The Truth About Cars » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:39:05 +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 » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/sign-of-the-times/ Mahindra & Mahindra In Negotiations To Buy Pininfarina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029785 Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents. Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, […]

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Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents.

Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, though those negotiations still have a chance to collapse.

If successful, Mahindra could use Pininfarina to add more style to its and subsidiary Ssangyong’s offerings. The design house has worked with the manufacturer in the past, helping to develop its SUVs and designing its Halo electric sports car that was unveiled at last year’s Delhi Auto Show.

Mahindra’s bid for Pininfarina follows ChemChina’s bid for Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli in a series of foreign takeovers of Italian companies as Italy slowly emerges from its cycle of recessions.

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2015 Ford S-Max Can Drive 55 Via Intelligent Speed Limiter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-s-max-can-drive-55-via-intelligent-speed-limiter/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028945 Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter. Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph […]

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2015 Ford S-Max Intelligent Speed Limiter - TTAC Zaibatsu Style

Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter.

Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph (5 mph) increments, as well as doing all the work for the driver.

The latter is accomplished through traffic-sign recognition technology, which provides the driver with speed limit information, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the S-Max’s instrument cluster. Functionality begins at 30 kph (20 mph), and ends at 200 kph (120 mph), and drivers can set a speed tolerance of 5 kph above the limit.

Active safety chief Stefan Knappes says the system is meant to remove “one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit,” explaining that drivers sometimes aren’t aware of their speed until an accident or a fine occurs. The system will hit the road in Europe this summer, when the first S-Max deliveries begin.

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Ford, GM Looking Into Tier 3 Wages For Lower-Skilled Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-gm-looking-tier-3-wages-lower-skilled-workers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028897 While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3. Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better […]

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UAW Member Assembling Corvette in Bowling Green Circa 2015

While the UAW wants to “bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, Ford and General Motors want to have a Tier 3.

Bloomberg reports the two automakers are considering the issue before its talks with the union in September, proclaiming the new tier — for lower-skilled labor — would help them better compete against the transplants and their non-union employees through lower labor costs.

Meanwhile, the UAW leadership are seeking raises for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, just as its rank-and-file want an end to the two-tier wage system entirely. The thought of a Tier 3 would prove hard to stomach among all in the union, though such a tier could help bring work that had been outsourced to suppliers in-house, as those employees would not be assembling vehicles.

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FCA Planning Industry-First PHEV Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-planning-industry-first-phev-minivan/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028273 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan. Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been too enamored with electrification, especially with the Fiat 500e, but he now has his sights set on a PHEV minivan.

Detroit Free Press reports the PHEV would be the company’s third overall attempt to market such a vehicle, following the 1993-1995 $120,000 TEVan — built on the same line in Windsor as the standard minivans — and the 1997 EPIC electric minivan with a range of 120 miles delivered by its advanced lead acid batteries. The new PHEV minivan would also be the first hybrid minivan of any sort to come to market since the hybrid category’s U.S. debut in MY 2000, and would spawn a PHEV crossover to debut in 2017.

While the PHEV would provide improved city fuel economy in its role as a family shuttle, placement of the battery pack would have to be sorted due to the automaker’s signature Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system. Pricing is another concern, especially as the next generation of FCA minivans will be a Chrysler product; Chrysler’s Town & Country has commanded higher transaction prices over the Dodge Grand Caravan.

FCA also has to present a case to hybrid consumers who wouldn’t normally consider its brands, the result of not having hybrids throughout the range, with the PHEV minivan likely cannibalizing sales from the automaker’s traditional minivan consumers.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028233 Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal. Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend […]

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Pirelli F1 Tire Range

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend may be the beginning of a protracted takeover as it and Pirelli’s largest investor, Cam Finanziaria, attempt to secure 90 percent of the stock to take the tire company off of the trading floor; the share price climbed to €15.76 Monday.

The terms of the deal would give ChemChina 50.1 percent of the company, Finanziaria 49.9 percent, and would begin with the former paying €15/share for Finanziaria’s 26.2 percent of Pirelli, followed by a public tender for the rest of the company at the same price. Should that fail, however, ChemChina could merge its 66 percent with Finanziaria’s holdings to force a delisting. Pirelli chair and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera would remain CEO under the deal, while ChemChina will seek a new chair.

The Sino-Italian buy-in is part of a number of takeovers of Italian companies by Chinese buyers, and would be the fifth-largest deal by a state-owned enterprise.

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Mary Barra Among Those To Depose Over GM Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mary-barra-among-depose-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027465 General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers. The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be […]

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Mary Barra with Mark Reuss and some laughing rando at the GMC Eminence Front booth during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be among those called to depose over the automaker’s February 2014 ignition switch recall by lawyers.

The Detroit News reports Barra will join over three dozen former and current GM employees and execs in a months-long deposition process set to start May 6; Barra’s deposition October 8 will be the last one.

The process is linked to a consolidated group of lawsuits led by attorney Robert Hilliard, whose plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost resale value, injury and death as a result of GM’s decade-long delay in recalling the defective ignition switch at the center of the maelstrom.

Related documents that were released as part of a recent settlement with the Melton family — one of the families affected by the recall — lead Hilliard to believe the automaker knew more than it let on; thus, the deposition process about to occur:

Given the damning documents we have uncovered throughout the course of this litigation, the dance floor is very, very small and no GM witness will be able to shuffle around the truth. I expect we will find out how high up this cover-up goes.

Other witnesses include former engineer Ray DeGiorgio, former general counsel Michael Millikin, engineering director David Cary, and senior vice president of global connected customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, who will be the first to be deposed.

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Toyota Returning To WRC With 2017 Yaris, Homologation Special Planned http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/toyota-returning-wrc-2017-yaris-homologation-special-planned/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027441 Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be. Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be […]

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2015-toyota-yaris-wrc

Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be.

Motoring.au reports that Toyota’s return to WRC in 2017 after a near-two-decade absence will be pinned upon the second-gen Yaris/Vitz, set to hit showrooms for the 2016 model year. That beast will be driven by a 1.6-liter turbo-four pushing above 300 horsepower to all corners, and is undergoing testing in Europe as of this writing.

Speaking of Europe, that is where the 2,500 homologated versions of the Yaris WRC will likely turn up in order for the automaker to be able to compete two years from now. However, power for the homologated model will come from the Lexus NX 200t’s 2-liter turbo-four, capable of 235 horses and 258 lb-ft torque. The power would be directed by a six-speed manual.

Whether the Yaris WRC will be seen elsewhere is not for certain. Those in Europe who are lucky to get their hands on one will pay around €33,900 ($36,650 USD) for the honor, the same price for Volkswagen’s own WRC entrant, the Polo R.

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More US Consumers Signing Long-Term Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025785 In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity. NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says […]

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Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity.

NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says the cars are one of the reasons for the long loans:

Consumers are demanding a lot more technology in their vehicles, infotainment technologies. There’s also a lot more safety features that are in vehicles right now. Emissions and efficiency technology that are in vehicles right now, that are making vehicles cost a lot more.

Kim adds that the main driver is that most consumers are still crawling out of the Great Recession, which Experian Automotive’s Melinda Zabritski says isn’t much of a problem as far as lending goes. She says that while it would be sensible to take on 36- or 48-month loans on a new vehicle, “the average consumer just can’t afford that.”

Critics counter that the long-term loans could hurt consumers and automakers alike in the near- and long-term. Consumer advocate Mike Sante states that those who are taking out those loans have no business doing so in the first place, and should buy a less expensive new or used vehicle with a loan of no more than four years. Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel, whose company offers 36- and 48-month loans, says loans beyond five years are too long, and adds that he hopes his competitors come to their senses.

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Richard Branson Setting Sights On Tesla With Possible Virgin EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025697 Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla. Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend: We have teams of people […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla.

Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend:

We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.

Virgin Engineering is among the few companies working on electric vehicles, which include Nissan, Audi and Apple. However, Branson concedes that Tesla is the one leading the way, proclaiming the company’s cars “as sexy as any other car on the road today.”

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Uber Overtakes Traditional Taxis In NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024921 Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days. The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC. The […]

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Uber Driver in NYC

Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days.

The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC.

The transportation network company has served the city’s five boroughs since May 2011, but its competitive rates and higher wages are the main drivers that have led it to overtake the traditional livery service.

On the other hand, taxis make 10 times more trips than Uber drivers, and some veteran drivers aren’t likely to make the jump, even if Uber drivers can make double the average salary of a medallion driver.

Meanwhile, critics have accused the TNC of taking tax revenue that could go into public transit and taxi services, as well as increasing congestion issues in Manhattan, where most Uber trips occur.

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Musk: Autonomous Vehicles Mean Future Where Driving Is Illegal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024489 His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention. Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.: In the distant future, I […]

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elon-musk-model-s

His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention.

Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.:

In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.

He later clarified on Twitter his own position on the matter, stating his company “is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,” hoping that the statement was obvious to those following along.

As for his appearance at Nvidia, the chipmaker is working to sell a purpose-built autonomous-vehicle computer called Drive PX, based upon its Tegra X1 mobile processor. The system will have 12 inputs for high-res cameras — like the kind Tesla is putting into its Model S right now — and is due to go on sale in May.

Musk added that his engineers are hard at work on improving autonomous technology, believing the tech will take greater control of the wheel on the highway “in a few years.”

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US New-Truck Leases Rise Thanks To Higher Residuals, Transactions, More Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023753 Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content. Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content.

Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as the ~50 percent figure for luxury vehicle leases.

For automakers, this means they can continue to ride the strongest streak in sales the light truck market has experienced in current times, while also bringing customers into showrooms every three years. In exchange, they also gain less profit from leases — even with higher residuals — and more risk on whether or not the resale value will be strong in three years’ time, especially with external factors like fuel prices and the strength of the economy when the leases are up.

Factors driving the current leasing boom in the light-duty truck segment include higher average transaction prices — hitting a new average high of $41,029 in 2014 — the aforementioned residuals that are several points higher now than in 2010 — leading to more cash on the hood and other deals for potential lessees — and more content and features, like Wi-Fi, luxurious materials and advanced connected-vehicle systems.

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Tesla Battery Swap Pilot Status Tied To California ZEV Credits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023929 Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits. The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification […]

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Tesla Harris Ranch California Battery Swap House Entrance

Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification as a Type 4 or Type 5 (based on battery size) vehicle by the California Air Resources Board — Type 5 involving vehicles with a range of 300 miles and can be refueled in less than 15 minutes — Tesla earning five to nine credits for every S sold as a result of the classification.

However, the sedan was knocked down to a Type 3 after CARB restructured its system for MY 2014 and beyond, basing earnings on “actual fueling events” regarding the fast-refueling credit. Thus, every S sold now earns Tesla four credits, except when it comes time to swap the battery pack. There, one S can have its pack swapped 25 times, with the credit applied to a total of 25 vehicles — up to nine credits per vehicle — as long as the other 24 are capable of quick refueling. Thus, Tesla’s credit-earning plan — and the profits from each sale — remain unchanged.

That said, the ZEV credit scheme will change again in 2018, with fast-refueling credits dropped for range assessment.

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BMW Brings i Series PHEV Tech To X5 xDrive40e http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/bmw-brings-series-phev-tech-x5-xdrive40e/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/bmw-brings-series-phev-tech-x5-xdrive40e/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023889 Having experimented with its i Series, BMW is bringing over its PHEV technology to its core collection, beginning with the X5 xDrive40e. Power for the PHEV crossover comes from a 2-liter four-cylinder using BMW’s TwinPower Turbo system paired with a synchronous electric motor integrated into the crossover’s eight-speed automatic. A combined 313 horses and 332 […]

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BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 03

Having experimented with its i Series, BMW is bringing over its PHEV technology to its core collection, beginning with the X5 xDrive40e.

Power for the PHEV crossover comes from a 2-liter four-cylinder using BMW’s TwinPower Turbo system paired with a synchronous electric motor integrated into the crossover’s eight-speed automatic. A combined 313 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque are sent to all corners, helping to push the X5 from nil to 62 in 6.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 130 mph, 75 mph in electric-only mode. Range is 19 miles on its 9-kWh lithium-ion pack.

Said pack reduces cargo space to 17.65 cubic feet with the rear seats up, 60.7 cubic feet with the seats down. The pack can be charged at home with the same charging units used by i3 and i8 owners, as well as through brake regeneration and at public charging stations.

Other features include an M Sport package, adaptive suspension, and bespoke offerings from BMW Individual.

No word on pricing or availability thus far, but European customers will be able to get theirs in the fall.

BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 03 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 04 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 02 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 01 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 05 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 06 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 07 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 08 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 09 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 10 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 11 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 12 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 14 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 13 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 15 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV 16

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Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023097 Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up. MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.

MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative:

Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system.

As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far.

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Uber, BYD Sign Deal To Test EV Fleet In Chicago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023025 Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company. Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as […]

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byd-e6

Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company.

Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as charging stations. UberX drivers can lease from the fleet — which could expand to around 200 by year’s end — for $200/week, allowing them to drive the e6 during their shift before returning the vehicle to Green Wheels for recharging; lease-to-own and traditional leasing programs are also available.

The e6 program, part of the TNC’s overall financing program meant to put drivers into new or used vehicles through purchases or lease agreements, could help pave the way for BYD to bring all of its offerings to the U.S. market. So far, the automaker has only brought over electric buses and a limited number of e6s, the latter for pilot programs.

As for why the two companies teamed up, none would comment on the deal, which could expand to cover more cities should Chicago’s test run prove to be viable.

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Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020409 Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices. Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward […]

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2015-santa-fe-sport-03

Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.

Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.

Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave the line in 2017.

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Republican Presidential Hopefuls Discuss Ethanol In Iowa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/republican-presidential-hopefuls-discuss-ethanol-iowa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/republican-presidential-hopefuls-discuss-ethanol-iowa/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020145 A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls converged upon Iowa last weekend to discuss the pros and cons of ethanol. Autoblog reports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jeb Bush of Florida, and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin debated ethanol and the federal […]

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A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls converged upon Iowa last weekend to discuss the pros and cons of ethanol.

Autoblog reports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jeb Bush of Florida, and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin debated ethanol and the federal standards linked to them at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines.

While most of the hopefuls supported keeping the standards as they are or increasing them, Cruz was the only one to reject the notion, comparing the program to “corporate welfare.” He added that private businesses could continue to successfully compete in the marketplace “without going on bended knee to the government.”

Cruz’s remarks follow a recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce a proposed increase in corn-based ethanol use in gasoline, stating that the biofuel can only go so far when blended with petroleum-based fuels. Meanwhile, both sides of the aisle object to the reduction, citing the economic damage that would hit Iowa — the largest producer of said ethanol in the United States — if the reduction were to go forward.

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Google Introduces Comparison Tool For Auto Insurance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/google-introduces-comparison-tool-auto-insurance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/google-introduces-comparison-tool-auto-insurance/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020121 Shopping around for an auto insurance policy? Google has a comparison tool that might just help you find what you seek. TechCrunch reports the tool, Google Compare for Auto Insurance, allows consumers to compare rates either directly through the tool or via a questionnaire that pops up upon entering the words “car insurance” in Google’s […]

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Google Compare for Auto Insurance

Shopping around for an auto insurance policy? Google has a comparison tool that might just help you find what you seek.

TechCrunch reports the tool, Google Compare for Auto Insurance, allows consumers to compare rates either directly through the tool or via a questionnaire that pops up upon entering the words “car insurance” in Google’s search engine. Either method asks for the consumer’s zip code and information about their car, then compares up to 14 quotes from Google’s insurance partners like Mercury Insurance, MetLife and Stillwater Insurance Group; insurance giants like Progressive, State Farm and GEICO have declined to work with the tech giant on this project thus far.

Said partners become involved through a flexible cost-per-acquisition scheme, with Google adding that partner ranking and eligibility aren’t based on payment. The tech giant says its partners can use the service to set themselves apart from the others by mentioning what features make one partner different from the rest.

For now, the tool is limited to California residents, with other states to join in later this year per Google. Further down the road, however, the company could use the information gathered from how its partners price a given risk to enter the insurance game as an underwriter, possibly pairing its offerings with its autonomous car.

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Auto Lending Rising As Access To Credit Opens Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/auto-lending-rising-access-credit-opens/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/auto-lending-rising-access-credit-opens/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019490 With auto lending easier to come by these days, bank regulators and analysts are keeping their eyes open for potential signs of trouble. According to The Detroit Bureau, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that newly originated auto loans in Q3 2014 reached $105 billion, the highest level of originations since 2005. The high […]

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Discussing some auto financing

With auto lending easier to come by these days, bank regulators and analysts are keeping their eyes open for potential signs of trouble.

According to The Detroit Bureau, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that newly originated auto loans in Q3 2014 reached $105 billion, the highest level of originations since 2005. The high level of originations are attributed to an increased demand for vehicles and easing lending standards.

Researchers Emre Ergungor and Caitlin Treanor add that those with good and bad credit scores are landing the loans, with banks taking the higher-rated consumers and finance companies going for all levels of risk, especially the subprime consumers.

Other factors driving the new credit boom include increased consumer confidence, job opportunities, and the brief respite in fuel prices. However, the boom has attracted the federal regulators, who are planning to go through the standards and practices of several large lending companies for potential liability and discrimination issues.

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Gales: Lotus SUV Under Consideration http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gales-lotus-suv-consideration/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gales-lotus-suv-consideration/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019394 Is it possible to apply Colin Chapman’s lightness philosophy to SUVs? Lotus believes it could, should the storied automaker enter the game. According to Reuters, Group Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales said that his company’s next model may indeed be an SUV. However, unlike Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley and other high-end luxury brands considering the same, […]

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Lotus-Evora-400-01

Is it possible to apply Colin Chapman’s lightness philosophy to SUVs? Lotus believes it could, should the storied automaker enter the game.

According to Reuters, Group Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales said that his company’s next model may indeed be an SUV. However, unlike Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley and other high-end luxury brands considering the same, Lotus doesn’t intend to follow the leader, instead opting to “reinvent” the SUV in its image:

We’d do an SUV that is very light, very fast on the track and has outstanding handling. I’m a bit torn between an SUV and a four-door sports car — but in the end I can see that the SUV has the bigger market.

An SUV would likely help turn things around for Lotus — now under ownership by Malaysian automaker Proton — having lost $108 million in FY 2014 as Gales, who also handled marketing for Volkswagen and was second-in-command at Peugeot, began to right the ship toward a return to profit by 2017 at the latest.

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Oregon To Be First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oregon-first-nation-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oregon-first-nation-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017994 With EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles saving consumers money at the pump, Oregon will be the first to issue a per-mile road tax to refill its coffers. Automotive News reports the state will offer two options to its motorists: pay at the pump, or pay a 1.5-cent rate per mile traversed. The latter will be […]

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Welcome to Oregon

With EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles saving consumers money at the pump, Oregon will be the first to issue a per-mile road tax to refill its coffers.

Automotive News reports the state will offer two options to its motorists: pay at the pump, or pay a 1.5-cent rate per mile traversed. The latter will be conducted through a device that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD port, then gathers mileage data to determine how much the motorist will pay in tax.

Right now, the program — set to begin July 1 — will be implemented by the Oregon DOT in partnership with Sanef ITS Technologies America and Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, the latter supplying the aforementioned OBD mileage reader.

Up to 5,000 volunteers will participate in the initial program, which will compare the tax paid at the pump to the miles driven. The results will be turned over to ODOT, which will then determine if a motorist is given a refund or an invoice based on said findings.

Oregon won’t be the only one to undergo a road tax program: over 10 other states are either in the process of passing legislation or conducting trials for such programs.

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Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017954 With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump. According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump.

According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard that would push other biofuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, over corn-based ethanol. Feinstein explains:

Our infrastructure has a ceiling for the amount of corn ethanol that can be used, and we’re rapidly approaching it. Companies are physically unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for many gas stations and older automobiles.

The Feinstein/Toomey bill joins four others seeking similar action, including three in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Hawaii that would seek to eliminate the mandate of E10 sales altogether.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters like the Renewable Fuel Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council oppose the bill as an assault on the RFS, and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to increase ethanol use further, despite the EPA’s acknowledgment regarding the limits to blending ethanol with gasoline.

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Insurers, Suppliers Face Potential Disruption From Autonomous Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016754 Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles? The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business. How? For […]

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Google Autonomous Clown Car Amid Wind Turbines

Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles?

The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business.

How? For insurers, decreased demand for certain policies, changes in policy marketing, pricing and underwriting, and predicting risk when the driver no longer drives. For suppliers, declines in accident rates and repairs from those that do occur, leading to less demand for parts overall.

Barclays insurance analyst Jay Gelb, however, says insurers would have plenty of time to prepare for the autonomous future, especially since such vehicles are more complex; thus, requiring more money to fix them. He adds that it was “hard to see how a product that has been in place for more than a century is just going to go away” because a different breed of vehicle is just now entering the development phase.

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