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Ferrari to Cut CO2 20% by 2021

Ferrari’s Powertrain Director, Vittorio Dini has said that in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2021 while also improving performance of its supercars, Ferrari will use turbochargers on V-8 engines and hybrid systems on V-12s.

“Our average CO2 emissions are currently about 270 grams of CO2 per kilometer. We want to use all the available technologies to reduce emissions by 3 percent each year, which means approximately a 20 percent decrease by 2021,” Dini told Automotive News Europe.

Ferrari’s average CO2 emissions have fallen by almost 40 percent since 2007, at which time they were 435g/km, Dini said.

Although it is part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ferrari is treated as a stand-alone company when it comes to meeting tougher global CO2 emissions targets. This is because of Ferrari’s small size and the fact that the Italian brand has a different headquarters than parent Fiat and has its own technical centers.

One benefit of its low-volume production — roughly 7,000 units a year — is that Dini said Ferrari has been able to negotiate its own targets with both European Union regulators and officials at the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. “What is important is that Ferrari achieves the same percentage reduction trend as volume automakers,” Dini said.

Read the full article here.

Ford and Lincoln Vehicles Affected by Fuel Ratings Error Revealed

Ford has released revised fuel consumption numbers for the C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi, Fiesta, Fusion Energi, Fusion Hybrid, and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The errors in the original specs were discovered during internal testing.

Ford has estimated that close to 13,000 vehicles from the 2013-14 year have been sold in Canada (200,000 in the U.S.) under these erroneous fuel consumption numbers. Ford intends to rectify the problem with customers by compensating leased and purchase customers with a monetary gesture between the ranges of $125-$1,800.

The issue would be found in its “Total Road Load Horsepower” (TRLHP), a resistance level used in vehicle dynamometer testing. The TRLHP testing for some of their model didn’t match the values applied for the dynamometer testing.

After assessing the problem and going through the tests again, Ford notified the EPA on their newly-known data and provided them with the new fuel economy numbers for five of their vehicles, including one Lincoln. All of the other vehicles had no change in fuel economy. Further, Ford has now implemented an enhanced validation test to prevent this error from reoccurring in other future vehicles. Ford has had a rough couple of months with the recall of last month and now the error in fuel economy.

Read the full article here.

Are Gas Guzzling SUVs and Pickups Really Becoming More Fuel Efficient?

According to the Consumer Federation of America, the percentage of vehicles overall getting at least 23 mpg hit a record 50.5 percent for the 2014 model-year. With gas prices rising, this is especially good news for drivers of gas guzzling SUVs and pickups.

Over half of the vehicles sold this year deliver over 23 mpg, with one in nine topping 30 mpg, the study showed.

Even some traditional gas guzzlers are now yielding mileage once considered a stretch for small cars, industry and government data reveals, though automakers still face a stretch achieving the 54.5 mpg target facing them in 2025, observers warn.

“This has been remarkable,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America, which has been tracking fuel economy trends for over a decade. After years of relatively stagnant mileage, the increased federal fuel economy rules passed in 2005 have been paying off, he said, calling it a “great example” of how industry can respond to mandates backed by public support.

Read the full article here.

Assembly of the 2015 Ford Transit Boosts Employment for Ford

Ford’s President, Joe Hinrichs states that there is a high probability they will exceed their goal to hire 12,000 people by the end of 2015, this is due to the 2015 Ford Transit.

Hinrichs is at Ford’s retooled Kansas City plant, at Claycomo, Mo., today where almost 5,000 employees have started assembly of the 2015 Ford Transit that is being built and sold in the U.S. for the first time. The workforce includes an additional 2,000 employees, most of them new hires, to add a third crew to the plant.

Ford has invested $1.1 billion to add production of the full-size commercial van now and to prepare for production of the 2015 F-150 full-size pickup next year.

In 2014 alone, Ford will hire nearly 5,000 hourly and salaried employees in the U.S. to support overall growth. It’s possible even more jobs will be created, depending on demand for the product.

Read the full article here.

Toyota Prius Costs as Much as an Entry-Level Audi in China

Toyota’s Prius hybrid is the best-selling gas-electric vehicle worldwide but in China, it’s almost as rare as the endangered giant panda.

Almost a decade since Toyota began making the Prius in the country, the automaker has made little headway in persuading consumers in the world’s largest vehicle market to buy hybrids.

The main reason is price: the Prius costs as much as an entry-level Audi because of taxes on imported components and the lack of government subsidies.

That’s contributed to Toyota’s also-ran status in China, where it ranks sixth in a market led by Volkswagen AG and General Motors despite being the world’s No. 1 automaker by sales.

Read the full story here.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta to be Unveiled at New York’s Auto Show

Volkswagen will reveal it’s 2015 Jetta model to the world at the New York auto show. The changes for the new model year — while not exactly breathtaking — should help VW’s volume-seller keep up with the competition. That includes the likes of the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze and 2015 Ford Focus, which are also showing off refreshes in the Big Apple.

To start, VW says the mildly redesigned front fascia reduces drag (and gives a “wider and more substantial look” to boot!) with a new bumper and air intakes. Certain models, like the GLI and Hybrid, get front and rear spoilers. And tucked behind the grille is a radiator shutter that can close to improve aerodynamics.

Read the full article here.

New Jersey Bans Tesla from Selling without Dealerships

New Jersey has announced Telsa will not be able to distribute its cars with out dealers.

Tesla Motors, which has been fighting state-by-state to be able to sell its electric cars directly to the public, just lost big in New Jersey.

The state today decided to approve a new regulation that require all new car dealers to obtain a franchise agreement in order to receive a state license, the Associated Press is reporting. In essence, it’s saying that you can’t buy a new car without a middleman in the state. Tesla had two dealer license issued to it.

Tesla has been fighting to sell its cars using its direct-sales model in the other states as well, such as Texas, where it lost. In New Jersey, the California-based company says it thought it had an agreement with Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

Read the full article here.

Auto Industry Seeing a Growing Number of Female Leaders

General Motors has been noticing a trend; it has more female employees in leadership and management roles.

Shenetra Moses knew at a fairly early age that she wanted to be an engineer. At 12, Moses laid down her future career plans.

“She said, ‘Mom, I think I want to be an engineer,’ ” Sandra Potts, her mother, recalled. “I said: ‘Do you even know what that is?’ ”

If Moses, an only child, had had any doubt about her career path, it ended before she finished elementary school. Now 33, the southside Chicago native grew up with an affinity for taking things apart, a kid who favored math and science classes and a woman who stumbled into auto manufacturing while on a college internship at a General Motors Co. stamping plant in Delta Township, Mich. She’d thought she wanted to work on cellphone towers.

Moses is now the general assembly launch manager at GM’s Lansing Grand River plant, where she helped lead the rollout of the redesigned Cadillac CTS sedan last year.

Moses is being recognized locally as an up-and-coming leader in what is still a male-dominated industry that only recently named its first female CEO at a major automaker.

Read the full article here.

Subaru Sabotage: Photos of New Legacy Leaked

The 2015 Subaru Legacy was scheduled to debut at the Chicago Auto Show, but press photos leaked early at a certain Aussie site. Down Under it’s called the Subaru Liberty.

The new car takes some cues from the Legacy concept we saw at the LA Auto Show, though many of the curved lines seem to have been pulled straight. That concept pulled from the even wilder Viziv design study introduced at the Geneva motor show.

Legacy sales are actually down 14 percent this January over last, though Subaru sales are up as a whole. We’re not sure if the polar vortex had anything to do with it, but we definitely won’t rule it out.

The instrument panel behind the wheel looks similar to the outgoing model, while the center console and gear selector area has been upgraded. The cup holders now sit right of the shifter, and three knobs for controlling the climate are directly in front. An updated touchscreen with new controls is also featured prominently.

Read the full story here.

The beautiful, compact BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon a huge hit

A German station wagon just has a certain rightness to it, even when it’s equipped with an automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine like our 2014BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon tester.

As an auto journalist, I’m not allowed to dislike BMW wagons, though I probably wouldn’t even if it were permitted in our unwritten code. It’s a great car. BMW’s turbo four will never sound like the near-perfect straight six in the 335i, but I’ve learned to deal with it. Aural issues aside, it’s a good engine with solid low-end torque and a fun midrange made more usable by the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. In normal mode it’s good; in sport mode it’s exceptional. I’m sure Sport+ would be even more entertaining, but thanks to a spate of winter weather during my drive I left traction control enabled lest I inadvertently test the car’s crashworthiness. Ride and handling is sublime.

Much as I’m growing accustomed to the four-banger powertrain, I’m beginning to appreciate the feel of the 3-series F30 chassis. Again Sport mode is the key to any kind of serious maneuvering, primarily thanks to the tightened steering feel, though for commuting, Normal mode ties things together well without overreacting to inputs in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Read the full story here.