Mulally, Nader to enter Automotive Hall of Fame

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally, with the redesigned 2014 Mustang in New York in 2013.

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally and consumer activist Ralph Nader will join Bertha Benz, the wife and business partner of Carl Benz, who invented the gasoline-powered automobile, and engineer Roy Lunn, godfather of the Ford GT40, as the latest inductees into the Automotive Hall of Fame, the museum said Thursday.

The four inductees will be honored at the hall’s 2016 induction and awards ceremony on July 21 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

“We are pleased to induct four individuals whose entrepreneurial spirit helped create today’s global automotive industry,” William R. Chapin, president of the Automotive Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Each made their unique vision a reality through tenacity, creativity and forward thinking, traits that still drive the auto industry evolution today.”

Mulally, 70, oversaw the team that created the first all-digital airplane, the Boeing 777. He became CEO of Ford in 2006 and steered the company through the severe downturn of 2008-09 before retiring in July 2014.

The museum, in honoring Mulally, credited the former Ford chief with one of the “greatest turnarounds in American business” and his “epic gamble” in approving development of the company’s redesigned, all-aluminum F-150 pickup truck, a first for a major automaker.

“Mulally guided the Ford team in working together on a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy and relentless implementation of the One Ford plan to successfully guide the company through the U.S. financial crisis and restore Ford’s status as one of the world’s leading automakers,” the hall said in a statement.

Ralph Nader Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Nader upended the auto industry more than 50 years ago with hislandmark book, “Unsafe At Any Speed,” that exposed safety lapses in General Motor vehicles. The book sparked government hearings and helped introduce a wave of U.S. regulations and spurred Congress to create the federal agency that became the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Lunn, 91, a former Royal Air Force pilot with degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering, joined Ford in 1953 to start a new research center in England. In 1962, he and a team of engineers developed a two-seat Ford Mustang I prototype in just 100 days.

Roy Lunn with the Ford GT40 Photo credit: FORD

After Ford CEO Henry Ford II’s attempt to acquire Ferrari collapsed, Lunn took on a special assignment to design and develop a GT racing car. The Ford GT40captured first, second and third places at Le Mans fifty years ago this month and ended Enzo Ferrari’s domination of endurance sports car racing.

Lunn later joined American Motors in 1971 as head of engineering for Jeep and developed what would become the Jeep XJ — the Cherokee and Wagoneer. They were produced for 18 years with total output of nearly 3 million, the hall said.

Bertha Benz was a driving force behind the invention of the automobile. She is widely credited for becomingthe first person, in 1888, to drive an automobile, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, over a long distance. She also served as her own mechanic on the trip. While she was not an engineer or inventor, the hall said she “must be mentioned at the same time as her husband, Carl Benz, the inventor of the automobile.” They will become the first husband and wife to be inducted into the hall. Carl Benz entered the hall in 1984.

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Lumber Liquidators Settles Charges Related to Safety of Chinese-Made Laminate Flooring

Company to pay $2.5 million to California state regulators over products’ safety

As part of the agreement, Lumber Liquidators will implement a series of compliance procedures. Shown, the post that handles Lumber Liquidators on New York Stock Exchange in February.ENLARGE
As part of the agreement, Lumber Liquidators will implement a series of compliance procedures. Shown, the post that handles Lumber Liquidators on New York Stock Exchange in February. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lumber Liquidators Inc. has agreed to pay $2.5 million to California state regulators to settle charges related to the safety of the hardwood-flooring company’s laminate products sourced in China.

The company didn’t admit wrongdoing, according to a regulatory filing, and Lumber Liquidators said the California Air Resources Board “concluded its review with no formal finding of violation or admission of wrongdoing on the part of the company.”

Shares in the company rose 11% to $13.39 midday, though they are still down more than 20% so far this year.

As part of the agreement, Lumber Liquidators will implement a series of compliance procedures to ensure its flooring products comply with CARB’s formaldehyde standards, which are the most stringent in the country. The company and CARB have also agreed to collaborate to establish best practices and protocols for testing flooring products with the aim of setting a new industry standard.

Lumber Liquidators came under fire after a “60 Minutes” segment last March alleged the company sold laminate flooring with unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. The report has pummeled the company’s stock, and led to sharp declines in sales and the departures of several top executives, including the CEO at the time.

In February, federal regulators said certain types of its laminate flooring are three times as likely to cause cancer than it previously reported.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention corrected an error in a previous report it had issued, which said the flooring contained levels of formaldehyde that could cause minor health issues but posed little chance for increased cancer risk.

On Tuesday, Chief Executive John Presley pointed to consumer-safety initiatives the company has taken over the past year.

“We strengthened our quality assurance procedures, launched the largest voluntary testing program in our nation’s history and, in May 2015, voluntarily suspended the sale of all laminate flooring sourced from China,” he said.

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Green Building talk explores energy-efficient roofing materials

Considering a new roof in the not-too-distant future? Residents can learn about options for durability, environmental performance and curb appeal at a free Green Building Program 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7 at the Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road.

Tyler Allwood

Tyler Allwood

“Beyond Reflectivity: The Future of Energy Efficient Roofing” will feature a presentation by Tyler Allwood.

Over 43 percent of all electricity consumed in Valley homes is used for air conditioning. Roofs that reflect the desert sun’s heat back into space and help keep building interiors comfortable offer attractive savings on energy costs for air conditioning.

“Cool” roofs also reduce ambient air temperature, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The program will discuss energy-efficient roofing products and the pros and cons of using reflective roofing surfaces, ventilation, insulative materials and innovative roofing products.

Mr. Allwood will share his experience with energy efficiency, performance and durability of roofing products in the harsh desert environment. He is the national director of Technical Services and Systems for Eagle Roofing Products, the largest USA owned concrete roof tile manufacturer.

The lecture series is sponsored by the Scottsdale Green Building Program. The lectures are free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

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Volkswagen: Sharan launches with new engines and extensive networking features

Ten key facts about the new Sharan:

  1. New TSI and TDI engines up to 14.3 per cen more fuel efficientt; the most efficient model consumes just 5.0 l/100 km.
  2. All engines (115 to 220 PS) fulfil the Euro-6 standard.
  3. Completely new array of infotainment systems.
  4. Perfectly networked with ‘Android Auto™’ (Google), ‘CarPlay™’ (Apple), ‘MirrorLink™’ and ‘Volkswagen Car-Net’.
  5. Thanks to Blind Spot Monitor (optionally linked to Lane Assist), Rear Traffic Alert and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System even safer.
  6. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Front Assist with City Emergency Braking are available in the Sharan for the first time.
  7. New LED rear lights and 16-inch alloy wheels.
  8. Interior is upgraded with higher quality trim and materials, plus enhanced instrumentation.
  9. The launch in Europe starts in mid-July (w/c 13th July).
  10. Exclusive ‘Beach’ and ‘Ocean’ models for the launch.

Volkswagen Sharan

  • For two decades the highly flexible Sharan has been one of European families’ main motoring companions. In addition, the 5- to 7-seat Volkswagen has also made a career for itself as a refined business vehicle, especially in Asia. Having sold over 200,000 units in the current generation and over 800,000 in total, a technically much enhanced version of the MPV is now making its debut. Numerous convenience and driver assistance systems are new on board, with many of these celebrating their premiere in the Sharan’s vehicle segment. Volkswagen – with the ‘VW Campervan’ the inventors of the compact MPV – have also completely updated the array of infotainment systems. These provide a maximum degree of connectivity, as ‘MirrorLink™‘ ‘CarPlay™‘ from Apple and ‘Android Auto™‘ from Google are also included for the first time. Also at the forefront of the changes are the Sharan’s new engines, which consume up to 14.3 per cent less fuel and fulfil the Euro-6 emission standard.
  • 115 to 220 PS. The engines* used – two petrol (TSI) and three diesel (TDI) – are four-cylinder, 16-valve engines that are both powerful and efficient, featuring turbocharging and direct fuel injection. The TSI engines deliver 110 kW / 150 PS and 162 kW / 220 PS (a gain of 20 PS) respectively, with the 150 PS version consuming, in combination with the standard manual transmission, just 6.4 l/100 km. The TDI engines are available at three power levels: 85 kW / 115 PS, 110 kW / 150 PS (gain of 10 PS) and 135 kW / 184 PS (gain of 7 PS). The TDI versions delivering 115 and 150 PS consume, in combination with the six-speed manual gearbox, a mere 5.0 l/100 km. All diesel engines are fitted with an SCR catalytic converter. Also standard on all models are Stop-Start and brake energy recovery systems. A remarkable feat given the size of the vehicle is that practically all TSI models achieve efficiency class B (220 PS: C) and all TDI versions achieve efficiency class A. With the exception of the smallest diesel, all engines can be combined with an automatic six-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which now provides a ‘coasting’ function (decoupling of the engine when lifting off the accelerator) for additional fuel-saving. The DSG transmission is included as standard with the top 220 PS engine. As an alternative, the 150 PS TDI engine is also available with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
  • New driver assistance systems. Further increases in convenience and safety are provided, as outlined above, by the new driver assistance systems in the Sharan. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is included as standard. The optional Front Assist traffic monitoring system alerts the driver if the distance to the vehicle ahead is too short and applies the brakes as necessary. Meanwhile, the City Emergency Braking function integrated within the system is active at speeds of up to 30 km/h and, if worse comes to worst, automatically initiates emergency braking in order to avoid a collision or to minimise its intensity. For the first time, the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system is also available on the Sharan. The electronic parking brake system now features an Auto Hold function, which stops the vehicle rolling back when stationary or driving off. Other new optional features include the third generation Park Assist system (assisted manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces) and the Blind Spot Monitor (alerts drivers to the presence of vehicles in the blind spot when changing lanes), which also includes Rear Traffic Alert, a system that warns of any traffic coming across the vehicle’s path when reversing out of a parking space.
  • Second generation modular infotainment matrix. The completely updated array of touchscreen infotainment modules encompasses the standard 5-inch ‘Composition Colour’ system and the 6.5-inch systems called ‘Composition Media’ and ‘Discover Media’ (with navigation). The Sharan also offers an extremely high degree of connectivity, as it can for the first time be equipped with the ‘App-Connect’ and ‘Guide & Inform’ Car-Net functions. ‘App-Connect’ is based on the smartphone interfaces ‘MirrorLink™‘, ‘Android Auto™‘ (Google) and ‘CarPlay™‘ (Apple), via which all sorts of different apps can be fed into the infotainment system. Volkswagen ‘Guide & Inform’ online services also provide information such as up-to-date traffic alerts and details of free spaces in nearby car parks and filling stations with low fuel prices. The ‘Discover Media’ infotainment system can also be linked to ‘Media Control’: via this new app users are able to use Wi-Fi and a tablet to access functions of the on-board system, such as navigation or the media player.
  • Optimised exterior and interior. The Sharan’s exterior has been sharpened: the rear light cluster with LED technology presents a more concise light signature, while the revised model also gains an extended range of wheels, including the new 16-inch ‘Jakarta’ alloys, and two new body colours (‘Hudson Bay Blue Metallic’ and ‘Crimson Red Metallic’). The interior has been optimised as well: three new trim designs – ‘Platinum Silver’ (standard on the Trendline), ‘Piano Black’ (standard on the Highline) and ‘Mirror Oak’ (available as an option for the Comfortline and Highline) – enhance the dashboard and the door panels. Modified steering wheels and a massage function for the optional 12-way seats optimise ergonomics
  • Exclusive special models. Volkswagen is enhancing the Sharan’s launch with two stylishly customised special models: the Sharan Ocean and Sharan Beach. They are painted in two new colours: ‘Hudson Bay Blue Metallic’ (Ocean) or ‘Crimson Red’ (Beach). Extended options for exterior equipment include the newly designed ‘Jakarta’ 16-inch alloy wheels and silver roof rails. The two exclusive versions are also equipped with the ACC assistance system, Lane Assist, the Blind Spot Monitor plus Rear Traffic Alert and Park Assist (including ParkPilot). Also included as standard are specially designed seat covers with contrast stitching coordinated with the exterior colour, a multifunction steering wheel, a gear lever gaiter with corresponding decorative stitching, electric rather than manual sliding doors for the rear seating area and automatic air conditioning.
  • The model range. The Sharan is available with 5, 6 or 7 seats and always with two sliding doors. As was once the case with the first ‘VW Campervan’, the Sharan has been designed on the principle of ‘form follows function’ in order to be able to create a superbly flexible and spacious interior. Clear, precise design and the ratio of its proportions make a confident, unmistakable presence a hallmark of the new Sharan. It is 4,854 mm long, 1,713 mm high (without roof rails) and 1,904 mm wide (2,081 mm including wing mirrors). The result is a dynamic interplay of proportions and a powerful overall look and feel. The Sharan is one of the most successful MPVs in its class. Key reasons for this are its flexibility and exceptionally good interior space. The EasyFold seat design, with its quick-to-use folding mechanism, makes it easy to stow the individual seats of the second and third rows into the floor of the vehicle, thus maximising its flexibility. The passenger seats in the second row can be repositioned laterally, and the backs can be adjusted by an angle of 20 degrees. Features such as two integrated child seats, up to nine air bags and 33 storage bins, plus an impressive luggage capacity of 2,430 litres also speak for themselves. Further characteristic features of the Sharan that have made it the most successful German MPV in its class include a high level of quality, perfect ergonomics and intuitive ease of use.

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