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. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:52 +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/ Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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New York 2015: Lincoln Continental Concept Revealed Ahead Of Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-lincoln-continental-concept-revealed-ahead-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-lincoln-continental-concept-revealed-ahead-show/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:51:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032425 Here it is: the Lincoln Continental Concept, revealed ahead of its trip down the ramp at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Power for the concept comes from a 3-liter EcoBoost V6 made exclusively for Lincoln, while the brand’s ride-enhancement technology and adaptive steering help keep things under control. No power figures were given at […]

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LincolnContinentalConcept_01_Front

Here it is: the Lincoln Continental Concept, revealed ahead of its trip down the ramp at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Power for the concept comes from a 3-liter EcoBoost V6 made exclusively for Lincoln, while the brand’s ride-enhancement technology and adaptive steering help keep things under control. No power figures were given at this time.

Inside, the occupants will be treated to a premium interior composed of Venetian and Alcantara leathers, rose gold and bright chrome trims, a satin headliner, soft-gold LED lighting, shearling wool carpet, and patented 30-way adjustable seating meant to adapt to a given occupant’s shape and size. The passenger-side rear seat can also fully recline when the front passenger seat is moved forward.

Other features include: Revel Ultima audio system; SPD SmartGlass tinting sunroof; tablet-supporting trays for the rear occupants; E-latch door handles; parking and pre-collision assists; 360-degree camera; and LED headlamps with laser-assist high beams.

The Lincoln Continental Concept is also a preview of the brand’s all-new fullsizer — to be called Continental — due next year

Facts_Lincoln_Continental_Concept_Exterior Facts_Lincoln_Continental_Concept_Interior LincolnContinentalConcept_01_Front LincolnContinentalConcept_02_Profile LincolnContinentalConcept_03_Rear LincolnContinentalConcept_06_Rear LincolnContinentalConcept_11_Detail_Headlamp LincolnContinentalConcept_10_Detail_Badge LincolnContinentalConcept_09_Detail_TravelCase LincolnContinentalConcept_07_Interior LincolnContinentalConcept_08_Interior

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Oakland PD Turns Over 4.6M License Plate Dataset Via Public Records Request http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030273 Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014. Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to […]

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OaklandPoliceCar

Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014.

Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to organize the dataset for its investigation into the practice.

With the permission of those contacted, the publication was able to track the movements of each individual based on their license plate, information that provides an insight into a given person’s life, according to University of California, Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump:

Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life. Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast—although possibly with a drinking problem.

Crump adds that, as LPR technology comes down in price and becomes ubiquitous on the backs of police cars and in traffic lights, citizens should support restrictions on the data collected, from how long it’s stored and who can access it, to why it should be accessed in the first place.

Ars Technica also obtained data on OPD vehicles, discovering that a single unit — a 2007 Ford P71 — was scanned 879 times between January 15, 2012 and May 31, 2014 while it travelled through Downtown Oakland and North Oakland; nearly all of the 100 OPD in the dataset were also scanned several hundred times over.

As for how the publication was able to have this data in the first place, neither the OPD or the Oakland City Council has set a formal data retention limit; the police department deletes information as needed for new data, however. All OPD officers also have access to the LPR information at any time, and need not give a reason for accessing the data when searching for a given plate, though policy says such searches require “a legitimate law enforcement purpose, such as following up on a criminal investigation.”

Finally, OPD police captain Anthony Toribio explains that the data is publically available to anyone who asks, citing transparency as the reason:

I think it’s important for a law enforcement organization to be transparent, and it goes to being credible and establishing legitimacy in the community.

The OPD dataset is the second-largest LPR dataset to be released via request, the largest being one from a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Seattle Police Department in 2010. The request resulted in a dataset of over 7.3 million scans.

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Williams: UAW Vows To ‘Bridge The Gap’ Between The Tiers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/williams-uaw-vows-bridge-gap-tiers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/williams-uaw-vows-bridge-gap-tiers/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029753 During his speech at the 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit, president Dennis Williams proclaimed that the time for sacrifice and tiers are over. According to Automotive News, Williams stated before the 900-strong delegates inside Cobo Center that the UAW’s goal was to “raise everybody up and bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier […]

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UAW Wages

During his speech at the 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit, president Dennis Williams proclaimed that the time for sacrifice and tiers are over.

According to Automotive News, Williams stated before the 900-strong delegates inside Cobo Center that the UAW’s goal was to “raise everybody up and bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees in the union’s upcoming contract talks with the Detroit Three: FCA US, Ford and General Motors.

Not only did he vow to roll back Tier 2 toward Tier 1, he had this to say about Ford’s and GM’s desire to create a third tier for lower-skilled employees:

We’ve got too many damn tiers now!

Though preventing a Tier 3 from occurring could be a possibility, bringing Tier 2 on par with Tier 1 may prove difficult for Williams and the UAW.

Established in 2007 as a temporary measure to help the Detroit Three weather the storm of the oncoming Great Recession, the two-tier wage system is now firmly entrenched among the trio, with FCA holding the most Tier 2 employees at 42 percent of its workforce. Around 33,000 employees hired since the middle of 2011 are Tier 2, making up 29 percent of the overall Detroit Three’s 137,000 employees.

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Delegates Call For End Of Two-Tier At UAW Bargaining Convention http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/delegates-call-end-two-tier-uaw-bargaining-convention/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028857 Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007. Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the […]

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UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

Delegates at this week’s 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit are pushing hard for an end to the two-tier wage system in place since 2007.

Detroit Free Press reports that while the union may likely “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers as far as pay goes during its talks with the Detroit Three — FCA US, Ford and General Motors — in September, the delegates want nothing more than the complete end to a scheme that was meant to be a temporary solution to keep the trio afloat through the darkest days of the Great Recession.

One delegate, Bill Parker of UAW Local 1700 in Detroit, went as far as to convince the 900-plus gathered inside Cobo Center to pass a resolution formally committing the union toward complete dismantlement of the two-tier system; the resolution did not pass:

Ending the two-tier wage and benefit relationship is something that we the delegates want to make abundantly clear coming out of this convention. Not as one of many things that have to be corrected, but as the issue that needs to be corrected.

As of this moment, 28 percent — 39,500 — of 137,000 hourly workers on the floors of the Detroit Three are under Tier 2, earning $15.78/hour with a raise to $19.28/hour after four years; Tier 1 employees — those hired before 2008 — earn $28/hour in comparison. FCA US holds the highest percentage of Tier 2 employees at 42 percent, with Ford and GM holding 29 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

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Report: US New-Diesel Registrations On The Rise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-us-new-diesel-registrations-rise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-us-new-diesel-registrations-rise/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028297 Diesel hasn’t had the best reputation in the United States since the early 1980s. A new report says this attitude has changed as of late. According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014. Total diesel […]

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2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline brown

Diesel hasn’t had the best reputation in the United States since the early 1980s. A new report says this attitude has changed as of late.

According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014. Total diesel registrations in 2014 came to 7.4 million vehicles. California, Massachusetts and Nevada lead the rest of the country in those registrations.

Greater fuel economy, cleaner diesel technology, and more vehicles with diesels — like the BMW X5, Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze — are helping to fuel the spike in registrations, despite diesel still being more expensive at the pump per gallon than regular gasoline.

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FCA Planning Industry-First PHEV Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028273 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan. Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan.

Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line in Windsor as the standard minivans — and the 1997 EPIC electric minivan with a range of 120 miles delivered by its advanced lead acid batteries. The new PHEV minivan would also be the first hybrid minivan of any sort to come to market since the hybrid category’s U.S. debut in MY 2000, and would spawn a PHEV crossover to debut in 2017.

While the PHEV would provide improved city fuel economy in its role as a family shuttle, placement of the battery pack would have to be sorted due to the automaker’s signature Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system. Pricing is another concern, especially as the next generation of FCA minivans will be a Chrysler product; Chrysler’s Town & Country has commanded higher transaction prices over the Dodge Grand Caravan.

FCA also has to present a case to hybrid consumers who wouldn’t normally consider its brands, the result of not having hybrids throughout the range, with the PHEV minivan likely cannibalizing sales from the automaker’s traditional minivan consumers.

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Subaru Considering Paths For Upcoming Seven-Passenger Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/subaru-considering-paths-upcoming-seven-passenger-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/subaru-considering-paths-upcoming-seven-passenger-crossover/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028257 Could there be a Subaru Grand Outback in the future? That’s what the automaker is considering for its seven-passenger crossover due in showrooms in 2017. Automotive News reports the automaker is deciding on either a “big brother” crossover to the Outback, or be its own crossover with styling distinct from said model. Either way, the […]

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2015 Subaru Outback

Could there be a Subaru Grand Outback in the future? That’s what the automaker is considering for its seven-passenger crossover due in showrooms in 2017.

Automotive News reports the automaker is deciding on either a “big brother” crossover to the Outback, or be its own crossover with styling distinct from said model. Either way, the execs don’t want to take it down the same styling road that helped lead to the Tribeca’s demise last year.

Fuji Heavy Industries senior vice president of global marketing Nobuhiko Murakami says the seven-seater being developed mainly for the U.S. domestic market “will be roomier than the Tribeca and have three rows of seats,” though arrangement “is still under discussion.” He adds that the crossover will need to differentiate itself from its competitors, including the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

Alas, for those hoping the Levorg wagon would come over, Murakami says the new crossover will keep the wagon away, citing Subaru’s priority toward the Legacy sedan designed for the U.S. No sales forecasts for the upcoming model were mentioned at this time, which leave the automaker’s facility in Indiana in 2017.

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Two-Tier Wage System May Merge Toward Tier 2 In UAW-Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/two-tier-wage-system-may-merge-toward-tier-2-uaw-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027497 The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking. Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier […]

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Auto Workers at Labor Day Parade Call for an End to Two-Tier Wages

The two-tier wage system in place now may come down in this year’s UAW negotiations with the Detroit Three. If so, Tier 1 may be the dead man walking.

Automotive News says its sources and analysts believe the outcome of the upcoming negotiations could see Tier 1 wages phased out in favor of more Tier 2 employees, mainly on the basis of keeping up with the labor-cost schemes among the transplants. Center for Automotive Research industry and labor group director Kristin Dziczek states that the tiers could merge over the next two negotiation cycles, proclaiming that “over the next eight years, we won’t even be talking about tiers.”

At present, nearly 40,000 workers are under Tier 2 contracts, making up just 29 percent of the 137,000 hourly employees working for FCA US, Ford and General Motors. Among the UAW rolls, FCA has the most members under Tier 2 with 42 percent, followed by Ford’s 29 percent and GM’s 20 percent.

Ford worker and bargaining committeeman Gary Walkowicz believes Tier 2 should give way to Tier 1, which pays $28/hour, a feat he says could be done overnight for $335 million a year at his company, which made $6.9 billion last year. He adds GM could do the same, considering the automaker recently bought back $5 billion in shares.

However, the two companies have higher hourly labor costs than FCA or the transplants, coming to $59/hour compared to the latter’s $40. Further, FCA’s situation is a result of a hiring cap suspension made during its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, allowing the automaker to hire as many Tier 2 employees as it needs. The cap, established in 2007, limits hirings to between 20 percent and 25 percent of total hourly employment, though FCA and GM had theirs lifted through September 2015; Ford never had its cap removed.

Tier 1, meanwhile, could disappear due to demographics: average age of those workers at FCA and GM is 51, 49 at Ford. Eight years and two cycles later, most of those workers will have retired or nearing retirement. The hiring cap could also push the upper tier over the cliff, as all three automakers will want to gain or maintain a higher percentage of Tier 2 hiring than the current cap allows.

One proposal, according to consultant and former GM labor negotiator Art Schwartz, could see the UAW raise Tier 1 wages, while the Detroit Three offers to boost those of Tier 2, adding that the end of Tier 2 could jeopardize jobs that would not have happened were it not for the two-tier system.

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Mary Barra Among Those To Depose Over GM Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027465 General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers. The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be […]

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Mary Barra with Mark Reuss and some laughing rando at the GMC Eminence Front booth during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers.

The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be the last one.

The process is linked to a consolidated group of lawsuits led by attorney Robert Hilliard, whose plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost resale value, injury and death as a result of GM’s decade-long delay in recalling the defective ignition switch at the center of the maelstrom.

Related documents that were released as part of a recent settlement with the Melton family — one of the families affected by the recall — lead Hilliard to believe the automaker knew more than it let on; thus, the deposition process about to occur:

Given the damning documents we have uncovered throughout the course of this litigation, the dance floor is very, very small and no GM witness will be able to shuffle around the truth. I expect we will find out how high up this cover-up goes.

Other witnesses include former engineer Ray DeGiorgio, former general counsel Michael Millikin, engineering director David Cary, and senior vice president of global connected customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, who will be the first to be deposed.

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Toyota Returning To WRC With 2017 Yaris, Homologation Special Planned http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027441 Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be. Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be […]

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2015-toyota-yaris-wrc

Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be.

Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be driven by a 1.6-liter turbo-four pushing above 300 horsepower to all corners, and is undergoing testing in Europe as of this writing.

Speaking of Europe, that is where the 2,500 homologated versions of the Yaris WRC will likely turn up in order for the automaker to be able to compete two years from now. However, power for the homologated model will come from the Lexus NX 200t’s 2-liter turbo-four, capable of 235 horses and 258 lb-ft torque. The power would be directed by a six-speed manual.

Whether the Yaris WRC will be seen elsewhere is not for certain. Those in Europe who are lucky to get their hands on one will pay around €33,900 ($36,650 USD) for the honor, the same price for Volkswagen’s own WRC entrant, the Polo R.

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House Republicans Gunning For End Of Auto Technology Loan Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025721 Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed. The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan […]

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US Rep Tom Price with Republican Members of US House Budget Committee

Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed.

The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan and Ford, would see the remaining $16.5 billion be rescinded as part of the House Budget Committee’s budget proposal:

The budget rescinds all unobligated balances from the president’s stimulus green energy programs. The government cannot recover taxpayer dollars from failed projects like Solyndra, but it can protect taxpayers from being on the hook for future boondoggles.

Said “boondoggles” include the aforementioned solar panel startup Solyndra ($536 million received; failed in 2011), Fisker ($529 million; now under new ownership), and Vehicle Production Group ($50 million received; U.S. Department of Energy sold the loan to AM General for $3 million). On the other hand, Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.4 billion) and Tesla ($465 million) have done well with their loans, with Tesla paying off its loan nine years early.

The effort to kill the program has been ongoing since the collapse of Solyndra, but until now, the House Republicans haven’t had support from the Senate. Now under Republican control, however, Congress could do away with the program barring a veto from President Barack Obama.

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Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024265 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful. Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. […]

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Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful.

Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. The broad pattern of flip-flopping, as well as his status as an unknown among his state’s voters, means he’ll have a hard go at convincing Republicans that he is their candidate for President of the United States.

On the issue of ethanol, he once denounced the mandate of adding the corn-based variant into gasoline in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, citing the harm such mandates would impose on “Wisconsin’s working families.” While his team says he still supports that stance, Walker was among those at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines, Iowa to support the federal renewable fuel standard that allows corn ethanol to be added into gasoline.

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Newly Revealed Documents Linked To GM Ignition Recall Contradict Valukas Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/newly-revealed-documents-linked-gm-ignition-recall-contradict-valukas-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/newly-revealed-documents-linked-gm-ignition-recall-contradict-valukas-report/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023953 Previously confidential documents linked to the General Motors February 2014 ignition recall will give plaintiffs more ammunition for their lawsuits. According to Automotive News, the documents were unveiled after GM settled last week with Ken and Beth Melton for a second time over the death of their daughter Brooke through the compensation fund administered by […]

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Valukas Report

Previously confidential documents linked to the General Motors February 2014 ignition recall will give plaintiffs more ammunition for their lawsuits.

According to Automotive News, the documents were unveiled after GM settled last week with Ken and Beth Melton for a second time over the death of their daughter Brooke through the compensation fund administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, per attorneys Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley.

However, those documents — which includes communications between the automaker and its lawyers — contradict the conclusions found in the report published by attorney and independent investigator Anton Valukas, which stated that “incompetence and neglect — not an intentional effort to conceal” the ignition switch problems led to the recall last year after a decade of inaction.

As a result, Cooper and Beasley will begin deposing “all important General Motors witnesses” linked to the recall this May, including all current and former execs and employees.

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Study: Millennial Fastest-Growing Auto Lending Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-millennial-fastest-growing-auto-lending-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-millennial-fastest-growing-auto-lending-segment/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015978 Alleged to not be interested in cars or driving them, millennials are the fastest-growing segment of car buyers as far as lending goes, per a new study. According to Automotive News, credit-reporting company TransUnion found the group represented 27 percent of overall auto loans and lease originations made in 2014, up from just 16 percent […]

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hipster lyft millennials

Alleged to not be interested in cars or driving them, millennials are the fastest-growing segment of car buyers as far as lending goes, per a new study.

According to Automotive News, credit-reporting company TransUnion found the group represented 27 percent of overall auto loans and lease originations made in 2014, up from just 16 percent in 2009. Senior vice president and automotive business leader Jason Laky says this is due to both an improving economy and millennials’ entering into the next phase of their lives:

They’re maturing into their adulthood. They’re getting to the point where they’re employed, they’re having families, they’re moving to a place where they’re financing just like previous generations.

Meanwhile, Gen Xers were the largest segment in auto lending, accounting for 34 percent of loans and originations in 2014. Boomers followed close behind with 32 percent, down from 34 percent in 2013. Average balances per generation are $21,779 for Gen X, $21,055 for boomers, and $18,678 for millennials, the last group experiencing the largest jump in average outstanding balances at 4.1 percent.

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Marchionne: Fiat Will Never Again Be ‘A General Brand’ In Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/marchionne-fiat-will-never-general-brand-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/marchionne-fiat-will-never-general-brand-europe/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015962 Once a mass-market player in Europe, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will never again be as such. According to Automotive News Europe, Marchionne made the proclamation during this year’s Geneva Auto Show: In terms of the scope of a mass producer of vehicles, Fiat (brand) no longer offers — and it never intends to […]

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Fiat-500X-2

Once a mass-market player in Europe, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will never again be as such.

According to Automotive News Europe, Marchionne made the proclamation during this year’s Geneva Auto Show:

In terms of the scope of a mass producer of vehicles, Fiat (brand) no longer offers — and it never intends to have — a full range of product of the kind mass brands have. Fiat will lose its appeal as a general brand and it will focus on what it does best.

He adds that “the economics are not there” to keep Fiat in the mass-market arena as far as investments are concerned, and has no plans to claw back lost market share in Europe. As such, Marchionne has refocused the brand’s European lineup toward smaller cars like the 500 range, the Panda, and upcoming replacements for the Bravo and Punto.

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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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Ford-Focus-RS-1

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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UAW-logo-outside-Union-Solidarity-House

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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