Category: Features

By on June 23, 2016

bark green screen

For over four years now I’ve contributed to this site and others as “Bark M.” Initially, there was some confusion about who I was, why I had a pseudonym, and if I was possibly Jack Baruth in disguise. I’ve spent that time giving you my insights on the automotive industry, the inside scoop on what goes on at dealers, and everything I know about the car-buying business.

Yet, now and then, somebody who disagreed with me would pipe up: “You don’t know what car dealerships are like,” or “What are your credentials, buddy?” I could never really share anything other than, “Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

Today, I’m here to tell you that my name is Mark Baruth, and for the last four years I worked on the inside of one of the biggest companies in the automotive world. This is my story.

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By on June 23, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

On the Muscle Car Calendar, 2016 was supposed to be the Year of Camaro.

After outselling the Ford Mustang in the United States in five consecutive years between 2010 and 2014, it wasn’t surprising to see the Chevrolet Camaro fade into a distant second place in calendar year 2015. The Mustang was all-new in sixth-generation form for model year 2015; the Camaro was in its seventh and last year of its fifth iteration. The refreshed Dodge Challenger’s success may have played a role in the Camaro’s sharp decline, too, as 2015 was the seventh consecutive year of U.S. Challenger sales growth.

2016, with the reborn Camaro freshly reengineered and the Mustang no longer the freshest American muscle, is not turning out to be the Camaro’s time to shine.

Through the first five months of 2016, the Ford Mustang has outsold the Chevrolet Camaro by 21,324 units in the United States, a margin that may be impossible for the Camaro to overcome by year’s end. Read More >

By on June 23, 2016

Ronnie's crashed Honda Fit, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

It’s been a stressful few weeks, but when I remember my children and grandchildren are healthy, everything else is gravy.

TTAC’s long-term test of the 2015 Honda Fit EX came to a sudden halt at 7,987 miles just after I began a left turn through three lanes of stopped traffic south of a red light on Groesbeck, a major road in Macomb County on the east side of Detroit.

I was going to a music store, but couldn’t remember exactly where it was, which landed me traveling in the wrong direction on Groesbeck. To effect a U-turn, I pulled into the left turn lane of the seven-lane highway to turn into some business frontage. Read More >

By on June 22, 2016

Trump and Clinton, Image: Image: By Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg: BU Rob13Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg: Gage [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As this is written in late June, the 2016 presidential race has been whittled down to two presumptive nominees from the two major political parties, and two or three more candidates that should appear on ballots nationwide. There are dozens of issues facing the public, certainly, but as The Truth About Cars is obviously an automotive-focused site, we felt discussing issues not related to the auto industry is well beyond the scope of our talents or expertise.

However, there are plenty of issues that will affect our industry, so we are establishing a discussion on the candidate’s positions on those issues. We aim to present a fair, unbiased assessment that will no doubt be shredded within the first five comments, so have at it.

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By on June 21, 2016

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE

The overwhelming majority of mileage I accumulated in manufacturer-supplied test cars in May was spent in direct hybrid rivals from Ford and Toyota.

The 2016 Ford C-Max SE, Ford’s base model, visited for one week. Then following a stretch in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, a base version of Toyota’s new, fourth-generation Prius was dropped off for an extended stretch.

I’ll take the C-Max, thanks.

Scratch that. I’ll take the Golf R.

But if left to choose between the dedicated hybrids from Ford and Toyota, the C-Max is the one I’d have. So why do car buyers plug their ears when they hear such a recommendation? Read More >

By on June 21, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.12.27 AM

Scott writes:

Dear Bark,

Can you explain the continued existence of dealer sales and service surveys? I recently had my stick-shift 2013 Accord Sport in for a required maintenance, which included an oil change. When I picked up the car, I noticed that the technician had not reset the oil life indicator. So I did it myself.

Two days later, I received a call from the service department asking about the quality of service I received. When I told them everything was fine except that they didn’t reset the oil life indicator, the service rep asked, “Would that prevent you from giving us a passing grade on a customer survey?” I said that given the almost-perfect service, I’d award them four stars out of five. Read More >

By on June 21, 2016

netjet

Now it can be told: About ten years ago, my pal Rodney was an employee at NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway Company(™). Not for long, however. He was fired for making a very specific suggestion to his female boss. TTAC is a family-friendly site, so the best way I can rephrase what he said would be this: “If you (meaning the boss) were to let me (meaning Rodney) aggressively sodomize you in the company bathroom, not only would you experience a form of pleasure with which you are currently not acquainted, it would also result in a significant change in your management style, for the better, particularly as it relates to me, as you would then experience submissive feelings whenever you spoke to me.”

I should point out that Rodney was speaking from honest experience here, having convinced at least two other women in the corporation to participate in similar activities.

“This time, however, I was the one who got f***ed,” Rodney mournfully confessed to me a few days later. “The worst part is that this put a real crimp in my plans for Obsidian Black.”

“Obsidian Black?” I replied, like I’d been the recent recipient of a traumatic brain injury.

“Obsidian Black,” Rodney clarified.

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By on June 20, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline at boat launch ramp, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Honda is playing the long game when it comes to its cute little pickup truck. After selling the original, first-generation Ridgeline for an almost-unheard-of nine years (for perspective, the ninth-generation Civic lasted an incredibly short five years, including a mid-cycle emergency refresh), the second coming of the unibody, light-duty hauler is here.

And guess what? It’s absolutely phenomenal — but there’s a massive catch.

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By on June 19, 2016

Anton Yelchin

According to multiple news reports, promising young actor Anton Yelchin, known for his portrayal of Chekhov in the reborn Star Trek movie series, was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox at his driveway security gate.

The Jeep was parked on a steep hill but found in neutral gear when he was discovered dead.

Considering recent recalls with Fiat Chrysler Automobile shifters, could a badly designed shifter have killed the 27 year old? And could this be the first death attributable to the design flaw?

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By on June 19, 2016

2015 BMW i3 Range Extender, Image: © 2015 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Have you been considering a new BMW but only have enough coin to buy one of Bavaria’s finest? At least one BMW dealer in the U.S. might have a solution.

If you don’t mind buying a new BMW that’s been languishing on the lot for a year, Century West BMW will throw in a lease on a BMW i3 on the house.

Read More >

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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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