Category: Editorials

By on July 27, 2021

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I call it the father-in-law test, and it goes like this: If my father-in-law is talking about it, it’s mainstream. It’s a pretty basic test for any given pop culture or technological idea out there, I know, but it works pretty well. My FIL is in his seventies, so he’s definitely a “Boomer”. He’s a bit of an intellectual, too, having served as the dean of a prestigious Catholic school here in Chicago for many years. He is also absolutely, completely, and intentionally not into cars … and, just the other day, he asked me what it would take to put in a DC fast charger in his home.

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By on July 27, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is a very unique example of the final generation Buick Riviera. A holdout in the personal luxury coupe space, the Riviera was the last large two-door the company ever produced.

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By on July 26, 2021

Audi is discontinuing the A1, citing Europe’s regulatory landscape as the main cause. Eager to limit the amount of CO2 coming out of tailpipes, the European Union has placed strict limits on petroleum-powered passenger vehicles. For Audi, the price of manufacturing a subcompact automobile-dependent upon internal combustion is getting too high. Installing a smaller motor would negatively impact drivability while slotting in a hybrid powertrain means more R&D costs and jacking up the MSRP to a point where consumers might lose interest.

There’s just not much incentive to build small, efficient vehicles when the profit margins have been made razor thin and people aren’t buying them in great numbers. And this is a lesson that’s being learned by all automakers, not just those associated to Volkswagen Group.  Read More >

By on July 26, 2021

2002 Chevrolet Venture WB Edition in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBack in the days before smartphones and cheap tablet computers, parents planning to take some screaming ankle-biters on a long road trip needed some means of hypnotizing the little darlings into submission, something that didn’t involve extreme measures such as tranquilizer dart guns or child literacy. Minivan makers began installing airliner-style flip-down video displays in the 1990s, enabling The Slime to ooze out of tiny flat screens on the road. The General took this idea one step further, partnering with Warner Brothers to issue a special-edition Chevy Venture packed with Looney Tunes goodies and branding. I spent years trying to find one of these rare vans in the U-Wrench-It yards I frequent, and I hit pay dirt last month in Denver. Read More >

By on July 23, 2021

It’s been a few weeks since I sold the Golf Sportwagen back to the dealership from whence it came, and it’s still there if any of you would like a very clean Golf with no present water issues. Since then, I find myself peering out the kitchen window at the empty driveway space where the Golf used to reside. And it makes me have many thoughts, impractical thoughts.

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By on July 23, 2021

Chevrolet has issued a statement to owners of Bolt EVs that could be subject to surprise fires while charging, offering more tips on how to avoid burning down their homes while it preps another recall. General Motors and supplier LG Chem have identified “two rare manufacturing defects” that they believe are causing the fires and are suggesting avoid charging their vehicles in an extremely specific manner until after the secondary recall has been conducted.  Read More >

By on July 23, 2021

Today marks Part III and a conclusion to our series on the 2003 Studebaker XUV. We’ve covered the truck’s announcement and immediate lawsuit action from General Motors, who were not keen to let something so similar to the Hummer H2 enter production without a fight. We join the action post courtroom.

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By on July 23, 2021

UschiDaschi/Shutterstock.com

Dieselgate. It was one of the biggest corporate scandals in recent history, resulting in billions of dollars in fines, CEOs stepping down in shame, a few scattered criminal charges, and the death of Volkswagen’s beloved TDI diesel engine line in North America. You could even argue that the current accelerated push for EVs is just ongoing fallout from the initial Dieselgate dirty bomb. But by far the worst thing about Dieselgate is that I saw things happening with my own eyes back in 2008, had no idea what I was looking at, and blew my chance to break the biggest automotive news of the decade.

Allow me to set the stage a bit.

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By on July 22, 2021

Years ago, waiting for a haircut, dental appointment, or psychological evaluation meant thumbing through a paperback filled with local listings of automobiles you had convinced yourself you might be in the market for. While primarily an exercise for wasting one’s time, there was always a chance you’d run to a payphone or whip our your Nextel to contact the seller so you could begin the delicate dance of commerce.

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By on July 22, 2021

We introduced the Studebaker XUV in Part I of this series, a concept SUV for which Avanti Motors was immediately sued upon by GM upon its debut. Barred from producing any H2-esque vehicle, their chairman thought up a way to differentiate the XUV in the marketplace: Make it “feminine!”

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By on July 21, 2021

In part five of our six-part series on the Studebaker Avanti, I mentioned a concept the company debuted in the early 2000s, the XUV. A Big Tough Truck styled almost-just-like the crazy popular Hummer H2, consumers weren’t the only party to take notice. Let’s talk lawsuit.

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By on July 21, 2021

On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company’s proprietary charging network would be opened up to other brands by 2022. It’s something Europe has been pressing the automaker on for years and a topic that’s become increasingly popular in the United States. Tesla announced it had completed over 25,000 charging points this year and most Western governments have committed themselves to advance electrification whether or not consumers or the industry feels ready.

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By on July 20, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride represents the only time in history Buick built a two-seat car, and the only time a Buick had pop-up headlamps. It was also the last time Buick made a factory convertible in the United States, as the Opel Cascada wasn’t built domestically and was not a real Buick.

Let’s check out the Eighties low-volume experiment that was Reatta.

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By on July 20, 2021

Despite American carmakers and the United Auto Workers abandoning mask mandates at the end of June, there’s been an about-face in Wentzville, Missouri. The state witnessed an uptick of cases, encouraging both the UAW and General Motors to reintroduce masks and social distancing protocols.

The facility is responsible for the GMC Canyon and Colorado, as well as Chevrolet’s Savana and Express. It’s also likely to be the first facility of many we’re assuming will be told it’s time to go back to the old masking rules. But why is this happening so soon after everyone was given the green light to return to normal operations?  Read More >

By on July 19, 2021

Last week, the European Union proposed banning the sale of all new internal combustion vehicles starting in 2035. With several member nations proposing restrictions in the coming years, EU leadership feels it can accelerate the timeline to force electric vehicles as the de facto mode of transportation. The European Commission has suggested making it illegal to sell gas or diesel-powered vehicles in 14 years, with aims to reduce CO2 emissions produced by automobiles by 55 percent (vs 2021 levels) by 2030.

But countries that still produce vehicles have expressed reservations about the scheduling. France absolutely agrees with mandating restrictions that would reduce greenhouse emissions. Though President Emmanuel Macron’s office has been pressing that hybrid vehicles would be able to do much of the heavy lifting and fears that an outright ban of internal combustion could hamstring the industry if conducted too early. Germany, which manufacturers more vehicles than other EU member nations, is of a similar mind.  Read More >

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