The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/customer-relations/ US House Committee Reviewing Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/us-house-committee-reviewing-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/us-house-committee-reviewing-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935402 With around 7.8 million vehicles from various automakers under recall thanks to defects in airbags supplied by Takata, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing the proceedings. The Detroit News reports the committee requested a briefing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “on the status of the Takata recalls and the agency’s […]

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Takata Sign

With around 7.8 million vehicles from various automakers under recall thanks to defects in airbags supplied by Takata, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing the proceedings.

The Detroit News reports the committee requested a briefing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “on the status of the Takata recalls and the agency’s investigation,” and plans to meet with automakers “to discuss supplier issues,” as well.

The recall, originally affecting 4.7 million units from six automakers, expanded Tuesday to cover 7.8 million units from 10 manufacturers. Further, the NHTSA included General Motors vehicles made in 2002 and 2003 that weren’t supposed to be on the list — they didn’t have Takata airbags — and the website meant to help consumers determine if their vehicles are affected is having issues, though the agency believes high traffic isn’t the problem.

The recall affects a handful of areas with high humidity, where the defective airbags could explode in a manner conducive to producing metal shrapnel, lacerating and/or killing all inside the cabin of the vehicle. Consumers are urged to bring in their vehicles for repair, and if parts aren’t available, will be asked to keep passengers from sitting up front until the deactivated airbag is replaced.

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Gilbert Calls Out Dealers In Wake Of Reinforced Michigan Direct Sales Ban http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935370 Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago. Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision […]

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Cavaliers Brown Basketball

Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago.

Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision to play for the Miami Heat — had a few words to say about this decision.

According to Detroit Free Press, Gilbert was interviewing fellow NBA team owner Mark Cuban while guest-hosting an episode of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when he brought up the signing of HB 5606, now known as Michigan Public Act 354 of 2014, proclaiming the move “sends a bad message” as far as how much influence lobbyists — especially the auto dealer lobby — have over legislators. He added that Michigan dealers should “man up” and compete with Tesla instead of forcing the EV automaker to sell through a franchise network.

Morgan Stanley automotive analyst Adam Jonas agreed with Gilbert in a note to the financial giant’s clients, stating it was only “a matter of time” that the issue of direct sales — and Tesla’s link to them — would “likely mushroom into a national issue.” He also said legislation protecting the status quo “exist to support the weakest link in the network.”

On the other side, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce president Sandy Baruah believes Detroit “should have a business environment where all participants play by a common set of rules.” The chamber also supported the signing, and says it looks forward to the further examination Snyder called for in light of the reinforcement.

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Fuel Prices Leave Efficient, Greener Offerings On The Lot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934794 Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings. Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the […]

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Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings.

Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max alone have seen increased incentives, with the latter jumping from $2,650 last September, to $4,900 this past September.

Meanwhile, strengthening fuel efficiency targets may lead to automakers producing vehicles that, according to Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Eric Ibarra, “consumers don’t want to buy” should gasoline and diesel prices remain low. Per forecasts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the decrease in fuel costs will remain in play for at least another year, thanks to the oil boom in places like Alberta and North Dakota.

That said, dealerships aren’t too worried yet, believing consumers are ever-vigilant toward price spikes. Until then, SUVs and pickups will dominate the highways for another day.

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Tesla Direct Sales Ban Reinforced In Michigan, GM Supported Signing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-direct-sales-ban-reinforced-michigan-gm-supported-signing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-direct-sales-ban-reinforced-michigan-gm-supported-signing/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934698 It’s official: the ban preventing Tesla from directly selling its wares to customers in Michigan has been reinforced. Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB 5606, now known as Public Act 354 of 2014. The act not only prohibits automakers from telling their dealerships what fees the latter can charge customers, but reinforces a […]

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2013 Tesla Model S Summerside Lighthouse

It’s official: the ban preventing Tesla from directly selling its wares to customers in Michigan has been reinforced.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB 5606, now known as Public Act 354 of 2014. The act not only prohibits automakers from telling their dealerships what fees the latter can charge customers, but reinforces a law already on the books:

This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan — because this is already prohibited under Michigan law.

Though Tesla can do little more than open a showroom and a repair shop for now, Snyder said lawmakers should “always be willing to re-examine” legislation with the aim of improving the consumer’s experience “in a more efficient and less costly manner.”

Meanwhile, at least one automaker is happy PA 354 is on the books. In a one-sentence press release, General Motors had this to say prior to the bill’s signing:

We believe that House Bill 5606 will help ensure that all automotive manufacturers follow the same rules to operate in the State of Michigan; therefore, we encourage Governor Snyder to sign it.

Per Jalopnik, GM sent a similar message to Ohio governor John Kasich back in March of this year regarding SB137, which would have allowed Tesla to directly sell to customers in the state; the bill later died in the Ohio Senate.

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NHTSA Issues Urgent Recall For Takata-Equipped Vehicles In Humid Climes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934178 If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed. Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed.

Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made by Takata have been linked to humidity-related failures, where upon detonation, metal shrapnel would be sprayed into the cabin, injuring or killing all within.

Owners of the following affected vehicles may need to bring their vehicles in for repairs if they call Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands or Hawaii home:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Recall letters are being sent out to affected owners, who can also look up their VIN through SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is under recall.

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Automakers, Utilities Collaborate On Plug-In Cloud Charging Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932394 A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing. Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along […]

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Ford Focus EV Cloud Charging

A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing.

Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along with the 15 companies, Sumitomo Electric Industries and the Electric Power Research Institute, are developing a platform that would use the cloud to better manage energy usage and grid efficiency “while still meeting the needs” of PHEV and EV owners. The platform is called the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform.

OVGI would operate as follows: an owner would plug their car in as usual, then set a time for when the vehicle would be back on the road. The utility company could then send a message to the car to stop charging during peak power use, or, if doing so would hinder the vehicle’s ability to get back on the road, allow the vehicle to continue charging until it was ready to go.

In turn, the companies could offer their customers incentives to offer their plug-ins to the grid through lower rates on electricity usage. Customers can opt-out, charge elsewhere, or have the vehicle ignore the request.

The first OVGI test is occurring this week at Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Customer Service Center, where the tech will be demonstrated before federal, state, automotive and utility representatives and officials.

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Tesla’s First Battery Swap Station Opening Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932362 While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping. SlashGear […]

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Tesla Supercharger

While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping.

SlashGear reports the first swapping station will come online within the next few months, offering S and X owners the option of allowing robots to swap a drained pack for a fully charged unit from underneath the car within 90 seconds. Not only is this method faster than refueling at the local ARCO, but it blows away the Supercharger’s 30-minute charging time, as well.

The pack swap would also enable owners to retrieve their original packs later on, or, should retrieval become inconvenient, pay the difference for the new pack. Critics note this could lead to supply problems, where some stations have batteries waiting for their owners to return, while others run short of new packs.

The first station will open somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though further details were scant.

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Big Steel Steps Up Marketing Game Under Aluminum Shadow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/big-steel-steps-marketing-game-aluminum-shadow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/big-steel-steps-marketing-game-aluminum-shadow/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932026 Ford’s move to make the upcoming F-150 out of aluminum, along with GM’s plans to do the same with its trucks down the road, isn’t sitting well with the steel industry, to say the least. PickupTrucks.com reports the Steel Market Development Institute — the marketing arm of eight United States-based steel producers — recently became […]

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2015-ford-f-150-in-detroit-front-side-view

Ford’s move to make the upcoming F-150 out of aluminum, along with GM’s plans to do the same with its trucks down the road, isn’t sitting well with the steel industry, to say the least.

PickupTrucks.com reports the Steel Market Development Institute — the marketing arm of eight United States-based steel producers — recently became the title sponsor of the Texas Auto Writers Association’s 2014 Truck Rodeo — where the Aluminum King of Truck Mountain took home the Truck of Texas title and four other awards — in part to promote steel. Outgoing SDMI vice president Ronald Krupitzer explains:

Texans know and love their trucks. When they need a vehicle to keep up with the workload and lifestyle, advanced high-strength steel offers the perfect balance between weight and performance… we look forward to partnering with the Texas Auto Writers Association and sharing their insight on why time-tested materials, like advanced steel, will help ensure the durability, strength and safety of future vehicles.

As emphasized by SMDI president Larry Kavanaugh, the F-150 may have an aluminum body, but the truck’s frame “uses more high-strength steel than any other pickup.” The group also proclaimed said steel would remain the choice of automakers through 2025 and beyond, while aluminum will go the way of the hula hoop, Tamagotchi and the Harlem Shake after a few years of experimentation.

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GM Slapped With Lawsuits Totalling $10B Over Lost Value Claims http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-slapped-lawsuits-totalling-10b-lost-value-claims/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-slapped-lawsuits-totalling-10b-lost-value-claims/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932002 General Motors twice experienced the business end of a leather glove Wednesday, when over 20 million consumers demanded satisfaction via two lawsuits totalling $10 billion in claims over lost resale value as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall. Bloomberg reports two class actions would come GM’s way, the larger representing those who […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia Store

General Motors twice experienced the business end of a leather glove Wednesday, when over 20 million consumers demanded satisfaction via two lawsuits totalling $10 billion in claims over lost resale value as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Bloomberg reports two class actions would come GM’s way, the larger representing those who bought a GM vehicle between July 2009 and July 2014, whether or not they were still in possession of said vehicle.

The smaller lawsuit, meanwhile represents those who bought vehicles prior to the automaker’s bankruptcy in July 2009, though it may be muted depending on how a bankruptcy judge in New York rules next year regarding whether or not claims for accidents and economic losses made before the bankruptcy would be allowed to move forward.

According to the filing for the larger suit, “New GM’s” claims of being focused on safety and innovation were little more than a mask, resulting in diminished values of all GM-branded vehicles as a result of both the recall and the automaker’s “corporate culture of ignoring and concealing safety defects.”

For its part, GM vowed in an email to “vigorously defend against plaintiffs’ claims that GM vehicles have reduced resale value.”

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Michigan May Ban Tesla Direct Sales Pending Governor’s Signature http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/michigan-may-ban-tesla-direct-sales-pending-governors-signature/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/michigan-may-ban-tesla-direct-sales-pending-governors-signature/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931978 Sitting on Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s desk is a bill that would add the state to the list of places where Tesla cannot sell its vehicles directly to the public, waiting for his pen to seal the deal. Automotive News reports Michigan H.B. 5606 was originally meant to determine whether or not automakers could stop […]

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tesla-store-opening-in-westfield-mall-london-oct-2013_100444202_l

Sitting on Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s desk is a bill that would add the state to the list of places where Tesla cannot sell its vehicles directly to the public, waiting for his pen to seal the deal.

Automotive News reports Michigan H.B. 5606 was originally meant to determine whether or not automakers could stop their dealership networks from charging consumers certain fees when it was introduced in May, only for the anti-Tesla language to be appended to the bill by the state senate prior to passage — and without notice or debate — during the first two days of October. The bill then returned to the state house, passing 106 to 1 before landing on Snyder’s desk.

On the third day, Tesla contacted the governor’s office to have “a very open and productive dialogue” with those in the Snyder administration, according to vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell. He added that the automaker had been watching the bill since its introduction, citing its experience with other bills where anti-Tesla language had been stealthily implemented.

Meanwhile, Michigan Automobile Dealers Association executive vice president Terry Burns applauded the bill, proclaiming that while Tesla are “more than welcome” to do business in Michigan, he would hope they do so based on state law:

One good thing about being governor, you get to do whatever you think is appropriate at the time. We hope and look forward to him signing the bill and clarifying the language, and we hope he does it soon.

As for when the governor would decide the fate of H.B. 5606, a representative said the bill was being evaluated, but nothing has been decided thus far. Snyder has until October 21 to sign.

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Datsun Dealing With Low Sales In Emerging Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931346 Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin. It’s not quite working out thus far. Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three […]

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Datsun mi-Do 01

Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin.

It’s not quite working out thus far.

Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three of the previous four months through this August, with only 607 units leaving the lot in July, briefly dipping below the sales rate of the Tata Nano in the same month. Further, from its debut in March through August, a total of 9,557 of the ₹312,270 ($5,100 USD) Gos found their way into Indian garages.

Meanwhile, Russian sales will take a hit thanks to the ongoing geopolitical Cold War retro revival delivering a two-pronged attack upon the market, with sanctions by Western states on one side, the spectre of recession along the other. According to IHS Automotive, sales may fall to a decade-low of 9 percent by the time 2015 rolls around.

Finally, Datsun has moved 6,400 Go+ Pancas thus far in FY 2014, with the goal set for 40,000 units sold by the end of March 2015. The brand recently began accepting orders for the Go hatch, while Nissan believes it can hit the mark within the year.

India may prove to be the toughest market for the upstart brand, as those interested in a new car would rather pay more than be seen in something considered “cheap.” That said, sales could pick up during the country’s festival season, which began last month and is set to end in November. Additionally, Datsun corporate vice president Vincent Cobee acknowledged that it would take a while for a new-car buyer to consider a new brand over an established one, even if they are paying $10,000 or less for the vehicle.

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Acura May Follow Subaru With AWD-Only Product Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/acura-may-follow-subaru-awd-product-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/acura-may-follow-subaru-awd-product-plan/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930906 Looking for a way to revitalize itself, Acura is considering taking a cue from Subaru by going all in on all-wheel drive. Automotive News reports the plan is one of several backed by the brand’s Acura Business Planning Office — formed earlier this year to rethink and revitalize the brand in the United States — […]

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Looking for a way to revitalize itself, Acura is considering taking a cue from Subaru by going all in on all-wheel drive.

Automotive News reports the plan is one of several backed by the brand’s Acura Business Planning Office — formed earlier this year to rethink and revitalize the brand in the United States — though nothing is set in stone thus far.

Acura boss Koichi Fukuo believes that AWD is the way to go, citing the brand’s need to offer “something different” compared to the competition. That said, premium brands like BMW and Audi already offer AWD, with 58 percent of BMWs and 90 percent of Audis so equipped.

As for taking influence from Subaru’s success with the platform, Fukuo wants to do for what he calls “Acurists” — the loyal customer base he aims to cultivate through the AWD plan — what the Pleiadian automaker has done for its “Subarists”:

Looking at Subaru, I felt that we have to have a strong, clear direction as a brand. What’s important is to have the technology, styling and performance to evolve all together. Otherwise, I don’t think we can increase the number of loyal customers, so-called Acurists.

At present, the TLX and the upcoming hybrid RLX will have the brand’s next-gen Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, the latter receiving the Sport Hybrid variant that will also move the second-gen NSX when the sports car leaves Ohio in 2015. The rest of the lineup will follow over the years as each model comes up for renewal and/or refreshing. Power for all will come more powerful engines, none of which will be V8s or V10s due to weight issues interfering with the performance of a given vehicle.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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Kia-Rio-Diesel

With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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Nielsen: Baby Boomer Men Greatest Generation Of Connected-Car Users http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nielsen-baby-boomer-men-greatest-generation-connected-car-users/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nielsen-baby-boomer-men-greatest-generation-connected-car-users/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930226 Nielsen, who are better known for its television ratings system than much else, recently published a report narrowing down who exactly goes for connected-vehicle technology the most. Short answer: Men 55 and over, college degree in one hand, $100,000 in the other. Breaking it down further, men comprised the majority of all connected-vehicle users at […]

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Cadillac CUE

Nielsen, who are better known for its television ratings system than much else, recently published a report narrowing down who exactly goes for connected-vehicle technology the most.

Short answer: Men 55 and over, college degree in one hand, $100,000 in the other.

Breaking it down further, men comprised the majority of all connected-vehicle users at 58 percent, with 42 percent over the age of 55, 62 percent in possession of a college degree, and 37 percent making over $100,000 annually.

As for how all users end up in a connected vehicle, Nielsen says safety is the biggest factor, with 79 percent believing the vehicle’s technology will keep them safe on the road. Crash notifications, Internet-enabled navigation and safety alerts were at the top of the users’ list when shopping for a new vehicle.

The entertainment side of the infotainment divide also had its day in the sun, with 36 percent of users streaming audio into their car on a regular basis, 26 percent going online, and 21 percent downloading media while riding the real superhighway.

Finally, 84 percent of women who own a connected vehicle consider having their vehicle act as a Wi-Fi hot spot is important to their needs, over 74 percent of men.

Nielsen Connected Car Report 1

Nielsen Connected Car Report 2

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NADA, CFPB Fight For Future Of Automotive Financing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nada-cfpb-fight-future-automotive-financing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nada-cfpb-fight-future-automotive-financing/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927882 According to National Automobile Dealers Association chair Forrest McConnell, the United States government’s plan to tighten automotive finance regulations amounts to an attempt by said government “to take away the consumer’s right to get a discount.” Autoblog reports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to further extend its reach in the industry, arguing that a […]

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car salesman battle brigade

According to National Automobile Dealers Association chair Forrest McConnell, the United States government’s plan to tighten automotive finance regulations amounts to an attempt by said government “to take away the consumer’s right to get a discount.”

Autoblog reports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to further extend its reach in the industry, arguing that a flat-fee system would provide more transparency and prove beneficial to consumers over the current discretionary interest rate system, which the agency claims can be used to discriminate against certain groups of customers.

McConnell returned fire, proclaiming the CFPB’s reasoning as “flawed,” and that dealers are against discrimination:

Dealers have to discount those rates to be competitive. The current system saves customers money. Period.

At stake are 87.4 million outstanding loans worth over $900 billion as of Q1 2014, 90 percent of which originate from 38 auto finance companies that would fall under the proposed CFPB regulations.

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McCullough: Diesel Evoque Under Consideration For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mccullough-diesel-evoque-consideration-us-market/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927682 Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon. AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the […]

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Mrs. Beckham’s contribution to the automotive world, the Land Rover Evoque, may gain diesel power in the United States sometime soon.

AutoGuide reports the plan to place a diesel engine under the bonnet of the crossover is “being considered,” according to Jaguar Land Rover North America marketing vice president Kim McCullough. At present, only the 2-liter EcoBoost powers the U.S. market model, as the 2.2-liter diesel sold elsewhere cannot meet emissions here.

JLR’s £500 million ($804 million USD) engine production plant will begin production early in 2015 of a 2-liter Ingenium diesel, which will first find a home in the U.S. under the bonnet of the new Jaguar XE. The Ingenium turbo-four gasoline engine will also likely replace the EcoBoost sometime in the future, though McCullough declined to confirm anything more.

As for the diesel Evoque, she believes greater acceptance of diesels overall in the U.S. market could help Land Rover navigate its way through increasing fuel-efficiency targets, with Ingenium diesels landing in U.S. market Jaguar and Land Rover models as the product cycle moves forward.

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European Auto Execs Warn Too Stringent CO2 Regs Could Kill Local Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/european-auto-execs-warn-stringent-co2-regs-kill-local-industry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/european-auto-execs-warn-stringent-co2-regs-kill-local-industry/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927626 While hot hatches and hypercar hybrids caught the attention of everyone at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, senior executives for some of Europe’s major automakers warned all who would listen that potentially stronger greenhouse-gas regs could prove “fatal” to the European auto industry. The Detroit Bureau reports European Union legislatures are considering issuing targets of […]

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While hot hatches and hypercar hybrids caught the attention of everyone at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, senior executives for some of Europe’s major automakers warned all who would listen that potentially stronger greenhouse-gas regs could prove “fatal” to the European auto industry.

The Detroit Bureau reports European Union legislatures are considering issuing targets of 65 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven by 2025, a 30-gram drop from the target of 95 grams/km in 2021. The drop would be the equivalent of a vehicle in the United States netting 84 mpg, nearly 30 miles per gallon more than the CAFE target of 54.5 mpg set for the U.S. market at the same time as the 65-gram/km mandate would go into effect.

To make this a possibility, senior execs, like Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sergio Marchionne, claim significant investments would need to be made to meet the mandate. Winterkorn specifically stated that for every gram of CO2 cut to meet the target, his company must spend €100 million ($140 million USD) “without knowing when these investments pay off.” Observers also claim that while bigger automakers can handle the investment, smaller ones would likely be crippled if not die-off in doing the same.

On the other side, critics proclaim that automakers have been obsessed with the apocalypse of their industry since the 1970s, when the first clear air bills became law. Every time, the industry has been able to meet the challenges before it, and continue to do so today with the use of turbos, direct injection and advanced transmissions.

Marchionne acknowledged those statements, but added that it would ultimately be put on the backs and wallets of the consumers who want the latest and greatest, emphasizing that it would be delusional to think otherwise.

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GM Compensation Claims Total 1130, 24 Death Claims Approved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-compensation-claims-total-1130-24-death-claims-approved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-compensation-claims-total-1130-24-death-claims-approved/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927457 The compensation fund created by General Motors to pay claims resulting from injuries and deaths linked to a defective ignition switch found in a handful of 2003 through 2007 compact models has approved a total of 24 death claims for payout. According to The Detroit News, the overall number of claims jumped 30 percent last […]

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GM RenCen Garden

The compensation fund created by General Motors to pay claims resulting from injuries and deaths linked to a defective ignition switch found in a handful of 2003 through 2007 compact models has approved a total of 24 death claims for payout.

According to The Detroit News, the overall number of claims jumped 30 percent last week, from 867 to 1,130, while total death claims rose from 153 to 165.

Regarding injury claims, 79 for serious injury and 886 for less-serious injury cases were received, up from 70 and 644 respectively the week previous. The number of approved injury claims still stands at 16.

Finally, around 90 to 100 claims were found not eligible for payouts, while 30 victims and their families received settlement offers from the multi-million dollar fund.

Claims will be accepted until December 31, 2014.

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Tesla Preparing To Enter CPO Market By 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-preparing-enter-cpo-market-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/tesla-preparing-enter-cpo-market-2016/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927409 Always wanted to own a Tesla Model S, but couldn’t get past the $71,070 base price? CEO Elon Musk has a plan to make it easier to bring one home: CPO sales. Automotive News reports the automaker is working on a certified pre-owned program that would be offered through its stores, competing against similar programs […]

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2013-Tesla-Model-S-Rear

Always wanted to own a Tesla Model S, but couldn’t get past the $71,070 base price? CEO Elon Musk has a plan to make it easier to bring one home: CPO sales.

Automotive News reports the automaker is working on a certified pre-owned program that would be offered through its stores, competing against similar programs by the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as explained by Tesla’s vice president of communications, Simon Sproule:

With the Model S fleet now heading toward the first cars hitting three years old, we are looking at CPO and how best to structure.

In addition, Musk himself proclaimed in 2013 that he would personally honor the buyback guarantee his company issued to owners at the time of purchase, allowing them to recover 43 percent to 50 percent of the sticker price after three years. Should this group take him up, the first trade-ins would arrive for refurbishing in the spring of 2016 — if not earlier for those offloading their Model S for a Model X — with more to come the following year.

Just like with Tesla’s new cars, the CPO models would be sold at its stores, with the potential to capture as much as $10,000 per used model sold, much more than when the models first left the showroom according to TrueCar president John Krafcik.

Challenges for the company’s entry into the CPO market include: budgeting for model refurbishing and sales; more legal battles to be allowed to directly sell used models; the potential for depreciation to be lower than benchmarked — the Mercedes S-Class’ trade-in value formed the basis for Tesla’s buyback program; owners taking their vehicles to other used-car dealers or the private market; and the upcoming Model III.

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GM Puts Stop-Delivery Order On Colorado, Canyon Twins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-puts-stop-delivery-order-colorado-canyon-twins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-puts-stop-delivery-order-colorado-canyon-twins/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926401 If you ordered one of General Motors’ new mid-size pickups, your delivery may be a bit late, thanks to an airbag recall. Automotive News reports dealers received a note last week from GM informing them that the automaker had notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of an “upcoming safety and noncompliance recall” involving the […]

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Chevrolet Colorados + Car Carrier

If you ordered one of General Motors’ new mid-size pickups, your delivery may be a bit late, thanks to an airbag recall.

Automotive News reports dealers received a note last week from GM informing them that the automaker had notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of an “upcoming safety and noncompliance recall” involving the driver’s side airbag connection being incorrectly wired while the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins were on the assembly line:

This condition will cause the driver-side airbags to not function as designed and may adversely affect the crash performance of the driver-side airbags.

GM says it will deliver a software update to its dealerships “in the next few days,” allowing service techs to reprogram the affected airbag’s sensing and diagnostic module prior to delivery. That said, most of the affected are either at the Wentzville, Mo. assembly plant, in transit, or unsold on the lot.

Speaking of sales of the twins, the automaker reported 36 Colorados and 11 Canyons heading for the old dirt road to the beer-fueled barnyard disco in September.

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State, Federal Authorities Target Subprime Liar Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/state-federal-authorities-target-subprime-liar-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/state-federal-authorities-target-subprime-liar-auto-loans/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926369 The same subprime lending practices in the mortgage industry that fueled the run-up toward the Great Recession have found a new market to infect: used-car auto lending. According to The New York Times, state and federal authorities are investigating used-car dealerships who finance subprime consumers by creating liar loans, loans where an applicant’s information is […]

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Ameriquest Mortgage NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Ford Fusion

The same subprime lending practices in the mortgage industry that fueled the run-up toward the Great Recession have found a new market to infect: used-car auto lending.

According to The New York Times, state and federal authorities are investigating used-car dealerships who finance subprime consumers by creating liar loans, loans where an applicant’s information is misrepresented, such as inflating one’s income or falsifying their employment information.

Thus far, the investigations have found hundreds of such loans, including a case in Odessa, Texas where two employees at a dealership created over 300 liar loans; the employees are now serving time in federal prison. Meanwhile, 15 states — including Florida, New York, Alabama, Ohio, Texas and Tennessee — have lawsuits pending against dealerships whose subprime lending tactics have financially damaged borrowers who would have otherwise been passed over.

Liar lending also damages lenders and investors — the latter including public pension funds and insurance companies — who buy the loans from the dealerships who commit to such tactics, eroding confidence in the securities generated by the loans. That said, more lenders are falling head over heels to have more loans in their portfolio — sometimes paying dealers in full immediately for them — fostering the sin that led some mortgage companies to the guillotine years ago.

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Metaxas: License Plate Recognition Can Improve Originations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/metaxas-license-plate-recognition-can-improve-originations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/metaxas-license-plate-recognition-can-improve-originations/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922465 Aside from GPS-equipped starter interrupt systems, lenders have another tool to repossess a vehicle, with the added benefit of using the data obtained to acquire better contracts: license plate recognition. According to Auto Remarketing, the CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Digital Recognition Network, Chris Metaxas, says his company’s LPR technology has found 55 percent of […]

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DRN LPR Guide

Aside from GPS-equipped starter interrupt systems, lenders have another tool to repossess a vehicle, with the added benefit of using the data obtained to acquire better contracts: license plate recognition.

According to Auto Remarketing, the CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Digital Recognition Network, Chris Metaxas, says his company’s LPR technology has found 55 percent of their customers’ assets up to 100 miles away from where the paperwork claimed the vehicle would have originally been. As most assets are with the lenders’ customers, any deviation from that is a red flag.

Thus, originators seeking to minimize risk could use LPR data to “determine the truth of a statement someone may make on an application,” in turn enhancing the process so better contracts are entered into a given portfolio:

If you think about what a bank does in translating risk mitigation into their ability to grow their book of business, the loans they write, the policies they write, it is substantial and is exponential. What you lose on the back end is only a fraction of what you write on the front end.

Earlier this year, DRN and another LPR company entered into a lawsuit against Utah governor Gary Herbert and attorney general Sean Reyes over First Amendment issues regarding legislation that prohibited such technology from being used to analyze the image of the license plate in question. The lawsuit is part of an ongoing battle between privacy advocates who claim the private data tied to a plate can have the potential to be abused, and by LPR proponents like DRN who believe license plate numbers contain no such thing, citing the public nature of the plate itself.

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Cadillac Escalade Keeps Its Name, Other SUVs, CUVs Christened XT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-escalade-keeps-name-suvs-cuvs-christened-xt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-escalade-keeps-name-suvs-cuvs-christened-xt/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922433 Cadillac’s new alpha-numeric scheme has entered the crossover and SUV space, with the brand’s future offerings to be dubbed XT. However, like the Lincoln Navigator to the MKs, the Escalade will keep its name among the CTs and XTs. According to Forbes, Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus says both CT and XT models will have a […]

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Cadillac’s new alpha-numeric scheme has entered the crossover and SUV space, with the brand’s future offerings to be dubbed XT. However, like the Lincoln Navigator to the MKs, the Escalade will keep its name among the CTs and XTs.

According to Forbes, Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus says both CT and XT models will have a number appended at the end of the designation to signify the size of the vehicle in relation to the rest of the lineup. The designations — created a year ago by Ellinghaus soon after becoming the brand’s CMO — form a framework for Cadillac to expand and overhaul its lineup while also eliminating consumer confusion on the showroom floor:

It’s a logical thing to give some mental space like this in your naming scheme. So many other brands have done that sort of thing, across industries. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t fit our immediate business needs, but this simple logic will help us build this brand and enhance recognition over the long term.

One exception to the new scheme is the Escalade. According to Road & Track, product manager Dave Schiavione explained that there had been a plan to move the SUV onto the Lambda crossover platform, but was punted because Escalade owners wanted their SUV — with all of the power, towing capacity and other associated aspects — to remain an SUV. Representative David Caldwell summed it up as such:

Escalade remains. No reason to mess with it. Everything you say about it is valid.

The premium SUV will likely remain the brand’s default halo vehicle until the flagship CT6 arrives in the near future.

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Sen. Reid Calls Upon Congress To Raise EV Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/sen-reid-calls-upon-congress-raise-ev-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/sen-reid-calls-upon-congress-raise-ev-tax-incentives/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922273 For the past three years, President Barack Obama has called upon Congress to raise tax incentives for electric vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000, with those calls going unanswered. This year, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate is taking the charge. The Detroit News reports Senate Majority Leader Henry Reid of Nevada pushed Congress to […]

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Harry Reid

For the past three years, President Barack Obama has called upon Congress to raise tax incentives for electric vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000, with those calls going unanswered.

This year, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate is taking the charge.

The Detroit News reports Senate Majority Leader Henry Reid of Nevada pushed Congress to boost the incentives — and, therefore, EV sales — proclaiming the government needed to do more to encourage sales:

In order to truly promote innovation, we must as a Congress create opportunities for consumers to invest in advanced technologies, and we haven’t done that yet. We need more tax incentives for that. In 2008, we encouraged America to invest in the growth of the electric car industry with tax credits for qualified electric vehicles.

The extra $2,500 would provide dealers an opportunity to claim credits so long as they disclosed that info to their customers, which would then give said customers a chance to claim the credits at the point of sale, instead of filing a claim with their taxes the following year.

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CFPB Brings The Hammer Down On Captives, Dealer Reserve http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cfpb-brings-hammer-captives-dealer-reserve/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cfpb-brings-hammer-captives-dealer-reserve/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921689 The hammer has fallen on captive automotive lenders, such as GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began officially asserting its authority over them as the feds and the lenders battle over allegations of discrimination in the latter’s loan products. Forbes reports the captives — regulated at the […]

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CFPB - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sign

The hammer has fallen on captive automotive lenders, such as GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began officially asserting its authority over them as the feds and the lenders battle over allegations of discrimination in the latter’s loan products.

Forbes reports the captives — regulated at the state level until this month — will be used indirectly by the agency to regulate dealerships as far as financing is concerned; the new-car dealer lobby won exemption from oversight in 2010.

The focus? Dealer reserve. Lenders allow dealers to add a few percentage points to the former’s loan packages as compensation for generating the leads, generally capped between 2 to 3 percentage points by most lenders. However, the allegations claim dealerships use their dealer reserve to charge more on loans made to protected classes, such as women and minorities.

The CFPB plans to address the issue by “pushing lenders to switch to some form of dealership compensation that takes away dealer discretion, such as a fixed, flat rate for every customer.” The agency also suggested lower caps could also do away with the alleged variations in dealer pricing.

For its part, the National Automobile Dealers Association claims competition “keeps rates low,” that dealership compensation is lower than the rate caps suggested, and by moving to a fixed, flat rate with even lower caps, dealers would no longer be able to offer discounts on financing.

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