Florida Dealers Clearing Debris, Opening Doors

First Up 09/13/17

Florida Dealers Clearing Debris, Opening Doors
Most car dealers in Florida are thankful despite scattered power outages, flooded highways, dinged inventory, and facility damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, reports Automotive News. They know it could have been much worse. "When the storm came up the center of the state, that was a blessing," said Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association in Tallahassee. "It did not do as much damage as it could have." Smith sent an email to his nearly 450 members on Saturday asking them for reports of damage after Irma. Only about 5 percent have responded, but their news is encouraging. Florida dealerships in areas where power has been restored opened Tuesday mostly to prepare for business later in the week, Smith said. Scattered power outages remain "almost everywhere" in the state, he added. The auto ports of Jacksonville and Brunswick, Ga., remained closed Tuesday. The Port of Charleston, S.C., a major export gateway for BMW vehicles produced in South Carolina, is open for business, the port authority said in a bulletin. For more on how Florida dealers are cleaning up and reopening, click here

Nissan Pursues Big Change, Not Bit-by-Bit
Aiming to get an edge on its rivals in an intensely competitive industry, Japanese automaker Nissan says it’s attempting to foster a corporate culture that will produce manufacturing innovations in leaps and bounds instead of steady incremental improvement. According to The Detroit News, in an example at Nissan’s Yokohama plant, shown to The Associated Press, a coating technology made the metal liner of a cylinder block of an engine about the tenth of its previous thickness, from 0.08 inches to 0.01 inches. Instead of trying to reduce the cast-iron layer’s thickness, bit by bit, a totally new approach was tried, spraying on molten iron, said Hayakawa who speaks with a passionate intensity rare for corporate Japan. The metal liner technology has already been introduced for the GT-R sports car, but is now being expanded to other models, such as the Pathfinder sport-utility vehicle, Infiniti QX60 luxury SUV and the new Kicks global compact crossover, including production in Mexico and China. Click here for more on Nissan’s strategy

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Backs Voluntary Rules for Self-Driving Cars
According to CNBC, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday defended her department's decision to use voluntary guidelines instead of enforceable rules to regulate self-driving cars, saying a flexible approach was best for an emerging technology. Chao also said the Trump administration would give preference in its forthcoming infrastructure plan to projects that promise technology innovation that could improve safety or advance the deployment of autonomous vehicles. "Those projects that have greater innovation will get a greater share of federal dollars," Chao said. Chao appeared in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at a facility where automakers and others are testing technology that allows vehicles to communicate with street lights, or to operate autonomously. As expected, she formally released details of voluntary guidelines for the deployment of self-driving vehicles that automakers and technology companies said will speed development of the technology. For more, click here

VW's CEO Says He Has No Plans to Divide Up the Group 
Volkswagen has no plans to follow local rival Daimler in considering changing the group’s legal structure, its chief executive said, even as the company undergoes the biggest transformation in its history. According to Reuters, the world’s largest vehicle maker by sales said on Monday it was stepping up the pace on its electric car program, announcing more than 20 billion euros ($23.86 billion) of new investments over the next 12 years. Daimler said in July it may split parts of its business into separate legal entities, a move that investors have said could unlock billions of euros in value by listing separate parts of the business and help fund its development of electric and robotic cars. Asked by reporters at the Frankfurt auto show whether he could imagine following rivals in looking at changing the group’s structure, VW Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said: “Others are always faster than Volkswagen but, somehow, we are still successful.” For more, click here

Pain at the Pump: 'Regular' Cars That Run on Premium Fuel
Today’s precisely engineered cars with their higher-compression turbocharged and direct fuel-injected engines are increasingly recommending the use of costlier premium-grade fuel to achieve their maximum performance potential. And while one might expect high-powered luxury models and sports cars to require the added octane, Forbes found a surprising number of otherwise ordinary cars and crossovers that now rely on premium. As of this writing the national average for regular-grade gas is $2.66 according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, while premium is going for $3.16. Find out which regular cars Forbes found that unexpectedly run on premium fuel by clicking here. Read more here

Webinar: The (Near) Future of the Auto IndustryThe automotive industry is changing fast, and the future is feeling more and more like the present. Join AIADA's September AutoTalk webinar on Tuesday, September 19, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT, for an update on the future of the industry and a look at the top questions auto dealers are faced with today. Tim Zierden, Vice President of Enterprise Dealer Partnerships, will be on hand to discuss big happenings in the industry, ranging from credit availability to digital retail. Click here to register

Around the Web

Nissan Confirms That a Next-Gen Frontier Pickup is Happening [MSN Autos] 

McLaren and Honda Finally Call It Quits [Autoblog]

How to Make Autonomous Cars See Better [Forbes]

10 Cars You Can Buy for the Price of a New iPhone X [Jalopnik]