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.

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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.

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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.

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By on November 8, 2015

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

Government agencies from the United States, Canada and Germany will be testing diesel vehicles from automakers other than Volkswagen to check their compliance with emission laws.

According to The New York Times, regulators in North America “are significantly expanding their on-the-road emissions tests to cover all makes and models of diesel cars.” The same on-road tests found 3-liter V-6 diesel engines to emit more NOx than they did in EPA testing.

The EPA had already notified General Motors that its new Colorado and Canyon diesel pickups would undergo increased scrutiny.

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By on November 8, 2015

photo-wall-photo-thanks-to-flickr-user-jiazi-available-under-by-sa

Volkswagen engineers in Germany are afraid to do business trips to the U.S. because one employee had his passport confiscated by U.S. investigators, reported Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest subscription daily newspaper, on Saturday.

The paper goes on to explain Volkswagen believes U.S. authorities want to question certain engineers and are preventing their exit from the country, and evasion of questioning, by confiscating their passports.

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By on October 29, 2015

1. GMC Sierra Petersburg Alaska

After stopping in Juneau, we now take the Alaska Marine Highway — the ferry in simple terms — on a little over five hour sail to reach the next town in our journey: Petersburg, definitely the most picturesque fishing station I got to visit in Alaska.

Nicknamed Little Norway and founded in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, who gave the town its name, Petersburg still displays a very strong Norwegian influence, with many buildings decorated with flowery Norwegian rosemaling paintings. In fact, many of Petersburg’s residents can trace their heritage back to Norwegian ancestors and there was a time when Norwegian was still commonly heard on the street.

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By on October 10, 2015

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson announced Thursday in Washington, DC, that the automaker would “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode,” making Volvo one of the first automakers to solve one of many important legal issues that face autonomous vehicles.

Volvo made the announcement just days after launching a project in Sweden that will see 100 Volvo XC90s with autonomous functionality hitting the roads around Gothenburg in 2017.

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2015

2015100714474564724

As Opel begins its retail roll out of the new Astra across Europe, some enterprising spy shooters have found the Opel’s Chinese-market twin wearing Buick tri-shields and Verano GS badging.

And holy shit, this is about to get very, very confusing.

According to Autohome, the Verano GS — marketed as Buick Weilang GS in China — is expected to be revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show with GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The same engine will be used in North America in the new Malibu, albeit with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Now before you get too excited about those GS badges, it may not mean what you think it means, at least in this case.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2015

Subaru Sambar

Twelve countries, including the United States, reached an agreement Monday on an historic trade agreement that could economically tie together more than 400 million people in Asian Pacific and American countries. The pact would cover trade for wide ranging products, from rice to pharmaceutical drugs to cars.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which negotiators have been working on for eight years, would thaw trade relations among countries included in the regional zone, including Japan and the United States. For automakers in both countries, the tentative deal includes provisions for Japanese automakers to (eventually) bring light-duty trucks to the U.S. For American automakers, part of the proposed agreement included a side deal between America and Japan to allow access for U.S. automakers to traditionally closed Japanese markets.

The agreement faces an uphill battle to get congressional approval; House Republicans and presidential candidates already have roundly dismissed the deal.

(Read More…)

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