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. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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/ 100 Fatality, Injury Claims Approved For GM Compensation Fund Payments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962842 It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time? One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved. The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when […]

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It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time?

One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved.

The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when four new fatality and seven injury claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall were approved. The new total to-date comes to 42 fatalities and 58 injuries approved for payment.

Overall, Feinberg’s staff has received 2,326 claims since the window for acceptance opened August 1 of this year, 306 of which were rejected, 568 deemed deficient in information, 907 were missing verification documents, and 445 — including 46 linked to wrongful death — are under review at this moment.

As for the 100 approved claims, 57 have received and accepted settlement offers, 22 of which have been paid thus far. The window for filing, originally set to close in the final days of 2014, will do so at the end of January 2015.

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US Army Makes $744K In First-Ever Public Humvee Auction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/us-army-makes-744k-first-ever-public-humvee-auction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/us-army-makes-744k-first-ever-public-humvee-auction/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962818 Forget Panthers: Humvees are the new hotness, as so demonstrated when the United States Army held its first-ever public auction for a surplus of the iconic military vehicle. Military.com reports a total of 25 vehicles were auctioned on behalf of the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, with $744,000 brought in for the trouble. Bidding for each […]

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Forget Panthers: Humvees are the new hotness, as so demonstrated when the United States Army held its first-ever public auction for a surplus of the iconic military vehicle.

Military.com reports a total of 25 vehicles were auctioned on behalf of the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, with $744,000 brought in for the trouble.

Bidding for each vehicle began at $10,000, but it didn’t last long at that level; the average winning bid came in at $30,000. The lowest bid was $21,500 for a 1989 model, while the highest was $41,000 for one made in 1994.

That said, the vehicles won’t be hitting the highway any time soon, as the vehicles were sold with the caveat that they would be limited to off-road purposes. Another auction is expected in January, with more likely to follow; the DLA has 4,000 Humvees gathering dust at present.

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Teknikens Värld: Ford Mondeo Estate ‘Dangerously Overweight’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962754 The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs. Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came […]

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Ford Mondeo Estate overweight

The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs.

Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came out to 4,145 pounds, 615 more than what Ford said it weighed.

This is a problem in Sweden, as loading a vehicle above its total gross weight is illegal, something that would occur if a family loads the Mondeo to what they believe is the gross weight, only to find they’ve exceeded it.

The extra weight also proved to be dangerous, as the Mondeo failed the publication’s moose test, faring better at said test when the load dropped to 220 pounds above the maximum load limit.

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OEMs Suspend Vehicle Sales In Russia Amid Volatile Currency Situation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/oems-suspend-vehicle-sales-in-russia-amid-volatile-currency-swings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/oems-suspend-vehicle-sales-in-russia-amid-volatile-currency-swings/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:02:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962674 With the Russian ruble experiencing a near collapse in value, multiple OEMs have decided to suspend sales of its vehicles in Russia. According to a statement sent to Just-Auto, GM’s Russian arm said “In view of the volatility of [the] rouble exchange rate and with the aim to manage its business risk, GM Russia has decided […]

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With the Russian ruble experiencing a near collapse in value, multiple OEMs have decided to suspend sales of its vehicles in Russia.

According to a statement sent to Just-Auto, GM’s Russian arm said

“In view of the volatility of [the] rouble exchange rate and with the aim to manage its business risk, GM Russia has decided to temporarily suspend wholesaling of vehicles to its dealers in Russia as of 16 December, 2014,” said a GM Europe statement emailed to just-auto. At the same time we confirm all Cadillac, Opel and Chevrolet vehicles already purchased by customers will be delivered on the agreed price. We are monitoring the situation.”

Bloomberg is reporting that Audi and Jaguar Land Rover have also suspended sales amid uncertainty in foreign exchange markets. Toyota, Volkswagen are set to adjust their prices in the near future to reflect the new exchange rates.

Russian auto sales have spiked in recent weeks as consumers sought to buy up hard assets to protect against a falling ruble. But the erosion on value of the Russian currency have left several OEMs exposed to currency risks. According to Bloomberg’s report, BMW could stand to lose as much as $135 million dollars due to the recent drop in the ruble.

 

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Dispatches Do Brasil: 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/dispatches-brasil-2010-mitsubishi-pajero-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/dispatches-brasil-2010-mitsubishi-pajero-sport/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:59:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962594 Recently I went car shopping with a friend. We were looking at cars I’d rather not check out, but that struck his fancy . While crossovers were initially at the top of his list, he ended up with a 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero, which you may know as the Montero. Being Brazil a Portuguese-speaking countries, Mitsubishi found […]

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Recently I went car shopping with a friend. We were looking at cars I’d rather not check out, but that struck his fancy . While crossovers were initially at the top of his list, he ended up with a 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero, which you may know as the Montero. Being Brazil a Portuguese-speaking countries, Mitsubishi found it safe to use the Japanese market name – in Spanish, it means something naughty.

Looking for all the world like the SUV it is, the Pajero has been a force to be reckoned with in Brazil. Mitsubishi is a brand that survived the thinning out of Japanese brands when the Market opened up in the 90s. Back then everybody came. Mazda (unfortunately), Suzuki (though it’s trying again now), Daihatsu, among others I can’t remember, didn’t make it. The usual trio of suspects did, as did Mitsubishi.

In the case of the three diamond company they did it by going full 4×4 here. Little by little, cars ceased to be offered. In that way they became associated with off-roading and, in a cruel twist of image so common in underdeveloped countries, with luxury.

When my friend called me all enthused saying he had found the “perfect” one, I was a little hesitant. He was happy because the car he was looking at was a very common silver and had low mileage (34,000 km for a 4-year old car, now almost 5). My hesitation came from driving previous Mitsubishi products. The Pajero Io or TR, always felt like it wasn’t properly aligned at speeds above 100 km/h. The L200? So noisy and slow. Plus, like I said, many here confuse it with a luxury product. I was afraid my friend did, too.

When we arrived at the place, her owner was waiting for us. A good sign as she was a she. A woman using this car would do it for school runs and mall visiting, nothing off-roadsy. As a general view of course. Talking to her confirmed our impression. She said she was divorced and the car was titled to her name. The paint still shone, and it was easy to see the interior had been detailed. I got under the car and could see no unusual scratches or anything that’d indicate off-roading.

Took it for a spin, decided it was good. Took it to a mechanic, he declared it good. Money changed hands and that was that. As is the case for this kind of car in Brazil, it was a lot. 71,000 reais of my friend’s hard-earned money. As the exchange rate is hovering around USD$1=R$2.5, you can do the math.

Getting inside, it is the typical Japanese fair. The interior would probably look better in a 90s product, though it is well screwed together. The materials do not impress. On top of the dash is a very thin rubber finishing. Quite hard, at least it’s softer than plastic. There is some sort of plastic possibly trying to imitate wood around the instrument binnacle. There is an insert of perforated leatherette on the door breaking that vast expanse of plastic. The vanity mirrors in both sun visors are among the smallest I’ve seen, but I guess they do their job. The mouse fur on the ceiling is good enough, not too grainy and a light color, which helps the sensation of airiness. All windows have auto up and down, though only the driver’s is marked. All others, a drab slab of black plastic. At least the tactile sensation is not notchy, though not silky either.

The seats were quite comfortable too and offer a wide variety of positions. You get to these positions by manual levers of course. There is not a lot of bolstering, but as this car’s function is to confront the urban jungle, I mean the Sahara, it’s not too bad. The leather of course is false, but there is some variation and the sides have a different pattern than the middle. In the back it is not so good. The backs of the seats are very short and a very large section of metal appears. I have never seen a car with that much open space. The floor back there is quite high too, so not the best place to sit for a long drive.

Talking about good things the trunk is huge, officially rated at over 900L. Again, there is a mishap. No lid. Not a good thing in this country. The best thing in the interior is the wheel, I decide. Plastic, but with a nice texture, it is thick and decent sized, being the best place to lay your hands in the interior.

So now the drive. Inside the limitations of the segment, it is decent. The Pajero boast a 2.5 HPE diesel engine with intercooler good for a little over 150 hp. On the go, with the windows closed, vibrations are contained as is noise. This is a good thing, as outside it still sounds like a bus. At least in Brazil self-service gas stations are outlawed, so the owner will never get the stinky fuel on his hands or clothes. Torque is221 lb-ft  at a low 2000 rpm. Bellying that number and speaking from my experience, you need to rev the thing to get it moving. Most especially in this region of Brazil, Minas Gerais, which is a very mountainous state.

What is not decent is the placement of the gear levels. In my day with it I went to some places with a lot of hills to test the torque and drivability. As a result I spent a lot of time in second gear. Being this Pajero a 5-speed manual car, the position of second gear was simply unacceptable. Once engaged, it eats into my thigh, forcing me to dive with my legs straight ahead and not a little bit open like I usually do. I think this a result of a quickie changeover of the driver’s side, as in Japan they drive on the “wrong” side just like the British. Being that here we adopt the same positioning as most of the world, this would render the possibility of buying this car for myself non-existent.

Once on the move and up to speed it can go quite fast and will keep speed rather effortlessly. I was a bit hesitant to push it over 140 km/h though as at those speeds the car is weaving and bobbing. I slowed down for curves, quite a bit, making it necessary to step on it to make it recoup lost speed. Then, the engine does get intrusive. Spacious enough for a family of 4, the noise and spongy suspension do not make it my kind of car for a sortie to the beach.

This Pajero uses Mitsubishi’s Easy Select transfer case. This means you can go from 2 High to 4 High at speeds of up to 100 km/h. Engaging 4 Low does require almost a full stop. This is where Mitsubishi has built its reputation in Brazil. Off-roaders love them and deem it competent. For normal city use, this system requires compromises that most seem willing to make. Heavy, the 4 wheel drive system takes that much more out of the enjoyment of the car but within the limits of its BOF construction, again, decent.

Due to its slab sides and ample windows, sight lines are good. Again, a good thing, as this is a big car for the spaces available in Brazilian cities. The steering is light and numb, which is what most owners would like anyway. Under normal conditions the car doesn’t threaten to roll over off course, but it is not made for speed. It is much better handling than 90s era SUVs in this sense, but most drivers, as they are not going off-road anyway, would be better served by a crossover. A Dodge Journey/Fiat Freemont has this beast beat in the handling department as possibly has Mitsubishi’s own ASX.

When talking of these cars, people like me who don’t get them always ask: Why? So I asked the happy owner. I know he doesn’t have a farm and has never expressed an interest in off-roading. He said he couldn’t exactly pinpoint it, but it gave him a feeling of satisfaction. After many years of hard work, he got a car that told him he’d made it. Also, it was not a Mercedes so he didn’t feel too uneasy about potential violence or kidnapping. I get the sensation this a prime reason for this kind of car in Brazil. It’s big, it’s imposing, it’s “imported”, but it’s not a BMW. People will look, but won’t necessarily put you on their kidnap list.

For 70,000 thousand reais there are much better cars out there. Big cars, medium cars (talking real cars here), which will all give you more performance, a better ride and even possibly lower running costs as the high cost of insuring diesel trucks in Brazil all but guarantee the fuel savings will be annulled. In our world though none of them give you the presence of a big SUV or CUV and I can respect that. As I saw him pulling up and away from my garage, wheels squealing at the incline and sharp turn, I realized once again, it takes all kinds.

 

 

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MBUSA Looking South For New Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mbusa-looking-south-new-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mbusa-looking-south-new-home/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962394 With Cadillac getting its inner hipster on in SoHo, and Subaru trekking four miles west to conduct its American hustle in Camden, N.J., Mercedes-Benz USA is feeling the urge to heed the song of the South and go with the wind. Automotive News reports MBUSA is looking at relocating its 800 employees to either Georgia, […]

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With Cadillac getting its inner hipster on in SoHo, and Subaru trekking four miles west to conduct its American hustle in Camden, N.J., Mercedes-Benz USA is feeling the urge to heed the song of the South and go with the wind.

Automotive News reports MBUSA is looking at relocating its 800 employees to either Georgia, Florida or North Carolina, leaving Montvale, N.J. after 42 years. Representatives for the company wouldn’t confirm or deny the plans, believing it to be nothing more than rumor and speculation.

The company is currently looking over tax incentive packages, with New Jersey working on its own package in the hope of keeping MBUSA’s headquarters in Montvale. JLL Inc., the commercial real estate firm that is helping Toyota move its U.S. headquarters to Texas from California, is also lending assistance to the company.

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Detroit 2015: Honda FCV Concept Ready For North American Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962370 With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut […]

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With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut last month in Japan. The concept is meant to show the evolution of the automaker’s plans for a new FCV, first seen with the FCEV Concept that bowed during the 2013 LA Auto Show.

As for when the production version of Honda’s next hydrogen vehicle will enter showrooms, the FCV will arrive in Japan March 2016, then land in the United States later on.

Once across the Pacific, the FCV will have quite a few locations to refuel, thanks to a $13.8 million investment deal between Honda and FirstElement Fuel to build more hydrogen refueling stations in California.

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Peak MKC? Lincoln’s MKC Sales Growth Finally Suspended In November http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/peak-mkc-lincolns-mkc-sales-growth-finally-suspended-november/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/peak-mkc-lincolns-mkc-sales-growth-finally-suspended-november/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962090 After increasing sales of the brand’s new Escape-related small crossover in five consecutive months, Lincoln MKC volume levelled off in November 2014 at 2152 units. This represents a 2% drop from the total achieved by the MKC in its best month, October, when 2197 were sold. America’s new vehicle market was 2% larger in November […]

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Lincoln MKCAfter increasing sales of the brand’s new Escape-related small crossover in five consecutive months, Lincoln MKC volume levelled off in November 2014 at 2152 units. This represents a 2% drop from the total achieved by the MKC in its best month, October, when 2197 were sold. America’s new vehicle market was 2% larger in November than it was during the prior month.

Have we therefore reached the MKC’s maximum monthly volume? Dealers have plenty of copies to sell: there was a 116-day supply at the beginning of November. 2150 sales per month would put the MKC in the same territory as the much larger and more costly Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, ahead of the smaller BMW X1 and also-ex-PAG Volvo XC60, but well back of class leaders like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and BMW X3. This year, the latter four are generating 3610, 3443, 3013, and 2820 average monthly sales, respectively.

We don’t yet know how strong the full force of Lexus’s NX will be. The first 22 NXs were sold at the end of November. It’s also far too early to label the MKC as a hit or miss, regardless of what the mainstream media coverage of Matthew McConaughey advertisements said. (We fully expected to see more and more MKCs on the road as the launch took hold, and thus more Lincolns overall, regardless of whether it was marketed by McConaughey or Megan Mullally.) And if we were going to say the McConaughey ads worked, shouldn’t we now say they stopped working?

Of greater interest to the Ford Motor Company may be the MKC’s ability to generate a good deal extra volume even as the Ford Escape reports improved sales, as well. 2013 was a record sales year for the Escape, and after falling 3% through the first one-third of 2014, Escape sales have increased 7% over the last seven months, the time period in which the Lincoln MKC has been available.

Lincoln sales chartAs for the Lincoln brand itself, sales were up 21% to 8113 units in November 2014. Non-MKC volume was down 11%, however, as the Navigator’s 88% increase was more than offset by a 29% drop in car sales, the consistent decline of the MKT, and the gradual disappearance of the first-generation MKX, a vehicle which will soon be replaced.

Total Lincoln volume through the first eleven months of 2014 is up 15%, an 11,074-unit improvement. The MKC has added 10,767 of those extra sales. MKZ sales are up 6% to 31,373 units – the MKZ and MKS (down 26%) account for 46% of Lincoln’s year-to-date volume – and the MKX’s 4% improvement is accompanied by a 13% boost in Navigator volume.

Obviously the MKC is more than capable of bringing more buyers into Lincoln showrooms. Reigniting interesting in the brand’s other vehicles may be too great an ask. After recording year-over-year increases in 13 of the 14 months leading up to the MKC’s release, MKZ sales decreased in June, July, August, September, and October before falling to a 21-month low in November. Is the MKC stealing some sales from the Cadillac SRX? Perhaps. But it may be impacting the MKZ, as well, just as many a small crossover is disrupting many a midsize car.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Detroit 2015: New Lexus F Model Teased http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-new-lexus-f-model-teased/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-new-lexus-f-model-teased/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962338 More teasers from Toyota, this time from its luxury brand, Lexus, which is bringing over a new F model to the party at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The new vehicle, the second in the F high-performance series after the RC F, will roll into the spotlight January 13 at 8:40 a.m. Eastern. More details […]

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More teasers from Toyota, this time from its luxury brand, Lexus, which is bringing over a new F model to the party at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The new vehicle, the second in the F high-performance series after the RC F, will roll into the spotlight January 13 at 8:40 a.m. Eastern. More details will likely be revealed closer to showtime, as is sometimes the case with these teasers.

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Alfa Romeo Readies New Engines For 2015 Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-readies-new-engines-2015-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-readies-new-engines-2015-debut/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962314 Aside from rebuilding itself in North America, Alfa Romeo is set to introduce a new family of high-performance engines into the lineup, the first of which will come in the next six months. Automotive News Europe reports three of those engines — two gasoline, one diesel — will debut with the automaker’s new midsize sedan […]

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Aside from rebuilding itself in North America, Alfa Romeo is set to introduce a new family of high-performance engines into the lineup, the first of which will come in the next six months.

Automotive News Europe reports three of those engines — two gasoline, one diesel — will debut with the automaker’s new midsize sedan in June 2015, hitting showrooms sometime in 2016.

The main unit will be a direct-injection 2-liter turbo-four with MultiAir VVT on-board. That engine, dubbed the Global Medium Engine, is expected to produce 180-330 horsepower, with the power directed to the back or all four corners via a range of automatic and manual transmissions. A 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-pot will also be available, delivering 135 to 210 horses in the same manner.

The crown jewel, however, will be a 2.9-liter direct-injection twin-turbo V6 — remade from Ferrari’s 3-liter unit found in the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli — which will throw down up to 480 stallions for the trouble.

VM Motori has also been called upon, working with Alfa to develop a new version of the 3-liter V6 diesel found in a handful of Jeep and Maserati products. Two variants are expected, ranging from 275 horsepower — like the current mill — to 340 horsepower. The engines will be used in AWD applications, and will only be found under the hoods of a large sedan and midsize SUV down the road.

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Detroit 2015: Toyota Teases New Tacoma Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-toyota-teases-new-tacoma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-toyota-teases-new-tacoma/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962290 You saw part of its backside. Now, behold the façade that is the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Just like before, Toyota didn’t say anything about the third-gen pickup, other than when it would turn up at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show: January 12, 12:50 p.m. Eastern. As previously stated, the Tacoma is the king of the […]

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You saw part of its backside. Now, behold the façade that is the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

Just like before, Toyota didn’t say anything about the third-gen pickup, other than when it would turn up at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show: January 12, 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

As previously stated, the Tacoma is the king of the mid-size hill, but its third incarnation will be facing two new upstarts in addition to the aging Nissan Frontier: the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

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Chart Of The Day: ExxonMobil Predicts Long Reign For The Internal Combustion Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-exxonmobil-predicts-long-reign-internal-combustion-engine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-exxonmobil-predicts-long-reign-internal-combustion-engine/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:38:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962202 The next 25 years of automotive powertrain technology belongs to the internal combustion engine, according to oil & gas giant ExxonMobil. While many will dismiss this as the wishful thinking of an industrial dinosaur, it’s worth remembering that 25 years isn’t that long of a timeframe in the automotive world. As we speak, automakers are already […]

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The next 25 years of automotive powertrain technology belongs to the internal combustion engine, according to oil & gas giant ExxonMobil. While many will dismiss this as the wishful thinking of an industrial dinosaur, it’s worth remembering that 25 years isn’t that long of a timeframe in the automotive world.

As we speak, automakers are already planning for what products will be on the market within the next decade. As it stands now, they must meet increasingly stringent emissions targets in the United States and the European union by 2025, in the form of both CAFE and the next round of Euro regulations that call for a fleet average of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer (for comparison, a Toyota Prius emits about 100 grams per km).

One way of meeting this target is through the use of hybrid technology – a sector that ExxonMobil sees as making rapid, substantial gains over the years. At this point, every single OEM has some kind of hybrid technology that can be adapted to their volume models in a way that is efficient in terms of both packaging and cost. This is sure to be the case for plug-in hybrid technology as well.

The zero-emissions front is substantially more fraught. The battle between battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has barely begun, but supporters of the two camps are already locked into a Betamax vs. VHS style conflict. As it stands, there is minimal infrastructure for both systems, and a combination of low oil prices and consumer skepticism is likely to stall its growth for the foreseeable future. And while BEVs technically have a head start on hydrogen, their market share is, in real terms, negligible.

In 2013, BEVs had a market share of just 0.28 percent, or about 260,000 units. Even the relatively scarce plug-in hybrid segment managed to best pure electrics, with 0.31 percent of the new car market. Only in Norway, where BEVs receive heavy subsidies in the form of tax breaks, have electric cars made any real headway, and even then, they have barely cracked 6 percent.

While tales of daring and disruption and averting cataclysmic climate change make for great headlines, the reality is that technological progress, especially in the automotive sector, moves at a much more gradual pace – otherwise, we’d likely have seen a major breakthrough in EV battery technology by now, one that would allow for significant range and negligible refueling times. Utopian visions of a fleet of silent, zero-emissions vehicles are just that. Instead, we are likely to see a proliferation of hybrid technology throughout new model lineups – and much of this will likely be driven by regulatory inputs, as a means of helping vehicles meet government mandated fuel economy targets, even if consumers don’t necessarily care.

Advances in the internal combustion engine are also on the horizon. Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines, which allow for diesel-like combustion while running on gasoline, are expected to debut on Mazda cars by 2020. Mazda claims that they will provide a 30 percent fuel economy boost, while significantly lowering emissions. Between HCCI, increasingly cleaner diesel engines and incremental improvements to traditional engines, the ICE powertrains are likely to be ubiquitous due to their familiarity and what is sure to be a cost advantage. Barring any major, prolonged spike in energy prices or a wholesale shift in attitudes towards climate change and the environment, dollars and cents (not to mention sheer convenience) will remain the primary motivating factor in new car purchases. And that means that the internal combustion engine is well placed to continue its dominance through the next quarter century.

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Acura: Next NSX Debuting At Detroit – We Promise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/acura-next-nsx-debuting-detroit-promise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/acura-next-nsx-debuting-detroit-promise/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:02:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962154 Acura is apparently serious about the next NSX making its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. A series of teaser shots of their latest supercar have been released, and Acura appears to be upholding their longstanding tradition of making their “concepts” fairly faithful to the production […]

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Acura is apparently serious about the next NSX making its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

A series of teaser shots of their latest supercar have been released, and Acura appears to be upholding their longstanding tradition of making their “concepts” fairly faithful to the production model. On the other hand, any cues that pay homage to the design of the original car seem to be absent.

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NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags. The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags.

The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in addition to those already recalled.

The first act in bringing the named parties to trial will be a formal demand letter issued to all concerned. Upon refusal, the NHTSA will file a suit against each party in U.S. District Court, a process that could last for months, if not years.

The die was cast when Takata rebuffed the agency’s request earlier this month to expand its recall efforts beyond high-humidity locations in warm climates around the United States, including Florida and Hawaii.

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Piston Slap: A Fireball of a 3.8L Oil Leak? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-fireball-3-8l-oil-leak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-fireball-3-8l-oil-leak/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:34:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961145   Robert writes: I have changed the seal 2 times on my 3.8L Chevy and it still will leak. I had a place on harmonic balancer.I put the recommended slave to repair.It was not long enough to cover the bad spot on the balancer.It was close but they seal was damaged.They offer a different one […]

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(photo courtesy: underhoodservice.com)

Robert writes:

I have changed the seal 2 times on my 3.8L Chevy and it still will leak. I had a place on harmonic balancer.I put the recommended slave to repair.It was not long enough to cover the bad spot on the balancer.It was close but they seal was damaged.They offer a different one that is$30+.This all occurred just out of the blue.I rebuilt the engine and it has 30,000 on it.I was wondering if there is something causing pressure around this seal.Pressure check on cylinders was good.Any ideas what to do or pressure is good too good.

Thank you sincerely – Robert

Sajeev answers:

The problem seems common, a leak behind the harmonic balancer at the crankshaft’s front seal.  Or maybe I misread your letter, or googled incorrectly.

I also presume you installed this “sleeve” to repair it, but it didn’t work because it was too short. The correct one, or perhaps General Motors makes a revised seal/harmonic balancer that supersedes your part number should solve the problem.  But the real problem?

I can’t find a clear solution. This thread on 3800pro.com mentions blow by: excessive crankcase pressure that exacerbates an oil leak. You could bypass the PCV with a crankcase breather filter (if it won’t trigger a check engine light), then clean the motor and check for leaks…

…or install LS4-FTW the “different one that is $30+” as that might be the permanent solution.

Help us out, Best and Brightest.

 

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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The Ford Transit: America’s Best-Selling Commercial Van In November 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-transit-americas-best-selling-commercial-van-november-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-transit-americas-best-selling-commercial-van-november-2014/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961817 In November 2014, for the first time in its six-month North American existence, the full-size Ford Transit was America’s best-selling commercial van. A number of special circumstances made the Transit’s sudden rise to the top of the leaderboard possible, besides an increase in the number of available Transits and, yes, increased demand for the Transit […]

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2015 Ford TransitIn November 2014, for the first time in its six-month North American existence, the full-size Ford Transit was America’s best-selling commercial van.

A number of special circumstances made the Transit’s sudden rise to the top of the leaderboard possible, besides an increase in the number of available Transits and, yes, increased demand for the Transit itself.

First, sales of its predecessor, the traditional best-selling Ford E-Series, declined 59% from November 2013 to just 4151 units in November 2014. The E-Series’ decline was an anticipated one, but it had been averaging 7748 monthly sales over the Transit’s first five months.

Second, the Chevrolet Express slid 23% to just 4478 units. Had Express volume remained level – it’s up 3% year-to-date – at 5779 units, it would have clearly been the top seller for the fourth consecutive month. Sales of the Express’s twin, the GMC Savana, fell 53% to just 716 units.

Third, the attention typically generated by the Transit’s top-selling rivals was more divided than usual. Ram had its best ProMaster month in that van’s 14-month tenure with 3290 sales, 76% better than its previous best month. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter volume was up 26%.

U.S. commercial van sales chartFinally, the smaller quartet of vans, which for the first time included the Nissan NV200-based Chevrolet City Express, was up 36% to 5050 units, thereby grabbing 19.3% of the overall category, up from 14.9% a year ago.

Yet while the stars aligned for the Transit’s best-selling performance, we must expect that any Ford commercial van will become a dominant commercial van. Still, does the Transit have what it takes to pick up where the E-Series left off? The E-Series has been a massive seller for Ford in the United States, and even in this surprisingly fruitful month for the Transit, total full-size Ford commercial van sales slid 11%. Transit Connect included, Ford van sales were down 10%. The Transit has a long way to go if it’s to ever sell like the E-Series. The old van averaged 138,000 annual sales in the decade leading up to 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Chrysler Group Now FCA US LLC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chrysler-group-now-fca-us-llc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chrysler-group-now-fca-us-llc/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962041 Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Chrysler Group is dead; long live FCA US LLC. The subsidiary made the name change official today, following the naming convention established by its parent company. Fiat, too, has cast its old corporate identity to the wind of change, now going by the name FCA Italy SpA. Other entities under the FCA […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Chrysler Group is dead; long live FCA US LLC.

The subsidiary made the name change official today, following the naming convention established by its parent company. Fiat, too, has cast its old corporate identity to the wind of change, now going by the name FCA Italy SpA. Other entities under the FCA Group umbrella will follow in due time.

The changes won’t filter down into individual brands or marketing, so the B&B will still be able to buy a Fiat 500 or Chrysler Town & Country without seeing an FCA badge.

The move marks the first time in the U.S. subsidiary’s history without the Chrysler name, first given by its founder, Walter P. Chrysler, in 1925.

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Environmentalists Says Euro MPG & Emissions Testing Allows Gaming By Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/environmentalists-says-euro-mpg-emissions-testing-allows-gaming-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/environmentalists-says-euro-mpg-emissions-testing-allows-gaming-automakers/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=960785 The prevailing narrative seems to be that the United States lags behind Europe in addressing issues like fuel economy and emissions. U.S. regulatory standards are seen as not as rigorous as those used in the European Union. Cars sold in the European market get better gas/diesel mileage and put out less supposedly harmful carbon dioxide […]

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The prevailing narrative seems to be that the United States lags behind Europe in addressing issues like fuel economy and emissions. U.S. regulatory standards are seen as not as rigorous as those used in the European Union. Cars sold in the European market get better gas/diesel mileage and put out less supposedly harmful carbon dioxide and other products of combustion. Now, the Economist is reporting that an environmental group is claiming that the Euro standards are a bit of a sham because the system in Europe allows automakers to game the testing procedures, resulting in poorer real-world performance than that indicated by testing.

Based on data compiled by the International Council on Clean Transportation, the special interest group Transport & Environment says that in 2013, actual fuel economy in Europe was, on average, 38% worse than advertised test results. Transport & Environment blamed out of date procedures and a system that permits some fudging. Prototypes, not production vehicles, are tested and they can be tested without standard equipment like infotainment systems to save weight. External mirrors, which contribute aero drag are also sometimes deleted in the test vehicles. Regular oil is replaced by advanced lubricants. Panel gaps are taped to improved aerodynamics and wheels are shod with low resistance tires filled with gases that supposedly perform better than regular compressed atmospheric air.

Transport & Environment also claims that the Euro test cycle favors gentle acceleration and relatively low speeds and testing is permitted at fairly high temperatures, 29 C / 84 F. Combustion engines are said to be more efficient at higher temps and it definitely helps with emissions. Engine control units supposedly can switch to special modes that produce better fuel economy and reduced pollution.

In the U.S., automakers do their own testing but the Environmental Protection Agency does its own testing to check the results that the automakers provide. Ford and Hyundai have both run afoul of U.S. regulators for overstating fuel economy claims. In Europe, testing is supervised by regulators in each country but the tests themselves are performed by firms under contract to the automakers. Those firms have to compete for business and tell potential customers how they can optimize conditions. One Spanish testing facility is favored because it’s specially smoothed paving can improve fuel economy by as much as 3%. Another selling point for that track is that is at high altitude where the thinner air creates less aero drag.

The tests are overseen by national regulators, but carmakers pay specialist firms to carry them out. These companies compete for business by promising to “optimise” conditions. One popular test track in Spain is at high altitude (the thinner air reduces aerodynamic drag) and has a surface so smooth that it alone improves efficiency by three percentage points.

The European Union is implementing some very strict carbon emissions targets but most automakers say they’ve met those targets well in advance of the deadlines. Transport & Environment claims that is at least partly a sham, that much of the progress reported comes from statistical manipulation, not improved technology.

The European Commission says that new procedures it wants to implement by 2017 will more closely model real world driving behavior, though the German and French auto industries are lobbying their national governments to stall those revised tests.

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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Detroit 2015: New Cadillac CTS-V Debuting January 13 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-new-cadillac-cts-v-debuting-january-13/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-new-cadillac-cts-v-debuting-january-13/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962009 It’s been a long time coming: Cadillac’s third-gen CTS-V will hit the ramp at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Autoblog reports the high-performance premium sedan will bow January 13, though little else was mentioned at this time. The previous CTS-V threw down against the likes of the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63, thanks to a […]

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2009 Cadillac CTS-V

It’s been a long time coming: Cadillac’s third-gen CTS-V will hit the ramp at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Autoblog reports the high-performance premium sedan will bow January 13, though little else was mentioned at this time.

The previous CTS-V threw down against the likes of the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63, thanks to a detuned 6.2-liter V8 lifted from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The publication speculates Cadillac could use that play again, with the assist coming from the 650-horsepower supercharged V8 under the hood of the Corvette Stingray Z06.

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Seven Finalists Announced For Europe’s 2015 Car of the Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/seven-finalists-announced-europes-2015-car-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/seven-finalists-announced-europes-2015-car-year/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961993 After months of deliberation, Europe’s Car of the Year panel has narrowed down the field of 31 to seven finalists. Autoblog reports the panel has chosen the following nominees for the 2015 Car of the Year: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Citroën C4 Cactus Ford Mondeo Mercedes-Benz C-Class Nissan Qashqai Renault Twingo Volkswagen Passat The […]

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After months of deliberation, Europe’s Car of the Year panel has narrowed down the field of 31 to seven finalists.

Autoblog reports the panel has chosen the following nominees for the 2015 Car of the Year:

  • BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
  • Citroën C4 Cactus
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Renault Twingo
  • Volkswagen Passat

The winner will be announced during the 2015 Geneva Auto Show this coming March. Previous winners include the Peugeot 308, Volkswagen Golf and Opel Ampera, with the first title awarded 50 years ago to the 1964 Rover 2000.

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Study: Only Five Countries Sold Over 10K PEVs In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961801 Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work. According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the […]

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Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work.

According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the report costs $7,000 for a site license, so AutoblogGreen relied on sales blog EV Sales for its information regarding those countries.

The one useful (free) information from the press release focuses on geographic distribution of overall PEV sales. For example, 50 percent of the 100,000-plus plug-ins sold through November in the United States are in California. Meanwhile, Norway adopts technology left and right, while Sweden is still trying to figure out how to flat-pack a PEV for sale at IKEA, with an appropriate all-caps Viking name to match.

As for when things may improve, The Research Capsule forecasts it would take 10 years or more for PEVs to go mainstream, and that only one country “will break 10 percent of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.” The forecast is an extrapolation of one made by the group regarding sales through 2017.

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Tesla’s Tanking U.S. Sales And The World Of Automakers Falsifying Sales Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teslas-tanking-u-s-sales-world-automakers-falsifying-sales-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teslas-tanking-u-s-sales-world-automakers-falsifying-sales-numbers/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958665 The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start […]

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Teslas in a row Courtesy ibtimes.com

Tesla’s first fleet deal? Around 100 Model S’s were sold to a Las Vegas startup taxi service.

The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start reporting sales consistently. They based their story on a report by Seeking Alpha that deduced that Tesla may have as many as 12,000 unsold Model S’s, based on registration figures and the automaker’s quarterly financial reports.

We say congratulations, Elon Musk, you truly are the head of an American car company now, as reporting bogus sales numbers to the press is a normal part of an automaker’s modus operandi. Auto manufacturers claiming they sold more cars than they actually did is nothing new.  Sales numbers in the US are based on those deliveries reported by dealers, not when the automakers wholesale the vehicles to the retailers as some believe. Carmaker execs at times may be motivated to look good to their bosses or shareholders or to outsell a rival. They will then pressure, coerce and bribe dealers with one-time cash incentives to have them report bogus sales at month or year-end, often to the dealer themselves as loaner or demonstrator cars.  The vehicles are never driven and then sold as new, ideally as quickly as possible as their warranty clocks are ticking. Dealers who do not comply are thus put in an unfavorable price disadvantage with competing same-brand stores.

The Japanese automakers pioneered this practice during the high-demand, low supply days. At American Honda from the 1970s to the early 1990s, dealers reported every unsold car as sold at the end of each month or they risked losing precious future allocations. Those were the days when every Honda dealership employee “bought” a dozen cars a year and then the dealer would turn to the white pages of the phone book to find more “buyers.” It is not an urban car legend that a California Honda dealer once sold Accords to customers named “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck.”

In December 2012 BMW North America, in their zeal to beat Mercedes-Benz in the US, reported 37,399 vehicles sold, an amazing 69% higher than their 2012 average monthly sales rate, thus claiming the US luxury brand crown. That December the industry rose 21% over the 2012 average due to it being the heaviest incentive month of the year and this no doubt contributed to the rise in Bimmer sales. However, BMW dealers that I spoke with in January 2013 complained that half of their inventory had been reported as sold in December.  BMW got tons of pub for beating Benz but few noticed that when actual registration numbers came out a few months later it was revealed that Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW for 2012. Incredibly, in one of the few occasions where the media sniffed out this practice, the Wall Street Journal had reported about BMW’s shady sales numbers just months before.

It was one thing to report cars sold as loaners or demonstrators under the direction  of the factory; it is another to do report ghost sales when your dealership needs the incentive cash to stay afloat. We covered the story of a South Carolina Suzuki dealer who was convicted of fraud earlier this year for doing just that. It probably did not help his case that he was also convicted of a cornucopia of illegal advertising and finance practices.

As far as Tesla sales this year, here are the facts as near as we can determine: Automotive News has estimated Tesla’s reported sales in the US through October were 19,530 units. Actual registration numbers for the same period were 11,731 cars, a full 40% below the sales figures.  Further, these registration figures show Tesla off 22% from the same period in 2013.  Other sources have pegged the drop off at 26% this year.  This may explain why Tesla may be dabbling in the fleet market for the first time, as pictured above.

Elon Musk responded to these reports by saying they are selling every car they build and his team issued a response saying that don’t report monthly sales because, “the media tends to read all sorts of nonsense into deliveries.” They also pointed out that a car could be sold one month and not registered until the next. Why, yes, just like every other automaker.

 

Elon Musk Courtesy static1.businessinsider.com

If GM or Ford stopped reporting monthly sales and started spewing such drivel, the press would vilify them but the rules are different for Musk.  If he told the media that Tesla sold 200,000 cars one month, outsold all the other luxury carmakers combined and that he personally just got back from Mars, the slobbering press would not question him and resultant news stories would send Tesla stock into orbit.

Don’t get us wrong. We think that a new auto company selling 15,000 high dollar electric cars annually in the US through a unique, direct sales channel is an incredible accomplishment.

The Tesla Model S is one of the most innovative cars available today and Musk is one of this century’s greatest entrepreneurs, not to mention an amazing PR man. Who cares if can’t tell us the truth about how many cars his company sells?

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Two-Tier Wage System Targeted For 2015 UAW Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961777 2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007. The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing […]

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Dennis Williams

2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007.

The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing but “cause a divide” up and down the roll “on both sides of the aisle,” per Local 2209 president Brian Hartman.

There may be trouble within, however, as Tier 2 employees receive bonuses and profit-sharing checks in lieu of being on parity with Tier 1 workers. The former may not be so willing to see lowered or disappeared bonuses just to level up to those making more, while the latter would like to not only see the system die, but to gain a raise in pay — including the restoration of holiday and cost-of-living adjustment payments — in so doing.

Other issues on the table for 2015 include securing overtime pay after eight hours per day — instead of overtime after 40 hours per week — ensuring all employees receive a defined pension scheme, and hiring temporary employees for permanent positions after 90 days.

The environment for the negotiations will be different compared to those held since 2007: UAW workers at General Motors and Chrysler Group will be able to strike for the first time since 2011, while non-union employees now have the right to remain as such via Michigan’s right-to-work law. UAW president Dennis Williams hasn’t focused too much on the right-to-work situation, believing that if one does their job in representing those under their care, the people would give their undying support to the leadership.

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Honda Civic Sales Are Steadily Declining; Corolla’s Rising http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/honda-civic-sales-steadily-declining-corollas-rising/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/honda-civic-sales-steadily-declining-corollas-rising/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:42:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961385 American Honda’s Civic posted decreased sales volume in each of the last five months. After claiming the title of America’s best-selling small car in two consecutive years, it’s highly unlikely that the Civic will be able to catch the Toyota Corolla with just one month of sales reporting remaining in calendar year 2014. U.S. Civic […]

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2015 Honda Civic American Honda’s Civic posted decreased sales volume in each of the last five months. After claiming the title of America’s best-selling small car in two consecutive years, it’s highly unlikely that the Civic will be able to catch the Toyota Corolla with just one month of sales reporting remaining in calendar year 2014.

U.S. Civic sales through the first six months of 2014 increased 5% compared with the same period one year earlier. While the Civic trailed the Corolla at the halfway point in 2014, that second-place status was actually in keeping with the results from 2013, a year in which Honda’s compact sedan and coupe ended 34,000 sales ahead of the venerable Toyota compact. (Note: Corolla sales reported by Toyota USA always include the Matrix.)

But from July 2014 onward, the Civic did not prove capable of matching 2013’s impressive second-half sales rate, a period which saw Honda generate 53% of its 2013 Civic volume, sufficient for Honda to post the highest level of Civic sales since 2008.

July volume in 2014 slid 7% before August’s 14% plunge, September’s 3% dip, and 12% declines in both October and November. In the July-November period of 2013, Honda sold 148,476 Civics in the United States, but that figure dropped by nearly 15,000 units to 133,547 in 2014.

We can’t deny the impact of outside forces. The traditional top-selling car in America, the Corolla, was redesigned more recently than the Civic. (Corolla volume has increased in seven of the last eight months.) Manufacturers are always working to strike the right balance between chasing volume (with incentives, for example) and protecting long-term profits (by linking OTD prices more closely with MSRPs.) Honda is also well-known for generating the lion’s share of its volume from retail customers.

Honda Civic sales chartYet any dismay over the Civic’s recent decline can cause us to forget the fact that it’s still a wildly popular car, just not as popular as it was a year ago. Through the end of November, Honda topped the 300,000-unit barrier for the third consecutive year and for the seventh time in the last decade. It’s America’s second-best-selling small car by a wide margin, leading the Chevrolet Cruze by more than 45,000 units.

Meanwhile, north of the border, the Civic has secured a 17th consecutive victory as Canada’s best-selling car overall and will report in 2014 the nameplate’s best year since 2008. Back in the U.S., Honda’s good news is plentiful, though it’s not necessarily Civic-related. The CR-V outsold all utility vehicles and all cars in November 2014. The Accord, up 7% through the first eleven months of 2014, was America’s best-selling car in August and September.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Jaguar Land Rover Enhances Driving With Ghost Cars, Pillars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/jaguar-land-rover-enhances-driving-ghost-cars-pillars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/jaguar-land-rover-enhances-driving-ghost-cars-pillars/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961753 Worried about checking those corners with those thick pillars in the way? Always wanted to bring the Forza experience into the real world? Jaguar Land Rover’s got you covered. Regarding the pillars, JLR unveiled its 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen, which combines a high-end HUD with cameras embedded in the surface of a given vehicle’s A-, […]

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Worried about checking those corners with those thick pillars in the way? Always wanted to bring the Forza experience into the real world? Jaguar Land Rover’s got you covered.

Regarding the pillars, JLR unveiled its 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen, which combines a high-end HUD with cameras embedded in the surface of a given vehicle’s A-, B- and C-pillars to help the driver see potential problems that would otherwise be obscured by said vehicle’s blind spots.

How? Upon checking the corners to change direction, a given pillar would go transparent, showing the pillar’s live video feed of what might be hiding. The same effect occurs upon approach toward an intersection, when the system automatically makes either right- or left-side pillars transparent.

The virtual windscreen can also pull information from the cloud — gas prices, restaurant locations, parking spots — helping to keep the driver’s eyes where they’re needed the most: on the road. This is further enhanced with the addition of JLR’s Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation, which places a ghost car in front of the driver to aid in arriving at a destination with help from the cloud.

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