Category: News Blog

By on January 17, 2022

2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLuxury coupes were falling out of favor among well-heeled American car shoppers around the turn of the century, with luxury trucks gaining sales ground by the minute, but that didn’t stop Mercedes-Benz from releasing a sporty new C-Class-based two-door with a big V8 and big price tag, starting in the 1999 model year: The CLK 430. As so often happens with costly European luxury machinery, this one took a hard depreciation hit during its time on the road, and now it resides in a Northern California self-service yard. Read More >

By on January 14, 2022

A modern and efficient V8 of 4.1 liters, the HT4100 was the exciting way forward for Cadillac’s propulsion needs in the early Eighties. The engine came hot on the tail of a very iffy cylinder deactivation experiment, V8-6-4. Unfortunately, just like the cylinder games before and the Northstar after, the HT was plagued with issues that took years to iron out. The HT in its name meant High Technology but could’ve meant Halfway There. Let’s travel back to the Seventies and talk cylinders.

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By on January 14, 2022

After years of Ford unsuccessfully trying to court the Chinese market in the same way General Motors did, Blue Oval has finally hit an important milestone. For the first time ever, the Lincoln luxury brand has achieved more sales in China than in the United States.

On Thursday, Lincoln announced that it had delivered more than 91,000 vehicles in China in 2021 – representing an increase of 48 percent increase against 2020. Meanwhile, the brand managed to lose ground in North America with just 86,929 sales for last year. That’s the worst Lincoln has seen in over a decade, though the company has basically witnessed its share of the U.S. market seesawing in the wrong direction since the 1990s. Read More >

By on January 14, 2022

Tesla is taking another look at cryptocurrency, though this time it looks to be a goof as the currency in question is the meme-based Dogecoin. Though the joke could be on the market because the currency surged up by over 10 percent after Elon Musk made the announcement you could purchase “merch” with it.

Last year, Tesla said it would begin accepting Bitcoin. CEO Elon Musk had taken a visible interest in cryptocurrency and the automaker opted to take a chance on the one format that’s been able to break into the mainstream. Then the company changed its mind, with Mr. Musk referencing the sudden influx of media reports claiming it was bad for the environment.   Read More >

By on January 14, 2022

The amusingly-named Gazoo Racing arm of Toyota flaunted a few forward-looking wares at this week’s Tokyo Auto Salon, including a GRMN Yaris and the GR GT3 Concept plus its take on the new bZ4X all-electric vehicle. While the latter is part of the company’s trek toward carbon neutrality, the other machines underscore the importance of having corporate leadership that’s actually interested in cars.

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By on January 13, 2022

A divided U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test rule that would have been enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and impacted roughly 1.7 million automotive employees.

“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court explained. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”  Read More >

By on January 13, 2022

As we make our way into the 12th installment of Rare Rides Icon’s Imperial coverage, the third generation 1967 Imperial became the shortest-lived in the nameplate’s history. After the decade-long reign of the D-body, Imperial switched to the unibody C platform to cut costs, and move on from dated body-on-frame underpinnings. But it was an odd time to introduce a new car, as the C-body was no spring chicken when the Imperial debuted. More importantly, Chrysler was on the cusp of an entirely new styling direction: The Fuselage Look.

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By on January 13, 2022

Mexican and Canadian officials have been dropping hints that they’re not all that enthusiastic about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) since before Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump, and Justin Trudeau all sat down to sign it in 2018. But just getting to that point required months of formal negotiations that rarely looked to be all that productive.

Sadly, things don’t seem to have changed now that the USMCA is in full effect. Last week, Mexico requested a dispute settlement panel under the terms of the trade pact to help resolve disagreements about the surprisingly contentious automotive content stipulations that determine whether or not vehicles and parts will be slapped with tariffs. Under the previous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 62.5 percent of the vehicle’s components had to be sourced from member nations to be considered tax-exempt. In an effort to spur localized production, USMCA increased that number to 75 and not everyone is thrilled with the updated content requirements with Mexico claiming it’s not even sure how to apply them. Canada now intends to formally sign onto Mexico’s complaint against the U.S. over their divergent interpretation of rules.  Read More >

By on January 13, 2022

Honda

The teaser game continues.

Honda has sent the automotive press two teaser images of the next-generation HR-V small crossover.

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By on January 12, 2022

The North American International Auto Show is reportedly back on schedule, with NAIAS organizers announcing that the Detroit-based event will be returning on September 14th, 2022.

But we’ve been burned before. A central theme of the last two years has been the announcement of trade events before their subsequent cancellation or transition into a virtual approximation of the real thing where out-of-touch CEOs read things in front of poorly rendered backdrops.  Read More >

By on January 12, 2022

For over 20 years Chrysler offered various Mitsubishi offerings as rebadged captive import vehicles in the North American market. For a handful of years, a Colt at your Chrysler-Dodge-Plymouth-Jeep-Eagle-DeSoto-AMC dealer was the exact same one you’d buy at the Mitsubishi dealer across the street. Let’s take some time and sort out the badge swapping history of Colt.

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By on January 12, 2022

Seeking to capitalize on a red-hot used vehicle market, General Motors has said it will launch an online service called CarBravo. Intended to challenge the likes of Carvana and CarMax by offering customers access to a large inventory of machines in stock at GM dealers across the country.

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By on January 12, 2022

After a tough couple of years, consumers went into 2022 hopeful that unhinged automotive pricing and lean dealer lots would be a thing of the past. However, analysts and industry groups have gone from being cautiously optimistic just a few weeks ago to fairly sullen about the prospects of North American shoppers locating anything that could be considered a square deal.

Goldman Sachs recently issued a report that attempted to encapsulate the whole picture, citing sustained congestion at the ports, pandemic-related factory closures, market inflation, millions of people just dropping out of the workforce, and continued complications stemming from the semiconductor shortage. It estimated that vehicle pricing would fail to go down — and may even pitch up in the first half of 2022 — until all of the above issues have been addressed. But it was hardly the only group chiming in or suggesting that the hard times could last through 2023, as the goalpost for what should be deemed acceptable is moved yet again.  Read More >

By on January 12, 2022

2020 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

People tend to have some pretty strong opinions in this neck of the woods, ranging from thoughts about this year’s crop of NHL rookies to unsolicited sentiments about how Uncle Walt really should have added a ledger board when he built that new deck last summer. Hey, at least the thing is still standing. For now.

While the works of us are largely united on the subject of winter tires – it’s broadly accepted that driving aids such as pedestrian detection and lane centering and even the basics like stability control aren’t of much use if those four fist-sized patches of rubber on each corner of the car have less traction than pork at a PETA picnic – there’s still plenty of debate over the usefulness of studded winter tires. One group swears by them while the other swears at them.

This author was in the latter group – right up to the moment I bolted a modern set of studded tires to my Cherokee Trailhawk. Turns out, a lot has changed in two decades.

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By on January 11, 2022

While it’s possible to catch a glimpse of a Tesla Model S staging at the local dragstrip, they don’t make many appearances at track days. EVs that weren’t designed specifically for racing circuits typically become undone after a few laps of sustained abuse, with Tesla’s first sedan being no different. Early examples of the Model S even failed to get around the Nürburgring when pushed to the limit, with touring car driver Robb Holland sharing videos of the model forcing itself into limp mode as components began overheating during a test run in 2014. Holland praised the car for its sublime road manners, though concluded it was ill-suited for serious racing.

Things are a little different today. Tesla now holds the fastest single lap of any EV to grace the Nordschleife and sells the Model 3 Performance with a dedicated track mode it plans on extending to Model S Plaid vehicles via an over-the-air (OTA) update. But can some fresh code and a little time really do what’s required to make the sedan a valid track vehicle when the preexisting hardware remains unchanged?  Read More >

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