Auto Industry News: Furry Friends, Layoffs, and Wrecks

Hang in There, Buddy

Raccoon on Officer WindshieldWe start this week’s auto industry news in Colorado Springs, where one lucky raccoon took the ride of a lifetime on the windshield of a police vehicle. And lucky for us, there are pictures. The police van was about to make its way toward a crash scene when the little fella jumped on. Obviously, the officer immediately began to look for a place to safely pull over. But until then, the raccoon had to cling for life.

The officer finally made a safe stop and the raccoon jumped off, ending what the CSPD appropriately dubbed the “#RaccoonRideAlong.” Brilliant, we know! This may be the first and last ever known documentation of police assisting a bandit.

GM Dispute              

Well it looks like not everyone is lucky enough to hang on in bumpy situations. Last week, a Canadian GM plant that produces transmissions for the Chevy Equinox had to let 250 employees go. Despite the firings, strikes continue over stalled contract negotiations. It is reported that nearly 3,000 union workers are participating and show no signs of halting. Yet while these strikes grow in number, the negotiations seem to be moving nowhere. The strikers fear that the lack of communication on the part of GM is indicative of things to come. According to WSJ, GM outsourced work for another SUV model to Mexico earlier this year and employees feel that Equinox production will be next. “People are nervous,” union president Jerry Dias told WSJ. “The bottom line is we need to stop the bleeding.”

Chrysler Recalls 50,000

Chrysler has had to recall 50,000 Pacifica minivans after discovering flaws with the model’s seat belts. According to the NHTSA recall notice, “In certain passenger seating and vehicle situations, the second-row center seating position seat belt buckle could cause the left outboard seat belt to become unlatched.” The report also claims that the malfunction would likely occur during “extreme handling maneuvers.” While it’s hilarious to imagine a situation in which a minivan is performing anything close to “extreme,” Chrysler held firm. FCA will realign the seat belts and all will be safe and sound again. That is, until you decide to use your Pacifica as the getaway vehicle in your family bank robbery.

BMW: Who Wore it Better?

Well it looks like the folks at BMW have been keeping busy. The X2 was being teased again in Milan during fashion week. Oh, you weren’t there either? The new model made its appropriately-timed appearance in a stylish yellow camo spy wrap. The look showed off some of its speculated body features but also left a lot to the imagination. Work it, girl! The only full view we’ve had of the X2 was as a concept car over a year ago.

While BMW continues to tease the bourgeois with the X2, the X3 M appears much closer to production. The variation of a well-liked model was seen out and about on a test drive with very little camo. The X3 M is a high-performance crossover expected to compete with the likes of the Porsche Macan. It is expected to debut sometime in 2018. But other than that, not much official word from BMW. Motor Authority suspects the X3 M will have “a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, either borrowed from the M2 or the M3/M4.” And for those who truly can’t, there is an X3 M40i option. With this, buyers get a similar build, but not nearly as much hype.

Playoffs Smokin’ Hot

Speaking of hype, NASCAR is hotter than ever in this week’s auto industry news. Yesterday at New Hampshire, an 8-car wreck smoked up what felt like the entire track during Stage 2. Everyone was okay, but the smoke impaired some drivers’ sight and slowed others in the massive pileup. Everyone’s favorite (eye roll), Kyle Busch, snuck away with the victory and a spot in the playoffs’ round of 12. It was Busch’s third win of the year and second consecutive playoff pole start. Because of the wreck, Busch was able to fend off Martin Truex Jr (who finished 5th) and stake his claim near the top of the Playoff standings. Truex, who has been dominant all season, still has the edge over Kyle Larson and Busch respectively. But Saturday’s wreck has appeared to have finally closed the gap. No time for rest in the playoffs, as the field will head to Dover on Sunday.

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