The Truth About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:28:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 Chart Of The Day: 8 Years A Slave http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-8-years-slave/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-8-years-slave/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:28:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935786 Today’s Chart comes from J.D. Power, showing the growth of long term loans in the Canadian car market. While 96 month loans are just starting to hit American consumers, the 8 year loan terms have been present in the Great White North for some time. A friend was recently looking at a modestly equipped Big […]

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Today’s Chart comes from J.D. Power, showing the growth of long term loans in the Canadian car market. While 96 month loans are just starting to hit American consumers, the 8 year loan terms have been present in the Great White North for some time. A friend was recently looking at a modestly equipped Big Three Pickup, which would be used for work. The truck, with an MSRP of $35,000 CAD (plus 13 percent sales tax), was offered at 96 months for 3.99%. That would have added up to $6,000 in interest payments over the loan term.

Faced with less disposable income and higher vehicle costs, the discourse in the Canadian market has gradually shifted to one where bi-weekly and even weekly payments have become the advertised norm, with 72, 84 and 96 month loans appearing as a fixture of the new and used vehicle marketplace. While the Honda Civic is still Canada’s best-selling passenger car (advertised at $39 per week), and Canadians opt for more modest choices overall, credit rating agencies are already sounding the alarm over the rapid expansion of auto loans to unworthy consumers, driven largely by Canada’s banking sector.

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On Tesla, Michigan And Factory Stores http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/on-tesla-michigan-factory-stores/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/on-tesla-michigan-factory-stores/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:06:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935530 Bloomberg’s op-ed “Detroit Fights Innovation — Again” is not about the Detroit Three of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler [merger consummated Oct 12th] or even manufacturers, but about Michigan and (indirectly) automotive dealers. It makes the very tenuous claim that a ruling blocking Tesla from running company stores (which is in fact in line with […]

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Bloomberg’s op-ed “Detroit Fights Innovation — Again” is not about the Detroit Three of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler [merger consummated Oct 12th] or even manufacturers, but about Michigan and (indirectly) automotive dealers. It makes the very tenuous claim that a ruling blocking Tesla from running company stores (which is in fact in line with existing state law) is tacit protectionism that represents a step backward. Indeed, the article implies that the restriction is ultimately aimed at preventing a Chinese invasion. In fact the policy is misguided because history shows that there’s no need to fear factory stores, at least as long as they’re not set up by a car company so as to undermine their own existing dealers.

First, there’s the red herring: China. The editors – there’s no by-line, though David Shipley is listed at the bottom – ignore that GM and VW are the biggest players in China, and that purely domestic firms are in a tailspin (Warren Buffett has thrown away a pile of money on BYD [比亚迪汽车]). The camel’s nose is well inside the tent: all of China’s major players are multinationals who already have dealerships spread across all 50 states. Indeed, two firms, Honda and Volvo, are already exporting from China. And the policy is to protect the Detroit Three? Don’t the editors realize that last month they held but 46% of the US market?

Second, the important point: multiple automotive firms in multiple countries across multiple decades have tried and failed with factory stores. If you read carefully, you’ll even find Elon Musk talking about defects with Tesla’s distribution model. A modern dealership is comprised of six interlinked businesses: new vehicle sales, used vehicle sales, used car wholesaling (trade-ins), finance & insurance [including warranties], repair services, and parts sales, both retail and wholesale. (Some add a seventh to the mix, body shops, which in practice are a very different business from service & repairs.) So a manager must handle trade-ins, push used car sales and otherwise place a priority on things other than selling new cars in order to make a profit. On top of that, dealers are in a constant battle over what sort of physical “store” is needed, how much and what kind of advertising is necessary, and many other decisions important from a financial or strategic perspective. All this requires an ability to say “no” to the factory. No company has ever granted the manager of a factory store that level of discretion.Note 1

More important for potential new entrants, independent dealers provide billions in financing to a car company, because they hold inventory. The real estate is theirs as well, again not a trivial investment. Any potential new entrant that needs a large distribution footprint — that is, any company outside of the supercar niche — can’t afford to ignore that. If Elon Musk wasn’t so good at bilkingmilking investors, he would need that money, too.

So the Bloomberg editors are accurate that Michigan — which is far from being in the vanguard on this issue — should not concern itself with Tesla’s retail strategy. They are however accurate for the wrong reasons: factory stores have been a bloodbath for all who have tried, and will remain so. In practice, independent dealers are critical to a car company’s long-run financial viability. Contrary to the editorial, it’s not incumbent car companies that should be concerned, or existing dealers. It’s Tesla shareholders and bondholders who should worry.Note 2


  1. The factory rep who has actually sold a car to a real customer is the rarest of creatures. To my knowledge there are none with the experience of running an independent dealership. Then there are incentives. A factory rep is not offered compensation commensurate with what the principal of a (successful) independent dealership can earn. Instead they work for a salary, and their career depends on saying yes to their boss. So both corporate incentives and practical knowledge stand in the way.
  2. In the past week Toyota sold some of its 2.4% stake while Daimler sold all of its 3.9% stake.

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Nissan, Honda Recall More Takata-Equipped Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935674 The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list. Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube […]

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2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior

The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list.

Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube and Micra/March, with the majority of the models located in the automaker’s home market of Japan.

Meanwhile, Honda is replacing the defective units in 3.5 million vehicles in 11 states in the U.S. where high humidity could lead to an airbag exploding with metal shrapnel taking dead aim at all inside. The company also recalled 425,825 units, adding onto the 6 million that have been recalled over the issue since 2008.

Finally, General Motors and Toyota are issuing warnings to their customers not have anyone sit in the front passenger seat until the airbag unit is replaced.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Datsun 280C aka Nissan Cedric http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1982-datsun-280c-aka-nissan-cedric/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1982-datsun-280c-aka-nissan-cedric/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935210 During my trip to Sweden a few months ago, I watched a Volvo 244 triumph at a Folkrace, saw some great restored Detroit iron, and— of course— went to the junkyard. In fact, I went to one of the best junkyards I’ve ever seen: Bloms Bilskrot, located near the northern town of Söråker. We’ve taken […]

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01 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my trip to Sweden a few months ago, I watched a Volvo 244 triumph at a Folkrace, saw some great restored Detroit iron, and— of course— went to the junkyard. In fact, I went to one of the best junkyards I’ve ever seen: Bloms Bilskrot, located near the northern town of Söråker. We’ve taken a detailed look at this 1966 Toyota Crown wagon, this 1963 Ford Taunus 17M, this California-customized 1969 Ford Econoline van, this 1964 Simca 1000, and now it’s the turn of a not-sold-in-North-America fifth-generation Nissan Cedric.
04 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty mossy, but still has some useful parts.
03 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 280C version came with the same L28 as the 280ZX, but it could also be had with a diesel version known as the LD28.
05 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince there’s a glow-plug indicator light on the dash, this car should be an oil-burner.
06 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe European version appears to have been given English-language dash controls.


The next generation of this car came with a V6 and the endorsement of Jack Nicklaus. Wait, wasn’t he supposed to stay loyal to the Isuzu Statesman Deville?

01 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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NYC Taxi Association Take Taxi Of Tomorrow Fight To Albany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935650 Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200. Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant […]

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Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200.

Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant to bring 15,000 of the new taxis to the streets of Manhattan over the next 10 years — was flawed from the start:

The Taxi of Tomorrow as planned forces owners to purchase a single foreign-made vehicle, which is neither fuel-efficient nor wheelchair accessible.

The lawsuit process began in 2012, after the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission chose the NV200 as its new champion, and mandated all medallion owners to buy the vans to replace their Ford Crown Victorias at $29,700 a pop. The plan was blocked twice prior to the June 2014 ruling in favor, once for the lack of hybrid models, and again for overreach by the commission.

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2017 Jeep Wrangler To Remain Body-On-Frame http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2017-jeep-wrangler-remain-body-frame/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2017-jeep-wrangler-remain-body-frame/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935626 The fate of where the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will be assembled may have been settled, thanks to the fact that there will be no unibody Wrangler anytime soon. Automotive News reports sources from inside and outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have stated the 2017 Wrangler will remain body-on-frame, meaning the Toledo, Ohio plant responsible for the […]

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The fate of where the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will be assembled may have been settled, thanks to the fact that there will be no unibody Wrangler anytime soon.

Automotive News reports sources from inside and outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have stated the 2017 Wrangler will remain body-on-frame, meaning the Toledo, Ohio plant responsible for the icon’s production won’t see it head elsewhere for now.

As for going aluminum to help make weight in the CAFE fuel economy competition, CEO Sergio Marchionne says it’s still a possibility for the next Wrangler to use the metal so long as production costs are manageable, which may also mean trouble still for Toledo:

If the solution is aluminum then I think unfortunately Toledo is the wrong set up to try and build a Wrangler because it requires a complete, a reconfiguring of the assets which would be cost prohibitive. I mean it would be just be so outrageously expensive for us to try and work out that facility.

Further, the switchover would stop Wrangler production completely — the Toledo plant, which is already operating above capacity, is the only plant where Wranglers are made — eating away at both dealer inventory and corporate profits. The current forecast shows 235,000 units leaving Ohio by the end of 2014, the third consecutive year of record high production.

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Chrysler Group Outsold Toyota USA In September 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-group-outsold-toyota-usa-september-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-group-outsold-toyota-usa-september-2014/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:59:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934538 In September 2014, for the first time since September 2011, the Chrysler Group sold more new vehicles in the United States than Toyota USA. But while the results from three years ago involved post-tsunami struggles for many Japanese automakers and 27,000 extra Chrysler Group sales, September 2014’s numbers point more exclusively to the gains made […]

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The Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex used to produce Jeep Cherokee in ToledoIn September 2014, for the first time since September 2011, the Chrysler Group sold more new vehicles in the United States than Toyota USA.

But while the results from three years ago involved post-tsunami struggles for many Japanese automakers and 27,000 extra Chrysler Group sales, September 2014’s numbers point more exclusively to the gains made at Chrysler’s five brands.

Once again, Chrysler Group sales increased by around 27,000 units, year-over-year. Toyota sales, including Lexus and Scion, also increased, rising less than 2% last month. In September 2011, total Toyota USA sales tumbled 17%.

In fact, the Chrysler Group outsold Toyota USA on four occasions in 2011: May, June, August, and September. (The earthquake-induced tsunami occurred in March.)

On an annual basis, the Chrysler Group hasn’t outsold Toyota USA since calendar year 2005, when 2.3 million Chrysler products and 2.26 million Toyota products were sold.

Fast forward two years from that point and we arrive at Toyota USA’s best-ever year. 2007 sales rose 3% to 2.62 million sales, 544,000 more than Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep managed that year. 2007 also marked the beginning of a three-year streak in which Toyota USA outsold the Ford Motor Company. On an annual basis, Ford hasn’t allowed that to happen since 2009.

Toyota Chrysler car sales chart September 2014Lest we assume September marks a return to the days of the Big Three being the quasi-Detroit Three, remember that Toyota, Lexus, and Scion have outsold Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram by nearly 239,000 units over the course of 2014’s first nine months.

Indeed, the gap in September equalled just 2611 units. Excluding commercial vans, the gap shrinks to 725 units. Excluding commercial vans and pickup trucks, the gap reverses in Toyota’s favour to 15,158 units.

The Chrysler Group is also a prominent builder of SUVs and crossovers, with 67,025 September sales from five Jeeps and two Dodges. Toyota and Lexus combined for 52,459 utility vehicle sales from the Lexus GX, LX, and RX and Toyota’s 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Land Cruiser, RAV4, Sequoia, and Venza.

Toyota Chrysler Light Truck Sales Chart September 2014Do the math and you’ll end up with 85,499 Toyota car sales and 40,063 car sales at the Chrysler Group, Fiat 500L included.

The fact that Chrysler outsold Toyota was little more than an interesting tidbit of September 2014 auto sales news given that, up to this point, it’s only happened once in 36 months. Of far greater interest would be Chrysler Group sales results if the company’s passenger car volume came remotely close to matching industry leaders.

Even without cars, the Chrysler Group sold more trucks, minivans, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vans in September 2014 than their total vehicle sales in September 2011. More “light trucks” were sold by the Chrysler Group than the complete new vehicle sales totals achieved in September 2014 by American Honda, Nissan/Infiniti, and Hyundai-Kia.

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Auto Industry Groups Join Forces To Secure Vehicle Communications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/auto-industry-groups-join-forces-secure-vehicle-communications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/auto-industry-groups-join-forces-secure-vehicle-communications/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935578 A pair of auto manufacturer groups are coming together to form a consortium meant to prevent crackers — the correct term for those whose goal is to give computer security a good thrashing — from busting up a given vehicle’s communication system, one that has the blessing of the federal government. Automotive News reports the […]

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Cowboy Bebop At His Computer... Not
A pair of auto manufacturer groups are coming together to form a consortium meant to prevent crackers — the correct term for those whose goal is to give computer security a good thrashing — from busting up a given vehicle’s communication system, one that has the blessing of the federal government.

Automotive News reports the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers want to help automakers establish firewalls for V2V — vehicle-to-vehicle — and vehicle-to-cloud communications, with the intent for them to share information of a given vulnerability for quick neutralization.

The CEOs of both industry groups sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this summer, proclaiming their joint support of the “mechanism for sharing vehicle cyber-security information, threats, warnings and incidents among industry stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, former agency head David Strickland, doing consulting work for one of the participants of the new consortium, says the group will be called the Information Sharing Advisory Center — a.k.a. Auto-ISAC — when it comes online a year or so from now.

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Privacy Advocates Take Law Enforcement To Task Over Handling Of License Plate Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/privacy-advocates-take-law-enforcement-task-handling-license-plate-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/privacy-advocates-take-law-enforcement-task-handling-license-plate-data/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935546 The panopticon grows taller every day, as motorists who try to learn what information is gathered by the automatic license plate readers face roadblock after roadblock, with three cases set to determine once and for all what can be seen. Autoblog reports the advocacy groups, journalists and private citizens supporting the cases aim to help […]

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Automatic Plate Number Reader

The panopticon grows taller every day, as motorists who try to learn what information is gathered by the automatic license plate readers face roadblock after roadblock, with three cases set to determine once and for all what can be seen.

Autoblog reports the advocacy groups, journalists and private citizens supporting the cases aim to help uncover how and what data is collected and used by police, while the police support keeping the electric eye solely on others under the premise that the data is part of ongoing investigations. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reporter Steve Orr, who filed a FOIA request with Monroe County officials about his own vehicle, disputes the reasoning:

What investigation is that? Most people in the database are not, and haven’t been associated with an investigation. There’s no criminal concern here… They’re saying, “OK, maybe there’s not an investigation now, but there could be one down the road”… What it says is that we’re all suspects in waiting.

Another case in Los Angeles calls out both the LAPD and Los Angeles Sheriffs Department for the same issue and the reasoning behind it. According to Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Jennifer Lynch, the data collected would be held for, at most, two days before being deleted, as it wouldn’t be necessary to hold onto it for longer during a stolen vehicle investigation.

However, most law enforcement agencies can hold onto plate data for two to five years, if not indefinitely. Further, the data could be pooled with other agencies, eventually coalescing into a picture of a given driver’s personal life as tracked by the plate readers. Without public oversight in how the data — obtained from a public piece of identification — is used, it would become “too easy for the government to overreach,” per the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Is Scion’s Next New Car A Station Wagon? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/scions-next-new-car-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/scions-next-new-car-station-wagon/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:53:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935450 The death of the Toyota Matrix will leave a hatchback-sized hole in Toyota’s lineup. But the replacement won’t be a Toyota, if Scion’s newest concept is any indication. As we reported back in June, Scion is said to be readying a new hatchback based on the Toyota Auris. The Auris is a European version of […]

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The death of the Toyota Matrix will leave a hatchback-sized hole in Toyota’s lineup. But the replacement won’t be a Toyota, if Scion’s newest concept is any indication.

As we reported back in June, Scion is said to be readying a new hatchback based on the Toyota Auris. The Auris is a European version of the Corolla, which features an independent rear suspension, rather than the Corolla’s torsion beam setup. The new vehicle will apparently be dubbed the Scion iM, and will debut in lightly disguised “concept” form at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Some time ago, our own Ronnie Schreiber got a chance to drive both the Auris hatchback (akin to the Matrix) and the Auris Touring Sports, which is a true station wagon variant. Will Scion be bold enough to bring the wagon version here? We’ll find out next month.

scion-la-concept-1-1 scion-la-concept-2-1

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US House Committee Reviewing Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/us-house-committee-reviewing-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/us-house-committee-reviewing-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935402 With around 7.8 million vehicles from various automakers under recall thanks to defects in airbags supplied by Takata, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing the proceedings. The Detroit News reports the committee requested a briefing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “on the status of the Takata recalls and the agency’s […]

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Takata Sign

With around 7.8 million vehicles from various automakers under recall thanks to defects in airbags supplied by Takata, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing the proceedings.

The Detroit News reports the committee requested a briefing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “on the status of the Takata recalls and the agency’s investigation,” and plans to meet with automakers “to discuss supplier issues,” as well.

The recall, originally affecting 4.7 million units from six automakers, expanded Tuesday to cover 7.8 million units from 10 manufacturers. Further, the NHTSA included General Motors vehicles made in 2002 and 2003 that weren’t supposed to be on the list — they didn’t have Takata airbags — and the website meant to help consumers determine if their vehicles are affected is having issues, though the agency believes high traffic isn’t the problem.

The recall affects a handful of areas with high humidity, where the defective airbags could explode in a manner conducive to producing metal shrapnel, lacerating and/or killing all inside the cabin of the vehicle. Consumers are urged to bring in their vehicles for repair, and if parts aren’t available, will be asked to keep passengers from sitting up front until the deactivated airbag is replaced.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934978 Ahh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged […]

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15 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAhh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged and modified Renault 25). Since I live in Colorado, I see Eagles on the street all the time— there are several daily-driver Eagles living within a few blocks of me— and I see them in the local wrecking yards. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, and this ’85 wagon. The AMC Spirit-based SX/4 is much less common than the larger AMC Concord-based Eagles, so today’s find (in Denver, of course) is quite interesting.
10 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t see any SX/4 badging on this car, but I’m fairly certain that any Spirit Liftback was sold as an SX/4. AMC experts, please fill us in on the details of Late Malaise Era AMC branding/badging.
05 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one seems to have just about every possible option, including the optional center gauge cluster with clock and vacuum meter.
02 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission, sporty steering wheel, air conditioning— this car is loaded!
14 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found an old German 1-mark coin from the pre-Euro era on this car’s floor.
22 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old reliable AMC six, which Chrysler kept making into the current century.
18 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t tremendously valuable, so it is not shocking to see this rust-free example about to be crushed.

Yes, the SX/4 was pitched as a sports car.

Two-wheeling in style or four-wheeling in the wild!

01 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Gilbert Calls Out Dealers In Wake Of Reinforced Michigan Direct Sales Ban http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gilbert-calls-dealers-wake-reinforced-michigan-direct-sales-ban/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935370 Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago. Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision […]

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Tuesday, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that included language reinforcing a direct sales ban established over 30 years ago.

Wednesday? Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert — best known as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers who penned a letter in Comic Sans typeface in response to LeBron James making the decision to play for the Miami Heat — had a few words to say about this decision.

According to Detroit Free Press, Gilbert was interviewing fellow NBA team owner Mark Cuban while guest-hosting an episode of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when he brought up the signing of HB 5606, now known as Michigan Public Act 354 of 2014, proclaiming the move “sends a bad message” as far as how much influence lobbyists — especially the auto dealer lobby — have over legislators. He added that Michigan dealers should “man up” and compete with Tesla instead of forcing the EV automaker to sell through a franchise network.

Morgan Stanley automotive analyst Adam Jonas agreed with Gilbert in a note to the financial giant’s clients, stating it was only “a matter of time” that the issue of direct sales — and Tesla’s link to them — would “likely mushroom into a national issue.” He also said legislation protecting the status quo “exist to support the weakest link in the network.”

On the other side, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce president Sandy Baruah believes Detroit “should have a business environment where all participants play by a common set of rules.” The chamber also supported the signing, and says it looks forward to the further examination Snyder called for in light of the reinforcement.

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Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class Is Selling Like It’s 2007 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mercedes-benzs-s-class-selling-like-2007/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mercedes-benzs-s-class-selling-like-2007/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:16:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934466 Mercedes-Benz USA has already sold more copies of the all-conquering S-Class in 2014 than in the full calendar years of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. By the end of October, Mercedes-Benz USA’s S-Class sales total will be in excess of 2008’s total, as well. Not since 2007 have S-Class sales been this strong. Mercedes-Benz […]

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2014 Mercedes-Benz S-ClassMercedes-Benz USA has already sold more copies of the all-conquering S-Class in 2014 than in the full calendar years of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. By the end of October, Mercedes-Benz USA’s S-Class sales total will be in excess of 2008’s total, as well.

Not since 2007 have S-Class sales been this strong. Mercedes-Benz sold 30,886 S-Class sedans in the United States in 2006 and 26,081 in 2007 after averaging little more than 20,000 annual U.S. sales between 2002 and 2005.

(Mercedes-Benz’s decision to throw the CL-Class coupe nameplate under the S-Class’s banner doesn’t mean much in this historical context, as the CL-Class has always operated in a narrow niche in the market. It accounted for 4% of all S/CL sales in 2006 and 3% last year. The coupe only accounts for 2% of the currently inventoried S-Classes.)

While this category has traditionally belonged to the S-Class, so much so that any new entry is considered as much an S-Class fighter as it is a flagship luxury sedan in its own right, there have been times in the recent past when alternatives have led the way. Going back as far as 2002, both the BMW 7-Series and even better-selling (and more affordable) Lexus LS outsold the S-Class. (They both did so again in 2005.) In fact, the LS outsold the S-Class in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The S-Class has beaten off all challenges from top-level, premium brand sedans in each of the last four years, however, and through the first three-quarters of 2014 it has sold more than twice as often as any direct rival.

S-Class sales have risen 122% to 16,915 units so far this year. BMW 7-Series sales are down 27% to 6264 units, the Lexus LS is down 22% to 5904, the Audi A8 is down 12% to 4060, and the Jaguar XJ is down 15% to 3468.

It’s estimated that Tesla has sold around 12,000 copies of the Model S in the United States during the first three-quarters of 2014. BMW’s 6-Series range, now available as a four-door, is 371 sales ahead of the 7-Series. The Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS sit in between the E-Class/5-Series/A6 and S-Class/7-Series/A8 lineups. Their sales are up 6% to 6386 and up 4% to 6149, respectively.

In other words, the S-Class doesn’t simply outsell its rivals, it roundly trounces them.

It helps to be the newest, it helps to be the progenitor, and it helps to offer a broader lineup of available sedans. S-Class volume has now increased in twelve consecutive months.

Through three-quarters, BMW USA has outsold Mercedes-Benz USA (excluding Sprinter) by 3380 units. Yet while BMW generates 2.6% of its volume with the 7-Series (Lexus is at 2.7% with the LS; Audi ‘s at 3.1% with A8; JLR’s at 6.9% with Jaguar XJ), Mercedes-Benz produces 7.3% of its volume with the S-Class.

That figure has grown from 3.5% last year, but it’s down from 10.3% in 2007, the last time S-Class sales were this high, before the brand produced 12.9% of its volume with vehicles like the CLA and GLA, as Mercedes-Benz did in September.

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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Nissan, Tesla Sold Most California ZEV Credits In 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-tesla-sold-california-zev-credits-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-tesla-sold-california-zev-credits-2013/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935346 In one corner of the California ZEV credit octagon, the Tesla and its air of luxury. On the other side, the Nissan and its down-to-earth vibe. Who won this year? Nissan. AutoblogGreen reports the Japanese automaker sold more ZEV credits than the Californians, though not by much: 663.6 to 650.195. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pulled up […]

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In one corner of the California ZEV credit octagon, the Tesla and its air of luxury. On the other side, the Nissan and its down-to-earth vibe.

Who won this year? Nissan.

AutoblogGreen reports the Japanese automaker sold more ZEV credits than the Californians, though not by much: 663.6 to 650.195. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pulled up at a distant third with 235.2 sold, thanks to the existence of the Fiat 500e.

As for who bought them — purchase price per credit is permanently shrouded in secrecy — Mercedes likely took Nissan’s credits for the former’s less green offerings, Honda following behind with 542.5 purchased. FCA, again, placed third with 237.8, cancelling out what the 500e gained.

Finally, California residents brought home 3.5 million vehicles during the period ending last month, with 38,000 EVs, 30,000 PHEVs and 570,000 hybrids roaming the streets and highways.

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Daimler Financially Divests From Tesla, BMW Could Step In http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-financially-divests-tesla-bmw-step/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-financially-divests-tesla-bmw-step/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935314 Over five years ago, Daimler AG acquired a 9.1 percent interest in Tesla, gaining 1,000 battery packs for its Smart EV in exchange for helping to put the Model S on the road to production. Wednesday, Daimler sold its remaining 4 percent in the company, netting $780 million for the trouble. Despite the divestiture, both […]

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Over five years ago, Daimler AG acquired a 9.1 percent interest in Tesla, gaining 1,000 battery packs for its Smart EV in exchange for helping to put the Model S on the road to production.

Wednesday, Daimler sold its remaining 4 percent in the company, netting $780 million for the trouble.

Despite the divestiture, both automakers will continue cooperating on ongoing projects, such as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive recently launched in the United States. Daimler financial management board member Bodo Uebber said the sale would allow Tesla to “broaden its investor base,” adding that stock ownership wasn’t necessary to the overall relationship between the two companies.

As for who Tesla could now court, Forbes believes BMW could be drawn further into its own relationship with the company. International Strategy & Investment analyst Arndt Ellinghorst believes Tesla would benefit more from BMW’s carbon-fiber technology — put to great use in the i Series — than from providing batteries to Mercedes. Both companies met in June to discuss standardization for a potential EV charging network.

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Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce SUVs Still Waiting For Green Light http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lamborghini-rolls-royce-suvs-still-waiting-green-light/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lamborghini-rolls-royce-suvs-still-waiting-green-light/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935290 Saving away for either a Lamborghini Urus or the Rolls-Royce SUV with no name (yet)? You may end up in an Aventador or Wraith instead if neither one are green-lit. According to AutoCar, the £180,000 ($289,000 USD) new-age Rambo Lambo is awaiting the go-ahead from Audi, which an anonymous insider claims will come when economic […]

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Saving away for either a Lamborghini Urus or the Rolls-Royce SUV with no name (yet)? You may end up in an Aventador or Wraith instead if neither one are green-lit.

According to AutoCar, the £180,000 ($289,000 USD) new-age Rambo Lambo is awaiting the go-ahead from Audi, which an anonymous insider claims will come when economic and geopolitical conditions calm down:

We are convinced the Urus can significantly boost global sales, but the financial conditions need to be sound. Right now, there are signs we may be heading for a downturn in the markets due to various factors, including trouble in the Middle East, although this is not reflected in the current sales situation, which puts us ahead of 2013.

Over at BMW, the Grey Poupon delivery wagon — set to move out of mainly Chinese showrooms at £200,000 ($321,000) — is still in the design phase. Board member for the high-end premium brand, Peter Schwarzenbauer, said the proposals are closing in on BMW’s vision for the SUV, but if the execs can’t be convinced that the final design resembles a Rolls-Royce, the vehicle will not be built.

Both SUVs are expected to enter production in 2017.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: The Great American Full-Size Sedan Shootout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:13:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934954 Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version. Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the […]

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Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version.

Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the B&B get to choose what you want to read first: the Hellcat standalone review, or a shootout between the Charger SXT V6 and Chevrolet Impala 2LT and the Charger SRT 392 and the Chevrolet SS; the V6 and V8 shootouts will get their own articles.

The Charger R/T Hemi was on hand, but without a competitive car to drive, we skipped it. Same with the basic Charger V6. In all likelihood, we’ll be able to rent both of those cars at a later date or get them out of the local press fleet. Over to you, B&B.

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Chicago’s Bid To Fleece Motorists Of $90M Falls Short http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chicagos-bid-fleece-motorists-90m-falls-short/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chicagos-bid-fleece-motorists-90m-falls-short/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:10:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934858 Don’t you just hate it when you plan to screw your constituents out of nearly a hundred million bucks and you only get, like, half of that? A combination of salesmanship and greed led the city of Chicago to blanket the city with speed and red-light cameras. They were expected to issue over one million […]

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Don’t you just hate it when you plan to screw your constituents out of nearly a hundred million bucks and you only get, like, half of that?

A combination of salesmanship and greed led the city of Chicago to blanket the city with speed and red-light cameras. They were expected to issue over one million tickets a year. Estimates of Chicago’s population range between 2.6 and 9.5 million people, depending on how one defines “Chicago”.

Unfortunately for Chicago’s embattled mayor, Rahm Emanuel, the motorist sheep couldn’t be sheared at quite the expected rates. The shortfall between expected revenue and actual revenue could be as much as fifty million dollars, putting pressure on the city to make the money up in other ways.

Still, one has to wonder: If a law is broken at least four hundred thousand times a year in a city area of under ten million people, how valid is the law? And if a city is betting on a million lawbreakers a year to balance its budget, where is the incentive to look at ways to keep people from breaking the law, whether through adjusting the law or adjusting the roads? Finally, if Mayor Emanuel really wants a million people a year to go speeding through school zones, what does that say about his sense of ethics?

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Fuel Prices Leave Efficient, Greener Offerings On The Lot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934794 Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings. Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the […]

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Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings.

Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max alone have seen increased incentives, with the latter jumping from $2,650 last September, to $4,900 this past September.

Meanwhile, strengthening fuel efficiency targets may lead to automakers producing vehicles that, according to Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Eric Ibarra, “consumers don’t want to buy” should gasoline and diesel prices remain low. Per forecasts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the decrease in fuel costs will remain in play for at least another year, thanks to the oil boom in places like Alberta and North Dakota.

That said, dealerships aren’t too worried yet, believing consumers are ever-vigilant toward price spikes. Until then, SUVs and pickups will dominate the highways for another day.

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Daimler Expanding Sprinter Production To North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934770 When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America. Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the […]

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When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America.

Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the NAFTA region,” according to Mercedes’ head of vans, Volker Mornhinweg.

Presently, the U.S.-bound Sprinters are made in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, then sent over in CKD form to Ladson, S.C. for reassembly. Around 23,000 Sprinters were sent in this manner to U.S. customers in 2013, the sales second only to Germany.

As for where the new plant will be built, Mornhinweg says the exact location would be chosen in the coming months, with sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico being examined.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1990-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1990-toyota-cressida/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934274 The Toyota Cressida was very reliable (partly because first owners tended to be the types who did regular maintenance) and held its value well, so it took until about a decade ago for them to start showing up in cheap self-service wrecking yards in large quantities. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this […]

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13 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Toyota Cressida was very reliable (partly because first owners tended to be the types who did regular maintenance) and held its value well, so it took until about a decade ago for them to start showing up in cheap self-service wrecking yards in large quantities. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in this series so far (plus some bonus Michael Bay Edition Tokyo Taxis, courtesy of Crabspirits), and these proto-Lexus big Toyotas just keep rolling into America’s wrecking yards. Here’s a 160,819 refrigerator-white ’90 that showed up in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard without a speck of rust.

05 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMechanically speaking, this car was a close cousin of the Supra, and it had the same 190-horse 7M-GE straight-six under the hood.

11 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRear-wheel-drive, of course.

01 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is pretty well used up, which doomed this car to the junkyard when it got some parking tickets and/or a mechanical problem that cost more than $150 to fix.


Here’s a very long promotional video for this car. It’s worth skipping forward a few minutes to the part where the potential Cressida driver encounters a “STEEP GRADE NEXT 1,000 MILES” road sign.


In Australia, it was pronounced “Cress-SEE-duh” and was all about quietness on primitive dirt roads.


In the motherland, this car was known as the Mark II, and it got triumphant music in its ads and an optional supercharger under the hood.

01 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: Tyre Size Minus 1 or Minus 2? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-minus-1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-minus-1/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:51:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933602 Gavin writes: Dear Sajeev: I have a Gen 7 Toyota Camry V6 and I am getting close to replacement of the factory 225/45/18 low profile tyres. The selection of long wearing low profile all season tyres in 45 series is pretty slim. The four cylinder version of my Camry has 215/55/17 tyres on 7×17 inch […]

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Gavin writes:

Dear Sajeev:

I have a Gen 7 Toyota Camry V6 and I am getting close to replacement of the factory 225/45/18 low profile tyres. The selection of long wearing low profile all season tyres in 45 series is pretty slim. The four cylinder version of my Camry has 215/55/17 tyres on 7×17 inch rims and the selection of long wearing 55 series touring tyres is much better. My question is, since I am not really a ‘sport driving type’, would it be better for me to find a nice set of wrecking yard alloys and downgrade to the smaller rim/taller sidewall size tyres? Is the difference in performance between 45 series and 55 series noticeable or should I stay with the original low profile tyres.

Finally, Discount Tire seems to really push their ‘tire certificates’, a road hazard protection plan for $20/tyre. Is Road Hazard really necessary on a vehicle equipped with TPMS?

Cheers,

Gavin

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes, we’re talkin’ about the last good-looking Camry!  Come 2015, we’re really gonna love seeing yours on the road. Well maybe not love, as auto blog readin’ fanbois are committed to hate anything Camry, appreciating the subtle differences is strictly off-limits. But, once again, my intro digresses…

So anyway, you absolutely can switch to a minus 1 tire size for those benefits, plus a better ride with less NVH on bumpy roads.  Excuse me, “tyre size minus 1.” This is a great idea for more people than we’d like to admit. Also consider a -2 size to the 16″ rims offered on the 2007+ Camry LE and XLE. It’s doable as they all used the same front calipers and 11.65″ front rotors. (I think.) And tire choices for such conservative driving?  You are covered, for cheap.

  •  Would it be better for me to find a nice set of wrecking yard alloys and downgrade to the smaller rim/taller sidewall size tyres?

Yes, much better.  And don’t fear the 16″ alloy!  Hell, go right ahead and get universal 16″ steel wheels, chrome trim rings and a chrome center cap for that cop car look!

  • Is the difference in performance between 45 series and 55 series noticeable or should I stay with the original low profile tyres?

Your admission of not bring a “sport driving type” means no, you won’t care. If anything you’ll love the better ride.  Also note how huge tires are on vintage race cars, and modern F1 machines: sidewalls are a GOOD thing.

  • Finally, Discount Tire seems to really push their ‘tire certificates’, a road hazard protection plan for $20/tyre. Is Road Hazard really necessary on a vehicle equipped with TPMS?

TPMS is great, but it’s not 100% effective against road-going hazards.  Consider debris like nails and bolts left in construction sites, or in trucks exiting those areas. The sensor can’t sense that shit going into the red zone between the tread and the sidewall. So should you get road hazard? Totally your call, depends on your comfort level.

 

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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September 2014 Sales: $85K Viper Sells Like It’s March 2008 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934234 This is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?” The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow? Over the span of a few […]

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2015 Dodge Viper SRTThis is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?”

The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow?

Over the span of a few days or weeks, the Chrysler Group wasn’t going to inject a barrel full of cash into R&D for a new Viper, perform stress tests, crash tests, performance tests, complete styling mock-ups, consult the Viper-owning faithful, and begin delivering cars to dealers.

But they could drop the price by $15,000, creating a base MSRP of $84,995. Suddenly for September, the Viper was priced like it was two decades ago, adjusted for inflation.

Suddenly, U.S. sales rose to the highest level the Viper has seen since January 2009, when 127 were sold, a follow-up to the Viper’s 152-unit December 2008 performance.

The Viper topped 100 units on six occasions in calendar year 2008: in March, April, May, August, and December.

One month does not offer enough evidence for a thorough sales analysis, but the turnaround is still too distinct to ignore. August sales had fallen to the second-lowest total since the latest Viper arrived early last year. The summer season generated just 158 sales between June and August, a 21% year-over-year drop from the 200 sold during the same season one year earlier.

Can the now $85K Viper maintain this heady level of output? Assuming Dodge/SRT sell another 324 more in the fourth-quarter of 2014, the Viper will have enjoyed its best sales year since 2008, although the total in that assumed case (870 units) would be down 26% from ‘08 levels, when 1172 were sold.

Keep in mind, 2008, when sales jumped 169% year-over-year, was not an especially good time for the Viper. 1511 Vipers were sold in 2002, 2103 in 2003, 1782 in 2004, 1652 in 2005, and 1455 in 2006.

Nevertheless, the year-over-year growth achieved by the Viper in September 2014 is notable. Volume shot up 140%, a gain of 63 units. Automotive News reports that Dodge will begin building Vipers again in mid-November after the price cut began moving substantial portions of dealer inventory. By that time, Viper production will have been idled for more than one-third of 2014.

With Viper numbers ascending, we can’t ignore the upward movement from two other sports cars. Nissan GT-R sales more than doubled to a Viper-besting 159 units, a gain of 83 sales compared with September 2013. GM, meanwhile, sold 2467 Corvettes in September alone, a 197% year-over-year increase, equal to 1636 units.

Only four other passenger cars produced greater year-over-year gains than the Viper in September. Audi’s A3 (up 33,329%) wasn’t really on sale a year ago. The Mitsubishi Mirage (up 6600%) did not put a full month under its belt last September. Mercedes-Benz’s scarcely available B-Class EV was up 3150%. And the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (up 393%), with 1909 September sales, continued to teach every automaker a lesson in how to sell $94,400-$222,000 cars.

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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Dodge Viper Assembly To Resume Mid-November http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934754 After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you. Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount […]

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2015-SRT-Viper-Anodized-Carbon-Time-Attack-Edition-3

After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you.

Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount to help move unsold 2013 and 2014 stock, as well as an additional $15,000 off via a coupon given to over 1,000 customers that will remain good until January 2, 2018.

In the aforementioned month, 108 Vipers were dusted off and sent to a good home after buyers paid $86,880 for them, besting August 2014’s 38 and September 2013’s 45. Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis said October sales are also turning out to be strong, helping to bring inventory down to appropriate levels.

Speaking of inventory, dealers have ordered 200 2015 Vipers, which will only be assembled once more older stock heads out onto the highway. Once assembly starts, only the GT and base SRT trims will come down the line at first, with the more upscale TA and GTS trims following after inventory becomes reasonable.

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