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By on March 5, 2011

On Wednesday, March 9th, Toyota will announce its new long term strategy plan to the public. A core piece will be a push into emerging markets. TTAC has been following signs of this for a while. The signs range from a car, the Etios, designed exclusively for the emerging markets, to a factory up in the woods near Sendai, Japan, that looks very much like a prototype for Toyota’s latest export product: Low cost car factories.

The Nikkei [sub] agrees and says that “Toyota Motor Corp. is overhauling its strategy because it is now clear that emerging nations will replace industrialized ones as its most important markets.” Will replace? Wake up! Read More >

By on March 5, 2011

Ever since the Renault spy story broke, we had our doubts. It simply did not pass the smell test. Now, the smelly stuff is hitting the fan. “France faced severe political embarrassment on Friday after carmaker Renault said the three top executives it sacked for industrial espionage in January might not be spies after all,” reports Reuters.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Renault COO Patrick Pelata, the man who was the driving force behind the scandal admitted: “A number of elements lead us to doubt.” He is not alone in his doubts. Read More >

By on March 5, 2011

Ford and Ferrari finally settled their differences over the alleged trademark infringement by Ferrari. In cases like these, one lawyer usually tells the other: “What does it take for this to go away?” In this case, Ford’s lawyer must have answered: “Lose the F, or lose the case.”  And that’s what happened. Read More >

By on March 4, 2011


I’ve become quite familiar with the burning-coolant/oil/misery-combo smell of a blown head gasket/cracked head, what with the scent being such a frequent olfactory treat at LeMons races, and so I knew what was happening on I-25 in downtown Denver once I got within nose distance of this scene. Read More >

By on March 4, 2011

Raise your hand if you’ve actually flown a Goodyear blimp for a solid forty-five minutes and actually made it go where you were supposed to take it.

I thought so. I’m the only guy with his hand up. Sucks to be you, you non-blimp-flyin’-mothertrucker.

To keep this from being Blimplopnik or whatever they’re calling Mr. Wert’s Wild Ride nowadays, I’m going to bring you content never seen before: blimp review emulation. Follow along as I review the Goodyear blimp, one paragraph at a time, in the style of each of our most famous contributors. This will be no worse than the Dune continuation books, I promise.

Read More >

By on March 4, 2011


While I believe that GM has built only one Detroit-designed subcompact car in its history (the Chevrolet Vega), the case could be made that the Chevette and its Pontiac siblings— though designed in Germany— were also “authentic” Detroit machines. The shocking thing about the Chevette was how far into the 1980s its North American run continued; you could buy a new Chevy Chevette or Pontiac 1000 all the way up to the 1987 model year! Read More >

By on March 4, 2011


As Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, I receive many gifts from racers wishing to establish a foundation of mutual respect and understanding during the period in which I inspect the cars for possible cheating. The traditional judicial bribe tends to be a jug of top-shelf booze, but my drinking hasn’t kept pace with the intake of bottles of Stranahan’s bourbon and Zaya rum, and so I’ve been encouraging teams to bring weird diecast toy cars to lubricate the gears of justice. After the last round of LeMons Supreme Court diecast toy car bribes, I thought it would be hard to top the Leyland P76 and Moskvich 402, but the racers at the ’11 Southern Discomfort and the ’11 Gator-O-Rama have done so with the current crop of diecasts. Read More >

By on March 4, 2011

When, in a former life, I wrote speeches for top execs at Volkswagen, I never made my guy admit failure. Bad for his career and my business. The secret phrase for full retreat was: “This is one of the many options we are looking at. We are in a changing world and must change with it.”

I must have a less circumspect colleague at Ford. Read More >

By on March 4, 2011

Ford reported a $6.6 billion profit for 2010, its highest  in more than 10 years. This year, they could add $13 billion to the profit line, without selling an extra car. How will Ford pull off the miracle of the loaves and profits? With a simple bookkeeping entry. Read More >

By on March 4, 2011

German motorists won an important battle against ethanol. They used a downright un-German tactic: Widespread insurrection. They simply won’t buy the stuff. An edict handed down from Brussels ordered that Super has to contain 10 percent of ethanol. An alliance from Germany’s ADAC autoclub to Greenpeace said the new gasoline is a work of the devil, it is liable to ruin cars, and the environment. That didn’t impress Brussels.  But then, a buyer strike did set in. Read More >

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