The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:26:27 +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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New York 2014: 2015 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-scion-fr-s-release-series-1-0-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-scion-fr-s-release-series-1-0-unveiled/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:26:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800370 2015-Scion-FRS-RS-1_0-03

Tucked away in the darkened Scion section at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the 2015 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0 may light up the room with its bright yellow paint, but the owner will still have to be the one to make it light up its tires.

The Release Series 1.0 — limited to 1,500 examples — comes with a number of Toyota Racing Development enhancements, such as a new aero kit, lowered springs, the aforementioned yellow “Yuzu” paint, and a quad-tip exhaust. However, the song remains the same under the hood: a 2-liter flat-four pushing 200 horses and 151 lb-ft of torque to the back through either a six-speed auto or manual.

Price of admission for the the limited edition series will be around $30,000.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: 2015 Camry Regression Analysis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/vellum-venom-vignette-2015-camry-regression-analysis/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:39:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800242 051-2015-toyota-camry-1

As expected, TTAC’s Best and Brightest called it: the 2015 Camry has Chernobyl-grade DLO FAIL.

Or maybe that’s heavily tinted glass?

I consider myself lucky I’m not attending the NYIAS, this would make my head go explodey all over the show floor.

No transportation designer, wannabe like me or otherwise, wants to see that gigantizoid of a hunk of black plastic go into production.  The years of thankless hard work, the brutal cost of design school on your wallet/social life, etc shouldn’t turn into this.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the 2014 Camry’s greenhouse: it was sleek-ish and a completely DLO FAIL free zone before the redesign.  It was a beautiful thing. And now it’s gone.

Thanks for reading, I hope you (can still) have a lovely week.

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New York 2014: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe Debuted http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mercedes-benz-s63-amg-coupe-debuted/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mercedes-benz-s63-amg-coupe-debuted/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:34:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799778 2015-Mercedes-S63-AMG-Coupe-01

For the well-moneyed customer who likes the Accord but prefers a German badge, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the S63 AMG Coupe at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

Under the bonnet lies a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 driving 577 ponies through all four wheels while providing 644 lb-ft of torque to any driver feeling the need to take down a redwood forest or two. Air suspension, lighter weight and optional ceramic brakes add to the performance alongside the usual AMG enhancements.

As for how much to pay for this experience, look forward to spending somewhere around $150,000 when the S63 AMG Coupe arrives in showrooms.

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New York 2014: 2015 Ford Focus Sedan Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-ford-focus-sedan-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-ford-focus-sedan-unveiled/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:34:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800058 2015-Ford-Focus-02

In Geneva, we saw the world debut of the 2015 Ford Focus hatchback. At the 2014 New York Auto Show, it’s the 2015 Focus Sedan’s turn to be unveiled.

Like the hatchback, the sedan now boasts the new nose found on the likes of the Fusion and Fiesta, while under the hood will include a 2-liter four-pot or — for the U.S. market — the 1-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder, both of which will be mated to a new six-speed manual. An SE Sport Package will also be available, swaping the manual for an automatic with paddle shifters in addition to tuning upgrades for the suspension and 17-inch wheels.

Safety features on-board include a standard rearview camera paired with a choice of two monitors, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist.

Both the hatchback and sedan will enter U.S. showrooms early in 2015.

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New York 2014: 2015 BMW X4 Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-bmw-x4-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-bmw-x4-live-shots/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:33:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799946 2015-BMW-X4-06

For those who wanted an X6 in a smaller package, BMW revealed its new X4 Sports Activity Coupe crossover at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

The X4 can be had as either the xDrive28i for a base entry of $45,625, or for about $3,000 more, the xDrive35i. Both trims come with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, but the 28i posseseses a 2-liter turbo-four capaable of 240 horsepower under its bonnet, while the 35i makes do with a 300-horsepower I6.

Further enhancements can be had with X4′s M Sport Package, including tighter suspension and unique seats, while its less-useful trunk can be opened with a wave of your foot — perfect for doing the hokey-pokey after a bit of grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market.

Expect the X4 to give it you later this spring.

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New York 2014: 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-corvette-z06-convertible-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-corvette-z06-convertible-live-shots/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:33:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799682 2015-Chevrolet-Z06-Convertible-12

Turning up alongside the new-for-United States Chevrolet Trax, the 2015 Corvette Z06 posed topless before the cameras at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Speaking of, the top can be raised at speeds of up to 30 mph, while the car itself can go from naught to 60 in 3.5 seconds; the time matches that of the hardtop variant.

As for what’s under the more airy clothes, a chassis that is 20 percent stiffer than the hardtop, upon which rests the same 6.2-liter V8 pushing approximately 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft of torque toward the back tires. The engine will be mated with a choice of either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, the latter’s fast shifts could prove venerable on the track once a roll bar is installed.

The Z06, in both guises, will arrive sometime in 2015, and can be upgraded with the Z07′s list of goodies, with Chevrolet providing an open options list for future owners.

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New or Used : Tastes Of The Weird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-tastes-of-the-weird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-tastes-of-the-weird/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:28:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799402 beachsideresident

Steve L., just a short note to thank you for your TTAC articles. They are my favorite at TTAC and I look forward to a new article each week.

Quick question: I noted in your last article you like some of the newer Mazdas. Can you tell me what new Mazda you would consider keeping for your own personal vehicle?

regards, Steve T.

The Other Steve Says:

My personal tastes are probably a quick study in the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I like weird stuff. Part of the blame lies in the fact that the wholesale auctions are slam packed with the lemmings of modern day transport. There will often be a line of 30 to 60 cars at the factory sales where the same exact model will be offered with minimal changes in features and specs. The strength of rental cars at auctions also skews me away from the common place car, which is why the rolling Big Mac Value Meal that is/was the Chevy Impala doesn’t raise my eyebrows.

What interests me Mazda wise? I like the Mazda 2. If you are careful with the spec sheet, you can get one out the door for under 15k. One of the regulars here bought one recently for less than $14,000 out the door, and made a nice pithy summation of it’s virtues, “The 100HP is plenty. The stereo is outstanding. The controls, shifter, it all works, and none of it makes you feel like you gave up anything.”

A generic popular car is not my thing because every day I’m surrounded by overproduced generic popular cars. What interests me is a Ford Fiesta hatchback. A base Mazda 3 with a stick that I likely won’t see at the auctions for a while. Even the new base Corolla with a 6-speed would interest me on paper because it offers the better engine and shifter of the high end model and cost about $5000 less.

If I had to buy new I would keep it cheap and try to hit em’ where they ain’t. Not because I want the deal. But because I just don’t value touchscreens, over-sized A-pillars, and a car that I can’t maintain myself. The cars I keep at the retail lot reflect my weirdness compared with mainstream consumers. 20% are sticks, and I always seem to have a couple of offbeat ones (Solara V6 /5-speed, green Beetle TDI) on hand that I buy for low prices, due to their lack of mainstream popularity.

Small, stick, powered for real-world performance, and preferably in the last year or two of production. Throw in easy access for basic DIY maintenance, and you pretty much have my perfect recipe for the in-town commuting and smooth Georgia roads I see on a daily basis.

So what about you? What would be the perfect ingredients for your new car recipe? Does anything in particular strike your fancy?

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New York 2014: 2015 Toyota Camry Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-toyota-camry-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-toyota-camry-revealed/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:27:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799506 2015-Toyota-Camry-18

Toyota’s champion revealed its new look before the world and those in attendance at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Beneath the new Camry’s updated, more aggressive appearance, Toyota added spot welds throughout the chassis for added stiffness as well as a revised suspension, all of which is aimed at improving handling and ride quality.

The SE trim will continue going into the 2015 model year, paired alongside the premium XSE, while the hybrid will receive some of the SE’s performance goodies when all three enter showrooms later this year. The engine options will remain the same, however: 2.5-liter four-pot, 3.5-liter V6, and 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid motor.

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New York 2014: Mazda Shows Next MX-5′s Chassis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-shows-next-mx-5s-chassis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-shows-next-mx-5s-chassis/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:02:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799418 2016-Mazda-mx5

 

Those wild rumors of Mazda doing a surprise debut of the next MX-5 turned out to be false – anyone with an understanding of modern automotive PR tactics knows that no launch is conducted without a relentless hype campaign. But at least they threw us a bone.

Mazda claims that this chassis, which underpins the next MX-5, will shed 220 lbs from the weight of the current car (which weighs in at around 2480 lbs), with an engine that sits lower and further back. The lighter weight, which is closer to that of the first-gen Miata, and the power bump from the new Skyactiv engine (assuming it’s the 2.0L 155 horsepower engine used in multiple cars) means the power-to-weight ratio should up in an appreciable manner.

For those who still want the current car (and judging by the sales figures, there’s not too many of you), Mazda has launched a new 25th anniversary edition of the MX-5. Only 100 units will be made available, in a special red-on-black paint scheme, with special alloy wheels and Bilstein dampers as standard.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Infiniti M30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797130 09 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen Nissan, not wanting to be left behind by Toyota, introduced the Infiniti marque in 1989, they needed a sporty coupe to sell alongside the mighty Q45 luxury sedan. No problem, just add some bling to the JDM Nissan Leopard, move the steering wheel to the left side, and you’ve got an instant Lexus SC300 competitor for the American market! Sadly for Nissan, few bought the M30 (though its J30 successor sold pretty well), and M30 junkyard finds are quite rare today. Here’s one that survived the Cash For Clunkers Japanese Luxpocalypse but then succumbed to depreciation five years later.
11 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA good-looking car, but 1992 wasn’t a great year for California car dealers.
08 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the same VG30 V6 that M30′s 300ZX and Maxima contemporaries got.

Naturally, the Japanese-market ads for the F31 Leopard coupe are far superior to anything shown on the other side of the Pacific.

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New York 2014: Chevrolet Makes Trax With New B-Segment Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-chevrolet-makes-trax-with-new-b-segment-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-chevrolet-makes-trax-with-new-b-segment-crossover/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:18:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799298 2015-Chevrolet-Trax-7_edited-1

 

It’s impolite to gloat, but we called the introduction of the Chevrolet Trax back in March. It’s nice to be right once in a while.

Using the same underpinnings and 1.4L drivetrain as the Buick Encore, the Trax will go up against the Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, Honda Vezel and other entrants in the subcompact crossover segment. The Korean-made Trax is already on sale in Canada, starting at about $17,000 USD. That price probably won’t change much when it comes to America. Though versions with AWD and more equipment will get pricier.

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New York 2014: Audi Announces A3 TDI Sportback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-audi-announces-a3-tdi-sportback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-audi-announces-a3-tdi-sportback/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:59:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799258  

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Audi will bring a diesel version of the A3 Sportback to America, using the same 2.0L TDI engine as the upcoming Golf.

 

With 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, the A3 TDI is sure to be a stout little hatchback, but the lack of a manual transmission is a bit perplexing. Even though manual transmissions are on the decline, one would expect that TDI buyers are more inclined to row their own gears. At least the 6-speed S-Stronic dual-clutch gearbox isn’t so bad.

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Cain’s Segments: Canada Recap April 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-canada-recap-april-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-canada-recap-april-2014/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:23:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799090 TTAC-Q1-Canada-recap-chart-best-selling-SUVs
March 2014’s Canadian auto sales results displayed a further willingness on the part of buyers to gradually forsake cars and turn to smaller crossovers.

Despite the increased strength of the Toyota Tundra and Ram Pickup range, pickup truck sales growth has stalled, and indeed reversed.

Year-over-year, minivans are getting back into the swing of things, but not to the extent that they’re selling as well as they did two years ago.

Although sales at BMW, the second-ranked luxury brand through the first quarter, are down slightly this year, overall premium brand auto sales are up 7% in a market that’s managed less than a 1% improvement over the last three months. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi own 52% of the market for luxury auto brand vehicles. Mercedes-Benz has the advantage in Canada of not just selling a new entry-level sedan, the CLA, but also the more popular entry-level hatchback B-Class, which accounts for 16% of Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales.

Canadians are very nearly as willing to support traditional Detroit-based brands as their neighbours to the south – GM, FoMoCo, Chrysler/FCA own 45% of 2014’s U.S. market, 44% – but the same does not go for Cadillac and Lincoln. Cadillac is America’s fourth-ranked premium brand, but Cadillac slides to seventh in Canada. Lincoln ranks ninth in Canada, but in the U.S., where Lincoln volume is 19 times stronger, it moves up to eighth. Land Rover sales are 52% stronger than Lincoln sales in Canada, while Lincoln sales in the U.S. are 65% stronger than Land Rover sales. 1.6% of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014 were Cadillacs and Lincolns; only 0.8% in Canada.

Canadians still made Ford the top-selling auto brand in Q1 of 2014. Ford brand sales tumbled 11% in March and 8% in Q1, however, as first quarter car sales slid 22% and the F-Series, approaching replacement, fell 6%. (YOY, Ford’s share of a pickup truck market that’s down 2.5% has fallen from 38% to 37%.) The Fusion is currently Canada’s second-best-selling midsize car after leading the category in calendar year 2013. In fact, the Mustang is the only Ford car product to record a year-over-year sales increase in Q1.

As a whole, Ford Canada was outsold by the Chrysler family of brands in each of the last three months. (GM Canada outsold Ford/Lincoln in December.) Ford had become the usual leader, but even with the Chrysler Group’s total lack of car success in 2014, Dodge/Ram/Jeep/Chrysler/Fiat have opened up a 7726-unit lead through three months. Chrysler Canada says their car sales are down 21% this year. Even if we exclude the 200 and Avenger (about to be replaced and defunct, respectively) from the equation, the company’s car sales were down 1%.

But the Ram truck lineup, Dodge’s Grand Caravan, and the Jeep brand currently account for seven out of every ten Chrysler Canada sales, and the volume achieved by that group is up 12% in 2014. Minivan sales in Q1, 65% of which came from the Grand Caravan and Town & Country, are up 7%.

Cars are still capable of succeeding in the Canadian auto market. Sales of the best-selling Civic, Canada’s third-best-selling vehicle overall, are up 10% this year. Yet cars are currently responsible for less than 41% of the industry’s volume, and the decline can be spotted in the Civic’s closest rival, the Hyundai Elantra, which is down 9%. Hyundai and Kia, which combine to sell more passenger cars in Canada than any other automotive conglomerate by far, have seen their car sales slide 9%.

As a symbol of the tussle between traditional passenger cars and newfangled crossovers, consider the BMW 3-Series and Audi Q5. No other premium brand products have sold as often as this pair. They’re tied for the lead as Canada’s top-selling luxury brand automobiles through three months. With 1664 sales each, they’re not uncommon: only 53 nameplates have generated greater volume in early 2014.

The Q5 is playing on the winning side. 55% of vehicles sold in Canada in 2014 by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, and their luxury rivals have been SUVs or crossovers of one kind or another.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796986 08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAssembled in Italy!
06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 262C-specific glass and trim pieces have been pulled, and there’s plenty of typical Northern California upper-body rust in places where weatherstripping failure can let water in. The lower body panels are good and solid.
05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume that some project 262C will benefit from these parts.
07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf I owned one of these cars, I’d ditch the unreliable Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 and replace it with a good old B230 (or something more interesting). In the case of this car, though, someone has grabbed the PRV.
13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill a few pieces worth taking left on this car. Let’s hope they get pulled before the car gets crushed.

02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Coffee and Cars, or Cars and Coffee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/coffee-and-cars-or-cars-and-coffee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/coffee-and-cars-or-cars-and-coffee/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:30:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798546 IMG_7500

You don’t have to be interested in coffee to appreciate Cars and Coffee. You don’t even have to be that interested in cars. But if you haven’t attended one, you are missing one of the great grassroots events this grand land of ours has to offer. It is an unfettered melting pot of every gearhead facet of interest and a decidedly pleasant experience you can enjoy with the entire family.

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During my recent years out of the country this was the event I missed more than any other. I pined for it more than track days, autocross and LeMons. The beauty of Cars and Coffee is the variation of the enthusiasts that attend and the non-competitive nature of the event. It is just folks talking about their cars and other people’s cars. There are exotics, classics, off roaders, drifters and racers. You will see works in progress, back yard hot rods, billet fans, bikes and lowriders.

The original started in Irvine California as a group of folks with cool cars just started getting together back in 2005. That earliest gathering has grown to a regulated event with over 500 cars at each hosting.

But more importantly, it was the seed that has spread nationwide. Google Cars and Coffee, usually the local one will pop up on the first page, or search for Cars and Coffee and your hometown on Facebook. Sometimes, its Coffee and Cars.

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I discovered the Oklahoma City version in 2011. It was close to my house, at a Starbucks located at the end of a retail center. In my absence, it grew too large for that space and has relocated to an older mall a few miles away. No coffee, but sometimes an enterprising youth organization will show up with Krispy Kremes as a fundraiser.

The OKC Cars and Coffee is the first Sunday of every month from 8 AM until 10. This month it was the 6th and as luck would have it, it was the first nice Sunday of the year. It was pretty packed.

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The new rumor is that the mall will soon ask us to go somewhere else.

That’s a shame, because a food truck is missing a golden opportunity. A few breakfast burritos and coffee that doesn’t suck and you’ll carry out some serious cash. The previous location would have the line at Starbucks out the door. I am sure their manager is missing that level of business once a month.

Earlier this year, I got to take my 7-year old nephew. His favorite was of course a yellow “Bumblebee” Camaro. It’s not uncommon to folks with their dogs. As I said, it’s a family event.

This is a great event, the variations of the attendees is fantastic. The early event timing does wonders to keep out the idiots, and the atmosphere is friendly. It’s almost always free. So as the weather starts to thaw, look for your local coffee and cars, get up early one weekend, grab the family and just enjoy some cars.

Enjoying the coffee is optional.

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Toyota Looking To Conquer Africa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/toyota-looking-to-conquer-africa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/toyota-looking-to-conquer-africa/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:58:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798514 Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Bakkie

Though Toyota already has a presence in South Africa, the automaker is eyeing the last untapped market in the world: The African continent.

Automotive News reports Toyota patriarch Shochiro Toyoda gave his son, current president Akio Toyoda, a mission last year to explore markets outside of the “Asia-Europe-America” sphere, especially those where the younger Toyoda had not visited. His travels took him to a knockdown factory in Kenya, where there are 40 cars per 1,000 people according to IHS Automotive, laying the early groundwork for an all-out campaign to get as much of the final frontier as possible.

Success in the market may have to come in the long term, however; IHS predicts GDP per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa won’t reach the threshold of $3,000, as well as the ownership rate of 70 units per 1,000 people, until 2030 at the earliest. Toyota Africa CEO Johan van Zyl, who is scouting for new factory locations outside of South Africa, knows this reality well:

It’s a growing market, a market with a future. We have quite an ambitious [annual sales] target. But we must also understand, this is not going to happen overnight. We have to put the right things in place. And that is what we are busy doing, to ensure that we have the right foundation for the business in the future in Africa.

In the meantime, the automaker will launch the Quest compact in South Africa next month. The Quest — based upon the previous-gen Corolla — will help boost production towards full capacity at Toyota’s Durban plant; while max capacity is 220,000 annually, current production is 160,000 units per year. Unlike many auto makers, Toyota is not pursuing a new brand or platform for their new, low-cost car.

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Cadillac Flagship, Redesigned LaCrosse To Be Made In Detroit By 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cadillac-flagship-redesigned-lacrosse-to-be-made-in-detroit-by-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cadillac-flagship-redesigned-lacrosse-to-be-made-in-detroit-by-2016/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:30:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798938 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

In light of General Motors’ recent announcement of a $384 million investment in its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, two vehicles from Cadillac and Buick could wind up being produced alongside the next-generation Volt.

Edmunds reports IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley expects Cadillac’s all-new flagship to be produced in late 2015, with the Buick LaCrosse — currently assembled in Fairfax, Kan. — joining the flagship in 2016 for the latter’s next redesign.

Though GM hasn’t said much about the flagship, industry insiders claim the vehicle will be aimed at the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class, and may be priced as much as $100,000.

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A Curmudgeon’s Guide To The 2014 New York Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-curmudgeons-guide-to-the-2014-new-york-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-curmudgeons-guide-to-the-2014-new-york-auto-show/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:28:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796746 BMW-X4-03

The 2014 edition of the New York Auto Show kicks off tomorrow, with press days continuing into Thursday. TTAC will have live coverage of the show, but here’s a little preview of what you can expect to see starting Wednesday.

Acura TLX: The replacement for the TL and TSX has already been spied, and it’s not the drastic change in styling that many were hoping for.

Alfa Romeo 4C: Alfa’s newest sports car gets its American debut, along with federalization changes and a couple hundred pounds in extra weight.

BMW Concept X5 eDrive: BMW’s biggest SUV gets a plug-in hybrid concept to help people feel good about the polar bears.

BMW M4 Convertible (2015): The M4 for those who can afford the best in hair plug therapy.

BMW X4 (2015): Another incoherent addition to BMW’s lineup, this X3-based pseudo-coupe will add volume to the lineup, and little else.

Chevrolet Cruze: Chevrolet’s compact sedan gets a nose job in advance of its redesign.

Chevrolet Corvette: An all-new 8-speed automatic and a ragtop version of the Z06 will make purists cry, while fattening Chevrolet’s bottom line.

Dodge Challenger: Revised powertrains and styling for Dodge’s ponycar.

Dodge Charger: The Charger gets some slightly more modern styling.

Ford Focus: Ford’s Focus sedan and EV get the corporate grille.

Ford Transit Skyliner concept: A luxury van concept from Ford, sure to be of interest to 1970′s custom van enthusiasts.

Hyundai Sonata: The worst-kept secret of NY is the all-new Hyundai Sonata, which has been leaked several times over.

Kia Sedona: Kia’s oft-ignored minivan gets a new look in an attempt to capture some minivan market share. And it comes in brown.

Land Rover Discovery Vision concept: Land Rover shows off their entry-level Kardashian mobile.

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG Coupe: Once known as the CL, the S63 coupe is likely the last word in Grand Touring, but still looks like a very large Honda Accord coupe.

Nissan Murano: The Murano is all-new for 2015, but the big news is the death of the CrossCabriolet, which somehow escaped the grasp of an army of product planners.

Nissan Versa Sedan: America’s cheapest car gets a few tweaks. It will be nasty.

Porsche Boxster/Cayman GTS: Another incremental change for Porsche’s lesser products. Enjoy them now, before they get 4-cylinder engines.

Ram Power Wagon: Just what you need to go down to Home Depot in.

Subaru Outback: No manual. Get over it.

Toyota Camry: Toyota tweaks its most important car, proving it will do literally anything to hang on to the #1 spot.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen: Diesel. Manual. All-wheel drive. Brown?

Volkswagen Jetta: A few styling tweaks that you can look forward to on your next rental.

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US Energy Department Unveils Four-Year Strategy For Alternative Energy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/us-energy-department-unveils-four-year-strategy-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/us-energy-department-unveils-four-year-strategy-plan/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:15:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798026 South_Point_Wind_Farm

The U.S. Department of Energy unveiled last week a four-year plan that would advance the goal of energy security by building upon as many alternative sources as possible, further reducing dependence on imported petroleum.

Autoblog Green reports the 27-page plan illustrates the proposed aims of the DOE to double the amount of energy produced by renewables, improve battery technology, usher in advances in biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells, and push further electrification of vehicles.

In addition, the DOE also has strategies ready for testing the nation’s nuclear deterrent for safety, security and overall effectiveness, as well as boosting the tools needed to bring improvements on the nation’s security infrastructure.

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GM Internal Investigation Hindered By Corporate Culture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-internal-investigation-hindered-by-corporate-culture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-internal-investigation-hindered-by-corporate-culture/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:58:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798970 GM Next

Bloomberg reports now-former General Motors engineer Brian Stouffer conducted a two-year internal investigation into the out-of-spec switch at the heart of the automaker’s current recall crisis, only to find confusion and resistance along the way to finding answers as to why vehicles up through 2008 were stalling out. In addition, Stouffer reported to three different executives assigned to the investigation in one year as it moved along, as well as the lack of sufficient cases that met the criteria required. Only in late 2013, when Delphi responded to Stouffer’s inquiry by providing the document showing the changes made to the switch back in 2006, did the investigation come to a head.

Automotive News posits that the link between the out-of-spec switch and the 13 fatalities under the spotlight may have been muddied under other circumstances focused upon the drivers involved, ranging from being unbelted and driving under the influence, to speeding and lack of experience behind the wheel. Further, both police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t immediately make the link between the switch and undeployed airbags, the former citing numerous instances and the various reasons behind each failure.

Though it would appear as though GM were the new kings of recalls as of late, Boston-based used-car shopping site iSeeCars compiled data of the top 15 automakers who sold vehicles in the United States between 2005 and 2014, and found the automaker among the middle of the recall list with 96 recalls for every 100 vehicles sold. Toyota took the No. 1 spot with 167 recalls per 100 sold, while Mercedes-Benz took last place with 38 per 100.

Within GM, public relations head Selim Bingol and human resources chief Melissa Howell have both left the automaker “to pursue other interests.” The departures are not related to the recall crisis, according to spokesman Greg Martin, explaining the exits as “a part of any transition where the CEO makes changes and puts together her leadership team.” That team will now consist of John Quattrone, who will head the human resources department CEO Mary Barra ran until 2011, while head of investor relations Randy Arickx will serve as interim PR chief until a permanent replacement is found.

Finally, The Wall Street Journal reports Opel may finally break even ahead of a 2016 target date after years of seeing red. The charge toward equilibrium is being cautiously led by CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann, whose changes to the company — including the closure of a plant in Germany, a $6 billion investment in Europe, and the introduction of 23 models by 2016 — have helped Opel see a rise of 3 percent in European Union sales during the first two months of 2014. The news follows similar signs of hope for GM overall, as Automotive News adds Cadillac’s and Buick’s first-ever wins in J.D. Power & Associates’ 2014 Customer Service Index, as well as the Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain twins being the only two midsize SUVs to receive a “good” rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the small-overlap test as small victories for the automaker.

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New York 2014: Disco Inferno http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-disco-inferno/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-disco-inferno/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:57:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797994 Land-Rover-Discovery-Vision-Concept

 

This is the Land Rover Discovery concept, which will preview the replacement for both the LR2 and LR4. Back in the early 2000′s, our EIC bought a 5-speed manual Discovery, before it was internet-cool to own a manual version of an obscure car. (Sadly, it was even longer ago than that — the first of my four Land Rovers was a five-speed, zero-option SD that I took delivery of from LR Sewickley in June of 1997! — JB) Rest assured, this car will not be obscure if you live in the right ZIP code.

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New York 2014: 2015 Kia Sedona Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-kia-sedona-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-kia-sedona-revealed/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:57:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797706 sedona6

 

With a 276 horsepower 3.3L V6, Kia’s UVO infotainment system and a trick sliding second row (see gallery), Kia is looking to take on the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and TTAC darlings, the Chrysler/Dodge minivans. And, of course, the Nissan Quest.

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QOTD: At What Price Connectivity? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/qotd-at-what-price-connectivity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/qotd-at-what-price-connectivity/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:36:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797689 Caterham_7_Roadsport_SV

From this week’s Automotive News, editor Jason Stein talks to former Hyundai CEO and now TrueCar board member John Krafcik about connected cars

“Do you notice that as we talk about increased connectivity in the car, we are also talking about being less connected with the car?” Krafcik asks through a phone line. “Connectivity and autonomy. Sounds like those are at odds with each other, hey?”

Krafcik, who owns a Caterham and a Porsche 911, is one executive who can speak with authority on the inverse relationship between in-car connectivity and feeling a connection with one’s automobile. Unfortunately, we seem to be moving inexorably towards the “connected car” model, at the expense of feeling connected to our cars – and most people don’t seem to mind one bit.

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New PSA Boss Tavares Prepares To Rebuild Company http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-psa-boss-tavares-prepares-to-rebuild-company/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-psa-boss-tavares-prepares-to-rebuild-company/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:15:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797482 Carlos Tavares

Though PSA Peugeot Citroen secured funding in a three-way deal between itself, the French government and Dongfeng, new boss and former Renault COO Carlos Tavares has a hard road ahead of him as he rebuilds the ailing automaker.

Reuters reports Tavares will focus using the joint venture it shares with Dongfeng to go after 1.5 million sales by 2020, bring exports to Southeast Asia and establish a research center. He will also tighten up both working capital and the number of models sold in each market, as well as squeeze savings from PSA’s suppliers.

However, development woes, pricing issues on some models, and the use of heavy discounts and incentives are all roadblocks on Tavares’ “Back in the Race” plan expected to be issued in full Monday, as well as currency challenges in Latin America and Russia and lower-cost products from around Asia.

As part of the plan, Tavares is expected to halve the number of models it currently offers. On the bright side, the 308 and 2008 both delivered a combined 5.2 percent sales increase in the first two months of 2014, as well as an 8.5 percent Q1 2014 gain over PSA’s home market.

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Dealers Still Waiting For Replacements, DeGiorgio Linked To Original Design And Upgrade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/dealers-still-waiting-for-replacements-degiorgio-linked-to-original-design-and-upgrade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/dealers-still-waiting-for-replacements-degiorgio-linked-to-original-design-and-upgrade/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797362 GM ignition diagram

Automotive News reports dealers are still waiting for the ignition switches meant to replace the out-of-spec switch at the center of the ongoing recall crisis at General Motors. The switch was to have arrived at dealerships beginning this week, yet most dealers are in a “holding pattern” on deliveries. Once the parts do arrive, service bays will begin work on affected customer vehicles immediately before turning toward the used lot, where vehicles under the recall are currently parked until the customer vehicles are fixed.

As for GM seeking help from NASA with its woes, however, The Detroit Bureau learned from NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications Bob Jacobs that his employer “is not working with General Motors on its ignition switch issue”; a separate source claimed “low-level” discussions between the two were taking place, but hasn’t gone any further thus far. He added that while NASA would be more than willing to help GM, a formal request would require some coordination between the agency and both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Justice Department so as to not interfere “with their own, ongoing investigations of the GM ignition switch recall.”

Speaking of the Justice Department, Reuters says five senators, including Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Barbara Boxer of California, penned a letter asking Attorney General Eric Holder to “intervene in pending civil actions to oppose any action by GM to deny responsibility for damages”:

We write to request your immediate intervention and assistance on behalf of victims of severe damage – financial harm, physical injury, and death – resulting from serious ignition switch defects in General Motors (‘GM’) cars.

The aforementioned actions may be in reference to the liability shield erected upon the automaker’s 2009 exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where “New GM” is only responsible for the claims linked to the switch from June 2009 forward.

That division within the company may be more of a thin line than a 4-inch-thick steel plate, however, as Autoblog reports an investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee uncovered an email exchange between the NHTSA and GM last July to discuss the latter’s “indifferent attitude toward safety issues” face-to-face. The agency cited the automaker’s slow response to urgent matters and preference toward regional recalls over full recalls as two examples of GM not having changed much since leaving bankruptcy.

Bloomberg adds the agency itself didn’t do enough to take GM to task on its attitude toward safety, though, based on a memo unearthed by the committee regarding airbag failures on a number of Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions with warranty claims being four times’ higher than similar competitors. The decision to investigate those claims was rejected by a review group within the NHTSA, believing the airbag issue “did not stand out” among other incidences of failure.

Automotive News reports the committee also found an email chain that ties GM engineer Ray DeGiorgio — who denied having knowledge of the April 2006 change to the ignition without a change to the part number — with said change. In short: DeGiorgio signed-off on both changes to the spring and plunger to help prevent the slipping issue now linked to 13 fatalities and 33 accidents, as well as on the decision to retain the original number issued to the part he designed for the Saturn Ion as his first project for GM in 2001.

Regarding the Ion, Reuters says the troubled development of the compact vehicle — and the equally troubled relationship between GM and supplier Delphi — may have laid the groundwork for the current recall crisis. The supplier alerted the automaker about the out-of-spec switch, but fearing an embarrassing introduction, money issues, and the possible wrath of then-vice chairman of product development Bob Lutz, GM pressed ahead with the switch as-is.

 

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