Posts By: stephwillems

By on June 11, 2019

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV - Image: Chevrolet

If you’re stinking rich, few things stand in the way of any purchase. For plebs consumers of lesser means, pocketbook considerations factor much more heavily into all purchases. You author, by the way, feels pretty good about stockpiling discount meat in his freezer.

When it comes to electric vehicles, limited range and higher sticker prices serve as roadblocks to widespread consumer adoption, regardless of passionate lectures from politicians and online people. There’s progress being made on both issues, but spiffing new green rides remains a go-to method of stimulating sales. A pile of someone else’s cash on the hood goes a long way to sealing a deal.

In Canada, the U.S., and other developed nations, that EV cash comes from your friends and neighbors, not the manufacturer. And if Canadian data from May shows anything, it’s that the appearance of a modest rebate does little to get buyers in the mood to go green. Go big or go home? (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

Daimler AG

There’s a new occupant in Mercedes-Benz’s cavernous utility vehicle stable, and, like so many vehicles debuting in 2019, it’s a tweener. As the name implies, the 2020 GLB fits between the subcompact GLA and compact GLC, offering tidy proportions and the versatility that comes with optional third-row seats.

Three-row seating is not something you’re likely to find in this small class of vehicle, and it’s a feature Mercedes-Benz is counting on to drive interest and sales. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

Image: Ford

Last week’s sinking of the proposed merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automaker Renault may not be the final word on that story, but a tie-up between FCA and a rival domestic automaker is definitely not on the table.

It once was, in an informal sort of way. And that table was the dinner table — one populated by Ford chairman Bill Ford and late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

2017 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman SLT - Image: FCA

For some time, Fiat Chrysler has partnered with Waymo, providing Chrysler Pacificas for its partner’s fledgling autonomous ride-hailing business. Now, FCA has another partner.

Announced Monday, FCA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Aurora, maker of Aurora Driver — a package of hardware and software capable of Level 4 driving that the company hopes to sell to other companies. (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, V8-6-4 engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Without fire, society as we know it could not exist. The combustion of flammable fuels is what warms most of our homes, cooks much of our food (perhaps indirectly), and drives the bulk of our many modes of transportation. Long ago, people considered fire one of the essential elements, like air and water.

A beautiful thing to behold, yet fire’s destructive power remains ever-present in the back of our minds. Uncontrolled fire takes lives, scorches homes, and can lower the value of your vehicle to zero. Maybe this has happened to you. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

It’s not good PR for a brand hoping to snap up wary would-be converts, but it does suggest that Audi’s quality management apparatus is at least partly up to snuff.

On Monday the German automaker announced a voluntary recall of 540 E-Tron SUVs sold in the United States out of fear that a glitch could spark a large and hard-to-control fire. The E-Tron, a fully electric midsize SUV with a (happily) conventional appearance, saw its first full month of U.S. sales in May, moving 856 units. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

fca

The domestic pickup torque wars have flared up again. Following a brief period of dormancy that came after General Motors’ 3.0-liter Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six topped Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 by 20 foot-pounds (460 vs. 440), Fiat Chrysler has arrived on the scene to declare itself king of the hill.

For the 2020 model year, FCA’s EcoDiesel 3.0-liter diesel V6 returns, this time without the baggage and after-the-fact modifications ordered by the federal government. It also pulls harder than its competition. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

Despite the recent development of a high-MPG, low-emission gasoline four-cylinder, Mazda’s future depends on lowering its emissions footprint even further. With regulators — especially those in Europe — backing ever more stringent environmental standards, Mazda hopes to avoid Fiat Chrysler-like penalties by adding a product at odds with the brand’s heritage. An electric vehicle.

With the help of its partners, Mazda’s new EV will make an appearance next year, followed up with a crop of plug-in hybrids buyers are more likely to take home. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

Lincoln Motor Company

David Woodhouse, who took on the role of director of design at Lincoln Motor Company in 2013 before gaining expanded duties in 2017, has resigned his post. No reason was given for his abrupt departure.

Woodhouse’s exit comes after the designer and his team finished work on revamping the brand’s SUV-heavy lineup and crafting a new model to draw the sales Lincoln so desperately craves. (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2019

fca

The United States maintained the threat of tariffs on Mexican goods until Friday night, less than three days before a 5 percent levy was poised to hit incoming products from south of the border. It seems the pressure worked, with the U.S. and Mexico signing a deal late Friday to prevent both tariffs and the northward flow of illegal migrants from Central America.

Automakers are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2019

Friday brought a third day of talks aimed at preventing a U.S.-imposed tariff on Mexican goods. Late last month, the White House warned that a 5 percent import levy would hit Mexican goods on June 10th, rising to 10 percent by July and 25 percent by October, if Mexico doesn’t stem the flow of illegal migrants travelling through its country to reach the U.S.

Going into the weekend, the threat still stands. There are, however, signs of progress both from the U.S. and its southern neighbor. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2019

2019 RAM 1500 front quarter

It’s a bad week for owners of current- and older-gen Ram pickups, assuming they’re safety conscious and have busy summer schedules. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched two recalls this week targeting its full-size trucks; the latest being a voluntary callback of nearly 343,000 2019 and 2020 Ram 1500s over a software glitch that could disable airbags and seat belt pretensioners.

Then there’s the voluntary recall of old-gen Ram 1500s from the 2018 and 2019 model years (Ram “Classic” for 2019) that could drop their driveshaft while driving. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Thursday night’s falling apart of the proposed Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger was a setback for FCA, but the automaker wants everyone to know it remains on the hunt for a willing partner. Essentially, nothing’s changed from the days when former CEO Sergio Marchionne made eyes at the likes of General Motors and Volkswagen, only to receive the cold shoulder.

Sure, it didn’t work out with the French, Chairman John Elkann wrote to FCA employees, but that doesn’t mean FCA won’t soon find a date for the dance. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

This is what handing 16.8 percent of your company’s ownership to another automaker gets you. Just days after BMW and Jaguar Land Rover announced an electric powertrain agreement, Subaru and Toyota claim a new, shared electric vehicle platform is on the way, as well as a jointly developed crossover.

The effort will mean Subaru — a brand with only a single (Toyota-assisted) plug-in hybrid on the market — will finally have the means to enter the growing EV field. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Ford of Europe

As Ford Motor Company attempts to turn around its money-losing overseas business, its manufacturing footprint — and workforce — continues to shrink. In the UK, the automaker plans to end operations at its Bridgend, Wales engine plant by September 2020, citing “significant underutilisation” of the facility.

The Bridgend plant builds Ford’s 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and unfamiliar-to-Americans 1.5-liter three-pot, but demand is drying up. (Read More…)

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