Auto Notes - October 2017
Autonomous. Maserati unveiled the 2018 Ghibli GranLusso in late August at the Chengdu Auto Show in China. The revamped model includes a new grille, front and rear bumpers that enhance aerodynamics, LED lighting, plus technological features Maserati said will address driver-assisted or autonomous driving in the future.
New tech features included are lane departure, blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, highway assist, and more. There is also Integrated Vehicle Control, an electronic stability control system.
While the Ghibli GranLusso retains its bi-turbo 3.0-L V-6 Ferrari engine, it has been enhanced to produce 20 more horsepower and 22 more lb.-ft. of torque. Available on the Ghibli S and all-wheel-drive S Q4, the engine now exudes 430 HP and 428 lb.-ft.
FCA/VW deal? There has been speculation for some time that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) CEO Sergio Marchionne has wanted an alliance partner. Several months ago rumors of a merger with Volkswagen AG were rampant, and recently there were reports of FCA selling Jeep to the German automaker.
While neither scenario appears valid, the two companies are said to be developing plans to build light-duty commercial vehicles, perhaps a car-based van for in-city delivery service.
Lane departure works. According to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study, vehicles equipped with lane departure warning systems have experienced a reduction of single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on collisions by 18 percent, and lowered injury rates by 24 percent. The big news is that fatal crashes were reduced by 86 percent when a lane departure system was in place.
Vehicles with blind-spot detection systems had 14 percent fewer lane-change accidents, with a 23 percent reduction in injuries, according to the IIHS report.
Texas storm. August’s Hurricane Harvey ravaged homes, buildings, roadways, and more, but it may have also damaged some 500,000 vehicles according to CNBC. In addition to individual motorists losing their cars and trucks to the massive flooding, auto dealers and car rental agencies in Houston and other cities struck by the Category 4 hurricane lost thousands of cars, trucks, and commercial units parked on their lots.
With Texas being the nation’s second largest vehicle market, and representing 14 percent of the country’s truck sales, there will be a substantial demand for all types of cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, and commercial vehicles in coming months.
Just days later, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and southeast states where similar losses to vehicles was experienced.
As with any major storm in which vehicles are flooded, over the next year both new and used vehicles will be reconditioned and sold in markets all over the U.S. It’s “Buyer Beware” as many of those vehicles will be sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Jag award. The Jaguar I-Pace Concept was named the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2017 at the 16th North American Concept Vehicle Awards. The all-electric performance SUV was praised for its futuristic design and innovative technology.
“Our challenge was to design an electric vehicle that’s distinctively and unmistakably a Jaguar, and one which demonstrates that an electric vehicle can be visually dramatic as well as practical,” said Ian Callum, director of design for Jaguar.
Soy tires. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has announced its first commercial use of a new soybean oil-based compound to enhance tire performance in dry, wet, and winter conditions. By employing soybean oil in tires, Goodyear said they have determined a new way to keep the rubber compound pliable in changing temperatures.
A group of Goodyear scientists and engineers created a tread compound using the soybean oil, which is naturally derived, cost-effective, carbon-neutral, and renewable.