By on December 31, 2015


Man, people are really pumped about the cool, expensive cars they just bought.

That nugget of wisdom, Russia’s perpetual Cash for Clunkers program, VW’s appeal to Colorado and Washington buyers and GM’s knows what way the wind is blowing now … after the break!


Consumer Reports insight: People love fun cars!

Consumer Reports compiled its January list of the most and least loved and cars in the U.S. and I’ll spoil the ending — people are pretty jazzed about expensive, fun cars.

Tesla topped the list of 230,000 responses with its Model S, according to USA Today. About 97 percent of Model S owners said they’d buy the car again (they may have to after 60,000 miles) followed by the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche Cayman, Macan and 911 to round out the top five.

On the other end, Kia’s Rio topped Consumer Reports’ futility list, followed by the Nissan Sentra and Jeep Compass and Patriot.

Who doesn’t love a Porsche?


Continental chief says VW probably killed diesel in the U.S.

Volkswagen’s diesel scandal could crush fledging diesel car sales in the U.S., Japan and China, Continental’s chief told a German newspaper Thursday, according to Reuters.

“The diesel passenger car could sooner or later disappear from these markets,” Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart told Boersen-Zeitung.

Degenhart told the paper that his company also couldn’t run away from the scandal fast enough:

“We developed and supplied the engine controllers in line with VW’s specifications. The installation and tuning of the software, the so-called calibration, was done by VW,” he said, according to Reuters.


GM won’t avoid first ignition switch trial

A judge ruled Wednesday that a trial against General Motors regarding faulty ignition switchs will go to trial, a blow for the automaker that was seeking to dismiss that claim, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

The trial was the first GM was seeking to dismiss and is a bellwether for other pending lawsuits, Reuters reported.

The lawsuit was filed by a man who said his 2003 Saturn Ion’s airbags didn’t deploy when he hit a tree in 2014. He claims the faulty ignition switch was the cause of those airbags not deploying.

The decision “paves the way for the jury to have an unfettered and full view of GM’s behavior in covering up this defect,” the man’s lawyer told Reuters. GM lawyers said they would be prepared to argue their cases.

There are six bellwether trials related to the faulty GM ignition switches scheduled for 2016, according to the report.

VW Microbus Teaser

Volkswagen teases more Microbus, named “BUDD.e”?

On Wednesday, Volkswagen released a teaser image and short video of a likely Microbus concept that the company will roll out next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The image of the car’s headlights is standard fare — half covered LEDs and an interesting textured grille. The video, however, sports a quick look at the car’s tail end, which Car & Driver deduced reads “BUDD.e”.

The concept could be named as such for many reasons: “E-mobility,” “Buddy,” the van’s propensity to be popular with stoners.

Whatever it is, we won’t have to wait long. CES starts Jan. 6.


In Mother Russia, Cash for Clunkers lasts forever

Russian officials said they’ll spend $275 million to help prop up its flagging car industry after sales sunk in 2015, Reuters reported.

The stimulus follows similar programs from 2013 and 2014. Those programs were beefed up this year with limited success.

Automakers are reducing expectations for the country — which is one of few markets where automakers can actually grow — including Hyundai, which said Wednesday that it would reduce production in Russia by more than 6 percent for 2016.

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45 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Pumped About Porsche; GM’s Going To Trial; And Diesel’s Dead, Baby...”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I don’t think diesel is going away. I had never ruled out owning one prior to the scandal, and I obviously wouldn’t buy one from VW right now even if I could, but once things get righted I would have no issues with it.

    People are still buying GM vehicles, Hondas, Subarus, etc. despite previous ignition issues and hand grenades instead of air bags that could literally kill you and/or your family.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      It seems like diesel is having a hard time meeting the current requirements, and the next round of emissions requirements won’t be any easier to meet. I have heard others mention this.

      The other thing is that gasoline direct injection and the technology created to meet emissions and improve economy have closed the gap between gasoline and diesel by quite a bit. Forget about those 50+mpg numbers VW owners got. The legit numbers won;t be that far above the best GDI engines. At that point, you look at the higher initial cost of most diesels, the additional maintenance, and VW reliability, and the future doesn’t seem as bright as it used to be for oil-burners.

    • 0 avatar

      You can make a case for V6 diesels in pickups and large SUVs, where there’s a fuel economy payoff compared to the gas V8 alternative. And the Ecoboost V6 calls even this into question.

      However, now that you can take your pick from compact cars with gas engines that come close to the MPG of the 4-cyl diesels, I just don’t see why one would bother with the extra cost of the engine, plus the DEF, the complexity, and the higher priced fuel.

      • 0 avatar

        What about the enthusiasts trumpeting their love of a diesel’s low-end torque? Isn’t this a reliable if small passenger car niche that VAG alone has tapped in the US?

    • 0 avatar

      Never has had a large footprint in the US, because of the GM disasters in the 1980’s.,Everywhere else, not a problem.
      My feeling that EV’s are a threatened species, not diesel. Diesel should grow in popularity with Pickups

      • 0 avatar

        Way more diesel downsides than advantages.

        The ’80s diesel disasters were too long ago to matter. Diesels fail to attract the mainstream today on their own merits. And it can only get worse for diesels.

        Absolutely no need for diesels in light duty autos. The need for diesels in heavy duty pickups and medium-duty commercial and industrial applications is coming into question now.

      • 0 avatar

        “My feeling that EV’s are a threatened species, not diesel. Diesel should grow in popularity with Pickups”

        Did you start investing in residential mortgage CDOs in 2006?

  • avatar

    “A judge ruled Wednesday that a trial […] will go to trial,”

    Cases go to trial (or trials proceed).

    And with that absurdly minor correction out of the way, a big thank you to Aaron, Mark and the rest of the TTAC crew for a great 2015. Granted, plenty of automakers created enough drama to help you out.

    May ’16 keep you even more busy. We are all auto news junkies on a TTAC drip and you are the dealers (uugh, sorry ’bout that, it slipped out).

  • avatar

    Umm, Did I miss the appeal to Washington and Colorado buyers in this story somewhere? I dont remember being appealed to recently.

  • avatar

    VW probably teasing the microbus to get peoples’ minds off of the diesel debacle.

    • 0 avatar

      The Caddy is a universally recognized VW model in Yurrup so maybe Buddy + hybrid/EV = Budd.e?

      Not that it would have any relevance in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is VW teases these concepts then never bring them to market, or to North America, or it takes forever.

      • 0 avatar

        They ought to just bring over the T-5 Transporter and be done with it.

        No way I’d buy some little boxy car and think of it a direct descendant of the Kombi/Transporter/etc. That’s like calling those two wheeled balance toys Hoverboards. No hovering involved… ;)

        Plenty of funky boxy cars on the market to choose from – Nissan, Toyota, etc.

  • avatar

    That Russki jeep; now THAT’S the kind of wheel/sidewall ratio I’ll always want!

    • 0 avatar

      It is know as “Gazik”. Did not change while I was alive and remember things, and I am not Gen Xer or millenia or even Gen Z (the last generation before the anticipated end of world for humans).

      • 0 avatar

        I wikkied Gazik and a disambiguation page popped up that only lists some “Persian” provinces, no vehicle manufacturer.

        But Google images did have many, many photos of them including a few pretty modern looking versions.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s a UAZ 469. Successor to several GAZ utility vehicles.

        • 0 avatar

          It is a nick name. Another nick name was “Willys” but only used by previous generation you fought in the WWII. When I was a kid Willis and Studebakers (trucks) were part of folklore and stuff of legends. I was always under impression that Willys and Studebakers were some superior machines and was surprised to learn none of them actually exist anymore.

          It were never were called “Jeep”. But after SU breakup all SUVs were called Jeep, like all smartphones and tablets are called iPhone and iPad, e.g. Toyota jeep, Land Rover jeep and etc.

          • 0 avatar

            For the time, they performed pretty amazing service. Studebaker was known for its supply trucks and Willys did some innovative 4×4 work. Unfortunately innovators like Studebaker and Willys are no more, which is shame. What would have they been if they were around now?

  • avatar

    Saw a new Jetta 1.4 turbo today, this is what may allow VW to become relevant again in the US and people won’t have a reason to buy a diesel any longer.

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking as a disgruntled former VW owner, modern VWs look and drive wonderfully…

      When they run at all, that is.

      I loved mine, and I’d still be driving it, if it weren’t the worse car I’ve ever owned.

      Mine was a money pit. That old adage about never owning a German car out of warranty was 100% true with mine. Which is why I now do my out-of-warranty driving on Toyotas.

      VW’s German Engineering just isn’t all its cracked up to be. They make a car that looks nice and handles well, but is both unreliable and expensive/difficult to repair. Proper engineering now includes the total life cycle of the vehicle, but VW is about 20 years behind the times.

      VW needa to realize that they’ve been aolidly beaten on the “people’s car” front by the Japanese, the Koreans, and the Americans. If they want that crown back, they need fix their cars, fix their dealers, and then fix their reputation.

      Or they could take their ball and go home. I’m cool with either option.

  • avatar

    That’s a crudely hand-painted star over the original “123RF” on that jeepski.

    From which if any of all the Russias did this come? Neither the R nor F are in the Cyrillic alphabet.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Another day, another VW Microbus concept.

    • 0 avatar

      None of which will ever be built because it will be compared unfavorably to the Type 2, which can’t be rationally sold today. I think it’s cruel to give false hopes to aging hippies like that.

      • 0 avatar

        Just sell the flippin’ T-5 Transporter here. Its a big boxy minivan along the lines of the Merc Sprinter but smaller. That’s all I want. Don’t want a car made up to look like a van. Might as well buy a car or an SUV.

        If I want a boxy car/van then I’ll be down at the Ford dealer checking into a Ford Transit Connect.

        And I say this as a VW enthusiast. I own three now.

  • avatar

    I can’t get the image of Mary Barra out of my head in prison stripes, form hugging, tailor cut, highwater of course, and those spiky pumps she wears. Yikers!!

    I know it’s civil cases but still… Come on!

  • avatar

    Funny…Mercedes Benz never had any diesel dilemmas. In fact, they are standard on the E Class. Perhaps since Carl Benz invented the horseless wagon, they actually know what they’re doing. I don’t think BMW is on the chopping block either…but I hear there has been some questions regarding BMW SUV Diesels. I think the jury is still out on that one.
    Either way, German engineering on the cheap (VW) is exactly what you get…CHEAP!

  • avatar

    A lot of talk about VW and Diesel. You must know that there are many other brands??? VW are not the only diesels!!!
    I have a Honda diesel that is perfect for my needs. 150 bhp and 258 lb.ft equals ca 50mpg, 0-60 8,5 sec and 135 mph. And because it´s a Honda it is bulletproof. I admit it´s not a racer for teenagers(or people whos mental age is in the teens).

    • 0 avatar

      What model…in what country? I think the Chevy Cruze Diesel might be pretty decent too. Although the thought of owning a GM product is out of the question for me.
      Anyway, I am unaware of any U.S. sold Hondas. Please fill me in.

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