The Truth About Cars » Whiskey Tango Foxtrot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:48:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » Whiskey Tango Foxtrot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/whiskey-tango-foxtrot/ Leaked Documents Link Anti-Union VW Incentive Offer To TN Governor’s Office http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/leaked-documents-link-anti-union-vw-incentive-offer-to-tn-governors-office/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/leaked-documents-link-anti-union-vw-incentive-offer-to-tn-governors-office/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:15:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=786417 092112_WEB_a_VW_Sign_t618

Leaked documents linked to the United Auto Workers battle for the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. point to a connection between Governor Bill Haslam and the German automaker regarding a $300 million incentive in exchange for over 1,300 jobs at a proposed SUV plant within the state.

WTVF-TV reports the incentives were contingent “to works council discussions between the State of Tennessee and VW being concluded to the satisfaction of the State of Tennessee.” By the time Volkswagen entered into election talks with the UAW in January, however, the Haslam administration formally notified the automaker that it was withdrawing the offer, citing that it had kept the offer on the table past the 90-day window normally reserved for incentives when the incentive in question had no such expiration date.

Though Haslam has denied any such connection to the incentive — dubbed “Project Trinity” — U.S. Senator Bob Corker claimed as early as February of this year that the offering would be made should the workers at the Chattanooga plant vote against representation by the union.

As for the UAW, organizer Gary Casteel stated the following in response to whether the now-public documents were a game-changer in the union’s appeal to the National Labor Relations Board over the election results:

To me, it puts pressure on the state to do what they should have done in the first place — and that’s give the incentives with no strings attached, just like they would any other company, union or non-union.

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Homeland Security License Plate Data Collection Plan Cancelled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/homeland-security-license-plate-data-collection-plan-cancelled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/homeland-security-license-plate-data-collection-plan-cancelled/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:02:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=751089 licenseplatecamera

A plan to create a database from collected license plate data by the Department of Homeland Security was cancelled after said plans were made known without knowledge from top officials.

AOL Autos reports the plan, which would have sought bids from private companies to build the database, would have helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement in combating criminal activity. Privacy advocates, however, feared such a database would also collect plate data from millions of law-abiding citizens.

Through a statement, the ICE explained that the solicitation was made public without prior knowledge from the department’s top officials:

While we continue to support a range of technologies to help meet our law enforcement mission, this solicitation will be reviewed to ensure the path forward appropriately meets our operational needs.

The method for collecting license plate data — license-plate scanners — is already a subject near and dear to both law enforcement and privacy groups for months, fearing the data could be used to spy on the populace for governmental and business purposes. According to Associated Press, 14 states are working on legislation that would curb the practice.

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$600 Million Manchester United, Chevrolet Deal Going From Bad To Worse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/600-million-manchester-united-chevrolet-deal-going-from-bad-to-worse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/600-million-manchester-united-chevrolet-deal-going-from-bad-to-worse/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 16:30:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740065 Manchester United Squad Attend Chevrolet Event

Chevrolet’s $600 million sponsorship deal with major football club Manchester United may have been a match made in heaven, but with Man U’s performance on the pitch as of late, the deal is now on the highway to hell according to Automotive News.

The deal, written up by then-head of General Motors marketing Joel Ewanick to connect the two brands at the end of the 2012 season, was done due to Man U’s cachet with not only the English Premier League’s viewership — 643 million households in 212 countries — but also with the European Champions League tournament’s 360 million households. Though the Bow Tie has little presence in Europe beyond the Corvette — and would have trampled upon Opel/Vauxhall’s turf — the club’s fans in the Asia-Pacific market was prime for the taking in Ewanick’s mind.

Reality for the deal, however, hasn’t panned out as well as first hoped. The sin of omission committed by Ewanick regarding the sponsorship led to his sacking just as Man U’s long-serving coach Sir Alex Ferguson passed the torch to former Everton FC leader/miracle worker David Moyes.  As AN’s Mark Rechtin notes, things have not been the same since Fergusons departure. The club suffered from internal conflict in the locker room, second-guessing from the English sporting media, indecision on starting lineups, and losses to other clubs they would normally dominate if not outright destroy.

Furthermore, the club is currently seventh place in the overall EPL standings with no signs of improving to pass Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool to reach fourth and gain a qualifying position in the Champions League. Without that golden ticket, Man U will land in the oft-ignored Europa League, a marketing dead zone for any brand, let alone Chevrolet.

Finally, Man U may need to sell their star-studded lineup to make payroll, stripping away the cachet that had attracted Ewanick to pen the sponsorship deal in the first place. Not that it matters much if fans weren’t buying what Chevrolet was selling in the first place.

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Rigged Voting May Lead ADAC To Scrap Annual Award http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/rigged-voting-may-lead-adac-to-scrap-annual-award/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/rigged-voting-may-lead-adac-to-scrap-annual-award/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=707058 ADAC Golden Angel

German auto club Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V., or ADAC, may no longer bestow their annual Yellow Angel Award after the club admitted to vote rigging.

Automotive News reports that ADAC’s communications director, Michael Ramstetter, resigned from his post after confessing he manipulated the results of the Yellow Angel Award — given to what the auto club considers as Germany’s favorite car, providing a boost in sales to the winner — to favor the Volkswagen Golf. Through Ramstetter’s actions, the Golf received 34,299 votes to take the prize; the hatch actually received 3,409 votes from the club’s 18 million members.

Club president Peter Meyer said the Yellow Angel has no future, leading to speculation that the annual prize may be scrapped. The rigging also has critics calling into question the validity of ADAC’s car safety testing, and the club’s overall credibility.

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2014 Cadillac ELR to Lease for $699 a Month http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-cadillac-elr-to-lease-for-699-a-month/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2014-cadillac-elr-to-lease-for-699-a-month/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704690 2014-Cadillac-ELR. Photo courtesy AutoGuide.com

If you thought the $75,000 price of admission for ownership of the 2014 Cadillac ELR was too high, the luxury automaker may have another option for your consideration: A lease contract of $699/month with a few stipulations.

In order to lease the luxury plug-in hybrid — based upon the $34,000 Chevrolet Volt — you’ll need to either own or lease a GM product screwed together from 1999 forward. Next, you’ll need around $5,000 at signing for a lease that will last just 39 months. Then, you’ll have to deal with the usual tax-title-license-dealer fee-optional equipment gauntlet, plus whatever price the dealer sets for the whole thing.

Finally, whip out your magnifying glass and reading glasses: The fine print states that price of the ELR has an MSRP of $76,000, and that you can only drive a total of 32,500 miles before paying 25 cents per additional mile; if you were to average 13,476 miles/year — the national average, as it turns out — the additional 11,297 miles would total $2,824.25 over the limit.

If interested, you have until the end of January 2014 to sign the papers.

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Foreigners May Pay Toll to Storm the Autobahn http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/foreigners-may-pay-toll-to-storm-the-autobahn/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/foreigners-may-pay-toll-to-storm-the-autobahn/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=676130 autobahn

If you happen to live outside of Germany, you may soon find yourself paying a toll to do your best Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise impressions on the Autobahn.

The reason? While residents living in the nine countries surrounding Germany make extensive use of the Autobahn in their travels, the Germans are left footing the bill for maintenance on the famous infrastructure. Since foreigners don’t pay taxes to Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has opted to enact a toll aimed at non-German citizens in order to share responsibilities.

The plan has detractors, of course, ranging from Austria’s transport minister Dores Bures threatening to take Germany to the European Court of Justice over the toll, to German auto club ADAC stating that even the potential revenue wouldn’t be enough to cover all the Autobahn’s maintenance costs.

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Double Safety Standards Abound in Latin America, Global Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/double-safety-standards-abound-in-latin-america-global-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/double-safety-standards-abound-in-latin-america-global-markets/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 12:30:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=672538 2013 Nissan Tsuru Latin NCAP

Should you find yourself renting a Chevrolet Spark in Acapulco in the near future, beware: it won’t have the same safety features — as in none at all — as the Spark exported to your local dealership. In fact, unless a car or truck screwed together in Mexico is bound for the United States or Europe, only the bare minimum, if any, in safety features will be available to customers in Latin America shopping for base models.

The results? Cars whose sticker prices in Mexico are higher than in the United States in spite of having less safety features than those shipped abroad, for one. For another, higher road fatalities south of the border; over 5,000 drivers and their passengers lost their lives in 2011, a 58 percent increase since 2001. Alas, the Mexican government’s hands are tied when it comes to drafting, passing and enforcing the sort of laws that would bring an end to this particular double standard.

The reason for is said to be cost savings: Automakers doing business in Mexico go so far as to code their production lines in determining which car goes to export and those that remain in Latin America. For the latter, this means a couple of air bags and a few seat belts, and nothing more. This two-tiered approach holds up the bottom line, one that is beneficial to Mexico’s economy to the tune of $30 billion annually.

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Section 1201 and Automotive DRM: The Future is Locked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/section-1201-and-automotive-drm-the-future-is-locked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/section-1201-and-automotive-drm-the-future-is-locked/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 15:15:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=652002 Renault Zoe

This is the Renault Zoe. It’s like most EVs on the road, with its limited range, limited power, and limited usability.

Unlike the other EVs, however, the Zoe comes with DRM attached to its battery pack. In short: If you value your ability to drive the Zoe at all, then you will submit to a rental contract with the pack’s manufacturer. Should you fail to pay the rent or your lease term expires, Renault can and will turn your Zoe into an expensive, useless paperweight by preventing the pack’s ability to be recharged, consequences be damned.

It’s only the beginning.

Ever since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act came into force in 1998, one particular section has managed to do more damage to innovation than to protect the innovators: Section 1201:

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

The application of Section 1201 in the past has led to actions such as: The delay in disclosing copy-protection vulnerability found in Sony’s CDs; takedown notices issued by Hewlitt-Packard to researchers for publishing a security flaw in the former’s Tru64 UNIX OS; Lexmark suing anyone who sells aftermarket refilled toner cartridges; and even displacing laws meant to deal with hacking and electronic intrusion, such as the Wiretap and Electronic Communications Privacy acts.

Regarding DRM, many a gamer has experienced their favorite games rendered unplayable because the online component — having reached its end-of-life phase and, thus, the creator no longer supports the software — can no longer be authenticated. So, imagine Zoe owners one day going to work or to visit their grandmother on her death bed when, because Renault decided to no longer support the battery pack nor verify new packs, not being able to start their car. They can’t resell the EV on the used car market, and thus, can’t make some of their $23,000 back on their purchase.

Or worse, imagine if a Zoe driver and their friends were going to a major protest — like the one that led to the Battle of Seattle, for example — only to find their government told Renault to “block” charging of the pack to hinder either their progress to the action or allow the police to “say hello,” as it were.

And of course, let’s say a Zoe owner is the target of a sociopath. They bribe a Renault employee for access to the DRM through social engineering, find “the bitch” who left them, shutdown the battery at home… you can see where this is going.

Now, imagine it happening here with the theorhetical (for now) autonomous commuter pod of 2025 your sons and daughters may end up “piloting.”

At present, Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., is leading a bipartisan charge to bring about the Unlocking Technology Act, designed to limit the overzealous use of the DMCA and Section 1201 to cases where real intellectual property infringement has occurred. Should this bill become law, it would go a long way to preventing the abuses that have hindered progress elsewhere from infecting the automotive industry any further.

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2013 – 2014 Camaros Recalled Due to… Stickers? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-2014-camaros-recalled-due-to-stickers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-2014-camaros-recalled-due-to-stickers/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 19:02:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=644194 2014 Chevrolet Camaro

If you’re one of the few, proud owners of the slightly angrier-looking 2014 Camaro, or one of the many to own the slightly less angry 2013 model, you may need to send it back to correct a problem. No, not spiders this time. The recall is about stickers. That don’t stick.

The recall involves the air bag warning label on the sun visor coming undone, which warns both drivers and passengers that having an explosive bag of hot air and chemicals designed to save your life could also leave you with a few cuts and bruises upon impact. No word on how many have this particular issue, however (the stickers, that is).

In its letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chevrolet says owners can bring in their defective stickers to their nearest dealership to be replaced with either a much stickier sticker, or a new sun visor. They also state that owners who don’t have this issue — assuming they would notice — can send a note saying all is well with the world, and at least no spiders were involved. This time.

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Google Glass Wearer to Fight Citation For Wearing Google Glass http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/google-glass-wearer-to-fight-citation-for-wearing-google-glass/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/google-glass-wearer-to-fight-citation-for-wearing-google-glass/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:15:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=639873 google-glass

Texting. Cellphones. Entertainment systems. All of these have been regulated in order to diminish distracted driving as much as possible. Google Glass may now be added to that list, courtesy of the California Highway Patrol via a speeding ticket that became more upon closer inspection.

Tuesday evening, one Cecilia Abadie was pulled over by the CHP for doing 80 in a 65 on her way back to her home in Temecula. At that moment in time, she also was wearing her pair of Google Glass. The high-tech eyewear goes for $1,500, is currently limited to beta testers willing to go through the appropriate hoops and pay the fee, and can be used in the same manner as a Nexus 5 or iPhone 5S — without having to pick up the phone.

The officer saw the silly looking fashion statement, and issued her a citation for committing a misdemeanor against style. No. Actually, the citation was for distracted driving, though Abadie claims the Google Glass was not active at time of the additional citation due to concerns over remaining battery power.

As such, Abadie has decided to fight the tacked-on citation, with plenty of attorneys ready to help thanks to the publicity generated from the first reports cluttering the scrolling news feeds of CNN, FOX News et al.

“The law is not clear, the laws are very outdated,” she said, believing that the minimalist tech could prove to be a solution to the cellphone conundrum instead of being a problem unto itself. That said, there are a few detractors for Abadie, including CHP officer Marc Hale and University of Utah Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving director David Strayer, both of whom state that Google Glass and other technologies like it can still “divert attention from the roadway,” making driving more dangerous.

Legislatures in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia have introduced bills that would ban the use of Google Glass while driving; Google, for its part, instructs its testers to heed the law:

Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.

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Analyst to Apple CEO, Chairman: Buy Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/analyst-to-apple-ceo-chairman-buy-tesla/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/analyst-to-apple-ceo-chairman-buy-tesla/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 15:16:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=636921 Tesla-Model-S. Photo courtesy AutoWeek.com

It’s one thing for Tesla Motors to be the Apple of motoring. It’s another for Apple to be the Apple of motoring. The solution, according to one analyst: Apple should buy Tesla to remain profitable long after the gold rush of smartphones and tablets has disappeared from the rear view mirror.

CNN Money reports an analyst for the German investment bank Berenberg, one Adnaan Ahmad, has penned an open letter to both Apple CEO Tim Cook and chairman Arthur Levinson, strongly suggesting they pay a visit to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s high-tech lab — no doubt interrupting his Lotus submarine studynot with a demand for Doug Field’s return to One Infinite Loop, but with a Halliburton briefcase full of cash. At least five of them.

Why? According to Ahmad, purchasing the EV automaker down the road would allow Apple to obtain the type of growing revenues that will keep the computer maker in the green for a long time to come, something that no iPhone or iPad can guarantee once the age of hipster gadgetry draws to a close. Ahmad also believes that Apple’s habit of disrupting developing markets, such as telephony and tablet computing, is just what the doctor ordered for the auto industry in the United States, leading to a much more rapid transition to hybrid and electric vehicles of all shapes and colors.

As for Musk’s role, Ahmad believes Cook and Levinson “could strike up a partnership [with Musk] and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple’s innovation drive,” invoking the spirit of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs while imploring the current guard to go outside of the box once again.

And if Cook and Levinson don’t heed his words? Then, per Ahmad, “the key debate will always be about [Apple's] ability to sustain these abnormal margins in [their] iPhone business.”

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Toyota Recalls 870,000 Units Due To Arachnophobia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/toyota-recalls-870000-units-due-to-arachnophobia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/toyota-recalls-870000-units-due-to-arachnophobia/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2013 16:07:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=627250 2012 Toyota Camry

One blah Monday morning, you’re commuting to the anonymous office park some 90 minutes away from the bedroom community you call a home in your equally anonymous Toyota Camry Hybrid, listening to yet another story about Congress kicking cans down roads and/or some wacky antics your favorite DJs had the past weekend while you take another swig of that mermaid-branded caffeinated goodness.

 

You’re not ready to deal with the myriad of reports you have to work on when you arrive at the office, and you’re certainly not ready for your colleague to rant about how his fantasy football team lost because one of his players sustained a career-ending injury on the first snap, but at least the piling traffic ahead of you seems to be delaying the inevitable, much to your mix of relief and chagrin.

Tired of being stuck behind the Dunkin’ Donuts truck (reminding you that you really need to hit the gym someday), you edge over to the (not really) faster moving lane on your left while wishing you could use the HOV lane at times like this when suddenly your airbag explodes, causing you to bash your alleged green machine into a Greyhound bus, kicking off a chain reaction that will take hours by the state police and first responders to sort out. You also make the news when the strangely chipper real-time traffic reporter chimes in about the wreck, which then leads to how Rockin’ Robin DeCradle “got totally wrecked” at the Waffle House of Blues this weekend.

Turns out the cause of your airbag going off was spiders, which you find out later that day when the local news reports that Toyota has issued a recall (again), affecting 870,000 vehicles including the one now residing in an insurance salvage yard that you, no doubt, are going to have a hard time collecting anything upon.

According to CNN Money, the 870,000 Toyotas are Camrys, Venzas and Avalons screwed together and sold for the 2012 and 2013 model years, hybrids included. The recall notice states that the webs spiders make within the confines of a drainage tube attached to the car’s AC unit could force water to drip onto the airbag’s control module, creating a short circuit followed by the airbag warning light (and the driver’s side airbag itself) going off. To make matters worse, the same issue can lead to loss of power steering, as well.

Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight said that the company was aware of the spider issue, noting that 35 cases of the lights coming on and 3 airbag deployments have come to pass thus far, and the consistent cause of the problem were the eight-legged freaks who, for some reason, love making webs in AC drainage tubes.

The recall recommends owners take their cars in to their nearest dealer, who will then make the necessary repairs (and calls to the Orkin Man) to prevent water from causing unintended airbag deployments. The notice will be sent by mail, and the repairs will be on the house.

A similar issue affected Mazda back in 2011, when spiders set up shop in the vent lines of many a Mazda6′s gasoline tank, proving once again that nature is so fascinating.

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Elon Musk Buys 007 Submarine, Will Attempt To Make It Functional http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/elon-musk-buys-007-submarine-will-attempt-to-make-it-functional/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/elon-musk-buys-007-submarine-will-attempt-to-make-it-functional/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 13:42:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=626753 800px-TSWLM-LotusEsprit

Elon Musk, the real-life Tony Stark of our times, has quite the extensive résumé: Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors; billionaire investor of projects and businesses such as SolarCity and the preservation of Nikola Tesla’s lab; inventor of the Hyperloop rapid mass transit concept; 007 cosplayer…

Yes, you read that right: Musk is a huge fan of the man who loves his martinis shaken and his women to have double entendre naming schemes. So much so, in fact, that he now has one of Bond’s most awesome vehicles ever conceived.

In a double exclusive with our friends over at Jalopnik, the secret buyer of the Lotus Esprit Mk I-cum-submarine from the 1977 Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” was Musk himself, who paid nearly $900,000 for the privilege of owning one of the most famous vehicles in the history of film, beating out another bidder in a duel worthy of a Bond film (or so we would hope). The star car — or, rather, the star submarine — was originally lost in storage limbo, then discovered, spruced up, and put up for auction by Canadian auction house RM Auctions in early September of this year.

Alas, Musk was a bit disappointed that all the Esprit did was look pretty and float, but since this is Musk we’re talking about (via Tesla’s PR department)…

It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me” drive his Lotus Esprit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater. I was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform. What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.

If his SpaceX can successfully dock with the International Space Station, and his Tesla can make EVs cool (the first was based off the Lotus Elise, no less), then Musk can make this impossible dream possible. We look forward to seeing his car arrive at San Diego Comic Con 2014 via Pacific Beach in all of its glory.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Fear Of A Black Planet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/fear-of-a-black-planet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/fear-of-a-black-planet/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 14:30:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486410 Chevy Equinox Trio Picture by David Hester

Take a good look at the picture above. What do you see? If your answer is that you see three black Chevrolet Equinox “cute utes,” you’d be wrong.

I took the picture at about four in the afternoon on a sunny day at my local Chevrolet dealer. According to their window stickers, each of those trucklets are a different color. The Equinox furtherest from the camera, facing the building, is the only one that is Black. The one closest to the camera, next to the curb, is Black Granite Metallic. The third Equinox is painted Tungsten Metallic. Here’s a shot from a different angle of the Tungsten Metallic and Black Granite Metallic trucks. See the difference?

Tungsten on left GBM on right Picture by David Hester

Yeah, me neither.

And if that’s not enough different shades of Pretentiously Named Dark Color That Looks Almost the Same from 50 Feet to satisfy you, Chevrolet offers a fourth shade of Almost Black for the Equinox called Ashen Gray Metallic. Here is a picture of an Ashen Gray Metallic Equinox parked next to a Tungston Metallic Equinox. The AGM truck is on the left. I think.

AGM on left Tungsten on right Picture by David Hester

Keep in mind that these pictures were taken on a sunny day. Time, and the fact that the dealership was still open and I didn’t feel like dealing with any salesmen desperate to close a sale before the end of the month, kept me from examining the trucks any closer. I returned the following Saturday evening after the lot had closed for some more pictures. The sky was clouding over as a thunderstorm approached, so there wasn’t any sun to bring out the metallic flakes that help to differentiate the individual colors. Here are all four of them in order from darkest to not quite as dark.

 

Black

Black

Granite Black Metallic

Granite Black Metallic

Tungsten Metallic

Tungsten Metallic

Ashen Gray Metallic

Ashen Gray Metallic

Seriously. It’s not just me, right? These colors are almost the same.

For 2013 the Chevy Equinox is available in 11 different colors. That’s actually on the high end for modern mass produced vehicles and it’s down from 12 options during the 2012 model year. The Equinox’s big brother, the Traverse, is available in 9 shades, as is the Suburban.  The Cadillac XTS makes do with only 8. Somehow, the marketing mavens at GM have given buyers of the fifth cheapest car in Chevrolet’s lineup more color options than they gave the higher end flagship models.

On the other hand, if 4 of the 11 colors are so similar that 9 out of 10 eyewitnesses to a drive- by shooting involving a Chevy Equinox after dark would describe the getaway vehicle’s color as “Black,” are consumers really being offered much choice at all? On Chevy’s  ”Build Your Own Page,” photoshopped onto a beach background, each of these colors appear very different from one another when viewed on a computer screen. But in real life, parked next to one another, they look way too much alike. This lack of choice was augmented at my local dealership by the fact that of 19 new Equinoxes for sale, 10 of them were painted one of the four “Almost Black” colors in question. The point was further driven home by the almost complete lack of diversity in interior color ordered by the dealer. Only a single model had a gray interior. All of the others were black.

Chevrolet (and presumably, the dealer) would most likely reply that they are simply responding to what customers want. Every year DuPont publishes a survey of the most popular automotive exterior colors broken down by market. In the latest survey black and gray were the second and fourth most popular colors in the North American market, as well as in the world overall.

All well and good, I suppose. There’s no reason why black and gray shouldn’t both be part of the lineup. But why offer two of each color and why make your grays so dark? Compare the color range in the four pictures above to the picture of a 2012 Equinox painted in a discontinued color called Graystone Metallic I found for sale on the used car side of the lot.

 

Graystone Metallic

Graystone Metallic

So why would Chevrolet be so seemingly afraid of color? Their competitors aren’t. At the Ford dealership across the street I found these two Escapes. The dealer had stocked multiple examples of both.

Frosted Glass and Deep Impact Blue

Frosted Glass and Deep Impact Blue

It seems that Ford and Chevy have reversed their traditional roles when it comes to exterior colors. Most people have heard Henry Ford’s famous quote regarding the color of the Model T:  “Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants so long as it is black.” Most people don’t know that prior to 1914 the Model T was available in multiple colors and the black standard was only adopted as Ford refined his assembly line process. The conventional wisdom is that Chevrolet (and GM overall) were able to grab market share because their models were offered in a greater variety of colors. There’s some truth to that belief, but it’s not the whole story.

It’s obvious that the old days of dozens of color combinations for each model are gone. That doesn’t mean that consumers shouldn’t be given a few more choices than the manufacturers seem to feel comfortable offering today.  At the very least, there’s no reason to offer four shades of practically the same color. C’mon, Chevrolet. Take a chance and show us some color.  Dump two of those four colors and give us another green or a real brown. Throw in a Burnt Orange or a Turquoise instead. Your competitors are doing it.

 

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GM Withdraws *.Cadillac, *.Chevrolet, *.GMC, Keeps *.Buick, *.Chevy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/gm-withdraws-cadillac-chevrolet-gmc-keeps-buick-chevy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/gm-withdraws-cadillac-chevrolet-gmc-keeps-buick-chevy/#comments Fri, 08 Mar 2013 14:34:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480538

You won’t be able to send to or receive from *.Cadillac, *.Chevrolet, or *.GMC, while friends of other brands, from Dodge through Toyota,  will have that pleasure. General Motors withdrew three applications for what is called a “generic top level domain” or gTLD. Oddly, the applications for Buick and the supposedly illegal Chevy are still on the books.

A gTLD replaces the familiar dotcom. In case you want your own gTLD, it does not come cheap. The application fee alone is $185,000 and the annual fee runs another $25,000. On top of this come significant expenses of running  the extension, which “can put the total cost for a new TLD into the millions,” as Steve Jones, COO and Co-Founder of Domainate said.

While GM is saving money, Volkswagen splurges:  It registered a pricey gTLD for each of its vast collection of brands, except for Porsche and Skoda .

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Flipping MINI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/flipping-mini/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/flipping-mini/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:59:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478308

Former extreme ski world champion Guerlain Chicherit did what is called the first-ever unassisted backflip in a car. Strapped into a Mini Countryman, Guerlain had to maintain exactly 60kph and be full on the throttle on the ramp to land on all fours after a somersault.

 

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Moose Test Mastered, Bear Test Failed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/moose-test-mastered-bear-test-failed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/moose-test-mastered-bear-test-failed/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2012 13:52:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=457062 A Norwegian driver took evasive action to avoid  a moose, only to hit a bear, Reuters reports from Olso.

According to the wire report, the driver spotted the moose on a country road near Hanestad, 225 kilometers north of Oslo, went around the animal, not realizing that a bear was following the moose.

“The driver had lost a bit of speed as he tried to avoid the moose before hitting the bear,” Svein Erik Bjorke of the local wildlife authority, said. “We are currently tracking the bear and we have found traces of blood indicating internal injuries.”

The driver escaped uninjured,  the car is damaged.

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The 1,700 Horsepower Ford Granada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/the-1700-horsepower-ford-granada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/the-1700-horsepower-ford-granada/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:19:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=452932

What ever happened to the TTAC project car? Here is some inspiration of what to do to the poor Sierra. Joel Olsen from Norway converted a 1982 Ford Granada, the European epitome of blah, into a 1,700 horsepower monster.

German magazine Der Spiegel explains how Olsen swapped the original V6 for a 4.7 liter V8. “This engine is in the Koenigsegg CCR, the Ford GT, or in a Shelby GT 500,” says Olsen. But that wasn’t good enough. With a blower by Turbonetics and series of other modifications which make sure that  the power does not cause indigestion, the output was raised to 1,700 hp.

The car will be stopped by a brake system borrowed for the Porsche GT2. The driveshaft is from a NASCAR car, the rear axle from a Mustang Cobra.

No word of the transmission.

 

Hat tip to Alm Oedi

Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Picture courtesy Spiegel.de Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

 

 

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Erlkoenig Caught In Full Fetish Regalia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/erlkoenig-caught-in-full-fetish-regalia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/erlkoenig-caught-in-full-fetish-regalia/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:09:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=452401

An anonymous reader sent us these Erlkoenig photos. Apparently, they show a car in full leather get-up.

Since we have no idea what it is, we ask you for help.

  •  What car?
  • Where taken?

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Never mind the Shuffle Steering, Let’s Take The Falcon To Hyperspace http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/never-mind-the-shuffle-steering-lets-take-the-falcon-to-hyperspace/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/never-mind-the-shuffle-steering-lets-take-the-falcon-to-hyperspace/#comments Wed, 11 Jul 2012 13:25:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=452182 Click here to view the embedded video.

When I agreed to meet Hooniverse Editor-In-Chief Tim at Buttonwillow for an open trackday, I hadn’t fully considered what it would mean to coach in a 1964 Ford Falcon. To begin with, the car doesn’t have five-point belts; it has two-point belts. That’s right. Lappies only, no shoulder. And the bench seat moved from ratchet-stop to ratchet-stop in every turn, sometimes twice. Oh yeah, and there was the fact of vintage crash “safety” to consider. (The shot around 1:10 is particularly cringe-inducing.)

Still, as you will see in this video, Tim failed to kill me and in fact took more than fifteen seconds a lap off his time. Due to the Falcon’s massive steering wheel and rather lazy steering geometry, I had to relax one of my ironclad rules for students — Tim was permitted to shuffle-steer throughout the entire day. Don’t think that means I’m going to let you get away with it in your Miata, okay?

It was great to spend a day with the Hooniverse crew. I really believe that the site represents the best of what Jalopnik used to be: enthusiasm-focused, positive-minded, community-oriented. If you must visit some place else besides us, let it be them, okay?

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GM’s Dayna Hart Becomes Spokesperson For Weight Loss Product http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/gms-dayna-hart-becomes-spokesperson-for-weight-loss-product/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/gms-dayna-hart-becomes-spokesperson-for-weight-loss-product/#comments Mon, 14 May 2012 20:39:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444456

Dayna Hart, GM China’s Director of Communications, and resident of Shanghai, has been shanghaied as a spokesperson for an amazing new weight loss product on Twitter.

Dayna also has been seen sending out tweets to other people telling them “Hey this user is saying very bad things about you …”, followed by an URL that purports to be leading to the alleged on-line defamation.

Apparently, Dayna became the victim of a common Twitter scam: Click on the link in “Hey this user is saying very bad things about you …” (and who does not want to know who’s saying bad things about us ?) and you land on tvivviter.com instead on twitter.com. The site asks you for your login info, you give it – and your Twitter account has been turned into an instant spam machine. If that happens to you, follow these instructions. If you just see the message, don’t click on the link.

People saying bad things about me? Come on, Dayna, what else is new?

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Video Of The Day: To Protect And To Serve Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/video-of-the-day-to-protect-and-serve-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/video-of-the-day-to-protect-and-serve-edition/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:06:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439954

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Scientifically Proven: Taxes Can Kill You Dead http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/scientifically-proven-taxes-can-kill-you-dead/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/scientifically-proven-taxes-can-kill-you-dead/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 14:34:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439944

If you value your life, don’t get on the road on Tuesday. Your chances of getting killed in an accident will be six percent higher than on any other days. Why? Tuesday, April 17th is tax day.

Researchers from the University of Toronto sifted through 30 years of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records. They found that there is a significantly higher risk of being in a fatal road accident on tax day. On average, about 13 additional people get killed in car crashes every tax day, an increased risk of about 6%. It happens every year, it is as sure as you know, death and taxes.

We fully expect that Ray LaHood will suggest a ban of tax day.

The study was published in the April 11, 2012 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

(Hat tip to the woodman.)

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Turkmenistan President Wins Car Race In Volkicar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/turkmenistan-president-wins-car-race-in-volkicar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/turkmenistan-president-wins-car-race-in-volkicar/#comments Mon, 09 Apr 2012 11:35:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=438995

U.S. president Obama was not allowed drive the Volt down the Hamtramck assembly line. His colleague in Turkmenistan does not suffer such tight restrictions and was allowed to win Turkmenistan’s first car race.

Last Saturday, Turkmenistan’s unpronounceable president Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov drove to the track in the capital Ashgabat in a lime green Bugatti Veyron, ostensibly just to watch the country’s inaugural car race.

When an event presenter introduced august guest, Berdymukhamedov asked: “Can I take part?” You deny such a request at your own peril in Turkmenistan. The president suited up, hopped into a likewise lime green Turkish-made Volkicar and won the time trial challenge. He could have raced his Veyron, but that would have been unfair.

The Associated Press has suspicions that the whole thing might have been choreographed. Who would think such a thing?  Berdymukhamedov simply likes lime green, just like Jack Baruth does.

 

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FS: One-of-a-kind Mercedes “Benzamino” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/fs-one-of-a-kind-mercedes-benzamino/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/fs-one-of-a-kind-mercedes-benzamino/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2012 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437165

While attending a preview drive in Charleston, SC, I spied a most unique vehicle parked near a major thoroughfare: a pickup based on a W124 Mercedes-Benz wagon.

Some people still regard the W124 as the best all-around car the company ever made. A quick Internet search will find a few other “Benzaminos,” but this could be the only one based on the W124. Also unlike the others, the intent with this conversion–performed by an independent repair shop that specializes in Mercedes–appears to have been to make the end result look as close to “factory” as possible. No badge on the tailgate, so the powertrain is unclear. If it were a diesel, though, the ad would probably mention this.

A final difference: this one’s currently for sale. $17,000 or best offer takes it.

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