The Truth About Cars » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +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 » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ Chrysler Shutting Windsor Plant For 12 Weeks To Re-Tool For “Stunning” Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921442 In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country. According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough […]

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In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country.

According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough minivan inventory to tide over dealers and consumers until the introduction of the new vehicle.

The shutdown is expected to bring major upgrades to the plant, which is alreading building 1,400 vans a day on three shifts. Although the nature of the upgrades has not been disclosed, it will likely be able to build more than just the minivan, since the new van will ride on a flexible architecture shared with other FCA products. However, no other products have been allocated to the plant, and Unifor, the labor union representing the plant’s workers, is reported to be hard at work to secure a future crossover for Windsor.

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Announcing Our First Reader AMA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/announcing-first-reader-ama/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/announcing-first-reader-ama/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:19:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921450 After the success of TTAC‘s first AMA (featuring contributor Jim Yu and his VW Phaeton), we are proud to announce that the second AMA has been lined up for Monday, October 6th. Our first participant will be one of our very own readers, and the featured car will be a 2004 Volvo V70R wagon. Yes, it […]

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After the success of TTAC‘s first AMA (featuring contributor Jim Yu and his VW Phaeton), we are proud to announce that the second AMA has been lined up for Monday, October 6th.

Our first participant will be one of our very own readers, and the featured car will be a 2004 Volvo V70R wagon. Yes, it has a stick shift and a rear-facing third row of seats. It is not brown.

Following that, we will be hosting AMAs on a regular basis. I was proud to say that the response was overwhelming (my inbox was inundated with volunteers), and we have lined up everything from a DeLorean to a Previa to a 100,000 mile Elise to a Ferrari and all points in between. Thank you to the readers who have volunteered their time and their sanity to help make this feature happen.

For those of you who have an interesting vehicle but have not stepped up yet, email me, derek at ttac dot com. We will need a short blurb on your vehicle, a photo or two, a time that works for you and your TTAC user name to schedule you in.

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Canadian General Motors Plant Hit By Wildcat Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:44:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921418 A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced. The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency “…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a […]

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A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced.

The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency

“…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a plant supervisor and was ordered to leave the plant along with another union official.

The worker said the walkout affected production at the plant which is running at capacity with three shifts, six days a week.”

The worker in question, Mike van Boekel, is the unit chairperson for Unifor Local 88. He told QMI that as part of the terms of the settlement, he has been asked not to speak about the incident.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Hanover Vans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dispatches-brasil-hanover-vans/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:29:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921290 The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight. The first is the Hyundai H350. For now […]

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The bi-annual IAA Nutzfahzeuge, or, roughly, commercial vehicle salon, in Hanover, Germany is in its 65th edition. Efficiency, connectivity and automation seem to the main themes of the current fair. Picking and choosing among the various van, truck, bus and supplier offerings, I chose three to highlight.

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The first is the Hyundai H350. For now a Euro-special only, this one is especially interesting to Brazilians as there are strong rumors it will soon be built here in our tropical country. It follows traditional European van design, while adding some Hyundai visual cues. Its interior is quite simple, offering up enough content to be a contender.  It can be equipped with independent air conditioning, refrigerated glove box, rain, darkness and parking sensors, Android-based multimedia center, and cruise control. Hyundai highlights construction flexibility possibilities, coming in three body styles (Bus, Cargo and truck) and two lengths (5.5 and 6.2 m). The rear-drive van makes either 148 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque or 168 hp and 311 lb-ft from its 2.5L 4-cylinder diesel engine. The sole transmission option is a 6-speed manual.

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FCA showed off its Fiat Doblò. Taking the RAM ProMaster City as its inspiration, changes are concentrated in the frontal design and interior. The grill is now larger as are the headlights, and the bumper is new and more conventional in design than before. The interior continues the spread of the interior FCA first bestowed in American Chrysler offerings. Also new, there is a three-person, multifunctional front seat arrangement. Engines are turbo and naturally aspirated, gasoline, diesel or methane and include 1.3s, 1.4s and 1.6s, ranging from 75 horses to 120 hp. Traction comes from the front wheels and the model can be equipped with a new traction control system for slippery surfaces. Body styles are very configurable, being four and it can be had with two different lengths and heights.

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Finally, Iveco, FCA’s world commercial vehicle division (light and heavy duty trucks and vans) presented its version of what future Euro vans may look like. Called “Vision” it is, of course, an environmentally-friendly van that Iveco claims is a laboratory for future solutions and technical innovations.

The Vision is equipped with two modes of propulsion. One is purely electrical with zero emissions, and the other is a hybrid that reduces consumption and CO2 emissions by 25 percent. Making true to its name, the concept van has large windows, the front pillars are see through and there is a backup camera that projects its image onto a panoramic screen at the top of the windshield.

Inside there is a sensor based cargo management system that identify its placement in the hold and fire off contention systems impeding movement of larger items.

 

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Piston Slap: Run Flat Tires and Parties A, B, C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:25:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920929   TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes: Hi Sajeev, With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide […]

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(photo courtesy: new.minimania.com)

TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes:

Hi Sajeev,

With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide them over for 6 or 7 months, I suggested they buy some good handling low tread wear all season tires (they are in the Northeast) and an air compressor with goo. With normal tires, I’d argue they’d enjoy their MINI even more and might even want keep it after the extended warranty. But they are inclined on getting expensive run-flats to not hurt the resale value. Most likely, they will trade-in rather than sell on their own.

Appreciate your input and any alternatives we haven’t considered.

Sajeev answers:

Be it friendly advice on cars, careers, love, or whatever, a conversation between Party A and Party B about Party C is often a waste of everyone’s time.

I am not telling you to mind your own business. Far from it!  Just make sure they aren’t getting reamed on the replacement tires’ price. That is, they need help saving money on the tires they want.

Considering the repair bills and America’s love of new vehicles, I reckon your (valid) truth isn’t applicable to your friends. If they want to trade in, instead help them get the most cash for the least effort.  That said, depending on where (and when) they trade in, the receiving party might not notice the tire type. But if they trade MINI for MINI, go ahead and get factory tires.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921241 Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012. Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units […]

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Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units per year will head for the container port to the NAFTA market over the next five years. The figure will contribute to a total of 500,000+ units annually, spread out over nine plants around the world.

The export plan isn’t only a win for RSM –securing a stable production volume of 30 percent of what can be built in Busan — but for consumers on the West Coast who would like to have a Rogue in their parking space, but must wait due to a volume shortage.

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Honda Civic Type-R Ushers In The Turbo Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/honda-civic-type-r-ushers-turbo-era/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:20:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920873 As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical. This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a […]

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As is standard operating procedure for Honda, the Civic Type-R has been revealed, nominally labeled a “concept”, even though the production car will look nearly identical.

This will be the first performance-minded Honda to use forced induction, with a 2.0L VTEC 4-cylinder making in excess of 278 horsepower thanks to turbocharging. Active dampers and a sport mode, dubbed “+R”, will give the new Civic the qualitative chops needed to compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTi, Ford Focus ST and other current generation hot hatches.

North American buyers will likely not get the wild looking hatch seen here, but hopefully the boosted VTEC four-banger makes its way here in the next Civic Si.

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Canada Sales Recap: August 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-sales-recap-august-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-sales-recap-august-2014/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:07:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917938 Canadians continued to buy new vehicles at a record-setting pace in August 2014 as the market expanded in all corners, SUVs and crossovers; pickup trucks; commercial vans; minivans; and even passenger cars. The industry’s 8% year-over-year improvement equalled more than 12,000 extra sales in the Canadian market for automakers of virtually all stripes, from Ford […]

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2015 Lincoln MKC whiteCanadians continued to buy new vehicles at a record-setting pace in August 2014 as the market expanded in all corners, SUVs and crossovers; pickup trucks; commercial vans; minivans; and even passenger cars.

The industry’s 8% year-over-year improvement equalled more than 12,000 extra sales in the Canadian market for automakers of virtually all stripes, from Ford and General Motors to the Volkswagen Group and Toyota.

Chrysler Canada volume jumped 22%. Despite being outsold by Ford/Lincoln in each of the last five months, Chrysler’s five-brand conglomerate leads the manufacturer sales results on year-to-date terms, albeit marginally. Nissan Canada, meanwhile, posted 32% YOY improvement even as Infiniti struggled to maintain momentum, falling 4%.

Through the first half of 2012, pickup trucks were anchors on the industry’s plans for another year of record sales, sliding 1%. But July and August told different stories – August sales, specifically, were up 3% – and trucks are now helping to push the market forward. 93% of all pickup trucks sold in Canada in August were Fords, Rams, or GM products; only 4% were small/midsize pickups.

Similarly, the move away from midsize cars, while continuing to be a general theme, was not applicable over the course of the summer. Granted, intermediate sedans are not growing as rapidly as the overall market of late, rising 3% in August as the market shot up 8%, but they weren’t pulling the industry downward. In each of the last two months, the Hyundai Sonata has been Canada’s top-selling midsize car. The Ford Fusion leads a segment in which, through eight months, sales are down 16%.

Canada auto brand market share chart August 2014While Fusion sales have tumbled 14% this year and Ford’s car division has fallen 12%, the Escape has almost completely made up for those losses. (Ford brand car sales are down by 6045 units; Escape sales are up by 5862 units.) Escape volume has topped 5000 units in four consecutive months. No other SUV or crossover topped the 3660-unit mark during that period (the RAV4, in August) and the Escape itself hadn’t climbed above 5000 units in Canada since June 2011. 9% of the utility vehicles sold in Canada last month were Escapes.

The Escape-related MKC was Lincoln’s top seller last month, generating just under half of all Lincoln volume and about half the total sales of Audi’s Q5, the top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. Incidentally, the Macan was also Porsche’s best-selling model in August, the first such month for that occurrence, as well.

Another top-selling vehicle in Canada has also outperformed its norm in recent months. Dodge’s Grand Caravan has topped the 5000-unit mark in three of the last four months, rising 29% to 5178 units in August. Minivans, including the Kia Rondo and Chevrolet Orlando which lack sliding doors, accounted for 5.6% of all new vehicle sales in Canada last month, compared with 3.3% in the United States. The Grand Caravan owns 61% of Canada’s “full-size” minivan segment, excluding the trio of mini-minivans.

Honda continues to be the maker of Canada’s best-selling car. Civic volume in August was 1.6 times stronger than the sales of the next-best-selling car, Toyota’s Corolla. The Civic has been Canada’s in sixteen consecutive years. 2014 will undoubtedly be the seventeenth.

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Daimler Works Council Boss To Meet With UAW In Coming Weeks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-works-council-boss-meet-uaw-coming-weeks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/daimler-works-council-boss-meet-uaw-coming-weeks/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921217 Though Daimler senior management has said repeatedly that the decision to organize the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. was up to the workers on the floor, Daimler works council boss Michael Brecht is heading there in a few weeks to explore the possibility with the United Auto Workers. Reuters reports both the UAW and German […]

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Michael Brecht

Though Daimler senior management has said repeatedly that the decision to organize the MBUSI plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. was up to the workers on the floor, Daimler works council boss Michael Brecht is heading there in a few weeks to explore the possibility with the United Auto Workers.

Reuters reports both the UAW and German union IG Metall are pushing for the plant to be organized, while Brecht himself “is convinced that the employees in the company need to have their interests represented by having their voice heard,” according to a spokeswoman on the matter.

As early as June of this year, the UAW has proclaimed work on a plan for MBUSI as part of an overall strategy to organize the transplants in the Southeastern United States and boost their rolls. The union recently established a local at another plant — the Volkswagen facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. — having gained enough members to “force” Volkswagen AG into recognizing the local as the exclusive bargaining agent for that facility.

Finally, though UAW president Gary Casteel wouldn’t say what he and Brecht would discuss regarding MBUSI, he said that he and Brecht had “a strong, close relationship,” and that the union considered him “a close ally.”

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California Planning EV Charging-Friendly Building Codes For 2015 – 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921193 Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port. The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 […]

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Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port.

The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 and 2016, mandating new housing and parking lots must at least have “the conduit and electrical system calculations required to prepare for charging stations.” This would not only knock down installation costs — current installations require extensive work as far as wiring and upgrades are concerned, with a price tag to match — but could help spur greater adoption of electric cars and motorcycles.

Though installation would be made easier with the standards in consideration, charging could still be a pain. In a study b the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, grid operator California ISO proclaimed the grid could handle the increase in load so long as the ports are limited to 40 amp charging capacity. The fear is that were the amps to be doubled without upgrades to local transformers, the grid could overload.

The trade-off in limiting amps to maintain grid integrity is longer charging times, which could be made longer when longer-range EVs and their 60-plus kWh packs arrive sometime in 2017. The Long Tail Pipe says 40 amp would deliver times of 10 hours or greater to bring the packs to full. Though the study suggests 120-volt charging, the draft building code makes no mention of using that particular method.

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NEVS Lays Off 200 In Reorganization Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-lays-200-reorganization-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-lays-200-reorganization-plan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921169 With the Saab name reclaimed by the mothership, a host of financial problems, and no product beyond a 10-year-old platform, what else is left for National Electric Vehicle Sweden to do? If you said, “Tap out,” then you just might see that hand pounding the mat rather quickly. Reuters reports the automaker has laid off […]

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With the Saab name reclaimed by the mothership, a host of financial problems, and no product beyond a 10-year-old platform, what else is left for National Electric Vehicle Sweden to do? If you said, “Tap out,” then you just might see that hand pounding the mat rather quickly.

Reuters reports the automaker has laid off 200 workers due to a lack of work as of late, work that likely won’t be coming anytime soon. NEVS says the move was part of its reorganization plan that will be presented at a creditors’ meeting October 8.

Originally, the workers were retained since production ceased in May 2014 in the hope that financing would soon come its way to restart work immediately. The remaining staff will keep the factory in good condition should NEVS secure the needed financing to resume assembly.

At present, the automaker owes kr400 million ($56 million USD) to its creditors, and is allegedly in talks with two unknown firms — speculation says Mahindra is one of them — to gain a financial jumpstart for an electric variant of the 9-3, currently in the prototype phase.

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Better Track Driving Through Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/better-track-driving-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/better-track-driving-technology/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 18:32:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920841 When the Traqmate system came out a decade or so ago, it revolutionized the way that low-and-mid-budget racers measured and improved their performance as drivers. All of a sudden it was possible to understand why you were faster or slower in a given situation. It’s now become such a standard that major sanctions like the […]

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When the Traqmate system came out a decade or so ago, it revolutionized the way that low-and-mid-budget racers measured and improved their performance as drivers. All of a sudden it was possible to understand why you were faster or slower in a given situation. It’s now become such a standard that major sanctions like the Canadian Touring Car Championship use it to measure and adjust competitiveness across different chassis and engine combinations.

Last year, TTAC partnered with the people at Autosport Labs to test their Race/Capture system in our infamous race that wasn’t. Although somehow our RaceCapture system never returned from Texas, with all hands professing puzzlement about its ultimate disposition, I was able to use the RaceCapture prior to that race, in a coaching session with Chris Dyson and the Autosport Labs people. Using the system’s live-tracking features, I was able to immediately take ten seconds off my lap time in a single coaching session.

This year, Autosport Labs has a brand-new system and the spec sheet is enough to make a grown club racer shed a couple of tears in gratitude. There isn’t space to list everything that the new RC/2 does, but it’s capable of interfacing with your car to read engine data and tire temperature data in conjunction with your lap. Don’t know if it’s a problem with air-fuel ratio or aero drag slowing your acceleration on Mid-Ohio’s back straight? This system will tell you.

Using 50Hz GPS, the system promises to record to most accurate and consistent lap times yet — and as someone who suffered through a lot of trouble with the solid but fussy TrackMaster Android program at the Challenger Hellcat intro, I’d appreciate having better and more consistent GPS data.

Alright, this sounds like a sales pitch, and it is. Not necessarily for RaceCapture/2, but for any kind of high-quality data logging. You’ll learn more and progress faster as a track driver with solid data. Traqmate and RaceCapture are so good now that it’s possible to coach via e-mail — send me your data traces and I can probably offer a couple of ideas on how to go faster. The high-end private coaches like Peter Krause are doing all of their coaching now with observation and data. Why get in the right seat when you can make someone faster from the comfort of pit lane?

When RC/2 is in full production, we’ll be checking it out somewhere on the West Coast where we can generate some serious g-forces and hard numbers. If you can’t wait until, I’d recommend buying RaceCapture from Autosport Labs online — or checking out the pawnshops near College Station, TX.

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HARP, an Early, More Hands-On Version of CPO http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/harp-early-hands-version-cpo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/harp-early-hands-version-cpo/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919538 It’s easy to think that certified pre-owned, CPO, programs that sell used cars that meet manufacturers’ standards for quality, are a fairly modern development in the car biz, but car companies have been helping their dealers sell ‘approved’ used cars for generations. Chevrolet had its “OK” used car program. Ironically, that branding apparently had its origins in […]

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It’s easy to think that certified pre-owned, CPO, programs that sell used cars that meet manufacturers’ standards for quality, are a fairly modern development in the car biz, but car companies have been helping their dealers sell ‘approved’ used cars for generations. Chevrolet had its “OK” used car program. Ironically, that branding apparently had its origins in the marketing of 1918 era American Motors (unrelated to the company of the same name formed by the merger of Hudson and Nash), which Louis Chevrolet helped found after he parted ways with Billy Durant and the Chevrolet company. Louis Chevrolet would hand sign the dashboard of each American Six with the rhyming “O.K. Chevrolet”.

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While at the new National Hudson Motor Car Museum that’s now part of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, I noticed a poster from Hudson’s H.A.R.P. program. HARP stood for “Hudson Approved Reconditioning Procedure”. I doubt that any current automaker today would use the word “reconditioning”, particularly luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, which popularized and heavily promotes its CPO program. Consumers in the 1950s were a bit more forgiving, more likely to accept the fact that at 50,000 miles or more many cars would need some kind of overhaul or major reconditioning. Note how #7 on the HARP list is “Perform minor mechanical adjustments and repairs. Major overhaul if necessary.” If you note, it wasn’t the only “if necessary” on the list.

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You may also notice that the Chevrolet O.K. ad from the 1950s says that those cars have been “reconditioned” for safety, performance and value. Back then consumers needed assurance that necessary repairs and reconditioning had been done. Today’s CPO programs are more likely to give the impression that those cars are so lightly used and so well treated that repairs and reconditioning aren’t needed to ensure that they are nearly new in condition and performance. They’d never give even the impression, let alone put it in writing, that their cars sometimes need “major” overhauls.

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For the most part, that’s probably true. People today will spend $6,000 on a used Toyota with 150,000 miles on the odometer. That kind of long term, high mileage durability was almost unheard of in the 1950s. Automatic transmissions lasted 50,000 miles and at 100,000 miles most engines were tired and in need of rebuilding. It’s likely that the average used car buyer needed greater assurances of reliability back then than the potential buyer of a low mileage E Class needs today. I could be wrong but Hudson’s HARP seems to have meant actually going over the cars and making necessary repairs. Today’s CPO programs seem to me to be more like hand-holding than reconditioning.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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Infiniti G37 Keeps Hanging On With Real Sales Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-g37-keeps-hanging-real-sales-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-g37-keeps-hanging-real-sales-numbers/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913434 Infiniti’s G37 sedan continues to attract a meaningful amount of attention from entry-level luxury car buyers in the United States, long after it was replaced by the Q50. It’s still a fast car. It may be the better driver’s car. And it’s the cheaper of the two, as well, with a base price (including destination and […]

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2015 Infiniti Q40Infiniti’s G37 sedan continues to attract a meaningful amount of attention from entry-level luxury car buyers in the United States, long after it was replaced by the Q50.

It’s still a fast car. It may be the better driver’s car. And it’s the cheaper of the two, as well, with a base price (including destination and handling) of $33,855, $4200 below the price of the least costly Q50.

11,327 G sedans have been sold in the United States over the last eight months, almost precisely one G37 per two Q50s.

Infiniti has no plans, at least not for the very near future, to cancel the G37. They’re actually going so far as to give it a new name to fit in with Johan De Nysschen’s Q badging strategy. The G37 will become the Q40. De Nysschen now works for Cadillac, which now builds the Qescalade. No, really, they’ll actually build the CT6.

With the newer Q50 in showrooms, sales of the enduring predecessor have naturally fallen sharply in 2014. The 53% drop equals 12,939 fewer sales for the G. But total G Sedan/Q50 sales are up 29% to 34,449 units.

Even with the Q60 included, Infiniti’s 39,753 year-to-date non-Q70 car sales don’t measure up to Mercedes-Benz’s declining C-Class (43,885 units) or BMW’s 3-Series/4-Series tandem (81,631 units).

Yet in the second tier, where Lexus IS sales are up 77% to 33,427 units and total Audi A4 sales are down 4% to 26,310 and Cadillac ATS volume is down 20% to 20,296, Infiniti is at the top. More likely than not, the Q50 wouldn’t have the gusto to gain that position without the lingering G37, as we can’t assume all 11,327 G buyers would have spent the extra coin required to make the leap.

It would have been silly of us to discount the strength of the G too soon. In first-gen form, Infiniti’s smaller sports sedan – a long-awaited successor to the G20 we’re ignoring here – reignited the brand. Total Infiniti volume shot up to 136,401 units in 2005, a feat Infiniti hasn’t accomplished since, when the G family accounted for 50.4% of all Infiniti sales. With the G still assisting in 2014, Infiniti is on track to top 120,000 U.S. sales for the first time since 2007. (August results threw a wrench into that plan, as total Infiniti sales slid 23%.)

So far this year, despite being replaced, the G sedan is the brand’s third-best-selling model, more than 3000 sales ahead of the next-best-selling QX80, ahead of the Q60, QX70, Q70, and QX50, as well. G37 sales in August climbed above 1500 units for the fourth time in six months, and the G37 managed to outsell the Subaru WRX/STi, Scion FR-S, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Mitsubishi Lancer, Mazda 2, Honda Crosstour, BMW i3, Porsche 911, Scion xD, Volkswagen CC, and Lexus LS, among many others.

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National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum Opens, Obscures History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/national-hudson-motor-car-company-museum-opens-obscures-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/national-hudson-motor-car-company-museum-opens-obscures-history/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 17:10:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917570 This past weekend, the big annual Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti was augmented by the grand opening of the National Hudson Motor Car Museum, also in Ypsilanti. While I’m usually excited about the opening of new car museums, though the region is gaining what appears to be a fine, professionally run museum, the development means that you […]

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What it used to look like. Gallery of 2011 Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum photos here.

What it used to look like. Gallery of 2011 Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum photos here.

This past weekend, the big annual Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti was augmented by the grand opening of the National Hudson Motor Car Museum, also in Ypsilanti. While I’m usually excited about the opening of new car museums, though the region is gaining what appears to be a fine, professionally run museum, the development means that you can no longer see a unique display of automotive history.

What it looks like now. Full gallery here.

What it looks like now. Full gallery here.

The new museum, a project of the National Hudson Essex Terraplane Historical Society, will be located in the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum. The Ypsilanti museum is housed in the building of  what eventually became the last surviving Hudson dealership, Miller Motors. Jack Miller, the son of the founder of Miller Motors, started the YAHM in 1996, to honor both his family’s history and the history of making cars in Ypsilanti. As a result, the YAHM has been focused on Kaiser-Frazers (built at Willow Run) and Tucker (Preston Tucker lived in Ypsi and much of the design and engineering of the Tucker car was done there), in addition to the Hudson and Nash marques that the Miller’s sold as well as Corvairs and GM Hydramatic transmissions, also built in Ypsilanti. Over the years the museum has expanded beyond the original Miller Motors walls and now also occupies an adjacent former post office.

Miller Motors' repair department in as-was-in-1959 condition. Full gallery here.

Miller Motors’ repair department in as-was-in-1959 condition (2011 photo). Full gallery here.

The Miller Motors building has been used as a car dealership since it was first used to sell Dodges in 1916. In the late 1920s it switched to Hudson and in 1932 Carl Miller, Jack’s dad, and a partner bought the shop and ran it as a Hudson store until the brand died in 1957 following the creation of American Motors with the merger of Nash and Hudson. Miller eventually bought out his partner and the store sold 30-60 cars a year, a reasonable number for a single brand dealership in a small city. The Millers continued to sell AMC Nashes and Ramblers until 1959 when they were pressured by AMC to modernize the vintage showroom that only had room for one new car. Carl Miller decided to drop the franchise and concentrate on service and used car sales. Later Jack used the firm to sell parts to Hudson collectors and the dealership’s service bays were used to restore cars. Miller continued to sell at least one restored Hudson, Essex or Terraplane every year to maintain the shop’s status as “the last Hudson dealer” until he sold off his stock of parts when he started the museum.

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The same space today. Full gallery here.

Since the Orphan Car Show is penciled in as a must see for me every year, I used the opportunity of being in Ypsi to visit Miller Motors and the new Hudson museum and I’m sorry to say that I came away rather disappointed. The development of the new Hudson museum is related to the fact that Jack Miller retired. When Miller and his team of volunteers ran the museum it was very much a grassroots and family operation. The displays, however, although definitely worthwhile, were a bit haphazard. It was not the most sophisticated operation but it was charming. Also, the YAHM allowed you to see something that you weren’t likely to see anyplace else, what a car dealership in the 1950s looked like. The service department and the parts counter appeared pretty much as they did when the shop stopped selling new Hudsons and Nashes.

People used to be frugal and had spark plugs "serviced" with a sand blaster instead of just replacing them.

People used to be frugal and had spark plugs “serviced” with a sand blaster instead of just replacing them. Full gallery here.

Now I’m not naive. I’m sure that it wasn’t exactly as it was in 1959 and that over the years the Millers added artifacts and memorabilia but the vibe was authentic, as were the grease stains on the floor. Now everything is shiny and clean.

Preston Tucker lived in Ypsilanti and much of the engineering and design for the Tucker automobile was done there. This is one of three replica Tuckers used in the filming of the Tucker biopic. Full gallery here.

Preston Tucker lived in Ypsilanti and much of the engineering and design for the Tucker automobile was done there. This is one of three replica Tuckers used in the filming of the Tucker biopic. Full gallery here.

Unless you had an interest in the specific marques or had a thing about automatic transmissions, I thought the building itself was the best part of the museum. I try to be a bit of a booster for local museums and I’d encourage people to drive out to Ypsilanti just to see the Miller Motors service department and parts counter. Those attractions, though, no longer exist as they have for years. As part of the new Hudson museum the former parts department has been redecorated as a vintage sales office and the service department now is display space for Hudson cars. While there is still vintage repair equipment, like a spark plug refurbisher and a hand cranked ignition key grinder, it’s just not the same. It used to look like a functioning repair shop. Now it looks like a museum.

A section of the museum devoted to Kaiser-Frazer cars, which were assembled in Ypsilanti. Full gallery here.

A section of the museum devoted to Kaiser-Frazer cars, which were assembled in Ypsilanti. Full gallery here.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here and I understand that museums can’t be static, they have to change with the times. There are many advantages to the establishment of the Hudson sub-museum. The rest of the museum is a bit more organized and things are displayed a bit better, though it seems to me that the Tucker display is smaller and less comprehensive. Though Tucker enthusiasts have lost, Hudson enthusiasts have gained. The NHETHS is thrilled to have a museum less than an hour’s drive from where Hudsons were built in Detroit. Cars like Herb Thomas’ #92 “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” NASCAR racer (made newly popular as the Paul Newman voiced “Doc Hudson” in the animated movie Cars) are now properly displayed and there are plans to use the original one-car showroom to highlight significant Hudson cars over the years.

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Significant Hudsons will take turns on display in what was Miller Motors’ one-car new car showroom. Full gallery here.

I’m sure that Hudson enthusiasts are happy, but I walked away from the Ypsilanti museum, which I’ve visited regularly, disappointed for the first time. They’ve unquestionably set up an impressive museum devoted to one of the more important independent automakers. In the manner in which they set up that museum, though, I believe that the National Hudson Essex Terraplane Historical Society did a disservice to automotive history. Don’t get me wrong, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum and the National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum are certainly worth a visit, particularly if you have an interest in American independent automakers, Corvairs or automatic transmissions, but I get the feeling that in their zeal to set up the Hudson museum organizers didn’t realize they were changing something very special.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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Can Ocean City Enforce Maryland Vehicle Laws On Out Of State Cars? Well, They’re Gonna Try http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-ocean-city-enforce-maryland-vehicle-laws-state-cars-well-theyre-gonna-try/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/can-ocean-city-enforce-maryland-vehicle-laws-state-cars-well-theyre-gonna-try/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920450 You know Facebook’s passe when the cops are using it to talk to citizens. In this case, it’s the Ocean City (MD) Police Department, warning visitors to the H2O International event of their “zero tolerance policy” for traffic violations, vehicle modifications, and compliance with Maryland motor vehicle regulations. Even if the motor vehicle in question […]

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You know Facebook’s passe when the cops are using it to talk to citizens. In this case, it’s the Ocean City (MD) Police Department, warning visitors to the H2O International event of their “zero tolerance policy” for traffic violations, vehicle modifications, and compliance with Maryland motor vehicle regulations.

Even if the motor vehicle in question is registered somewhere else.

This video shows “stanced” cars, featuring “poke and stretch” running gear where the tire is deliberately chosen to be considerably narrower than the rim. Think of it as the opposite of the 285-width-tires-on-a-7-inch-wide-wheel thing that SCCA National Solo types do. Most of these cars have some sort of air-ride suspension so they can be dropped on or near the ground, which causes some fairly outrageous negative camber. The Ocean City Police vigorously prosecutes cars like this at H2O, going to far as to impound them, as seen happening to a stanced TSX at around the three-minute mark.

I cannot recommend that readers watch the entire video but I did, mostly to get a sense of who goes to the H2O thing. I wasn’t surprised: by and large it’s awkward young men of all ethnicities, with a bunch of puppy fat and goofy clothing, having fun and harming no one. They’re very excited about having a cooler full of Bud Light or playing beer pong or just hanging out on the sidewalk. There’s a little bit of dangerous driving in the video but frankly you can see worse on the Chicago or Detroit freeways every day of the week.

So why bother them? Well, they have money. They’ll pay fines, they’ll pay tickets. Most of them are very nice kids and the last thing they want to is have a warrant out for their arrest, even if it’s not in their home state. They’ll lead chants and yell at the police from a distance but this ain’t Ferguson or Watts and nobody’s actually going to do anything on either side. In fact, you could argue that the police harassment is desired by the participants, at least on a subconscious level. For the rest of their safe, reasonable, middle-class adult lives they’ll be able to remember how they once drove a stanced-out Jetta to Ocean City and called some cop an asshole. It’s cathartic and helpful and I’d bet you that if there were no cops at H2O this year a lot of people would miss them. It’s their Woodstock. It’s their chance to fight the system, and if the system doesn’t show then there’s nothing to fight.

Some major percentage of you will have watched 90 seconds of the video by this point and decided, “I don’t care if the OCPD harasses those mooks. Hell, I rather approve of the idea that you shouldn’t be allowed to drive some bagged-out rustbucket with fifteen degrees of negative camber and a nightmarishly unsafe tire installation on the freeway.” Well, I don’t want to come across all Martin Niemoller on you, but these amiable morons with their visible wheel lips and ironic T-shirts and NISMO posters in their mothers’ basements are sort of canaries in the coal mine for the rest of us.

Until the day comes that California manages to impose its state vehicle regulations by fiat on the rest of the United States — and may that day never come — the presence on your vehicle of an out-of-state tag should be an absolute and unquestionable defense against motor vehicle specification enforcement of any type. Yes, that freedom could certainly be abused; think of all those twentysomething children of divorce whose fathers live somewhere else. Yet the minor abuses do not justify the major abuses that could be commonplace were it to be any other way.

As an example: Residents of southern states where deep tint is legal and virtually necessary due to the sunlight should not be afraid to drive through Ohio where every cop has a light meter and expects that your windows will not be any darker than the factory tint on a Somerset Regal’s windshield. If you live in Kentucky and don’t have to run a front plate, you shouldn’t have your car impounded in Ohio because it doesn’t have a front plate. Conversely, Ohio-registered cars from counties where there is no emissions checks shouldn’t be subject to drive-by monitoring in California.

As a society, we’ve come to expect that, although the vast majority of laws are the same everywhere in the country, there are exceptions and those exceptions should be respected. For that reason, the holder of a “shall-issue” concealed-carry permit from Indiana shouldn’t expect to be allowed to carry his gun on the New York subway. Nor should a Montana rancher be granted a special dispensation to graze his cattle in Central Park.

So long as personal vehicles remain the key to American freedom of mobility, however, it is critical that they be allowed to travel unimpeded through this country, with their owners free from the fear of persecution or impounding. The protection of Ocean City’s residents from “stanced” cars is not sufficient justification for a departure from this national understanding. So today I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with every awkward twenty-something with “illest” in his Subaru. Every tatted-up wanna-be thug with a private-school background and a poke-and-stretch setup on his M3. Every floor-staring, bowl-haircut, Magic-the-Gathering-playing doofus* with two thousand hours’ worth of labor in his Rabbit pickup. I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with them to demand that we treat them, and the rest of us, like hard-working, decent American citizens who are causing no trouble and deserve no punishment.

I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. I’m not sure I’d go within ten miles of that place for ten thousand bucks.

* It takes one to know one. Untap, upkeep, draw!

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Chart Of The Day: Jeep’s Importance At FCA In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-jeeps-importance-fca-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chart-day-jeeps-importance-fca-america/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 12:02:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913482 Outside of Maserati, which sold more cars than Jaguar in August 2014, Jeep is America’s fastest-growing auto brand in 2014. Through the first eight months of 2014, Jeep’s U.S. volume is up 45%, an increase of more than 143,235 sales. Total FCA/Chrysler Group sales are up 14%. That’s no small feat, but it’s abundantly apparent […]

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Jeep USA sales chart 2014Outside of Maserati, which sold more cars than Jaguar in August 2014, Jeep is America’s fastest-growing auto brand in 2014. Through the first eight months of 2014, Jeep’s U.S. volume is up 45%, an increase of more than 143,235 sales.

Total FCA/Chrysler Group sales are up 14%. That’s no small feat, but it’s abundantly apparent that Jeep is motivating much of the Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat/Jeep/Ram gains. (Ram brand sales are up by nearly 58,000 units year-to-date.)

As FCA/Chrysler Group car volume plunges, sliding 18% this year according to the automaker, Jeep’s massive improvements are all the more important.

And it’s not all Cherokee-derived. Sales of Jeep’s other models, the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, and Compass, are up 11% in 2014. The Chrysler family now relies on the brand for more than three out of every ten sales, well up from fewer than two out of every ten in 2004.

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One Country, Two McLarens http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/one-country-two-mclarens/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:33:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920386     The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, […]

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The seemingly perpetual introduction of marginally altered special editions is a business model that makers of low volume exotic cars have seized upon. Development cycles are long, product lifespans even longer and the attention spans of fickle ultra-high net worth consumers is short. By releasing new “Special Editions” every quarter or model year, luxury car makes can give owners a reason to keep trading in their current car for the latest and greatest thing, even if the new model is only superficially different from the base car.

Most of the time, these products offer a distinct paint job, added features, or a bump in power. For the first time, there’s a special edition designed to be less hardcore.

McLaren has created the 625C, a detuned version of the 650S with lower power, softer suspension tuning and apparently, minimal cosmetic differences between the two cars, so bystanders don’t know that you’ve gone for the less macho Macca. McLaren claims that the 625C was spurred on by customer demand. But when you’re stuck in congested Hong Kong traffic, it’s hard to imagine that reduced spring rates and 25 fewer ponies will make an appreciable difference.

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Own An Interesting Car? Want To Be Pestered About It Online? TTAC Wants YOU For An AMA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/interesting-car-want-pestered-online-ttac-wants-ama/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/interesting-car-want-pestered-online-ttac-wants-ama/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:03:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920362 Yesterday, TTAC contributor Jim Yu volunteered for a virtual Q&A on what it was like to own a Volkswagen Phaeton. I’m pleased to announce that Jim will be back soon for another AMA (Ask Me Anything) on his very first car, an isuzu Impulse. And we’ve decided to open the floor to anyone willing to […]

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Isuzu_Piazza_(1981-1992)

Yesterday, TTAC contributor Jim Yu volunteered for a virtual Q&A on what it was like to own a Volkswagen Phaeton. I’m pleased to announce that Jim will be back soon for another AMA (Ask Me Anything) on his very first car, an isuzu Impulse. And we’ve decided to open the floor to anyone willing to contribute.

The process will work two ways. If you’d like to suggest a car, leave a comment. Hopefully, somebody with the nominated car will step up and volunteer themselves. If you have a car that you think is worthy (or if you own one of the nominated cars), send me an email, derek at ttac dot com and we can arrange something.

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Ford Won’t Make It But You Can Buy the 2002 Lincoln Continental Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-wont-make-can-buy-2002-lincoln-continental-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-wont-make-can-buy-2002-lincoln-continental-concept/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:28:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920194 One of the recurring comments that enthusiasts make when the issue of making Lincoln into a success comes up  is why didn’t they ever put the trio of concept cars they introduced about ten years ago, the Mark 9 and Mark X coupes of 2001 and 2004 and the Continental flagship sedan concept of 2002 (see […]

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2002-Lincoln-Continental-Concept-RM-Auction-001

One of the recurring comments that enthusiasts make when the issue of making Lincoln into a success comes up  is why didn’t they ever put the trio of concept cars they introduced about ten years ago, the Mark 9 and Mark X coupes of 2001 and 2004 and the Continental flagship sedan concept of 2002 (see here and here). All three cars were meant to evoke styling cues from successful Lincolns of the past, particularly the 1961 Continental and the personal luxury Marks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. All three could have been made, but never made it to production, much to the chagrin of a lot of folks cheering for Lincoln to turn things around. Though they never made it to production you’ll now be able to buy a couple of them, including the stunning ’02 Continental concept.

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In 2010, Ford sold off a number of their concept cars and Texas businessman Sam Pack, whose holdings have included a number of Ford dealerships and a massive car collection, bought a few of them. Pack is a Thunderbird enthusiast, so in the package there were a couple of Thunderbird concepts from when that nameplate was revived with the Jaguar S Type platform a few years back. Pack also bought the MkX and Continental concepts.

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The Lincoln and Thunderbird concepts, along with 126 other desirable cars, are now being auctioned off as Pack wants to winnow down the large collection into something small enough to enjoy. RM Auctions will be handling the sale, which is scheduled for November 14-15 of this year, as a single-seller auction. The auction will take place on the grounds of the Pack Automotive Museum in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, near Dallas. All of the cars are being sold without reserve, which means they’ll be sold no matter what the final bids are.

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Though there was also a fiberglass “pushmobile” on the show circuit, the Continental concept now for sale appears to be a functioning automobile with a 6.0 liter V12 putting out 414 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. That’s likely derived from the Aston Martin V12 which itself is pretty much two Ford V6 Duratecs stuck together. It has four wheel disc brakes and a multilink independent rear suspension so it likely was based on the S Type platform, which was also used for the Lincoln LS, built alongside the Thunderbird. To allow for the center opening doors whatever structure they used has been reinforced at the A pillars, C pillars, the sills and the roof rails. All of the show car power gizmos including the trick parallelogram trunk lid work and it comes with fitted Zero Halliburton luggage and golf club cases.

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When Pack bought the Continental concept four years ago, he paid $56,100 including RM’s 10% fee. When you think about how that much money doesn’t buy you much exclusivity with today’s production luxury cars the price seems like a bargain for what is a handmade, coachbuilt one-off factory prototype. Unfortunately, though, should you buy it, even though it’s apparently a functioning automobile you won’t be able to drive it, at least not on public roads. It can’t be registered because as a prototype show  car, it’s being sold without a VIN, on a bill of sale.

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RM’s catalog description for the Mark X is here. They haven’t yet published the description of the Continental concept, but when they do, it will be here, though it will likely be a rehash of what they wrote when they auctioned off the car in 2010. Supercars.net has Ford’s original 2002 press release on the Continental Concept here.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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From The CT6 To The Model A Runabout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ct6-model-runabout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ct6-model-runabout/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:44:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920210 A fun Friday read for those who protested that there were too many negative editorials regarding Cadillac recently. Reader Forest Casey published an astonishingly detailed essay on Medium detailing the history of Cadillac, from the establishment of the brand right through to production of its first car, the Model A Runabout, and its stewardship under […]

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Cadillac_Model_A_Tonneau_1903 A fun Friday read for those who protested that there were too many negative editorials regarding Cadillac recently. Reader Forest Casey published an astonishingly detailed essay on Medium detailing the history of Cadillac, from the establishment of the brand right through to production of its first car, the Model A Runabout, and its stewardship under Alfred Sloan’s General Motors conglomerate. Casey, who works for the Petersen Automotive Museum, is an eloquent writer and a long-time TTAC reader. I only wish he had sent this essay in to TTAC before Medium got their hands on it.

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Lenders Monitor, Control Subprime Nexum Via Connected Vehicle Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lenders-monitor-control-subprime-nexum-via-connected-vehicle-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lenders-monitor-control-subprime-nexum-via-connected-vehicle-tech/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920098 In a perverse nexus where connected-vehicle technology, privacy and subprime lending intersect, consumers who fall behind on so much as a single payment, or even stray outside a given teritory, may find their vehicles shutdown by their lender from a digital panopticon. The New York Times reports that some subprime borrowers — a group that […]

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Isis Panopticon Album Cover

In a perverse nexus where connected-vehicle technology, privacy and subprime lending intersect, consumers who fall behind on so much as a single payment, or even stray outside a given teritory, may find their vehicles shutdown by their lender from a digital panopticon.

The New York Times reports that some subprime borrowers — a group that made up a quarter of all new car loans in 2013 — must agree to have a GPS-equipped starter interrupt device installed in the vehicle of a given borrower’s choosing. In turn, the lender can keep track of where its property — and the borrower — is at all times, and with a single tap or click, cut all power to the vehicle if a borrower falls behind on payments.

However, some lenders are choosing to act only days after a missed payment — instead of the 30-day grace period before a borrower is considered in-default — no matter where exactly the vehicle is at the moment of shutdown. This has led to situations where a borrower has been stranded in a bad neighborhood, at the stop light, or, in one case, on the freeway.

Further, some loan agreements include so-called “geo-fences”: a maximum range a subprime borrower can travel before the lender, again, shuts down a vehicle and sends a tow truck to recover the asset. The claim is that a borrower who travels further than the fence allows — such as to their place of employment — may not be able to make good on their payments.

The consequences of using the devices have drawn considerable attention from both consumer lawyers and state regulators. The former argue starter interrupt systems give a lender all the more reason to remotely repossess a vehicle if even a payment is missed by a day, violating state laws on the matter as a result. The latter, in turn, is examining the potential safety hazards for the borrower and other motorists if the devices become defective.

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GM, Isuzu Back In LUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:40:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920154 Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement. Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a […]

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Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement.

Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a long history of collaboration on trucks, starting with the Chevrolet LUV and continuing through the current Isuzu D-Max, which shares a significant amount of technology with the current GM mid-size trucks.

The next-generation truck will be important for markets like Thailand and Australia, where mid-size pickups play a role akin to America’s full-size trucks.

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S&P Raises GM Grade Rating, Investors Lower Share Price http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sp-raises-gm-grade-rating-investors-lower-share-price/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sp-raises-gm-grade-rating-investors-lower-share-price/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920074 Though investors are not happy with General Motors as of late, Standard & Poor’s is, boosting the automaker’s investment-grade rating from BBB- to BB+. Detroit Free Press reports the boost — a year after Moody’s raised GM’s status to investment-grade — reflects the automaker’s return to sustained profitability from strong showings in the United States […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

Though investors are not happy with General Motors as of late, Standard & Poor’s is, boosting the automaker’s investment-grade rating from BBB- to BB+.

Detroit Free Press reports the boost — a year after Moody’s raised GM’s status to investment-grade — reflects the automaker’s return to sustained profitability from strong showings in the United States and China. GM’s lending arm, GM Financial, also received an investment-grade rating from S&P.

Alas, investors slapped the automaker with a share price of $32.87 at the closing bell Thursday, the first time shares traded under $33 since April 14. The decline is likely the result of a new round of recalls issued earlier this week, affecting 221,000 Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala models from the 2013 through 2015 model years.

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Question of the Day: What Was the Worst 1982 Car Sold In America? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/question-day-worst-1982-car-sold-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/question-day-worst-1982-car-sold-america/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919962 Last weekend, while I was helping to run the seventh annual 24 Hours of LeMons Fall South race, I got into a debate with LeMons Chief Perp Jay Lamm over which team should get the accomplished-the-most-with-the-worst-car trophy, the Index of Effluency. The 1982 Renault Fuego Turbo of Interceptor Motorsports, which made its debut at that […]

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QOTD-WorstCarOf1982
Last weekend, while I was helping to run the seventh annual 24 Hours of LeMons Fall South race, I got into a debate with LeMons Chief Perp Jay Lamm over which team should get the accomplished-the-most-with-the-worst-car trophy, the Index of Effluency. The 1982 Renault Fuego Turbo of Interceptor Motorsports, which made its debut at that race, managed to turn 19 laps during two days of racing (the winner did 377 laps) and finished 105th out of 110 entries. My opinion was that the Fuego Turbo was the worst car sold in the United States in 1982 and thus Interceptor Motorsports deserved Index of Effluency recognition for their achievement, but the Chief Perp felt that plenty of Detroit-built cars from the Malaise Era were even worse. In the end, we gave the prize to a 1979 Wagon Queen Family Truckster (which finished in P73), but I still think that you’d be hard-pressed to find any 1982 model-year car that approaches the Renault Fuego Turbo for across-the-board terribleness.
QOTD-WorstCarOf1982-PhoenixTo avoid veering off into tangents about production-run-of-27-cars oddball stuff or non-car abominations such as the Comuta-Car, cars to be considered must be 1982 model-year vehicles sold in at least four-figure quantities in the United States. So, with 32 years of hindsight, what was that profoundly bad car, the biggest mistake you could make when car-shopping in 1982? The Fiat Strada? The Chevy Citation and its siblings? The Cadillac Deville with V8-6-4 engine? The Datsun F10? Ford EXP? You decide!

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