Posts By: Aaron Cole

By on April 21, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (1 of 8)

Note: In light of today’s news regarding an agreement between Volkswagen and U.S. regulators, we believe it’s pertinent to rerun this piece considering Volkswagen still plans on fixing some of the affected 2.0-liter TDI vehicles. —MS

In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.

The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.

The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

Ham_the_chimp_(cropped)

After 853 posts, No. 854 will be my last. Or, at least, my final scheduled story for now.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know TTAC, its readership, fellowship, authors, contributors, editors and the B&B.

Among the thousands of words that I’ve written that have reached your eyeballs, there are only three that come to mind when I think about my tenure as your Newsbot: Thank you, everyone.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

LR_DEF_Celebration_Event_290116_04

The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line Friday at the Solihull, UK facility, according to the automaker.

The wildly uncomfortable, loud and grandfather to all Land Rovers will live on, albeit in name only — the next-generation Defender is already in the works.

The final Land Rover Defenders shared two common parts with the first Series Land Rover, according to the automaker: the hood cleats and underbody support strut. Which is two parts more than I expected would have survived from the originals. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

2013 Nissan Altima. Photo courtesy Nissan.

Nissan announced Friday that it would recall about 870,000 Altimas for faulty hood latches, the third time the automaker has recalled the cars since 2014, according to Reuters.

The affected models are 2013-2015 Altimas, whose secondary hood latches could rust and be ineffective at keeping 20-some square feet of sheet metal from blocking your view of the road.

The automaker attempted to fix the issue in February 2015 and September 2014, but like any good owner of a General Motors 3800 engine will tell you, anything worth doing is worth doing over and over and over again. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2016

tdiengine

A lawyer for Volkswagen said in court that the automaker would buy back cars that it can’t fix in time, the first admission from the company that some of its cars may not be fixable, according to the New York Times.

Volkswagen lawyer Robert Giuffra told a court last week during hearings related to the class-action lawsuits facing the automaker that the company hadn’t determined how many cars would be affected.

“We might have to do a buyback or some sort of a solution like that for some subset of the vehicles, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Giuffra said according to the report. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2016

delorean-erstbesitz-mr-delorean-baujahr-1982-1

For the “Back To The Future” fan keen on winning the parking lot at the next confab, DeLorean announced this week that it’ll make “new” cars again in Texas.

Thanks to a change in the small volume manufacturing law, DeLorean Motor Company said it could build around 300 new cars from parts it purchased when the original DeLorean went under.

The Texas outfit said they’ll bin the puny Renault-Volvo V-6 that made 130 horsepower in favor of a crate engine sourced from somewhere that’ll make 300 to 400 horsepower. Electronics, brakes and other drivetrain goodies will be similarly updated on the car, according to Jalopnik. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2016

Matthias Müller

Refuting a report that many Volkswagen managers were involved with a widespread cheating scandal involving 11 million cars worldwide, at least three different regional offices and hundreds of employees, the automaker’s top brass has other ideas.

“No one has spoken with me,” Volkswagen’s CEO Matthis Müller told reporters on Thursday according to Reuters. “You got the information from some sources who have no idea about the whole matter.”

Set us straight then, Müller. Tell us how hundreds of confiscated hard drives and terabytes of data from multiple offices — those are VW’s figures, not ours — and more than 380 interviewed employees contradict a report that a department was scared shitless to raise their hands and admit failure to higher ups? Because that case is shaping up quite nicely. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2016

2016 NAIAS Ford Stand

Ford announced Thursday that it had earned a record pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion for 2015 — including $2 billion in the fourth quarter — bolstered by pickup sales in the U.S. and strong growth in China.

The record-setting year for the automaker wasn’t much of a surprise — second- and third-quarter results set records along the way — but Ford’s ability to finally turn a profit in Europe may be the most unexpected news. The automaker had lost money in Europe since 2011.

Latin America, notably Brazil, will continue to be a sore spot for Ford and other automakers. Ford said Thursday it expects to lose more money there in 2016 than the $832 million it lost there in 2015.

(Read More…)

By on January 28, 2016

That’s clearly a diesel gurgle coming out of that F-150’s lightly camo’d buttock.

If our ears are to be believed, that would be the pending fulfillment of a prophecy made here two years ago: Ford is preparing a light-duty diesel to sell by 2018.

I have so many questions to ask: What about EcoBoost? Where does that oil burner come from? (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2016

 

Chevrolet Caprice Cop Car

(Sarah Nader/Northwest Herald)

An Illinois sheriff knows a barn find when he sees one.

According to the Northwest Herald, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Stadler spotted an old parade Chevrolet Caprice with 4,000 miles gathering dust in a shed and decided to bring it back into service.

The 20-year-old, LT1-powered police cruiser — which sports none of the modern police cruiser amenities including USB ports, massive touchscreen or even traction control — was pressed into service when Stadler’s Impala was retired.

“I could see the diamond in the rough,” Stadler told the newspaper. “Your non-car person would look at this thing and think, ‘Why would I want this 20-year-old thing covered in dirt?’ Where I was, ‘I really want to clean this thing up.’”

Hell yes. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2016

FCA_Location_1_Torino_Lingotto_high

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday said the automaker would rely more heavily on profitable Jeeps and Rams in North America and Europe to help its business remain profitable in other sagging areas and regions.

“We are not of the view that this industry is facing an impending demise,” Marchionne said before announcing FCA’s adjusted earnings of $1.78 billion in the fourth quarter.

Marchionne and CFO Richard Palmer said Jeep’s success in North America and Europe led the company last year and would be the “bedrock” for the automaker’s future. The automaker laid out specific plans to bring forward a Jeep pickup and Wagoneer, and let wither less-profitable models such as the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra All Terrain X

In the war for ever-lucrative pickup truck money, conspicuous consumption is key. General Motors’ latest salvo in the pickup arms race has mudders, LED lamps, a spray-in bedliner and the letter “X” in its name, jack.

GMC announced Wednesday that it would sell this spring a Sierra 1500 All Terrain X package, which is derived from its All Terrain trim, and includes a handful of goodies thrown on at the factory instead of at the dealership to pry a few more hundred dollars out of the burning pockets of pickup buyers.

Interestingly, the All Terrain X package is available on its 5.3-liter V-8 (with performance exhaust!), not the hi-po 6.2-liter V-8 because product planners will have a name for that later. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

1.6 TDI Motor ( EA 189 ):  Flow straightener Volkswagen

Last we heard, Volkswagen’s small loophole that it could technically skate through on the definition of “cheating” in Europe was fairly well closed.

Last week, Volkswagen’s chief in the UK asserted in a letter to British Parliament that the company may not have have technically cheated in Europe.

“Volkswagen accepts that a defeat device was used in the USA in certain models, in the context of the very different regulatory framework and factual circumstances there,” Paul Willis wrote in a December letter (via New York Times). “However we do not think that it is possible to make the same definitive legal determination in relation to the software that was fitted to those differently configured vehicles in the UK and EU.” (Emphasis ours.)

Holy shit. Really?

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

T-ROC

Volkswagen may bring to Geneva two new small crossovers to complement its aging crossover lineup —including a production version of the T-ROC Concept it showed off in Geneva two years ago — Autocar reported (via Car and Driver).

The T-ROC and reported T-Cross would both be MQB-based crossovers. The T-ROC is Golf-sized and much more probable for North American audiences than the Polo-sized T-Cross.

That’s in line with what we’ve heard, but don’t bet on a refreshed Golf to bow in Geneva in March — we’re hearing Paris in October for that particular reveal. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

Jeep-Renegade-19

On Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will update investors on his long-term plans and fourth-quarter profits — namely, how many Jeeps it sold — during his scheduled earnings conference call.

It’s widely expected that Sergio will address the near-certainty that Jeep will build a pickup based on the Wrangler, as well as the future for the Jeep Compass that’ll likely survive from the Patriot/Compass twin billing, and Jeep’s potential to keep afloat fledgling FCA brands such as Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

Analysts say FCA’s ambitious target of $5 billion profit by 2018 would be almost unattainable at this point.

“‘Ambitious’ is not really an adequate word to describe it, ‘fantasyland’ might be more appropriate,” Bernstein’s Max Warburton told Automotive News.

(Read More…)

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