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By on June 20, 2019

With the Renault-Nissan partnership looking about as healthy as the bird you clipped on the highway last week, there has been some speculation that the Alliance might disband. At the very least, we know that Nissan has wanted Renault to diminish some of its authority and finally allow the Japanese brand to make a few decisions for itself.

While it’s being kept relatively quiet, Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are currently seeking ways to rescue their failed merger plan and receive Nissan’s blessing. But Nissan has been stonewalling the $35-billion deal by denying support. It’s not the most cunning strategy we’ve encountered, but totally effective in befuddling the French government to a point where it wanted to delay things — prompting FCA to back out.

Reuters is now claiming that Nissan plans on using round two of the merger talks to convince Renault to reduce its 43.4-percent stake in the company. But the French automaker’s CEO, Thierry Bolloré, says there’s no way that’s happening.  Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

Ignoring the personal pride associated with maintaining a vehicle yourself, disposing of motor oil is an annoying chore. While not terribly difficult, laziness sometimes gets the better of us. Why bother risking the wellbeing of your interior with dirty fluids when there’s a perfectly good storm drain nearby?

While I’ve never dumped my fluids illegally, I know the temptation. Ten coffee cans full of used motorcycle oil will do that to you and, for every receptacle filled and slid to the back of your garage, the urge to tip them grows ever stronger. But I eventually sacked up and took them to AutoZone for recycling, effectively ending my youthful act of torpid rebellion.

Unfortunately, AutoZone may have also had a problem with the competent disposal of used motor oil — and 5 million other environmentally hazardous waste items. Sounds like someone is about to “get in the zone” of a huge fine.  Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

J.D. Power’s 2019 Initial Quality Study (IQS) shows industry-wide problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) failing to improve for the first time since 2014. Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai take the top three spots, improving on their 2018 results, while 18 of the 32 brands studied declined.

Hyundai Motor Group’s brands continue their trend of increasing their advantage over their competitors. The Genesis brand improved from 68 to 63 PP100, Kia from 72 to 70 PP100, and Hyundai from 74 to 71 PP100. Ford and Lincoln round out the top five with 83 and 84 PPH, respectively. Land Rover is most-improved over 2018, improving by 37 PP100, but they still sit second from last in the study at 123 PP100. Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

The United Auto Workers is spending Thursday telling Congress that the union opposes the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels through 2026… sort of. While the UAW expressed moderate environmental concerns in the past, most of its opposition to the rollback has revolved around corporate investments into the industry. In fact, the union’s research arm called fuel economy the auto industry’s “future” in 2018.

This time around, the UAW seems to be singularly focused on business aspects. According to a prewritten testimony, UAW Legislative Director Josh Nassar intends to tell two subcommittees of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that the union is in line with automakers’ concerns about the proposal leading to “protracted litigation and uncertainty in the industry that will limit growth.” Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

Since 2005, 37 deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning have been attributed to vehicles with keyless ignitions that were inadvertently left running. Automatic engine shutoff is not currently mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so manufacturer’s application of the technology is sporadic. But the PARK IT Act wants to change that.  Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

Many consumers continue to misunderstand the driver-assistance technologies being placed in modern vehicles, according to the latest survey released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But we don’t need the IIHS to tell us that. We’ve been documenting the avoidable accidents created whenever motorists overestimate what their high-tech cars are capable of for years now.

However, the insurance institute and numerous consumer advocacy groups have suggested that big part of the problem stems from the names manufacturers are using to describe their semi-autonomous hardware. Titles like “Autopilot” or “Driving Assistant Plus” can be confusing to somebody who didn’t bother to read the manual, especially when the associated marketing materials are often helping to steer them further in the wrong direction.  Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

Ford 2.0 Ecoboost Engine, Image: sriperformance.comMatt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I wrote to you a few years ago regarding a water leak in the moonroof of my old 2010 Ford Fusion. I traded that car in 3 years ago on a brand new at the time 2015 Fusion Titanium with the 2.0 Ecoboost and AWD.

I have had this car for 3 years and just rolled over 100,000KM with it. My issue is that under hard acceleration from a low speed or a stop there is a whining noise that sounds like its coming from the front of the car. The whining noise sounds like the whine a supercharger makes. If i accelerate gently there is no noise and if I floor it on the highway there isn’t a noise I can hear either.

It seems to be only a low speed thing and heavy on the throttle that recreates it.

I took the car to the dealership last week while it was under warranty and they claimed it was the turbo and replaced the turbo and a number of associated parts. The car is still making the noise under the same conditions and now my warranty is done. I’ve googled the issue and been on the Ford forums and couldn’t find anything related to the noise i’m experiencing.

Any idea why my turbocharged 2.0 Ecoboost sounds like a supercharged engine?

Read More >

By on June 20, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a case of forbidden fruit. Though North American consumers could buy something similar, this Rare Ride was never on domestic shores as new.

It’s the Toyota Corona 2000 GT, from 1974.

Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

In September of last year, the Michigan State Police conducted their 2019 Model Year Police Vehicle Evaluations. The purpose of these tests is to provide objective performance data to the individual agencies who are making purchasing decisions for their divisions.

For the automakers, it’s an all-out race for pride in being the superior bad-guy chaser. Ford hands off the title from their own 2018 3.5-liter EcoBoost Police Interceptor AWD (Taurus) sedan to their 2019 Police Interceptor Utility 3.0L EcoBoost AWD Explorer SUV. Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

During Tesla’s most-recent shareholders meeting, Elon Musk said the company’s pickup should be arriving this fall — adding that we would probably see it near the end of the summer if everything goes according to plan. Apparently disinterested in waiting another two months, robotics enthusiast and self-professed EV fan Simone Giertz decided to fabricate her own using a Tesla Model 3 as a starting point.

Giertz, who runs a YouTube channel focused on quirky building projects, claimed the home-brewed pickup’s relation to the sedan was one of necessity. She only chose the Model 3 because it possessed a steel chassis and was cheaper to risk ruining than a Model S would have been.  Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

2019 Honda Accord Sport front quarter

It’s back, baby! Enthusiasts cried in 2001 when, amid The Fast and the Furious fever, Honda pulled the plug on their bigger sports coupe offering, the Prelude. It wasn’t selling well, as the Civic had grown to fit American tastes, and the beloved Acura Integra had just been supplanted by the more powerful RSX. Still, there are enthusiasts who lament the loss of the beloved coupe.

While I detest the “four-door coupe” moniker being applied to sedans with a steeply raked backlight, it doesn’t take a big stretch of imagination to see a coupe atop this page if you squint. Thus, I’m calling it – this 2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport is the return of the Prelude. The postlude, perhaps.

Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

When Ford unveiled the 2020 Shelby GT500 in January, the automaker claimed it would be the most powerful vehicle it had ever created outside of motorsport applications. With a suggested 0-to-60 time within the 3-second range, we presumed that the Blue Oval would be targeting Dodge’s Hellcat in terms of power and don’t appear to have been far off.

On Wednesday, Ford confirmed that the meanest Mustang’s supercharged V8 will play host to 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. The manufacturer is proclaiming it to be the most energy dense supercharged production V8 in the world. Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

While we got an early peek of the new 8 Series Gran Coupe via some leaked photos, the full lineup has now been revealed by BMW. The entry level 8 Series will be in the form of the rear-wheel drive 840i. With the 340 hp turbo inline-6, the cost of entry begins at $84,990, plus $995 destination. Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive will start at $109,895.

On many cars, the design of the rear seems like an afterthought — or possibly a feature designed by a separate team from the front. Either way, it’s rare that a rear end is the most striking part of a car’s design. Here, though, BMW has crafted such complexity and visual strength, that I find myself continuing to stare at the rear ¾ view. Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

Without the glue that was Carlos Ghosn holding the Renault-Nissan Alliance together, some of the partnership’s joint-business operations are reportedly being disbanded as corporate relations continue to sour. Nissan quietly started dissolving the Office of the CEO in April, after a special corporate governance committee claimed it was one of the reasons why it was so difficult to detect Ghosn’s alleged financial misconduct.

The Japanese automaker has since sought to rejigger its own management structure, as per the committee’s suggestions, however Renault intends on blocking those governance changes. Now the Financial Times is reporting that the two companies are gradually unwinding departments providing oversight for collaborative efforts related to light commercial vehicles, sales and marketing, communications and more.  Read More >

By on June 19, 2019

When exactly did it come to pass that hatchback versions of small cars were generally priced higher than their sedan counterparts? It’s not true in every example but, more often than not, one will shell out a few more simoleons for a five-door. I’ll posit that the original Ford Focus started this trend.

At least customers get a more practical car and, in many cases, a more stylish one.

Such is the case with Kia’s littlest family member. Its five-door variant is priced just ever so slightly above its two-box brother. The Korean automaker has a trophy case packed with Ace of Base awards, largely thanks to its strong value for money proposition. Let’s check this one out.

Read More >

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