Category: News Blog

By on August 5, 2020

2019 Honda Passport front quarter

Honda reported a $765 million loss in the fiscal quarter ending June 30th, a marked downturn in its financial standing when compared to the quarter before.

Hardly shocking, though, given the virus-related global sales plunge and the production shutdown that afflicted the American manufacturing scene in April and May. Honda’s characterizing it as a “nowhere to go but up” scenario. Read More >

By on August 5, 2020

A bout of insomnia last night left you author with plenty of free time to mull things over, staring at the blank ceiling above. For whatever reason, the unplanned sleeplessness saw this addled mind focus on the year 2011.

Did anything exciting occur that year? Nothing on this end, if memory serves, but it did seem to mark the end of a uniquely American tradition. Read More >

By on August 5, 2020

Delayed six times by the coronavirus pandemic, Roger Penske vowed the Indy 500 would not be ran in 2020 without an audience in the stands. Having purchased the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in January, Penske said he was willing to run the race with limited capacity (quoting estimates that continued to come down as the year progressed) and drafted an extensive manual to help organizers keep attendees safe. However, the document will no longer be needed, now that the decision has been made to hold the event with the rafters completely empty on August 23rd.

Safety has trumped good times once again as Mr. Penske noted cases continue to rise in Indiana, forcing him to recant his decision to allow fans into the venue. Only essential personnel will be allowed to enter this year’s Indianapolis 500. Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport - Image: Subaru

Apparently not quite done with monthly sales reporting, Subaru produced two very different tallies for its U.S. and Canadian arms in July. Known for being able to build just as many vehicles as it can sell, the automaker habitually carries one of the slimmest inventories in the industry — and the pandemic didn’t help things on that front.

Domestic factories have been up and running since May, lessening the strain on both dealers and sales sheets, but normalcy remains out of reach for certain industry players. And that group includes Subaru. In the U.S., volume was down nearly 20 percent last month, but north of the border it was an entirely different story. Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

Previewed way back at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota’s (Gazoo Racing) GR Super Sport Concept now serves as the template for its next entry into 24 Hour of Le Mans, tapped for the new Hypercar Class that’s effectively replacing FIA’s World Endurance Championship LMP1. The new classification is supposed to reinvigorate the sport by mandating homologation of the wildest inductees, a practice which often leads to the most stunning performance machines ever to grace the road.

That means Toyota has to build at least 20 examples of something street legal that shares more than a handful of components with its LM racer. Rumor has it, something is already in development — and should exist well beyond the confines of what one normally thinks of when they envision Toyota products.

Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

ford

After being named as Ford’s next CEO, the automaker’s current chief operating officer, Jim Farley, says the company is on the proper course, with no need to reverse the tech-driven direction taken under the outgoing Jim Hackett.

Speaking to Reuters, Farley said the hunt for new revenue streams in a rapidly evolving technological landscape will continue. Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

Last November, General Motors filed a racketeering suit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, claiming its rival was involved in a prolonged bribery scheme with UAW leaders to gain an unfair labor-cost advantage. Despite FCA already having staff participating in a vast union corruption scandal, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman dismissed the GM case in July after claiming there was nothing to it beyond petty corporate squabbling.

Now GM is back, claiming it has new evidence against FCA that’s going to blow the lid off everything.

On Monday, the General asked the court to reinstate the racketeering lawsuit. It now claims that there’s evidence of foreign bank accounts used in the alleged bribery scandal. We say “alleged” despite the FBI’s continued investigation into the UAW (separate from the GM-FCA suit) showing criminal levels of corruption. The company even suggested that Alphons Iacobelli (who is already serving time for bribing union officials) channeled sensitive information back to FCA after being hired by GM. The claimed plot then has Fiat Chrysler paying the Iacobelli  family millions of dollars via overseas accounts.

“These new facts warrant amending the court’s prior judgment, so we are respectfully asking the court to reinstate the case,” GM said.

Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

mazda

The big news at Mazda right now are the two new additions to the compact 3 line for 2021. Bookending the model’s range, the fresh faces include a new entry-level trim that adopts the 2.0-liter four-cylinder ditched for 2019, plus a turbocharged all-wheel drive model positioned at the top of the heap.

It’s a tale of two very different prices. Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

Image: Ford

A bombshell just landed from Ford, as the automaker announced the impending retirement of CEO Jim Hackett and his replacement by Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley, effective October 1st.

Ford said Tuesday that Hackett, 65, whose tenure has been the subject of much speculation and criticism as the company navigates wildly turbulent waters, “elected” to retire. He replaced the ousted Mark Fields in 2017. In his place rises Farley, who also joins the company’s board of directors. Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

Legislation that would advance the widespread deployment of autonomous vehicle in the United States appears to have stalled. With development of the technology hitting a rough patch and public perception teetering between AVs being a major breakthrough for society or an important contributor to its demise, any new laws might have been irrelevant anyway.

Outside of major players like Waymo, companies making consistent progress on the technology are hard to find; meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to decide who’s at fault when a computer-controlled car goes off script and hurts someone or destroys property. Drivers don’t want to be liable, since they’re not technically supposed to be the ones in control (once true self driving arrives) and manufacturers don’t want to assume any more responsibilities than absolutely necessary.

Those concerns and more were reportedly on full display during last week’s Automated Vehicles Symposium. Designed to take the pulse of the industry and decide where AVs currently stand, the event seemed to showcase that there wasn’t much to be done this year. Whether it be the fault of companies overestimating how quickly the technology would advance (yes), the impact of pandemic-related lockdowns (yes), the unappetizing nature of the mobility concept (yes), or a lack of effective, well-informed governance (yes), 2020 seems to be a wasted year for vehicular autonomy.

Read More >

By on August 4, 2020

A strange phenomenon (one of many) cropped up in recent years among the more ardent of  very-online quasi-activists, one where people seem to think that jumping to the most hyperbolic potential outcome of their “enemy’s” actions somehow lends weight to their argument — to their opposition to something, anything.

It also manifests as a person attributing the maximum amount of malice to the actions of a person or entity they dislike, as if they hold a special key to the innermost thoughts of their most despised foes.

Which brings us to large pickup trucks and the nation’s children. Read More >

By on August 3, 2020

2020 Mazda CX-30 profile

The not-quite-subcompact CX-30 arrived at just the right time for Mazda, appearing at the tail end of what had been a grim 2019 for Mazda. Just as sales of the new tweener crossover matured, the pandemic hit.

As volumes struggle to regain potency across the industry, the new arrival in the Mazda stable helped the automaker post back-to-back monthly sales increase in June and July, replacing volume lost among the brand’s passenger cars — and then some. Read More >

By on August 3, 2020

Last week, New Hampshire became the first state to grant flying cars access to public roadways, despite the fact that they don’t currently exist.

That said, House Bill 1182 only references “roadable aircraft,” with an aim to establish a commission to study the on-road usage of non-traditional motor vehicles. While flying cars remain anchored to our collective imagination, airplanes that can be rigged to drive on public roads technically already exist.

New Hampshire is just attempting to give them some leeway via the bill while also slipping in some new laws making it easier to revoke licenses if someone ever refuses to take a blood test, as well as withholding motor vehicle registration renewal privileges to anybody found driving in a “manner that evades toll collection.” There are also numerous revisions to construction projects related to tolling within the state. You didn’t think Bill 1182 would just be about establishing inspection and registration requirements for flying cars, did you?
Read More >

By on August 3, 2020

hyundai

If you’re like this writer, you pine for the long-ago days when walking into a bar only carried the risk of embarrassing inebriation and possibly violent confrontation, not a viral infection that could leave any of us on gasping on life support. We all wish things were normal.

While the coronavirus hasn’t cleared out,  you wouldn’t know that looking at Hyundai’s U.S. sales tally for July. The automaker raised eyebrows and bucked the industry trend by posting a year-over year gain last month. Read More >

By on August 3, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride popped up on the Internet recently, hailing from the archive of Long Forgotten Concept Cars. This particular concept happens to be a high-riding off-road cabriolet, created from a Frankenstein-like amalgam of Mercedes-Benz parts and custom fabrications by French alteration firm Heuliez.

Buckle up — it’s gonna get weird.

Read More >

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