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. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:43:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ Winterkorn Continuing At VW, But Maybe Not How He Wanted http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/winterkorn-continuing-vw-maybe-not-wanted/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/winterkorn-continuing-vw-maybe-not-wanted/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:43:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1158650 Volkswagen will extend its contract with CEO Martin Winterkorn through 2018, Automotive News is reporting, but that two-year deal may make him too old to succeed the man he ousted, Ferdinand Piech, who left the company last year after clashing with Winterkorn. At the end of Winterkorn’s contract, the man who led Volkswagen’s recent revolution in […]

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Martin Winterkorn in Shanghai - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Volkswagen will extend its contract with CEO Martin Winterkorn through 2018, Automotive News is reporting, but that two-year deal may make him too old to succeed the man he ousted, Ferdinand Piech, who left the company last year after clashing with Winterkorn.

At the end of Winterkorn’s contract, the man who led Volkswagen’s recent revolution in America will be 71, making him too old for the top slot held by interim chairman Berthold Huber. Winterkorn was seen as the likely replacement for Piech, according to Reuters, but that job may go to an outsider now.

“This increases the chances for an external chairman, which is good news in our view,” Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst with Evercore ISI’s global research head, said in a statement to Automotive News.

The distance between Winterkorn and Piech seemed to grow over their different strategies for VW in the Americas.

Volkswagen is competing with Toyota to be the world’s largest automaker. Through six months, VW had a narrow lead delivering 5.04 million cars worldwide, compared to Toyota’s 5.02 million.

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Model X Buyers Can Spec Out Their $100K Cars, Add $10K in Speed, Still Get Rebate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/model-x-buyers-can-spec-100k-cars-add-10k-speed-still-get-rebate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/model-x-buyers-can-spec-100k-cars-add-10k-speed-still-get-rebate/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:20:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1158082 Prospective buyers of Tesla’s coming Model X SUV can go online Tuesday and pick out their color and options for their cars, which should be arriving at the end of September, Automotive News is reporting. The online configurator popped up Monday night for potential buyers and forum users started posting pictures of their cars online. The pictures are […]

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teaser@2x

Prospective buyers of Tesla’s coming Model X SUV can go online Tuesday and pick out their color and options for their cars, which should be arriving at the end of September, Automotive News is reporting.

The online configurator popped up Monday night for potential buyers and forum users started posting pictures of their cars online. The pictures are the first from the automaker before its official reveal.

The interior pictures detail seating for seven adults and the Model X’s falcon doors that will reportedly sport sensors that keep passengers from getting out hitting the doors on low garages.

20870112889_866fbd89a7_oAccording to the Automotive News report, the Model X Signature series will start at $132,000 and can be configured with Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” update that’ll boost performance.

A standard Model X can also get the “Ludicrous Speed” update, but buyers would have to opt first for the performance package and then “Ludicrous Speed” beyond that.

Other features on the Model X include the option to have the car park itself, leather seating, heated and ventilated seats and the ability to return your federal rebate satellite radio.

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(Photos courtesy the automaker and Flickr user tobi_wan_kenobi.)

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Set for November Reveal in Los Angeles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/2017-fiat-124-spider-set-november-reveal-los-angeles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/2017-fiat-124-spider-set-november-reveal-los-angeles/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:03:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157914 Those really keen on the Mazda MX-5, but undeterred by reliability and resale issues are in luck. The reborn Fiat 124 Spider, built upon the fourth-generation MX-5, will be revealed in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show as expected, reports The Detroit Bureau. Citing a source within the company, the reborn 124 Spider nameplate will […]

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124 Spider_010

Those really keen on the Mazda MX-5, but undeterred by reliability and resale issues are in luck. The reborn Fiat 124 Spider, built upon the fourth-generation MX-5, will be revealed in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show as expected, reports The Detroit Bureau.

Citing a source within the company, the reborn 124 Spider nameplate will be the home of two flavors — normal and Abarth — with the latter receiving the same 1.75-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine as the Alfa Romeo 4C.

While Sergio Marchionne is openly courting General Motors, the Fiat 124 Spider project with Mazda is about to bear fruit.

The “normal” Spider is expected to be powered by the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the Fiat 500 Turbo and Abarth, 500L, 500X and Jeep Renegade. However, it’s the Abarth version that’s far more interesting.

“Abarth is all about performance, and so I’ve told my team to stop working on colors and trims. Any new version of an Abarth car should deliver some sort of a performance enhancement, otherwise it is useless,” said Fiat COO Alfredo Altavilla.

That performance is expected to come from the aforementioned 4C mill mated to a dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

With the Abarth model, Fiat could beat Mazda to the punch. Rumors of a Mazdaspeed version of the newest Miata have been weak at best.

The Fiat 124 Spider will be the first model from the company to wear the nameplate since production and marketing of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was assumed by Pininfarina in 1983.

The addition to Fiat’s North American lineup is expected to hit dealer lots sometime during the sunny months next year.

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Peugeot Has This Whole Concept Thing Figured Out http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/peugeot-whole-concept-thing-figured/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/peugeot-whole-concept-thing-figured/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:02:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157954 Peugeot’s geometrically marvelous and electrically powered Fractal concept car will make its way to Frankfurt this year. The 201-horsepower coupe is powered by two electric motors for each axle and has a 280-mile range, according to the automaker. Probably a wholly separate electric sub-station exists for its “9.1.2” surround sound system that sports woofers in the seats to […]

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Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-19

Peugeot’s geometrically marvelous and electrically powered Fractal concept car will make its way to Frankfurt this year.

The 201-horsepower coupe is powered by two electric motors for each axle and has a 280-mile range, according to the automaker. Probably a wholly separate electric sub-station exists for its “9.1.2” surround sound system that sports woofers in the seats to acoustically relay information about what’s ahead like we’re all bats or something.

A heads up driver information system relays information via hologram, according to the automaker, and the rest is just the best.

Perhaps the only thing usable in real life from the Fractal would be the car’s interior production process. According to Peugeot, 80 percent of the car’s interior was 3D printed, which could make its way into mass market production cars eventually as suppliers look to produce more and make less.

Either way, the rest of the automaking world could learn a thing or two from Peugeot: this is how you make a concept car. Stop it with the “crossover concepts” already.

Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-10 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-19 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-36 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-45 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-44 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-17 Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-39

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What If Jeep’s Mid-size Pickup Was a Ram Instead? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/jeeps-mid-size-pickup-ram-instead/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/jeeps-mid-size-pickup-ram-instead/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 17:16:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157666 Like an NFL expansion team in Los Angeles, music in the hallways during passing periods, “welfare queens” and the full-time McRib, Jeep’s mid-sized Wrangler-based pickup might be the only thing we ever talk about. Guess which one may happen now? According to Automotive News, the Wrangler-based pickup may make an appearance in 2018-ish, after the […]

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Jeep Wrangler Eliminator

Like an NFL expansion team in Los Angeles, music in the hallways during passing periods, “welfare queens” and the full-time McRib, Jeep’s mid-sized Wrangler-based pickup might be the only thing we ever talk about. Guess which one may happen now?

According to Automotive News, the Wrangler-based pickup may make an appearance in 2018-ish, after the iconic Jeep platform gets is overdue overhaul, moves to an 8-speed automatic (maybe diesel, too) and incorporates more aluminum into its structure.

The General Motors twins prove there’s room in the segment for something not called a Tacoma or Frontier, so a mid-size makes sense — but a seven-slot grille up front may not.

According to the 2014 long-range plan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ram doesn’t have a mid-size on its radar until beyond 2018, at least, to replace its defunct Dakota. And Ram doesn’t have what it needs right now to make it happen — officially, at least.

“The formula hasn’t changed. The (North American) customer expects four elements in a compact or midsize pickup truck: the right size, right capability, right fuel efficiency and right price. We have yet to find a way to build a truck that meets all four of those criteria,” a Ram spokesman told us.

(Fiat will have a new mid-size pickup in 2016, but we’re more likely to get Elvis back from the dead than that car.)

The minute you start talking about a Wrangler-based pickup, Grandad’s fishing truck comes to mind; an upright-grille, standard cab and probably two-tone red and white paint with flannel-colored interiors. In other words: nothing like what mid-size pickups need to be today to satisfy fuel economy standards and expectations.

Ram has more flexibility with its design language to sculpt a body that makes more sense than a Jeep pickup ever would. Ram is also the caretaker of FCA’s trucks last I checked.

And in the words of Jack Baruth, “You really don’t want a Jeep pickup, you pansy.”

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Fiat Chrysler Posts Sales Gains In August, Keeps 5-year Streak Alive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/fiat-chrysler-posts-sales-gains-august-keeps-5-year-streak-alive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/fiat-chrysler-posts-sales-gains-august-keeps-5-year-streak-alive/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 17:15:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157906 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 2-percent overall gain in sales for August, keeping its 65-month streak of increased sales alive, the automaker reported Tuesday. Jeep jumped the largest amount for the automaker; Jeep reported an 18-percent increase as a brand and four of its models posted sales gains. Sales of Dodge-branded vehicles slid 15 percent overall, and Chrysler-branded […]

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Jeep Compass. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 2-percent overall gain in sales for August, keeping its 65-month streak of increased sales alive, the automaker reported Tuesday.

Jeep jumped the largest amount for the automaker; Jeep reported an 18-percent increase as a brand and four of its models posted sales gains. Sales of Dodge-branded vehicles slid 15 percent overall, and Chrysler-branded cars fell 14 percent.

FCA reported it sold more than 200,000 vehicles in North America for the second month this year.

The Jeep Compass was the brand’s biggest gainer over August 2014 sales. Compass improved 58 percent over the same month a year ago. Jeep also reported that sales of its new Renegade were up 29 percent over July.

Chrysler-branded cars were down overall, but the automaker said sales of its Chrysler 200 were up 30 percent over last year.

FCA said Ram-branded trucks and vans posted a 6-percent increase, led by its full-size pickup.

(According to the automaker, Fiat 500L sales were up over last year and now I’ve seen everything.)

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Report: Toledo Plant Gains a Jeep Pickup, Loses a Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157850 Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site. The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report.  According […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site.

The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.

Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report. 

According to the story, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne addressed the plan in vague details.

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne told Automotive News. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.”

Union officials said they would have liked to have kept Cherokee production in Ohio, however the plant’s unique supply structure, production requirements and Wrangler sales required Cherokee to move, according to the report.

Production of the Wrangler and its associated pickup could reach up to 350,000 units per year.

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Mergers Don’t Make Better Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/aotd-mergers-dont-make-better-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/aotd-mergers-dont-make-better-cars/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157218 Mergers don’t excite me. I’m not excited about the prospect of walking in to my neighborhood Jeep/Chevy/Buick/Dodge/GMC superstore and thumbing through the soul-less car stocks like a weekend trip to Costco. Bark makes a good business case that Mazda and Subaru could help each other in worldwide sales, and brings up some interesting short-term mashups: rotary engines […]

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FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

Mergers don’t excite me.

I’m not excited about the prospect of walking in to my neighborhood Jeep/Chevy/Buick/Dodge/GMC superstore and thumbing through the soul-less car stocks like a weekend trip to Costco.

Bark makes a good business case that Mazda and Subaru could help each other in worldwide sales, and brings up some interesting short-term mashups: rotary engines with all-wheel drive, a boxer in a Miata, et al. All those things sound fun like monster trucks and cans of Pabst on a Friday night.

But in reality, despite repeated calls from automakers that consolidation will mean the car business can stay “in business,” mergers don’t make better products — but they try to make shareholders happy, if they can even do that (see: Suzuki-Volkswagen, page 231 of your textbook). Shared R&D is often synonymous with “badge engineering” (Cimarron) and when it’s not, well, just look at Saab.

If history has taught us anything, mergers simply leave car people left out in the cold. 

After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ CEO Sergio Marchionne said this weekend that he’d press for consolidation — whether GM liked it or not — it got me thinking about how it would impact consumers.

In our theoretical world of a GM-Fiat merger on Sept. 1, 2015, there’d be signatures; on Sept. 1, 2020, there’d be cars. And by the looks of most automotive mergers in the past, they wouldn’t be all that good.

History is littered with failed automotive marriages (Ford and its polygamous relationship with European luxury brands, GM and Saab … and Suzuki … and Subaru … and …) with successful partnerships being the exception — not the rule. For every Renault-Nissans, there are three DaimlerChryslers.

If GM and Fiat were to elope tomorrow in all likelihood the platforms would stay where they are for a while — maybe an engine swap here and there — and the marquee stuff would live on. GM would still sell the Corvette, Jeep would still sell the Wrangler. (And the Viper would probably die to death, again.)

But at risk would be unremarkable mass-market cars built to appease a bottom line for a merger that started off with a profit to make. Sergio said the marriage could produce $30 billion a year in EBITDA, and you’d figure they’d be out for every dime. Remember: If GM killed Pontiac once, why not do it again with Dodge?

There’s also the risk of massive recalls on a scale we’ve never seen before. If you put a shared part, designed and built to a budget, on 15 million cars we’d be wise to buy stock in Advil — NHTSA will need all of it.

Perhaps for everyday consumers the differences would be hardly noticeable. The post-merger cars could blend together in a way they already have been blending for the last five years, and normal consumers couldn’t — and wouldn’t — care less.

But for car people, any merger means fewer products on the road and the cars foisted upon us would march closer to a joyless appliance, like our refrigerators.

And I can’t stand cars that are cold.

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Corrupt Red Light Camera Company Sued By Chicago for $300M http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/corrupt-red-light-camera-company-sued-chicago-300m/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/corrupt-red-light-camera-company-sued-chicago-300m/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:15:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157554 Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started […]

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Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon

Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started in 2003. City officials are suing for roughly triple that amount, including penalties.

Redflex has been accused of handing out thousands of unnecessary tickets to motorists, including 13,000 in Chicago alone, according to the Tribune. 

The CEO of Redflex, Karen Finley, stepped down after pleading guilty to bribery charges. The city official accused of accepting the $2 million in bribe payments, John Bills, is facing federal charges later this year.

The controversial cameras face an uncertain future in many cities. Officials in Tampa are reviewing that city’s contract that fines motorists more than $150 per offense, with the contracting company pocketing nearly half that amount. The cameras don’t produce significant revenue, Tampa officials say, and the cameras may not make problematic intersections any safer.

“When I saw the numbers of the money and where the money is going right now, that’s money being taken out of our city and it’s quite a large amount,” Tampa City Council member Yolie Capin told the Tampa Tribune. “We felt it should be used for engineering those problematic intersections.”

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Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs, Part V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/piston-slap-justy-fied-freestylin-cvts-part-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/piston-slap-justy-fied-freestylin-cvts-part-v/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156466   TTAC commentator Anomaly149 writes: Sajeev, here’s one for you: I have a CVT-equipped 2004 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe with ~140,000 miles. While you can write a book on the things that are weird with the car (key won’t release from cylinder sometimes unless you push this button inside the steering column, sometimes the neutral safety […]

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TTAC commentator Anomaly149 writes:

Sajeev, here’s one for you:

I have a CVT-equipped 2004 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe with ~140,000 miles. While you can write a book on the things that are weird with the car (key won’t release from cylinder sometimes unless you push this button inside the steering column, sometimes the neutral safety switch actuator machine-guns when stopped at a stoplight, it eats front sway links like it’s a contest, etc.), so far it’s been reliable and efficient.

The thing I’m worried about is the longevity of that CVT. I’ve read a lot of bad things, and recently the transmission has started “shifting” hard from a stop. Sometimes the vehicle starts moving from a stop with a fairly violent jolt, even if the gas pedal is barely pressed. The problem is very intermittent, but has been getting a little more frequent. The dealer says they find nothing wrong. Is this worth investigating? Do they even make repair parts for these CVTs anymore?

I’d love to keep the car running a bit longer, but the last thing I need is a dead transmission on an hour-long commute.

Sajeev answers:

Wow. You got 140,000 miles out of a VTi transaxle: the centerpiece of terrible ideas leading up to GM’s decision to burn 2 billion to NOT buy Fiat.

No surprise TTAC did the Death Watch thang, but Farago himself couldn’t imagine a world where Fiat dusts off a classic move, hostile takeover style.

Does anyone remember the VTi and the lawsuit? Repair or rebuilding is out of the question: consider yourself lucky and shop for a new vehicle. Or perform a gearbox swap with a Delta-bodied GM product with a more conventional auto or manual transmission, if you are the “save and restomod” type. I did quite like the Cobalt XFE I tested way back — it was super-cheap fun!

And don’t laugh, an ION Quad Coupe is the AMC Pacer of the last decade: the restomod route isn’t totally stupid, especially if you can cram LS4-FTW into the Delta’s engine bay. A more believable 5-speed automatic swap sounds pretty sweet.

I’d do this in a heartbeat. Parts will be dirt cheap, especially if you buy a complete car on Craigslist. Take out the gearbox, spend a weekend swap, scrap the rest and lose less than a grand on the deal.

Or just sell it now while it runs, telling the new owner about the swap and it’s future as the next AMC Pacer.

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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You Can Pay $2.5 Million For a Volkswagen Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-pay-2-5-million-volkswagen-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-pay-2-5-million-volkswagen-now/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:30:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157306 Bugatti’s successor to the Veyron, the Chiron (are those pronounced similarly?) will reportedly cost $2.5 million, according to Car. The hyper car, which was shown to prospective owners in France, will be a quad turbo, W-16 that produces more than 1,400 horsepower. According to the report, the car will make its debut in Geneva next […]

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Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang

Bugatti’s successor to the Veyron, the Chiron (are those pronounced similarly?) will reportedly cost $2.5 million, according to Car.

The hyper car, which was shown to prospective owners in France, will be a quad turbo, W-16 that produces more than 1,400 horsepower. According to the report, the car will make its debut in Geneva next year.

The price hike is roughly $200,000 over the Veyron, which started at $1.7 million and eventually ballooned to $2.3 million by the end of its production. While the price difference is enough for your own personal fleet of Volkswagen GTIs, how big does your yacht need to be anyway?

Car says that more than a few prospective buyers have raised their hands for the new car — somewhere between 10 and 99 (Double-digit isn’t a very descriptive modifier, Car) and that they expect the Chiron’s top speed to approach 300 mph.

Bugatti has said the plan is to build 500 cars — 1 Chiron for $2.5 million and 499 Special Editions that will cost much, much more.

A few prototypes have been spotted around Los Angeles International Airport and other locales, but it’s unclear how Bugatti will spit in the face of physics this time around.

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The Biggest Car Interior Makers Are Now Companies We’ve Never Heard Of http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/biggest-car-interior-makers-now-companies-weve-never-heard/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/biggest-car-interior-makers-now-companies-weve-never-heard/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:30:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157170 On Monday, Magna International completed its sale of its interior business to Grupo Antolin, a Spanish firm that’s relatively unknown outside of Spain. That’s on top of Johnson Control International getting out of the interior business, along with other automakers and suppliers, as John McElroy pointed out in a well-written column for Autoblog. Magna’s sale underscores […]

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magnastronach Picture courtesy deadlysins.info

On Monday, Magna International completed its sale of its interior business to Grupo Antolin, a Spanish firm that’s relatively unknown outside of Spain.

That’s on top of Johnson Control International getting out of the interior business, along with other automakers and suppliers, as John McElroy pointed out in a well-written column for Autoblog.

Magna’s sale underscores the fact that the car-making business — and especially their interiors — isn’t exactly lucrative for most suppliers.

For what it’s worth, the sale helps reduce Magna’s exposure to a recently volatile Canadian currency, but long-term, Magna didn’t see margins improving on interiors and got out.

Instead, Magna’s looking at transmissions and other automotive parts — like other suppliers — as a better source of revenue and margins for a healthier bottom line.

(His concern is shared by Sergio Marchionne, who has a few ideas about consolidation.)

Like McElroy points out, the large players in the interior business, now Grupo Antolin and Yanfeng, are relative unknowns in a business where sales are brisk and cheaper is always better.

In short, hold on to your door handles.

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Honda Won’t Sell Tiny S660 in America, Because of Course Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-wont-sell-tiny-s660-america-course-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/honda-wont-sell-tiny-s660-america-course-not/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157082 Honda won’t import its tiny S660 convertible to the United States because we are a nation of giant people who drive giant cars, Automotive News is reporting. John Mendel, executive vice president for Honda, said three weeks ago that the S660 could bring some “spice” to the American Honda lineup, but apparently he looked at […]

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honda-s660-26-1

Honda won’t import its tiny S660 convertible to the United States because we are a nation of giant people who drive giant cars, Automotive News is reporting.

John Mendel, executive vice president for Honda, said three weeks ago that the S660 could bring some “spice” to the American Honda lineup, but apparently he looked at a nearby parking lot and changed his mind.

“When the practicalities of the market come in, and the car only so big, that might not be the best car for the U.S. market,” Mendel told Automotive News. “It might be better for India or China or somewhere else.”

Mendel said the “baby NSX” rendering that came out was a “design study” from their R&D labs in California, but stopped short of saying anything further about that car.

According to the report, the long-awaited Civic Type R should arrive in North America next year, which means we won’t have to make do with the Civic Si and exciting redesigned CR-Z as the fastest Hondas money can buy much longer.

Honda is expected to reveal its next-generation Civic at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

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Columnist: Consumer Reports ‘Prostituted’ Itself With Tesla Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/columnist-consumer-reports-prostituted-tesla-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/columnist-consumer-reports-prostituted-tesla-review/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:30:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157098 Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins (great name) slammed Consumer Reports for its glowing review and better-than-perfect score for the Tesla Model S P85D, in part, because the $127,000 car still qualifies for a government tax break. “Prostitute is not too strong a word,” he wrote. “… (Consumer Reports) is shilling not only for the […]

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2012 Tesla Model S

Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins (great name) slammed Consumer Reports for its glowing review and better-than-perfect score for the Tesla Model S P85D, in part, because the $127,000 car still qualifies for a government tax break.

“Prostitute is not too strong a word,” he wrote. “… (Consumer Reports) is shilling not only for the car but the government policies that subsidize it.”

Jenkins takes aim at the state and federal tax incentives still available for the vehicle — which are going away in many places — and at the magazine for hyping its review so heavily, and subsequently giving it away for free on its subscription-based website.

Jenkins’ point is re-enforced by the fact that Consumer Reports sent to media an embargoed statement summarizing their review the day before it was published, which is unusual for the consumer magazine.

Included in the statement:

“The P85D represents a glimpse into the future of automotive technology in which cars will be more energy-efficient than ever, while still delivering a terrific blend of performance and practicality,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing in the statement. “The Tesla is a shining example of how higher fuel economy standards can be achieved without sacrificing performance.”

Jenkins aimed at that performance by saying that if Consumer Reports was concerned with energy efficiency, it wouldn’t hype the battery draining “insane” and “ludicrous” speed modes in its review.

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Hammer Time: A Shotgun Hit & Run http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/hammer-time-shotgun-hit-run/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/hammer-time-shotgun-hit-run/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091953 “Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said. My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above. My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver… “Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply. “Yeah, everyone’s fine. We moved […]

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“Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said.

My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above.

My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver…

“Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply.

“Yeah, everyone’s fine. We moved the cars and we’re now on the side of the road.”

Thank God! When I got there, this is what greeted me.

2

Thankfully, my wife had this Prius which was battered and bloodied, but still able to drive with what we call in the car business, “a whiskey lick”.

12

The other car, which dim-wittedly cut across two lanes of traffic, had simonized its own rear passenger doors, along with the rear quarter panel.

The other driver was far, far away, and within a few moments we both figured out why. The car wasn’t his. To make matters worse, he was going to change his story now that the cars got moved.

3

There was a small pile of orange debris where the impact took place to the right of the manhole, but for the next hour and change I would be stuck dealing with one of the many humanoid scumbags that we unfortunately find in our travels.

Stories were told and fabricated, and in the end the cop exclaimed, “I’m just going to let the insurance companies fight this one out!”

My wife wasn’t found at fault but the damage was done. The other driver’s insurance wanted to take the case to arbitration and, because we only had fleet insurance (through my dealership), we were only covered for what we hit — not what hits us.

The damage inflicted on our car would be stuck in legal limbo for months on end, so I decided to get a bit… creative. I perused the dealer auctions to see what was out there that would make my wife happy.

4

That list was painfully short. She wanted what she already had and Toyota only exported about 5,000 of these hybrids a year to North America from 2001 to 2003. These hybrids usually find themselves overseas sooner rather than later. The picture above is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Older hybrids are becoming enormously popular in countries that don’t subsidize the purchase of diesel fuel — and rightfully so due to their over-engineering and outstanding fuel economy.

It took a couple of weeks to find one… at a salvage auction. When your car is smashed, flooded, burnt, or scratched up like an abandoned 60-year-old roller rink, it winds up at a salvage auction where everyone from junkyards to exporters get to bid on the remnants.

5

This particular 2002 Toyota Prius was the same exact car as my wife’s daily driver. It looks green to me, but light blue to nearly everybody else. Yep, I’m hopelessly colorblind when it comes to the greenish blue hues of modern cars.

6

The Prius had been sent on a one-way trip to the salvage auction due to a nice little whack on the rear bumper.

The cost of replacing that entire bumper assembly, straightening the frame, and blending the paint on this vehicle to OEM specs was too much for USAA. So they wrote their customer a check and brought this first generation Prius to Copart, which liquidates about two million salvage vehicles a year for insurance companies.

Was I really going to put my wife in a vehicle that already had frame damage?

Hell No! Not in this life, and hopefully not the next one either if I’m fortunate enough to meet and marry her all over again. However, I did have one not so small psychological issue.

My wife likes to stick with what works for her. Friends. House. Husband. She rarely buys and never sells. The same is true for her daily driver. That Prius is not only ‘cute’ but also offers fantastic visibility and averages her about 40 mpg. Those are the only two things she cares about. Luxury? Sport? Doesn’t matter a lick. She loves a car where she can see everything around her and hates the super-sized models. Minivans and SUVs are not her thing.

I couldn’t sell her car. So I wound up buying that bumper-less Prius for $1,050 plus a bit over $300 worth of inflated seller fees. The plan was to simply replace the panels for her car and re-sell what was left.

7

I tossed the bad bumper onto the passenger side seats and took the car to a body shop. And then I quickly changed my mind.

8

As a guy who used to inspect, appraise and liquidate over 10,000 vehicles every year for an auto finance company during, I got to know the difference between a physically sound vehicle, and one that’s probably worth more dead than alive.

A moderate impact like this is typically considered minor frame damage, while one that manages to smash up the C-pillar (the near vertical supports to the sides of your rear window) is considered a death blow for almost all older cars. It would take about $700 to make everything right on this car and then I could sell it after a state inspection and a rebuilt title.

9

The frame got straightened. A rear bumper assembly and a tail light were ordered. Some paint blending and a small battery replacement (thank God it wasn’t the big one). Now had a $2,200 Prius with 40,000 fewer miles than my wife’s daily driver. A nasty rainstorm and about a thousand miles of driving confirmed that the car was as good as used!

10

So it’s easy to figure out what happened next, right? Yep. I gave it to her. In this case “her” was a long-time customer whose daughter is taking classes at UNC Chapel Hill. I showed her pictures of the way the car was before the repairs were made, and she had it checked out by her mechanic.

She signed the paperwork which included an addendum for the salvage history, and that was that along with a $700 down payment.

In two years, I’ll either have a $4,500 gain, or in two months I’ll be sweating a $1,500 loss. That’s the risk you take when you self-finance cars. Lucky for me, “The Bank of Steve” tries to play a conservative game when it comes to financing folks, and I tend to say no to a lot more people than I say yes. My customer was successful with a 2000 Prizm they now owned, so hopefully the Prius will be her second keeper.

11

So that part of my life was solved until I got home that evening.

Wife with earnest smile: “Have you found another Prius like mine?”

Remembering that I haven’t forgot about finding her impossible dream: “Oh… ummm….. what do you think about a Versa?”

Wife, in mild snark mode: “What do you think about a glockenspiel? I have no idea what a Versa is. Is it blue?”

“Well… umm… it’s black. Like my coffee.”

Wife jokingly turning the screws: “Let’s see if you can find a blue one! I’ll keep driving my car in the meantime.”

Thankfully I have some time to unscrew this situation, but how about you? Have you ever been in the unenviable position of trying to find a used car for a family member who is a bit… selective? Feel free to share any wrecks of a mental or physical nature that came afterwards.

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Terrorists Could Make Autonomous Cars A Security Nightmare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/terrorists-make-autonomous-cars-security-nightmare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/terrorists-make-autonomous-cars-security-nightmare/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:30:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157026 Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot). Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists. “A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of […]

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Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot).

Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.

“A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself.”

Criminals in Denver have already used burners, pre-paid cards and fake names to rent Car2go cars for drive-by shootings.

Rubalcava’s discussion of the risk that autonomous cars may bring to international security is a short few paragraphs in a much longer market analysis on those cars and their potential investors.

Included in his assessment is that dense urban centers may spread out (suburban sprawl all over again) if self-driving cars can shuttle us back and forth to work without their drivers actually being awake. Rubalcava also speculates that an average autonomous car could travel twice as far as a normal car, up to 50,000 miles per year if the driver doesn’t have to actually drive, and that the cost per mile for an autonomous car will be significantly lower than an average car, which would increase consumption.

(And he correctly points out that very few companies that develop technologies make it long enough to mass produce them, i.e. 1990s dot-coms.)

Even though much of his analysis is dedicated toward financial issues and scaling autonomous cars for a global market, Rubalcava says that investors should be wary of initial government intervention to mitigate security risks that a self-driving bomb car could pose. Beyond that, autonomous cars will be hugely profitable — maybe before we’re all dead.

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Chart Of The Day: Subaru Sets Monthly U.S. WRX/STI Sales Record In July 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-subaru-sets-monthly-u-s-wrxsti-sales-record-july-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-subaru-sets-monthly-u-s-wrxsti-sales-record-july-2015/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144009 After two consecutive years of growth, including record-setting U.S. sales achievements in 2014, what does the Subaru WRX do for an encore performance? An all-time monthly record of 3,716 WRX/STI sales in July 2015 starts the second-half off strongly after a first-half in which sales of Subaru’s rally-inspired nameplate jumped ahead of last year’s sales […]

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2015-Subaru-WRX-STI-profile

After two consecutive years of growth, including record-setting U.S. sales achievements in 2014, what does the Subaru WRX do for an encore performance?

An all-time monthly record of 3,716 WRX/STI sales in July 2015 starts the second-half off strongly after a first-half in which sales of Subaru’s rally-inspired nameplate jumped ahead of last year’s sales pace by 14 percent.

When setting a brand-wide sales record in 2014, Subaru’s WRX/STI-specific record of 25,492 units accounted for 5 percent of the brand’s total U.S. sales volume.

Last month, however, the WRX/STI tandem produced more than 7 percent of all Subaru USA sales, up from 4 percent at this time last year thanks to an 85-percent year-over-year improvement.

Subaru WRX:STI pie chart TTAC

Subaru sales in July shot beyond 50,000 units for the first time since August of last year.

With massive increases through the first seven months of 2015, Subaru has already sold more WRX/STIs this year than in all of 2013, when sales were beginning to surge. Subaru is on track for significantly more than 30,000 WRX/STI sales in calendar year 2015.

Combined, Volkswagen’s Golf GTI and Golf R are on track for approximately 25,000 U.S. sales in 2015.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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QOTD: What Merger Would You Be Excited To See? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-merger-excited-see/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-merger-excited-see/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:07:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156490 Sergio Marchionne is determined to merge with somebody. He’s kind of like that guy who doesn’t have a date at Senior Prom, and just goes anyway, hoping to score a dance with the Prom Queen. It’s as if the modern marketplace is his very own version of Sixteen Candles, and he’s James Spader rocking a 944. […]

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Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5

Sergio Marchionne is determined to merge with somebody. He’s kind of like that guy who doesn’t have a date at Senior Prom, and just goes anyway, hoping to score a dance with the Prom Queen. It’s as if the modern marketplace is his very own version of Sixteen Candles, and he’s James Spader rocking a 944. Or something. I gotta be honest, I never watched the movie.

Well, I’m not sure if Mary Barra is the Prom Queen or not, but Sergio seems to think she is. Yet, I’m not sure the idea of a GM/FCA merger has auto enthusiasts feeling all hot and bothered; is there a merger out there that would?

Here’s my idea. I’d like to see a Mazda/Subaru merger. Does it make business sense? Eh, maybe. Mazda has seen record profits in the European market in the last two years, growing at a much faster rate than anyone expected in both Germany and the UK. They’re also growing decently in the Japanese market, and they’re holding their own in China, despite a lack of Chinese-only models.

But North America? Not so much. Mazda has never been able to get much of a foothold in the highly competitive mid-sized sedan market, nor do they do particularly well in the C segment, despite having well-reviewed entries in both. Their year-over-year growth in America is basically flat through July 2015.

However, Subaru is growing like mad — almost too quickly. They are teetering between a growth model and a profit model, as their American sales growth is reaching double digits due to an almost fanatically loyal customer base. How can Subaru grow without compromising what it is that makes them so “authentic”?

Easy. Merge with Mazda, which has specifically stated that they are looking to trade profit for growth in the near future. Subaru could do some brand engineering and send the popular Outback over to Mazda. Call it the CX-Whatever. Mazda, in turn, could share the new ND Miata with Subie, which might make up for the relatively disappointing BRZ, itself down about 30 percent YOY. I mean, they wouldn’t, but they could!

If you really wanna get cray cray…why not merge the all-wheel drive goodness of Subaru with the rotary madness of Mazda and come up with some high-revving, all-wheel drive rally and autocross monster? Let’s call it the RX-10, just because that sounds much cooler than RX-9.

I like my idea, but I bet that you, the B&B, have an even better one. So let’s hear your merger ideas. What two automotive companies could merge into an ever better one?

[Photo by Kevin McCauley]

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Marchionne Calls For GM Takeover Just Short of Hostile http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-calls-for-gm-takeover-just-short-of-hostile/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-calls-for-gm-takeover-just-short-of-hostile/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:59:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156418 We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time. […]

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Sergio and 1.4L Turbo MultiAir in better times at Dundee. Chrysler Photo

We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

And no, that’s not even the best part.

Marchionne asserts he and the board of directors have no choice but to pursue General Motors based on the numbers.

“We’re not talking about marginal improvement in margins,” Marchionne said, “we’re talking about cataclysmic changes in performance, just huge.”

And how sweet is that EBITDA figure?

“Look, the combined entity can make $30 billion a year in cash. Thirty. Just think about that fucking number. In steady-state environments, it’ll make me $28 to $30 billion.”

Yet, General Motors refuses to look at the numbers, with GM CEO Mary Barra stating in June that GM is busy “merging with ourselves.”

The relatively short piece from Automotive News is filled with that will likely become a Greatest Hits album for both Vellequette and Marchionne with lines like:

“It would be unconscionable not to force a partner,” he said

“I’ve offered to sit down with them and take them through the numbers,” said the Italian-Canadian CEO as he sipped an espresso and swiped through documents on his tablet, giving his visitors a cursory look at various charts and graphs he says make his case.

“They won’t listen. And that kind of abject refusal to engage … the capital markets won’t understand why you are rejecting the discussion.

“You may reject the deal but you can’t reject the discussion. If you’re refusing to talk to me, and you have seen nothing, you either think you’re above it all, or you think the capital markets are full of schmucks that owe you something.”

“There have been responses of people who have shown interest in discussing,” he said. “Are they the people I wanted to get the response from? The answer is probably not. There are people who are interested in doing deals. I’m not interested in doing deals with them … because there’s a better deal.”

“Why,” asked a high-ranking GM executive, “should [GM] bail out FCA?”

Asked directly, a GM spokesman wouldn’t call Marchionne’s analysis wrong but said GM officials believe the company and its shareholders are better off on their own.

Last emphasis mine.

If GM officials think that shareholders want anything other than increased profits, those officials are going to be in for a rude awakening — when they’re out of jobs after the dust has settled.

Everyone, especially a shareholder, has a price.

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2016 Smart Fortwo Won’t Hit Magic 40 MPG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-smart-fortwo-wont-hit-magic-40-mpg/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-smart-fortwo-wont-hit-magic-40-mpg/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:04:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156354 The next-generation Smart Fortwo, expected to go on sale in North America shortly, won’t achieve the magical 40-mpg benchmark in highway driving, reports Car & Driver. Fuel economy for the Mercedes microcar will stay similar to the current generation at 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Manual models will […]

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2015-Smart-ForTwo-ForFour_

The next-generation Smart Fortwo, expected to go on sale in North America shortly, won’t achieve the magical 40-mpg benchmark in highway driving, reports Car & Driver.

Fuel economy for the Mercedes microcar will stay similar to the current generation at 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Manual models will get the same highway fuel economy, but give up 1 mpg on the city cycle.

Not all is bad. Performance of the 2016 Smart Fortwo will increase thanks to a 19 horsepower bump in output, from 70 hp to 89 hp. Torque receives a relatively massive increase from 68 lb-ft to 100 lb-ft.

Those looking for increased efficiency will be able to shell out for the Fortwo Electric Drive toward the end of next year, but prepare to spend big bucks for it if the current model is any indication. The base price of the Fortwo ED is $25,000 before federal and local incentives in the U.S.

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BMW Didn’t Receive “Save The Manuals” Christmas Card for MY2016, Retaliates [UPDATE] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-didnt-receive-save-the-manuals-christmas-card-for-my2016-retaliates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-didnt-receive-save-the-manuals-christmas-card-for-my2016-retaliates/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:30:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155962 UPDATE: According to commenter krhodes1 and Facebook commenter Michael Smith, the 228i manual (order code 162A) is still available and there is a bug in the configurator. Which reminds me, you should like The Truth About Cars on Facebook. Jalopnik is reporting that a number of BMW models — namely the 228i, 328i, and 428i […]

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UPDATE: According to commenter krhodes1 and Facebook commenter Michael Smith, the 228i manual (order code 162A) is still available and there is a bug in the configurator. Which reminds me, you should like The Truth About Cars on Facebook.

Jalopnik is reporting that a number of BMW models — namely the 228i, 328i, and 428i — have lost their manual options for 2016. BMW’s online configurator for the 2016 model year shows the cars as automatic-only options, effectively making the manual transmission a premium option by forcing manual-loving customers into higher trims.

Does this mean the end of the manual transmission as we know it? Probably not. (Yet.)

The models relieved of their manual transmission options represent the base models in their respective ranges, with the exception of the 320i. The base model 3-Series will still be available with a manual gearbox. Aside from the 320i, the 235i, 340i, and 435i are the new entry models for the row-your-own set.

This should come as no surprise considering more and more BMW customers are opting for the automatic, even those who purchase M cars such as the M3 and M4.

What is surprising is that these models have already been engineered and tested with manual transmissions and BMW is opting not to offer them even though the costs have already been incurred. Automakers typically wait for a generational change before dropping stick shift options, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with BMW.

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Attention Californians: Here’s Your 2016 Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/attention-californians-heres-your-2016-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/attention-californians-heres-your-2016-toyota-prius/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:21:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156298 The next-generation Toyota Prius, set to be revealed on September 8 in Las Vegas, has been caught without camouflage as it sits in what looks to be an aircraft hold. The undisputed hybrid sales leader picks up numerous design cues from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, including its swept-back headlights and triangular fog light […]

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The next-generation Toyota Prius, set to be revealed on September 8 in Las Vegas, has been caught without camouflage as it sits in what looks to be an aircraft hold.

The undisputed hybrid sales leader picks up numerous design cues from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, including its swept-back headlights and triangular fog light pods.

Details on the new Prius are unknown at this point, but expect a more-refined interior, increased battery capacity for up to 35 miles of all-electric driving, and increased efficiency from the drivetrain. Inductive charging remains a possibility. The Prius will also be built atop the Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA).

Last updated in 2011 with a mild refresh, sales of the Toyota Prius have fallen since 2007 and 2008 amidst lower gas prices.

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[Source: Prius Club Malaysia]

 

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VIDEO: Ford GT LM GTE Sounds Like A Four-wheeled Warzone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/video-ford-gt-lm-gte-sounds-like-a-four-wheeled-warzone/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:58:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156250 Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video. I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with […]

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Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video.

I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with six turbocharged AK-47-esque cylinders.

Ford’s third iteration of the GT will be more track ready than its immediate predecessor. The Blue Oval plans to bring the pain to Ferrari at LeMans next year — and every other possible competitor in the GTE category.

Sitting just ahead of the rear wheels is a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 with the horsepower knob turned up to 600.

Those looking to buy a street-legal version of the Ford GT will have to go through an application process and be accepted by Ford before parting with an estimated $350,000 in exchange for the car.

Maybe Bernie Ecclestone should buy 24 of these engines for Formula 1 next year.

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Suzuki: “I Feel Refreshed” After Win Against Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:22:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156202 Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s […]

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Volkswagen and Suzuki agreed to establish a comprehensive partnership

Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s favor. Suzuki will purchase back their own stock from Volkswagen.

Suzuki received news of the ruling Saturday and filed the information with the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Sunday.

“It’s good that a resolution came. I feel refreshed. It’s like clearing a bone stuck in my throat,” said to reporters gathered at a news conference in Tokyo, reports Automotive News. “I’m very satisfied with the resolution. Through it, Suzuki was able to attain its biggest objective.”

In a statement released today, Suzuki Motor Corporation “requested Volkswagen AG to terminate their business and capital alliance through amicable negotiation. However, as VW failed to respond to Suzuki’s request, Suzuki served on 18 November 2011 a notice of termination of the Framework Agreement that was made with VW. Further, on 24 November 2011, based on the parties’ agreement, Suzuki filed a request for arbitration in London, which is the place of arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.”

The tribunal found in favor for Suzuki in two areas: a termination of the “Framework Agreement” and Volkswagen’s divestment of shared in Suzuki.

From Suzuki:

The Tribunal found that the Framework Agreement was validly terminated by Suzuki’s notice of termination dated 18 November 2011 mentioned above, such termination being effective from 18 May 2012.

The Tribunal upheld Suzuki’s claim regarding VW’s disposal of its shares in Suzuki and ordered VW to divest forthwith those shares to Suzuki or a third party designated by Suzuki using a method which is reasonably determined by Suzuki.

Volkswagen’s 19.9-percent share in Suzuki will be purchased by the Japanese company through the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

However, Suzuki could still incur financial penalties later, as Volkswagen’s counterclaim of breach of contract was also partially upheld. That claim will be “addressed in a further stage of the arbitration,” stated Suzuki Motor Corporation. According to Volkswagen in a statement, Suzuki “failed to give Volkswagen last-call rights for the delivery of diesel engines. Volkswagen reserves the right to claim damages against Suzuki.”

The official end of the alliance will likely trigger more succession planning for the Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer. In June 2015, Osamu Suzuki appointed his eldest son, Toshihiro, to the role of president.

 

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Marchionne: “To Be Perfectly Honest, We’ve All Fucked with the UAW, Right? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/marchionne-to-be-perfectly-honest-weve-all-fucked-with-the-uaw-right/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:15:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155986 Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers […]

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Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers in the past.

“To be perfectly honest, we’ve all fucked with the UAW, right? We were threatened by them, so we took all the pickup trucks that we sell — and 90 percent of those pickup trucks are sold in this country, right — we took it away, and then we delocalized them” Marchionne told Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette.

Marchionne believes he and UAW President Dennis Williams “share a view about the fact that, in some fashion, to the extent that we are successful in creating wealth out of these car companies, real wealth, then we should be able to distribute that,” he said.

Bringing Mexican pickup production back to the United States would be a massive win for the UAW. Since March 2014, Ram has sold fewer than 30,000 pickups only once (January 2015).

Ram pickups are built at FCA’s Warren Assembly Plant in Michigan and Saltillo Truck Assembly.

“What a wonderful idea, distributing cash when you have it,” Marchionne said.

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