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By on July 2, 2020

The Bronco II was a compact SUV marketed on the long-term brand recognition of the Bronco. But only a few years into its production run, the Bronco II had established an infamous reputation all its own — and eventually proved one of the most costly models Ford ever created.

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By on July 2, 2020

Ford’s not calling it that, but the marketing push surrounding the debut of the new-generation Bronco on July 13th is looking a lot like a joke your author has tossed about the past few weeks.

The sheer amount of prime-time programming space purchased on the Disney Media Network’s ABC, ESPN, and National Geographic channels — as well as spots on streaming service Hulu — calls to mind the ill-fated experiment of “E-Day.”

Heralding an automotive invasion that was quickly repelled and thrown back into the sea, E-Day reached viewers on September 4th, 1957. Read More >

By on July 2, 2020

honda

In what might be the most blindingly obvious statement ever to be made in this august publication, the second quarter of 2020 was an absolute disaster for vehicle sales. Under the withering gaze of a global pandemic, the nation’s car dealers were awash in red ink — and the bitter tears of various dealer principals.

Demand and supply have cratered, producing a bewildering simultaneous mix of good deals in some segments as stores try to keep the lights on while shortages of a few key models hold the pricing line on others. Pile on the vanishing rental market you have an automotive industry the likes of which few have ever seen.

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By on July 2, 2020

As you read in the previous post, Lincoln has finally admitted what everyone by now knew — that the Continental’s days are numbered. The marque plans to shelve the model after pulling the plug on production at the end of the year.

Big sedans have all the appeal of an uncontrolled cough in a crowded elevator right now, so there’s dim hope that the Continental name will ever grace a stately, rear-drive sedan or coupe in anyone’s near future. At least we have our memories, though… not all of which are good ones. Read More >

By on July 2, 2020

For the third and perhaps last time, Lincoln will cease production of the Continental.

The discontinuation of the slow-selling sedan at the end of 2020 was confirmed late Wednesday by Automotive News and quickly backed up by a statement from Lincoln, though the news was something we’ve expected for quite some time. It was foretold by unconfirmed past reports and a growing mountain of evidence.

Alas, this year’s destruction of things from the past did not spare a nameplate that first appeared in 1939. Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

German prosecutors have incorporated Continental into a probe aimed at determining whether Volkswagen Group cheated on emissions testing. While confessing to the crime in the United States years earlier is a fairly good indication of corporate guilt, Germany wants to make extra sure VW was in the wrong and has branched out its investigation to include suppliers that may have played a role.

On Wednesday, the automaker acknowledged it had been subjected to yet another probe after investigators arrived to comb through its offices. The same treatment was given to supplier Continental, which is suspected of having some sort of involvement in a scandal the automotive industry can’t quite seem to move on from.  Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

Automotive retail magnate and part-time actor Mark Wahlberg has obtained another car dealership in Columbus (which may be renamed “Flavortown”), Ohio.

After having partnered with longtime friend and business associate Jay Feldman to scoop up Bobby Layman (now Mark Wahlberg) Chevrolet in 2018, the duo said they eventually hoped to expand their auto businesses. Feldman already owned a swath of dealerships in Michigan; the friends admitted they were eyeballing additional opportunities in the area.

They did not have to venture far. Wahlberg just purchased Haydocy Buick-GMC, which is right across the street from the Chevy showroom. The site has already been rebranded to include the Hollywood actor’s name and will immediately leverage his star power to reel in customers.  Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

European 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen just revealed the new Tiguan. For next year.

Why did the brand take the virtual wraps off the refreshed version of the Tiguan a year and a half before it goes on sale here, as a 2022 model? Because Europe gets it first. It goes on sale there “shortly.”

Might as well just gather media via Skype and tell us all about it now, apparently.

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By on July 1, 2020

The future’s weird, man. As wireless, over-the-air (OVA) software updates become an increasingly common thing in the auto industry, OEMs have weighed its potential. It opens doors to new ways of doing business. New ways of outfitting cars.

New ownership experiences, too.

Frankly, what BMW wants to pull on its customers would make a good QOTD. Some background, first. Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

best welding helmets

Given the general propensity for most of our readership (and authors) to drive horrible but charming rotboxes, there’s an excellent chance that at least some of you have welded together a piece of metal or two in order to keep your heap on the road.

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve picked up a welder to help with the restoration of the tattered but rare (yet, not valuable) Buick Reatta or Volvo 242 you hauled out of saved from the junkyard.

Whatever the situation, you’ll need a welding helmet to save your peepers. No, simply looking away or closing your eyes to complete the weld by feel is acceptable any more, even if that’s what Pop used to do while fixing the floors on his old GMC. Take a look at these welding helmets we’ve selected so you’ll be able to keep on taking a look at other stuff instead of being blinded by welding flare.

By on July 1, 2020

When it comes to activism, it’s best to choose your battles carefully. Fortunately, there aren’t too many causes within the auto industry and most are easy to get behind.

Even though environmental activists sometimes find themselves at odds with reality, their hearts are usually the right place, and they’ve encouraged automakers to try new and interesting things with transportation. Safety advocates can likewise go overboard, but we wouldn’t have seen cars get dramatically safer (or heavier) since the 1970s if they hadn’t.

Our favorite has to be consumer advocacy, however. With the exception of the occasional predatory lawsuit looking to take advantage of a dumb corporate decision, there’s precious little to scoff about. It also tends to overlap with our pet peeves by decrying bad business practices within the industry. Case in point, the Consumer Access to Repair Coalition has recently asked Congress to rethink how vehicular data is shared — noting that automakers shouldn’t need real-time monitoring for repairs and that the technology likely poses an unnecessary security risk.  Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

gm

If you’ve visited an airport recently, you probably heard on CNN that cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in jurisdictions that largely escaped the earlier wave. Against this backdrop, General Motors came under pressure this week to cease operations at its Arlington, Texas assembly plant.

Home to four full-size SUV models currently undergoing a generational metamorphosis, the plant lies in a state experiencing an upswing in infections. It’s also a key player in GM’s post-lockdown recovery. The automaker says it’ll stay open. Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

2020 Toyota Corolla LE Hybrid

Add the Toyota Corolla to the list of nameplates that were accused of losing the plot in recent years, before being righted — at least partially — by a redesign or refresh.

We’ve talked about this with the Nissan Altima (and Sentra, and Versa), as well as other vehicles. Now, it’s the Toyota’s turn.

I got my grubby mitts on a Corolla Hybrid and put it through its paces around Chicago. I’ve been critical of the car before – the last-generation model’s steering felt like it was constantly out to lunch, and the seating position was uncomfortable, especially for a tall, beer-gutted dude like me.

These flaws might’ve been acceptable if the car didn’t also feel downmarket, even accounting for its price point. Honda, Hyundai, and others were offering compact sedans that were even with (or better) than the Corolla for similar money.

Toyota took a step in the right direction with the Corolla hatch, but did the sedan follow? Well, sort of.

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By on July 1, 2020

North of the border, Wednesday dawned on a country celebrating a significantly less festive, no-touch national holiday. No fireworks and crowds on this COVID-y Canada Day, just locals lighting them off from the roofs of walk-ups in your author’s humble neighborhood. The “crowd” outside the Burger King hasn’t grown or shrunk in size (and remains just as clandestine as before).

This year, however, Americans have good reason to join in the celebration. Read More >

By on July 1, 2020

volvo emblem logo grille

To be fair, three-point seat belts didn’t exactly set American consumers on fire back in 1959, but the innovation eventually caught on, becoming the industry’s dominant passive restraint.

Yet even safety features can contain safety defects, which is why Volvo Cars is embarking on its largest recall to date. The (Chinese-owned) Swedish automaker has announced a global callback of 2,183,701 vehicles built over the span of 14 years. Read More >

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