Posts By: Matt Posky

By on July 15, 2019

Amazon is striving to put Alexa, the home assistant/listening device, into more automobiles in the coming years. As a result, the company is working feverishly to enhance her vehicular-related capabilities — including wriggling her way into the embedded software systems of new cars.

On the surface, it sounds great. Networking your car with your smart home device opens up a bevy of new conveniences and Alexa should also help your car get better at understanding everyday voice commands. In the future, you’ll be able to order groceries, check the stock market, call the office, and adjust the thermostat of your house and car without ever having to take your hands off the steering wheel. But this also opens up a bevy of concerns, now that we know Amazon’s employees listen to and record pretty much everything you say to the device — sometimes doing the same for background conversations that were never intended for Alexa’s ears.  (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2019

Earlier in the month, Lexus brought a convertible LC to the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. While the car came clad in silvery camouflage and was officially referred to as a “prototype,” we didn’t take it all that seriously. Drop-top cars haven’t been in vogue for quite some time and — if we’re being honest — the LC hasn’t been super popular either.

A lot of that has to do with the coupe boasting an entry point of nearly six-figures. Sleek and sexy, the LC makes a wonderful grand tourer for those seeking something a bit more plush than a Porsche 911 and are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance for said luxury. However most people with the means to pick between the two will still select the more-expensive, and hardcore, German.

For holdover convertible enthusiasts, there wasn’t even a choice to be made. Porsche was offering an open-air experience while Toyota’s luxury arm was not — and had not since 2015. But that’s about to change, because Lexus has confirmed that the LC convertible will eventually enter production.  (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2019

2016 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab blue

General Motors is issuing a recall on select Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, including HD models. According to Transport Canada, trucks equipped with a power sliding rear window could have a defroster circuit that can melt itself or, in rare instances, catch fire.

As no fix currently exists, GM is asking owners to bring their vehicles into the dealership so that the fuse for the rear defroster can be disconnected while it works on finding a better solution. The recall encompasses 159,240 trucks from the 2014-2019 model years.  (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2019

Car2go

After suspending manual background checks to encourage fresh users in April, Daimler subsidiary Car2Go found itself with a problem in Chicago — its new customers were stealing cars by the gross.

On the April 15th, the ride-sharing service notice an uptick in usage that was well above the norm. However, as the day progressed, the company found that a lot of its higher-end vehicles weren’t coming back. Instead, they were convening on Chicago’s West Side. Two days later, the Chicago Police Department announced that it had been notified by Car2Go that some of the company’s vehicles may have been rented by deceptive or fraudulent means and was officially on the prowl for justice.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

Ford badge emblem logo

Making a mistake while trying to remedy an earlier one is a routine part of the human condition. We’re imperfect creatures and sometimes the easiest solution after a string of foulups is to just sweep something under the rug and hope nobody ever bothers to look there — even though they probably will. Incredibly, this logic can spread to an entire organization and with roughly the same effectiveness.

Earlier this week, Ford issued a safety recall on select Focuses manufactured within the last decade (1.5 million were recalled previously). But not before becoming the subject of a scathing report from the Detroit Free Press claiming the automaker knew the cars had bunk transmissions and did everything in its power to keep that under wraps in order to continue selling them.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

Volkswagen’s Beetle has officially ended production. The last examples of the brand’s famous model rolled off the assembly line at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico this week, with the company reserving the final one for display at Volkswagen’s local museum. The automaker said the car would live on as “a lasting tribute to the automobile’s rich and storied heritage.”

As one of the most recognizable and historically important cars ever made, the original Type 1 was manufactured between 1938 and 2003. The “New” Beetle hit the assembly line in 1997 before being replaced by the A5 version in 2011. Technically, that’s the car that’s getting the axe. However, with nothing in line to replace it, Beetle as a whole is going the way of the dodo.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

Fiat Chrysler will invest $788 million to build a production line for the new 500 electric, according to the company’s European CFO Pietro Gorlier. An extension of automaker’s plan to to dump 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) into Italy, the deal makes good on earlier promises that the automaker would establish a dedicated small battery-electric vehicle platform.  (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2019

After posting a stinker of a first quarter, Tesla entered into a training montage and managed record-setting production output in Q2 — helping nudge its all-important share price back in the right direction.

Now, internal documents have shown the automaker is trying to position itself to further boost production at its California factory and might even bring some new staff on board. Question the legitimacy of this “leak” if you must, but that won’t change Tesla’s ultimate goal of more volume and happier investors in Q3.  (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2019

Toyota Motor Corp announced on Wednesday it would be building a new sport utility vehicle at its $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant in Alabama, rather than the Corolla. This brings its strategy in line with Mazda, which announced it would also be building an SUV at the facility earlier this year.

Officially, Toyota said the change was due to “changing market demands and a growing consumer appetite for light trucks and SUVs,” while slipping in a mention of how well the RAV4 has been selling for good measure.  (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2019

Automotive retail sales in China rose slightly last month, representing the first uptick in volume over the last year, according to Bloomberg. But those gains were the result of a nationwide fire sale of backed-up inventory that dealers were tired of seeing clutter up their lots. Officially, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) says the new vehicle market still kind of sucks.

For June, wholesale deliveries of new passenger vehicles fell 7.8 percent to 1.73 million units. That’s twelve straight months of negative growth.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2019

After Volkswagen admitted to equipping some of its diesel-powered autos with illegal software designed to circumvent emissions testing in 2015, every automaker on the planet fell under enhanced scrutiny. By 2016, U.S. regulators were checking on Mercedes-parent Daimler to see if there were any pollutant-related shenanigans taking place behind the scenes. Germany followed suit shortly thereafter, launching its own investigation.

However, with no local updates on the matter, it was presumed Daimler was in the clear — except Germany did find evidence of corporate misdeeds and the company recalled 3 million vehicles in 2017. At the time, we figured the situation would swiftly bleed over into the United States and help wrap things up. But it hasn’t yet and The Detroit News took time this month to ponder what’s taking federal regulators so long.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2019

Among the broader masses, H. Ross Perot is probably best known for his third-party runs for the U.S. presidency. However, to us, he’ll always be the man who gave General Motors’ CEO (1981-90) Roger Smith a piece of his mind and the old the stink eye. He died on Tuesday at the ripe age of 89.

Perot sold his company, Electronic Data Systems, to GM in 1984 for a cool $2.55 billion. The General was eager to have EDS as a subsidiary, hoping to use the company to help modernize its industrial organization and product line. It even wanted to keep Ross on board to move things along. Unfortunately, Perot turned out to be a vociferous, no-nonsense kind of guy and found himself at odds with Smith — and the rest of GM — rather quickly.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2019

On Tuesday, 23 governors signed a joint statement urging the Trump administration to reconsider the proposed rollback of Obama-era fueling regulations. Led, unsurprisingly, by California Governor Gavin Newsom, the letter suggests a “common-sense approach” to national requirements with an emphasis on rising standards.

A minor update in the gas war to be certain — and yet annoyingly framed by a large portion of the media as a victory for California when the realities are far more complicated. To be frank, we’re getting pretty tired of these lopsided takes. This whole thing is a regulatory and political quagmire… on all sides.  (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

With Ram having surpassed Chevrolet as North America’s number two truck brand, automotive outlets everywhere rushed to report on it — we sure did.

Unfortunately, General Motors hasn’t been fond of the framing used to discuss the matter. Tough cookies, right? Well, the situation is pretty nuanced and we should always strive to be thorough. GM officially still trumps Fiat Chrysler in terms of overall full-size pickup sales, thanks to the one-two punch of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And the company is also keen to point out that Ram’s volume has been inflated by the previous-generation 1500 being sold alongside the new version as a “Classic” model.

GM feels that this has made FCA’s win less legitimate and takes umbrage with the media sensationalizing the news as it prepares to totally destroy Ram by making a “massive move in full-size pickups” that will absolutely blow the doors off anything you could have possibly imagined. Insane!  (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

Wary that China might have the battery market totally cornered by the time electric vehicles become mainstream, the European Union is trying to jumpstart the industry at home. This year, the EU has started working with manufacturers and financial institutions to develop a reliable supply chain of the lithium-ion packs that have been difficult to come by.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic is targeting 100 billion euros ($113 billion) for the program, which Bloomberg said would help the EU “act like China.”  (Read More…)

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