By on January 14, 2015



With last year’s Hits and Misses column generating a lot of reader interest, I figure another edition is in store for the 2015 edition of the Detroit Auto Show.

Much of the show floor chatter last year centered on the rather disappointing lack of big debuts, aside from the Ford F-150. The Blue Oval’s full-size pickup was enormously significant from an industry point of view, but didn’t quicken the pulse of the enthusiast set, which largely (but not entirely) prioritizes sports cars and exotics over America’s signature vehicle.

Ford may have stolen the show again this year, with three major debuts, but the rest of the show was light on…well, debuts. Very little new product was shown at the show, and some of the more interesting stuff was already shown in Los Angeles. I wonder if L.A. will overtake Detroit as the marquee auto show in America within a decade.

If you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, here’s a rundown of the hits and misses, from your favorite combative know-it-all.

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By on January 5, 2015


Last year, I made a few predictions about events in the auto industry. I firmly believe in being held accountable when making these statements. Most journalists have zero skin in the game and make outlandish pronouncements about product planning, regulations and other matters. These are quickly lost in the ether of the online news cycle, and the idiocy of their statements is forgotten as soon as you can say “brown diesel wagon”. Let’s see how I fared in 2014.

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By on June 14, 2013

Derek writes:

One of the things Doug and I wanted to do with this column is to highlight the regional differences in car choices – not just in condition and value but the overall selection. Any surprise that humid, sunny Atlanta has a dearth of Audis while snowy Canada is awash in them?

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By on June 3, 2013


In my rant about the Holden Ute, I qualified my cynicism with a caveat; my tastes are not representative of the broader market, or what makes good business sense for an auto maker. Some of you suggested that I should start injecting more of my own opinions/enthusiasm into these sorts of articles. I am reluctant to mix business with my own automotive fantasyland (after all, everyone with access to a keyboard does just that that), but this post isn’t supposed to be informative or insightful, just pure fun. I am limiting myself to new cars on sale outside the United States and Canada, as there are far too many used cars out there that I’d love to own.

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By on May 24, 2013

Ford-SVT-Contour. Photo courtesy

(The idea for this series based on the numerous emails sent between Derek and Doug, containing long forgotten cars that have fallen into a derelict state. While our intrepid authors would love to own these cars should they ever win the Powerball, they find it difficult to actually part with the funds required to take them home, especially given the significant reconditioning required. In addition, you’ll see the difference between a snow belt car and a clean car from the south, as both authors compare examples from their respective locales.)

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By on April 5, 2013

March was the 5th straight month of a SAAR above 15 million vehicles.  Industry analysts have explained the strength of the market in a number of ways. The need to replace older vehicles is one (new car sales were hit hard during the recession as consumers held on to their vehicles for longer. This also caused used car prices to skyrocket, something TTAC has been documenting), while others have cited increasing fleet demand, and the desire to replace vehicles damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

But one factor that is just starting to get attention outside of TTAC is sub-prime financing. Sub-prime lending, which involves giving high-interest loans to customers with poor credit scores, is driving the SAAR in a big way, by letting buyers with poor credit purchase new cars. In turn, the sub-prime bubble is being driven by Wall Street, whose clients cannot get enough of financial instruments backed by sub-prime auto loans.

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By on April 3, 2013

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and hate me despite having never met me in person, I am inviting you to come kick my ass – at karting.

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By on March 8, 2013

Upon receipt of a multi-billion dollar loan from the Canadian government, General Motors signed a “Vitality Commitment”, essentially a covenant in the loan agreement between GM and Canada’s government, which guaranteed that a certain amount of GM’s North American production would remain in Canada. That number is widely reported as being 16 percent, while page F-69 of GM’s IPO filings outlines that the covenant is valid until GM repays its loan commitments or until December 31, 2016, whichever comes later.

While Oshawa has widely regarded as one of GM’s best plants in terms of producing high-quality vehicles, the future of GM’s Oshawa plant is looking increasingly bleak.

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By on March 7, 2013

A bit of light reading for everyone wishing they were in Geneva, munching on some pain au chocolat while paying $8 for a Nespresso. CAR magazine contributor Stephen Bayley has a very entertaining essay entitled “The End of the French Car“, in which he laments the demise of the quirky, compact French automobile.

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By on March 6, 2013

The UAW is stepping up their organization efforts at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant by taking their campaign to…Geneva?

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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