The Truth About Cars » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 22 Dec 2014 22:21:32 +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 » People http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/people/ Subaru Considering Smaller Engines, Phasing Out Six-Cylinder Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/subaru-considering-smaller-engines-phasing-six-cylinder-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/subaru-considering-smaller-engines-phasing-six-cylinder-units/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963914 Say farewell to the Subaru 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer, as the automaker is considering smaller engines with turbos, among other options. According to CarAdvice, deputy general manager of engineering Yoichi Hori says research by Subaru found that six-cylinder models in its and other automakers’ lineups are seeing declines in uptake, pointing towards a future where “many […]

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2015 Subaru Outback

Say farewell to the Subaru 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer, as the automaker is considering smaller engines with turbos, among other options.

According to CarAdvice, deputy general manager of engineering Yoichi Hori says research by Subaru found that six-cylinder models in its and other automakers’ lineups are seeing declines in uptake, pointing towards a future where “many companies take the smaller displacement with a turbocharger, or diesel, or hybrid.”

For Subaru, that could mean an engine as small as the 2-liter turbo-four boxer found in the 2015 Impreza, WRX, Forester and XV Crosstrek, with the possibility of a 2.5-liter unit, as well.

Diesel is also on the table: Hori says his employer is looking to take its 2-liter diesel and tune it toward two different states, providing more performance or fuel economy depending on interest. A PHEV diesel may also appear on the options list, though Hori didn’t say much on the subject.

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Alfa Romeo To Build Spider On Own Platform, Mazda MX-5 To Fiat-Abarth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963858 Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead. Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a […]

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Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead.

Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a new Alfa, including the expected 159 successor due early this coming summer.

As for the MX-5’s role in the matter, the platform will be heading to Fiat-Abarth, raising the possibility for a new Barchetta or stand-alone Abarth model to emerge from Mazda’s Hiroshima facility in the near future. Alfa’s Spider, however, will be made in Italy, per CEO Sergio Marchionne’s vision for the Alfa brand.

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Tesla Losing Chinese Chief After Less Than Nine Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961289 After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind. Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, […]

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Veronica Wu

After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind.

Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, who currently is in charge of Tesla’s charging network development in China.

Wu’s last day with Tesla is unknown, nor are her plans upon leaving the company.

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Richardville: Michigan Doesn’t Allow ‘Predatory Lending’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/richardville-michigan-doesnt-allow-predatory-lending/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/richardville-michigan-doesnt-allow-predatory-lending/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961257 Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, the senator behind the bill that would allow auto title loan companies to do an end-run around the state’s title loan ban by posing as pawnbrokers, proclaimed the 276-percent interest loans the title companies would provide consumers weren’t predatory. The Detroit News reports the outgoing senator said […]

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Randy Richardville, King of Financial Slavery in Michigan Since 2014

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe, the senator behind the bill that would allow auto title loan companies to do an end-run around the state’s title loan ban by posing as pawnbrokers, proclaimed the 276-percent interest loans the title companies would provide consumers weren’t predatory.

The Detroit News reports the outgoing senator said as much before reporters last week during the state legislature’s lame-duck session, adding that he isn’t trying to “ram the bill” through said session, despite introducing it the day after Election Day, and making sure it could bypass committee on the way to the floor for vote.

Richardville also said bank and credit union representatives were meeting with those in the pawn industry to reach a compromise on the bill, which was news to one of the bill’s opponents, Michigan Pawnbrokers Association president Mark Aubrey:

The Michigan Pawnbrokers Association has not been contacted by any agency for compromise. There is no middle ground here. Title lending has no place in the Pawnbroker Act and no place in the pockets of Michigan’s consumers.

Should the bill — No. 1138 in the Senate, No. 5954 in the House — pass, a loan of $1,000 that adds $360 of interest in 12 months — based on a cap of 3 percent per month — would pull in $2,760 within the same period at an interest rate of 276 percent annually, thanks to a 20 percent so-called “usage fee” charged monthly.

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Chinese Internet Company Sets Sights On Tesla In Chinese EV Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957953 Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game. Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls […]

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Leshi booth

Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game.

Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls the “Super Electric Eco-System.” Jia and his representative in Los Angeles, Luo Qimei, both said the results of the program — which has been in the works since the early days of 2014 — will best those of Tesla and other western companies.

Leshi is entering the game amid weak demand for EVs in China, linked to a lack of sufficient infrastructure and local protectionism barriers. The Chinese government are attempting to build-up demand by providing tax breaks for consumers who buy from local automakers such as BYD, along with ordering government officials to use more EVs. That said, Leshi believes it will stand out among the competition, though Luo won’t say how much her company will invest into making it so.

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UAW Proposing Works Council At VW Tennessee Plant ‘Soon’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uaw-proposing-works-council-vw-tennessee-plant-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uaw-proposing-works-council-vw-tennessee-plant-soon/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957865 Now that the United Auto Workers have won full access to Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. factory under VW’s community engagement policy, what will it do with its newfound power? Propose a works council, of course. Automotive News reports the UAW would make the proposal “soon,” with an initiative planned to train those at its Local 42 […]

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Now that the United Auto Workers have won full access to Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. factory under VW’s community engagement policy, what will it do with its newfound power? Propose a works council, of course.

Automotive News reports the UAW would make the proposal “soon,” with an initiative planned to train those at its Local 42 “on Volkswagen’s unique style of labor-management relations… creating something new and doing it in a collaborative relationship with the global group works council,” per regional director Ray Curry.

Further down the road, secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel said the union would make its ultimate push toward representation of the 1,500 employees at the facility, though the policy prohibits collective bargaining by recognized groups on behalf of said employees.

As to how the UAW would accomplish this, Casteel — who didn’t say how many employees were members of Local 42 — said the union didn’t have a clear idea, but ruled out another election — like the one it lost earlier in 2014 — or conducting a card check.

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Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957306 Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications. Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five […]

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Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.

Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.

As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007.

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Next-Gen Audi Q7 First VW Product With Diesel PHEV Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956754 When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option. Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be […]

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When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option.

Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be the second diesel PHEV sold in Europe, joining the €56,200 ($69,000 USD) Volvo V60.

The announcement follows statements made this summer by development chief Ulrich Hackenberg, who said the Q7 and the A8 would come with a diesel PHEV option, combining a 3-liter V6 engine with an electric motor, but didn’t say which would be the first out of the gate with said option.

As for the move itself, Hackenberg and CEO Rupert Stadler both proclaimed PHEVs would be the company’s best solution for low-emission vehicles, with greater range than pure electrics being the biggest factor.

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Nair: Ford Hard At Work On F-150 Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955650 Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix. Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix.

Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was too soon to go into detail on when it would hit showrooms or how the system functioned.

Regarding diesel, Nair said that fuel prices — already falling below $2/gallon in a few spots in the United States — are making such a thing tough to bring about, that even a hybrid system would pay for itself long before a diesel F-150 could. That said, if the demand is there, Nair believes Ford could tap into its diesel portfolio to make that model happen.

Speaking of fuel prices, truck marketing chief Doug Scott said he didn’t think sales of EcoBoost models would be dampened by cheap fuel, citing customers’ choice to buy an EcoBoost F-150 for the performance as well as fuel economy.

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Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955385 Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter. Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less […]

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Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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Uber Hitting E-Class Taxi Roadblock In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954649 Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model. According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger […]

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Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model.

According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger — average age of 3.5 years — and more luxurious, as well.

Familiarity — or lack thereof — is another factor in grabbing mind share. Berlin-based consultant Boris Knoblich says that while Uber’s lower fares are attractive, he didn’t know “anything about those drivers or the cars they’re driving.” Per Die Zeit, 73 percent of Germans feel the same way, showing no interest in the transportation network company, even if its fares are lower.

Uber’s German boss, Fabian Nestmann, is attempting to change those opinions and to bring the fleet on par with the taxis. Regarding the latter, Uber is considering making direct deals with automakers for newer, higher-quality vehicles. Nestmann also suggested in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last month that the German government drop mandatory health checks or local geography testing for tax drivers, likely to help his company make further in-roads into the market.

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France Begins Divorce Proceedings Against Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954617 For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away. Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls […]

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2006 Peugeot 908 RC Concept

For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away.

Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls laid it out as such:

In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.

Presently, 80 percent of the nation’s drivers operate diesel-powered vehicles, thanks to the lower price for the fuel over gasoline. Thus, to encourage them to consider more eco-friendly options, the government will raise the excise tax on diesel to €2 ($2.50 USD) per liter, and will begin in 2015 to identify vehicles by the amount of pollution they produce. Further, energy minister Segolene Royal introduced earlier in 2014 a tax credit of up to €10,000 ($13,500) for exchanging their diesels for an electric vehicle, while other subsidies linked to the new plan will help drivers in anti-pollution areas convert their old diesels.

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Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954473 Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC. CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend […]

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Gas Prices Circa December 2014

Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC.

CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend its piece of the petroleum pie from shale drillers in the United States, whose efforts added 1 million barrels/day to the nation’s oil production in less than a year.

In turn, prices for West Texas Intermediate fell to $66.15/barrel, while fuel prices averaged $2.79/gallon over Thanksgiving, the lowest average since the same time in 2009. The price is expected to fall further, per Lipow Oil Associates president Andrew Lipow, who expects the average to hit between $2.55 and $2.60 per gallon nationwide by Christmas.

However, if OPEC hoped to thwart U.S. production — currently at 9 million barrels per day, a rate not seen since 1986 — the organization may be in for a shock. Lipow explains:

I expect oil production is going to continue to increase in the U.S. over the next three to four months as shale oil and Gulf of Mexico projects that are underway get completed.

Meanwhile, production at existing wells would be cut back as exploration and production companies look to refocus their budgets toward the most productive sites.

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Toyota: Don’t Drink The (Mirai’s) Water http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954449 Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion. Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion.

Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does have depend on what passed through the stack in the first place:

Depending on the place you are driving, some parts of the world might have certain issues, such as organisms like E. coli, which could be hazardous to your health. You never know what the quality of the air intake is.

That said, if you are interested/desperate enough to wonder if the Mirai produces Evian, you’ll be happy to know that the water is said to be “slightly acidic,” with a pH of 5 to 6, just below the levels found in acid rain and beer.

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Swearingen: No Evos Planned After X, GSR 5-Speed Coming Summer 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/swearingen-evos-planned-x-gsr-5-speed-coming-summer-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/swearingen-evos-planned-x-gsr-5-speed-coming-summer-2015/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954425 Bad news: Mitsubishi’s storied Lancer Evolution will stop at 10 after the 2015 model year. Good news: It will go out with a bang. Jalopnik recently held an AMA with Mitsubishi Motors USA executive vice president Don Swearingen. There, one of the commentariat asked if there would be an Evo XI. His response: There are […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X

Bad news: Mitsubishi’s storied Lancer Evolution will stop at 10 after the 2015 model year. Good news: It will go out with a bang.

Jalopnik recently held an AMA with Mitsubishi Motors USA executive vice president Don Swearingen. There, one of the commentariat asked if there would be an Evo XI. His response:

There are currently no plans for an Evo XI.

We do plan on launching a special edition in June/July of next year as a going away edition. It’s a GSR 5-speed. More horsepower, some suspension tuning, and some bits pieces that are still being finalized. Around 2,000 units will be available.

Other notable statements from the AMA: Mitsubishi wants to return to the D-segment with a replacement for the Galant; is considering more electrification of its lineup, including a PHEV; says no Delicas will be sent to the United States anytime soon; and will be bringing a concept to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show heralding what the new Montero could look like.

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Mercedes Bringing AMG To The Masses With New Line http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses-new-line/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-bringing-amg-masses-new-line/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952473 Is the raw power of the Mercedes-AMG lineup too much, but you still covet the name? The Teutonic marque has something just for you. An effort to make the sub-brand more accessible to the masses, Mercedes-Benz is introducing the AMG Sport line, which will slot between the restrained main collection and the more brutal AMG […]

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Mercedes-AMG 2014

Is the raw power of the Mercedes-AMG lineup too much, but you still covet the name? The Teutonic marque has something just for you.

An effort to make the sub-brand more accessible to the masses, Mercedes-Benz is introducing the AMG Sport line, which will slot between the restrained main collection and the more brutal AMG portfolio. Mercedes-AMG chair Tobias Moers explains:

The new Sport models represent a convincing proposition for our customers: genuine sports car technology becomes accessible, appealing to an even broader-ranging clientele worldwide. For all our dynamic growth, we remain true to our brand claim of “Driving Performance.”

All AMG Sport models will have AWD standard, and will come with more powerful engines and special braking and chassis components, all with the goal of bringing the AMG driving experience to the driver who isn’t ready to go all in. The first two models are set to make their debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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Mitsubishi Confirms Mirage Sedan For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mitsubishi-confirms-mirage-sedan-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mitsubishi-confirms-mirage-sedan-us-market/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951393 Looking for a cheap new car that isn’t a hatchback? Mitsubishi might just have what you need. According to Motor Trend, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president Don Swearingen proclaimed that the Mirage sedan — already on sale in Thailand as the Attrage — would arrive in U.S. showrooms within the next year or […]

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2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _1_

Looking for a cheap new car that isn’t a hatchback? Mitsubishi might just have what you need.

According to Motor Trend, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president Don Swearingen proclaimed that the Mirage sedan — already on sale in Thailand as the Attrage — would arrive in U.S. showrooms within the next year or two.

Like the Mirage hatch (which we reviewed not too long ago), the sedan is powered by a 1.2-liter three-pot mated to either a CVT or five-speed manual.

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Texas Woman Exonerated Due To GM Ignition Switch Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950953 A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall. Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under […]

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Saturn_Ion_sedan

A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall.

Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the accident — leading to the conviction in 2007 — both the prosecutors and the state trooper who investigated the accident conceded that she had nothing to do with what occurred, citing the ignition switch at the center of the recall as evidence.

Her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, was one of the original 13 fatalities GM linked to the recall, with its own investigation turning up a May 2007 report linking his death to the failed deployment of airbags due to a loss of power, likely caused by the troubled ignition switch.

Though having previously settled with the automaker in 2008 for $75,000 — most of which paid legal fees and provided for Erickson’s two daughters from a previous relationship, as per the terms of the plea bargain — Anderson may have more to gain, having submitted paperwork for her and on Erickson’s behalf to the victim compensation program operated by the office of Kenneth Feinberg. She is weighing her options, however, as she would waive her right to sue upon acceptance, though any lawsuits would already be hindered by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy protections.

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Musk: I Won’t Be Tesla’s CEO Forever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/musk-wont-teslas-ceo-forever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/musk-wont-teslas-ceo-forever/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950041 Everybody wants to rule the world one way or another, but forever? Not if you’re Elon Musk. Per HybridCars, the CEO of Tesla stated in an interview with Auto Bild that while he would never leave the company, he would step down as its leader within the next three to four years, through the production […]

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Elon Musk

Everybody wants to rule the world one way or another, but forever? Not if you’re Elon Musk.

Per HybridCars, the CEO of Tesla stated in an interview with Auto Bild that while he would never leave the company, he would step down as its leader within the next three to four years, through the production of the Model 3.

As for Tesla itself, Musk said the automaker did fail three times, and burned through its cash to nil, thanks to the fallacies of using the Lotus Elise as an inexpensive foundation to launching a vehicle, and depending upon the powertrain by AC Propulsion to move it. He also proclaimed that he should have been the company’s CEO from the outset, marking the delay as one of his greatest regrets.

As for where he sees himself in the future, Musk says he’d like to go to Mars for a while, return to Earth, then return to Mars in his mid-70s to die under the blue sunset.

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VW Bringing Golf SportWagen 4Motion, Alltrack To US In 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-bringing-golf-sportwagen-4motion-alltrack-us-2016/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949993 Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016. Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike. The Alltrack variant, unveiled […]

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Volkswagen-Golf-Alltrack-6

Looking to muscle in upon Subaru territory, Volkswagen will be bringing over the Golf SportWagen 4Motion in standard and Alltrack models for 2016.

Automotive News reports the plan was announced by Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn during last week’s LA Auto Show, citing demand from dealers and consumers alike.

The Alltrack variant, unveiled at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, will be paired against the Subaru XV Crosstrek with the aim of capturing a piece of the U.S. small crossover market, gain more overall U.S. market share, as well as using more of the Puebla, Mexico factory where the Golf is assembled now.

As for the standard SportWagen, FWD versions will arrive sometime this coming spring, while tooling for the AWD 2016 model is beginning to be installed. Horn expects the SportWagen to make up 50 percent of all Golf sales once VW completes its lineup expansion.

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Honda Calls For Compliance From Consumers Regarding Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949969 Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair. Even if it means involving the government. Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per […]

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Honda-Accord-USA-2001

Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair.

Even if it means involving the government.

Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek in testimony before Congress last week. One of his suggestions would be to decline registration of a vehicle under recall until the defects were repaired, in a manner similar to emissions testing.

Schostek’s suggestions have found support from the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Center for Auto Safety, with Nissan stating it was too early to comment, and General Motors, Toyota and Ford remaining silent thus far.

At present, automakers are required to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of any problems a model may be experiencing, while owners aren’t required to do anything.

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US Data Privacy Guidelines Not Compatible With Euro Privacy Laws http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/us-data-privacy-guidelines-compatible-euro-privacy-laws/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/us-data-privacy-guidelines-compatible-euro-privacy-laws/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949937 Just as with emissions and headlamps, standards recently adopted in the United States regarding consumer data and privacy won’t be compatible elsewhere, specifically in Europe. Per Automotive News Europe, Stephan Appt, legal director of Munich, Germany-based international law firm Pinsent Masons, says the standards developed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of […]

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connected car

Just as with emissions and headlamps, standards recently adopted in the United States regarding consumer data and privacy won’t be compatible elsewhere, specifically in Europe.

Per Automotive News Europe, Stephan Appt, legal director of Munich, Germany-based international law firm Pinsent Masons, says the standards developed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers to both handle said data and ensure privacy “are a step in the right direction,” but aren’t enough for European authorities.

Issues concerning the standards — which were agreed upon earlier this month by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — include vague and broad statements within the framework, as well as consumers giving “implicit consent to allow data processing based (upon) their mere usage of vehicle technologies and services,” an act that would run afoul of European privacy standards.

Appt added that support for the guidelines shows that automakers “are taking the issue of protecting driver data seriously enough to put aside their differences and collaborate,” and hopes those in Europe would do the same to mitigate risk in violating local privacy laws.

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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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takata-corp

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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