Daily News Briefs: June 19, 2012

AAA predicts holiday travel will increase 4.9% over the Fourth of July weekend, with 42.3 million Americans hitting the road — or airport, train station and the like — between Tuesday, July 3, and Sunday, July 8. That's up 42% over Independence Day travel in recession-strapped 2009. Lower gas prices play into the increase. A gallon of regular averages $3.50 nationally, down 19 cents from a month ago, leading 35.5 million of those travelers to plan on piling into their car for the long weekend. Even those who fly may drive more: Rental-car rates for the holiday weekend are down 9% from a year ago, AAA says. If you're planning to pile the family in for that trip to Walley World, Volvo's tips for safe road trips is a good primer.

In other news:

  • Acura design chief Toshinobu Minami concedes the brand originally received "pretty bad feedback" on its trademark shield-like grille, but he says it's here to say, Automotive News reports.
  • Benz Insider says Smart will offer an Iceshine edition of the ForTwo this fall, complete with black-and-white leather seats and unique white paint.
  • Ford opened a new research facility in California's Silicon Valley to develop in-car electronics and research driver distraction, The Detroit Free Press reports.
  • GM may revive the Buick Electra, a nameplate used in decades past. Automotive News reports the company applied to register the nameplate with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Automotive News also says a redesigned Porsche Cayman, with underpinnings and drivetrains tied to the recently redesigned Boxster, will debut at this fall's Los Angeles Auto Show.

More Automotive Industry News
Road Trip Essentials
More Automotive News on Cars.com

More From Cars.com