By on August 18, 2017

Toyota Factory Kentucky

The funny thing about job creators is that they don’t always, you know, create any jobs. So, when a business lets slip that it might have 4,000 positions on offer in the near future, every state with an unemployment rate higher than zero takes notice.

Mazda and Toyota’s joint factory — codenamed Project Mitt — is one such example, and now over a dozen U.S. states are simultaneously competing for the opportunity to host the $1.6-billion factory and the thousands of direct and indirect jobs it will yield.

When the Japanese automakers publicly revealed their cooperative venture a couple of weeks ago, they made it clear they had not yet picked a site — sending economic development offices into a frenzy. But what locale will emerge victorious has a lot to do with what the region can offer the manufacturer, including potential tax incentives, tempting job training programs, and investments into infrastructure.

An affordable and abundant workforce is also desirable — an element that distinguishes many states from one another. But no single area has everything on offer, leaving the final decision of where to build up in the air.  (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2017

nafta-secretariat

The first round of the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations begins on Wednesday. U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have planned to meet in Washington, D.C. on August 16th and stay through the 20th to discuss trade policy. Afterward, NAFTA debates will be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

While this all began as a Trump campaign promise to renegotiate a better deal for the United States (or abandon the trade agreement entirely), it has evolved over the last six months into an opportunity to modernize NAFTA policies. There’s no firm deadline for the three countries to reach an agreement, but Mexico is pushing for the process to wrap up before its presidential campaign begins in earnest in February. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

Jeep Cherokee

Not to sound overly patriotic or offend my Canadian coworkers, but United States is responsible for giving the world so much greatness that it’s difficult not to get a little misty eyed when I stop to think about it.

America’s long history of inventiveness has blessed the globe with modern marvels like sunglasses, chewing gum, kitty litter, the atomic bomb and, of course, sport utility vehicles. While the atomic bomb doesn’t get much broad praise these days, the rest of the aforementioned items are exceptionally popular outside the nation’s borders — especially SUVs and their bastard offspring, the crossover.

In fact, they’ve been such a runaway success that SUVs accounted for over 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016. That’s up from 21 percent in 2015 and there’s no sign of it stopping anytime soon. Sport utility vehicles are expected to surpass a third of the region’s new vehicle market by 2020. Assumedly, America’s own SUV sales will be hovering around 100 percent by then — maybe more. But let’s not discount how crossover-crazy the rest of the globe has become or forget to remind ourselves that most of the world’s best-selling SUVs aren’t exactly “Made in America.”  (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

pumping fuel

While the Trump administration continues gearing itself up to loosen fuel standards for automakers, much to the chagrin of environmentalists and other countries, the agencies that set those benchmarks want to pick your brain a little before making a final decision. You’ve got an opportunity to be part of the process — the painfully boring, yet incredibly important, process.

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation opened a public comment period on the reconsideration of the standards for greenhouse gas emissions for light vehicles built for the 2022-2025 model years. Additionally, the EPA wants comments on the appropriateness of the existing 2021 standards. The agencies are inviting the public to submit any relevant (i.e. factual) data and information that can inform a final decision of the standards.  (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

us-capitol

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross want to begin formal talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in a little over three months, adhering to the campaign pledges made by President Donald Trump last year. Ross explained to reporters that “sometime in the next couple of weeks” he will issue a notice to Congress stating the Trump administration intends to start formal NAFTA negotiations in just 90 days.

However, since he expressed his intentions in front of a gaggle of reporters, Congress is probably already aware. But it won’t be “official” until they get a piece of paper signed by the appropriate parties on the applicable letterhead — hopefully, embossed with a fierce-looking eagle surrounded by dollar signs.  (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2016

1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon, Image: © 2015 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Carlos Ghosn, the synergizing executive that Sergio Marchionne only wishes he could be, isn’t mincing words when it comes to Nissan’s plans for fledgling automaker Mitsubishi.

According to the Renault-Nissan top boss, the deal between Nissan and Mitsubishi is “massive.”

(Read More…)

By on August 21, 2016

Golf SportWagen Exterior

If you go through Volkswagen’s historical model catalogue, you’ll notice many occurrences of the exact same model sporting unique names in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

For example, Volkswagen marketed the last-generation Jetta Wagon in the United States as the Golf Wagon in Canada beginning in 2010. Roll ahead to present day, Volkswagen has called its Golf SportWagen (U.S.) the Golf Sportwagon in Canada since 2015.

Thankfully, that’s about to change.

According to Volkswagen Canada representative Thomas Tetzlaff, the Canadian outpost will drop the Sportwagon name in favor of the name used in the United States — SportWagen.

(Read More…)

By on August 21, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Image: Volkswagen

Updated with details on all-wheel drive being standard equipment for Alltrack.

Volkswagen of America needs a winner as it reels from the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, and its forthcoming Alltrack — a jacked-up, all-wheel-drive version of the SportWagen — is hopefully just the ticket.

As Volkswagen prepares to launch the new model on American shores, it’s all hands on deck for the German automaker as it sends representatives from its internal training department to every single dealership in the United States.

(Read More…)

By on July 29, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Image: Mitsubishi

The long-anticipated Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid, expected later this year, has once again been postponed for the U.S. and Canada.

This is at least the fifth time it’s been delayed in North America since its 2013 Japan-market launch. Mitsubishi’s U.S. market public relations manager, Alex Fedorak, confirmed the latest delay.

“Following a thorough evaluation process, we have determined that, in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States, the launch of the Outlander PHEV will be delayed until the summer of 2017,” said Fedorak.

(Read More…)

By on July 28, 2016

traffic

Drivers saw a tsunami of vehicle recalls in recent years, and many are choosing not to bother getting the fix.

J.D. Power and Associates tapped its SafetyIQ platform to analyze National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2013 to 2015, and found more than 45 million drivers who didn’t get their recalled vehicles in for repair. The NHTSA can kiss its 100-percent recall completion goal goodbye. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2016

Bridge Collapse

The United States is in a pretty bad spot. Even as the economy recovers from the depressing lows of 2008 and 2009, road, trail, and air travel infrastructure in the United States is failing at an alarming rate. Many underfunded municipalities are even ripping up paved roads and replacing them with gravel as a way to ease budgetary shortfalls.

But is there anything the United States can do to catch up with degrading roads, failing levies, and overflowing airports? Before you pump that cheap dino juice into your Maibatsu Monstrosity today, give this report from Business Insider a watch.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

Jack Baruth, Miami Valley Region, 2006 VW Phaeton

The way my life has been going lately, I’m seriously considering selecting a random TTAC reader to be the executor of my modest estate and then taking a shot at BASE-jumping off the Petronas Towers. If that reader happens to be you, then I need you to do at least this one thing. Have Wal-Mart or whomever the lowest bidder happens to be engrave the following on my headstone: “He saw passive aggression and, wherever possible, met it with actual aggression.”

I’m old enough to remember when women were passive-aggressive and men were just plain mean, instead of the other way ’round. I liked it better. The other night I was at dinner and my date asked for coffee and the swishy waiter pouted, “We can do it, if you want to wait fifteen minutes.” I’d rather he said, “Go to hell. We don’t serve coffee here.” I could respect that.

Even in 2016, however, it’s rare for an entire company to be passive-aggressive. But that’s exactly what Volkswagen is doing: threatening to abandon the mass market in the United States, presumably because its current exposure to lawsuits and government penalties is too high and its showroom traffic isn’t exactly at Beetles-in-the-Summer-Of-Love levels. I don’t know what it thinks such a move would accomplish, but I do know what the proper response is to a girlfriend, or colleague, who tries that approach: You hold the door open for them and let it hit them in the ass on the way out.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2016

Donald Trump, Image: Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donald Trump, while on the campaign trail in Michigan, is still promising to apply a 35-percent import tariff on vehicles built by Ford if it continues with plans to expand operations in Mexico, even though Trump wouldn’t have the authority to implement a tariff as president, reports The Detroit Free Press.

“We are going to do something that is going to (be) great (and) a very big beneficiary is going to be Michigan,” Trump said while speaking to supporters at Macomb Community College on Friday. “The car business is being abused more than most other businesses. … Mexico is becoming the new China.”

And we all know how much Trump looooooooves China.

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2016

2015 Nissan Leaf

Electric vehicles aren’t rollin’ coal anymore — or, at least, not nearly as much as they used to.

Reuters reports coal-fired electricity generation is now at a 35-year low in the U.S., and November 2015 was the fifth month in a row more natural gas than coal was used to produce electricity.

That’s not all. From Reuters:

With just one month of data missing in 2015, some analysts think power companies may have burned more gas than coal for the full year for the first time in history.

Oh, and guess what’s dirtier than natural gas when burned? You bet: gasoline.

(Read More…)

By on January 25, 2016

Sneak Peek at New Mitsubishi Motors Sedan Destined for Toronto Show

Mitsubishi in Canada on Monday posted a teaser shot of the rear end of the new Mitsubishi Attrage that’ll make its debut in Toronto at the 2016 Canadian International Auto Show next month before it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada.

Mitsubishi’s spokesman John Arnone posted a picture of himself standing next to the sedan at a shoot in Vancouver, which doesn’t really leave much to question. It’s clearly the small sedan, which will be one of two new models bound for Canada and the U.S. in 2016.

Perhaps next we’ll get a teaser of the Outlander PHEV’s roof with a Tim Hortons coffee cup sitting on it. Thrilling stuff.

(Read More…)

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