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. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 Nissan Loses Money On Every Leaf Replacement Battery Sold http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kuhlman-nissan-loses-money-per-leaf-replacement-battery-sold/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kuhlman-nissan-loses-money-per-leaf-replacement-battery-sold/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873026 2011_Nissan_Leaf_SL_--_10-28-2011

In June, Nissan announced that Leaf owners could obtain a replacement battery pack for $5,500 upon trading in the old unit. While a boon to said owners, the automaker begs to differ.

Green Car Reports interviewed Nissan vice president of global communications Jeff Kuhlman, who explained that the low price for the new pack was the result of his employer subsidizing the price, though he declined to state how much Nissan spends per replacement. Thus, no profit is being made at this time off of the exchange.

However, Nissan isn’t yet hurting on this “customer-first” initiative. According to Kuhlman, no one has taken the automaker up on its Leaf battery replacement program.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kuhlman-nissan-loses-money-per-leaf-replacement-battery-sold/feed/ 0
Audi Leaves CVTs Behind For Dual-Clutch Automatics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873010 34 - 2012 Audi A7 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

CVT haters, rejoice: Audi’s latest set of Multitronic CVTs will be the automaker’s last.

According to The Motor Report, the automaker believes it has done all it can with CVTs, and will instead focus on the S-tronic dual-clutch automatic family of transmissions. Both the S-tronic and traditional automatic offerings will fill the void left behind when the models so equipped with Multitronic are updated or replaced.

However, Audi may also do away with the traditional automatic, as well. Currently, the automaker is hard work on an S-tronic built to handle the torque loads and AWD that are being handled by eight-speed autos at present. No word on when the traditional auto’s day may come to pass.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/feed/ 3
Ford Loads The Scales With Apples And Oranges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-loads-the-scales-with-apples-and-oranges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-loads-the-scales-with-apples-and-oranges/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872970 15F150SnowPlow_01_HR

From Jalopnik‘s Andrew Collins comes the discovery that Ford’s “weight savings” between the 2014 F-150 Lariat and the 2015 Lariat isn’t entirely a fair comparison.

As Collins reports, Ford confirmed that the two trucks were not quite the same. The 2014 had a 5.0L V8, while the 2015 had the all-new 2.7L Ecoboost V6.

Collins writes

Their defense; the new 2.7 is meant to be comparable to a “mid-range V8,” which the 5.0 is (the 2.7 is just 5 lb-ft of torque shy of the 5.0′s output, but the V8 makes 35 more horsepower). They’ve also been suggesting that the 2015 V8 (and 3.5 EcoBoost) may get a power bump, for what it’s worth.

But the fact remains; a 2015 F-150 5.0 Lariat SuperCrew V8 exists, and that would have been a more direct comparison against the outgoing truck.

As I maintained earlier this week, a lot of this stuff isn’t worth much, until we see a full table of engine specs, curb weights, towing and payload capacities and fuel economy figures. For now, we’re getting carefully packaged tidbits of info from Ford PR.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-loads-the-scales-with-apples-and-oranges/feed/ 48
Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:37:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872946 550x366x2014-Dodge-Duranto_00141.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pOnDvu-PCw

What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time to clear that up.

Speaking to Motor Trend, Gardner all-but confirmed that the front-drive crossover will share the next-gen front-drive architecture that will be utilized by the next-generation vans. A close reading of FCA’s 5-year plan, as well as Chrysler’s overall product portfolio suggests that the three-row crossover is a great way to help lower their CAFE rating, especially with a plug-in hybrid variant – which the new minvan will have from the get-go. You can bet that the CUV will get this technology as well.

According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”. I can’t say I agree with the former, but even so, it’s a moot point. Leveraging the front-drive architecture, with its superior fuel economy, regulatory and packaging characteristics is a no-brainer for a company that badly needs to put a dent in its CAFE ratings.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/feed/ 45
Exclusive: General Motors Working On Sonic EV With 200-Mile Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/exclusive-general-motors-working-on-sonic-ev-with-200-mile-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/exclusive-general-motors-working-on-sonic-ev-with-200-mile-range/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:26:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872874 450x337xSonic-LTZ-front-450x337.jpg.pagespeed.ic.JeJw11oIyx

The upcoming pure electric vehicle being discussed in the wake of the Opel Ampera’s demise will also be sold in the United States, in the form of a Chevrolet Sonic.

The Sonic-based EV will reportedly have a 200 mile range, which will presumably come from the new battery that LG Chem (battery supplier for the Volt) is working on right now. That will arrive in 2016, which suggests that the Sonic EV won’t be introduced until at least that date.

The Sonic EV will also be built in Michigan, which will allow GM to gain regulatory credits for selling a pure EV that is also made in America. The Chevrolet Spark EV, which is built in Korea, is not eligible, and has a range of just 82 miles.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/exclusive-general-motors-working-on-sonic-ev-with-200-mile-range/feed/ 50
Buick Prepares For Rental Fleet Dominance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-prepares-for-rental-fleet-dominance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-prepares-for-rental-fleet-dominance/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:16:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872850 Opel_Cascada_Innovation_2.0_BiTurbo_CDTI-550x366

Automotive News is reporting that the Opel Cascada will make it Stateside in 2016. Aside from giving Buick a fresh new product that isn’t a crossover, the Cascada arrives at an opportune time to capitalize on a small but important niche: the rental market.

With the demise of the Chrysler 200 convertible and VW Eos, rental fleets now have an alternative to the pony car twins for their convertible car class. Believe it or not, not all rental car clients want a Mustang or a Camaro, and the front-drive packaging of the Cascada allows for some packaging efficiencies that aren’t there in a rear drive setup (luggage space, anyone?).

Normally, fleet sales, and daily rental specifically, is treated as a last resort for undesirable product. But in this case, The Cascada is in a position to corner a market that, while declining, is currently wide open – something that GM is familiar with.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-prepares-for-rental-fleet-dominance/feed/ 38
Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-lincoln-continental-town-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-lincoln-continental-town-car/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872386 19 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMalaise Era Lincolns are common sightings in high-turnover pull-yer-part wrecking yards these days, since there’s not much interest in preserving these cars. We saw an extremely clean 1976 Town Car in California a few months back (it’s still on the yard, and very few parts have been pulled since I photographed it), and now I’ve found this rougher (but not at all rusty) ’79 at another San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard.
14 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven it its distressed state, the luxury is still evident.
16 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomebody grabbed the 400, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.
24 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights? Opera lights.
05 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Park-To-Reverse fiasco resulted in Ford recalling 23 million vehicles in 1980 and adding these warning stickers.
15 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuper-cushy burgundy leather seats, of course.
09 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometer.
07 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ornamental trip-counter reset knob is a nice touch.
01 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have never found one of these Cartier “digital” clocks in working order, but my car-clock collection needs one. I decided to risk $5.99 on this one… and it works! People win the lottery, and 1970s Detroit car clocks sometimes work.

01 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-lincoln-continental-town-car/feed/ 110
EPA In “Consideration Phase” Of Real-World Fuel Economy Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/epa-in-consideration-phase-of-real-world-fuel-economy-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/epa-in-consideration-phase-of-real-world-fuel-economy-testing/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872818 EPA HQ

As reported earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to put automakers through real-world testing of their MPG claims. However, the agency is asking this be done on the track instead of the highway.

Edmunds reports the plans are in the “consideration phase,” with the aim of bringing claims in line with what drivers experience on the road, according to an unnamed EPA spokeswoman:

EPA is considering requiring automakers to perform supplemental test-track audits of production vehicles to validate the values for aerodynamic drag and tire friction, which are important data inputs for our laboratory fuel economy testing. Augmenting EPA’s existing pre-production procedures with post-production audits of real-world factors will help further ensure that the data used in EPA labels accurately reflect the vehicles consumers find on dealer lots.

She goes on to clarify that the testing should occur on the track, and that the agency is “not considering creating public roadway test procedures” to replace the results currently gained in the lab.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/epa-in-consideration-phase-of-real-world-fuel-economy-testing/feed/ 24
Which Will Be Our First Renault? Mitsubishi Or Ram? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/which-will-be-our-first-renault-mitsubishi-or-ram/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/which-will-be-our-first-renault-mitsubishi-or-ram/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:30:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872338 800px-Renault_Trafic_II_front_20080120

First it was Mitsubishi that inked a deal with Renault Samsung to bring their wares over here as Mitsubishi branded cars. Now Fiat is getting into the action, by having Renault produce an unspecified commercial vehicle.

Renault and Fiat announced a vaguely worded deal to have Renault build a commercial vehicle for Fiat starting in 2016. There is no indication of what it could be, but now that the Ram ProMaster lineup is firmly Fiat-based, it’s not out of the question. Between that and the Samsung SM5, we’ll have an even better idea of all of the wonderful oddities currently off limits to our unsophisticated automotive palates…

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/which-will-be-our-first-renault-mitsubishi-or-ram/feed/ 23
Ford Expects V6 Engines To Make Up Over 70 Percent Of F-150 Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-expects-v6-engines-to-make-up-over-70-percent-of-f-150-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-expects-v6-engines-to-make-up-over-70-percent-of-f-150-sales/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:30:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872362 550x399xford-f-150_r-550x399.jpg.pagespeed.ic.G6qdiAdN5g

Not that long ago, buying a half-ton pickup with anything other than a V8 engine was looked upon as a sign of mental illness or an inadequate reserve of masculinity. The introduction of the Ford Ecoboost V6, as well as Ram’s gasoline and diesel V6s has shifted the tide more towards smaller cylinder counts, but Ford is projecting a big shift in take rates for the next-generation F-150.

According to Autoblog, Ford is projecting that roughly 28 percent of F-150s will be equipped with the 5.0 V8, while roughly 56 percent of buyers will opt for either the 2.7L or 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engines. The remainder, about 15 percent, will go to the base 3.5L V6. As to the other 1 percent? Perhaps there’s a CNG powertrain lurking somewhere in the shadows, Ford’s projections aren’t entirely rigorous, or the reporter in question is just bad at math, as reporters tend to be.

Right now, Ecoboost engines account for about 45 percent of F-150 sales, and even though everyone has an opinion on the efficacy of a turbocharged V6 engine in a full-sized pickup, nobody can deny their commercial success. Ford’s V6 push is also being aimed at potential buyers of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size trucks, with Ford’s own PR team already taking shots at the new GM trucks before full curb weights, mpg figures and other specs have been released for either truck.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-expects-v6-engines-to-make-up-over-70-percent-of-f-150-sales/feed/ 76
Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872802 Toyota_FCV_featured

With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/feed/ 9
Panoramic Sunroofs Killed The Volkswagen Eos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panoramic-sunroofs-killed-the-volkswagen-eos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panoramic-sunroofs-killed-the-volkswagen-eos/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872298 1024px-2007-2011_Volkswagen_Eos_--_03-30-2011_2

Volkswagen has officially announced that the Eos hardtop-convertible is coming to an end. Not entirely surprising, given that the convertible market has been dwindling some time and shows few signs of life. But one of TTAC‘s industry sources shed some light on an interesting threat to the convertible market.

According to our source, the take rate for panoramic sunroofs has a correlation with the decline in the popularity of convertibles. Lacking access to that (very proprietary) data, it’s impossible to corroborate this assertion, but perhaps the B&B, especially those in the industry, have some insight into the matter.

As a two-time convertible owner, I understand that the idea of a convertible is romantic and enticing, but the reality is often the opposite. Hot summer days can lead to sunburns and sweaty scalps, while winters without a lined top (like the Thinsulate-lined roof in the Jaguar F-Type) can be nearly as miserable as being outdoors. If you’re ever stuck in traffic in an open-roofed car, you will fry like an egg on the engine block of Ted Nugent’s truck.

I happen to dislike panoramic sunroofs for the greenhouse effect it can have on a car’s interior, but many people seem to find them to be a fun novelty, and a viable alternative to a real soft top convertible.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panoramic-sunroofs-killed-the-volkswagen-eos/feed/ 103
General Motors Issues Six Recalls For 720,000 Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-issues-six-recalls-for-720000-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-issues-six-recalls-for-720000-vehicles/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872770 2014 Chevrolet SS in Red

Wednesday, General Motors issued six recalls for a total of around 720,000 vehicles, all assembled within the last five years.

Autoblog reports the following have been recalled:

  • 2010 – 12 Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain/Cadillac SRX; 2011 – 12 Chevrolet Camaro, Buick Regal, Buick LaCrosse: Bolt used to secure height adjustor actuator in vehicles with powered seats may loosen on its own, if not fall out, allowing the seat to move freely; 414,333 recalled.
  • 2013 – 14 Cadillac ATS, Buick Encore; 2014 Chevrolet Caprice/SS, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac ELR; 2014 – 15 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra: Incomplete weld of seat hook bracket assembly, may require track replacement; 124,008 recalled.
  • 2011 – 13 Buick Regal; 2013 Chevrolet Malibu: Single-bulb burnout of turn signal failing to notify driver of issue, reprogramming needed; 120,426 recalled.
  • 2014 Chevrolet Impala: Bad electric ground on power steering module of belt-driven electric steering models — caused by misplaced paint — may lead to sudden loss or reduction of steering power; 57,242 recalled
  • 2014 – 15 Chevrolet Spark: Improperly fastened lower control arm of Korean-built models could lead to separation from the steering knuckle; 1,919 recalled.
  • 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon Denali: Incorrect retaining nut in interior roof rail could puncture or tear roof-mounted airbags upon deployment; 22 recalled.
]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-issues-six-recalls-for-720000-vehicles/feed/ 23
Cell Phone Bans Failing To Curb Accident Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cell-phone-bans-failing-to-curb-accident-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cell-phone-bans-failing-to-curb-accident-rates/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872738 texting behind the wheel of death

If any legislators were hoping banning cell phone use behind the wheel would cut down on accidents and fatalities linked to distracted driving, it may have been all for naught according to a handful of studies on the matter.

Autoblog reports the most recent study, published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, looked over the before and after regarding California’s 2008 ban in the year it went into effect. The findings? After six months, cell phone-linked accidents fell from 66.7 per day to 65.2. Another study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute looked over claim rates in 2009 and 2010, finding that ban or no ban, the song remained the same.

As for why this is so, associate professor of economics Daniel Kaffine of the University of Colorado posits drivers are either ignoring the bans outright, using hands-free technology that still distracts drivers, drivers are distracted by other things — ranging from the radio to the kids fighting in the back — and/or cell phone use isn’t as bad as once perceived.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cell-phone-bans-failing-to-curb-accident-rates/feed/ 76
2015 Acura NSX Spied At The Burgerkingring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-acura-nsx-spied-at-the-burgerkingring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-acura-nsx-spied-at-the-burgerkingring/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872322 Click here to view the embedded video.

My own hearing isn’t quite good enough to pick up on the engine noises here, but I swear I heard a few turbo sounds in this very short clip. Maybe Acura will get around to releasing the damn thing soon enough.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-acura-nsx-spied-at-the-burgerkingring/feed/ 52
2015 Toyota Yaris Has “European Flavor”, We’re Afraid To Ask… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872122 2015_Toyota_Yaris_001

 

Toyota is touting a new “European flavor” for the 2015 Yaris. I’m not sure what that means, but it does evoke bad memories of the chevre I left in my suitcase after coming home from the Paris Auto Show. All jokes aside (and that was bahhhhh-d), our Yaris will likely be built in France, but Toyota is looking for a way to both incorporate that into their messaging, and avoid telling everyone that their new subcompact is built by a bunch of socialist surrender monkeys. It’s not easy to explain the poor economics of building a subcompact car in Japan, but telling American consumers that its made in France is likely even more difficult. Not much has changed mechanically, and the 4-speed automatic still remains. C’est la.

1288376907639_WIDESCREEN 1288376907678_WIDESCREEN 1288376907717_WIDESCREEN 1288376907756_WIDESCREEN 1288376907795_WIDESCREEN 2015_Toyota_Yaris_010 2015_Toyota_Yaris_008 2015_Toyota_Yaris_008 _1_ 2015_Toyota_Yaris_007 2015_Toyota_Yaris_006 2015_Toyota_Yaris_005 2015_Toyota_Yaris_004 2015_Toyota_Yaris_003 2015_Toyota_Yaris_001 ]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/feed/ 61
Been Dacia’d And Confused For So Long It’s Not True… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/been-daciad-and-confused-for-so-long-its-not-true/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/been-daciad-and-confused-for-so-long-its-not-true/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:50:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872090 420x280xvauxhall-viva-fr.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Q1f1uLPQ4g

General Motors took the step of killing off Chevrolet in Europe earlier this year, and has long attempted to position Opel and Vauxhall as mainstream but slightly more premium offerings (analogous to how Volkswagen was once marketed in the United States). And that makes news of a new line of budget cars all the more confusing.

Just-Auto reports that Opel and Vauxhall will launch two new budget models to attract customers who may have previously opted for Chevrolet cars. First is the new Viva, based on the next-generation Chevrolet Spark. A small SUV, set to rival the Dacia Duster, is also being considered.

Rather than aiming for a brand that specifically targets no-frills motoring, it appears that GM is aiming to emulate Skoda, which at least has some measure of style and chic appeal, even as it positions itself as a value brand. The new Viva looks to be a pretty stylish car, but the brand positioning appears to be contradictory. How can Opel and Vauxhall aspire to sell pseudo-premium sedans like the Insignia while also pushing a new line of budget cars? Then again, nobody can ever accuse GM of having a consistent or coherent brand strategy in Europe.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/been-daciad-and-confused-for-so-long-its-not-true/feed/ 21
2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-honda-cr-v-adopts-cvt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-honda-cr-v-adopts-cvt/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:27:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872058 450x299x2012-Honda-CR-V_04-550x366-450x299.jpg.pagespeed.ic.maBjGB5e2J

The last word in functional, utilitarian crossovers will now move even further towards the middle of the road, as the Honda CR-V adopts a CVT for its mid-cycle refresh.

Replacing the outdated 5-speed automatic, the CVT gearbox is, by our own EIC’s admission, a fantastic transmission. Furthermore, nobody buying the CR-V will know the difference, or care enough about it. The bland, practical formula that Honda appears to have perfected has made the CR-V the top-selling crossover for years and years. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-honda-cr-v-adopts-cvt/feed/ 77
UAW Aiming For Works Council In Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/uaw-aiming-for-works-council-in-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/uaw-aiming-for-works-council-in-tennessee/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:22:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871474 0

The UAW’s new “voluntary” union local at VW’s Tennesse assembly plant will be aiming for the first Works Council at a North American plant.

Just-Auto reports that Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, told the outlet

“The commitment of this Local is to form the first works council – we intend to negotiate the first German-style works council.”

The announcement comes on the heels of VW global works council head Bernd Osterloh being appointed to the board of directors for Volkswagen Group of America. Osterloh, who has previously made waves over any moves that would harm union organization, will be a powerful ally for the UAW, and their union allies in Germany.

Osterloh’s appointment to the board could very well have been a concession to the powerful IG Metall union, which has ties to both Osterloh and the UAW. Having exhausted all other options, including a plant vote on organization and an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, Osterloh’s board seat and the “voluntary” union are the last options the UAW likely has in their arsenal.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/uaw-aiming-for-works-council-in-tennessee/feed/ 7
Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lord-i-was-born-a-ramblin-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lord-i-was-born-a-ramblin-van/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870458 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-01

Is Hyundai making a play for the commercial van market in North America? Automotive News seems to think so.

These spyshots (from AutoGuide.comshow Hyundai testing a new large commercial van somewhere in Europe, whereas AN caught it testing in California. Either way, it’s clear that Hyundai wants in on the action that the Sprinter, Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit are eagerly targeting.

 

hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-01 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-02 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-03 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-04 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-06 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-10 ]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lord-i-was-born-a-ramblin-van/feed/ 17
Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/rental-review-cadillac-ats-2-0t-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/rental-review-cadillac-ats-2-0t-awd/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:58:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869546 photo (40)

11 years ago, Cadillac told us that they were “The Standard of the World”, in a blast of Zeppelin-backed TV spots and aggressively geometric styling. The 2003 CTS wasn’t even the standard for North American luxury cars, but hey, it took Audi another 30 years to even come close to making that claim. Cadillac seems to be moving at a much quicker pace.

Despite Cadillac’s confidence in their excellence, they are reticent to lend any press vehicles to TTAC. The timing of a recent trip required a one day rental, and the local Avis counter advertised a special on the “Cadillac CTS” for just $80 a day with unlimited mileage. It turns out that Avis does indeed rent out the CTS, but our particularly branch did not. Instead, we were assigned a silver ATS4 (all-wheel drive) with the 2.0T engine and 6-speed automatic. Remember kids, if it seems to good to be true…

It would be incorrect to say that I was disappointed, but I had hoped for the CTS precisely because a) the relentless hype had me curious about its overall competence b) we are lacking in reviews of the car and c) every ATS I have driven thus far has been a letdown. Around the time of its launch, I briefly sampled a rear-drive 3.6L with all of the bells and whistles, and found it underwhelming. A second drive, in a 2.0T with the 6-speed manual, did nothing to dispel my skepticism. The 6-speed manual was unequivocally one of the worst gearboxes I’ve ever sampled, and the engine’s NVH characteristics were shockingly coarse for a luxury sedan. I could not, for the life of me, understand the praise being heaped upon this car.

After a solid day’s drive, I have a better picture in my head of why the ATS is so highly regarded. Part of it comes down to the fact that the team of engineers, product planners, designers and marketers have managed to great a truly worthy sports sedan. The other half of that equation is that the competition has miraculously managed to recede in overall competence to the point where the ATS is the class leader by default.

The ATS can reasonably lay claim to “The Standard of the World” title by virtue of its 2.0T engine, which is, well, the new standard of the world for virtually every mid-size car that would normally have used a V6 engine, thanks to a combination of regulations and economies of scale. The 2.0T in the ATS isn’t particularly charming or refined, but it does bring 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque at just 1700 rpm. Like most of these new turbo four-bangers, the torque builds down low and stays fairly robust throughout the rev range that you’d use in any realistic situation, including spirited back road driving.

Acceleration, passing on two-lane roads and any other task that relies on forward thrust is accomplished with minimal fuss, and it’s hard to see why anyone would bother with the V6 when the power on tap here is so usable in everyday situations. The 6-speed automatic transmission is the superior choice versus the manual, but it doesn’t feel terribly responsive or sophisticated. However, this gearbox will likely be replaced by either the 8L90 GM 8-speed automatic, or the Aisin 8-speed from the Cadillac CTS, so dwelling on its shortcomings is a bit of a moot point.

The most compelling part of the ATS is the chassis, which stands out as a credit to GM’s engineering team. It’s hard to think of a car that is able to so expertly balance ride and handling, delivering a smooth, composed ride no matter what the road surface, while also delivering on the “sport” part of the equation. Befitting its rental car specs, our ATS had a smaller wheel and tire combo than what I normally see on the road, and that may have contributed to the ATS being a bit more sedate. But through twisty stretches of road, the ATS still delivered in a big way, with flat cornering, eager turn-in and communicative, if not particularly weighty steering.

A spirited drive makes it plain why the ATS was met with such a chorus of approval when it debuted. GM has finally made a proper sports sedan that is better to drive than the current BMW 3-Series. Part of this has to do with the fact that current F30 has lost its way in such a severe manner that the ATS assumes this mantle by default: I have not driven the Lexus IS350, our EIC’s favorite sports sedan, and I know that an E90 328i is superior in every way, but right now, the ATS is without a doubt the best handling luxury sports sedan on the market.

Unfortunately, it has two glaring flaws.

  1. The back seat is tiny. Cadillac stole a lot of good things from the BMW playbook. One of them seems to be the size of the E36′s rear seat area. My two passengers, at 5’8″ and 6’2″, were initially enthusiastic about my rental car selection. By the end of it, they were cursing the Caddy.
  2. CUE is unequivocally the worst infotainment system on the planet. By comparison, the early renditions of MyFord Touch look like something running iOS. The haptic controls never quite worked the way they were meant to and even the slightest bump or pothole in the road can send your finger veering off to the tab or menu item that you didn’t intend to touch, leaving you to navigate through a confusing menu system that only leads to distracted driving.

With more time, a more thorough evaluation of the ATS, but for now, I can only determine that somewhere within the bowels of the RenCen, there are a talented group of engineers that are capable of making something that truly is “The Standard of the World”. Their electronics division is another matter…

 

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/rental-review-cadillac-ats-2-0t-awd/feed/ 125
Junkyard Find: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1982-volkswagen-scirocco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1982-volkswagen-scirocco/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871498 07 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese days, most of the older water-cooled VWs you see in American pull-yer-part wrecking yards are Golf Cabrios and the occasional ancient Malaisewagen. I see a second-gen Scirocco every now and then (the first-gens have long since disappeared from the junkyard ecosystem), and today’s Junkyard Find caught my attention with its distinctively early-80s paint color.
12 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Robert ArmstrongWhen I see a Scirocco of this era, I always think of it as the car that genius cartoonist Robert Armstrong gave his lovable-dirtbag Mickey Rat character when The Man brainwashed him into becoming a solid citizen; a very yuppie machine in its time.
10 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMechanically speaking, the Scirocco didn’t differ much from the Golf. 74 horsepower in 1982 for US-market Sciroccos (which were more fun to drive than that figure suggests).
01 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t worth much in rough condition, so once one falls into the hands of a city tow-yard or an insurance auction, the junkyard is the likeliest next stop.

01 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1982-volkswagen-scirocco/feed/ 43
SAE J2601, J2799 Standardize Hydrogen Fueling, Increase FCV Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/sae-j2601-j2799-standardize-hydrogen-fueling-increase-fcv-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/sae-j2601-j2799-standardize-hydrogen-fueling-increase-fcv-range/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871970 hydrogen_fueling_station

It took 13 years, but SAE International has introduced a new standard for hydrogen fueling stations: SAE J2601.

Autoblog Green reports J2601 will enable fueling of FCVs at 35 and 70 megapascals (MPa) of pressure, delivering 3- to 5-minute fueling times like those of gasoline-powered vehicles. This will likely be good news for all involved in the hydrogen movement, especially as infrastructure is only in the embryonic stage at this point — most located in California.

Meanwhile, another standard — SAE J2799 — will better enable communication between the FCV and the pump via wireless transmission, helping to boost driving range to over 300 miles per tank via a high State of Charge, or SOC.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/sae-j2601-j2799-standardize-hydrogen-fueling-increase-fcv-range/feed/ 26
Galhotra Takes The Reins As Lincoln’s New President http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871938 ashwani-kumar-galhotra.img.1375822969106

As one of his first major moves since becoming CEO, Ford’s Mark Fields named vice president of engineering Kumar Galhotra as president of Lincoln, effective September 1.

Automotive News reports Galhotra, who will report directly to the new CEO, will be the premium brand’s first president since Al Giombetti left the post in 2007. The move will also reduce executive vice president of global sales, service and marketing Jim Farley’s role with Lincoln, which will be focused on marketing the brand once Galhotra takes over.

The new president — an engineer and product executive who has worked with Lincoln, Ford and Mazda in the past — will bring his marketing experience to the table as Lincoln prepares to launch in China later in 2014; he headed Ford’s Asia Pacific division from 2009 to 2013, and helped bring about the new Ranger pickup to market.

Speaking of the division, engineering director Jim Holland will move from there to replace Galhotra as Ford’s vice president of engineering, reporting to global product development chief Raj Nair.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/feed/ 55
Book Review: No Time to Cry by Wilmer Cooksey, Jr. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/book-review-no-time-to-cry-by-wilmer-cooksey-jr/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/book-review-no-time-to-cry-by-wilmer-cooksey-jr/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871690 wilcooksey2

“On one occasion I was called out into the yard because there had been a shooting. A guard, a line worker and a car thief had been shot. The thief had been wounded gravely by the guard and was bleeding but he had made it into the cab of the car hauler and had driven for some distance before he crashed and was caught.”

The line worker probably wasn’t an unfortunate bystander, relates former Corvette plant manager Wil Cooksey in his gritty, totally human and completely engrossing autobiography No Time to Cry. At General Motors’ St. Louis assembly plant in the mid-70s, claims Cooksey, hourly workers were often accomplices to professional car thieves. These criminals planned armed raids on storage lots with the help of plant insiders, leading to occasionally deadly results. In Cooksey’s account, St. Louis resembles a battleground more than a car plant, emblematic of the worst of the bad old days of the American auto industry. This book isn’t just a rehash of the “GM dysfunction” genre pioneered by John Z. Delorean, though. As the story of a fascinating American life, No Time to Cry is a compelling read.

As a production engineer working his way up the GM ranks, Cooksey had plenty of time to observe the inner workings of one of America’s most powerful corporations. Before that, he was a poor black kid from Texas with an absent father and a mother that struggled to provide for her seven children. With some guidance, he managed to get into Tennessee State University in Nashville and earn a degree in electrical engineering. While at TSU he met his future wife Liz, who became his soul mate despite the obstacles between them. He moved on to a job as a process engineer with General Mills in Toledo, but soon, war intervened. He was drafted and after completing Officer Candidates’ School was sent to Vietnam. The experience would haunt him for the rest of his life, but it did contain one positive development. A chance encounter with a new Sting Ray in Hawaii turned him into a passionate Corvette lover, and helped change the direction of his career. After the war, he was hired to teach at the General Motors Institute in Flint. He transferred to the St. Louis assembly plant a few years later, in pursuit of his dream of managing Corvette production.

What emerges from Cooksey’s account of his sojourn through various GM plants is a picture of a company marked by sharp contrasts. St. Louis embodied virtually every stereotype of American auto plants in the 70s: racial animosity, workplace violence, sabotage, absenteeism, alcoholism and substance abuse. Cooksey claims he hid a revolver in his car and carried a six inch blade out of concern for his own safety. He describes being sucked into the toxic culture of the plant, where both management and hourly workers got loaded in the bar across the street as their coping mechanism. This, combined with the unwanted advances of many of the plant’s single women, nearly destroyed Cooksey’s marriage. However, he was able to patch things up with his wife and move to the Doraville, Georgia assembly plant, temporarily distancing himself from Corvette production.

Labor relations at Doraville weren’t great, but they were a marked improvement from St. Louis. Cooksey was able to surround himself with a cadre of trusted advisors, and made some progress on improving both quality and productivity. He had his easiest time as manager at Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri, which he describes as a “joy” to manage. He chalked this up to differences in plant culture, brought about by a combination of both management and labor tactics. Cooksey is harshly critical of the UAW at times, as one might expect of a production supervisor. In St. Louis he describes the union as a “fierce, three-headed, Hydra-monster” that eventually brought about the plant’s demise. He does strive to make a distinction between the union and individual workers, the majority of whom he defends as good employees. Some, such as an unnamed “informant” at the Bowling Green plant, were essential to helping Cooksey stamp out persistent safety violations and improve quality and productivity. Labor only absorbs one part of Cooksey’s criticism.

Cooksey’s struggles with upper management, especially after he landed his dream job supervising Corvette production at Bowling Green in 1993, compose a large part of the text. He describes a dedicated core of “Corvette people” including himself, product engineers such as Tadge Juechter, management executive Joe Spielman, and Corvette marketing director Harlan Charles. They clashed with other managers and departments on a variety of issues, especially in terms of quality control. It was Cooksey who made the decision to halt production of the then-new C5 Corvette in 1997 to address persistent quality issues, a moment that he describes as one of the lowest points of his career. Despite these setbacks, his time in Bowling Green was more than just gloom and doom. The plant became one of GM’s best for initial quality under his tenure, winning numerous internal and external awards. He retired in early 2008, shortly before GM went under and he was left with a stack of worthless stocks. Those looking for a long discourse on the bailout will be disappointed, but Cooksey’s insights into the daily running of an auto plant are more enjoyable anyway.

At $3.99 for the Kindle edition, this book is a steal. Or, you can get a signed hard copy from the Corvette Museum like I did. Either way, you’re getting one of the best auto industry memoirs of recent years, and a must-have for any Corvette diehard. It’s littered with the kind of trivia and insights that can only come from someone as intimately involved with production as Cooksey was. The biographical side is what makes this book, though: the human passion and pain of a man trying to build a life and a legacy side-by-side, one Corvette at a time.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/book-review-no-time-to-cry-by-wilmer-cooksey-jr/feed/ 16