The Truth About Cars » History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:34:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/history-news-blog/ Geneva 2015: US-Bound Ford Focus RS Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-us-bound-ford-focus-rs-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-us-bound-ford-focus-rs-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:16:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012322 Bound for the U.S. market at last, the Ford Focus RS took the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Under the bonnet, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder sends 315 horsepower to all four corners through a six-speed manual. Seventy percent of its torque can be directed toward the rear axle, 100 percent toward a single […]

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Bound for the U.S. market at last, the Ford Focus RS took the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Under the bonnet, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder sends 315 horsepower to all four corners through a six-speed manual. Seventy percent of its torque can be directed toward the rear axle, 100 percent toward a single rear wheel, via two electronic clutch packs.

Stiffer springs and bushings, larger anti-roll bars, optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires, and Recaro seats are some of the other features onboard the 30th Ford vehicle to wear the RS badge.

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Geneva 2015: MINI Countryman Park Lane Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:10:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011826 Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need. Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. […]

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Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need.

Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. The trim level wears a two-tone ensemble of Early Grey and Oak Red with optional stripes in the latter. Other features include 18-inch wheels in Turbo Fan Dark Grey, exclusive emblems, and trim pieces and surfaces in Oxide Silver and Carbon Black.

No price has been stated thus far, but the first of the Countryman Park Lanes should be rolling off the line beginning in July of this year.

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Study: US Auto Sales To Rise Through 2017, Modestly Decline Through 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006458 Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020. According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales […]

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Bill Colwell Ford Dealership

Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales will hit 17 million, peaking at 17.24 million in 2017.

Per AutoPacific industry analysis vice president Ed Kim, the boom is fueled by both “continued increases in truck and SUV sales,” and the rapid growth of compact crossover sales among mainstream and premium brands. Combined, such sales would make up 55 percent of the overall U.S. market this year.

As for the aforementioned downturn beginning in 2018 and going forward through 2020, Kim cites rises in interest rates, Millennials waiting to purchase their first vehicle, and extended loan terms as factors in the upcoming decline. He adds that despite this, sales are likely to bottom-out at 16.8 million by the start of the next decade, 60 percent better than the 10.4 million vehicles sold in 2009 during the early days of the Great Recession.

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Williams: UAW Must Balance Member, Corporate Demands In Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006346 Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive. UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes […]

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Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive.

UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes time to sit down with the management at Ford, FCA US and General Motors this summer.

The main issue will be the two-tier wage system that has been in place since 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The policy has been applied at varying rates since the division took hold, with 42 percent of FCA US’ UAW workers — 35,720 — being paid at the second-tier rate of $15.78 to $19.28 an hour; second-tier workers at Ford and GM make up 28 and 20 percent of their respective 50,700 and 49,900 represented employees.

While the union is facing pressure to get as much for its membership as it can, it also has to make sure the Detroit Three remains viable over the long-term. With GM in particular, the UAW has a major political and institutional stake in the automaker’s well-being, as the union is its largest shareholder via its retiree health care trusts.

That said, should push come to shove, Williams says his membership is ready to strike, following in the footsteps of workers at oil refineries and those along the West Coast ports. The UAW hasn’t conducted a major industrial action since the 1990s, and were barred from striking at all at GM and Chrysler as a result of the agreements made in 2009.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Adds 75 Claims To Tally http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-adds-75-claims-tally/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-adds-75-claims-tally/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004466 As of this Monday, the compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall received 75 more claims. Reuters reports the new overall total comes to 4,312. Of those, 3,546 were related to less-serious injuries, 288 were for catastrophic injuries, and 478 were tied to fatalities. Claims […]

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2007 Saturn Ion Red Line

As of this Monday, the compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall received 75 more claims.

Reuters reports the new overall total comes to 4,312. Of those, 3,546 were related to less-serious injuries, 288 were for catastrophic injuries, and 478 were tied to fatalities.

Claims eligible for compensation stand at 143: 56 fatality claims, nine severe-injury claims, and 78 less-severe-injury claims. As for the rest, 513 were found ineligible, 1,388 are under review, and 1,198 lacked documentation.

The final received tally will come in the near future, once every claim postmarked by the January 31, 2015 deadline has been processed. GM has set aside $400 million to cover all payouts for eligible claims.

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General Motors’ Bankruptcy Protections Could Narrow Pending Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003706 Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed. According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the […]

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Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed.

According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York said that he would reassess the terms that carved Old GM from New GM if the latter violated due process, allowing affected consumers to go after the automaker for defects it knew of after the exit from bankruptcy.

Gerber’s potential decision won’t sit well with those filing lawsuits over issues of lost value, injury and death as a result of those defects. The plaintiffs are asking for GM to pay compensation in the billions of dollars for its pre-bankruptcy actions, which a modified sale order would mitigate. Gerber is expected to make his decision sometime in the coming weeks at the earliest.

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Honda Abandons 2017 Sales Target To Improve Product Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002770 Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017. Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO […]

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2014 Honda Civic Coupe (7 of 29)

Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017.

Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, inspired by the late Soichiro Honda, says he will bring his company “back to basics,” with business expansion no longer in the cards.

The announcement follows a year of quality issues affecting the automaker, from the recalls involving the Fit and Vezel, to the Takata airbag recall crisis that led to Honda’s decision to use units from Autoliv and Daicel. The latter issue also brought scrutiny to the company from the United States government, resulting in a record fine of $70 million for how it handled reporting potential issues to regulators for over a decade.

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Geneva 2015: Mercedes Pullman, C-Class PHEV To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-mercedes-pullman-c-class-phev-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-mercedes-pullman-c-class-phev-debut/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1001946 The big daddy of despot and celebrity rides will model its new suit when the Mercedes Pullman arrives arm-in-arm with a C-Class PHEV in Geneva next month. Reuters reports the new six-passenger Pullman will, like the original’s ideological successor, the S600 Pullman, be based upon the current S-Class, but will gain a meter in the […]

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Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman

The big daddy of despot and celebrity rides will model its new suit when the Mercedes Pullman arrives arm-in-arm with a C-Class PHEV in Geneva next month.

Reuters reports the new six-passenger Pullman will, like the original’s ideological successor, the S600 Pullman, be based upon the current S-Class, but will gain a meter in the length of its wheelbase to accommodate high-level dignitaries and celebrities on their way to world-affecting and/or illicit affairs.

As for the C-Class PHEV, the model will be among the first to have a plug-in hybrid powertrain, allowing drivers to head into the city for work and/or errands on just electric power alone.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Accessories Design Concept Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:32:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998138 Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a […]

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Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a backside reworked for improved aero.

Brembo brakes help slow the forged BBS wheels around the hairpin, while a carbon-fiber luggage rack with integrated third-brake light allows the driver and a lucky passenger to pack more than just a day’s worth of clothing; the rack also weighs less than 2 pounds.

The concept is also a homecoming for the Miata, as the first-gen version of the iconic roadster bowed in Chicago back in 1989. The 2016 version, meanwhile, is set to hit showrooms this summer.

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Wilson: $8B Stock Buyback Would Boost General Motors’ Value http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996682 The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value. Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution […]

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Maeva Advisors LLC Founder and CEO Harry Wilson Interview

The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value.

Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution to take place the following year. The move is meant to provide more value for its shareholders, who are frustrated with the automaker’s reluctance to spend some of the $25 billion it has to withstand another recession if necessary.

Wilson believes the automaker could part with $8 billion and still withstand an economic blow like the one that landed it in bankruptcy court six years prior, and is working with four investment funds that hold a total of 34.4 million shares to help make it so. Wilson was tapped by President Barack Obama to help with GM’s restructuring during said bankruptcy.

That said, GM may still be reluctant to spend that much money. Per Morningstar senior equity analyst David Whiston, the company has to be careful amid a weak industry outside of North America. GM also faces the spectre of a large fine paid to the U.S. Department of Justice due to the former’s handling of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as building up its lending arm GM Financial to boost the automaker’s credit rating.

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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Toyota Ordered To Pay $11M In Minnesota Unintended Acceleration Suit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993954 Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million. Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when […]

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1996 Toyota Camry LE

Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million.

Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when Koua Fong Lee’s Camry lost its brakes while its accelerator became stuck, striking Trice-Adams Sr.’s Oldsmobile Ciera. Two other passengers were injured in the accident, and Lee spent three years in prison for vehicular manslaughter before being released in 2010 after reports of unintended acceleration involving Toyota products took the spotlight.

Toyota still claims Lee was 100 percent at-fault for the fatal accident, and is considering legal options to pursue. The car itself also wasn’t under the 2009-11 recall of 10 million vehicles made between 2005 and 2010.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Sees 51st Eligible Death Claim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-51st-eligible-death-claim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-51st-eligible-death-claim/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992898 The compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall confirmed its 51st eligible death claim Monday. Reuters reports that 4,180 claims were received as of February 1, with the final number expected to rise when all claims submitted with a timestamp of January 31 — the […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia Store

The compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall confirmed its 51st eligible death claim Monday.

Reuters reports that 4,180 claims were received as of February 1, with the final number expected to rise when all claims submitted with a timestamp of January 31 — the deadline for filing said claims — have been accounted. Of those, fund deputy administrator Camille Biros says over 1,600 claims were filed in January, 700 alone filed between Thursday and the deadline.

Among the claims found eligible for an offer, 51 were linked to deaths, 8 had ties to severe injuries, and 69 were for less-severe injuries. Between $400 million and $600 million has been set aside by General Motors for the offers, the last of which will likely be made late into the spring of this year.

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Wright: Tesla’s Camry ‘Not Possible’ Despite Ongoing Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992866 Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely. During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally […]

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Ian Wright

Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely.

During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally thought it would, praising the success of the Model S.

As for Tesla’s overall goal of building EVs “cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until they were outselling the Camry,” he still thinks that isn’t possible, having never been “on board” with the idea among co-founders Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning.

As for his own company, which makes hybrid gas-electric turbine drivetrains for medium and heavy commercial vehicles like garbage and delivery trucks, Wright says there’s a $5 billion market in the United States for his drivetrains, $2 billion alone in garbage trucks. Clients such as FedEx and Ratto Group have installed Wrightspeed tech into their fleets in California, while the California Energy Commission bestowed his company with nearly $7 million in grants.

Speaking of funding, Wright is preparing an IPO in the event he does take his company public, hoping he might do better than when he sold his Tesla shares in 2010 prior to their astronomical appreciation.

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Obama Budget Proposes Tax On Corporate Foreign Earnings For Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992842 President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads. Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected […]

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Syracuse Road Construction - Utah DOT

President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads.

Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected taxes would then be distributed into road infrastructure projects at a rate of $79.7 billion per year over the next six years, totalling $478 billion.

Meanwhile, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Barbara Boxer of California have both offered a “repatriation holiday” to said corporations, giving the latter a tax rate of 6.75 percent over five years on foreign earnings brought back to the United States. The taxes would then go into those projects.

However, such holidays have been frowned upon by Obama over his two terms, warning that corporations would lobby Congress for more tax holidays; the Joint Committee on Taxation found such holidays would lose money over a decade despite the short-term gain.

Another option, proposed by Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, would tax corporate foreign earnings at a rate of 8.75 percent while ending deferrals. The bill would collect $170 billion to be spent on roads for six years.

Whatever happens, a decision would have to be made within the next few months. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund will go empty once again if nothing is done by May 31 of this year, forcing Congress to make do with the gas taxes collected. Since most people are driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles to get around these days, those taxes — which haven’t been raised above 18.4 cents/gallon since 1993 — fall short of the $50 billion per year needed for infrastructure; the current rate is of collection is $34 billion/year.

Two options have been proposed to fix the main issue — increase the gas tax and then pegging it to inflation, or expand drilling on federal lands and collecting the royalties — but neither option is popular among most in the Beltway.

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Ford Elevating 55 To First-Tier Pay After Hitting Second-Tier Cap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-elevating-55-first-tier-pay-hitting-second-tier-cap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-elevating-55-first-tier-pay-hitting-second-tier-cap/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992474 Fifty-five Ford employees will be elevated to first-tier pay status after the automaker exceeded its cap on second-tier hires. Automotive News reports the employees were hired between February and June of 2010, and work at the automaker’s facilities in Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville, Ky., per the announcement by the United Auto Workers. The union […]

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Ford Louisville Assembly Plant + Ford Escape

Fifty-five Ford employees will be elevated to first-tier pay status after the automaker exceeded its cap on second-tier hires.

Automotive News reports the employees were hired between February and June of 2010, and work at the automaker’s facilities in Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville, Ky., per the announcement by the United Auto Workers. The union praised the move, considering it a milestone as it presses forward toward the goal of eliminating the two-tier system in its contract with Ford. The contract requires that second-tier employees be promoted to first-tier in order of hiring when the cap on the former is exceeded.

As a result, those 55 employees will see their pay rise from $19/hr. to $28/hr., though benefits will still fall short of those received by employees hired in 2007 and earlier. Currently, 14,200 of the automaker’s 50,400 U.S. employees are on second-tier pay status, and that it was 69 employees away from hitting the cap of 28 percent of all employees for that level of pay. Ford is the only one of the Detroit Three to have a cap in place; General Motors and FCA US had caps of 20 to 25 percent of all employees, which were lifted in 2009 under bankruptcy protection.

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Fuel Prices To Climb Above $2/Gal Beginning Mid-February http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/fuel-prices-climb-2gal-beginning-mid-february/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/fuel-prices-climb-2gal-beginning-mid-february/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992370 Enjoying sub-$2/gallon prices at the pump? Those fuel prices will make their slow climb back up above $2 beginning later this month. GasBuddy says that while oil prices have fallen, the wholesale prices for refined products, such as gasoline, are on the rise. Underutilization of capacity at the refinery is leading to a surplus of […]

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Anacortes_Refinery_31911

Enjoying sub-$2/gallon prices at the pump? Those fuel prices will make their slow climb back up above $2 beginning later this month.

GasBuddy says that while oil prices have fallen, the wholesale prices for refined products, such as gasoline, are on the rise. Underutilization of capacity at the refinery is leading to a surplus of oil, which means less gasoline et al to distribute.

Another contributing factor to the increase in price at the pump is the annual changeover to summer-blend gasoline, whose cleanliness comes at a higher cost. Consumer demand and refinery maintenance will help push up pricing, as well.

The increase is expected to crest between April and May, likely to remain above $2/gallon for some time to come. The current average is holding at $2.04/gallon, per AAA.

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IIHS: US Driver Fatalities Fall One-Third In Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991274 Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years. Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an […]

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Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years.

Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an all-time industry record.

The IIHS added that nine vehicles made in 2011 or earlier had no fatalities recorded between 2009 and 2012: Audi A4 4WD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 4WD, Mercedes-Benz GL-class 4WD, Subaru Legacy 4WD, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequoia 4WD and Volvo XC90 4WD. The list marks an improvement in safety according to the non-profit group, when only eight years ago, “there were no models with driver death rates of zero.”

However, while most of the vehicles with zero fatalities are SUVs and crossovers, most of the vehicles with the highest number of deaths over the same period are compacts like the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio. The report confirms this, proclaiming that “with some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.” This is a change from a decade earlier, when SUVs and crossovers had higher numbers of deaths due to a lack of stability controls and other systems meant to prevent roll-over.

As far as total elimination of traffic fatalities in the U.S. goes, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer David Zuby says such a thing is decades away, and would require not only continued improvements in vehicle safety, but changes in road construction and public safety policy, as well. The report adds that the Great Recession helped to contribute toward the decline in deaths, warning that as the economy continues its recovery, and without said policy changes, the decline could reverse.

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NHTSA Seeking Whistleblowers In Takata Airbag Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nhtsa-seeking-whistleblowers-takata-airbag-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nhtsa-seeking-whistleblowers-takata-airbag-investigation/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991194 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking whistleblowers who have knowledge “of possible defects or any wrongdoing” about Takata. Reuters reports the NHTSA has set up a hotline for current and former employees of the airbag supplier as part of its ongoing investigation into a number of death and injury cases linked to defective […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking whistleblowers who have knowledge “of possible defects or any wrongdoing” about Takata.

Reuters reports the NHTSA has set up a hotline for current and former employees of the airbag supplier as part of its ongoing investigation into a number of death and injury cases linked to defective airbag inflators, with the promise of legal protection for those who call. Agency representative Gordon Trowbridge explains:

We encourage all individuals with information about the manufacture or testing of Takata air bag inflators, or who have knowledge of possible defects or any wrongdoing by the company, to make this information available to NHTSA.

The news organization itself received numerous reports from former Takata employees wishing to remain anonymous of hiding or altering data and other information linked to the airbags, as well as two from Mark Lillie and Michael Britton regarding the supplier’s introduction and use of ammonium nitrate at its facility in Moses Lake, Wash. Both expressed concerns about the lack of safety testing and validation for the chemical before Takata pressed forward with its use in the late 1990s.

Takata, for its part, claimed that it was “committed to working with NHTSA and [its] automotive customers to ensure the safety of the driving public,” opting not to comment specifically on the NHTSA’s call for whistleblowers, nor on Reuters‘ own findings.

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General Motors Sticking To Filing Deadline Despite Calls For Extension http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989986 Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday. Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked […]

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GM ignition diagram

Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday.

Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall, citing a Justice Department investigation into whether or not the automaker broke any laws in handling the issue, as well as a pending federal court decision that could strip GM of its bankruptcy protections established in 2009.

The senators add that notification problems are also an issue, with some claimants never hearing about the fund until another source informs them, such as when the family of Jean Averill — one of the first 13 fatalities linked to the defective part — were notified by The New York Times while working on the story about her last November.

GM, however, says it “conducted extensive outreach about the program,” having contacted over 5 million past and present owners of vehicles affected by the recall, including the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac Solstice:

Our goal is to be just and timely in compensating the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered physical injury. We previously extended the deadline until January 31, and we do not plan another extension.

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Carter To Musk: Hydrogen Just One Basket For Toyota’s Eggs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989546 Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week. Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week.

Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, as well as those made earlier this month at the Automotive News World Congress, when Musk suggested methane or propane as a better energy storage mechanism while declaring hydrogen “an incredibly dumb one to pick”:

I’m a little disappointed in Mr. Musk’s comments in Detroit last week. But I understand. If I was in a position that I had all of my eggs in one basket I would perhaps be making those same comments. When you take a look at the future, [FCVs are] not a 24- to 36-month play. When you start looking in the 2020s, anybody that would deny [the potential of] moving from an oil-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy [isn’t] looking at the future correctly.

Carter’s response, made last week during the J.D. Power Automotive Summit in San Francisco, come on the heels of Toyota’s unexpected response to its Mirai FCV. Though not due in U.S. showrooms until later this year, the automaker received over 16,000 requests for information on the car. Meanwhile, the FCV has 1,500 confirmed pre-orders in its home market of Japan, with Toyota likely to boost production as interest in the Mirai grows.

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General Motors Developing CVT In-House For Global Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987842 Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup. Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark

Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup.

Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the automaker’s new line of three- and four-cylinder engines set to see production this year. The sources added that GM is taking bids from suppliers to build parts for the CVT.

Though the automaker uses CVTs already, including the 2015 Spark and Nissan NV-based City Express, it hasn’t had much luck with using units designed and assembled in-house. In the early 2000s, GM ran a program that saw such a product installed in the Saturn Vue and Ion, as well as the Opel Vectra, before production and drivability issues brought the program to a halt in 2004.

As for why go for it again, GM Powertrain representative Tom Read says the automaker has the capability to make its own CVTs, and will deliver when conditions — specifically those concerning fuel efficiency and emissions — are met:

GM has unmatched transmission expertise and development resources and is capable of delivering additional CVTs if and when they’re needed.

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Judge Asked To Make Treasury’s Role In 2009 GM Bailout Public http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987098 Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout. Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of […]

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Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout.

Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of documents linked to the Treasury’s role in the bailout, suggesting the department told GM to cast aside responsibility for any defects or accidents tied to said defects before receiving $49.5 billion in funding.

On the other side, the Treasury is asking the judge to dismiss president Clarence Ditlow’s 2011 lawsuit for the aforementioned information, warning that being forced to go public would harm the government’s chances to come to the aid of a company whose demise would greatly damage the overall economy.

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Four Former Chrysler Dealerships Could Reopen Following US Appeals Court Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/four-former-chrysler-dealerships-reopen-following-us-appeals-court-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/four-former-chrysler-dealerships-reopen-following-us-appeals-court-ruling/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986738 After five years of fighting and a U.S. appeals court ruling, four former Chrysler dealerships could have a shot at opening their doors once more. Automotive News reports three Detroit area dealerships — Livonia Chrysler Jeep Inc., Fox Hills Chrysler Jeep and Village Chrysler Jeep — and one based in Las Vegas — Jim Marsh […]

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2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD front angle

After five years of fighting and a U.S. appeals court ruling, four former Chrysler dealerships could have a shot at opening their doors once more.

Automotive News reports three Detroit area dealerships — Livonia Chrysler Jeep Inc., Fox Hills Chrysler Jeep and Village Chrysler Jeep — and one based in Las Vegas — Jim Marsh Chrysler Jeep — could reopen after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a federal arbitration law allowing 789 dealers to fight against closure by Chrysler overruled state laws allowing local dealers to legally fight against nearby competitors from opening doors.

The court added the victory wasn’t an unconditional reinstatement, yet “should meaningfully facilitate incorporation of prevailing dealerships back into the network.” FCA US issued a statement praising the district court for its decision, and is reviewing legal options to take regarding the four dealerships.

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Glass’s: Falling Fuel Prices Mean Return Of Big Gas Guzzlers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/glasss-falling-fuel-prices-mean-return-big-gas-guzzlers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/glasss-falling-fuel-prices-mean-return-big-gas-guzzlers/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983873 As the price at the pump continues to plummet — diesel not so much — British valuation guide Glass’s predicts big gas guzzlers new and used will return to the motorway. According to Just-Auto, Glass’s valuation chief Rupert Pontin says that despite such vehicles with 3-liter+ engines falling out of favor in the United Kingdom […]

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As the price at the pump continues to plummet — diesel not so much — British valuation guide Glass’s predicts big gas guzzlers new and used will return to the motorway.

According to Just-Auto, Glass’s valuation chief Rupert Pontin says that despite such vehicles with 3-liter+ engines falling out of favor in the United Kingdom since austerity took hold five years ago, falling oil prices could soon motivate consumers into ditching their Ford Fiestas for BMW 335i Sedans:

While no-one could call petrol and diesel prices exactly cheap, they are certainly falling to a level where some consumers won’t place fuel economy as high on their list of priorities as we have seen in recent years. Bigger engined cars are suddenly more viable.

Pontin adds that while this makes for a wonderful few years for bigger-engined vehicles, the environment could take a hit for the duration due to increased emissions from said vehicles.

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