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Inside Automotive (Apr 21st, 2017)

General Motors is set to begin producing an all-electric car in China by 2019, according to a report from the Associated Press. The news comes courtesy of the president of GM in China, Matt Tsien, at the Shanghai auto show. The company plans to have around ten of what they're calling "new energy vehicles" in production by 2020. To bolster the efforts, the company's new Shanghai battery plant should be up and running by 2018. – AUTONEWS

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Tesla has ordered a voluntary recall for 53,300 Model S and Model X vehicles built between February and October of 2016. The reason for the recall is a manufacturing flaw wherein an engaged parking brake could develop a fracture in the internal gear, resulting in the parking brake being stuck in the "on" position. The company maintains this is a "better safe than sorry" recall, and that "only a small fraction" of cars will develop the issue, and even cars that do malfunction because of the problem don't represent a safety concern for drivers or passengers. The problem apparently stems from an issue with brakes (from Tesla supplier Brembo) that were installed over a ten-month period. – TC

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A new book about the VW emissions scandal identifies American VW exec Stuart Johnson as the whistleblower. Johnson is head of VW's Engineering and Environmental Office, the office that was "responsible" for communication between VW and federal regulators. The writer's source on the whistleblower's identity comes via an interview with Alberto Ayala, deputy executive director of the California Air Resources Board. The author of the book, the New York Times' Jack Ewing, said about internal VW documents, "You get the feeling from reading the documents that Johnson always felt queasy about the whole situation." VW has declined to comment on the news. – CRAINS

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A group of Tesla owners has filed a class-action lawsuit in California against the company for "mischaracterizing" the Autopilot 2 feature. The lawsuit says that Autopilot 2 is "essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous," and goes further to say that "unwittingly, buyers of the affected vehicles have become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous if engaged." A representative from Tesla responded, "The inaccurate and sensationalistic view of our technology put forth by this group is exactly the kind of misinformation that threatens to harm consumer safety." Autopilot 2 features debuted last year. – FORTUNE

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The 2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was spotted testing at the Nurburgring motorsports complex with a very strange exhaust set-up. In the photo, "two long pipes" are visible inserted into the car's exhaust. According to the spy photographer on site, the reasoning behind the exhaust oddness may be that the car was too loud, eclipsing the 100 dB limit for industry testing. Autoblog's Joel Stocksdale has a more fun, 007-style theory: that the exhaust can shift from noise-muffling mode to regular mode when the driver moves from street driving to track driving. – AUTOBLOG

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Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) is worried that the name of its new US brand, "Trumpchi," may send the wrong message to customers in this country. The name was designed to mirror the car's Chinese name, "Chuanqi," and not to reference the current US president. GAC president Feng Xingya said, "This is a complete coincidence, we didn't even have the slightest idea he would be president. At first I'd never thought of it, why change the name? It's the president Americans selected, it's similar to the president's name, this has to be good right? But in the United States the level of opposition [to Trump] is high." The company says the name may still be changed before the car hits the US in 2019. – CNN

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