Posts By: stephwillems

By on June 29, 2020

ford

On the same day that it encouraged fans to follow it on Instagram for sexy Bronco teasing, Ford Motor Company announced it will pull advertising from all social media platforms for a period of 30 days.

As you read here roughly nine minutes ago, Ford’s move comes after Honda did exactly the same. The automakers, among a number of other companies, aim to pressure big social media companies to root out and erase or ban hate speech — which can be a very nebulous term, depending on who’s using it. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

nissan

I’m your man, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida told shareholders at an annual meeting Monday, promising to take a pay cut while firming up the fiscal foundations of an automaker that was floundering even before the pandemic hit.

Nissan rolled out a very different kind of four-year plan in late May. Cost-cutting and consolidation is the name of the game going forward, but shareholders often want more assurance than a blueprint can provide. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

Well, that’s it, then. Is the traditional auto show dead? The tombstone has yet to be erected, but Monday’s cancellation of the 2021 Geneva International Motor Show, coming on the heels of so many cancellations in 2020, certainly makes it feel as if, somewhere, an epitaph’s being chiseled on a monument.

The planned 2020 Geneva event was the first international trade show cancelled this year (at the 11th hour, it should be noted) as the coronavirus spread north from a Northern Italy hot spot, heralding a slew of cancellations to follow. New York, a month later, then Detroit in June. China and Germany.

And now Geneva again. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

General Motors Renaissance Center

The coronavirus pandemic and waves of protests may have captured much of the nation’s attention, but holdovers from the Before Times remain. Among them, General Motors’s racketeering lawsuit against rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Remember that?

GM claims FCA, with the help of corrupt UAW officials, hammered out mutually beneficial labor deals that gave the Italian-American automaker an unfair edge over its competition. After appealing a judge’s ruling last week, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, will now be able to attend a court-ordered meeting with FCA CEO Mike Manley with legal representation in tow.

Oh, to be a fly on that wall. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

Image: Ford

Your mileage will vary, automakers. As consumer confidence increases to some degree — a phenomenon partially dependent on what the novel coronavirus is doing in various regions — auto sales are expected to follow.

Forecasters now claim U.S. auto sales will see a marked uptick in June that pales next to the jump seen in May. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2020

Image: GM

Compared to the clattery, soot-spewing 350 diesel that helped sink General Motors’ reputation in the 1980s, the 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six introduced in the automaker’s full-size pickups late last year is a refined affair. It’s also making something of a reputation for itself, drawing buyers to the company’s truck-only brand who might otherwise have looked elsewhere in the industry for a pickup.

GMC now says it’s targeting a surprising take rate for the Flint-built engine. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2020

gm

“Lear-ick” or “lear-eek”? That’s the first question the Cadillac Lyriq brings to mind, the second being who, exactly, was behind the naming of this future electric crossover. Names matter, and if they don’t roll off the tongue easily, that’s a problem. At least for non-Italian brands…

But this writer digresses. On Thursday, which proved quite eventful in terms of product news, Cadillac decided to seek a little limelight of its own. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2020

BMW

BMW’s approach to the next frontier of driving propulsion has been an incremental one. First, electrification in a couple of oddball niche cars; then, plug-in hybrid versions of more conventional models. The fully electric vehicles coming down the pipe share their versatile architecture with existing models containing more conventional powerplants.

It’s cautious, and it’s certainly the approach most American automakers would probably prefer to take themselves. Alas, Germany is not America. EU regulators regularly crack the whip, startling execs who built their careers on dishing out gas and diesel offerings. Go green in a big way, now, or be slowly asphyxiated by a blanket of regulation that penalizes builders of emissions-heavy fleets.

It’s no wonder BMW’s works council wants top brass to stop dipping their toe in the deep end and just jump in, already. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback grey - Image: Mazda

A report earlier this year may have been what many longtime Mazda fans yearned to hear: that the company stands prepared to dump extra horses on its compact 3 sedan and hatch. Floundering since its launch, the little 3 could use a boost — in a number of ways.

Model codes ripped from a dealer’s computer system seemed to indicate a greater level of performance was on the way, and on Thursday Mazda confirmed just that. (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2020

ford

The hazy year of 1981 brought the world many things, among them, yours truly. It was also a year that sent bullets flying through the air towards several world figures; a year that saw interest rates soar to new heights (while horsepower values fell to dismal lows), and brought what was arguably the last year of true classic rock.

In the background, New Wave ominously gathered strength.

Also gathering strength? The Ford F-Series’s popularity, as the model line donned the hat of best-selling vehicle in the U.S. that year. The F-Series traces its lineage to the Truman administration, and we now have a new generation to ooh and aah over. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

ford

Ford Motor Company pulled the wraps off the next-generation 2021 F-150 on Thursday night, revealing a new body and face that’s evolutionary in nature and a powertrain addition that sets its apart from all rivals. Could you call it revolutionary?

Being first in its class to offer something new is key for the F-150, being America’s best selling vehicle and all. In this case, that feature is a hybrid powertrain — one Ford says will make the F-150 the most potent light-duty pickup on the market.

There’s also added inches where it supposedly counts (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

Lordstown Motors

Rivian wants to dazzle you with excessive range and dirt-flinging tank turns. Ford wants you to feel virtuous while behind the wheel of an F-150. General Motors wants to crush things beneath the wheels of the monstrous GMC Hummer EV.

Lordstown Motors’s electric pickup, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be everyone’s best friend. The fledgling automaker, owner of GM’s former Chevy Cruze plant in Northeast Ohio, unveiled its first product Thursday, beating Ford and GM to an electric pickup debut. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

kia

Having both forward driving lights illuminated after dark is a key element of road safety; one most automakers nailed long ago, at least until their vehicles start really getting on in years. Even then, a new bulb should be all a driver ever needs to keep the path ahead well lit.

Not so for some Kia Sorento owners. Enough consumer complaints have rolled in to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the federal agency has opened an investigation. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

No, Tesla isn’t resurrecting an intermediate-sized Mopar muscle car. It’s something far less sexy than that.

According to documents, Tesla aims to build a battery research and manufacturing facility, staffed 24/7, in the dreaded state of California. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2020

Oh, it’s really official now. The supercharged, off-road-ready sport truck previewed by a concept vehicle four years ago is almost here, and Ram now has a landing page for it.

Appearing for the 2021 model year, the Ram Rebel TRX is a full-size 1500 with a heart transplant from a Dodge Hellcat donor. Squarely in its sights is the Ford F-150 Raptor, a model that’s dominated the niche it carved out for itself for too long. (Read More…)

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