Posts By: stephwillems

By on April 3, 2020

Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC

Hey all. Big plans this weekend? Lots of stuff going on?

Yours truly plans to finally swap his car’s cheap winter rubber for equally cheap, corner-carving summer slicks (55 series — OH YEAH) in order to drive…. nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Then, if there’s time, maybe I’ll take a nighttime run in the only place where physical distancing isn’t likely to be an issue: the spooky graveyard on top of the hill. If there’s time, mind you.

Yes, with warmer weather upon us, the list of carefree pursuits knows no bounds! But tell us, what strictly automotive things are you doing this weekend to mentally distance yourself from, you know, issues? (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

mazda

While buying a new car has recently fallen in popularity in the Western world, taking a backseat to things like experimenting with rice in the kitchen, watching your neighbor’s dog through a sealed window, and repairing that antique pencil sharpener you bought 8 years ago, the business of selling cars continues.

In Japan, where social distancing measures (and the coronavirus itself) have thus far proven not as severe as in the U.S., there’s a lineup of special editions incoming from Mazda. U.S. customers, however, will have to wait in their homes for updates. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic took hold in Europe before invading the U.S., which is why anyone hoping for a quick restart of the domestic manufacturing sector might want to forget about the month of April.

On Friday, Ford said its European assembly operations will remain offline until at least the first week of May. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

Mirroring its southern neighbor, Canadian auto sales took a dive last month as measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 went into effect across the country. First-quarter volume, as a result, fell roughly 20 percent across the industry, with March’s decline pegged at 48 percent by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (via Bloomberg).

Still, amid all the gloom were statistical bright spots. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

gm

Sometimes, if you find yourself lagging behind the pack and eagerly wish for a quick way to catapult yourself ahead, it makes sense to piggyback on someone else’s work. And in the realm of electric vehicles — brow-furrowingly pricey and time-consuming to develop as they are — automakers are coming to the conclusion that perhaps someone else should do the heavy lifting.

Subaru has Toyota, Ford has Rivian (and Volkswagen), and Honda now has General Motors. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

2018 Ford F-150 , Image: Ford

Long promised and as of yet undelivered, the hybrid variant of the Ford F-150 will be the first vehicle of its kind in a wildly competitive (and lucrative) segment. The model will offer pickup buyers a taste of the fully electrified pickups poised to flood lineups, while giving do-it-yourself types and work crews a convenient power source for their tools, lights, etc.

As of this week, it seems we now know what to expect under the hood. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

We told you yesterday how zero-interest financing exploded in popularity in the final two weeks of March, as governments everywhere belatedly clamped down and automakers had to pull out all the stops to lure frightened buyers out of their homes. Despite many would-be buyers not taking the bait, for some, zero-percent/84-month loans proved as irresistible as topless pics of a young starlet on the beach.

At the same time, drivers who stood no chance of netting that coveted no-interest loan were also headed to dealers. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

GM

With all domestic assembly plants shuttered for some length of time and sales barreling towards zero in many markets at the end of March, the coming few months could play out in a number of ways. Sure, no crystal ball can be expected to return bang-on predictions, but that’s not stopping analysts from crafting a number of plausible scenarios.

As projected by J.D. Power, April looks like a wash for new vehicle sales, but the recovery could be more rapid than some fear. Or, just as easily, it might not be. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

Maybe self-isolation is getting to me. Maybe the lack of balcony, deck, backyard, or sprawling property rife with plant life and woodland critters is having an impact, forcing this urban writer with his small carbon footprint into wild daydreams of wide open spaces and the road less traveled. Maybe there’s not enough booze kicking around.

Come to think of it, that could be the problem.

Anyway, as we continue enjoying a springtime of fear, uncertainty, and vastly reduced travel options, let’s turn our minds to a less-talked-about aspect of personal vehicles. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

We’ll have a full tally of first-quarter U.S. auto sales for you tomorrow, but the expected declines in volume have far more to do with what happened in the past two weeks than anything afflicting individual companies in the months prior. If your gig is industry analysis, things have never been wilder.

Analysts at J.D. Power had their hands full tabulating exactly what happens when 265 million Americans are suddenly told not to leave their homes. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

Despite the grand proclamations from various mass-market automakers about the imminent arrival of an all-electric future, not everyone’s so eager to hop on board. Many OEMs have proven hesitant to pump too many dollars into EV development. Further up the societal ladder, luxury automakers, especially those from Germany, have no choice but to pad their lineups with EU-pleasing electrics, but the ultra-lux crowd is a different story.

Rapid movement in trendy new directions is typically not a defining feature of this rarified class.

Bentley, a marque that conjures up images of leather and wood as much as it does large displacements and prodigious thirst, isn’t immune to the eco-conscious (and regulatory) pressure heaped upon automakers these days. It does plan to field an EV, but it won’t happen for a while. And when that model does arrive, it may tread a very different path than the Germans. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

ford

It would be great if pandemics arrived with clear time frames in tow. Alas, this is not the way nature works. And for companies dependent on workers, um, working, the unpredictability of a viral outbreak means every cost-saving measure is on the table.

At Ford, which has already announced a hiring freeze and executive pay cuts, existing efforts might not be enough to stabilize its balance sheet. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

There’s no question that Toyota wishes posters of its cars were found on the bedroom walls of more teenage boys, and, to its credit, it’s made headway on that goal. Supra, anyone? Then there’s the TRD Camry and Avalon, which might raise eyebrows if found in said posters.

That said, the injection of sport into the brand’s once staid lineup seems poised to target the lower end of things. We’ve seen the overseas GR Yaris, an exciting hot hatch not bound for these shores, but Toyota’s focus now seems to be turning to higher-volume small cars. This is where things could get interesting for North America. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2020

“If you’re one of us, you’ll take a bite.”

If that quote soars over your head, I don’t want to know you. The infamous Seinfeld incident in which an eager-to-impress George reveals to his colleagues that he’s not a team player (at the same time sparing himself from becoming violently ill), riffs on the homogeneity of upper office environments. The forced social collectivization of a corporate in-group.

Climb the ladder high enough and you’ll wear the same brands, enjoy the same timepieces, drink the same booze, and golf the same courses. Or so the perhaps dated view of these things goes. Now, what about cars? (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

gm

We can’t tell you how the Chevrolet Trailblazer, reborn as a vastly different vehicle for 2021, drives (thanks to a first drive program scuttled at the 11th hour by coronavirus), but at least we can tell you what to expect at the pump.

As the model starts quietly trickling onto dealer lots at a time when most Americans are scared to leave the house, the Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to testing the model’s full range. Two three-cylinder engines and two transmissions are on tap. Let’s take a look. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Funky D: As is the usual case when government intervenes in a market, it creates artificial distortions that, more...
  • Jeff S: Clean the bird droppings off my wife’s CRV. Seems every time I get it clean the birds come for another...
  • SCE to AUX: My company actually produced an “essential worker” letter for us to carry in the car to work,...
  • jkross22: When will people realize that programs like CFC distort market demand, increase the cost of cars for sale...
  • jkross22: Sorry to hear of your loss.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth