A bold move from a top OEM

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Report: Takata weighing $1B criminal settlement – Troubled auto supplier Takata is close to agreeing to a criminal settlement of up to $1 billion with U.S. prosecutors over the company’s exploding-air-bags scandal, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The Japanese air bag manufacturer has been negotiating a deal that could involve the company pleading guilty to a range of charges, potentially including wire fraud, according to the Journal.

Blindsided by SUV boom, Hyundai Motor trims costs, perks –  Headed for a fourth straight annual profit decline, Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) is trimming its cost fat; scaling back on business class flights and annual family home trips for overseas employees, executives told Reuters. The South Korean automaker has been hit by its exposure to weak emerging markets, and a product line-up that features more sedans than sport utility vehicles, just as SUVs have become more popular across many global markets.

Brain in the trunk: Ford to unveil next self-driving car –   DETROIT — Ford will debut an upgraded version of its self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan next week, one equipped with more advanced sensors, more computing power and proprietary software that helps the car think for itself. The automaker’s second-generation self-driving prototype has a brain located in the trunk that processes data collected by a host of high-tech sensors that can see the road.

Infiniti Reveals Blueprint For Semi-Autonomous SUV Concept –   Most automakers won’t lift the curtain on their new concepts cars until the Detroit Auto Show’s media preview on Jan. 9, but Infiniti today released photos of the vehicle it plans to show: an upgraded version of its mid-size premium crossover, the QX50. Slotted between Infiniti’s smallest QX30 and largest QX80 SUVs, the concept for the next-generation QX50 will give Nissan’s upscale sister brand a competitive entrant into one of the world’s fastest-growing vehicle segments.

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