Author Archives: Carlos De Sordi

Nissan Denies Alliance Exit Rumors

Nissan has issued a statement denying it is planning to exit its alliance with fellow automakers Renault and Mitsubishi. 

According to a statement released by the Japanese automaker, there has been no consideration of ending the alliance it has been a member of since 1999.  The trio established an Alliance Operating Board (AOB) early in 2019, which the group said will help them continue to improve.  The AOB has met each month since then and is currently the only body overseeing the operations of the group.

Read More: Carlos Ghosn Officially Steps Down from Renault Roles

The alliance has been in turmoil since the ouster of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been accused of financial misconduct.  He was awaiting trial in Japan when he fled to Lebanon early in January.  He has since given a press conference where he maintained innocence and accused “a handful of individuals” at Nissan of plotting against him.

Bucket Loader Digging

AngloGold Mine Overrun by Protesters

A mine owned by South Africa-based AngloGold Ashanti was shuttered after it was overrun by protesters on Friday, Nov. 15.Off Highway

According to reports, the Siguiri gold mine in Guinea was overrun by protesters who took over various mine facilities and built barricades to disrupt production.  The protesters demanded that a road linking the towns of Siguiri and Kintinian be paved as promised by AngloGold.  The gold giant maintains that the project has already been completed with help from the Guinean government.  Company representatives are in talks with locals to resolve the situation.

Read More: Senate Hearings on Autonomous Vehicles Set for Nov. 20

The Siguiri mine is a year removed from a one-day shutdown caused by a worker strike.  Locals have also been at odds with AngloGold over access to inactive pits.

Senate Hearings on Autonomous Vehicles Set for Nov. 20

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold hearings with top safety officials regarding the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The hearing comes as government officials continue to struggle with potential rules and regulations for self-driving vehicles. According to reports, it will include high ranking officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).   Congress has been discussing potential revisions to regulations that would allow for faster introduction of autonomous fleets for years.  A discussion draft of a related bill was circulated last month.

Related: Autonomous Vehicles Are Coming, but Won’t be Taking Over Anytime Soon

The hearings will come a day after the NTSB meets to determine the cause of a 2018 self-driving vehicle accident that killed a pedestrian in Arizona.  According to reports, the vehicle involved had significant system flaws and was not able to detect jaywalking pedestrians.

GM To Introduce New Features for Fleet Managers

General Motors’ new innovation team has introduced a new OnStar product designed for fleet managers.Computer

According to reports, the automaker will phase out its Commercial Link product in favor of OnStar Vehicle Insights.  The new service will target owners and managers of small to medium size fleets.  It can provide fleet managers with real time vehicle data, including location, trip history and driver behavior.  It will also provide maintenance information on equipped vehicles.

Read More:  General Motors Strike Over after 40 Days

Representatives say the current iteration of OnStar Vehicle Insights will be compatible with GM vehicles only, with expansion to other brands a future possibility.  The program is said to work with most newer GM vehicles.

General Motors Strike Over after 40 Days

The General Motors Strike, which lasted 40 days and cost the Detroit automaker more than $2 billion, has officially ended.Car

GM came to a deal with the United Auto Workers, who voted to approve the deal on Friday, Oct. 25.  More than 48,000 employees returned to work after the longest general motors strike 1970.  According to reports, the deal includes a 3 percent base wage increase after two and four years, a $7.7 billion investment in U.S. factories and a path to permanent employment for part time employees.

Read More: Volkswagen Settles Another Emissions Scandal Suit

The deal will also save the Detroit-Hamtramck plant from its slated closure.  It will not keep plants in Baltimore, Warren, Mich. Or Lordstown, Ohio, open.

Nissan Could Eliminate Datsun Brand Again

In an effort to combat declining profits, Nissan executives have proposed drastic measures including reducing plant capacity and eliminating its Datsun brand.

According to reports, the Japanese automaker is on pace to see its lowest profit in 11 years. The company is still reeling from a scandal that saw its CEO ousted over financial misconduct claims and it’s alliance with Renault damaged. Nissan has strongly considered axing its Datsun brand, which the previous regime had revived for sale in emerging markets. Datsun was originally phased out in the 1980’s.

Read More: Commercial Drivers Safer than Public Perception Indicates

Other planned cuts include the removal of unpopular vehicle variants, like the single cab and diesel versions of the Titan. While there are no plans for complete factory closures, Nissan is looking at substantial reductions in capacity at some of their plants.

Bill Would Make Anti-Drunk Driving Tech Required

Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rick Scott (R-FL) have introduced bi-partisan legislation that would require automakers to install features that would prevent drunk driving.

According to reports, the bill would force automakers to install technology preventing drunk drivers from starting their vehicles. A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Debbie Dingell (D-MI). The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has invested more than $50 million into this technology over the last 10 years.

Related: Volvo Introduces Cameras to Curb Drinking and Driving

According to reports, some solutions in consideration include a device to monitor drivers’ breath and sensors on steering wheels. Some automakers, like Volvo, have already committed to including anti drunk driving technology in their vehicles.

Commercial Drivers Safer than Public Perception Indicates

New data from Verizon Connect shows commercial drivers are far safer than the public perceives them to be.

According to reports, 83 percent of Americans believe they are safer behind the wheel than commercial drivers.  However, drivers of light to heavy duty commercial vehicles are involved in just 3 percent of sever crashes.  A majority of respondents also said they had witnessed commercial vehicles being driven dangerously (81 percent) or witnessed an accident involving a commercial vehicle (54 percent).

Most respondents also said they believe commercial drivers should be monitored by video cameras or other similar technology.  About 42 percent believe dashboard cameras are the best option.

Coca-Cola Creates Test Bottles from Recycled Plastic

Coca-Cola announced the successful creation of 300 test bottles made from a portion of recycled marine plastic.

The soft drink company created a bottle made from 25 percent recycled plastic as part of its Joint Sustainability Action Plan, which was initially put into action in 2017.  Reports indicate the bottles are the first of their kind.  Coca-Cola considers these bottles a step towards their end goal of 100 percent recyclable bottles by 2025.

Case Study: Optimizing a Lubricant Program for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola uses about 200 thousand tons of virgin plastic each year.  As many as 300 million tons of plastic is consumed globally each year.

Ford, Mahindra Announce Joint Venture

Ford and Mahindra announced a new, $275 million joint venture as the American automaker seeks to rejuvenate its business in India.

According to reports, Mahindra will own a 51 percent controlling stake in the partnership with Ford holding the remaining 49 percent. The two companies will create three Ford-branded vehicles, including a midsize SUV. Both companies also said they would consider collaborating on an electric vehicle through the joint venture.

Read More: New Jersey Auto Dealers Sue Tesla

While the automakers will develop vehicles together, none of them will be joint branded. The joint venture marks the second major partnership Ford has entered into this year after announcing an alliance with Volkswagen in July.