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By on December 7, 2019

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Sometimes the little guy wins.

Elon Musk, founder of a rocket ship company and CEO of a rising automobile company/cult, left a federal courtroom on Friday more emboldened than ever to say whatever he wants. A unanimous verdict handed down by the jury declared that calling an unknown British diver “pedo guy” on Twitter did not constitute defamation, thus allowing Musk, who has 30 million followers on the social media platform, to sidestep $190 million in damages. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

Replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has proven difficult for the Trump administration. Trade negotiations have progressed slowly, with Mexico, Canada, and the United States rarely seeing eye-to-eye on most issues. Some of the biggest problems have dealt with content requirements.

The latest hangup stems from a rule requiring 70 percent of the steel and aluminum found in North American vehicles to come from the same continent in order to ensure a duty-free existence. Mexico isn’t keen on the proposal — as it sources a large amount of metal from Brazil, Japan and Germany. Meanwhile, the United States is attempting to use the inclusion to appease the United Steelworkers union and keep labor-focused jobs in the country.  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you’re undoubtedly aware that the United States is a region that hasn’t quite embraced automotive electrification on the same level as the rest of the developed world. Americans travel longer distances and have particular tastes, making EVs more popular in places like Europe and China. It also hasn’t passed the same sweeping regulations to ensure their advancement.

Whatever the cause, a new survey from London-based OC&C Strategy Consultants attempted to tabulate the disparity — asking 2,000 consumers (apiece) in the U.S., China, Germany, France and United Kingdom between March and April of 2019.

Their findings? Only about half of the surveyed Americans felt EVs were worth their consideration as a potential successor to their current ride. In China, 90 percent said they would seriously consider buying electric. Between 64 and 77 percent of respondents in Europe said the same (depending on country).  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford F250 Lariat Crew Cab 4x4 rear quarter

There’s a new Super Duty line coming to the Ford stable for 2020, and a recall coming to owners who bought the earlier version.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company issued a recall of certain 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups to fix tailgates that might fly open at inopportune moments. The callback has been a long time coming. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

Like most Americans, you probably didn’t emerge from last night’s slumber with thoughts of the Honda Ridgeline on your mind. Few do, though the oft-overlooked unibody Honda pickup remains a fairly consistent niche seller.

For the coming month, Honda wants to provide you, the buyer, with additional reasons to choose its offering over tried-and-true BOF competitors. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback, Image: Ford

In July, we covered a scathing report that criticized Ford Motor Co’s usage of the DSP6 dual-clutch transmission found in the third-gen Focus and sixth-gen Fiesta. The hardware was surrounded by controversy, with company insiders highly critical of its implementation. Claims arose that the unit wasn’t performing as intended throughout its development, with corporate lawyers expressing serious doubts as to whether DTC technologies (which were relatively new at the time) were the automaker’s best choice.

Hindsight seems to have proven them right. The PowerShift DSP6 turned out to be a turd the company polished to the best of its ability and then put on sale, leading to more headaches. Officially, the manufacturer has said the vehicles were safe when introduced and have remained so. Still, Ford is well aware of the tranny’s issues; since the problems came to light, the automaker has extended warranties and encouraged service centers to repair their problematic transmissions.

While a kind gesture, some remain concerned that Ford appears to be sweeping the whole issue under the rug. Customers are angry, claiming the automaker should have never put the unit into production — a move that resulted in civil litigation. But that doesn’t appear to have ever been a real possibility. Those who tried to stop the DSP6 claim they were doomed to failure from the start.  Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Automakers jump through hoops to tease upcoming models or put eyes on just-released ones. General Motors, it appears, has chosen an altogether new avenue for its marketing efforts.

Yes, that image you see above is real. The Chevrolet Suburban will now join the likes of Christina Applegate*, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and other celebrities we can’t think to name in receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At least the star doesn’t mention the model’s upcoming rear suspension swap. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

While U.S. auto sales are expected to slump further this year, continuing a trend in the industry, certain products seem impervious to market pressures. Take the Toyota Tacoma, for example. Hardly the newest kid on the block, the Tacoma nonetheless manages to consistently retain buyers while capturing new ones.

Like its parent company, the Tacoma just posted its best-ever November sales month. And wouldn’t you know it — early results are in, and the new Corolla seems to be a hit. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

vw

A longtime design presence in the Volkswagen family will take on a new title in the new year. The automaker has announced that Klaus Bischoff (seen above, to the left of North American CEO Scott Keogh), currently head of design for the Volkswagen brand, will oversee design work for the entire VW Group range.

Replacing him in his current role will be Jozef Kaban, a man whose last position involved designing some of the most expensive cars on earth. Not that he hasn’t already done that at VW, though. Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Cars are out, crossovers are in. This is as true as saying the sun rises in the east or that the slow air leak in your back tire will eventually get worse. It’s a given, and, with the current onslaught of crossovers now trickling into previously unexplored white space, your choice has never been greater.

2019 may be remembered as the year automakers broke out of traditional segments and began inserting boxy products into that narrow window between existing models. Chevrolet, Buick, and Mazda all decided it was a good idea to pursue buyers in tweener segments. The question today is: have any of these supposedly right-sized products moved you to consider a brand you’d normally have ignored? Read More >

By on December 6, 2019

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T - Image: Honda

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:

Sajeev,

My best friend has a 2019 Honda Accord with gas direct injection. Recently, Scotty Kilmer raised questions about the potential longevity — or rather potential lack thereof — of that engine.

I would expect Honda to have done a good job in designing that engine, but my friend is worried. Can you shed any additional light on this?

Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Plenty of planks found in the quickly hammered out UAW-Ford contract can be found in the tentative deal forged between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler. Following approval from the National UAW-FCA Council, the agreement reached last weekend goes to members for final approval (or rejection) on Friday.

The two sides reached an agreement far quicker than some predicted, but the final word on the deal will come from workers.  Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

BMW is walking back its controversial decision to charge an annual subscription for the use of Apple’s CarPlay in its vehicles. We quickly complained about it, worried that it would spur a new trend of charging customers for the privilege of accessing what is normally standard content.

The German manufacturer originally said the subscription fee was necessary in order to offer wireless updates aimed at keeping the user interface evolving with phones. This was soon proven not to be the case, as other manufacturers already offer that exact service for free. BMW wanted to charge $80 a year (or $300 for a 240-month plan) after providing CarPlay free of charge for 12 months. Now, it will be gratis.  Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Introduced last year, Genesis’ third — and newest — model is the G70, a value-packed rear- or all-wheel-drive sports sedan aimed at BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class intenders. We could throw the Jaguar XE in there, too, but no one buys that car.

Like its Kia Stinger platform mate, the G70 kicks up its feet with the help of a base 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or uplevel 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. However, on the horizon looms a larger, more potent entry-level powerplant. Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

The largest automotive recall in history just got a little more inclusive. Takata is recalling another 1.4 million vehicles after the airbag-related death of a BMW driver. The German manufacturer has issued three recalls covering roughly 116,000 U.S. vehicles containing the faulty equipment, saying it is aware of at least one fatality in Australia, plus a few injuries.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the issue. Takata supplied tens of millions of defective air-bag inflators over several years. The units are prone to exploding in the event of a crash, spraying metal shrapnel inside the cabin, after its propellant becomes compromised by nothing more than moisture. This has led to many senseless deaths, the largest automotive recall in history, and Takata declaring bankruptcy two years ago before its purchase by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.  Read More >

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