Category: News Blog

By on November 25, 2020

The National Auto Body Council announced the award winners in their first NABC Rides for a Reason Virtual Car Show. At this event, NABC member auto body shops, their employees, and enthusiasts had the ability to put their rides on display in a virtual format.

The show included top cars, trucks, and motorcycles from member shops, car clubs, and individual owners. Winners were selected by celebrity automotive judges. Proceeds from the event are being used to support the NABC’s mission to change and save lives. Recycled Rides, First Responder Emergency Extraction, and its Distracted Driving Initiative are among the NABC’s programs.  Read More >

By on November 25, 2020

2022 Honda Civic Sport. Image: HondaAs Toyota approached the launch of the all-new, 2018 Toyota Camry in mid-2017, the automaker telegraphed its intentions very plainly.

“I think you’re going to see the entire sedan market pick up,” then vice-president Jack Hollis said. “We want the new Camry to rehabilitate the segment,” Toyota’s Moritaka Yoshida said at the time.

Toyota wasn’t alone.

“I don’t expect to sell fewer Accords in 2018 with this great new product,” Honda’s sales vice-president, Ray Mikiciuk, said later on in 2017. Accord sales fell 10 percent in 2018 before sliding 8 percent in 2019.

One year later, Nissan’s Dennis Le Vot worked up to the launch of the 2019 Altima by suggesting that when it comes to passenger car market share: “We think 30 percent is the bottom.” Passenger car market share fell below 30 percent in 2019, the new Altima’s first full year.

Now we’re months away from the arrival of the 11th-generation Honda Civic. You know the drill: major automaker launches major car nameplate, major automaker suggests car market will stop the free-fall, major automaker hypes possibility of car market healing.

We’re skeptical.

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By on November 24, 2020

The General Services Administration (GSA), responsible for managing services for federal agencies, issued a five-year federal contract to Uber and Lyft. Confirmed by Veronica Juarez, Lyft’s vice president of social enterprise and government, on Monday, the deal estimated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $810 million and allows the ride-hailing firms to offer public agencies a direct line to their transportation services.

While federal employees have always been able to utilize the services, the new arrangement makes them semi-compulsory for some of the millions of government employees involved. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft can now work directly with officials to promote their services. With the recent passing of California’s Prop 22, which issued special legal protections to ride-hailing companies, the duo seemed to be experiencing a run of good fortune late in the year. That doesn’t guarantee that they’ll suddenly become profitable entities. But they could be with sufficient government support — which seems increasingly likely for reasons we’re about to dive into.

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By on November 24, 2020

I, Jason R. Sakurai, literally grew up in a dealership, with a father that nurtured my automotive interests. Following grad school, I was recruited by General Motors, leaving Phoenix for the Motor City.

Managing 21 dealerships in GM’s San Francisco Zone, I later moved to Nissan, and then Mazda. Eschewing corporate life, I sold ad space for Four Wheeler Magazine, then did TV for the National Hot Rod Association as Director of Sales. ESPN’s buyback of my inventory prompted me to start Roadhouse Marketing, a marketing, advertising, and PR firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket and outdoor industries.

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By on November 24, 2020

Borislav Bajkic/Shutterstock.com
It’s taken a bit longer than planned, but we have our newest news contributor all settled in and raring to go. Please Welcome Jason Sakurai to our little, weird corner of the car Internet. He’ll be our next newshound, stepping into the role Steph Willems vacated.

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By on November 24, 2020

McLaren Automotive has decided on a name for its upcoming plug-in hybrid. But we know you don’t care much about premium automobiles reserved for people with more money than sense, so we’ll keep this one brief.

Formerly referred to as the P16, McLaren’s new PHEV will be called the Artura. The name, which is of Celtic origin, is supposed to denote nobility. While we cannot say for sure, the brand may be dropping hints as to the type of customers it’s targeting — because the model will no doubt come with a princely sum. Read More >

By on November 24, 2020

General Motors has changed its mind on backing the Trump administration’s effort to supplant Obama-era emission regulations with something more manageable and prohibit California from setting its own emissions rules. Of course, the coastal rules aren’t really just for California — it desperately wants to export them to the rest of the country and has made rather incredible headway for not being the federal government. The coastal region has already convinced over 20 states to follow in its footsteps and even amassed support from auto manufacturers like BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen Group.

Other automakers, including General Motors, felt the Trump plan would give them more flexibility and undoubtedly make them less subject to government fines. However, with a Biden presidency assured without Trump and Co. having an extremely powerful voter fraud case, GM has become a turncoat. On Monday, CEO Mary Barra issued a letter to environmental groups stating that her company is “immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

GM now wants to work with Joe Biden — probably because the company understands his administration is going to be regulating the snot out of the nation.

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By on November 24, 2020

In Part I of this very orange Rare Ride, we covered the love child of Rover, BMW, and (eventually) Ford which was the L322 Range Rover. Today we’ll talk about just what makes this one so special, aside from the glaringly orange paint.

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By on November 23, 2020

The United Nation Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a report on Monday stating that Carlos Ghosn’s extended detention in Japan was an unacceptable infringement on his rights — adding that the matter would be forwarded to the UN’s rapporteur on torture, cruel and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

While there are undoubtedly larger examples of human rights abuses inside the automotive industry — Volkswagen’s apparent reliance on Chinese slave labor springs to mind — Japan’s bizarre treatment of the former head of the Renault-Nissan alliance garnered plenty of attention. Accused of financial crimes relating to the Japanese automaker he formally chaired and was once praised for saving, Ghosn was subjected to repeated arrests and strict limitations on who he was allowed to contact. Despite his having fled the country in a form befitting of a secret agent, the UN is still claiming his treatment ahead of the repeatedly delayed trial was tantamount to abuse.

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By on November 23, 2020

Today’s subject is the first time a Range Rover appears in the series. We’ve come as close as a Discovery badged as the Honda Cro$$road previously, but today’s truck is much more special.

It’s a 1 of 20 G4 Challenge.

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By on November 23, 2020

It’s been five weeks since I opined VW should cancel the Arteon and the North American Passat, and replace both with the European Passat instead.

Late last week, Volkswagen complied with part of my request. They must read TTAC!

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By on November 23, 2020

Unless you happen to be the primary stakeholder in Amazon, 2020 probably hasn’t’ been the kind of year you’re likely to miss. However, there is no shortage of lobbyist groups and trade organizations willing to praise it as a triumphant time for modernity. This includes the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chairman Rhett Ricart, who believes digitizing the industry is the best pathway forward. While he hasn’t forgotten that pandemic-related lockdowns closed showrooms and factories, resulting in extremely lean inventories and weak sales, he claims it has accelerated everyone’s willingness to utilize online sales formats.

But there’s little reason to assume such a move would be better for dealerships from our vantage point. Haggle-free, direct pricing and ordering over the internet removes a lot of what the showroom does. This new model runs the risk of obliterating smaller storefronts and relegating the rest into glorified service centers doubling as a delivery hub.

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By on November 23, 2020

As sure as the sun rises in the morning, we can always count on the Takata airbag recall adding new vehicles to its ranks. General Motors is poised to add another 5.9 million vehicles to the list after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an announcement on Monday.

Regulators stated that the automaker will be obligated to recall SUVs and pickup trucks (GMT900 vehicles) manufactured between 2007 and 2014 because the installed airbag inflators suffer from the classic Takata trait of being extremely dangerous. While the defect itself is relatively rare, the number of vehicles involved is staggering. Around 100 million inflators have been recalled by 19 major automakers around the world, and the resulting failure is often devastating. Units, especially those exposed to high levels of heat and humidity, can rupture ― causing an explosion that sprays metal fragments all over the cabin. There have been 18 known fatalities relating to the issue in the United States alone.

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By on November 20, 2020

Safety regulators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said they were opening formal regulatory proceedings to establish new safety standards for autonomous vehicles on Thursday. However, before the NHTSA can get into proposing new rules that will influence how cars that can control themselves will be handled by the U.S. government, it wants citizens to offer their two cents.

We’re talking specifically about Levels 3-5 of automation as defined by SAE, meaning cars that could someday be sold without steering wheels or any other means to take control of the vehicle yourself. It’s something industrial lobbyists with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) already have a roadmap for and plan on sharing with the NHTSA soon. Based on the group’s previous initiatives, we imagine it’ll be advocating the government leave as much control in the hands of manufacturers as possible. But you’ll have a limited window to weigh in on that position (or, better yet, share your own) while regulators have an open request for public comment.

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By on November 20, 2020

2021 Mazda 3 Turbo

In my mid-20s I had a boss who once said to me “We all gotta grow up sometime”.

I don’t remember the specifics of why he said that, other than he wasn’t chewing me out or anything like that. I think maybe we were talking generally about post-college life and the responsibilities of adulthood.

The specifics don’t matter. What does, at least for the purposes of this post, is that the Mazda 3 is learning that lesson. With Mazdaspeed more or less shelved and the manufacturer trying to move the 3 upscale, away from its spunky past, while not leaving the “zoom-zoom” reputation fully behind, the 3 is supposed to be all grown up yet still cool.

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