Despite debuting over seven years ago, extensively refreshed in 2009 and nip/tucked again in 2011, the Acura RL remains a mystery. Flagship products usually sell in small numbers, but the RL is one of the rarest sedans in America. This isn’t exactly been a badge of honor for Acura. Overlooked by shoppers who flock to the cheaper Acura TL and largely forgotten by the automotive press (after all these years, TTAC has never fully reviewed the RL) With a full replacement due next year in the form of the RLX concept, I hit Acura up for an RL for a week to see how a flagship product from a major brand could manage to sell just 56 vehicles in Canada and 1,096 in the USA in 2011. For those who like statistics, the TL outsold the RL by 2,850%. Ouch.
From our family to yours, TTAC wishes all its readers the best of holiday wishes. We’ll be enjoying the company of our loved ones for the next few chilly winter nights, but we’ll return to regular service on Tuesday. And who knows, maybe Santa will leave something for your reading enjoyment over the weekend…
I’m not generally much for anniversaries. Heck, after more than six years together, my steady sweetie and I can’t remember our actual anniversary, so we had to make one up… and we (both) still forget it most years. But here on the internet, there’s a record of everything. And looking back, it seems that it was exactly two years ago today that Robert Farago called me to say that The Truth About Cars was going to be my problem from now on.
Gratitude doesn’t always come easy for a bunch of opinionated car-mudgeons (just ask our pals in the PR business) but today we all have plenty to be thankful for. As Editor-in-Chief of this fine site, I am eternally indebted to TTAC’s immensely talented writers, our faithful fans, and our dedicated owners. I feel incredibly lucky to have what I believe to be the best team of auto writers in the world backing me up each day, overcoming the challenges, sacrifices and personality clashes that are our daily bread and putting out the finest car-related content to be found anywhere. Our owners at VerticalScope are owed a special thanks as well, for paying the bills while allowing us to work in complete freedom. And of course, without you, our faithful readers and commenters, none of this would be possible (or necessary). Your faithfulness to this site, your dedication to the truth, and your occasional ad clicks allow TTAC to persist, keeping our talented writers working at continually improving their craft.
So thank you to everyone who makes TTAC what it is…. without your dedicated support, TTAC might not have survived to see this day. And please believe that your trust and time has earned more than a mere post of thanks: I will carry this sense of gratitude with me every day as inspiration to make TTAC the very best site it can possibly be.
Yours in Kaizen,
Edward Niedermeyer, Editor-in-Chief of TTAC
From the moment I took over as TTAC’s Editor-in-Chief, I knew that I was going to need a lot of help in order to live up to the brand that had been built here for the better part of a decade. I was stepping into some big shoes, and filling them would have to be a team effort. I was lucky enough to inherit some of the best car writers on the web, and we’ve been able add even more talent to the roster over the last year. Now, as we welcome Murilee Martin (formerly of Jalopnik fame, also of Murileemartin.com and Hooniverse.com), we mark an important point in TTAC’s development: maturity (or something like it).
With the addition of Murilee, TTAC has a dream team of editors who will keep TTAC stocked with the freshest, most engaging car-related content on the web, and as a result we’re moving to a streamlined masthead. My faithful Managing Editor Bertel Schmitt and I will continue to handle major editorial and blogging duties while Paul Niedermeyer, Michael Karesh, Jack Baruth, Sajeev Mehta, Steve Lang and Murilee Martin each tackle the world of cars from their unique perspectives. Thanks to a major commitment from our owners, VerticalScope, we’re now able to keep this core team cranking out regular content while we augment their work with the best contributions from our worldwide TTAC contributor family and from around the web. The goal of all this is to consistently provide the very highest quality content, to host the most engaging debates and to keep you connected with the latest developments in the world of cars.
So, please join me in welcoming Murilee and thanking our owners for empowering TTAC to be the best damn car site on the web. I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to work with my personal dream team of writers as well as to serve you, our dedicated readers and commentators. Thank you all for making TTAC’s continued success possible.
How would you like to see your writing published at TTAC? Over the years we’ve always taken contributions from new writers, indeed many of TTAC’s current staffers (Editor-in-Chief included) started out here by pitching a story to our editors email. In hopes of highlighting new talent, giving our commentators a new stage, and generally providing a little more variety around here, we’ve decided to feature a piece by a TTAC reader or commenter every Saturday. We’re calling it Ur-Turn and the rules are very simple: When the spirit moves you to write something insightful, passionate or entertaining about cars, car ownership, the car industry, car sales, buying cars, or any other topic that you might about read on TTAC, send it to editors [at] ttac [dot] com. We will select the choicest pieces as they come in, provide the lightest of edits, and let you know which Saturday your piece will run. Keep in mind that because we cannot guarantee that your piece will run on a given week, time-sensitive pieces might not be the best idea. Contributions should be at least 600 words, but no more than 1500 words… although we’re willing to make exceptions for the right piece.
TTAC’s greatest strength has always been its dedicated, well-informed and tough-minded commentariat. This is your opportunity to share that story that was too long for a comments section, or start the debate that we’ve never gotten around to. And if you appreciate the kind of high-quality writing that TTAC provides, this is your chance to give back. After all, we ask for so very little…
I will be appearing on Fox Business again, at 11:15 Eastern (8:15 Pacific) to talk Volt and GM’s IPO. Please excuse a brief slowdown in content this morning, and rest assured, TTAC will be back in action ASAP.
Your humble editor will be appearing on America’s Nightly Scoreboard on the Fox Business channel today at 7:30 PM Eastern (4:30 PM Pacific) to discuss my NY Times Op-Ed on the Chevrolet Volt.
Transitions are almost never easy, and leaving TTAC and Curbside Classics is downright painful. But for a number of reasons, that’s what needs to happen right now. Two of them are in the picture above. (Read More…)
It was bound to happen. Combine the irresistible force of the Datsun 240 Z with the charming demeanor of TTAC’s “LeMons Racing Experience” (LRE) team captain, Troy Hogan, and we were bound to win something. And that point was the February 2010 running of the 24 Hours of LeMons in Houston.
We didn’t win the race, unless in 28th place counts as winning. But this time we got a prize, the highly coveted Index of Effluency now rests on our mantle: and it is the top prize in LeMon Land. To quote judge Murilee Martin,it is “the pinnacle of all LeMons awards….(given) to the team that accomplishes the most with the crappiest car.” While we always had the latter, the former is the textbook definition of “added perk.” And our new paint job (fashioned from the Paul Newman-era BRE racing livery) certainly looks trophy-worthy. The $1500 worth of nickels didn’t hurt either, even if we shouldn’t put them on the roof of the car for photography.
Normally TTAC shies away from going too crazy with daily themes, but today we’ve got such a backlog of truck-related news and analysis we’re going to go ahead and dub today Truck Thursday. After all, few automakers have invested much in trucks and SUVs since gas prices began rising in 2008, and now the segment stands at a crossroads. Firms like Toyota, which invested too much too late in the truck and SUV market have to figure out how to manage its overcapacity. Firms like GM and Chrysler, which got bad reps for becoming overdependent on trucks and utes are faced with the challenge of keeping much-needed profits flowing while weaning themselves off their body-on-frame addictions. New challengers like Mahindra are headed into the market with a utilitarian ethos that’s been missing from the segment for decades, and established players are responding. Old brands like HUMMER are dying on the vine. The result is a truck market that’s rife with change and transition. Join us as we delve into this changing world of trucks and SUVs today, during TTAC’s celebration of Truck Thursday.
TTAC is something of a family affair these days. Though our contributors are still scattered around the country and the world, TTAC’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor are now a father-son team that, despite living a few hours drive from one another, hardly ever see each other in person. So with the holidays upon us, we’re slowing down our relentless coverage in order to spend some time together as a family. From now through Sunday, we’ll continue to post some content, though at a more leisurely, holiday-like pace. But don’t worry: though on-page content will slow, we will be taking the time to put finishing touches on several new series to debut here on TTAC as we head into the new year. We’ve got some great stuff lined up for 2010, and we’re thrilled at the prospect of another year of automotive truth-telling. So on behalf of the TTAC family, here in Oregon and around the world, we wish you all a very happy holidays.
When I started writing for TTAC, I could never have imagined the wild ride I was in for. Luckily I’ve been able to draw on wisdom and support of a number of TTAC’s contributors, not the least of whom was my dad, Paul Niedermeyer. He first suggested that I start blogging for TTAC, and his seemingly infinite knowledge of all things automotive has been a constant resource for me. Now, I’m pleased to announce that he will be stepping up to be my Managing Editor. In addition to his twice-weekly Curbside Classic series (and who knows, maybe a few more Auto-Biographies), Paul will be developing new content, blogging stories in his formidable areas of expertise, and filling in for me when my work pulls me away from the keyboard. I can’t imagine a better person for the job, and together we hope to bring TTAC to new heights.