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. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:38:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ All The Minis Are Down Except The One That Counts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/minis-except-one-counts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/minis-except-one-counts/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:38:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950297 They’ve been certified, although not with the fuel economy figures we first heard. They’re available, although many Mini buyers will want their cars individually tailored. And as a result, U.S. sales of Mini’s core model – the one they call the Hardtop – jumped 64% in October 2014. All other Mini variants posted fewer sales […]

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2015 Mini Cooper SThey’ve been certified, although not with the fuel economy figures we first heard. They’re available, although many Mini buyers will want their cars individually tailored. And as a result, U.S. sales of Mini’s core model – the one they call the Hardtop – jumped 64% in October 2014.

All other Mini variants posted fewer sales in October 2014 than in October 2013. In some cases, the declines represented significant losses.

As the current Clubman is phased out, sales of the elongated Mini slid 98% to just 15, a loss of 932 units. Convertible sales slid 20%; Roadster volume was chopped in half, year-over-year. The Coupe, always rare and expected to soon die along with the Roadster, was down 74% to just 24 units. Paceman volume slid 42%. The Countryman, the best-selling Mini bodystyle over the first ten months of 2014 with a 7% increase in year-to-date sales, was down 9%.

As a result, the massive 1068-unit increase from Mini’s best-selling model was overshadowed by declines from the brand’s six other cars, resulting in a 7% loss for the brand in October 2014. Through the first ten months of 2014, Mini USA volume is down 20%. After generating 19% of BMW of North America’s volume at this point in 2013, Mini has produced just 14% of the company’s sales in 2014.

mini usa sales chartYet the bright spot couldn’t be brighter. This is not an obscure improvement from one of the brand’s mostly ignored cars. The Hardtop, Mini’s most traditional three-door hatchback, in Cooper and Cooper S form, is Mini. It is likely the brand’s least opinion-dividing car. It’s also their most affordable model.

This car was sorely needed in Mini showrooms. Total non-Countryman/Paceman sales were down 7% in 2013 as the Hardtop variant fell 8%. Cooper Hardtop sales had decreased on a year-over-year basis in 18 of 20 months leading up to October. Through the first three-quarters of 2014, Hardtop volume was down 36%, a loss of 7501 units.

We may not see huge 64% improvements added to the Mini Cooper Hardtop’s sales each month in the near future, and whatever gains it does achieve may be offset by continued losses of other models, and then buoyed again by the arrival of a five-door. But as a sign that Mini’s still kickin’, October’s total for the brand’s most popular model was an especially strong one.

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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NHTSA Orders Takata To Recall Airbags By December 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951985 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002. Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November […]

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2000 Acura TL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002.

Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November 2001 report from a dealer who witnessed an “improper deployment” of a Takata airbag in an Accord. The incident prompted both the automaker and the supplier to investigate, leading to the recall months later.

The recall, which focused on passenger airbags deploying due to improper welds, could further plunge Honda into hot water with federal regulators, especially since Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek testified before Congress that the first time his employer had known of an airbag failure was in 2004. The NHTSA is “actively investigating” the automaker presently, using information going back to 1998 in so doing.

The agency also formally issued an order to Takata to declare a nationwide recall by December 2 of the driver-side airbags at-fault for a number of injuries and fatalities due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Per Bloomberg, should the supplier fail to meet the deadline, the NHTSA will force the recall, and fine the company $7,000 for every violation found. Takata representative Toyohiro Hishikawa said the company’s execs were discussing how best to respond to the letter.

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2015 Chevrolet SS Now Available With Six-Speed Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-chevrolet-ss-now-available-six-speed-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-chevrolet-ss-now-available-six-speed-manual/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951913 Wanted a Chevrolet SS, but wanted to row your own? Your ship has arrived. AutoGuide reports the 2015 SS can be had with either a six-speed auto or, new for this year, a six-speed manual. Either option won’t add onto the $46,740 base price, with the only costly options being the $900 sunroof and the […]

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2014-Chevy-SS-00181

Wanted a Chevrolet SS, but wanted to row your own? Your ship has arrived.

AutoGuide reports the 2015 SS can be had with either a six-speed auto or, new for this year, a six-speed manual. Either option won’t add onto the $46,740 base price, with the only costly options being the $900 sunroof and the $500 full-size spare. Leather seating and Chevrolet’s MyLink system are standard.

Out back, the manual comes with a 3.70 gear ratio, more aggressive than the 3.27 paired with the auto. Power to the back comes from a 6.2-liter V8 delivering the same figure for horsepower and torque: 415.

Annual production is limited to 2,500, a run that will likely cease when Holden closes its last Australian factory in 2017.

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Alfa Romeo Sedan Entering Showrooms Next June http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/alfa-romeo-sedan-entering-showrooms-next-june/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/alfa-romeo-sedan-entering-showrooms-next-june/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951881 Right now, the only Alfa Romeo anyone in the United States can buy is the 4C, a model one of our B&B recently talked about in their ownership AMA. By next June, though, a sedan could be on the showroom floor, as well. Automotive News Europe reports the sedan — codenamed 952 — will be […]

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alfa-romeo-159-3.2-7

Right now, the only Alfa Romeo anyone in the United States can buy is the 4C, a model one of our B&B recently talked about in their ownership AMA. By next June, though, a sedan could be on the showroom floor, as well.

Automotive News Europe reports the sedan — codenamed 952 — will be the successor to the 159, and will be positioned between the BMW 3 and 5 series. As for the name, it was to have been dubbed the Giulia when it was expected to go on sale this year, but will have a new name instead.

The new sedan is part of eight models set to help build up Alfa Romeo’s portfolio by 2018, leading field that will include a midsize SUV and a large flagship sedan. The portfolio expansion is part of an overall plan to boost the brand’s sales, with a goal of 400,000 sold annually by 2018, and a jump from nil to 150,000/year in the North American market in the same period.

As for the 4C, the first few U.S.-bound models will sell for $70,000 once they leave the container dock, while the $55,000 base model will follow later. Those cars will head for 84 Fiat and Maserati dealers in the U.S. and Canada, a number that will expand to 200 by the end of 2015.

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GM Recalls 988 Dealerships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-recall-988-dealerships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-recall-988-dealerships/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:44:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947185 In an unprecedented move that has sent chills down the white-belted spines of American car dealers, General Motors has declared nearly 1,000 of its 4,355 US retailers as “unfit and downright dangerous” to its customers and will be recalled immediately. GM Vice-President of Franchise Dealer Relations Bentley Reuss said in a news conference in Detroit […]

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Closed Chevy Store Courtesy rekarchitects.con

In an unprecedented move that has sent chills down the white-belted spines of American car dealers, General Motors has declared nearly 1,000 of its 4,355 US retailers as “unfit and downright dangerous” to its customers and will be recalled immediately.

GM Vice-President of Franchise Dealer Relations Bentley Reuss said in a news conference in Detroit today that the manufacturer was, “equally concerned about our customers’ emotional and mental well-being as we were with their physical health when we did the ignition recall. When GM dealers berate car buyers, throw the keys to the their trades on the roof and fail to disclose products like Lifetime Tire Nitrogen on their contracts, it hurts our mutual clients.”

Reuss noted that an independent survey of recent buyers of GM products identified 988 dealers who handled the sales process poorly. Reuss was quick to point out this was not a termination of the affected retailers’ dealer agreements as that would be prohibited by state auto dealers franchise laws. “We had a ton of our recall lawyers about to bolt to Takata,” said Reuss. “We put them to work reviewing the state laws and they found there was nothing prohibiting a manufacturer from recalling a dealer when customer’s mental health was put in danger by a dealer.”

When asked about why this groundbreaking action was taken, in spite of the company’s excellent showing in the recent J. D. Power Sales Satisfaction survey, Reuss laughed and said, “You mean J.D. Monopoly? We and our dealers control that survey 100%. Let’s just say that it is amazing what free oil changes can do. We did our own independent survey which yielded accurate results.”

Reuss admitted that the dealer abuse of car buyers had been going on “for some time” but that GM senior management was never told about it until earlier this year and that the person in charge of customer satisfaction initiatives has been fired.

Empty-Car-Lot-Courtesy aldersonarts.com

Reaction from the recalled dealers was predictable. Said David White, owner of Brandywine Chevrolet in suburban Philadelphia, “Its ironic that when business is bad, GM wants you to move the iron at any cost, customer satisfaction be damned.  We’ve sold a ton of cars for Chevy and this is the thanks we get. The funny thing is that our local GM factory guy was in my office when the announcement came out and he was not told about it. It didn’t stop him from trying to sell us some of those crappy Volts, though.”

Recalled dealers’ inventory will be shipped to the nearest same-franchise dealership, with the exception of the Corvette which will be redistributed at “the local Zone Manager’s discretion,” said Reuss.

Reuss noted that their review also uncovered 28 Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Saab stores still in operation despite the elimination of those franchises in the late 2000’s. Those retailers will be terminated rather than recalled. “Those dealerships were actually showing great customer satisfaction numbers so we are sad to see them go. Again,” said Reuss.

Tesla stock rose on the GM recall news, though founder Elon Musk said, “There goes our plans to partner with Cadillac next year to sell our cars.”

If you couldn’t already tell, this is a satirical article. -Ed.

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Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-last-manual-acuras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-last-manual-acuras/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:49:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951625 As part of Acura’s plans to “rationalize” (as the b-school buzzword goes) the ILX’s powertrains, the 6-speed stick shift is dead, replaced by an all-new 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. It also marks the end of an era for the brand. Acura has slowly killed off the manual in successive product lines. The now-dead TL and […]

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2016 Acura ILX

As part of Acura’s plans to “rationalize” (as the b-school buzzword goes) the ILX’s powertrains, the 6-speed stick shift is dead, replaced by an all-new 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. It also marks the end of an era for the brand.

Acura has slowly killed off the manual in successive product lines. The now-dead TL and TSX were notable for offering manual gearboxes that represented the best of what Honda had to offer: crisp-shifting stick shifts that were the benchmark for modern day manuals. They were easily as good as any Miata gearbox, and it’s still hard to believe that such amazing manual transmissions were created for a front-drive transverse application. In my mind, they’ve never been equaled.

I wish I could say it was a surprising development, but this is how things are shaking out. Lexus is devoid of manuals, and the only Infiniti with three-pedals is the Q60 Coupe – a model set to be replaced next year. There’s a very good chance it will return sans a stick shift. If you want one of Honda’s world famous manuals, you still have some options: the Fit, Civic and Accord can be had that way. There will even be an HR-V that lets you row your own. But we’re all acutely aware that it’s not the same thing.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Shattered Glass And Small Pickups http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dispatches-brasil-shattered-glass-small-pickups/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dispatches-brasil-shattered-glass-small-pickups/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:31:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951553 Youthful exuberance or nihilism? Urban despair or boredom? Lack of repression and punishment or the inevitable result of the marked differences in income and social-economic status in Brazil? All these questions sprang into my mind as I walked back to the car and saw it there, its back hatch window violated by a brick. A […]

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20141125_124218

Youthful exuberance or nihilism? Urban despair or boredom? Lack of repression and punishment or the inevitable result of the marked differences in income and social-economic status in Brazil? All these questions sprang into my mind as I walked back to the car and saw it there, its back hatch window violated by a brick.

A quick stop at the supermarket became a full-blown shopping excursion, so instead of the 10 minute affair, it takes longer, much longer. As luck would have it, the parking lot was full, so I parked on a side street off to the side of the place. A mere hour later I return and the Sandero is there, looking forlorn, the back window smashed. Looking around I see everyone going about their business and avoiding eye contact, so no witness I guess. I quickly survey the damage, put the purchases on top of the many millions of glass shreds on the back seat, open the hatch and all the books, sweater and umbrella I had there are still there. I take off my shirt to brush aside as best I can the glass on the driver’s seat and, as there is nothing I can do, I get in and decide to head back home. Before going off in that direction, I feel the need to drive around the block once to see if I could make out anything or anyone suspicious. Glad I did because as now I think I can understand what happened.

Back a ways from where I had parked the car, there is a house undergoing some construction. The work nearly done, the workers put excess bricks out on the sidewalk and somebody would surely come collect them up later. Some simpleton must have walked by, seen the bricks, picked one up on a whim and decided to smash my car window in, for “fun” I guess. Being that the incident happened in the middle of the morning with plenty of people around, it seems to me the most plausible explanation. I decide to put it down to youthful exuberance or nihilism…

Living in Brazil, being 43 years of age, and driving (officially) since the age of 20, besides owning a car since 18, I am not unduly bothered by this. Sure it sucks, but I had never before been the victim of any sort of violence. I have never been mugged, my car has never been broken into, nor any of the houses I’ve lived in. To be honest, not many of my friends have suffered this kind of thing either. It could be that Belo Horizonte is still a nicer, calmer sort of place than Rio or São Paulo. Or it could just be that there is a huge personal security business feeding and feeding off of a sort of generalized fear, creating something bigger out of something that exists, but that they only stand to benefit from, blowing it out of proportion.

What I am bothered by though is my insurance company’s handling of the matter. Smashed windows are covered, but it will take a week for it to be fixed. It takes them that much time for them to set me up on a date with a company specialized in changing car windows, or one day more for a technician to pay me a house call and change the window on my premises. What is a day more, I think, so I set the house visit. In traditional Brazilian business practice, the visit would happen at any time during commercial hours (from 8am to 6pm), so I guess I’m stuck home for the day.

The technician arrives around 10 and I immediately notice his car. A mini-truck, it is the famous Chevrolet Montana, exported to Mexico and similar to the often discussed on TTAC Fiat Strada and Volkswagen Saveiro. Due to clever packaging and some well-designed accessories, the Montana is very well equipped for this business. As examples, the man’s tools are all contained in a tray he can easily pull from under the window’s support mechanism, which in its turn can carry around 10 window panes I believe. Capable of hauling around 600 or so kilos and served with a 106hp, 1.4 engine, the trucklet is capable of serving this and other business applications more than adequately.

As the man worked, I took pictures of his car. Surprisingly to me, this one was equipped with air conditioning. I am very happy to see this as I realize Brazilian businesses are finally giving their employees a degree of necessary respect. As a car guy, I naturally ask him how old the car is and he tells me it is two years old.  He has driven almost 150,000 kilometers in it over the period serving Belo Horizonte and other cities in a 250 kilometer radius. To my eyes the interior looks sharp after all this while, with the same gimmicky flat-bottomed steering wheel sold to private buyers. The fabrics have held up well too, though I do notice the driver’s seat is covered. Simple stuff, but made to last.

The worker tells me the car has not skipped a beat in this time and mileage. The company is fastidious about maintenance and believes the preventive sort is the way to go. As such, it has gone in for a dealer pit-stop every 10 thousand kilometers as GM recommends. Using Brazilian ethanol-laced gasoline (to the tune of 30% sugarcane content), the car returns a steady 8 to 10 km/l in the city and about 15 on the road (the car has a system to monitor the driver, so that figure seems good to me). This small GM power unit is quite square, meaning it doesn’t like to rev, but has ample low end torque and will provide adequate economy if driven conservatively.

I ask him how long they keep the cars and he tells me the Montana will be gone by year-end. The company will then buy a new batch and it could be any of the small trucks available in the Brazilian market, Strada, Saveiro or a Chevy again. I ask him his preference, he smiles coyly and says he’d pick the Saveiro. I inquire as to why and he says that truck is a much better looker and that guys and gals talk to him about it though for different reasons…

After about half an hour his work is done and he goes off to change another couple of windows. As I see the little Montana speeding away, I can’t help but ponder on my friends at TTAC, most especially my American ones. How would their experience compare? I decide that if such a service exists there, the technician would have showed up in some sort of V8 Ecoline van, or F250. That thought conjures up right away the word “why”. The Montana availed itself of the job at hand nicely, doing it so economically, capably and reliability.

I can’t help but to think on the American lifestyle and its consequences. Everything seems so big and can be done and had so cheaply. However, it does seem that my amigos americanos are enamored of bringing a machine gun to what essentially amounts to a knife fight (most small business applications like home repairs and maintenance and such). Or, alternatively, it could just be that the rest of the world is just too poor and unable to enjoy the finer things in life.

Unlike my smashed window and the brick laying the car, I have no answer for that question, nothing to plausibly base an opinion on. As such we use the instruments at hand, and here in Brazil and elsewhere, U.S. included, I foresee a long future for the car-based mini-truck. Somehow I suspect though the future for full size pickups, even if all-aluminum, especially for use in mundane tasks, may probably not be so bright.

 

 

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Coast to Coast 2014: Las Vegas, Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/coast-coast-2014-las-vegas-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/coast-coast-2014-las-vegas-nevada/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:18:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951513 Tonka-tuned Ford F-150. How perfectly Vegas. * You can see all the USA Coast to Coast Reports here! * We are now leaving in our path beautiful Monument Valley to drive through Arizona and arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada. A very different official Top 5 best-selling models than the entirety of the dozen states we have just crossed, some […]

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Ford F-150 Tonka Las VegasTonka-tuned Ford F-150. How perfectly Vegas.

You can see all the USA Coast to Coast Reports here! *

We are now leaving in our path beautiful Monument Valley to drive through Arizona and arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada. A very different official Top 5 best-selling models than the entirety of the dozen states we have just crossed, some crazy Vegas vehicles, the traditional car landscape analysis and all the things you didn’t think you needed to know about the state of Nevada are below.

Nissan Versa Albert Las VegasNissan Versa with Albert and um.. Las Vegas in the background 

Although Nevada is mostly desert and happens to be the driest state in the entire United States, its name comes from the Spanish nevada, meaning “snow-covered”, after the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range now almost completely located in California. Confused? I was too. Daytime summer temperatures rise as high as 125 °F (52 °C) compared to nighttime winters getting as cold as −50 °F (−46 °C). Surely one of the widest temperature differences in the whole country. The land corresponding to present day Nevada used to be part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, becoming Mexico in 1821, then gained by the United States in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. Nevada became the 36th state in 1864, as the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War- the first being West Virginia).

Chevrolet C3500 Las VegasChevrolet C3500 in Las Vegas NV

Population-wise, talking about Nevada roughly equates talking about Las Vegas, as over two thirds of the 2.8m strong population of the state lives in the Clark County – Las Vegas metropolitan area. This also means around 75% of all cars roaming the state do so in or around Las Vegas, having a big impact on which nameplates are the most popular here as we’ll see shortly.  With a population of just 40,000 in 1900, Nevada was then and by far the least populated state in the country, however establishment of legalised gambling and lenient marriage and divorce laws transformed the state into a major tourist destination, with the myriad of jobs associated with it. Also, Nevada is the only state where prostitution is legal, though it is illegal in Clark County and Washoe County which contain Las Vegas and Reno, respectively.

Albert Nissan Versa Note Las VegasAlbert smartly posing next to an Albertsons sign and Nissan Versa Note near Henderson NV (one of the fastest growing cities in the USA)

From the end of World War II onwards all the way up to 2003, Nevada’s population was the fastest-growing in the US percentage-wise. For example, between 1990 and 2000, Nevada’s population increased 66%, while the USA’s population as a whole increased by just 13%. This population increase owes a lot to immigration rather than natural growth, and today, the majority of the population in Las Vegas and Reno (the two main metropolitan areas in the state) was born in another state or country. Also worthy of note is the fact that in 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 8.8% of the population, the highest percentage of any state in the country.

Nowadays the fastest-growing areas have ‘migrated’ (no pun intended) to the outskirts of Las Vegas, with northern suburbs Henderson and North Las Vegas among the USA’s top 20 fastest-growing cities of over 100,000. Final piece of trivia: the capital importance of tourism in Nevada translates into a record: the most hotel rooms per capita in the United States. Nevada has one hotel room for every 14 residents, compared to a national average of one hotel room per 67 residents.

5. Nissan Altima Las VegasThe Nissan Altima, not the Ford F-150, is the best-selling vehicle in Nevada. 

Best-selling light vehicles in Nevada – Full Year 2013:

Pos Model 2013
1 Nissan Altima 4,590
2 Toyota Corolla 3,923
3 Hyundai Elantra 3,280
4 Toyota Camry 3,243
5 Ford F-150 2,781

Source: JATO Dynamics

Instead of speculating any further, now that you know everything worth knowing about Nevada, let’s get straight into official sales figures, courtesy of JATO Dynamics. And what a different sales charts this is. Due to the almost total urbanisation of the population, pickup sales are very, very much lower than almost every other state in the country. The best-selling pickup is, expectedly, the Ford F-150 but it only ranks 5th here with just 60% of the leader’s sales. If you have been following this series for a while now the best-seller in Nevada won’t really be a surprise…

6. Toyota Corolla Las VegasThe Toyota Corolla is #2 in Nevada. Here in Las Vegas about to get a hair cut AND a tattoo.

We have seen that as we get closer to Mexico, Nissan gets stronger and stronger in the sales charts. This reflects the growing share of Hispanics in the states’ population and their preference for Japanese and Korean brands, notably Nissan which is by far the most popular manufacturer in Mexico with 1 in every 4 sales. The Nissan Altima then very logically takes the lead of the Nevada sales charts in 2013, with 17% more sales than the Toyota Corolla, making its first appearance in the official Top 5 of any state we have crossed so far at #2. The Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Camry make up the rest of a Top 4 100% non-American. For more detail on the car buying preferences of America’s ethnic population check out the New Mexico article here.

7. Toyota Tundra Las VegasWalmart and Toyota Tundra: two staples of the Las Vegas landscape.

Outside the official Top 5 best-sellers, the following nameplates struck me as particularly successful in Las Vegas. The Nissan Versa is the (rental) Hero in Town, with the Sentra also very frequent. We’ve seen that pickup trucks are markedly less popular here than almost all states we have visited so far bar perhaps New York and Washington DC, and this is verified in Vegas streets. The Toyota Tundra could come as ‘high’ as #2 pickup truck in Vegas after the F-150 based on its frequency in the areas of town I have visited – though that doesn’t mean it would rank inside the overall Top 10 or even Top 20. I also spotted a few new generation Chrysler 200 (almost certainly rentals) and an unusually high amount of Toyota Avalon.

Ford F-150 Las Vegas 2Ford F-150 in Las Vegas NV

Not unlike in Albuquerque, driving away from the overly touristic Vegas Strip is the perfect way to get lost in deserted streets and come face-to-face with a flurry of cool, vintage pickups, some of them almost in mint condition. Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado of all ages still grace the back streets of Las Vegas today.

Las Vegas street sceneLas Vegas street scene

The taxis in circulation in the city are also a unique mix of previous gens Chevy Impala and Malibu, previous gen Ford Escape hybrid, Dodge Grand Caravan, Scion xB (the first time I see such an important a fleet of Scion taxis during this trip) and Toyota Prius. Trying to be eco-friendly here, the taxis of Las Vegas, as if to try and be forgiven for all the sinning (?) happening on a daily basis in town.

Las Vegas street scene 2Las Vegas street scene

I know what you’re thinking: here I am writing a report about Las Vegas and there hasn’t been any exclamation mark in sight yet. The casinos! The Strip! The gambling! The lights! The Wynn Hotel! The wedding chapels inside the casinos! The Cirque du Soleil shows! Alcohol! Drugs! Food buffets! Cigars! Vice! I guess I must be getting old, or I have been here too many times already. This is the third time in fact, and although the first two left me mesmerised by so much excess, so much money flowing into oblivion and so much air conditioning in the middle of the desert, this time I found Vegas tired.

Dodge Ram Las VegasDodge Ram at Casino Royale, Las Vegas NV

Perhaps it was just me that was starting to get tired, with now almost 5000 miles since my New York departure. I found the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show very professional, enthusiastic but copy-pasted, the Strip actually rather depressing under the rain, and the Top of the World panoramic restaurant’s waitresses’ smile just that tad bit too forced to make us feel really welcome. But I’m sure Vegas will be reborn shortly, as it has done so many times in the past.

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a car sales statistics website and consultancy: BestSellingCars which just celebrated its 4th anniversary.

Many thanks to David Curry for the photos in this report.

Nissan Sentra Las VegasNissan Sentra in Las Vegas NV

Ford F-150 Las VegasFord F-150 in Las Vegas NV

Albert Toyota 4Runner Las VegasAlbert and Toyota 4Runner in Las Vegas NV

Chevrolet Impala detail Las VegasChevrolet Impala detail in Las Vegas NV

Hummer Las VegasHummer and Encore/Wynn twin hotels in Las Vegas NV

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Tesla: New Model X Orders To Be Fulfilled ‘Well Into 2016′ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-new-model-x-orders-fulfilled-well-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-new-model-x-orders-fulfilled-well-2016/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951497 Planning to order a Model X before doing battle on Black Thanksgiving? You may be waiting until Black Thanksgiving 2016 before yours arrives in the driveway, red bow attached. Jalopnik reports a letter sent by Tesla to those already on the early adoption list that the Model X will come with the D’s dual-motor, all-wheel […]

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Planning to order a Model X before doing battle on Black Thanksgiving? You may be waiting until Black Thanksgiving 2016 before yours arrives in the driveway, red bow attached.

Jalopnik reports a letter sent by Tesla to those already on the early adoption list that the Model X will come with the D’s dual-motor, all-wheel drive system, that the EV SUV would be the first of its kind to have towing capability, and that those who are signing up to own or lease an X will be waiting well into 2016 before they finally turn up; the first models are due in driveways Q3 2015, for comparison.

For now, the company is beta-testing the X in its factory, with crash testing due in the future. Tesla is also working with “the best rack and accessory companies in the world to have elegant carrying solutions” for the SUV, as its optional tow hitch can also accommodate ski and bike racks with little effect on aerodynamics.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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Midsize Aston Fusion Is Ford’s Bright Car Light http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fusion-still-fords-bright-car-light/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fusion-still-fords-bright-car-light/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:27:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950257 Ford division car sales in the United States are down 4% in 2014. The automaker’s eight-nameplate passenger car lineup, including two Lincolns, is down 3.8% over the last ten months. Imagine how much worse it would be without the Fusion, sales of which have risen 6.2% to 263,431 units this year. After the Fusion broke […]

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Ford Fusion sales chartFord division car sales in the United States are down 4% in 2014. The automaker’s eight-nameplate passenger car lineup, including two Lincolns, is down 3.8% over the last ten months.

Imagine how much worse it would be without the Fusion, sales of which have risen 6.2% to 263,431 units this year. After the Fusion broke its 2011 sales record last year, 2014 is bound to be an improved year again, as the midsize Ford is on track to break through the 300K barrier for the first time ever. The last time a Ford car generated more than 300,000 U.S. sales in a single year was with the Taurus in 2005, the year the Fusion went on sale.

Exclude the Fusion from Ford’s passenger car sales equation and year-to-date car volume at the Ford brand would be down 9.9% in 2014.

C-Max sales have fallen 23% compared with ten-month results from 2013, the C-Max’s first full year on the market. The Fiesta is down 9.6% compared with 2013, the nameplate’s best year so far. Focus volume has fallen 6.8% this year after sliding 4.6% in 2013. The Taurus and Taurus Police Interceptor are down 20.4%, a loss of 14,179 units. The Mustang, in a very public replacement phase, is down just 2.6%.

An aging product lineup is a clear cause of disappointing results, as is Ford’s decreasing interest in boosting volume through fleet sales. The Fiesta, though refreshed, has been on sale since the end of 2010’s second-quarter, and there are newer, more spacious subcompacts available. The Focus has been facelifted for MY2015, but that will be its fourth model year. The Taurus competes in a dying segment, and there are far fresher faces there, as well. As for the Mustang, a genuine volume producer for the Blue Oval in America, a far more drastic decline would have been understandable.

Ford Fusion. Picture courtesy of netcarshow.comMeanwhile, over at Lincoln, MKS sales have tumbled 24.5% in 2014, the car’s seventh – and worst – year of availability. MKZ sales are up 9.7% this year but have decreased in each of the last five months, falling 13.8% since the beginning of June. Lincoln sales are up 9% during that five-month period thanks to extra sales from the new MKC, 8615 of which have been sold since going on sale in May.

Low volume from the majority of FoMoCo’s cars have been countered, though not completely counteracted, by the Fusion’s strength and by strong utility vehicle sales. (The Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, MKC, MKT, MKX, and Navigator have combined for 620,759 year-to-date sales, up 2.9%, compared with 688,981 total Ford/Lincoln car sales.) The Fusion is America’s fourth-best-selling midsize car, and its share of the segment has grown from approximately 12.1% during the first ten months of 2013 to 12.8% in 2014.

Fusion volume has increased by 15,398 units in 2014, compared with 24,246 extra Accord sales 20,008 extra Camry sales, and 9176 extra Altima sales. Overall midsize sales are stagnant; Fusion volume is up 6.2%. It leads the fifth-ranked midsize car, Hyundai’s Sonata, by nearly 83,000 units.

Among Detroit brand cars, regardless of size, nothing sells as often as the Fusion. The Chevrolet Cruze comes closest, with 232,403 units so far this year, a 9.7% improvement.

As for the pleasure the Fusion brings the Ford brand, consider this: 36.5% of Ford brand car sales in the first ten months of 2013 were Fusions. That number has shot up to 40.3% in 2014. Over the last six months, Fusion volume has improved 13.3%.

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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Online Publication Believes Tesla Is Under SEC Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951433 Tesla may be under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, based upon speculation by an online publication whose modus operandi involves filing Freedom of Information Act requests. AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a FOIA request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested […]

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2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boat

Tesla may be under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, based upon speculation by an online publication whose modus operandi involves filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a FOIA request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested in learning more about.

Based on the responses received, the publication reads the tea leaves to determine if the SEC is investigating a given company. The request regarding Tesla was denied per a letter from the agency, citing the “law enforcement exemption” aspect of FOIA as the reason. Thus, Probes Reporter suspects Tesla is being investigated in an “undisclosed probe,” and added the company to its watch list.

As for what Tesla itself has to say, representative Liz Jarvis-Shean says her employer doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

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Piston Slap: Take My (Suspension) Abuse And Like It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:58:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949833   Sam writes: Hello, I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow […]

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Or not? (photo courtesy: www.mazda3forums.com)

Sam writes:

Hello,

I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow speeds and is annoying. What is actually driving me crazy is a week ago the other front strut started making loud thunking under acceleration at slow speeds.

My mechanic, whom is one of the good ones, replaced both front shock mounts, assuming this would fix the problem. It didn’t, but one of them was all shredded. Now, I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole, there are engine mounts and sway bar bushings that can be replaced, but this shouldn’t be so complicated.

My car is supposed to take my abuse and like it.

Sajeev answers:

Excuse me Son, but when in the history of Autoblogging did a (non-Ranger based) high mileage Mazda ever take suspension abuse? Have you not listened to my screeds re: Panther Love?

Stupidity aside, engine mounts are kinda easy to check and it’s likely your problem, as discussed before.  And sway bar bushings are cheap and usually easy to swap. This car is an 8-ish year old non-Panther with over 100k on the clock. Aside from big things like engines/transmissions/etc, be cool with any wear item failing at this point. It won’t happen often, but being “cool with it” is the right state of mind at this age.

Your mechanic is probably doing the right thing.  Problem is, cars aren’t built like they used to.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Not built like they used to? Damn right!  No more tune ups before 100k, engines are that good.  Suspensions don’t need regular lubrication, though DIY-ers wouldn’t mind a greasable zerk fitting renaissance. Read the owner’s manual?  Only if I can’t get the dash to talk to my smarty-phone or adjust the clock for daylight savings time.

How does this prove my original point?

Cars are now so good that we set ‘em and forget ‘em.  Even with tighter suspensions, higher revving engines, loads of fragile(ish) electronics and idiotically thin tires, a modern car with over 100k will be in better shape than one from 25+ years ago. Especially when applying the same amount of maintenance. Hell, good luck getting that older car to even run past 100k with a modern car’s servicing regiment. 

 

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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Mitsubishi Confirms Mirage Sedan For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mitsubishi-confirms-mirage-sedan-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mitsubishi-confirms-mirage-sedan-us-market/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951393 Looking for a cheap new car that isn’t a hatchback? Mitsubishi might just have what you need. According to Motor Trend, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president Don Swearingen proclaimed that the Mirage sedan — already on sale in Thailand as the Attrage — would arrive in U.S. showrooms within the next year or […]

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Looking for a cheap new car that isn’t a hatchback? Mitsubishi might just have what you need.

According to Motor Trend, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president Don Swearingen proclaimed that the Mirage sedan — already on sale in Thailand as the Attrage — would arrive in U.S. showrooms within the next year or two.

Like the Mirage hatch (which we reviewed not too long ago), the sedan is powered by a 1.2-liter three-pot mated to either a CVT or five-speed manual.

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EFF: ECU Modification May Result In DMCA Notice http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951321 Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood. Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the […]

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Auto Repair

Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood.

Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to exempt hobbyists and shade-tree mechanics from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically Section 1201 (which we’ve talked about before).

For now, modifications to the ECU, such as boosting fuel economy or horsepower, would void a given warranty at worse. As automakers continue toward the path of consolidation, though, the potential profit in the untapped remapping market would be enough for them to lock out competitors and grab all rights to the technology.

However, a ruling could curb those DMCA notices: a 2012 case involving Lexmark and printer cartridges resulted in the decision that “companies like Lexmark cannot use the DMCA in conjunction with copyright law to create monopolies of manufactured goods for themselves.” The ruling provides protection for the original work, but not to the extent of using security measures — such as those lovely, Red Book-violating CDs from the 2000s — to protect said work.

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TTAC AMA: I Own An Alfa Romeo 4C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-ama-alfa-romeo-4c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-ama-alfa-romeo-4c/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951129 This week, TTAC reader vaujot from Frankfurt am Main chimes in. To start, you may wonder why I bought this car. Two reasons: Firstly, I am an Alfista. I have memories of sitting in my uncle’s Giulia sedan as a five-year old and the unusual smell of leather interior (he eventually gave up on Alfas, […]

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This week, TTAC reader vaujot from Frankfurt am Main chimes in.

To start, you may wonder why I bought this car.

Two reasons:
Firstly, I am an Alfista. I have memories of sitting in my uncle’s Giulia sedan as a five-year old and the unusual smell of leather interior (he eventually gave up on Alfas, they’re not well suited for Swiss winters). Since eight years, I own a 1962 Giulia Spider and through this have made the acquittance of nice and interesting fellow Alfa owners. I think it is great that they again make a car that you can drive to a meeting of Porsche owners and get compliments.

Secondly, the car is special. I see Porsches around where I live all the time. Some of my neighbors don’t even bother to keep them in a garage, parking on the street instead. In contrast, I have only once met another Alfa 4C owner and that happened after making an appointment via the 4C-forum. We met at the Nürburgring.

Alfa treats the car and its buyers as special, too. When you take delivery, you get a box containing an owners card, a key ring, a memory stick (the long users manual is stored, there) and a leather-bound folder including among other things a few photos that according to the salesman show the making of your very car.

In Europe, the 4C is sold as a low-volume model. They may only sell 1000 cars a year and it is exempted from certain regulations (I think pedestrian impact, side airbags and, of course, noise – the car is embarrassingly loud in town). Each car gets its own numbered certificate of conformity and mine is number 604 out of 1000 for this year.

Looking forward to your questions.

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Ford Sources Say Derek Is Wrong About New Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:25:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951097 Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. […]

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Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. And then I got a phone call from someone who is placed highly enough to know.

It turns out that our sources didn’t initially see any indication of a new GT program because it’s not being done through the usual channels. It will be a *very* limited product car, of around 300 units, and built by a third-party like Multimatic. Power will come from a 3.5L Ecoboost, to maintain a connection with Ford’s sports car racing program. The car will be priced as you’d expect a limited-production 300-unit halo car to be priced.

N.B. The identity of the source checks out, but there is still the chance that it could all be a bunch of BS misinformation. However, I felt it prudent to put this on the public record in case I am wrong. My obligation to you, the readers, comes before my own pride/ego.

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Mercedes-Benz Releases Automotive Rorschach Test http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:09:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950993   The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere. A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version […]

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Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014

 

The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere.

A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version of the Mercedes CLA? Mechanically, it’s identical to the standard car, and the sloping roofline might even make it less practical than the GLA in terms of cargo hauling ability. But it’s suitably obscure enough to send a tingle through the loins of the kind of enthusiast that professes their adoration for the wagon, but fails to buy them when they are released for sale on our shores.

 

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) 2014 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Shooting Brake (X 117) 2014

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What’s Wrong With This Picture? Exhaust Systems Can Be Such A Drag Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/whats-wrong-picture-exhaust-systems-can-drag-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/whats-wrong-picture-exhaust-systems-can-drag-edition/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:12:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950793 My daughter Tova usually rides to her job with a co-worker. She’d noticed the car they were using had been getting louder and already had mentioned to her friend that something might be amiss with the exhaust system. On the way to work today, it started to get even louder, and then there was a grinding noise. Tova suggested […]

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My daughter Tova usually rides to her job with a co-worker. She’d noticed the car they were using had been getting louder and already had mentioned to her friend that something might be amiss with the exhaust system. On the way to work today, it started to get even louder, and then there was a grinding noise. Tova suggested they stop and check things out, but the driver said it was “only a couple of miles” to the school where they teach, so they continued. Tova said that there was a banging noise and then most of the grinding seem to have stopped. Other drivers were honking and pointing.

One guy even got out of his car at a red light, tapped on their window and asked if they knew they were losing their muffler. They thanked him and told him yes, and then continued on their way. Frankly, I can’t even figure out how just about the entire exhaust system from the downpipe back managed to get back there intact. I’m sure the tubing would bend first but visions of the forward pointing pipe snagging a pothole and vaulting the car into the air come to mind. One can only imagine what it did to the undercarriage of the car as it made it’s way out the back.

I suppose that in a world where people will keep driving on a tireless rim, sparks a blazing, seeing a car dragging an intact exhaust system should not come as much of a a surprise, but, please, folks, as car enthusiasts you can do your less mechanically interested friends a big favor and tell them that when their cars are making bad grinding noises, it’s a good idea to stop and check things out.

At one point or another we’ve all seen someone driving a vehicle that was visibly or audibly broken (or both). What’s the most interesting example of something rolling badly in need of repair that you can remember seeing?

Photo courtesy of Tova Schreiber.

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Texas Woman Exonerated Due To GM Ignition Switch Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950953 A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall. Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under […]

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A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall.

Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the accident — leading to the conviction in 2007 — both the prosecutors and the state trooper who investigated the accident conceded that she had nothing to do with what occurred, citing the ignition switch at the center of the recall as evidence.

Her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, was one of the original 13 fatalities GM linked to the recall, with its own investigation turning up a May 2007 report linking his death to the failed deployment of airbags due to a loss of power, likely caused by the troubled ignition switch.

Though having previously settled with the automaker in 2008 for $75,000 — most of which paid legal fees and provided for Erickson’s two daughters from a previous relationship, as per the terms of the plea bargain — Anderson may have more to gain, having submitted paperwork for her and on Erickson’s behalf to the victim compensation program operated by the office of Kenneth Feinberg. She is weighing her options, however, as she would waive her right to sue upon acceptance, though any lawsuits would already be hindered by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy protections.

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Honda Admits Underreporting US Death, Injury Claims Since 2003 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950929 Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003. Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said […]

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Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003.

Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said interpretation and data entry and computer programming errors when a report was made.

The admission of guilt comes from a third-party investigation’s findings in September of this year, conducted after the Center for Auto Safety accused Honda of failing to report two Takata-related incidences of death and/or injury. The results were handed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in compliance with a special order regarding the lapse.

Honda is already making adjustments to its reporting system, adding oral and written claims to the standard reports, and will make changes to its organization methods and staffing. In the meantime, the automaker will likely face a fine of $35 million, as well as a $7,000/day fine for every day it was in violation of the TREAD Act since 2003, a fine that could exceed the NHTSA’s maximum.

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Small/Midsize Truck Sales Up 19% In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/smallmidsize-truck-sales-19-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/smallmidsize-truck-sales-19-october-2014/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:48:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948881 U.S. sales of small/midsize/non-full-size pickup trucks jumped 19.4% in October 2014, a gain of 3672 units compared with October 2013. Sales of the Toyota Tacoma were up 5%. Nissan Frontier sales shot up 25%. Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%. GM’s new pickup trucks contributed an extra 2158 sales. Even without […]

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2015 Chevrolet ColoradoU.S. sales of small/midsize/non-full-size pickup trucks jumped 19.4% in October 2014, a gain of 3672 units compared with October 2013.

Sales of the Toyota Tacoma were up 5%. Nissan Frontier sales shot up 25%. Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%. GM’s new pickup trucks contributed an extra 2158 sales. Even without those additional Colorados and Canyons, the category would have risen 8% despite the Ridgeline’s sharp but relatively inconsequential decline.

With those extra GM truck sales, these not exactly small pickups accounted for 11.2% of the overall pickup truck market in October 2014, up from 10.3% a year ago. Overall, pickup truck sales were up 10% in October and have grown 5% this year. We covered the full-size portion of the category earlier this month.

We know that the launch of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will reveal far greater sales figures over the coming months. They will steal market share. Indeed, they already have. At this early stage, however, they haven’t stolen sales – or at least not a sufficient number of sales to slow YOY growth – from the Tacoma and Frontier, as both of those older established pickup trucks posted meaningful gains in October.

The Tacoma’s share of this pickup truck sub-segment fell from 65.5% to 57.7% in October. The Frontier’s share grew from 27.8% to 29.1%.

Heading into November, Automotive News reports that GM dealers had 4300 Colorados in stock and 1800 Canyons, plus 274,000 Silverados and Sierras. Clearly then, we’ll be waiting a while if, in fact, it’s possible for us to ever see Tacoma and Frontier-beating numbers from these trucks.

Auto
October
2014
October
2013
%
Change
10 mos.
2014
10 mos.
2013
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
13,010 12,351 5.3% 127,739 134,123 -4.8%
Nissan Frontier
6,568 5,242 25.3% 61,931 51,423 20.4%
Chevrolet Colorado
1,491 29 5,041% 1,600 3,404 -53.0%
Honda Ridgeline
802 1,239 -35.3% 12,373 14,807 -16.4%
GMC Canyon
667 5 13,240% 683 923 -26.0%
Suzuki Equator
448 -100%
Total
22,538
18,866 19.5% 204,326 205,128 -0.4%

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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McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950897 The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year. AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop […]

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2012_mini_roadster_29

The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year.

AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop and convertible already in the portfolio, and differences in styling and price didn’t attract many customers.

In their place, McKenna says higher-volume models over niche product will be the order of the day going forward, beginning with the launch of a four-door MINI for those who feel claustrophobic inside the main two-door unit.

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Twenty Japanese Execs Hide In Local Exile From US DOJ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950865 At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish. Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has […]

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US Department of Justice

At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish.

Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has his title as section head of the ball-bearing maker’s West Japan Automotive Unit, even though he has enough charges to be thrown in prison for a decade on top of a $1 million fine.

However, all 20 are still in hiding in their home country, leaving the DOJ with no option but to file extradition. In turn, the Ministry of Justice can decide to honor the request based on what punishment awaits suspects abroad compared to Japan. As the businessmen would only receive a slap on the wrist at home, the ministry won’t be too keen on complying with the requests.

That said, the 20 are stuck in Japan thanks to the indictments, as they won’t be able to find work elsewhere. Further, the indictments put the group at the top of Interpol’s radar, allowing the agency to nab any one of the execs as soon as they leave the country.

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Supply Issues Slow Takata Airbag Recall Action http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/supply-issues-slow-takata-airbag-recall-action/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/supply-issues-slow-takata-airbag-recall-action/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950777 Even if the federal government compels every automaker that uses Takata’s airbags to enter into a nationwide recall order, and even if Honda got its wish by having the government mandate every owner affected to bring their vehicles in for repair, fixing the mess created by the supplier could take as long as two years […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

Even if the federal government compels every automaker that uses Takata’s airbags to enter into a nationwide recall order, and even if Honda got its wish by having the government mandate every owner affected to bring their vehicles in for repair, fixing the mess created by the supplier could take as long as two years or more.

Automotive News reports Takata will increase production of replacement inflators from 300,000 per month to 450,000, an increase that could supply the entirety of the 10 million vehicles under recall in two years’ time. Meanwhile, backup from competitors AutoLiv and TRW Automotive could take that long just to have their replacements tested prior to lending aid to the supplier.

Further, some automakers — like BMW, Ford and Mazda — would have a hard time replacing Takata units with those from the other suppliers, citing design and resource issues. Should the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration find a way, however, the agency can make those automakers “to break exclusivity agreements, to share proprietary information,” per Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who reminded outgoing deputy administrator David Friedman of this fact during testimony before Congress last week.

For now, the supply bottleneck is off in the distance, mainly due to consumers not bringing in their vehicles for repairs at a clip that would strain the supply chain. That could change with a nationwide recall, however.

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