The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:33:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 U.S. Spec Jaguar XE Will Get Diesel Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-spec-jaguar-xe-will-get-diesel-engine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-spec-jaguar-xe-will-get-diesel-engine/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:33:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922721 Jaguar will launch its new XE sedan with a diesel engine in the United States, when it goes on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model. Because the new Jaguar 4-cylinder diesel engines have not yet met U.S. emissions regulations, Jaguar likely needs time to certify them, and according to Automotive News, wants to launch the […]

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jaguar-xe-mega-gallery

Jaguar will launch its new XE sedan with a diesel engine in the United States, when it goes on sale in 2016 as a 2017 model.

Because the new Jaguar 4-cylinder diesel engines have not yet met U.S. emissions regulations, Jaguar likely needs time to certify them, and according to Automotive News, wants to launch the XE with the diesel engine, as well as all-wheel drive. Apparently, the now confirmed manual transmission will not be in the cars either.

 

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: September 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-auto-sales-results-september-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-auto-sales-results-september-2014-ytd/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:59:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922825 Automakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014′s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan. Aside from Maserati’s massive leap in September – the […]

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2014-MINI-cooper-cooper-sAutomakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014′s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan.

Aside from Maserati’s massive leap in September – the brand once again outsold Jaguar – the month’s fastest-growing brand was Jeep, up 47%, or 17,767 units. Mini, Scion, Volkswagen (down 19% to fewer than 26,000 sales), Infiniti, and Jaguar stood out for their declines. Countryman sales shot up 60%; every other Mini was down sharply, including the core Hardtop model which fell to just 1118 units.

Automaker Sept. 2014 Sept.  2013 % Change 2014 YTD 2013 YTD % Change
Acura
 13,832 11,648 18.8% 119,750 120,830 -0.9%
Audi
 14,917 13,065 14.2% 130,983 114,411 14.5%
BMW
 25,586 23,568 8.6% 236,591 212,565 11.3%
Buick
 17,466 15,623 11.8% 170,764 157,503 8.4%
Cadillac
 13,829 13,828 0.0% 127,837 133,414 -4.2%
Chevrolet
 153,873 127,875 20.4% 1,542,866 1,493,329 3.3%
Chrysler
 28,781 25,251  14.0% 223,066 237,746 -6.2%
Dodge
 44,020 48,576 -9.4% 443,957 461,834 -3.9%
Fiat
 3,360 3,157  6.4% 35,501 32,742 8.4%
Ford  172,261  177,999  -3.2%  1,809,927  1,827,820  -1.0%
GMC
 38,269 29,959 27.7% 366,421 333,213 10.0%
Honda
 104,391 93,915 11.2% 1,040,855 1,038,182 0.3%
Hyundai
 56,010 55,102 1.6%  557,458  548,218  1.7%
Infiniti
 7,837  9,040 -13.3% 84,880 80,919 4.9%
Jaguar
 1,142 1,313 -13.0%  11,830 12,447 -5.0%
Jeep
 55,231 37,464  47.4% 516,387 355,385 45.3%
Kia
 40,628 38,003 6.9% 445,017 416,383 6.9%
Land Rover
 3,106 3,387  -8.3%  38,424  35,359 8.7%
Lexus
 21,852 19,522 11.9% 220,683 190,760 15.7%
Lincoln
 7,257 6,453 12.5% 67,788 59,852 13.3%
Maserati
 1,318 379 247.8% 9,125  2,241 307.2%
Mazda
 23,980 22,464 6.7% 240,953 220,491 9.3%
Mercedes-Benz
 27,315 24,697  10.6%  233,211  215,056  8.4% 
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,208 2,152  2.6%  17,785  14,940  19.0%
Total Mercedes-Benz
 29,523  26,849  10.0%  250,996  229,996  9.1%
Mini
 4,219 5,306 -20.5% 39,188 49,635 -21.0%
Mitsubishi
 5,558 4,001 38.9% 58,365 44,981 29.8%
Nissan
 95,118  77,828 22.2% 978,392 860,197 13.7%
Porsche
 3,607  3,093  16.6% 35,366  31,549 12.1%
Ram
 38,498 25,569  34.8% 337,148 269,296  25.2%
Scion
 4,154 5,131 -19.0% 46,103 54,090 -14.8%
Smart
 748 625 19.7% 8080 6937 16.5%
Subaru
 41,517 31,755 30.7% 375,485 313,407 19.8%
Suzuki
 —  — 5,946  -100%
Toyota
 141,273  139,804 1.1%  1,528,002  1,453,329 5.1%
Volkswagen
 25,996 31,920 -18.6% 270,874 314,833 -14.0%
Volvo
 4,667 4,188 11.4% 43,851 48,193 -9.0%
 —
BMW-Mini
 29,805 28,874 3.2% 275,779 262,200 5.2%
Chrysler Group
 169,890 143,017  18.8% 1,556,059 1,357,003 14.7%
Daimler
30,271 27,474 10.2% 259,076 236,933 9.3%
Ford Motor Company
 179,518  184,452  -2.7%  1,877,715 1,887,672  -0.5%
General Motors
 223,437 187,195 19.4% 2,207,888 2,117,459 4.3%
Honda Motor Company
118,223 105,563 12.0% 1,160,605 1,159,012 0.1%
Hyundai-Kia
 96,638  93,105  3.8%  1,002,475  964,601  3.9%
Jaguar-Land Rover
4,248 4,700 -9.6% 50,254 47,806 5.1%
Nissan Motor Company
 102,955  86,868 18.5% 1,063,272 941,116 13.0%
Toyota Motor Corporation
167,279  164,457  1.7% 1,794,788  1,698,179  5.7%
Volkswagen Group *
 44,520  48,078  -7.4% 437,223  460,793  -5.1%
Industry Total **
1,245,786
1,138,378
9.4%
12,436,855
11,790,337
5.5%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands.

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 1300-unit (September) Tesla sales estimate.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Coast to Coast 2014 – The cars of Elvis Presley http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/best-selling-cars-around-globe-coast-coast-2014-cars-elvis-presley/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/best-selling-cars-around-globe-coast-coast-2014-cars-elvis-presley/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:20:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922769 Elvis with his legendary pink 1955 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here. Today we stay in Memphis as in my opinion the one attraction really worth seeing in town is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I wasn’t expecting much, but was […]

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Elvis pink CadillacElvis with his legendary pink 1955 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood

You can check out all the Coast to Coast 2014 updates as they get published here.

Today we stay in Memphis as in my opinion the one attraction really worth seeing in town is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised with the tour’s thoroughness, the extravagant decoration and endless flow of music sales records detailed on the self-guided iPad tour. My never-ending thirst for stats was quenched here, and that says a lot! It was also an opportunity to go beyond the singer’s most commonly played hits and discover gems like ‘She’s not you’, ‘Good luck charm’, ‘The Girl of my best friend‘ or ‘Return to sender‘. Most significantly (and relevantly), there is also a car museum displaying a collection of cars Elvis owned. I have ranked the most stylish Elvis cars here along with detailed background info about each model. Yes this is absolutely and unashamedly subjective. The full ranking is below the jump.

1. 1973 Stutz Blackhawk1. Stutz Blackhawk (1973)

Not only is this in my view the coolest-looking car Elvis ever owned, there is also a fascinating story attached to it. The Stutz Motor Company is an American luxury car company from Indianapolis, Indiana that produced America’s first sports car from 1911 to 1935. The Stutz brand was ressucitated in 1968 (to survive until 1995) by New York banker James O’Donnell, who hired retired Chrysler stylist Virgil Exner to design the new Blackhawk. A first Stutz Blackhawk had been produced between 1929 and 1930, but this second generation, manufactured between 1971 and 1987, bears absolutely no resemblance to it.

Mouth-watering design features include a massive and aggressive grille, freestanding headlamps and a spare tire protruding through the trunklid. It’s like one car rebelled against all design conventions and revived them all at once. Now onto some technical specs. To try and keep in line with the brand’s exclusive origins, the body, designed by Ghia, was custom built in Italy, shipped to the US and fitted on a powerful but all-in-all arguably relatively common GM platform and engine. The Blackhawk used Pontiac Grand Prix running gear, Pontiac’s 7.5 L V8 engine, and a GM TH400 3-speed automatic transmission. The Blackhawk’s engine was tuned to produce 425 hp (317 kW) and 420 ft·lbf (570 N·m), enabling the 5000 lb (2300 kg) Blackhawk to accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.4 seconds with a 130 mph (210 km/h) top speed. All this for decidedly paltry (but ok for the times and the car’s weight/engine size) 8 mpg. That’s 30 L/100 km for you readers outside the USA. Ford, Chevrolet and Cadillac engines were also used at some stage. Another piece of trivia: the 18 to 22 hand-rubbed lacquer paint coats required to finish up the car took six weeks to apply, adding up to a total production time for each vehicle of over 1500 man-hours.

Stutz Blackhawk 19721972 Stutz Blackhawk

But wait there’s more prestige inside: the interior included 24-carat gold plated trim and bird’s eye maple or burled walnut and redwood, Connolly leather seats and dash, instrument markings in both English and Italian, fine wool or mink carpeting and headlining, a cigar lighter, and a liquor cabinet in the back. Other special features included automatic headlamp control with twilight sensor, cornering lamps, bilevel automatic airconditioning, Superlift air adjustable shockabsorbers, Safe-T-Track limited slip differential, an electric sunroof, cruise control, central locking, a burglar alarm, non-functional exhaust side pipes, and a high-end Lear Jet AM/FM 8-track quadraphonic sound system. The first models had special 17-inch Firestone LXX run-flat tires and rims fitted, although these were taken off the market when it was found they were unsafe.

Commercially, the Blackhawk remained a very exclusive car all through its 17 year-long career: only 500 to 600 units were produced in total. It debuted in January 1970 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, priced from US$22,500 to US$75,000, that’s US$120,000 to $400,000 in today’s dollars… And this is where things take a truly fascinating turn: Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra competed to purchase the very first Blackhawk to be put on sale! Talk about exclusive and prestigious… This was the second Blackhawk prototype, as built by Carrozzeria Padane (the first one, built by Ghia, was driven by James O’Donnell himself). The legend goes that Sinatra was offered the second prototype on the condition that the distributor could show the car at the L.A. auto show and get PR photos with Sinatra upon delivery. Sinatra declined, but Presley accepted and got the car, which he purchased for US$26,500 on October 9, 1970. In January 1971, Presley even had a mobile telephone installed inside it for US$1,467.50!

In July 1971, one of Presley’s hired drivers destroyed the car, which was restored with non-original parts after Presley’s death. Elvis bought at least three more Blackhawks and leased one other. The black 1973 pictured above and exposed in Graceland was his favorite Blackhawk, which he purchased at the end of the lease. Its interior features custom-ordered red leather seats. Elvis was driving this car when he drove through the gates of Graceland for the last time on August 16, 1977.

2. 1975 Ferrari Dino2. Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 (1975) 

Elvis purchased this Dino 308 GT4 secondhand in October 1976 for US$20,583. Interestingly, the “Dino” brand was created by Ferrari to market  more affordable sports cars aimed at competing with the Porsche 911 as Enzo Ferrari feared the Ferrari brand would be watered down with cheaper cars. The “Dino” marque was reserved for mid-engined, rear-drive sports cars and used for models with engines with fewer than 12 cylinders. So this was not typically the type of vehicle you’d expect the biggest star on the planet to purchase at the time, let alone secondhand. The Ferrari name remained reserved for its premium V-12 and flat 12 models until 1976, when “Dino” was retired in favour of full Ferrari branding. Thus Elvis’ car does have a “Dino” badge, and no Ferrari one, even though by the time he purchased the car the “Dino” brand had already disappeared, making this model an instant collector.

But why “Dino”? This was simply the nickname of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari’s late son and heir Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, who was credited with the design of the V6 engine used by the marque to justify the branding, however it was found later on that Alfredo Ferrari did not have any role in that design – awkward. At the time, setting a production car with a mid-engine layout was very avant-garde, although common in car racing. A mid-engined layout placed more of the car’s weight over the driven wheels, and although it enabled great design in the shape of a streamlined nose, it led to almost no passenger space and very abrupt handling, thought better reserved to professional sports drivers. For this reason Ferrari did not trust his customers would be able to ‘tame’ this type of layout and originally refused to produced one – with the consequence being that Lamborghini was the first to shoot with its mid-engined Miura in 1966.

The original mid-engined “Dino” (206/246) saw the light of day only because Ferrari rationalised that the low-power V6 engine would not be powerful enough to make handling unsafe even for relatively inexperienced drivers. The original 308 GT4 was designed by Bertone and produced from 1973 to 1980. It was Ferrari’s first V8 production car. It had a 90-degree, dual-overhead-camshaft, 2927 cc motor with 4 Weber carburetors which produced 250 hp (186 kW) and the V-8 block and heads were made of an aluminum alloy. The compression ratio was 8.8:1. However the American version that Elvis purchased had a timing change and an air-pump and produced a more modest 230 hp (172 kW). The GT4 weighed 2535 pounds. The 308 GT4 was Dino-branded until May 1976, when it got the Ferrari badge on the hood, wheels, and the steering wheel.

3. 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II4. 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II 23. Lincoln Continental Mark II (1956)

After being used between 1939 and 1948, the Continental name was revived in 1955 but as a separate marque, produced by a separate division of Ford Motor Company, with its only model being the Continental Mark II. The plans for this revival were grand and Ford made it very clear that this Continental was NOT a Lincoln. Ahem, right. Another one of these interesting strategy decisions. An attempt at hyper luxury by Ford, the 1956 Continental Mark II was among the most expensive cars in the world when launched, with a price equivalent to one of a Rolls-Royce at $10,000 when a regular Ford could be bought for less than $2000 and a Cadillac for $4000. Ford believed that its price point would elevate the car’s status among those who could afford the very best. True, but it stayed there and never really bled onto the Lincoln or Ford brand images. Plus, despite its astronomical price tag, Ford lost money on each one sold (2,996 in total including two prototype convertibles), the same way Cadillac did with its Continental-fighting four-door Eldorado Brougham.

The thing that Ford did manage to do with the Continental Mark II is create a myth: it reported tales of dealers turning potential buyers away because deemed not to be the right kind of people to own one, its sticker price was delusional and made the Continental only affordable by an over-prestigious clientele: Elvis part of that cohort along with Frank Sinatra (again), the Shah of Iran, Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. Warner Brothers Studios even gave Elizabeth Taylor a custom-built 1956 Mark II, which was painted to match her eye colour. Elvis arrived in Miami in August 1956 driving his new Lincoln that had been decorated in lipstick graffiti by fans He traded that car and purchased this Continental Mark II with the proceeds from his tour. He used this car often, even taking it to New Orleans in 1958 for the filming of his movie ‘King Creole’. A bit of trivia to finish on: while on later models it was purely for decoration, the original Mark II did in fact carry its spare tire under the trunk lid’s stamped-in tire cover.

5. 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood4. Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 (1955)

Elvis’ Pink Cadillac is arguably one of the most iconic cars in the history of the United States. A lesser known fact is that it is also one of the few that Elvis kept from his rise to stardom: he actually purchased his original Pink Cadillac (there were two) before any of his songs became popular. Ha. Bet you didn’t know that one. The story goes like this: in early 1955 Elvis bought his first pink Cadillac, a 1954 Fleetwood Series 60, but this car was destroyed in a roadside fire in June of that year. Exactly one month later on July 5, 1955, Elvis purchased a new Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60, but in blue with a black roof. Having mentioned a Pink Cadillac in the song Baby, Let’s Play House, the first Elvis song to break onto a national chart (it went up to #5 on the Billboard Country Singles chart in July 1955), Elvis had the car repainted pink that year and by March 1956 the roof was painted white. Elvis gave this car to his mother Gladys as a gift, even though she never had a driver’s license.

Like a haute couture designer, Elvis launched the pink car colour fashion with the Pink Cadillac. At the time, Ford Motor Company was the only manufacturer to offer pink as a standard colour. This changed quickly as Elvis’ Pink Cadillac became iconic. Individual owners took it upon themselves to paint their cars various shades of pink, then progressively most manufacturers aligned themselves and offered pink as standard colour as well. Another interesting element is that although the original car was a 1955 four-door sedan, the more replicated version in popular culture is a pink 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, which have been sold as miniature replicas by the millions.

Let’s backtrack a bit and ask where the Fleetwood name comes from? The link with Cadillac goes back to 1925 when the manufacturer purchased the Fleetwood Metal Body Company in 1925. As such the Fleetwood Body Company began as a small community of coach-building craftsmen founded by Henry Fleetwood, near Lancaster in England in the 17th century. Its 300 year coach-building experience gave the Fleetwood Body Company a high reputation in automobile circles worldwide by the 1920s. Coachwork was built by Fleetwood for a variety of luxury makes through 1924, but were reserved exclusively for Cadillac once bought by them in 1925. From 1927 through 1934 all Cadillac series offered Fleetwood bodies as an option, but after that time Cadillac became more picky and offered Fleetwood bodies only its higher-end models. The Fleetwood script and crest would not appear on the exterior of any Cadillac until the 1947 model year when it appeared on the rear deck lid of the Sixty Special, the one purchased by Elvis in its 1955 iteration.

7. 1977 Cadillac Seville5. Cadillac Seville (1977)

This was the last Cadillac Elvis bought and he was driving it himself the day prior to his death. In the mid-seventies, European luxury imports such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW were more and more popular in the US prompting Cadillac to reshuffle its range completely. The American manufacturer launched the Seville in 1975 as, interestingly, both the smallest and most expensive model in the lineup, turning their marketing and pricing strategies upside down. It was a big risk. Add to this the fact that the Seville was also designed to win back young American car buyers that were distancing themselves more and more from homegrown brands and especially Cadillac, and you come to an almost unsolvable problem as young American car buyers arguably find themselves at the more affordable end of luxury.

The Seville’s angular design would set the tone for GM styling for the next decade, and by extension of an American car design symbolic to that time and now rare on US roads. It was the first Cadillac to be engineered (shock, horror!) based on components previously used in a Chevrolet model: it is a heavily upgraded version of the rear-wheel drive X-body platform that underpinned the Chevrolet Nova. Official design specs detail a  “wide chrome grille flanked by quadruple rectangular headlamps with narrow parking and signal lamps just below filled the header panel, while small wrap-around rectangular tail lamps placed at the outermost corners of the rear gave the appearance of a lower, leaner, and wider car.” It is assumed that the wrap-around taillights might have come from a design sketch of a rejected Coupe DeVille concept.

1977 Cadillac Seville. Picture courtesy of autodrive.info1977 Cadillac Seville

Other interesting official specs about this Cadillac Seville: it was almost 1,000 pounds (450 kg) lighter than the full-sized Deville, more expensive than every other Cadillac model (except the Series 75 Fleetwood factory limousines) at US$12,479, it was basically a commercial flop (43,772 1976 MY vehicles produced and 45,060 1977 MY) even though it spawned several imitators including as the Lincoln Versailles and Chrysler LeBaron/Fifth Avenue, and the first 2,000 units produced were identical in equipment and colour (Georgian silver) to make sure the quality of the initial production run would be optimal, which it was.

Arguably this Seville’s most interesting spec is its fuel economy, unheard of for a Cadillac at the time. The engine was an Oldsmobile-sourced 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8, fitted with Bendix/Bosch electronically controlled fuel injection, giving it a gas mileage of 17 MPG city and 23 MPG highway while the larger Deville and Fleetwood were still getting single digit gas mileage! A diesel 350 cu in (5.7 L) LF9 V8 was added in 1978, the first diesel engine offered in passenger vehicles in America. Final piece of trivia: the Seville was also manufactured in Iran under the brand name Cadillac Iran from 1978 to 1987 by Pars Khodro, which was known as “Iran General Motors” before the Islamic Revolution. A total of 2,653 Cadillacs were made in Iran during this period. This made Iran the only country assembling Cadillacs outside the U.S. until 1997 when the Opel Omega-based Cadillac Catera started being built in Germany for the U.S. market.

6. Albert Graceland6. Albert (2014).

Ha. I’m sure Elvis would have loved to drive him.

8. 1962 Lincoln Continental9. 1962 Lincoln Continental detail 110. 1962 Lincoln Continental detail 27. Lincoln Continental (1962)

Elvis purchased this 1962 Lincoln Continental in Vegas and got it customised to his specifications: white with a gold alligator top. The Continental was completely redesigned in 1961 by Elwood Engel into what was originally intended to be the 1961 Ford Thunderbird. It replaced the Lincoln Capri and Premiere, consolidating Lincoln into a single product line again, as it was the case when the Continental Mark II launched back in 1955 (see above). This car’s most iconic feature is its front-opening rear “suicide doors”, which would later on become the best-known feature of 1960s Lincolns. At the time the Continental was surprisingly small: so much smaller than its predecessor in fact, that an advertising campaign featured a woman parallel parking a sedan for a magazine spread – that would be a questionable let alone sexist move nowadays but hey.

Despite this the car was not lighter than its predecessor at 4,927 lb (2,235 kg) for the sedan and 5,215 lb (2,365 kg) for the convertible, an interesting case of a convertible weighing more than its sedan variant despite the lack of solid roof. This was the first car manufactured in the U.S. to be sold with a 24,000 mi (39,000 km) or 2-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, and also the first postwar four-door convertible from a major U.S. carmaker. As a result the new Continental was still heavier than all Cadillac moles for example, somehow earning it its reputation as “the finest mass-produced domestic automobile of its time .” It was a sales success, with 25,160 sold during the first year of production. This generation of Continental is favoured by collectors and has appeared in many motion pictures such as GoldfingerThe MatrixLast Action HeroKaliforniaSpider-Man 2 and in the opening sequence of the television series Entourage.

11. 1966 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud8. and 9. Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (1960 and 1966)

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud nameplate was introduced in 1955 as a replacement for the Silver Dawn before being superseded itself in 1966 by the Silver Shadow. During its entire production time it was the core model of the Rolls-Royce range. The two Rolls-Royce exposed in Elvis’ Graceland museum are two different generations of Silver Cloud: a 1960 II and a 1966 III. The Silver Cloud II was launched in 1959 when it gained a 6.2 L V8 engine, boosting the weight to 2.11 tonnes but improving performance in the meantime and raising the top speed to 114 mpg (183 km/h). Fuel consumption was 11 mpg or 22L/100 km, not that atrocious in fact, power steering was standard and electrically operated windows were available as an option. Elvis purchased this 1960 Silver Cloud II, his first Rolls Royce, at Coventry Motors located on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. He used it in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Memphis.

He purchased a second Silver Cloud in 1966. The Silver Cloud III originally debuted in 1963. Official specs are as follows. External dimensions were slightly tweaked, the interior remodelled, the weight reduced by a little over 100 kg (220 lb) and improvements made to the engine which included fitting 2-inch (51 mm) SU carburettors in place of the 1¾ inch units used on the Series II Silver Cloud. The compression ratio was increased to 9:1, reflecting the higher octane levels of premium fuel in major markets, although the option of a lower 8:1 compression ratio was still offered in markets where non-availability of higher octane fuels might be an issue. Rolls-Royce, as was the ‘tradition’ at the time, refused to disclose overall engine power output, but indicated that there had been an improvement of “perhaps 7%”. Interestingly vague for arguably the most prestigious car manufacturer in the world. Increased power and weight reduction boosted speed and performance slightly. The engine now included a nitride hardened crankshaft to reflect the extra power being generated and in response to reports of broken crankshafts in the earlier V8 Silver Clouds. The transmission was a GM Hydramatic which Rolls-Royce used under licence. There. That’s all for the specs but I thought it’d be worthwhile to dream a little and visualise what luxury sounded like back in the sixties.

12. 1960 Willys Jeep10. Willys Jeep DJ 3A Surrey (1960)

Considered the iconic World War II Jeep, the Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep was manufactured from 1941 to 1945, later evolving into the “CJ” civilian Jeep, and then updated to the “DJ” version. The DJ-3A was introduced in 1955, using the body style of the older CJ-3A, but coming with either a column shift or floor shift three-speed Borg-Warner T-96 manual transmission. In early 1959, Willys introduced the DJ-3A ‘Jeep Gala’ to export markets interested in a flexible, open vehicle but without the need for four wheel-drive. What made it cool was that it was finished in pink, green, or blue and trimmed with matching white striped fabric, as well as with fringe on its top…

Instant cult status in Hawaii, Mexico, and Caribbean islands and as a result obligatory mainland USA version, the ‘Jeep Surrey’, launched in fall of 1959. The primary target market were resort hotels and vacation centres for the staff’s short trips, but it was also used as a low-cost rental vehicle for guests. The Willys Surrey Jeep pictured above was purchased by Elvis on July 12, 1960 for US$1,981. It was mainly used by Graceland’s guards and would often be seen driving around Graceland. This would mean that Elvis purchased it before it featured in the 1961 motion picture ‘Blue Hawaii’ – another interesting piece of trivia. Could it be the one actually featured in the movie? My searches for this info have come back null, so if you know about this please let it known!

This concludes our stop in Memphis, in the next update we will be crossing Mississippi on our way to New Orleans. Stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a car sales statistics website and consultancy: BestSellingCars

13. Cadillac Elvis Automobile Museum GracelandThe entrance to the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum in Graceland.

14. Ford E450 Graceland 5Shuttles to Graceland are shining-new Ford E450

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Quick Look: 2015 Honda CR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/quick-look-2015-honda-cr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/quick-look-2015-honda-cr-v/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:21:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922257 It’s hard to believe that the CR-V has been on sale for nearly two decades when the 1985 Civic Wagonvan 4WD is still fresh in mind. But Honda has steadily grown the CR-V from a mere 66,000 units in 1997 to over 300,000 units last year. As it stands, the CR-V is the 7th best-selling vehicle […]

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2015 honda cr-v front left

It’s hard to believe that the CR-V has been on sale for nearly two decades when the 1985 Civic Wagonvan 4WD is still fresh in mind. But Honda has steadily grown the CR-V from a mere 66,000 units in 1997 to over 300,000 units last year. As it stands, the CR-V is the 7th best-selling vehicle in the United States.

2015 honda cr-v rear right

The CR-V gets a typical midlife facelift for 2015, which consists of new headlights (LEDs on all but the low LX trim), a new grille, bumper covers, and taillights. There are also bigger, wheels and a new trim level, dubbed “Touring”. Inside there is an upgraded dashboard with a new infotainment interface, rear seat air vents, and new dynamic safety features. Overall, one really needs to see the 2014 and 2015 CR-V side-by-side to see all the differences.

2015 honda cr-v exterior details

More importantly, Honda made changes that have a greater impact on fuel economy, power, comfort, and safety.

The 2.4L DOHC iVTEC engine now sports direct fuel injection and has a higher compression ratio. This translates to the same 185hp, but an increase in torque from 163 to 181 ft-lbs. Both horsepower and torque now peak at lower engine speeds, and the torque curve is flatter. The five-speed automatic was replaced with a CVT. The fuel economy improves to 27/34/29 mpg on front-wheel-drive models and 26/33/28 mpg on AWD models, both increasing +4/+3/+3 mpg over 2014 models.

Interior improvements consist of more sound insulation for a quieter ride, something that was apparently a frequent source of complaints for customers. There are now air vents for rear passengers but there are no separate controls. The infotainment system is also updated, bringing it in line with current Hondas. It is not a system that I personally love; it has too many options, too many settings, and there is no volume knob, just buttons. A back-up camera is standard.

2015 honda cr-v interior details

Honda has also thrown a slew of active safety features into the 2014 CR-V, all designed to avoid accidents. These include: Forward Collision Warning with Collision Mitigation Braking System (it will stop a car if it sense an accident), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Honda LaneWatch. The last is a camera mounted in the passenger side mirror which displays everything that is typically in the blind spot on the infotainment system. These new features are only available on the Touring, which also adds a power liftgate and memory seats – if you want the full suite of driver aides, you’ll have to shell out the big bucks.

During my quick highway drive the car did feel quiet, and a sound measure test performed by my friend did confirm that interior noise has been reduced. A full review will arrive once I spend some more time with the car, but so far, my biggest complaint rests with the CVT. I’m not a huge fan of them, for the usual reasons, but I doubt that buyers of the CR-V will know what a CVT is or even care that it uses one.

In 1999 my mother was shopping for a new car. The then new and hot E46 3-series was high on her list, as was the Acura TL. She ended up with a blue ‘99 Honda CR-V EX (CR-V EX is a horrible nomenclature, by the way, Honda) with a 5-speed manual transmission. The CR-V of that era was spacious, efficient, and affordable. There was a picnic table in the trunk and seats that folded into a bed, a pop-up rear window and full-size spare tire mounted in the tailgate. We take the CR-V and its ilk for granted now, dismissing them as just another soulless CUV. At the time, it was revolutionary.

The 2015 CR-V is a much different and much improved vehicle. But along with those changes it lost some of its personality. It seems that Honda is making more attempts at staying competitive rather than being a leader in independent design. Whether that is relevant or not is up for a debate as sales of each model are higher than ever. The truth is that CR-V buyers, new and repeat, will be getting a much improved vehicle which will only contribute to its popularity. The 2015 CR-V starts at $23,320 for a FWD LX model and goes up $32,770 for the new loaded Touring model with AWD. It is on sale as of today.

2015 honda cr-v dash

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My Last Free Mercedes-Benz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/last-free-mercedes-benz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/last-free-mercedes-benz/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:10:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922041 Everyone please welcome Steve Lynch, author of “Arrogance and Accords“, as our newest contributor! Yesterday I was working for the greatest automobile company in the world. Today I am working for the greatest automotive blog in the world. Yesterday I was working for the Germans. Today I am working for a 25-year-old Canadian kid who […]

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2015 ML350

Everyone please welcome Steve Lynch, author of “Arrogance and Accords“, as our newest contributor!

Yesterday I was working for the greatest automobile company in the world.

Today I am working for the greatest automotive blog in the world.

Yesterday I was working for the Germans.

Today I am working for a 25-year-old Canadian kid who loves rap music.

I am one lucky sumbitch.

I elected to take early retirement after 17 years at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The hardest part about leaving the OEM auto business is giving up the free company car. The 2015 ML350 you see above was my last ride and is currently for sale at Mercedes-Benz of Tucson (Low Miles! Illuminated Grill Star! Celebrity Owned!). God, it hurts… An old retail automobile business adage says that the only things car salesmen need are the “3 Ds” – a desk, a drink and a demo. For me, that first demonstrator was a used 1981 Rosewood Brown Buick Regal that I drove while working at Spires-Douglas Buick in San Antonio.  I clearly remember driving  it off the lot after my first day on the job and thinking, “I like this business!” The days of salespeople getting free rides are long gone at most dealerships, no doubt a factor in attempting to draw new talent into the retail industry now.

The scores of Honda (all stick shifts by the way) and Mercedes-Benz vehicles parked in my garage over the years were nice but my favorite ride was a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited High Output V8 I drove during the year I was sentenced to work on the Chrysler Financial side of our company. I was our auction rep in Arizona, selling repossessed Neons and off-lease Jeeps, and the GC could flat-out fly over the whoops on the rugged Apache Trail outside of Phoenix.

Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_WJ_34h courtesy wikipedia.org

Stories of wrecked demos are commonplace as there can be a certain “it’s not my car” mentality to driving one, as illustrated in this funny company car features page. In my own case, I tell people my last accident was in 1977 because I don’t count the night in Dallas in 1988 while coming home from Adair’s Saloon that I discovered that the counter rotation of the wheels on a 4-Wheel Steering Prelude negated my ability to execute a perfect bootlegger’s turn. I slid sideways hard into a curb and destroyed the suspension but somehow limped her home, dragging one tire all the way. Thank God it was during the corrupt days at American Honda: I traded a load of Accords to a dealer in return for him replacing the Prelude and making the wrecked one disappear.  I think that night was the end of my drinking and driving days and I have never put more than a scratch on a demo after that. Besides, get in an accident or get pinched for DUI in a OEM car and you could lose your job or, if you are lucky, keep your job but have to buy your own car.

I can take solace in the fact that I will driving the occasional press car for test drive purposes. You may wonder if I will be biased in favor of Honda and Mercedes-Benz. Of course I will. But I told Derek those are the last two brands I want to write about. I will pen a few stories about my days working for those corporations but I owe it to you to explore and write about all brands and all automotive companies. Besides, I already know how most of you feel about Mercedes-Benz vehicles…

I am thrilled to be reporting to you from the Tucson TTAC Tower and can promise you only one thing: the truth.

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The First Minivan Becomes The Next Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:12:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922249 On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end. The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that […]

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On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end.

The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that set the standard for the entire segment. A front-drive, neatly packaged three-row people mover that proved to be far more modern than the Fiat Multipla or Volkswagen vans.

At this week’s Paris Auto Show, the Espace will be revealed, after undergoing a radical transformation. No longer a minivan, the Espace is now being marketed as a crossover. No more sliding doors or the distinctly French two-box profile that was a trademark of the Espace. The new version is a bling-bling pseudo-CUV with shades of CR-V in the D-pillar.

For Renault minivan customers, the Scenic will still be available. But the Espace, like the wildly successful Captur, is an attempt to give consumers more of what they want – in this case, crossovers – but with the people carrying abilities of the minivan (or MPV) body style.

image (1) image (2) image

 

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Metaxas: License Plate Recognition Can Improve Originations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/metaxas-license-plate-recognition-can-improve-originations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/metaxas-license-plate-recognition-can-improve-originations/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922465 Aside from GPS-equipped starter interrupt systems, lenders have another tool to repossess a vehicle, with the added benefit of using the data obtained to acquire better contracts: license plate recognition. According to Auto Remarketing, the CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Digital Recognition Network, Chris Metaxas, says his company’s LPR technology has found 55 percent of […]

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DRN LPR Guide

Aside from GPS-equipped starter interrupt systems, lenders have another tool to repossess a vehicle, with the added benefit of using the data obtained to acquire better contracts: license plate recognition.

According to Auto Remarketing, the CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Digital Recognition Network, Chris Metaxas, says his company’s LPR technology has found 55 percent of their customers’ assets up to 100 miles away from where the paperwork claimed the vehicle would have originally been. As most assets are with the lenders’ customers, any deviation from that is a red flag.

Thus, originators seeking to minimize risk could use LPR data to “determine the truth of a statement someone may make on an application,” in turn enhancing the process so better contracts are entered into a given portfolio:

If you think about what a bank does in translating risk mitigation into their ability to grow their book of business, the loans they write, the policies they write, it is substantial and is exponential. What you lose on the back end is only a fraction of what you write on the front end.

Earlier this year, DRN and another LPR company entered into a lawsuit against Utah governor Gary Herbert and attorney general Sean Reyes over First Amendment issues regarding legislation that prohibited such technology from being used to analyze the image of the license plate in question. The lawsuit is part of an ongoing battle between privacy advocates who claim the private data tied to a plate can have the potential to be abused, and by LPR proponents like DRN who believe license plate numbers contain no such thing, citing the public nature of the plate itself.

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Saab 96 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1968-saab-96/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1968-saab-96/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922105 I see plenty of Saab 900s in self-service wrecking yards these days, but Saabs older than that have all but disappeared from the U-Wrench-It ecosystem. I did see a truly ancient Saab 92 at a yard over the summer, but that was in the heart of Saab’s homeland. So, it came as a big surprise […]

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12 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI see plenty of Saab 900s in self-service wrecking yards these days, but Saabs older than that have all but disappeared from the U-Wrench-It ecosystem. I did see a truly ancient Saab 92 at a yard over the summer, but that was in the heart of Saab’s homeland. So, it came as a big surprise to spot this Saab 96 three weeks ago in the San Francisco Bay Area.
06 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYes, Rust Belt residents, this California car isn’t rusty at all.
16 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis car has the four-stroke Ford Taunus V4 engine instead of the two-stroke three-banger used in earlier 96s.
01 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe interior has been stripped pretty thoroughly, but a few pieces remain.
05 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinMy racer grandfather had one of these cars, which he ice-raced in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1970s. Rust killed it, of course.
10 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI have informed the Freewheelin’ Pikers Saab 96-racing 24 Hours of LeMons team about this car, and I hope they have sent their Bay Area-based minions to grab parts off this car before The Crusher eats it.

The Swedish car with aircraft quality!

Here’s another version.

01 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 02 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 03 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 04 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 05 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 06 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 07 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 08 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 09 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 10 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 11 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 12 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 13 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 14 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 15 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 16 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 17 - 1968 Saab 96 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: To Battle The Moonroof Rattle? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-moonroof-rattle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-moonroof-rattle/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:32:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921905 TTAC Commentator Sobro writes: Hi Sajeev and your goateed evil twin Sanjeev! Beige. We all know it, we all love it, especially when it comes in Lexus Pearl White as my wife’s 2003 ES 300 does. This vehicle has had exactly one non-maintenance item replaced since bought new: the A/C compressor relay. My wife installed […]

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Capture

TTAC Commentator Sobro writes:

Hi Sajeev and your goateed evil twin Sanjeev!

Beige. We all know it, we all love it, especially when it comes in Lexus Pearl White as my wife’s 2003 ES 300 does. This vehicle has had exactly one non-maintenance item replaced since bought new: the A/C compressor relay. My wife installed it since her office is near the Toyota dealer. And it was July. In Nashville. It was my research in the Lexus forums which led to this fix for the flashing LED in the A/C button.

Which brings me to my question.

The sunroof has started to clunk occasionally when hitting bumps, and the clunk is directly overhead of the driver. This sort of thing drives me nuts, so I’m glad I don’t commute in the wife’s ride. The Lexus forums have very little to offer, and what they do tend to start with “remove the sunroof”. Any ideas? Thanks!

Long time lurker, first time caller!

Sajeev answers:

Take it from someone working on moonroofs for 10+ years, you almost always remove the glass to do anything. The forums seem scant on info on a cursory glance but–ZOMG R U SAYIN’ ME AND SANJEEV COULD BE DAVID HASSELHOFF?

(photo courtesy: www.teamknightrider.com)

Wait, that’s no goatee on Garth!  (sigh of relief)

So anyway, moonroof rattle: since you mention the glass itself opens/closes/seals like new (no wind leaks), I betcha the rattle comes from the shade or the wind deflector.  Rule out the shade by pressing your palm against the shade and drive over a road known to cause the rattle. Start with light pressure and use more if the rattle doesn’t go away, to ensure the shade can’t possibly mask another problem with the track.

I have my doubts about the shade, as most Lexus’ products have a rather heavy and rattle-resistant shade, adding weight to silence a rattle isn’t likely. The (often spring-loaded) wind deflector is my bet. But other problems could be at fault: judging by the Sunroof Doctor‘s comprehensive repair kit.

What’s the fix?  Get a factory shop manual (no exceptions) to ensure you don’t break anything.  I’d venture a guess, but I’d prefer to remain lawsuit free after you install it wrong and the moonroof launches itself on the highway.

Sanjeev answers:

Wait, wait: you think anyone cares enough to actually want to sue you?

I’m too busy growing a goatee now, otherwise I’d tell everyone about that time you didn’t install a moonroof correctly and it flew off the car. If only people knew The Truth About Sajeev

 

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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Cadillac Escalade Keeps Its Name, Other SUVs, CUVs Christened XT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-escalade-keeps-name-suvs-cuvs-christened-xt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-escalade-keeps-name-suvs-cuvs-christened-xt/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922433 Cadillac’s new alpha-numeric scheme has entered the crossover and SUV space, with the brand’s future offerings to be dubbed XT. However, like the Lincoln Navigator to the MKs, the Escalade will keep its name among the CTs and XTs. According to Forbes, Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus says both CT and XT models will have a […]

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2015-escalade-exterior-masthead-family-960x540

Cadillac’s new alpha-numeric scheme has entered the crossover and SUV space, with the brand’s future offerings to be dubbed XT. However, like the Lincoln Navigator to the MKs, the Escalade will keep its name among the CTs and XTs.

According to Forbes, Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus says both CT and XT models will have a number appended at the end of the designation to signify the size of the vehicle in relation to the rest of the lineup. The designations — created a year ago by Ellinghaus soon after becoming the brand’s CMO — form a framework for Cadillac to expand and overhaul its lineup while also eliminating consumer confusion on the showroom floor:

It’s a logical thing to give some mental space like this in your naming scheme. So many other brands have done that sort of thing, across industries. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t fit our immediate business needs, but this simple logic will help us build this brand and enhance recognition over the long term.

One exception to the new scheme is the Escalade. According to Road & Track, product manager Dave Schiavione explained that there had been a plan to move the SUV onto the Lambda crossover platform, but was punted because Escalade owners wanted their SUV — with all of the power, towing capacity and other associated aspects — to remain an SUV. Representative David Caldwell summed it up as such:

Escalade remains. No reason to mess with it. Everything you say about it is valid.

The premium SUV will likely remain the brand’s default halo vehicle until the flagship CT6 arrives in the near future.

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Next-Gen Ford Super Duty To Receive Aluminum Bodies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-ford-super-duty-receive-aluminum-bodies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-ford-super-duty-receive-aluminum-bodies/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922353 The King of Truck Mountain’s royal guard will soon be outfitted in aluminum, thanks to Ford’s vision for the next-gen Super Duty. The Detroit News reports product development boss Raj Nair made the announcement during Ford’s investor day Monday. Though details were scarce, it’s likely the first aluminum-bodied Super Dutys will leave Louisville, Ky. in […]

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2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch FX4

The King of Truck Mountain’s royal guard will soon be outfitted in aluminum, thanks to Ford’s vision for the next-gen Super Duty.

The Detroit News reports product development boss Raj Nair made the announcement during Ford’s investor day Monday. Though details were scarce, it’s likely the first aluminum-bodied Super Dutys will leave Louisville, Ky. in 2015 as 2016 models, in keeping with the bigger trucks following the F-150 down the upgrade trail.

As for the aluminum F-150, president of the Americas Joe Hinrichs said the Dearborn Truck Plant has completed the month-long changeover needed to make the new truck, with aluminum sheets running through the plant starting this week. The new F-150 is expected in showrooms by the end of the year, so long as nothing fancy is needed.

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Sen. Reid Calls Upon Congress To Raise EV Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/sen-reid-calls-upon-congress-raise-ev-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/sen-reid-calls-upon-congress-raise-ev-tax-incentives/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922273 For the past three years, President Barack Obama has called upon Congress to raise tax incentives for electric vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000, with those calls going unanswered. This year, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate is taking the charge. The Detroit News reports Senate Majority Leader Henry Reid of Nevada pushed Congress to […]

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Harry Reid

For the past three years, President Barack Obama has called upon Congress to raise tax incentives for electric vehicles from $7,500 to $10,000, with those calls going unanswered.

This year, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate is taking the charge.

The Detroit News reports Senate Majority Leader Henry Reid of Nevada pushed Congress to boost the incentives — and, therefore, EV sales — proclaiming the government needed to do more to encourage sales:

In order to truly promote innovation, we must as a Congress create opportunities for consumers to invest in advanced technologies, and we haven’t done that yet. We need more tax incentives for that. In 2008, we encouraged America to invest in the growth of the electric car industry with tax credits for qualified electric vehicles.

The extra $2,500 would provide dealers an opportunity to claim credits so long as they disclosed that info to their customers, which would then give said customers a chance to claim the credits at the point of sale, instead of filing a claim with their taxes the following year.

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Question Of The Day: Grandma’s New Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/question-day-grandmas-new-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/question-day-grandmas-new-car/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:17:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921785 After nearly 15 years of faithful service from her 2000 Honda Civic, my grandmother is looking for a new car. There’s nothing wrong with her car, other than the fact that the Civic’s relatively low seating position makes the car difficult to get in and out of for someone who will turn 81 and has […]

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After nearly 15 years of faithful service from her 2000 Honda Civic, my grandmother is looking for a new car. There’s nothing wrong with her car, other than the fact that the Civic’s relatively low seating position makes the car difficult to get in and out of for someone who will turn 81 and has broken their hip twice.

Naturally, I’ve been tasked with helping my grandmother find a new car, but I wanted to draw on the collective wisdom of the B&B for some ideas.

Her requirements

  • Brand new, under $20,000 CDN
  • Automatic transmission (she drove a manual well into her 60s, but that ship has sailed)
  • Similar footprint to her 2000 Civic
  • Reliable
  • Not overly laden with tech (touch screens would be an unwelcome distraction)
  • But a backup camera would be welcome

Based on the reliability issues afflicting the Ford Powershift transmissions, the Fiesta has been struck from the list. The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio seem to have struck her interest, as has the new Honda Fit. Sadly, a decently equipped Mazda3 is over the $20,000 threshold.

What am I overlooking here? Please keep in mind the requirements. This is an 80 year old pensioner we’re talking about. She thought that the much-unloved 2012 Civic was fantastic. The first person to suggest a used, maintenance-intensive enthusiast vehicle or provide unsolicited financial advice about buying a new car will get an all-expenses paid one-week vacation from their commenting privileges.

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CFPB Brings The Hammer Down On Captives, Dealer Reserve http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cfpb-brings-hammer-captives-dealer-reserve/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cfpb-brings-hammer-captives-dealer-reserve/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921689 The hammer has fallen on captive automotive lenders, such as GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began officially asserting its authority over them as the feds and the lenders battle over allegations of discrimination in the latter’s loan products. Forbes reports the captives — regulated at the […]

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The hammer has fallen on captive automotive lenders, such as GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began officially asserting its authority over them as the feds and the lenders battle over allegations of discrimination in the latter’s loan products.

Forbes reports the captives — regulated at the state level until this month — will be used indirectly by the agency to regulate dealerships as far as financing is concerned; the new-car dealer lobby won exemption from oversight in 2010.

The focus? Dealer reserve. Lenders allow dealers to add a few percentage points to the former’s loan packages as compensation for generating the leads, generally capped between 2 to 3 percentage points by most lenders. However, the allegations claim dealerships use their dealer reserve to charge more on loans made to protected classes, such as women and minorities.

The CFPB plans to address the issue by “pushing lenders to switch to some form of dealership compensation that takes away dealer discretion, such as a fixed, flat rate for every customer.” The agency also suggested lower caps could also do away with the alleged variations in dealer pricing.

For its part, the National Automobile Dealers Association claims competition “keeps rates low,” that dealership compensation is lower than the rate caps suggested, and by moving to a fixed, flat rate with even lower caps, dealers would no longer be able to offer discounts on financing.

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Jaguar’s New 4-Cylinder Engines Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguars-new-4-cylinder-engines-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/jaguars-new-4-cylinder-engines-revealed/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:43:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921745   Before we get into the details of Jaguar’s new lineup of modular 4-cylinder engines, let us rejoice. There will be a manual transmission available. In addition to an 8-speed automatic, the new turbocharged 2.0L gasoline and diesel I4 engines will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, marking the first stick-shift Jag since the […]

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Before we get into the details of Jaguar’s new lineup of modular 4-cylinder engines, let us rejoice. There will be a manual transmission available.

In addition to an 8-speed automatic, the new turbocharged 2.0L gasoline and diesel I4 engines will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, marking the first stick-shift Jag since the X-Type.

The gasoline engines will come in two trims, producing 197 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, or 236 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. The diesels will offer 161 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, or 177 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The “lower end” diesel will also output under 100 grams of CO2 and return 75 mpg on the European cycle, which should help it be an attractive choice in the all-important company car market, while also dodging CO2-based taxes in certain world markets. Aside from the recently revealed Jaguar XE, these new engines will also appear in other Jaguar Land Rover products in the near future.

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2015 Honda CR-V: Will it Hang On To Compact SUV Sales Crown? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-will-hang-compact-suv-sales-crown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-will-hang-compact-suv-sales-crown/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:28:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921713 The Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales champion for 7 of the past 10 years. But with competition in the segment heating up, Honda is hoping that their mid-cycle refresh will keep the CR-V attractive to buyers in the fastest-growing segment in the new car market. Styling tweaks aside, the CR-V gains a […]

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The Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales champion for 7 of the past 10 years. But with competition in the segment heating up, Honda is hoping that their mid-cycle refresh will keep the CR-V attractive to buyers in the fastest-growing segment in the new car market.

Styling tweaks aside, the CR-V gains a new direct-injection 2.4L engine. Horsepower is unchanged, but torque is up 11 percent to 181 lb-ft, while a CVT replaces the venerable 5-speed automatic gearbox. The interior has also undergone a restyling that adds a more modern look and what appear to be better materials.

As of September 1st, the CR-V led the Ford Escape by just under 10,000 units in year-to-date sales. The new mid-cycle changes should help put a bit more distance between the two vehicles, but the CR-V must also contend with new entrants like the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester, which are vying for market share in a segment ripe with conquest sales.

crv1 crv2

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Peugeot 505 S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1986-peugeot-505-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1986-peugeot-505-s/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921001 There was a time when Peugeots— mostly 504s but the occasional 404 as well— were quite common in American self-service junkyards. Back in the early 1990s, when I owned a free 504, you could count on finding junkyard parts at every good-sized U-Wrench-It in Northern California, and as recently as the late 2000s I found […]

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10 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when Peugeots— mostly 504s but the occasional 404 as well— were quite common in American self-service junkyards. Back in the early 1990s, when I owned a free 504, you could count on finding junkyard parts at every good-sized U-Wrench-It in Northern California, and as recently as the late 2000s I found the occasional 504 and even this 404. Nowadays, though, all you’re going to see is 505s and 405s, from the final years of Peugeot’s North American presence, and they’re sufficiently rare that we’ve seen just this 405 in this series prior to today. However, a few 505s managed to soldier on for a couple decades after Peugeot fled back across the Atlantic (or at least managed to survive in storage for that time), and I found this ’86 in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard earlier this year.
02 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one had a 2013 San Francisco residential parking permit, from the exceptionally-nightmarish-to-find-parking-even-by-SF-standards Inner Sunset neighborhood. The car probably got towed for having its front bumper 7/16″ into a red zone, and the owner couldn’t afford the $1,800 in impound fees (I’m exaggerating, but not as much as you might think) to get his or her Peugeot back.
04 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin162,862 miles for this car, which is pretty good by mid-80s standards.
03 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPeugeots of the 1970s and 1980s were very pleasant cars to drive, much more comfortable than any competition anywhere in their price range, but getting parts for the all-too-frequent breakdowns was tough. Yes, Europeans, we know the 505 was considered a fairly reliable car over there.
07 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow many rearview-mirror decorations go to the Crusher each year?

La révélation.

Nothing else feels like it.

You could still buy a new 504 in Argentina when this ad came out, but the 505 got more sax. And mimes.

01 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1986 Peugeot 505 S Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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BMW, Baidu Team Up For Automated Driving Trials In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bmw-baidu-team-automated-driving-trials-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/bmw-baidu-team-automated-driving-trials-china/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921665 BMW has teamed up with the Google of China, Baidu, to begin work on automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai. According to Reuters, BMW says its group of research vehicles have already covered “thousands of kilometers” up and down the autobahns of Germany, and is now embarking “on a further research project which will […]

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BMW has teamed up with the Google of China, Baidu, to begin work on automated driving trials in Beijing and Shanghai.

According to Reuters, BMW says its group of research vehicles have already covered “thousands of kilometers” up and down the autobahns of Germany, and is now embarking “on a further research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well.”

The cars for the Chinese project expansion will be tackling the nation’s multi-level highways and other infrastructural challenges in Beijing and Shanghai, relying upon Baidu’s map and cloud services on-the-go to aid in a given vehicle’s navigation.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-subaru-legacy-3-6r-limited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-subaru-legacy-3-6r-limited/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920122 In the very recent past, six-cylinder midsize sedans were often the cars consumers acquired because the basic four-cylinder powerplants were insufficient devices. As fuel efficiency became more of a concern, as economic concerns prompted families to consider less costly purchases, and as larger four-cylinder engines became more refined and powerful, the six-cylinder option gradually became […]

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2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R LimitedIn the very recent past, six-cylinder midsize sedans were often the cars consumers acquired because the basic four-cylinder powerplants were insufficient devices. As fuel efficiency became more of a concern, as economic concerns prompted families to consider less costly purchases, and as larger four-cylinder engines became more refined and powerful, the six-cylinder option gradually became less necessary.

In 2014, upgrading from the four to the six means an increase from sufficient power to over-the-top acceleration.

Usually.

Rewind to 2002. The V6-powered Honda Accord, a 3.0L car with 200 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, was tasked with motivating 3274 pounds. The latest four-cylinder in Honda’s Accord is a 2.4L tasked with propelling only two fewer pounds (in Sport trim) with only 11 fewer ponies than in that 2002 V6. The newer Accord – which just recorded record-high monthly U.S. sales – is two inches longer, its cabin is only slightly larger, and its trunk is 12% more capacious. It’s absolutely fine, completely capable, and as quick as the old V6, if not quicker. Or, if you want to accelerate like an 80s (or 90s?) supercar, you buy the V6.

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited profileThere’s much more to the new Subaru Legacy than an engine. It’s the only car in the class that comes equipped exclusively with all-wheel-drive. Its cabin is truly vast. The trunk, while shallow, is deep and wide and squared off. Interior quality is a couple of generations ahead of the last car. Road and wind noise has been kept to a minimum, and ride quality is really rather impressive. 576 watts and 12 speakers of Harman Kardon audio provides a positive acoustic experience. The steering and handling lack the edge of third and fourth-generation Legacy 2.5 GTs, body roll being the biggest complaint, but the steering is more natural and weightier than what you’ll find in many intermediate cars, and there’s no secondary jostling of occupants as the car recovers from severe road imperfections.

Driver comfort is enhanced by terrific visibility, and while my lanky frame never felt low enough in the car, there is a sensation of abundant up-front space that’s in keeping with contemporary “mid”-size cars, which easy fill a garage. The extensive list of active safety features (ADC, PCB, PCTM, VLDSW, BSD, LCA, RCTA) on this top-trim Legacy Limited work unobtrusively, unlike the Jeep Cherokee which brings you harshly to an unnecessary halt when reversing, for example.

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited rearBut in an era which supplies us with perfectly conventional family sedans that tempt consumers to switch out the capable four-cylinder engine for a high-performance V6  – America’s three favourite midsize sedans still offer remarkably quick V6 powerplants – the Legacy’s 3.6L horizontally-opposed six-cylinder reeks of insignificant extravagance. Subaru USA only offers the 3.6L on full bore Limited models and asks for an extra $3100 to take the plunge.

And what a plunge it is, as average fuel economy takes a nosedive from 30 mpg in the 2.5L to 23. The boxer six’s city rating is 20 mpg. In a mix of city and highway driving, we averaged 19.6 mpg over the course of a week. The six-cylinder’s fuel economy ratings are better than the all-wheel-drive V6-engined Chrysler 200′s; not as good as the 2.0L EcoBoost AWD Ford Fusion’s. Granted, in that Fusion, we saw 18.4 mpg. An Accord V6, lacking all-wheel-drive of course, is rated at 21/34/26 city/highway/combined.

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited steering wheelThe Subaru’s six-cylinder fuel economy is a highlighted issue because it’s yet another penalty you pay, in addition to the higher transaction price, for an insufficient amount of heavy throttle fun. By modern standards, the Legacy 3.6R doesn’t feel like a genuinely quick car, because it’s not a genuinely quick car. Four-cylinder power in a Mazda 6, for instance, will get you away from stoplights more quickly. Indeed, the last Legacy 3.6 accelerates more rapidly. The Subaru is heavier than it used to be, and that’s an undeniable part of the problem, but that weight pays dividends in a structure that feels very solid and a cabin that’s nicely hushed. Indeed, the 3.6L isn’t overwhelming even on paper: with just 256 horsepower, it does not rank among the elite. No, the bigger issue isn’t the Legacy’s overall heft and dearth of impressive specs but rather the connecting element between the engine and the wheels: this is the kind of CVT that gives CVTs a bad name.

Certain that added power cures all CVT ills, I was pleased to discover that the CVT in the latest Outback 2.5i we tested a few weeks ago was mostly inoffensive. Yes, sometimes it made unpleasant sounds. (This 3.6 makes a great noise but its orchestral talents are thrown out of tune by the conductor, the CVT.) But the 2.5′s delivery of power was not hindered by its gearlessness. Knowing this, I assumed that an additional 81 horsepower would only smooth out the CVTness.

Perhaps Subaru made similar assumptions and therefore did not take the time to properly calibrate the pairing, as the dearth of initial acceleration from rest is a miserable disappointment. The paddle shifters offer real assistance, but the frustration of being in a six-cylinder midsize car that simply doesn’t feel like a substantial upgrade over the four is not going to be alleviated by operating the paddles on a constant basis. (A six-speed manual is not available with either of the Legacy’s two engines in the United States; Canadian buyers can select a three-pedal layout with the 2.5L engine.)

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited Tech interiorFortunately, these disappointing realizations serve to highlight the gains made by more basic Legacys in the Subaru’s latest revamp. The new infotainment interface is quick and uncomplicated; only a long reach to the tuning knob and excessive glare on the screen itself let down an otherwise straightforward centre stack. The outgoing Legacy I drove around last winter was hugely uncompetitive. With all-wheel-drive included in the price and inoffensive styling, perhaps even a handsome front end, the new 2015 Legacy is just as staunchly Subaru as it’s always been, if less athletic, but it now feels as well-built as the category’s top sellers.

North America’s new vehicle market has developed a large appetite for cars and crossovers with four driven wheels. Yet the major midsize players from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen have either never entered the all-wheel-drive fray or have forsaken the notion. Massive leaps in refinement have created an opportunity for the 2015 Subaru Legacy to capitalize on its unconventional layout.

The fact that the underperforming CVT-laden six-cylinder option is a terrible value is truly of little consequence on that front. A dollar-minded sedan buyer with a yearning for all-wheel-drive, decent fuel efficiency, and space for four already knows he’s better served by the base engine. Alas, historically speaking, not many of those buyers have actually existed.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. The Legacy was provided for review by Subaru Canada.

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Toyota Recalls 690K Tacomas Over Rear Suspension Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-recalls-690k-tacomas-rear-suspension-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-recalls-690k-tacomas-rear-suspension-issues/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921641 Own a 2005 through 2011 Toyota Tacoma? It may be under recall due to rear suspension issues. Toyota informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of its plans to recall 690,000 2005-2011 Tacoma 4×4 and Pre-Runner trucks to fix the leaf springs in the rear suspension. The possibility is there for a leaf to fracture […]

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Own a 2005 through 2011 Toyota Tacoma? It may be under recall due to rear suspension issues.

Toyota informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of its plans to recall 690,000 2005-2011 Tacoma 4×4 and Pre-Runner trucks to fix the leaf springs in the rear suspension. The possibility is there for a leaf to fracture “due to stress and corrosion,” then make contact with other components once moved out of place.

Should said component be the fuel tank, a puncture could occur, leading to fuel leaks with the potential for fire to occur if an ignition source is nearby.

Toyota will notify owners by mail, and the fix will be provided free of charge.

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Maeda: New Mazda RX Must Have Rotary Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/maeda-new-mazda-rx-must-rotary-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/maeda-new-mazda-rx-must-rotary-power/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921617 Can you imagine one day visiting a Mazda showroom to buy a new RX-7 and finding anything but a rotary engine under the hood? Neither can global design chief — and RX-8 designer — Ikuo Maeda. Automotive News reports the designer, whose father gave the world the aforementioned sports car, is hard at work on […]

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Can you imagine one day visiting a Mazda showroom to buy a new RX-7 and finding anything but a rotary engine under the hood? Neither can global design chief — and RX-8 designer — Ikuo Maeda.

Automotive News reports the designer, whose father gave the world the aforementioned sports car, is hard at work on bringing back the RX line. Though nothing is set in stone, and that the Skyactiv engine “is a wonderful powertrain,” Maeda insists the next RX must live up to its name.

However, engineers are still at a loss as to how to make the rotary engine cleaner to meet today’s more stringent emission guidelines, having been hard at work in the background since the Renesis 16X engine debuted in the back of the Taiki concept in 2007. Mazda itself hasn’t pushed the rotary back into the spotlight since giving the RX-8 the ax in 2012.

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Valet Mode Data Recorder In 2015 Corvettes Could Bring Legal Trouble For Some http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/valet-mode-data-recorder-2015-corvettes-bring-legal-trouble/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/valet-mode-data-recorder-2015-corvettes-bring-legal-trouble/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921601 Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot […]

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Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot water in a dozen states, to say the least.

Automotive News reports GM and Chevrolet will send a software update in October to address the problems that could await owners in two-party states — California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington — were the data recorder used without the consent of the valet. The automaker also notified dealers to inform their customers to not use the system until the update goes through.

The proposed fix could include removing audio recording from the feature, adding a warning informing valets that they’re being recorded, or another method under consideration.

Another notification, signed by GM senior vice president for global quality and customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, instructs customers to refrain from using the valet mode, or to inform the valet they would be recorded upon taking the car, and to “obtain their consent.”

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2014 Paris Auto Show Preview http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2014-paris-auto-show-preview/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2014-paris-auto-show-preview/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921513 Does anyone remember the days when international auto shows had a three month lead time for appearing in printed buff books? I’m not sure what’s worse: waiting for a few grainy shots and 50 word blurbs, or having everything revealed beforehand in a high-stakes game of PR one-upmanship and slow reveals. TTAC will have live […]

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Does anyone remember the days when international auto shows had a three month lead time for appearing in printed buff books? I’m not sure what’s worse: waiting for a few grainy shots and 50 word blurbs, or having everything revealed beforehand in a high-stakes game of PR one-upmanship and slow reveals.

TTAC will have live coverage of the 2014 Paris reveals, even if many of them have been, well, revealed early. Here’s what to expect when the show kicks off on Thursday, October 2nd.

  • Audi TT Roadster: An open-roof version of Audi’s MQB-based sports car.
  • Audi TT Sportback concept: Not content with keeping the TT a coupe, Audi will show a 4-door TT concept.
  • BMW X6: second generation model is bigger, wider, taller, uses carryover platform.
  • Citroën C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept: Citroen’s Cactus manages 117 mpg thanks to aero tweaks and an ultra-efficient powertrain.
  • Ferrari 458 Speciale A: A droptop 458 Speciale, painted an awful yellow hue.
  • Fiat 500X: A Jeep Renegade in Armani Exchange clothing.
  • Honda Civic Type R Concept: A veiled preview of the first turbocharged Type-R.
  • Infiniti Q80 Infiniti’s “1+1+1+1″ sedan, which is really more like a 2+2.
  • Jaguar XE sedan: First public showing of Jag’s 3-Series fighter.
  • Kia Sorento: Kia’s next generation compact CUV will debut, but won’t hit showrooms until MY 2016.
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport: Land Rover’s newest small crossover.
  • Mazda MX-5: We’ll finally learn technical specs for Mazda’s newest sports car.
  • Mercedes-AMG GT: AMG’s newest flagship sports car.
  • Mini 5-door: A replacement for the Clubman, the biggest Mini will sport a proper set of rear doors.
  • Toyota C-HR concept: Toyota throws its hat into the small crossover ring.
  • Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: VW’s Outback debuts with diesels and lots of cladding
  • Volkswagen Passat: An all-new Passat, based on MQB with a smaller footprint and a plug-in variant
  • Volkswagen Polo GTI: More power to better compete with the Ford Fiesta ST
  • Volvo XC90: Volvo’s do-or-die crossover.

 

 

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UAW, IG Metall Working To Jointly Organize Chattanooga VW Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/uaw-ig-metall-working-jointly-organize-chattanooga-vw-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/uaw-ig-metall-working-jointly-organize-chattanooga-vw-plant/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:04:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921489 While former EICs Schmitt and Niedermeyer documented the increasing co-operation between the UAW and IG Metall, recent developments have taken the relationship to new twists and turns. First there was the appointment of IG Metall bigwig Bernd Osterloh to VW of America’s board of directors. Now, Reuters is reporting that the two unions, along with the […]

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While former EICs Schmitt and Niedermeyer documented the increasing co-operation between the UAW and IG Metall, recent developments have taken the relationship to new twists and turns. First there was the appointment of IG Metall bigwig Bernd Osterloh to VW of America’s board of directors. Now, Reuters is reporting that the two unions, along with the VW global works council, have signed a letter of intent to represent VW workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.

Since the UAW lost a 2013 vote to represent the plant’s workers, various machinations have occurred. A “voluntary” union local was established by the UAW in an attempt to organize the plant’s labor force, only to be met with another outfit that was distinguished by its anti-UAW stance.

Despite the “voluntary” nature of the UAW’s Local 42 (as its known), the bargaining unit could be recognized by VW if a majority of workers decide to join it. This would be a major coup for the UAW, which is desperate to make headway in organizing a foreign plant, as well as IG Metall, which would further solidify its influence in Volkswagen Group affairs, after causing a stink at the massive Wolfsburg assembly plant, where VW is experiencing labor unrest amid a bumpy rollout for its new MQB based cars.

Osterloh’s appointment to the VWoA board and the organization of Chattanooga workers under the auspices of the UAW may simply be the price that Chattanooga has to pay for getting the new 7-seat VW crossover. VW, ever careful not to piss off IG Metall, has never adopted an anti-UAW stance despite insider reports claiming that unionization was not a desired outcome. But in the spirit of “Solidarity Forever“, IG Metall appears to determined to bring their UAW brothers into the plant, even if they have to let them in via the side door.

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Chrysler Shutting Windsor Plant For 12 Weeks To Re-Tool For “Stunning” Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921442 In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country. According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough […]

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In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country.

According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough minivan inventory to tide over dealers and consumers until the introduction of the new vehicle.

The shutdown is expected to bring major upgrades to the plant, which is alreading building 1,400 vans a day on three shifts. Although the nature of the upgrades has not been disclosed, it will likely be able to build more than just the minivan, since the new van will ride on a flexible architecture shared with other FCA products. However, no other products have been allocated to the plant, and Unifor, the labor union representing the plant’s workers, is reported to be hard at work to secure a future crossover for Windsor.

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