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By on February 28, 2017

jeep 75th birthday

The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.

In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Airbags

It’s been a long road to this point, but Takata’s CFO, Yoichiro Nomura, finally had the opportunity to plead guilty on behalf of the company to fraud. The company accepted a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. government yesterday as Nomura condemned Takata’s actions as “deeply inappropriate.”

U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh confirmed the previously agreed-to settlement against objections from lawyers for victims of Takata airbag inflator explosions, who claimed the criminal settlement mistakenly identified automakers as victims of Takata’s unlawful behavior. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Honda ASIMO

Honda wants to up its software game and encourage creative uses for ones and zeros at its new research and development center. With ASIMO — the company’s adorable robot mascot — almost old enough to smoke, Honda hasn’t developed a super-high-profile gizmo in nearly 17 years.

Recently, the company took a distinctive back-to-basics approach to address slipping quality, though CEO Takahiro Hachigo confessed that rekindling the R&D “spirit” would be the other half of building a better Honda Motor Co.

With those goals in mind, Tokyo’s Honda Innovation Lab opened its doors to the press on Tuesday as the company announced it will be forming a specific unit to focus on the development of software-laden technology for its next generation of vehicles. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Apple iOS in a Car + Ferrari LaFerrari

Former Ferrari salesman Robert “Bud” Root is suing Ferrari of Palm Beach for wrongful dismissal, alleging the dealer fired him after he discovered that a Ferrari DEIS tool was being used to roll back odometers. He also claims discrimination due to his old age.

Root’s claim states that Ferrari’s Italian headquarters has been producing and distributing these devices to dealerships worldwide. It also says that Ferrari must give authorization every time one of the tools is used — a potentially damaging allegation for the supercar manufacturer.

(Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

hindustan-ambassador-ck-birla_021117014658

The Hindustan Ambassador, in production from 1958 to 2014, is an iconic vehicle. Iconic enough that news of Peugeot SA’s acquisition of the Ambassador brand from the C.K. Birla group’s Hindustan Motors got a fair amount attention despite most of the automotive news media being focused on Peugeot parent PSA’s proposed purchase of Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors.

As it happens, the $12,000,000 Ambassador deal is part of a much larger play in India by PSA that may work out to be as significant a move on the subcontinent as the Opel deal is in Europe. Now that the French government has bailed out PSA, they have big plans for India. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

GM Adds Third Shift, 750 Jobs at Wentzville Assembly

In the international poker game of NAFTA re-negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump should not assume his Mexican opponent will be playing with a losing hand, an auto industry expert says.

“I’m going to be surprised if we see a heck of a lot changed,” said John Holmes, researcher at the Automotive Policy Research Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. “The industry now is so highly integrated.” (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

tupac-murder-car

In case you’re a particularly macabre automotive collector, Tupac Shakur’s murder car is currently available for purchase. California’s chotchkie dealer, Moments in Time, is listing Death Row co-founder Suge Knight’s black 1996 BMW 750iL on its website for a cool $1.5 million. That’s roughly $1.49 million over the estimated private party value of an E38 Bimmer — and I even gave Moments in Time enough credit to assume it was in extremely good condition.

Apparently, one of the best things you can do for the resale value of your car is to make sure that a celebrity was killed inside of it. However, Shakur technically died several days later as a result of injuries sustained in the September 7, 1996 Last Vegas drive-by shooting. Perhaps you can use that information to haggle down the price.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

2006 Peugeot 908 RC Concept

A report released by PSA Groupe, maker of Citroën and Peugeot vehicles, details the first part of a 10-year plan to reintroduce PSA brands into the North American market, starting in the United States this week!

So, how do you feel about mobility solutions?

(Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi has lifted the curtain on a new compact crossover with a familiar — but now confusing — name.

Yes, the 2018 Eclipse Cross bastardizes the memory of that sporty coupe your 18-year-old co-worker once owned, but the name is the least of anyone’s concerns right now. Shoehorned into the lineup to give Mitsubishi a new player in a scorching-hot segment, the Eclipse Cross sports styling that can charitably be described as controversial. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCAAlthough there are plans in the works, we have not yet tested the new 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia. Not in base, Ti, or Quadrifoglio guise.

But in a four-car comparison test recently conducted by Car And Driver, the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio finished on top, besting the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S (yes, it’s a Mercedes-AMG, apparently not a Mercedes-Benz), the Competition-packed 2017 BMW M3, and the 2017 Cadillac ATS-V.

Of course, Car And Driver doesn’t issue the final verdict. Even TTAC doesn’t issue the final verdict. TTAC’s B&B doesn’t have the last say, either. You, oh sports sedan buyer who wouldn’t look twice at a Lexus NX300h, possess the money that will determine whether the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the best sports sedan on sale today.

Nevertheless, let’s take Car And Driver’s word for it, if only for a moment. Let’s believe that the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the best sports sedan in America right now.

Is being the best good enough for the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio to earn your money? Because, as you’d expect, the Giulia that won Car And Driver’s comparison test broke down. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Time flies. 2017 is the sixth model year for the Chattanooga, Tennessee-built Volkswagen Passat, the Americanized family sedan that aimed for the heart of the market so routinely missed by its forerunners. The other Passat, the Passat designed more for Europe’s tastes than yours, has since launched in new, eighth-generation form. Yet having lost all of the momentum […]

By on February 28, 2017

 

odometerEdward writes:

Here’s something I’ve been wondering: Why did odometers typically read only to 100,000 miles until fairly recently? Was that the maximum cars could possibly last when the practice began? Was it marketing — “100,000 miles, need a new car”? Is it something else? Durability expectations were certainly raised when Volvo added another digit, and with good reason. Two hundred thousand miles or more now seems to be feasible for many cars, with others known for exceeding that.

The odometer limitation certainly creates lots of doubt in the market for older vehicles. 50,000, 150,000, or even 250,000 miles are possibilities for a given vehicle.

On a related note, why are dealers so committed to ensuring no owner documents are provided with a used car? Even when buying an obviously well-maintained car at a reputable dealer, all I got was a whispered, “The timing belt has been changed.”

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

U.S. Mexico Border

Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s senior trade negotiator, reaffirmed his position to break off talks to reconfigure NAFTA, saying his country will completely abandon talks if the United States continues threatening levies and caps on products coming in from its southern border. He said Mexico will refuse to even consider the kind of tariffs President Trump has discussed and revert back to World Trade Organization rules. Under those guidelines, the most the U.S. could impose on a Mexican product would average 3 percent.

“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Guajardo said in an interview. “Bye-bye.” (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 is already renowned for its ability to put down massive amounts of power in the corners and the straights. When General Motors switched over to the Alpha platform, it made sure that the ZL1 was a serious contender on the track, drag strip, highway, or any other evenly paved road. For 2018, the ZL1 1LE aims to add additional grace upon closed-course tarmac and transform an already track-capable car into a street-legal racer.

With more wings than a flock of birds, it certainly appears as if it would be more than competent at a track day and the black hood, mirrors, and wheels further enhance the definitely-not-a-street-car look. However, unlike the dark paint, the oversized carbon fiber rear wing, bumper canards, and deflectors provide functional downforce for cornering in addition to an extreme image.  (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

Volvo Autonomous Drive, Image: Volvo Cars

Last September, the Obama administration released a list of 15 guidelines to all automakers looking to develop and market a self-driving vehicle. Companies were asked to voluntarily follow the rules and report back to the federal government with useful information. It was a somewhat confusing exercise and raised a flurry of questions and concerns.

At the time, Obama wrote that the rules would provide “guidance that the manufacturers developing self-driving cars should follow to keep us safe.” Not only would the totally voluntary rules show the government that certain vehicles were safe for public roads, but it would show every interested citizen “how they’re doing it.”

That list is now in the hands of newly minted Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. While the two administrations differ in many areas, Chao seems to be of a similar mind as Obama on the issue of self-driving cars. That doesn’t mean the guidelines won’t change. (Read More…)

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