Customer Relations

QOTD: Has the Global Vehicle Market Recovered?

Is the global vehicle market in recovery following the 2020 downturn? Data analysts GlobalData seem to think the market is firmly in recovery mode, according to their latest report.

Read more
In the Future, Will Car Dealerships Exist?

Car dealerships are a conundrum. For decades, they’ve prevailed despite changes in every aspect of what occurs at a new car dealership. The big question is whether they will continue doing business as they have, or will there be changes to a system that’s out of touch with buyers today?

Read more
New Car Dealerships Are Taking a Page From the Buy-here/Pay-here Playbook and Giving It an Evil Twist

Is there any lower form of life in the automotive biosphere than the buy-here-pay-here dealership operators?

It’s hard to see them as anything other than rent-seeking scumbags who inflate the market for inexpensive used cars, then turn around and sell those used cars to the poorest and most unfortunate members of our society for prices that are often multiples of the acquisition cost. There is literally no ethical reason for them to exist; most of the time the “down payment” charged by these dealers is more or less the true value of the car. Everything that comes afterwards is just tasty cake topping — and if the working mother or fixed-income older person buying from them misses the very last weekly payment, they can repossess the car and sell it all over again on the same ridiculous terms.

In a world without buy-here-pay-here dealers, the transaction prices of low-cost cars would eventually settle to the point where they could be bought for the “down payments” being handed over today. In fact, I’ve heard BHPH operators brag about making money on the down payment alone. The difference between one of these people and the victims of their operations, of course, is that the former has access to capital and an entry into the protected world of auto auctions.

You’ll often hear these dealers tell stories about how they “help their community.” The members of the community, of course, know better. They can see the BHPH dealers living high on the hog many miles away from the low-income areas in which the lots are deliberately placed right next to liquor stores and lottery ticket providers. So it’s no wonder they feel no sense of loyalty to their “dealers” and will often make the cars disappear without further payment if they can. To combat this, the BHPH people will often have remotely-operated ignition blocks installed into their vehicles. If you don’t make the payment, or if the dealer fails to record the payment correctly, your car is shut off — regardless of where you are or what you need to do with the car next. If you don’t deal with the bottom feeders of the auto biz, you’ve probably never seen one.

That might be about to change.

Read more
Playing Truth + Dare: A Frat Bro Goes to Cadillac Country

“Pshhh, it’s not that fast. Your car is faster,” the young man wearing the Alpha Gamma Delta shirt said to his blonde companion. We were in the parking lot of a stadium in Orange County, under the shade of a white tent with a Cadillac logo, beside a sign reading: “ACCELERATION.” It was unclear which Cadillac he was disparaging, as both the ATS-V and CTS-V were available for full-throttle rips. He may have been trying to goad his girlfriend into driving, but the trash talk indicated this was no press junket.

Welcome to the Southern California edition of Cadillac’s Truth + Dare summer tour across America.

Two weeks earlier, I was wondering how the hell I was targeted on Twitter by a Cadillac ad with an invitation to a ride-and-drive event. For financial reasons, “automotive journalist” doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Cadillac customer. My BMW Z3 recently celebrated its 20th birthday. But they weren’t asking for my tax returns and I’m fascinated by the Cadillac brand, so this seemed like an opportunity to see how they present themselves to the public. All I had to do was drive from Los Angeles to Anaheim on a Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Read more
Uh Oh, Your Car's Worth Less Than You Owe - What Comes Next?

Years back, after the desire to purchase one particularly fetching model became too great, you walked into the dealership, marched right over to the salesman’s cubbyhole, and signed over several years’ worth of payments on your ride du jour. Bliss ensued.

Unfortunately, come trade-in time, your once-desirable ride isn’t even worth the amount left owing. You’re in negative equity, pardner. Still, buyers faced with this situation have a number of options at their disposal.

Thanks to a recent study of new car buyers, we now know exactly how owners of low-value trade-ins chose to deal with their unexpected debt.

Read more
After Snatching Away the Perk, Tesla Returns Free Charging to Certain Owners

Chatty Tesla owners who compel their friends and family to consider buying a Model S or X are apparently behind the company’s U-Turn on paid Supercharger use.

At the beginning of the year, Tesla, in a bid to fund a doubling of its fast-charge network, withdrew a big perk from the purchase of one of its vehicles: free Supercharger use. No longer would new buyers be able to sail off in their new Tesla, confident in their ability to juice up at one of the 750-plus stations scattered across North America. Owners who purchased their vehicle prior to January 1st were grandfathered.

Supercharger hogs were also slapped with an “idling” fee, all in the hopes of freeing up space at the stations. While the pricing structure remains — new buyers receive 400 kWh of annual free charging with their purchase, after which a variable fee applies — there’s now a way to get unlimited free power.

Read more
Heading to Ponderosa? Don't Forget Your Nissan Card

If supermarkets, gasoline retailers and a slew of other automakers can offer branded credit cards, why not Nissan?

The Japanese automaker most closely associated with the word “value” is throwing a perk at its customer base, rolling out a consumer credit card program to turn those fuel and meal purchases into real Nissan cents.

The Nissan Visa card, offered through Synchrony Financial, allows dedicated brand loyalists (with good credit) to collect points towards a new or pre-owned Nissan vehicle, or servicing. While some owners might entertain thoughts of gassing and eating their way into a new Armada, the card’s other features are probably a bigger draw. The fine print, however, might prove less tempting.

Read more
Lincoln is Testing a New Vehicle Option: Human Drivers That Aren't You

Say you’ve just gone through the hassle of buying a new Lincoln. It’s out there, sitting in the driveway, but you’ve got things to do. It doesn’t own you. You’re busy, and worthy of love.

Well, for a fee, Lincoln will set you up with someone nice. (No, not that kind of setup.) The automaker has created a pilot program called Lincoln Chauffeur, which delivers just what it states: a driver to ferry you around as you work on your tablet, drop you off at the airport and return the car home, or run out to the Safeway for sprouts.

Read more
Rusty Frames Leave Toyota on the Hook for Billions

Rust, as Neil Young once said, never sleeps, and neither will Toyota — at least, not until it has fulfilled its 12-year promise to inspect and replace (if necessary) hundreds of thousands of corroded truck frames.

Toyota has agreed to pay up to $3.4 billion to appease owners of several previous-decade truck models who launched a class-action lawsuit against the company. Replacing those severely rusted frames won’t be an easy task, and there could be plenty of vehicles needing a completely new skeleton.

Read more
Tesla Service Includes a Long Wait or a Long Drive - or Both

With lengthy repair times, parts shortages, and colossal distances between locations, Tesla is having real difficulties effectively servicing its current customer base as complaints begin to mount.

While certainly unfortunate news, this will be nothing compared to what it will face when the upcoming Model 3 starts needing the EV equivalent of an oil change.

Read more
Hyundai Makes Volkswagen TDI Owners a Deal They Hopefully Can't Refuse

Feeling burned by your former suitor? Want to get even with the German who caused you so much trouble and heartache?

Hyundai wants disenfranchised Volkswagen diesel owners to run into the warm arms of their caring South Korean friend and has a tailor-made deal ready to rope them in.

Commence operation “V-Plan.”

Read more
Toyota Climbs Ladder of Most Valuable Brands, Tesla Cracks the Top 100

Interbrand released its annual list of the world’s top 100 brands, a ranking that now contains an independent automaker.

While Toyota climbs one spot to the No. 5 position (the highest of all automakers), Tesla has muscled its way onto the field, slotting at No. 100. Volkswagen continues the brand value descent it began last year, falling from No. 35 to No. 40 and posting a value decline of 9 percent.

There’s grim news for GM, as none of its brands made the list this year.

Read more
"…and Re-vulcanize These Tires!" Bentley Spares Owners From the Hassle of Pumping Gas

You’re a busy person, and standing at a gas station with a nozzle in your hand is for plebes.

Not to put too much of undergrad term paper slant on it, but that’s what Bentley silently suggests by rolling out a trial fuel delivery service for its owners. The ultra-luxury automaker has teamed up with U.S. tech startup Filld to offer the perk.

Read more
Branching Out, Toyota Will Now Sell You a Robotic Friend

On the surface, it seems creepy and/or pathetic, but it could be a healthy new revenue stream for Toyota.

The automaker plans to begin offering a small, talking robot to Japanese customers this winter — a strategic product for an aging population with a low birthrate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Kirobo Mini is designed to replace family members you don’t have, which might explain why it will criticize your driving habits.

Read more
Cadillac President Will Pay Dealers to Disappear

If dealership owners spring for a recent offer by the president of Cadillac, expect to see a vastly reduced brand presence in towns and cities across the U.S.

Johan de Nysschen is offering 400 low-volume Cadillac dealers cash to close up shop and walk away, Automotive News reports.

Read more
Bring on a Sales Slump, We Can Take It!: GM

General Motors is searching for savings under every RenCen couch cushion as it ramps up a profit-boosting cost-cutting effort.

The automaker has already chopped plenty of what it sees as fat, and is so confident in its streamlining abilities that it now claims it could weather a major plunge in sales. Even, say, a 40-percent dropoff.

For a company that knows all about sales plunges — recent ones, too — this is pretty confident talk. It has to be, as GM wants you — yes, you! — to invest.

Read more
Ford Backtracks After Giving Up Parts Search for Man's Seven-Year-Old F-150

Just because your vehicle is the most popular model in the world doesn’t mean there’s spare parts stashed in every storage room and broom closet.

The owner of one 2009 F-150 crew cab found this out the hard way, forcing him to turn to the media and consumer rights groups to keep his truck driveable after an extensive search for a replacement part turned up dry.

Read more
Ford's Door Latch Recall Balloons by Another 1.5 Million Vehicles

Ford Motor Company’s multi-model door latch recall, which started out relatively small earlier this year, is growing in leaps and bounds.

The automaker announced today that it has recalled another 1.5 million vehicles to prevent doors from flying open, nearly tripling the previous tally of 828,053, the Associated Press reports.

Read more
Dealer Backlash Grows Against Cadillac's 'Project Pinnacle'

A dealer association in California is the latest group to go after Cadillac, demanding the automaker make changes to its controversial “Project Pinnacle” sales incentive program.

The California New Car Dealers Association, acting at the request of 52 dealers in that state, has sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra in a bid to delay (and alter) the project, Automotive News reports.

Read more
Aston Martin Will Sell You a House … and a Boat

The Aston Martin Cygnet was just the beginning.

For those who thought the luxury automaker’s now-defunct rebadged Toyota city car was a weird idea (and that includes just about everyone), just wait. Aston Martin is now eager to sell you anything — your clothes, your baby stroller, and even your house.

Read more
Saleen, Already on Shaky Financial Ground, Sued for Failing to Deliver

Two U.S. Ford dealerships are beyond frustrated with Saleen Automotive after the performance sportscar manufacturer failed to deliver its signature modified Mustangs on time.

According to Automotive News, Red McCombs Ford of San Antonio filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud after the three Saleen Mustangs it ordered arrived six months late missing $22,000 in modifications. Friendship Ford of Bristol, Tennessee hasn’t received a Saleen Mustang it ordered over a year ago.

Read more
Mystery Shoppers Rank Tesla Dead Last for Sales Effectiveness Again

Every year, Pied Piper Management sends phony car buyers into dealerships to rank how much deal-landing prowess their salespeople can muster.

This year’s dealership effectiveness rankings put a number of high-end automakers at the top, but the industry’s most innovative company sits at the very bottom for the second year in a row. According to Pied Piper’s Prospect Satisfaction Index, Tesla Motors ranks last by a mile.

Why does an automaker that builds fast vehicles have so little hustle in the sales department?

Read more
Consumer Watchdog Slams Elon Musk, Demands Tesla Pull the Plug on Autopilot

America’s highest profile consumer advocacy group is calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for waiting a month to disclose the potential risk posed to owners by the company’s Autopilot technology.

In a letter to Musk, Consumer Watchdog demands that Tesla sideline its Autopilot system until it can be proven safe, criticizes the CEO for side-stepping blame in several crashes, and accuses him of putting the public at risk.

Read more
It's a Cash Bonanza for Diesel Owners as Volkswagen Unloads Up to $14.7 Billion in the U.S.

Christmas is coming early for owners of polluting Volkswagen TDI models now that the automaker has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle claims in the diesel emissions scandal.

Volkswagen’s settlement with the federal government, owners and regulators will see it buy back some 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles in the U.S. at pre-scandal values and offer their owners up to a cool $10,000 in extra compensation, according to figures reported by the New York Times.

Read more
'I Came for the Men's Briefs, But I Stayed for the Tesla Model X'

Sometimes, a consumer just wants to know what electric vehicle pairs well with their wrinkle-free straight leg Chinos.

Nordstrom shoppers at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles can breathe a sigh of relief come Saturday, when Tesla Motors plans to open a ‘gallery’ retail location inside the upscale store.

Let’s hope they swap the Model S P90D for a 60 kWh model on discount days.

Read more
Musk Says the Tesla Model S Suspension Controversy is Over

Elon Musk is declaring the controversy that erupted over reports of Tesla Model S suspension failures to be over, done, finished, finito.

The Tesla founder and CEO fired off a string of tweets late Friday, saying that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was done looking into the matter, and added that the majority of complaints were found to be fraudulent.

Yesterday, TTAC examined the details of the case that sparked accusations of a serious Model S safety issue and a cover-up on the part of the automaker. The firestorm of controversy, ignited by a Daily Kanban blog post by ex-TTAC editor Edward Neidermeyer, centered on a Pennsylvania man whose 2013 Model S experienced an unusual upper ball joint failure.

Read more
'Project Pinnacle': Cadillac Promises a New Sales Experience, but Dealers Are Wary

It’s D-Day, so what better time to dish details on Cadillac’s secretive Project Pinnacle?

The luxury automaker plans to completely revamp how its dealers interact with customers — a strategy that even changes how its salespeople dress, according to a draft document obtained by Automotive News.

Under Project Pinnacle — the brainchild of brand president Johan de Nysschen — U.S. dealers will be grouped into five tiers based on expected sales. When the operation kicks off on October 1, car shoppers can expect a higher-end experience at their local Caddy dealership. Get ready to be coddled.

Read more
Toyota and Mercedes-Benz Dealers Ranked Best for Customer Experience, VW is Dead Last

If you want the best chances of being treated right as a new car buyer, head over to a Toyota or Mercedes-Benz dealer, a new report says.

Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm, ranked 294 companies, including 20 auto dealers, based on satisfaction surveys from 10,000 Americans. While Toyota took the top spot with a 66 percent rating, the report holds bad news for many automakers, and the industry as a whole.

Read more
TTAC Reader Unimpressed With Tone Deaf Volkswagen Mailout

Pity poor Volkswagen. It’s constantly accused of doing the wrong thing in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.

But guess what? There’s reason for it, and here’s yet another example.

TTAC reader Rudy Lukez has waited months to find out what Volkswagen plans to do with his 2014 Jetta Sportwagen TDI. So, when a package from the company showed up in his Highlands Ranch, Colorado mailbox this morning, the repeat Volkswagen owner figured his questions were about to be answered.

Read more
Volkswagen Settlement Nears; Start Planning That Goodbye Party for Your Dirty Diesel

Owners of 2.0-liter Volkswagen diesels will have to wait a little longer before learning exactly when their rolling pariahs will leave their driveways.

The automaker is on track to meet a June 21 settlement deadline, a federal judge stated yesterday, but details on the wildly expensive U.S. buyback and compensation program won’t be made public just yet.

Read more
Tesla Confirms Model 3 Order Cancellations; Musk Goes Looking for Cash

It’s billed as the affordable electric car of the future, but 12,200 reservations have dropped off the Tesla order list since the company’s Model 3 came on the scene.

The new tally was revealed when Tesla announced plans to raise $1.4 billion through a share offering to boost its financial standing, Bloomberg reports.

Since orders opened, 4,200 duplicate reservations have been erased by the company, and 8,000 customers have backed out of their purchase. That leaves 373,000 reservations on the books, each backed by a $1,000 check.

Read more
GM's Flawed Fuel Economy Numbers Could Affect Millions of Vehicles

The strange case of General Motors’ incorrect fuel economy numbers is getting stranger, if it wasn’t odd enough already.

GM announced late last week that it would reprint EPA labels for its 2016 full-size crossovers after the wrong mileage made its way onto window stickers, but Consumer Reports now says there’s something fishy about that.

Read more
GM Issues a 'Stop Sale' After Incorrect Fuel Economy Labels Found on Full-Size Crossovers

General Motors is in damage control mode following the discovery of incorrect fuel economy ratings on the window stickers of its 2016 full-size crossovers.

A “stop sale” order was issued to GM dealers on Wednesday after EPA labels on GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave vehicles were shown to overstate mileage by one to two miles per gallon, Automotive News reports.

Read more
The Biggest Safety Recall in History is About to Get Way, Way Bigger

Maybe 2016 isn’t Takata’s year.

The airbag manufacturer at the heart of the largest automotive safety recall in history is poised to double the number of airbag inflators it needs to fix, Reuters reports.

A number of people close to the issue said the beleaguered company will soon announce a massive expansion in the scope of the recall, which has already seen 28.8 million airbag inflators recalled in vehicles from 14 automakers. Another 35 to 40 million units require fixing, the sources say.

Read more
Let Your Fingers Do the Blocking: Craigslist's Paranoid Plate Appendages

TTAC commenter Piston Slap Yo Mamma has given us a great gift.

While perusing used cars on his local Craigslist site, he noticed a trend occurring in the vehicle images. Fingers. Lots of them. Obscuring license plates. Possibly, revealing more about the driver than the plate itself.

So numerous were these crooked appendages, often topped with purple or naturally yellow nails, that he felt the need to share them. So, this Tumblr page was born.

Read more
Volkswagen Isn't Selling Any Brands Just Yet, But It's Still Their 'Plan B'

Rival automakers salivating at the thought of snapping up a castoff from Volkswagen’s brand portfolio will have to sit and wait.

Amid grim fourth-quarter financial data and ongoing expenses linked to the diesel emissions scandal, the company is standing by its assets, but admits they might have to jettison some if unexpected expenses crop up.

Read more
BMW Really Wants Mini Owners to Rent Out Their Cars

“Clean up the place when you’re done with it, and don’t even think of offering ‘hourly rates’ while you have it. This is a respectable car.”

Adds like this could start popping up from new Mini owners if the quirky automaker has its way, Automotive News Europe reports.

Mini plans to offer devices on its models that allow the owner to rent out their vehicle to other drivers, providing some cash for themselves and a Mini experience for non-owners.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group executive in charge of Mini, seems very excited about the technology, telling Automotive News that the system will be “kind of like Airbnb on wheels.”

Read more
Mitsubishi Fudged Japanese Mileage Data Since 1991

Mitsubishi’s fuel economy scandal blew up yesterday after the automaker admitted it has issued misleading mileage data since C+C Music Factory was at the top of the charts.

The scandal that started with inflated mileage numbers on a single minicar one week ago now extends to all Japanese market Mitsubishi vehicles sold over the past quarter century. Reuters is reporting that the automaker compiled fuel economy data using U.S. standards, rather than the Japanese standards that factor in much more city driving.

Read more
"Too Bad About That Old Diesel, Can I Interest You in Something New?"

Will Volkswagen TDI owners who opt for a buyback be soured on the brand, or can they be lured into a new model?

It’s a big question for dealers, who could stand to benefit from the dealership traffic they’ll see when Volkswagen’s buyback program gets up and running later this year.

Read more
Roll With It: FCA Voluntarily Recalls 1.1 Million Models With Confusing Gear Selector

Like an unoccupied Dodge Charger stuck in “Drive,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ gear selector controversy was rapidly building momentum before yesterday’s announcement.

Responding to numerous instances of runaway vehicles and an expanding National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, FCA voluntarily recalled 811,586 vehicles in the U.S. and 52,144 in Canada, and a further 265,473 in Mexico and overseas.

Read more
Volkswagen Might Pay Every U.S. Diesel Owner $5,000 to Avoid a Trial

On the eve of a key U.S. deadline for a diesel emissions fix, Volkswagen has reportedly agreed to pay all American owners of afflicted TDI models $5,000 each.

The deal, reported by Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, would allow the automaker to avoid going to trial this summer, according to Automotive News.

Volkswagen was facing an April 21 deadline to outline a comprehensive fix for the 580,000 U.S. diesel models equipped with “ defeat devices” designed to sidestep emissions regulations. The deadline was set in March by a U.S. District Court judge.

Read more
Tiny Vehicle's Thirst Means a Supersized Headache for Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors has some ‘splaining to do after fuel economy figures for its tiny overseas eK wagon were proven to be false.

The automaker overstated gas mileage by five to 10 percent over the last three model years, Bloomberg reports, allowing the minicars to be classified as greener than they actually were.

Powered by small-displacement three-cylinder engines, the vehicles are called “kei cars” in Japan (no, not K-cars).

Read more
Want Your Vehicle to Retain Its Value? Make Sure It's Big, or Bigger

If you’re looking to get the most money back when you drop your car onto the used market in five years, better get into something large and utilitarian.

Large and midsize trucks and SUVs grab the top five-year resale values in Edmund’s 2016 Retained Value Awards, with conventional and luxury midsize and large cars depreciating the most.

Read more
Ford GT Orders Begin at a Cool Mid-$400,000; Hold Your Horses, Russia

If there’s about $450,000 burning a hole in your pocket, Ford wants you to get in line for the new GT.

The application process for the 2017 and 2018 model years of the carbon fiber supercar kicked off today, and along with it, a very selective customer screening process.

Ford will sell a limited number of GTs each year, produced by Canadian firm Multimatic, so it could be a long wait if you don’t make the cut this time around. Ford anticipates first deliveries will begin late this year, with applications ending on May 12. Oh, and Russia? You can’t order a Ford GT, unless you have a friend buy it for you in an eligible country — like, say, China.

Read more
Juggling Act: Tesla Will Have to Deal With a Tax Credit Gap

Much to the delight of EV fanatics and sandal enthusiasts around the world, Tesla reported last week that 325,000 people had placed refundable $1,000 deposits on its Model 3 sedan. Even pessimistically projecting a defection rate of 25 percent, that’s still nearly a quarter of a million cars which need to be built and delivered starting late next year.

Industry analysts have nattered at length about the logistics of the mass order and Tesla’s ability to pull it off. However, there is a new obstacle on the horizon, this time involving the core reason many have given for reserving a Model 3: tax credits.

Read more
Take a Little Off the Top Come Bonus Time, Mller Tells Volkswagen Management

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller is expected to cave to shareholder and labor pressure today and ask that his management board agree to trim their bonuses by 30 percent, insider sources have told Reuters.

Will it satisfy dealers and vehicle owners stuck with depreciated rolling stock? Not. Bloody. Likely.

The request, if it comes to pass, comes after workers unions and the state of Lower Saxony (Volkswagen’s home and its second-largest shareholder) protested the idea of senior management receiving full compensation while the diesel emissions scandal continues to rage.

Read more
Petition Demands That Sergio Spin Off Jeep in Order to Save It

A group of Jeep fans wants Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne to make a Sophie’s Choice-style decision to save their beloved offroader.

To avoid the destruction of the storied brand at the hands of its parent company, FCA must cast it loose, the group states in a strongly-worded Change.org petition.

“As owners and fans of Jeep vehicles, we are calling on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to separate Jeep from FCA’s stable of failing brands and debt,” the petition states. “We urge FCA to execute a spinoff to save Jeep.”

Read more
Talk to Our Committee to Avoid Lawsuits, Volkswagen Dealers Tell Automaker

Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. have formed a go-to team tasked with drawing compensation out of the automaker while avoiding a looming barrage of dealer lawsuits.

The five-member committee was formed at a dealers-only meeting held yesterday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, one day before U.S. dealers were expected to meet with top Volkswagen brass, Automotive News has reported.

The move is designed to head off a potential slew of lawsuits from U.S. dealers seeking reparations for sunk costs and lost revenue stemming from the automaker’s expansion push and subsequent diesel emissions scandal.

Read more
Volkswagen's European Diesel Recall Grinds to a Halt, Post-Fix Mileage Blamed

Volkswagen’s slow roll-out of fixes for recalled diesel vehicles in Europe has hit a snag.

Authorities in Europe have put the brakes on a series of Volkswagen recalls after greater fuel consumption was allegedly recorded in models that have undergone the diesel emissions fix, Automotive News Europe is reporting.

Reports say that fuel economy suffered after the fix, forcing Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to halt the repairs of 2.0-liter Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda models.

Read more
Sales Are Rising, But Incentive-Happy Automakers Are Kneecapping Profits

Light vehicle sales haven’t peaked in the U.S., but the way they’re being sold is putting automakers in some financial peril.

That warning was delivered by Thomas King, vice-president of the Power Information Network, ahead of this weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Association, Wards Auto reports.

Speaking at the J.D. Power Automotive Summit, King said retail sales of cars and light trucks will rise this year and next, even after a very healthy 2015. Last year saw 14.2 million units reach customers, with volume projected to hit 14.7 million in 2017.

Despite moving more vehicles and rising MRSPs, automakers risk forgoing the financial benefits due to incentives and a growing trend towards leasing.

Read more
Act Fast, and Get a Ford Focus Electric for Pennies

If you live in California and your demographics are right, your electric car dream is within reach. Yes, even you, baristas and struggling actors!

The website Leasehackr stumbled upon a killer deal for lower-income Californians (assuming they live near charging stations), and spelled out how leftover 2015 Ford Focus Electrics can be leased for essentially nothing.

If your personal life aligns with Ford’s customer incentives and California’s revamped EV rebate program, it can be done.

Read more
DOT Goes Wikileaks on Dealers, Puts Your Car's Secrets Online

Your vehicle’s hidden flaws and most shocking (mechanical) secrets will soon be just a click away.

The Department of Transportation is ending the clandestine relationship between your car’s dealer and the manufacturer by posting all Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) online, according to Consumer Reports.

TSBs, which outline the recommended procedure for repairing vehicles, will be posted in PDF form on the safercar.gov website.

Read more
Nissan to Ad Agencies: "It Takes Brass Balls to Sell Cars!"

Nissan’s U.S. sales boss delivered some Glengarry Glen Ross-style “motivation” to its ad agencies in order to pump up the brand’s weak messaging via a new campaign.

Christian Meunier, who took control of Nissan’s U.S. sales and marketing in January, dressed down a roomful of agency reps a week into his new job, according to Automotive News (via Ad Age).

Read more
Cadillac (and Its Resale Values) Still Haunted by Troubling Past

The lowly Cimarron might be be a distant, nightmare-fuel memory, but Cadillac’s current sales strategy is still being impacted by a history of not measuring up to European rivals.

The luxury automaker’s newest offerings — the CT6 sedan and XT5 crossover — have been saddled with so-so resale values by residual forecaster ALG, according to Automotive News, making it more difficult for Cadillac to offer competitive lease rates.

Read more
True to His Word, Chip Perry is Revamping TrueCar

TrueCar, the prolific third-party car shopping site, is changing the way it does business in the hopes of mending dealer relations and reversing the company’s flagging fortunes.

When TrueCar president and CEO Chip Perry took the helm of the site last December, his stated goal was to make amends with ornery partners and bring the company out of a period of turmoil.

Read more
TTAC News Round-up: Mitsubishi Has a Plan, Volvo Wants You Online, and FCA Throws Down

Mitsubishi confirms it is going to shoehorn another SUV into its lineup to tempt those utility-hungry Americans.

That, Volvo wants everyone to buy S90s from their beds, Fiat Chrysler isn’t having a dealer’s trash talk, UAW bolsters its ranks, and your gas is going up … after the break!

Read more
TTAC News Round-up: Mazda Doesn't Need No Stinkin' Hybrids, Volkswagen Rebuffs Deadline, and March Looks Like a Winner

“Hybrids? Those things that can’t make up their mind on what they want to be in life? Come on!” – Mazda.

That, Volkswagen floors the accelerator past a deadline, March looks like a boffo month for vehicle sales, Audi dials it back a bit, and getting a Tesla Model 3 depends on whether or not you’re in the club … after the break!

Read more
Volkswagen Investors Want an Expensive Pound of Flesh

The numbers are big — 278 investors seeking $3.61 billion — but the latest lawsuit leveled at Volkswagen is merely another drop in the penalty bucket for the embattled automaker.

As has been expected for some time, a group of institutional investors from numerous countries is seeking compensation for financial damage caused by Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, Reuters is reporting.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in a Lower Saxony court — the same jurisdiction as Volkswagen’s headquarters — and alleges the automaker breached its duty under capital markets law between the time the “defeat device” was first installed in diesel models and when the scandal went public last September.

Read more
TTAC News Round-up: Toyota Brings on Brains, Sergio Leaves the Cake in the Oven, and GM Takes the Stand

The brain trust of yet another artificial intelligence technology startup has been snapped up as automakers prepare for our terrifying, dystopian future.

That, Sergio Marchionne has a sure-fire recipe, jury selection begins in ignition trial, Tesla doesn’t need no stinkin’ successful low-priced car, and GM goes big on commercial sales … after the break!

Read more
Volkswagen to Slash Office Jobs by Next Year, Says Report

Like ripples in a pool of sulphur-rich oil, the impact from Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal keeps spreading.

In a cost-cutting measure designed to mitigate the growing financial damage caused by the scandal, Volkswagen is planning to cut 3,000 administration jobs in Germany, according to Reuters.

Read more
  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?