By on May 23, 2017

ford logo

It’s the dawn of a new era at Ford. With luck, nothing will change with the upcoming Bronco except, hopefully, an earlier launch date.

By axing retiring CEO Mark Fields and elevating Jim Hackett to the biggest office in Dearborn, Ford hopes to chart a course towards larger profits and happy, smiling shareholders. After Fields took the helm, the company’s share prices made like the Andria Doria. Can’t have that.

Flanking Hackett are two men with really long job descriptions. Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, will tackle product development and purchasing (among other things). Jim Farley, hater of General Motors, is literally overseer of everything. Everything. All the regions, all the sales, all the mobility. Oh, and Lincoln — Farley will keep watch over Lincoln.

But imagine, for a moment, these three head honchos didn’t just advance their careers. No, you’re in the driver’s seat now. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

BORGHI,RN, ITALY - AUGUST 12: power music audio system with amplifiers bass and treble speakers in the car trunk, exhibited during the rally "Fashion tuning club" on August 12 2012 in Borghi RN Italy, Image: ermess/Bigstock

Youthful exuberance. We’ve all fallen victim to it. From “hold my beer” moments to an ill-advised rendezvous with you best friend’s girl, one’s youth is often rife with boneheaded choices.

Thing is, as gearheads, we have yet another outlet on which to waste money and make poor decisions: our cars. And, like you, I’ve definitely a few doozies in my closet.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2017

1991 Pontiac Trans Sport, Images: RM Auctions, Inc.

Those of you who follow my Questions of the Day (so, 100 percent of the B&B) may notice I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately. Asking you about your formative driving experiences or your first-ever car ride has generated some great stories. We all have old memories locked away in the memory vault, so we may as well drag them out and dust off a few.

My question today is about your teen years. More specifically, the high school ones. Such a variegated parking lot of treasures, rust, and Best Buy sound systems. Which ride sank to the bottom of the barrel as the worst in your high school parking lot?

(Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro vs 2017 Ford Mustang - Image: GM and Ford

It’s a question that goes back some 50 years.

Nixon or Humphrey.

No, wait. Camaro or Mustang.

Forget your Camry vs. Accord monotony, your F-150 vs. Silverado one-upmanship, and the Smart Fortwo vs. Scion iQ debate that routinely breaks the internet. This, this is the American automotive debate of the decade. And the decade before. And the decade before that.

It’s as though Ali and Frazier just kept on fighting. Annually. For decades. It’s the Yankees and Mets meeting in the World Series every year. It’s like — and I know you don’t want me to go there — Trump vs. Hillary in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036…

If you could have just the one, which would it be? Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro? (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: Mazda

Yesterday, Steph Willems asked in his Question of the Day what BMW should do with Mini and its lineup of identical-but-different vehicles almost nobody is buying. Since it seems like you’re quite eager to give brand strategy advice, let’s do it again today.

I want you to tell me what you’d do with Mazda, because its current PR line isn’t sitting well with me.

(Read More…)

By on May 16, 2017

2016 Mini Clubman

It’s a brand most of us never think about. We never consider buying one, nor do we rush to our laptops/tablets/phones to excitedly discuss the latest update to the brand’s lineup. Simply put, there’s something about the brand that’s lacking.

Maybe it’s horsepower, or lack thereof. Or maybe it’s reliability. Whatever the reason, Mini is not — with some exceptions — at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

It’s a brand that tries hard to remain relevant, especially over here in Crossoverland. Hey, four doors on a Cooper! Look — a longer Clubman! Excuse me, sir, can we interest you in a considerably larger Countryman? Nothing Mini about it, har har…

And yet, for all of its attempts to stay in the buying public’s eye — culling unpopular models like the Paceman and “right-sizing” its current products — Mini’s U.S. sales are still heading in the wrong direction after reaching a 2013 peak. That year saw the brand unload 66,502 units, a clear high-water mark. Last year? 52,030. The first four months of 2017 shows sales slipping behind last year’s tally.

The brand needs to do something to slow the descent, but — as we learned yesterday — it won’t field any new models for a number of years. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

[Image: daseaford/Bigstock.com]

It came out of nowhere — abruptly, suddenly, and violently — like an action scene in a Martin Scorsese movie. A deafening bang drowned out the music on my radio and rattled my one good eardrum. This was followed by an explosion of green leaves, a savage hammering of the brake pedal, and a lot of creative swearing.

Someone had thrown a damn cabbage at my car.

(Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight Edition

My previous Question of the Day focused on your favorite special-edition vehicles, where I so kindly jarred your memory of the excellent Mercury Villager Nautica and GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition. Both of those vehicles showcased enough delightfully distinguishing features that I had to recommend them as prime examples of doing special editions right in the ’90s and early ’00s.

But not all special editions are worthwhile. There are plenty of ill-conceived, silly special editions out there, crapping up the aesthetic of everything in their vicinity. Some look too of the moment when most of those moments certainly don’t deserve memorialization.

Which brings me to my question for you today: What’s the lamest special edition?

(Read More…)

By on May 9, 2017

[Image: BMW Group]

A little piece of resurrected BMW history has again faded to black, leaving the automotive landscape missing yet another traditional two-door coupe. BMW confirmed to Road & Track the 6 Series coupe ended production in February, apparently unbeknownst to everyone, ending a model that harkened back to the glorious 633CSi and 635CSi of the 1980s.

Fear not, 6 Series fans — the four-door Gran Coupe and Convertible live on, though likely not for long. The boys from Bavaria are readying a potential successor to the 6 Series in the form of a new 8 Series lineup, the first of which could appear in late 2018. A grand tourer-style coupe and convertible positioned above the 7 Series (but below Rolls-Royce) is BMW’s plan to counter an ultra-luxury offensive from rival Mercedes-Benz.

BMW doesn’t want to spread its models too thin. Understandable. BMW isn’t a charity — if it was, there’d be a 440i coupe in my driveway with a trunk full of 18-year-old Glenfiddich for which I paid not a cent. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with the 6 Series Coupe, staying competitive and profitable sometimes means leading a doomed animal behind the barn. And these days the animal is never one with four doors or a voluminous cargo hold.

The tears fall like rain from motoring purists. Dread fills their hearts. More killing is on the way. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2017

MissingPiston-1280px-4

Ever been in a situation where you desperately need to change the topic? Y’know, when Uncle Ray starts in on his political views at the family reunion or Aunt Madge decides to dunk her false teeth in a glass during the wedding rehearsal. Whatever the rock and hard place, it’s always handy to have a harmless question guaranteed to simmer down the dialogue.

Here’s a sure-fire question to get the conversation back on track, especially if you’re amongst a group of gearheads: How many cylinders do you own?

(Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

Uber (freestocks.org/Flickr)

Don’t look now, but the ride-sharing company everybody loves to hate is in trouble yet again. The Justice Department is reportedly opening an investigation into Uber’s not-so-secret “Greyball” tools, which can be used to circumvent law enforcement attempts to interfere with Uber’s business operations.

According to sources inside Uber, “Greyball” was originally developed to help protect Uber drivers from potential threats to their safety, such as unionized taxi drivers and other people who expressed their displeasure with Uber’s service in violent terms. The company soon realized Greyball could also be enhanced to help prevent “sting” operations in areas where ride-sharing services are illegal and/or heavily regulated.

I have no idea whether or not Uber will survive this unwanted federal attention; I’m reminded of the phrase used in the book Dune regarding “fools who put themselves in the way of the Harkonnen fist.” More interesting to me than that is the comment in the NYT article that some Uber employees had concerns about whether “Greyball” was “ethical.” That, I think, is the fascinating question.

(Read More…)

By on May 4, 2017

BMW M5 E39 - Image: M5_E39_Terabass

The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

Yours too.

But the BMW of today is not the BMW that designed the 394-horsepower M5 nearly two decades ago. BMW now produces nearly half of its sales from utility vehicles and sells only a handful of sports cars each month. Setting aside classic sedan styling, the BMW of today will sell you ungainly X4s and X6s, plus bulbous hatchback versions of the 5 Series and 3 Series. Moreover, BMW’s core models — the 3 Series/4 Series — are distinctly less popular in the United States than they were a decade ago, when the market was smaller and the 3 Series lineup wasn’t as broad.

BMW is incentivizing its products heavily in early 2017 just to keep sales roughly where they were a year ago, a year in which BMW’s U.S. volume fell 9 percent compared with the 2015 peak.

Something’s not quite right. So do you, lover of the 1999 M5 and the BMW 2002 tii and the BMW 507 and the BMW Z8, still want a BMW? (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2017

1996 Dodge Ram 1500 Indy 500 Special Edition, Image: Chrysler

Yesterday’s post about the excellent Bill Blass Lincoln Continental Mark V got me thinking: Maybe I could wear a white, double-breasted suit with gold buttons to work inquire about the multitude of other special editions for the Question of the Day today.

Like Mr. Casey mentions, Lincoln used special editions from the ’70s through the ’90s, which is about the same time (give or take) other manufacturers were doing the same thing.

So tell me, what’s your favorite special edition?

(Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

1960 Mercury Marauder

As the heady 1950s horsepower race transitioned into the far-out 1960s pony and muscle car wars, buyers were able to gorge themselves on a buffet of choices. The only question needing an answer was: how wild do you want it?

If there’s money in your pocket, well, step right up to more horsepower and brawn than you can ever hope to handle, young man.

Seemingly overnight, Detroit felt the urgent need to muscle car all the things. Compact economy car? Better drop a 340 or 383 cubic incher in that light, skinny-tired sucker. Plush, gargantuan family sedan with soft springs? Meh, that thing can probably be made to haul ass. Add some cubes!

Budding environmentalists clutched their chests and reached for their puffers. Still, amid the smorgasbord of tire-shredding excess, some models made you wonder: was this really necessary? (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2017

Too Many Dodges

Early last week, I brought the Charger into our local dealer to sort out a passel of recalls, not the least of which was a computer reflash to bestow Auto Park capabilities on my ZF-equipped Dodge.

This new programming, it must be noted, not only added the Auto Park feature (which actually works so seamlessly it beggars belief that Dodge engineers didn’t include it from the get-go to save themselves a world of bad PR) but also changed the font in the dashboard EVIC. I now look upon my digital speed readout with a level of disdain formerly reserved for soiled copies of the National Enquirer. Comic Sans would’ve been a better option.

Anyway, the car was also due for an oil change, so I scheduled that service for the same visit. Arriving at the desk, the mental fog cleared long enough to bestow upon me the presence of mind to inquire the cost of a dealer oil change for my Pentastar-equipped Charger.

“Uhhhh … justamomentlemmelook.”

Pokes at computer

“It was around eighty-four dollars last time. Soooo …. about the same again?”

Needless to say, I canceled the oil change, proceeded with the recall work, and broke out my tools when I got home.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States