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Matt Posky

By on April 22, 2021

 

Image: Toyota

Leaked images have been circulating online of a new Toyota Land Cruiser that is obviously the upcoming 300 Series that will eventually supplant the now fourteen-year-old J200. Those with a penchant for boxy utility vehicles should be pleased, as Toyota’s longest-running model has not had its shape changed by much. There’s none of that fastback-inspired nonsense you’ll find on crossovers, the rear hatch appears to be at an almost 90-degree angle from the pavement and the front is almost as flat.

But it has received some overtly modern updates, giving a more contemporary style than the outgoing Land Cruiser despite its many facelifts. Unfortunately, we can only guess about its specifications or whether it will have a place on our market or leave the segment to the Lexus LX.  (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2021

Volkswagen has announced pricing for the 2022 Taos subcompact crossover, dialing things in at $24,190 for the base, front-wheel-drive version. The sum syncs up perfectly with the Golf hatchback the vehicle will effectively be replacing on the North American market (GTI excluded) and leaves us with some nagging questions about VW’s overall plan. Volkswagen is effectively killing off the Golf so Taos can have an uninterrupted moment under the spotlight, but it’s making the brand lineup look conspicuously redundant.

With Taos models priced so close to the Tiguan, there’s going to be loads of overlap on everything that isn’t the base model S trim. The larger crossover starts at $26,440 (including destination) and automatically comes with more interior volume and a beefier powertrain, though neither vehicle could be considered quick.
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By on April 21, 2021

Beset by electric vehicle announcements and planned fueling restrictions, your author has scoured the internet for something you might actually enjoy from the realm of internal combustion. Instead, you’ll be settling for an update on the Ferrari 812 Superfast you couldn’t possibly afford.

The company has opted to make the model a little faster and will be issuing a V12 pushing 818 horsepower while also moving the redline up to 9,500 rpm. Scheduled for an official debut next month, the limited-edition 812 doesn’t have an official name but Ferrari has indicated it will be the meanest GT car in its lineup.  (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2021

In today’s update on the semiconductor shortage, we learn that Daimler has elected to place over 18,000 Mercedes-Benz employees on reduced schedules. With an insufficient number of chips, the manufacturer cannot produce vehicles with sufficient reliability and has decided to ease off until resupplies are more predictable. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen for at least a few months — forcing Mercedes to roll with the punches much like Subaru, General Motors, and Ford. Though this is a problem that’s impacting the entirety of the automotive industry.

Daimler made its announcement on Wednesday, stating that facilities in Bremen and Rastatt will be the first (and hopefully only) plants affected by the stall.  (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2021

Having noticed that Washington got a bit of publicity for vowing to ban all vehicles reliant on internal combustion after 2030, a dozen other American states decided it would be a good idea to reaffirm their own religious-like commitment to the environment by saying they too will be restricting your choice of automobiles by 2035.

The coalition of states — most of which don’t have a populace that’s dependent on automotive manufacturing for work — also formally asked the Biden administration to introduce standards that would obligate the United States to ban everything that emits smoke within the next fifteen years. Many activist groups are calling it a heroic act, though it’s difficult to recall any parables where the hero went around banning things and also represented an institutional power structure.  (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2021

Ford debuted a new concept in Shanghai today, one that might hint at the vehicle that will be filling in for the Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) as the automaker continues removing all traces of the sedan from its lineup. While the Evos is intended to become the manufacturer’s default midsize for the Chinese market, it seems to possess many of the aspects promised on the long-awaited Fusion Active — the presumed successor of the venerable Fusion sedan.

Though the car itself resembles something closer to the Mach-E or perhaps a lowered version of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Evos’ general shape exists somewhere between a crossover and a traditional passenger car, much like the Subaru Outback the Fusion Active has been assumed to be targeting. But it’s not a perfect fit and Ford is keeping many of the details to itself, making it very clear that the concept will be the blueprint for future models and not necessarily a snapshot of something that’s production-ready.  (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2021

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

Today’s update on the global semiconductor shortage involves Subaru, which recently announced that it would be suspending production at its plant in Indiana.  Lafayette’s Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) will be idled through the end of April while the automaker waits for suppliers to catch up. It’s a situation we’ve seen numerous manufacturers forced into this year, with Ford arguably being the most relevant for the North American market.  (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2021

Undoubtedly eager to improve the take rate of electric vehicles, automakers have a myriad of solutions at their disposal. But the majority have something to do with getting the government involved to futz around with taxes.

Normally, this has to do with making special exceptions for EVs or subsidizing them via rebate programs. But governments seem happy to do this, as increasingly more legislation is advanced that would place restrictions on when and where people will be able to drive internal combustion vehicles, and automakers appear to be getting with the program. We’ve already seen manufacturers choosing sides in America’s gas war and now the Europeans are getting in on the action by demanding higher taxes be imposed on vehicles reliant on gasoline or diesel.

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By on April 19, 2021

Unveiled at the Shanghai auto show, Volkswagen’s ID.6 is reportedly ready for the Chinese market as the manufacture strives to present itself as an EV firm. Originally known as the spacious ID Roomzz concept, the three-row crossover will be the VW’s largest product on the Asian market and come in two distinct flavors — each the offspring of separate joint ventures required by the Chinese government.

The ID.6 Crozz (shown in orange) will be produced at the FAW-Volkswagen facility in Foshan while SAIC Volkswagen will be responsible for manufacturing the ID.6 X (purple) at its plant in Anting, near Shanghai. Regardless of which model customers go with Volkswagen is promising a vehicle “tailored specifically to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers in terms of space, functionality, design and, in particular, user experience.” While we may eventually see a version of the ID.6 coming to North America, China is Volkswagen’s largest individual market and ranks higher in the manufacturer’s list of priorities.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2021

Washington has elected to become the first slice of America to ban the internal combustion motor, and we don’t just mean new sales. The Pacific state passed a bill on Thursday that would make the registration of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles from the 2030 model year onwards illegal — leaving residents with the option to purchase a new electric vehicle, buy a secondhand gas burner, or throw up their hands and move elsewhere.

It’s an interesting concept, especially considering there’s very little evidence to suggest the industry will be at a point where total EV adoption will be remotely plausible by 2030. Even California, which is famous for its heavy-handed environmental regulations didn’t think it could start mandating the death of the internal combustion engine until at least 2035. Though Washington is reportedly not making this a concrete rule and it hinges on the adoption of another bill that would tax vehicles based on the number of miles driven. Think of it like a fuel tax that follows you around, even if you’re not using any.  (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2021

Mazda’s first electric vehicle will arrive in the United States later this year, though technically it’s just going to be California while the manufacturer considers the viability of selling to regions beyond the West Coast. The rollout makes sense as America’s 31st state has been hungrier for electric vehicles than other parts of the country.

But the 2022 MX-30 will only begin its life here as a battery-powered product. Mazda has said it’s also planning to sell a plug-in-hybrid version of the crossover equipped with a gasoline-dependent rotary engine/generator sometime in 2022, making it something that might be able to stand on its own in areas where the distance between charging points makes owning a pure EV unpalatable.  (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2021

General Motors backed autonomous vehicle startup Cruise has reportedly scored $2.75 billion from its last round of funding, with Walmart again taking a particular interest in the company. The multinational retail corporation previously participated in a pilot program where Arizona-based shoppers could call upon a Cruise AV to have their groceries delivered. While just one of several autonomous programs Walmart is involved with, the relationship with Cruise must be in fairly good shape to throw that kind of money into a business that seems to have missed more deadlines than it has kept — even if that does seem to be the trend for AV startups.  (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2021

France is offering 2,500 euros (about $2,993 USD) to individuals interested in purchasing electrically driven bicycles. But it’s pursuing the Cash for Clunkers mentality that often leaves us questioning whether the people instituting these environmental plans are familiar with the concept of conservation. Because the current proposal requires participants to throw away their automobiles before they’re granted access to the funds.

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By on April 14, 2021

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. announced its upcoming hands-free driver-assist system intended to rival Tesla’s Autopilot or General Motors SuperCruise. The service, which the manufacturer has renamed BlueCruise, will be available on top trimmed “Mustang” Mach-E crossovers and F-150 pickup trucks via over-the-air-updates in the third quarter of 2021.

It will not be free, however.

Even though Ford has promised highly competitive pricing, customers will need to have purchased vehicles equipped with the necessary hardware (including driver monitoring cameras) before they’ll be eligible to spend the additional $600 Ford is asking for the privilege of using BlueCruise for three years. While more affordable than the competition, it still seems a lot to spend on a vehicle so you can pretend it’s self-driving – especially since the company failed to make it sound like it would be any more advanced than what’s being offered on Tesla and Cadillac vehicles that similarly cannot drive themselves.  (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2021

It looks like the White House won’t be needing to take any action in response to the International Trade Commission’s decision on how to handle the feud between South Korea’s LG Chem and SK Innovation. The duo has reached a settlement that would allow the former battery manufacturer to complete assembly on its $2.6-billion plant located in Georgia.

LG alleged that SK had stolen intellectual property and the ITC was backing punitive measures that would have forbade the latter company from importing certain lithium-ion batteries into the United States under a 10-year exclusion order. While exemptions were made for the components necessary to manufacturer them in the country, the arrangement was tied to SK’s existing orders and limited to just 4 years. The settlement gives SK additional leeway and prevents Joe Biden from having to consider the possibility of blocking the ITC decision as a way of maintaining American jobs.  (Read More…)

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