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December 29, 2017 News of the Day: Volkswagen Close to Building 6 Million Vehicles This Year, American Traffic Solutions Releases Scary Crash Footage of Vehicles Running Red Lights

December 29, 2017 News of the Day: Volkswagen Close to Building 6 Million Vehicles This Year, American Traffic Solutions Releases Scary Crash Footage of Vehicles Running Red Lights

Author: Eric Walz   

Volkswagen Close to Building 6 Million Vehicles This Year

Volkswagen continues to put last year's diesel scandal behind it as the company ramps up production to meet the demand for its vehicles. The company is rebounding and says its on track to build six million vehicles by the end of the year.

In the last year, VW has launched several new models, including the Atlas, Arteon, and T-Roc. However, according to the company, its strong sales have been driven by established models, including the Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Polo, as well as one of its Chinese-market sedans, the Santana.

"More than six million vehicles produced in 12 months – there is one thing that this shows above all: our plants and employees are continually improving their production competence. We have top teams in production which successfully master growing demand from customers," Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen's head of production and logistics, said in a statement.

Through November of this year, Volkswagen's best-seller in the U.S. has been the Jetta, which has sold 108,575 units. For comparison, VW sold 64,449 Golfs and 57,707 Passats in the same span. Interestingly, one dealer  in the U.S. still managed to sell a single Eos cabriolet coupe despite it being out of production since July of 2015.

In the last 72 years, VW has produced more than 150 million vehicles. Currently, it has at least 60 models in its lineup that it produces in 50 factories across 14 countries.

American Traffic Solutions Releases Scary Crash Footage of Vehicles Running Red Lights

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MESA, Ariz., — Autonomous cars are expected to greatly reduce or eliminate accidents caused by human error. To demonstrate how autonomous vehicles might contribute towards safety, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has released video footage showing many accidents and injuries that could have been be prevented, if drivers were paying closer attention while approaching busy intersections.

The video includes footage from red-light safety camera programs in Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina.

"Crashes caused by red-light running can be devastating.  We hope that by sharing these videos, we can raise awareness of the dangers and hopefully prevent further crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by red-light running," said Liz Caracciolo, ATS Safety General Manager. "All of these crashes and near misses could have been avoided if drivers had slowed down and stopped. Every time a driver runs a red light, they not only put their own life, but the lives of others in jeopardy."

Red-light safety cameras have a measurable impact on traffic safety. Independent media reports show similar results across the country this year, including in Nassau County, NY, where the total number of crashes at Nassau red-light camera intersections declined by 31 percent compared with the 12-month period before the cameras were installed, while accidents involving injuries fell by nearly 43 percent. Balcones Heights, Texas has reported a 70 percent reduction in crashes where red-light cameras are installed.

Overall, cities with active red-light camera programs experienced 21% fewer fatal red-light running crashes and 14% fewer fatal crashes of all types at signalized intersections, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The video can be seen below:


Tesla Still Dealing With Production Problems With the Model 3

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FREMONT, Calif., — Tesla is still struggling to meet its production goals for the Model 3 sedan. According to a new report, the company will produce only 5,000 Model 3 vehicles in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, another new report suggested that 2018 will test the company's leading position in the electric car market as it looks to ramp up production of the Model 3. Tesla's ability to deliver the car to the thousands of customers who pre ordered one may play a strong role in whether investors keep putting money into the firm.

The Model 3, which at a starting price of $35,000 has been plagued by delays. CEO Elon Musk in November confessed to analysts that the car's production was some three months behind schedule.

Boutique investment bank KeyBanc Capital Markets is predicting fourth-quarter Model 3 production will amount to only one-third of the bank's earlier prediction of 15,000 vehicles produced in the period, Reuters reported Wednesday.

"The numbers indicate that the electric carmaker may still not be out of its self-described ‘manufacturing hell' for the production of the … sedan," according to Reuters.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the accuracy of KeyBanc's prediction, or provide actual production numbers.

Tesla, whose vehicle models have all seen production delays, has in recent months put even more pressure on itself with new products. In addition to the Model 3, Tesla is planning a new electric semi truck in 2019, a new Roadster in 2020, production of the "Model Y" compact SUV as early as mid-2019, as well as unveiling a pickup truck by the end of 2018.

In spite of the production delays, Tesla remains confident it can deliver on its promises.

"In Q3, we delivered the 250,000th Tesla," Tesla said in its November earnings report. "This is a significant milestone as the Tesla fleet is now about 100 times larger than it was five years ago, just before the launch of Model S."

"The next 12 months are just hugely critical for the company," Karl Brauer, executive publisher and analyst for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said back in July. "The Model 3 and several other new electric vehicles could capture the imagination and buzz of U.S. drivers and push EVs into the mainstream, he said. "That's really what EVs need."

Geely to Acquire 8.2% Stake in Truck Maker AB Volvo

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Zhejiang Geely Holding (ZGH) Group has announced it plans to secure an 8.2% stake in AB Volvo from Cevian Capital, which is reportedly priced at around US$3.3 billion (about RM 13.4 billion). The deal would make ZGH the largest shareholder at the Swedish truck maker and the second biggest by voting rights (15.6%).

"We are delighted to have reached agreement with Cevian to acquire its holding in AB Volvo, making us the largest holder of share capital in a company that leads the world in many aspects of commercial vehicle development, manufacturing and sales."

"Given our experience with Volvo Car Group, we recognise and value the proud Scandinavian history and culture, leading market positions, breakthrough technologies and environmental capabilities of AB Volvo. We will support the Board of Directors and the management of AB Volvo in their continued execution of the current strategy." said ZGH chairman Li Shufu said in a statement.

The Chinese company also owns Volvo Cars, which was split from AB Volvo in 1999, although it has no plans to merge both companies. AB Volvo also owns 45% of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, one of the largest truck makers in China.

"Geely Holding is a well-recognised strategic long-term investor, and as such we aim to contribute positively to the long-term development of AB Volvo. Geely Holding will be able to contribute its global knowledge, Chinese market expertise and leading research and development capabilities especially in the fields of electrification, autonomous driving and connectivity, to AB Volvo to further its global development, and strengthen the Volvo brand," added Daniel Donghui Li, chief financial officer and executive vice president of ZGH.

The post Geely to acquire 8.2% stake in truckmaker AB Volvo appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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