AAA Study: New Tech Usually Doesn't Prevent Pedestrian Collisions

First Up 10/04/19

AAA Study: New Tech Usually Doesn't Prevent Pedestrian Collisions
New technology designed to thwart vehicle collisions is often ineffective when it comes to avoiding pedestrians, according to a new study. Automotive News reports that in tests conducted by motoring organization AAA, cars equipped with automated emergency braking systems struck adult dummy pedestrian targets crossing the road 60 percent of the time. Those closed-street tests were done during daylight hours with cars traveling 20 mph. When researchers made the tests more challenging by swapping adult dummies for child dummies, testing at night or driving at higher speeds, the performance of the emergency braking systems deteriorated. "We wanted to understand how the systems work and get a feel for where they work well," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering and industry relations. "We had hoped they would work well across all scenarios. What we found was something quite different." Read more here. 

UAW Talks With Other Carmakers Being Held Up
Labor talks between General Motors Co. and the United Auto Workers now are holding up negotiations at other automakers — and creating some frustration among union members, reports The Detroit News. Negotiations with GM continued Thursday, but they have remained at the "main table" without a tentative agreement for more than a week. The UAW rejected a "comprehensive proposal" from GM on Monday and countered, citing disagreements over health care, wages, temporary employees and "concessionary" measures — many issues the union listed when it called for the national strike, heading in its 19th day Friday. Meanwhile, UAW Vice President Rory Gamble said in a letter to local union leaders Thursday that negotiations with Ford Motor Co. are "progressing very well." Nearly all of the bargaining subcommittees have reached tentative agreements or are awaiting GM's contract to set a pattern for them. Read more here. 

BMW's Mini is Fighting to Stay Alive in SUV-Obsessed America
Premium small car maker Mini acknowledges these are tough times for tiny cars in America. But as Fiat Chrysler and others retreat, Mini sees opportunity to steal customers in the small-car market, reports CNBC. It was a brand literally created in the midst of a fuel crisis. But the ultra-small cars designed to provide cheap and easy transportation for Britons in the 1950s and ’60s became a cultural phenomenon and created the strong brand identity known around the world today. The trouble is that bigger is now better in America, and Mini’s specialty is “small.” Sales have fallen from a peak of around 66,000 units in 2013 to less than 44,000 in 2018. Taking the if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them approach, Mini has beefed up its lineup and now sells a sport utility known as the Countryman. Mini is also, like many other automakers, betting on electric. The company debuted the Cooper SE in July. Read more here. 

Jeep Dealer's $50K Sticker Shock Captures Auto Sales Stress
Robert Loehr’s dealership is hanging in just fine, much like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s sales did last quarter. But just as investors doubt the U.S. car market can sustain near-record results for much longer, the Georgia retailer is apprehensive about a key issue: sticker shock, reports Bloomberg. “Prices are crazy on cars nowadays -- all of them,” said Loehr, who sells Jeeps, Rams and other Fiat Chrysler models from a showroom northwest of Atlanta and has been in the business for 35 years. “They’re crazy to me, and I do it every single day, all day long.” New Jeep Gladiators can easily fetch $50,000 and are emblematic of a trend toward eye-popping prices carmakers are commanding for the pickups and sport utility vehicles making up an ever-greater share of their sales. Affordability could become more of a risk if the mounting concern that the American economy is headed for recession ends up panning out. Read more here (subscription required).

Consumers Got Millions in Questionable Electric-Car Tax Credits
Thousands of auto buyers may have improperly claimed more than $70 million in tax credits for purchases of new plug-in electric vehicles using ineligible cars and trucks, a U.S. Treasury Department watchdog said Thursday. According to Bloomberg, the questionable claims were found in 16,510 individual tax returns during a five-year period through the 2018 processing year, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. That compares with more than $1.4 billion paid in credits to almost 240,000 taxpayers over the same period that were reviewed as part of the audit. Details about how taxpayers improperly claimed the credits were mostly redacted, though the audit found that the Internal Revenue Service lacks an effective process to prevent improper claims under the program, which awards as much as $7,500 for electric-car buyers. Read more here (subscription required). 

Wells Fargo: Iowa vs. Michigan
The University of Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor on Saturday to take on the Michigan Wolverines, in one of three top-25 matchups this weekend. The Midwest is facing several challenges, and the Chicago Fed's Midwest Economy Index is now at the lowest level since 2010. Read the full commentary here.

Around the Web

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Designing a Race Car Livery is Like Walking on a Tightrope [MotorAuthority]

Audi Planning at Least 3 MEB-Based Electric Cars [Autoblog]

Nissan Latest Pondering Brexit-Inspired Exit from Great Britain [The Detroit Bureau]