Billions Are Being Tested in Driverless Cars That Americans Don't Want

First Up 05/05/16

May 5, 2016 

CFPB Expected to Unveil Rule Protecting Right to Sue 
According to The Hill, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) could finally unveil a proposed rule on Thursday that would keep companies from including clauses in contracts that make it harder for consumers to sue. The agency has scheduled a field hearing to discuss so-called forced arbitration in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday but would not say more about any announcements. Advocacy groups believe the rule is imminent. At issue are forced arbitration clauses that are slipped into financial contracts and typically bar consumers from joining class action lawsuits. Instead, the clauses force consumers to resolve disputes on alleged abusive practices or unjustified fees, for example, through privately appointed individuals or an arbitrator — often chosen by the company. The rule would ban companies, including dealerships, from including clauses that block class action lawsuits and require companies that invoke arbitration clauses for individual disputes to submit any arbitration claims and awards to the agency for review. For more on an expected CFPB rule affecting arbitration clauses, click here

Billions Are Being Tested in Driverless Cars That Americans Don't Want 
According to Automotive News, the driverless revolution is racing forward, as inventors overcome technical challenges such as navigating at night and regulators craft new rules. Yet the rush to robot cars faces a big roadblock: People aren’t ready to give up the wheel. Recent surveys by J.D. Power, consulting company EY, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Canadian Automobile Association, researcher Kelley Blue Book, and auto supplier Robert Bosch LLC all show that half to three-quarters of respondents don’t want anything to do with these models. “Technologically, we will be ready for automated driving within this decade,” said Kay Stepper, a vice president and head of the automated driving unit at Bosch, which supplies components to the world’s leading manufacturers. “But it will take well into the next decade to convince consumers.” In a survey released last week, J.D. Power found that just 23 percent of Baby Boomers would trust self-driving technology. Acceptance improves with younger cohorts, but it’s not overwhelming. For more on why Americans aren’t interested in driverless cars, click here

Latest Recall Means 1 in 4 Cars Had Bad Air Bags 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is doubling the recall of vehicles with faulty air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata by an estimated 35 million to 40 million cars. According to The Detroit News, that means one in every four vehicles on the road in the United States had the defective safety devices installed. It could take years for all of them to be replaced. The decision to call back more vehicles was announced Wednesday after the safety agency confirmed the root cause behind the inflators’ propensity to rupture, especially in humid climates. Flying shrapnel from exploding Takata inflators has been tied to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries in the United States, and at least one more death outside the U.S. The latest recalls are in addition to the 28.8 million inflators previously recalled, which already was the largest automotive callback in U.S. history. The expansions will take place in five phases between May 2016 and December 2019. The expansions mean that all Takata air bags with an ammonium nitrate-based propellant that don’t have a chemical drying agent will be recalled. For more on Takata’s latest recalls, click here

Up, Up and Away for Maxima 
Nissan designers drew inspiration from fighter jets in styling the Maxima, says WardsAuto. They even spent quality time with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. But they knew enough not to overwhelm the flagship sedan’s cockpit with a bunch of dials, gauges, and displays. And not a bomb-deployment button is in sight. Plane cockpits are starkly utilitarian looking. Maxima stylists didn’t go there. Instead they laid on the luxury. The automaker sought to make the Maxima interior a special place where the beauty of form meets the technology of function. That’s why the Maxima lands on the 2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors list. In some respects, less is more in the Maxima. Nissan reduced the number of switches and buttons from 25 in the previous model to 10. That cuts down on clutter, but not by sacrificing connectivity and infotainment capability. “You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Why am I putting this in a vehicle, and what are consumers getting out of it?’” aerospace consultant Matt Jackson tells WardsAuto, referring to the temptation of some automakers to overload interiors. Maxima stylists seemingly asked themselves that and came up with the right answer. Click here for a photo gallery of the Maxima interior. For more on why it was selected for WardsAuto’s 10 Best Interiors list, click here

It's Now or Never for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, Study Says 
It seems like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been on the horizon forever, but if they’re going to penetrate the mass market, now is the time, says a new study from IHS Automotive. According to Forbes, only three fuel cell cars are available for consumers to purchase or lease today — the Toyota Mirai, Hyundai ix35/Tucson, and the Honda Clarity — and they’re only available in select markets (like California in the U.S.) But over the next decade or so, the number of available fuel cell models will jump to 17, IHS says. By 2027, IHS says fuel cell vehicle production will reach 70,000 units, but that will still represent less than 0.1 percent of all vehicles produced. The study’s author, Ben Scott, a senior analyst with IHS Automotive, said fuel cells have a window of opportunity to get a foot hold in the market right now, while they have some advantages over battery electric vehicles. Fuel cells have longer driving range, for example, and shorter fueling times. “Refueling habits with a fuel cell vehicle will be very similar to that of a conventional car. This will definitely help with customer acceptance,” Scott said. For more on why the time for hydrogen cars is now, click here

Technology is Evolving: Is Your DMS Keeping Up? 
Technology has become better, faster, and  more accessible. However, many dealers don’t feel their DMS solution has kept pace with the latest technology advancements. Join AIADA’s May AutoTalk webinar on May 17th at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EDT to hear what dealers want from their DMS solution, such as easy, real-time access to data, mobile accessibility, and simple third-party integration.  Learn  how the latest DMS technology transforms pain into profitability. To register for the 10:00am EDT session, click here. To register for the 4:00pm EDT session, click here.   

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