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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 >

By on December 5, 2019

TTAC Logos

Perhaps it’s fitting that in the post-LA auto show haze, we’re getting a mild refresh of our own.

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By on December 5, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Impala, Image: General Motors

Just a couple of days ago, your author’s eyes were drawn to a brand spankin’ new, dark red Chevrolet Impala sitting in a parking lot — one made all the more distinctive by black five-spoke steel wheels. Tis the winter season, after all.

The Impala’s design always garnered a nod of approval from this writer, a person whose former ME once referred to as a raging GM apologist, though the model’s rear-seat headroom is definitely lacking. It’s also a Chevrolet and not a Mercedes-Benz. All of that aside, fans of traditional full-size sedans, especially those of the domestic variety, can mark two dates on their calendar. The Impala is leaving forever, and it seems the model’s Cadillac CT6 factory mate will not get the lease on life some expected. Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

UAW

In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, former UAW Acting President Rory Gamble, who took over the top spot when scandal sunk former prez Gary Jones, has been appointed president of the union.

The ongoing federal corruption probe into the UAW hasn’t ended, but Jones’ presidency did after media outlets named him as one of the shadowy UAW officials mentioned in embezzlement-related court documents. First order of business for Gamble after taking over last month? Clean up the UAW’s act. Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Image: GM

A battery plant mentioned in General Motors’ recently ratified UAW labor contract will soon become a reality in the hard-hit city of Lordstown, Ohio. That locale recently saw the lights go out at GM’s Lordstown Assembly, which closed its doors this spring after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Cruze. The plant’s now in the hands of a fledgling electric automaker.

On Wednesday, GM announced the spending of $2.3 billion and the creation of 1,100 jobs in Lordstown — a necessary move to supply the automaker with battery packs for its electric vehicle push. Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Ford badge emblem logo

Despite the average transaction price of your typical automobile climbing higher than ever before, there’s a lot of disagreement as to whether this actually amounts to more spending once inflation has been taken into account. Studies frequently show inflation-adjusted valuations climbing gradually over the years, resulting in MSRPs a few grand higher than what you might have spent in decades prior. Still, newer vehicles tend to have a much greater level of content and the ability to outlast something from 1970, helping to rationalize the difference. Data taken from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) actually suggests the average expenditure per vehicle actually peaked in the late 1990s before creeping back down.

Meanwhile, we keep hearing reports about the average transaction price of passenger vehicles settling above $37,000 for 2019. Cross referenced against the BEA data, that’s about $5,000 dearer than in 1999 — once you’ve shifted everything to present-day dollars. Blame people’s inability to say “no” to options, crossover popularity, or anything else you want. It won’t change the problem, especially as the wealth gap continues to widen between the haves and have nots.

Automakers know that sales are stagnating and Ford CEO Jim Hackett thinks he’s come up with a solution — and it’s a familiar one. It’s decontenting time.  Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Image: Nissan

As Christmas looms, Nissan just placed an unwanted gift in the stockings of its U.S. employees. Sinking sales, combined with a global streamlining of its cash-strapped operation, has led the automaker to give all employees two unpaid days off of work in January, Automotive News reports.

In a memo to employees obtained by the publication, Nissan’s U.S. arm laid out the emergency cost-cutting measures in full. It seems no one gets off the hook. Read More >

By on December 5, 2019

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn is the first of two consecutive entries where we’ll be evaluating two-door offerings from the dawn of the new millennium. First up is the American car trio… though one of them is thoroughly European.

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By on December 4, 2019

News arrived in our inboxes this morning of yet another death in the automotive family. The Buick Regal TourX, aged just three model years, was pronounced dead today, victim of insatiable consumer thirst for crossovers and SUVs. It leaves to mourn many dozens of wagon-lovers across the nation.

In a classic case of calling the locksmith after the equines have departed, let’s look at what a base model Regal TourX would have provided wagon customers.

Read More >

By on December 4, 2019

fairfax line assembly factory general motors, Image: General Motors

With environmentalism sweeping through the automotive industry of late, manufacturers are spending oodles of cash to fund the continued development of electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the are doing this during a period where the developed world’s taste for cars has already reached its zenith — or so it seems. Growth is slowing in markets across the globe and cuts have to be made somewhere if the industry players want to keep their bottom line positioned firmly in the black.

A recent report from Bloomberg, estimated that around 80,000 auto jobs will be eliminated in the coming years as a result of electrification — with the majority concentrated in the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom. Though the onslaught  of cuts will not be limited to the developed world, nor entirely the fault of EVs.  Read More >

By on December 4, 2019

Always the innovator in creating car parts out of plants that aren’t trees, Ford Motor Company plans to burnish its green cred with a new building material: a composite created partly from dried coffee bean husks.

Following the automaker’s soybean experiments of the early 1940s, Ford adopted soybean-based foam for its seat cushions back in 2008. Now, coffee chaff will help add strength and lower energy use for the manufacture of headlight housings and other components. Its supplier partner on this project? McDonalds. Read More >

By on December 4, 2019

Image: UAW

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Matthew Schneider, has said new details about the ever expanding UAW corruption probe have been trickling in. But he’s also criticizing the union for not providing adequate cooperation throughout the multi-year investigative process. Schneider indicated there was new evidence included additional details of malfeasance from former UAW President Gary Jones shared by the union in November. While the prosecutor did not offer details, he said it was the type of information that should have been reported to his office, not publicly.

Automotive News surmised he was likely referencing details released late last month by the union’s executive board in an effort to remove Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson. That report included allegations that Jones let his daughter use a UAW-rented townhouse in Palm Springs, California. Sources familiar with the situation have confirmed that the union publicly released information against the two at roughly the same time it was handed it over to the U.S. attorney’s office.  Read More >

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