Joel Ewanick Has Left GM

Automotive News is reporting that Joel Ewanick has left General Motors. Ewanick was hired away from Nissan (who had just hired him away from Hyundai) to bring fresh thinking to GM’s marketing and advertising efforts.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Datsun B210

The California streets of my childhood were full of Datsuns like this one, and the B210 remained a common sight in (rust-free parts of) America until well into the 1990s. Then, without anybody really noticing, nearly all of them disappeared. Every so often, I’ll find one in a self-service junkyard; there was this slushbox-equipped ’74 last year, and now this mustard-yellow ’75 has drifted into range of The Crusher’s jaws.

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What's It Really Like To Obliterate a Press Car?

After reading Jack’s “mean-spiritedly annotated” interpretation of Motor Trend’s Scott Evans’ rollover of a Cadillac ATS at a press event and then Scott’s safe-n-sane account of his unfortunate off-road adventure, I remembered 24 Hours of LeMons head honcho Jay Lamm mentioning that he’d rolled a Range Rover in spectacular fashion during his car-journo days. With all this talk about upside-down press cars lately, I decided to interview Mr. Lamm about his wreck and the effects it had on his subsequent career.

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GE WattStations and LEAFs: We'll Fix It in Software.

As we reported back on July 17th, there were reports of Nissan LEAFs “bricking” themselves while connected to GE’s WattStation home charging stations. Over the last 10 days, I have been on a number of conference calls, spoken with a number of Leaf owners, electrical engineers and battery charging gurus. As it turns out, the problem was exactly as I had surmised: bad utility power damaged the LEAF. The only involvement the GE WattStation had, was that it was merely the connection between the LEAF’s on-board charger and the utility.

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Renault "Not Dying, Unlike Some Others On The Ward"

If you look at half year sales in Europe, then you see Renault as the worst performer of the volume makers. With EU sales down 17.09 percent, the Renault Group took a bigger hit than European patients Opel (- 15 percent) and PSA (-13.9 percent). Even troubled Fiat was doing better than Renault, by a hair (-17.08 percent for Fiat.) Whereas the percentages carry the smell of death, Renault’s half year results smell downright rosy.

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Sales Oracles Think July Will Be Hot

Countering talk of an impending end to the new car party, augurs predict that July will be seasonally hot. TrueCar says that this July could be the best since the heydays of 2007. TrueCar, which bases its projections on real time transactions from its associated dealers, thinks that July sales could reach 1.17 million, up 10.6 percent from July 2011. Edmunds also sees 1.17 million new cars in its crystal ball. Kelley Blue Book basically agrees with 1.16 million on its tip sheet.

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Her Master's Voice: Carlos Ghosn's Japanese Alter Ego

“I am following him everywhere, except into the rest room.” For nearly twelve years, interpreter Yuki Morimoto has been Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s adapter to the Japanese world. The lady is a miracle. She simultaneously translates Ghosn’s high-speed stream of wit and Gallic sarcasm into Japanese, and translates Japanese back into perfect English. Morimoto is so in tune with Ghosn that she sometimes finishes his sentences before him – in Japanese.

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Hedonist Vs Frugalist: 2012 Nissan Quest LE

Minivans are indeed fewer in number.

Supposedly they should to able to hold six or seven.

But the truth is the buyers of these vehicles rarely have room for three these days.

See, I have dealt with hundreds of minivan buyers over the years as a small town car dealer and a writer here at TTAC. Nearly everyone I deal with considers no more than three minivans. To be frank, the majority won’t even consider two which is why Chrysler, Toyota and Honda minivans now control more than 88% of the North American minivan market.

What chance does the Nissan Quest have? Even after 20 years in the public eye?

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World's Largest Carmaker 2012: GM Could Overpower Toyota

It is a Japanese tradition. At this time of the month, all Japanese automakers provide their global results for the preceding month and the year. This month is no exception. Honda did set an all-time June record and raised its worldwide production by 66 percent for the first half. Nissan also reports an all-time June record and that global production is up 19 percent January through June. The most watched numbers come from Japanese juggernaut Toyota.

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Toyota Expanding Lexus Production In Ontario

GM may not be announcing expanded production at Oshawa, but a few hundred miles down the 401, Toyota is ramping up production of the Lexus RX at their Cambridge, Ontario plant.

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The (Nearly) Self-Washing Car

Subaru has struggled with advertising decisions over the years, but one of their better efforts was a television ad where some self-satisfied beta-male cyclist — you know, the kind of guy who wears his padded shorts to lunch and thinks Cervelos are made in Italy — refuses to wash his Outback until “nature takes care of it” by raining on the car. Of course, anybody who cares about their car’s paint knows that a “rainwash” usually just moves the dirt around and helps what remains settle into a hardened, scratchy mess.

No longer, perhaps.

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Suzuki Death Watch 3: Oh, Yeah, We Did Replace Those People…

When the brightest news you share about your brand is a couple of facelifts and the inclusion of a factory-installed Garmin GPS unit in the next model year, things aren’t going all that well at your company. But, when we inquired with American Suzuki (and Suzuki Canada) about the future of the brand, we did get some interesting information that didn’t seem important enough in Brea, California to publish a press release.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Great Wall Reaches Bulgaria

After wondering whether the Chevrolet Malibu nameplate is reborn last time, today I am taking you to Eastern Europe, and more precisely in Bulgaria.

2012 will stay in the history of automobile as the year the Chinese started manufacturing cars in Europe.

And yes by Europe I mean Bulgaria.

Not interested? That’s ok, because you can check out the best-selling cars in 167 additional countries and territories on my blog. They’re all there and they’re waiting for you so click away!

Back to Bulgaria.

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Nissan Feels The Heat For Degrading Leaf Batteries In Arizona, Owners Feel Unloved


While Arizona is battling its wildfires, Nissan is having its hands full dousing the flames of Leaf owners in the Grand Canyon state. There is a rash of reports about degrading batteries, and owners blame the scorching heat.

“When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip,” a Leaf owner, still an ardent fan of the car, told the Phoenix CBS affiliate. “Now I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge.”

A TTAC reader reports:

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Stillen Will Sell Scion FR-S Body Kit Designed By Contest Winner – Should GM Bring Back the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild?

Former Nissan racer Steve Millen’s aftermarket performance company Stillen is running a contest involving Facebook. Amateur designers can style the company’s body kit that will accompany Stillen’s performance toys for the Scion FR-S. The winner will get to attend SEMA this November, when the body kit will have its first public display. When I saw the headline my first thought was, “What, another social media hypefest?” Just the other day, Derek Kreindler questioned the value of Nissan’s efforts to crowdsource product planning via social media sites. Does the general public know any more about designing cars than it does about product planning?

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The High Yen Drives Japanese Automakers Out Of The Country

Less than a year ago, the Tokyo automotive press corps was summoned to Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands to visit a Nissan plant. Nobody knew why, until Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had one of his trademark impromptu outbursts. He called the exchange rate “abnormal,” several times, until everybody got it. He threatened several times that Nissan and most of the Japanese industry would pack up and leave, and delivered an ultimatum: “If six months down the road we are still in this situation, then this will provoke a rethinking of our industrial strategy.”

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South Korea Won A New Car Exporter: Nissan

Nissan joins Hyundai and Kia in exporting cars to the U.S. Nissan will make the Rogue SUV at a plant of Alliance partner Renault Samsung Motor. This according to similar reports by Reuters and the Nikkei [sub], both without quoting official sources.

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QOTD: Pick Your Poison- A CVT Or A 4-Speed Automatic

For 2013, America’s cheapest car will get another bit of unloved technology to go along with its continuously variable transmission.

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Pelata Out At Renault

Patrick Pelata is leaving Renault. This a year after the former Chief Operating Officer took the fall over the spy scandal.

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Free-Trade: EU Commissioner Signals Marchionne To Shut Up And Fix His Own Problems

Now here is something that is rarely heard these days. A top EU Commissioner told European automakers to get out of the way of European trade deals with Asia. Europe’s carmakers must reform their industry and cannot place the blame for falling sales on foreign trade, Reuters reports.

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Suzuki Death Watch 2: Brand Recognition And Spy Shots From Spain

Yesterday, a whirlwind of spy shots uncovered what looks to be the SX4 replacement Suzuki will start shipping to lots later this year. So far, observations of the new pint-sized every man rally car look promising, including possible turbo power and a handsome, if unremarkable, interior. But, will it be enough to satiate the appetite of Anglo American tastes? Or does American Suzuki need to focus more on the brand image train?

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Europe, Half Year Review: Bad News For French, Italians, Ford, And GM

Europe’s new car market continues on its downward spiral with sales down 2.8 percent in June. Half year sales are down 6.8 percent across the EU, data released today by the European Automobiles Manufacturers’ Association ACEA show today. Some countries and automakers do much better, some much worse.

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Whose Cars Are The Freshest?

Cars are like fruits and vegetables: They sell better fresh. Of course, even the freshest dud remains a dud. But all else being equal, those with a fresher line-up outsell those with aged product. TrueCar has put together an interesting table: What are the proportions of model year 2011 (yes, they are still on the lots), 2012, and 2013 in a brand’s sales?

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Avoidable Contact: Hey Hey, Ho Ho, The Donkinental's Got To Go

I don’t think anybody else in automotive journalism can make this claim: I’ve put in nearly 37,000 miles behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT, in places as disparate as New York City’s West 48th Street (home of Rudy’s Music), the rural roads of northern Kentucky, and the Climbing Esses at Virginia International Raceway. Forget a lead-follow press event or the rich-for-a-week-wannabe experience of a loaner car: every mile I spent behind the Bentley’s wheel was at my own expense.

Of course, I’m speaking literally here: I’d actually purchased the piano-black-wood-rimmed steering wheel from a Continental GT and installed it, along with a set of Bentley paddle shifters, into my 2006 VW Phaeton V8. When I finally got around to driving the real thing, I couldn’t believe how close the driving experience of the $190,000-plus Bentley was to that of the $68,000 Volkswagen. “This car,” I thought at the time, “is a Phaeton for idiots, which is really saying something.”

Five years later, the Continental GT is still a Phaeton for idiots, except now it’s an old Phaeton for idiots. Old, tired, and showing no signs of life despite a twin-turbo-V-8 heart transplant. It’s time to pull the plug on a car that never even deserved to be called a Bentley in the first place.

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Dead LEAFs and GE Chargers

The GE Wattstation killed my Leaf! That’s the story being reported by the New York Times as well as As the tale goes, 11 Leaf owners have had their chargers “damaged” while charging with GE’s Wattstation home charging station. The relative significance of only 11 failures aside, the Nissan Dealer in San Pablo, CA confirmed to that Nissan North America has notified dealers of a potential problem with the Leaf and the GE home charging station. TTAC contacted Hilltop Nissan and they have yet to return our calls. Rather than just parroting back the usual news reports we dug deep. We contacted GE and Nissan, consulted some professional electrical engineers and read though hundred of pages of boring SAE documents. Click past the jump to learn more about EV charging than you ever wanted to know.

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Nissan Launches New Note From Yokohama Pier

Nissan launched a new generation of its global hatchback, the Note, today. The launch party was held at the Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama, a favorite venue for Tokyo car launches. This reporter has taken the summer off from Tokyo, all I can tell you is what was dispatched from Nissan HQ. (With subtitles.)

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Memoirs Of A Suzuki Loyalist

Reader Mark Stevenson submitted this essay on life as a Suzuki owner. Please welcome Mark as he shares his unique perspective on a brand that we overlook too often. – DK

No matter how perfect a family appears on the outside, dig deeper and you’re bound to find secrets of drama, betrayal, and, more often than not, profound loss. Interpersonal relationships between family members can be complex – veins of hatred filled with love and the inverse being equally true.

My family is no different. But, in addition to all those feelings being bestowed upon each other, we’ve shared them with Suzuki, a car company that made exactly what we needed and then took it all away.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Restyled 2012 Nissan GT-R
Christopher writes: Sajeev,Great analysis of the GT-R. Slow day at work, so I decided to cut a few inches out of the middle as you suggested (maybe more than just 2″…). Please excuse the crappy “MS Paint” editing and my poor editing skills… but I still think the profile looks so much better. Like a real super car. And it eliminates the fake fender vent!
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Hammer Time: Why Toyota Lost Its Sport

Back in 1992 Toyota was at the forefront of quality engineering.

The Lexus nameplate had become the best selling import luxury brand in North America thanks to ES, LS and SC models that were easily among the most over-engineered vehicles of the time. 200k became not only an achievement for most Toyotas, but an expectation as well, and the models of that time were rolling testaments to a culture that prioritized the principles of Kaizen (continuous improvement) and Muda (the minimzation of waste) above all else.

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Review: 2012 Audi TT RS

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the Audi TT is based on the VW Golf, which can be had for under $18,000. And it can seem silly when people buy an econobox then pour multiples of the purchase price into mods. When Audi does the same to create the $57,725 TT RS, how can we take the end result seriously?

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Half-Time Sales Rankings 2012: Honda Looks Just Fine

Tim Cain, our not-quite-in-house sales whiz, has cooked up a ranking of the top 260 best sellers year-to-date for 2012. I won’t spoil any surprises, but the Suzuki Forenza lost. And Honda might be the big winner.

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PSA Restructuring Includes Plant Closure, 8,000 Jobs Cut

It’s been a long time coming, but PSA has finally done it ; the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen is cutting 8,000 jobs and closing an assembly plant outside Paris, as the carmaker tries to cope with a sagging market and excess capacity.

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How To Buy A New(er) B13 Nissan Sentra SE-R For $2,887

In response to a comment regarding Nissan’s social media plans for product development, and the revival of the B13 Sentra SE-R, I felt that I should share this nugget of gold with any readers adventurous enough to go marauding in Mexico in pursuit of a well-preserved sport compact.

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Why Would Nissan Ask Social Media Users For Product Planning Advice?

A few years ago, a wave of internet-fueled utopian ideas were supposed to headline yet another “paradigm shift” (or whatever throwaway bullshit term you wish to substitute) as the Web 2.0 revolution made us all more “open” or “social” or “connected”. Then, most of us woke up and realized that this was all a scheme by a bunch of social maladroits to get rich using our personal data, and we all went back to living our lives.

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Vellum Venom: 2012 Nissan GT-R

Circa 1998, I was mentally ready to move from the (lower-middle class) suburbs of Houston to the College for Creative Studies’ (CCS) dorm in the heart of Metro Detroit. Oddly my big surprise came not from Detroit itself, but from the dorm’s many Sony PlayStations…and something called “Gran Turismo”. I knew about the Nissan GT-R, but I was like every other kid playing this amazing game: absolutely blown away by the GT-R’s prowess.

That said, I raced all CCS’ contenders in “arcade mode,” in the big block ’67 Corvette. With the most power and the easiest to rotate chassis, I wasted most of my Japanese car loving dorm mates. The GT-R was/is rarely my weapon of choice in Gran Turismo. Which kinda explains my general apathy to the GT-R in the flesh.

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The Truth About Tesla's Charging Stations

Tesla has officially launched their long-awaited “Supercharging” network last night to a star-studded crowd in Southern California. (We assume it was star-studded since our invitation got lost in the mail.) The EV network promises to enable Model S and Model X owners to charge 150 miles of range in 30 minutes. What about your Roadster? Sorry, you aren’t invited to this charging party. Have a Tesla and a LEAF? You’ll have to be satisfied with separate but equal charging facilities as the Tesla proprietary charging connector restricts access to Tesla shoppers only. Is this class warfare or do we parallel the computer industry where connectors come and go with the seasons?

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EU Capacity Glut? Not At BMW

Not all automakers in Europe have too much capacity. BMW will invest $388 million over the next three years to increase capacity at its Mini plants in the UK, Reuters says.

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Mitsubishi Gets Some Dignity Via Infiniti

Mitsubishi dubbed their flagship, the Dignity, to denote

“…the English to describe the peerless grandeur and majestic stateliness of the model…”

at least they’ve got a good starting point – the China-only Infiniti M35h LWB.

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Piston Slap: Um, Like, No!

Luke writes:

Hi Sajeev:

Unlike a lot of those seeking your sage advice, I’m not going to ask you whether or not I should buy a different car. I know I am buying a different car. My mind is made up, so don’t take any of my words as a question about soldiering on with what I have. My summer car is a mint, nicely upgraded 1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (full Spohn/Strano suspension, hopped up LT1, Corvette brakes, etc) with 60K miles and it is not going anywhere. What I need is a new winter/utility vehicle…

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Your Tax Dollars At Stake: Battery Maker A123 Running Out Of Runway

The irrational electrification exuberance claims another victim: Battery maker A123 Systems Inc is running out of money. A lot of it is your money. Says Reuters:

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Number One In Pickup Sales Per Capita? It's Not Who You Think

Well America may be the overall volume leader for pickup truck sales, the per-capita title belongs to Thailand, and they prefer a different flavor of truck as well.

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Chrysler Looking At Unibody Pickup

The small pickup market may be dwindling, but Chrysler may be looking at getting back in to the segment – though their next small or mid-size pickup won’t be a body-on-frame vehicle like the now-cancelled Dakota.

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Plug-In Car Sales Breakdown: June 2012

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to take a look at our favorite automotive urination competition, the epic battle between the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius Plug-In.

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QOTD: Can Muscle Cars Do More With Less (Cylinders)?

The Wall Street Journal’s Driver’s Seat touches on the muscle car segment, and whether they’ll fall pitfall to rising gas prices in the future, CAFE regulations or some combination of the two. Among the solutions brought up in the article – by Chrysler executives, no less – is “a high output four-cylinder engine”.

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Detroit Losing Market Share

As much as managers of car companies love double digit increases such as the 22 percent overall gain in June, there is one aspect they really hate: When the market share charts come on the table. Market share measures the true performance of sales and engineering. If the damn market increases 22 percent, then your sales must increase 23 percent, just to stay ahead of the game. Managers of Detroit car companies eye these charts with trepidation.

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Japan In June 2012: Up 43.6 Percent

Domestic sales of regular new cars, trucks and buses increased 40.9 percent in June, while sales of mini vehicles rose 48.4 percent on the year. Overall, Japan’s new motorvehicle market rose 43.6 percent on 505,342 units sold. The data compare with a post-tsunami June 2011.

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Big June New Car Sales Jump: Strong Month, Or Strong Will To Succeed?

Chrysler Group up 20 percent, GM up 16 percent, Toyota up 60 percent. Across the board sales up 22 percent (see table.)

June sales of new cars and trucks come in stronger than the cautious estimates of analysts. Why? America’s most successful sales predictor thinks everybody needed to “make that quarter.”

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Along Came A (McLaren) Spider

The McLaren MP4-12C may be a supremely competent and accomplished sporting supercar, but only someone with a creepy, shiny-vinyl Lewis Hamilton signature Vodafone pit-crew shirt would pick one over the Ferrari 458 or Lamborgini Gallardo. It’s a bland, generic-looking wedge that was named after a secret “performance factor” number using calculations known only to McLaren. Not since Pontiac named a car the “6000STE” has nomenclature been so uninspiring, and since the Audi R8 offers twice the visual drama for about half the money it’s easy to see why the MP4-12C isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. The old SLR “McMerc” may have been a claustrophobic sauna that was frighteningly vulnerable to its much cheaper SL65 AMG sibling in a straight line and at risk from the even more prole-oriented SL55 AMG around a racetrack, but at least it looked like something interesting.

Just like the SLR, however, the MP4-12C is being top-chopped to pique a bit of consumer interest. It must absolutely grind the gears of the faceless androids working at the McLaren Technology Centre that they have to add eighty-eight pounds of folding hardtop to their marquee road car, just to make sure the average Russian gangster puts one in the garage next to his Aventador, but as the English say: “Needs must when the devil rides”.

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Plug-In Prius: The Car For Royalty And Heads Of State

What car does Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi a.k.a. His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco drive? He drives a Prius.

Today, he switched it for a plug-in hybrid Prius. The minute the first plug-ion hybrid was available in Europe, Toyota shipped it to Monaco as a two month loaner.

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Toyota And BMW Plan To Take The Lead In Commercializing Fuel Cell Cars. Let's Revisit

The intensified alliance between Toyota and BMW shines a new light on a technology that has been discussed for decades, but that never quite made it: Hydrogen fuel cells. BMW will get access to Toyota’s fuel cell technologies. This most likely spells the end of the fuel cell cooperation between BMW and GM. Let’s take another look.

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Renault Duster Captures India

My last post on TTAC was on the Renault Logan, but the vehicle pictured above, also a Romanian derived Dacia, is one that changed Renault’s fortunes in India overnight. After the Logan was licensed to Mahindra, Renault re-started its India innings with the launch of the Fluence and Koleos in 2011. The French automaker launched a re-badged Nissan Micra (called the Pulse) earlier this year. Renault’s monthly sales after the launch of these three cars revolved around 400 odd units, which equates to an yearly figure of around 5000 units. This gives them a 0.24% market share in India and places them in 13th position.

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Pre-Production Review: 2013 Honda Fit EV

Despite accounting for an incredibly small percentage of new car sales in America, the EV is all the rage in California. Rather than starting from scratch and designing an all-new car from the ground up (like Nissan), Honda chose the more economical route and electrified the second-generation Honda Fit. On the surface, the recipe sounds like a slam dunk, since the Fit is one of Honda’s most attractive and most fun to drive models now on sale. To prove to the masses that Honda has what it takes to go green, they flew me out to Pasadena to sample the all-new, all-blue Fit EV.

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GM's Brazilian Spin: Dog Of An Engine Devours Any Desire To Buy

GM do Brasil has been on a roll recently. While the early 00s saw GM running hard to get nowhere, the new decade has brought on some good news for the embattled, tired, old General. They are proving, at least in Brazil, that they still have some cartridges to burn.

To wit, the all-new, brand-new, super-new, ok, enough with all the new. A minivan: The Spin. Cool name, though somehow its significance will be lost on most Brazilians. The Spin seats 5 or 7, and in our tax-break-fueled-heated-up market, it’s sure to become a hot one. Don’t worry, be happy and buy now. Following the trail burned by our beloved technocrats in Brasília, Brazilians, and soon I’m sure, many hermanos, will be able to take the latest and the greatest from Detroit via São Caetano do Sul for, well, a spin. That is, if you have roughly 22 thousand greenbacks in your pocket, considering that now the dollar begets about 2 of our reais.

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Edmunds Issues June Sales Forecast: No Major Changes

JUNE 2012 SALES VOLUME FORECASTSales VolumeJune’12 ForecastJune’11May’12Change from June 2011*Change from May 2012GM233,987215,335245,2568.70%-4.60%Ford201,980193,421215,6994.40%-6.40%Toyota184,512110,937202,97366.30%-9.10%Chrysler143,521120,394150,04119.20%-4.30%Honda126,61083,892133,99750.90%-5.50%Nissan88,11371,94191,79422.50%-4.00%Industry1,270,9011,052,7721,334,13120.70%-4.70%*NOTE: June 2012 had 27 selling days

With only a few days until the end of the month, Edmunds issued its June sales forecast. Edmunds expects that 1,270,901 new cars will be sold in June, translating into a 20.7 percent increase compared to June 2011, and a 4.7 percent decrease from May 2012. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) is projected to come in at 13.9 million light vehicles.

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The Scion FR-S And The Problem With Hype

A few weeks ago, I took a Scion FR-S out for a spin. It was an automatic dealer demo, so I decided to withhold judgement until I drove the manual transmission car.

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Analyst: Dump BMW!

While other carmakers are treading water or worse, BMW’s global sales were up 9.1 percent for the first five months of the year, mostly on strong gains in China. That party is about to end, claims Citi Investment Research and downgraded BMW AG from “buy” to “neutral,” Reuters reports.

In the euphemistic world of stock analysts, a “neutral” usually means a sell.

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So You Want To Be CEO Of A Global Automaker? Wait Until You Hear The Pay

Judging from their writings, many TTAC commenters are prime candidates for a job as CEO at one of the world’s largest automakers. However, be careful who you work for. Executive pay is all over the map. It ranges from a charitable contribution of $1.71 million given to Toyota’s CEO, to nearly $29 million a year on Ford’s Alan Mulally’s paystub.

This according to a table circulated among reporters who, perched precariously in the 6th floor balcony of the National Convention Hall at the Pacifico in Yokohama, observed Nissan’s 113th ordinary general shareholders meeting today.

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Toyota MR2: Fear the Robot Eagle!

Members of the MR2 Jihad generally refer to the creature on the hood emblems of their cars as the “Screaming Eagle,” but I say it’s a stoic, tight-beaked Robot Eagle. I hadn’t paid much attention to this emblem, since it’s quite small and mounted on a car snout that sits quite close to the pavement, but then a 24 Hours of LeMons team composed of Toyota engineers created a gigantic Pontiac Trans Am-style decal version for the hood of their MR2. Robot Eagle!

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Toyota And BMW Edge Closer

Today, Germany’s Spiegel Magazin reports what we suspected since last December: “BMW and Toyota edge closer.” Both, says the magazine, will “enter a close partnership that transcends the projects that were agreed in the past.”

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Nissan Sentra Station Wagon

The Corolla has been with us since the 1966 model year, the Civic since 1973. The Sentra didn’t appear until partway through 1982, and first-year examples are quite rare (the closest I’ve come in the junkyard is this ’83 sedan). Here’s one that I found at a Denver yard a few weeks ago.

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  • Chris P Bacon It would be really nice if car sites like TTAC helped people find way to avoid these prices. It seems like stories like these just say "suck it up and pay the markup". No. In many cases, you don't have to. I just ordered a Wrangler 4xe and got Chrysler Affiliates price. That 1% under invoice. I know this is the price I got because I sat at the computer in the dealer's showroom and build the Jeep. i got Chrysler Affiliate pricing through my employer. Your employer doesn't offer it? Join For $100 membership, guess what? You get Chrysler Affiliate pricing! Want a Ford, but think you can't get X-Plan? Think again! Join X-Plan is included with their membership. A dealer in my area is offering Costco members a $1500 incentive. I'm guessing that has something to do with Costco's car buying service, so there must be some value to be found in that program.Will all dealers honor these discount plans? No. Then that's not the dealer you want to work with anyway. Find another place to shop. It would be nice if TTAC (or any car site) did a little leg work to show readers how to actually save on a car purchase.
  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.