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By on October 11, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Readers might not nod their heads in agreement after seeing this headline, knowing full well it denotes the appearance of another crossover on the avenues and byways of America, but Volkswagen would respectfully disagree. For the automaker’s American arm, it most definitely is a good thing.

Eager to make new friends following the brand’s disastrous diesel affair, Volkswagen changed course, pledging to give Americans more of what they claim they want. And it seems the effort paid off. Arriving at dealers in May of 2017, the mid-size, made-in-America Atlas crossover has proven a sales coup. Through September, more than one-fifth (21.5 percent) of Volkswagens sold in the U.S. in 2019 bore the Atlas name. Volume is up 39 percent, year to date.

If having one Atlas is a good thing, surely having two is better? From a sales and revenue perspective, Volkswagen certainly hopes so. Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

best jumper cables

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Twisting the key (or, more accurately these days, pushing the button) only to come up with a fistful of no-go can be huge pain in the neck. While the root cause can be any number of maladies, identifying the fix as a simple jump start gets you going — at least for now. Stashing a set of jumper cables in the trunk of your car or under the front seat of your pickup truck is cheap insurance against being left stranded in the cold with a flat battery and long walk to nowhere.

Yeah, thanks to Stranger Danger and America’s love of litigation one may have to ask a few more good Samaritans before finding a person who’s willing to help boost the battery of your car than one would have had to ask twenty years ago. Thanks, internet. Nevertheless, there are more than a few good souls left on this earth, so all is not lost if you need to use one of these bad boys the next time you leave yer headlights on during a trip to Walmart.

Note well: the gauge rating of jumper cable wire operates in reverse fashion to just about every other measurement in the world. Here, a smaller number means a thicker cable — sets made with 1-gauge wire are hardier than sets made with 8-gauge wire. #TheMoreYouKnow

Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

Renault’s board of directors met today to decide the fate of CEO Thierry Bolloré. Though we should say ex-CEO, because they fired him.

As the most recent executive to become subject to the management shakeup that’s bent on removing anyone within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance with ties to defamed founder Carlos Ghosn, Bolloré called the board’s decision surprising (it wasn’t). Speaking with France’s Les Échoshe contended that he was more concerned with the wellbeing of Renault than corporate politics and expressed fears that the alliance could be falling apart as Japan aggressively seeks to remove more Ghosn-era hires.

“I appeal to the highest level of the State shareholder, guarantor of the rules of good governance, not to destabilize Renault, flagship of our French industry,” he said. “This coup is very disturbing, it is very important to understand the ins and outs of what is happening in Japan.” Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

Our last update on the GM-UAW strike revolved around union reps playing hardball on issues like health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades, and job security. The United Auto Workers sent General Motors’ proposals back, holding its nose in disapproval.

With the strike now roughly one month deep and looking like it may disrupt the automaker’s well-laid plans, GM is firing back by suggesting the workers’ union is intentionally wasting everybody’s time. The company’s latest contract offer was issued Monday, with the union having yet to offer any formal feedback. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra even joined negotiations on Wednesday in an effort to speed up discussions. But the UAW has said it will only issue a counter proposal after five separate committees address a “series of issues” and the automaker publicly furnishes its suggestions.

“We object to having bargaining placed on hold pending a resolution of these five areas,” Scott Sandefur, GM’s vice president of North American labor relations, wrote to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes on Thursday. “As we have urged repeatedly, we should engage in bargaining over all issues around-the-clock to get an agreement.”  Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

Lexus issued a teaser this week and it took a few passes before we could identify it as a vehicle. Initially, your dim-witted author presumed it was some kind of at-home charging solution or wildly modern vacuum cleaner design. Lexus’ tagline wasn’t much help, either. “The Future is Electrified” is boilerplate content for the automotive industry right now — or perhaps some highly contagious corporate tic.

This time it’s being used to preview a new battery electric vehicle Toyota’s luxury arm intends on debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show this month… at least that’s what we’ve been told.

Honestly, it’s still a little difficult to tell. While it seems as though we’re getting a close-up glimpse of the portion surrounding the model’s headlight, there are factors at play that make it hard to feel certain of anything. Is that giant opening supposed to be an air inlet? Where does it lead on this purely electric vehicle? Is this even the car’s front?  Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is the rarely seen Dodge version of Mitsubishi’s most famous off-road SUV. It’s a Raider, from 1987.

Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

bmw

For years now, we’ve watched as the average car/crossover grille has expanded faster than that aunt you got divorced in her 20s and never settled down (the same can be said for a man; don’t send us letters.)

Now, as vehicle grilles — once declared nearly extinct in the Taurus/Sable/Intrepid/Crown Vic era ⁠— reach their zenith, the mind turns to an obvious question: What comes next? You’ve watched on these pages as Toyota and Lexus attempted to swallow galaxies with their gaping front openings. Now, BMW is eager to swallow what’s left. Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

Image: Honda

(Yes, this is the third consecutive post about batteries, so please accept my apology and I promise next week will be a different subject. -SM) 

TTAC Commentator civicjohn writes:

Sajeev,

My daughter is at college 200 miles away from me. She called me on the way to work and said that she thought her battery was going dead, because she got the dreaded “clicking” noise while trying to start it. The battery was replaced about 3 years ago, and the alternator and starter were checked and found to be ok.

The car is a 2007 Honda Accord EX-L with 95k miles on it, all service done by the dealer, timing belt changed at 75k, all fluids, everything up to date (I always took it to the dealership; I know I overpaid, but it has a pristine service record).

So I’m about to order a battery from an auto parts store that will install it for no charge, I’m cool with that, but is there any advice on what type of battery I should get? I’ve picked one out, it has a 1-year replacement warranty. Should I spend more, or do I just plan on replacing the battery every 3 years or so?

The car is pristine, she learned how to drive in that car, and I hate to see her sign up for a new car loan when I’ve had friends that have got 150k + service out of these cars. Also, I’ve read about putting vaseline on the terminals, etc. Do any of these tricks extend the battery life? Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

Despite Dyson’s promise of delivering multiple versions of an electric car that would surpass everything we’ve seen before and confirmation that it had functional prototypes already in testing, the company has axed its EV program entirely.

The firm announced its decision on Thursday, quoting founder James Dyson directly. “The Dyson Automotive team have developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies,” he explained. “However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply cannot make it commercially viable.”

Dyson stated that the company was unable to find a buyer for the project, leading the board to suggest the £2.5 billion ($3.11 billion) automotive project be abandoned. While the corporation did not indicate how much of the capital was leftover, it said the funds would be used improve the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology or funneled into other tech programs. Any advancements stemming from its EV research will be utilized wherever possible — including commercial licensing agreements.   Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

Image: Toyota

While side-mounted camera systems have been approved as an acceptable replacement for mirrors by much of the developed world, the United States has yet to approve their installation. But it’s under consideration via an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the federal register.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been testing the worthiness of these systems and how drivers interact with them vs traditional mirrors. Now it’s looking for hot takes as research continues.

On Thursday, the NHTSA announced it was also opening the door for public comments on the technology. If you care about this at all (yay or nay), it might be worth offering the agency a well-spoken piece of your mind.  Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

There’s little doubt that BMW’s design language, at least since the dawn of the 21st century, reflects the prevailing culture of the day. In the 2000s, the brand’s Chris Bangle-penned cars hosted all the eye glitter and booty action a viewer could handle, perfect for an era in which My Humps became an unlikely top hit.

Fast-forward a decade, and the designs of Bangle’s protege, Adrian van Hooydonk, are a perfect representation of today’s social media-led outrage culture. Big, gaping mouths screaming into a void filled with other, equally prominent mouths. We’re in the age of the big mouth, drowning in the polarization that rises in its wake, but van Hooydonk has no intention of reeling in Bimmer’s ever-expanding grilles anytime soon. Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

Trucks make money. A lot of it. Witness the relentless march of average transaction prices, hauled into the stratosphere by all things with a Crew Cab and four-wheel drive. Manufacturers have yet to find the ceiling so, spurred by consumer demand and financial reward, they continue to crank out ever-more outrageous (and expensive) variants.

This time, it isn’t the latest Platinum Southfork Rhodium Kryptonite festival of leather and wood. Chevy, keen to take some of Ford’s lunch, has been rumoured to be building a true competitor to the mighty F-150 Raptor. The race truck you see here is the best indication yet that someone on the Silverado team has dirt under their fingernails.

Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

The Volkswagen Golf has been a mainstay on the compact car scene since approximately the dawn of time, ringing up sales on multiple continents and introducing a world of new drivers to the sweet taste of freedom. They say if you line up all the Golfs ever produced, you’d create a line of cars from here to Deep Space Nine, or something like that.

Later this month, a new version will appear in Wolfsburg. Set to be the models’ eighth generation, it’ll cut a new shape while still being immediately recognizable as a Golf. Today, Volkswagen released a few sketches of the new car for the world to peruse.

Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

Industry analysts are becoming concerned that General Motors’ ongoing row with the United Automobile Workers will negatively impact its production commitments. Officially, the automaker has a surplus allowing it to endure strike conditions for a few more weeks. But it’s also supposed to preparing SEMA vehicles and readying production of the new, mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette Stingray — none of which have any back catalog to draw from.

While GM had 80 days worth of inventory at the start of October to help tamp down any panic, numerous models aren’t included in that pool. The C8 Corvette is supposed to launch this year, with volumes ramping up through early 2020. But orders for the outgoing C7 are backing up due to the UAW strike, requiring the automaker to finish those before retooling Bowling Green Assembly for the C8. That could further stall the Stingray’s arrival date, which was already a little nebulous.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Read More >

By on October 10, 2019

Betcha thought we were done talking about emojis around here, eh? Not so fast, Happy Meal. While one brand is busy attaching themselves to the too-cute digital pixels, another is furiously trying to unhook itself from an emoji it feels does not represent its image.

Alert readers (and avid texters) will have noticed that typing the word ‘Jeep’ into their iOS device automatically produced a blue blob of a thing as a suggested emoji replacement for that word. The most recent platform update erased this connection and Jeep is celebrating with a few words of their own.

Read More >

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