Posts By: stephwillems

By on April 16, 2019

“Ask the man who owns one,” Packard once implored readers from the glossy depths of various Depression-era magazines. While clearly not interested in courting the female buyer (I hope they’re dragged on Twitter for this insensitive tagline), Packard’s core message still holds up today. No one loves poo-pooing other people’s buying decisions quite like auto […]

By on April 16, 2019

Ram 1500

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t break down its Ram pickup sales figures for us wordy-typey slobs, so it isn’t easy to figure out just how much the held-over 1500 Classic has helped the brand’s soaring sales. FCA decided, last year, that the old-generation half-ton should remain in production, and not just to smooth things over while the new-for-2019 1500 got up to speed.

Well, we now have a better idea of just how useful that strategy was. Go figure — scores of American truck buyers are willing to forgo refinement for a lower price on a big, brawny pickup. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Image: Nissan

As journos pack themselves into cramped regional airliners headed for New York, Auto Shanghai 2019 is already delivering the goods, providing a taste of global-market vehicles to come. We showed you a brace of Buick Encores yesterday, but Tuesday brings another model destined to arrive on your doorstep, albeit with another name: the 2020 Nissan Sentra.

It’s not called that in China and other Asian markets. There, the compact Nissan sedan bears the name Sylphy. Meet Sylphy. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

General Motors’ best-selling Buick, the subcompact Encore, has a new face and body — and also a sibling. Both vehicles, each carrying the Encore name, saw the light of day Monday at Auto Shanghai, but only one will grace dealerships on this side of the Pacific. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Image: VW

You’ve seen this vehicle on these digital pages before, but Volkswagen now plans to bring its Brazil-bound Tarok unibody pickup to the United States … if only for an appearance at the New York Auto Show.

Yes, the Tarok’s role this week and next is to give U.S. consumers a come-hither look and whisper, “See anything you like, boys? You let me know.” In this case, “me” means VW brass, who have a decision to make. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Image: Ford

Wishing your Ford Mustang EcoBoost boasted a little more top end? Get ready to trade it in. In the lead-up to the New York Auto Show, Ford has unveiled a new pony car that draws inspiration — and power — from a fondly remembered hot hatch.

Buyers of the 2020 Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package get more than a nifty badge to announce their status; they also gain 20 horsepower and bits borrowed from the Mustang GT Performance Package. Buyers of 88-horsepower, Fox-bodied four-cylinders could only dream of this stuff. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Image: Daimler AG

Not everyone’s attention is on New York City this week. Half a world away, Auto Shanghai presents another stage for automakers to show off their upcoming models.

For Mercedes-Benz, Shanghai serves as the venue for a new concept that appears almost ready to enter production: the Concept GLB. A quick perusal of MB’s naming strategy points to this vehicle slotting between the entry-level GLC crossover and the popular GLC. Looking at its measurements, it seems the GLB sits just a few microns below its larger sibling, with room for more passengers, to boot. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2019

Inmage: Nissan

Regardless of which angle it’s viewed from, Nissan’s next-generation Versa stands atop a box and screams “Nissan!” for all to hear. From the side, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone shrunk the Maxima. Looking at the upward-sweeping character line and upstairs/downstairs door handles, its identity could be that of the new Altima. Head-on, a pedestrian might think they were being run down by a Leaf.

Yes, the 2020 Versa keeps it in the family in terms of design, donning a corporate grille and styling flourishes borrowed from its larger siblings. Perusing the car’s specs, it seems that — flat-bottomed steering wheel aside — its mission hasn’t changed one iota. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2019

2017 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Palatial Ruby Front Quarter, Image: © 2017 Chris Tonn

Nissan added automatic emergency braking as standard equipment on eight popular models for the 2018 model year, looking to get a jump on the pact forged in 2016 that calls for mandatory AEB on all cars and light trucks by 2020.

That pact, covering 20 automakers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is already bearing fruit. Just last month, the NHTSA congratulated a slew of automakers, including Nissan, for including the safety feature on the majority of their vehicles.

One month later, and the NHTSA finds itself investigating Nissan for a potential fault with its AEB system. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2019

Image: Geely

The ever busy Geely Auto Group unveiled both a car and a brand on Thursday, lifting the sheets off the first model sold under the Chinese auto giant’s Geometry brand — the Geometry A. Efficiency in naming seems to be part of Geely’s MO.

Positioned to capture low-priced electric vehicle buyers in China, Europe, and elsewhere, the all-electric brand’s first offering strives for “minimalistic elegance” … and big, big sales. Oh, and it comes in Standard Range and Long Range versions. Now, why does that sound familiar? (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2019

GM

Subjected to more spy photography than Princess Diana, the Chevrolet Corvette C8 is very much real. For the first time, General Motors has released official images of the next-generation car, adding a debut date for good measure.

Still cloaked in camouflage, the mid-engined C8 prototype crawled along the streets of New York City Thursday, piloted by Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter. GM CEO Mary Barra rode shotgun for the trip, which culminated at the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s annual Footsteps to the Future Gala.

There, GM announced that the final C7 Vette will be auctioned off to the charity’s benefit. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2019

tesla model 3

If you can find a Tesla store (that’s still open), and someone working in it, maybe you can buy … a Model 3 Standard Range.

Yes, the $35k car promised three years ago during the Model 3’s launch, and hyped to infinity in the months and years since, stands to become as shadowy and elusive as the A-Team. In yet another raft of changes to its Model 3 line announced Thursday night, the automaker ensured the Standard model’s status as a rare bird.

Offered by a company that’s moved to online ordering, the Standard model will not be available for ordering online. Hey, don’t be confused — there’s a solid explanation! (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

In launching its next-generation Sierra half-ton last summer, GMC focused a lot of its attention on the brand-exclusive MultiPro tailgate, a bit of door-within-door wizardry that makes bed access a breeze. It also provides the necessary hookups for tailgate party tunes.

In short, to butcher a quote from Toronto mayor John Tory, the MultiPro has more positions that Masters and Johnson. But the bed behind the gate was also singled out for some attention. GMC told the public that a carbon fiber bed — CarbonPro, in GMC parlance — would join the 2019 model as a late availability option.

That’s still the plan. With production now two months off, GMC wants to rekindle some of that early interest in its seemingly indestructible bed. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Image: GM

A Chevrolet dealer in Chattanooga has a PR problem on its hands, and an FBI task force has a case to get to the bottom of.

Mountain View Chevrolet finds itself at the center of a bizarre story in which a disabled customer claims a salesman kidnapped him and threatened to kill him and his family if he didn’t withdraw large sums of cash from local banks. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla’s lackluster first-quarter deliveries report did more than spook analysts and investors — it also provided the rationale for Panasonic to reevaluate its relationship with the automaker. Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reports that the battery maker, which partnered with Tesla on the automaker’s Nevada Gigafactory 1, has grown cold feet.

The publication reports the two companies have frozen spending on the Nevada plant, culling plans for an expansion of battery production. Not only that, Panasonic has decided not to invest in Tesla’s Shanghai vehicle/battery production facility. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

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