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Top Headlines - part 6

U.S. May Auto Sales Grew at Strongest Rate in a Decade

U.S. May Auto Sales Grew at Strongest Rate in a Decade

BUSINESS

  • GM and Fiat U.S. did well
  • Ford saw a slight decline
  • Foreign automakers saw flat sales

Auto sales in the United States grew at the fastest pace in nearly a decade last month with most customers purchasing SUVS and light trucks.

Other reasons for the influx of sales include warm weather, easier access to credit, an improved economy and Memorial Day sales.

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Average Auto Loan Length Rising in U.S.

Average Auto Loan Length Rising in U.S.

BUSINESS

  • More than half of loans now longer than five years
  • More drivers opting to lease
  • Senator seeking support for auto-loan legislation

The average length of auto loans has increased in the U.S., to more than five years, according to credit reporting agency Experian’s report “State of the Automobile Finance Market”.

During the first quarter, the average length of a loan was 67 months for a new car and 62 months for used vehicles.

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GM to Offer CarPlay and Android Auto in 14 Chevy Models

GM to Offer CarPlay and Android Auto in 14 Chevy Models

BUSINESS

General Motors is offering Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto on 14 Chevy 2016 models. The models represent half of Chevy’s sales, 2.4 million vehicles in 2014.

Both systems work by allowing drivers to access music, emails, maps and other apps on their smartphone’s via a vehicle’s center screen. Menus are simplified and buttons are large. They will connect to GM’s MyLink infotainment system.

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Ford Recalling 423,000 Vehicles Because of Power-Steering Issue

Ford Recalling 423,000 Vehicles Because of Power-Steering Issue

BUSINESS

  • Issue has caused four injuries
  • Ford also recalling 19,500 Mustangs
  • Production in China has slowed

Ford Motor Co. has recalled 423,000 vehicles in North America because of a problem with the power steering.

A glitch in the electrical systems causes the power steering to stop and the vehicle is then transferred to manual mode. When a vehicle is in manual mode, it is difficult to steer, which can lead to a crash.

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General Motors Lowering Price of Chevy Volt

General Motors Lowering Price of Chevy Volt

BUSINESS

General Motors Co. is lowering the price of the Chevy Volt by $1,175 in the U.S. for the 2016 model, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Production of the 2015 model will cease this month, allowing factories to retool before production of the 2016 model begins.

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Audi Sees China as Growth Market for Connected Cars

Audi Sees China as Growth Market for Connected Cars

BUSINESS

  • Automaker partners with two technology companies
  • Chinese market for connected cars to grow
  • Audi facing competition in its largest market by other luxury manufacturers

German luxury automaker Audi AG sees the Chinese new-car market, the company’s largest market, as a growth area for connected cars.

Connected cars use software and technology to allow users to link to smartphones and other devices.

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Study: 70% of Drivers Use Smartphones While Driving

Study:  70% of Drivers Use Smartphones While Driving

BUSINESS

  • Many people think they can use their phones safely
  • Distracted driving causes 10% of fatal crashes
  • AT&T to expand “It Can Wait” campaign

Research conducted by AT&T shows 70% of smartphone owners use their device while driving and 62% keep their phone within arm’s reach.

The majority of users were texting or reading emails while the rest were on the Internet, posting on social media, taking selfies, shooting videos or in a video chat. Twenty-seven percent believed they could engage in these activities safely.

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Takata Recalls Airbags in U.S., Admits Airbags Have Glitch

Takata Recalls Airbags in U.S., Admits Airbags Have Glitch

BUSINESS

  • Takata bends to safety regulators pressure and recalls 34 million vehicles
  • Company has been fined $1.2 million to date
  • Takata may find it difficult to raise more funds in the future

Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata Corp. has given into pressure and recalled airbags used in 34 million vehicles sold in the U.S. and admitted there is a glitch in the airbags’ propulsion systems.

There have been six deaths and 100 injuries, 10 serious, related to the glitch which causes airbags to deploy too forcefully, sending shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Takata said moisture seeping into inflators, which were improperly sealed, was to blame.

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Continental Buys Elektrobit’s Automotive Division for $677 Million

Continental Buys Elektrobit’s Automotive Division for $677 Million

BUSINESS

  • Deal expected to close in third quarter
  • Elektrobit cancels plans to demerge electronics unit
  • New auto technology increasing activity in the market

German auto-part supplier Continental AG, Europe’s second-largest tires and car-parts manufacturer, has agreed to purchase German-based Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, a division of Finland’s Elektrobit Corp., for $677.5 million in cash as part of a strategy to increase annual revenue by 45% in five years.

Elektrobit manufactures car software and radio systems.

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Flying Car Prototype Crashes

Flying Car Prototype Crashes

BUSINESS

The AeroMobil 3.0 prototype flying car crashed in Slovakia, illustrating the issues facing flying-car companies.

Stefan Klein, the flying car’s inventor and its pilot, parachuted from the vehicle and was not seriously injured.

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