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. Fri, 22 May 2015 18:25:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » 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/ Study: Virtual Drivers Possible Key Toward Autonomous Vehicle Acceptance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073074 Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency. A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, […]

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Johnny Cab

Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency.

A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, Edmunds reports.

The study by Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands introduced over 100 volunteers to such a driver, named “Bob.” The virtual driver’s appearance, movements and driving style were programmed to match those belonging to each participant, who allowed Bob to do the driving in a simulator on a route pre-selected by said test subjects.

The goal was to assess trustworthiness levels in the virtual driver, finding the more Bob looked and drove like a given subject, the more trust the subject would bestow in regard to their safety. Said strategy is in place with other forms of technology already, such as Siri and Cortana in Apple’s and Microsoft’s smartphones, where if the tech in question has a slight bit of humanity — human voices, sociability et al — end users would respond as if the tech actually was human.

Whether there will be a Johnny Cab in the future to help one escape from baddies because they’re actually a spy who may or may not know too much about Mars, or a Hatsune Miku recolor to drive you to her next performance is up in the air for now. Not even Google has placed a Nexus 6 behind the non-existent wheel of its autonomous bubble pod in its testing thus far.

[Source: mrbillyt/Photobucket]

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Boston To Host IndyCar Event Beginning 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/boston-to-host-indycar-event-beginning-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/boston-to-host-indycar-event-beginning-2016/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073018 Any plans for Labor Day Weekend next year? If you’re in Boston, those plans could include an IndyCar event on its streets. The Grand Prix of Boston will be held on an 11-turn 2.25-mile temporary street circuit around the Boston Convention Center, Boston.com reports. The agreement made between city officials and IndyCar to hold the […]

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Boston Circa May 2015

Any plans for Labor Day Weekend next year? If you’re in Boston, those plans could include an IndyCar event on its streets.

The Grand Prix of Boston will be held on an 11-turn 2.25-mile temporary street circuit around the Boston Convention Center, Boston.com reports. The agreement made between city officials and IndyCar to hold the competition is set to last until 2020, with the first event to take place September 5 and 6 of 2016.

The course is designed to be “minimally invasive” to its surroundings, with construction to take place between 18 and 21 days in overnight shifts from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Safety features include four-foot concrete barriers and 10-foot fencing with a four-foot overhang.

Price of admission and sale dates are yet to be announced, and while cost estimates are too early to determine according to city spokeswoman Kate Norton, the event will be privately funded.

[Source: Trenten Kelley/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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OPEC Doubles Down Against Shale, Fuel Prices Continue Downward Spiral http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071690 OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside. Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when […]

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Ford Mustang Receiving Gas Circa April 2015

OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside.

Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when the group meets in Vienna next month, the publication reports.

The reason to continue down this road is to ensure victory for Saudi Arabia’s strategy of putting shale oil producers and other competitive suppliers — notably those in Canada and the United States — in their place. Thus far, the plan is working: half of the drilling rigs in the U.S. have been idled since October, while production fell 1.2 percent last week to 9.3 million barrels/day. Global investment in production is expected to fall $100 billion in 2015, while demand growth for oil is projected to climb to 1.4 million per day over the same period.

In the meantime, fuel prices will continue on their own course. University of Purdue Wally Tyner predicts prices in all but California and Hawaii will remain below $3 throughout the summer, Forbes says. This is, of course, due to the ongoing supply glut, hovering around 485 million barrels compared to the 350 million barrels normally available.

Meanwhile, Oil Price Information Service Tom Kloza believes fuel prices will stop at $2.50 this summer before dropping down between $2 and $2.25 this fall. Tyner adds Iranian oil could cut prices at the pump by 30 cents in 2016 should a nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran lead to a lift in sanctions.

Before the prices can fall, however, they must climb a bit for Memorial Day Weekend. AAA says prices rose 5 cents a gallon within the last week, with the current average national price hitting $2.71/gallon Tuesday, The Detroit Bureau notes. The group adds motorists are paying an average of 26 cents more for a gallon of regular in May than in April.

Causes behind the rise include regional production issues in the Midwest and West Coast, as well as a rally in crude prices; West Texas Intermediate and Brent are trading for around $60 and $66 respectively as of this writing.

Despite the price hike, motorists hitting the road this holiday are paying 94 cents less for each gallon dispensed compared to last year, the lowest average since 2009.

[Source: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072322 With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars. According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Elite

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

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American Motorists On Pace To Break 2007 Miles-Driven Record http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072290 Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015. The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 […]

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Seattle Circa November 2010

Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015.

The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 billion miles, The Detroit News writes.

In month-to-month figures, Americans drove 3.9 percent more in this March than they had in March 2014, netting 261.7 billion miles for the month since record collections began 79 years ago; March 2015 also marks the 13th consecutive month of an increase in miles driven.

Overall, the United States saw 3.02 trillion miles driven in 2014, the highest amount recorded since 2007. The increases are helped by lower fuel prices, currently standing at a national average of $2.731 as of this writing. At the current rate, Americans will surpass the 2007 peak of 3.03 trillion miles driven.

[Photo credit: Wonderlane/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Oregon First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072250 This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump. Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information […]

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Oregon Welcome Sign Circa October 2010

This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump.

Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information will be tracked via a device provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation/Sanef, Verizon Telematics, or Azuga, depending on the circumstances and needs of each volunteer.

Those whose vehicles fuel up at the pump will receive a tax credit if fuel use exceeds miles driven, while EV owners will pay the road-use tax without receiving the fuel tax credit. OReGO has a quota in place for less-efficient vehicles, limiting acceptance to 1,500 volunteers whose vehicles get less than 17 mpg, and 1,500 for those with vehicles between 17 mpg and 22 mpg.

The ultimate goal of programs like ODOT’s OReGO is to make up in infrastructure maintenance and repair funding what is being lost by continuously low fuel taxes and improving fleet fuel economy. Gas taxes provide Oregon with under half of the state’s highway fund, the rest coming from the Highway Trust Fund.

The $8.4-million program has no expiration date at this time, with permanence left in the hands of the Oregon legislature. Concerns over privacy and an alleged favoring of conventional vehicles over EVs and hybrids regarding tax credits have come up, the former remedied through data protections such as offering devices without GPS, and record destruction after 30 days with limits on the data’s use for devices with GPS. Volunteers can also opt-out of the program at any time, and can receive refunds for miles driven on private property and outside Oregon.

OReGO’s first day of implementation is July 1.

[Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Reborn Borgward Hires Walker As CEO, Debuting New Model In Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071682 Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again. Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and […]

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1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe

Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again.

Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and 2006.

Christian Borgward, chairman and grandson of founder Carl Borgward, praised Walker’s “profound industrial background and broad knowledge of the premium automotive segment in Germany,” while Walker had this to say about his new role:

I’m honored to lead this respected German brand into the future. Borgward is a legendary global brand which has set industrial milestones and created brilliant stories in history. Several of its innovations and classic cars have been widely acclaimed in the industry and I am confident that Borgward will win back its place in the international automotive industry.

The historic automaker plans to unveil its first model in over five decades this September during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show – the automaker itself returned to the scene at this year’s Geneva Auto Show – which is said to be an SUV meant to invoke “affordable luxury.” Power for the new model may either come from a hybrid or full-electric system, and production is set for 2016.

Borgward assembled over 1 million vehicles between 1919 and 1961, disappearing from the scene when financial issues forced it into liquidation. The revived automaker has financial backing from Chinese truck manufacturer Beiqi Foton, which produces trucks in a joint venture with Daimler.

[Photo credit: Steve Glover/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Hyundai Santa Cruz, Subcompact Crossover Close To Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071762 Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you. Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied […]

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Hyundai_Santa_Cruz_Crossover_Truck_Concept

Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you.

Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied by a subcompact crossover set to battle the likes of the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

The trucklet takes a different approach compared to other midsize competitors, such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, focusing more on young city dwellers with active lifestyles who seek a vehicle with a place to stow their gear without dirtying the interior.

As for the proposed subcompact crossover, Zuchowski says Hyundai wants “a piece” of the growing segment, going as far as to decline bringing over an offering from China due to its conservative styling. The North American model will have its own platform, and have more striking styling, he adds.

An announcement is due within the next two to three months after Hyundai finishes studying capacity needs for the two models, with the United States likely to receive a boost over Mexico.

[Photo credit: Hyundai]

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071738 Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market. Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families […]

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Audi A7 Piloted Driving Vehicle At CES 2015

Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market.

Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families in the market move to a vehicle shared by all members of the family, Bloomberg reports. General Motors and Ford specifically would need to cut production by 68 percent and 58 percent respectively to weather the transition.

Johnson adds annual sales would decline 40 percent to 9.5 million units annually by 2040, while the number of cars on the road would fall 60 percent to 100 million:

While extreme, a historical precedent exists. Horses once filled the many roles that cars fill today, but as the automobile came along, the population of horses dropped sharply.

The analysis points to the rise of four categories of vehicles: traditional models driven by those in rural areas; autonomous vehicles owned by a single family; “robot taxis” summoned via smartphone app; and autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets such as van and bus pools. The shared vehicles would remove nine traditional vehicles from the road, with pooled units taking out 18.

Cost of mobility would also fall regarding the aforementioned robot taxis, with average rates per mile as low as 88 cents for a private car, and 4 cents for a shared two-seater. The category would prove a boon to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as low-cost vehicle producers and autonomous tech companies.

[Photo credit: Audi/Facebook]

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Kitsap Transit Eyeing Liquor Advertising To Improve Bottom Line http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/kitsap-transit-eyeing-liquor-advertising-to-improve-bottom-line/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/kitsap-transit-eyeing-liquor-advertising-to-improve-bottom-line/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070978 Faced with a potential budget shortfall in the coming years, Kitsap Co., Wash.-based Kitsap Transit is eyeing liquor adverts to help with the bottom line. The move to place said adverts on its fleet came as a suggestion from the authority’s advertising partner, Titan Outdoor, KOMO-TV reports. The ad agency takes half of all revenue […]

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Kitsap_Transit_2004_Gillig_Low_Floor_774-a

Faced with a potential budget shortfall in the coming years, Kitsap Co., Wash.-based Kitsap Transit is eyeing liquor adverts to help with the bottom line.

The move to place said adverts on its fleet came as a suggestion from the authority’s advertising partner, Titan Outdoor, KOMO-TV reports. The ad agency takes half of all revenue made on ad sales related to Kitsap Transit, and is also in charge of the authority’s mobile ad program.

Executive Director John Clauson admits it would be hard to estimate how much additional revenue adding liquor advertising to the buses — adverts are only part of its budget, alongside local taxes and fare collection — but adds if doing so “adds an extra $20,000 a year, it’s tough to just walk away from it and say no.”

While the proposal would mandate “tasteful” advertising of liquor products and include responsible-drinking disclaimers, critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink. However, most riders are welcome to the idea, with reasons ranging from keeping fares low as a result of the increase in revenue, to freedom of speech for all advertisers.

The decision to go forward with the proposal may come as soon as the authority’s next board meeting June 2. If approved, Kitsap Transit would be the first transit authority in Washington state to allow liquor advertising on its fleet.

[Photo credit: Zargoman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Takata Expands US Airbag Recall Nationwide, Covering 34M Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:06:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071026 The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States. The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate […]

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Takata TTAC Style

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States.

The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate with the agency in its investigation into the recall. The NHTSA also declared it would begin the process to sort and organize the replacement schedule of the defective airbags.

The expansion comes after Takata issued a regional recall last summer affecting units in vehicles located in humid locales in the U.S. The units were prone to catastrophic failure upon detonation, scattering shrapnel into the cabin and injuring or killing the occupants inside. Six fatalities have been linked thus far, with five occurring in the U.S.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised the agreement made between the supplier and his department, declaring it “a major step forward for public safety.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind agreed with the assessment, adding all parties involved had more work ahead of them to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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Luxury Automakers Wary Around Growing Female Consumer Base http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/luxury-automakers-wary-around-growing-female-consumer-base/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/luxury-automakers-wary-around-growing-female-consumer-base/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070938 Those dealing in luxury vehicles and high-performance exotics may need to improve their relations with women soon, as more women seek such wares. While less than 10 percent of Lamborghini and Ferrari owners in the United States are women, and Porsche only boasts 25 percent, female consumers in emerging markets like China are flexing their […]

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McLaren MP4-12C Circa January 2012

Those dealing in luxury vehicles and high-performance exotics may need to improve their relations with women soon, as more women seek such wares.

While less than 10 percent of Lamborghini and Ferrari owners in the United States are women, and Porsche only boasts 25 percent, female consumers in emerging markets like China are flexing their wealth with the automakers’ models in significant numbers, Reuters reports. The overall female consumer base is expanding, as well, fueled by increasing wealth as more and more women enter into greater positions of power.

However, marketing leaves a lot to be desired, especially as some automakers are wary of appealing to the new consumer base. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann explains:

It’s like with an engineering degree which attracts more men than women, that’s just how it is. Males are more into the car business and the super sportscar is the pinnacle of that business.

On the other side, automotive consultant Belinda Parmar says high-end and exotic manufacturers should consider women drivers when designing vehicles. Her work with Aston Martin on its planned crossover is slated to have a higher sitting position and smaller steering wheel, allowing those wearing skirts to enter and exit without having to worry about feeling “silly” about the matter.

[Photo credit: Axion23/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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BMW X2 Green-Lit For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-x2-green-lit-for-production/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070866 X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3. The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender BMW logo

X is giving it to us again: BMW has green-lit production of the X2 crossover, slotted between the upcoming second-gen X1 and current X3.

The X2 is based upon the UKL platform underpinning the X1 and 2 Series Active and Gran tourers, Autocar reports. Power will come from three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, including a performance-oriented B48 engine for an M Performance variant of the crossover, with output expected to hit 300 horsepower. Front- and all-wheel drive will link the power to the road.

Styling is said to follow in the footsteps of the X4 and X6 — four doors and a slanted hatchback — while the interior will be shared with the second-gen X1.

The publication’s sources state the concept version of the X2 will make its global debut as early as next year’s Geneva Auto Show. Prototype testing is set to begin by the end of May. North American sales are not known as of this writing, though the United Kingdom will get theirs starting in H2 2017.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Toyota Readying Sub-GT86 Model For Sale By Early 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/toyota-readying-sub-gt86-model-for-sale-by-early-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/toyota-readying-sub-gt86-model-for-sale-by-early-2018/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070778 Looking to bring some competition to the Mazda MX-5, Toyota is in the final prototyping phase for a model slotted underneath the GT86. The sub-86 — dubbed 69DZ — is said to be powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection I4 pushing 130 horses to the back via Aisin six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and will weigh […]

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Toyota 86 Style Cb Edition 02

Looking to bring some competition to the Mazda MX-5, Toyota is in the final prototyping phase for a model slotted underneath the GT86.

The sub-86 — dubbed 69DZ — is said to be powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection I4 pushing 130 horses to the back via Aisin six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and will weigh in at 2,160 lbs., Motoring.com.au reports. A source close to the matter says the car’s designers “have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is,” styled after the Toyota 800 from the 1960s.

Said styling was recently brought over to the limited-edition GT86 Cb Style, including the rounded headlights and grill, with the intent for the smaller model to be a baby brother to the Cb.

Seating is set for a 2+2 configuration, though the rear seats will likely be used to secure shopping purchases over small children. Flared wheel arches and a hood with a so-called “lump” — meant to accommodate both the I4 and 3.5-inch pedestrian-impact absorption zone — will also be onboard.

The 69DZ is set to go on sale in early 2018, with a base starting price equal to the base for the Corolla. Whether it will be a Scion — let alone sold in the United States — is yet to be determined.

[Photo credit: Toyota]

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OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070218 Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s. A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under […]

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Entrance_OPEC_Headquarter_Vienna

Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s.

A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under more dire straits. The forecasts take into account the group’s competitors in the United States coping through low prices amid increased production.

To combat this, the report recommends OPEC return to the production-quota system it ditched in 2011 amid conflict over how much each member state would be allowed to produce. Members are reluctant to go back, preferring to attract new business instead of being tied down by quotas most ignored already. However, the proposal would grant poorer members, like Algeria and Venezuela, the right to produce more oil, and would come into force if OPEC’s share of the global oil market fell below 32 percent, the size of the share it holds now.

The report comes amid worries among the members about their ability to balance their respective budgets with oil money. According to the International Monetary Fund, only Qatar and Kuwait can weather trading at $76/barrel, while most need trading to be as much as $130/barrel for a properly balanced budget.

[Photo credit: Vincent Eisfeld/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0]

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Müller: US-Bound Porsche Boxster, Cayman To Gain Four-Cylinder Engines Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070170 Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the […]

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2014 Porsche Cayman S at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the U.S. market could receive flat-fours if consumer demand calls for them.

The new four-pot is expected to be turbocharged, with 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines likely in the offing. Müller says maximum output could be as high as 395 horsepower, as well.

For now, the only four-cylinder model available is the Macan sold in China and the United Kingdom. Whether it will be among those heading over to the U.S. is undecided.

[Photo credit: Richard Cabrera/Flickr/CA BY-SA 2.0]

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Possible Fourth-Gen Toyota Prius Prototype Caught In The Wild http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/possible-fourth-gen-toyota-prius-prototype-caught-in-the-wild/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/possible-fourth-gen-toyota-prius-prototype-caught-in-the-wild/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 16:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070114 Out and about at a Chevron in Baker, Calif. this weekend, a PriusChat forum member happened upon what could be the fourth-gen Toyota Prius. The member, Savior1974, whipped out his smartphone to roll film on the find, heavily disguised as prototypes are wont to do, AutoGuide reports. Whether the Prius was a mule or something […]

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2016 Toyota Prius Getting Gas At Vons

Out and about at a Chevron in Baker, Calif. this weekend, a PriusChat forum member happened upon what could be the fourth-gen Toyota Prius.

The member, Savior1974, whipped out his smartphone to roll film on the find, heavily disguised as prototypes are wont to do, AutoGuide reports. Whether the Prius was a mule or something more, however, could not be confirmed.

The upcoming Prius was held back for further refinement to its styling — which may take cues from the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show — and to prepare it for Toyota’s New Global Architecture modular platform.

The new hybrid is set for production by the end of this year, with its showroom debut expected the following spring.

[Photo credit: Savior1974/PriusChat]

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FCA US Keeping Key Facilities Open Through Summer To Meet Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069186 Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities. The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports: Jefferson North Assembly […]

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2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum and 300S

Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities.

The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports:

  • Jefferson North Assembly Plant; Detroit
  • Saltillo Van Assembly; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Toledo Assembly Complex; Toledo
  • Toluca Assembly; Toluca, Mexico
  • Kokomo Casting; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Kokomo Transmission; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Dundee Engine Plant; Dundee
  • Mack Avenue Engine; Detroit
  • Saltillo Engine; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Saltillo South Engine; Saltillo Mexico
  • Trenton Engine Complex; Trenton

Three other transmission factories in Kokomo and Tipton, Ind. will shut down for one week instead of two, while FCA US’ stamping plants will operate on the same schedules as the assembly plants they serve.

The break from the traditional two-week shutdown — meant for equipment repairs and changes to the assembly line for the upcoming model year — comes as the automaker continues its streak of rising sales on a year-over-year basis, currently standing at 61 months. The overall U.S. industry is set to sell 17 million units this year, a peak not seen since prior to the start of the Great Recession.

[Photo credit: Chrysler/Facebook]

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Compact Commercial Vans Booming Despite Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069114 While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans. The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared […]

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2015 Ram ProMaster City Pursued By Ram 1500 Crew Cab

While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans.

The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared to the same period in 2014, Ward’s Auto reports. The aforementioned Transit Connect is the segment sales leader, with 43,210 units delivered last year.

The popularity of compact commercial vans is in part due to business owners needing a van smaller and more efficient than the Chevrolet Express, Ram ProMaster, and recently discontinued Ford E-Series. Karl Chevrolet fleet and commercial sales manager Scott Sams says the compacts offer those features, filling “a blank space in the lineup,” and adds a lot of catering and delivery businesses would benefit from exchanging larger vans for smaller models.

Though popular with those who know already, dealers and automakers alike are facing challenges in bringing those customers to the compact commercial van segment. For GM, who sells the Chevrolet City Express, most consumers in the market usually don’t have Chevrolet in mind when shopping. Dealer displays at local events have helped in promoting the compact and boosting sales in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, FCA US is helping dealers interested in adding commercial sales to their retail operations with a go-to-market plan aimed at building rapport with business customers.

[Photo credit: Ram]

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Autoleaks: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Revealed Ahead Of Weekend Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autoleaks-2016-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-ahead-of-weekend-debut/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:51:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069058 Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit. The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the […]

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2016-Chevy-Camaro-CloseUp

Thanks to CNBC, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was revealed to the world ahead of its global debut Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit.

The unofficial unveiling occurred during a segment about the upcoming Camaro on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, AutoGuide reports. The screencaps, captured by forum users over at GM Inside News, show the front and rear profiles of two 2016 models.

Of the few other details revealed thus far, the new Camaro will receive a 6.2-liter V8 and a possible turbo-four as two options, the latter meant for battle against the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. Magnetic ride control will be available for the SS, while handling has been improved thanks to a stiffer, lighter construction. A flush belly pan is said to reduce lift by 30 percent, and optional dual exhaust will come with a number of settings, ranging from roaring track destroyer, to quiet cruiser in the city.

More will be revealed Saturday, where Chevrolet is holding a special event at Belle Isle celebrating the Camaro’s history alongside the debut of the 2016 model.

[Image credit: GM Inside News]

2016-Chevy-Camaro-CloseUp 2016-Chevy-Camaro-Main 2016-Chevy-Camaro-Rear

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Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068658 Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb. The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The […]

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Paradise Valley Arizona Police

Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb.

The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The goal is to continue to the decline in burglaries, falling from a peak of 195 in 2011, to a current low of 55 in 2014.

While privacy concerns are usually the norm surrounding LPRs, Paradise Valley residents are more concerned about aesthetics. Town manager Kevin Burke explains:

Everything in Paradise Valley is about the aesthetics. We’ll spend tens of thousands to cover up an electric box. We’ll spend hundreds of thousands to camouflage an electric substation. Our residents have spent hundreds of thousands or millions to bury overhead cables. Ugly posts are things that we do not want. But we do want people to know that these technologies are there. Probably we’ll end up putting a sign on it–half of the deterrent is knowing that people are there.

Regarding privacy, Burke says LPR data will be kept for six months, and will only be used to match plates with those on a hot list in case of criminal activity. However, parts of the datasets will be omitted from public view, while individual records won’t be released due to the city’s concerns about involvement in domestic disputes.

Further, the six-page LPR data policy lacks information on what safeguards, if any, are in place to prevent abuse of the data by officials, or how the data would be logged and audited. Burke says he’ll know if the LPRs are doing their job by clearance rates and reductions linked to burglaries.

[Photo credit: Paradise Valley PD/Facebook]

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Takata Close To Installment Agreement With Automakers Over Airbag Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-close-to-installment-agreement-with-automakers-over-airbag-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-close-to-installment-agreement-with-automakers-over-airbag-recalls/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 19:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068634 Like consumers making payments over several months for their purchases, Takata is asking automakers to pay its part of the airbag recall in installments. The automakers are reportedly close to sealing the deal that would grant the beleaguered supplier the ability to spread its financial responsibility for the recalls instead of paying everything all at […]

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Takata TTAC Style

Like consumers making payments over several months for their purchases, Takata is asking automakers to pay its part of the airbag recall in installments.

The automakers are reportedly close to sealing the deal that would grant the beleaguered supplier the ability to spread its financial responsibility for the recalls instead of paying everything all at once, Bloomberg reports.

Takata is also meeting with its bankers to ensure it has the cash flow needed to make good on those payments, with an anonymous source stating the supplier hasn’t created the conditions that would merit a call-back of its loans by the banks during FY 2014.

The deal follows an ongoing recall action of Takata’s airbags, affecting over 28 million vehicles from 10 different automakers around the globe, with Honda bearing the brunt of the crisis as the supplier’s biggest customer.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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Colorado Offers Tax Credits On Used EVs, PHEVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/colorado-offers-tax-credits-on-used-evs-phevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/colorado-offers-tax-credits-on-used-evs-phevs/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 18:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067546 Shopping for a used PHEV or EV in Colorado? You still may be able to take a tax credit, thanks to the state’s structuring of its EV purchase tax credit. The credit — up to $6,000 — can be applied to used PHEV or EV purchases so long as it wasn’t claimed already via VIN […]

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Tesla Roadster In Colorado Showroom Circa August 2011

Shopping for a used PHEV or EV in Colorado? You still may be able to take a tax credit, thanks to the state’s structuring of its EV purchase tax credit.

The credit — up to $6,000 — can be applied to used PHEV or EV purchases so long as it wasn’t claimed already via VIN registration, Green Car Reports says. Though most Colorado-based offerings likely already have the credit cashed-in, out-of-state imports are the biggest beneficiaries.

Per an anonymous source, a Colorado resident could purchase a vehicle registered out-of-state for at least three years after originally leaving the lot, then bring the car back home to register its VIN as used in Colorado, legally claiming the credit on their next tax return in so doing.

According to the publication, the used PHEV/EV credit is the only one of its type in the United States, as the focus of tax incentives is on new vehicles.

[Photo credit: Eric Lumsden/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Müller: Porsche 911 PHEV Under Negotiation For Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-porsche-911-phev-under-negotiation-for-production/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 15:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067306 Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports: That […]

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911 50th Anniversary Edition _6_

Could there be a Porsche 911 PHEV on the showroom floor in the future? The decision to build and market one could be made sometime this year.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said a plug-in variant of the iconic vehicle could happen, alongside PHEVs of every other model in the automaker’s lineup, Automotive News reports:

That is a technique which we at Porsche are very familiar with, so we can suppose that we could have plug-ins all over the model range, not only to save fuel but also to boost the performance of these cars.

Mueller adds the decision to press ahead with a Porsche 911 PHEV is under negotiation, stating the technology “is the solution for the nearer future.”

Porsche sells three PHEVs thus far: the 918 Spyder, Cayenne and Panamera. Of the latter two, the Cayenne is projected to make up between 10 and 12 percent of overall U.S. sales of the crossover in 2015, while 15 percent of overall U.S. Panamera sales are of the PHEV variant. The 918, meanwhile, sold out its 918-unit limited edition run last December.

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Coal Rolling Banned In New Jersey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/coal-rolling-banned-new-jersey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/coal-rolling-banned-new-jersey/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 18:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066506 Dudebros in their diesel brodozers will need to take their coal rolling outside of New Jersey, as the state has banned the practice. Governor Chris Christie signed the legislation — S2418 — earlier this month, according to NJ.com. S2148 outlaws “retrofitting any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment which enhances the […]

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Mad Max Dudebro Coal Roller At AMERICA Walmart Circa November 2010

Dudebros in their diesel brodozers will need to take their coal rolling outside of New Jersey, as the state has banned the practice.

Governor Chris Christie signed the legislation — S2418 — earlier this month, according to NJ.com. S2148 outlaws “retrofitting any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment which enhances the vehicle’s capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions.”

The law’s language is echoed elsewhere under current federal and state statutes, but Assemblyman Tim Eustace of Bergen, N.J. says the new law is there to ensure the aforementioned statutes are actually enforced:

It’s to actually make sure we enforce the law. We have laws that law fallow, I think, in some circumstances. This doesn’t come off as very important unless you’ve been coal-rolled.

As for what awaits someone more than willing to unleash black smoke upon their fellow driver in the Garden State, the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Regulations will have the power to establish fines meant to discourage coal rolling.

[Photo credit: Mark Spearman/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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