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By on April 13, 2021

It looks like the White House won’t be needing to take any action in response to the International Trade Commission’s decision on how to handle the feud between South Korea’s LG Chem and SK Innovation. The duo has reached a settlement that would allow the former battery manufacturer to complete assembly on its $2.6-billion plant located in Georgia.

LG alleged that SK had stolen intellectual property and the ITC was backing punitive measures that would have forbade the latter company from importing certain lithium-ion batteries into the United States under a 10-year exclusion order. While exemptions were made for the components necessary to manufacturer them in the country, the arrangement was tied to SK’s existing orders and limited to just 4 years. The settlement gives SK additional leeway and prevents Joe Biden from having to consider the possibility of blocking the ITC decision as a way of maintaining American jobs.  Read More >

By on April 13, 2021

 

2020 Subaru Outback

Subaru’s Outback has long been a standard-bearer for wagons. The addition of the Onyx Edition XT trim level for 2020 won’t change that.

Really, that’s the big news, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. While minor trim-level additions and changes sometimes seem so minor as to not be worth a review, this one is.

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By on April 13, 2021

Those of you tracking the semiconductor shortage can probably take it easy for a while, as practically every industry group on the planet has tentatively agreed we’ll be seeing a chip deficit for a few years. Meanwhile, market analysts are trying to predict the next material we won’t have enough of and rubber is looking like an ideal candidate.

Rubber supplies are drying up and price increases are reportedly beginning to climb at an untenable pace. Despite several years of relatively stable availability and low prices, supply chain disruptions created by lockdowns have left latex harvesters in a bad position. Low prices encouraged many to over harvest their existing crop, rather than invest in farmland. But with shortages looking probable as countries began responding to the pandemic, China went on a buying spree to maintain a robust national stockpile in 2020. But the United States was late to the party and now finds itself in a position where scarcity is driving rubber prices through the roof just when it needs to buy more.

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By on April 13, 2021

Texas Trail

There’s a new 2021 Jeep Gladiator, the Texas Trail. Unveiled this week, the Trail is offered only in Texas, the country’s largest truck market.

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By on April 13, 2021

Arcimoto

Arcimoto, makers of fun, utility vehicles for commuters and fleets, announced NASDAQ’s approval today. The company can now list its shares of common stock on The NASDAQ Global Market, a positive growth sign.

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By on April 12, 2021

While automotive enthusiasts have mixed opinions on the cultural clout of electric vehicles, there’s one aspect of electrification that’s undeniably cool — the resto-mod potential. Despite the historic appeal of driving around in vintage automobiles, they’re often painfully slow with ridiculously long braking distances and a lack of standard features many people living today would deem unacceptable. If you don’t believe me, select a random friend and ask them to parallel park a car without power steering or automatic transmission. Chuck in maintenance costs that are often well above average and it’s little wonder why so many Baby Boomers have been spending their retirement years outfitting the classic-era (or older) cars they grew up with with modern conveniences and components.

But we’ve also started seeing manufacturers (and even some intrepid entrepreneurs) taking the foundational concepts of resto-modding and adding electric propulsion. Some executions even seem to be pushing the boundaries of what we could effectively call automotive restoration, like Hyundai’s Pony Heritage EV.  Read More >

By on April 12, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is an Eighties hot hatch from the good people at Mazda. Offered for a short time, the 323 GT-X sold in very limited numbers.  Today it’s difficult to find one for sale, but there happens to be one in the rustproof state of Washington.

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By on April 12, 2021

donuts

CarMax has invited customers to ‘do donuts’ during their test drives, a promotion with Dunkin’ Donuts. For shoppers who take part in CarMax’s 24-hour test drives today through May 16th, they’ll receive a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

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By on April 12, 2021

Last week, Lexus launched a viral marketing campaign — that also makes for an excellent public service announcement — about how stupid it is to check your phone while driving. But it has only just started getting the kind of attention it deserves, now that some of the contentious regulatory news has subsided.

The automaker modified a Lexus NX crossover with an electrochromic film that can totally obfuscate the glass for 4.6 seconds — which is the average length of time a person looks at their phone while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It then invited people to take the car for a “test drive” while it made a point about distracted driving. While an overt publicity stunt, it was rather effective and addresses one of our biggest concerns in terms of automotive safety. Lexus simply showcased a bunch of morons with phones in an interesting way, highlighted the danger, and then got off its podium. Read More >

By on April 12, 2021

bronco

If you have Bronco on the brain, you may find yourself buying one from a store that stands separate from your local Ford dealer.

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By on April 12, 2021

1993 Honda Civic sedan in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn my search for super-high-mile vehicles in the car graveyards of the land, all the cars I’ve found showing better than a half-million miles on the odometer have been MercedesBenzes (other than a 1982 Rabbit Cabriolet showing an implausible 930k miles on what I think was a defective gauge). The most-traveled Honda I’ve documented was a 1983 Accord sedan with 411,794 miles, and today’s Junkyard Find now takes second-place in the Highest Mileage Honda In the Junkyard contest. Read More >

By on April 10, 2021

Toyoda

Selected 2021 World Car Awards Person of the Year was Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) president and CEO.

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By on April 9, 2021

Today we bid a belated farewell to a legend of an engine, the Six and Three-Quarter Litre V8. In production since 1959 at the factory in Crewe, The L-series V8 had several different displacements and powered many different luxury vehicles. And some boats.

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By on April 9, 2021

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) is reporting its home market grew 74.9 percent in March, resulting in nearly 2.53 million new-vehicle deliveries. While we’re often skeptical of the organization’s rosy predictions and tallies, it’s claiming the recent sales surge is the direct result of how bad things had been in the previous year. China instituted some of the most aggressive lockdown protocols of any nation in the initial stages of the pandemic and had already been struggling with a declining vehicle market in 2019.

CAAM is making no illusions about the gains being based on anything other than how horrible March of 2020 was and doesn’t want to overpromise moving ahead. It’s a warning that the semiconductor shortage will likely worsen as the year continues, dampening Q2 projections. But the organization has not yet revised its forecast for next year’s overall sales. Last December, CAMM predicted roughly 26.3 million vehicles would be delivered by the end of 2021 and appears to be running with that target.

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By on April 9, 2021

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The reemergence of the Trailblazer name in the Chevrolet lineup seemed like a cynical nostalgia ploy at first.

Trailblazer a cute ‘ute? That’s almost as bad as using Blazer nameplate on a five-seat crossover with little, if anything, in the way of off-road chops.

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