Posts By: stephwillems

By on July 7, 2020

Harbor Freight

The Harbor Freight saga continues, with the company now issuing a recall of the jack stands meant to replace earlier jack stands recalled due to their collapse risk.

After calling back its 3- and 6-ton Pittsburgh brand stands, the tool company learned of a mechanic who did exactly as he was told, trading in his old, defective 3-ton stands for a new set. However, the new stands couldn’t handle the weight of a Volkswagen Golf. So here we are. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

mary barra gm

General Motors saw half of its wishes granted this week, after an appeals court overturned an order by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman for the CEOs of GM and Fiat Chrysler to meet and settle their differences in person.

GM is suing FCA, accusing its crosstown rival of racketeering and claiming it lost billions of dollars via FCA’s bribing of UAW officials in return for a series of favorable, low-cost labor agreements. The General wants to go all the way with its case, but Borman stepped in, calling the suit a “nuclear” option. The in-person meeting is now off the table, but Borman’s still on the case.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

Fiat Chrysler’s Serbian assembly plant was the first European auto factory to shut down as a result of the growing coronavirus pandemic — a grim harbinger of things to come, and not just for Europe.

That temporary February shutdown stemmed from a parts shortage arising from the hard-hit Chinese manufacturing sector. A far more prolonged shutdown came in mid-March, for obvious reasons. Well, that’s all over, as a crucially important product is now back in production, ready to satiate the hunger of the American buying public. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

2019 Mazda 3 sedan - Image: Mazda

Mazda fans wanted more power, and that wish will soon be granted. As we learned via dealership codes last month, the 2021 Mazda 3 will give buyers the option of boosting their car’s output via a new turbocharged engine.

As this month is all about vehicle debuts, there isn’t long to wait before the newly potent 3 gets its own public unveiling. And thanks to a Mexican ad, the model’s power levels are already no longer a mystery. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

We all know someone who’s had a kid. Yup, procreation still happens in today’s enlightened society, and with that babymaking comes a rapid accumulation of stuff. It’s a scourge, and this disgruntled, childless writer has long railed against the steady onward march of this phenomenon.

Y’all are spoiling your children. They’ve got too much stuff.

More often than not — almost inevitably, really — this new addition to the household precipitates another change in either the driveway or garage. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2020

2020 Mazda CX-30 grey front - Image: Mazda

June auto sales in the hard-hit U.S. new vehicle market were nowhere near normal for this time of the year, down an estimated 25 percent below levels seen last June. An improvement from May, yes, but far from a return to normal.

Unless, of course, you’re Mazda.

The pandemic-era trend we detailed not long ago continued in June for the scrappy little automaker, with an unlikely product proving unusually popular and a much newer product doing exactly what its creators intended. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2020

fca

Nations like Germany might treat internal combustion engines like a shirtless man lighting up a Marlboro in a neonatal intensive care unit, but some countries still feel that they have a place in the automotive landscape. Italy even plans to put public dollars behind their purchase.

When economies and industries are suffering, governments can sometimes do the unthinkable.

(Read More…)

By on July 6, 2020

Like its Mustang stable mate, Ford’s returning Bronco finds itself with a brood. The Bronco is now a brand, comprised of the namesake, body-on-frame off-roader and the tag-along Bronco Sport — a retro-styled model based on the unibody Ford Escape.

That’s apparently just the start of it. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2020

Ford/YouTube

A 1970 Dodge ad campaign once said of the viewer, “If you can cope with a whole new image, you could be Dodge material.” Well, today — a week out from what this writer has dubbed B-Day — Ford is appealing to those wild at heart to leave their old lifestyles, and the pavement, in the past.

Are you Built Wild? (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Despite new health measures incorporating physical distancing, barriers, and personal protective equipment, working on a factory floor is undoubtedly a tense experience for many these days. That certainly seems to be the case at Fiat Chrysler, which issued a warning to its hourly workers over the weekend.

As reported by Bloomberg, the warning comes after production stopped at two U.S. assembly plants amid workers’ fear of a lurking virus. Do that again, and expect a smaller paycheck, FCA replied. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

Ford’s not calling it that, but the marketing push surrounding the debut of the new-generation Bronco on July 13th is looking a lot like a joke your author has tossed about the past few weeks.

The sheer amount of prime-time programming space purchased on the Disney Media Network’s ABC, ESPN, and National Geographic channels — as well as spots on streaming service Hulu — calls to mind the ill-fated experiment of “E-Day.”

Heralding an automotive invasion that was quickly repelled and thrown back into the sea, E-Day reached viewers on September 4th, 1957. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

As you read in the previous post, Lincoln has finally admitted what everyone by now knew — that the Continental’s days are numbered. The marque plans to shelve the model after pulling the plug on production at the end of the year.

Big sedans have all the appeal of an uncontrolled cough in a crowded elevator right now, so there’s dim hope that the Continental name will ever grace a stately, rear-drive sedan or coupe in anyone’s near future. At least we have our memories, though… not all of which are good ones. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

For the third and perhaps last time, Lincoln will cease production of the Continental.

The discontinuation of the slow-selling sedan at the end of 2020 was confirmed late Wednesday by Automotive News and quickly backed up by a statement from Lincoln, though the news was something we’ve expected for quite some time. It was foretold by unconfirmed past reports and a growing mountain of evidence.

Alas, this year’s destruction of things from the past did not spare a nameplate that first appeared in 1939. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2020

The future’s weird, man. As wireless, over-the-air (OVA) software updates become an increasingly common thing in the auto industry, OEMs have weighed its potential. It opens doors to new ways of doing business. New ways of outfitting cars.

New ownership experiences, too.

Frankly, what BMW wants to pull on its customers would make a good QOTD. Some background, first. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2020

gm

If you’ve visited an airport recently, you probably heard on CNN that cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in jurisdictions that largely escaped the earlier wave. Against this backdrop, General Motors came under pressure this week to cease operations at its Arlington, Texas assembly plant.

Home to four full-size SUV models currently undergoing a generational metamorphosis, the plant lies in a state experiencing an upswing in infections. It’s also a key player in GM’s post-lockdown recovery. The automaker says it’ll stay open. (Read More…)

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