Category: Industry

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.

According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.

Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

2015 Chevrolet SS front

Unless your local police force harbors a crop of non-conformists, it’s easy to believe rear-drive Chevrolet sedans bowed out in the 1990s.

Of course, that’s not true. General Motor’s Australian Holden division saw fit to continue sending a limited number of rebadged Commodore sedans our way, long after the Impala and Caprice faded into the history books. Gussied up with a few tell-tale styling cues, the Commodore easily morphed into the performance-oriented Chevrolet SS and fleet-only Caprice PPV. Both models sell in limited numbers on this side of the Pacific, but not for long.

With Holden poised to pull the plug on Australian manufacturing later this year, the old-school Commodore has only months left to live. That means the exotic, badge-engineered American brothers will cease to exist after the 2017 model year.

Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

2015 Dodge Grand Caravan red Detroit skyline

(Update: A previous version of this story stated that the Honda Odyssey was the top-selling minivan in the U.S. in 2016. The number one spot actually goes to the Toyota Sienna.)

After being granted a stay of execution, the Dodge Grand Caravan’s hazy, undefined lifespan remains a controversial topic in Auburn Hills.

The Moses of minivans continues to trundle off Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Windsor, Ontario assembly line, alongside its far-more-advanced Chrysler Pacifica stablemate. Compared to the tech-laden Pacifica, the venerable Grand Caravan offers an acceptable level of content at a lower price point, and its reprieve was in keeping with FCA’s tendency to keep money-making models around for extended periods of time. Together, the two models span the segment’s price range.

The unavoidable question for FCA is: how long can the Grand Caravan stay in the lineup? Read More >

By on January 11, 2017

Acura MDX Honda Pilot Odyssey Ridgeline – Images: American Honda

Throughout much of the third-generation Honda Pilot’s tenure, U.S. sales have not measured up to the success of the previous-generation model, though not for lack of demand.

In a market gone mad for SUVs and crossovers, three other vehicles have constrained production of the Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama. In addition to the Pilot, American Honda builds the Honda Odyssey in Lincoln, along with the Acura MDX. The second-generation Ridgeline started rolling off the Alabama line in May 2016.

As a result, Honda dealers have had a difficult time getting their hands on enough Pilots to sate the predictably high level of interest in a respected three-row crossover nameplate. Heading into December, for instance, Honda only had 36 days of Pilot supply according to Automotive News, about half the current industry average.

But with an all-new 2018 Odyssey about to pick up steam and the Ridgeline reaching a second-gen high of 4,085 sales in December, the Pilot needs room to breathe.  Read More >

By on January 10, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: FCAAs recently as 2014, U.S. sales of midsize cars were on the rise, albeit marginally. As recently as 2015, U.S. sales of midsize cars were shrinking only modestly, falling less than 2 percent compared with 2014.

In 2016, however, U.S. sales of midsize cars decreased by more than 250,000 units — an 11-percent drop that exceeded the rate of decline witnessed elsewhere in the car market.


This is the seventh edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


The midsize sedan segment continues to be a hugely consequential part of the car market and the overall new vehicle market, but the segment has greatly contracted over the last few years — including the demise of yet another nameplate in 2016.

That makes 2017 the best time to replace the 15-time best-seller with an all-new model. Read More >

By on January 6, 2017

2017 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL - Image: Mitsubishi

Set aside TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch for a moment to mourn the passing of a compact car: the Mitsubishi Lancer.

Motor1 reports production of the Lancer will end in August 2017. There will be no replacement.

Mitsubishi vacated the midsize segment four years ago in the service of providing evidence — along with the defunct Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, and Suzuki Kizashi — to support TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. Mitsubishi’s overall U.S. sales volume hasn’t suffered as a result. 2016 was the brand’s fourth consecutive year of improved sales in America.

With plans to bolster its crossover lineup, it now appears Mitsubishi’s U.S. dealers won’t suffer greatly from the loss of the increasingly low-volume Lancer, either — at least, not relative to the recent past.  Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan Monroney, Made in Mexico, Image: © Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

Update: Added dealer info, sales background.

Contrary to a statement released two days ago by General Motors, it seems not all Cruze sedans sold in the United States are made in the United States.

According to TTAC alum Ed Niedermeyer, a number of 2017 Chevrolet Cruzes — even those for sale at a dealer in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM manufactures the Cruze in the United States — are Hecho en Mexico.

Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

Toyota badge

The Toyota Motor Corporation is a little skeptical of the imminency of self-driving vehicles. It plans on continuing production of designs where human operators are saddled with the bulk of the driving responsibilities for years to come.

The automaker is openly dubious that tech-focused companies like Waymo and Tesla are sufficiently far enough along to hint at delivering self-driving cars. However, Toyota’s problem with handing the keys to a computer has as much to do with leaving companies open to litigation and criticism as it does with the technology simply not yet being ready.

North America expects millions of traffic accidents every year, but is much less willing to accept computer-controlled chaos at even a fraction of that scale.  Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

2015 Ford F-150 crew cab

Thanks to improved midsize-truck sales, record Ram volume, and the best annual results for the Ford F-Series in more than a decade, U.S. sales of pickup trucks climbed to 2.69 million units in 2016.

The 6-percent year-over-year growth rate among pickup trucks shamed the industry at large — auto sales grew only 0.3 percent in 2016. Yet while auto sales reached record levels, spurred along in part by pickup improvements, truck sales haven’t quite returned to the glory days. Not yet.

Americans acquired an average of more than 3 million pickup trucks per year during a five-year period ending in 2007, the last time total pickup truck sales volume was stronger than it is now.

Some things haven’t changed, however. Ford sells the most popular full-size pickup truck line; 2016 was the F-Series 40th consecutive year as the segment’s top seller. And America’s top-selling manufacturer reigns as the top-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks.  Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

2016 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab blue

Tuesday’s surprise announcement by Ford, where it declared plans for a new Mexican assembly plant were as dead as disco, turned up the heat on other automakers.

With President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise of a hefty import tax weighing heavily on the minds of auto executives, long-term production plans are being placed in limbo across the industry. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

There’s no shortage of uncertainty afflicting the auto industry these days, but Hyundai Motor Company is facing 2017 like a tense office worker determined to put on a brave face around its colleagues.

After seeing its 2016 delivery targets swamped by a wave of market reality — and after canning the CEO of its American division for missing his own targets — Hyundai claims the gray skies will clear up in the New Year. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee OverlandGeneral Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all ended 2016 selling fewer new vehicles in the United States than the traditional Detroit Three managed one year earlier.

Yet for a second consecutive year, U.S. auto sales improved to record levels, shooting past 17.5 million units thanks to an end-of-year push that propelled December to a 3-percent increase, not the 2-percent decline forecasted. Read More >

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