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By on July 26, 2012

“I am following him everywhere, except into the rest room.” For nearly twelve years, interpreter Yuki Morimoto has been Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s adapter to the Japanese world. The lady is a miracle. She simultaneously translates Ghosn’s high-speed stream of wit and Gallic sarcasm into Japanese, and translates Japanese back into perfect English. Morimoto is so in tune with Ghosn that she sometimes finishes his sentences before him – in Japanese. Read More >

By on July 26, 2012

Chevrolet is slowly launching the Spark subcompact in select markets across the United States, with more MTV/Viacom-derived “millenial focused” ad campaigns. But Chevrolet is being cagey, if not evasive, regarding projected sales.

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By on July 26, 2012

 

Minivans are indeed fewer in number.

Supposedly they should to able to hold six or seven.

But the truth is the buyers of these vehicles rarely have room for three these days.

See, I have dealt with hundreds of minivan buyers over the years as a small town car dealer and a writer here at TTAC. Nearly everyone I deal with considers no more than three minivans. To be frank, the majority won’t even consider two which is why Chrysler, Toyota and Honda minivans now control more than 88% of the North American minivan market.

What chance does the Nissan Quest have? Even after 20 years in the public eye?

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By on July 26, 2012

ATS photo

The city of St Petersburg, Florida uses camera systems sold by American Traffic Solutions (ATS, formerly American Traffic Systems) to issue tickets to drivers allegedly running red lights. According to The Newspaper, when the activists at St Petersburg Red Light Cameras reviewed logs of the 21,602 photo tickets issued in the city from October 29, 2011 to April 30, 2012 they discovered that the ATS cameras were reporting that they “measured” Bugatti Veyron level speeds from cars not realistically capable of that kind of velocity.

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By on July 26, 2012

It looks more and more like a divided Europe. While carmakers Opel, Ford, PSA, Fiat etc. are wailing with pain, German carmakers report expectation-beating profits. Read More >

By on July 26, 2012

I admit it: I’m suffering from a silly infatuation with Broughamness. Every American car manufacturer (and a few Japanese ones) slapped Brougham emblems on a wide variety of vehicles during the Brougham Era, which we’ll call 1968 through 1992, and the last hurrah for Detroit Broughams was the car that I found in a Denver self-serve wrecking yard yesterday. Read More >

By on July 26, 2012

Sometimes designers become super stars in the car biz: just ask that dude who made the Ford GT, or the other dude responsible for the Chrysler 300. I am sure both made other vehicles which they truly hated.  Perhaps the 300’s designer shares some amount of blame for the last Chrysler Sebring?  I am sure that Ital Design’s Giorgetto Giugiaro has the same problem, but Hyundai wrote him a check and he made it happen.  Quite honestly, the original Hyundai Excel here in the USA wasn’t a bad car at all.  Bad looking, that is.

And honestly, after walking around this example at a historically savvy Hyundai dealer (next to a Lamborghini Dealership that bored me after 20 minutes) I suggest to you, dear reader, that the Excel sold so unbelievably well on both price and design. Because this machine could look much, much worse.

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By on July 26, 2012

Sergio  Marchionne accuses Volkswagen of exploiting the European crisis to gain market share by offering aggressive discounts, the New York Times writes.  “It’s a bloodbath of pricing and it’s a bloodbath on margins,” the Fiat and Chrysler CEO told the paper. Read More >

By on July 25, 2012

I currently drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S convertible. I’ve been swapping winter/summer tires for the past few years but I was thinking that this year I might get a beater car for the harsher weather months. The combination of FWD and wear and tear on the fabric roof are my main reasons for these considerations.

I live in NJ, so most of my driving is on the highway but as part of my job as a systems admin in a datacenter, I’m occasionally called into work at times when even the highways haven’t been plowed.

Do you think it’s possible to find a cheap (around $1000), preferably AWD car that would work well for winters in the northeast? Craigslist searches so far have turned up a handful of Subarus, Volvos, and Audis Quattro.

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By on July 25, 2012

Your humble author is TTAC’s resident cycling enthusiast, as shown in the eminently regrettable photo above which can best be titled “35-Year-Old Man Takes Mountain Bike To Skatepark For No Good Reason.” When I was younger, I had unveiled contempt for people who drove somewhere when they could ride. Three knee surgeries and a child later, I’m not so sure. Still, cycling is gaining momentum across Europe in precisely the same way that the economy isn’t. The public-bicycle scheme in Paris, Velib, now profitably shares 23,000 public bicycles across a subscriber network of 225,000 people — and the electric-auto-sharing service which has been operating for over half a year now looks to be headed for similar success. The implications regarding private and public property raised by both services are worth discussing.

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