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By on September 23, 2021

Last month, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new rules that would increase fines for automakers who previously failed to adhere to fuel efficiency requirements. EV manufacturer Tesla has predictably endorsed the rules and has begun urging the federal government to put the plan in action as soon as possible.

While automakers have issued concerns that increasing penalties could cost them over $1 billion per year through regulatory fines and the purchasing of carbon credits, Tesla has been asking the Biden administration and a U.S. appeals court to expedite the process and make the proposals binding. Though that’s undoubtedly because the company sells its credits to the tune of at least $350 million annually and doesn’t build a single automobile that’s powered by gasoline.  Read More >

By on September 23, 2021

Yesterday I ripped Honda a bit for producing a 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport that seems light on actual off-road chops.

Some time afterward, I received press materials about a Passport TrailSport project vehicle that is supposed to actually preview the TrailSport’s future off-road abilities.

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By on September 23, 2021

Several Japanese companies embarked on the WiLL sub-brand exercise at the dawn of the new millennium. Miscellaneous WiLL-branded products were introduced alongside a funky new car offering from Toyota, the WiLL Vi.

The baguette-themed retro sedan was an immediate failure amongst the youthful consumers WiLL was supposed to attract, so Toyota had a very quick rethink. Meet VS.

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By on September 23, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.

But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.

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By on September 22, 2021

Despite being the target of a German lawsuit accusing the manufacturer of not being green enough, Volkswagen Group is probably the legacy automaker touting the merits of electrification with the most enthusiasm. While undoubtedly influenced by the diesel emissions catastrophe that cheesed off every regulator in the Western world, its brand has actively been delivering EVs and praising alternative energy automobiles whenever possible.

There was more of that this week. Porsche has reportedly decided to make the 718 to be an all-electric model by 2025 and Audi recently announced that it’s employing rally icon and Hoonigan founder Ken Block (who broke with the Ford Motor Co. earlier this year) to develop EVs. Read More >

By on September 22, 2021

Ford

It’s become something of a mantra for me, lately, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It goes like this: Electric cars aren’t coming, they’re already here. And, depending on who you ask, they’ve been here – they just haven’t quite made it into the mainstream, yet. With the dawn of the Rivian R1T (which became the first full-size electric pickup to reach series production earlier this month), though, a lot of people would have you believe that’s set to change. I happen to be one of them.

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By on September 22, 2021

The North American International Auto Show, aka Detroit Auto Show, can’t catch a break.

Organizers decided to move the show to summer and the outdoors for 2020, and boom, COVID comes along and cancels it. They rebrand, move it to late summer and outdoors — at a different site — and boom, Mother Nature decides to assert herself with a day and a half of deluge. So much water fell from the sky that the second day was canceled.

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By on September 22, 2021

Honda

We wrote recently about Honda’s new TrailSport trim. I theorized it would first go to Ridgeline and perhaps be a competitor for other brand’s off-road truck trims (Chevy’s ZR, Ford’s FX4, etc) and then perhaps go to Passport as a trim with some light off-roading features.

Turns out “light” is an overstatement.

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By on September 22, 2021

Whenever I close my eyes to fantasize about police vehicles, it’s a foregone conclusion that I’m thinking about a Ford Crown Victoria. The model had a two-decade lifespan occupying departmental motor pools as the de facto police cruiser. But it’s been out of action since 2012, leaving a gigantic hole in governmental order forms that allowed other brands to flood into the space. While Ford managed to keep law enforcement interested in its SUVs (and sometimes F-Series pickups), Dodge’s Charger secured the most sedan sales by far.

Ford probably doesn’t want to find itself missing out on the most lucrative corner of the fleet market moving forward, especially as governments begin to embrace electrification. We’ve already seen the manufacturer float a few hybrid options by departments to see what they think. But now it’s ready to see how an all-electric vehicle might play. For the 2022 Model Year Police Evaluations, Ford handed the Mach-E over to Michigan State Police — giving them carte blanche to subject it to multiple days of abuse in order to establish whether or not it’s worthy of active duty.  Read More >

By on September 22, 2021

While I often criticize manufacturers, I try to remain sympathetic to their collective plight. Despite being multinational corporations that typically lack accountability, they’re still businesses that need to turn a profit to maintain their existence and are constantly coping with fluid regulatory rules or social pressures. That’s one reason why green initiatives are often more about optics and money than achieving any tangible environmental goals.

But not adhering to cultural dogmas can have real ramifications, as BMW and Daimler recently found out. The companies are being sued in their native Germany for allegedly failing to meet carbon reduction targets and not setting an official date to abolish the internal combustion engine.  Read More >

By on September 21, 2021

Stellantis

Stellantis boss Mike Manley is moving on.

Manley was the chief of the Americas for the company, but now the 57-year-old is heading to AutoNation, where he will take over for the retiring Mike Jackson.

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By on September 21, 2021

The Chevrolet Bolt has evolved from being General Motors’ superstar EV, radiating optimism for the company’s ambitious electrification strategy, to a public relations nightmare in relatively short order. While sales of the hatchback (and EUV) actually skyrocketed in Q2 of 2021, thanks largely to a diminished production output from the same period in 2020, shoppers are becoming aware of the fire reports and prolonged recall campaign that followed.

Another chapter has been added to that story, with GM now convinced that this will be the conclusion of the dejected tale. On Monday, the manufacturer issued an announcement that batteries for the Bolt had resumed production. But they won’t be coming out of the South Korean facility owned by LG Chem that’s been alleged as ground zero for the relevant defects. GM has instead elected to source the units from Michigan while LG improves quality assurance with the automaker peering over its shoulder, hopeful that customers will someday be able to use their car normally. Sadly, that moment still looks to be several months away.  Read More >

By on September 21, 2021

Tim Healey/TTAC

PONTIAC, MICH. — I noticed a couple of you commenters wondering why we hadn’t covered the 2022 Toyota Tundra yet.

One of you joked that we hadn’t done so because the grille is so ugly that we’d be charged with a crime.

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By on September 21, 2021

Acura

The 2022 Acura RDX is restyled, gaining new duds that are meant to ape the larger MDX.

A special-edition model is part of the offering for this year, too.

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By on September 21, 2021

The WiLL project was a short-lived collaborative marketing effort by several Japanese brands, intended to capture the interest and money of youthful buyers. Using emotional engineering, seven companies launched new products in the early 2000s wearing WiLL sub-branding. Included in the myriad of offerings were three different subcompact Toyotas.

And here’s the first one, the WiLL Vi.

Read More >

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