To Not Offend Non-Christian Workers, Bentley Fires Plant Priest Before Christmas

Employed by Bentley for the past 10 years was Reverend Francis Cook. He visited the VW Group-owned luxury automaker’s factory in Crewe, England once a week and chatted to its employees, run Christian courses, and wrote messages in the companies newsletter. He was told that his services were no longer required and he should vacate the premises only a few days before Christmas.

“The reason  I have been given is that there are too many people of different faiths to warrant a Christian chaplain,” Cook told UK daily newspaper The Mirror. “There have been no complaints made against me and my position is to help people, and not just those who  are Christians.”

Bentley responded with the following statement: “We have a wide range of faiths and want to take a multi-faith outlook. It would be very difficult to have somebody from each faith.”

As a result to this event, the Crewe staff has launched a campaign, petitioning for the chaplain to be reinstated. “Everyone is really angry about it as a few of us have been on courses with him,” one worker told the newspaper. “To do this just before Christmas is shocking.”

The reverend commented that he’s “not angry, but more upset because I am very fond of the workers and they trust me.”


Use Your Smart Phone as a Key for Your Car?

Being able to lock and unlock the doors using your cell phone is part of the range of technologies that Hyundai is working on for there cars, which they say may be available on its production models by 2015. The Connectivity Concept, which was shown off on the Hyundai i30 previewed near the manufacturer’s European headquarters in Frankfurt, allows the uses to unlock and lock the doors by simply placing their cell phone over top an NFC-tag (Near Field Communication), located on the outside of the door.

The driver’s cell phone must be placed inside the center console in order to hook the phone to the car’s infotainment system, which allows it to automatically stream music, phone contacts, radio station preferences, and individual profile setting to the car’s touchscreen. On top of that, it charges the phone wirelessly.

“With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrating it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion. As the technology continually develops there will be capabilities to store driver’s seating position and exterior mirror setting, providing customers with a comfortable and individual environment,” said Allan Rushforth, senior VP and CEO of Hyundai Motor Europe.

Ford Makes Over $773 Million Investment to Support Growth in Michigan

Ford Motor Company is increasing and maintaining jobs while upgrading its equipment and manufacturing capacity by investing more than $773 million across six manufacturing facilities. This investment proves that American automaker is delivering on its commitment to invest a total of $6.2 billion in American plants by 2015. The investment made in the Michigan area will not only help create at least 2,350 new hourly jobs, but it will also all Ford to retain and additional 3,240 hourly jobs. Ford hopes to add 12,000 new hourly jobs by 2015 after they are done investing the rest of the promised $6.2 billion.

The locations that will be affected by this large investment will be its Michigan Assembly plant, Dearborn Stamping plant, Flat Rock Assembly, Sterling Axle plant, Van Dyke Transmission, and Livonia Transmission. This will allow Ford to support growing demand for fuel efficient vehicles and its popular F-Series pickup trucks.

“Even as we wrap up an incredibly busy year of capacity expansions and product launches, we are continuing to look to the future,” said Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North American Manufacturing. “These investments, many of which are already under way, will ensure our southeast Michigan manufacturing facilities can support our aggressive growth plans.”

Lincoln Coupe Planned to be Modeled After Ford Mustang

By renaming it as the Lincoln Motor Company and adding its own design and engineering team, Ford is hoping to give its luxury brand, Lincoln, a new start. Automotive enthusiasts have been demanding for Lincoln to launch a rear-wheel drive model and their calls have been answered, kind of. Although Ford has a rear-wheel drive coupe under construction for the Lincoln brand, its development will be contingent on the success of the new MKZ and the upcoming compact crossover model.

If everything goes well, and the two new Lincoln models are considered a success, a Mustang-based coupe could be destined to debut as a 2016 or 2017 model. But those anticipating this model have to patiently wait. Lincoln will launch an all-new MKS, Navigator, and MKX before the rear-wheel drive coupe makes an appearance. Until Ford has the belief that its revival plan is working and will be successful, it is not likely that they will make any significant investment into the Lincoln brand.

New 616hp Continental GTC Speed Revealed Early

Ahead of a rumored world premiere at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, official pictures of the new Bentley Continental GTC Speed model have been dripped on to the web. There is no other information available on this vehicle other than these photos, but what we can tell from the photos is that the GTC Speed’s styling cues are identical to the coupe model of the series.

Knowing this, we can anticipate that the same applies under the hood, with the convertivle borrowing the Continental GT Speed’s updated 6.0 liter twin turbocharged W12 engine that generates an extra 49hp and 74 lb-ft over the regular GTC for a total output of 616hp (625PS) at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 590 lb-ft (800Nm). the drop top model should be a tad slower than the coupe, which can hit 60 mph (96km/h) in 4.0 seconds and top out at 205 mph (330 km/h). Bentley should be coming out will an official announcement on the car, but until then, check out the gallery below.

Toyota Pays $1.1 Billion in Recall Lawsuit Involving Unintended Acceleration

In regards to Toyota‘s previous recalls for unintended acceleration, the automaker has announced that they have reached an agreement to settle the outstanding lawsuits in the U.S. Considered to be one of the largest lawsuits of its kind, Toyota will reimburse owners of up to 16-million cars resulting in a one-time, $1.1 billion pre-tax charge against its fourth quarter earnings. In addition to the monetary payment, under this agreement, Toyota will install a brake-override system in cars where the floor mats got stuck.

On top of all that, the automaker is setting up a fund of $250 million to be paid to former Toyota owners who sold their vehicles from September 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. To compensate current owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the new brake-override system, Toyota is setting up another separate fund of $250 million. The Toyota owners of this 16 million people class action lawsuit will also get a new customer care plan, providing warranty on certain parts tied to unintended acceleration for between three to ten years.

“This agreement marks a significant step forward for our company, one that will enable us to put more of our energy, time and resources into Toyota’s central focus: making the best vehicles we can for our customers and doing everything we can to meet their needs,” said Christopher P. Reynolds, group vice president and general counsel, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, and chief legal officer, Toyota Motor North America. ” In keeping with our core principles, we have structured this agreement in ways that work to put our customers first and demonstrate that they can count on Toyota to stand behind our vehicles.”

While seen as an admission of guilt, Toyota’s settlement legally does not mean as much, with Reynolds adding, “This was a difficult decision – especially since reliable scientific evidence and multiple independent evaluations have confirmed the safety of Toyota‘s electronic throttle control systems. However, we concluded that turning the page on this legacy legal issue through the positive steps we are taking is in the best interests of the company, our employees, our dealers and, most of all, our customers.”

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With Half a Million Hybrids Sold, Lexus Holds on to Green Luxury Lead

With the leader in global hybrid sales being Toyota, it comes as no surprise that Lexus is also out in front when it comes to sales of gasoline-electric vehicles. Lexus has announced that it has sold over half a million hybrid models since they first started doing it in 2005. In 2005, Lexus had only sold 26,000 vehicles with its Lexus Hybrid Drive, while over 113,00 hybrid have been sold year-to-date. In total, hybrids sales make up roughly 25 percent of Lexus’s global volume.

Since its introduction of 259,000 units, the easy volume seller continues to be the RX hybrid crossover. However, after the new introduction of the CT200h, that is certain to be out-paced in the coming years. The CT200h might be just a niche product in North America, but it’s the volume seller in Europe by selling 122,000 units in just two years time.

Being first to sell a luxury hybrid SUV (the RX400h), as well as first to sell a luxury hybrid sedan, the GS450h, much if Lexus‘ success can be tied to its leadership in hybrids. To date, 32,000 GS hybrids have been sold, including 8,000 this year.

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Snow Mobile Joy Ride Causes Mini Avalanche

Sometimes, in all of our infinite wisdom, we think that we can defeat mother nature, and in this case, that is certainly not true. The one referred to as Uncle Jim in this video and his nephews went out to play around in the snow with their snowmobiles. When Jim tried to climb a slope, he seems to have triggered mini avalanche that took the rider and his vehicle rolling down the hill.

This accident was filmed at two different angles, one  from the rider’s head mounted camera where we see him tumbling down before crash-stopping on the trees, and one from above.

Bossrev, the person who uploaded the footage on Youtube, commented:

“He did jack up his knee but luckily that’s all that is wrong. He was partially buried with his head exposed facing down hill. Right leg was wrapped around a tree and he had 5 to 6 feet plied up on his legs and back. Sled got banged  up pretty good. We went and recovered the sled today. Took 1.5 hours to dig out the sled and another 3 to get it back to the truck. Smashed up the right side of the bulk head and tunnel.”