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The world's automakers are going to be doing a lot of cringing now that J.D. Power plans to criticize them for one of the most poorly executed technologies they peddle to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice-recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicles across the price spect ... Continue reading "Automakers to face intensified scrutiny over voice recognition" » Aug 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
It’s the second coming of the Toyota FT-1.
Toyota pulled the cover off of a second concept version of the FT-1 super sports car in Monterey, Calif., on Wednesday.
Both versions of the FT-1 were shown, squeezed between classic supercars and big business jets. Showing off both the first and second FT-1s in California is a good way to gauge popular reaction to the car ... Continue reading "Toyota redresses FT-1 concept" » Aug 13, 2014 3:29 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Ahead of its media reveal next month, an Instagram user in Japan may have snagged an early glimpse of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster.
A Miata fan snapped a photo of a roadster wrapped in line-blurring camouflage, but the car’s proportions make it seem like a plausible sighting of Mazda’s fourth-generation roadster.
Our colleagues at Autoweek sa ... Continue reading "Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?" » Aug 13, 2014 1:32 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Volvo again is pulling some of the wraps off the redesigned XC90 crossover before its formal reveal on Aug. 25 in Stockholm.
The latest teaser is a photo of the front corner with an all-new T-shaped running light accompanied by an explanation of the new “scalable product architecture” that the XC90 will ride on.
The headlights and grille evoke the Swedish bra ... Continue reading "Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury" » Aug 13, 2014 3:09 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Subprime auto loans have gotten most of the attention, but an editorial in The New York Times on Saturday makes other demands dealers and lenders are sure to dislike.
For instance, the Times editorial said auto dealers, like mortgage lenders, “must” be made responsible for verifying “that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans and meet their oth ... Continue reading "N.Y. Times' demands are misguided" » Aug 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Nothing can prepare you for the sudden popularity that comes with driving a Lamborghini. One minute you’re as average as white bread, the next minute you’re being photographed like a supermodel, chatted up by awestruck strangers and chased by kids who just want to get within a few feet of a supercar.
Jon Maffei, the general manager of Lamborghini Sarasota in F ... Continue reading "Lamborghini's special power to punctuate popularity" » Aug 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Until recently, the National Development and Reform Commission, a ministry-level government body, was very friendly toward foreign automakers, approving numerous factory projects the companies sought. But lately it has begun investigating global automakers for suspected monopolistic behavior. What prompted the about-face? The commission suddenly feels it has to justify its ... Continue reading "Why China's NDRC has become country's antitrust watchdog" » Aug 12, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Would you do a double-take if Volvo were the sponsor of the Country Music Awards?
How about if BMW were the primary sponsor, and the only automotive sponsor, of a museum exhibit of Japanese samurai swords? Or if Hyundai were the sponsor of a North American tour of Germany’s hottest electronic-music band?
Some pairings just aren’t that intuitive.
So how in th ... Continue reading "Toyota, supporter of Korean culture" » Aug 8, 2014 12:28 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
A decision involving the McDonald’s fast-food chain could have dramatic implications for the franchised car dealer system going forward.
It depends on who you ask and their perception of what might come of a July 29 determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel.
Widespread labor actions in favor of higher wages for fast-food w ... Continue reading "McDonald's and the dealer franchise system" » Aug 7, 2014 3:28 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will have a trunk and the word “Volt” on the back of it, according to the teaser photo that General Motors released today.
I assume -- but can’t confirm from the photo -- that it also will have approximately four wheels, multiple doors and possibly an interior. The redesigned Volt will be fully unveiled at the Detroit a ... Continue reading "Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'" » Aug 7, 2014 2:30 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- On the way to dinner one night this week here, my wife and I spotted a large deer standing by the side of a lonely two-lane country road. It was warily watching traffic, perhaps wondering when it could try to cross.
What would a vehicle with an automated driving system do if a deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere?
Ask suppliers if the technology ... Continue reading "Self-driving cars will still need human help" » Aug 7, 2014 10:33 am U.S. ET Post Comment
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile.
For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research.
Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the ...