Posts By: mseth_parks

By on January 26, 2017

Ford Ranger 3.2L TDCI Wildtrak exterior beauty shot, Image: Radek Beneš/The Truth About Cars

On September 5, 2006, Alan Mulally moved into the corner office at the Glass House. He brought with him a simple management philosophy he developed over three decades at Boeing Commercial Aircraft. After a short time at Ford, he formalized his philosophy, which continues to guide the company under Mark Fields.

He called it One Ford — and along with a lot of hard work, that philosophy transformed the Blue Oval into the profitable, future-oriented automaker we know today.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

If you want a new midsize truck, you have four-and-a-half options. The geriatric but delightfully trucky Nissan Frontier, the recently reintroduced unibody Ridgeline, the insipid GM Colorado/Canyon twins, or the relatively fresh Toyota Tacoma. Each of these trucks has something to recommend it, but the midsize segment is not the dynamic space it once was. […]

By on January 9, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, Image: Nissan

You know it. Nissan knows it.

Consumers are fleeing cars in favor of high-riding crossovers. And the Rogue Sport is another one.

Despite the name, Nissan’s newest utility is less Rogue Jr. and more overseas transplant. Nissan America adapted the Qashqai, available in global markets since 2006, with a new name to meet North American tastes (though not in Canada, where it’ll still use its Turkic nomenclature). The renaming ensures we can pronounce it (and Nissan can preserve its Star Wars connection). More importantly, it hitches the new crossover to Nissan’s best selling nameplate.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

ff_91_exterior_8

One year after Faraday Future (FF) revealed its futuristic and racy FFZERO1 concept, the company has pulled back the curtain on its first production car.

The FF 91 is cut from cloth similar to the recently revealed Lucid Air. Both cars are being built by California-based, Chinese-backed companies. And both are scheduled to follow Tesla into the EV Super Sedan market as Trump’s first term hits its midpoint. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2016

Lucid Reveal

Wednesday night, in a nondescript warehouse southeast of San Francisco, Lucid Motors revealed its first car, and the almost-production ready Air has far more to offer than its name implies. This low slung sedan is a head turning, headline-grabbing car offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range.

(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

car insurance (State Farm/Flickr)

To quote Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

You certainly don’t need TTAC to tell you auto insurance premiums are on the rise. You already know rates are trending up, well in excess of inflation. Nonetheless, let’s unpack some of the factors that have the average American now spending more than $100 per month on auto insurance. (Read More…)

By on October 28, 2016

Volkswagen Atlas, Image: Seth Parks

The Atlas, Volkswagen’s entry into the hotly contested three-row crossover segment, is here — and it has the company’s future fortunes resting on its shoulders.

Volkswagen has not been doing well in the United States. Since 2012, its best sales year this millennia, VW has shed 30 percent of its sales volume. The brand that invented the compact car in the eyes of many Americans now finds itself in 14th place on the brand leaderboard with a 1.6 percent market share.

Dieselgate didn’t help, but its unbalanced product range may be the more nagging culprit. This is VW’s first mainstream, three-row crossover.

(Read More…)

By on October 21, 2016

Stunt School

Because precision 90 degree slides

At the Willow Springs International Raceway, about 90 minutes north of LA, stunt school owner and veteran stunt driver Rick Seaman describes a maneuver to a group of four students. We are seated around a folding table on the oval infield as he demonstrates using a 1:32 scale Dodge Viper. Nothing in Rick’s demeanor suggests boredom, despite this being at least the 1,000th time he has described this maneuver.

Soon, an instructor emerges from the far end of the track to demonstrate the move in a real car in real time. Sharpie — not sure if that’s his real name — makes the 90-degree slide look easy, several times. Students then strap into their assigned Caprice, each seemingly held together with a roll cage, stickers, and overspray. We line up. Rick calls each car to action one by one. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

Yoyo believes, like other mobility disruptors, that the traditional automobile acquisition and ownership experience is broken. It maintains that the majority of consumers can be provided with more flexible, efficient, lower-cost alternatives to the incumbent model of personal mobility. However, the prevailing two-step distribution system is entrenched and the insurance, maintenance, parking, and other segments of the $2 trillion extended auto industry are not incentivized to embrace change.

Will Yoyo’s pay-per-mile subscription model participate in disrupting the calcified status quo? (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2016

2017 Mondeo ST-Line Front

As an automotive journalist, I’m bound by blood oath to promote the manual transmission and station wagon, preferably together. And I acknowledge that arguments made in support of three-pedals and D pillars are often more emotional than practical.

Not today.

There are no fewer than four sets of logical reasons Ford should reintroduce the midsize, mainstream wagon to American life (though probably with an automatic).

(Read More…)

By on August 23, 2016

2016 Nissan Frontier

At a recent Nissan truck and SUV event in Carmel, a senior Nissan rep indicated there is zero chance the Smyrna, Tennessee based operation will alter its winning mid-size pickup formula.

When asked about the prospects of a unibody Frontier, Dan Passe, Senior Manager of Nissan Brand Communications, laughingly responded, “We don’t normally comment on future product, but a unibody Frontier is not happening.”

Honda is encountering strong demand for its recently launched, second-generation unibody Ridgeline, but Nissan will not follow Honda down the dedicated lifestyle truck path.

(Read More…)

By on August 2, 2016

Wherever roads fade to tracks, bridges give way to fords, and addresses become coordinates, an intense internecine war is under way. Since the Land Cruiser and Patrol were born in 1951, Nissan and Toyota have battled over which automaker produces the best large, go-anywhere, do-anything SUV. It’s a competition that has spawned battle wagons of ever increasing size, […]

By on June 28, 2016

Do you yearn to feel your truck lunge forward under moderate throttle, the hood heaving up before you? Do you ache for that gentle linear pre-runner sway into every corner? Does your current rig sport a sticker with Calvin maliciously relieving himself on a Blue Oval? If so, Dealer Services International’s Tundra Pro Runner may […]

By on June 22, 2016

Kinshasa Traffic, Image: MONUSCO Photos/Flickr

If you can describe a road surface as being home to a rock formation, you might be in Kinshasa, Congo.

Protrusions of solid rock extend several feet above the road surface, as though thrust upward by some geologic force. In fact, these shockingly large outcroppings are made possible through an unfortunate combination of poor construction, over-use, and extreme neglect. I came upon several such promontories during a recent visit to the Congolese capital. And these were not rural or back street rock climbing opportunities. These can be found on main roads across the city center.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

2013 Jeep Trailhawk II Front

Don’t do it for us. Do it for yourself.

Jeep is not a purveyor of transportation appliances. It creates and markets lifestyle products built on its off-road reputation. And the brand is not well positioned to compete in the increasingly crowded SUV/CUV space based purely on quality and everyday performance. But that’s okay, because Jeep can drive growth by playing to the strengths that brought it 865,000 customers last year, the essence of which is extreme off-road capability.

Jeep sales grew a dizzying 25 percent in the United States last year. Through the first third of 2016, the brand is tracking for two-percent growth. Blowing past the elusive one million sales mark in the U.S., and staying there, will not be easy. The Wrangler will continue to anchor the emotional identity of the brand, but Jeep would benefit from diversification as the top. To continue its impressive seven consecutive years of growth, Jeep should offer two distinct, yet equally capable products that speak to enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike.

Jeep needs to build a hardcore, off-road version of the Grand Cherokee.

(Read More…)

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