Category: News Blog

By on February 9, 2016

Volkswagen SCR

Owners of some Volkswagen TDI models are experiencing premature selective catalyst reduction (SCR) failures because of AdBlue heaters that, in some cases, aren’t lasting more than 50,000 miles.

According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, many Volkswagen TDI owners are arriving at dealerships after seeing check engine lights for failing AdBlue (diesel emissions fluid) heaters. Those heaters, explained the source, fail “based more on time than mileage” and cost over $1,000 to replace.

The cost of the parts and labor is a slap to the face for many TDI owners, as SCR systems in those cars are not scrubbing the required amount of NOx from diesel exhaust even when the AdBlue heaters are operating properly.

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By on February 9, 2016

01 Volkswagen Jetta

We knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. We knew it would get worse before it got better. But did you know it would be this difficult for Volkswagen of America to sell cars, and did you know it would get this bad this soon?

And could it get even worse?

Volkswagen brand sales in the United States tumbled 15 percent in January 2016, a year-over-year loss of 3,425 units. With barely more than 20,000 total sales, January 2016 sales fell to a 60-month low. Not since January 2011, when Volkswagen sold only 18,401 vehicles in America, has the company generated so little showroom activity. Read More >

By on February 9, 2016

Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, Frank Tuch

Like rats abandoning a sinking ship, Volkswagen managers see the writing on the wall in Wolfsburg. Whether or not their particular jobs are in jeopardy, from their own actions or those of others, the road ahead is long, rough, and filled with busy days and sleepless nights.

The latest to jump ship is Frank Tuch (right), who has led Group Quality Assurance at Volkswagen Group AG since 2010. He will be replaced effective February 15, 2016 by Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler (left), who joined Volkswagen in 1986 and previously held the same role.

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By on February 9, 2016

2015_Subaru_XV_Crosstrek_(1_of_2)

Sajeev,

We have three cars in our household that see regularly use, but we are considering going down to two vehicles in an attempt to save some money. However, instead of just getting rid of one of those three cars, we are trading in two of them toward a newer vehicle that we plan to keep long term.

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By on February 8, 2016

2015CadillacEscalade_(4_of_9)

Cadillac has one exceptionally good, class-leading model in its range. That model doesn’t have a V badge. It isn’t even a car. And almost nothing about it is unique. It’s the Escalade. And people can’t get enough of its luxury whipped cream dolloped atop its American apple pie.

Contrary to recent reports that the Escalade will abandon its body-on-frame roots, it looks like the Escalade will continue as a luxury offshoot of its full-size SUV cousins — the Yukon and Tahoe/Suburban — reports the Detroit Free Press based on an interview with Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen:

“The Escalade must become more sophisticated and technically advanced, more detail oriented” in its interior design and materials, [Johan de Nysschen] said. “We can do all that with a body-on-frame architecture.”

Though, if we’re to dig into this no-change-is-good story a bit more, maybe Cadillac couldn’t change the Escalade even if it wanted to.

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By on February 8, 2016

hateful-eight-guitar-smash3

The guitar collecting world is abuzz over the destruction of a near priceless, 145-year-old guitar made by the C.F. Martin company on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum for the production of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”

Kurt Russell took the guitar out of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s hands and smashed it thinking it was a prop replica and not the original. Leigh’s shocked reaction was genuine as she knew she was playing the real artifact. Director Tarantino was reported to be pleased with the results; the C.F. Martin company less so.

Aren’t you glad the producers of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Miami Vice” destroyed fake Ferraris? My guess is that not very many guitar aficionados will pay to see Tarantino’s latest oeuvre.

Mayhem and destruction (not all of it real) after the jump.

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By on February 8, 2016

Wilson Football

Some automakers decided that they would surprise viewers with their Super Bowl advertisements, rather than release them early and make my job easier.

Some other advertisers decreed that #SB50 would be the night of bowel issues, or of projectile obstetrics.

Let’s discuss the car ads I didn’t cover on Saturday … I’m sure there are other blogs for that other stuff. Eww.

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By on February 8, 2016

1990 Eagle Talon TSi

For me, certain car brands evoke strong emotions. Nissan is certainly one that will always get the benefit of great memories, even if some of their current products are less than memorable. Conversely, I have reservations with Ford. As much as I enjoyed the Fusion I drove last month, the Focus I owned at the turn of the century had so many failures and recalls that I struggle to consider the Blue Oval without shivers.

Mitsubishi, on the other hand, doesn’t really register with me. There were at least two of them in the household as I was growing up — a 3000GT and an Eclipse Spyder — but I never drove them, and never bonded with them like the other sports cars to grace our garage. Perhaps the cheap prices and seemingly-disposable nature of the cars effectively blocked them from my memories.

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By on February 7, 2016

Kenneth Feinberg, Generous Solution Quote

Kenneth Feinberg, the man behind Volkswagen’s claims fund, stated American VW TDI customers should expect an offer that will make them very happy in an interview published this weekend.

When asked by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (via Reuters) what he will offer the more than 500,000 Americans who own dirty diesels, he replied, “I can promise that there will be a generous solution.”

What that solution will be is anyone’s guess, including Feinberg’s.

“The jury is still out, and at the moment all options are up for debate: cash payments, buybacks, repairs, replacements with new cars,” he said.

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By on February 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 12.14.52 PM

No, the State of Colorado isn’t blowing up grandmas for doing 10 mph under the limit in the left lane. But the state’s Department of Transportation is keeping people safe by clearing avalanches with World War II artillery.

Armed with a 105 mm howitzer — possibly an M101A1, though please feel free to correct us — the Colorado DOT clears avalanche prone areas by shooting shells up to 7 miles away into the mountain tops. Those shells have a secondary charge that explodes on impact to trigger a controlled avalanche.

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