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By on October 22, 2019

Now that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has its upper echelon sorted, the time has come to mend the partnership properly. With the new staffers healthily distanced from the old guard of the Ghosn era, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is giving himself one year to fix things before considering the entire issue a “failure, on a personal level, and by our teams.”

Senard didn’t explain the benchmarks for success, and twelve months doesn’t allot much time to right a ship that’s been listing for several years. Rumors exist that Renault may even be looking to ditch Nissan for becoming too much of a burden. Meanwhile, the Japanese automaker’s former CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, estimated the company’s vast restructuring efforts would not significantly improve profitability for at least another year.

However, most of what we’ve heard from Nissan and Renault leadership includes a concerted effort to restore trust within the auto alliance and strengthen industrial ties. Contentious merger talks have also fallen by the wayside and are unlikely to crop up after Renault’s own profitability warning from earlier this month.  Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

Just over two years ago, a tentative product name discovered deep within Jaguar Land Rover’s internal communications captured the eye — and stimulated the fertile imaginations — of auto journos everywhere. “Road Rover” was a name JLR was using to describe a possible future vehicle; a year later, the automaker moved to trademark the name for safekeeping.

Since then, JLR has grappled with financial pain born of the decline of both diesel propulsion and the sedan bodystyle, choosing to fight market trends by shoring up its Land Rover division with new or updated utility vehicles, returning the Defender nameplate to the top of the line, and cutting build configurations of its Jaguar passenger cars. Parent company Tata Motors wants results, and it wants them in a hurry.

One thing not lost to the automaker’s evolving product strategy is Road Rover. There’s more news on that front. Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday that American traffic deaths declined for a second year in a row in 2018. Data indicates a 2.4 percent decline in roadway fatalities last year, with bicyclists and pedestrians being the only groups to see risk moving in the wrong direction.

“This is encouraging news, but still far too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so much more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.

The DOT/NHTSA attributed improving automotive safety systems as the primary reason for the decline in deaths, though some of the metrics included in the report’s breakdown suggest other factors could be at play.  Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

Voting is ongoing among UAW locals this week as the union attempts to put a contract deal in place between its members and General Motors.

Thus far, the voting process has been met with mixed emotions, with one assembly plant opting to reject the proposal. Outside that plant, the ongoing GM strike was marred by the death of a picketing plant worker. Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

Image: GM

There’s a theory – and when I say there’s a theory, I mean that I quickly concocted one night as sleep began its wash over me – that says the Corvette you love most is the Corvette of your licensing year.

For me, that means the revolutionary C5 Corvette must, by law, take its place as my favourite Corvette. That bulbous rear end, those pop-up headlights, and three top options are memorable aspects to the fifth-generation Corvette. So too is the downmarket interior highlighted by miserable seats, surprisingly decent fuel economy, and remarkably strong sales figures of roughly 30,000 units per year in the U.S.

Objectively, of course, the Corvettes C6 and C7 are markedly, distinctly, better cars. They don’t abide by my favoritism rule, but they’re better cars. Thus, just as I always aspired to ownership of a new C5, I shifted that desire to the C6 in 2005 and the C7 in 2014. The Corvette’s consistently reasonable entry price has always made that aspiration relatively attainable.

But everything has changed with the arrival of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8. No, it hasn’t become unobtainable, but it’s not clear that it’s an objectively better car. And even if it is, I still wouldn’t want one. Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

If you’re like this writer, you might be surprised to learn that snails, the subject of this piece, are loosely related to the octopus. Learning doesn’t have to end when you leave school.

Snails, also known by more scientific names, are fun to step on, but can cause quite a bit of consternation and unexpected expense when they inhabit premium German automobiles. Especially ones that just took a very long boat ride. Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

Image: Nissan

Hot on the heels of Nissan’s refreshed Titan pickup reveal, the brand’s tweener three-quarter ton Titan XD has received a mid-cycle update of its own. Expect change, but less choice.

There’s good things to be had beyond the obvious changes to Nissan’s “Powerful Warrior” (!) styling and new “double boomerang” LED running lights. For one, there’s a wider-ranging nine-speed automatic in place of the previous model’s seven-speed unit. There’s more power on tap, more tech content, and nervous drivers can rest assured that Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of electronic safeguards will help keep insurance adjusters at bay.

What 2020 Titan XD buyers won’t like is their lack of menu options. Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

The UK’s Derbyshire Constabulary celebrated a major victory this week. The triumph of justice was even given its own official announcement. Did the department finally tamp down the area’s rising violent crime rate?

Nope. They caught an automotive journalist speeding — one year after he did it.

Joe Achilles was testing an Audi R8 RSW on the A57 Snake Pass last November, later posting footage on his Facebook wall. Derbyshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit noticed the video while “investigating an entirely different matter,” according to its release, and set out to prove just how fast he was going.  Read More >

By on October 22, 2019

Once a fancy feature reserved for legitimately sporty or luxurious vehicles with ample power to generate grins regardless of electronic intervention, “sport mode” is now nearly ubiquitous. It appears in tepid (but efficient!) economy cars. Your mom’s crossover probably has a button, dial, or shift lever position that fiddles with shift points, firms up the steering, and makes the accelerator pedal touchier than a friend whose long-term relationship just went south.

Auto journos quickly make use of the feature when hooning an automaker’s latest and greatest, but does it ever serve a purpose to you, the owner? Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

With last week’s tentative agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors, the end of the now six-week-long strike seemed closer than ever. GM hourly workers in the U.S. have until the end of the week to decide whether to approve the contract deal; if it gets the thumbs-up, the strike’s over.

Amid all of this labor news came a couple of tidbits, both of which stand to make the UAW happy. The first involves a resurrected nameplate built in Mexico, the other, a defunct GM brand that didn’t survive the company’s recession-era bankruptcy. Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

Image: Audi

If the realm of bad — or at least confusing — model naming, no one hits it out of the park quite like Cadillac and Audi. Both automakers, already fond of foisting alphanumeric nameplates on their respective lineups, recently introduced new naming schemes drawn from a model’s individual power output.

Cadillac’s gambit sees a rounded-up three-figure number sourced from a model’s torque figure (in Newton-Meters, amazingly) placed after the model name. Audi, on the other hand, will use double-digit figures pertaining to the range of horsepower output. In other Audi name news, the brand opted to place the “e-tron” label only on fully electric cars, scrapping their use on plug-in hybrids.

And so it became that the new plug-in hybrid A6 does not carry the e-tron name. Instead, people will know it as the Audi A6 55 TFSI e quattro — just not here. Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

While Honda is prepping a brand new Jazz for the Tokyo Motor Show, the status of its American-market twin remains unknown. Many wonder if the Honda Fit will persist in the United States, or simply soldier on in other regions under the Jazz nameplate.

Honda has refused to commit to anything publicly, but hope remains. The automaker released teaser images of the model last week, referencing it as the Jazz, but if you zoom in on the back end you can clearly see it labeled as a Fit.  Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

Rare Rides is partial to the unique motoring opportunities offered by French manufacturers. Among many Citroëns featured here, recently a Talbot-Lago coupe wowed the eyes with its style and price. Today we’ll take a look at another French coupe that’s a bit more affordable.

It’s an unrestored Panhard 24 from 1964.

Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

Images: GM, via Autoweek.nl

It’s just the news you needed to perk up a boring Monday. Buick’s Regal, which carries a variety of badges overseas, could see a facelift in the near future, leaked images reveal. Dutch website Autoweek.nl (via Motor Authority) has the pictures, with the decidedly brown model depicted therein bound for the Chinese market.

China, as you well know, loves Buicks like the NBA loves revenue.

While the China-bound Regal’s design alterations will no doubt carry over, in some form, to vehicles found in other markets, just how long buyers in America will have access to the model remains an open question. Read More >

By on October 21, 2019

Junkyard in Sun Valley, California - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It’s Election Day north of the border, meaning you can be sure of one thing once all the ballots are counted in the wee hours — no one’s going to be happy.

Regardless of the Great White North’s political carping, we have three automotive topics on which to cast your vote. So sharpen your pencil, step up to the ballot box, and beware of hanging chads.

Read More >

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