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. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com While You Were Sleeping: January 27th, 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/sleeping-january-27th-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/sleeping-january-27th-2015/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:14:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989210 Japan will continue to be a closed market…depending on who you believe. A new quota on U.S. imported cars was struck down as part of trade negotiations with Japan. In exchange, Japan will buy more American rice. Volkswagen’s US sales goal now seems out of reach. More about subprime auto loans and how they became […]

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Clean-Camaro

Japan will continue to be a closed market…depending on who you believe. A new quota on U.S. imported cars was struck down as part of trade negotiations with Japan. In exchange, Japan will buy more American rice.

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Crapwagon Outtake: Spare Parts Plz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/crapwagon-outtake-spare-parts-plz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/crapwagon-outtake-spare-parts-plz/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:56:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988874   Paging Jim Yu. Jim Yu to the courtesy telephone. You now have a second chance at the Isuzu Impulse. The folks at Bring A Trailer have found this mint Isuzu Impulse Turbo. The angular coupe is in excellent condition, but I can’t help but think that getting spare parts must be an absolute nightmare.

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1987-Isuzu-Impulse-RS

 

Paging Jim Yu. Jim Yu to the courtesy telephone. You now have a second chance at the Isuzu Impulse.

The folks at Bring A Trailer have found this mint Isuzu Impulse Turbo. The angular coupe is in excellent condition, but I can’t help but think that getting spare parts must be an absolute nightmare.

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NADA Conference 2015: Here’s the Background Behind That MTV Study on Millennials and Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nada-conference-2015-heres-background-behind-mtv-study-millennials-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nada-conference-2015-heres-background-behind-mtv-study-millennials-cars/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:34:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989098 Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was […]

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Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was left with much more to write about, from how the survey was conducted to the recommendations that were presented to both manufacturers and dealers about how to court millennial customers.

First off, this study involved 3,610 millennials ranging from the ages of 18-34, 400 Generation Xers, and 403 baby boomers. A large amount of those people took online surveys for the project. To generate some of the qualitative information, like what millennials wanted out of a car and the buying experience, the study used focus groups, one-on-one interviews, virtual travelogues, car-creation groups, deal-alongs, as well as expert and car dealer interviews. However, the qualitative part of the study only involved 58 millennials in 3 markets, which were San Francisco, Cleveland, and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Maureen Healy, the Vice President of Research for MTV, started the presentation by focusing on the “myths” about millennials and driving and promptly dispelling them. She noted that 80% of millennials get around by car most often and actually cover more ground than baby boomers and Generation Xers, due to millennials’ greater amount of spare time. As for the belief that millennials have little interest in getting a license and prefer other forms of transport, Healy pointed to the restrictive driving laws for people ages 15-21, such as restricted driving hours and the amount of people allowed in the car.

There were also some surprising (for those who thought millennials didn’t like cars) statistics generated in this survey. For instance, 70 percent of millennials enjoyed driving vs. 58 percent of boomers and 66 percent of Generation Xers. The study also found that 76 percent of millennials would rather give up social media for a day rather than their car while 72 percent would give up texting for a week rather than their car for the same period of time.

After contradicting the myths, Berj Kazanjian, the Senior Vice President for Ad Sales Research for MTV, began the second part of the presentation by focus on the profile of the millennial. He said that millennials want more than other generations and want it faster, and put pressure on themselves to be a full adult by the age of 30. She emphasized that millennials were driven to make their mark and establish their independence, and that the car was important in attaining those goals.

Emphasized over and over during the presentation was that millennials were the generation who received a trophy for just showing up and taking part. That observation was expressed in terms of the complaints millennials had about the buying process and what they wanted from a car.

They wanted the buying process to be more transparent, with fair pricing and a breakdown of costs upfront. Millennials also wanted the car-buying process to be much faster to feel empowered by the buying process. The study also found the need to celebrate a good deal by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. To a lesser extent, the MTV survey showed that millennials wanted to have greater customization options, like customized trim bits, decals, and floor mats.

Millennials surveyed also wanted a rewards program that gave them points towards accessories whenever they had their cars serviced at the dealership. For instance, in exchange for bringing the car into the dealership for two services, they wanted to redeem those credits for floor mats, customized headrests, trim bits, and other accessories. (Remember the bit about millennials getting the trophy for just showing up.)

Towards the end of the presentation, Kazanjian described how auto companies should structure their ads. It was recommended that ads targeting millennials needed to have smart humor, a good story, needed to show professional and accomplished 20-somethings, and the ad needed to recognize [millennials’] “ambition and passion.” He stated that millennials were cynical about advertising and that ads needed to get the emotion right.

Now, the Q+A session during this conference was livelier than the other press sessions I attended during the convention. The two people giving the answers during the session were Berj Kazanjian and Maureen Healy, the. Here’s the round-up of answers given to the press during the Q+A:

  • Regarding electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles, the presenters said their survey showed millennials felt those vehicles were not ready for today, and are not a viable long-term solution. Millennials also didn’t think they were completely environmentally friendly taking into account how the batteries are developed.
  • When asked about what advice they would give to salespeople about selling to millennials, they said the salesperson has to be open and honest, needs to know millennials don’t buy into certain processes (for example, seeing the manager for more than ten minutes while leaving the customer alone at the desk), and needs to treat the millennial customer like the most special person at the dealership.
  • The study did not interview salespeople who dealt with the millennial subjects in the survey, so we unfortunately don’t have an idea of what they thought of the customer in front of them and the reasoning behind why the customer was treated as he or she was. Instead, the presenters referenced interviews with salespeople independent of the people car shopping in the research study.
  • Dealership salespeople were interviewed about millennials’ buying habits. Dealers found them very prepared and likely to share the news of the deal they got on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Millennials prefer to buy rather than lease. However, if they did consider leasing, they would want to part of a program where they could switch to a different car every year. (The program was pitched as Mustang for one year, Fusion during the next year, as long as they’re the same model year as when they signed the lease papers.)
  • The study focused mainly on new car purchases, not used cars.
  • Parental involvement in the car purchase is important to note as well. Stories about parents calling up their kids’ professors regarding grades and calling bosses about their kids’ work problems were mentioned.

It must be mentioned that the presenters noted than millennials represent $1 trillion worth of spending and took pains to demonstrate that the age group was up for grabs, since no automaker was among the top 10 millennial brands. Additionally, the study focused only on new cars, not used cars which would be more attainable for millennials. And it should be said that the survey also noted the components that needed to be embedded in an ad for millennials. So it’s entirely possible MTV may be trying to court automotive advertising revenue for its TV channel and websites.

But the findings are still interesting, considering many of them had to do with areas where the dealer franchise is involved, rather than the manufacturer, such as the buying process and getting the car serviced, things which MTV would have little control over. Furthermore, some of the numbers reported, like how 75 percent of millennials agree “they couldn’t live without their current car” vs. 62 percent of baby boomers and 73 percent of Generation Xers provides some commentary fodder on attitudes towards cars between age groups, regardless of new car purchase habits.

Overall, the MTV study debunked many preconceived notions about millennials’ attitude towards cars. Other than disproving the statements that millennials don’t drive, don’t care about getting their driver’s license, prefer taking public transit or bicycling to driving, don’t like cars, and would rather have their smartphones and computers rather than a car, the report shows that the general public attitude towards millennials and cars is wrong and does represent a new car-buying generation. Any reports to the contrary are grossly misinformed.

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Virginia Assembly Bill To Raise Reckless Driving Threshold Tabled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/virginia-assembly-bill-raise-reckless-driving-threshold-tabled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/virginia-assembly-bill-raise-reckless-driving-threshold-tabled/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989066 Those driving in or through Virginia will have to keep it under 80 for now, as the bill to raise the commonwealth’s threshold for reckless driving is dead. Jalopnik reports the bill, authored by Delegate Jeff Campbell of the 6th District, would have raised the limit to 85 mph, after which one could be charged […]

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Virginia Welcomes You To Get Nailed Like A Pedo For Speeding

Those driving in or through Virginia will have to keep it under 80 for now, as the bill to raise the commonwealth’s threshold for reckless driving is dead.

Jalopnik reports the bill, authored by Delegate Jeff Campbell of the 6th District, would have raised the limit to 85 mph, after which one could be charged with a Class One misdemeanor, lose their license for six months, pay a $2,500 fine, and spend up to a year in jail; other Class Ones in Virginia include sexual battery and animal cruelty.

A legislative assistant for Del. Campbell said the bill was tabled by the criminal law subcommittee in the Virginia General Assembly Monday, all but declaring it “essentially dead for the remainder of the legislative session,” set to adjourn February 28, with a reconvened session to take place beginning April 15.

No clear reasons for tabling the bill were given, though it would have expected opposition from law enforcement and insurance companies.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Sees 50th Eligible Fatality Claim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989042 With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality. Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, […]

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GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality.

Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, the aforementioned 50 were found eligible, and 58 were rejected for failing to meet the standards set by the fund for payout.

Over the same period, 2,730 injury claims were submitted to the compensation fund — established in the wake of the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall — of which a total of 75 claims have been found eligible, and 328 were rejected.

The payout for each fatality claim begins $1 million, depending on what lifetime wages and salaries were lost with the life at the time of a given accident. GM has reserved $600 million to pay all claims, a figure Feinberg believes to be “adequate.” Processing of claims will continue into the spring, and possibly into the summer, as well.

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Question Of The Day: Can Nissan Sell 100,000 Titans Annually? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/question-day-can-nissan-sell-100000-titans-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/question-day-can-nissan-sell-100000-titans-annually/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:35:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988698 In the nameplate’s best-ever year, Nissan sold 86,945 Titans in the United States. Nissan USA wants to sell 100,000 Titans annually when the new model, with its more extensive lineup, arrives for the 2016 model year. • Titan sales declined 20% in 2014 • Titan volume peaked at 87K in 2005 • F-Series, GM, Ram […]

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2016 Nissan Titan XDIn the nameplate’s best-ever year, Nissan sold 86,945 Titans in the United States.

Nissan USA wants to sell 100,000 Titans annually when the new model, with its more extensive lineup, arrives for the 2016 model year.


• Titan sales declined 20% in 2014

• Titan volume peaked at 87K in 2005

• F-Series, GM, Ram combined for 1.9M full-size truck sales in 2014


A 15% uptick from that record-setting year – the Titan’s second full year in the U.S., 2005 – doesn’t sound like an insurmountable leap forward. But an increase to 100,000 units would represent a six-fold improvement over the Titan’s U.S. sales average from the last three years.

According to Automotive News, Nissan North America’s chairman, Jose Munoz, told a crowd at the J.D. Power Automotive Summit that their aspirations are “modest,” and that when it comes to the automaker’s expectations for the Titan, “We’re very bullish.”

But is it reasonable to expect that the Titan could penetrate the market with Toyota Tundra-like force?

With 118,493 sales in 2014, Toyota USA reported their best Tundra sales year since 2008 and earned 5.7% market share in the full-size category. Nissan feels that less than 5% market share in the full-size category, “would be considered by us as not very successful.”

2016 Nissan Titan XDIn other words, Nissan needs to sell Titans at a record-setting pace even though the market for full-size trucks, at least in 2014, was down 16% compared with 2005, when Titan volume was at its previous best.

To earn 5% market share in the full-size truck category in 2014, Nissan would have needed to sell 103,000 Titans. Nissan sold 12,527 Titans in 2014.

Recent performances may mean very little aside from the fact that, without so much as a facelift or new powertrain, the first-gen Titan became something of a laughingstock in the truck world. In 2004, Nissan was marketing a 305-horsepower, 5.6L V8-powered truck with a 5-speed automatic and an EPA-rated 17 mpg on the highway at a time when Ford was offering a 231-horsepower, 4.6L V8, a 4-speed automatic, and 17 mpg on the highway. Fair enough.

2016 Nissan Titan XDA decade later, however, Nissan was still selling the same truck (albeit with 12 more ponies), but it was up against gas-fired six and eight-cylinder pickups from Ram with EPA highway ratings between 21 and 23 miles per gallon, 305 or 395 horsepower, and 8-speed automatics. The lack of redevelopment may not have done the Titan nameplate any favours, particularly not in a category where hundreds of thousands of buyers have already attached their loyalty to top-selling trucks.

But the new Titan is most definitely new. There will be an available Cummins diesel, a semi-heavy-duty XD version with a unique frame, and more available configurations across the board. Nissan will therefore be tackling a far larger portion of the pickup market. But will they do so with as much success as they anticipate and apparently require?

Here’s a scenario full of assumptions that would work in the new Titan’s favour. The full-size truck market grows 8% in 2015, just as it did in 2014, and then does so again in 2016, when the Titan is readily available. Now the full-size market is nearly the same size as it was in 2005, when the Titan performed at its best. With 2.41 million sales to split and Nissan needing 100,000 units (equal to 4.1% market share), the competitors must only generate 2.31 million sales. (They generated 2,053,721 sales in 2014.) This would mean that the F-Series, Silverado, Sierra, Ram, and Tundra collectively rose 12.5% over the course of two years, a healthy boost to their own volume which would still, in turn, create space for bigger Titan numbers, too.

2016 Nissan Titan XD interiorIn other words, growth in the overall truck market would allow the Titan to expand its volume without needing to steal sales from the established players, something it didn’t need to do in its 2004 debut year, either. That year, full-size sales jumped by 177,000 units, or 8%, and Nissan added more than 80,000 of those sales.

And if the full-size truck market doesn’t grow? If plans for growth are stalled by the shocking success of a revitalized small/midsize truck segment? If there is substantial growth but consumers don’t take kindly to the Titan’s new face? If Nissan is taken aback by Detroit’s willingness to incentivize their trucks at all cost to avoid losing market share? In those cases, all bets are off.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Aldred: 2018 Opel Adam Could Become A Buick http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989026 Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI. According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being […]

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Opel_Adam_1.4_Glam_–_Frontansicht,_15._Januar_2014,_Düsseldorf

Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI.

According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being engineered with the U.S. domestic market in mind. Bringing the Adam up to snuff for American consumers would be “cost-prohibitive” at present, he adds, though the next-gen Adam would be tailored for the market.

The next such opportunity for a Buick Adam would come as early as 2018, which Aldred believes would be another opportunity to change consumer expectations of a brand once associated with senior citizens going to Denny’s for the early-bird special. In the meantime, another Opel — the Cascada — is in the process of Americanization, and should hit U.S. showrooms early next year.

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Toyota, BMW Working On Entry-Level MINI Minor Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988994 Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW is working on such a thing, called the Minor. Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range […]

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MINI-Rocketman-Concept-2012-widescreen-01

Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW is working on such a thing, called the Minor.

Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range between $14,500 and $16,000.

As far as platforms go, the two automakers are going all in on a “bargain basement effort” for the Minor — including a reduction in size and content — instead of using a similarly sized platform like that of the Toyota Aygo, BMW preferring the Minor to not be a badge-engineered product developed and assembled elsewhere.

The new MINI would be one of five new models coming into the portfolio between now and 2018, including an all-new 2016 Countryman and a Superleggera roadster for 2018.

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Caveat Emptor: Couple Apparently Murdered While Looking For Vintage Mustang On Craigslist http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/caveat-emptor-couple-apparently-murdered-looking-vintage-mustang-craigslist/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/caveat-emptor-couple-apparently-murdered-looking-vintage-mustang-craigslist/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988890 This story is admittedly a bit on the tabloid side for our august site, but the terrible misfortune of a Georgia couple should be a cautionary tale about trying to buy things from strangers online advertising at sites like Craigslist that provide no protection of any kind to the buyers or sellers. Usually that protection is […]

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June and J Runion, whose love for the 1966 Mustang convertible may have led to their deaths.

June and Bud Runion, whose love for the 1966 Mustang convertible may have led to their deaths.

This story is admittedly a bit on the tabloid side for our august site, but the terrible misfortune of a Georgia couple should be a cautionary tale about trying to buy things from strangers online advertising at sites like Craigslist that provide no protection of any kind to the buyers or sellers. Usually that protection is fiduciary, though not having to deal face to face when transacting trade does have its advantages. Of course, there’s nothing in this story that couldn’t have happened when most used car ads were in newspaper or penny-saver classifieds, so it’s not a case of the internet changing everything, but it’s still a reminder that trying to buy a special car can go wrong in so many ways.

I’ve never bought a car from someone off of Craigslist, but I have bought some office equipment and, more recently, some inexpensive guitars in my quest to provide a First Act and Switch Vibracell counterpoint to the Baruth Collection’s Gibson, Heritage, G&L, and Paul Reed Smith custom shop jobs. For safety reasons some folks won’t let you come to their home and you have to meet someplace public. I used to think that buying a 1964 Teisco hollowbody in the parking lot of a Walmart made me feel a little bit like transacting a drug deal and that the sellers were being unduly cautious, but after reading about this tragedy in Georgia I’ll concede that maybe those sellers have a point. The presumed murder of the man and woman in Georgia takes the warning caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, to an entirely new level.

Bud and June Runion, 69 and 66 respectively, disappeared last Thursday after they had posted an ad on Craigslist wanting to buy a 1966 Mustang convertible. The couple had dreamed of buying one since they were married many years ago but that dream turned into a nightmare. Their 2003 GMC Envoy was found submerged in a lake and not far away authorities have discovered the bodies of a man and woman that fit their ages and descriptions. While positive identifications haven’t yet been made, the Runions’ family have apparently acknowledged their loved ones fate.

Ronnie "Jay" Towns, photo courtesy of Telfair County Sheriff's Office

Ronnie “Jay” Towns, photo courtesy of Telfair County Sheriff’s Office

The owner of the phone listed last on the log of the Runions’ phone, Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, turned himself into the sheriff’s office to face charges of giving false statements to police and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception.

The couple was discovered missing when they missed a scheduled date to babysit their grandkids on Friday. After someone answered their Mustang wanted ad, they are believed to have driven the 180 miles from their home in Marietta to McRae, GA, presumably to see a vintage muscle car that they didn’t know was fictional.

When contacted by ABC News, Craigslist representatives referred to the free classified ad site’s “safety page”, which states, “Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.”

I suppose that posting a wanted-to-buy ad makes you particularly vulnerable to those looking to take advantage, but I want to be clear that this story involves victims and a predator and that I’m not blaming the victims. I feel silly even having to say that the Runions didn’t deserve to die. Only one person is responsible for this crime, the murderer.

At the same time, if you’re about to buy something expensive, like a car, with cash, from a complete stranger, particularly traveling out of town to meet them, it might not be a bad idea to ask for some personal and business references before you head out the door.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Runions’ family and friends.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Plan To Increase US Porsche Macan Allocation In The Works http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/plan-increase-us-porsche-macan-allocation-works/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/plan-increase-us-porsche-macan-allocation-works/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988970 Been waiting a while for a chance to drive home a Porsche Macan? The automaker plans to increase supply to meet demand in 2015. According to Automotive News, Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence says his subsidiary is pushing for more units because of the Macan’s popularity thus far, and to ensure no customers […]

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2015 Porsche Macan S

Been waiting a while for a chance to drive home a Porsche Macan? The automaker plans to increase supply to meet demand in 2015.

According to Automotive News, Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence says his subsidiary is pushing for more units because of the Macan’s popularity thus far, and to ensure no customers waiting in line will go seek solace in an X4 or Evoque.

Said wait has been six months and above since the premium crossover went on sale in the United States last May: 7,241 units left the showroom from May through December 2014.

As for how many will be allocated in 2015, Lawrence couldn’t confirm, citing production constraints at the automaker’s factory in Leipzig, Germany and high global demand as factors. A diesel model is also expected in the U.S. by the end of this year.

However many Macans do hit the road this year will help Porsche reach its goal of 50,000 sold in the U.S. annually three years ahead of schedule; 47,007 911s, Cayennes, Macans et al were sold in 2014.

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Editorial: Nissan Is Not Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:43:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988858 Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path? If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading. News of […]

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Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path?

If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading.

News of the indefinite delay of exciting products like the Nissan IDx concept and the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prompted the usual wailing/gnashing of teeth from Jalopnik.

In an editorial titled “Nissan Steps Back From IDx And Q50 Eau Rouge To Focus On Boring Junk”Patrick George suggests that Nissan’s decision to focus on the core products in their lineup is a bad one.

“Ugh. Basically, their plan is to shy away from compelling products and double-down on boring ones to chase volume. That’s awesome. That’s what the world needs. It’s worked so well for Volkswagen, hasn’t it?”

We can go right past the long-beaten dead horse of “enthusiast cars don’t make money, nobody buys them, boring sells”, pass go, collect $200 and hone in on the Volkswagen analogy. It is wildly inaccurate.

As it stands now, Nissan is on a tear. The Altima, Versa and Rogue are strong sellers, at or near the top of their respective segments. The Juke isn’t a particularly strong seller in the United States, but it’s a global success. Even the Sentra, which is a particularly dreadful car to drive, does well. Nissan has a large dealer network, a long, successful history of manufacturing cars in the United States and a full lineup of passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, CUVs, commercial vehicles and sports cars.

Volkswagen has…none of that. Its history in the United States consists of the Beetle, Microbus and then a long history of mis-steps and an utter failure to understand the American marketplace, let alone even market vehicles that Americans want. The prior generation of Euro-oriented Passats and Jettas didn’t move the needle with the American public. Neither did this generation of Americanized cars. That doesn’t mean that Nissan’s approach to future strategy is *anything* like VW.

Not that it’s even about America. Lost in all the pandering and faux indignation is the fact that this is a globally-focused move, one that will help Nissan (and Renault and Dacia and Samsung) compete with VW in world markets, where Volkswagen is supposedly hoarding its best products. While VW is stumbling in the dark, Nissan is busy working on their own modular platforms, and they’re not keeping them away from North America either. The new CMF platform that underpins the Rogue is the same as the European X-Trail. Expect more of that in the future.

Aside from the lore of the Z-Car, the SE-Rs and the 240SXs, Nissan had a tumultuous experience in the 1990s, prior to Carlos Ghosn’s ascension to the throne. Despite being one of the more interesting Japanese performance car manufacturers, the company was a mess financially and organizationally. Ghosn turned the company around, at the expense of a lot of the interesting product that we fetishize.  Not pursuing the I is a good move – one look at how well the Scion FR-S is selling and you’d have to be delusional (or willfully ignorant in the pursuit of pageview clicks) to suggest a similar model for Nissan. As for the Q50 Eau Rouge? The lack of Sebastian Vettel and any coherent direction for Infiniti likely had more to do with that decision than anything else.

By focusing on the volume product, Nissan is sticking with what works – and perhaps, it will get better in terms of driving dynamics, styling, interior quality and the other metrics we value. At least we’ll see a good mid-size truck out of it.

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Bark’s Bites: Song for My Father http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barks-bites-song-father/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barks-bites-song-father/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:20:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988770 In his QOTD a few days back, Doug DeMuro had this to say about his father’s decision to buy a Camry: “He wasn’t the BMW type. He wasn’t cool enough. Back then, few were.” Doug is a tad younger than I am, so his father was apparently in his forties back in the Nineties. My […]

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In his QOTD a few days back, Doug DeMuro had this to say about his father’s decision to buy a Camry:

“He wasn’t the BMW type. He wasn’t cool enough. Back then, few were.”

Doug is a tad younger than I am, so his father was apparently in his forties back in the Nineties. My father wasn’t cool enough in the Nineties, either—he was cool enough when LL Cool J was still rocking a red Kangol and Don Johnson was making pastels look masculine.

Before Bush 41 even took the oath, my dad had long been rolling in the deep with the boys from Bavaria. He bought a 320i and a 733i when his neighbors were still representing Cadillac. In many ways, he was a metrosexual long before the word ever had meaning—he wore Armani suits when gray flannel still dominated the workplace. He exercised religiously long before fitness was considered an indicator of success, maintaining a 5’10” and 165 pound frame that allowed him to easily beat my friends and me in basketball even as we were winning high school state titles.

However, it was the cars that made him coolest in the eyes of my friends. Dad was always at the leading edge of what was hip on four wheels. A poll in 1983 asked Americans what their dream car was—over 70 percent responded that they aspired to own a Lincoln Town Car. It was the symbol of success in America. So, naturally, my dad went out and got one, resplendent in baby blue. He parked it in our garage right next to his MG Midget, which was a gorgeous sunrise yellow. He was 36 years old, and already had his dream garage.

But he wasn’t satisfied. He never kept a car for more than 24 months, and often much less. During the years of my childhood that I can remember, he had an Audi 100, a Jaguar Vanden Plas, a Nissan Maxima (back when that was considered a serious Bimmer fighter), a Lexus ES 250, and many others. He bought one of the first Infiniti J30s in America, and then bought another one for his wife. When I totaled my 944, I got to drive his pimped-out, gold-badged QX4 for a few months. I used to borrow his Range Rover when I was in college when I really wanted to impress a girl on a date.

He returned to the BMW brand in recent years, with both an E60 and E90 in his garage for a while, before making somewhat of a change to the Mercedes brand for a spell. After his last Merc was stolen from his gym’s parking lot, he decided to buy what I consider to be the best-in-class Grand Cherokee.

He was and is a different sort of car guy. He never turned a single wrench on a car or a single lap on a race track. He still wanted his cars to be practical—he never bought the Corvette he dreamed of for much of his life. I almost had him talked into a 350Z roadster once, until he saw the trunk space. He got so mad at his J30 for getting stuck in the snow once that he drove it immediately to the dealership and traded it on that QX4, likely taking a huge depreciation hit along the way.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I think all of us owe our love of cars to somebody. I learned early on in life that having a cool car makes you different. It sets you apart. I’ve been accused many, many times by the B&B of being a bit image conscious when it comes to cars, and I don’t deny that I am. I can trace it back to seeing the look on my friends’ faces when my dad would drop me off somewhere in his latest and greatest European ride. I was lucky enough that he extended his love of cars to the cars he bought me, as well—a brand-new Jetta, an Infiniti G20, and my ill-fated 944.

So maybe that’s why I have always bought new, why I never keep a car past its third birthday. I also learned what I’d didn’t want to do from him—it’s why I have gone a little impractical with some of my purchases, so that I never have to say I eschewed the car I really wanted because it didn’t have four doors.

So even though you didn’t do it deliberately, thanks, Dad. if you had bought a cloth-seat Camry, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be working the numbers on a Shelby GT350 as we speak, despite the fact that my Boss hasn’t seen a third anniversary.

Wait a second. Maybe I shouldn’t be thanking you, after all. Ahh, what the hell. Of course I should be.

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2017 Ford Raptor Makes 450 Horsepower http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2017-ford-raptor-makes-450-horsepower/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2017-ford-raptor-makes-450-horsepower/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:56:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988834 From our friends at Jalopnik comes news that the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the all-new Ford Raptor will make 450 horsepower (and weigh 500 lbs less). How about dropping it in the Mustang while we’re at it?

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From our friends at Jalopnik comes news that the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the all-new Ford Raptor will make 450 horsepower (and weigh 500 lbs less). How about dropping it in the Mustang while we’re at it?

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Mitsubishi Won’t Be Getting Renault-Samsung Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:33:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988818 Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle. The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According […]

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Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle.

The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi’s Don Swearingen told dealers at the NADA conference that the plan had hit an unspecified roadblock.

Mitsubishi has no D-segment sedan and an aging Lancer that competes in the C-segment. The deal with Renault-Samsung was said to provide vehicles for both segments.

Earlier this month, Renault-Samsung released the SM5 Nova, an all-new sedan that was likely to become a Mitsubishi branded sedan.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:20:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988578 The Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with […]

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2015 Honda CR-V TouringThe Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with its second-best-selling Escape; 31,115 more than Honda achieved with the CR-V one year earlier.


• USD As-Tested Price: $33,775

• Horsepower: 185 @ 6400 rpm

• Torque: 181 @ 3900 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.8 mpg


American consumers look favourably upon Honda’s reliability reputation. The CR-V is also a long-established nameplate in a relatively fresh category. But there must be numerous other reasons for the CR-V’s wild success.

More specifically, there must have been numerous other reasons at the tail end of 2014, as a refreshed 2015 CR-V like the one Honda Canada sent to our driveway began to outsell not only all other SUVs with increasingly large margins but also all passenger cars, as well.

2015 Honda CR-V TouringClearly tens of thousands of consumers are willing to overlook the CR-V’s faults, few though there may be. The CR-V’s new continuously variable transmission, implemented surprisingly well alongside the a 185-horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder, periodically allows revs to fall so low that an unnecessary amount of vibration enters the cabin. This Touring-trim CR-V is the full meal deal, but it lacks any form of power adjustment for the passenger seat. The interior, particularly at this lofty USD $33,775 price tag, is mostly inoffensive but offers luxury only in terms of equipment, not in its materials or design flair. And the interior can certainly offend, with Lilliputian buttons accompanying a touchscreen which failed on all but one occasion to come to life before the five-minute mark of a morning drive. Speaking subjectively, the CR-V is not the prettiest girl next door – Paris’s Place de l’Étoile doesn’t have as many intersecting lines as the CR-V’s front end. We’re also left to wonder why Honda hires wheel designers whose efforts wouldn’t be good enough for Pontiac circa 2001.

However, the CR-V is near perfect where it counts. It’s less than 180 inches long but packs 101 cubic feet of completely usable passenger volume into the tidy package. Rear seat passengers enjoy a flat floor that makes three-across trips a distinct possibility. Rear seats up, the CR-V provides 37 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The Ford Escape is one inch shorter than the CR-V, bumper to bumper, but offers 8% less cargo volume, 3% less passenger space, and 4% less rear legroom. It feels like the dimensional differences are more distinguishable than those figures suggest, especially aft of the rear seat.

2015 Honda CR-V interiorFor young families who might have sought out an Accord in a previous era, the 2015 CR-V’s space efficiency, easily accessed seat-folding levers, low load floor, and semi-lofty ride height form a winning ticket.

Fortunately, it drives nicely, as well. There is nothing sporty here, although the steering is well weighted and the brake pedal is nicely modulated. The CR-V accelerates more swiftly than you might expect for a 3642-pound high-rider: Car & Driver says 0-60 mph takes 8.2 seconds. Especially as revs rise to a more Honda-like level, the CR-V doesn’t require more power, but don’t take that as an indication that the CR-V will adequately satisfy your urge to scoot up off-ramps like your fellow hockey parents in their Santa Fe Sport 2.0Ts and Forester XTs. It won’t.

The CR-V may not ride quite as sweetly for MY2015 as it did before the refresh, but overall refinement is still the name of its game. Of greater consequence is the fact that the 2015 CR-V continues to marry subdued ride quality to a nimble chassis. Honda engineers crafted an SUV that feels decidedly compact in routine driving and one which remains rather level-headed through corners, seemingly treading the middle ground between the mature Nissan Rogue and the enthusiastic Mazda CX-5.

2015 CR-V Tourings include most of the features from Honda’s storehouse: all-wheel-drive, navigation, LaneWatch (right side only, of course), keyless access, perforated leather seating, power tailgate, sunroof, and a bevy of safety abbreviations from ABS, EBD, and VSE to CMBS, ACC, LDW, and LKAS, the final being a semi-autonomous steering function that helps to reduce driver fatigue on long highway stints.

CR-V touchscreenCR-Vs start at $24,325 in LX trim. All-wheel-drive adds $1250 to the price of any equipment level: LX, the $26,425 EX, $29,025 EX-L, $30,525 EX-L Navi, or the $32,525 Touring. We averaged 23.8 mpg over the course of a week with the CR-V Touring AWD, which tips the scales with 145 extra pounds compared with the base all-wheel-drive CR-V. Cold temperatures, winter tires, frequent snow coverage, and a disproportionate amount of time spent in the city caused the CR-V’s observed fuel economy to come up short of both the official combined rating of 28 mpg and the 26 mpg city rating.

The CR-V is certainly not the most exciting small utility vehicle on the market today, nor is it the only one capable of cramming a shocking amount of humankind and stuff into a small space. But it does most things better than most of its potential competitors. There are a couple of niggling issues Honda could quickly resolve, but clearly no issues Honda needs to resolve in order to keep the CR-V at the top of the sales leaderboard.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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California University First In State Certified To Sell Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988514 Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram. The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling […]

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Audi FCV At Cal State LA Fueling Station

Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram.

The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling station in the United States, and produces hydrogen from solar and wind power.

Cal State president William A. Covino said the station not only plays “a crucial role in helping situate California as a national leader in zero emission vehicles,” but gives the university a chance to work on “cutting-edge research and technology initiatives with government agencies” on its path to improving air quality in Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S.

Visitors to the station include prototypes from the likes of Audi, Hyundai and General Motors, whose tanks can hold up to six kilograms of hydrogen, each kilogram good for 50 miles of travel. The station, located near downtown Los Angeles and Interstates 10 and 5, can fill these tanks in six minutes.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura Two-Door Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988082 I see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of […]

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12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago.
13 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe two-door sedan version of the Fairmont Futura didn’t sell so well, because if you were willing to put up with the inconvenience of two doors, why not get the groovy coupe with the cool-looking rear glass?
01 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI probably shouldn’t have attempted any online research on Foxtaur Racing, because it led right to some super-creepy Furry-related stuff. However, I ran into this page showing what may be the same car; the junkyard one doesn’t have a vinyl top, but the Foxtaur Racing stickers are in the same locations. I’m sure that Crab Spirits will explore this theme further.
07 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you can’t find the correct-colored interior parts for your car, you make do with what you can find.
09 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, that’s a Pinto 2300 under the hood.
05 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis was made when Detroit didn’t worry too much about extremely phony-looking “wood” interior trim.

01 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: A Fusion of Moonroof Drainage Problems? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-fusion-moonroof-drainage-problems/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-fusion-moonroof-drainage-problems/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:24:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988290   Matt writes: Hi Sajeev, I’m a long time lurker on the truth about cars, it’s probably of my favorite car website‎! The problem I’m having is with my 2010 Ford Fusion SEL, I bought it brand new back in May 2009 and now with 175,000KM (Canadian!) it’s been a great car until this recent […]

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The Sun, Moon and Stains? (Photo courtesy: car.mitula.us)

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m a long time lurker on the truth about cars, it’s probably of my favorite car website‎!

The problem I’m having is with my 2010 Ford Fusion SEL, I bought it brand new back in May 2009 and now with 175,000KM (Canadian!) it’s been a great car until this recent issue has popped up and neither I or a glass shop or a Ford Dealer can figure it out. I’m getting water in the car on the passenger side A pillar where the plastic trim meats the headliner, the water doesn’t gush in, the floor is never wet just that corner gets wet during heavy rain.

The Fusion is equipped with a moonroof but I’ve had the drains cleaned and even went as far as pouring water down the drain tube that runs along that part of the car and it stayed dry inside, I thought it might have been the corner of the windshield but after using some heaving duty caulking along the top of the windshield it’s still getting wet inside.‎ I checked the moonroof drip tray when the headliner was wet but it has very little water inside the drip tray, I thought it might be the passenger side door seal leaking but it’s also dry inside when the headliner is wet. I can’t seem to figure out where it’s coming from, every time I think I’ve pinpointed it, it gets wet again. I have also noticed that it seems to stay dry most of the time when parked on a flat surface but when parked on any sort of incline it seems to get wet and of course my driveway is inclined. There is these long black plastic trim that runs along the roof on both sides, I always thought it was held down with adhesive but is it possible there are holes underneath that trim?

I’m feeling extremely frustrated at the moment with it, I am?! don’t want to trade it in, I love my Fusion I’ve got the 3.0 litre V6 which gets good mileage and is quick, it’s comfortable and has been reliable only needing one repair under warranty to replace the shifter because the switch for manual mode died, so any help you and the best and brightest can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Thanks for no longer being a lurker! Woot!

I’m thinking the moonroof is the problem, the alternatives are not likely. Bad door weatherstripping? That normally causes leaks further south, as water runs down to the carpet.  A leaky windshield isn’t likely considering today’s bonding process at the factory. Remove that caulking you crammed in there, it’s only lowering the Fusion’s resale value and curb appeal.

Plus, if the windshield was the fault, I reckon it’d also be a howling nightmare in stiff cross winds at highway speeds.

The plastic rain gutters are often held with nuts/bolts, but it isn’t a likely defect. Wait just one second! Remember what our friend from the UK, Mr. Edd China, did to find a water leak?

Click here to view the embedded video.

The smoke machine is a brilliant idea, but I suspect it couldn’t find a leaky rain gutter: those are probably sealed away from the headliner quite well.

I keep going back to moonroof drainage for multiple reasons. Put another way, A Fusion of Moonroof Drainage Problems:

  • Glass is out of adjustment, allowing for excessive amounts of water when parked at an angle.
  • Drain tubes are slightly crimped/blocked which exacerbates the problem.
  • The glass’ rubber seal is dirty; dirt reduces the seal’s effectiveness.

A tough problem for sure.  I’d clean the seal, clean the moonroof gutters, have someone make sure the glass is adjusted correctly and hope for the best. If not, time to drop the headliner and go for a closer look. No fun, but certainly not impossible.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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A Last Look: 2014 Camry SE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/last-look-2014-camry-se/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/last-look-2014-camry-se/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:17:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988538 Any veteran of the Detroit Auto Show knows that you can find some pretty impressive metal in the hotels and parking lots surrounding the auto show. While a significant percentage of the media is flown to the show courtesy of GM, Ford, and a few other manufacturers, another nontrivial number of journos arrive in loaners […]

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MemphisCamry 006 (Medium)

Any veteran of the Detroit Auto Show knows that you can find some pretty impressive metal in the hotels and parking lots surrounding the auto show. While a significant percentage of the media is flown to the show courtesy of GM, Ford, and a few other manufacturers, another nontrivial number of journos arrive in loaners ranging from AWD 911 Targas to BMW X-somethings. Truth be told, however, I couldn’t even stir myself to be jealous of those freeloaders. After all, I’d won the rental car lottery and gotten something I prefer to even the most chrome-laden of winter press whips.

My fondness for Toyota’s semi-sporty take on the family car is well documented. After reading Tim Cain’s experience with a new-gen V6 XSE I’m very eager to get one of those on the racetrack and see if it can match up to my Accord V6. Of course, I’ve been a committed Accord-ian for a year now, enough that I was also eager to take one final spin in the old car to see if it matched up to my memory.

MemphisCamry 007 (Medium)

This 2014 model benefited from a revised infotainment system, with more #PixelsAndStuff than the last SE I drove. Other than that, it was the same car it’s been for a few years now. As with my previous car, the powertrain is the 2.5L I-4 putting 178 horsepower through a six-speed automatic. I was curious to see how the Camry would start and run in the well-below-freezing weather surrounding the show; the first night I had the car it was four degrees about zero and when I spilled a bit of soda on the Camry’s doorsill it froze solid before I could wipe it off. I needn’t have worried. Only a few rough shifts in the first few minutes betrayed the temperature, and the heater was actually working within four minutes of starting. I suppose that’s what happens when you have a bored-out block with extremely tight water jackets.

The 2013 revisions to the Accord put the Camry a bit behind in the surprise-and-delight segment. Honda’s LaneWatch in particular is simply brilliant and I prefer it to the warning light you get with anything else (including Acura’s TLX). With that said, the Toyota isn’t without its charms. I prefer the Camry’s steering wheel to anything Honda offers nowadays. The seats, too, are demonstrably more supportive and less fragile than what you get in an Accord Sport. On the other hand, Honda offers proper climate control at the same price that gets you two vague knobs in the Camry, and the price you pay for two center-stack displays in the Toyota gets you three in the Accord.

Not that you’re reading this review for an Asperger’s-approved price-corrected feature comparison. You can get that other places, or so I’m continually told by the Internet. What you want to know is how the Camry compares to the four-cylinder Accord dynamically, so you know which one to rent for your next flyaway trackday. Well, my friend, go ahead and ring that bell, because it’s Camry by a knockout in the middle of the first round.

Or the first corner of your third lap, anyway, which is about all it takes for you to realize that Honda has no idea how much thermal capacity a modern sedan needs to slow down repeatedly from speed. The Accord is horribly underbraked and that’s true no matter what variant you get because if you don’t plump for the V-6 you get even smaller brakes than the Flintstones-spec garbage on my coupe. On top of that, the Camry is more tossable, gives you more feedback through the wheel, and has an automatic transmission of proven non-breakable-ness for people who won’t shift their own sedans, which is pretty much everybody.

Had Toyota been kind enough to offer a six-speed in a V-6-powered Camry sedan, I’d have taken that in a heartbeat over the Accord even though 2014 was obviously this Camry’s swan song. Because they didn’t, the Accord pulled two effective units ahead in the retail sales race and now you are going to be subjected to my one-year Accord review in the next few weeks. It’s a damn shame because I’m not sure Toyota doesn’t have the better V-6. I’m almost certain they have a slightly better four.

MemphisCamry 010 (Medium)

During a 470-mile trip through Michigan’s frozen wasteland that included a fair amount of time spent at a pawnshop in addition to the usual dinners and parties, my Camry returned 31.3mpg. I did not spare any of the 178 horses. I fed it winter-blend 87 octane. More than once I let it idle outside my hotel for ten minutes or longer because I was lazy and I thought I’d combine the loading-up process with the warming-up process. Once, in a fit of age-and-injury-induced weakness, I started it up and immediately revved it to five grand for a whole minute so the heat would work.

You get the idea. I was pretty hard on this Camry, harder than perhaps I was entitled to be for thirty-seven dollars a day or whatever the rate was. Yet the fact remains that I’ve never rented a Camry that seemed terribly fazed by the abuse that I and others heaped upon it. No, it’s not the Lexus-in-all-but-name that the ’92 Camry was, but it’s also cheaper in real dollars and it doesn’t appear to be significantly less reliable. All the Camry has to be is be as good as the competition in empirical terms and close to them on the intangibles and it can win because it’s a proven quantity.

Yet the Camry hasn’t been winning lately, at least not with retail customers. Maybe it’s the new-car smell of the revised and upscale-looking Accord, maybe it’s the knowledge that there’s a new Camry on the way, maybe it’s the fact that Honda offers a stick-shift and a coupe and sometimes both together. Regardless, this is a worthwhile choice, both new and used.

Against the rest of the segment, the old Camry’s superiority is more clear-cut. Having recently rented a CVT Altima for some time on a Texas racetrack, I can attest that the Camry whips it six ways to Sunday: in power, handling, and brake effectiveness. The Malibu? Be serious. The Fusion? That’s a more expensive car for a different kind of buyer. The Mazda6? You can get it with a stick but it’s actually not as good on a racetrack as a Camry. (Unfortunately, I drove the Mazda for another outlet so I can’t give you all the details here, but suffice it to say that I’d take the Camry.) The Sonata and Optima? Not everybody’s ready to make the 100,000-mile bet on them even if the warranty runs that long.

With any luck, I’ll be able to check out the 2015 in the near future. I promise to get one on the track as soon as possible and take some scalps with it. In the meantime, the current car is more than good enough at the price, as a rental proposition, and an ownership one.

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De Nysschen: Small Cadillac CUV Due In Four Years’ Time http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988490 Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen. Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see […]

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Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen.

Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see eight vehicles introduced between now and the end of the decade.

Also coming in 2019: diesel-power for both cars and crossovers/SUVs. De Nysschen said he wants to start pushing for market share in Europe during the 2020s, explaining that “if you want to play in Europe, you better have some diesels.” Said diesels would also be sold in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, he expects sales to remain flat for 2015, linked to the lack of new product beyond the upcoming CT6 flagship until late into 2017. De Nysschen adds that the strengthening U.S. dollar would leave a dent in his brand and those of his U.S.-based competitors, while Asian and European automakers use the currency challenge to cut prices on their respective offerings.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988434 By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral. Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost […]

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By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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Mercedes-Benz CLA And Audi A3 Are Selling At An Identical Pace In The U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-cla-audi-a3-selling-identical-pace-u-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-benz-cla-audi-a3-selling-identical-pace-u-s/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:30:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988234 The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 attained almost identical levels of popularity in the United States in 2014. True, Mercedes-Benz sold 27,365 CLAs over the last twelve months; Audi sold only 22,250 A3s during that period. That’s 23% more CLA sales than A3 sales. • GLA arrival didn’t slow down CLA • A3 and CLA […]

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A3 vs CLA sales chartThe Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 attained almost identical levels of popularity in the United States in 2014.

True, Mercedes-Benz sold 27,365 CLAs over the last twelve months; Audi sold only 22,250 A3s during that period. That’s 23% more CLA sales than A3 sales.


• GLA arrival didn’t slow down CLA

• A3 and CLA increasingly popular, but not yet top sellers


But you’ll remember that the CLA arrived at the end of 2013’s third-quarter. The A3 sedan, a replacement for the A3 hatch which never sold as often as this new car, began trickling into dealers in February of this year but wasn’t readily available until April.

Over the final three-quarters of 2014, Audi USA reported 21,387 A3 sales, 151 more than the figure achieved by the CLA over the same period.

CLA250With great frequency, the vehicles marketed by rival German luxury brands aren’t necessarily direct competitors. The CLS, for instance, is a $66,000 sedan with no diesel option; Audi’s A7 is a $66,000 hatchback with diesel availability. S-Class pricing starts 28% beyond the BMW 7-Series’ base MSRP. The E-Class Benz is available as a wagon; BMW’s 5-Series is sadly offered as a ghastly hatchback instead.

The members of this entry-level duo, however, could hardly target the other with greater precision. They are closely aligned in terms of pricing, are available with turbocharged four-cylinders, and send power to the front or all four wheels.The fact that they sell at the exact same pace speaks volumes about the differing tastes of consumers who are looking for the same type of car. 50.184% of the clientele goes Audi’s conservatively-designed direction; 49.82% head to the Mercedes-Benz showroom for swoopier styling.

Mercedes-Benz made greater headway at the end of 2014. Q4 sales, at 9158 units, accounted for one-third of the CLA’s year-end total. Granted, year-over-year volume in the fourth-quarter plummeted 22% compared with the same period one year earlier when the CLA was the freshest produce on the shelves. But fourth-quarter volume rose to the highest level of the year, as if to clarify that the arrival of the GLA crossover/hatch was not going to have an impact on the CLA’s success. The GLA went on sale in September. Q4 volume for that vehicle totalled 5893 units.

At Audi, the fourth-quarter also represented the best period yet for the A3, though at 7581 units, the Audi was well back of the Benz. Audi’s GLA-fighting Q3 went on sale in August. 1092 were sold in September but monthly volume in the fourth-quarter predictably fell from that high. 2319 Q3s were sold between October and December.

2015 Audi A3 sedanAs for other potential competitors, the more performance-oriented BMW 2-Series (including leftover copies of the 1-Series) earned the business of 7345 U.S. customers in 2014, the second-lowest year ever for the 1-Series/2-Series family. More than 13,000 1-Series’ were sold in 2010. Buick Verano volume slid 4% to 43,743 units. Acura ILX sales dropped 13% to 17,854.

Top-tier luxury nameplates are both more expensive and significantly more common. BMW’s wide-ranging 3-Series/4-Series family generated a 19% increase to 142,232 sales in 2014. Mercedes-Benz sold more than 75,000 C-Classes and more than 66,000 E-Classes in a down year. The Lexus ES, BMW 5-Series, Lexus IS, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lincoln MKZ, Cadillac CTS, and Cadillac ATS each produced more U.S. sales in 2014 than either the CLA and A3, as well.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Chart Of The Day: Auto Brand Market Share In Mexico In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chart-day-auto-brand-market-share-mexico-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chart-day-auto-brand-market-share-mexico-2014/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:22:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987938 The Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz reported a 7% increase to 1.1 million new vehicle sales in 2014. Nissan is Mexico’s best-selling auto brand. Sales at the Nissan brand jumped 11% to 291,729 units in 2014. Combined with Infiniti and Renault volume, the Alliance owned 28% of the overall Mexican auto market, up slightly more […]

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mexico auto market share sales chart 2014

The Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz reported a 7% increase to 1.1 million new vehicle sales in 2014.

Nissan is Mexico’s best-selling auto brand. Sales at the Nissan brand jumped 11% to 291,729 units in 2014. Combined with Infiniti and Renault volume, the Alliance owned 28% of the overall Mexican auto market, up slightly more than a percentage point compared with 2013.

A larger market didn’t benefit a number of brands, however. Sales at Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot, Smart, and Volvo decreased in 2014. For the most part, the biggest improvements were recorded by low-volume brands. Subaru rose 165%, but only to 1410 sales. Infiniti shot up 49% to 1475. Isuzu jumped 45% to 1468. Porsche climbed 27% to 975 units.

Regardless, Mexico is known more for the size of the country’s production capacity than for the country’s consumption of automobiles.  For every new vehicle registered in Mexico, the country’s workers build 2.8 new vehicles. Production jumped 10% in 2014 to 3.2 million units. 90% of that production was powered by Nissan, General Motors, FCA, Volkswagen, and Ford. Honda, Mazda, and Toyota also assemble vehicles in Mexico.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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QOTD: When Did BMW Lose Its Edge? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/qotd-bmw-lose-edge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/qotd-bmw-lose-edge/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:11:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988002 Twenty years ago, BMW was the coolest automaker in the world. I know this because I – as a young lad of less than ten, growing up in the 1990s – desperately wanted my father to purchase a BMW. And he – as a rational, middle-aged man in his 40s – ended up in a […]

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bambam

Twenty years ago, BMW was the coolest automaker in the world. I know this because I – as a young lad of less than ten, growing up in the 1990s – desperately wanted my father to purchase a BMW. And he – as a rational, middle-aged man in his 40s – ended up in a Camry with cloth seats and a tape player. He wasn’t the BMW type. He wasn’t cool enough. Back then, few were.

Remember the BMW of yore? The sharknose 6 Series. That late-1990s 7 Series (E38) that looked like the kind of thing the devil would drive, if he was late to a board meeting in Hell. The beautiful mid-1990s 5 Series (E34), and the perfect late-1990s 5 Series (E39) that followed it. The Z8. The Z3, which – although it hasn’t aged well – came out to universal acclaim in the mid-90s, and made its way into a Bond movie soon after. And then there was the 3 Series: the E30. The E36. The E46. The brand’s bread-and-butter, perfectly executed, perfectly sized, perfect to drive.

Little did we know, it was the brand’s all-time peak.

Twenty years later, here we are: the BMW of now. Gran Coupes. Gran Turismos. xDrive35i. Sports activity vehicles. iDrive. And a front-wheel drive electric car with a trim level called Giga World. I swear that if a meeting ever took place between the two BMW eras, 1990s BMW would punch 2010s BMW in the face and give it a wedgie while it was lying on the ground.

Things have gotten so bad that there’s kind of a running understanding among modern car enthusiasts that BMW has turned to crap. It’s like when you’re on a boat, and you’re rapidly taking on water. Nobody says you’re taking on water, but it’s plain to see: there you are, in the middle of the ocean, with minnows swimming around your ankles.

Essentially, the problems are as follows: the cars are bloated. The segments make no sense. The names are bizarre. And what the hell is the 2 Series Active Sports Tourer? Is that a joke? Are we supposed to pretend that thing simply doesn’t exist?

So my question today is: what the hell happened? Where did BMW go wrong? When did the once almighty BMW, the ambassador of cool, the diplomat of debonair (eh? EH?!), finally go off into the deep end and lose the plot? I’ll give you my theory – and below, you can submit yours.

My theory: it wasn’t a car that caused BMW to lose it. It was an all-out, no-holds-barred sales-chasing mentality; the kind of mentality Chrysler has with the rental fleets. I think it was this strategy – and not the vehicles themselves – that led to the decline of BMW. Essentially, it was the moment the automaker went from “How can we make this car cooler?” to “Why don’t we have a vehicle in the all-wheel drive rhombus segment?”

Of course, the “sell everything” mentality dramatically affected the products. Out went the careful styling decisions and the restrained lineup; in came segment-busting products and low-payment lease deals. The 3 Series grew huge. The X1 came into existence. And the 5 Series went from “desirable and stealthy” to “enormous and anonymous.”

But in my opinion, none of that would’ve happened if BMW had remained happy with the status quo: build cool cars, and sell a lot of them. Not tons of them, mind you. Not zillions. Not eleven crossovers and twelve variants of the 3 Series. But enough cars to generate a big profit while retaining the “cool guy” image.

So, what say you? Where do you think BMW took a wrong turn?

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