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+++ Automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from HACKERS a priority, developing layers of protection that can secure a vehicle throughout its life, U.S. regulators said on Monday. The cybersecurity guidelines issued by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are recommendations, not enforceable rules. However, they mark a step toward establishing a road map for industry behavior as lawmakers and consumers pressure automakers to show how they will protect increasingly connected and automated vehicles from cyber attacks. Some of the agency’s proposals, included in a paper titled “Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles”, echo moves major manufacturers are making already, including establishing a group to share information about cybersecurity threats. Automakers will carefully review the technical aspects of the agency’s proposals as well as proposals related to the disclosure of information about “the secret sauce” of electrical and data systems, which is highly competitive, Jonathan Allen, acting executive director of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said in an interview on Monday. The group, often referred to as the Auto-Isac, was established by automakers as a clearinghouse for companies to share information about cyber security threats and countermeasures. Automakers accelerated efforts to address hacking threats over the past year after data security researchers successfully took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee and publicized their feat. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in July 2015 recalled 1.4 million vehicles to install software to protect against future data breaches. Other automakers, including BMW and Tesla, have disclosed actions to fix potential data security gaps. The security of data and communications systems in vehicles is also critical as more auto manufacturers gear up to follow Tesla’s lead and begin offering significant vehicle upgrades through wireless data links. The Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year warned that criminals could exploit online vehicle software updates. The NHTSA recommends manufacturers conduct tests of vehicle systems to see if the cybersecurity systems can be breached, and document their testing and their assessment of the risks. Democratic U.S. Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the NHTSA should do more. “If modern day cars are computers on wheels, we need mandatory standards, not voluntary guidance, to ensure that our vehicles cannot be hacked and lives and information put in danger”, the lawmakers said in a statement Monday. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said on Monday the NHTSA guidelines appear to support the steps being taken by the Auto-Isac. The Alliance represents General Motors, Ford and Daimler, among others. +++

+++ HYUNDAI aims to grab hold of both the younger and older generations with the sixth-generation flagship sedan Grandeur. The IG model comes 5 years after the Grandeur HG and has undergone a design transformation and technological upgrade. “Grandeur used to symbolize power and solemnity but now it will step closer to being the vehicle for future leaders”, Jung Rag, executive vice president of Hyundai Motor General PM, said. “Inheriting the heritage that the Grandeur model possesses since 1986, we are going to provide Grandeur IG at a reasonable price”. The price has not been set. The biggest noticeable change is the front and rear side facelifts. The front face implemented what’s called a cascading grille, which Hyundai introduced in its i30 and said would be a signature feature for Hyundai’s future models. Replacing the more straight-lined and stern-looking hexagonal grille in the previous model, the new curvy grille is stamped in the center with the Hyundai Motor logo that is 2 times larger. The rear lights have been changed as well. A slim LED-lit straight line bridges the 2 eyes in the back. The signature look for Grandeur model’s rear side used to be the connected rear ramp, but it is the first time that the bridge is lit along with 2 rear lights. It is designed to give the model a more sophisticated and sharp look to entice younger drivers. Koo Min-chul, an exterior design team leader at Hyundai, emphasized the amplified volume on the vehicle’s curves that connect the front hood to the rear ramp. “Creating a flowing, streamlined sideline” was one of the distinctive points when designing the model, said Koo. Grandeur IG also gives a sneak peek into how Hyundai is approaching autonomous driving technology. The auto company implemented Hyundai Smart Sense, which is installed with autonomous emergency braking, a lane-keeping assist system, blind-spot detection and a driver attention alert system, all of which are supposed to keep the driver safer. Hyundai says these safety tools will help reduce car accidents by 40 percent. Hyundai Smart Sense enables advanced smart cruise control which helps maintain a certain speed in long-distance drives and a monitor that gives a 360-view of its surroundings, even when not parking. “Smart Sense is a more commercialized version of what’s implemented in Genesis. This is supposed to reach out to wider range of drivers”, said Yang Joo-wong with the Advance Driver Assistance Systems development team. The Grandeur launch comes at a crucial time for Hyundai Motor, which has had a troublesome year with repeated labor strikes and a series of recalls over defective airbags and engines. In order to break through the dwindling domestic demand, Hyundai Motor upped the launch date for Grandeur, which was scheduled to be unveiled next year. Grandeur was introduced in 1986 in collaboration with Mitsubishi. In 1988, Hyundai started developing the model on its own. The premium sedan has sold 1.85 million units since it was introduced 30 years ago. Hyundai will reveal the prices and interior space in mid-November. +++

+++ KIA has been ordered to halt sales of its Mohave SUV after failures in the on-board diagnostics (OBD) equipment. The automaker must recall 4,045 Mohaves sold in Korea since June of this year and pay a W2.7 billion fine, the Environment Ministry said (US$1=W1,135). Kim Jung-soo of the National Institute of Environmental Research said: “If the OBD doesn’t work properly, a driver can’t determine when their car should be inspected, and that could lead to engine failure while driving”. The ministry said it fined Kia because it sold thousands of Mohaves with faulty OBDs. Kia is the first carmaker to be fined under tougher rules that went into effect in July following the Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. The maximum fine has risen from W1 billion to W10 billion. +++

+++ The new MINI Countryman will go on sale next February. The line-up will be joined later next year by Mini’s first hybrid model, the Countryman S E. It will have a claimed electric-only range of 40 kilometers and a 0-100 km/h time of 6.9 seconds. The new Countryman is the largest Mini model yet, measuring 20 cm longer, at 4.3 metres, and 3 cm wider than the six-year-old outgoing model. An extra 7.5 cm has been inserted into the wheelbase. Mini says the Countryman is now firmly anchored into the C-segment, making it an alternative to everything from a Volkswagen Golf to premium compact SUVs such as the Audi Q3. In the metal, the new Countryman looks significantly more masculine than its predecessor. Although it is recognisably a development of the original, the deep sides, large wheels and notably squared-off rear corners give it much more four-square stance. The headlights are a similar shape to those of its predecessor but less dominant, and the classic Mini grille is slightly less prominent. The distinctive threewindow profile has been retained, but the rearmost side windows are now much longer, helping to underline the car’s increase in size. Mini says all models will get large silver roof bars to help mark the car out as a true crossover. Another new styling feature is the use of distinctive hard edges — unusual on a Mini model produced under BMW’s ownership of the brand —pressed into both the front and rear wings. Opening the doors reveals notably tall apertures, which make getting in and out exceptionally easy. The extra length in the wheelbase has liberated impressive rear leg room, too, and although the driving position remains solidly upright, it’s not necessary to climb up into the driver’s seat. The dashboard design is also all new, rather than being borrowed from its Clubman sister model. It retains the giant ‘dinner plate’ central screen, although it now has rectangular air vents in a move away from Mini’s traditional circular vents. The interior architecture remains distinctively Mini, but the build quality and material finishes are designed to signal that this car is more upmarket and less frivolous than the somewhat eccentric original Countryman. Mini product boss Nicolas Griebner said 85 percent of Mini sales are to private buyers specifying their own car. To that end, personalisation touches such as dual-colour door trims and options including piped and quilted leather trim are intended to allow buyers to specify the Countryman “up to the level of a luxury car”. Ultimately, this new Countryman is intended to be big enough to act as a sole family car as well as being more upmarket and versatile than a conventional hatchback. It has a bigger boot than the typical C-segment hatch (a useful 470 litres), as well as the option of a rear bench seat that will slide 13 cm and a rear seatback that reclines and splits in 3 sections (40/20/40). The new Countryman range kicks off with the turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol Cooper model, which has 136 hp and 250 Nm. The Cooper S gets a 2.0-litre fourcylinder petrol engine tuned for 192 hp and 280 Nm. The base Cooper D is a 2.0-litre unit with 150 hp and 330 Nm, while the Cooper SD gets 190 hp and 400 Nm. A tweaked version of Mini’s All4 four-wheel drive transmission is available as an option on all four engines. The Countryman S E hybrid model offers all-wheel drive by combining the threecylinder petrol engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, which drives the front wheels, and an 90 hp electric motor mounted on the back axle and driving the rear wheels through a two-speed transmission. With both engines running at full power, the hybrid Countryman has combined peak outputs of 224 hp and 380 Nm of torque. Mini says it’s possible to travel at up to 125 km/h in battery-only mode. The hybrid’s lithium ion battery is mounted under the slightly raised rear seat. Made at BMW’s Dingolfing factory, the 7.6 kWh unit can be recharged in 3hr 15min from an ordinary wall plug and in 2hr 15min via a specialist wall box. Packaging the battery under the rear seats means that the hybrid model’s fuel tank has been shrunk to just 35 litres. The hybrid’s official EU figures are 49g/km of CO2 emissions. The new Countryman is significantly more expensive than the outgoing model, its starting price falling between those of the smaller Audi Q2 and the Q3. However, Mini says the Countryman comes with a “high level of standard equipment”. This equipment includes standard sat-nav, 17-inch wheels, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth. Collision warning and city braking will also be standard, features that are becoming necessary in order to achieve 5 stars in the latest Euro NCAP crash tests. On the options list are adaptive dampers, a Harman/ Kardon audio system, an XL navigation system with an 8.8 inch touchscreen, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof and a detachable tow bar. Most of the options are bundled up in one of Mini’s famous ‘packs’. The company says 75 percent of new Clubman orders include the Chili Pack, which includes automatic air conditioning, switchable driving modes, sports seats and LED headlights. Most Countryman buyers are also expected to spend on the Chili Pack. Despite the Countryman being a proper crossover, Mini will offer a JCW Chili Pack, which adds an aero kit, sports suspension and 18-inch wheels. The Mini Tech Pack adds the Harman/Kardon hi-fi, head-up display, XL sat-nav, wireless charging and a Bluetooth ‘tagging’ system that can help to locate personal belongings. +++

+++ The top executive overseeing connected vehicles at NISSAN and Renault believes the benefits of developing a common technology for connectivity within the Japanese and French auto partnership outweigh the risks of sustaining huge damage from a possible defect or cyberattack. Ogi Redzic, senior vice president at the Renault-Nissan Alliance, oversees such connected services, including staying connected with family, navigating best routes and remote control of vehicles — an area where all the world’s automakers are trying to gain an edge. Redzic, formerly of Motorola and Nokia, was tapped for the post at the alliance earlier this year. He told reporters at Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters that the alliance has begun hiring 300 people to build such software applications for future cars, in addition to 300 employees at Nissan and 300 at Renault already working on the effort. Nissan-Renault hopes to lead in connected vehicles, in addition to green cars and self-driving cars, the two other increasingly vital auto technologies. But Redzic was vague about what might be expected, although he stressed Nissan hopes to be different from rivals in the connected services, even if companies cooperate on a standard technology. He stressed that Nissan-Renault plans to work on a single platform across the alliance, including luxury models. Nissan-Renault will also be seeking out partnerships. Last month, the alliance said it had a partnership with Microsoft to develop next-generation connected services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure, one of the company’s cloud offerings. But the partnership with Microsoft is not exclusive, meaning rivals could come up with similar services. Toyota, for instance, has established an internal company focused on connected vehicles. Redzic said being first with a service ahead of rivals would be one way to beat the competition. “The global automotive industry is at a strategic turning point, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance is pioneering the transformation in EVs, autonomous driving and connectivity features on mainstream, mass-market vehicles at affordable prices” he said, using the acronym for electric vehicles. +++

+++ RENAULT SAMSUNG ’s SM6 is the most popular car in the second-hand market, according to used car dealer SK Encar. Based on an analysis of sales data over the last three months, SK Encar said the SM6 (in Europe sold as Renault Talisman) had the highest turnaround, selling in an average of 15.5 days after being put up for sale. “The popularity of the SM6 affected its sales in the used car market as well. Some 150 units sold over the past three months”, SK Encar said. Hyundai’s compact sedan Avante came second with a turnaround of 16.4 days, followed by Kia’s midsize SUV Sorento with a turnaround of 18.8 days. +++

+++ SOUTH KOREA ’s passenger car exports slumped 17.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from a year earlier due mainly to contracted world demand and partial strikes at local carmakers, customs data showed. The total value of exported vehicles reached $7.23 billion in the July-September period, down from $8.76 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service. Local carmakers led by Hyundai shipped out 515,000 cars in the three-month period, marking a 19.4 percent plunge from the 639,000 tallied in the same period last year. “A drop in car production stemming from prolonged walkouts at auto companies and a slowdown in the global economy dragged down South Korea’s car exports”, the KCS said in a release. “A steady increase in overseas production lines also contributed to the sharp decline in the third quarter”. Unionist workers of Hyundai Motor had staged a strike for months, demanding a wage hike, and the work stoppage finished early this month after the labor union agreed on a deal with the management. The monthslong walkouts were presumed to have caused more than 100,000 units of missed production. By country, exports to the United States, the largest importer of South Korean cars, shrank 24.3 percent on-year, while shipments to Saudi Arabia and Canada fell 42 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively, over the cited period. On the import front, the total number of cars brought into the country were valued at $2.06 billion, down 14.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of imported cars also retreated 26.9 percent on-year to 60,000 units in the third quarter. +++

+++ The new VOLKSWAGEN Golf, which is due to be unveiled next month before going on sale next year, will not be available in as many variants as it is now, as the scandal-hit firm focuses on increasing profit margins, boss Herbert Diess has revealed to Autocar. Volkswagen’s operating profit margins are famously slim and dipped to 1.7% in the first half of this year. Diess has already signalled his intent to turn that around, both by renegotiating labour and supplier deals and by reducing the complexity of model line-ups. “We need to simplify the product offering of the next Golf and have fewer variants, because we have got to get more cost-effectiveness into our company”, said Diess. “We need to be more agile and more innovative, and this is one example”. The current Golf is available in hatch, Variant, convertible, Alltrack and SportsVan bodystyles. Diess did not specify which were likely to be cut, but the recent decision to stop selling the convertible is believed to give an indication of the plan to focus on core models in future. Diess is said to have pushed engineers and managers to reduce the expense of the MQB architecture on which the Golf sits, believing it has been over-engineered for the price points of the vehicles it underpins. It is also possible that the powertrain line-ups will be rationalised, with a greater emphasis expected on new mild hybrid 48V powertrains. Diess’s push to raise margins is also believed to be a result of growing concerns that the firm’s £1.5 billion investment in a far-reaching electric car strategy — based around the newly developed MEB platform on which the Paris motor show ID concept was based — will put further pressure on the company’s profitabilty. “One of the biggest hurdles we still have to take is a new deal with the unions”, said Diess. “I am looking for higher productivity and to restructure the value chain to focus on new technology. We are talking, and I hope we can have an agreed plan to have a fix in place by 2020”. Diess is also reported to have accelerated Volkswagen’s plans to launch more SUVs, which are more profitable and have a wider global appeal than other bodystyles. This is expected to include a Polo-based Nissan Juke rival, a Golf-based SUV to sit below the Tiguan and a large 7-seater aimed at the US and Asian markets. “We will add some higher-contribution products as we prepare for 2020 onwards, when we will have a clear indication of our future”, said Diess. +++

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