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By on November 18, 2019

mitsubishi

This should help sweep every last thought of the Ford Mustang and its hip new sibling out of your mind.

Teased not long ago by an excited Mitsubishi, the newest Mirage is now ready for a round of eye feasting. Get your fill. And, while the subcompact model hasn’t adopted a new platform or anything like that, it has donned its largest grille to date, plus some additional finery to drive cost-conscious boys and girls wild. Read More >

By on November 18, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett reportedly confirmed that the new Mustang Mach-E we’ve been talking about all day may need to be manufactured in China. Since this is our third article on the vehicle, we’re immensely sorry and promise to keep this relatively short.

On Monday, Bloomberg quoted Hackett as saying the Mach-E will have to figure out a way around the trade war between the United States and China. “We need to determine whether the tariffs are settled. And it would be great [if they were],” Hackett said following the EV’s launch in Los Angeles. “We have a plan to build there if we have to.”

Read More >

By on November 18, 2019

After UAW-affiliated Ford workers ratified a collective agreement Friday, Fiat Chrysler is next — and last — in line to hammer out a deal with the union. Ford has an easy go of it, requiring just five days of bargaining before reaching a tentative deal; earlier, General Motors suffered financial hardship after its U.S. workforce walked off the job for 40 days.

Being first at the table, GM’s bargaining is seen as the heaviest lifting of the Detroit Three. Its deal serves as a model for others to follow, and you can be sure the wage increases, pathways to full-time employment, and status-quo healthcare benefits contained within will be held up by UAW bargaining team members when they face the FCA team.

However, for FCA, the nature of the automaker’s workforce could make reaching a deal a rocky journey. Read More >

By on November 18, 2019

Rare Rides introduced the Panhard brand to the series a while back, showcasing the little 24. The miniature coupe would end up as the last passenger car offering from the brand before it was stomped out by its parent, Citroën.

Today we’ll take a look at an even smaller Panhard from 1963. It’s a rare PL 17 convertible, in even rarer Tigre guise.

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By on November 18, 2019

Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup truck has a problem that Nissan engineers, marketers, and product planners will probably never fix.

That problem? The truck isn’t built by one of the Detroit Three automakers.

Ram, GM, and Ford each have such loyal followings that it seems like the full-size truck market is simply impenetrable. It’s not just Nissan, either – Toyota’s Tundra faces the same challenge.

To its credit, Nissan seems to understand this. Company reps say that they know that conquest sales will be tough, so they’re focused on the over half-million truck buyers (their number) that don’t really harbor any brand loyalty, as well as current Nissan owners who may be looking to move into a full-size truck.

That may just be PR speak – putting a positive spin on things is their job, after all. Then again, perhaps it isn’t. While the Titan doesn’t have the built-in brand loyalty of its Detroit rivals, it’s not a bad truck. It’s not on par with the segment’s best two – Ram’s 1500 and the Ford F-150 – but it’s ready to tangle with Chevy and GMC. On its own merits, it’s plenty competent.

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By on November 18, 2019

bmw

That isn’t to say no one will spring for BMW’s upcoming electric sedan when it appears in 2021; rather, it will face the same hesitant marketplace all other battery-electric models must grapple with.

Revealed in a not very comprehensive manner on Monday, the BMW i4 is a propeller-logo EV that takes a more mainstream approach to gas-free driving. There are no clamshell or scissor-style doors, no bizarrely tall and narrow wheels, and not a hint of gasoline to be found anywhere. BMW feels the model’s range is sufficient to win over the anxious types. Read More >

By on November 18, 2019

ford

Apologies for another Ford Mustang Mach-E post. Clearly, Dearborn got its wish when it set out to get people talking.

While the brand’s new Mustang-inspired (and now Mustang-badged) crossover has generated both acrimony and praise, often split along generational and ideological lines, the story of what could have been is now leaking out. There’s a possibility of another Mustang family member, too, but let’s stick with the Mach-E’s genesis for a bit. Read More >

By on November 18, 2019

Ford dropped the Mustang Mach-E (don’t forget the hyphen or you’ll get a personal visit from Jim Hackett himself) in L.A. last night, marking another chapter in what can only be called Adventures in Branding.

It isn’t the first time a company has tried to mine the credibility of an established name when introducing a new car. This new EV from the Blue Oval certainly ranks in the top 10 examples of this practice. There are plenty more, of course. What one sticks out in your mind?

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By on November 18, 2019

1990 Volvo 245 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause Volvo made the 200 Series cars well into the 1990s, they were pretty reliable, and 240 owners tend to stick with their cars for decades. I still see plenty of Swedish bricks in the self-service car graveyards I frequent.

In fact, I walk by a dozen or two discarded 240s for each one I shoot, but I appreciate good manual-transmission wagons and high-mile veteran vehicles and this ’90 checks both boxes. Read More >

By on November 17, 2019

The newest Mustang is here, like it or not.

Whether the idea of a Mustang that’s both an EV and a crossover – Ford calls it an SUV – gives you hives or excites you, the four-door battery-electric Mustang Mach-E has officially been revealed to the world, following some leaks. Read More >

By on November 16, 2019

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Avoiding the six-week strike that marked the end of contract negotiations between the UAW and General Motors, unionized workers at Ford ratified a four-year labor deal on Friday by a fairly narrow margin.

Roughly 55,000 UAW-affiliated Ford workers voted 56.3 percent in favor of the new deal, which carries many of the benefits secured through the earlier GM contract. It’s on to Fiat Chrysler after this. Read More >

By on November 15, 2019

autonomous hardware

The terminology surrounding self-driving technologies and advanced driving aids has started to earn quite a bit of criticism in the wake of publicized crashes and growing outcry from consumer advocacy groups. For years, the industry has treated all assistance technologies as equal — placing everything on a sliding scale developed by SAE International.

It’s actually a good metric if you’re familiar with SAE’s autonomous ranking system. But to a layperson the differences between SAE Level 2 and 5 don’t mean a whole lot, despite offering completely different experiences. Automakers also have terms of their own, some of which could easily lead customers to believe their products are far more capable than reality allows.

Automotive News recently published an op-ed calling for clarity, and it was so good, we felt inclined to share.  Read More >

By on November 15, 2019

Image: Audi

Eleven months after making interim CEO Bram Schot a permanent fixture in the big chair, Audi AG’s board has found someone else to lead the luxury brand.

Markus Duesmann, a mechanical engineer who served as BMW’s board member in charge of purchasing until his contract ran out in September, will take over from Schot on April 1st, 2020. Schot has apparently decided to leave Volkswagen Group at the end of March “by best mutual agreement.” He got the job after his predecessor, Rupert Stadler, was arrested for suspected involvement in the company’s diesel emissions scandal. Read More >

By on November 15, 2019

Volkswagen Group has decided to increase spending on the development of electric and digital technologies over the next five years to 60 billion euros ($66 billion USD). The automaker estimated the revised strategy amounts to slightly more than 40 percent of its investments in property, plant and equipment, and all research and development costs during the planning period.

Of that sum, 33 billion euros are expected to go directly toward the development of new electric vehicles. The increase allocates roughly €12 billion annually for hybridization, electric mobility and digitalization. The old plan set aside 8.8 billion euros per year. Read More >

By on November 15, 2019

You would think that I would know better by now, right? That after literally years of doing this whole “What Car Should I Buy” thing (which sounds a lot like the name of a series on a competing blog that started after “Ask Bark” become the most widely read feature at TTAC), that I would realize people always take immense amounts of my time and virtually never follow my advice. But when I had a close friend ask me for help with buying a car for his wife, I mean, of course I said that I’d help. As I recently saw a fellow automotive writer say, I guess I’m a “gluten for punishment.”

Sounds painful.

Not because I actually expected them to take my advice, of course, but because this was going to be a chance to actually negotiate a deal in person. And if there’s one thing Ol’ Bark loves, it’s going toe-to-toe with a car dealer — it’s literally my favorite thing to do. Since I’m not planning to buy a car any time soon, this would be the next best thing.

So here’s the situation: my friend got married a couple of years ago to a young lady from his home country of Colombia, who is relatively new to the States and doesn’t have much credit history. Unfortunately, prior to this, my friend had also gone through a nasty divorce which caused him to declare a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so they were in a bit of a pickle when it came to financing. They had bought an older Nissan Versa for cash last year, but the transmission was on its last legs, and the cost of fixing the car would have been 2-3 times the actual value. Buying that car had eaten up nearly all of their cash on hand, so they needed to find a cheap, cheerful, and reliable car that would allow her to build up some credit history and also provide solid transportation — all for less than $250 a month.

Read More >

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