TRAFFIC ALERT


Renault wants half its cars to be electric or hybrid in 2022

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:36 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:35 AM

French carmaker Renault said Friday that half of its models will be electric or hybrid by 2022 and it's investing heavily in "robo-vehicles" with increasing degrees of autonomy.

A strategic plan released Friday aims to boost Renault annual revenues to 70 billion euros ($82.2 billion) by 2022 from 51 billion euros last year, in part through an effort to double sales outside its traditional markets in Europe — especially Russia and China.

The plans reflect the vision laid out last month by the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance, the world's No. 1 carmaker by sales. Many of Renault's new aims depend on saving money through sharing platforms and development with Nissan and Mitsubishi.

CEO Carlos Ghosn said Renault is aiming to sell more than 5 million vehicles annually by 2022 from 3.2 million last year. The plan relies in part on boosting low-cost car production in emerging markets, notably with the Dacia Logan and Kwid mini-SUV.

As regulators crack down on emissions from combustion engines and as drivers seek cars that can do more by themselves, Ghosn wants to position Renault as a major player in mass-market electric and driverless cars.

"We are confident we can turn upcoming ... challenges into significant business opportunities for Renault," he said.

The company pledged to offer eight purely electric vehicle models and 12 hybrid models by 2022, compared with its 19 diesel or gasoline models sold worldwide, Ghosn said.

The world's major carmakers are rethinking their strategies to profit from pivotal changes in the industry: autonomous cars, connected cars that share data, car-sharing where you don't own a vehicle but order one by app, and low-emissions vehicles demanded by the European Union to fight climate change and by China, where many cities are fighting rampant pollution.

Investing in electric vehicles has hurt profitability in the past, but Ghosn says that should change as they grow in scale. He said electric cars "are turning into a significant contributor to our performance while other automakers are just starting the journey."

Ghosn said Renault would retrain 13,000 people over the next five years to adapt to changing markets.

Renault is aiming to produce 2 million cars per year outside Europe compared with 750,000 cars in 2016, with a heavy push in Russia as its economy picks up.

Asked about challenges to Renault's activity in Iran amid the possibility that the U.S. could reintroduce sanctions, Ghosn said: "Obviously if it becomes impossible to deal with Iran we will put a plan together for the suspension of our business there, but that's not at all to say that we will leave Iran."

Renault was active in Iran before the West imposed sanctions over its nuclear program and was among the first major companies to relaunch its Iranian business when the sanctions were lifted after the 2015 accord to curb Iran's nuclear activities.

Ghosn insisted that Iran's market has major potential. "If we can't work there immediately, then we will work there in 1 year, 2 years, 3 years because I don't think that this is a situation that can last forever."

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Burger King sorry for Russian ad offering free Whoppers to women impregnated by World Cup players

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

FILE- This Feb. 1, 2018, file photo shows a Burger King Whopper meal combo at a restaurant in the United States. Burger King says it's sorry for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who get pregnant from World Cup players. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Gene J. Puskar/AP
FILE- This Feb. 1, 2018, file photo shows a Burger King Whopper meal combo at a restaurant in the United States. Burger King says it's sorry for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who get pregnant from World Cup players. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)(Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Several corporations have launched campaigns for the World Cup, but Burger King is being criticized for one many have called offensive and sexist.

On Tuesday, the Russian division of the fast-food chain announced a new promotion online that offered women $47,000 and a lifetime supply of Whoppers if they got impregnated by athletes competing in the series. 

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“It is a reward for the girls who would get pregnant from the international football superstars,” read the campaign, which was posted on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte

Soon after it was uploaded, the company received backlash on Twitter.

Burger King later removed the advertisement, but it was still being posted by Russian social network users.

“We are sorry about the clearly offensive promotion that the team in Russia launched online,” Burger King said in a statement to The Associated Press, adding that the offer “does not reflect our brand or our values and we are taking steps to ensure this type of activity does not happen again.”

This isn’t the first time the Russian division of the company has been condemned. Last year, it depicted a 17-year-old rape victim in a “buy one burger get one free” ad. It was also taken down. 

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WATCH: Baby elephants get exercise by playing soccer

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

Baby elephants play soccer

Two young elephants had fun with a soccer ball at an elephant rescue center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as video obtained from Reuters shows.

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The two elephants, a male named Dok Geaw, and a female named Thong Ae, are both two years old. They were orphaned when they were young, according to Saengduean Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation. 

Both elephants live in the sanctuary about 60 kilometers from Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, where it currently houses 35 elephants rescued from Thailand's tourism and logging industries since the 1990s, according to their website. 

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There are about 3,700 wild elephants and up to 4,000 domesticated elephants in Thailand, according to British conservation organisation EleAid.

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Birdie traffic selfie: Cockatoo inspects traffic camera, wins the web

Published: Friday, June 01, 2018 @ 8:46 AM

VIDEO: Bird Inspects Highway Cam, Goes Viral

A cockatoo is winning the animal internet contest Friday, if there really was such a thing.

Traffic on a road in Cairns, Australia was going smoothly so there was nothing to see, except for the curious cockatoo that was checking out a traffic camera, 9 News reported.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads posted the video to Facebook where it is closing in on a million views within nine hours of being uploaded. 

It may not have been the camera itself that piqued the interest of the cockatoo. 

A bird expert said that it could have actually been looking at itself.

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“If it’s seeing its reflection it may be communicating in some way. They are very social creatures, and they recognize individuals. A lot of them have friendship groups like we do,” Dr. Adrian Gallagher told ABC.net.

And the bird knows where to look for his reflection. Officials told ABC that this specific bird has visited the camera before. 

“Our traffic management operators sometimes have to give the camera a jiggle to make him fly away when he chews on the camera and cables,” a spokesperson told ABC.

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Parking fail: Valet drives Porsche under SUV

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 7:47 AM

Valet Crashes Porsche In Front of Hotel

No normal bad day of work will compare to a valet’s bad day in Sydney, Australia.

Imagine being in charge of parking a Porsche Carrera and ending up with this:

The Porsche is the crushed car, wedged under the orange SUV. 

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An eyewitness described what happened, CNN reported

“I saw the valet hit the car in from of a parked position,” Jonathan Bouzaid said. “He must have panicked and hit the accelerator causing the Porsche to go further under the orange car and pushing the white car in to the bollards.”

Bouzaid surmised that the valet didn’t realize how powerful a Porsche can be.

CNN reported that the car can go from 0 to 62 in less than five seconds.

The valet had to be cut from the soft-top luxury sports car, Time reported.

He was physically OK, but the Hyatt hotel’s sales and marketing director said the driver was embarrassed and in shock.

The Porsche had damage to the hood and front bumper and was towed from the scene, Time reported.

Some witnesses said they thought the crash was part of a stunt, 9 News in Australia reported.

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