UAW VW Road Map Guiding March To Mercedes-Benz

Following the same road map that led to the ongoing organization efforts at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., the United Auto Workers have allied with German union IG Metall and Daimler’s works council on their march toward Mercedes-Benz’s MBUSI plant in Vance, Ala.

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Australian Supplier Association Warns Of 33,000 Jobs Lost In Wake Of Producer Exits
Japan's Auto Workers Seek Pay Raise Amid Soaring Profits
U.S. Average Fuel Economy Increases In January
Tennessee Lawmakers Threatening To Kill Subsidies If UAW Wins VW Plant

Should the United Auto Workers win the upcoming election to represent workers at Volkswagen’s Chatanooga, Tenn. plant, the automaker may find itself shunned by state lawmakers as far as further subsidies are concerned.

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2015 Chevy Silverado HD Goes Green With CNG
Dealers: Lengthy Long-Term Financing A Necessary Evil
Experian: Subprime Financing, Delinquencies To Grow in 2014, 100 Month Terms Coming Soon

Just over five years after the Great Recession tightened consumer lending standards on everything from cars to houses, Experian Automotive is forecasting growth in the subprime market for 2014, including longer loan terms and increased delinquencies.

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President Obama Promises Tougher Truck MPG Standards, More Renewables

President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address was relevant to auto industry types for more than just the hosting of GM CEO Mary Barra, as President Obama also called for tougher fuel economy standards for heavy duty trucks, as well as increased exploration of natural gas as an alternative fuel.

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European Auto Market Begins Climb Out Of Six-Year Descent
Auto Sales Expected To Grow In 2014 Thanks To 100 Month Financing
Expert: 54.5 MPG CAFE Mark Reachable With Few Plug-Ins

For automakers worried about meeting the 54.5 mpg CAFE mark by 2025, Johnson Controls — the ones who predicted the end of the steering wheel by 2025 — assured them that the target could be met, and without the need to turn everything into a plug-in or full EV.

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Reuss Wants America to Have a Wagon
UAW Hopes For Swift Southern Unionization Victory 'Overly Optimistic'
UAW Dues Hike Supported By Membership According to Union President

The United Auto Workers will, for the first time since 1967, ask their membership to pay a 25 percent increase in dues to the union in order to shore up their strike fund and fight for better contracts, a move outgoing UAW president Bob King believes the membership will overwhelmingly support.

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Hamburg to Ban Cars From City Center By 2034

Germany’s presence in the motoring landscape is enormous, from the ongoing ‘Ring Time contests between the world’s automakers and their halo cars, to the famed Autobahn that connects Nürburg — and other cities in the country — with each other. Yet, the nation’s second-largest city, Hamburg, will eliminate Porsches, BMWs and Fords from its city center by 2034, when its car ban goes in effect.

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Detroit Three Gain Market Share At Home In 2013

Detroit’s triumvirate of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford are on pace to gain market share at home against their European and Asian competitors when the final numbers for 2013 are released later today, thanks to American consumers finding the Detroit Three’s offerings more attractive than what the competition has to offer.

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Bright Future For Auto Lending in 2014
Australian Government to Create $89 Million Fund For Affected Holden Employees

In the wake of General Motors’ decision to cease all manufacturing operations through Australian subsidiary Holden by 2017, the Australian government has announced that they will create a $100 million AUD ($89 million USD) fund for affected employees.

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EPA Declares Mazda As Most Fuel Efficient Automaker
Seventy Percent of Fords to Receive Stop-Start By 2017

For those who are adverse to hybrids, EVs and the like, yet want to do their part to be green may be in luck: Ford plans to install their Auto Stop-Start fuel-economizing technology in 70 percent of their North American lineup by 2017.

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The Manual is Alive and Well in the United Kingdom

In the United States, most vehicles leaving the showroom today come with some form of shifting that involves very little, if any, input from the driver, from the dual-clutch driven Porsche 918 Spyder, to the CVT-powered Nissan Versa Sedan.

In the United Kingdom, however, the manual is still king.

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U.S. Government Sells Remaining General Motors Stock
Google's New Car Search Makes Shopping Easier

Whether you’re in the market for an F-150 or an F-Type, you may have at some point used Google to learn all you could about your next car purchase. The Mountain View, Calif. company decided to make your quest for knowledge easier by unveiling their New Car Search feature as seen above.

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Off-Lease Boom Means Major Conflict For All Automakers

The Great Recession has given us so much since it began five years ago with the fall of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, from underwater mortgages and high unemployment, to bailouts of the financial and automotive manufacturing sectors and credit freezes.

Regarding the last item, a byproduct from said freeze will flood automakers with the potential to retain and steal customers when more and more leases draw to completion in the next year.

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EVs Too Pricey For Most Consumers

Based upon a survey of 1,084 conducted by Boulder, Colo. firm Navigant Research, it would appear most won’t be in the market for EVs anytime soon due to the price of admission being too rich for their blood… for any EV.

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Ford Expects SUVs, Crossovers to Drive Global Success

Is the future of motoring in the global marketplace in the good hands of the Golf, Forte and Fiesta? Not if you’re Ford’s vice president of Global Marketing, Jim Farley. In his mind, it’ll be a page from the 1991 Explorer’s successful playbook that will help his employer gain market and mind share the world over.

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Software Update Barely Makes Dent In Tesla Model S "Vampire" Issue

Standby power — or vampire draw — allows consumer goods such as smartphones, cloud-enabled laptops and PS4s to wake up immediately to do whatever it is you need them to do. There are drawbacks, of course, such as the wasting of resources (money, electricity, the things that make electricity happen) and fires.

Speaking of fires, Tesla may need to cast more sunlight upon the S’s vampire draw issues, as it would appear their latest software update hasn’t done much to drive the stake into its heart if one owner’s experience is to be believed.

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Fisker Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

What do Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Al Gore all have in common? They may soon — baring a miracle — become the proud owners of the first orphan cars made in the 21st century for well-moneyed consumers by an automaker born in the 21st century, as Fisker Automotive has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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Ford Fusion Rides Coastal Wave To Sales Success

From the neon-drenched beaches of Miami and the hipster enclaves in New York, to the high-tech castles in San Francisco and the studio lots of Hollywood, the Ford Fusion is experiencing a coastal market surge in popularity.

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Fiat Passes on Milano Auto Show

If you were hoping to celebrate an early Christmas in Milan with Signore Marchionne next year, you’re out of luck: Fiat has declined an invitation to show at the 2014 Milano Auto Show in light of the weakened local market.

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Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX

While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX.

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Supply Chain Bottleneck Due In Five Years According to Study

Bottlenecks are bad things to experience. Around 70,000 years ago, the Toba supervolcano eruption reduced humanity to anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs — thus creating a genetic bottleneck — alongside a global cooling event concurrent with the Last Glacial Period.

For automakers in the United States and their North American supply chain, their Toba event is coming.

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Mazda Test Drive Ends in Crash Due to Automatic Brake Failure

When the year 2025 comes around, and your sons and daughters purchase their autonomous commuter pod sans steering wheel, you may want to check the automatic brakes just to be sure they’re able to stop your children from smashing through the commuter pod in front of them, much like what happened to one customer during a test drive at a Mazda dealership in Japan over the weekend.

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GM Seeks "Contemporary Wagon" For Americans

Unless you pay a visit to Mr. Lang’s lot on the right day or really love Volkswagen, the only wagons available for Americans today are mostly Teutonic, and all come with a high price tag. According to GM North American President Mark Reuss, that’s a problem, and one he’d like to fix pronto.

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Google Glass Wearer to Fight Citation For Wearing Google Glass

Texting. Cellphones. Entertainment systems. All of these have been regulated in order to diminish distracted driving as much as possible. Google Glass may now be added to that list, courtesy of the California Highway Patrol via a speeding ticket that became more upon closer inspection.

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The Bear Roars For Tesla As Stock Surge Burns Out

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has noted on occasion — as recently as last month — that the price of his company’s stock was overvalued, particularly in the short term. Seems Wall Street got the hint, bestowing upon the automaker the biggest one-month loss of market value in October since the last such occurrence in December of 2010.

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Japan's Aging Population Boosting Demand For Autonomous Cars

Propelled by the fastest-aging nation in the world, there may soon come a day when senior motorists will find themselves behind the wheel ( or lack thereof) of a fully autonomous car.

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Automotive Supplier Prognosticator Predicts Demise of the Steering Wheel by 2025

Be afraid. Be very afraid. If the aspirations of one automotive supplier come to pass, your child’s first car will not have a steering wheel come 2025, rendering her or him nothing more than a mere passenger inside a tiny commuter pod.

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Peer-to-peer Car Sharing Services Found Lacking in Substantial Liability Coverage

In cities where owning a car can be a pain (New York, Boston, Seattle), drivers are opting instead to share vehicles with other drivers, with companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go, RelayRides et al offering their services to help the public get around. All anyone needs beyond the basics is a subscription to the car-sharing service, a reservation, and a drop-off location when they are finished with their errands. Even big-name rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz are jumping into the new business model for a test drive, Avis having gone the farthest by purchasing ZipCar in January of 2013.

However, the insurance offered by these peer-to-peer rental companies might not all that it’s cracked up to be, with severe consequences should anything remotely catastrophic occur.

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GM And Ford: Small Is The New Big

The fortunes of small cars used to be tied to gas prices. Sales of compacts rose when gas prices shot up, when gas came down, big was beautiful again. Sales of small cars are up strongly in America, but this time, it’s different, think two of the US motor industry’s most senior executives. They believe that the trend won’t reverse, and that sales of small cars will go further up.

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Why Scion Matters

A couple of months ago, Aaron Robinson of Car & Driver wrote an expansive article about Scion.

This quote pretty much summarized his view on the brand.

“I have no doubt that Scion will eventually go the way of Plymouth.”

I’m sure he wasn’t implying that cheap Scions will someday morph their way into becoming Toyota equivalents that offer fake wood trim exterior panels and trombone case red interiors. As a long-time automotive writer and columnist, he was simply reading the proverbial writing on Scion’s firewall that has been ever deeper ingrained into their product line.

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Young People Drive Less, Surf More

Video killed the radio star. And the Internet is about to kill the auto industry. Researchers at the University of Michigan noted a disturbing trend: More young adults would rather surf the web than cruise the highway. In a new study, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute found that a higher proportion of Internet users is associated with fewer drivers licenses among young persons.

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Get Sterilized, Receive A Tata Nano

With a massively growing population, and no Chinese-style national one-child policy in place, sterilization campaigns in India’s provinces and municipalities are far from uncommon. But now, in the Rajasthani district of Jhunjhunu, officials in charge of sterilization campigns have found a new incentive to encourage Indians to undergo the procedure: the subcontinents growing obsession with automobiles. Britain’s The Independent was the first Western news outlet to report on the scheme, which offers those undergoing sterilization

a coupon for a forthcoming raffle, with prizes including a Tata Nano car, motorbikes and electric food blenders.

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The Portrait Of An Early Adopter
One of the most challenging aspects of running a blog like TTAC is managing diversity. As a global site, TTAC and its readers are exposed to the full range o…
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Carmageddon Dreamin'

As a product of the Golden State, there’s a lot that I appreciate about California: the weather, the immigrant diversity, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that people drive fast just to name a few examples. But, having lived for years among fellow California refugees here in Oregon, there’s a lot of things I don’t look forward to when I find myself headed South, and chief among these is the traffic. But there’s traffic and then there’s traffic, and Southern California is currently gearing up for what promises to be the worst weekend of traffic in memory. A crucial portion LA’s infamous 405 freeway is shutting down for repairs on Friday and it will be closed all weekend. To someone who has never been to, or driven in Los Angeles, the reconstruction of a major intra-urban bridge and the addition of a new commuter lane in a single weekend might seem like impressively brisk work and cause for huzzahs. But in Los Angeles, where they don’t know Detroit claimed the tagline years ago, locals are hunkering down for “Carmageddon”… and their reactions form a fascinating comment on our national ambivalence towards driving.

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When Was The Last Time You Saw Traffic Stop?
If there’s one potent symbol of the less-than-entirely-glamorous aspect of automobiles, it’s traffic. Our insistence on private transportation, t…
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Are Fat People Driving Up The Price Of Gas? Are They The Source Of The Greenhouse Effect?

Yes, and yes, says a study of the Resources for the Future (RFF) institute. The Washington think tank’s study examined “the unexplored link between the prevalence of overweight and obesity and vehicle demand” for bigger and more gas guzzling cars.

RFF brands itself as a “nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research.” Their study found “that the prevalence of overweight and obesity has a sizable effect on the fuel economy of new vehicles demanded. A 10 percentage point increase in the rate of overweight and obesity among the population reduces the average miles per gallon (MPG) of new vehicles demanded by 2.5 percent, an effect that requires a 30 cent increase in gasoline prices to counteract.” Basically what they are saying: Fat people choose fat cars. More fat people, more fat cars.

Shame on you if your belly keeps you from reading the numbers on the bathroom scale, you are driving up the cost of our gas, fatso. If you would eat less, we would pay less. If the study is correct.

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Got A Black Car? Lucky You. Sand It Down Now

Purveyors of high gloss paint sealants (and high margin up-sells for car dealers) read with horror the story in today’s Wall Street Journal that matte finish is the “new black” for cars. If this trend catches on – and the WSJ says it does – then the sparkling profits will be a goner.

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Japanese Car Market Projections: Overall Flat

What the government giveth, the government taketh away: After the Japanese government discontinued subsidies for “fuel-efficient cars” (well, just about anything that was street legal, including a handful of American gas-guzzlers that received preferential treatment) Japan’s domestic auto sales are forecasted to drop 9.9 percent in 2011 from this year, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association JAMA tells The Nikkei [sub] today. All in all, no big drama.

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Not Buying A Car Looks Better By The Minute

Forget two or three year leases. Daimler will rent you cars by the minute and “is stealing customers from Mazda and Fiat with rentals aimed at drivers ready to forgo auto ownership,” reports Businessweek.

Emboldened by the successes of Zipcar and other short term rental or car sharing ventures, Daimler is test marketing its Car2go service Austin, TX, and Ulm, Germany. Soon to follow: Hamburg, Germany, in early in 2011, and dozens more cities in Europe and North America. Car2go rents Smart cars by the minute. Other carmakers, such as BMW and PSA want to develop similar services.

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U.S. Back To Its 17 Million Glory - In 5 Years

In the beginning of the new millennium, U.S. new auto sales topped 17 million a few times as Americans used the assumed equity in their houses to stuff their three car garages with more cars than there were driver’s licenses in the nation. In 2000, a total of 17,349,700 new cars changed hands. A year later, 17,121,900 units. It deteriorated from there. In 2007, 16,089,300 cars were sold. And we know what happened thereafter.

If we buy and sell 11.5 million new cars this year, it will be called a recovery. For 2011, J.D.Power sees maybe 12.8 million, if it all works out. They had seen a bit more before, but grew cautious lately. Now, a prophet appeared that predicts the miracle everybody prays for, a return to former (albeit fleeting) glory:

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NTSB Identifies Major Road Hazard: Aging Baby Boomers
America’s Baby Boom generation turns 65 next year, which means it’s only a matter of time before America’s roads are clogged with self-sati…
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The Conversion Of a GM Bailout Opposer

Megan McArdle initially opposed the GM bailout. But now, in an article in the November Atlantic Monthly, the magazine’s business and economics editor paints a positive picture—with a little bit of help from Jack Baruth and TTAC.

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Chevy Remembers When Sexism Was Cool… And So Can You!
Via Hemmings News comes this delightful find from Chevymall.com: an officially licensed poster comparing women to cupholders. So, did Susan Docherty sign off…
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China Can't Get Enough Of German Luxury

China is currently in a state of confusion about August sales numbers: More than 50 percent up? Or less than 20 percent? It will take a week or so to sort that out. But one thing is clear: The big winners in China are German purveyors of luxobarges, says Reuters.

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What's Wrong With This Picture: Dodging The Ram Issue Edition
The de-Ramification of the Dodge brand took another important step today, as Dodge previewed its new Ram-free logo. Similarly, the new 2011 Durango (on which…
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Ford Reveals Your Identity

Does a passport with an RFID chip freak you out? Not if you don’t carry your passport on you. How about RFID-equipped drivers’ licenses? Well, stick the license in a shield and nobody will be the wiser. Never heard of RFID? It’s a chip that needs no power. It sends out a number that identifies you. Think of a barcode on your forehead. How about RFID equipped cars?

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Carpocalypse: The Triage

When I was a young and budding Creative Director on the Volkswagen account (some time in the wild 70s,) I was told that there is only space for 10 automakers on this planet. In 2008, Marchinonne said there is room for 6. Now, the odds are there is Lebensraum for 3 to 5 automakers, depending on who you ask.

The prophets don’t seem to look around when they say that. The annual OICA list of the world’s largest automakers has 50 positions. In China alone are anywhere between 60 and 120 automakers, nobody seems to have a definitive number. Since I was a young and budding Creative Director on Volkswagen 30 years ago, the number of carmarkers worldwide has risen dramatically. It looks like the minute a country turns from a “developing country” into an “emerging country” (whatever that may be,) they want at least one of their own automakers. Even Iran has a couple of sizable automakers, they aren’t on the OICA list, and it’s not for a lack of units made.

If it would be true that one needs annual output in excess of 5m cars to survive, then our choices would be limited to Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen. Reality looks different.

The motorized mass mortality doesn’t seem to happen, and it won’t happen anytime soon.

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The Japanese Abandon Their Cars

Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry has bad news for Japan’s automakers: Japanese citizens are dumping their cars and take the train. Domestic car ownership has declined for the first time since 1964, with declines particularly pronounced in big cities, report The Nikkei [sub]: “Less-status-conscious city residents are abandoning cars for public transit.”

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  • Beachy Asphalt only works to keep the dirt road below it dry, and it is the dry dirt that holds up the asphalt surface to make a smooth road surface. Once the asphalt cracks or a spring wells up and the dirt gets wet, all bets are off. It is usually due to a spring that perennial potholes form. They are very hard to get rid of.
  • JamesG I’m the owner of the featured car that’s currently on EBay. Thanks for such a nice write up on these automobiles. Mine happens to be in excellent condition and the photos don’t do it justice. The HT4100 isn’t as bad as some made them out to be and they can go 200k miles with proper maintenance. I also own a 79 w/the analog fuel injected 5.7 350 which should have been used through 1985 but ever-increasing CAFE regulations called for more economical power plants which made GM shelve this great motor.
  • Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars recently bought a pristine 71 Kenosha Cadillac.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY-G2dExgXE&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
  • Jeff S Wouldn't most of the large suvs in NYC be livery vehicles? If so that would be hurting those who make their living by driving for hire.
  • EBFlex Yes their mass transit is great if you want to be beat within an inch of your life or pushed onto the tracks by some random psycho.