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By on February 24, 2020

Subaru plans on delivering the goods in 2021 when it debuts the next incarnation of its flagship performance model. Rather than incrementally improving the WRX line as it has in the past, Subie looks to be kicking down the stable doors to drag as many horses as possible back to the factory for canning beneath the WRX STI’s hood.

A recent report from Forbes claims Subaru’s engineering team has targeted a minimum of 400 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque for the next STI. While the outlet initially referenced the motor as entirely new, it later clarified that it was technically the same 2.4-liter FA24 that currently powers the brand’s Ascent crossover — and was already assumed be adapted for use on the next WRX among those paying close attention. However, it’ll have to undergo quite a bit of work to deliver the figures being claimed.  Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

That feels like an apt description of the print mags found in your average (used) Mercedes-AMG driver’s home, but feel free to disagree and tell us to go back to 2003.

Anyway, as it seeks to tap customers’ wallets in new and exciting ways, Mercedes-Benz has added to its existing Mercedes-Benz Collection vehicle subscription service, offering exclusively AMG-badged vehicles for the first time. Access will not be cheap, nor will it be widespread.  Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

Since you’re probably sick of reading about how the new coronavirus is gradually making its way to your doorstep, we’ll keep this one brief. An outbreak in Italy has thrown the government into action, closing public spaces for one week as 220 more people came down with the illness since Friday.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is similarly hoping to mitigate the spread of the virus by restricting access to its European facilities. A letter issued to suppliers and prospective visitors explains that FCA will refuse anyone who has been in any of the 13 Italian municipalities affected by the virus outbreak — and the same goes if they’ve visited any Asian countries within the last 15 days.  Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

Audi has reportedly paused assembly of its all-electric e-Tron to address production issues that include battery supply bottlenecks. It’s not uncharted territory for the model. Audi had to delay the model’s launch over claimed software changes in 2018, though it was known that corporate parent Volkswagen Group was having trouble with battery supplier LG Chem at the time. Since then, the crossover’s short life has been a well-publicized series of victories and failures.

Outselling rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace by a margin of almost two to one, Audi delivered 5,369 e-Trons in the United States in 2019 despite it not being available for the full year. Competition was closer in Europe, with the Audi still moving in larger volumes. The model also received favorable crash test ratings and was awarded with the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ designation.

However, supply problems never really abated. Every few months brought a new rumor that Audi was suffering from battery shortages, possibly forcing it to idle production. A battery fire scare prompted the factory to voluntarily recall the first batch. While the impact of these issues was rarely as serious as feared, their persistent nature caused many to wonder how ready the industry actually is for the transition to EVs.  Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

Don’t let the title fool you — what we’ve got here is not a Mitsubishi at all, but rather a Hyundai. The late Eighties were confusing times at Mitsubishi, and deals with other OEMs were made left and right.

Today’s Precis is an Excel by any other name.

Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

It’s well established by now that electric driving needn’t be an exercise in sedate tree hugging. Horsepower and performance are just as big a driver in today’s marketplace as the old issue of range, at least according to the minds behind the slew of potent EVs coming down the pipe.

Having just released its Euro-market ID 3 electric hatchback, soon to be followed up by an ID 4 compact crossover and a range of larger models, Volkswagen is considering a sportier application for its dedicated EV architecture. Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

gm

The price seems right, the range looks good, and the body? Well, we’ve seen far more ungainly vehicles achieve success in the past. The Chevrolet Menlo, the bowtie brand’s first EV in China, went on sale in the troubled nation last week with both pros and cons in its corner.

For American viewers who can only look at the Bolt and wish it looked like this, there’s clearly design hope for a U.S.-bound model. Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

On Saturday night, the Carolina Hurricanes stared down the barrel of a rare occurrence in the NHL — both their goalies were on the sidelines. This necessitated bringing in the emergency backup goalie, a bloke named Dave who is quite literally a Zamboni driver. Their hapless opponents still couldn’t score enough goals and Dave notched a win for the team.

There have been more than a few Hail Marys in the automotive world as well, with manufacturers who are on the brink of bringing in a new model or gambling on a unique body style in order to stave off elimination. Sometimes it works and, well, sometimes it doesn’t.

Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

With production of its R1T pickup scheduled to commence later this year, upstart EV maker Rivian is aiming to get its products into as many states as possible, even if it means challenging dealer franchise laws. Following the R1T’s debut, the R1S three-row SUV will arrive to bolster Rivian’s emissions-free game.

In Colorado, where a bill seeking to allow direct sales via OEM-owned stores cleared a Senate committee last week, Rivian hopes to secure a victory — then replicate it in other protectionist states. Read More >

By on February 24, 2020

1988 Pontiac LeMans in Denver junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSince starting doing this goofy car-writing-online gig 13 years ago last month, I have documented the demise of 2,073 discarded vehicles in excruciating detail. During that time, I have walked right past thousands and thousands of allegedly interesting cars and trucks (sorry, BMW 3 Series fans, but I’ve been trying to make it up to you in recent years) in order to obsess over my very favorite kind of junkyard machines: littleknown examples of puzzling badge engineering. That means that when I see the South Korean Pontiac LeMans in a junkyard, I photograph it.

Here’s a low-mile, first-model-year LeMans sedan, found in a Denver car graveyard last spring. Read More >

By on February 21, 2020

The annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report asserts that the number of new-car dealerships in the United States has shrunk for the first time since 2013. The difference is marginal when viewed from a national perspective, but could support prior theories that larger dealer networks are consolidating while smaller, less competitive shops are being forced out of the market. The report claims the total number of storefronts fell from 18,294 in 2018 to 18,195 at the start of 2020. Dealership throughput was similarly down, decreasing by eight units from 2018 to 940.

While not particularly alarming, the figures do seem to mirror national population trends when placed under a microscope. The states that lost the highest number of showrooms  tended to be regions that had the most trouble preventing people from moving.  Read More >

By on February 21, 2020

It seems a rowdy (or perhaps lonely) Valentine’s Day evening turned into a somnambulant early morning in Troy, Michigan, where police responded to a report of more than one driver asleep in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane at the same time.

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck behind a solitary crossover or minivan in which every last occupant is ordering a full meal — with very specific condiment criteria — this boozy drive-thru tale could be your worst nightmare. Read More >

By on February 21, 2020

Volvo’s released some attractive cars lately, with the full-size S90 and V90 arguably being the best of the bunch. Not wanting to beach its boat on the perilous shores of bad taste, the manufacturer has issued mild visual updates to both for the 2021 model year. Bumpers have been lowered slightly, with LED fog lamps, a new tail lamp design (V90 only), redesigned spoiler, and sequential turn signals polishing off the updated exterior.

The company also plans to make its 48-volt mild hybrid system standard in more models, though this may only pertain to Europe. Most other changes relate to customization, with Volvo offering new exterior colors (including two-tone options), additional wheel designs from which to choose, and some new interior materials — like wool and fancy “leather-free” upholstery.  Read More >

By on February 21, 2020

ford

Given that domestic full-size pickups generate more money for their respective builders than a war bonds drive, every redesign is fraught with danger.

OEMs walk an especially fine line in this segment, fearful of making a vehicle too bland or too similar to the previous generation, but understandably nervous about breaking out of the box and alienating loyal return customers. Polarizing styling isn’t a recipe for success — the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado taught us a lesson about that (though GM might disagree).

As it prepares for a launch later this year, spy shots of the upcoming Ford F-150 reveal enough to show Ford’s playing it safe… but not too safe. Read More >

By on February 21, 2020

Tesla’s Model Y has already started production, scheduled to reach consumers by the end of March, but until today there was no official range rating. That’s all changed now, and those standing in line for the automaker’s new compact crossover have reason to smile. Read More >

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