TTAC reader Evan Reisner thinks that a small pickup is just the ticket for GM. But it’s not the one you may expect.
The prevailing wisdom on TTAC is that many Americans are interested in a compact pickup truck – but the same wisdom also suggests that such a truck would be bad for GM’s CAFE ratings. Market demand aside, CAFE is one of the reasons that Chrysler and Ford got out of the small truck game.
Yet few people know that The General has a product that can combine the best of both worlds. But they’ve chosen not to offer it in the USA.
TTAC reader and former auto journalist Michael Banovsky writes about the inexorable move towards autonomous cars
Autonomous cars are already here.
It doesn’t matter if you’re testing an actual Google Car or cruising the Keys in a Pagoda-roof 230 SL, CUVing the kids to Hot Yoga or signing “11″ on a deserted road. Autonomous cars are here, the debate is done, so enjoy driving while you still can.
Let’s start with a story.
Reader Daniel Latini is a car guy and has a baby on the way. He’s looking for your advice on a new ride that can carry around his family.
My wife is one of those generally temperate souls who has a few firecrackers strewn about her personality. New challenges can spark a little friction in any couple, and something popped when we saw the ultrasound pictures of our still-developing first child.
Her current steed, a middle-aged Korean compact hatch, lost a lot of luster that day. I’m sure the B&B will pelt me with shop manuals for trading a car with less than 100,000 miles, but I think there are some sound reasons to consider an upgrade.
We’re young, clueless and enthusiastic – click the jump and join us as we begin the misadventure of finding our first family hauler!
A TTAC reader is an engineer with a major powertrain company, and offered his extremely detailed analysis of the ZF 9-speed. Consider this an AP level course in powertrain engineering.
Before we dive right in to the 9-speed gearbox, let’s take a quick refresher on the basics of gears. The simplest gear set consists of 2 parallel gears mounted on 2 parallel shafts. Shown in Fig.1 is a gear set with a 20 tooth drive gear on the right and a 30 tooth driven gear on the left. For this gear set the speed of the driven gear is 1.5 times lower than the drive gear, and assuming no frictional losses anywhere, the torque on the driven gear is 1.5 times higher. This gear set has a ratio of 1.5:1. This type of a gear set is usually not favorable for packaging since it requires 2 parallel shafts, and there are largest separating forces that push the 2 gears apart which means that the bearings supporting the shafts have significant radial loads on them, in addition to an axial load if the gears are helical.
TTAC reader Dean Trombetta is back, giving an insider’s look at a widely reported but mis-understood story involving automotive plastics.
Last week, Aston Martin announced the recall of more than 17,000 vehicles for defective throttle pedals. The term “counterfeit plastic”, was frequently mentioned in the story, and for those not in the plastics business, the term may seem confusing. We usually associate the term “counterfeit” with consumer goods, specifically luxury items like watches, handbags and women’s accessories. Despite being in the plastics industry, I wasn’t sure what initial reports were referencing. But further research has shed some more light on the matter, and there seem to be two possible scenarios at play here.
This week’s Ur-Turn comes from David Ruggles, a noted industry figure, prolific TTAC commenter and author of the Autos and Economics blog.
In my 44 years in the auto industry there have been a couple of continuing themes I have observed. First, there is never ending change. Second, consumers are uncomfortable with the negotiating process required when buying a vehicle. These days vendors to auto dealers are trying to sell dealers on the concept that “transparency” is the key to success in selling cars.
In early 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Porsche alleging that the company knowingly installed defective coolant pipes made of nylon into engines of Cayenne model SUV’s. Apparently, the pipes are very likely to fail prematurely resulting in serious engine damage. If the vehicle is out of warranty, customers end up spending big bucks to repair their engines and replace the coolant pipes. The replacement coolant pipes are made of aluminum. (Read More…)
This review comes from reader Nicholas Naylor, who rented a Seat Altea XL for a recent trip to Spain.
My wife and I attended a wedding in southern Spain recently, along with another couple who are close friends of ours. We’re all taller than average, and being that we’re attending a wedding, the luggage load was heavy. So my idea of renting something small and Euro chic was out of the question; it had to be a wagon. Enter the Seat Altea XL.
TTAC Reader Richard responds to Derek’s Scion Metalhead Marketing piece from the perspective of a car lover and metal fan
” ‘Entrails ripped from a virgin’s c**t,’ ” I thought to myself. Toyota wants to play patron to a musical genre that has spawned songs like ‘Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s C**t’ and ‘Christraping Black Metal.’ What are they thinking?”
My disbelief at Scion AV’s announcement echoed across heavy metal fandom. If there’s such a thing as collective cognitive dissonance, Scion AV caused it. Nobody could believe that Toyota was going to do this. What did heavy metal have to do with selling cars? And why would Toyota risk its stodgy and safe image on promoting itself via heavy metal, even if done through the ‘edgy’ and ‘youth-oriented’ Scion brand?
|Reader Josh Howard relates the story of why he recommended a Mitsubishi to a co-worker…he’s a brave soul
After reading Derek’s excellent piece on Mitsubishi and their irrelevance in the American marketplace, I began thinking about the brand, and their history in the United States. A few months ago, I went against my better instincts and actually recommended one to a coworker despite knowing what Mitsubishi turned into in the early 2000′s…not to mention a turbocharged DSM car some years prior.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every weekend (well, almost) we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Mark Whinton of carquestions.ca, casts a winking eye at Chrysler’s interior improvements to a vehicle that seemed to escape much of the media’s attention at the North American International Auto Show.
Well it looks like Chrysler has finally listened to the chorus of criticism from its customers and industry pundits and the results are better than anyone expected. Bucking the industry norm Chrysler has a number of trend setting “firsts”. Starting with seating Chrysler has ditched the standard bucket seat arrangement and developed a new “wide body” style that fits any size width and meets the goal of fewer parts since the seat needs two less tracks, one less motor and entirely eliminates the center console, a reported savings of $350 per vehicle. The biggest change has been a switch from mostly plastic to a definite functional metal theme. Gone are the plastic shifters and door handles replaced by solid metal. The feeling is incredible and reminds me of the mid 60’s when you knew you had your hand on something, not like the 90’s that feel like a pool noodle.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Weekend we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution, from Jag Singh, reveals that, for an Indian immigrant in post-9/11 America, love of the Panther chassis could hold hidden dangers.
Coming out of India two decades ago, I had a broad experience with 2 wheelers of various types. But, my experience with 4 wheels was limited to micro Suzukis that still rule the road over there. When I bought an old Integra it was everything I could ask for, and provided more hoonage possibilities than I could muster courage for. I used to travel every week, and Taurus was my default weekday rental car. Soon I had a gold plated card from Hertz, and could walk into the rental car lot to pick up any car available there. There were always some Town Cars or Grand Marquis’ in the lot, most people seemed to ignore them. And so did I, initially. Jaguars were rare, but Maximas quickly became my favorite. I tried Mustangs but did not like the rattling noises or the cheap plastics used. Also, they felt way underpowered compared to a Maxima.
Ur-Turn is your weekly opportunity to contribute to TTAC. Every Weekend we select a piece submitted to our contact form, and publish it as a showcase for the diverse perspectives of TTAC’s readers. Today’s contribution comes from Nick Naylor, who explores the street-level reality of American cars in Asia, and the prospects of American exports to Asia.
As a frequent TTAC poster and lifelong enthusiast, some of my favorite topics and articles are the ones in which vehicles are found outside their cultural context. Paul’s classic Mustang on the streets of Paris, for example, struck me as a particularly beautiful image. “Real” American cars are of special interest to me—cars designed predominately for the North American market, built there, and exported. You don’t see too many of these outside of North America–for a myriad of reasons I need not get into here. That said, when I see a Cadillac, or an American Ford product in an Asian or European city—it invokes a similar feeling to what Paul experienced seeing the Ford and the Hummer in Paris. In this time of Obama’s pledge to double exports in 5 years, with cars being a particular sticking point with Korea, it is American made vehicles that he must be most interested in selling, not Chinese-made Chevy Sails. Is it possible?
With this on my mind, and camera in hand; I recently spent three weeks between China (Hong Kong and Guangdong province), Korea (Seoul) and Japan (Tokyo). What I observed follows below. There’s no reports, sales numbers, or data here…just observations and supporting photos.
If you think Baruth’s series on speeding demonstrated both a lack of adult responsibility and abundant sociopathology, you’re going to love this.