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Luxury Vehicle Sales Boom

Record sales

“It’s not a huge piece of the overall market, but it has been growing more rapidly than overall vehicle sales, which of course on the whole, has been setting records for five consecutive years now,” said Michael Hatch, chief economist at the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).

For the first time ever, car sales in Canada reached a record 2.04 million units last year. That is a 4.6 per cent increase from 2016, which places Canada third among G7 countries for sales growth.

Luxury vehicles accounted for almost 12 per cent of 2017 sales in Canada, up from 11 per cent in 2016 and nine per cent in 2013, according to Scotiabank.

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GM Lawsuit over Self Driving Car

General Motors is facing one of the first lawsuits to involve an autonomous vehicle, after a collision between its Cruise self-driving car and a motorbike in California.

Motorcyclist Oscar Nilsson is suing GM stating that the Chevrolet Bolt, which was operating in autonomous mode with a backup driver behind the wheel, “suddenly veered back into Nilsson’s lane, striking Nilsson and knocking him to the ground”.

The accident happened on 7 December in heavy traffic in the Hayes Valley district of San Francisco, with the GM vehicle reportedly travelling at 12mph and the motorcycle 17mph.

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Blackberry hits Detroit

BlackBerry Ltd. CEO John Chen used his first appearance at the Detroit auto show on Monday to continue his push into the automotive market with the launch of a cybersecurity product that manages software systems in vehicles – a product he hopes will solidify BlackBerry’s position as a leader in cybersecurity.

The product, called BlackBerry Jarvis, scans and identifies vulnerabilities in software components used in connected and self-driving vehicles, Chen announced in a keynote speech at the North American International Automotive Show.

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What Your Car Knows About You ……

Daniel Dunn was about to sign a lease for a Honda Fit last year when a detail buried in the lengthy agreement caught his eye.

Honda wanted to track the location of his vehicle, the contract stated, according to Dunn — a stipulation that struck the 69-year-old Temecula, Calif., retiree as a bit odd.

But Dunn was eager to drive away in his new car and, despite initial hesitation, he signed the document, a decision with which he has since made peace.

“I don’t care if they know where I go,” said Dunn, who makes regular trips to the grocery store and a local yoga studio in his vehicle. “They’re probably thinking, ‘What a boring life this guy’s got.’ ”

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Blackberry Heads to Detroit

BlackBerry Ltd., a company increasingly focused on technology for the self-driving vehicle market, is making an inaugural visit to North America’s biggest auto show in Detroit, where CEO John Chen’s team says the company will debut a new product on Monday.

Over the past five years, the chief executive gradually reduced the Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s dependence on smartphone sales in a crowded market and repositioned the company formerly known as Research in Motion as an innovator in cybersecurity and software.

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GM Goes Driverless

General Motors is seeking U.S. government approval for a fully autonomous car – one without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal – to enter the automaker’s first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019, executives said.

For passengers who cannot open doors, the Cruise AV – a rebranded version of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV – has even been designed to perform that task. It will have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers.

This will be one of the first self-driving vehicles in commercial passenger service and among the first to do away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle. What is the driver’s seat in the Bolt EV will become the front left passenger seat in the Cruise AV, GM said.

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Alexa coming to Toyota Inc.’s Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant will be added to some Toyota and Lexus vehicles this year, advancing Amazon’s ambitions to expand its speech platform beyond the home.

Alexa will let drivers and passengers get directions, control entertainment features, get the news and perform other functions in the car via voice command, the companies said Tuesday at the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas.

Alexa in cars can also be synced with smart-home devices to control thermostats while on the road.

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Nissan Wants to Take Over Your Brain

The world’s biggest car makers and technology companies are spending billions of dollars to perfect your ability to drive without thinking. Nissan Motor Co. is taking a different direction – trying to “decode” your thinking so hands-on driving is more fun.

The Japanese company will unveil and test its “brain-to-vehicle” technology at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The “B2V” system requires a driver to wear a skullcap that measures brain-wave activity and transmits its readings to steering, acceleration and braking systems that can start responding before the driver initiates the action.

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Self Driving Trucks Become a Reality

Already a banner year in self-driving advancements – including the first on-street test of an autonomous vehicle in Canada – interest in the sector picked up in the closing months of 2017 after Tesla Inc. showcased a fully electric semi-trailer truck equipped with semi-autonomous technology including enhanced autopilot, automated braking and lane departure warnings.

Toronto trucking firm Fortigo Freight joined Loblaws and Walmart Canada in each pre-ordering Tesla semis, the $232,000 electric truck set to be delivered in 2019 that holds the promise of eventually becoming autonomous.

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Ferrari Goes SUV ?

Ferrari turned into the world’s hottest sports cars brand, and one of the best-known luxury brands, by carefully fine-tuning its image.

The sports cars were sold as race-inspired machines, brimming with the DNA of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team, the most successful in the history of the sport (think Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda and Canada’s own Gilles Villeneuve). Production was limited to ensure a two-year waiting time for delivery.

Anything less and the cars might lose their worth-waiting-for mystique; anything more, and buyers might lose patience and opt for a Lamborghini or a McLaren.

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2018 – Year of the Electric Car

In 2018, electric cars will finally turn the corner from curious niche product to become a viable option for America’s families. Next year will mark a turning point in the ultimate electrification of America’s roads.

Electric cars will still only make up just 1.5% of all U.S. auto sales according Navigant Research. But, for EVs, the really important numbers to watch are price, driving range and availability.

Americans will finally be able to buy reasonably affordable and widely available electric cars that can hold enough power to breeze through their daily routines with no worries. Cars like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the redesigned Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model 3 will begin to strip away the “trust issue,” as Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland terms it.

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BMW Aims for Massive Electric Car Sales

The new 2020 plug-in electric vehicles sales target at BMW is 500,000 units, the company’s CEO, Harald Krueger, has stated in an interview with the Germany newspaper WirtschaftsWoche.

To put that another way, BMW is now aiming to have sold half a million plug-in electric vehicles worldwide by the end of 2019 — meaning that the company is aiming for sales to pick up quite a bit by then, as “only” 100,000 plug-in electric BMWs have been sold worldwide as of the end of 2017.

To elaborate on that, Krueger told the German weekly newspaper noted above that deliveries of electrified vehicles were to increase by a “medium double-digit percentage” during 2018. Presumably, 2019 would then see a similar increase, if the new goal is to be achieved.

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Toyota Goes All Electric

Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE: TM) has announced a new aggressive electric vehicle initiative that includes rolling out 10 new fully EV models in the early 2020s. Toyota may not be the first to the electric vehicle market, but investors can rest assured that it will be a major player within the next decade.

Toyota says it has a goal of selling 1 million zero-emission battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles by 2030. By that time, the company hopes EVs, including petrol-electric and plug-in hybrids, will make up roughly half of its total global sales.

“As a mass-market automaker, we need to expand our offering of electric cars,” executive vice president Shigeki Terashi says. “To promote the wider use of EVs, we need to increase our technical development capabilities and address the societal impact of the technology.”

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Nissan Recalls 320000 Vehicles

Nissan has been forced to issue a recall of 320,000 cars in its home market of Japan, following eight reports of cars that have set on fire.

The problem has been traced to a defective coating on the cars’ electronic control units that could cause a short circuit within the complex electronic systems, and even fire in the worst-case scenario.

Nissan has said that the issue only affects cars sold in Japan.

Six models in particular are affected by the recall, including the Serena MPV as well as other people carriers and vans manufactured for Suzuki Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp between February 2010 and September 2014.

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New Car Lease Deals

After a multiyear run of gains, total 2017 auto sales are headed for a down year. Through November, sales were off 1.5 percent with little chance that December can turn that total positive.

For manufacturers, that means extra incentives to move cars off the lot, including remaining 2017 models. For consumers, that translates into some bargain lease deals this month.

Monthly payments on the best of these deals are below $140. The other financial component to a lease is how much you’re required to put down in cash when you sign the deal. The five vehicles we’ll look at here all require $2,000 or less as a down payment.

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Daimler Trucks Go Green

The trucks division of German carmaker Daimler has delivered its first fully electric lorries to companies in Europe, as the global race to mass produce the first generation of “green trucks” heats up.

Among the first customers for Daimler’s Fuso eCanter light-weight truck was express delivery service DHL, which said on Thursday it would use its six vehicles to navigate Berlin’s inner-city traffic.

The keys to eight other eCanter trucks were handed over to German logistics and transport firms DB Schenker, Rhenus and Dachser.

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Ford Goes Hybrid For Self Driving Vehicles

Ford and General Motors are taking increasingly divergent paths toward an autonomous future.

After GM laid out a detailed vision of deploying large numbers of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs in 2019, Ford countered with more information on the autonomous vehicle it aims to release in 2021, saying it will be an all-new, purpose-built hybrid.

Ford is upping its investment and adding assembly jobs in Michigan dedicated to building that vehicle, moving planned production of a long-range electric crossover to Mexico to make room.

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Ford F150 Goes Self-Driving

Ford has not yet commented on this specific vehicle, but when recently asked about the future of autonomous trucks prior to it being spotted, a company spokesman told Fox News that “trucks have to be capable of operating in a wider variety of situations and use cases than cars, such as towing, hauling and off-road.

This will require greater development effort than the autonomous vehicle for commercial operation in mobility services that we’ve promised in 2021. We will only do so when the technology fits customer needs and is affordable.”

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Ford Goes Bullitt

Back in 2001, Ford released a special edition Mustang to commemorate the famous 1968 Steve McQueen film Bullitt. The 2001 Mustang Bullitt was styled more subtly than the regular Mustang GT but got improved handling and some extra power.

In 2008, Ford brought the Mustang Bullitt back following a similar formula. We’ve also heard rumors for a while that Ford plans to offer a Bullitt version of the current Mustang, but it never materialized. That, however, may be about to change.

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