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By on August 7, 2020

If you spend your days decrying the bloat of American automobiles, you won’t like what 2021 has in store for you. It’ll be like 2020… only worse!

Scary stuff. For consumers enamored both with the Jeep brand and large, cargo-happy vehicles, however, next year will bring the dawning of a new age of glorious excess. Thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter earnings report, we can now pin down post-lockdown production timelines for three Jeep vehicles boasting three rows of seating. Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering a recall on roughly 1 million vehicles equipped with its 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine. That incorporates most of FCA’s smaller models, including a few defunct models like the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.

Reporting from the Detroit Free Press suggests the 2.4-liter unit exceeded allowable emissions limits during testing. While the Tigershark MultiAir II is also featured in a class-action suit over claims that it burns too much oil, FCA said that matter is unrelated to the proposed recall.

“In connection with internal testing, we determined that approximately 1 million vehicles equipped with the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine may have excess tailpipe emissions,” the automaker said in a recent regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

U.S. sales results, at least those that we know of, were a mixed bag in July. Automakers foreign and domestic are busy replenishing inventories drained by a two-month shutdown of U.S. manufacturing; for many, the restocking can’t come soon enough.

At Kia Motors’s West Point, Georgia plant, production of the Telluride crossover got underway again in May, and the automaker can barely keep up with demand. Cox Automotive (via CNN) reported two weeks ago that the country’s Kia dealers report an average 15-day supply of the unexpectedly popular model. That’s tight, to say the least.

But the Telluride isn’t the only vehicle lifting Kia’s fortunes in the wake of the shutdown. Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

enigne flush

We’ll preface this post with the admonition that, unless you’re reasonably familiar with the environs of an engine bay, you should keep your paws off stuff like this. However, a case can be made that anyone who’s fleet is comprised of machines that actually need these products is probably intimately familiar with the contents of a rusty toolbox.

On one hand, additives like these have their proponents, who declare them the best thing to happen to cars since the assembly line. On the other, there is a group of skeptics who feel they’re nothing more than snake oil in a can. All we can tell you is that there are plenty of them on the market and it’s our job to suss out a few with the best reviews. And, for the love of all that’s holy, read the instructions with products like this.

Given the hooptie state of our cars around here, we may have even used one or two of these things ourselves.

By on August 7, 2020

One of the strangest anomalies in the automotive industry is the way electric vehicle startups (like technology companies in general) seem to draw limitless support from investors while established automakers don’t receive nearly the same kind of love  even when transitioning toward EVs.

There’s a logic behind this, however. Green tech is overwhelmingly trendy at the moment, even if some of it lacks a comprehensive game plan to actually save the environment, and financial backers are always looking to get in on the next big thing before anybody else  resulting in scattershot investing that sometimes coalesces into a major victory for new firms possessing sufficient moxie.

But it hasn’t helped the auto industry’s largest players, who are seen as dinosaurs using the blood of their forebears to amass their fortunes. They lack the presumed purity of brands like Tesla or Nikola (clever name), even though their financial goals seem largely the same.

A potential solution to this problem is to distance tech-focused entities from the core business. Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

Though Rare Rides has featured many examples of vehicles which wore Chrysler badges and Ghia designs, there’s never been a single car which represented both.

That changes today, with this very rare 1953 Chrysler Special.

Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

Canadian auto manufacturing has steadily declined over the past several decades, and the future looks cloudy for workers at Detroit Three plants. It’s under this gathering gloom that the union representing these workers, Unifor, enters into contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.

The last round of collective bargaining was rough, but the near-closure of GM’s Oshawa Assembly (where auto production ceased last year) provided Unifor with a grim portent of what could await other underutilized Canuck plants. Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera in California wrecking yard, front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Kids, as we all know, exist for but one purpose: to replace us. You’re out there on the deck, grilling steaks, and over there sits Junior. Waiting.

It’s ominous.

But kids need to get around, especially to places of employment so that they can pull their own weight. So sometimes a purchase is in order, or at least the gifting of a well-used vehicle you’d planned to sell or trade in. Ever done it? Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

Image: Nissan

A longtime presence at the top of Mitsubishi Motors departed his post Friday morning, marking the end of an era for the embattled Japanese automaker. Company Chairman Osamu Masuko, 71, resigned effective immediately today, following a six-year tenure at the top of a company he joined in 1972.

Masuko, who rose to become president of the company in 2005 and CEO in 2014, cited health reasons for his sudden departure. Read More >

By on August 7, 2020

gm

The Cadillac Lyriq’s final production form remains unknown, but the “show car” revealed late Thursday is said to be a fairly close representation of the real thing. That show car is also not far removed from a conceptual rendering released in January 2019, previewing a vehicle that will enter production in late 2022 as a 2023 model.

A lot can happen in the span of more than three and a half years: Buzz can wear off, unreleased products can grow outdated, rivals can catch up. Imagine if Chrysler’s “Suddenly, it’s 1960” collection of 1957 creations were first teased in early 1953.

Cadillac’s betting that the Lyriq’s attributes will remain fresh come roll-out time, and that could very well prove true. Read More >

By on August 6, 2020

On Thursday, Munich-based prosecutors announced the indictment of four more ex-Audi managers in relation to Volkswagen Group’s infamous diesel emission scandal. This follows the charges brought against former CEO Rupert Stadler and a handful of Audi staffers in 2018.

The latest indictment involves three former board members and one department head who has since retired. Prosecutors stated the alleged crimes relate to 434,420 cars manufactured by VW Group brands which we already know where sold with trick software designed to circumvent emissions testing, according to Reuters and German outlet Handelsblatt. However, the grand total of vehicles suspected to be in violation of regulatory law are suggested to be closer to 11 million globally.

Read More >

By on August 6, 2020

You’ll be crushed to learn that Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale has been delayed on account of the pandemic.

By nature of being the brand’s very first plug-in hybrid, the SF90 is incredibly complex. The model relies on a trio of electric motors working in tandem with its turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 to achieve a maximum output of 986 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. Electrification also requires the Stradale to have a small, 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, regenerative brakes and a totally new 8-speed transmission.

The grocery list of essential (and novel) items turned out to be problematic as supply chains were disrupted the world over by coronavirus-related lockdowns. Originally scheduled for delivery this summer, the SF90 is being pushed back to the end of the year as Ferrari waits for idled supply chains to catch up. The manufacturer admitted that its own shutdowns haven’t helped it get out the door any faster. Read More >

By on August 6, 2020

Yes, I know – we talked about ceramic coatings just the other week. We promise we’re not repeating ourselves, at least not until we’re safely ensconced in the Old Age Home for Recovering Gearheads. We’ll be in the wing where they keep folks who had an odd affinity for terrible ’90s GM cars.

Different than a ceramic coating, these simple polishes are a lot easier to apply, taking less effort and fewer steps. One still shouldn’t slap this stuff on their car in direct sunlight – that goes for all car washing steps, by the way – but it is certainly possible to spend a lazy afternoon treating your car to one of these polishes in the shade of a tree. Those with more motivation will get the job done far more quickly.

We’ll see you in the old age home.

By on August 6, 2020

Have you seen an Audi E-Tron (officially, “e-tron”) on the street? This writer hasn’t. Yet the electric Audi crossover has been on offer for a little over a year now, slowly paving the way for an all-electric future.

Available to U.S. customers through special order and to dealers who just wish to keep one around, the E-Tron arrived in early 2019 with 204 miles of EPA-rated range. It’s now back after skipping a model year, with two improvements aimed at broader consumer appeal, if not adoption.

Read More >

By on August 6, 2020

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is recommending automakers limit the use of advanced driving aids after concluding they’re not really up to the challenge of providing reliable safety.

Over the past two years, AAA has focused on testing crash prevention systems to see if they’re all manufacturers claim — deciding that while are useful in some instances, they’re far too inconsistent to be considered reliable safety nets. Like us, the group worries that making these features commonplace has created a false sense of security among drivers. While one might assume advanced driving aids have to be halfway decent to be put into vehicles, AAA’s pedestrian detection test from 2019 showed they’re anything but consistent.

On Thursday, America’s favorite motor club returned to report on its latest findings on five systems currently offered by the industry. For the test, AAA selected a 2019 BMW X7 with Active Driving Assistant Professional, 2019 Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise, 2019 Ford Edge with Co-Pilot360, 2020 Kia Telluride with Highway Driving Assist, and a 2020 Subaru Outback with EyeSight. The group was sent to numerous testing sites in California, Utah, and Nevada, and given a 4,000-mile shakedown on public roads — where the outfit found the systems averaged a misstep or disengagement roughly every 8 miles.

Read More >

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