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By on September 15, 2019

Hours after a four-year contract between the United Automobile Workers and General Motors expired without an extension, the union voted to kick off a nationwide strike against the automaker at 11:59 pm Sunday. The move would leave plants darkened and upwards of 49,000 auto workers on the picket line.

In a letter to members, UAW leadership said that while “some progress” has been made in its negotiations with GM, numerous outstanding issues remain — among them, wages, health benefits, temporary employees, job security, and profit sharing.

Given a number of looming or already completed plant closures announced by GM last fall, the union picked the automaker as its first bargaining target. UAW bargaining units for Ford and Fiat Chrysler opted to extend their deadlines. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

best steam cleaners for car detailing

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.


Every single gearhead reading this enjoys a clean car. Whether we take the time to actually remove life’s various and sundry detritus, well, that’s a different story. We all know people whose engine compartments are tidier than their passenger compartments.

Hoovering the carpets and seats only removes so much dirt, as those ads for commercial-grade steam cleaner rentals used to so graphically demonstrate. These days, portable steam cleaners abound, meaning those of us who decide to give our car a really good scrub needn’t venture to the Kroger across town that’s really scary after 4 pm.

Keep in mind these units can be used in the house, too, in case your other half is questioning your financial investment on one of these things. Dirt begone!

Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Ads for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator are scheduled to drop this Saturday, but those of us with internet access got to see them a day early. Lincoln’s “Fresh Take” campaign is a bit of a misnomer, however, because the person who’s chiming in on the new model is Matthew McConaughey.

Ford has used the Oscar-winning actor to showcase its premium products for years now, and this writer is not ashamed to say that he’s grown to love them. While not particularly substantive, they’re difficult to look away from. McConaughey muses about the vehicle in a calm, dreamlike haze. Occasionally looking into the rearview mirror before casually reapplying his attention to the always clear road ahead, he’s presumably talking to himself — but it’s really for our benefit.

And that’s why I’m so fond of them. In my mind, McConaughey is a polished lunatic — not quite a Patrick Bateman, but definitely unhinged. And it translates into comedy gold. Yet another viewer might see the ad and think, “Boy he’s handsome and calm — it’s like nothing is ever going to go wrong inside that car.” Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Despite the amount of electric vehicle hype soaking today’s society, Ford’s upcoming electric F-150 pickup remains shrouded with mystery. What kind of power can customers expect? Range? Payload? Towing capacity? There’s few details of this looming creature, and even fewer details of General Motors’ EV pickup.

What’s left is enthusiasm from the Glass House and come-down-to-earth predictions from auto analysts. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is the very first Bristol featured in this series. Hand-crafted in a shed somewhere in England, Bristol maintained exclusivity via an owner who only sold cars to people he liked.

Presenting the aerodynamic Beaufort cabriolet, from 1984.

Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

It’s not as if we anticipated any other outcome, but the White House is moving forward with a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle emission standards. According to Reuters, President Donald Trump met with senior officials in Washington on Thursday to discuss the administration’s proposal to roll back Obama-era standards through 2025 and potentially revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act to set state requirements for vehicles.

Anonymous sources claimed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and acting Office and Management and Budget director Russell Vought were in attendance.  Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Image: FCA

It’s Fix-it Friday, apparently, and the ailing vehicle news hasn’t stopped rolling just yet. You’ll see.

Over at Fiat Chrysler, it seems the only thing capable of stopping the mighty Jeep Gladiator is its manufacturer, which just issued a stop-sale order to prevent new pickups from leaving the lot and potentially dropping their driveshafts. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

There’s no doubt the next-generation Ford Explorer and reborn Lincoln Aviator are very important vehicles for Ford Motor Company. Advanced, stylish, and packing lofty MSRPs and projected volume that’s sure to make the Blue Oval tons of cash, the worst thing that could occur to these vehicles is a botched rollout served with a side of quality-related stigma.

It seems that’s exactly what’s happening.

While the two platform mates, just now appearing on dealer lots, have already been subject to recalls related to manually-adjusted seatbacks, missing manual park release covers, and instrument panel issues, a number of other problems is keeping Explorers and Aviators away from buyers. Ford is reportedly working overtime to fix the unspecified defects. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Image: UAW

Organized labor is helping keep the high-end cigar industry profitable, federal investigators implied Thursday. Following a years-long investigation into widespread corruption among the union’s upper ranks, agents arrested UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson yesterday, hitting him with charges of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Pearson, 58, took over his position from current UAW president Gary Jones last year. Prior to that, he served as Jones’ right-hand man in the Missouri post. The charges laid against Pearson cite numerous unnamed officials who helped organize the embezzlement, with three sources telling The Detroit News that one of those figures is the big man himself.

Oh, and Detroit Three contracts expire Saturday night. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Image: VW

God knows we’ve talked up crossovers ad nauseum. Not in the same uniformly derisive manner as certain twenty-something bloggers, mind you, but the topic certainly has staying power — and with good reason. The thing about these (mostly) non-canyon-carving family boxes is that they insert themselves so easily into so many people’s lives, ticking a great number of boxes on a regular family’s list of must-haves. Hence the sales, the popularity, and the press.

So copious is the choice awaiting a would-be crossover buyer, he or she might become overwhelmed with indecision, ultimately requiring the intervention of medication and therapy. For others, the thought of bringing any one of these things home might leave a bad taste in their mouth. And for a certain few, the crossover of their dreams just hasn’t arrived yet. The love affair they didn’t think could happen awaits just over the horizon. Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

Image: Audi AG

NW writes:

Hello there Sajeev, hope all is well with you. I have an issue with a 2010 Audi A4; my boyfriend bought this car from a dealership (used). However, he didn’t even have the car six months before realizing there was a piston ring problem — he would have to top up the oil when driving the car. We informed the dealership about it, but they gave us the run-around and did not fix the problem.

The car is financed so he’s still paying for it and has about $9,000 left. The car is completely dead at this point; we know about the cost to fix the car but we’re stuck on what to do with the car. Working to pay to fix the car is a lot within itself and we can’t sell it because we’re still paying for it.

We also contacted Audi but they didn’t help us, really. Any solution to this problem? Read More >

By on September 12, 2019

With the reveal of the CT5 out of the way, Cadillac has been working on getting the CT4 ready for the limelight. Debuting the whole fleet today, General Motors’ replacement for the Caddy ATS doesn’t seem too bad on paper. Unlike many luxury models positioned at the entry level, CT4 comes with rear-wheel drive and a minimum of 237 horsepower. It’s also a sedan ⁠— proving that Cadillac has yet to give up on car sales. While we’ve no idea if that’s prudent in a crossover-crazed society, it’s worth applauding.

CT4s will be separated into Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport trims with the CT4-V serving as a mid-grade performance option. Meanwhile, Blackwing variants will replace the V-Series as Cadillac’s top performance line.  Read More >

By on September 12, 2019

Just a short time ago, vehicle subscription services were hailed as the second coming, permitting drivers the freedom to select from a range of vehicles for a single monthly payment. Proponents touted it as a way for manufacturers to display their wares and for buyers to sample a wide array of cars. Opponents said OEMs could potentially lose money by having all these used cars on hand.

It would seem the latter is beginning to prevail with a cadre of companies getting out of the subscription game faster than an aging athlete getting traded to another team. Fair, the $1.2 billion startup company backed by SoftBank, just picked up Canvas from the Ford Motor Company.

Read More >

By on September 12, 2019

Image: Audi

You might not have noticed but Audi has been quietly reducing the complexity of its lineup by eliminating certain content combinations, often in select markets. Here, the biggest change was the elimination of the manual gearbox for 2019. But Audi said it needed to be done due to there being an abysmally low take rate for besticked vehicles in North America.

Apparently, the automaker is just getting warmed up on tamping down the configurations. In an recent chat with Autocar, Audi CEO Bram Schot said there was plenty more work to be done. Having already reduced the number of model variants in certain regions by 27 percent, compared to last year’s options, the CEO said the manufacturer still wasn’t where it wanted to be.  Read More >

By on September 12, 2019

I don’t understand what Ford is doing anymore. While the company is branding itself as this tech-savvy mobility firm, bent on delivery cutting-edge electrics that will save the planet, it has also removed its most-economical models from the U.S. market — leaving us with the EcoSport, some plug-ins, and the soon-to-be-gone Fiesta. Meanwhile, an ocean away, Europe is getting more small cars that it knows what to do with.

Considering utilities, crossovers and trucks pay the bills, that’s not a problem in itself. But it muddles Ford’s corporate identity to a point where I just have to shrug my shoulders. I had another opportunity to raise those bad boys up to my freaking ears this week when Blue Oval debuted the brand-new Puma in its top-tier Titanium X trim — a product the manufacturer has already said it doesn’t plan on bringing to North America. Read More >

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