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. Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:27:37 +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/ Geneva 2015: Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Pulls Up To The Bumper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-maybach-s600-pullman-pulls-bumper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-maybach-s600-pullman-pulls-bumper/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:27:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010498 Though the festivities have truly yet to begin, a few images and details from the 2015 Geneva Auto Show are coming out from behind the curtain. First up: the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman. The big daddy of all Mercedes-based limos, the Pullman is a full 3.5 feet longer than the standard S-Class, big enough to accommodate […]

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Though the festivities have truly yet to begin, a few images and details from the 2015 Geneva Auto Show are coming out from behind the curtain. First up: the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman.

The big daddy of all Mercedes-based limos, the Pullman is a full 3.5 feet longer than the standard S-Class, big enough to accommodate four standard seats facing each other in the back. Other configurations are available if you need more room for groupies and/or dignitaries and/or ultra-alpha Wall Street types, however.

Power for the Pullman comes from a twin-turbo V12 delivering 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque, though ‘Ring times aren’t this limo’s raison d’être. Aside from emphasizing luxury over everything else, it can also be had with body armor for those whose stations in life merit extra protection, and the aforementioned seats are positioned so the adoring (or blood-thirsty) public cannot see who’s inside.

As for the price, the S600 Pullman will move for $500,000 to $600,000 sans said body armor.

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The Finally Defunct Bugatti Veyron’s U.S. Sales Run: By The Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-defunct-bugatti-veyrons-u-s-sales-run-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-defunct-bugatti-veyrons-u-s-sales-run-numbers/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:22:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009418 Finally. The Veyron is done. Bugatti reportedly sold the last Veyron, a car which will be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March, to a customer in the Middle East. Volkswagen-owned Bugatti’s 450-unit production run comes to a close after nearly a decade of delivering cars to customers. Although the cars routinely sold for […]

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Bugatti Veyron blueFinally. The Veyron is done.

Bugatti reportedly sold the last Veyron, a car which will be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March, to a customer in the Middle East.

Volkswagen-owned Bugatti’s 450-unit production run comes to a close after nearly a decade of delivering cars to customers. Although the cars routinely sold for more than $2M, Bloomberg referenced Singapore-based analyst Max Warburton who believes VW lost €4.6M per car, more than USD $5M.

Unlike the detailed sales reports we see each month from Volkswagen of America’s namesake brand, Veyron-specific numbers were never formally reported. Automotive News reports that approximately one-quarter, or 113, of the Bugatti Veyrons produced ended up in the United States.

It would be easy to rib Bugatti for its sales struggles. But rather than critique the French hypercar, let’s do ourselves the service of placing its numbers in context.

Bugatti Veyron Pur SangIf there are 113 Bugatti Veyrons on America’s roads – or more likely, locked in hyperbaric, anechoic chambers – how do such figures align with the sales numbers (circa 2014) for the vehicles you drive?

671 – the number of seconds it takes for Americans to buy 113 SUVs and crossovers.

79 – the number of minutes it takes Ford to sell 113 F-Series pickups in America. Ford sold more than 2000 F-Series per day in 2014, a slightly slower year for the F-Series, America’s best-selling vehicle line.

9 – the number of hours Ford needed in the final two months of 2014 to sell 113 Mustangs.

5 – the number of days required for the Chevrolet Trax to find 113 new owners in its first month of availability, December, when a twin of the Trax, Buick’s Encore, had already been on sale for nearly two years.

1 – the number of days required for GMC to sell 113 Yukons. The Yukon is the third-best-selling nameplate off GM’s full-size SUV platform. On an average day in the U.S. in 2014, GM dealers sold 697 Escalades, Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons, and Yukon XLs.

2 – the number of weeks required for Mercedes-Benz USA to sell 113 G-Class SUVs. At the moment, the G-Class has the highest base price of any SUV sold in the United States.

4925 – the number of minivans sold in America during calendar year 2014 for every Bugatti Veyron ever sold in America.

35,619 – the number of Toyota Camrys sold between 2005 and 2014 for every Veyron ever sold in America.

130 – the number of $845K+ Porsche 918 Spyders sold in the United States in its first eight months of availability.

51 – the number of miles one must drive from the Smart factory in Hambach, France – from which 10,453 Fortwos were shipped and sold in the United States in 2014 – to Molsheim, France, where the Veyron was assembled.

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: A Decade Of January Market Share Improvement For Winter’s Auto Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:17:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009394 Subaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%. Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep? As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep […]

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Jeep Subaru market share chartSubaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%.

Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep?

As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep sales were up 23%; Subaru volume rose 24%. Together, they accounted for 8% of all new vehicle sales in America in the first month of 2015.

Since January may be the most Subaru and Jeep-like month of them all, the accompanying chart showcases their market share improvements in the month of January over the last decade.

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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Editorial: Will Gordon Murray’s City Car Finally See The Road? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-will-gordon-murrays-city-car-finally-see-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-will-gordon-murrays-city-car-finally-see-road/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:20:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009658 The saga of Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car may finally reach an end in 2019 when Yamaha plans to launch their own line of four-wheeled vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese industrial conglomerate is planning to launch a car by the end of the decade, to help diversify away from motorbikes and […]

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The saga of Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car may finally reach an end in 2019 when Yamaha plans to launch their own line of four-wheeled vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Japanese industrial conglomerate is planning to launch a car by the end of the decade, to help diversify away from motorbikes and to capture customers in the developing world who are migrating away from motorcycles and into cars.

While the WSJ article suggests that Yamaha is going at it alone with their car project, this would be an enormously expensive project. The more likely scenario is a production version of the Yamaha Motiv, a city car based on the T.25 project, engineered and designed by former McLaren F1 visionary Gordon Murray.

While the Motiv uses a number of innovative design features , the real value add for Yamaha is Murray’s iStream production process. As our own Ronnie Schreiber reported

The main concept of iStream is to abandon the traditional stamped metal, spot welded construction, used almost universally by the auto industry for more than 60 years, and replace it with one based on relatively simple tubular steel frames reinforced with sheets of composites that make up the floor, firewall, bulkheads and roof structure. The outer skin is made from non load bearing impact resistant plastic.  Murray claims class-leading stiffness and crashworthiness.

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While it’s possible that Yamaha may have abandoned the Murray-based design and manufacturing system for its new car, the most recent reports indicated that the two parties had worked closely on the project and were sufficiently mutually invested to the point where production was an inevitability. Past city cars, from the Toyota iQ to the Smart Fortwo have generally been unpleasant, poorly thought out attempts at easing urban mobility. The Motiv might turn out to be something different. If nothing else, it has the right pedigree on both sides of the gene pool.

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Geneva 2015: Magna MILA Plus Hybrid Concept To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009354 Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception. The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and […]

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Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception.

The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and transmission to send power to the back. Range in all-electric is nearly 47 miles, and CO2 emissions come at just 32g/km. Total power is 268 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. Total range is 310 miles, and nil to 60 comes in 4.9 seconds.

The lightweight extruded aluminum space frame and bio-plastic panels help bring the overall weight to 3,351 pounds, and the cold-mechanical-joined body-in-white — a process used on the Mercedes SLS AMG and Aston Martin Rapide — uses modular construction to “ability to accommodate different driveline configurations,” as well as “the use of components and systems from large series production” for greater flexibility and efficiency on the production line.

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Nissan GT-R Approaches 10,000 U.S. Sales After Best-Ever January http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:09:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009074 Following a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015. The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to […]

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2015 Nissan GT-R red profileFollowing a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015.

The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to an extra 81 sales.

This sudden January uptick comes after sales in 2014 jumped 16% to 1436 units, the third-highest-volume year in the GT-R’s seven-year history. 2014 was down 17%, or 294 units, from the pace Nissan set in the GT-R’s first year on the market, 2008.

Over the final five months of 2014, U.S. GT-R volume shot up 63%. December sales doubled to 156 units. August volume, at 208 units, was the best month for the GT-R since November 2008.

GT-R sales chatThe January improvement is therefore not out of the ordinary given the recent history of Nissan’s junior supercar. More importantly, it’s noteworthy because the car – frequently updated but never thoroughly reengineered with an all-new introduction since a different guy became Russian president – is soon going to crack the 10K barrier in U.S. sales. Through the end of January, 9397 GT-Rs were sold in America.

True, the GT-R has been helped along by consistent horsepower improvements, a boon to a car that takes speed as seriously as a minivan takes its responsibility to provide redundant cupholders. I’m told that Nissan USA employees were offered spectacular short-term lease deals, a factor which may have contributed to the recent spike.

But an automaker deserves credit when they sells their most expensive product in healthy numbers even as that product becomes firmly entrenched in old age. Nissan has managed to keep the GT-R sufficiently current in a market that always wants tomorrow’s car. Perhaps this says something about the degree to which the GT-R was futuristic when it arrived at the dawn of a recession.

While the GT-R continues to earn plaudits, one key high-end sports car continues to sell far more frequently. The Porsche 911, which is sold in a wide range of configurations, was up 33% to 1052 sales in January alone. For every GT-R sold by Nissan USA in 2014, Porsche sold more than seven 911s. Meanwhile, over the last four months, BMW USA reported 573 i8 sales to Nissan’s 519 GT-Rs. (Chevrolet reported 11,016 Corvette sales during that period, albeit with a much lower base price.)

On the other hand, the GT-R nearly outsold the Dodge Viper and Audi R8 combined in 2014. The fact that a $101,000+ Nissan was outselling anything at all in its seventh year is a testament to the GT-R’s appeal.

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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Manuals Comprise 20 Percent Of All New USDM Models Available For Sale http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/manuals-comprise-20-percent-new-usdm-models-available/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/manuals-comprise-20-percent-new-usdm-models-available/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009330 Enjoy rowing your own instead of allowing Skynet to do the shifting? If you’re in the United States, your manual transmission options are few. Jalopnik‘s commentariat-driven Oppositelock recently compiled a list of every vehicle sold in the U.S. that has a manual transmission. Of note, nearly every subcompact and compact model gives the right to […]

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Enjoy rowing your own instead of allowing Skynet to do the shifting? If you’re in the United States, your manual transmission options are few.

Jalopnik‘s commentariat-driven Oppositelock recently compiled a list of every vehicle sold in the U.S. that has a manual transmission. Of note, nearly every subcompact and compact model gives the right to shift to the driver, including the Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa and Kia Soul.

Among the midsizers, only five have manuals: Buick Regal, Honda Accord, Mazda6, and Volkswagen CC and Passat. SUVs, crossovers and trucks didn’t do so well, either, with most offerings found among Jeep, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi models, and only one big truck — the Ram HD — standing with the mid-size pickups in the manual game.

Finally, quite a few sports cars landed on the row-row-your-car list, including the Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Mazda MX5 Miata and Porsche 911, while a handful of luxury models — Cadillac’s ATS and Infiniti’s Q60 among them — threw down for the cause.

In total, 50 of 265 models sold in the U.S. come with manuals, making up 20 percent of the market in 2015. Most of the automakers offer them on 30 to 40 percent of their vehicles, while Mazda, Jeep, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen offer one on over 50 percent of their respective lineups.

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Whistleblower Incentive Legislation Passes US Senate Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009314 A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has […]

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A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has yet to be determined, per an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Once voted and approved on the floor, however, the bill would go forward to the U.S. House for their vote.

The legislation would give employees and contractors for automakers, suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of any penalties resulting from a federal enforcement action totalling over $1 million, but only if said employees “shared original information on product defects or reporting violations” with either the Transportation or Justice departments.

The panel vote comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began fining airbag supplier Takata $14,000/day for failing to cooperate in the agency’s investigation into the supplier’s airbag inflators linked to at least six fatalities and several injuries.

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GM Retreats From Indonesia In Major Blow To Emerging Markets Strategy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:29:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008714 Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales […]

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Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales and marketing arm.

According to Reuters, GM will shutter its Bekasi factory which was producing the Chevrolet Spin minivan, a product that GM intended to go up against market leader Toyota and its Avanza minivan. Toyota dominates 90 percent of the Indonesia market and the Avanza is Indonesia’s most popular car. Of the top ten selling vehicles in Indonesia, the Spin ranked in 8th place last year, with brands like Toyota, Honda and Daihatsu (another Toyota brand) dominating the market.

Indonesia is a particularly enticing market for many auto makers. It is the most populous nation in Southeast Asia and the largest economy in the region as well. It also has one of the lowest rates of car ownership, with 32 vehicles per 1,000 people, compared to 132 per 1,000 people in Thailand and 300 per 1,000 people in Malaysia. The locally built Spin was supposed to give GM a leg up in Indonesia, but as another Reuters piece notes, GM only advanced seven tenths of a percent in market share during their 80 year run in Indonesia.

Reuters claims that GM will pivot to a more SUV and truck focused brand, along with establishing a foothold for its Chinese affiliate brands like SAIC’s Wuling. But the minivan is Indonesia’s most popular vehicle, since it allows for carrying multiple passengers in comfort while the high ground clearance is suited for the frequent floods and rough terrain of the island nation. While Wuling offers some low cost vans, offerings like Chevrolet’s Trailblazer and Captiva will likely be more expensive while offering qualitative disadvantages.

GM’s Stefan Jacoby told the news service

“We could not ramp up Spin production to boost the volume as we had expected … although the product was really good. The logistics chain of the Spin was too complex; we had low volume so we could not localize the car accordingly, and from the cost point of view we were just not competitive.”

While the Spin is popular in Brazil and other markets, it was unable to dethrone the Avanza, which uses crude but cost-effective body on frame construction which means it can be manufactured in a relatively easy, inexpensive fashion. Jacoby claims that the end goal is to turn Indonesia “into a sustainable business model.” If the last 80 years are any indication, it’s not looking good.

 

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Question Of The Day: Will The CR-V Continue To Be America’s Best-Selling Honda? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:21:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008298 After averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014. Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic […]

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2015 Honda CR-VAfter averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014.

Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic volume slide 10%. Moreover, 54% of the CR-V’s 2014 U.S. volume was generated in a strong second-half.

But the CR-V didn’t stop with the Civic. In each of 2014’s final three months, the CR-V also outsold the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car.

A brief spurt of extraordinary achievement? Perhaps not. In the first month of 2015, the CR-V was once again the best-selling Honda in America.

The CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units in October; the Civic by 5103. In November, the gap widened considerably, with the CR-V outselling the Accord by 7103 units; the Civic by 9318. In the final month of 2014, as Accord volume slid 2% year-over-year, the CR-V outsold the midsize Honda by 780 units; the Civic 7032. In the fourth-quarter of 2014, American Honda reported 94,004 CR-V sales, equal to 28% of the brand’s total, up from 23% the same period one year earlier.

Honda sales chart 2014-2015The Civic’s share of Honda’s pie fell from 26% in the fourth-quarter of 2013 to 22%. The Accord’s share slid from 26% to 25%.

Then, in concert with its fifth consecutive month as America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, the CR-V was the top Honda for the fourth month running in January 2015. As non-CR-V Hondas collectively achieved a 7% year-over-year improvement, equal to 4415 extra sales compared with January 2014, CR-V volume jumped 27%, or 4979 units.

In fact, despite being outsold by Nissan, the Honda brand reported record January sales in 2015, with no large amount of thanks to their car division, which slipped 1.5%. But in addition to a record January from the CR-V, a clear-out of remaining second-gen Pilots helped the bigger Honda crossover to a near-doubling of January volume: 12,315 units, up 89% from 6224 in January 2014.

The CR-V is not alone in its car-conquering ways. Pickup trucks aside, the Escape, America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle, was Ford’s top seller in each of the last five months, although it trailed the Fusion by a scant 648 units at year’s end. The Escape was Ford’s best-selling non-pickup-truck in 2011, 2012, 2013, 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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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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T&E: First-Gen Biofuel Use In EU Face 6 Percent Cap By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008250 Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use. European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen […]

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Total Biofuel Airport Tanker in France

Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use.

European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen fuels to just 6 percent of the overall supply by 2020. The cap is over the 4.5 percent introduced in 2011.

The cap not only affects food-based biofuels like ethanol, but the energy crops used to make them — and compete for space with food crops. T&E notes the cap correctly identified land use as the “key environmental challenge” regarding first-gen biofuels, and applaudes the Environment Committee for strengthening sustainability criteria for advanced biofuels derived from municipal waste and residues.

The release adds that in 2011, EU member states spent €6 billion ($6.8 billion USD in today’s dollars) subsidizing the biofuel industry; the cap would effectively kill such subsidies after 2020.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vulcan Revealed Prior To Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008130 Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine. Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted […]

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Aston Martin Vulcan_01

Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine.

Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted over carbon ceramic discs, race-spec Michelin tires, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, variable traction control, and a power-to-weight ratio surpassing those found in FIA GTE cars.

Before the 24 fortunate owners take delivery of their FIA-certified Vulcans, they will offered a chance to gain some seat time behind the wheels of Aston Martin’s other road and track offerings — like the V12 Vantage S, One-77 and Vantage GT4 — in an intensive training program. Per special projects and motorsports chief David King, the 24 will then have the opportunity to take part in a series of track days in 2016 “on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.”

The Vulcan is set to officially bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show next week before making its track debut later in the year, and was produced in a partnership with Multimatic, who will also be in charge of assembling the Ford GT next year.

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De Nysschen: Cadillac CT6 Likely To Gain Twin-Turbo V8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/de-nysschen-cadillac-ct6-likely-gain-twin-turbo-v8/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008106 The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power. According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to […]

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ct6

The Cadillac CT6’s looks may not be as “greatly daring” as the B&B had hoped, but the premium sedan might make up for that with twin-turbo V8 power.

According to Road & Track, brand president Johan de Nysschen turned up for a Q&A with the commentariat over on Jalopnik, where he gave this response to a question by the blog’s own Michael Ballaban:

CT6 is a car that really sets the standard in many respects with regard to advanced new body construction technology. It’s a Cadillac, so it stands to reason that it’s great to drive, very refined and sophisticated. The lightweight body construction allows us to push the envelope when it comes to powertrain in a way we know that the rest of the industry will follow. This includes a very wide mix of engines, starting with a 2-liter turbo, up to, eventually, a high-performance advanced V-8 turbo.

De Nysschen reaffirmed his statement when another commenter asked about the CT6’s ability to keep up with the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, proclaiming the sedan’s “lightweight body structure” would provide the platform for “formidable performance” with a twin-turbo V6, let alone a twin-turbo V8.

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Lexus Takes Gold In 2015 JD Power Dependability Study http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008050 For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study. The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making […]

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Lexus RCF cliff, side

For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study.

The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making a huge leap from fifth place in 2014 to take silver with 110 problems per 100 vehicles reported. Toyota had one more problem compared to Buick.

Among the rest, Cadillac took home fourth, while Honda and Porsche tied for fifth. Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion and Chevrolet round out the top 10 for 2015, while Land Rover and Fiat landed at the bottom of the list with 258 and 273 problems per 100 vehicles, respectively.

As for the problems themselves, most took issue with their vehicle’s Bluetooth and voice-recognition systems, followed by problems with the vehicle’s engine or transmission, the latter mostly focused on “automatic transmission hesitation and rough shifting.”

This year’s study surveyed over 34,000 original owners of 2012 models after three years of ownership, with the survey taking place between November and December of 2014.

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Nissan Xterra Leaving US Market After 2015 Model Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-xterra-leaving-us-market-2015-model-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-xterra-leaving-us-market-2015-model-year/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007842 Looking at buying a new Nissan Xterra? Better pull the trigger soon, as the SUV will leave the U.S. market after the 2015 model year. Edmunds reports the Xterra is leaving these shores for regulatory reasons, with Nissan finding no business case in bringing the SUV up to code for an audience that also adores […]

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2015 Nissan Xterra

Looking at buying a new Nissan Xterra? Better pull the trigger soon, as the SUV will leave the U.S. market after the 2015 model year.

Edmunds reports the Xterra is leaving these shores for regulatory reasons, with Nissan finding no business case in bringing the SUV up to code for an audience that also adores the Jeep Wrangler. Updating the Xterra to meet regulatory and environmental requirements was deemed too costly for such a low volume product. CAFE regulations also don’t favor the Xterra’s small, body-on-frame SUV layout, making the updates a tougher sell.

The automaker moved 16,505 Xterras in 2014, a 7 percent decline compared to 2013’s 17,766 units sold. The SUV also faces stiff competition from crossovers like the Buick Encore, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan’s own Rogue, nearly 200,000 of which left the lot last year.

For those few who will buy one of the last Xterras, features for 2015 include NissanConnect, a USB connection for the iPod, and a new color named SolarFlare Yellow.

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Samsung SDI Buys Battery-Pack Business From Magna http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/samsung-sdi-buys-battery-pack-business-magna/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/samsung-sdi-buys-battery-pack-business-magna/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007818 Digging further into the auto-parts game, Samsung SDI announced it would buy Magna International’s battery-pack business. Reuters reports the subsidiary of the South Korean chaebol, which makes packs for the BMW i3 and i8, is bringing the entirety of Magna subsidiary Magna Steyr’s battery-pack production unit into the fold, including all 264 employees, and production […]

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2014 Samsung BMW M3 DTM Sparking It Up Bitches

Digging further into the auto-parts game, Samsung SDI announced it would buy Magna International’s battery-pack business.

Reuters reports the subsidiary of the South Korean chaebol, which makes packs for the BMW i3 and i8, is bringing the entirety of Magna subsidiary Magna Steyr’s battery-pack production unit into the fold, including all 264 employees, and production and development sites.

Per Samsung SDI President and CEO Nameseong Cho, the move “will provide new momentum to expand our business and customer base,” including those in Europe, North America and China.

The value of the deal between the two parties was not made public, and the deal will be completed in Q1 2015 pending regulatory approval.

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Autoleaks: Hyundai’s 3.3L Turbo GDi Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-hyundais-3-3l-turbo-gdi-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-hyundais-3-3l-turbo-gdi-revealed/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007754 With a little help from the Internet, images of the firepower for the upcoming 2017 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have escaped, along with some specs. The Korean Car Blog reports the 3.3 Turbo GDi, a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, will deliver 365 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque to the back of the Coupe, which is expected […]

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With a little help from the Internet, images of the firepower for the upcoming 2017 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have escaped, along with some specs.

The Korean Car Blog reports the 3.3 Turbo GDi, a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, will deliver 365 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque to the back of the Coupe, which is expected to ride on a shortened version of the Genesis Sedan’s platform when it hits showrooms in late 2016. The new engine gains 27 horsepower and 84 lb-ft of torque over the current 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6’s 348 hp/295 lb-ft.

Another feature of the 3.3-liter is Hyundai’s Intermediate CVVT technology, though little information was found thus far.

The Genesis Coupe is also expected to receive a V8 alongside the turbo-six, with speculation pointing towards the 5-liter mill in the Genesis Sedan. Hyundai’s HTRAC AWD system is also projected to be an option for the performance coupe.

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Pickup Trucks Grab Three Best-Selling Positions In America In Five Consecutive Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/pikcup-trucks-grab-three-best-selling-positions-america-five-consecutive-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/pikcup-trucks-grab-three-best-selling-positions-america-five-consecutive-months/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:39:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007866 The pickup truck world’s consistent hold on the whole of American best seller’s podium is steadily tightening. January 2015 was the fifth consecutive month in which all three of America’s best-selling vehicle lines were pickup trucks. It’s nothing new for Americans to see the Ford F-Series atop the monthly leaderboard. Not since the Cash For […]

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2015 Ford F-150The pickup truck world’s consistent hold on the whole of American best seller’s podium is steadily tightening.

January 2015 was the fifth consecutive month in which all three of America’s best-selling vehicle lines were pickup trucks.

It’s nothing new for Americans to see the Ford F-Series atop the monthly leaderboard. Not since the Cash For Clunkers-fuelled August 2009 has the F-Series not been the top-selling vehicle line in America.

We’re also accustomed to seeing the Chevrolet Silverado in the second spot. Only three times in 2014 did the Silverado fall from the silver medal position, and only twice did it surrender that position to a car.

With ever-strengthening Ram P/U sales, however, pickup trucks now routinely claim all three top spots. Not only did they do so in January 2015 – a month in which total pickup volume jumped 22% – and each of 2014’s final four months, they also did so in January and March of 2014. In fact, the Ram outsold the Silverado in March, though not the combined GM twins.

2015 Chevrolet SilveradoOn an annual basis, 2014 was the first year since 2003 that the F-Series, Silverado, and Ram topped America’s best seller list.

In September, the three trucks combined for 146,651 sales, 62,925 more than the top three cars managed.

In October, their 150,210-unit total was higher than the total sales achieved by all but three brands: Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota.

In November, the 137,713 F-Series’, Silverados, and Rams sold was greater than the total achieved by the five next-best-selling vehicles.

In December, the top three trucks generated 176,414 combined sales, more than double the number of sales achieved by the three top SUVs/crossovers.

2015 Ram 1500In January, 10.3% of the new vehicles sold and 84.7% of the full-size trucks sold were F-Series, Silverado, or Ram pickup trucks.

The three top trucks, however, are only the tip of the collective best-selling iceberg. 30 nameplates account for half the new vehicles sold in America in January, leaving the remaining 89% of nameplates to fight over 50% of the market.

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 S60, V60 Polestar Enter Second Run, Middle East For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007730 Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time. Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run. […]

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Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016

Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time.

Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run.

Meanwhile, the Middle East will see some of the blue Volvos on its roads this year, as Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are the newest additions to the list of markets the automaker sells its high-performance wares, which currently include Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

As for what they’ll receive, the Polestars feature power from a turbocharged 3-liter I6 pushing 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque through a Polestar-calibrated paddle-shifted six-speed automatic to the vehicle’s Haldex four-wheel drive system. The S60 goes from nil to 60 in 4.7 seconds, while the V60 does it in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, and Brembo brakes stop the 20-inch wheels — shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports — before any moose are hit. Price of admission in the U.S. starts at around $60,000.

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Lincoln ‘Dares Greater’ Than Cadillac In Google SEO Game http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lincoln-dares-greater-cadillac-google-seo-game/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lincoln-dares-greater-cadillac-google-seo-game/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007698 Oscar viewers who are seeking on Google the Cadillac that “dared greatly” are suddenly hearing Matthew McConaughey’s voice, thanks to Lincoln’s SEO skills. Autoblog reports the first instance of Lincoln’s slogan hijacking appeared less than 24 hours after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” adverts aired during the 87th Academy Awards. As seen above, those wanting to know […]

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Lincoln Dares Greater Than Cadillac In The SEO Game

Oscar viewers who are seeking on Google the Cadillac that “dared greatly” are suddenly hearing Matthew McConaughey’s voice, thanks to Lincoln’s SEO skills.

Autoblog reports the first instance of Lincoln’s slogan hijacking appeared less than 24 hours after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” adverts aired during the 87th Academy Awards. As seen above, those wanting to know more about Cadillac — and about that mysterious car making a brief appearance in a separate Oscars advert — will find a sponsored link for the brand at the top, followed by Lincoln’s version of the truth in second.

Originally, the second sponsored link — which read, “Dare Greatly – It’s not about making a statement, it’s about doing what you love” — directed consumers to Lincoln’s homepage, greeting them with the sight of the 2015 MKZ Hybrid. Since then, the link directs to the same page, but the image is that of the 2015 MKC. The link’s slogan, meanwhile, changes with every search; for this author, it currently reads, “You don’t have to make a statement when you know who you are,” likely a swipe at brand president Johan de Nysschen’s and brand director Melody Lee’s ambitions and aspirations for Cadillac.

As for the Oscars campaign, AutoTrader said that searches for Cadillac jumped 53 percent within an hour after the first advert aired.

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A Leaf Falls In January: After 23 Consecutive Increases, Nissan USA Reports Leaf Decline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/leaf-falls-january-23-consecutive-increases-nissan-usa-reports-leaf-decline/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/leaf-falls-january-23-consecutive-increases-nissan-usa-reports-leaf-decline/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:54:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006802 In the same way that consecutive games without a point draw attention to the fact that Sidney Crosby previously achieved a 25-game point streak, the Nissan’s Leaf slight decline in the lowest-volume month on the calendar shines a light on what was a 23-month streak of year-over-year improvements. Leaf volume slid 15% in January 2015, […]

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2015 Nissan Leaf whiteIn the same way that consecutive games without a point draw attention to the fact that Sidney Crosby previously achieved a 25-game point streak, the Nissan’s Leaf slight decline in the lowest-volume month on the calendar shines a light on what was a 23-month streak of year-over-year improvements.

Leaf volume slid 15% in January 2015, a 182-unit drop. On a monthly basis, Leaf volume increased every month between February 2013 and December 2014, year-over-year.

It’s not a high-volume car, the Leaf, but it’s not so exclusive as to be called rare. Leaf volume has risen beyond 1000 units in each of the last 23 months. Average monthly U.S. volume measured 2911 units in the second half of 2014, up from an average of 2129 monthly sales in the second half of 2013. Leaf volume shot above 3000 units in May, July, August, and December of 2014. (The Chevrolet Volt has only topped the 3K mark once, in August 2013. Toyota has only sold more than 2000 Prius Plug-Ins in a single month twice.)

In fact, that high December output – U.S. sales jumped 23% to 3102 in the final month of 2014 – was partly to blame for the Leaf’s first decline in two years. “Increased demand in December from customers looking to take advantage of federal and state incentives at the end of the tax year pulled some sales ahead,” Brian Brockman, senior manager of corporate communications for Nissan, told TTAC yesterday. And while Nissan doesn’t see low fuel prices having long-term impact on the EV market, Brockman said, “We are also seeing some short-term effects of historically low fuel prices on EV demand among buyers who are solely focused on the economic benefits.”

Some? In the case of the Leaf, very little at all. Even in January, the lowest-volume month for the Leaf since February 2013, the all-electric Nissan still outsold a long list of conventional cars, SUVs, crossovers, and vans, including a large number of Nissan products: NV, Q40, Armada, Xterra, Titan, Quest, Q70, and many more. The Leaf sold more than twice as often as the approaching-replacement Volt (not that the Leaf is a spring chicken), 43% more often than the Scion FR-S, more than three times more often than the Volvo V60.

January 2015 Nissan USA Leaf sales chartThe Volt, FR-S, and V60 aren’t exactly mainstream machines. But that’s not really the point. In a slow month for the Leaf, it was wildly more popular than truly rare cars. In a slow month for the Leaf, it outsold approximately 47% of all passenger car nameplates in January. In a slow month for the Leaf, it outsold all-electrics like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Volkswagen e-Golf, Smart Fortwo EV, Fiat 500E, Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford Focus EV, Kia Soul EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, and Mitsubishi i MiEV combined.

It’s worth noting that while HybridCars.com estimates that Tesla sold 1300 copies of the Model S, the Tesla is mostly alone in its electrified nature at the Model S’s price point. The same can not be said for the degree of direct competition faced by the Leaf. Indirectly? Toyota, for instance, sold more than 12,000 total Prius family cars in January.

Regardless of what the competition manages, Nissan would prefer to see Leaf sales continue to improve. Crosby fans also want to see Sidney do more than record points in back-to-back games after being held scoreless in five of six. That’s The Truth About Hockey.

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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Geneva 2015: New Honda Civic Type R Drifts Through Video Before Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-new-honda-civic-type-r-drifts-video-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-new-honda-civic-type-r-drifts-video-debut/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006770 Though set to appear next month in Geneva, the Honda Civic Type R drifted through a video showing a few of the automaker’s latest and greatest. Per Autoblog, the video, titled “Keep Up,” shows the hot hatch drifting across the screen for one second in the 55-second video, which also showed Honda’s HondaJet, Jazz and […]

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Though set to appear next month in Geneva, the Honda Civic Type R drifted through a video showing a few of the automaker’s latest and greatest.

Per Autoblog, the video, titled “Keep Up,” shows the hot hatch drifting across the screen for one second in the 55-second video, which also showed Honda’s HondaJet, Jazz and ASIMO products, all with words of encouragement rapidly flashing over the desert environment.

Power for the Type R is a 2-liter VTEC turbo-four pushing 280 to 300 horsepower to the front wheels, and was recently teased to have round foglamps, as opposed to the video’s bladed LEDs.

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UMTRI: US New-Car Fuel Economy Averaged 25.3 MPG In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/umtri-us-new-car-fuel-economy-averaged-25-3-mpg-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/umtri-us-new-car-fuel-economy-averaged-25-3-mpg-2014/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006746 The final numbers are in for new-car fuel economy in the United States for 2014, and they are better than they were in 2008. According to Autoblog, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the average U.S. fuel economy for a 2014 model landed at 25.3 mpg, 22 percent higher than six years […]

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The final numbers are in for new-car fuel economy in the United States for 2014, and they are better than they were in 2008.

According to Autoblog, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the average U.S. fuel economy for a 2014 model landed at 25.3 mpg, 22 percent higher than six years ago.

The same percentage of improvement holds up when it comes to vehicles rated at 16 mpg or less, where only one in 30 new cars held that distinction. On the other end of the spectrum, one in six new cars garnered a rating of 32 mpg or above in 2014; only 1 percent could say the same in 2008.

UMTRI 2008 - 2014 US New-Car Fuel Economy Comparison Chart

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Analysis: EPA Revising Fuel Economy Testing Guidelines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/analysis-epa-revising-fuel-economy-testing-guidelines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/analysis-epa-revising-fuel-economy-testing-guidelines/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:10:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006610 After a series of scandals involving incorrect fuel economy ratings, the EPA is revising its self-reporting guidelines for auto maker fuel economy standards, in a bid to ensure greater accuracy in the real world. Currently, manufacturers are responsible for conducting their own tests according to EPA guidelines. While the new regulations cover the preparation of […]

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2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid Fuel Economy Display, 49MPG, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

After a series of scandals involving incorrect fuel economy ratings, the EPA is revising its self-reporting guidelines for auto maker fuel economy standards, in a bid to ensure greater accuracy in the real world.

Currently, manufacturers are responsible for conducting their own tests according to EPA guidelines. While the new regulations cover the preparation of the vehicle in advance of the test, the Detroit News also reports that a key metric is being revised to closer match real world driving conditions

Also at issue are “road load” tests used to determine the impact of aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance on gas mileage. Currently, that is measured at 50 miles per hour. Under the new guidelines, automakers must measure the results at all speeds up to 70 mph.

The relatively slow speeds can often equal a highway fuel economy figure that is optimistic compared to what drivers can expect in real world conditions. The EPA also intends to close the loophole used by Ford that allowed it to assign the same fuel economy ratings for the C-Max and Fusion Hybrid models. This loophole allows auto makers to state the fuel economy rating of the “volume” model for a group of vehicles that use the same powertrain. In this case, Ford was able to use the superior Fusion’s rating for the C-Max (which got 43 mpg to the Fusion’s 47). Ford ended up re-stating fuel economy figures for the C-Max and compensating owners for delivering poorer than advertised fuel economy.

But the new guidelines are just that. Speaking to the paper, the EPA’s Chris Grundler said that drafting new, legally binding rules would take two to three years, which is too much time in their eyes

“Writing regulations takes time…When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”

As we’ve noted in the past, the EPA’s fuel economy standards need a significant overhaul. The new “guidelines” simply don’t go far enough. The EPA only audits around 10 to 15 percent of vehicles per year, relying on the manufacturers to provide accurate claims for the rest of the fleet. Meanwhile, the test procedures themselves can be gamed due to powertrain calibration that takes advantage of the test parameters.

The test itself, as some have suggested, is really oriented more towards emissions than fuel consumption. If that’s the case, why not overhaul it to be more like the European tests that measure CO2 – which happen to be undergoing their own revamping right now to better ensure real world relevance? Both tests also give far too much leeway to small turbocharged engines, which are notorious for performing well on the test and then wildly missing their stated fuel economy in the real world.

With fuel economy figures becoming an increasingly important part of consumer decision-making – and auto maker marketing campaigns, the need for a more accurate fuel economy testing procedure has never been greater. The new guidelines are a step in the right direction, if nothing else. But they could go further.

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