General Motors has decided to cut ties with Alphons Iacobelli, the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief accused of embezzling funds earmarked for worker training. That money is believed to have gone into extensive home renovations, the installation of a pool, personal credit card expenses, the leasing of a private jet, a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, and two Mont Blanc pens worth $37,500 each.While GM suspended Iacobelli in July (after federal officials charged him for his alleged role in a multi-million dollar criminal conspiracy during his time at FCA), it only recently confirmed his departure from the company. Automotive News is reporting he may have been fired several months ago. However, General Motors has declined to comment on the specific details or timing of the separation. David F. DuMouchel, an attorney for Iacobelli, has likewise declined to disclose his client’s employment status.GM hired Iacobelli as executive director … [Read more...] about GM Dumps Former FCA Executive Who Allegedly Spent $37,500 on a Single Pen
It wasn’t the elegant S90 sedan or oddly seductive V90 wagon that heralded Volvo’s return to the top of its game — it was the earlier XC90 SUV, specifically the upright and self-assured second-generation model.Now that it’s no longer the newest vehicle in the stable (thanks to a product surge fueled by Chinese dollars, it’s quickly becoming the oldest), the XC90 enters 2018 with an extra dose of value.According to CarsDirect, 2018 XC90 buyers won’t have to shell out more cash to get more passengers into their new Volvo. This coming year, the base T5 trim adds a third-row seat for no extra charge. Isn’t that considerate? The aim, obviously, is for more buyers to consider the XC90.The model’s order guide shows the midsized SUV has quietly added a standard third row while leaving its MSRP remaining unchanged. Previously, you’d have to move up to the T6 variant to squeeze seven members of your family into the SUV’s dignified … [Read more...] about 2018 Volvo XC90: More Volvo Passengers, Same Volvo Price
Last month, Volkswagen global brand head Herbert Diess said that Chattanooga would be the likely location for the company’s new electric vehicle plant. But he was also careful to specify that VW had made “no formal decision” on the matter.While it’s always best to wait for the press release to say anything definitive, the automaker has begun posting openings for specialized positions that would relate to its upcoming MEB platform in Tennessee. Perviously, the automaker had only said it intended to build MEB vehicles at its plant in Zwickau, Germany, beginning with the I.D. hatchback model in 2019. It also mentioned it was planning a facility in China while the American site was still under consideration. Although, with electric vehicles still stuck in a niche market, it might not make sense for VW to establish a new worksite for them. That’s one reason Chattanooga is the likely candidate. Instead of setting up a new facility, … [Read more...] about Tennessee is Likely Locale for Volkswagen’s New EV Factory
We know the odds of your owning a $3 million Bugatti Chiron are pretty slim, so recall information from the brand doesn’t pertain directly to you. However, it’s sometimes interesting to examine how the other half lives. Have you ever wondered what several million dollars will get you when you spend it on a car that may have left the factory less than perfect?According to the manufacturer, you are graced by the presence of one of Bugatti’s “Flying Doctors.” These mobile mechanics will begin contacting 47 Chiron owners to schedule dates where they can visit and examine the vehicles for faulty welds in the front seat recliner brackets. The bad welds are only expected to affect one-percent of the total, which works out to a perplexing half a car by our math. But, when you pay a few million for a car, you expect dapper concierge technicians at the ready.While we don’t know what these Flying Doctors look like, it’s probably pretty safe to … [Read more...] about Bugatti Recalls Involve Something Called a ‘Flying Doctor’
While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has steadily upgraded its standards over the last two years, the effort hasn’t been without casualties. In a new effort to improve headlight safety and impact protection, the organization has changed its testing criteria for 2018 to include both illumination and passenger-side frontal impacts.Unfortunately, including these aspects in its final verdict of how safe a vehicle is has removed numerous models from consideration for 2018’s Top Safety Pick+ awards. Last year, 38 vehicles qualified for the safety plus appointment. This year, however, the grand total only came to 15 models — most wearing badges from Hyundai Motor Group and Subaru.The IIHS makes no apologies for keeping so many cars from receiving top honors. Instead, it claims it was time to heap higher expectations on automakers for items like visibility and passenger safety.“Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, … [Read more...] about The IIHS’ Updated Criteria Absolutely Devastated Its Top Safety Pick List
Sajeev writes:That’s right people: I need more user-submitted queries to keep this series alive!The same rules apply, just about anything besides the “Help Me with my First World Problem Car Purchasing Dilemma” is on the table. If you’ve seen it on an automotive message board, let’s tackle the issue here. I need your [email protected] more begging, let’s get back to Craig the Audiophile looking to cancel his noise-cancelling Grand Cherokee: Craig concludes: … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: An Update (and a Request!)
As it turns out, the general consensus in the United States is that most people think they’re a fine driver. But things get a little more complicated when you drive into people’s habits behind the wheel. In a recent survey, Driving-tests.org found that 60.8 percent of surveyed Americans thought they were an above-average driver. While that percentage can only be an impossibility, some of the claimed behaviors were slightly better than a comparative sample of international respondents. By comparison, the group’s international survey only yielded a 50.6-percent portion of drivers who considered themselves “above average.” But the majority thought they could still outperform the typical American motorist.However, getting into the nitty-gritty, U.S. respondents were more likely to engage in safe driving practices when compared to the rest of the world. They were significantly more willing to signal while changing lanes or preparing for a turn and slightly … [Read more...] about Does the United States Have the World’s Best Drivers? Sure, Just Ask Us
Have you ever watched those police chase compilation videos and noticed that the crème de la crème always seem to take place within the United States? That’s not a coincidence. American roadways are custom built for high-speed shenanigans and culture has fetishized the concept of “the getaway.” Toss in local law enforcement agencies with vehicles fast and bulky enough to mix it up with speeding perps and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a old fashioned police chase.That isn’t to say other countries don’t have pursuits, because they do. However, the volume isn’t always turned up to eleven and, more importantly, they typically aren’t televised. The opposite is true in the U.S. — especially in America’s car chase capital of Los Angeles, where crews are always at the ready to set out in the news chopper to get coverage.It may be an unhealthy obsession. After all, we know the odds of the criminal getting away are … [Read more...] about How Dangerous Is America’s Obsession With High Speed Car Chases?
Subaru says it will invest $140 million into its production facility in Lafayette, Indiana, to ensure assembly of the 2019 Ascent goes off without a hitch. The cash will go toward helping the automaker meet the growing demand for SUVs in North America and provide 200 additional jobs for the region.Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) currently produces the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback. But it’s scheduled to add the Ascent early next year. The investment covers a factory expansion, new equipment, and tooling to support higher production volume. According to Inside Indiana Business, the state’s economic development group has confirmed it will provide up to $500,000 in training grants due to SIA’s job creation efforts. The city of Lafayette is also supporting the expansion, with Mayor Tony Roswarski stating that the facility has shown itself to be an employer that “offers jobs that can translate to lifetime … [Read more...] about Subaru Announces $140 Million Investment to Ensure Ascent Production
Sure, it might not be the Lotus of yesterday but the company’s new Chinese overwatch has said it still has big plans for the brand. Based on its handling of London Taxi and Volvo, we haven’t been overly concerned. But we have been hoping the parent company would elaborate on what that might entail. According to a recent interview Autocar had with Geely President An Cong Hui, Lotus may undergo a return to form (of sorts) in the years to come. “We are making plans; we want to bring back the heritage of Lotus to be one of the top performers in the luxury sports car segment,” he explained. “Lotus used to be ranked alongside Ferrari and Porsche, so we need to come back in that rank again.”However, things have changed quite a bit over the last decade. Porsche’s best-selling model is a sport utility vehicle and Ferrari is planning on building one of its own — so Lotus will probably need to do the same. Likely based upon the Compact … [Read more...] about What’s Lotus Going to Look Like Under Geely’s Ownership?