Dog struck by car rides inside bumper for miles

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. — A dog hit by a car in upstate New York rode for 45 minutes wedged between the broken bumper and the grille before the driver realized she was carrying an injured passenger.

Coco the shiba inu was being treated for a fractured elbow after being struck Monday morning in Albany.

Rotterdam Police Lt. Jeffrey Collins says the driver knew she hit something and noticed the car’s damage but didn’t see the dog at first. She drove about 15 miles to Rotterdam before hearing noises and stopping to recheck her car’s front end. She called 911 after she saw the dog gazing from below the license plate.

“Saw something coming into the road, thought it was a ball, possibly an animal, struck it,” said Collins. “Stopped, checked, realized there was some damage to her vehicle, but didn’t realize that the dog had been embedded almost into the front grille or front scoop of the car.”

A Schenectady veterinary clinic worker told WNYT-TV that 16-pound Coco “fit perfectly” in the space behind the bumper and was lucky to be alive.

“I couldn’t believe she survived, to be honest,” said Noella LaFreniere of Hernas Veterinary Clinic, where Coco is being treated. 

“It was like the perfect fit. She fit perfectly in that bumper and came out alive, and it’s shocking to us. Working with the animals all these years, it’s shocking. She’s very lucky,” she said. 

Police located Coco’s owner.

“She’s a trooper, she really is,” said LaFreniere, as she held Coco. “She’s just so mellow and so good, and we can’t wait to do the surgery to get her better and get her home.”


Manual transmission option arrives for 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S models

Up until today, the 2020 Porsche 911 hasn’t been available with a manual transmission. That changes now, as Porsche is officially announcing the availability of the 992 with a seven-speed manual transmission. Initially, the manual will be available on the Carrera S, Carrera S Cabriolet, Carrera 4S and Carrera 4S Cabriolet. There is no word on manual transmission availability for the base Carrera, Carrera Cabriolet or Carrera 4 models yet. Porsche has hinted three-pedal versions of these variants are coming, though.

Interestingly, the base price for the manual Carrera S is exactly the same as the eight-speed PDK automatic transmission, at $114,650 after the $1,350 destination charge is accounted for. Same goes for the 4S Cabriolet at $134,750 and the rest of the manual transmission lineup. You may think, what gives here? Isn’t the manual supposed to be cheaper than the automatic? Fret not, there are reasons. Porsche decided to make the $2,270 Sport Chrono package standard on the manual. Included in the Sport Chrono package are dynamic drivetrain mounts, Porsche Suspension Management Sport Mode, a rev-matching functionality and a mode switcher on the steering wheel. It also uses a mechanical limited-slip differential with torque vectoring. The PDK-equipped 911s use a fully variable electronically controlled limited slip differential. Porsche is likely assuming that manual transmission buyers will likely want the Sport Chrono package anyway, so it’s eliminated the need for buyers to check the box. How kind.

Performance-wise, Porsche says the Carrera S with a manual can accelerate to 60 mph in “around four seconds” and reach a top speed of “over 190 mph.” For comparison’s sake, a Carrera S with the PDK equipped with the Sport Chrono package hits 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 191 mph. Without the Sport Chrono package, the Carrera S hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Even the base Carrera PDK with the Sport Chrono package is quicker than the Carrera S with a manual — it makes it to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, according to Porsche. So yes, the automatic is the faster car, but that’s not the point.

For those who may have thought the 992 a bit too portly at 3,382 pounds, you’ll be happy to learn that the 911 Carrera S shaves 84 pounds from the curb weight with the manual. It now weighs in at 3,298 pounds for the Coupe, which is even lighter than the 3,354-pound base Carrera.

Porsche says the 2020 911 models with manual transmissions are currently available to order. Cars with three pedals will begin arriving in dealerships in spring 2020.


FCA and Peugeot reportedly agree on merger


Citing a Wall Street Journal report, the Detroit Free Press says “Fiat Chrysler and PSA Groupe have agreed to merge.” The Journal reported on talks between the two car companies only yesterday. It’s said that Peugeot’s board met yesterday to approve the deal, FCA’s board met today, and an announcement could come as soon as tomorrow, Thursday.

Both automakers have released statements, but neither company has released any information beyond admitting to ongoing talks. If the merger happens, the combined entity would become the world’s fourth-largest carmaker with a $50 billion valuation, slotting in behind Toyota, the Volkswagen Group, and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance. Among the merger options possible, “an all-stock merger of equals” is the one analysts and Moody’s seem to give the best grade.

The reported merger would come about four months after FCA walked away from merger talks with Renault. FCA said the French government scuppered those talks over the role of Nissan in a reformed entity, but there were also brewing issues with French unions, and ongoing turmoil among Renault and Nissan leadership thanks to continuing fallout from ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn’s arrest last year.

FCA makes most of its revenue in the U.S. and rules Italy, while Peugeot is the second-best-selling automaker in Europe with its own brand in France and Opel in Germany. The two companies already have a partnership in Europe making vans, one that FCA CEO Mike Manley has spoken highly of. Among the list of obvious benefits in a potential merger, FCA would get access to Peugeot’s small, modern platforms, $10.2 billion in cash, and electrified and hybrid architecture developments, the latter especially important to FCA as those are fields where it lags. Peugeot would get much easier access to the U.S. market, and the money-printing brands Jeep and Ram.

A merged carmaker would have combined sales of nearly 9 million a year, based on 2018 results. By comparison, both Volkswagen and Toyota sell over 10 million cars a year, while the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance almost 11 million.

Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares has proved he knows how to do turnarounds and mergers. After leaving a position as Carlos Ghosn’s right-hand man in 2012, Tavares took over Peugeot in 2014, navigated a bailout from the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motors in 2015, and turned PSA into a regional powerhouse. He partly achieved that by buying GM’s white elephant Opel brand in 2017 and almost instantly making it profitable.

Potential obstacles include the French government, which owns more than 12 percent of Peugeot, but with less control inside the carmaker than it has at Renault. There are French unions, which have already issued a contentious statement. The Peugeot family owns the same size stake. And there’s the Dongfeng share, also just over 12 percent, which might not play well considering political tensions in the U.S. right now. And the Italian government and Italian unions have also noted that they’re watching the deal.

Nor would a merger give FCA and Peugeot a better position in China, the world’s largest auto market, where both companies return weak results. “FCA and Peugeot are both lousy in China, they just lose money,” industry analyst Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer told the Associated Press.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


A new Microsoft app can supervise driving tests without teachers

Although many current auto-related technologies are focusing on taking the steering wheel out of drivers’ hands, a new project could potentially help to get more hands on the wheel. Born from Microsoft Research India, the research program is titled Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety, or HAMS for short. Microsoft recently released a video that focuses on one part of project: automated driving tests.

Microsoft’s research page, found by Gizmodo, lists three people leading the charge: principal research program manager Satish Sangameswaran, deputy managing director of Microsoft Research India Venkat Padmanabhan, and senior researcher Akshay Nambi. At the core of this project is the desire to make roads safer, but not strictly by eliminating drivers. Here’s the overview straight from the source: 

“In the HAMS project, we use low-cost sensing devices to construct a virtual harness for vehicles. The goal is to monitor the state of the driver and how the vehicle is being driven in the context of a road environment that the vehicle is in. We believe that effective monitoring leading to actionable feedback is key to promoting road safety.”

Those low-cost sensing devices they’re referring to are off-the-shelf smartphones that have all sorts of sensors, cameras, and other useful technologies already built in. The smartphone is mounted to the center of the windshield with the main camera facing the road, and the screen facing the interior fo the car. This allows the phone to read the environment ahead, while the screen-side camera reads the driver. All the while, the phone’s gyroscopes or accelerometers are collecting data based on driver’s reactions to the commute. HAMS would then interpret the data and provide feedback of how to drive safely.

In addition to a business-oriented fleet-management dashboard, the HAMS developers have worked with the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR) and Maruti-Suzuki to launch a pilot program for driver training. Specifically, HAMS has the idea of automating driving tests, meaning the smartphone could run the test without an instructor in the vehicle. 

Check out the video demonstrations of the technology below, and read more about HAMS at


Ford Mach E rendering gives us a preview of the Mustang-inspired electric crossover

The Ford Mach E Mustang-inspired electric crossover will be revealed in just a couple of weeks. But for those who can’t wait, Mach E Forum has put together one of the best renders yet of the crossover.

The Mustang DNA is mostly apparent in the Mach E’s flanks with the wide haunches and Coke-bottle shape. It’s also evident in the fastback roofline and slight kick-up of the rear window. The headlights being slender, wide, and mounted high on the front fascia are another nod to the pony car.

There are clear influences from Ford’s crossover and SUV range, too. The not-a-grille has the same octagonal shape found on the refreshed Ford Edge. The body has quite a bit of bulk, too, and of course includes the black plastic fender flares seemingly required on all crossovers.

The Mach E will be officially revealed at the L.A. Auto Show on November 17. The company has said that it will have a range of up to 300 miles on the EPA test cycle, or about 370 miles on the European WLTP cycle. It will also likely be available with different size batteries and rear- or all-wheel drive.


Mercedes recalls some EQC EVs to fix one potentially defective bolt

FRANKFURT — Daimler is recalling some new Mercedes-Benz EQC electric cars because of a potentially defective bolt in the differential, the company said on Tuesday.

“Daimler AG has determined that on certain EQC vehicles the bolt in the front axle differential transmission might not meet durability specifications. Thus, it cannot be ruled out, that the bolt breaks over lifetime,” the carmaker said.

The fault could interrupt torque transmission to the front axle, leading to a vehicle stall. Additionally, if parts of the broken bolt become lodged within the differential transmission, this might affect the ability to control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash, Daimler said.

German industry publication kfz betrieb, which initially reported details of the recall, said 1,700 vehicles were targeted. Daimler declined to comment on the number of vehicles affected.


Tesla filing shows U.S. sales tumbled 39% in third quarter


Tesla’s third-quarter revenue tumbled 39% in the United States, its first drop in more than two years, but sales in China and other regions surged, the electric car maker’s breakdown of sales by geography showed on Tuesday.

U.S. sales, which account for the biggest share of the company’s total revenue, fell to $3.13 billion from $5.13 billion a year earlier.

Sales in China rose 64% to $669 million and its other segment, which covers the rest of the globe, rose by more than a billion dollars to $1.83 billion, a regulatory filing showed.

“Musk & Co. are laser-focused on Europe and China for growth, while domestically, core demand is fading relative to other regions,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said, adding that U.S. growth will remain more challenging going forward.

In its earnings report earlier this month, Tesla reported a nearly 8% drop in total revenue to $6.30 billion, missing analysts’ average estimate of $6.33 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. It did not break down sales by geography in that report.

The company, however, surprised investors with a quarterly profit, making good on Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s promise, as it delivered a record 97,000 cars.

The company has said it plans to deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles for all of 2019, and that it was “highly confident in exceeding 360,000 deliveries this year.”

The drop in sales in its domestic market in the latest reported quarter compares with a 55% rise in the second quarter ended June.

Tesla did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the reason for the fall in the U.S. market.

Tesla is expanding its service in other markets including China and Europe, as Musk is under pressure to make Tesla sustainably profitable, while still spending on major initiatives ranging from a Shanghai factory and assembly-line to upcoming models such as the Model Y SUV and a Semi commercial truck.

The company forecast capital expenditure to be slightly below $1.5 billion in 2019.

In the filing, Tesla also said it had a provision for warranty of $138 million in the third quarter versus $187 million last year.

The filing shows warranty adjustments and other one-time items are a large driver of perceived strength, Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin said, who downgraded stock to “sell” from “neutral”, adding that he sees margins as unsustainable.

The company’s shares were down nearly 3% at $318.66.


Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot owner PSA reportedly in merger talks


Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot owner PSA are in talks to combine in a deal that could create a $50 billion automaker, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

The deal could be in the form of an all-stock deal, the report said.

Fiat Chrysler shares rose sharply after the report and were up more than 7% in late afternoon trading.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot had no comment.

Investors have speculated for several years that Fiat Chrysler was hunting for a merger partner, encouraged by the rhetoric of the company’s late chief executive, Sergio Marchionne. In 2015, Marchionne outlined the case for consolidation of the auto industry, and tried unsuccessfully to interest General Motors in a deal.

Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler had discussed a combination earlier this year, before Fiat Chrysler proposed a $35 billion merger with French automaker Renault SA.

Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann broke off talks with Renault in June after French government officials intervened, and pushed for Renault to first resolve tensions with its Japanese alliance partner, Nissan.

Following the collapse of the Renault merger plan, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley left the door open for talks with would-be partners, but said the Italian-American automaker could go it alone despite mounting costs to develop electric vehicles and comply with tougher emissions rules in Europe, the United States and China.

Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares dismissed the idea of a combination with Fiat Chrysler during a discussion with reporters at the Frankfurt auto show last month.

“We don’t need it,” Tavares said when asked whether he was still interested in a deal with Fiat Chrysler.

Fiat Chrysler has a commercial vehicle partnership with Peugeot.


Early 2020 Nissan Sentra shows new 2.0-liter, more power, but no manual

CarsDirect again rubbed its magic lantern, and out popped another order guide, this time for the 2020 Nissan Sentra. In April, we got a preview of certain design changes on the way when Nissan debuted the China-market Sylphy — our Sentra by another name. CarsDirect reports that alterations under the skin could be just as noteworthy. The site clarifies that it saw an early order guide, so things could change. For the moment, though, the 2020 Sentra’s listed with a single powertrain, that being a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 149 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, yoked to a continuously variable transmission.

The engine’s likely taken from the Rogue Sport, where it makes 141 hp and 147 lb-ft. More importantly for the Sentra, the output handily beats figures for the standard 1.8-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 124 hp and 125 lb-ft when paired with a CVT, or 130 hp and 128 lb-ft when paired with a six-speed manual. As it stands, the absence of the more potent 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 188 hp and 177 lb-ft in the order guide could mean the mill has been retired from the lineup, or it might merely see late availability. Since spy photographers spotted a Sentra prototype under a whisper of camouflage in August with a six-speed manual, we’re inclined to think there’s another transmission on the way, and perhaps another engine. 

Dynamic manners will improve on the next-gen sedan with the adoption of a multilink suspension for the rear axle on all trims, replacing the current car’s torsion beam. Safety steps up, too, with Nissan Shield 360 standard on all 2020 Sentras, adding features like automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert among others.

The compact sedan is predicted to debut its sharper exterior and much more improved interior sometime before the end of the year, hitting the market early next year.


This might be a next-gen Nissan Z car mule

A Nissan 370Z successor is coming, and here’s our first physical indication of the next-gen sports car in early testing phases. The photos of the car in question here are nothing special. At first glance, everything appears completely in order. However, a closer look at the front end hints that this could be a powertrain mule for the 370’s replacement.

A number of strange holes can be seen in the front bumper and fog light areas. These may be in place to better simulate cooling and airflow to whatever powertrain is hiding under the hood. Nissan running this car at the Nurburgring indicates to us that the car is most likely a powertrain mule of sorts. Everything else about it just looks like a regular 370Z, right down to the exhaust outlets in the rear.

Just a week ago, Autocar released a report that indicated Nissan is currently working on the next-gen Z car. Ivan Espinosa told them the 370Z and GT-R are “at the heart of Nissan and we are actively looking at and working on them.” He also said that we “can expect something soon.” There’s a whole lot left to the imagination, but it gives away that a next-gen Z is coming.

We can’t say this car is certainly a mule for the upcoming sports car, but our best guess says it is. One logical assumption for a powertrain would be the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Infiniti Q50 and Q60. That’ll provide plenty of power and we have a feeling that Nissan can extract even more than the 400 horsepower made in the Red Sport versions of those Infinitis. As for when we’ll see a new Z sports car, that’s still up for debate. Stay tuned to this one.