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. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 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/ Future Of Industry, Mobility To Be Shaped At Detroit Tech Conference http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/future-industry-mobility-shaped-detroit-tech-conference/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908673 Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit. Automotive News reports industry execs, government […]

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Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit.

Automotive News reports industry execs, government officials and researchers will converge to sort out the future of the automobile as shaped by mobility technology. At present, companies like Tesla, Uber and Google are driving the rest of the industry toward a place where vehicles can be upgraded via software, communicate with other vehicles and the road, and drive itself to pick up a passenger or two before driving itself to the intended destination.

As such, the old guard are doing their best to prepare for the world to come. General Motors, for example, plans to introduce V2V and semi-autonomous systems in two Cadillac sedans by 2017, and has joined up with Ford, Honda and other automakers in a research program with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center where shared autonomous vehicles could one day be the norm. Meanwhile, Daimler bought the Mytaxi and RideScout apps last week “to make mobility as simple as possible,” according to subsidiary Moovel’s CEO, Robert Henrich.

The end game for the automotive industry may see automakers go from just building vehicles to becoming “personal-mobility companies,” in the words of Ford chair Bill Ford, upending a business model that has served the industry since it began over a century ago.

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GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908633 The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard. Autoblog reports General Motors and the […]

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2003 Saturn Vue

The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard.

Autoblog reports General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held three meetings with each other from mid-June through late July regarding 152 reports of the Vue’s ignition key being easily removable despite the switch not being turned to the “off” position. The reports were first discovered in April by the automaker.

In addition to the meetings, GM’s own Open Issue Review panel looked over the data near the end of July, with the go-ahead for recall given by the Safety Field Action Decision Authority July 31, as noted in a memo sent to the NHTSA the day prior to the issuance of the recall.

On August 8, 215,243 2002-2004 Vues around the globe — 202,155 in the United States — were brought aboard the recall train as part of six recalls issued that day, affecting a total of 312,280 units worldwide.

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Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906993 Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors. Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, […]

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Google Toyota Prius Autonomous Vehicle

Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.

Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, Seigo Kuzumaki. He adds that he and Toyota’s top brass don’t believe such vehicles will have much marketability outside of the technocratic state of Silcon Valley, nor are they certain the technology is ready for primetime.

At the present, Toyota is working on 34 projects with 17 partners, including those involving V2V and V2I communication systems. That said, it believes the human behind the wheel is just as important as the computers running most of the show. Thus, the driver will not become a passenger in the near-term.

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Los Angeles Chevrolet Dealer Charging Six-Figures For 2014 Camaro Z/28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905657 A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale. Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black […]

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A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale.

Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black 2014 model for the reasonable price of $106,165, a markup of just over $30,000. Though someone in Beverly Hills — or Justin Bieber — may be more than willing to pay that particular toll, the blog found a dealership 40 minutes away in Santa Ana charging $76,645 for a black-on-black Z/28 on its floor. Since Disneyland is nearby, the lucky owner can used the $30,000 they would have spent in L.A. to buy quite a few passes and souvenirs.

Other dealerships whose prices are in the five-figures include Good Chevrolet near Seattle ($86,150); Schumacher Chevrolet near New York ($74,995); and — with the lowest price of all dealerships in the United States — Lorenzo Bomnin Chevrolet in Miami ($66,999).

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North Korea Owes Sweden $428M For 1,000 Volvos Swindled In 1974 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904857 Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and […]

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Stolen Volvos in North Korea

Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and zinc.

But that was 40 years ago.

Newsweek reports North Korea, under Kim Il-sung’s regime, ultimately absconded with the Volvos and other Swedish goods during a Swedish-Korean trade fair in Pyongyang, all within the same year the vehicles were delivered.

Since then, the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board has calculated the interest owed on the debt linked to those goods. Total debt after inflation plus interest holds at kr3 billion ($428 million USD).

As for the Volvos, they were ordered for taxi service within the North Korean capital. As of 2008, those cars were not only still running, but, according to photographer and entrepreneur Tor Rauden Källstigen, were treated well:

I think I’ve never been inside such an old car even back home in Sweden. This taxi was very well maintained too, close to mint condition it seemed.

Were Il-sung’s grandson and current ruler, Kim Jong-un, to sell the vehicles at current book value, he would net $2.6 million — or 0.6 percent of the debt — for the trouble.

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Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

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Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

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Russian Government Moves Ahead With Revived Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903274 A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme. Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, […]

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Lada Coupe

A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme.

Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, which is expected to subsidize over 170,000 new vehicles at a minimum discount of P40,000 ($1,086) for scrapping a passenger car, and P350,000 ($9,506) on up for commercial vehicles. Additional discounts from P40,000 to P300,000 ($1,086 – $8,148) will be made to consumers who trade-in vehicles six years of age or older.

The new program begins September 1, and will run through to the end of the year. A decision to revive the program in 2015 will be made no earlier than the middle of September of that year, according to Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and will be based on market conditions at that point in time.

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Qi: New Spare Parts For Fisker Karma Owners Coming Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/qi-new-spare-parts-fisker-karma-owners-coming-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/qi-new-spare-parts-fisker-karma-owners-coming-soon/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903210 If you’re Justin Bieber, Carlos Santana or Bob Lutz — and even if you’re not — you’ll be happy to know that your Fisker Karma will be more fixable in the event of a fender-bender or two, all thanks to parent company Wanxiang. Green Car Reports says Wanxiang America’s Fisker Coordinator Linyun Frank Qi dropped […]

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If you’re Justin Bieber, Carlos Santana or Bob Lutz — and even if you’re not — you’ll be happy to know that your Fisker Karma will be more fixable in the event of a fender-bender or two, all thanks to parent company Wanxiang.

Green Car Reports says Wanxiang America’s Fisker Coordinator Linyun Frank Qi dropped a note with the Fisker Owners Club, informing them that his company, still in the rebuilding stage, was “settling and still negotiating with over 300 suppliers” involved in the Karma’s construction to regain access to every part made for the premium PHEV.

As for when and how customers will receive the new parts, along with the service needed to put everything back together, no timeline was mentioned. Wanxiang purchased Fisker in a bankruptcy auction February 2014 for $149 million, promising to restart production of the Karma as soon as possible.

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2015 Ford F-150 Customer Orders Delayed Until February http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-ford-f-150-customer-orders-delayed-february/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-ford-f-150-customer-orders-delayed-february/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902105 Did you put in your order for the new aluminum 2015 Ford F-150? If so, you may be waiting a bit longer to join the Overlord of Truck Mountain in its court. Automotive News reports all fleet and some retail consumers who put their orders in early will be waiting until February 2015 for delivery, […]

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Did you put in your order for the new aluminum 2015 Ford F-150? If so, you may be waiting a bit longer to join the Overlord of Truck Mountain in its court.

Automotive News reports all fleet and some retail consumers who put their orders in early will be waiting until February 2015 for delivery, according to a leaked dealer memo issued August 20.

The delay is due to the automaker ensuring the launch of its newest truck will go better than when the 2013 Lincoln MKZ stumbled out of the gate early last year, as explained in the memo:

We understand the desire to get the customer units as quickly as possible, but do not want to compromise our commitment to quality for the sake of a few additional weeks of delivery.

Those who are waiting until the F-150′s showroom arrival will have better luck, as all 3,000 of the Blue Oval’s dealers will receive a handful or two of the new pickup near the end of the year, with the first pre-production units expected to roll off the line near the end of October.

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Ram Trucks Remaining True To Steel Until 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ram-trucks-remaining-true-steel-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ram-trucks-remaining-true-steel-2020/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899106 Though Ford and General Motors may be exchanging their iron fists for aluminum gloves in this upcoming battle atop Truck Mountain, Ram plans to remain beholden to the steel until 2020. Reuters reports two sources close to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans for Ram’s truck offerings proclaim that while significant changes will come to the trucks […]

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Though Ford and General Motors may be exchanging their iron fists for aluminum gloves in this upcoming battle atop Truck Mountain, Ram plans to remain beholden to the steel until 2020.

Reuters reports two sources close to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans for Ram’s truck offerings proclaim that while significant changes will come to the trucks in 2017, the switch to aluminum is not among them. Maintaining the status quo would prevent alienation among its commercial consumer base, as well as keep production costs low from not having to convert steel parts to aluminum.

The plan echos what FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told investors in May, stating the use of the metal would be “better suited in other vehicles than pickup trucks.” Instead, Ram will focus on more fuel-efficient engine-transmission setups, stop-start technology, and other methods of meeting 2018 U.S. emissions and fuel economy standards.

As for what happens after FCA’s current five-year plan comes to a close in 2020, the automaker isn’t saying much on the subject of an aluminum Ram beyond that no decisions have been made thus far, according to representative Rick Deneau.

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Honda Fixes Flawed Beam Design In 2015 Fit, Gains IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897842 After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam. Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. […]

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2015 Honda Fit

After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam.

Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. The broken beam allowed more impact energy to be absorbed on the driver’s side of the Fit.

In turn, Honda’s engineering team set about to fix the issue, then ask the agency to retest the Fit. The newly updated compact hatch fared better in the test this time, bumping the original grade up to “Acceptable.” On top of receiving “Good” status on the vehicle’s other four tests, the IIHS gave the Fit the title of Top Safety Pick, a goal Honda desired for the compact hatch according to chief vehicle safety engineer Chuck Thomas:

We had targeted “Top Safety Pick,” and just weren’t satisfied with not achieving that. We had studied the results of that test, and made some modifications to the front bumper.

The modifications were made on the production line in June, and the 12,000 owners with their Fits already in possession can bring back the vehicle for the free upgrade. Honda will send notices in September.

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2013-14 Honda CR-Z Receives HPD Supercharging Kit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2013-14-honda-cr-z-receives-hpd-supercharging-kit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2013-14-honda-cr-z-receives-hpd-supercharging-kit/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897810 The Honda CR-Z will be gaining much needed firepower under the bonnet thanks to the automaker’s performance division. Autoblog reports Honda Performance Development has introduced an aftermarket supercharger kit good for boosting power from the hybrid’s 1.5-liter four to 197 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The HPD kit also comes with an air-to-air intercooler, […]

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The Honda CR-Z will be gaining much needed firepower under the bonnet thanks to the automaker’s performance division.

Autoblog reports Honda Performance Development has introduced an aftermarket supercharger kit good for boosting power from the hybrid’s 1.5-liter four to 197 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The HPD kit also comes with an air-to-air intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a re-calibrated ECU that complies with CARB AT-PZEV rules, and an air filter.

The kit, priced at $5,495 plus the cost of dealer installation, is meant only for 2013 and 2014 CR-Zs with the six-speed manual funneling power to the front. If installed at a dealership, it also will maintain the vehicle’s 5-year/60,000-mile warranty balance. An optional limited-slip differential and sport clutch are available for $1,375 and $640, as well.

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Sixt-BMW DriveNow Partnership Exceeds Membership Expectations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/sixt-bmw-drivenow-partnership-exceeds-membership-expectations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/sixt-bmw-drivenow-partnership-exceeds-membership-expectations/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897258 Germany-based rental car company Sixt SE announced its DriveNow car-sharing venture with BMW has exceeded expectations, with profits to match. Autoblog reports DriveNow’s success is linked to cities where the service has been in operation for at least a year, with new subscriptions coming online in a manner that completely caught CEO Erich Sixt off-guard: […]

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Germany-based rental car company Sixt SE announced its DriveNow car-sharing venture with BMW has exceeded expectations, with profits to match.

Autoblog reports DriveNow’s success is linked to cities where the service has been in operation for at least a year, with new subscriptions coming online in a manner that completely caught CEO Erich Sixt off-guard:

We’ve been surprised about the explosion of new subscriptions, which has helped boost revenue. We didn’t expect such a dramatic rise in membership.

DriveNow, operating in five German cities and San Francisco, saw its membership jump from 215,000 at the end of 2013, to 300,000 at present. However, COO Julian zu Putlitz expects the service — which allows members to rent BMW’s X1 and 1 Series vehicles, as well as models from MINI — to see a “small-to-medium, single-digit” million-euro loss in 2014 due to startup costs.

As for the future, Sixt and BMW are in talks to expand DriveNow to 25 locations in Europe and the United States within the next five years.

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NHTSA Unveils VIN Recall Look-up Tool For Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897234 With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however. Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN […]

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SaferCar VIN Recall Lookup Tool

With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however.

Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN look-up tool, where consumers can find out if their vehicle is under recall. The tool covers all “major light vehicle and motorcycle brands,” and is part of the NHTSA’s new mandate that all manufacturers provide VIN search tools on their own sites for uncompleted recalls, updated weekly.

At the moment, however, the tool can only report on vehicles that have yet to be repaired, instead of any and all possible campaigns a VIN may fall under. That information would need to be found by combing through the agency’s database separately from the look-up tool. Customer service and non-safety campaigns are also not searchable within the tool, as well.

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Study: Nine Brands Suffer Loyalty Issues Among Their Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896834 Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational. In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. […]

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2014 Scion tC Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational.

In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. says the following nine brands are likely to see their customers jump ship to another brand come trade-in or lease time:

  • Mitsubishi: 21.77 percent average
  • Chrysler: 22.72 percent average
  • Dodge: 22.88 percent average
  • Jaguar: 25.45 percent average
  • Scion: 25.79 percent average
  • Lincoln: 27.49 percent average
  • Infiniti: 28.25 percent average
  • Volvo: 29.41 percent average
  • Buick: 29.45 percent average

The study notes the brands with the highest loyalty averages also move the most units off the lot, while low-loyalty brands have sales to match; six of the nine listed sold less than 100,000 units during H1 2014.

As for what inspires loyalty in the first place, KBB senior manager of marketing intelligence Arthur Henry says price and reliability play the most important roles in whether a customer will stick with a brand. However, luxury makes like Jaguar, Infiniti and Buick suffer not from perceptions of poor reliability, but fierce competition from within the U.S. luxury market.

That said, Arthur notes customers can switch loyalties no matter how a brand is perceived, citing economic conditions and changing consumer preferences as factors in switching.

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General Motors Expands Ignition Website To Cover 20 Affected Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896762 Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems. Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from […]

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GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems.

Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from the Chevrolet Cobalt to the Camaro and Impala — with ignition switch issues. The site came online in April of this year, focusing upon the handful of 2003 through 2007 GM models caught up in the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million units.

In addition, CEO Mary Barra penned a letter to 1.9 million customers from the original group, pushing them to take their vehicles in for repair work. The majority of the letters focused on those who had yet to order the parts needed to fix their vehicles, with the remaining 875,000 reminding owners who had placed their parts orders to bring their vehicles to dealers for repairs to begin.

Speaking of repairs, GM said around 800,000 of the original 2.6 million recalled had been repaired. Representative Alan Adler stated, on average, 80 percent of GM owners affected by a recall bring their vehicles in for repair work within a year of notice, and 85 percent by year two. He added that both the website expansion and the letter campaign were efforts by the automaker to have all vehicles with defective ignitions to come in for repairs.

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Ford, Chevrolet Begin Labor Day Battle Weeks Early http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895386 Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season. Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective […]

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Ford Labor Day Sale 2014

Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season.

Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective lines, to Chevrolet offering deferred payments for the first 90 days for select models. Rather than wait until closer to Labor Day, however, Ford launched the first attack back in late July; Chevrolet kicked off its campaign last week.

The end game? Regain lost ground in sales from the first half of 2014. Ford lost 1 percent of its share of the market, dropping to 14.8 percent in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, Chevrolet fell from 12.9 percent to 12.5 percent in the same period comparison.

Other combatants in the end-of-summer sales battle include Toyota offering 0 percent APR for 60 months on a handful of models, Nissan presenting 0 percent between 36 and 72 months depending on the model chosen, and Dodge giving buyers 90-day deferments on 2014 and 2015 models through Labor Day weekend.

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Chinese Government Investigating Quality Issues Among Volkswagen Sagitars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893458 Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem. Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and […]

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Volkswagen-Sagitar-GLI

Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem.

Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and August 12 alone.

FAW-VW responded late last month by claiming the problems were isolated incidents (via expert analysis) and not anything on their end. The joint venture also vowed to sue anyone spreading “untrue” information about their products.

The investigation is taking place at the same time an antitrust probe by the government over price-cutting by seven transplants, including Volkswagen AG’s Audi.

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Uber Goes Dirty Against Lyft With Cancelled Rides, Recruitment Drives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uber-goes-dirty-lyft-cancelled-rides-recruitment-drives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uber-goes-dirty-lyft-cancelled-rides-recruitment-drives/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=892882 It’s already hard for a transportation network company out there, yet Uber apparently wants to make it harder for the pink mustache plushies of Lyft through a high-stakes game of Ding-Dong-Ditch. According to CNN Money, Lyft reported 5,560 rides were ordered, then cancelled, by 177 Uber employees since October of 2013. The TNC also found […]

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uber fashion shoot 02

It’s already hard for a transportation network company out there, yet Uber apparently wants to make it harder for the pink mustache plushies of Lyft through a high-stakes game of Ding-Dong-Ditch.

According to CNN Money, Lyft reported 5,560 rides were ordered, then cancelled, by 177 Uber employees since October of 2013. The TNC also found that some rides were ordered by Uber recruiters and enthusiasts looking to lure drivers into the high glamour, less hipster world the suit-and-tie TNC bases its image upon.

This hasn’t been the first time Uber has been accused of playing dirty pool within the emerging transportation network industry. As early as this year, the TNC’s New York-based staffers were linked to 100 such cancellations, prompting Uber to “tone down their sales tactics.” That said, 5,492 of the cancelled rides were ordered after the statement was issued.

In addition, when Lyft arrived in New York in July, Uber sent a text to its drivers stating the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission prohibited TNC drivers from working for more than one company. The commission stated otherwise, and Uber issued a statement that its official policy allowed its drivers to work for other TNCs.

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Consumer Reports’ Long-Term Tesla Develops Reliability Blemishes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889626 Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing. Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including: Automatic retracting door […]

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Tesla Model S

Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing.

Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including:

  • Automatic retracting door handles “relucant to emerge from the coachwork”
  • A broken seat buckle in the third row seating section
  • Front trunk lid failing to release via touchscreen
  • Said screen going blank, blocking all access to the car’s functions

Shenhar noted every one of these problems were quickly remedied by the service center in Milford, Conn. or over-the-air from the mothership in California.

He concludes that the sedan’s reliability ranking may fall a bit when the publication’s related survey is examined in September, but only if other Model S owners have had similar problems occur with enough severity and frequency to merit a downgrade.

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GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888617 The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload. Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 long box

The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload.

Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb weight for its Silverado/Sierra and Colorado/Canyon twins after a number of complaints regarding its and Ford’s practice of removing items — spare tires, radios, jacks, center consoles — to lower curb weight for a boost in maximum payload capacity. Representative Tom Wilkinson says the move will bring curb weight on par with other truck makers for easier comparisons when consumers go truck shopping. Heavy-duty trucks will also have a base weight, though those numbers have yet to be finalized.

However, GM and everyone else says the truck’s Tire and Load Label should be consulted over curb weight ratings when it comes to maximum payload capacity. Meanwhile, Ford will continue use its temporary decontenting methods to determine curb weight.

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GM Compensation Fund Receives Nearly 100 Claim Submissions Thus Far http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-compensation-fund-receives-nearly-100-claim-submissions-thus-far/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-compensation-fund-receives-nearly-100-claim-submissions-thus-far/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883633 Last Friday was the first day claims linked to accidents and fatalities related to the ignition switch that kicked-off the 2014 General Motors recall parade could be submitted to the compensation fund set up by GM and Kenneth Feinberg. Thus far, 93 such claims have been submitted. The Detroit News reports around 50 of those […]

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GM RenCen Blue Night

Last Friday was the first day claims linked to accidents and fatalities related to the ignition switch that kicked-off the 2014 General Motors recall parade could be submitted to the compensation fund set up by GM and Kenneth Feinberg. Thus far, 93 such claims have been submitted.

The Detroit News reports around 50 of those claims were submitted on the first day. Deputy administrator Camille S. Biros said most of the claims lacked supporting documents, though she expects the lawyers to submit them soon enough. The majority of the claims were submitted electronically en masse by attorneys representing clients who may have been affected in some way as a result of the defective ignition switch.

Upon being found “substantially complete,” the claims will be decided within 90 to 180 days, depending on complexity (or lack there of) of each claim. GM set aside $400 million for the payouts, though the total payout could be as high as $600 million, with Feinberg repeatedly stressing that there will be no cap on total claims.

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Japanese Officials Pushing Hard With Subsidies For New Hydrogen Mirai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883545 The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free. Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free.

Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will receive a ¥2 million (~$20,000) subsidy from the Japanese government when the first models go on sale next year, with residents of Aichi prefecture — the home of Toyota — taking an extra ¥1 million (~$10,000) from the local government.

However, paying only as much as ¥4 million ($39,175) for the honor of being one of the new pioneers of the silver hydrogen future might not be enough to bring the Mirai out of the showroom, as fueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent. The Japanese government aims to bring 100 stations online by March 2015 at the earliest, for what it’s worth.

So, where does the “free car” offer come in? Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai reported on a few suggestions made by a government panel on how to spur FCV adoption rates, including offering free FCVs, free hydrogen refueling and toll exemptions. The daily explained that the government’s hydrogen vision “must contain more radical ideas” in order to generate excitement from the public and “catalyze a revolutionary socioeconomic change.” A hell of a way to push the Mirai for Summerslam, one would suppose.

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Szakaly: CAFE Targets Will Curb US Auto Sales Beyond 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/szakaly-cafe-targets-will-curb-us-auto-sales-beyond-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/szakaly-cafe-targets-will-curb-us-auto-sales-beyond-2018/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883202 The federal fuel efficiency mandates now in place to guide automakers toward a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 may curb United States auto sales after 2018, according to a leading economist speaking during the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. Automotive News reports National Automobile Dealers Association chief economist Steven Szakaly […]

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2015 ford fiesta se ecoboost front 34

The federal fuel efficiency mandates now in place to guide automakers toward a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 may curb United States auto sales after 2018, according to a leading economist speaking during the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.

Automotive News reports National Automobile Dealers Association chief economist Steven Szakaly warned that the challenges associated with the new CAFE targets were severely underestimated by the industry in comparison to previous CAFE targets.

He says that while automakers are currently experiencing a resurgence in sales with “good profits” on large vehicles, such as pickups and SUVs, future sales past 2018 will pale in comparison — with little hope for avoiding those losses — as automakers focus more upon the 2025 CAFE target:

Unless gasoline prices rise significantly, or we see consumers becoming irrational and everyone buying an electric car, it’s tough to think of consumers willing to pay $3,000 to $7,000 more for the exact same car, just because someone in Washington, D.C., or California says they need to buy it.

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Tesla Diffusing Demand For Model X Prior To Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883178 Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead. Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the […]

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tesla-model-x

Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the automaker is actively steering customer demand away from the upcoming X, going so far as to convince showroom visitors who want to put their name on a (non-existent) wait list for the SUV to buy the S.

The “anti-sell” tactics are a part of Tesla’s strategy to create at-will demand for the X, citing complaints from Chinese customers who were “upset about waiting too long” before taking delivery of their electric sedans. Musk just doesn’t want U.S. consumers to begin forming iPhone-esque lines for the next big thing from his company. Not yet, anyway.

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