The Truth About Cars » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:27:50 +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 » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/industry/ Dispatches do Brasil: Volkswagen’s Inferno and the Gol’s Fall from Grace http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dispatches-brasil-volkswagens-inferno-gols-fall-grace/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dispatches-brasil-volkswagens-inferno-gols-fall-grace/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:27:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989258 How much is first place worth? How much difference would it make to you as an automaker to see a decades old tradition die? How much would you do to try to keep first place and how much would it hurt to see it all go away? Those are the questions Volkswagen do Brasil is […]

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How much is first place worth? How much difference would it make to you as an automaker to see a decades old tradition die? How much would you do to try to keep first place and how much would it hurt to see it all go away?

Those are the questions Volkswagen do Brasil is facing. Not being Brazilians’ favorite brand for 13 years now, falling away to third place, watching General Motors taking second and Fiat pulling away ever more in first, VW must now confront the reality it cannot even claim the most sold car title either. Costing them it is, after all the Brazilian press is having a field day analyzing Volkswagen’s fall from grace. It must also smart that the Palio edged the Gol by a little under 400 cars, while GM managed just 2,000 more sales overall than the Germans.

After 27 years as the most sold car in Brazil, the Volkswagen Gol ceded the crown to its main rival, the Fiat Palio. Not only that, the German company saw its participation shrink more than the others who make up the Brazilian Big 4 (Fiat, GM, VW and Ford). In traditional fashion, not recognizing their mistakes, Volkswagen do Brasil released a statement trying to explain:

“the Gol is a winner, having been the favorite of Brazilians for 27 years in a row. It is the most produced (more then 7.5 million units), sold and exported (more than 1.2 million units to 66 countries) car in the history of Brazil. Even in 2014, the model was chosen by 183,367 clients, a difference of only 0.2% (even with the exit of the G4 version from the market) in relation to its competitor (that is still maintains two versions of the car under the same name in its line: the old and the new one.”

This statement hides as much as it reveals. With the beginning of 2014, all cars in Brazil had to be sold with double frontal airbags and ABS. As such, all companies had to revise their strategies and Volkswagen started the year confident that the new up! would be more than enough to buoy the brand and take sales from the Uno, while the Gol would go head-to-head with the Palio. Fiat meanwhile took a different route, being that the old Palio Fire was a much more modern car than the its own old Uno Mille and VW’s Gol G4, it decided to go on building the old Palio with the mandated equipment, dressed it up in it pseudo-off road aventureiro decorations. It also revamped the new Uno, especially in its interior.

While both companies lost sales in a declining market, Volkswagen lost market faster than Fiat. While critically acclaimed, including by yours truly, the up! could not maintain the same fleet sales as the old G4. Fleet buyers became increasingly interested in the Palio Fire as it sported the same basic architecture as it always had and made use of time honored engines. VW meanwhile was launching a new three-cylinder engine with the up! and fleet buyers showed hesitation to fully embrace the new engine, as recent VW engine launches have been fraught with trouble.

Private buyers also balked at the new VW launch. The up!’s design was deigned to dainty for a Volkswagen and while it brought some conquest sales surely, VW-loyalists rejected the car.

Just as importantly, Volkswagen, making use again of their own time-honored tradition of not heeding to the market and not learning from the mistakes of the past, refused to acknowledge the emergence of the new Brazilian consumer who rejects entry-level cars. Aiming straight at that new figure, Chevy’s Onix and Ford’s Ka had a very big year and seemingly took more sales from the Gol than the Palio. They did so by offering more equipment for the same price and putting in some wow-me technology, equipment and better finished interiors (all of which is optional on ups!).

Fiat was quick to acknowledge this new reality. The Uno got a pretty thorough re-design on the outside and a completely new and better interior, not to mention new equipment and technologies as standard, leading the model to have a year of growth. The Palio did likewise, and in the new Palio line, extra equipment was added without raised prices, while the old Palio Fire got a new interior, some new exterior touches, and the all-important aventureiro dressing (plastic cladding, an extra inch or two of height, bigger wheels and tires, stickers, etc.).

As the year of 2014 progressed, the market increasingly saw Volkswagen in trouble. The up! was off to a slow start. The Gol’s redesign seemingly didn’t work (as VW should have known it wouldn’t if they were paying attention) because what the market was buying was equipment. The Palio was growing month over month. The Uno reclaiming its traditional top spots. Even better for Fiat the Strada was having a banner year taking the sales crown in February (the first time ever a pickup achieved this in Brazil) and finished the year in third place, the highest place a pickup has ever managed in the history of Brazil.

After the middle of the year the race between Gol and Palio reached a fevered pitch, with the Palio winning every month and outpacing the Gol’s sales by ever larger margins. As November ended, the Palio had managed a YTD advantage over the Gol of over 1,800 units. In a desperate measure and going against previously revealed plans for the nameplate, VW launched the Gol Special, special in its 2-door nothingness. Stripped to its utter bare bones to entice back fleet buyers, the Gol Special is in effect VW’s Palio Fire model.

In December, an orgiastic climax was reached. Volkswagen pulled no stops. As the first fortnight of that month ended, sales numbers revealed the Gol was edging out the Palio again. This was done with non-stop production at VW factories, writing off cars to dealerships as sold, huge discounts for fleet buyers of Gol G6 and Special models, exceptional financing opportunities to consumers and cash on the hood offers. Fiat reacted, and made use of much of the same tactics to defend the Palio’s lead. Both Fiat and Volkswagen have huge distribution channels in Brazil and both pumped out the cars in ever increasing numbers, saturating the market with officially sold cars that languished at dealers.

On December 31, 2014, the race ended. When the numbers were tallied a couple of days later, December went down into the history books as the third best selling month in the history of the automobile in Brazil. So much so that in a market that was plummeting by a little over 9% throughout the year, finished with a softer loss of 6%. More importantly, the Palio, old and new, had sold 183,744 cars. Volkswagen’s Gol moved 183,366. A difference of 378 cars. 378.

Overall, Fiat finished in first with 21% of the market and a total of 698,255 sales. Volkswagen had a participation of 17.3% and 576,635 units moved, which was good for only third place. General Motors managed second place on the strength of it almost all knew GM Korea line and sold 2,167 more cars than VW and had a market participation 0.1% greater than the Germans’.

As 2015 begins, January’s first fortnight numbers are available. The Palio, now that the market is cleansing itself of the dirty tactics of the last month of the previous year is kicking the Gol’s ass. It outsold the Gol by a large margin (7,600 to 4,500 in a very bad month), as did the Onix, second this month, the Strada in third, even Hyundai’s HB20 beat the Gol and is in fourth. The mighty, 27-years-in-a-row-leader Gol managed just fifth this month.

The week started off with Fiat announcing that the Uno and Palio will all offer air-conditioning in all versions, besides power steering, power locks and of course the mandated equipment, making them even more attractive to the more discerning Brazilian consumer. General Motors is pumping out the Onix and Onix-derived Prisma sedan in high number and is enjoying seeing its sedan outselling both Fiat’s Siena and VW’s Voyage. Ford is tweaking the Ka and watching its sales grow, planning for extra production capacity as the Ka gains more and more participation. Volkswagen is busy explaining the Gol’s demise and claiming no errors.

2015 will surely be fun. Except maybe for the Germans.

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NADA Conference 2015: Here’s the Background Behind That MTV Study on Millennials and Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nada-conference-2015-heres-background-behind-mtv-study-millennials-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nada-conference-2015-heres-background-behind-mtv-study-millennials-cars/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:34:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989098 Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was […]

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Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was left with much more to write about, from how the survey was conducted to the recommendations that were presented to both manufacturers and dealers about how to court millennial customers.

First off, this study involved 3,610 millennials ranging from the ages of 18-34, 400 Generation Xers, and 403 baby boomers. A large amount of those people took online surveys for the project. To generate some of the qualitative information, like what millennials wanted out of a car and the buying experience, the study used focus groups, one-on-one interviews, virtual travelogues, car-creation groups, deal-alongs, as well as expert and car dealer interviews. However, the qualitative part of the study only involved 58 millennials in 3 markets, which were San Francisco, Cleveland, and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Maureen Healy, the Vice President of Research for MTV, started the presentation by focusing on the “myths” about millennials and driving and promptly dispelling them. She noted that 80% of millennials get around by car most often and actually cover more ground than baby boomers and Generation Xers, due to millennials’ greater amount of spare time. As for the belief that millennials have little interest in getting a license and prefer other forms of transport, Healy pointed to the restrictive driving laws for people ages 15-21, such as restricted driving hours and the amount of people allowed in the car.

There were also some surprising (for those who thought millennials didn’t like cars) statistics generated in this survey. For instance, 70 percent of millennials enjoyed driving vs. 58 percent of boomers and 66 percent of Generation Xers. The study also found that 76 percent of millennials would rather give up social media for a day rather than their car while 72 percent would give up texting for a week rather than their car for the same period of time.

After contradicting the myths, Berj Kazanjian, the Senior Vice President for Ad Sales Research for MTV, began the second part of the presentation by focus on the profile of the millennial. He said that millennials want more than other generations and want it faster, and put pressure on themselves to be a full adult by the age of 30. She emphasized that millennials were driven to make their mark and establish their independence, and that the car was important in attaining those goals.

Emphasized over and over during the presentation was that millennials were the generation who received a trophy for just showing up and taking part. That observation was expressed in terms of the complaints millennials had about the buying process and what they wanted from a car.

They wanted the buying process to be more transparent, with fair pricing and a breakdown of costs upfront. Millennials also wanted the car-buying process to be much faster to feel empowered by the buying process. The study also found the need to celebrate a good deal by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. To a lesser extent, the MTV survey showed that millennials wanted to have greater customization options, like customized trim bits, decals, and floor mats.

Millennials surveyed also wanted a rewards program that gave them points towards accessories whenever they had their cars serviced at the dealership. For instance, in exchange for bringing the car into the dealership for two services, they wanted to redeem those credits for floor mats, customized headrests, trim bits, and other accessories. (Remember the bit about millennials getting the trophy for just showing up.)

Towards the end of the presentation, Kazanjian described how auto companies should structure their ads. It was recommended that ads targeting millennials needed to have smart humor, a good story, needed to show professional and accomplished 20-somethings, and the ad needed to recognize [millennials’] “ambition and passion.” He stated that millennials were cynical about advertising and that ads needed to get the emotion right.

Now, the Q+A session during this conference was livelier than the other press sessions I attended during the convention. The two people giving the answers during the session were Berj Kazanjian and Maureen Healy, the. Here’s the round-up of answers given to the press during the Q+A:

  • Regarding electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles, the presenters said their survey showed millennials felt those vehicles were not ready for today, and are not a viable long-term solution. Millennials also didn’t think they were completely environmentally friendly taking into account how the batteries are developed.
  • When asked about what advice they would give to salespeople about selling to millennials, they said the salesperson has to be open and honest, needs to know millennials don’t buy into certain processes (for example, seeing the manager for more than ten minutes while leaving the customer alone at the desk), and needs to treat the millennial customer like the most special person at the dealership.
  • The study did not interview salespeople who dealt with the millennial subjects in the survey, so we unfortunately don’t have an idea of what they thought of the customer in front of them and the reasoning behind why the customer was treated as he or she was. Instead, the presenters referenced interviews with salespeople independent of the people car shopping in the research study.
  • Dealership salespeople were interviewed about millennials’ buying habits. Dealers found them very prepared and likely to share the news of the deal they got on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Millennials prefer to buy rather than lease. However, if they did consider leasing, they would want to part of a program where they could switch to a different car every year. (The program was pitched as Mustang for one year, Fusion during the next year, as long as they’re the same model year as when they signed the lease papers.)
  • The study focused mainly on new car purchases, not used cars.
  • Parental involvement in the car purchase is important to note as well. Stories about parents calling up their kids’ professors regarding grades and calling bosses about their kids’ work problems were mentioned.

It must be mentioned that the presenters noted than millennials represent $1 trillion worth of spending and took pains to demonstrate that the age group was up for grabs, since no automaker was among the top 10 millennial brands. Additionally, the study focused only on new cars, not used cars which would be more attainable for millennials. And it should be said that the survey also noted the components that needed to be embedded in an ad for millennials. So it’s entirely possible MTV may be trying to court automotive advertising revenue for its TV channel and websites.

But the findings are still interesting, considering many of them had to do with areas where the dealer franchise is involved, rather than the manufacturer, such as the buying process and getting the car serviced, things which MTV would have little control over. Furthermore, some of the numbers reported, like how 75 percent of millennials agree “they couldn’t live without their current car” vs. 62 percent of baby boomers and 73 percent of Generation Xers provides some commentary fodder on attitudes towards cars between age groups, regardless of new car purchase habits.

Overall, the MTV study debunked many preconceived notions about millennials’ attitude towards cars. Other than disproving the statements that millennials don’t drive, don’t care about getting their driver’s license, prefer taking public transit or bicycling to driving, don’t like cars, and would rather have their smartphones and computers rather than a car, the report shows that the general public attitude towards millennials and cars is wrong and does represent a new car-buying generation. Any reports to the contrary are grossly misinformed.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Sees 50th Eligible Fatality Claim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989042 With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality. Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, […]

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GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality.

Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, the aforementioned 50 were found eligible, and 58 were rejected for failing to meet the standards set by the fund for payout.

Over the same period, 2,730 injury claims were submitted to the compensation fund — established in the wake of the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall — of which a total of 75 claims have been found eligible, and 328 were rejected.

The payout for each fatality claim begins $1 million, depending on what lifetime wages and salaries were lost with the life at the time of a given accident. GM has reserved $600 million to pay all claims, a figure Feinberg believes to be “adequate.” Processing of claims will continue into the spring, and possibly into the summer, as well.

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Question Of The Day: Can Nissan Sell 100,000 Titans Annually? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/question-day-can-nissan-sell-100000-titans-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/question-day-can-nissan-sell-100000-titans-annually/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:35:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988698 In the nameplate’s best-ever year, Nissan sold 86,945 Titans in the United States. Nissan USA wants to sell 100,000 Titans annually when the new model, with its more extensive lineup, arrives for the 2016 model year. • Titan sales declined 20% in 2014 • Titan volume peaked at 87K in 2005 • F-Series, GM, Ram […]

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2016 Nissan Titan XDIn the nameplate’s best-ever year, Nissan sold 86,945 Titans in the United States.

Nissan USA wants to sell 100,000 Titans annually when the new model, with its more extensive lineup, arrives for the 2016 model year.


• Titan sales declined 20% in 2014

• Titan volume peaked at 87K in 2005

• F-Series, GM, Ram combined for 1.9M full-size truck sales in 2014


A 15% uptick from that record-setting year – the Titan’s second full year in the U.S., 2005 – doesn’t sound like an insurmountable leap forward. But an increase to 100,000 units would represent a six-fold improvement over the Titan’s U.S. sales average from the last three years.

According to Automotive News, Nissan North America’s chairman, Jose Munoz, told a crowd at the J.D. Power Automotive Summit that their aspirations are “modest,” and that when it comes to the automaker’s expectations for the Titan, “We’re very bullish.”

But is it reasonable to expect that the Titan could penetrate the market with Toyota Tundra-like force?

With 118,493 sales in 2014, Toyota USA reported their best Tundra sales year since 2008 and earned 5.7% market share in the full-size category. Nissan feels that less than 5% market share in the full-size category, “would be considered by us as not very successful.”

2016 Nissan Titan XDIn other words, Nissan needs to sell Titans at a record-setting pace even though the market for full-size trucks, at least in 2014, was down 16% compared with 2005, when Titan volume was at its previous best.

To earn 5% market share in the full-size truck category in 2014, Nissan would have needed to sell 103,000 Titans. Nissan sold 12,527 Titans in 2014.

Recent performances may mean very little aside from the fact that, without so much as a facelift or new powertrain, the first-gen Titan became something of a laughingstock in the truck world. In 2004, Nissan was marketing a 305-horsepower, 5.6L V8-powered truck with a 5-speed automatic and an EPA-rated 17 mpg on the highway at a time when Ford was offering a 231-horsepower, 4.6L V8, a 4-speed automatic, and 17 mpg on the highway. Fair enough.

2016 Nissan Titan XDA decade later, however, Nissan was still selling the same truck (albeit with 12 more ponies), but it was up against gas-fired six and eight-cylinder pickups from Ram with EPA highway ratings between 21 and 23 miles per gallon, 305 or 395 horsepower, and 8-speed automatics. The lack of redevelopment may not have done the Titan nameplate any favours, particularly not in a category where hundreds of thousands of buyers have already attached their loyalty to top-selling trucks.

But the new Titan is most definitely new. There will be an available Cummins diesel, a semi-heavy-duty XD version with a unique frame, and more available configurations across the board. Nissan will therefore be tackling a far larger portion of the pickup market. But will they do so with as much success as they anticipate and apparently require?

Here’s a scenario full of assumptions that would work in the new Titan’s favour. The full-size truck market grows 8% in 2015, just as it did in 2014, and then does so again in 2016, when the Titan is readily available. Now the full-size market is nearly the same size as it was in 2005, when the Titan performed at its best. With 2.41 million sales to split and Nissan needing 100,000 units (equal to 4.1% market share), the competitors must only generate 2.31 million sales. (They generated 2,053,721 sales in 2014.) This would mean that the F-Series, Silverado, Sierra, Ram, and Tundra collectively rose 12.5% over the course of two years, a healthy boost to their own volume which would still, in turn, create space for bigger Titan numbers, too.

2016 Nissan Titan XD interiorIn other words, growth in the overall truck market would allow the Titan to expand its volume without needing to steal sales from the established players, something it didn’t need to do in its 2004 debut year, either. That year, full-size sales jumped by 177,000 units, or 8%, and Nissan added more than 80,000 of those sales.

And if the full-size truck market doesn’t grow? If plans for growth are stalled by the shocking success of a revitalized small/midsize truck segment? If there is substantial growth but consumers don’t take kindly to the Titan’s new face? If Nissan is taken aback by Detroit’s willingness to incentivize their trucks at all cost to avoid losing market share? In those cases, all bets are off.

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

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Aldred: 2018 Opel Adam Could Become A Buick http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989026 Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI. According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being […]

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Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI.

According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being engineered with the U.S. domestic market in mind. Bringing the Adam up to snuff for American consumers would be “cost-prohibitive” at present, he adds, though the next-gen Adam would be tailored for the market.

The next such opportunity for a Buick Adam would come as early as 2018, which Aldred believes would be another opportunity to change consumer expectations of a brand once associated with senior citizens going to Denny’s for the early-bird special. In the meantime, another Opel — the Cascada — is in the process of Americanization, and should hit U.S. showrooms early next year.

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Toyota, BMW Working On Entry-Level MINI Minor Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988994 Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW is working on such a thing, called the Minor. Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range […]

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Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW is working on such a thing, called the Minor.

Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range between $14,500 and $16,000.

As far as platforms go, the two automakers are going all in on a “bargain basement effort” for the Minor — including a reduction in size and content — instead of using a similarly sized platform like that of the Toyota Aygo, BMW preferring the Minor to not be a badge-engineered product developed and assembled elsewhere.

The new MINI would be one of five new models coming into the portfolio between now and 2018, including an all-new 2016 Countryman and a Superleggera roadster for 2018.

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Plan To Increase US Porsche Macan Allocation In The Works http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/plan-increase-us-porsche-macan-allocation-works/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/plan-increase-us-porsche-macan-allocation-works/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988970 Been waiting a while for a chance to drive home a Porsche Macan? The automaker plans to increase supply to meet demand in 2015. According to Automotive News, Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence says his subsidiary is pushing for more units because of the Macan’s popularity thus far, and to ensure no customers […]

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2015 Porsche Macan S

Been waiting a while for a chance to drive home a Porsche Macan? The automaker plans to increase supply to meet demand in 2015.

According to Automotive News, Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence says his subsidiary is pushing for more units because of the Macan’s popularity thus far, and to ensure no customers waiting in line will go seek solace in an X4 or Evoque.

Said wait has been six months and above since the premium crossover went on sale in the United States last May: 7,241 units left the showroom from May through December 2014.

As for how many will be allocated in 2015, Lawrence couldn’t confirm, citing production constraints at the automaker’s factory in Leipzig, Germany and high global demand as factors. A diesel model is also expected in the U.S. by the end of this year.

However many Macans do hit the road this year will help Porsche reach its goal of 50,000 sold in the U.S. annually three years ahead of schedule; 47,007 911s, Cayennes, Macans et al were sold in 2014.

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Editorial: Nissan Is Not Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:43:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988858 Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path? If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading. News of […]

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Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path?

If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading.

News of the indefinite delay of exciting products like the Nissan IDx concept and the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prompted the usual wailing/gnashing of teeth from Jalopnik.

In an editorial titled “Nissan Steps Back From IDx And Q50 Eau Rouge To Focus On Boring Junk”Patrick George suggests that Nissan’s decision to focus on the core products in their lineup is a bad one.

“Ugh. Basically, their plan is to shy away from compelling products and double-down on boring ones to chase volume. That’s awesome. That’s what the world needs. It’s worked so well for Volkswagen, hasn’t it?”

We can go right past the long-beaten dead horse of “enthusiast cars don’t make money, nobody buys them, boring sells”, pass go, collect $200 and hone in on the Volkswagen analogy. It is wildly inaccurate.

As it stands now, Nissan is on a tear. The Altima, Versa and Rogue are strong sellers, at or near the top of their respective segments. The Juke isn’t a particularly strong seller in the United States, but it’s a global success. Even the Sentra, which is a particularly dreadful car to drive, does well. Nissan has a large dealer network, a long, successful history of manufacturing cars in the United States and a full lineup of passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, CUVs, commercial vehicles and sports cars.

Volkswagen has…none of that. Its history in the United States consists of the Beetle, Microbus and then a long history of mis-steps and an utter failure to understand the American marketplace, let alone even market vehicles that Americans want. The prior generation of Euro-oriented Passats and Jettas didn’t move the needle with the American public. Neither did this generation of Americanized cars. That doesn’t mean that Nissan’s approach to future strategy is *anything* like VW.

Not that it’s even about America. Lost in all the pandering and faux indignation is the fact that this is a globally-focused move, one that will help Nissan (and Renault and Dacia and Samsung) compete with VW in world markets, where Volkswagen is supposedly hoarding its best products. While VW is stumbling in the dark, Nissan is busy working on their own modular platforms, and they’re not keeping them away from North America either. The new CMF platform that underpins the Rogue is the same as the European X-Trail. Expect more of that in the future.

Aside from the lore of the Z-Car, the SE-Rs and the 240SXs, Nissan had a tumultuous experience in the 1990s, prior to Carlos Ghosn’s ascension to the throne. Despite being one of the more interesting Japanese performance car manufacturers, the company was a mess financially and organizationally. Ghosn turned the company around, at the expense of a lot of the interesting product that we fetishize.  Not pursuing the I is a good move – one look at how well the Scion FR-S is selling and you’d have to be delusional (or willfully ignorant in the pursuit of pageview clicks) to suggest a similar model for Nissan. As for the Q50 Eau Rouge? The lack of Sebastian Vettel and any coherent direction for Infiniti likely had more to do with that decision than anything else.

By focusing on the volume product, Nissan is sticking with what works – and perhaps, it will get better in terms of driving dynamics, styling, interior quality and the other metrics we value. At least we’ll see a good mid-size truck out of it.

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Mitsubishi Won’t Be Getting Renault-Samsung Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:33:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988818 Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle. The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According […]

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Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle.

The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi’s Don Swearingen told dealers at the NADA conference that the plan had hit an unspecified roadblock.

Mitsubishi has no D-segment sedan and an aging Lancer that competes in the C-segment. The deal with Renault-Samsung was said to provide vehicles for both segments.

Earlier this month, Renault-Samsung released the SM5 Nova, an all-new sedan that was likely to become a Mitsubishi branded sedan.

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De Nysschen: Small Cadillac CUV Due In Four Years’ Time http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988490 Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen. Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see […]

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Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen.

Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see eight vehicles introduced between now and the end of the decade.

Also coming in 2019: diesel-power for both cars and crossovers/SUVs. De Nysschen said he wants to start pushing for market share in Europe during the 2020s, explaining that “if you want to play in Europe, you better have some diesels.” Said diesels would also be sold in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, he expects sales to remain flat for 2015, linked to the lack of new product beyond the upcoming CT6 flagship until late into 2017. De Nysschen adds that the strengthening U.S. dollar would leave a dent in his brand and those of his U.S.-based competitors, while Asian and European automakers use the currency challenge to cut prices on their respective offerings.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988434 By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral. Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost […]

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By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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Mercedes-Benz CLA And Audi A3 Are Selling At An Identical Pace In The U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-cla-audi-a3-selling-identical-pace-u-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-cla-audi-a3-selling-identical-pace-u-s/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:30:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988234 The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 attained almost identical levels of popularity in the United States in 2014. True, Mercedes-Benz sold 27,365 CLAs over the last twelve months; Audi sold only 22,250 A3s during that period. That’s 23% more CLA sales than A3 sales. • GLA arrival didn’t slow down CLA • A3 and CLA […]

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A3 vs CLA sales chartThe Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 attained almost identical levels of popularity in the United States in 2014.

True, Mercedes-Benz sold 27,365 CLAs over the last twelve months; Audi sold only 22,250 A3s during that period. That’s 23% more CLA sales than A3 sales.


• GLA arrival didn’t slow down CLA

• A3 and CLA increasingly popular, but not yet top sellers


But you’ll remember that the CLA arrived at the end of 2013’s third-quarter. The A3 sedan, a replacement for the A3 hatch which never sold as often as this new car, began trickling into dealers in February of this year but wasn’t readily available until April.

Over the final three-quarters of 2014, Audi USA reported 21,387 A3 sales, 151 more than the figure achieved by the CLA over the same period.

CLA250With great frequency, the vehicles marketed by rival German luxury brands aren’t necessarily direct competitors. The CLS, for instance, is a $66,000 sedan with no diesel option; Audi’s A7 is a $66,000 hatchback with diesel availability. S-Class pricing starts 28% beyond the BMW 7-Series’ base MSRP. The E-Class Benz is available as a wagon; BMW’s 5-Series is sadly offered as a ghastly hatchback instead.

The members of this entry-level duo, however, could hardly target the other with greater precision. They are closely aligned in terms of pricing, are available with turbocharged four-cylinders, and send power to the front or all four wheels.The fact that they sell at the exact same pace speaks volumes about the differing tastes of consumers who are looking for the same type of car. 50.184% of the clientele goes Audi’s conservatively-designed direction; 49.82% head to the Mercedes-Benz showroom for swoopier styling.

Mercedes-Benz made greater headway at the end of 2014. Q4 sales, at 9158 units, accounted for one-third of the CLA’s year-end total. Granted, year-over-year volume in the fourth-quarter plummeted 22% compared with the same period one year earlier when the CLA was the freshest produce on the shelves. But fourth-quarter volume rose to the highest level of the year, as if to clarify that the arrival of the GLA crossover/hatch was not going to have an impact on the CLA’s success. The GLA went on sale in September. Q4 volume for that vehicle totalled 5893 units.

At Audi, the fourth-quarter also represented the best period yet for the A3, though at 7581 units, the Audi was well back of the Benz. Audi’s GLA-fighting Q3 went on sale in August. 1092 were sold in September but monthly volume in the fourth-quarter predictably fell from that high. 2319 Q3s were sold between October and December.

2015 Audi A3 sedanAs for other potential competitors, the more performance-oriented BMW 2-Series (including leftover copies of the 1-Series) earned the business of 7345 U.S. customers in 2014, the second-lowest year ever for the 1-Series/2-Series family. More than 13,000 1-Series’ were sold in 2010. Buick Verano volume slid 4% to 43,743 units. Acura ILX sales dropped 13% to 17,854.

Top-tier luxury nameplates are both more expensive and significantly more common. BMW’s wide-ranging 3-Series/4-Series family generated a 19% increase to 142,232 sales in 2014. Mercedes-Benz sold more than 75,000 C-Classes and more than 66,000 E-Classes in a down year. The Lexus ES, BMW 5-Series, Lexus IS, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lincoln MKZ, Cadillac CTS, and Cadillac ATS each produced more U.S. sales in 2014 than either the CLA and A3, as well.

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

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Chart Of The Day: Auto Brand Market Share In Mexico In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chart-day-auto-brand-market-share-mexico-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chart-day-auto-brand-market-share-mexico-2014/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:22:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987938 The Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz reported a 7% increase to 1.1 million new vehicle sales in 2014. Nissan is Mexico’s best-selling auto brand. Sales at the Nissan brand jumped 11% to 291,729 units in 2014. Combined with Infiniti and Renault volume, the Alliance owned 28% of the overall Mexican auto market, up slightly more […]

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The Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz reported a 7% increase to 1.1 million new vehicle sales in 2014.

Nissan is Mexico’s best-selling auto brand. Sales at the Nissan brand jumped 11% to 291,729 units in 2014. Combined with Infiniti and Renault volume, the Alliance owned 28% of the overall Mexican auto market, up slightly more than a percentage point compared with 2013.

A larger market didn’t benefit a number of brands, however. Sales at Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot, Smart, and Volvo decreased in 2014. For the most part, the biggest improvements were recorded by low-volume brands. Subaru rose 165%, but only to 1410 sales. Infiniti shot up 49% to 1475. Isuzu jumped 45% to 1468. Porsche climbed 27% to 975 units.

Regardless, Mexico is known more for the size of the country’s production capacity than for the country’s consumption of automobiles.  For every new vehicle registered in Mexico, the country’s workers build 2.8 new vehicles. Production jumped 10% in 2014 to 3.2 million units. 90% of that production was powered by Nissan, General Motors, FCA, Volkswagen, and Ford. Honda, Mazda, and Toyota also assemble vehicles in Mexico.

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

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US Transportation Department Recommends Automatic Braking For NCAP http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-transportation-department-recommends-automatic-braking-ncap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-transportation-department-recommends-automatic-braking-ncap/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987866 Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would add two forms of automatic emergency braking as recommended systems for its New Car Assessment Program. The Detroit News reports crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support will be included as safety feature recommendations for the program’s five-star rating system, though automakers won’t be mandated to […]

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Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would add two forms of automatic emergency braking as recommended systems for its New Car Assessment Program.

The Detroit News reports crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support will be included as safety feature recommendations for the program’s five-star rating system, though automakers won’t be mandated to have them on all of their new models. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx encouraged them to consider doing so, however:

Today marks an enormous leap in the evolution of auto safety by encouraging adoption of new technologies to keep drivers and their passengers safe on our roads. Making it very clear that the technology will be one of the criteria on which auto manufacturers are graded is a pretty big step. They all want to be a five-star company.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had considered making automatic braking mandatory, setting a deadline of the end of 2013 to decide whether to press forward or to include it in the program. Administrator Mark Rosekind says the agency is still looking over the subject, while Foxx added that he wouldn’t put the idea completely on the shelf down the road.

The new recommendations will come into force 60 days after the public has had a chance to comment, followed by responses from the NHTSA. The 16-page proposal details the testing parameters automakers would need to pass before being listed as having automatic braking.

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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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The Scion iQ Is Dead: Here’s Why http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/scion-iq-dead-heres/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/scion-iq-dead-heres/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:30:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987898 Reports last week that the Scion iQ is not long for this world came just weeks after Toyota USA issued a sales release showing that iQ volume was chopped in half in 2014. One year earlier, Toyota’s sales report showed iQ sales falling 54% from 2012 levels. • iQ sales decline every month • Scion […]

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2014 Scion iQReports last week that the Scion iQ is not long for this world came just weeks after Toyota USA issued a sales release showing that iQ volume was chopped in half in 2014.

One year earlier, Toyota’s sales report showed iQ sales falling 54% from 2012 levels.


• iQ sales decline every month

• Scion sales down 66% from 2006 high


More specifically, U.S. sales of the iQ tumbled in each of the last 24 months. Only once, in December 2012, the iQ’s first opportunity at posting a year-over-year improvement, did it do so, surging 32% compared with its first month on the market.

But the iQ was slow from the start and didn’t possess the kind of initial appeal we often see even from cars which eventually become wildly unpopular. For example, Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Fortwo generated 24,622 in its first year on the market before posting three rapid sales declines, but the iQ’s first full year in America resulted in only 8879 sales.

After the iQ’s best month – March 2012, when 1285 were sold – sales progressively decreased in each of the five following months. As the theory goes, those who really wanted one already had one. And rather unfortunately, there weren’t many who wanted one.

By the fourth-quarter of 2014, the worst ever quarter for the iQ, only 288 copies left Scion showrooms, a 58% year-over-year decline and an 86% drop compared with the fourth-quarter of 2012. In mid-January, Cars.com’s inventory listings show only 186 iQs available.

TTAC Toyota Lexus Scion sales chart 2014The main issues which had a negative impact on the iQ included its size, its more spacious competition, its more spacious and more affordable competition, and perhaps even the logo above its front grille. “Physics are physics,” Scion’s Doug Murtha said, “and they’re nervous about driving a vehicle that size.”

Undoubtedly, yet other tiny cars prove capable of finding greater success. The Fiat 500 was on sale nine months before the iQ, for instance, and generated more sales activity in its first ten months than the iQ has done all-time.

The Chevrolet Spark arrived eight months after the iQ. GM sold 85,674 Sparks in the nameplate’s first 30 months, nearly nine times more than the number of iQs sold in the same period.

Toyota’s own Yaris steadily became more unpopular over the last six years, but it sold nearly six times more often than the iQ over the last two years.

Yes, those cars are larger, but this isn’t Europe. The fact that the iQ is small was not to its credit in the United States. Brilliant packaging doesn’t invariably equate with sufficient space, after all.

All four of the potentially competitive cars mentioned so far are either equally affordable or distinctly less expensive. There were other knocks against the iQ. Its continuously variable transmission is poorly calibrated, rear drum brakes seem particularly antiquated when a car is charging a dimensional deficiency premium, the rear seats exist but aren’t genuinely usable, there’s very little interior storage, and fuel economy simply isn’t that impressive. At an EPA highway-rated 37 mpg, the iQ trails many compact cars.

Worst of all, the iQ was brought to America as a Scion, a brand that’s suffering as interest in their all of their products is drying up rapidly. That’s an odd trait in the current American automotive scene. U.S. consumers registered more new vehicles in 2014 than at any time since 2006. Scion sales in 2014 fell to the third-lowest full-year total in the brand’s history, down 15% year-over-year; down 66% compared with 2006.

Would the iQ have been a hit if it was a Toyota? No. But would it have flopped this hard if they’d made it a Toyota instead? No.

The iQ was an experiment, but it certainly wasn’t a brand-saving day in the laboratory.

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

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BMW, Volkswagen Team With ChargePoint For Bi-Coastal Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987810 More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint. The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. […]

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BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf DC Charging

More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint.

The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. Each station will have up to two 50 kW DC Fast or 24 kW DC Combo Fast chargers for most EVs like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, as well as Level 2 chargers for all EVs. Access to each location is granted by a ChargePoint or ChargeNow membership card.

The new stations will be in metro and intercity locations — such as restaurants, malls and rest stops — spaced up to 50 miles apart for long-distance travel, joining a network of over 20,000 ChargePoint stations throughout the United States. The first location is online now in San Diego County, Calif., with the other 99 expected by the end of 2015.

Express Charging.Infographic.300dpi

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Volvo Considers Expanding Cross Country Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987770 The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range. Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional […]

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Volvo-S60-Cross-Country-Live-Photos-01-550x366

The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range.

Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional models to gain a few inches in lift, but without the need to enter XC territory:

The XC models are clearly for people who want an SUV; Cross Country models offer some of the benefits and looks, without the same capability or price. So long as Cross Country models have some capability — all-wheel drive, hill descent control — then they are giving customers what they want, and that is enough for them to be considered authentic.

Kerssemakers also noted that when production of the S60 Cross Country begins in the next few months, it will have been eight months since the high-riding sedan was conceived. He cites the automaker’s size and independence as factors in bringing the model to market as quickly as it did.

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2014 Canada Auto Sales Recap: Records, Records Everywhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2014-canada-auto-sales-recap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2014-canada-auto-sales-recap/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:58:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987234 2014 was a record-setting year for auto sales in Canada, a fitting follow-up to a record-setting twelve-month period one year earlier. Auto sales in Canada jumped 6% to 1.85 million, an increase of 107,000 units. Pickup truck and minivan sales growth lagged slightly behind the overall industry’s pace, commercial van volume jumped 16%, and SUV/crossover […]

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canada auto brand market share chart 20142014 was a record-setting year for auto sales in Canada, a fitting follow-up to a record-setting twelve-month period one year earlier.

Auto sales in Canada jumped 6% to 1.85 million, an increase of 107,000 units. Pickup truck and minivan sales growth lagged slightly behind the overall industry’s pace, commercial van volume jumped 16%, and SUV/crossover sales rose 15%.


• Record sales achieved by 15 auto brands

• F-Series, Civic, Escape, Grand Caravan lead categories

• Six auto brands report YOY declines


Car sales were flat, which resulted in a market share decline from 44.6% in 2014 to 42.1% in 2014. In December, even with a somewhat impressive 11% improvement, passenger cars accounted for less than 38% of all new vehicle sales.

The fastest-growing auto brands were not so afflicted. Jeep volume shot up 58% to a record-setting 70,503 units. Jeep, of course, does not market any passenger cars.

Porsche car volume jumped 11%, but it hardly mattered, as the brand’s 53% increase in utility vehicle sales propelled the brand to a record-setting 4933 sales in 2014.

Sales of Buick’s cars, which accounted for 51% of the brand’s volume, shot up 28%; the brand’s Enclave and Encore crossovers combined for a 35% increase.

Nissan broke its Canadian sales record with assistance from cars and crossovers. The automaker says their car volume rose 18% to 51,870, less than half Nissan’s output, but the brand’s top-selling Rogue produced a 71% improvement and overall “light truck” volume was up 38%. Nissan, up 27% over the course of the year, was Canada’s sixth-best-selling brand.

Meanwhile, Land Rover, which like Jeep and Porsche and Nissan set a sales record in 2014, does not market any passenger cars. Only Maserati grew faster than the aforementioned auto brands, more than doubling its Canadian volume, year-over-year.

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Main_rdax_646x396Joining Jeep, Porsche, Nissan, Land Rover, and Maserati in record-setting fashion were the top three premium brands – Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi – as well as Infiniti, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Honda.

Honda Canada, which assembles a number of products in southern Ontario, made its Canadian-built Civic Canada’s best-selling car for the 17th consecutive year. In the final two months of 2014, the Honda CR-V was Canada’s third-best-selling vehicle, outsold only by two pickup trucks. The CR-V fell short of ending the year as Canada’s best-selling utility vehicle, however, as the perennial leader, Ford’s Escape, posted a 16% year-over-year increase to 52,198 units, 14,514 more than the Honda managed.

Both those CR-V-besting trucks, the top-selling Ford F-Series and second-ranked Ram P/U, set Canadian sales records during the 2014 calendar year. Combined, the GM truck twins (Sierra and Silverado) set a record of their own and outsold the Ram by a slim 1484-unit margin. Full-size trucks accounted for 95% of the pickups sold in Canada in 2014.

Ford Motor Company’s namesake brand was the top-selling auto brand in Canada in 2014, though the Ford brand’s market share fell by one half of a percentage point to 15.4%. FCA/Chrysler Group ended 2014 fewer than 2000 sales back of FoMoCo and increased their market share from 14.9% in 2013 to 15.7%. GM, the third-ranked automobile manufacturer, saw its market share level off at 13.5%.

Not unexpectedly, few automakers produced fewer sales in 2014 than in 2013, but those that did were notable for a variety of reasons. Scion’s 20% loss is not far out of line with its 15% decline south of the border. Mini’s 10% drop hides a record-setting fourth-quarter for the brand.

Dodge was down 7%, largely because of the disappearance of the Avenger. (Dodge car sales slid 43%, but the Grand Caravan which generates more than half of Dodge’s sales and is Canada’s fifth-best-selling vehicle was up 11%.)

Volvo dropped 4%, the brand’s third consecutive year of decline. Kia was down 3%, the second consecutive drop after the brand hit its own high-water mark in 2012. Chrysler sales were down 3% but were up 42% in the second-half of the year.

Although it’s unlikely that we’ll see an even more significant swing toward pickup trucks and big SUVs in 2014, the auto industry as a whole will likely be buoyed by falling oil prices. As consumers find more and more unanticipated cash in their wallets, you can safely assume they’ll be buying and leasing more Ford Escapes, Honda CR-Vs, and Toyota RAV4s. More cars? Perhaps, but Canada’s turn away from passenger cars swing into action before gas prices began their rapid decline.

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

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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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Toyota No. 1 Global Automaker In 2014, Volkswagen Close Behind http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987066 Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown. Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a […]

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WEC 6 Hours of Fuji

Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown.

Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a single year. Volkswagen took second on the podium with 10.14 million, and General Motors took third with 9.92 million.

2014 marks the second consecutive year Toyota has held the top spot, having regained it from GM in 2012 after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami greatly hindered production for the majority of that year. The automaker originally took the top spot from GM in 2008, the latter having dominated the podium for 80 years prior; Toyota also held the title in 2009 and 2010.

As for 2015, Toyota is forecasting deliveries of 10.15 million due to decreased demand at home and in emerging markets, as well as from falling oil prices and Japan’s increased national consumption tax. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is ahead of schedule as far as taking the crown goes, CEO Martin Winterkorn stating such a thing would occur by 2018 at the earliest before 2014’s results showed otherwise.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Honda Pilot, Acura RDX Debuting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987034 Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics […]

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All-New 2016 Honda Pilot SUV to Make Global Debut at 2015 Chicago

Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics currently unavailable in the mainstream SUV segment.” Like the previous two generations, the upcoming Pilot was designed in Los Angeles and Ohio. The SUV will leave the Lincoln, Ala. facility for showrooms this summer.

Over at Acura, the RDX’s own redesign is expected to blend “numerous fresh exterior and interior design elements to further enrich its sport and luxury qualities, all with a cohesiveness that speaks to its new capabilities.” Said capabilities include new premium and safety features, as well as improvements to performance and comfort. No word on when the premium crossover will arrive in showrooms as of this writing.

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Lyft Replacing Iconic ‘Stache Plush With Upscale Revision http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lyft-replacing-iconic-stache-plush-upscale-revision/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lyft-replacing-iconic-stache-plush-upscale-revision/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987010 No longer will Lyft drivers have to worry about their fuzzy pink mustache plushies becoming gross after a day in the rain, thanks to a new upscale display. Wired reports the transportation network company is switching to a “glowstache” that is attached to a driver’s dashboard with magnets, emitting a soft pink glow at night. […]

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Lyft Lightstache

No longer will Lyft drivers have to worry about their fuzzy pink mustache plushies becoming gross after a day in the rain, thanks to a new upscale display.

Wired reports the transportation network company is switching to a “glowstache” that is attached to a driver’s dashboard with magnets, emitting a soft pink glow at night. President John Zimmer says the move is meant to help his company look more mature while still maintaining its friendly, decidedly non-Uber appearance.

The “glowstache” came about after Lyft and design studio Ammunition — famous for their work with Beats By Dre — threw together a number of concepts, from hood ornaments and laser-light window decals, to simply doing away with the ‘stache altogether. The end result is meant to invoke the traditional roof-mounted taxi light, but for the TNC era.

Lyft drivers will receive their new ‘staches this month.

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Hyundai, Kia $360M US Justice Department Settlement Approved In District Court http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986762 The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, […]

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2013 Hyundai Accent

The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, asking the court set aside a minimum of $25 million for their states’ respective electric vehicle programs. The court sided with the Justice Department in its ruling, warning that such a request would threaten the original settlement agreement with more complex and lengthy negotiations.

The agreement includes $100 million in civil penalties, $50 million for independent auditing of the Korean duo’s offerings, and a forfeiture of $210 million in greenhouse emission credits. It also ends the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into the overstated figures, and affects 600,000 Hyundai and 300,000 Kia models made between 2011 and 2013.

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