Posts By: Timothy Cain

By on August 24, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Spark LS locks overlay, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

General Motors’ 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS does not have power locks.

Correction: as shown in the high-production-quality video embedded below, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS has a mysterious power lock, singular.

For an advertised Canadian base price of $9,995, or $11,595 with destination charges, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark is at once both very well equipped and decidedly spartan. This is not the Ford Festiva you inherited from your ex-girlfriend’s uncle. “The bumper and hood are no good,” he told you, having recently run into a deer. “But she runs pretty good.”

No, in the base 2016 Spark, there’s a backup camera, for example, and antilock brakes, a bundle of air bags, decent seats, Bluetooth, and WiFi availability.

There’s also a bit of magic. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2016

2016 Buick Enclave

A July 2016 surge to 22,960 sales produced the best month of U.S. sales for General Motors’ Buick brand in nearly three years.

“Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown 6 percent,” General Motors claimed in its monthly release, “and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.”

GM also said 2016, with 114,105 retail sales through July, represented the best seven-month retail start to a year since 2005 in the United States.

But don’t get too excited, LeSabre lovers, Skylark supporters, and rooters of Regals. We’re talking about 2005, when U.S. Buick sales had already fallen by more than a third in only three years. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS yellow“Do you want to get in and out of your car easily and do you want to be able to back out of a tight parking spot?” Ford Mustang buyer and former Chevrolet Camaro shopper John Oglesby wrote to Car And Driver for its September 2016 issue. “If so, you need the Mustang.”

John Oglesby is truly representative of the market as a whole. After holding its position as the top dog in the segment for five years, the Chevrolet Camaro predictably lost its title to the Ford Mustang in 2015, the year of an all-new Mustang; the last year for the now-departed fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.

2016 hosted the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Camaro, but a return to sales leadership wasn’t in the cards. Not at any point since the nameplate’s 2009 return has the Camaro sold so poorly. Year-over-year, U.S. Camaro volume is down 15 percent compared with 2015, the Camaro’s previous worst year since returning. (Read More…)

By on August 18, 2016

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada (May 16, 2014) - An all-new Nissan Micra has returned to the Canadian landscape. This is a fun car, packed with details and more value than what is available in other small cars in the market. Its key attributes were on display in Montreal as the brand hosted a welcome-back event for the car., Image: Nissan Canada

Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.

Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.

Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.

There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2017 Audi A4 Ultra

With front-wheel drive, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the all-new 2017 Audi A4 Ultra’s EPA highway fuel economy figure is 37 miles per gallon.

Audi says, “No other luxury sedan in its competitive segment offers higher EPA-estimated city or highway mileage” than the new fuel-sipping A4, which the Environmental Protection Agency rates at 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg combined.

The EPA scores the rear-wheel-drive BMW at 32 mpg city and 42 highway and the 330e at a combined 72 mpge equivalent. Audi presumably excluded these non-entry-level, uniquely powered models from the “competitive segment” definition. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon

Mercedes-Benz Canada’s surprise reveal of a diesel-powered C-Class Wagon at January’s Montreal International Auto Show has not been followed by the car’s arrival in Mercedes-Benz showrooms. Nor is it about to be.

Only yesterday we listed the C-Class Wagon, intended to go on sale in Canada as the C300d 4Matic, as one of eight cars Canadians have access to that Americans don’t. Recognizing that the 2017 C-Class Wagon wasn’t yet featured on the company’s Canadian website, our curiosity was further piqued by TTAC reader bortlicenseplate, who suggested that, “the C-Class Wagon is no longer Canada-bound.”

bortlicenseplate is mostly right. Mercedes-Benz Canada still intends to import the C300d 4Matic Wagon, but Mercedes-Benz Canada spokesperson JoAnne Caza told TTAC yesterday, “We’re still waiting for certification.” (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro UK red

Anticipating virtually nonexistent demand, General Motors will ship 15 copies of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro coupe to the United Kingdom for deliveries in September. Another three Camaro convertibles are expected to find homes one month later.

Chevrolet, which concluded a decade-long full-line foray into Europe last year, will sell the Camaro through only one UK dealer, Ian Allan Motors in Virginia Water, Surrey. You may recall hearing that Virginia Water was the first UK locale outside London in which the average price of a new home crested £1,000,000.

British buyers heading to Virginia Water in search of a new Camaro will certainly need to have access to more funds than buyers who are keen on a new Ford Mustang. Given the blame we cast for poor U.S. Camaro sales on a pricing scheme that presents the Camaro as a premium pony car, it’s not surprising to see that Camaro pricing in the UK would be similarly lofty.

But there’s one key difference. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2016

2016 Toyota Camry XLE

The Toyota Camry began a streak of 14 consecutive years as America’s best-selling car in 2002. Holding that number one position isn’t easy.

Toyota does not merely need the Camry to continue to live up to its reputation for reliability, and subsequently incite demand. Toyota also requires massive production capacity and a pricing scheme that matches production capacity to demand.

Demand in the United States for conventional midsize cars, however, is falling quickly. Year-to-date, overall midsize car volume is down 8 percent. In July 2016, midsize car sales fell 15 percent.

With a 2016 Camry now attempting to leave dealer lots as a five-year-old car, more than two years since its last refresh, Toyota’s desire for the Camry to maintain its high-volume nature and best-selling posture is now matched by a significant uptick in Camry incentives.

Toyota is now discounting Camrys 27-percent more than just one year ago, with an average incentive spend per Camry of $3,760 in July. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz ConceptHyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski is making a name for himself as a worthy successor to the frank-talking John Krafcik. Not hiding behind PR caution or fear of tipping off competitors, Zuchowski told Wards Auto that Hyundai is getting ever closer to a decision on the Santa Cruz.

“It’s definitely making progress,” Zuchowski told Wards in an otherwise crossover-centric interview. Introduced as a small pickup truck concept at 2015’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Hyundai Santa Cruz whetted the appetite of a surging non-full-size pickup truck market. The green light the Santa Cruz has been waiting for, however, is not yet shining bright. Not quite yet. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2016 Toyota TacomaAmerica’s midsize pickup truck segment grew 19 percent in the first seven months of 2016. But as demand for midsize pickups expands throughout the remainder of 2016, it’s increasingly unlikely that the Toyota Tacoma will be able to make the most of the heightened interest.

Tacoma inventory has been tight for months, requiring Toyota to take full advantage of very specific modifications put in place at the San Antonio, Texas, and Baja California, Mexico, production lines a number of years ago.

No longer does a Tacoma roll off the San Antonio line every 65 seconds — it now takes only 60 seconds. There’s even a Saturday shift that drives the San Antonio plant up to 123-percent capacity. (Read More…)

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