Democratic Senators Press U.S. Auto Agency on Safety Rules

First Up 11/15/22

Democratic Senators Press U.S. Auto Agency on Safety Rules

A group of 10 Democratic senators Tuesday urged U.S. auto safety regulators to move quickly to issue new regulations after traffic crash deaths hit a 16-year-high in 2021. Reuters reports Senators Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Jack Reed, Ron Wyden, and others wrote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking the agency to explain its lack of progress in writing new regulations mandated by Congress. A 2021 $1 trillion infrastructure law signed into law in 2021 includes 10 new auto safety provisions including "modernizing standards" for crash avoidance technologies, automatic engine shutoff devices and headlights, the letter said. "When issuing new safety measures, regulators have too often crawled through yellow lights or stalled at red lights," the letter said. "Congress gave NHTSA the green light to put its pedal to the metal to reduce motor vehicle fatalities." The 2021 law also directs NHTSA to set rules requiring new vehicles include technology to prevent alcohol impaired drivers from starting vehicles and mandate systems in to alert drivers to check rear seats after turning off vehicles. Click here for the full story.

Collision Warning, Emergency Braking Cut Rear-End Crashes in Half, Study Finds

Front-to-rear crashes were slashed by about half when the striking vehicle was equipped with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, according to a new study from a partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation and several automakers. Automotive News reports the Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety on Tuesday released the results of what it called "the largest government-automaker study to date" exploring the real-world effectiveness of advanced driver-assistance systems in passenger vehicles. The group, formed in 2018, is a voluntary partnership between the Transportation Department and automakers such as General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Stellantis and Toyota. The study — conducted by Mitre Corp., a nonprofit group that operates the partnership as an independent third party — comes as automakers add more advanced driver-assistance features to their vehicles and as NHTSA collects data on crashes linked to those technologies. "These emerging technologies can substantially reduce the number of crashes and improve safety outcomes," said Tim Czapp, industry co-chair of the partnership's governance board and a senior manager at Stellantis. "Demonstrating industry's proactive commitment, [automatic emergency braking] is approaching standard deployment and with real-world effectiveness is helping mitigate injuries and lives lost." Click here for the full story.

Dealer's Mentorship Program Cuts Turnover by Making Workers' Lives Better

About four years ago, leaders at CMA's Valley dealerships in Staunton, Va., started asking employees about their personal and professional goals in an effort to get to know them better. This simple but sincere effort is a central part of Carter Myers Automotive's mentorship program, known as "ImproveU," a voluntary, six-month initiative available to any of the roughly 200 employees at the five Valley rooftops. The stores, which retail Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, and other brands, sold 2,927 new and 2,675 used vehicles in 2021, reports Automotive News. The program was established to curb turnover and boost morale, but it's evolved into an endeavor that has changed the lives of its participants — both at work and at home. "Before we started the program, we were constantly looking to hire people," said Scott Simons, president of CMA's Valley dealerships. Now, employee retention has improved, and there's even a waitlist of people who want to work at the stores, he said. Three-year retention was 51 percent prior to launching the program. It is now at 63 percent. Click here for the full story.

Scout Motors Releases Teaser Image of New Electric Truck

Volkswagen is getting into the EV off-road SUV business with the upcoming debut of the revived Scout Motors brand, which has not existed since the 1980s. Scout will fall under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, and now, the automaker has released a new teaser image of the upcoming concept version and launched the official Scout website and fan forum. Carbuzz reports the teaser shows a front end with SUV proportions, a firm stance, and appropriately sized tires. VW's take on the Scout will consist, at least initially, of an EV truck and SUV. Production is slated to kick off in 2026, and the prototypes are due sometime next year; hence the official website launch is happening now. Based on the previous sketches, the vehicles' design is boxy and reminiscent of the original. VW confirmed the Scout vehicles will ride on a "new technical platform concept, which brings new pickup and RUV credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio." Along with the official website, a new forum has arrived that will enable Scout to communicate directly with fans and, hopefully, future customers. Click here for the full story.

Prices Remain High for Both New and Used Cars, Study Shows

Prices are still at all-time high levels for new, used, and off-lease cars, according to a recent study by the price-tracking car search engine “Pandemic-related disruptions to automaker supply chains and their impact on new-vehicle and used-vehicle pricing have dramatically affected retained value rates as well,” said Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “An analysis of three- and five-year vehicle depreciation reveals that cars retain more value than they have in recent memory, and that a small number of cars have even appreciated in value.” iSeeCars looks at millions of new- and used-car purchase and lease transactions to get its data. For this latest study, the firm analyzed over three million three-year-old and five-year-old used cars sold in 2022 and found the average five-year-old car lost only 33.3 percent of its value from MSRP, reports Autoweek. Compared to 2021, that represents a 17 percent decrease in depreciation, meaning the vehicles held their value better and longer. Click here for the full story.

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