By on March 24, 2016

2016 Buick Avista Concept, Image: General Motors

Would Buick consider producing a pickup truck? Now that the brand’s lineup has been fleshed out to include sedans, SUVs, and a convertible, what’s stopping General Motors from adding a Buick-badged variant to either its midsize or large-truck portfolio?

According to Ed Welburn, who oversees global design for GM, there’s a simple answer.

“No, I don’t see it,” Welburn said, wincing. “Wow. I haven’t gotten that question from anyone.”

At that point we expected silence, as it’s not if anyone is clamoring for a Buick pickup truck, despite a market that’s moving toward softer pickups that err on the side of comfort and convenience — but Welburn went on.

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By on March 22, 2016

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Mazda just blew the top off, then stowed it away neatly in its targa trunk.

Tonight, on the eve of the New York International Auto Show, Mazda showed off its latest creation: the MX-5 RF, which stands for Retractable Fastback. According to eagle-eyed TTAC contributor Chris Tonn, who was able to get a little closer to the car than myself, the removable roof panel won’t negatively affect trunk space any more than the normal convertible hard top.

If you were waiting for a reason to buy a Miata, this is it.

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By on March 5, 2016

Red flag Michigan

TTAC reader Morpheus (who has an awesome name by any standard) sent in this shot of a Chinese limo driving around Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Hongqi H7 isn’t built by some neo-capitalist Chinese outfit, either, as the brand has been in existence since 1958. It’s also properly presidential. Hongqi (which translates to Red Flag) has built limousines for The Party’s higher-up ranks in the past.

But why is it parading around Ann Arbor?

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By on March 1, 2016

2016 Dacia Duster Essential front 3/4, Image: Renault

Romanian automaker Dacia is crafting limited-edition versions of its most popular models and wants its online fans to name them.

To mark the initiative, Dacia brought its first such model — the Swiss market-bound Duster Essential — to show off at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Creature comforts like power windows and doors, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and a new specialty body color (which even covers the bumpers!) are what sets these versions apart from their entry-level brethren. It also puts greater distance between the brand and its crude Eastern Bloc origins.

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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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By on February 6, 2016

Volkswagen Diesel Sale Disclaimer

The fuel cost savings of a diesel vehicle can be huge for those who eat up highway miles. However, with Volkswagen’s voluntary stop sale of those vehicles implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, you may think you can’t buy one from a Volkswagen dealer.

You’d be wrong.

According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, Volkswagen dealers are still able to sell an affected diesel vehicle should it meet certain conditions: that it not be a “certified pre-owned” (CPO) or new vehicle, and that the buyer signs a disclaimer stating they understand the vehicle being purchased pollutes more than government compliance tests initially indicated.

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By on January 30, 2016

Elon Musk

The automotive and tech blogs are aflutter Saturday with news that Elon Musk has gobbled up another chunk of Tesla stock — this time at a discount.

Musk exercised and held a stock option this week that saw the multi-billionaire increase his ownership of Tesla Motors by 532,000 shares. In total, those shares are worth over $101 million as of the last closing price of $191.20/share.

Here’s where the discount comes in: Musk’s option dictated a price pegged to the share value as of Dec. 4, 2009, before the automaker went public, of $6.63/share — or just over $3.5 million.

Sounds like Elon got a stellar deal. But does any of it matter? Is owning 1/5th of Tesla a big deal?

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By on January 9, 2016

GrandNational 011

If you were looking for at least one wild-ass auto show rumor to see you through the weekend, look no further: Bloomberg (via AutoGuide) is reporting that Buick may show “a sporty coupe concept” this weekend prior to the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

The sports car, reported to be “about the size of the Chevrolet Camaro,” is expected to debut Sunday night. AutoGuide is now speculating that model will be called — drum roll, please — Grand National!

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By on January 8, 2016

Detroit Concept Teaser #2

Kia announced Friday that its upcoming concept, to debut at the North American International Auto Show next week, will be named Telluride — continuing the long, illustrious history of vehicles being named after places in the state of Colorado.

If you buy vehicles based on solely their names and currently own a Chrysler Aspen, this is your next luxury SUV.

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By on January 8, 2016

Photo courtesy of Washington State DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Suppose you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle and you’re looking to fit a set of winter tires. Also, let’s assume that two of those tires have much more tread depth than the other two. On which end of the car do you install the better rubber?

According to the CBC, a woman in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada (that’s my town!) ran into just this problem, complete with conflicting advice from two repair shops: One said putting the fresher rubber up front is safer as the vehicle is front-wheel drive, while the other said giving the rear more grip is the best course of action to reduce the chance of a spin out.

Which one is correct?

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

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