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. Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/industry/ Chart Of The Day: Jaguar vs. Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-jaguar-vs-land-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-jaguar-vs-land-rover/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:10:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947857 The reasons for the drop of the red line and the steady rise of the grey line on today’s chart are perhaps too numerous to count. Additional product for one brand. Less intervention at another. A move toward high-riding vehicles helped one brand. A move away from traditional cars harmed the other. These two factors […]

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Jaguar vs Land Rover sales chartThe reasons for the drop of the red line and the steady rise of the grey line on today’s chart are perhaps too numerous to count.

Additional product for one brand. Less intervention at another.

A move toward high-riding vehicles helped one brand. A move away from traditional cars harmed the other. These two factors are made all the more apparent when one brand employs a full lineup of SUVs/crossovers and the other has yet to bring its first utility vehicle to market.

One brand’s message has been artfully constructed over a few decades; the other’s has been muddied for at least a generation.

Both have been labelled as dreadfully unreliable at different points. One brand has had trouble discarding that label; the other has succeeded in spite of it.

Both British brands were Ford-owned but now find themselves under the wing of India’s Tata Group.

These lines could yet head in similar directions. Jaguar will begin to sell a crossover and a lower-priced sedan. Land Rover’s Discovery Sport could buoy the brand’s lower range, as the majority of the company’s U.S. sales are produced by the trio of Range Rover-branded products.

At the moment, however, Land Rover USA sales are better than they’ve ever been thanks to a market which is increasingly keen on this type of vehicle and the brand’s broadest product range ever. Jaguar USA, on the other hand,  sold nearly 16,000 S-Types in 2002 but might not sell that many XJs, XFs, XKs, and F-Types in total this year.

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

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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De Nysschen: $250K Cadillac Flagship Ready By 2029 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/de-nysschen-250k-cadillac-flagship-ready-2029/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/de-nysschen-250k-cadillac-flagship-ready-2029/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949177 The upcoming Cadillac CT6 may be the premium brand’s flagship for now, but president Johan de Nysschen has a grander flagship in mind for the next decade. Reuters reports the future flagship would likely arrive in 2029 with a price of $250,000, bringing Cadillac up to par against the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This […]

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Cadillac President de Nysschen poses with the Cadillac ATS-V during the model's world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles

The upcoming Cadillac CT6 may be the premium brand’s flagship for now, but president Johan de Nysschen has a grander flagship in mind for the next decade.

Reuters reports the future flagship would likely arrive in 2029 with a price of $250,000, bringing Cadillac up to par against the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This would supercede not only the CT6, but a planned range-topping flagship due to arrive by 2020 per de Nysschen’s roadmap for his brand.

In the meantime, the CT6 is expected to be priced “in the 70s,” just above the current XTS. De Nysschen is also eyeing a vehicle below the ATS that would go up against the Mercedes-Benz CLA, as well as pondering additional crossovers to lend aid to the SRX, citing the Germans’ wide array of crossovers for inspiration.

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Grand Cherokee, Durango Going Grayscale Until February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949153 Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months. Automotive News reports […]

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Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months.

Automotive News reports the grayscale look will be in until at least next February due to upgrades at Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North Assembly’s paint shop in Detroit. The upgrades would allow the shop to paint vehicles with more complex colors than it could prior to the changeover.

The changeover, which follows those at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ subsidary’s Warren Truck and Sterling Heights facilities, will also shut production down for three weeks beginning December 22, the first time the plant has been shut down for that long in several years.

Until then, shoppers can comb through the lot to find a red or maximum steel SUV of their dreams: around 19 percent of 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees and 8 percent of 719 unsold Dodge Durangos come in colors outside of the grayscale range.

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Versa Still Rules Roost As Fit Sales Reach 42-Month High In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947057 American Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116. The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in […]

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Honda Fit EXLAmerican Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116.

The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in its tenure. With Honda sales rising to the highest October level ever and a new Mexican-built version of the brand’s least costly car finally readily available, seeing the Fit rise to new heights was not an unexpected occurrence.

It’s no E-Type on the outside, but the Fit’s purposeful design pays dividends inside for owners and even passengers. It is in some ways a mini-MPV with a very monobox shape. It’s not conventional, but its flexibility makes it strangely desirable as a result. Honda’s share of the subcompact category grew to 17.8% in October 2014, up from 10.8% a year ago and 10.6% in calendar year 2013 as a whole. It’s worth noting, as well, that the Fit is available only as a hatchback, while the four other members of the subcompact category’s October top five are sold as hatchbacks and sedans.

It’s also worth noting that the category continues to be controlled in large part by the cheap-and-roomy Nissan Versa, sales of which improved 29% in October 2014 to 11,097 units, 28.8% of the segment’s total.

With a higher price tag and fewer build options, it’s hard to see the Fit unseating the Versa any time soon, even on a semi-long-term basis.

Added competition may pose the greater danger to the Fit over the next few years, however. And we don’t mean competition from more subcompact hatchbacks. While Nissan Canada has seen Versa sales tumble 43% over the last three months as the Micra slotted in below and stole sales (and added many more), Honda will challenge their own Fit and Civic with the new HR-V, set to be displayed in detail at the Los Angeles auto show this week.

It’s a long-running theme. America’s new vehicle market is expanding at a 5.5% clip in 2014, and while subcompact sales shot up 11.5% in the month of October, specifically, subcompact volume is up just 3.4% this year. That outpaces the overall passenger car market, which is up just 1.2%. But combined sales of the Buick Encore, Mini Countryman and Paceman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke, and Subaru XV Crosstrek are up 28.2% to a combined 181,370 units. Sure, as a group they’re not as popular as subcompact cars – they’re certainly more costly, too. Yet their growth does represent a real turning of the tide.

Nissan Versa NoteBack in the here and now, Detroit subcompacts, in the form of the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta, have earned 31% market share in 2014. Sales of the Hyundai Accent rose 34% to 4839 in October and are up 5% this year; Kia Rio volume was down 12% both in October and through the first ten months. Combined Prius C/Yaris sales are down 19% in Toyota showrooms in 2014. Mazda 2 sales have increased 34% in advance of the next 2’s arrival, but October volume plunged 38% to just 457 units.

Meanwhile, America’s four top-selling compacts – Corolla, Civic, Cruze, Focus – combine to outsell the whole subcompact category by more than two-to-one.

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

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Obama Nominates Rosekind To Top NHTSA Post http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/obama-nominates-rosekind-top-nhtsa-post/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/obama-nominates-rosekind-top-nhtsa-post/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949105 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may have finally found its new administrator. Autoblog reports President Barack Obama nominated National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind to the agency’s top post. Rosekind served on the NTSB for four years, where he focused on accident investigations, impaired driving and fatigue concerns. He also directed NASA’s Fatigue […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may have finally found its new administrator.

Autoblog reports President Barack Obama nominated National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind to the agency’s top post. Rosekind served on the NTSB for four years, where he focused on accident investigations, impaired driving and fatigue concerns. He also directed NASA’s Fatigue Countermeasures Program, and headed the space agency’s aviation operations branch in flight management and human factors division.

Rosekind would replace deputy administrator David Friedman, whose 10-month tenure has been fraught with accountability issues regarding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall, as well as the ongoing Takata airbag recall crisis.

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Arizona AG Files $3B Lawsuit Against GM Over Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/arizona-ag-files-3b-lawsuit-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/arizona-ag-files-3b-lawsuit-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949089 Going its own way, Arizona has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over the February 2014 ignition switch recall. The New York Times reports Arizona attorney general Thomas C. Horne threw down the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the automaker defrauded the state’s consumers through advertising, public statements and its website. In so doing, Horne […]

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Going its own way, Arizona has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

The New York Times reports Arizona attorney general Thomas C. Horne threw down the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the automaker defrauded the state’s consumers through advertising, public statements and its website. In so doing, Horne and Arizona are going it alone, breaking off from a group of 48 states pursuing a multi-state investigation into the recall; Arizona was on the executive committee of said investigation:

We’re proceeding with our own suit because it’s the best way to protect the citizens of Arizona. General Motors represented that it was taking care of the safety of its cars, and in fact there were serious defects that it did not disclose to the public for years.

The suit also asserts some of GM’s senior execs — including CEO Mary Barra — knew of the defects at the same time as those below their status. Arizona is fining the automaker $10,000 per vehicle found in violation of state statutes, totalling $3 billion for 300,000 units.

For its part, GM vows to fight the suit, proclaiming it “misrepresents the facts” behind the performance of its vehicles, as well as its commitment to the safety of its customer base.

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Nissan Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:03:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946689 October 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011. Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan […]

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Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5.

Year-to-date, the Quest leads the Kia Sedona by a slim margin of 633 units, but that figure will swiftly flip: the Sedona outsold the Quest by 2006 units in October thanks to the arrival of an all-new third-gen model.

Historically, Nissan has sold Quests in much greater numbers, but it’s never been a pillar of the minivan movement. When 46,430 Quests were sold in calendar year 2004, that represented just 4.2% of total minivan sales. (It’s unlikely Nissan will even sell 10,000 in 2014.) The Quest’s market share during the first ten months of 2014: 1.8%.

It’s too early to say Nissan USA has given up on the Quest. There is a MY2015 variant. Indeed, that 2015 model accounts for 38% of the current stock listed on Cars.com. But this isn’t a product you’ll find in large numbers in Nissan showrooms across America.

North of the border, in the much stronger minivan market that is Canada, the Quest was first moved to special order status and has since been removed from the company’s consumer website. It’s not even mentioned in the company’s 2015 product plans.

2014 Nissan Quest grey rearThe numbers? In the U.S. in October 2014, only 370 Quests were sold, down from 812 in October 2013 and 395 in September of this year. Nissan has reached four digits with the Quest only three times this year after averaging 1073 monthly Quest sales in 2013, 1523/month in 2012, and 1131/month in the latter 83% of 2011.

The vast majority of automakers would truly struggle to break into this category. The fact that Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations. Even during a month in which sales of the fifth-ranked van (Sedona) jumped 251% to 2376 units, the top four owned a staggering 92% of the segment, with Chrysler and Dodge grabbing slightly more than half of all minivan sales.

The fourth-gen Quest has flopped, and now it’s being kicked while it’s flat on the mat. Is it the looks; the difficult task of balancing low demand with the need to increase supply if greater volume is to be generated; the simple fact that it’s not a Grand Caravan, Town & Country, Sienna, or Odyssey; or something else altogether?

It’s not as though the overall Nissan brand is struggling to conquer greater swathes of the U.S. market. Few brands with mainstream appeal are growing faster.

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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Uber Assures Journalists That It Wouldn’t Spend A Million Dollars Investigating Them http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uber-assures-journalists-wouldnt-spend-million-dollars-investigating/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uber-assures-journalists-wouldnt-spend-million-dollars-investigating/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:02:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947601 Uber’s bid to be The Company, The Actions Of Which Most Closely Resemble The Actions Of Companies In William Gibson Novels continues. This time, Uber’s doing the equivalent of putting a pistol on a table during a negotiation, Cookie Brown style. The metaphorical pistol is aimed right at a journalist who has been critical of […]

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Uber’s bid to be The Company, The Actions Of Which Most Closely Resemble The Actions Of Companies In William Gibson Novels continues. This time, Uber’s doing the equivalent of putting a pistol on a table during a negotiation, Cookie Brown style. The metaphorical pistol is aimed right at a journalist who has been critical of the company’s operations — but not to worry, Uber would never think of using it.

It started when Uber’s Emil Michael suggested at a media dinner/party that the company might spend a million dollars doing opposition research on four journalists who have been critical of the company’s “aggressive” business practices. He later on issued a remarkably unconcinving denial, which TechCrunch has difficulty even trying to believe:

The problem is that after Uber has tried to sabotage its opponent’s fundraising and recruiting efforts, after it hired a guy who reportedly stole confidential documents from the same competitor, after it pushed drivers who didn’t know better into subprime loans, there are seemingly no depths to which this company would not stoop in its megalomaniac efforts to win the market.

The problem is that most people don’t doubt for a second that Uber would do “oppo research” if it thought it could get ahead, and if it thought it wouldn’t get caught — if, as Michael reportedly said at the dinner, “Nobody would know it was us.”

There are certainly a few fascinating aspects of the story to consider here. The first is Uber’s demonstrated willingness to break the fourth wall of corporate personhood and act in a completely rogue fashion — something that’s been the staple of every cyberpunk novel since Neuromancer but which in the real world tends to run up against the unwillingness of individuals to commit felonies for the benefit of a corporation, pre-IPO or not. Why not attack its critics personally and viciously? If someone was trying to take a million dollars or more out of your pocket, wouldn’t you be willing to do them serious harm? That’s undoubtedly the moral position held by many Uber employees who stand to benefit spectacularly from a piece of the $18 billion pie.

The next aspect to consider is this: Should journalists be considered “noncombatants” in this sort of no-holds-barred corporate street-fighting? Perhaps in a bygone era where journalism was considered an honorable and nonpolitical profession, but in 2014 shouldn’t it be considered that Uber’s critics might simply be in the pay of, or ideological fellow-travelers of, state and city governments who have a massive vested interest in the existing taxi medallion scheme? When the battle is between millionaire medallion holders whose strength is augmented by the violent force of the government and millionaire Uber shareholders-to-be, isn’t it likely that money and influence is already affecting the journalists who report on the situation? If a journalist is actively protecting the interests of other millionaires, isn’t he or she a “player in the game” who deserves to be treated as such?

Last but not least: is this mess an indictment of the existing taxi system, a shining example of what’s necessary to fight a government big enough to take everything you have, or is it a demonstration of the need for stronger public oversight of a resource on which millions of people without cars of their own have come to depend?

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Honda To Replace Takata Airbags Nationwide If Consumers Complain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946634 Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question. In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, […]

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Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, despite being limited at the moment to the 2.8 million under recall in high-humidity states, whose Takata airbag modules are at-risk for catastrophic failure:

It is our practice to repair these vehicles outside of these regions at the request of concerned customers. Additionally, we have a customer service procedure that addresses our individual customer needs and concerns and encompasses, as appropriate, the replacement of air bag inflators and the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation.

Representative Chris Martin explained the move wasn’t made to bring in vehicles that were “secretly included” in the recall, but give peace of mind to those who own vehicles outside the recall effort. He added that a similar statement was posted on the automaker’s owner’s website, explaining to consumers of “certain” vehicles could bring in their cars for new airbags “as appropriate,” along with reimbursement for temporary transportation needs. Martin closed by stating Honda had “no reason to believe that there is a concern” for similar issues with the airbags outside of the recall area.

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Canada Auto Sales Recap: October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/canada-auto-sales-recap-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/canada-auto-sales-recap-october-2014/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:29:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946657 In October 2014, for the first time since March of this year, the Chrysler Group outsold all other automobile manufacturers in Canada. The margins were slim: only 259 units separated Chrysler Group’s five brands from the Ford Motor Company; only 301 stood between the Chrysler Group and General Motors. But these are celebratory moments for […]

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October 2014 YTD Canadian auto brand market shareIn October 2014, for the first time since March of this year, the Chrysler Group outsold all other automobile manufacturers in Canada.

The margins were slim: only 259 units separated Chrysler Group’s five brands from the Ford Motor Company; only 301 stood between the Chrysler Group and General Motors. But these are celebratory moments for an automaker which owns 15.6% of the Canadian market. Chrysler Group’s market share in its “home” U.S. market stands at 12.6% through the first ten months of 2014.

Pickup trucks, minivans, and utility vehicles continue to be the driving force for Chrysler in Canada. The Ram P/U, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Jeep brand, and Dodge’s Journey and Durango generated 83% of Chrysler Group sales in Canada in October, and this during a month in which the company says its car sales grew 34%.

Indeed, the Chrysler 200 was Canada’s top-selling midsize car last month, a story we covered last week. Non-200 Chrysler Group car sales were down 6%.

2015 Nissan MicraBoth pickup trucks and minivans are greater volume producers in Canada than they are in the United States. Pickups accounted for 17.2% of all new vehicle sales last month; minivans another 4.4%. (Those groups owned 15.8% and 3.2% of the U.S. market in October.) Chrysler is consistently poised to take advantage of those Canadian tendencies. Ram P/U sales jumped 15% to 6591 units in October, 25% of the truck market. The Grand Caravan was responsible for 62% of the country’s “full-size” MPV sales, Mazda 5, Chevrolet Orlando, and Kia Rondo excluded.

Jeep, meanwhile, is at the forefront of the continued SUV/crossover craze. Canada’s new vehicle market has expanded 5.6% through the first ten months of 2014, surging to record high levels after record volume was created in calendar year 2013. But pickup truck sales are up just 3% and, according to Automotive News, car sales are down slightly less than 1%.

Utility vehicles have more than made up the slack, and the sector has undeniably been hugely helped by the mostly Cherokee-powered surge at Jeep, Canada’s second-fastest-growing brand. (Maserati sales are up 141% to 417 units this year. Jeep is up 62% to 59,728.)

Total SUV/crossover sales are up nearly 16%, equalling 32.6% of the overall new vehicle industry’s volume, up from 29.8% during the first ten months of 2013. Jeep’s Wrangler, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee rank seventh, eighth, and 13th among SUVs and crossovers.

Canada’s top-selling utility in October was, of course, the Ford Escape. Though sales dipped 5% in October, Escape volume is up 17% this year to 45,152 units, more than any other SUV or crossover will manage in the full twelve months of 2014. The Escape has been the category’s best seller every month this year after conquering all SUVs and crossovers in ten of 2013’s twelve months.

Taking all vehicles into account, the Escape is Canada’s fourth-best-selling nameplate, ahead of all but two truck lines and one car.

October also marked a slowdown for Honda’s Civic, perpetually Canada’s best-selling car, although the compact Honda managed to lead all cars despite its 14% year-over-year decline. Civic sales are up 5% this year in a stagnant car sector – October flipped these results, with the Civic’s decline and a 2% improvement in total car sales. In fact, all of Canada’s six best-selling cars and eight of the top twelve posted decreased October sales.

Helping to push the car market forward last month was volume generated by a number of cars which didn’t exist (or barely existed) in the Canadian market at this time a year ago. Canadians registered 2366 combined copies of the Nissan Micra, Acura TLX, BMW 2-Series, BMW i3, Cadillac ELR, Dodge Viper, and Audi A3 in October, a combined 9000% year-over-year increase.

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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GM Victim Compensation Program Deadline Extended http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-victim-compensation-program-deadline-extended/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-victim-compensation-program-deadline-extended/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946618 The victims and families affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall can breathe a little easier, as the deadline to file a claim with the victim compensation program administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been extended. Autoblog reports the deadline is now January 31, 2015, per a recommendation to GM by Feinberg. […]

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The victims and families affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall can breathe a little easier, as the deadline to file a claim with the victim compensation program administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been extended.

Autoblog reports the deadline is now January 31, 2015, per a recommendation to GM by Feinberg. The move would allow both parties to be able to reach “every eligible person impacted” by the switch at the center of the February 2014 recall.

Since the window for accepting claims opened in August, a total of 2,105 were filed through last Friday, including 217 fatality, 128 severe injury and 1,760 less-severe injury claims. Among them, 72 claims were found eligible for compensation (33 fatality, 5 severe injury, 34 less-severe), while 292 claims (27 fatality, 30 severe injury, 235 less-severe) were under review.

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Toyota’s Texas Move Could Reduce US White-Collar Workforce 70 Percent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-texas-move-reduce-us-white-collar-workforce-70-percent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-texas-move-reduce-us-white-collar-workforce-70-percent/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946602 As Toyota prepares to consolidate the majority of its U.S. operations into its new headquarters in Plano, Texas, it may end up retaining as little as 30 percent of its engineering, sales, finance and corporate workforce after the move as uncertainty takes hold. Automotive News reports the automaker is doing all it can to hold […]

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Toyota Texas

As Toyota prepares to consolidate the majority of its U.S. operations into its new headquarters in Plano, Texas, it may end up retaining as little as 30 percent of its engineering, sales, finance and corporate workforce after the move as uncertainty takes hold.

Automotive News reports the automaker is doing all it can to hold onto as many of its employees as possible with the move to Texas drawing closer with every passing day, going as far as to offer a generous package to help employees remain with the company:

  • Lump-sum payment based on job level to those who follow Toyota into Plano, then remain on-board for two years after
  • Rentention bonuses based on salary/tenure for those who stay until their departments move to Plano
  • Full reimbursement of relocation costs for those in supervisory or management roles and above
  • Real estate assistance for those selling their homes to buy one in Texas

Though it has budgeted its package for 50 percent of its U.S. workforce — the figure proposed to help make for a smooth transition while avoiding the continuity issues Nissan faced in a similar move in 2006 — a source inside Toyota stated the company would be lucky to retain 30 percent:

They would be happy to have 50 percent. It’s hard to tell [how many people will go] because nobody has been offered their jobs yet.

Toyota plans to offer new job classifications beginning in January, with the goal of realigning most of its employees under one set of guidelines. The classifications will also affect benefits and bonuses, along with how a given job is conducted and administered. Since the announcement of those changes this past summer, however, morale and productivity have fallen amid the long wait, per another inside source.

Around 4,050 employees from California, New York and Kentucky are expected to make the move to Plano by 2017.

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Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946586 With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may […]

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With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few.

Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.

However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.

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Los Angeles Auto Show 2014 Preview http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-auto-show-2014-preview/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-auto-show-2014-preview/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:38:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946314 Starting tomorrow, the Los Angeles Auto Show will kick off with a number of world debuts, and TTAC will have live coverage starting Tuesday morning. Among the debuts slated for the LA Show: Acura ILX: Acura’s smallest sedan has gotten a tepid reception in the marketplace. But Honda’s luxury division has a host of upgrades […]

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Starting tomorrow, the Los Angeles Auto Show will kick off with a number of world debuts, and TTAC will have live coverage starting Tuesday morning.

Among the debuts slated for the LA Show:

Acura ILX: Acura’s smallest sedan has gotten a tepid reception in the marketplace. But Honda’s luxury division has a host of upgrades planned for the mid-cycle refresh, with a rumored powertrain upgrade as well as all-new styling.

Audi: An R8 Competition model boasting 570 horsepower gives the current generation supercar a final send-off, while the A9 previews the future direction of an Audi flagship.

BMW: The X5M and X6M debut, featuring twin-turbo V8 engines and comically aggressive styling.

Cadillac ATS-V Coupe: The twin-turbo V6 version of Cadillac’s sport coupe will bring the fight to the BMW M3 and Audi RS5.

Chrysler: An updated 300 debuts, to match up with the revamped Charger.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: A flat-crank 5.2L V8 and a 6-speed transmission are featured in this follow-up to the Mustang Boss 302.

Honda HR-V: Honda’s B-segment crossover debuts for North America.

Jaguar F-Type AWD: Jaguar’s sports coupe can now compete with the AWD Porsche 911 Carrera 4.

Mazda: World debuts for the refreshed CX5 and Mazda 6, as well as the all-new CX3 small crossover

Mercedes-Maybach S600: The Maybach name is revived, on an exclusive version of the S-Class.

Scion iM: Toyota’s Auris, rebadged as a Scion.

Volvo V60 Cross Country: More cladding and a higher ride height should boost V60 sales.

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Report: US Median Income Could Soon Outpace Falling Car Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946258 Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise. According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — […]

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Woman Receiving Car Keys For Her Death Ride 1969 Extravaganza

Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise.

According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — of a new vehicle with an average transaction price of $30,382, as recorded in October 2014.

ABAI publisher Requisite Press stated that while the current percentage was still high, “transaction prices have recently begun to weaken under ideal conditions for strength,” such as the rise in income among consumers. There, the ABAI found said income had climbed 3.8 percent above the 52.1 percent value reported in April of this year, corresponding to an extra $653 in spending ability.

The publisher adds that should the center hold, the U.S. median household income would continue to outpace automotive pricing, a status not seen since 1980. President Phil Kelton explains:

New-car affordability is likely to improve in the coming days if we can avoid an income slowdown. The selection of affordable models is best increased by competition, but a sustained improvement in affordability will certainly give it a boost.

As for taking advantage of this burgeoning reality, Requisite Press suggests consumers “maximize their buying power” along every step of the car-buying process, with a suggestion to follow the 20-4-10 rule: 20 percent down, four-year loan term max, 10 percent of income spent on car payments.

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DeGiorgio: ‘I Did What I Was Supposed To Do’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/degiorgio-supposed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/degiorgio-supposed/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946234 Since being dismissed from General Motors in June of 2014, the engineer cited by the Valukas report as the main culprit behind what would lead to the February 2014 ignition switch recall crisis had been in seclusion. Until now. The New York Times recently interviewed Raymond DeGiorgio outside his suburban Detroit home. When asked about […]

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Raymond DiGiorgio

Since being dismissed from General Motors in June of 2014, the engineer cited by the Valukas report as the main culprit behind what would lead to the February 2014 ignition switch recall crisis had been in seclusion. Until now.

The New York Times recently interviewed Raymond DeGiorgio outside his suburban Detroit home. When asked about the switch and the deaths and injuries linked to it, DeGiorgio proclaimed that he was just doing his job, doing what he was supposed to do, and that he did the best that he could.

An executive working at one of GM’s suppliers said the engineer was part of “the frozen middle” inside the automaker’s technical center in Warren, Mich., a culture which kept to itself, focused on the jobs before it, and prevented others from entering.

DeGiorgio’s tribulations began in 2001, when he was tasked with choosing a switch from two proposed. The one chosen required less force to turn the key, to the detriment of the switch’s overall quality. He would spend the next few years trying to have the switch improved, ending with a rejected request in September 2005 for a new switch meant for an upcoming GM product. A few months later in May 2006, DeGiorgio would make the fateful decision to have supplier Delphi replace the switch with the version he passed over, failing to change the part number associated in so doing.

Before corporate investigators in 2009 and 2012, and in a 2013 deposition, the engineer claimed he did not authorize a change in the ignition switch, though he did admit to seeing the difference between the two in the aforementioned deposition. The downward spiral for both DeGiorgio and GM soon followed.

Amid multiple legal threats, including criminal and perjury charges, he still holds the line that he did nothing wrong, that he and his name were “trashed” and “crucified” before the public. He added that the some of the various pieces written of him and his time at GM were “fiction,” but when asked for clarification, DeGiorgio ended the interview with the following:

I could write a book just about the switch. Maybe someday I will.

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Chronicling The Captiva Sport’s Brief U.S. Sales History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chronicling-captiva-sports-brief-u-s-sales-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chronicling-captiva-sports-brief-u-s-sales-history/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:26:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944961 The esteemable Jack Baruth backed one up toward an odd-looking statue back in March. Sales then boomed in April and May. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. In truth, Jack was no fan of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport he rented earlier this year, saying, “It won’t strike the desirability chord in anyone’s heart,” and, “This is […]

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Captiva import?The esteemable Jack Baruth backed one up toward an odd-looking statue back in March. Sales then boomed in April and May.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

In truth, Jack was no fan of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport he rented earlier this year, saying, “It won’t strike the desirability chord in anyone’s heart,” and, “This is a car to avoid at all costs.”

Fleet buyers, including most especially the rental car companies in the United States, did not avoid the Captiva Sport. They flocked to the reclothed Saturn Vue in large numbers.

Nevertheless, as was reported on these pages earlier this month after a virtual disappearance from GM’s sales reports in September and October, GM is done with the Chevrolet Captiva Sport. The upcoming Trax will, in addition to potentially satisfying some potential Buick Encore buyers who would rightly spend less money, also cater to rental companies in the Captiva Sport’s stead.

Now that it’s gone, consider just how many of these overweight but not completely unpleasant SUVs were sold: 7038 in the final quarter of 2011; another 36,935 in 2012; 47,600 more in 2013. Through the first seven months of 2014, before GM began running out the clock, Captiva Sport volume was up 22% to 33,308 units. The Captiva Sport’s best ever month was May 2014, when sales shot up 22% to 6204 units. On four occasions, more than 5000 were sold in a single month. Through the first five months of 2014, the Captiva Sport ranked 29th overall among SUVs and crossovers, ahead of some 60 different nameplates.


These aren’t insignificant figures. In other words, there’s a reason you see’em around. Even after two months in which only 74 were sold, the Captiva Sport’s year-to-date figures at the end of October show a vehicle which sold as often as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Nissan Juke; nearly as often as the surging Kia Sportage; 38% more often than the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; 69% more often than the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Captiva Sport, like the Vue which came before it, is not the kind of vehicle that will stand out in our memory for its goodness or popularity. But as a fleet-only experiment, obsessive observers of the auto industry will hark back to the Captiva Sport’s presence in the U.S. market as a means of justifying that Nissan should sell a Rogue and a Rogue Select, that the current Impala should stay on board when they introduce an eleventh-gen sedan, and that the W124 E-Class should still be on sale today.

The Captiva Sport was an anomaly, the kind of vehicle we’ll re-eulogize the next time a brand is killed off. And in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t rare.

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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FCA CEO Ordered To Give Deposition In Jeep-Related Lawsuit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fca-ceo-ordered-give-deposition-jeep-related-lawsuit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fca-ceo-ordered-give-deposition-jeep-related-lawsuit/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946210 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been ordered by a Georgia judge to give a deposition as part of a lawsuit made against his company by a family whose son was killed in a rear-end crash involving a Jeep. Bloomberg reports the Walden family is suing FCA, stating the fiery accident that took the […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been ordered by a Georgia judge to give a deposition as part of a lawsuit made against his company by a family whose son was killed in a rear-end crash involving a Jeep.

Bloomberg reports the Walden family is suing FCA, stating the fiery accident that took the life of their four-year-old son, Remington Cole, was the result of a safety hazard involving the placement of the fuel tank in their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The judge asked the automaker to make its CEO available for a videotape deposition at a time agreed upon by both involved parties, per a decision on the case made last month.

FCA’s Chrysler Group stated said Jeep wasn’t defective, and that it met or exceeded safety standards that were in place when the vehicle left the assembly line. The automaker did offer its sympathy to the family, however:

Chrysler Group expresses its most profound sympathy to those affected by this tragedy, which resulted from a collision with a pickup truck driven in a manner police described as “erratic, reckless, careless (and) negligent.”

The statement follows a similar response made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June 2013, when the agency requested the automaker recall 2.7 million Grand Cherokees and Libertys over the vehicles’ fuel tanks, which posed a fire risk due to their location between the rear bumper and axle. FCA later applied a fix for 1.56 million affected units — the installation or repair of a trailer hitch to help minimize the effects of a low-speed crash — but not for the 1999 Grand Cherokee like the one cited in the lawsuit.

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Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Jaguar Launches New Historic Racing Series For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jaguar-launches-new-historic-racing-series-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jaguar-launches-new-historic-racing-series-2015/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946170 Own a particular, race-ready Jaguar from the mid-1960s or earlier? The English brand is preparing a racing series just for you. Dubbed the Jaguar Heritage Challenge, the five-race historic series will begin its first season next year, and is open to XK, C-Type, D-Type, pre-1966 E-Type, MK I and MK II models. Per Jaguar Land […]

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Jaguar Heritage Challenge

Own a particular, race-ready Jaguar from the mid-1960s or earlier? The English brand is preparing a racing series just for you.

Dubbed the Jaguar Heritage Challenge, the five-race historic series will begin its first season next year, and is open to XK, C-Type, D-Type, pre-1966 E-Type, MK I and MK II models. Per Jaguar Land Rover Heritage Business Director Derek Weale, the race series further boosts Jaguar’s presence on the heritage racing scene, which includes famed events like the Mille Miglia and Goodwood Revival.

Operated by the Silverstone, England-based Historic Sports Car Club, the Jaguar Heritage Classic will hold four of its five races in the U.K. in 2015, with the remaining race held somewhere in Continental Europe. Dates, classes and venues are expected to come in the near future.

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Cain’s Segments: Compact Luxury Crossovers In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cains-segments-compact-luxury-crossovers-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cains-segments-compact-luxury-crossovers-october-2014/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 13:47:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944937 In the span of two months, the BMW X1 went from possessing no true direct German competition to finding challengers on two fronts. That’s not to say the X1 was never a viable, though slightly smaller, challenger to the rivals of BMW’s own X3. But the X1 was sitting on the bottom rung of the […]

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mercedes-benz-gla-2In the span of two months, the BMW X1 went from possessing no true direct German competition to finding challengers on two fronts.

That’s not to say the X1 was never a viable, though slightly smaller, challenger to the rivals of BMW’s own X3. But the X1 was sitting on the bottom rung of the ladder, and it’s no longer resting their on its own.

Audi USA sold 243 Q3s during the month it which it first went on sale in the United States, August 2014. Another 1092 were sold in August. October results, visible in the accompanying table, position the Q3 at the bottom of the three-car category.

(Want to add the Buick Encore into the mix? It sells far more often than any of these cars – 4780 copies in October; 41,213 year-to-date – but it’s 26% cheaper than the Q3 in base form, 22% less costly than the X1, and 26% less expensive than our final subject, the Mercedes-Benz GLA.) Sales of the Q3’s big brother, the Q5, were up 6% to 3571 units in October. 2014 appears set to be the Q5’s fifth consecutive year of annual U.S. sales growth.

Auto
October 2014
October 2013
% Change
10 mos. 2014
10 mos. 2013
% Change
Audi Q3
683 2,018
BMW X1
 2,073 3,059 -32.2% 17,801 21,407 -16.8%
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
2007 2,998
Total
 4,763
3,059  55.7%  22,817  21,407  6.6%

The BMW X1 reached a sales peak of more than 4300 units in March of this year but has averaged fewer than 1800 monthly sales, down from more than 2200 last year. The X1 is part of a five-pronged SAV lineup at BMW that’s enjoyed a 6.5% sales increase in 2014 despite significant declines from the X1 and X6. X3 sales are up 26% to 28,808 this year. X5 sales have risen 9% to lead the range with 36,376 sales. As you can see, X1 volume fell by nearly 1000 units in October, but the Q3 and GLA did much more than make up for those losses.

The GLA, a Mercedes-Benz CLA-related tall hatchback that you can call an SUV or a crossover or a CUV if you like, is also part of a five-member SUV/crossover lineup. The GLA, along with the more costly and larger G, GL, GLK, and M-Class, generated 39% of the Mercedes-Benz brand’s non-Sprinter sales in October. The GLA’s presence may have had an impact on the GLK’s total in October, the GLA’s second month, but if so, it was only the slightest of impacts. (Mercedes-Benz reported 991 U.S. GLA sales in September.) GLK volume slid 4%, a loss of just 107 units, after rising 21% during the first three-quarters of 2014. But GLK inventory of late hasn’t been as strong as it was earlier in the year, and the GLA therefore may have had little to do with the decline.

The lesson? If “luxury” automakers are going to sell more new vehicles, they’ll do so with less costly vehicles. And if they’re going to sell more of these less costly vehicles, the easiest way to do so will be to turn those vehicles into high riders, or at least vehicles with the appearance of increased ride heights. They’re not huge sellers – yet – but nearly one out of every 20 Audis soldnin October was a Q3. BMW has relied on the X1 for 7% of the brand’s U.S. volume this year. Likewise, 7% of the vehicles sold in Mercedes-Benz showrooms last month were GLAs.

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: The Pickup Truck Portion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-pickup-truck-portion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-pickup-truck-portion/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 13:08:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944833 Pickup truck sales increased 10% in the United States in October, an 18,590-unit jump in a market which grew 6%. Besides drawing attention to the, “The people buy trucks because the fuel is cheap,” argument, which is not at all completely false nor entirely true, the 10% increase drew our attention to the massive figures […]

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TTAC sales chart trucks and best-selling SUVsPickup truck sales increased 10% in the United States in October, an 18,590-unit jump in a market which grew 6%. Besides drawing attention to the, “The people buy trucks because the fuel is cheap,” argument, which is not at all completely false nor entirely true, the 10% increase drew our attention to the massive figures generated by the biggest nameplates and their expansive product ranges.

We’ve covered truck sales already this month, so rather than taking another deep dive into October’s specifics, consider instead the percentage of America’s growing auto market that belonged to the pickup truck category last month: 15.8%.

That’s not a small number. Indeed, it’s a significantly larger number than the one achieved by the category through the first ten months of 2014: 13.8%. For perspective, however, think back one decade. In 2004, 19% of the new vehicles sold in America were pickup trucks.

Although this chart provides another line at which to gander, we’re not suggesting that buyers of dual-rear-wheeled Ram 3500s are switching over to Honda CR-Vs, only that times are changing. Pickup trucks remain vital to the health of the American auto industry, more significantly because of their profit generation than with their outright volume. But the market isn’t returning to a 16 million+ annual sales pace because of the strength of passenger cars, or minivans, or pickup trucks. It’s the ess-you-vees.

The Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4 are all on pace for another record sales year, a follow-up to 2014’s record sales year for each of those nameplates. Ford should also sell more than 750,000 F-Series pickups, a startlingly high number compared with the totals achieved by other vehicle lines, but not exactly the 939,511 sold in 2004.

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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Volvo To Build Future Flagship In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volvo-build-future-flagship-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/volvo-build-future-flagship-china/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:17:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945121 With the Chinese-made S60L set to hit the United States next year, Volvo is taking the next step in building luxury cars in China, with plans for a new flagship to be built at a factory in Daqing. The enhancements to the factory will allow it to build vehicles on Volvo’s new modular architecture. The […]

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Volvo-S60L_P-550x367

With the Chinese-made S60L set to hit the United States next year, Volvo is taking the next step in building luxury cars in China, with plans for a new flagship to be built at a factory in Daqing.

The enhancements to the factory will allow it to build vehicles on Volvo’s new modular architecture. The first product will be an “all-new premium sedan”, expected to be the new flagship S90 sedan. Volvo is gearing up for exports of the S60L, a long-wheelbase S60 made in China, for the 2015 model year. The S60L will be the first Chinese car sold in the United States.

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