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Matt Posky

By on July 23, 2021

When the United States abandoned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to embrace the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it did so under the premise of crafting a better trade arrangement for itself. Established in 1994, NAFTA created a trilateral trade bloc that encouraged commerce between nations. But critics have accused it of encouraging the offshoring of U.S. jobs and dramatically suppressing wages — particularly within the automotive and manufacturing sectors.

Signed in 2018, and revised the following year, the USMCA was supposed to remedy those issues. But it’s been difficult to get all parties on board, especially when it comes to those persnickety rules of origin that stipulate how much of a vehicle’s hardware needs to be sourced from member nations.  (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2021

Chevrolet has issued a statement to owners of Bolt EVs that could be subject to surprise fires while charging, offering more tips on how to avoid burning down their homes while it preps another recall. General Motors and supplier LG Chem have identified “two rare manufacturing defects” that they believe are causing the fires and are suggesting avoid charging their vehicles in an extremely specific manner until after the secondary recall has been conducted.  (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2021

While the Toyota Prius was an inarguable success on the North American market, its smaller sibling really only had a few good years before sales figures started trending in the wrong direction. The Prius C attempted to court urbanites (the C stands for city) by offering the same hybrid concept in a smaller package. Unfortunately, Toyota only managed to move around 13,000 between the United States and Canada in 2017 before its discontinuation the following year — leaving us with the standard Prius and the tongue-twisting Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid.

But the C has since been revised in its native Japan, where it’s called the Aqua, resulting in a slightly roomier automobile with a new high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery that’s supposed to deliver improved responsiveness and range. Considering the escalation of Western fuel prices, we’re wondering if it’s time for the Prius C to make a comeback in our neck of the woods or if it’s better left to cruise around the tight streets of Tokyo where its success is all but assured as the Aqua.  (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2021

Years ago, waiting for a haircut, dental appointment, or psychological evaluation meant thumbing through a paperback filled with local listings of automobiles you had convinced yourself you might be in the market for. While primarily an exercise for wasting one’s time, there was always a chance you’d run to a payphone or whip our your Nextel to contact the seller so you could begin the delicate dance of commerce.

(Read More…)

By on July 21, 2021

volvo emblem logo grille

Volvo Cars is plotting to buy out parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding and free itself of its Chinese joint venture. The Swedish (currently Swedish-Chinese) manufacturer has been hinting at the prospect of going public with an IPO, which most analysts believe would be bolstered by creating some distance from Geely.

While the Chinese Communist Party has ended mandates requiring electric vehicle firms from entering into joint ventures with established domestic businesses, the rule still exists for traditional automakers. However, the general assumption is that most will attempt to regain full ownership of their Chinese assets when the law is lifted next year. But critics are cautioning that the nation is under no obligation to maintain any commitment to foreign entities once they’ve split with their local partners.  (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2021

On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company’s proprietary charging network would be opened up to other brands by 2022. It’s something Europe has been pressing the automaker on for years and a topic that’s become increasingly popular in the United States. Tesla announced it had completed over 25,000 charging points this year and most Western governments have committed themselves to advance electrification whether or not consumers or the industry feels ready.

(Read More…)

By on July 20, 2021

Despite American carmakers and the United Auto Workers abandoning mask mandates at the end of June, there’s been an about-face in Wentzville, Missouri. The state witnessed an uptick of cases, encouraging both the UAW and General Motors to reintroduce masks and social distancing protocols.

The facility is responsible for the GMC Canyon and Colorado, as well as Chevrolet’s Savana and Express. It’s also likely to be the first facility of many we’re assuming will be told it’s time to go back to the old masking rules. But why is this happening so soon after everyone was given the green light to return to normal operations?  (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2021

A few Ford customers are expressing concerns about the quality control of the new Bronco after noticing the molded hardtop seemed to be coming apart prematurely. The issue impacts an unknown number of early vehicles, with only a handful of owners suggesting they’ve noticed anything. However, those that are sounding alarm bells noted that the vehicle seemed put together when they purchased it, with the defects manifesting after a few weeks of regular use.

Problems include the headliner separating from the roof panels and some discoloration at the seams. But the signature defect appears to be scales appearing on the hardtop’s exterior. While smooth to the touch, members of the Bronco6G forum reported that their roofs had developed patterning that resembled snakeskin in some areas — attributing the phenomenon to the outer laminate layer being cast too thin.

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2021

Last week, the European Union proposed banning the sale of all new internal combustion vehicles starting in 2035. With several member nations proposing restrictions in the coming years, EU leadership feels it can accelerate the timeline to force electric vehicles as the de facto mode of transportation. The European Commission has suggested making it illegal to sell gas or diesel-powered vehicles in 14 years, with aims to reduce CO2 emissions produced by automobiles by 55 percent (vs 2021 levels) by 2030.

But countries that still produce vehicles have expressed reservations about the scheduling. France absolutely agrees with mandating restrictions that would reduce greenhouse emissions. Though President Emmanuel Macron’s office has been pressing that hybrid vehicles would be able to do much of the heavy lifting and fears that an outright ban of internal combustion could hamstring the industry if conducted too early. Germany, which manufacturers more vehicles than other EU member nations, is of a similar mind.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2021

While the right-to-repair movement is fighting a national battle, the brunt of the action has been taking place on America’s coasts. Consumer activists are taking on multinational corporations that don’t want you to modify your mobile devices, affix aftermarket components to your vehicle, or have complete access to the data that’s amassed by the staggering number of products that are needlessly networked to the internet. After years of petitioning the government, often while arguing with high-paid lobbyists, the group achieved a major victory in Massachusetts in 2020. Voters decided that automakers should not be allowed to withhold information from the vehicle’s owner or use it as a way to prohibit them from taking their car into independent repair shops (rather than manufacturer-certified service centers) or tinkering with it themselves.

Now the federal government is getting involved. Joe Biden has signed an executive order that effectively forces the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take regulatory action that would settle the matter. But we don’t really know if that’s going to lead to a market where customers are free to treat their property (and private data) as they wish, one where the manufacturer holds all the cards, or simply result in a regulatory minefield displeasing all parties.  (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2021

As you’re undoubtedly aware, now isn’t the best time to purchase a new vehicle. While you can currently sell your ride for more than it’s realistically worth, the economy is anything but stable as inflation and supply shortages gum up the works. A lack of semiconductor chips has caused the automotive industry to stutter endlessly throughout 2021, with the issue getting so bad that some manufacturers have been building unfinished vehicles just to give their employees something to do. Ford is even mulling over a strategy to ship those units directly to dealerships so they’ll have something on the lot — effectively making its retail network responsible for final assembly.

But the logistics nightmare is only part of the story. Automotive loans are also becoming untenable as terms stretch out endlessly. Cars continue getting more expensive and the average consumer is losing their buying power. The preferred solution is for financiers to extend agreements so customers can continue making the same monthly payments while accruing more on interest over the duration. While effective in the short term, and bound to make banks money as we’re all driven deeper into debt, one wonders how this plays out on a grander scale.  (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2021

Ford’s marketing for the Mach-E is getting truly bizarre. Rather than stick to the traditional method of buying up advertising space and bombarding consumers with commercials, the Blue Oval has been branching out by introducing automotive-themed fragrances. However, the gasoline-scented toilet water the company has cheekily named “Mach-Eau GT” and designed to remind customers of what they’ll be missing when they transition over to electric vehicles.

Introduced at England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the perfume carries notes of gasoline, rubber, and the pleasantly noxious off-gassing of interior adhesives that’s responsible for the new-car smell. But it’s exceptionally difficult to determine if this is a gag to highlight the olfactory superiority of electric vehicles or an earnest attempt to preserve the sensory experience of the traditional automobile. This is made worse by Ford’s Mach-E coming with synthetized exhaust notes designed to con the driver into thinking they’re driving something that’s burns gasoline. Are we fetishizing the past as we attempt to kill it or just mocking it?  (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2021

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an alert pertaining to Chevrolet Bolt owners, as the vehicles’ LG Chem battery packs could have a propensity to catch fire. On Wednesday, the safety organization recommended that the cars be left outdoors (ideally a healthy distance from anything flammable) and never left unattended while charging.

This defeats one of the largest perks of owning an electric vehicle (at-home charging), as customers will be required to buy extra-long cables and monitor their car outdoors for hours as it takes on energy. Owning a horse would be less work.  (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2021

Hyundai’s commitment to performance vehicles is really starting to become impressive. Despite the brand’s decision to terminate the standard Veloster for 2022, it’ll be retaining the crackling N model in order to appease a small number of fun-loving customers. While not unappealing, the model had some quirks that likely made it less appealing to the average commuter. Packaged as a three-door hatchback prioritizing style over utility, the Veloster made less practical sense than a similarly priced sedan or crossover. We’d wager some would-be owners ultimately settled upon the Elantra or Kona unless they were in the market for the N and the backroad shenanigans it encourages.

But future customers will have an even more difficult choice ahead of them now that the 2022 Elantra N is officially on the docket. Rather than build a performance sedan that simply offers more go than the standard model, the South Korean manufacturer has opted to target the big dogs.  (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2021

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, Image: Ford

Ford has been getting into trouble over “track-ready” Mustangs after a few customers formally accused the company of erroneous marketing in 2017. A class-action lawsuit was even filed in March of that year, stating that the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 suffered from overheating problems that precluded it from being fully functional on a racetrack — specifically early examples of the car equipped with either the Technology Package or left in the base configuration.

Earlier this month, Federal Judge Federico A. Moreno certified statutory and common law fraud classes pertaining to the model in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Washington State. Additional approvals relating specifically to statutory fraud and/or implied warranty claims were made for Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. (Read More…)

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