesla Grohmann Automation is based in Prüm, Germany – not far from Musk’s proposed production location – and specialises in automated manufacturing technology. Upon its acquisition, Tesla said that the company should accelerate its production processes as “the factory becomes more of a product than the product itself”.

Tesla uses the Prüm centre as a hub for its factory developments, although no vehicles will be produced at the centre. According to Tesla upon Grohmann’s acquisition, a total of 1000 jobs will be created in Plüm within two years, with Tesla planning to expand the centre in the near future. The developments in robotic car production which come from Prüm will be used in Tesla’s existing factory in Fremont, California.

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Tesla hopes that opening more factories – previously speculated to be in Asia and Europe following Tesla’s US-based manufacturing plants – will create greater economies of scale in its production process, which will ultimately drive vehicle prices down. Tesla’s struggles to produce the Model 3 at the intended rate have been well documented, and most recently culminated in the construction of a third, temporary production line at its factory in Fremont, California. 

Tesla needs to create these economies of scale in order to produce more cars like the Model 3, Model Y and as-yet-unnamed Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback, which will be its cheapest models, as well as its best-selling. The Tesla spokesman said that the automation that Grohmann deals with is “critical to reach those economies of scale”.

Grohmann, according to Bloomberg, also serves the telecommunication, consumer electronics and biotechnical industries, and has presence in multiple Asian markets, as well as Europe, Canada, North and Central America, South Africa and Australia. These areas of business will without doubt be of great interest to Tesla, as it seeks to expand its presence globally, as well as diversify its business.

Tesla would not disclose how much it paid to acquire Grohmann, and couldn’t comment further on Musk’s comments.



Source: Autocar Online

Arrested Audi boss Rupert Stadler replaced by sales and marketing chief

Rupert Stadler

Brand chief executive is being held due to risk that he could withhold evidence. His interim replacement is former head of sales and marketing, Abraham Schot

The Volkswagen Group has replace Audi CEO Rupert Stadler with the brand’s sales and marketing boss, Abraham Schot, following Stadler’s arrest for matters relating to the diesel emissions scandal.

Stadler was arrested yesterday and has since been placed on leave by Audi. Schot has been temporarily promoted to Audi’s helm this week, from his former post as head of sales and marketing

Leading Audi since 2010, 55-year-old Stadler was taken into custody by the German police on Monday morning following an investigation on charges of fraud and misrepresentation.

“The accused was brought before the investigating judge, who ordered the execution of the pre-trial detention,” the Munich public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

As a reason for Stadler’s arrest, the Munich public prosecutor’s office cited “evidence suppression”.

It added: “We cannot comment on the substance of our background in the light of the ongoing investigations. For Mr Stadler, the presumption of innocence continues to apply.”

Stadler is currently being questioned by the Munich public prosecutor’s office and will testify this week, according to information obtained by Autocar.

He has continuously denied any wrongdoing in the Dieselgate emissions manipulation scandal. Another Audi board member, Bernd Martens, was named as a key suspect by the same office on 30 May.

German media reports suggest evidence obtained in the recent questioning of other former Audi officials link Stadler to possible diesel emissions manipulation from 2012 onwards.

Stadler’s detention comes one week after German police and members of the Munich public prosecutor’s office raided his private residence in Germany.

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Source: Autocar Online

UK mayors to call for 2030 petrol and diesel car ban

London traffic

Cross-party city leaders are joining forces to encourage the end of pure-combustion car sales

City mayors across the UK are joining forces to encourage the introduction of a ban on pure petrol and diesel cars from 2030 in a bid to cut emissions produced by private transport.

Leaders from cities including Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, London and Oxford, who represent a combined 20 million residents, will put their case to environment secretary Michael Gove tomorrow at a national air quality summit.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is among those calling for the Government’s proposed 2040 ban on the sale of combustion-engined cars to be moved forward by a decade.

“Air pollution is not an isolated problem, it’s a national health crisis,” Khan said. “Our country’s filthy air is shortening lives, damaging lungs and severely impacting on the NHS.”

Gove recently introduced a new clean air strategy that outlined plans to reduce particulates from vehicle brakes and tyres. However, the strategy refrained from tightening plans introduced in 2017 that included the 2040 petrol and diesel car ban, which excludes hybrids.

“Michael Gove has made a good start as environment secretary, but we need the Government to match our ambition and help us urgently drive forward these improvements,” Khan continued. “We simply cannot afford to delay.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street emphasised that the UK’s air quality issue is “a public health crisis that needs urgent action”. He said that enforcing more stringent emissions-fighting policies is “also an industrial opportunity — not least for the West Midlands, where we have built cars, trucks and taxis for generations”.

Street added: “We need to move to making cleaner vehicles now. It is an essential part of the national industrial strategy.”

Last week, a Government minister suggested that a complete ban of petrol and diesel cars would not necessarily be the most effective method to fight emissions in the UK.

Richard Harrington, the minister for business, energy and industry, said at a cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee meeting that petrol and diesel models may “potentially” be allowed for sale after the proposed deadline because it is not possible to predict what sort of technology will be around in 2040.

The comments echoed those of business secretary Greg Clark, who said earlier this year at the FT Future of the Car Summit: “There is a place for diesel. City centres are a flashpoint. Driving diesel a long distance is a different question.”

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Source: Autocar Online

Arrested Audi boss Rupert Stadler could be replaced this week

Rupert Stadler

Brand chief executive is being held due to risk that he could withhold evidence

The Volkswagen Group could replace Audi CEO Rupert Stadler with the brand’s sales and marketing boss, Bram Schot, while Stadler is under arrest for matters relating to the diesel emissions scandal.

Stadler was arrested yesterday and has since been placed on leave by Audi. An unnamed source told Automotive News Europe that Schot could be temporarily promoted to Audi’s helm this week.

While he has not been suspended or dismissed, Stadler’s future is uncertain following a six-hour-long meeting held by the VW Group supervisory board, although the board has delayed any final decision until further notice.  

Leading Audi since 2010, 55-year-old Stadler was taken into custody by the German police on Monday morning following an investigation on charges of fraud and misrepresentation.

“The accused was brought before the investigating judge, who ordered the execution of the pre-trial detention,” the Munich public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

As a reason for Stadler’s arrest, the Munich public prosecutor’s office cited “evidence suppression”.

It added: “We cannot comment on the substance of our background in the light of the ongoing investigations. For Mr Stadler, the presumption of innocence continues to apply.”

Stadler is currently being questioned by the Munich public prosecutor’s office and will testify this week, according to information obtained by Autocar.

He has continuously denied any wrongdoing in the Dieselgate emissions manipulation scandal. Another Audi board member, Bernd Martens, was named as a key suspect by the same office on 30 May.

German media reports suggest evidence obtained in the recent questioning of other former Audi officials link Stadler to possible diesel emissions manipulation from 2012 onwards.

Stadler’s detention comes one week after German police and members of the Munich public prosecutor’s office raided his private residence in Germany.

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