Welcome to While You Were Sleeping, a roundup of the auto news from the recent past. We’ll be expanding and changing this report based on reader tastes. To begin with, it will feature just the hits that we didn’t cover with individual articles.
And The Second Most-Traded In Car Is A Segway: General Motors claims that the Toyota Prius is the most frequent trade-in for the Chevrolet Volt. Another statistic: Volt owners average 63 percent of their time in EV mode. Which means that they’re only annoyed by the Volt’s less-than-stellar gas mileage in normal mode 37 percent of the time, I suppose. Volt owners have saved more than 25 million gallons of gasoline, enough to run the Gulfstream V private aircraft of our betters an amazing 2800 days. That is enough to cover Al Gore’s jet itinerary at least five times! The figures were based on a looking at 300 Volts in California.
The First Guy To Try It Was The Emperor Nero: So-called “neutrality agreements” leave the door wide open for unions to organize an employer without opposition using whatever methods they feel are required. But do they equate to an actual taxable or illegal subsidy for those unions? Navistar’s decision not to oppose a third attempt to organize their 650 workers at a Tulsa schoolbus plant might fall afoul of judicial oversight based on recent court decisions elsewhere. But why would a company beat the union twice, as Navistar did, then roll over? Sources point to a relationship between the new Navistar CEO and the UAW. They “negotiated contracts together” at GM. Was he paid off? Threatened? Or has he learned that a union can be a remarkably pliable partner in the modern capitalist era?
Because That’s All They Can Sell: There’s a new Aston Martin Lagonda afoot — even as our own reader doctorv8 has his William Towns original rotisserie-restored. Sources told CAR that the production run could be fewer than 100 units. Styling is said to be angular, as was the styling of the Eighties Lagonda. Power would come from the disgraceful Rapide. The emirs will no doubt buy a few, but the rest of the world is likely to yawn.
Maybe It’s Because They Can’t Agree On How To Pronounce It: Aluminum construction is sweeping the industry, from the original Audi Space Frame A8 to the new F-150. But the Koreans haven’t chosen it for their upscale hardware despite doing test builds of an aluminum-panel K900. The new Genesis actually dials back the use of Al in its construction, gaining 390 pounds in the process. Cost is the key, experts say — and with lower volumes for their upscale vehicles compared to the Germans, there’s less of a chance to amortize expensive production techniques or absorb the massive price premium commanded by aluminum over good old steel.
This Means The End Of Those Videos Where The Cops Are Chasing Criminals And All Of Them Are Driving What Appears To Be A VW Fox: Brazil and Argentina are opening their borders to tariff-free imports from Europe and elsewhere, a process that could take fifteen years or more, together with a lifting of quotas for Mexican imports to those countries. “This will consolidate the current process of technological updating of this region’s products” opines Just Auto. In other words: VW has used its ability to manipulate the governments of South American countries for decades now, and they’ve used it to reap massive profits while saddling customers with ancient hardware. But there is an end to every story.
Alright, ya’ll, that’s While You Were Sleeping for Monday, June 23, 2014!