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By on February 9, 2016

Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, Frank Tuch

Like rats abandoning a sinking ship, Volkswagen managers see the writing on the wall in Wolfsburg. Whether or not their particular jobs are in jeopardy, from their own actions or those of others, the road ahead is long, rough, and filled with busy days and sleepless nights.

The latest to jump ship is Frank Tuch (right), who has led Group Quality Assurance at Volkswagen Group AG since 2010. He will be replaced effective February 15, 2016 by Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler (left), who joined Volkswagen in 1986 and previously held the same role.

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By on February 9, 2016

2014 Lincoln MKS

Every once in awhile, somebody writes in to Ask Bark with a question that makes me check my own bank account to see if I can afford my own recommendation. Today is one of those times. Sit back and relax while you read about our friend’s quest for a more powerful grocery-getter, and then see if you share in my envy.

Ben writes:

I am currently leasing a 2014 Mazda6, and the lease will be ending in mid-July. I’m in my early 30s with two kids. One of them will be in a rear-facing child seat for the next year and a half, and the other is in a front-facing seat, so I need something that is big enough for daycare pickup, Costco runs and short trips. My wife has a Nissan Murano for when we need more space, and I have a motorcycle, which may soon be sold and replaced with an older Miata.

I work remotely, so I don’t commute on a daily basis, but I do a 2+ hour each way trip into the actual office every other week. I’ve owned a 2000 Ford Focus, 2006 Mazda3, and the 2014 Mazda6, so I would like something with a bit more power this time.

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By on February 9, 2016

Alfa_Romeo_2000_GT_Veloce_red

(From “HW” comes a tale of a Corvette, a hot-blooded Alfa Veloce, and a young Italian wife with romance on her mind.)

Sam, a good friend of mine, had lusted after a particular 1965 Corvette Stingray, and had somehow finally acquired the object of his desires. However, the cost of putting on 23 coats of a gorgeous, dark, lipstick red paint and clear coat, of making mechanical improvements, and paying for necessary auto insurance (Sam was under 25 and single) kept him totally broke for a period of time.

We had a lot of fun running around Louisiana in the ‘Vette, but his automotive mistress was keeping him in the poorhouse. Sam wasn’t some rich kid, so he reluctantly decided to sell his mistress. But he had a plan. He would get another car before he sold the ‘Vette. That way he could hold out for the best money on his beauty.

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By on February 9, 2016

2015_Subaru_XV_Crosstrek_(1_of_2)

Sajeev,

We have three cars in our household that see regularly use, but we are considering going down to two vehicles in an attempt to save some money. However, instead of just getting rid of one of those three cars, we are trading in two of them toward a newer vehicle that we plan to keep long term.

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By on February 8, 2016

2013 Dodge Dart GT

Duncan writes:

Because I want a car that will depreciate faster than my 2014 Genesis 5.0 R-Spec, I inquired at a local Pennsylvania Dodge dealer about a 2016 Dart GT with a manual transmission. After a week of them trying to order one for me, I was told that the factory would not sell the Dart GT with a manual transmission to PA dealers because of something to do with emissions.

I figured I was being given the runaround so I did a search and, sure enough, there were no 2016 Dodge Dart GTs with manual transmissions for sale in PA.

What gives?

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By on February 8, 2016

2015CadillacEscalade_(4_of_9)

Cadillac has one exceptionally good, class-leading model in its range. That model doesn’t have a V badge. It isn’t even a car. And almost nothing about it is unique. It’s the Escalade. And people can’t get enough of its luxury whipped cream dolloped atop its American apple pie.

Contrary to recent reports that the Escalade will abandon its body-on-frame roots, it looks like the Escalade will continue as a luxury offshoot of its full-size SUV cousins — the Yukon and Tahoe/Suburban — reports the Detroit Free Press based on an interview with Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen:

“The Escalade must become more sophisticated and technically advanced, more detail oriented” in its interior design and materials, [Johan de Nysschen] said. “We can do all that with a body-on-frame architecture.”

Though, if we’re to dig into this no-change-is-good story a bit more, maybe Cadillac couldn’t change the Escalade even if it wanted to.

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By on February 8, 2016

hateful-eight-guitar-smash3

The guitar collecting world is abuzz over the destruction of a near priceless, 145-year-old guitar made by the C.F. Martin company on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum for the production of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”

Kurt Russell took the guitar out of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s hands and smashed it thinking it was a prop replica and not the original. Leigh’s shocked reaction was genuine as she knew she was playing the real artifact. Director Tarantino was reported to be pleased with the results; the C.F. Martin company less so.

Aren’t you glad the producers of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Miami Vice” destroyed fake Ferraris? My guess is that not very many guitar aficionados will pay to see Tarantino’s latest oeuvre.

Mayhem and destruction (not all of it real) after the jump.

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By on February 8, 2016

2016 BMW X1 Exterior-008

When is a BMW not a BMW? Some would say: when it has four wheels. Others will say: when it’s front wheel drive. But here we are. BMW’s smallest crossover has ditched its BMW 3-Series roots for underpinnings shared with the Mini Countryman.

Say what?

Americans may be surprised to hear that the X1 is not BMW’s first front driver. Neither is it the last BMW with a transverse engine. Our European friends will soon be seeing the 2 Series Gran Tourer — a small 7-seat … minivan. Yes, a BMW minivan. What’s that sound, you ask? Minds blowing.

For purists, the notion of a trio of transverse-engined BMWs prowling around the countryside is an abomination; an affront to everything E46 M3 owners holds sacred.

For the rest of you? It’s no big deal. Seriously.

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By on February 8, 2016

Wilson Football

Some automakers decided that they would surprise viewers with their Super Bowl advertisements, rather than release them early and make my job easier.

Some other advertisers decreed that #SB50 would be the night of bowel issues, or of projectile obstetrics.

Let’s discuss the car ads I didn’t cover on Saturday … I’m sure there are other blogs for that other stuff. Eww.

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By on February 8, 2016

1990 Eagle Talon TSi

For me, certain car brands evoke strong emotions. Nissan is certainly one that will always get the benefit of great memories, even if some of their current products are less than memorable. Conversely, I have reservations with Ford. As much as I enjoyed the Fusion I drove last month, the Focus I owned at the turn of the century had so many failures and recalls that I struggle to consider the Blue Oval without shivers.

Mitsubishi, on the other hand, doesn’t really register with me. There were at least two of them in the household as I was growing up — a 3000GT and an Eclipse Spyder — but I never drove them, and never bonded with them like the other sports cars to grace our garage. Perhaps the cheap prices and seemingly-disposable nature of the cars effectively blocked them from my memories.

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  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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