Posts By: stephwillems

By on October 14, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar’s electric I-Pace (not to be confused with the gas powered E-Pace) earned unflattering press this past summer after slow sales led to ballooning inventories of the brand’s first EV. Now, there’s another PR stroke against the model, and electricity once again lies at the core of the issue.

As new safety features proliferate across the industry, electronic stability control stands out as one of the veteran lifesaving nannies, joining the fray after anti-lock brakes, airbags, and crumple zones became the norm. In the I-Pace’s case, ESC conspired to turn the model’s “moose test” into a viral sensation. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

Regardless of what your college instructors claim, individuality remains a virtue. And, while (legally and harmlessly) going your own way is still a good thing, great masses of individuals often gravitate towards the same thing. It’s an age-old phenomenon, one easily seen in the buying preferences of minority communities.

If you’re someone who values the time-honored affordability and usability of the common sedan, thank the African-American community. They’re still buying tons of them. If you value innovation and industry disruption, tip your hat at the Asian community. They show an increased affinity for trying new things.

While registration data shows America’s visible minorities haven’t diverged too far from last year’s buying preferences, a few surprises can be found in data drawn from the first half of the year. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

Few expected the labor action by U.S. General Motors workers to last this long, but no one expected reaching a collective agreement to be easy, either. As the the strike by UAW-affiliated GM workers enters its fifth week, picketing workers can expect an extra $25 a week from the union’s strike fund.

GM, on the other hand, can expect its dealers to face increased difficulty in sourcing certain replacement parts, while others worry about the prospect of subpar inventory. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

Image: GM

Not happy with sales thus far this year, General Motors wants Ford Mustang owners to know there’ll be cash waiting for them should they wander into a dealer in search of a Chevrolet Camaro.

As 2019 draws to a close, GM’s pony car sits in third place in the niche segment’s sales standings. This, despite a 2019 model year refresh and a greater availability of four-cylinder offerings. Maybe a few grand will compel rival owners to make the switch? (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2019

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Readers might not nod their heads in agreement after seeing this headline, knowing full well it denotes the appearance of another crossover on the avenues and byways of America, but Volkswagen would respectfully disagree. For the automaker’s American arm, it most definitely is a good thing.

Eager to make new friends following the brand’s disastrous diesel affair, Volkswagen changed course, pledging to give Americans more of what they claim they want. And it seems the effort paid off. Arriving at dealers in May of 2017, the mid-size, made-in-America Atlas crossover has proven a sales coup. Through September, more than one-fifth (21.5 percent) of Volkswagens sold in the U.S. in 2019 bore the Atlas name. Volume is up 39 percent, year to date.

If having one Atlas is a good thing, surely having two is better? From a sales and revenue perspective, Volkswagen certainly hopes so. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2019

bmw

For years now, we’ve watched as the average car/crossover grille has expanded faster than that aunt you got divorced in her 20s and never settled down (the same can be said for a man; don’t send us letters.)

Now, as vehicle grilles — once declared nearly extinct in the Taurus/Sable/Intrepid/Crown Vic era ⁠— reach their zenith, the mind turns to an obvious question: What comes next? You’ve watched on these pages as Toyota and Lexus attempted to swallow galaxies with their gaping front openings. Now, BMW is eager to swallow what’s left. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

There’s little doubt that BMW’s design language, at least since the dawn of the 21st century, reflects the prevailing culture of the day. In the 2000s, the brand’s Chris Bangle-penned cars hosted all the eye glitter and booty action a viewer could handle, perfect for an era in which My Humps became an unlikely top hit.

Fast-forward a decade, and the designs of Bangle’s protege, Adrian van Hooydonk, are a perfect representation of today’s social media-led outrage culture. Big, gaping mouths screaming into a void filled with other, equally prominent mouths. We’re in the age of the big mouth, drowning in the polarization that rises in its wake, but van Hooydonk has no intention of reeling in Bimmer’s ever-expanding grilles anytime soon. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

Ford EcoSport Greenhouse Roofline, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

No, we’re not talking about coming to someone’s emotional rescue, nor are we concerned about that time you pushed your buddy out of the way of that speeding Amtrak while searching for a corpse back in the ’80s.

This is serious stuff. A person can set themselves up for a world of emotional and financial hurt by choosing the wrong car, and, just maybe, you’ve successfully coaxed someone away from the proverbial ledge. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Traverse - Image: GM

The Chevrolet Traverse represents the pinnacle of the brand’s crossover range, offering buyers voluminous cargo and passenger space, and maybe a hidden gremlin.

After purchasing the three-row crossover new in 2018, one owner has had to return to his dealership 50 times to diagnose and fix a range of unusual problems, and his journey isn’t at an end. He’ll be reassured to know that he’s not alone. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

For its last model year, the Cadillac ATS boasted rear-wheel drive, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and an MSRP of $35,495 plus destination. Two years later, the newest and smallest addition to the Cadillac range keeps the recipe more or less the same, only the starting price of the 2020 CT4 rings in a couple grand lower.

Less power, less price, but perhaps more buyers? (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

No longer the gaudy marque seen in countless hip hop videos in the early 2000s, Maybach is now joined at the hip to Mercedes-Benz, offering lux-ified variants of the S-Class sedan under the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. Soon, that super sedan will have a higher-riding sibling, as even fabulously wealthy people sometimes need venture off the beaten track.

Fact is, those buyers have more choice than ever in choosing a more capable steed. Maserati has the Levante, Bentley has the Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce now has the Cullinan (truly a diamond in the rough). It’s time for a Mercedes-Maybach GLS. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Early reports out of Japan Tuesday indicated Nissan’s replacement for former CEO Hiroto Saikawa had been found, and the company’s board soon confirmed it. First reported by Nikkei, the automaker’s board has tapped Senior Vice President Makoto Uchida to sit in the big chair.

Uchida, 53, took on his current role in 2018; he also heads China’s Dongfeng Motor Company — a 50-50 joint venture between the two automakers. The executive joined Nissan back in 2003.

Uchida has no shortage of issues he’ll have to grapple with. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

After taking a look around the loftiest of automotive landscapes and reading a few tea leaves, Lamborghini seems close to signing off on a model that won’t have reviewers searching for exhaust note adjectives. There won’t be any use for them.

As European luxury marques — especially those under the Volkswagen Group umbrella — tiptoe tentatively into the EV realm, Lambo is poised to make its next introduction an eco warrior. This, of course, after the recent introduction of the Urus SUV. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

There’s a new version of a rarely-seen car coming out for 2020, meaning if you’re living in the right place, and can find one, you may be able to get into a $109/month lease with nothing down. That’s currently the best lease offer in the country. So, what is this low-priced wonder car?

Well, it gets 124 miles to a charge, seats five, and hails from Ulsan, South Korea. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

Elon Musk

If you’ve grudgingly followed the unseamly goings-ons in the defamation case filed against Tesla CEO Elon Musk by a British cave diver, things just took a turn. Documents filed to a California federal court this week by Vernon Unsworth’s lawyers reveal a plotline worthy of a better-than-average sitcom.

In stating their client’s side of the story, Unsworth’s legal team showcased communications from from Musk, in which the CEO expressed regret for calling the cave diver “pedo guy” on Twitter and sending accusatory emails to a Buzzfeed reporter. It also seems that the private eye Musk hired to dig up dirt on Unsworth is a convicted fraudster who’s now back in jail for parole violation. (Read More…)

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