CARS

"Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road," wrote Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car project, in the blog post. "The clear theme is human error and inattention" in those incidents. Google is testing a fleet of 23 specially equipped Lexus prototypes, and said it has logged more than 1 million test miles. Last month, the company began testing tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicles of its own design on public roads around Mountain View.

The move comes at a high cost to consumers and may leave more than 30 million drivers vulnerable, according to the group, which noted that the cost to repair a tire after using a tire inflator kit can be as much as 10 times greater than a simple tire repair.

Last year’s General Motors Co. ignition-switch fiasco helped push the total number of recalls in the U.S. to 64 million cars, more than double the previous record. Then Honda Motor Co. paid $70 million for failing to properly report death, injury and warranty data to U.S. regulators. This month, Takata Corp., the maker of faulty airbags linked to seven deaths and 100 injuries in the U.S., agreed to a civil penalty that could reach $200 million, an all-time-high. That was the third time this year a misbehaving company paid a record-breaking fine to auto-safety regulators. Trucking fatalities are also increasing.

The Clubsport gets Porsche's 3.8-liter flat-six engine making 385 hp and features a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. A mechanical limited-slip diff divides power in back while its front axle is taken from the 911 GT3 Cup car. Also from the GT3, the Clubsport uses a lightweight strut suspension with transverse arms in the rear. Steel brake discs measure 15 inches all around with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston calipers in the rear.

As part of the plan to test actual driving emissions, the European Commission intends to phase in over two further years enforcement of the current legal limit on NOx of 80 milligrams a kilometer, an EU official familiar with the matter said last week. Between September 2017 and September 2019, real-driving emissions would be allowed under the commission proposal to exceed permissible discharges in laboratories by as much as 60 percent, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

VW’s issues have made his consolidation thesis "more valid," Marchionne said Wednesday on an earnings conference call. The CEO, who has been rebuffed by General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., said he has spoken with automakers who share his views on the need for companies to merge to spread costs.

The carmaking binge in China has its roots in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, when China unleashed a stimulus program that bolstered auto sales. That provided a lifeline for U.S. and European carmakers, then struggling with a collapse in consumer demand in their home markets. Passenger vehicle sales in China increased 53 percent in 2009 and 33 percent in 2010 after the stimulus policy was put in place. But the flood of cars led to worsening traffic gridlock and air pollution that triggered restrictions on vehicle registrations in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.