SiriusXM Unveils $8 Essential Plan for Consumers Without Cars

SiriusXM wants to cater consumers without cars, or cars without compatible stereos, with a new $ 8 plan for mobile and in-home listening. Dubbed SiriusXM Essential, the plan offers access to 200+ channels featuring the network’s entire music programming, as well comedy, news and select sports channels. Consumers will be able to test the new plan […]

Variety

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4.15.19 Cars that stop you from speeding; Anonymously shop around for mortgage rates

The EU is working towards all new cars being able to obey speed limits regardless of the driver by 2022; A new website allows you to shop for mortgage rates without being inundated with phone calls from sales people. 

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Lubbock Police Use Tear Gas as Texas Tech Fans Flip Cars, Burn Property After Final Four Win

Texas Tech students celebrated their team’s Final Four victory over Michigan State early on Sunday morning by flipping cars and burning property in Lubbock, Texas, according to reports. After multiple acts of vandalism, local police eventually used tear gas to break up the crowd. 

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People still fear self-driving cars a year after Uber fatal crash

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Elaine Herzberg was walking her bicycle across a Tempe, Arizona street when a Volvo XC90 hit her, almost a year ago on March 18, 2018. She died at the hospital. 

The car that hit her was an Uber, but this one was self-driving. The driver and sole occupant in the car was a “safety operator” sitting behind the wheel, not controlling the vehicle.  

The fatal crash had immediate ramifications for Uber’s self-driving car program and the industry. Only recently did Uber restart its testing (and only in Pittsburgh). Now 12 months later, we’re seeing that the public perception of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is still heavily affected by that deadly crash.  Read more…

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Cybersecurity firms say high-tech upgrades, self-driving tech make new cars easy targets for hackers

As auto makers roll out ever more sophisticated features to make your daily commute easier, the upgrades are also making your new car more vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to a new report.
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VW, Ford team up on trucks, eye deals on EVs, self-driving cars

Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday they will join forces on commercial vans and pickups and are exploring joint development of electric and self-driving technology, actions meant to save the automakers billions of dollars.


Reuters: Business News

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Detroit Auto Show Focuses On SUV’s, Electric Cars

DETROIT (AP) — SUVs and a big pickup truck will get top billing at Detroit’s auto show this year, but there are some surprise sports cars and electric vehicles on the agenda.

Press days for the show begin Monday, although there are a couple of unveils set for before the show starts

The most popular vehicle of the bunch is the Ford Explorer, revealed ahead of the show Wednesday night at Ford Field, the home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.

Cadillac will show off its XT6, a smaller-than-a-truck, three-row family hauler at an event Sunday night. Toyota brings back the high-performance Supra on Monday. The sports car developed a cult following when it was on the market from 1978 to 2002. Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand plan to show two concept electric vehicles on Monday as well.

This year’s North American International Auto Show will take place in January for the final time. In 2020, it switches to June to escape the cold weather and show off more products outside, including autonomous vehicles.

Here are the big unveils coming up for the show, which opens to the public from Jan. 19 through 27:

CADILLAC XT6

The marketing folks at General Motors’ Cadillac brand are hoping the new XT6 big SUV will carve out a niche in the crowded market for utilities with three rows of seats but aren’t so huge they’re considered trucks. The six- to seven-passenger XT6 has a chiseled Caddy look and unique premium luxury materials to set it apart, but it’s going against well-appointed luxury versions of the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, as well as entries from BMW, Audi and other automakers. It’s also got the same engine as the other brands, a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 310 horsepower, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The XT6 has a suite of standard safety features including automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. It goes on sale in the summer as a 2020 model in the U.S. Price and gas mileage weren’t announced.

FORD EXPLORER

Ford’s aging Explorer big SUV is getting a major revamp as it faces growing competition in the market for family haulers with three rows of seats. The company unveiled the new version last week at Ford Field, and will display it again at the auto show. The Explorer, last reworked for the 2011 model year, gets a top-to-bottom update that includes a switch from front- to rear-wheel-drive, as well as updated engines and transmissions, some nice standard safety features and even high-performance and gas-electric hybrid versions. The SUV’s appearance doesn’t change much, but the roof line does slope more from front to back. Ford also added more interior space and second-row seats that tip and slide forward with the touch of a button. The base engine is an updated turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 300 horsepower. There’s also a 365 horsepower 3-liter turbocharged V6. The base price will rise $ 400 from the current $ 32,365 excluding shipping. Fuel economy wasn’t announced. The Chicago-built Explorer goes on sale in the summer.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

Rather than exiting the sinking U.S. midsize sedan business like two of its Detroit competitors, Volkswagen is staying in by updating the Passat for 2020. But it’s not spending huge dollars developing a new chassis or replacing engines and transmissions. VW did give the car new sheet metal (except for the roof) to make it look sportier and tweaked the existing 174-horsepower 2-Liter turbocharged engine. It also revamped the electrical system to handle more advanced driver assist features such as now-standard automatic emergency braking and blind spot detection. Passat U.S. sales were down 32 percent last year but could get a boost because Fiat Chrysler got out of the midsize car market and Ford will exit soon. The new Passat arrives in dealerships in mid- to late-summer. Price wasn’t announced, but VW is trying to keep it close to the current base of $ 25,295 excluding shipping.

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Tesla To Stop Selling Cheapest Versions Of Model S, Model X Cars

Luxury electric car maker Tesla Inc. will stop selling the cheapest versions of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV from next week. “Starting on Monday, Tesla will no longer be taking orders for the 75 kWh version of the Model S & X. If you’d like that version, please order by Sunday night .,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter late Wednesday.
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Guangzhou Auto Group Chairman Sees Fewer Cars, More Services in the Future

Automobiles are becoming vehicles in a different sense. The cars of the future, besides ferrying people from A to B, will also act as conduits for value added services, opening up new opportunities for the mobility sector.

Speaking at the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou, Bill Peng, a partner at PwC’s consulting subsidiary Strategy&, highlighted three ways advances in technology will impact the auto industry. Firstly, products will be more creative. Secondly, car ownership will decline. And lastly, the auto industry supply chain will be transformed as automakers vie to provide more longterm customer services.

Peng’s second point is a particular threat to carmakers in China. In August a report from Strategy& revealed that 79% of Chinese car owners would give up their vehicles if on-demand, autonomous vehicles, also known as “robotaxis”, became available. For comparison, in Europe that percentage is 47% and for the U.S. Peng thinks the proportion is only around 30%.

Zeng Qinghong, the chairman of Guangzhou Auto Group (GAC) says his company is already responding to that challenge. Last year GAC expanded its business focus to include the realm of mobility as a service, or MaaS – a market which Peng predicts will be worth $ 200 billion globally by 2020. At last year’s Guangzhou auto show, GAC unveiled its iSPACE concept car, offering a glimpse of what pivoting towards MaaS might look like for the automaker.

The iSPACE was developed in partnership with Tencent, the Chinese tech giant most famous for its instant messaging service, WeChat. The autonomous electric vehicle runs on Tencent’s “AI in Car” operating system, which enables it to recognize users as they enter the vehicle, and customize the driving experience to suit their tastes – selecting music, tv shows, and even preferred routes.

Tencent, which announced major restructuring in October to focus on business services, might seem like an odd partner for an auto company but Zhong Xiangping, Tencent’s head of Intelligent Mobility Services, says the pairing plays well with what the company calls the “attention economy”.

In short, the attention economy means the longer Tencent can retain a consumer’s attention, the more money it stands to make. In the future, passengers of autonomous vehicles will provide a potentially lucrative and certainly captive audience.

Zeng summarizes, “The space within a car is limited, however within this limited space you can have unlimited life.” Or in other words when it comes to monetizing MaaS, it’s the journey not the destination.

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Volunteers look for remains in burned homes, cars

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From Ford to Volkswagen, rivals become frenemies to share the cost of building self-driving cars

The sheer cost and technological burden of developing self-driving cars, electric vehicles and other advancements has companies that have historically been fierce competitors becoming, at the very least, frenemies. 
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Tesla will screen ‘Cars 3’ at Gigafactory as thank you to employees

Tesla will host a "family night" to thank Gigafactory employees this weekend, with an outdoor screening of "Cars 3," plus bouncy houses, food trucks and concessions.
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