Volkswagen's Biggest Brand to Bypass Paris Auto Show

First Up 05/17/18

U.S. Pushing for NAFTA Deal as Thursday Deadline Approaches
The United States is still pushing for a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said on Wednesday, while a top Mexican official held out the possibility of an agreement in the coming weeks, Reuters reports. President Donald Trump is committed to getting a better agreement with Canada and Mexico, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News. “We still want to see something happen and we’re going to continue in those conversations. They’re ongoing now and we’re pushing forward and hopeful that we can get something done soon,” said Sanders. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance to approve it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January. Ryan himself told reporters at the U.S. Capitol that Congress cannot begin working on the negotiating law known as “fast track” without a trade deal in hand. “The point is, we can’t work a bill unless we have an agreement that’s in writing that we can work on, and that hasn’t occurred yet,” Ryan said. Read more here

Tesla Crash Gets U.S. Scrutiny as Police Confirm Autopilot Use
Tesla Inc. confirmed to police that another of its vehicles crashed with a driver using Autopilot, and the incident triggered more scrutiny by federal regulators. According to Automotive News, technicians at the electric-car maker have recovered data from the Model S driven by a 28-year-old woman who crashed her Model S on Friday, police in South Jordan, Utah, Tesla said in an emailed statement. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced earlier that the agency had sent its special crash investigations team to gather information. The driver didn’t touch the steering wheel for the 80 seconds leading up to colliding with a fire mechanic truck at about 60 miles per hour, according to Tesla’s report to police. The driver said she was looking at her phone prior to the crash and was issued a citation. Read more here

Volkswagen's Biggest Brand to Bypass Paris Auto Show
Volkswagen will not display its core brand at the Paris motor show this year, the latest and most prominent carmaker to swerve the biennial industry gathering, reports Reuters. Europe’s largest automotive group has scaled back brand presentations at traditional car shows, including Detroit and Frankfurt, since the VW emissions scandal erupted in 2015. This has partly been as a cost-cutting measure for VW which has been reducing spending to counter the multi-billion dollar costs of dealing with the fallout of cheating diesel emissions tests, but it also mirrors a wider sector trend. Many of the traditional industry gatherings have registered a drop in visitor numbers since 2000, forcing carmakers to rethink how they spend their marketing budgets. “The Volkswagen brand is continually reviewing its participation in international motor shows,” it said on Thursday, adding it could instead host “various communications activities” in the French capital, including test drives. Read more here

Your Next Car May Be Safer Than You Think
Long before many people experience a car that can drive itself, they’ll benefit from semi-autonomous systems that let them travel farther and safer. But they may never know it, reports The Detroit Free Press. Stealth driver aids that provide many of autonomy’s benefits are moving from luxury vehicles to mass market models today. The Nissan Rogue compact SUV and Leaf electric car already offer a system that make driving easier and safer so subtly that many car owners will never realize how much it’s helping them. Nissan’s new 2019 Altima midsize sedan will also offer the system, called ProPilot Assist, when it goes on sale later this year. Unlike the high-profile, high-cost poster children for autonomous driving — $80,500 for a Tesla S electric car with “Enhanced Auto Pilot” and $71,290 for a Cadillac and CT6 luxury sport sedan with Super Cruise — the Rogue and Altima are mainstream vehicles with mainstream prices. "Customers really like these features," said Eric Noble, president of product development consultant The Carlab. "Manufacturers will have to cascade them through their model lines." Read more here

Ford to Resume F-150, Super Duty Vehicle Production Within Days
Ford Motor Co. is resuming production of F-150 and Super Duty trucks ahead of schedule at three assembly plants after a fire earlier this month at one of its supplier’s facilities created a parts shortage, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Dearborn, Mich.-based auto maker said Wednesday it is restarting production of the F-150 pickup at a Dearborn plant on Friday, after it went offline last week. By Monday, the company expects to restart production on Super Duty trucks at a plant in Louisville, Ky., and F-150s at its Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant. “While the situation remains extremely dynamic, our teams are focused on returning our plants to full production as fast as possible,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of global operations, in prepared remarks. “The ramp-up time to full production is improving every day.” Ford expects the production stoppage to dent second-quarter per-share earnings by 12 cents to 14 cents. However, the company again backed its guidance of annual adjusted earnings between $1.45 a share and $1.70 a share. Read more here

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