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By on May 24, 2019

Christopher Lyzcen / Shutterstock.com

Hello out there in TTAC land. This is your regularly scheduled reminder that Monday is an American holiday, so we’ll be taking the day off.

More or less, anyway. A stray post or two may show up. But yes, we’re going to be relaxing/BBQing/respecting the fallen troops/vacationing/whatever on Monday. We’ll be back at it at full-tilt boogie on Tuesday. Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

Save for one article about adorable baby ducks, we’ve dumped on Nissan all week. Circumstances being what they are, there wasn’t much of an alternative.

Between a dismal earnings report showcasing a 45 percent decline in annual operating profit for the year ending in March, a forecasted 28 percent drop in profits for this year, corporate strife between the automaker and top shareholder Renault SA, and the ongoing legal troubles with former chairman Carlos Ghosn, it’s been a bad few months.

Nissan’s share price is also in decline for some strange reason, and, following a negative outlook from S&P, Moody’s downgraded the automaker’s credit rating from an A2 to an A3. That’s right, one entire notch lower. That clinches it. Nissan is officially done forever. If the 2008 financial crisis has taught us anything, it’s that you can absolutely trust rating agencies to be arbiters of the future.  Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

U.S. lawmakers are considering legislation that would require automakers to install technology on all new vehicles that would alert drivers to check for children before exiting a vehicle. If passed, the bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write new rules within two years mandating the introduction of “a distinct auditory and visual alert” to remind drivers to check the back seat. It also calls for a study to assess the feasibility of retrofitting older vehicles with the system.

Lawmakers claim that more than 800 U.S. children have died from heatstroke over the last two decades as a result of being left unattended inside an automobile. Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

Add another manual transmission availability story to the pile.

The Mini brand will cease importing models equipped with stick shifts to the U.S. in July, the automaker says, but don’t get your Mini-loving selves worked up just yet. Manuals will be back at some point in the future. Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

1979 Fiat 124 Sport Spider in California wrecking yard, front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is going all-in in Brazil, where the struggling Fiat brand was once the country’s top choice for new vehicles. The automaker has announced a $4 billion plan to boost market share in the only non-U.S. region that made the company any money last quarter.

Leading the way are two new Fiat SUVs, joined by a host of Jeep and Ram offerings. Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

Image: Kia

You have to give Hyundai Motor Group credit — it’s certainly not shy when it comes to design. It hasn’t been for a while, and the 2011 Sonata can attest to that. After Hyundai toned things down for the follow-up generation, the brand realized its mistake: to get noticed alongside Camry and Accord, you needed to go way out and wild.

Perhaps too wild, some who’ve viewed the 2020 Sonata might say. However, if Hyundai’s midsizer is too much for your stomach to handle, Kia’s sister car may be the remedy you’re looking for. You know, if you’re still into sedans and all that. Read More >

By on May 24, 2019

Chris Writes:

Greetings Sajeev!

We’ve just been informed that our 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth has 180-180-180-20 compression and likely needs a new engine. Options are somewhat clouded by a remaining note of about $6,000.

Looks like this boils down to:

  1. Get out, despite the sunk costs and remaining note, and get into a
    more conventional car.
  2. Go the used engine route to save a few $$.
  3. Source a new engine and commit for ~5/6 years +

The SU (spousal unit) is the primary driver and adores the car. I drive it infrequently and find it tedious. It has about 80,000 miles and has been OK on other maintenance issues. All work will be done by a pro – this is so far over my head, mechanically, that there’s just no way – and the car is a daily driver, so commute/mobility issues create additional urgency.

Help!  Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

The last couple of weeks (and, um, stories) have been awash in negative press and bad vibes for Nissan. Fortunately, mother nature stepped in to help one Florida dealership restore the cosmic balance by having a family of ducks move in.

A few months ago, a nest of ducklings hatched outside Sutherlin Nissan Orlando. They decided to stick around, creating an interesting incentive for customers. While we doubt the company would implement new dealer conditions that mandate an on-site petting zoo, it could be a novel solution to its sales woes. After all, promoting dogs worked extremely well for Subaru. Maybe Nissan can become the duck brand.  Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

According to a study commissioned by Nissan, Millennials are committed to saving the sedan in an era when crossovers have usurped much of the market. While much of the study revolves around asking people whether they’d consider purchasing a sedan in the future — something any smart shopper would say “yes” to — survey respondents also said there was very little difference in terms of customer satisfaction between crossovers and sedans.

That’s good news for any automaker that launched a bundle of new and refreshed sedans over the past few years. Can you think of one? Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

2019 INFINITI QX50

Amid a tumultuous time for Nissan and its luxury division, Infiniti, company CEO Hiroto Saikawa is counting on its crucial U.S. business to turn things around. After seeing its global profit fall 45 percent last year, Saikawa declared earlier this month that the company had hit “rock bottom.”

Further profit and operating margin declines are forecasted for 2019.

Executive shuffling has become the norm as the automaker attempts to stem sales losses in the United States. Lofty volume targets of yesteryear have given way to an approach focused on long-term stability. Still, a turnaround won’t happen overnight.

One man Saikawa is counting on is Infiniti’s new sales boss, Bob Welby, who takes over the position June 1st. Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

Over the last six months, automakers have announced roughly 38,000 job cuts as part of global restructuring efforts. While such things are typically part of the normal ebb and flow of the industry, the ebb could be a prolonged one as manufacturers seek ways to mitigate the high cost of tech and figure out what their businesses should look like in the 21st century.

A litany of other issues are impacting jobs. China’s economy turned out to be less stable than presumed, trade tensions have escalated in practically every major market that builds cars, and most of the developed world appears to be nearly tapped out in terms of sales growth.

As a result, analysts are growing concerned that the layoffs we’ve seen thus far are just the beginning. But they’re not the only ones. Industry insiders are also willing to admit that times are changing — and rather drastically.  Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

best bumper guards

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.


It’s not your driving habits or parking skills that are in question here — it’s the other guy’s capabilities (or lack thereof) from which we need to guard ourselves. The cynical amongst us will say these types of bumper guards also fortify your own bumper to inflict maximum damage on others. Verticalscope’s bedwetting lawyers are reminding me not endorse that activity.

We’ve not limited ourselves to a single make or model in this post when selecting contenders for this list, so please be certain your bumper guard of choice fits your vehicle before ordering. Most of the ones shown here are of the “universal” variety. However, a lifetime of installing (and then removing and re-installing) vehicle accessories has taught your author that “universal fit” doesn’t always mean exactly what you think it does.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a garage, or even off street parking, so there is a measure of usefulness to these items. In fact, there must be a fairly big market for this type of car protection if the array of available options is any indication. Your author used to be proponent of the phrase “bumpers are for bumping,” but today’s styling decisions often render that belief more obsolete than a Commodore 64. Note well: the non-adhesive versions of these things should only be deployed when the car is parked.

And don’t worry, we’ll have a list of off-road bumper guards coming up soon.

Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

Everyone’s heard of Yugo — the Yugoslavian brand that tried to shift cheap cars on North American shores in the late Eighties and early Nineties. Their terrible overall quality and general disposable nature means there are very few left today in any sort of presentable condition for Rare Rides. Today’s red beauty is an exception, and it may just be the rarest of the breed.

Let’s check out the super sporty GVX version, from 1988.

Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

2013 Scion FRS front snow - Image: © Timothy Cain

A lot of life changes occurred in conjunction with the sale of my old website, GoodCarBadCar. We also sold the family home in Nova Scotia, moved to rural Prince Edward Island, and quickly began spending more time behind the wheel of a Husqvarna lawn tractor than behind the wheel of any car.

From an automotive standpoint, however, the major ensuing change involved the acquisition of an older Miata. A lifelong dream became a 14-month possession, costing scarcely a dollar while entirely living up to expectations. But with a second toy acquired, in the form of a Suzuki Kingquad, attempting to justify the use of a seasonal two-seater seemed laughable considering there are two young children at home.

Naturally, I sold the Miata and bought that famed minivan alternative, a 2013 Scion FR-S. (Our family vehicle is a 2018 Honda Odyssey.)

10 months later, with most of the time spent on winter tires, the FR-S is gone. It was just too practical. Too flexible. Too reasonable. Too functional. Too pragmatic. Read More >

By on May 23, 2019

It’s the end of an era. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced the death of the SLC (formerly SLK) roadster, and today Audi announced it will do the same to its own two-seat roadster and four-place coupe.

The TT first appeared in late 1998, bringing youthful excitement and distinctive design to the brand’s sedan-heavy lineup. It also served as an excellent rival to the SLK, which bowed a couple of years earlier. Thanks to dwindling sales and Audi’s push for electrification, the recently refreshed TT is now doomed.

It’s not the only gas-powered model that could disappear from the lineup, either. Read More >

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