Have You Been Dying For An Electrified Nissan NV That Vaguely Resembles A Leaf? Here You Go!

Nissan now has a zero emissions van that you’ll be able to buy in a couple years -if that’s what you’re into. We won’t judge. Either way, the company seems to be creating a brand identity for its electric vehicles.

Read more
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: The 100 Models That Sell The Most Worldwide In Q1 2012

I know how much you like big rankings… Last week, I gave you the Top 265 best-selling models in China in April, but you also enjoyed the Top 265 best-selling models in the USA over Q1 2012 and the Top 318 best-selling models in Europe in 2011.

So today, before our worldwide roundup monthly appointment (coming up next week!), I thought I would share with you one more sizeable ranking: my estimation of the Top 100 best-selling cars in the world over the First Quarter of 2012.

Does that make you happy?

No? Well there are 163 additional countries and territories for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. Click. The link. You will love it.

Back to the world.

Read more
Record Month Expected For May, Except For GM And Ford. Toyota Could Double Its Sales

When new car sales will be announced on June 1, sales could be up by 30 percent, thinks Kelley Blue Book. When sales approach 1.4 million units, or 14.2 million seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) in May, Kelley expects GM and Ford to underperform the market, while Toyota could nearly double its sales and surpass Ford in market share.

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham
Brougham. To (increasingly elderly) car shoppers nearly to the dawn of the 21st century, that word meant class. Luxury. Success. A brougham was a type of horse-drawn carriage… or it was an option package applied to a car made by GM, Chrysler, or Ford; even Nissan jumped aboard the Brougham bandwagon. Mercury might have been the most broughamic marques of them all, which makes today’s Junkyard Find the zenith of broughamhood!
Read more
Industry: Optimism Is Back, But Only A Little At A Time

Optimism sure ain’t what it used to be. Introducing its latest survey of auto industry executives [ PDF], Booz & Co. proclaims that “optimism is skyrocketing,” and that “a new wave of optimism is overtaking the U.S. auto industry.” They’re not wrong, but for those used to the pre-bailout days of unabashed optimism dressed up as analysis, the “new optimism” is remarkably guarded. And it’s all relative to the pessimism that was beginning to set in when the industry began to realize that the “old optimism” was wildly at odds with the slow-motion market recovery.

So, just how optimistic is the “new optimism”? Which companies have the most reason for optimism? What do industry executives worry about most? When do they expect a Chinese invasion? The answers to these questions and more after the jump.

Read more
You Are Looking At Infiniti's New HQ

Infiniti formally opened its new world headquarters in Hong Kong today. This marks “the first time the city has been selected for the headquarters of a car manufacturer,” as Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post notes. A staff of approximately 100 will trade Nissan’s swank building in Yokohama for even swanker digs in the Citibank Tower in Hong Kong’s high-rent Central district. Heretofore under Nissan’s wings, Infiniti makes its own nest in a dedicated headquarters for the first time in the brand’s history. Its mission: Triple Infiniti sales by 2016.

Read more
The War Of The Plugs: The Japanese Empire Talks Back

Today, members of CHAdeMO congregated in the 7th floor auditorium of Tokyo’s Big Sight for CHAdeMO’s General Assembly 2012. CHAdeMO is a consortium of mostly Japanese companies with the target of establishing a standard for the charging of EVs. Also in the room was an invisible, but giant Godzilla. They called him “The Combo.” The combo is the product of (in Japanese views) an unholy alliance between U.S. and German OEMs which agreed on their own plug. The CHAdeMO and The Combo are utterly incompatible. Sparks are already flying.

Read more
The Unimportance of Speed

I’d like to lend you a car for the weekend. It’s going to be sunny, and you can head off early before the crowds get out. Take a nice road-trip: maybe, as I just did, blast up the Sea-to-Sky and into the rolling foothills beyond the Pemberton Valley.

Your choice, take anything below.
Car A: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Car B: 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds
Car C: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Car D: 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds
Car E: 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds

So, what did you pick? Click the jump to find out.

Read more
What's Wrong With This Picture: Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny Edition
New or Used: Yo Dawg, Listen Up This Time!

Mark writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

Sajeev tried to save me once before but I didn’t listen. Maybe this time I will. Last year, I bought a bomb of a project and he did his best to scare me away. He saw the monstrosity in person. That monster being the 1995 Ford Bronco I bought on a whim. We talked on the phone before I purchased the OJ Bronco. Sajeev told me to avoid it like the plague. Yet, I didn’t listen. I got burned. I owned it for less than 6 months (3 of those months being spent in my garage) before selling it to an offroader in Ohio.

But, now I am in a different situation…

I am back in Canada where gas is significantly more expensive (very unlike cheap Houston Texas gas). My girlfriend and I will be in the market soon for a vehicle and we have the following criteria:

1) Fun to drive: must be a manual, preferably RWD or AWD, and a bit chuckable (not in the “chuck it in the garbage” sense of the Bronco).
2) Practicality: I don’t need a gas guzzler. Something efficient. Two doors are doable. Four doors are better. Wagon or hatch is best. However, it must have enough room for my girlfriend and I, plus two black Labrador mixes (see cute doggy brothers picture).
3) Utility: It needs to be able to tow two motorcycles (~400lbs each) and trailer. Also, we need another room for camping gear, even when the dogs are with us.
4) Realistic: We have finite funds (like most people) so we would definitely be going for something used, under $8000. I couldn’t care less what badge is on the front.

Thanks,
Mark

Read more
Ford Focus Electric Car En Route To Dealers. Good Luck

This weekend, Ford will put its first Focus EVs on car carriers and ship them to dealers, Reuters heard. Some 67 dealers in California, New Jersey and New York will receive 350 Electrics. Each dealer will get about six cars, one of which will be a demonstration model, the other for sale, Reuters’ sources said.

Read more
Monster And Mitsubishi Attack Pike's Peak On Batteries

Once a year, there are people who compete for who gets fastest up a mountain. The mountain is Pike’s Peak, and the occasion is the International Hill Climb. It will happen on July 3-8, as it did every year since 1916, only interrupted by the occasional world war. This year, one of the most interesting races could take place on battery power.

Read more
The Duel

In the summer of 1989, I was ten going on eleven. The fastest car I had yet ridden in was probably my dad’s 535i, clocked by the CHiP at well over the tonne, a ticket which the patriarch of the family talked himself out of with a “Not bad, right?”

It was hard to say if I really cared about cars yet: obviously they were important to my dad, and I’d already learned to drive our Series III Land Rover at walking pace on the banks of the Fraser River, but there were new Pirate sets coming from Lego, and G.I. Joe had just released a barely-disguised SR-71 Blackbird for the Cobra forces. Sean Connery had joined Harrison Ford in a quest for the Holy Grail. A friend had just gotten the new, side-scrolling Zelda Game.

The world was full of simple distractions for a young man: Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, E.T. and Ewoks, Yop bottles filled with vinegar and baking soda, Thundercats and Space Quest III.

Then, one day, in the basement of a Ladysmith home, I climbed behind the wheel of a 16-bit Porsche 959 and the whole world changed. I was exposed to the founding tenet of automotive enthusiasm.

What? The supercar? Don’t be daft, I’m talking about arguing.

Read more
Official: GM Lets Ellesmere Port Live. Bochum Likely To Die

What was highly probable yesterday is definite: GM will shift production of the Astra compact from Germany to Ellesmere Port, England. Workers at the UK plant agreed nearly to a man and a woman (approval rate 94 percent) to a deal with GM that keeps Ellesmere Port open and that spells the near certain doom of Opel’s plant in Bochum.

Workers agreed to a four-year deal that freezes wages for two years, and that allows only moderate rises of around 3 percent for the following two years, Reuters heard from a source. The source also said:

Read more
Because No Toy Car Collection Is Complete Without a Geo Storm GSi!

Giving gifts to 24 Hours of LeMons judges in order to ensure smooth turning of the gears of justice has been a tradition for [s]several[/s] many years now. While jugs of quality booze remain the most common judicial bribe, keeping my liver at least semi-functional mandates that most of that stuff get passed on to track workers. Not so with bribes involving weird toy cars, however; I’ve got quite a collection of such gifts on my office bookshelves now. While I prize my Leyland P76, Nissan Prairie, and Impala Hell Project diorama, the car that now sits in the place of honor on my desk is one that I received from a Denver racer who couldn’t wait for the B.F.E. GP next month and came by Chez Murilee with this lovely Detroito-Tokyo icon of the early 1990s.

Read more
Europe In April 2012: Car Sales Down 6.9 Percent

Listening to the news from Europe, one thinks that there is chaos in the streets of Europe. Not yet. But Europeans are clearing room for chaos by buying fewer cars. 1,017,912 new passenger cars were registered in the EU, or 6.9 percent less than in the same month of 2011. Four months into the year, new registrations in the EU were 7.5 percent lower than a year earlier, the European manufacturers association ACEA reports.

Read more
QOTD: Is The 2013 Nissan Altima A Future Number One Or One-Hit Wonder?

Our own Michael Karesh will be testing out Nissan’s new Altima this week. This is the car that Nissan is hoping will take the Altima from its current second place slot in the mid-size segment and up to the top of the pile. In lieu of Michael’s take, there are a few factors that are worth looking at.

Read more
Two Minutes Hate: David Sirota Is Ashamed Of His Inauthentic Masculinity

Welcome to Two Minutes Hate, in which we, the TTAC staff, will choose some hapless writer and/or industry person and then flog that person with all the verbal viciousness we can summon up. Complaints about “negativity”, “hatefulness”, and “substandard caviar served during the press dinner” are not welcome here. This is Two Minutes Hate. Thank you — JB

Did you know that there is an “ascetic populism [added to] to the inherent machismo of the engine-revving manual transmission”? My mother, who was a Palm Beach deb prior to driving a lifetime’s worth of stick-shift MGs, Honda, Nissan trucks, and Mercurys even while suffering from advanced sarcoidosis, apparently never got the memo on that. Same for my ex-wife, who used to flog an SRT-4 around Nelson Ledges once a month or so until the vacuum hoses performed their inevitable high-boost seppuku. Come to think of it, the number of women who have daily-driven a manual-transmission must be in the hundreds of millions, particularly given the fact that many developing markets still don’t have slushbox volume models.

In today’s edition of Salon, however, David Sirota attempts to make the case that driving a stick shift is, like, totes manly. He devotes a few paragraphs to how he “can’t let go of [his] love for the stick” using language that wouldn’t be out of place in the inevitable “tween” edition of Fifty Shades Of Grey. Having convinced himself, at least, that choosing a particular transmission is just about as manly as dunking over Akeem The Dream while simultaneously using one’s toes to digitally violate Rihanna, Sirota then comes to the inevitable conclusion: stick shifts are bad, mmmkay?

Read more
Counting Cars: A Few Hundred Thousand Here, A Million There, And Soon We'll Talk About A Real Mess

Car sales in China have become headline material the world over. However, numbers are often reported without checking, and even more often reported erroneously. Yesterday, we were tracking two reports of Chinese car sales, January-April. One set of data was from China’s official manufacturer association CAAM, the other from Reuters. They did not quite match. A day later, the confusion is even bigger.

Read more
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Discover The Top 265 Most Popular Cars In China

Well.

It seems like the bigger the areas I cover ( March worldwide roundup anyone?) or the longer the rankings I talk about ( Top 265 best-selling models in the USA over Q1 2012, Top 318 best-selling models in Europe in 2011 and Top 100 best-selling models in the World in 2011) the happier you are.

And that’s what I want.

You. Happy.

So I have more and more data in store for you. Don’t worry, when you think I will have exhausted every possible avenue I will still have more. Because that’s what I do all day, counting cars. So you can count on me.

And to follow-up on Bertel’s appetizer earlier today I give you the Top 265 best-selling models in China in April. Just another month in Chinaworld: two new brands launched, 10 new models, and we’re only talking about the cars produced locally…

Not interested? Fine. There is more data (told you) for 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. Click. The link. You will love it.

Read more
Chinese Car Sales Make People See Double

Some of you are probably tired of the continuous reporting on car sales in China. Executives of the world’s biggest carmakers think otherwise. Without China, their companies would be also-rans. General Motors for instance says it sells more cars in China than back home. January through April, GM reports 972,369 sales from the Middle Kingdom, versus 821,707 in America. Getting a firm hand on sales in the world’s largest car market is important, but difficult. The tear out from a table published by Reuters illustrates this vividly – to the numerically unchallenged.

Read more
Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Priced At $160,000 In Europe

Nissan isn’t the only company to get an outrageously priced performance SUV this month – Infiniti will be pricing its FX Sebastian Vettel Edition at $120,000 euro, or about $160,000.

Read more
Quotations From Chairman Carlos Ghosn

Ford wanted to hire Carlos Ghosn instead of Mulally. Ghosn said no. Kerkorian wanted Ghosn to save GM, Wagoner prevented it. For you, dear TTAC reader, Carlos Ghosn is available.

Chief of Nissan and Renault, Ghosn is the ultimate rock star of the industry. He is the master of the unprepared remark. Any of his statements, delivered with French-Brazilian-Lebanese flair and his trademark gesticulations, is more profound than thousands of PowerPoints delivered by overpaid management consultants. Today, absolutely free of charge, Carlos Ghosn lets us in on the secrets of running a successful car company.

Read more
Nissan Largest Japanese Carmaker. In Profits

Nissan pulled off an even bigger miracle than Toyota and ended a (this time truly) catastrophic year with a big profit. Today in Yokohama, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that Nissan delivered a pre-tax profit of 535.1 billion yen (US $6.76 billion) for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, “despite natural disasters and currency exchange headwinds.”

Read more
Nissan Breaks Ground In Tennesee For Daimler JV Engine Plant
Magna To Make Mystery "Luxury Entry Level Compact Vehicle" For Infiniti. That One?

The contract manufacturer Magna Steyr will assemble “a future luxury entry level compact vehicle” for Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti. This according to a joint statement issued by both companies. Production of the mystery vehicle will start in 2014.

Read more
The Joy of Wrenching

Yesterday was my day off, and by “day off” I of course mean, “day in which I work my ass off sans remuneration”. No doubt this’ll strike a chord with those of you who also have older houses with plenty of, uh, character.

It was a day no thumbs would die by accidental hammer-blow: there was work to be done on the car, and they don’t call me “Spanner” McAleer just because I’m a bit of idiot. Actually, maybe they do – well anyway, to arms!

Read more
Two Toyota Hybrids Top Japan's Best-Selling Car List - Full Table

For the 11th straight month in a row, Toyota’s Prius topped the list of Japan’s best-selling cars in April. Toyota’s new compact hybrid, the Aqua, known in the U.S. as the Prius c, was a close second.

Read more
The Other April 2012 Sales Number: Cars Loved By Enthusiasts Are Down, Crossovers And Boring Subcompacts Are Up

Ford was America’s top-selling brand in April. The best-selling car was Toyota’s Camry. America’s favourite utility vehicle was once again the Honda CR-V. GM was down 8%. The Prius Plug-In out sold the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. Fiat sold more 500s than they had up to this point.

These facts were either readily apparent from the get-go or made obvious by earlier coverage. Each month we break down all the data at GoodCarBadCar.net. The April 2012 recap is well underway. Here are some of the most interesting April 2012 auto sales facts which have been gleaned while sorting through the U.S. numbers.

Read more
Fiat 500 Pop, Selling New For $12,995

No, TTAC hasn’t been hijacked by car dealers other than Mr. Lang. Scouring the local newspapers, TTAC’s Great White North contingent found brand new Fiat 500s being sold for the incredible price of $12,995 for the base “Pop” model.

Read more
Toyota RAV4 EV – A $49,000 Compliance Exercise

Toyota is only planning to sell 2,300 RAV4 EVs over the next three years! Can anyone say “compliance car”?

Read more
American, German Automakers Show Off Rival Fast-Charging Standard

Even though the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i already have their own standard for “quick-charge” stations – known as CHAdeMO, a standard supported by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries (parent company of Subaru) – the SAE is apparently pitching its own standard of quick-charger outlets (pictured above), creating a situation that would be akin to having certain cars only compatible with certain gas pumps.

Read more
Nissan's Ghosn Worried About Power. The Power Of The Yen

With the closure of Japan’s last operating nuclear power plant hitting the news over the weekend, people asked me what that means for Japan’s auto industry. My answer: Nothing. The shutdown of the first nukes on March 11 a year ago was much more dangerous than the long scheduled downing of the last. Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn sees a much bigger danger: the power of the yen. The high yen at the currency exchange. And higher yen numbers on the electricity bill.

Read more
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Has the Hybrid Era Started For Good?

I can sense from where I sit upside down in Sydney, Australia, that through my posts you are getting more and more knowledgeable about exactly which cars sell best: the Top 265 best-selling models in the USA over the first quarter of 2012 now have no secrets for you, as do the Top 318 best-selling models in Europe in 2011 and the Top 100 best-selling models in the World in 2011… So I thought I would give you even more recent data.

How about the best-selling models in the world in March 2012?

More of the same I hear you say?

Fine, you can find sales info for 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. So don’t be shy and click away!

But to answer the question…

Actually, no. It’s not more of the same.

And I’ve got one word for you to prove it: hybrid.

Read more
Electric Window Dressing: Many EVs Don't Really Mean It

As sales of EVs are tallied-up, keep one thing in mind: Many are not meant to be sold in earnest. “They’re only built to meet California regulations for zero-emission vehicles–which is why they’re called “compliance cars,” says Green Car Reports. The green blog separated the “real” EVs from the compliance chariots.

Read more
Americans Get Most Mileage Out Of Foreign Cars

When April sales data came out, a lot of noise was made of the shift towards gasoline-sipping small cars. Shrill voices feted sales of electric cars, which look like a rounding error, as a win in the war on terror. As so often, the truth is different. The new cars that hit the road in April get, on average, slightly less mileage (23.3 mpg) than those sold in March (23.4 mpg). If the war on terror would honestly be waged on dealer lots, then the true heroes would be foreign mercenaries, with Americans occupying rear echelon slots.

Read more
Nissan Juke R Said To Cost $600,000

Reports are emerging that the Nissan Juke R will cost $600,000 (about $450,000 euro) once Nissan starts selling their steroid-enhanced crossover.

Read more
In Post-Soviet Russia, Renault-Nissan Buys AvtoVAZ

Renault-Nissan is buying a majority stake in Russian automaker AvtoVaz. For those not in the Russian Car Appreciation Society, AvtoVaz is the maker of Lada cars.

Read more
Nissan Horrifies Automotive Media With Lack Of Juke-R Long-Term Testers

Nissan sent a blow to the automotive press today, with the announcement that none of the upcoming limited production Juke-R crossovers would be allocated for long-term testing.

Read more
Jen Friel, Sam The Eagle, TTAC's Disinvitation To The Dodge Dart, And The Slut Event Horizon

No sense beating around the bush on this one: TTAC won’t have a Dodge Dart review for you to read when the embargo expires later this week. We weren’t invited to the event. If you want to find out what it’s actually like to drive the Dart, you’ll have to read about it somewhere else. If you want an honest review, you will have to wait until I can rent one, I suppose.

Yesterday, Jalopnik’s Matt Hardigree teed-off on Chrysler for inviting sex blogger Jen Friel to the Dart release. Although Hardigree himself is embroiled in a long-term struggle with our own Derek Kriendler for the unofficial title of Most Interesting Young Auto Writer, a battle he cannot help but eventually lose, I heartily recommend that you check out Matt’s article when you have time, because it’s a fun read, and it’s straight out of the Jack Baruth Handbook For Dissing The Living Shit Out Of Hack Writers & The Auto Industry In General, Yo. When I read stuff like that, I feel the same way Madonna must while watching a Lady Gaga performance.

What Matt doesn’t realize, however — or doesn’t say, at any rate — is that Chrysler’s decision to effectively replace TTAC with Ms. Friel isn’t an anomaly. It’s the arrow-straight path to the future,and it is part of a bigger trend that affects everyone from your humble author to the New York Times. Here’s why.

Read more
April Plug-In Car Sales: Toyota Prius Wins, Chevrolet Volt Takes Second, Nissan Leaf Third

It was a good month for the Toyota Prius Plug-In, with the newest plug-in car outselling the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf in April.

Read more
Hedonist Vs Frugalist: 2012 Nissan Versa

A few years ago I offered a strong thumbs up to the outgoing Nissan Versa. Plenty of room. A small touch of sportiness when it came with a hatchback. Good feature content. I even gave it kudos for offering a slightly frumpish French design that went far beyond the flying wedges and amorphous blobs of the time.

Times have changed. Small cars are starting to look good again. Thank God!

The 2012 Versa has been reviewed here, there and pretty much everywhere. A lot of auto journalists hate it with a passion that was once reserved for no hit wonders like the Saturn Ion and Suzuki Forenza.

Is it really that bad? American consumers are saying, “Hell no!” with sales up a stunning 30% from April 2011. At least from the sales numbers (8,300+ units last month and climbing) it looks like a car loaded with penurious plentitude is just what Dr. Recession ordered. To help us out I have asked two completely fictional car experts, Jacque Hedonist & Stefan Frugalist, to help us figure this out.

Read more
Editorial: With Fiat Sales Soaring In Canada, Is It Time For More European Small Cars?

What do Buick, Volvo, Infiniti, Mini, Cadillac, Lincoln, Suzuki and Scion have in common? All were outsold by Fiat in Canada last month.

Read more
Japan In April 2012: Post Tsunami Syndrome

Sales of cars in Japan nearly doubled in April. Sales of registered vehicles rose 92 percent to 208,977 units from 108,824 a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Dealer Association reports. Sales of separately tallied mini vehicles rose 96 percent, according to data provided by the Japan Mini Vehicles Association. Consolidated, the market rose 93.7 percent. This does not include imports, which will be reported at a later date.

Read more
April Sales: Bad News For Detroit, Good News For Toyota City

All results of April are in, and large parts of Detroit are unhappy. Sales of GM and Ford declined, the formerly torrid gains of Chrysler slowed down a bit. Reborn Toyota posted another double-digit gain and came within touching distance of outselling Ford, while Volkswagen continues its winning streak.

Read more
Plus a Charge, Plus C'est La Mme Chose

General Electric EV Charger Then

The annual World Congress of the Society of Automotive Engineers is often a showcase for the most trendy technologies that have buzz in the auto industry. Judging by the number of new engine designs shown in the display area, it’s clear that internal combustion is far from dead.

Read more
Time Machine Dilemma: It's 1986 and You Have Enough Money For a New Chevette. What Do You Buy?

After last week’s Time Machine Dilemma (in which you emerged from your time machine in 1973, on Auto Row and with enough cash to buy a new Ford LTD), I thought of doing a 1974 Oil Crisis Diminished Expectations Economy Car Time Machine Dilemma. However, the really challenging econobox-shopping decisions came a bit more than a decade later, when the Hyundai Excel and Yugo GV arrived in a marketplace full of Japanese subcompacts duking it out for supremacy and Detroit trying to stay relevant. Yes, 1986! So, you exit your time machine in front of the Chevrolet dealership with $5,645 in your pocket. That’s enough to buy a new Chevette at full list price (the out-the-door-price would almost certainly be lower, but we’ll go with MSRP for this exercise). Do you get the antiquated-but-simple rear-drive Chevy for your penny-pinching commuter… or something else? Let’s look at your choices.

Read more
Piston Slap: Crystal Ballin' the Bling-Free Altima!

Peter writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I drive a 97 Nissan Altima GLE with a leather interior and 180,000 miles on it. I’m wondering:

1. How much longer will this car be a reliable daily driver? It is immaculate. I am the 2nd owner, and I have the receipts going back to the window sticker.

2. What car is most similar to my Altima that will be five years old at the time I need to replace it? I drive 15,000 miles a year. A new car is not an option, because I can’t take the new car stench.

The best trait about my car is that it has a muted interior with no brightwork. This makes it good for Southern California and great for my trips across the desert. With my next car, I am willing to forget the leather interior and the sunroof. I am also not averse to replacing it with a manual. A muted interior, however, is a must. If I’m stuck with brightwork and chromed plastic, I will black it out myself.

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1990 Ford Escort Pony

In 1990, budget-conscious car shoppers who wanted to buy American-built (if not American-designed) could pick up a Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon America for $6,995, a Pontiac Sunbird coupe for $7,858, or a Ford Escort Pony for $7,423. The Escort had penal-colony-grade amenities and was on the final model year of a very elderly platform (though not as outdated as the Omnirizon), but its simplicity and gas-sipping ways made it a fairly good seller, especially after things got crazy in Kuwait.

Read more
Hammer Time Rewind: The Seven Deadly Sins

There are some cars that no one will appreciate… but the owners. A bad brand name. Fatal and expensive defects from times past. Even a body style made of a designer’s frump can turn a brilliant vehicle into a showroom relic. This week I majored in buying unloved cars. Seven cars. Seven sins. More than likely seventy-seven plus days on the pavement.

Read more
SAE World Congress: Not Enough Automotive Engineers to Go Around

The Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress held in Detroit every April serves a number of functions for the automotive engineers’ professional association.

Read more
Capsule Review: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

If you are an automotive journalist who socializes with people who don’t have a bizarre fascination with the automobile and its associated trivia (there’s not many of us, believe me), you will inevitably be asked a few stock questions at parties. Among them;

1) Wow, you have the best job in the world, don’t you? (The answer is, no, not really, but working at TTAC is great)

2) What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven? (The answer is, 30 thousand, 100 million)

This article answers another common question – “What do you think of (insert car here)?”, and more specifically, what happens when expectations and reality are not the same.

Read more
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Discover Some Of The Bottom 265 Best-Selling Models in the USA! Hint: The Honda Element Is Not Last…

Now that nearly all of you know are familiar with the Top 100 best-selling cars in the world and the Top 318 best-selling models in Europe, what if we looked no further than the United States of America and go through the Top 265 best-selling models here over the First Quarter of this year…

No?

So you’re bored with home already. But that’s ok because I have sales info for 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. So don’t be shy and click away!

Now for those of you who are still interested, I will start by saying that no, the Honda Element is not the least selling car in the country, but just: with just 3 models sold in the last 3 months and down 99.8% year-on-year it ranks #261 out of 265 models accounted for…That would be because the model has been discontinued and is no longer produced.

Why did I focus on the Honda Element? Just because.

For more see below the jump.

Read more
Volkswagen Jetta Getting 1.8T Engine – It's 2002 All Over Again

Ahh, 2002, those were the days. I was 14 years old, had my first girlfriend and an avid reader of Sport Compact Car. I was thoroughly convinced that the Nissan 240SX was the best car in the world but also had a thing for the Volkswagen Jetta with the 1.8T engine.

Read more
Is This The 2013 Nissan Sentra?

Although the nameplate says “Sylphy”, this is more than likely the 2013 Nissan Sentra, set to replace t he dreadful current generation car.

Read more
The Worst New Car I've Driven So Far

Being asked “what car should I buy?” occurs on a weekly basis for me, but I’d rather field that question every day than listen to the recieved wisdom of a magazine racer just once more in my life. The most recent inquiry came from my Uncle Maurice, a kind and generous man who provided my brother and me with a near bottomless supply of Swiss Army knives when we were children.

Read more
Yes, I Do: Infiniti Finally, Really, Officially To Start Production In China

Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn wanted to announce it Monday or Tuesday in person in Beijing. On the other hand, the upcoming production of Infiniti cars in China leaked last week, after Nissan’s worst kept secret had kept the Chinese rumor mill in motion for more than a year. After Gallic shrugs all around, Nissan confirmed today that two Infiniti models will be manufactured locally in China from 2014. Ghosn will have to find something else to feed the media on Monday. Dim sum perhaps?

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan 200SX Turbo

It’s hard to get more stereotypically 80s than this car. Weird Japanese styling, headache-inducing upholstery patterns, and— most important— TURBO! I was 20 years old when this car was new, and the sight of this Crusher-bound example gave me terrible A-Ha flashbacks.

Read more
Blind Spot: It Ain't Easy Being Green

When government, media and industry agree that a trend exists, it’s generally taken as fait accompli. After all, these three institutions wield immense cultural power, and together they are more than capable of making any prophecy self-fulfilling. But there’s always a stumbling block: acceptance by the everyday folk who actually make up our society. And when a trend is taken for granted, the ensuing rush to be seen as being in touch with said trend often generates more heat than light. Such is the case with the trend towards “green cars.” Few would deny that they are “the future,” but at the same time, there’s been precious little examination of how this future is to be realized. And when such examination does take place, it tends to raise more questions than it answers.

Read more
Europe In March 2012: Car-nage

European car sales are getting it on the chin. Sale in the EU were down the sixth consecutive month, with a decline of 7.0 percent compared to March last year, ACEA says. March is prime selling season in Europe, and customers refuse to buy. March registrations have not been at this level since 1998. January to March, car sales in Europe are down 7.7 percent.

Read more
  • 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.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.