The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:13:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Are You Ready For… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/are-you-ready-for/ Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Toyota New Global Architecture Key To Automaker’s Powertrain, Platform Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-new-global-architecture-key-automakers-powertrain-platform-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-new-global-architecture-key-automakers-powertrain-platform-plans/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032529 The culmination of Toyota’s Global Vision plan, the Toyota New Global Architecture is key to the automaker’s new powertrain and platform development plans. The automaker says the TNGA modular platform allows for better positioning of powertrain components for a lower center of gravity, as well as providing the basis for “attractive, low-stance designs, responsive handling, […]

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The culmination of Toyota’s Global Vision plan, the Toyota New Global Architecture is key to the automaker’s new powertrain and platform development plans.

The automaker says the TNGA modular platform allows for better positioning of powertrain components for a lower center of gravity, as well as providing the basis for “attractive, low-stance designs, responsive handling, a high-quality drive feel, and collision performance that offers safety and peace of mind.” Further, overall body rigidity with TNGA has been increased by 30 to 65 percent, with reinforcement from laser screw welding technology.

On the powertrain side, Toyota has improved thermal and energy-relay efficiencies to gain a 25-percent jump in fuel economy, and a 15-percent boost in power. Meanwhile, hybrids — such as the 2016 Prius, which will be among the first to use TNGA — could gain as much as 15 percent in fuel economy thanks to a better powertrain layout paired with smaller electric motors, batteries and inverters.

The TNGA platform is scheduled to arrive with “a midsize front-wheel-drive vehicle this year,” followed by new platforms made for compact and large front-drivers and rear-driven vehicles. Toyota plans for half of its global lineup to have the platform by 2020.

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New York 2015: Lincoln Continental Concept Revealed Ahead Of Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-lincoln-continental-concept-revealed-ahead-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-lincoln-continental-concept-revealed-ahead-show/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:51:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032425 Here it is: the Lincoln Continental Concept, revealed ahead of its trip down the ramp at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Power for the concept comes from a 3-liter EcoBoost V6 made exclusively for Lincoln, while the brand’s ride-enhancement technology and adaptive steering help keep things under control. No power figures were given at […]

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LincolnContinentalConcept_01_Front

Here it is: the Lincoln Continental Concept, revealed ahead of its trip down the ramp at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Power for the concept comes from a 3-liter EcoBoost V6 made exclusively for Lincoln, while the brand’s ride-enhancement technology and adaptive steering help keep things under control. No power figures were given at this time.

Inside, the occupants will be treated to a premium interior composed of Venetian and Alcantara leathers, rose gold and bright chrome trims, a satin headliner, soft-gold LED lighting, shearling wool carpet, and patented 30-way adjustable seating meant to adapt to a given occupant’s shape and size. The passenger-side rear seat can also fully recline when the front passenger seat is moved forward.

Other features include: Revel Ultima audio system; SPD SmartGlass tinting sunroof; tablet-supporting trays for the rear occupants; E-latch door handles; parking and pre-collision assists; 360-degree camera; and LED headlamps with laser-assist high beams.

The Lincoln Continental Concept is also a preview of the brand’s all-new fullsizer — to be called Continental — due next year

Facts_Lincoln_Continental_Concept_Exterior Facts_Lincoln_Continental_Concept_Interior LincolnContinentalConcept_01_Front LincolnContinentalConcept_02_Profile LincolnContinentalConcept_03_Rear LincolnContinentalConcept_06_Rear LincolnContinentalConcept_11_Detail_Headlamp LincolnContinentalConcept_10_Detail_Badge LincolnContinentalConcept_09_Detail_TravelCase LincolnContinentalConcept_07_Interior LincolnContinentalConcept_08_Interior

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Oakland PD Turns Over 4.6M License Plate Dataset Via Public Records Request http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030273 Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014. Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to […]

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OaklandPoliceCar

Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014.

Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to organize the dataset for its investigation into the practice.

With the permission of those contacted, the publication was able to track the movements of each individual based on their license plate, information that provides an insight into a given person’s life, according to University of California, Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump:

Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life. Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast—although possibly with a drinking problem.

Crump adds that, as LPR technology comes down in price and becomes ubiquitous on the backs of police cars and in traffic lights, citizens should support restrictions on the data collected, from how long it’s stored and who can access it, to why it should be accessed in the first place.

Ars Technica also obtained data on OPD vehicles, discovering that a single unit — a 2007 Ford P71 — was scanned 879 times between January 15, 2012 and May 31, 2014 while it travelled through Downtown Oakland and North Oakland; nearly all of the 100 OPD in the dataset were also scanned several hundred times over.

As for how the publication was able to have this data in the first place, neither the OPD or the Oakland City Council has set a formal data retention limit; the police department deletes information as needed for new data, however. All OPD officers also have access to the LPR information at any time, and need not give a reason for accessing the data when searching for a given plate, though policy says such searches require “a legitimate law enforcement purpose, such as following up on a criminal investigation.”

Finally, OPD police captain Anthony Toribio explains that the data is publically available to anyone who asks, citing transparency as the reason:

I think it’s important for a law enforcement organization to be transparent, and it goes to being credible and establishing legitimacy in the community.

The OPD dataset is the second-largest LPR dataset to be released via request, the largest being one from a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Seattle Police Department in 2010. The request resulted in a dataset of over 7.3 million scans.

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Pulling From Volt Playbook http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-chevrolet-malibu-hybrid-pulling-volt-playbook/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-chevrolet-malibu-hybrid-pulling-volt-playbook/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029809 Pulling a few pages from the Volt playbook, Chevrolet will offer a “strong hybrid” version of the 2016 Malibu set to bow in New York next week. Power for the Malibu Hybrid comes from a 1.8-liter direct-injection four-cylinder paired with a modified two-motor drive unit from the 2016 Volt meant to aid the engine during […]

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System, 1.8L En

Pulling a few pages from the Volt playbook, Chevrolet will offer a “strong hybrid” version of the 2016 Malibu set to bow in New York next week.

Power for the Malibu Hybrid comes from a 1.8-liter direct-injection four-cylinder paired with a modified two-motor drive unit from the 2016 Volt meant to aid the engine during acceleration. Total horsepower comes to 182, and its estimated combined mileage is projected to be 45 mpg. Electric power comes from an 80-cell lithium-ion pack providing 1.5 kWh to the hybrid system, which can allow the Malibu to travel up to 55 mph on electric-only travel.

The gasoline engine is also Chevrolet’s first to have exhaust gas heat recovery, improving fuel economy and engine warm up as well as providing heat to the cabin. Further fuel economy improves come from exhaust gas recirculation, while its regenerative braking system — also shared with the 2016 Volt — helps maintain charge in the pack

The hybrid will leave Kansas City, Kan. for showrooms next spring.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System, 1.8L En 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8L Engine and Drive Unit 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System

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New York 2015: Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Edition Set To Bow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-edition-set-bow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-edition-set-bow/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029737 Coming next week, Mazda will unveil its most aggressive version of the new MX-5 Miata when it brings the MX-5 Miata Club Edition to New York. Though little information was given about what the Club Edition will bring to the party, Mazda says the model will amplify the driving experience already found in the standard […]

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Coming next week, Mazda will unveil its most aggressive version of the new MX-5 Miata when it brings the MX-5 Miata Club Edition to New York.

Though little information was given about what the Club Edition will bring to the party, Mazda says the model will amplify the driving experience already found in the standard model, “harking back to the early lightweight sports cars that inspired it, but serving as a beacon for the future as a thoroughly modern, sophisticated package.”

Speculation points to the Accessories Design Concept from the 2015 Chicago Auto Show for inspiration, as well as the current Club Edition, including black wheels, limited-slip differential, and an appearance package.

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Volkswagen Bringing Aggressive Crossover Styling To USDM Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-bringing-aggressive-crossover-styling-usdm-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-bringing-aggressive-crossover-styling-usdm-market/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029713 Feeling its style isn’t metal as it could be, Volkswagen is unleashing a more aggressive language for its upcoming compact and midsize crossovers. Automotive News reports the crossovers’ styling will take cues from the T-Roc and Cross Coupe GTE concepts, including sharp-angled character lines, notch-tooth grills, and imposing faces. Design boss Klaus Bischoff says the […]

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Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept

Feeling its style isn’t metal as it could be, Volkswagen is unleashing a more aggressive language for its upcoming compact and midsize crossovers.

Automotive News reports the crossovers’ styling will take cues from the T-Roc and Cross Coupe GTE concepts, including sharp-angled character lines, notch-tooth grills, and imposing faces. Design boss Klaus Bischoff says the new language is needed to help make a stronger impact in the United States market, considering that the automaker’s 2 percent market share pales in comparison to the double-digits it enjoys in Europe, China and other global markets.

Bischoff admits that the more conservative Euro-centric approach to design had been the company’s philosophy “for a long time,” adding that while it did work in Europe, it didn’t seem to be “the remedy for the rest of the world.”

The first model to wear the new design language will be the seven-passenger midsize crossover — pulling cues from the Cross Coupe GTE — set to leave Chattanooga in 2016. This will be followed by a redesigned Tiguan and a Golf-based crossover — the latter taking its style from the T-Roc — both due in 2017.

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2015 Ford S-Max Can Drive 55 Via Intelligent Speed Limiter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028945 Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter. Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph […]

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2015 Ford S-Max Intelligent Speed Limiter - TTAC Zaibatsu Style

Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter.

Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph (5 mph) increments, as well as doing all the work for the driver.

The latter is accomplished through traffic-sign recognition technology, which provides the driver with speed limit information, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the S-Max’s instrument cluster. Functionality begins at 30 kph (20 mph), and ends at 200 kph (120 mph), and drivers can set a speed tolerance of 5 kph above the limit.

Active safety chief Stefan Knappes says the system is meant to remove “one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit,” explaining that drivers sometimes aren’t aware of their speed until an accident or a fine occurs. The system will hit the road in Europe this summer, when the first S-Max deliveries begin.

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Ford, GM Looking Into Tier 3 Wages For Lower-Skilled Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028897 While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3. Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better […]

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UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3.

Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better compete against the transplants and their non-union employees through lower labor costs.

Meanwhile, the UAW leadership are seeking raises for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, just as its rank-and-file want an end to the two-tier wage system entirely. The thought of a Tier 3 would prove hard to stomach among all in the union, though such a tier could help bring work that had been outsourced to suppliers in-house, as those employees would not be assembling vehicles.

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Delegates Call For End Of Two-Tier At UAW Bargaining Convention http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028857 Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007. Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the […]

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UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007.

Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the Detroit Three — FCA US, Ford and General Motors — in September, the delegates want nothing more than the complete end to a scheme that was meant to be a temporary solution to keep the trio afloat through the darkest days of the Great Recession.

One delegate, Bill Parker of UAW Local 1700 in Detroit, went as far as to convince the 900-plus gathered inside Cobo Center to pass a resolution formally committing the union toward complete dismantlement of the two-tier system; the resolution did not pass:

Ending the two-tier wage and benefit relationship is something that we the delegates want to make abundantly clear coming out of this convention. Not as one of many things that have to be corrected, but as the issue that needs to be corrected.

As of this moment, 28 percent — 39,500 — of 137,000 hourly workers on the floors of the Detroit Three are under Tier 2, earning $15.78/hour with a raise to $19.28/hour after four years; Tier 1 employees — those hired before 2008 — earn $28/hour in comparison. FCA US holds the highest percentage of Tier 2 employees at 42 percent, with Ford and GM holding 29 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

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Report: US New-Diesel Registrations On The Rise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-us-new-diesel-registrations-rise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-us-new-diesel-registrations-rise/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028297 Diesel hasn’t had the best reputation in the United States since the early 1980s. A new report says this attitude has changed as of late. According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014. Total diesel […]

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline brown

Diesel hasn’t had the best reputation in the United States since the early 1980s. A new report says this attitude has changed as of late.

According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014. Total diesel registrations in 2014 came to 7.4 million vehicles. California, Massachusetts and Nevada lead the rest of the country in those registrations.

Greater fuel economy, cleaner diesel technology, and more vehicles with diesels — like the BMW X5, Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze — are helping to fuel the spike in registrations, despite diesel still being more expensive at the pump per gallon than regular gasoline.

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FCA Planning Industry-First PHEV Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028273 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan. Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan.

Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line in Windsor as the standard minivans — and the 1997 EPIC electric minivan with a range of 120 miles delivered by its advanced lead acid batteries. The new PHEV minivan would also be the first hybrid minivan of any sort to come to market since the hybrid category’s U.S. debut in MY 2000, and would spawn a PHEV crossover to debut in 2017.

While the PHEV would provide improved city fuel economy in its role as a family shuttle, placement of the battery pack would have to be sorted due to the automaker’s signature Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system. Pricing is another concern, especially as the next generation of FCA minivans will be a Chrysler product; Chrysler’s Town & Country has commanded higher transaction prices over the Dodge Grand Caravan.

FCA also has to present a case to hybrid consumers who wouldn’t normally consider its brands, the result of not having hybrids throughout the range, with the PHEV minivan likely cannibalizing sales from the automaker’s traditional minivan consumers.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028233 Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal. Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend […]

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Pirelli F1 Tire Range

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend may be the beginning of a protracted takeover as it and Pirelli’s largest investor, Cam Finanziaria, attempt to secure 90 percent of the stock to take the tire company off of the trading floor; the share price climbed to €15.76 Monday.

The terms of the deal would give ChemChina 50.1 percent of the company, Finanziaria 49.9 percent, and would begin with the former paying €15/share for Finanziaria’s 26.2 percent of Pirelli, followed by a public tender for the rest of the company at the same price. Should that fail, however, ChemChina could merge its 66 percent with Finanziaria’s holdings to force a delisting. Pirelli chair and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera would remain CEO under the deal, while ChemChina will seek a new chair.

The Sino-Italian buy-in is part of a number of takeovers of Italian companies by Chinese buyers, and would be the fifth-largest deal by a state-owned enterprise.

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Two-Tier Wage System May Merge Toward Tier 2 In UAW-Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027497 The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking. Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier […]

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Auto Workers at Labor Day Parade Call for an End to Two-Tier Wages

The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking.

Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier 2 employees, mainly on the basis of keeping up with the labor-cost schemes among the transplants. Center for Automotive Research industry and labor group director Kristin Dziczek states that the tiers could merge over the next two negotiation cycles, proclaiming that “over the next eight years, we won’t even be talking about tiers.”

At present, nearly 40,000 workers are under Tier 2 contracts, making up just 29 percent of the 137,000 hourly employees working for FCA US, Ford and General Motors. Among the UAW rolls, FCA has the most members under Tier 2 with 42 percent, followed by Ford’s 29 percent and GM’s 20 percent.

Ford worker and bargaining committeeman Gary Walkowicz believes Tier 2 should give way to Tier 1, which pays $28/hour, a feat he says could be done overnight for $335 million a year at his company, which made $6.9 billion last year. He adds GM could do the same, considering the automaker recently bought back $5 billion in shares.

However, the two companies have higher hourly labor costs than FCA or the transplants, coming to $59/hour compared to the latter’s $40. Further, FCA’s situation is a result of a hiring cap suspension made during its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, allowing the automaker to hire as many Tier 2 employees as it needs. The cap, established in 2007, limits hirings to between 20 percent and 25 percent of total hourly employment, though FCA and GM had theirs lifted through September 2015; Ford never had its cap removed.

Tier 1, meanwhile, could disappear due to demographics: average age of those workers at FCA and GM is 51, 49 at Ford. Eight years and two cycles later, most of those workers will have retired or nearing retirement. The hiring cap could also push the upper tier over the cliff, as all three automakers will want to gain or maintain a higher percentage of Tier 2 hiring than the current cap allows.

One proposal, according to consultant and former GM labor negotiator Art Schwartz, could see the UAW raise Tier 1 wages, while the Detroit Three offers to boost those of Tier 2, adding that the end of Tier 2 could jeopardize jobs that would not have happened were it not for the two-tier system.

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Mary Barra Among Those To Depose Over GM Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027465 General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers. The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be […]

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Mary Barra with Mark Reuss and some laughing rando at the GMC Eminence Front booth during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers.

The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be the last one.

The process is linked to a consolidated group of lawsuits led by attorney Robert Hilliard, whose plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost resale value, injury and death as a result of GM’s decade-long delay in recalling the defective ignition switch at the center of the maelstrom.

Related documents that were released as part of a recent settlement with the Melton family — one of the families affected by the recall — lead Hilliard to believe the automaker knew more than it let on; thus, the deposition process about to occur:

Given the damning documents we have uncovered throughout the course of this litigation, the dance floor is very, very small and no GM witness will be able to shuffle around the truth. I expect we will find out how high up this cover-up goes.

Other witnesses include former engineer Ray DeGiorgio, former general counsel Michael Millikin, engineering director David Cary, and senior vice president of global connected customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, who will be the first to be deposed.

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Cadillac CT6 To Receive Turbocharged, Naturally Aspirated V6 Engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cadillac-ct6-fitted-pair-v6-engines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cadillac-ct6-fitted-pair-v6-engines/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 23:14:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1026649 When the Cadillac CT6 hits showrooms later this year, power for the flagship will come in the form of two V6 engines. The mills are a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated unit, and a 3-liter twin-turbo. Both engines are equipped with active fuel management and start-stop, helping to improve fuel economy when compared to the engines they […]

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2016-Cadillac-CT6-Powertrain-LGW-V6-006

When the Cadillac CT6 hits showrooms later this year, power for the flagship will come in the form of two V6 engines.

The mills are a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated unit, and a 3-liter twin-turbo. Both engines are equipped with active fuel management and start-stop, helping to improve fuel economy when compared to the engines they will replace in other Cadillac products.

Power figures for the 3.6-liter come to 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque, while the twin-turbo engine pumps out 400 horses and 400 lb-ft of torque. Both V6s will be paired with versions of General Motors’ Hydra-Matic eight-speed auto: the 8L90 for the turbocharged unit, the 8L45 for the naturally aspirated engine.

Both engines use aluminum blocks with more structuring in the bulkhead for increased rigidity; forged-steel crankshafts; polymer-coated, high-copper-content cylinder heads; cushioned chain sprockets for greater noise reduction; and a new two-pump oiling system for greater fuel efficiency and quieter operation.

Both V6s will be produced at GM’s Romulus Powertrain Operations in Romulus, Mich. — thanks to a $540-million investment to build the new engines — and will be placed under the bonnet of CT6 prior to delivery, which is set to begin between October and December of 2015.

The all-new 3.6L V6 for the upcoming Cadillac CT6 incorporates n 2016-Cadillac-CT6-Powertrain-LGW-V6-007 2016-Cadillac-CT6-Powertrain-LGW-V6-006

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More US Consumers Signing Long-Term Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025785 In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity. NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says […]

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Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity.

NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says the cars are one of the reasons for the long loans:

Consumers are demanding a lot more technology in their vehicles, infotainment technologies. There’s also a lot more safety features that are in vehicles right now. Emissions and efficiency technology that are in vehicles right now, that are making vehicles cost a lot more.

Kim adds that the main driver is that most consumers are still crawling out of the Great Recession, which Experian Automotive’s Melinda Zabritski says isn’t much of a problem as far as lending goes. She says that while it would be sensible to take on 36- or 48-month loans on a new vehicle, “the average consumer just can’t afford that.”

Critics counter that the long-term loans could hurt consumers and automakers alike in the near- and long-term. Consumer advocate Mike Sante states that those who are taking out those loans have no business doing so in the first place, and should buy a less expensive new or used vehicle with a loan of no more than four years. Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel, whose company offers 36- and 48-month loans, says loans beyond five years are too long, and adds that he hopes his competitors come to their senses.

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Honda Adds Over 100k To 2014 Takata Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-adds-100k-2014-takata-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/honda-adds-100k-2014-takata-recall/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025745 Over 100,000 Honda vehicles have been added to the ongoing recall linked to Takata airbags. USA Today reports 104,871 vehicles join the now-5.5 million Hondas and Acuras affected by the supplier’s airbags, linked to several injuries and five fatalities thus far. The affected models are: 2008 Pilot: ~89,000 recalled 2004 Civic: ~11,000 recalled 2001 Accord: […]

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2004 Honda Civic Sedan

Over 100,000 Honda vehicles have been added to the ongoing recall linked to Takata airbags.

USA Today reports 104,871 vehicles join the now-5.5 million Hondas and Acuras affected by the supplier’s airbags, linked to several injuries and five fatalities thus far. The affected models are:

  • 2008 Pilot: ~89,000 recalled
  • 2004 Civic: ~11,000 recalled
  • 2001 Accord: ~5,000 recalled

The three models are part of an expansion of the 2014 recall over the same issue, which includes the 2003 Acura CL, 2006 Honda Ridgeline, and 2003-2011 Honda Element. Driver-side airbags are the focus of the expansion, with key components being replaced free of charge.

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Richard Branson Setting Sights On Tesla With Possible Virgin EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025697 Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla. Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend: We have teams of people […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla.

Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend:

We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.

Virgin Engineering is among the few companies working on electric vehicles, which include Nissan, Audi and Apple. However, Branson concedes that Tesla is the one leading the way, proclaiming the company’s cars “as sexy as any other car on the road today.”

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Volkswagen Considering Trucks, Vans For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024977 Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again. According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well […]

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2014-volkswagen-amarok-canyon-front-three-quarter-view-1

Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again.

According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well as drive more sales on its way to catching up — and one day, surpass — both Toyota and General Motors.

Potential models include the Amarok pickup, as well as the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. VW’s global light commercial unit sold 445,000 models around the world last year, compared to the 366,970 models from the automaker’s USDM range over the same period. Overall global sales in 2014 came to over 10 million units.

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Uber Overtakes Traditional Taxis In NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024921 Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days. The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC. The […]

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Uber Driver in NYC

Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days.

The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC.

The transportation network company has served the city’s five boroughs since May 2011, but its competitive rates and higher wages are the main drivers that have led it to overtake the traditional livery service.

On the other hand, taxis make 10 times more trips than Uber drivers, and some veteran drivers aren’t likely to make the jump, even if Uber drivers can make double the average salary of a medallion driver.

Meanwhile, critics have accused the TNC of taking tax revenue that could go into public transit and taxi services, as well as increasing congestion issues in Manhattan, where most Uber trips occur.

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NYIAS 2015: 2016 Jaguar XF Bowing Over London Prior To Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-2016-jaguar-xf-bowing-london-prior-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-2016-jaguar-xf-bowing-london-prior-show/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024889 Prior to its North American debut in New York, the 2016 Jaguar XF will make its world debut next week over the waterways of London. The second-gen premium sedan will be driven by British stuntman Jim Dowdall over a pair of wires 1.3 inches in diameter in a high-water crossing stunt meant to demonstrate “the […]

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Prior to its North American debut in New York, the 2016 Jaguar XF will make its world debut next week over the waterways of London.

The second-gen premium sedan will be driven by British stuntman Jim Dowdall over a pair of wires 1.3 inches in diameter in a high-water crossing stunt meant to demonstrate “the lightweight and agile credentials” of the second Jaguar model to use the automaker’s aluminum-intensive structure.

For those interested in watching this stunt, Jaguar will stream the event online March 24 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on its XF microsite. More details about the XF, meanwhile, will come when it bows at the 2015 New York International Auto Show April 1.

jaguarxf_s_hero_02_(105539) jaguarxf_s_interior_02_(105538)

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Musk: Autonomous Vehicles Mean Future Where Driving Is Illegal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024489 His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention. Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.: In the distant future, I […]

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elon-musk-model-s

His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention.

Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.:

In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.

He later clarified on Twitter his own position on the matter, stating his company “is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,” hoping that the statement was obvious to those following along.

As for his appearance at Nvidia, the chipmaker is working to sell a purpose-built autonomous-vehicle computer called Drive PX, based upon its Tegra X1 mobile processor. The system will have 12 inputs for high-res cameras — like the kind Tesla is putting into its Model S right now — and is due to go on sale in May.

Musk added that his engineers are hard at work on improving autonomous technology, believing the tech will take greater control of the wheel on the highway “in a few years.”

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US New-Truck Leases Rise Thanks To Higher Residuals, Transactions, More Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023753 Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content. Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content.

Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as the ~50 percent figure for luxury vehicle leases.

For automakers, this means they can continue to ride the strongest streak in sales the light truck market has experienced in current times, while also bringing customers into showrooms every three years. In exchange, they also gain less profit from leases — even with higher residuals — and more risk on whether or not the resale value will be strong in three years’ time, especially with external factors like fuel prices and the strength of the economy when the leases are up.

Factors driving the current leasing boom in the light-duty truck segment include higher average transaction prices — hitting a new average high of $41,029 in 2014 — the aforementioned residuals that are several points higher now than in 2010 — leading to more cash on the hood and other deals for potential lessees — and more content and features, like Wi-Fi, luxurious materials and advanced connected-vehicle systems.

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