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By on June 30, 2016

tesla-model-s-

A recent fatal crash of a 2015 Tesla Model S operating in “Autopilot” mode prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a preliminary investigation into the model, Reuters is reporting.

Because the crash occurred when the vehicle was under the control of an autonomous driving system, the NHTSA said it is planning “an examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash.” (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

Porsche cayenne diesel

Good news, owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche models powered by a 3.0-liter TDI engine — your heavily polluting diesel probably won’t have to be bought back and scrapped.

A lawyer for the automaker said in court today that Volkswagen believes the 85,000 vehicles can be cleaned up with a not-too-complicated fix, Reuters reports. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

May 2016 average fuel economy

A group of automakers wants Big MPG to know they’re out of touch when it comes to fuel efficiency targets, and would really like it if they stopped paying so much attention to California.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — a Washington lobbying group made up of General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen and Toyota — wants to impact the midterm review of 2025 fuel economy targets set in 2011, Bloomberg reports. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

Honda-Accord-USA-2001

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration broke from its orderly recall of potentially dangerous Takata airbags today to warn drivers of certain 2001–2003 Honda and Acura models.

New tests show a certain subset of the faulty airbags, linked to 14 deaths worldwide, have a much higher risk of exploding in the event of an accident — a likelihood of up to 50 percent. The NHTSA is urging owners of these vehicles to avoid driving them.

Because of the age of the models, the agency issued an appeal to the public to help track down unrepaired vehicles. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

dealership

After riding the sales roller coaster to dizzying, record-breaking heights, it’s only natural that consumers will bring automakers back down to reality.

This year will be a high water mark for new vehicle sales in the U.S., according to a new study by consulting firm AlixPartners (via Automotive News). Sales are forecasted to hit 17.8 million vehicles this year, but a downturn is on the way, and the industry won’t start to see a rebound until the coming decade. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

Tesla Model X crash

Drivers blaming their cars for accidents or sudden acceleration is nothing new, but modern technology allows us to view data in cases where sudden breaking or a collision occurs. This information is recorded by a device known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR). These types of devices, commonly referred to as “black boxes,” are able to save multiple variables when a collision is detected.

EDRs are often used by police in crash investigations, but some have been used by manufacturers to prove that their vehicles aren’t faulty. One recent case involved a Tesla Model X, where the owner claimed the vehicle accelerated on its own and crashed into a building. Tesla refuted the claim based on the logs they pulled from the vehicle and stated that the driver was at fault.

Since Tesla is the only one with access to the logs, can owners defend themselves, and do they have a right to that data? (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 6.58.43 PM

Here at TTAC, it’s been a tradition of sorts to call out poor examples of car reviews. In fact, we’ve done it so often over the years that I wondered if doing it again would be overkill. There’s such a multitude of miserably bad car reviewers on the minor car blogs of the Internet that it hardly seemed worth pointing out yet another case.

Well, I did wonder that. Then I read some reviews by Tim Esterdahl of Car Revs Daily. I wondered no longer.

(Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (5 of 8)

It’s like the Rapture, but for polluting German vehicles.

Starting this fall, owners of the 466,000 defeat device-equipped Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter TDI models still left on the road will head to their dealer, hand over their keys, sign a mountain of paperwork, and walk away with a fat check issued by the bean counters in Wolfburg.

So, what happens to your once-trustworthy diesel-powered steed after the buyback? (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

subaru howard stern sirius xm

An article entitled “Subaru to SiriusXM Subscribers: Stop Listening to Comedy” from a website called automotiveitnews.org has been making the rounds on social media lately. It talks about an oddity with Subaru-vehicle satellite radios, where they sometimes default to Channel 001, the preview channel, upon starting the car, even when the subscription is paid up.

That may sound like simple software glitch — but it isn’t. It’s actually a Subaru-specific “feature”!

(Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

The quickest Nürburgring lap times make no difference to me when I’m driving across town for a Monday afternoon dental appointment. In fact, the best Nürburgring lap times will likely result in a car that shakes my fillings loose before I get to the dentist. A spec sheet that lists competitor-besting horsepower and torque figures […]

By on June 29, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

The extended-cab Ford F-150 was somewhat louder than a conventional model, but it was the emissions certificate in the rear window that proved the pickup packed something unusual under the hood.

A partially disguised F-150 recently photographed testing in Michigan wore a code showing the presence of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine, and sported a tell-tale diesel exhaust tip. It looks like Ford is serious about besting its pickup competition in every way. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

Jaguar Land Rover’s brands are as British as crumpets and the Union Jack (ignore the fact that it’s owned by India’s Tata Motors), so concerns over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should fall squarely on its tweed-covered shoulders.

The automaker is keeping a stiff upper lip, at least in public, with a spokesperson saying the company doesn’t plan to make changes to its strategy, Reuters reports.

A $1.34 billion assembly plant in Slovakia is going ahead as planned, said Jaguar Land Rover strategy director Adrian Hallmark, who called the Brexit a “short-term issue” during a news conference. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

Eager to find locations to expand its U.S. recharging network, Tesla Motors is busy seeking new partners, with fast food, gas stations and convenience stores being top of mind.

One of the chains Tesla is attempting to seduce is the jack-of-all-trades Sheetz, according to the Washington Post. With hundreds of locations in the mid-Atlantic region, Appalachia and Ohio, Sheetz — maker of the Shmuffinz breakfast sandwich — operates a gas bar, convenience store and fast food restaurant at its locations.

It’s the place to be, and Tesla wants a Supercharger on that property. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

2012 Prius Plug In Hybrid, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Toyota will recall a total of 3.37 million vehicles to resolve two safety-related issues, one of which involves an environmental control that can quickly become very bad for the environment.

The largest of the two recalls concerns faulty side curtain airbags that could partially inflate without warning, according to the Associated Press. The issue isn’t related to the Takata airbag recall — rather, the problem stems from small cracks in some driver and passenger side airbag inflators, which can widen over time and lead to the partial inflation of the side curtain. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

TDI Settlement Program Executive Message to Dealers Cover

Volkswagen is making sure everyone is getting the right message today, and that includes its American dealers.

Thanks to a tipster, TTAC has obtained a video sent by Volkswagen of America executive to its dealers.

(Read More…)

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