The Truth About Cars » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:04:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » News Blog http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/ Why Are These BMW Cars Camo’d If We’ve Seen Them Already? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/bmw-cars-camod-weve-seen-already/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/bmw-cars-camod-weve-seen-already/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108225 Over the weekend, I spotted a completely camouflaged BMW ActiveTourer heading into the mountains of Colorado. At the same time half a world away, a TTAC reader on vacation in Germany spotted a completely camo’d 7 Series on the streets of Munich. What gives, BMW? We’ve already seen these cars before. Turns out the story is less exciting than […]

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Over the weekend, I spotted a completely camouflaged BMW ActiveTourer heading into the mountains of Colorado. At the same time half a world away, a TTAC reader on vacation in Germany spotted a completely camo’d 7 Series on the streets of Munich.

What gives, BMW? We’ve already seen these cars before.

Turns out the story is less exciting than what I had for breakfast.

Well, in the case of the 7 Series, the car hasn’t been revealed to the public yet. Case closed.

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IMG_3261But our mystery 2 Series Active Tourer driving around the U.S. is a little more interesting. Spy photographer Brian Williams — who didn’t take the 7 Series shots — clears it up for us:

“In June every year BMW brings about 50-60 cars into Death Valley. From there they disperse across the US doing all kinds of different testing. The reason that prototype is still camo’d is probably because it’s just more work to take the wrap off. It’s just a lot easier for them to leave the camo on.”

This must be the first instance in recorded history of a German automaker being accused of laziness.

But it’s spy season in Colorado, however. Several manufacturers send cars up Mt. Evans — the highest road in North America — for high-altitude testing. By the time they trek up the 14,000-foot mountain, many of the cars are fairly close to production and lightly camouflaged — if at all.

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Ferrari Worth Over $11 Billion, Says FCA Boss Sergio Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-worth-11-billion-says-fca-boss-sergio-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-worth-11-billion-says-fca-boss-sergio-marchionne/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108185 Speaking at an unrelated Fiat 500 reveal last week, Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari is worth about $11 billion and he expects the prancing horse’s IPO to garner about $1.1 billion went it goes up for sale in October. “There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said, according to […]

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Picture courtesy blogs.reuters.com

Speaking at an unrelated Fiat 500 reveal last week, Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari is worth about $11 billion and he expects the prancing horse’s IPO to garner about $1.1 billion went it goes up for sale in October.

“There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said, according to Bloomberg News. “There is also a scarcity value as we are just selling a 10 percent stake.”

Marchionne’s estimate is roughly double what brokers said the Maranello-based manufacturer could be worth almost a year ago.

The $11 billion valuation before its October IPO may be ambitious, but so is Marchionne’s overall plan for FCA. He announced the move to spin off Ferrari last year as part of a larger plan to invest $61 billion back into FCA. The sale is made up of a 10-percent offer of Ferrari on the NYSE and a redistribution of FCA’s remaining 80-percent share to the Agnelli family, who also own about 30 percent of Fiat. The non-FCA owned 10 percent of Ferrari will stay with Enzo Ferrari’s son, current Ferrari vice chairman Piero Lardi Ferrari.

When it goes to sale in October, the IPO may raise about $1.1 billion for Ferrari. The company has said it won’t build any more than 7,000 cars per year, wouldn’t change its current business model nor would it be likely that anyone could takeover controlling interest.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad investment. As a company, Ferrari is wildly profitable and will still sell you a $50 T-shirt if you can’t afford a share in October.

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QOTD: Is Motorsport Still Relevant? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-motorsport-still-relevant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-motorsport-still-relevant/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108129 I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that. Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from […]

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SONOMA, CA - JUNE 28:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.

Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?

Formula 1, the multi-billion dollar single-seater racing series controlled by a British troll, has gone down the rabbit hole of high technology and, to a degree, fuel economy. The new breed of Formula 1 “power units” — as they are now called — are a combination of turbocharged V6 engines and electric drivetrain systems. The days of a relatively simple V10 are over, as is the noise and overall spectacle of a Formula 1 car.

Today’s production cars are certainly becoming more tech laden. However, whether the technology is directly derived from racing is another point entirely. I can’t remember the last time I saw an ad for a piece of technology taken from an automaker’s F1 efforts and applied to a vehicle on the showroom floor.

That’s not to say racing is irrelevant because the technology cannot be directly transferred. Instead, Formula 1 has turned into a marketing exercise disguised as a high-brow sport. Infiniti, and possibly Aston Martin in the future, has sponsored Red Bull Racing for a few years now, but the team has never once used an engine built — or even branded — by Infiniti. Yet, the Cars of the Bulls that are Red still wear multiple Infiniti logos all over their bodywork.

NASCAR is a completely different can of beer, but the outcome is very much the same. Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota are the only three automakers contesting America’s motorsport of choice after Dodge decided the investment was no longer returning the needed rewards. After all, today’s NASCAR cars are no longer even loosely connected to what you can buy at your local dealer — though a push-rod V8 Camry would be a tempting proposition. The disconnection is compounded when you realize many engines in NASCAR are built by engine builders and not the automakers themselves.

The motorsport that turns left is another marketing exercise — though not as polished in its fan base or technology as Formula 1 — that exists simply to show you what candy you should by, where your should enlist for service, and multiple options for achieving *ahem* stature.

Even IndyCar, with its less ambitious technological aims, is only supplied by two automakers — Chevrolet and Honda — with nary a piece of tech making it to either of their showrooms.

What about club racing? Certain members of TTAC’s roster believe all car reviewers should be track aficionados, possessing the ability to push a Nissan Pathfinder to its physical limits in an effort to deliver the best value to readers. Many of these reviewers are club racers of one flavor or another, whether it be entry-level Spec Miata or top-flight competition at the SCCA Runoffs, but it is difficult to justify club racing as relevant to the general car-buying public. I’ve never once heard “I am extremely interested in XYZ model … but where did it place in the Runoffs this year?” The commercial viability of marketing in such a space is quite small as well as there is virtually no media coverage of club events.

Speaking of media coverage, the three top-level racing series mentioned above have seen their TV viewership dwindle over the years. Formula 1 lost 25 million viewers thanks to a switch to pay TV in Britain and a laundry list of other reasons. NASCAR can’t fill all the seats at their biggest race of the year. And, well, IndyCar is IndyCar. Even as an excuse for dumping large amounts of marketing cash, racing is a case of diminishing relevance.

And just to drive the point home a little bit more: Mazda. They are likely the most recognizable marque at your local road course or autocross and they cross the finish line first more often than any other automaker in America. In terms of sales, Mazda finished 18th last year.

But, that’s just what I think. What about you, Best & Brightest? Is motorsport still relevant in today’s automotive marketplace?

[Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images]

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New Or Used: Wishing For Simpler Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-used-wishing-simpler-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-used-wishing-simpler-times/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107425 Hi Sajeev & Steve, “You have not covered extensively the problems encountered by GDI engines, especially Mitsubishi Dion (the engine is 4G63). As the revs go beyond the 2000 rpm, the ‘check engine’ light comes on, then eventually the engine — if forced — cuts off. After a few minutes, the engine can start but […]

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Mitsubishi GDi Engine (Dion)

Hi Sajeev & Steve,

“You have not covered extensively the problems encountered by GDI engines, especially Mitsubishi Dion (the engine is 4G63). As the revs go beyond the 2000 rpm, the ‘check engine’ light comes on, then eventually the engine — if forced — cuts off. After a few minutes, the engine can start but it does not take long before it repeats. I was told by a mechanic to buy a new pressure pump. This was fitted but the problem has not gone away. Please help!”

Ummm… we think your mechanic needs to keep away from Runaround Sue.

Cut Portion:

It turns out that a TTAC alum, Andrew Bell, did a fantastic job explaining this issue a few years ago. I’ll offer the Cliff Notes version here.

“In a GDI engine, the gasoline doesn’t touch intake side of the valve. As a result, the droplets have a tendency to bake onto the valve and significantly reduce performance… Even more alarming is that these deposits can dislodge and damage other downstream components (turbochargers, catalytic converters, etc). Manufacturers have added systems to capture these oil droplets and particulates, but no system is 100% effective. As a result, there are many disappointed early adopters with large repair bills.”

Steve Says:

When folks ask me why I am so sour on recommending cars that are on the early curve of advanced powertrain technologies, it’s because I regularly see these types of vehicles traded-in and sent to the auctions at a far greater frequency than their less technologically advanced counterparts.

Whether it’s a vehicle equipped with an early CVT that simply couldn’t handle the load (Ford Freestyle, Nissan Maxima/Rogue/Quest, Dodge Caliber), or a direct injection engine design that has severe teething issues (Mazda CX-7, the VW/Audi FSI engines, BMW with their N54 and N55 engines), I have come to the personal conclusion that automakers are far more apt to sweep these problems under the rug than to tackle them from the early get-go.

To Hyundai’s credit in particular, owners are now using a fuel additive to get rid of excessive carbon that can accumulate in their GDi engines. But there is a dark cloud in that silver lining, and it comes from the feedback of over 750,000 vehicles that have been independently inspected and appraised by certified mechanics and car buying professionals.

Automakers, to no fault of their own, often get sideswiped by long-term issues that couldn’t be anticipated during the research & development phase. As a result, those who stay with the tried and true often have a far better record of long-term reliability than their less conservative counterparts. Or to put this in a more brand specific way, there is a reason why a brand like Mitsubishi is ranked 8th at the moment when it comes to long-term reliability, versus a brand like Hyundai which has gone headlong into to direct injection, and is now ranked 21st overall. As I explained a few months ago on Yahoo:

“Mitsubishi has benefited from long model runs over the past ten years, and much of what they sell is devoid of the unproven electronics and technologies that have hurt other brands. Four-cylinder models are particularly strong in terms of long-term reliability.”

Does this mean a new Accent can’t last over 300,000 miles? Not at all. It does represent the fact that more sophisticated powertrains often have to compensate for unknown variables that can hurt their long-term reliability. In the case of GDi engines, it’s those vehicles that are not driven on a regular basis and have the corn curse that is ethanol lodged into their fuel systems.

This also bears some unusual fruit in the used car market. You may find that a 2011 or older Hyundai Azera offers an exceptional bang for the long-term buck because it didn’t come equipped with the third generation GDi engine. While a low-mileage late model Azera that gets driven infrequently, and has very short trips, may require a bit more engine care.

As many of you know, I absolutely love personal stories about cars that are kept for the long haul. Whether it’s a 30 year old FIAT that miraculously lasts over 500,000 miles, or a first-generation Dodge Neon that also gets to the moon and back, I love seeing cars live up to their potential longevity. But complexity is a real bitch when it comes to cars, and the current CAFE regulations are going to likely promote more rolling long-term dogs in the near future.

So let me ask you: Anyone have unfortunate experiences with what seemed to be the latest and greatest powertrain technologies? Whether your unpleasant experience came from ye olde Cadillac V8-6-4 which had the then tricky cylinder deactivation technology, or a late-model truck or SUV that had a CVT that became DOA within 100k, please feel free to share your experiences below.

Sajeev Answers:

Well then! What else can I add, especially considering relevant info of Piston Slaps past? (Here, here, and here.) Let’s focus on the 4G63. Wait, was that direct injected? Do you mean the 4G93? If so, that was the first production GDI motor and likely lives on the bleeding edge of technology like most cutting-edge products. So what will get you out of your predicament?

Probably a good de-coking of the intake system, ditto the EGR. And maybe some walnut shells blasted into the system if you put a scope into the spark plug hole and notice excessive carbon buildup.

Or maybe its the throttle body.   No matter what, I suspect you need to find another mechanic.

Note: All the links in this article have been sanitized and customized for your own viewing pleasure. Please click on at least a few of them, because it will likely give you a far greater understanding of this topic, and besides, the Long-Term Quality Index can always use a few more clicks and critiques. If you have used car questions, please contact us directly at carselect@gmail.com.

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Chart Of The Day: America’s 15 Best-Selling American Vehicles In The First Half Of 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-americas-15-best-selling-american-vehicles-first-half-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-americas-15-best-selling-american-vehicles-first-half-2015/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106937 Remember when the U.S. auto industry was very much an American auto industry? No? I don’t, either. But there was a time when an American car was an American car because it was made by an American car company in America.  Times have clearly changed. Cars.com recently revealed that the most American car, in terms […]

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Jeep Wrangler American flag

Remember when the U.S. auto industry was very much an American auto industry? No? I don’t, either.

But there was a time when an American car was an American car because it was made by an American car company in America

Times have clearly changed. Cars.com recently revealed that the most American car, in terms of its American content and not its badge, is the Toyota Camry. Indeed, Japanese brands grabbed three of the top five spots on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.

 

USA best selling autos June 2015 YTDHowever, even if the Chrysler Group is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an Italian-American partnership based in the Netherlands with UK headquarters, we do still tend to view a Jeep Wrangler, for instance, as a traditional Detroit product — one that is, of course, built in Toledo, Ohio. While the Chevrolet Camaro continues, for the time being, to be built in Oshawa, Ontario, we still consider the Camaro an all-American product.

Thus, in honour of the July 4, Independence Day weekend, we display this list of America’s most popular American vehicles through the first-half of 2015, completely ignoring 25 other vehicles, many of which are assembled in the United States. Our standard: if they’re produced by good ol’ Detroit brands, they’re eligible. One wonders what we’d do with the Chrysler TC by Maserati.

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

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More Corporate Average Horsepower, Hellcat Production Going Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/more-corporate-average-horsepower-hellcat-production-going-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/more-corporate-average-horsepower-hellcat-production-going-up/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:51:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107873 Nothing is more American than a high-horsepower V8 in a muscle car. Thanks to increased demand, roads are going to feature more of that familiar V8 rumble as Dodge ramps up Hellcat production. According to Automotive News, FCA has produced approximately 4,000 Hellcat engines so far this year, even as the company stopped taking orders for […]

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Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Nothing is more American than a high-horsepower V8 in a muscle car. Thanks to increased demand, roads are going to feature more of that familiar V8 rumble as Dodge ramps up Hellcat production.

According to Automotive News, FCA has produced approximately 4,000 Hellcat engines so far this year, even as the company stopped taking orders for the Charger and Challenger models in an effort to get caught up with demand.

“We’ve sold 88,000 muscle cars [this calendar year], Challengers and Chargers, and 4,000 of those have been Hellcats. It’s a small sliver of what we sell, but it really creates a halo for the rest of the lineup,” Tim Kuniskis, head of Dodge and SRT, told the trade publication. “For example, the next highest car, the Scat Pack Challenger, I have essentially a zero-day supply. It’s sold out.”

So, if you’re looking for a Hellcat in the near-ish future, you may be in luck. What’s more American than a muscle car assembled in Canada with an engine from Mexico?

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TTAC Open Forum: Go Celebrate Some Independence. We Are. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ttac-open-forum-go-celebrate-some-independence-we-are/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ttac-open-forum-go-celebrate-some-independence-we-are/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107345 It’s time to shut it down. Go home. Pack it in. It’s time to wrestle up the family, pets and vacation implements, hit the open road and leave the Internet behind for a few days. Since a number of commenters and writers wished myself (along with Tim and Brendan) a Happy Canada Day earlier this […]

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What would Hunter say? (courtesy pro.corbis.com)It’s time to shut it down. Go home. Pack it in. It’s time to wrestle up the family, pets and vacation implements, hit the open road and leave the Internet behind for a few days.

Since a number of commenters and writers wished myself (along with Tim and Brendan) a Happy Canada Day earlier this week, I wish all our American readers the best this 239th Day of Independence. (Eds Note: Only a Canadian would say “Day of Independence.” — Aaron)

Those of you stuck at your desks for the rest of the day, consider this comment thread all yours. I’ll be enjoying the most American-Canadian car possible – a Charger – and enjoying a little bit of what I haven’t been able to do much of since joining TTAC: actual driving.

We will have a trickle of content over the weekend before normal service resumes Monday.

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After Clearing Legal Hurdles, Taxi of Tomorrow Now Taxi of Today http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/clearing-legal-hurdles-taxi-tomorrow-now-taxi-today/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/clearing-legal-hurdles-taxi-tomorrow-now-taxi-today/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107321 The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission finally cleared its last hurdle in making the Nissan NV200 the new official taxi for NYC, Car and Driver reports. The commission installed the NV200 as the new official taxi back in 2011, but legal challenges have delayed that process until now. The city licenses more than 13,000 cabs. The […]

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Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission finally cleared its last hurdle in making the Nissan NV200 the new official taxi for NYC, Car and Driver reports.

The commission installed the NV200 as the new official taxi back in 2011, but legal challenges have delayed that process until now. The city licenses more than 13,000 cabs.

The challenge stemmed from a group of taxi owners taking exception to the commission dwindling the number of acceptable cab models from 47 down to just one. However, the C&D report points out, owners can choose from a slightly larger list of acceptable hybrids (by larger, we mean three: Lexus 450h, Prius V and Toyota Highlander Hybrid) instead of the gas-powered NV200.

Nissan won a $1 billion bid to become the supplier of the new taxi four years ago beating out Ford and Turkish automaker Karsan.

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Nurburgring May Dump Speed Limits for Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107289 Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records. After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits […]

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Nurburgring_lap

Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records.

After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits during testing for manufacturers — effectively ending record run chest-thumping.

Although the rumor is just a rumor right now, there are undoubtedly a few manufacturers who should be licking their chops today at the chance to unseat Porsche for the production-car throne.

The speed limits are enforced on the Flugplatz section and Gantry to Antoniusbuche sections.

If lifted, speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing would have only lasted a few weeks, and it may signal the end of Pikes Peak two-day run as the new ‘Ring.

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FCA Awaits NHTSA’s Wrath After Recall Hearings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107233 Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million. Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million.

Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand Cherokees with rear-mounted gas tanks that could leak fuel if struck in a high-speed rear collision and potentially catch fire. Also of importance is the rate at which Jeep notified its owners of the recall.

FCA’s Senior Vice President for Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance Scott Kunselman said at the hearing that FCA “could have done better in carrying out the campaigns.”


Owners of Grand Cherokees and Liberty SUVs had trailer hitches installed on their cars that could protect in low- to moderate-speed impact collisions. Eric Mayne, a spokesman for FCA, said that NHTSA tested the trailer hitches and found them to perform similarly to their peers.

A Massachusetts father testified at the hearing, saying his 17-year-old son was killed when the Grand Cherokee he was driving was struck and ignited. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths.

A second recall was recently issued for faulty wiring that could disable airbags.

NHTSA “tentatively concluded” FCA didn’t address the recalls in time, or adequately. Despite issuing a recall in June 2013, NHTSA said only 23 percent of the cars had been fixed by the end of April. FCA said that figure is now around 33 percent.

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Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107121 In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report. Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese […]

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Takanobu Ito

In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.

Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.

Honda’s official stance on English isn’t wholly surprising, or new.

According to a report by The Economist in February 2014, Honda was keen on adopting “Corporate English” throughout the company and following suit with many other global manufacturers. Chinese tech giant Lenovo made English its lingua franca. Same goes for Nokia, Renault and Samsung.

Only one quarter of Honda’s workforce is in North America, but accounted for nearly one third of its new hires for 2015. Honda’s move to English is emblematic of its reality: 40 percent of Honda’s sales are in North America and 81 percent of its vehicles are assembled outside of Japan.

Included in the report is an outlook for the future of Honda’s manufacturing in North America.

The U.S. will add more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years, the report states, but will have only 1.4 million people to fill those jobs. Honda says they will implement a program in Ohio — where Honda builds cars — to teach middle- and high-school students how to fill those jobs with video games, or by directly funding STEM programs in some schools.

There’s been no word on whether Buick will be making the switch to Mandarin.

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Julie Hamp No. 10 in PR Week’s “Power List”, No. 1 in Badly Timed Awards http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ex-top-toyota-pr-rep-no-10-pr-list-no-1-badly-timed-awards/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ex-top-toyota-pr-rep-no-10-pr-list-no-1-badly-timed-awards/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107009 Resigned Toyota PR chief Julie Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” two weeks after being busted for allegedly importing illegal prescription painkillers into Japan last month. Hamp allegedly received 57 pills of Oxycodone in a box labeled “necklaces” at Narita Airport in Tokyo. The list, which ranks her No. 10, was released the same day Hamp resigned her position […]

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Julie Hamp Not In BlackResigned Toyota PR chief Julie Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” two weeks after being busted for allegedly importing illegal prescription painkillers into Japan last month. Hamp allegedly received 57 pills of Oxycodone in a box labeled “necklaces” at Narita Airport in Tokyo.

The list, which ranks her No. 10, was released the same day Hamp resigned her position and included an editor’s note at the top explaining the awkward timing.

The author of Hamp’s listing, Senior Vice President of Global Communications for General Motors Tony Cervone, noted Hamp’s ascendance as a woman in a field typically dominated by men:

“Julie understands the need for consistency, but allows it to be expressed naturally and authentically, with special sensitivity to cultural nuances. She understands discipline, but doesn’t drive bureaucracy. In short, Julie provides a great balance. And she fully deserves to be “the first” in so many ways.”

Hamp is reportedly in jail awaiting charges in Japan. According to the Wall Street Journal, her trial in Japan could last anywhere from six months to a year, if it even goes that far.

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QOTD: What Really Makes a Car American? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-what-really-makes-a-car-american/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-what-really-makes-a-car-american/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106969 Today is the beginning of the Independence Day holiday in America, which is this beautiful historical moment where we all take a few days off work and light things on fire. It’s also an excellent time to examine precisely what makes a car American. I want to do this because there are a lot of […]

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Today is the beginning of the Independence Day holiday in America, which is this beautiful historical moment where we all take a few days off work and light things on fire. It’s also an excellent time to examine precisely what makes a car American.

I want to do this because there are a lot of Americans out there who will only buy an American car, just like there are a lot of Japanese who will only buy a Japanese car, and a lot of Germans who will only buy a German car, and a lot of South Africans who will only buy cars with bulletproof windows. But in today’s globalized world, what exactly defines a car’s country of origin?

Some would say where the car is manufactured – and that’s reasonable. After all, if a car is built in America, and sold in America by an American car dealership to someone in America, this is a pretty damn American vehicle, correct? You can only get more American if you were to get on a plane and ask personal questions to the stranger sitting next to you, even though they’re obviously trying to read the newspaper.

But wait! There are millions of cars that fit this definition that aren’t made by “American” automakers! The Volkswagen Passat, for example, is built somewhere in the marry-your-cousin hills of East Tennessee by an American factory worker, then shipped to an American dealer by an American truck driver where it’s prepped by an American employee and sold to an American rental car company for use in the commission of an American felony, likely with an American gun.

So is the Passat an American car?

Most people would say no, the Passat is a German car, in the sense that the brand that sells it, Volkswagen, hails from one of those European countries where they smoke cigarettes in corporate offices. Instead, some might say, to be truly American, a car must come from an American brand that has headquarters in America, where they hire many recent Wayne State University graduates to try and figure out whether the Buick Regal should cost $28,936 or $28,934.

The problem with this definition is that many American car companies build their cars in foreign countries. For example: the highly American Chrysler PT Cruiser, which is one of the most American cars of all time based on the total number of elderly owners who enjoy sitting in plastic lawnchairs on their porch, was actually manufactured in Mexico.

This creates a problem when we’re referring to American cars, because – this is an important news bulletin, so pay attention – Mexico isn’t America. Mexico is Mexico. [I thought Texas was Mexico? –MS] It’s an entirely different country, with an entirely different language, and culture, and citizenry, and flavor of Coca-Cola. It is, in fact, a completely different place from the US of A.

So this brings us to another question, which is: Can an American car not be an American car unless it’s made by an American brand and manufactured in America?

If the answer to this is yes, it removes dozens of American cars from our “American car” list. It also removes dozens of foreign cars, even though they often show up near the top of the cars.com “American made” index, which examines just how much of each car actually comes from the United States. Do these cars really deserve to be removed from a listing of American models?

The thing is, it’s just gotten too hard to know for sure. Is a Japanese car really American if the majority of its parts are American and it’s built here? Is an American car not American anymore if it’s built in a foreign country? And most importantly, does anyone really care?

The answer, actually, is a lot of people really care. Many Americans want to buy American, just like many British want to buy British, and many Spanish want to buy Spanish, and blah blah blah. This is why people in Italy buy the Fiat Freemont, thinking it’s an Italian car, even though it’s just a leftover Dodge Journey with a different grille.

And so I ask you, the readers: what exactly makes a car American? What does a car require in order to fit this definition? And in today’s increasingly globalized world, is there even such a thing as a truly “American” car anymore?

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1980 Datsun 280ZX Black Gold Anniversary Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/crapwagon-outtake-1980-datsun-280zx-black-gold-anniversary-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/crapwagon-outtake-1980-datsun-280zx-black-gold-anniversary-edition/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106337 Like most sports cars, the Z got fat as it aged. The one/two combo punch of emissions and safety regulations worked over many a performance car throughout the ’70s, some not surviving the decade. The Z changed from SU-clone carbs, to finicky Hitachi flat-tops, to a Bosch fuel injection system over three years, all the […]

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Like most sports cars, the Z got fat as it aged. The one/two combo punch of emissions and safety regulations worked over many a performance car throughout the ’70s, some not surviving the decade. The Z changed from SU-clone carbs, to finicky Hitachi flat-tops, to a Bosch fuel injection system over three years, all the while increasing displacement to handle the extra weight of massive bumpers. Enthusiasts may whine about the changes, but it seems market pressures added the pounds, too. In 1979, the 280ZX was released — a softer, more luxurious car than the predecessor.

Yet, it sold just as well, showing that Nissan were right about the market. New Z owners were pulling up to the valet at the disco, rather than carving canyons.

Yep, it’s the commercial that’s been passed around social media for years like a rolled-up twenty.

The 1980 Anniversary Edition Black Gold ZX was perfect to usher in the new decade. As a little car-fanatic kid in a multiple-Z-owning household, I had a toy R/C model of this very car tucked next to me in bed on occasion, rather than a teddy bear.

$17,000 is a big number for the car I’ve come to refer to as the 2DSC — two door saloon car, as it’s not much different than a Maxima of the era. The later cars, especially the turbocharged examples, brought much of the performance back to Nissan/Datsun showrooms, but these early ZXs were just good, comfortable cruisers.

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Journalist Puts BMW i8 On Its Roof in Mexico City http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/journalist-puts-bmw-i8-roof-mexico-city/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/journalist-puts-bmw-i8-roof-mexico-city/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106401 In light of Bark M.’s post on the possible propensity of Fiesta STs rolling over while autocrossing, and TTAC’s tradition of commenting when autojournos manage to wreck press cars (disclaimer: I once brushed a Fiat Abarth’s wheel against a curb), we bring you this report from Wrecked Exotics. A so far unidentified journalist taking an early […]

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In light of Bark M.’s post on the possible propensity of Fiesta STs rolling over while autocrossing, and TTAC’s tradition of commenting when autojournos manage to wreck press cars (disclaimer: I once brushed a Fiat Abarth’s wheel against a curb), we bring you this report from Wrecked Exotics. A so far unidentified journalist taking an early production BMW i8 for a test drive near Mexico City managed to roll the gas-electric hybrid supercar, leaving it bottoms up.

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Cars with battery packs tend to have very low centers of gravity so it takes a bit of effort to roll them. From the photos published at Wrecked Exotics, it looks to me like the driver, who reportedly was uninjured in the wreck, may have misjudged a corner and hit a stone retaining wall, causing the car to flip.

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The other day, Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik posted a pretty detailed look at the business of providing press cars to journalists, including the fact that the cost to supply a single car to a single journalist for review purposes is non-trivial, averaging hundreds of dollars and sometimes running into four figures. My guess is that this will be a fairly expensive review for BMW.

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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Consumer Reports Reveals New Cars’ Dirty Secret http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/consumer-reports-reveals-new-cars-dirty-secret/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/consumer-reports-reveals-new-cars-dirty-secret/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106329 Engines burn oil, but how much oil burn is normal is at the heart of a Consumer Reports study that examined nearly 500,000 new cars for how much oil they have to replace in their new car’s engine. It’s a dirty, dirty business. The report defined excessive oil consumption as adding more than one quart between recommended […]

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Engines burn oil, but how much oil burn is normal is at the heart of a Consumer Reports study that examined nearly 500,000 new cars for how much oil they have to replace in their new car’s engine.

It’s a dirty, dirty business.

The report defined excessive oil consumption as adding more than one quart between recommended oil changes. The biggest offenders: BMW’s 4.8-liter and 4.4-liter twin turbocharged V8’s, Audi’s 2.0-liter turbo four and 3.0-liter V6. The report also said Subaru’s 2.0- and 2.5-liter fours and 3.6-liter flat six were lesser offenders.

According to Consumer Reports, the engines comprise only 2 percent of vehicles on the road, but that small sliver of the segment accounted for nearly 1.5 million cars. The offenders were particularly heinous in their oil consumption, as well — a new BMW 5-Series was 27 times more likely to need oil than an average new car.

Many new cars shouldn’t need additional oil between oil changes, the consumer group said, and oil consumption on vehicles with fewer than 100,000 miles should be the exception — not the rule.

Nonetheless, representatives from manufacturers such as BMW and Subaru said oil consumption for their engines isn’t out of the ordinary and could be dependent on temperature, driving style and transmission type.

The report highlighted the experience of one New York woman who said Subaru offered her $500 to offset the cost of new oil after she complained that her 2012 Impreza was burning too much.

Subaru’s Director of Communications Michael McHale said in a emailed statement that Subaru “doesn’t have a program in place but we do review each case on an individual basis.”

Out of court, some manufacturers have authorized repairing or even replacing an engine if it’s burning too much oil. In court, both Audi and Subaru are defendants in class-action suits regarding the problem.

Representatives from BMW did not immediately return requests for comment.

In some cases, automakers have settled the suits or extended powertrain warranties to cover any excessive oil consumption. In California, as part of a settlement, Toyota extended its powertrain warranties in some Camrys and Corollas to cover 10 years or 150,000 miles. Honda extended its warranty to 8 years on some of its 6-cylinder cars in 2013, after settling a class-action suit where hundreds complained about oil consumption.

BMW spokesman Hector Arellano-Belloc is quoted in the Consumer Reports story saying:

“BMW vehicles have long intervals between oil changes (10,000 miles). BMW engines (excluding the BMW M) may consume up to one quart of engine oil per 750 miles under certain driving conditions.”

Which sucks for me because my own personal 3 Series’ oil capacity is around 7 quarts — or about bone-dry halfway between regularly scheduled changes.

The report also underscores a small, but not insignificant, problem that manufacturers must do everything they can to combat the perception that cars are inefficient, environmentally irresponsible machines. Constantly pumping a car full of dead dinosaur juice may not help.

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Record Sales Pace Partially Fueled by Record Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/record-sales-pace-partially-fueled-record-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/record-sales-pace-partially-fueled-record-incentives/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106289 The Detroit Bureau is reporting that even though June was a record sales month for many automakers, many of those sales were partly fueled with record incentives from the manufacturer. Buyers could get up to $8,000 knocked of the price of a Kia K900 or up to $7,000 off of Ford hybrids or electric cars — […]

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Insane People at the Stock Photo Dealership

The Detroit Bureau is reporting that even though June was a record sales month for many automakers, many of those sales were partly fueled with record incentives from the manufacturer.

Buyers could get up to $8,000 knocked of the price of a Kia K900 or up to $7,000 off of Ford hybrids or electric cars — even $8,000 for the 2015 Ford C-Max Energi.

Despite the higher-than-normal incentives, the Detroit Bureau reported that the Average Transaction Price for a new car in June was $31,848, up around 1 percent over last year.

Two automakers increased spending on their incentives by more than 30 percent over the same time last year — Nissan and Hyundai. As a percentage of incentives offered to ATP, Kia (11.7 percent), Hyundai (10.5 percent), Nissan (10.3 percent), GM (10.2 percent) and FCA (10.2 percent) were the biggest spenders last month.

As expected, many of the heavily incentivized cars were slow-moving models or cars with narrow appeal, which automakers could immediately offset by selling massive amounts of huge crossovers with equally huge margins.

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Chevrolet Adds Cell Phone Cooling Mat, Welcome To The Beginning of the End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chevrolet-adds-cell-phone-cooling-mat-welcome-future/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chevrolet-adds-cell-phone-cooling-mat-welcome-future/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106249 So, the world is coming to an end. Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before […]

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Engineers added a cold air vent to certain Chevrolets for the 2016 model year to help keep smart phones wirelessly charging in the car from overheating.  The industry-first feature will be available in 2016 Chevrolet Impala, Malibu, Volt and Cruze models equipped with wireless charging and Chevrolet MyLink. The Active Phone Cooling feature works when the car’s heating, ventilation and cooling system is on.

So, the world is coming to an end.

Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before it turns itself into a hot brick of glass, plastic and metal.

Finally, engineers at GM got my letter.

According to GM, the vent will only operate when the vehicle’s heating or cooling system is on. The system works by placing an air vent on the mat, because that makes the most sense.

The feature will also be installed in Chevrolet Cruze and Volt models equipped with the wireless charging mat. For those of us who don’t spring for the wireless charging feature — or don’t plan on buying a Chevrolet soon — we’ll have to continue living in the Mesozoic Era with our nuclear-hot iPhone 6 Pluses.

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Nissan, Toyota, Honda Team to Build Fuel-Cell Infrastructure in Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106169 According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars. The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars. The agreement […]

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According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

The agreement was formed in February between the large automakers, but began accepting applications July 1.

The program also boosts “awareness” of the FCVs by offering incentives for stations to stay open longer and offer more services.

A similar alliance between automakers in the U.S. could boost FCV participation rates, but maybe we can’t have nice things.

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Robot Kills Man in Germany VW Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/robot-kills-man-germany-vw-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/robot-kills-man-germany-vw-plant/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:35:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106193 According to report from German-language HNA, a robot has killed a contractor in a Volkswagen plant in Germany, near Frankfurt. The 22-year-old man, whose name has not released, was crushed against a metal plate by the machine. According to officials, operator error may have caused the man’s death. The plant is located in Baunatal, which is […]

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Robots

According to report from German-language HNA, a robot has killed a contractor in a Volkswagen plant in Germany, near Frankfurt.

The 22-year-old man, whose name has not released, was crushed against a metal plate by the machine. According to officials, operator error may have caused the man’s death.

The plant is located in Baunatal, which is roughly 60 miles from Frankfurt, and doesn’t assemble vehicles, but is one of VW’s largest component producers.

Reports say the man was assembling the machine in the plant and was not a VW employee. No charges in the death have been filed though investigators are still trying to determine if any are applicable.

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Sales of EVs, Hybrids Slumping After Gas Prices Dip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105913 Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up. According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf […]

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Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up.

According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf — last month, and both models may end up down significantly for the sales year.

Hybrid carmakers such as Ford and Honda are also reporting slow sales for their cars. Ford reported that its hybrid sales were down 29 percent over the last five months, and Honda reported a 15-percent drop in June.

Industry analysts say the slowdown could be a result of the lowest gas prices in five years, and a adjustment of states’ EV incentives. Recently, the California Air Resources Board unveiled a tiered incentive program that would adjust rebates based on income. A study showed that more than one in four EV buyers in California earned more than $200,000 a year, but still received the full benefit during the second quarter of 2015. More than three-quarters of EV buyers made more than $99,000. Georgia will end its incentives.

None of this has slowed down automakers’ production of EVs, however.

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F1 Fan Study: Everything Is The Same/Different http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/f1-study-everything-samedifferent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/f1-study-everything-samedifferent/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105825 A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same. The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly […]

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A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly remember an era that didn’t go over so well in its time.

The study was conducted by the Grand Prix Drivers Association and Motorsport.com, and polled more than 215,000 fans from nearly 200 countries.

Among some of the more surprising responses were the fans’ favorite driver (Kimi Raikkonen), their favorite team (Ferrari) and their favorite era of F1 (2000s). It may not be surprising considering the average age of an F1 fan is 37 years old — the approximate wheelhouse for the Schumacher era. The winningest driver in F1 history finished second in a list of all-time drivers behind Ayrton Senna and ahead of Alain Prost.

While the report may serve as a warning for F1 bosses that the sport is growing dull, uncompetitive and too expensive, it’s very possible that the same sentiment was prevalent 20 years ago.

More than 30 percent of respondents said the 2000-era cars were their favorite (they were panned in their time), 89 percent said the sport needs to be more competitive (despite selecting one of the most-dominant drivers of his era) and the fan’s favorite team is the very expensive, very closed-door, very dominant Scuderia Ferrari.

Among the other interesting answers:

  • Only slightly more than half of respondents think a budget cap would be a good idea (54 percent);
  • Only 40 percent think the Drag Reduction System for passing has worked;
  • Four out of five surveyed think there should be more than one tire manufacturer in F1;
  • Nearly three out of four surveyed say the sound and power of F1 engines are important;
  • Less than half (45 percent) say F1 has the best drivers, although 88 percent say F1 needs to feature the best drivers;
  • And only 60 percent say F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport.

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Piston Slap: What’s so Hellabad about Hellaflush? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100985   Casey writes: Hello Sajeev, I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said […]

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Nice, Slammed, eXtreme? (photo courtesy: www.nsxprime.com)

Casey writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said it was supposed to be like that. I have seen other cars running the negative camber and I’ve seen cars that were lowered without. So question, is there a reason to run extreme negative camber or is this just a bad lowering job? 

Sajeev answers:

I agree with your assessment. Very few, if any, performance cars come from the factory aligned aggressively enough to wear tires that unevenly. I reckon that NSX was lowered, tweaked to reflect well upon the Stancenation. To live the Hellaflush lifestyle! To embrace the image of performance, without necessarily improving actual performance.

No seriously, facades are awesome like that. Because I’d be a hypocrite if I said otherwise.

New Cadillacs and Lincolns = Cooler in Houston

Now to make inferences, and foolishly justify them.

There’s always a reason for this: a subtle lowering can improve performance and stance at the same time. On an NSX? Probably not, since it isn’t a buffalo-butted, blunt nosed family sedan jacked up to the sky by the factory. I reckon the fastest NSX on a less-than-perfect track has the factory ride height with a slightly more aggressive wheel alignment. A hellaflush NSX will lose…if that was the point.

It’s totally not the point. We all have a need to look cool, even those who claim otherwise in the comments section below. To wit, I put 1.5″ front lowering springs (factory spring rate) from these guys on my Fox Cougar to both look cool with my 17×8.5″ reproduction Cobra wheels and retain factory-like ride/handling traits. The rears have a small (1/8″) spacer because of the mishmash between wheel offset and new axles from a rear disc brake conversion. All this effort for a modest lowering job is important on a suspension as half-baked as a Fox body Ford.

I avoided the “improper” or “bad lowering job” you mentioned. Well, at least I think so.

Some folks think more aggressive suspension and wheel/tire modifications add extra cool factor to their lives. Perhaps I might be one of them, even if I bristle at the sight of most Hellaflush rides. But Hellaflush riders certainly don’t give a shit about what you or I think.

So let your coworker buddy enjoy his cool looking NSX. If you can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, take him to a track day and let serious racers give him an education that he might deserve. Or not.

UPDATE: TTAC commentator “Sketch” corrected me about the NSX’s factory tire wear issues, sadly my Google-fu failed us all. My apologies. 

 

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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Neighbors: Corvette Museum Motorsport Park is Too Damn Loud http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/neighbors-corvette-museum-motorsport-park-is-too-damn-loud/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/neighbors-corvette-museum-motorsport-park-is-too-damn-loud/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105049 On Monday, officials served the administrators of the Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky with notice that the neighbors around the track think the fledgling raceway is too damn loud. According to Bowling Green Daily News (via Hemmings), neighbors complained about the track’s noise, although no specific decibel limit was specifically outlined in the track’s permit to operate. According […]

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1984vette

On Monday, officials served the administrators of the Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky with notice that the neighbors around the track think the fledgling raceway is too damn loud.

According to Bowling Green Daily News (via Hemmings), neighbors complained about the track’s noise, although no specific decibel limit was specifically outlined in the track’s permit to operate.

According to Mitch Wright, general manager for the motorsports park, track officials met with the city-county’s planning commission today. The track held a meeting Monday night with neighbors and local officials to discuss noise coming from the track.

“This is about us coming together and coming up with meaningful solutions,” Wright said.

The track has operated since last fall, although this is the first official violation they’ve received from neighbors. Wright said in the past neighbors would complain — or not complain — about noise from the track depending on the type of cars or wind conditions from the day. He also stated the motorsports park is building “significant” structures at the track to help mitigate sound escaping, including a 30-foot garage to shield neighbors from the noise.

The track, which is part of the National Corvette Museum complex is a significant tourism draw (read: free tax money.)

“Obviously there’s a number of businesses and industry in this area. From a tourism standpoint, we have a pretty serious effect,” Wright said.

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Chart Of The Day: U.S. Automaker Market Share In America – June 2015 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-u-s-automaker-market-share-america-june-2015-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-u-s-automaker-market-share-america-june-2015-ytd/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104993 General Motors generated 17.7% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales in the first-half of 2015, a slight decline from the 17.8% market share earned by GM in the same period one year ago. GM, the top-selling automobile manufacturer in the United States, posted a 3.4% year-over-year sales improvement through the first six months […]

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TTAC June 2015 YTD auto brand market share chart

General Motors generated 17.7% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales in the first-half of 2015, a slight decline from the 17.8% market share earned by GM in the same period one year ago.

GM, the top-selling automobile manufacturer in the United States, posted a 3.4% year-over-year sales improvement through the first six months of 2015, but that was a full percentage point off the pace set by the industry as a whole.

Similarly, Ford Motor Company, American Honda, Hyundai-Kia, and the Volkswagen Group all failed to grow their sales at the rate of the steadily growing American auto industry. The overall auto industry is beginning to appear capable of selling 17 million vehicles for the first time since 2001, when sales slipped 1.3% from the massive achievement of 2000.

On the other side of the coin, Toyota (including Lexus and Scion) have improved their market share from 14.3% in the first six months of 2014 to 14.4% this year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, meanwhile, now owns 12.8% of the U.S. new vehicle market, up from 12.6% at this point last year.

America’s top-selling vehicle in the month of June was Ford’s F-Series, but it was roundly outsold by the twins from General Motors, Chevrolet’s Silverado and the GMC Sierra. The Toyota Camry led all cars for the fifth consecutive month. The Honda CR-V likewise expanded its lead in the SUV/crossover sales race. Total June auto sales were up 4% to just under 1.48 million units.

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

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