Posts By: stephwillems

By on January 21, 2020

Cruise AV interior

Cruise LLC, General Motors’ self-driving arm, plans to reveal a revolutionary vehicle in San Francisco on Tuesday, Bloomberg has learned. It will not be a modified Chevrolet Bolt that’s missing its steering wheel.

The expected reveal comes after a multiple rounds of funding and promises of near-future production and a planned ridesharing fleet. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

2020_Tacoma_TRD_Off_Road_01_50A9E609C6722DED1EB517DDEAC1D10E71825716

The perennially popular Toyota Tacoma will move all of its assembly south of the Rio Grande under a recently announced production switch-up.

When the ancient Sequoia full-size SUV enters a new generation, and along with it the Tundra pickup, it won’t stay at its present Princeton, Indiana home. Toyota plans to move Sequoia production southward to Texas, punting Tacoma output to a country that’s no stranger to the midsize pickup. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

Crosstrek Hybrid

Like it or not, Subaru plans to make up for lost time by delving deep into the world of electrification. In a technical briefing Monday, the automaker outlined a plan to draw 40 percent of its global sales from electric or hybrid vehicles by the beginning of the next decade.

Currently, the automaker only sells the Crosstrek Hybrid, but that will change as its newly strengthened partnership with Toyota starts to bear fruit. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

No, we’re not talking about your divorce. Keep that baggage to yourself! Rather, we’re talking about the person in your life who kindled that spark — that interest, and yes, perhaps even that love of cars.

As the TTAC crew says goodbye to a very good guy who just happened to hold passionate opinions about the auto industry (and can’t be blamed for cursing several American vehicles of the 1980s and ’90s), let’s get personal. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

Nothing lasts forever. Not even, apparently, the Morgan Plus 4 — a low-slung, quintessentially British roadster that started production in 1950 and still looks looks like it comes from a land of postwar rationing. Beneath the 2020 Plus 4 lies the same ladder frame that underpinned the first Plus 4, which arrived on the scene when Betty White was just 29.

You won’t find many 2020 Plus 4 models. Just 20 commemorative examples are planned as Morgan gears up to enter the modern age. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

The second-generation Infiniti QX50 is a seldom talked-about model that gets plenty of mention on these digital pages, what with its technological wizardry and big launch expectations… that didn’t seem to do the compact crossover much good when it finally reached dealerships.

No problem — maybe customers will take more kindly to its QX55 sibling, teased late last year ahead of an early summer 2020 release. But hold on a second! It appears the QX55 won’t show up at the party until much later than expected. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

nissan

Japanese executives traditionally take company failings very personally, often performing penance in the wake of scandals and downturns. In the case of fresh-on-the-job Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, his punishment for the automaker’s dismal financial situation and tumbling sales was an earful from a group of angry U.S. dealers.

The dealers let Uchida have it during a recent meeting at Nissan’s U.S. headquarters — the first such meeting since Uchida’s elevation to CEO late last year. It’s not like he didn’t ask for it. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

Detroit Three automobile production will rise 5 percent in the U.S. over the life of the recent four-year UAW contract, with Mexican assembly plants cranking out 11-percent fewer vehicles over the agreement’s lifespan, but there’s little good news for the snowy land north of the U.S. border.

By 2023, Detroit Three production is expected to decline by a whopping 27 percent in Canada, continuing a decades-long trend. Labor contracts expire this year, so what’s a union to do? (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

2018 Kia Niro PHEV gauges

Whether you or I like it or want it, the industry is changing — pivoting towards things that cause many readers’ blood to run cold and their soul to wither and die. Futuristic things like electrification and mobility and autonomous driving. Soulless things, to some.

For most — if not all — industry players, this pivot is Plan B (Plan A being the traditional selling of internal combustion automobiles to customers who walk into dealerships). For Kia, it falls under the official title of Plan S. This week, the automaker dived into what it means for loyal customers. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

Herbert Diess Jetta 2017

Nokia isn’t having a good day, what with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess likening it to an Edsel or Tucker. The VW chief contrasted the phone maker with sales leader Apple when discussing his company’s future, claiming VW will need to move much faster if it’s to stay at the front of the pack.

To further this goal, some things will need to move to the back burner. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

Tesla

While we’re on the subject of American (or somewhat American) automakers looking to beat the Chinese at their own EV game, Tesla has announced a new direction in that massive electric vehicle market.

With Model 3s now rolling into buyers’ hands from its just-opened Shanghai assembly plant, the automaker has turned its eye to the lower end of the market. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

fca

Ram Rebels and Power Wagons are a tough fit for China’s cramped, heavily taxed new vehicle market, but “new energy” vehicles (electric cars) are not. With this in mind, Fiat Chrysler is aiming to put EVs in the hands of Chinese consumers through a potential joint venture.

Clearly seeing an avenue for growth — and a way to compensate for falling Jeep sales while challenging industry heavyweights like Volkswagen, GM, and Ford  — FCA has entered talks with Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, the automaker announced Friday. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

1983 Chevrolet Blazer

Some people have it rough. Just the other day, the affordable town of Vancouver was hit by three or four inches of snow, plunging the bucolic enclave into mayhem. High-end cars wearing low-profile rain slicks couldn’t make it out of their driveways. Buses lay paralyzed across intersections. Employees were told to stay home. Hashtags blossomed like the daffodils due out in a month’s time.

We’ve talked winter here before, and winter beaters for sure, but what about the ideal winter vehicle? (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2020

fca

Concessions made to the United Auto Workers by the Detroit Three during last fall’s bargaining talks will weigh on the automakers’ bottom lines, but none more so than Fiat Chrysler’s.

Labor costs stand to jump significantly at FCA, partially erasing the cost advantage it enjoyed over Ford and General Motors. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2020

Rumors that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance could be in danger of breaking up are unfounded, said alliance chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on Thursday.

The chairman was responding to reports of a contingency plan in the works at Nissan, one aimed at guiding the Japanese automaker away from its French partner in a stable fashion in the event of a split. (Read More…)

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