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By on January 25, 2020

Image: Hyundai

Perhaps realizing that his job was done, Michael O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president for product, announced his departure from the automaker late Friday.

O’Brien leaves the company he served for nearly 20 years on February 3rd, heading off to pursue “other interests,” the grateful automaker said in a statement. Put in charge of the Korean brand’s product direction, O’Brien played a major role in turning around a flagging sales situation with a surge of crossovers big and small. Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

gm

It’s the news you were waiting for on a Friday afternoon. After General Motors provided a fuel economy estimate of its own, the EPA has now carved the upcoming Buick Encore GX’s gas mileage into stone.

So, what can the tiny engines found in this small crossover do for pump-averse buyers? Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

best battery tenders

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.


Sauntering out to one’s vehicle and twisting the key (or jabbing the start button) only to come up with a whole handful of nothing is one of the automotive world’s most frustrating experiences. Dead batteries are the bane of a gearhead’s existence. Thankfully, most cars turn off their headlights or dome lights automatically these days. They emphatically did not when your author was a kid.

Storing a car (or recreation vehicle) over the winter months can also wreck a battery. That’s why battery tenders – not chicken tenders – were invented. They are designed to facilitate a gentle flow of juice to a battery so it is not flatter than a Midwest cornfield come summer. Maintaining that level of charge is also important.

Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

Making the pilgrimage to the big top building at Westworld in Scottsdale to experience the insanity that is Barrett-Jackson’s flagship is a trip that should be undertaken by every red-blooded gearhead. Equal parts car show, party, and sale, the annual desert soirée is gloriously mad in all the right ways.

Of course, there are plenty of people who carp that vehicles at Barrett-Jackson fetch too much money and, indeed, some of them do. Witness the 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight that traded for an eye-watering $385,000 simply because Paul Walker’s name was on the ownership.

However, many of those same people are simply making noise on the internet and have no plans (or means) to, y’know, actually buy something. They’ll also bemoan the so-called Bring-a-Trailer premium instead of simply appreciating the weird and wonderful cars that appear.

Here’s the simple fact: there are deals to be had. While on the ground in Scottsdale, we sought out a few we figured would be of interest to you, the reader. And to prove a point, of course.

Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

The German equivalent of AAA, Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), has long been a proponent of a limitless Autobahn. However, the group recently walked back its zeal for the cause amid demands from environmental groups to enact speed limits in a bid to curb emissions.

While most of the Autobahn has the same posted limits you’d find on most North American highways, there are plenty of sections where people can drop the hammer and go as fast as conditions permit. Safety advocates have often raised an eyebrow, encouraging regulators to limit additional sections of the roadway, but universal limits have always been a bridge too far. Now that environmental groups have joined the fray, the issue has garnered a lot more attention.  Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

A special day has arrived here at Rare Rides. Our subject is modern, sleek, and the Cadillac of Minivans. That’s right, it’s Van Time with the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback grey - Image: MazdaThere are three main criteria for measuring the degree to which 2019 was a disastrous year for the Mazda 3 in the United States small car marketplace.

First, judge the Mazda 3 based on key competitors. Mazda 3 sales tumbled 21 percent to 50,741 units during a year in which the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla levelled off north of 300,000 units, in excess of six times the Mazda’s total. The Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, and Volkswagen Jetta were all at least twice as popular as the Mazda 3; the Kia Forte nearly so. The Subaru Impreza outsold the Mazda, too.

Second, consider how the Mazda 3 fared in comparison with its own historical impact. Over the course of the previous 29 years, Mazda USA averaged nearly 84,000 annual compact Mazda sales – 2019’s total was 39-percent shy of that average; 59-percent below the 3’s 2012 peak performance.

Finally, there’s a method that involves adding a rider to either one of the first two functions: the Mazda 3 accomplished these ignominious feats as a highly regarded, all-wheel-drive-available, new-generation car. Imagine Ford launching an all-new F-150 and watching sales plummet to a 29-year low.

And yet, could 2020 be even worse for the Mazda 3? An Outback-ified version of the 3, the CX-30, is sliding into the lineup at a time when sales of small crossovers are surging. The Mazda 3 can’t compete with the Civic and Corolla. It can’t compete with its own memory. What if it can’t compete with its own sibling? Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

Image: Volvo Cars

Volvo’s XC90 midsize crossover is both a tony vehicle and a solid seller, but the push into electrification that began with the crossover’s second generation will be completed in its third.

The automaker has announced that the third-gen XC90, which arrives in 2022, will ditch gas-only powerplants for good. Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

Image: Suzuki

You’re right — there’s no way we can determine with any certainty what the internet’s actual favorite ride is, but the amount of lust poured out over the unattainable Suzuki Jimny is noteworthy. People love this little Japanese box, even if its short wheelbase and solid axles add up to a ride most wouldn’t want to live with on a daily basis.

Not available to North American consumers, it looks like the wee Jimny will soon bow out of another significant market. Blame the environment. Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

2017 Toyota Highlander profile

One of your author’s biggest pet peeves is the complete lack of confidence some drivers have in their own abilities — and that of their vehicle. It’s an odd thing, as these days the rolling stock on any street or highway consists mainly of car-based CUVs outfitted with increasingly capable all-wheel drive systems.

You’d think these drivers would show a little less trepidation when the weather turns bad — after all, they bought that particular vehicle for a reason — but no. After a recent, fairly heavy dump of the white stuff, the irksome observations began all over again. But an incident last night revealed the one thing that seems capable of motivating such drivers into taking action and using their vehicle to its full, confidence-inspiring potential: frustration. Read More >

By on January 24, 2020

TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I’m trying to help my aunt out with her Mercury Sable, which has a 3.0-liter Duratec engine. It has an oil leak from the front passenger side which I believe is coming from the timing chain cover. How hard is this repair and what else should I look for if, say, the leak is not the cover or oil pan? I have checked the valve covers, oil press sender, and cam sensors — all dry. Read More >

By on January 23, 2020

Porsche Cars North America is the latest automaker to join the expanding list of manufacturers abandoning monthly sales reports in favor of a quarterly format. Detroit has made the changeover entirely, with General Motors swapping to quarterly reports in 2018, only to be followed by Ford and Fiat Chrysler the following year. While Asian manufacturers tend to prefer monthly updates, both Hyundai and Nissan are considering trying quarterly reports within the next twelve months.

As for the German manufacturer, Automotive News cited Porsche as wanting to keep a better eye on the bigger picture. But the plan also runs some risks, especially when some automakers are on the monthly schedule and others report just four times per year.  Read More >

By on January 23, 2020

Image: Mahindra & Mahindra

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said it will review an administrative law judge’s initial determination, made in November, that Mahindra’s Roxor looks suspiciously like a Jeep product.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed a trade complaint with the ITC in 2018, claiming the Roxor infringes on Jeep’s “trade dress” — a term used to identify trademarked images or general appearance of a product. Not quite a patent, it exists on the fringes of intellectual property laws, frequently making trade dress issues difficult to navigate.

The judge’s recommendation was that regulators issue a cease-and-desist order and prohibit any Mahindra vehicles or parts that infringe from entering the country. Meanwhile, the commission is still in the midst of its own investigation — which opened in September of 2018 — and now estimates finishing its inquiry by March 20th.

From there, the U.S. Trade Representative would have two months to make a final determination. Of course, now that Mahindra has updated the look of the 2020 Roxor (below the break), the whole issue could be moot.  Read More >

By on January 23, 2020

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI brown

While it absolutely pales in comparison to the fines levied in the United States, Volkswagen will still have to fork over a pile to appease the Canadians.

This week, the automaker pleaded guilty to 60 charges relating to its deception of regulators and consumers with emissions-rigged diesel vehicles. While $196.5 million sounds like small potatoes in this day and age, it happens to be the largest monetary fine for an environmental crime in the country’s history. Read More >

By on January 23, 2020

The extended UAW GM strike of 2019 was the longest the automotive industry endured in a couple of generations. At the time, General Motors said the situation would delay production across its entire model lineup, including the 2020 Corvette. The mid-engined C8 is all-new, encouraging plenty of interest. It was assumed the model was destined to be sold out months before the strike occurred.

While GM later confirmed models were still available, it warned that the strike might delay its launch and could impact dealer allocations. In November, the manufacturer said the C8 wouldn’t arrive until February of 2020, though the latest word from retailers indicates GM will cut back on allocations of the C8. Read More >

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