Category: News Blog

By on January 21, 2020

This must be some sort of irony-steeped Radwood thing. How else to explain the sudden resurgence in enthusiasm for a mid-sized van that loitered in General Motors’ lineup for two uneventful decades?

It seems there’s a concerted — though perhaps not entirely honest — effort to return the lowly Astro to the Chevrolet stable. It’s a plaintive wail that will absolutely fall on deaf ears in the boardrooms of the Renaissance Center. And so it should. Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

Mitsubishi is under investigation by German prosecutors for the suspected use of illegal defeat devices on diesel engines. As usual, the probe was kicked off by a series of raids — practically a cliche at this point.

Germany has certainly ran with the concept after U.S. regulators faulted Volkswagen for using illegal defeat devices to cheat diesel emission testing procedures in 2015. The reality is that regulators are cracking down the world over since the scandal, with Deutschland taking extra precautions to ensure other domestic brands don’t shame themselves like VW did.

Investigators are looking at 1.6-liter and 2.2-liter 4-cylinder Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines and asking individuals who own Mitsubishi models (built after 2014) with those units to contact the police.  Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

All of you have shared in my car shopping experience, which began at the end of 2019. Starting with a solicitation for recommendations back in October, the process of finding the right replacement for a 2012 Outback extended longer than planned and was punctuated with a particularly poor experience at a Volkswagen dealer.

But it was all worth it, because now I’ve got a new (used) wagon.

Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

Cruise AV interior

Cruise LLC, General Motors’ self-driving arm, plans to reveal a revolutionary vehicle in San Francisco on Tuesday, Bloomberg has learned. It will not be a modified Chevrolet Bolt that’s missing its steering wheel.

The expected reveal comes after a multiple rounds of funding and promises of near-future production and a planned ridesharing fleet. Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

2020_Tacoma_TRD_Off_Road_01_50A9E609C6722DED1EB517DDEAC1D10E71825716

The perennially popular Toyota Tacoma will move all of its assembly south of the Rio Grande under a recently announced production switch-up.

When the ancient Sequoia full-size SUV enters a new generation, and along with it the Tundra pickup, it won’t stay at its present Princeton, Indiana home. Toyota plans to move Sequoia production southward to Texas, punting Tacoma output to a country that’s no stranger to the midsize pickup. Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

Crosstrek Hybrid

Like it or not, Subaru plans to make up for lost time by delving deep into the world of electrification. In a technical briefing Monday, the automaker outlined a plan to draw 40 percent of its global sales from electric or hybrid vehicles by the beginning of the next decade.

Currently, the automaker only sells the Crosstrek Hybrid, but that will change as its newly strengthened partnership with Toyota starts to bear fruit. Read More >

By on January 21, 2020

No, we’re not talking about your divorce. Keep that baggage to yourself! Rather, we’re talking about the person in your life who kindled that spark — that interest, and yes, perhaps even that love of cars.

As the TTAC crew says goodbye to a very good guy who just happened to hold passionate opinions about the auto industry (and can’t be blamed for cursing several American vehicles of the 1980s and ’90s), let’s get personal. Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

With General Motors razzing Ford back in 2015 for optioning an aluminum truck bed to save weight, thus improving fuel economy, it couldn’t pull off a similar move without a sea of mouths wailing warnings of hypocrisy. GM has been playing catch-up with the Blue Oval’s full-size pickup since forever, always framing the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado as the more robust choice. The company even launched an advertising campaign to prove its steel truck bed was the tougher option.

When the General’s full-sized trucks underwent a weight-loss program of their own, it was decided anything that opened or closed should be aluminum while the bed absolutely had to stay high-strength steel. Otherwise, it would be guilty of the same mistakes it accused Ford of. Despite throwing shade at Ford’s claimed lack of sturdiness for over a decade, the aluminum-sucks angle has been reeled back immensely over the last couple of years. GM even attempted to wipe all evidence of a comparative rock-drop test from the internet, possibly because it’s finally decided to embrace aluminum itself.

However, there’s already an alternative to the high-strength steel GM currently offers — the CarbonPro bed available on the GMC Sierra Denali and AT4 — and the manufacturer has prepared another stunt show to test its mettle.  Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

While I don’t particularly agree with all the criticisms Lee Iacocca has thrown at Japan, his most polarizing claim (published in Playboy, no less) — that its citizens certainly know Jeep because “they saw enough of them in World War II” — has bizarrely continued to ring true. As far as American automotive brands go, Jeep has been Japan’s favorite for a while. And it only needed to tamp down its relationship to “The Big One” slightly to get there.

However, the sales game is always relative.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing brands on the market, Jeep only netted itself 13,360 deliveries in Japan for 2019. But consistent growth since 2013 has to account for something, especially when the overall market is performing so poorly. At the very least, it shows American brands can make some amount of headway on a nut Iacocca believed uncrackable.  Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

Nothing lasts forever. Not even, apparently, the Morgan Plus 4 — a low-slung, quintessentially British roadster that started production in 1950 and still looks looks like it comes from a land of postwar rationing. Beneath the 2020 Plus 4 lies the same ladder frame that underpinned the first Plus 4, which arrived on the scene when Betty White was just 29.

You won’t find many 2020 Plus 4 models. Just 20 commemorative examples are planned as Morgan gears up to enter the modern age. Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

While other manufacturers are downsizing engines and sticking turbos anywhere they’ll fit, Mazda has attempted to maintain a home for naturally aspirated motors — engines it believes should be sized appropriately for their intended application. On paper, this appears to be giving the competition an edge. Yet Mazda remains committed to offering the right tool for the job, introducing naturally aspirated Skyactiv engines with unusually high compression ratios. The latest, Skyactiv-X, combines spark-controlled gasoline combustion and compression-ignition diesel tech with a 24-volt mild-hybrid system.

The system delivers 178 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque in 2.0-liter guise, plus MPG improvements of up to 20 percent vs the old Skyactiv-G. But there’s a problem. With Mazda attempting to go upmarket, an economy-focused powertrain has to deliver in whatever region it’s sold, and introductory Skyactiv-X units are now viewed as too small for the United States. The result? The technology’s delayed arrival in North America, despite its deployment via the new 2.0 liter found in the 2020 Mazda 3 and CX-30 sold in Japan and Europe.  Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

The second-generation Infiniti QX50 is a seldom talked-about model that gets plenty of mention on these digital pages, what with its technological wizardry and big launch expectations… that didn’t seem to do the compact crossover much good when it finally reached dealerships.

No problem — maybe customers will take more kindly to its QX55 sibling, teased late last year ahead of an early summer 2020 release. But hold on a second! It appears the QX55 won’t show up at the party until much later than expected. Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

nissan

Japanese executives traditionally take company failings very personally, often performing penance in the wake of scandals and downturns. In the case of fresh-on-the-job Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, his punishment for the automaker’s dismal financial situation and tumbling sales was an earful from a group of angry U.S. dealers.

The dealers let Uchida have it during a recent meeting at Nissan’s U.S. headquarters — the first such meeting since Uchida’s elevation to CEO late last year. It’s not like he didn’t ask for it. Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

Detroit Three automobile production will rise 5 percent in the U.S. over the life of the recent four-year UAW contract, with Mexican assembly plants cranking out 11-percent fewer vehicles over the agreement’s lifespan, but there’s little good news for the snowy land north of the U.S. border.

By 2023, Detroit Three production is expected to decline by a whopping 27 percent in Canada, continuing a decades-long trend. Labor contracts expire this year, so what’s a union to do? Read More >

By on January 20, 2020

Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale Arizona

It’s no secret that wherever enthusiasts — of any person, place, or thing — get together, mad money soon follows. Look at the huge money being commanded for certain rock n’ roll memorabilia, or rare artwork by a noted painter. Your author just bid obscene money for a frame containing handwritten liner notes, a platinum record, and a picture signed by some famous Canadian musicians. My bank account weeps but my office walls are happy.

It is the same, of course, with cars. Some recent models have skyrocketed in value, while a few others have traded on famous names. What’s been your biggest surprise of late?

Read More >

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