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By on November 21, 2019

daimler ag

Before long, there’ll be hip-hop songs written about what went on in the back of Mercedes-Maybach’s largest offering.

Revealed Thursday, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic is essentially a Mercedes-Benz GLS that’s been to finishing school, put on airs, and is now ready to float above the riff-raff at a cruising altitude of 40,000 feet, sipping on champagne all the way. The automaker provides the silver flutes for just such a drinking experience, as well as the (three-bottle) fridge.

Interestingly, Mercedes-Maybach’s product boss implied that the vehicle’s customers might be used to viewing the world from such a lofty height. Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has decided to give General Motors a pass on the punitive damages associated with its faulty ignition switches. If you don’t recall the issue, it’s hardly your fault. The cars were manufactured prior to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy declaration and encompassed models from brands that no longer exist.

That timing was everything, too. Apparently the affected Saturn, Pontiac, and Chevrolet vehicles are part of the “Old GM” that died during the Great Recession. Most of the automaker’s former assets and liabilities were transferred to the “Motors Liquidation Company,” so that the General could be reborn fresh and untainted, like a baby phoenix.  Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has gradually evolved its testing procedures since its inception, it has hit the accelerator over the past few years, eager to crash into a new era of knowledge… Alright, so it actually just wanted to assess problematic crash trajectories and headlight safety for insurance companies. Still, they’ve been making meaningful changes in a bid to boost overall safety.

On Thursday, the institute said it plans to continue evolving its crash-test procedures. It claims it’s gotten so good at developing side-impact assessments, “the current side ratings no longer help consumers distinguish among vehicles or point the way toward further improvements.”

The solution? Slam bigger, heavier items into a vehicle’s profile and see what happens.  Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

This week has been all about tweeners. Chevy has one, Buick has one, Kia has one, and now Mazda has one, ready to fill white space between the subcompact CX-3 crossover and compact CX-5 crossover. It’s name, as you know, is CX-30, and it’s bound for a Mexican assembly plant in short order.

While we’ve seen the overseas model before, Mazda took the opportunity to use the LA Auto Show as a backdrop for the model’s U.S. reveal. Don’t worry about power in this thing. Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

For decades, the Japanese market has loved vans of all shapes and sizes, ranging from basic kei to fully-loaded VIP luxury. Rare Rides has touched on JDM van time just once previously, with a luxurious and capable 1990 Toyota Town Ace. Today we’re taking a look at what Mazda offered a Nineties Japanese consumer of vans.

Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

hyundai

No one wants to come in last. With the Volkswagen e-Golf and Smart Fortwo EQ Electric Drive Whatever discontinued, Hyundai’s compact Ioniq Electric hatchback was poised to be the lowest-range electric vehicle in the North American market (minus, of course, the limited-availability, lease-only Honda Clarity EV).

Clearly, this looming position at the bottom of the ladder left a bad taste in Hyundai’s mouth. Preferring to see Nissan there, it set about making the necessary changes. Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

1968 Ford LTD in Colorado wrecking yard, trunk - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Wednesday night marked the first time this season that yours truly was called upon to perform an annual ritual; one that falls on random days throughout the cold and dark months. A friend called me for a boost. While jumping dead batteries is a task I loathe — all stemming from a childhood fear of electricity — I perform the task at least once a winter, sometimes several times, and have for two decades.

Why? I’m always the guy with the cables. And it’s only during battery-reviving excursions like this that I pause to think about all the crap that accumulates in a person’s trunk during the year and how, quite often, most of that junk is of zero usefulness to the owner in the event of a breakdown or emergency.

So, how much of what’s in your trunk actually serves a useful purpose? Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

gm

Not to be left behind as rival automakers unveiled their latest and greatest in L.A., Chevrolet pulled the remaining wraps off its upcoming Trailblazer. Arriving this spring as a 2021 model, the Trailblazer — like its Buick Encore GX sibling — fills a questionably-sized gap between the compact and subcompact class. The brand’s other returning nameplate, the Blazer, plugged a hole between the compact and midsize class a year ago.

While we now know more about the Trailblazer, its starting price might be its most unique feature. Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

UAW

The reforms announced by UAW Acting President Rory Gamble last week are already resulting in casualties. On Wednesday, the United Auto Workers Executive Board filed charges against President Gary Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson under Article 30 of the UAW Constitution in a bid to oust them from the scandal-rocked union.

Jones, who took a leave of absence earlier this month amid growing suspicion of criminality, resigned almost immediately. Pearson, charged with embezzlement of union funds and money laundering, remains on his own leave of absence — one that’s likely to become permanent. Read More >

By on November 21, 2019

Kia’s Seltos was probably the worst-kept secret at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Hyundai Motor Group had already confirmed it as a global model earlier this year, teased it numerous times, and featured it on a gigantic banner outside the Los Angeles Convention Center prior to its official debut. But Kia still managed to surprise us.

Along with the U.S.-spec version of the Seltos, Kia also paraded two off-road concepts meant to preview future offerings. Positioned above the Soul, the new crossover is basically an oversized subcompact aimed at fleshing out the brand’s “SUV” lineup. While mostly conventional, it does offer some of the industry’s hottest trends (hidden pillars, contrasting roof, butch plastic cladding, etc) with enough attitude of its own to remain semi-distinctive. Most of that comes from a presumed ruggedness, enhanced by the brand’s edgy marketing.

Kia’s tagline for the vehicle is “Inspired by the Badass in You.”  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

If you read our coverage of Book by Cadillac, you’ll recall it was a minor financial disaster that had to be shut down in 2018. Cadillac was trying to develop a subscription model, following the lead of other premium manufacturers attempting to usher in a new age of consumerism, sans ownership. But the public didn’t take the bait.

We’ve had niggles about subscription-based sales models for years, whether it be for something hidden in your digital dashboard or affixed to an entire automobile. While they make sense for some services, we couldn’t make the numbers work for cars. It’s almost always the most expensive way to get into any given automobile. However, you do get a few nice perks as a consolation — things like insurance, registration, and maintenance — since you’re effectively renting the car. In the case of Cadillac, Book also allowed you to swap vehicles via a concierge service that would deliver the swapped vehicle pretty much anywhere you wanted — offering bottle water, umbrellas, and a positive attitude upon arrival.

Those extravagances may have been justifiable for those with money to burn, but the general populace wasn’t there to help General Motors shoulder the burden. The pilot program ended roughly a year ago. Yet GM’s chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl, said Book would return in 2020, bigger and better than ever.  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

As members of the media swarm over new vehicles in Los Angeles, a legal drama is playing out in Detroit. General Motors has filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against cross-town rival Fiat Chrysler, alleging FCA conspired to undermine the collective bargaining process and create unfair advantages by bribing UAW officials.

This cost GM lots of money, the automaker claims, and now it wants to collect.

“This lawsuit is intended to hold FCA accountable for the harm its actions have caused our company and to ensure a level playing field going forward,” said Craig Glidden, GM Executive Vice President and General Counsel, in a statement. Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

If you’re keeping track, the Vision T Plug-in Hybrid SUV Concept is the seventh design study to roll out of Hyundai’s styling studio in recent memory. Appearing Wednesday at the L.A. Auto Show, the plug-in utility vehicle has the bad timing of debuting at the same moment Toyota unveiled a plug-in crossover you’ll soon be able to buy and drive home.

Unfortunate timing aside, the concept does give us a glimpse of Hyundai’s future. Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.

It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.

For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush.  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

2018 Kia Stinger - Image: Kia

Kia earned applause for being ballsy enough to launch a rear-drive sports sedan at a time when buyers were heading in the other direction. Don’t go, Kia said, we’ve got a more affordable option for traditional driving!

Rear- or all-wheel drive greeted buyers looking for something fresh, with four- or six-cylinder power doing the motivating. Since its late-2017 arrival, the Stinger’s sales have fallen off a bit from last year’s tally, when it sold in low but consistent numbers. For 2020, the brand may be looking to reduce build configurations.

That means less four-cylinder choice and the removal of the model’s entry-level model. Apparently, this won’t cause much pain to your wallet. Read More >

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