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UNDATED -- Ford is recalling 1.1 million SUVs to fix problems that could result in the loss of power steering while driving. The company issued two recalls, one affecting 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUVs and one affecting 196,000 Ford Explorer SUVs. The problems are slightly different, but both could result in a loss of electric power steering while driving, increasing the risk of a crash. The Escape and Mariner recall involves a torque sensor within the steering column. Ford recommends one of three fixes: replacing the sensor, updating software or replacing the steering column. The recall affects model year 2008 through 2011 vehicles built between August 18, 2006 and September 11, 2010 in Kansas City. 

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. safety regulators are investigating older Ram pickup trucks with manual transmissions because the engines can be started without the clutch being depressed. The probe covers about 110,000 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups made by Chrysler from the 2004 through 2006 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has three complaints about the problem, including one fatal accident. In that case, a child was able to start a truck without using the clutch. It moved forward, hitting and killing another child. Vehicles with manual transmissions are required to have mechanisms that stop the motor from being started unless the clutch is depressed. The investigation was opened May 19, according to documents posted by the agency on Friday. An investigation can lead to a recall.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 09:59

2015 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class Announced

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the 2015 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group – the sixth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history – consists of Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. In addition, NASCAR announced that Anne B. France won the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Next year’s Induction Day is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, broadcast on NBC Sports Network from Charlotte, N.C.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte to vote on both the induction class of 2015 and the Landmark Award. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcements this afternoon in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”

Next year’s class was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, which for the first time included the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion – in this case, Jimmie Johnson. The panel also included representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders and a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com – which counted for the 54th and final vote. In all, 54 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Jerry Cook and Robert Yates). The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting for next year’s class was as follows: Bill Elliott (87%), Wendell Scott (58%), Joe Weatherly (53%), Rex White (43%) and Fred Lorenzen (30%).

The next top vote-getters were Jerry Cook, Robert Yates and Benny Parsons.

Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in order of votes received, were Wendell Scott, Bill Elliott, Benny Parsons, Rex White and Terry Labonte.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen:
Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte,  Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, O. Bruton Smith, Mike Stefanik, Curtis Turner and Robert Yates.

As was announced last December during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, potential Landmark Award recipients could include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role.

The five nominees for the inaugural Landmark Award were France, H. Clay Earles, Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier.

Class of 2015 Inductees:
Bill Elliott
In a 37-year driving career, Bill Elliott compiled a list of accolades that put him near the top of a number of NASCAR’s all-time lists. His 44 wins rank 16th all-time and his 55 poles rank eighth. But his most prestigious accomplishment came in 1988 when he won the NASCAR premier series championship with six wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s in 29 races. In addition, he won a record 16 Most Popular Driver Awards, in part because of his excellence on the big stage; he won the Daytona 500 twice and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway three times. Elliott posted seven victories at Michigan International Speedway, the third most in track history, including four in a row in 1985 and 1986. He also won the pole six times, trailing only David Pearson (10) for the most in track history. In his illustrious career, Elliott started a track-record 61 races at MIS.

Fred Lorenzen
Fred Lorenzen was one of NASCAR’s first true superstars even though he was a “part-time” driver, never running more than 29 of the season’s 50-plus races. Lorenzen got his start in NASCAR as a mechanic with the famed Holman-Moody team in 1960, but was elevated to lead driver by the end of the year. Lorenzen won three races in only 15 starts the following season. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963 as he finished with six wins, 21 top fives and 23 top 10s in 29 starts. Despite missing 26 races that season, he finished third in the standings. In 1965, he won two of NASCAR’s major events – the Daytona 500 and the World 600.

Wendell Scott
One of NASCAR’s true trailblazers, Wendell Scott was the first African-American to race fulltime in NASCAR’s premier series, as well as the first to win a NASCAR premier series race. Scott posted a remarkable 147 top 10s and 495 starts during his 13-year premier series career. He won more than 100 races at local tracks before making his premier series debut, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959 en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships. Part of Scott’s NASCAR legacy extends to present day with NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, the leading youth development initiative for multicultural and female drivers across the motorsport industry since 2004.

Joe Weatherly
Joe Weatherly won two championships (1962-63) and 25 races in NASCAR’s premier series. But that’s only part of his story, which is long on versatility. A decade earlier in 1952-53, he won 101 races in the NASCAR Modified division, capturing that championship in 1953. He even tried his hand in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59 winning 12 times. When he won his first NASCAR premier series championship, in 1962, he drove for legendary owner Bud Moore. When he repeated as champion a year later, he drove for nine different teams.

Rex White
Consistency was the hallmark of Rex White’s NASCAR career. He finished among the top five in nearly a half of his 233 races and outside the top 10 only 30 percent of the time. White was a short-track specialist in an era in which those tracks dominated the schedule. Of his 28 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series, only two came on tracks longer than a mile in length. Driving his own equipment, White won six times during his 1960 championship season, posting 35 top 10s in 40 starts. He finished in the top 10 six of his nine years in the series including a runner-up finish in 1961.

Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:
Anne Bledsoe France
Anne Bledsoe France, paired with her husband, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., would create what today is one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. Anne played a huge role in the family business. “Big Bill” organized and promoted races; she took care of the financial end of the business. She first served as secretary and treasurer of NASCAR, and when Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, served in the same roles for the International Speedway Corporation. She also managed the speedway's ticket office. France remained active in family and business life until her passing in 1992.

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. (AP) - General Motors says it's spending $10 million to renovate a warehouse and distribution center west of Flint. The Detroit-based automaker said Thursday that improvements to the Swartz Creek Customer Care and Aftersales facility include upgrades to information technology and its paint shop. The administration building also is getting a brick front and expanded lawn with trees. The work is expected to be done by the fourth quarter of this year. GM says the 3.1 million-square-foot center employs about 300 hourly and salaried workers. It distributes more than 9,000 collision parts to GM's 4,300 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in the United States.

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors added five recalls to its growing list Thursday, pushing its total number of recalled vehicles to more than 11 million this year. GM's recalls alone have the U.S. auto industry on pace to break the record of 30.8 million recalled vehicles set in 2004. The company said Thursday that it's recalling nearly 2.7 million more cars and trucks to fix problems with brake lights, headlamps and power brakes. The recalls brought GM's total number for the year to 18. That includes 2.6 million small cars worldwide for a deadly ignition switch problem. The company expects to take a $200 million charge this quarter for the added recalls. 

(DETROIT) -- The 11th Annual Automotive Press Association hosted the Michelin Automotive Design Panel "Drive Your Passion: Engaging Senses, Soul, And Emotion" during a luncheon May 7 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

George Benko, George Benko V, Robert Benko


Dr. Phil C Hessburg M.D. Medial Director: Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, and Thom Roach Vice President, OE Marketing Michelin North America, he presented Dr. Hessburg with a check for $7,600.00 made out to the Detroit Institute of  Ophthalmology.


The panel included from left. Thomas V. Peters, Director of Exterior Design, Performance Cars, General Motors,Francois Farion, Senior Manager Design Strategy, Nissan Design America, Jason Castriota, Creative Director of Castriota Designs. Formerly Executive Design Director of Saab AB and Chief Designer of Pininfarina S.p.A, and Ben Ebel, Michelin Challenge Design.


Michael Robinet, Manager Director of IHS Automotive Consulting, moderated the panel discussion. The panel discussed the opportunities and challenges of designing sustaining, passion-filled vehicles in the high-tec, highly-constrained future.

(DETROIT) -- U.S. auto sales of light vehicles in April 2014 indicated increases at 8.1% of the U.S. automobile companies.

GM sold 254,076 with an increase of 6.9% from 2013
Ford sold 210,355 with a decrease of .8% from 2013
Toyota sold 199,660 with an increase of 13.3% from 2013
Honda sold 132,456 with a decrease of 1.1% from 2013
Chrysler sold 178,652 with an increase of 14.8% from 2013
Hyundai sold 66,107 with a decrease of 1.1% from 2013
Nissan sold 103,934 with an increase of 18.3% from 2013

The Detroit Big Three had 46.2% of all car sales in April 2014. The prediction for 2014 is an increase for all domestic automakers for a total of 16.4 million vehicles. If they follow the April increase they should sell over 15.1 million vehicles.

G.B.V & J.B.

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is recalling about 56,214 Saturn Aura midsize cars in the U.S. because the automatic transmission shifters can fail. The recall affects certain cars from the 2007 and 2008 model years with four-speed transmissions. GM says a shift cable can fracture. If the problem happens while the car is moving, the driver won't be able to shift into "Park" or remove the ignition key. That increases the risk of the car rolling away unexpectedly. The company will notify owners and replace the cable and mounting bracket at no cost to owners. GM hasn't determined yet when repair parts will be available. GM says the cars were made between April 24, 2006 and Oct. 31, 2007. GM stopped making Saturn vehicles in 2009 as it headed into bankruptcy protection.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Chrysler Group is dropping the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and introducing a new Chrysler compact car as part of a wider effort to make the brands more distinct. The company revealed its future product plans Tuesday at an all-day event at Chrysler's headquarters. Chrysler and Dodge have long suffered from an internal rivalry, with minivans and sedans competing for the same customers. Chrysler brand chief Al Gardner says the company wants to change that by making Chrysler its mainstream brand and Dodge its sporty, performance brand. Chrysler will keep the Town and Country minivan, and will add a plug-in hybrid version in 2016. Chrysler will also get a new full-size crossover. Dodge is dropping the Avenger sedan, which competes too closely with the Chrysler 200.

DETROIT (AP) - Strong demand for pickup trucks and SUVs is helping the auto industry rebound from a rough winter. Chrysler had its best April in seven years, boosted by a 52 percent gain in sales of Jeep brand SUVs. GM sales rose 7 percent, led by the Buick Encore small SUV and the Silverado pickup truck. Ford's F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., posted a 7.4 percent gain. Analysts are expecting an industrywide sales gain of at least 8.5 percent compared with last April. That would mark the best April for the industry since 2005. There were some soft spots. Ford's overall sales fell 1 percent in April, hurt by falling sales of smaller cars. At Chrysler, sales of its namesake brand dropped 21 percent while Dodge sales were flat.

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