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By on September 17, 2019

Image: Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas is slated to receive a $391 million investment earmarked for streamlined pickup production. The manufacturer wants to merge the Tacoma and Tundra models onto a common platform, something we’ve mentioned in the past, and Toyota’s Tuesday announcement solidifies those rumors.

The new platform is meant to make hybridization easier and provide the basis for the entirety of the automaker’s global truck line — including SUVs like the Sequoia. Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

After Porsche’s Taycan secured its status as the fastest electric production vehicle ever to grace the Nürburgring, Tesla Motors was keen to steal the title. This evolving rivalry also resulted in Elon Musk tossing some light shade at the German manufacturer over its liberal use of the word “turbo.” What followed were some sedan-based lap records set by the American company at Laguna Seca, which was little more than a distraction from the main event while Tesla got its ducks in a row.

In Nürburg, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the highly impressive time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds in August. The following month, Tesla starting running the Model S. This week, reports coming in from Germany claim the American manufacturer set an unofficial time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds. But there are issues with Tesla’s record-breaking run.  Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Admit it — you weren’t aware Chevrolet made a hybrid version of the midsize Malibu. You’d be forgiven for replying in the affirmative, as the variant introduced for the 2016 model year sported a profile lower than that of an SOE agent in occupied France.

And yet the Malibu Hybrid lived. But now it must die. Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Thousands of people amassed in Germany over the weekend to protest the automotive industry. Ground Zero was in Frankfurt, with an estimated 15,000-25,000 people marching past the Frankfurt Motor Show holding signs condemning the internal combustion motor and promoting environmental awareness. Dozens of people also made it onto the trade show to demand the event be shut down or reformatted to focus entirely on eco-friendly transportation.

Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers were also a focal point of activist ire. Many called for their banishment from German cities after four pedestrians, including a three-year-old boy, were fatally struck by a Porsche Macan earlier this month in Berlin. However, the segment’s slightly higher dependance upon fuel was also a sore spot for many activists.

“Such tank-like cars do not belong in cities,” Stephan von Dassel, Green politician, bicycle enthusiast, and mayor of Berlin’s Mitte district, tweeted in German. “They are ‘climate killers’, even without accidents, every driving error becomes a life-threatening danger for innocent people.”  Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Image: Mike Freed

You read all about Ford’s midsize crossover issues last week, perhaps with great dismay. According to an extensive report, serious and sometimes hazy quality defects have kept thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators away from dealer lots.

It seems the automaker is hauling vehicles directly from Chicago Assembly to a hastily-arranged fix-it space at Flat Rock Assembly in Michigan — a stopover for quality control and repair on the way to the dealer. Some vehicles reportedly wait up to a month for a fix.

Bad news for Ford, but is it also bad news for those awaiting these two critically important models? Surely having these issues remedied before delivery to dealer lots is better than no fix at all? Certainly, it’s a better outcome for the automaker and buyer than the alternative. And yet, after visiting his local Ford dealer, one reader walked away shaking his head. Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Dieselgate never dies. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) has informed Audi that it will be subjected to additional fines if it fails to meet upcoming deadlines for retrofitting manipulated diesel models with updated software.

Reports from Bild am Sonntag, later confirmed by Reuters, claim the regulatory authority issued three letters to the automaker stipulating that it had until September 26th to replace the software in emissions-cheating V6 and V8 TDI engines (originally certified as EU6 compliant) lest it be fined 25,000 euros (about $27,500) per vehicle. While fines are only applicable to cars still carrying illicit software, the transport ministry estimated some 127,000 Audi vehicles qualified in Europe last year. There were originally around 850,000.  Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Based in a region where internal combustion is treated by lawmakers with the same respect as the guy who cuts one in an elevator, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Speth knows there’s only one way forward for his company. To remain viable in Europe and China and hedge its bets in North America, the JLR range needs electrification in a hurry.

Diesel market share is dropping like pants at a kegger and emissions standards aren’t getting any less stringent. No time to waste.

However, with one electric crossover already on the market and a range of EVs coming down the pipe, JLR faces the same hurdles as other automakers going the green route. And Speth doesn’t see things getting easier for a while — unless someone outside the company takes the heat off. Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

1987 Shelby CSX (P), Image: Shelby AutomobilesIn the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Mazda, a manufacturer with exactly zero electric or hybrid vehicles in its lineup, plans to join the gas-free fray at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. The hesitant automaker recently announced plans to field a fully electric vehicle in 2020, with a plug-in hybrid following a year or two later.

The question now is: what form will Mazda’s first EV take? Read More >

By on September 17, 2019

Audi Q8 Concept NAIAS Rear, Image: © 2017 Jeff Wilson/The Truth About Cars

Yesterday, the illustrious and quite tall Matthew Guy asked about the most linguistically pleasing model names. I tossed out the AMC Ambassador as a model that rolls off the tongue in a flood of satisfaction.

AMC Ambassador — it’s like one of those old, alliteration-addicted British airliners like the Bristol Brabazon or Vickers Vanguard. Actually, one airliner to roll out of the UK at the time was the Airspeed Ambassador, so AMC’s biggest offering had a friend on the other side of the pond.

While we’re not here today to talk about names per se, we are about to delve into wordplay again. What automotive term gets under your skin? Read More >

By on September 16, 2019

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Man, it never ends. Removed from the many, many issues at play both inside and outside Tesla’s Palo Alto HQ, a lawsuit sparked by a childish spat between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a British cave diver still hangs over Musk’s head.

If you don’t recall the ridiculous episode, Vernon Unsworth, who was instrumental in organizing the successful rescue of a Thai soccer team last summer, told Musk to shove his experimental, homemade submarine up his ass. Musk responded by referring to him as “pedo guy”on Twitter.

On Monday, Musk sought to have the defamation suit tossed out on the grounds that “pedo” could mean a lot of things. This is 2019, people, and it’s Silicon Valley.  Read More >

By on September 16, 2019

California wants that ’84 Olds Eighty-Eight gone, stat. In its place, a citizen of limited means can apply for disposal funding and the (partial) means of replacing it with a cleaner car, or opt instead for a transit pass or car-sharing membership. Now, the state Senate has amended earlier legislation to include more “mobility.”

The Clean Cars 4 All Program, administered by the California Air Resources Board, will now fork it over to get you on some sort of bike. Read More >

By on September 16, 2019

BMW’s i3 has reached the end of its road. The manufacturer recently stated that the model will not be updated, adding that there’s no plan for a successor. Despite the oddball Bimmer serving as the technological basis for the Mini Electric slated to launch next year, the i3 is going to stick around in its current form until the company has no further use for it.

Released in 2013, the i3 was Bavaria’s first stab at a mass-market EV. While this author sees them routinely parked in coastal cities, they’re an anomaly elsewhere. Overt success has eluded the model in the United States, with annual sales dropping from a high of 11,024 units in 2015 to just 6,117 deliveries in 2018. This year’s U.S. sales look to be even weaker for the model.

Fortunately for BMW Group, European sales have been on the rise every year since the car’s introduction. Last year, that resulted in 24,252 deliveries for the region — with 2019 already positioned to surpass that figure easily.  Read More >

By on September 16, 2019

The United Auto Workers claims General Motors waited almost literally till the eleventh hour to toss out a halfway decent offer, but by that time it was too late to bang out an agreement before an 11:59 p.m. Sunday strike deadline.

As talks get underway after GM auto workers hit the streets last night, the level of disagreement between the two sides remains in dispute. What is clear is that GM faces losses of 50 to 90 million dollars a day if the strike continues. Read More >

By on September 16, 2019

With Japan and the United States spending the better part of the summer discussing trade relations, there were minor fears that the island nation would become subject to new tariffs. Fortunately, most of the reporting on the matter showed negotiations to be productive, with President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe perpetually optimistic about the two countries’ relationship.

Last month at a Group of Seven Summit, the pair even claimed to be on the verge of signing a new agreement. According to Reuters, that will come without new fees on Japanese-made automobiles. Read More >

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