2012: Year Of The Mediocre Redesign

I recently rented a midsize sedan from Hertz. Hoping for a go in the latest Fusion, I was instead placed into a new Camry, though it may have been a 2007 Camry. Differences between the two are only discernible to Toyota engineers, though a new campaign gives dealers the ability to tell them apart using a VIN decoder and a magnifying glass.

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North American International Auto Show Wrap-Up

The North American International Auto Show press days have come and gone. That means journalists no longer need to get dressed every morning, and can return to clipping their toenails while blogging in their bathrobes. OEM staffers get to return home – unless, of course, home is Detroit. Then they’re counting down the days until New York.

For those who missed the show, never fear: I’ve rounded up everything important and summarized it in one highly useful story. It’s almost like you ate the food yourself.

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Infiniti Wants Japan, But Does Japan Want Infiniti?

Johan de Nysschen, at home in Hong Kong

New Infiniti-boss and former Audi U.S. chief Johan de Nysschen wants to bring Infiniti home to Japan. He had said this to me last September in his office in Hong Kong, and he reiterated it again in Detroit when talking to the Wall Street Journal’s man in Japan, Chester Dawson. Back home in Yokohama, people are sucking air through their teeth. “Muzukashi desu ne.” This will be difficult.

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Prius Production Heading To American Shores

Toyota sold 236,659 Prii (all kinds) in the U.S. alone in 2012, all of them imported from high-yen Japan. This is a major drag on the car’s profitability. Long import routes are a hindrance, offshore production also tends to impact the granularity of options and trims. U.S. production of the Prius was expected for last year, it did not happen. Yesterday, Shigeki Terashi, head of Toyota Motor North America Inc. came as close to announcing as possible that Toyota plans to produce the Prius in North America. He didn’t really say it, and you needed to be Japanese to hear it.

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NAIAS 2013: Toyota Furia Previews The Corolla
Europe Ends The Year With A Bang - On The Nose

New car registrations dropped a painful 16.3 percent in Europe in an acceleration of a long, and initially slow a downward trend . The European carmaker association ACEA calls the decline ”the steepest recorded in a month of December since 2008.” For the year the EU market was down 8.2 percent to 12,053,904 units, which is the “lowest level recorded since 1995,” says the ACEA.

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New Corvette, Same Old GM. Or: How The General Fails At The Fourth Wall

In 2007, our founder Robert Farago wrote this piece. It is still bouncing around on Facebook. It never stopped being true, and it became extra pertinent with the launch of the new Corvette. People often accuse us of being “biased” against GM. My answer in private, today for the first time uttered in public, always was: “Not true. GM is biased against TTAC.”

In May 2011, with Ed still at the helm, I dragged him to Detroit, and up the escalators of RenCen to make an end to the useless war, and to make peace with GM. Sitting in Selim Bingol’s office, I explained that their old antagonist Farago is gone, replaced by young Niedermeyer and old warhorse Schmitt. New people at GM, new people at TTAC, let’s go forward. As an answer I had to hear from Bingol that at GM “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.” The meeting froze. I could unfreeze it. Former advertising people know how to talk their way out of a bad meeting, current PR flacks should have similar capabilities of instant insincerity. Smiles, handshakes, contradicted by body language. GM promised that all is good, it wasn’t. TTAC remained toxic at GM. The cold war continued. I did not know that Farago had tried before. Read this story from 2007. He sure did. – Bertel

Our man Mehta recently ran into a GM PR flack at an industry event. When Sajeev revealed TTAC as his spiritual home, the GM underling shook with rage. Still, it being the South and all, pleasantries were exchanged. After sweet talking the spinmeister, Sajeev promised I’d call and oil the troubled waters.

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Monday Mileage Champion: Lawdy! Lawdy!

Lawdy! Lawdy! Guess who’s 40!

Well, it happened. After a weekend where my daughter scores the game winning basket and the trade-ins numbered 6432, I hit the golden age of middle age.

As for the 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the picture, would you believe 403,224 miles? That little factoid was just the very tip of a long data drilldown.

Not to mention a few unusual future contests between the automakers in what will now be called the Trade-In Quality Index… or TIQI for short!

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Volkswagen On A Tear Globally, Misses GM In China By A Hair

Volkswagen has ended the year on a strong note. Shrugging off the troubles at home in Europe, Volkswagen increased its global group sales by a respectable 20.7 percent in December of 2012, bringing its global group sales for the year above the 9 million mark at an 11.2% increase compared to 2011.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac LE

Here in Colorado, the self-service wrecking yards tend to be museums of four-wheel-drive cars that disappeared into obscurity a couple of decades back. When it comes to Toyota, everyone knows about the Celica All-Trac, and of course you still see the occasional mid-80s Tercel 4WD wagon. Go to a Denver junkyard, though, and you’ll see lots of Corolla All-Tracs. But a Camry All-Trac? We’ve all heard of them, but this may be the first four-wheel-drive Camry I’ve ever seen in person. It was fitting that I found this one during my freezing-cold Half Price Sale adventure on Saturday.

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Piston Slap: Taurus Fulla Bull!
TTAC commentator TheDward writes:

Sajeev! Thank you for taking the time to read this. My dad is dealing with some bullsh@t, and we could use your advice. His daily driver is a 2006 Taurus with 155k miles. (Bull huh, I get it! Snort! -SM)

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The 200 Girls Of The Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 – Mild Sex, NSFW Due To Bandwidth Restrictions

The Tokyo Auto Salon was mobbed, to a high degree by youth that allegedly has no interest in cars, or procreation. They come to the Auto Salon for two reasons: Cars and girls. Both are plentiful. On Friday, we promised you in-depth coverage of this important topic, and here it is. Like with our hachi-roku coverage, we try to give you a feeling for the overwhelming number of underdressed women by giving you TTAC’s biggest picture collection of all times.

CAUTION: The content may be NSFW in certain places that object to bare skin, racy outfits and musings about deviant behavior. Do not click and/or complain if that offends you.

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It's the Weekend, It's 3 Degrees Out, and It's Half-Price Day At the Junkyard!

Back when Pick-N-Pull and Pick Your Part both operated yards in Northern California, Half Price Day sales used to take place at least every couple of months. Everything was half off on those days, which meant you could get transmissions for something like 30 bucks, complete engines for $75, and so on. Then, back in 2009, El Pulpo packed up and left NorCal, which meant that the competition didn’t have as much motivation to put on such sales. Now that I’m in Colorado, it appears that U-Pull-&-Pay also does the occasional Half Price Day… and this time they chose the coldest weekend of this winter.

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Tokyo Auto Salon: It's The Hachi-Roku Rama! An 86, FR-S, BRZ Picture Collection, Taller Than Mt. Fuji

On Friday, we mentioned that Toyobaru’s hachi-roku absolutely dominates the Tokyo Auto Salon into total submission. Just about any booth (save that of Honda, Nissan etc.) has the almond-eyes of one or more hachi-roku looking at you. On Friday, we promised you visual proof. Here it is, and it is a monster. It is the biggest collection of hachi-roku pictures this side of Gunma.

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Tokyo Auto Salon: 555TES Minute-S

It’s been a lost in translation situation, but from what I could develop here at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the oddly shaped and oddly named 555TES Minute-S is a “three-wheel compact commuter” powered by a Yamaha 250-cc engine coupled to a Toyota Aqua hybrid drive. Here it is in motion:

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Is The Government's Green Car Of Choice

Imports led the majority of the government’s green car purchases last year, with 54 percent of the nearly 1,800 green vehicles purchased by the federal government coming from Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda. The federal government’s most-purchased hybrid wasn’t a Big Three product either. Instead, it was the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

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Tokyo Auto Salon: Japan Discovers New Growth Industry: Hachi Roku Customization

Toyota’s Akio Toyoda never stops warning about the hollowing out of Japan’s industry. Today at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyoda gave a spirited speech praising the virtues of customization of the hachi-roku, Toyota’s 86 (aka GT86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ), JDM Spec, In Japan" href="http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/review-from-the-backseat-2013-toyota-86-gt-limited-aka-gt86-scion-fr-s-subaru-brz-jdm-spec-in-japan/">(aka GT86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ). Today at the show, one gets the impression that customizing the hachi-roku definitely is a huge growth industry.

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QOTD: What Sound Should Hybrids And EVs Make Below 18 MPH?

NHTSA is proposing to make it mandatory that hybrid cars and EVs have the ability to emit a sound when traveling below 18 mph on electric power, as a means of warning pedestrians and cyclists. The system is said to add about $30 to the cost of each vehicle, and will no doubt tie up bureaucrats for months as they debate just what kind of tone will best protect the public from the horror of low-speed injuries. So why don’t we make life easier for them and decide ourselves?

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Then And Now: A Short History Of The Altima

Camry or Accord?

Back in the early 90’s, most non-enthusiasts with who admired certain small cars as long-term transportation modules would wind up at a Toyota or Honda dealer. Civic, Corolla, Camry, Accord. The majority of these blase buyers would price out their Toyonda car with nary a fleeting glance toward the Nissan side of the world.

Those early-90’s Sentras may have eventually yielded a bulletproof powertrain for the developing world and a wonderful SE-R model as well. But nobody cared back then. The Stanza? Still stuck in the 80’s school of design with a 90’s price tag.

Nissan was the least loved child of the Japanese Big 3 among those who least loved cars in general. But then the market slowly changed.

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Monday Mileage Champion: An Open Request

This week has been nothing less than the usual.

The top 5 vehicles were either Toyotas or Ford trucks, with a 2005 Toyota RAV4 that had galloped 425,904 miles skating right past a 2003 Ford E250 with 413,579. Eight of the top ten were either the usual Ford/Chevy/Toyota truck, or a Honda/Toyota car. Only a solitary Vulcan V6 Ford car and a Nissan Maxima interrupted the usual domination. Both of those models I’m thinking about adding to the list just because they are frequent enough to merit that distinction along with Sajeev’s beloved Panthers.

But then again, I did have one big surprise. Anyone remember the Mercury Capri?

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Japanese Cars Continue To Suffer In China

Sales of Japanese car in the world’s largest car market, China, continue to be impacted by the war of words (and occasionally sledge hammers) over uninhabited rocks in the East China sea. Sales are inching up a bit after customers dare to come back to the showrooms of Japanese brands.

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Japan In December 2012: A Much Better Year Than Some Predicted

The Japanese new car market ended the year 2012 up 27.5 percent to 5,369,721 units. You may read other numbers elsewhere, but that’s because it is often overlooked that regular vehicles and mini vehicles are reported separately in Japan. At TTAC, we consolidate them as a service to our readers.

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What's Wrong With This Picture: Truth In GM Advertising Edition

The introduction of the C7 Corvette is almost certainly the biggest splash expected at this year’s Detroit show. It will almost certainly be a good car; no surprise there, the Corvette has been a pretty good car for nearly its entire production run. By common agreement, there are two “dark period” in the model’s history. The original “Blue Flame Six” cars were priced above the Jaguars of the era and couldn’t come close to catching them on a track or open road. It took the why-didn’t-they-think-of-that addition of Chevy’s then-new small-block V-8 to make the ‘Vette a legend. Corvette fanciers are also eager to forget the later “C3” cars, which were awfully heavy, rather indifferently assembled, and frequently found sporting “PRNDL” markings. The nadir was probably the 1980 California Corvette, which offered buyers a mandatory encounter with the much-despised 305-cubic-inch V-8 and automatic transmission.

When they aren’t ruthlessly dissing their own stuff, GM marketing and advertising people almost universally react to the arrival of disastrous products by placing said products into ads with classic cars — anybody remember those Cadillac ads which juxtaposed the great old Caddys with a Zep tune and the rather sterile early-2000s lineup? The above effort isn’t a surprise, then… but how accurate is it?

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Piston Slap: The Butterfly Effect
Earl writes:

Hi Sajeev, here’s a question for you and the best and brightest here. ”How might your life have been different had you bought a particular car?”

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Piston Slap: Your Body is A Temple?

TTAC contributor David Holzman writes:

Sajeev,

My brother Tom’s Prius has been suffering neglect: a scraped door here, a tear in the bumper there, and my heavens, enough dirt to coat all the government buildings in the Washington DC metro area, where Tom lives and works, and pretty soon a two year old Prius is looking like a common beater. He has no plans to fix all this ugliness, but if there’s a logical, cost-benefit case to be made, he will definitely be swayed, as will his wife.

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Real Self Driving Cars Are Nearer

When the 2013 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens its doors in Las Vegas, Nev, on January 8, there will be a few cars on display. And not just to show off entertainment systems. At least two carmakers will demonstrate self-driving cars: Toyota and Audi.

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Canadian Government Launches $250 Million Auto "Innovation Fund"

The Canadian government will put up $250 million as part of an “auto innovation fund”, a continuation of a 2008 program which the government claims led to over $1 billion in spending.

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Oregon Considers Per-Mile Tax On Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

“Everybody uses the road and if some pay and some don’t then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,” said Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding.

Ah, yes. As with any number of current governmental activities, the rationale for per-mile taxation will be fairness.

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December and Full Year 2012 Sales Table

“Detroit’s automakers showed December U.S. sales gains of 5 percent, slightly better than analysts’ expectations,” says Reuters, “but likely not enough to stave off market-share gains by Japanese rivals.”

And here December and full year 2012 sales results in an easy to read table, data courtesy of Automotive News [sub ].

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December Sales Of The Titans: GM Up 5 Percent, Toyota Up 9

GM reports “the company’s highest December sales in five years,” with deliveries up 5 percent to 245,733 vehicles. For the year, GM’s U.S. sales are up only marginally. They rose 3.7 percent to 2,595,717 units. In a market expected to be up around 14 percent, this will translate into a serious drop of market share.

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Subaru Revs Up U.S. Capacity

Good news for Lafayette, Indiana: Fuji Heavy will spend $230 million to increase the capacity of its Subaru of Indiana plant by about 30 percent, says The Nikkei [sub]. Subaru’s sole overseas plant currently works at full tilt, and about half of the 330,000 Subarus sold in the U.S. must be imported from Japan.

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Global Auto Sales 2013: What Do Toyota And Hyundai Know We Don't?

Auto sales are expected to have ended the year up by around 5 percent. This according to analysts at Scotiabank and elsewhere. China, where a quarter of the world’s automobiles are sold, is probably up 4 percent, Europe is expected to be down some 8 percent. Auto sales in the U.S. on the other hand are seen to have risen some 14 percent for the year. More precise data are expected within hours or days, so let’s have a look forward.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: My 50 Questions For 2013

Now that the Top 150 most popular vehicles around the globe are out of the way and 2013 has finally arrived, I thought I would ask 50 questions for this New Year… If you know the answer please feel free to comment! And also post yours…

Can’t be bothered about the New Year and wish you were in 2012 still? That’s fine, you can check out the best-selling cars in 2012 in 171 countries and territories in my blog. Yes. That many.

Back to my questions…

And the first one is:

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12 Golden Country Greats: The Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand(TM)'s Greatest Hits of 2012

I wrote a lot of vaguely-car-related stuff in 2012, and here’s my chance to show off the stuff that made me proudest (or at least took the most work to create). Enjoy.

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Question Of The Day: How Much Would You Pay For… Perfect Diagnostic Information?

Flashes and pulses.

I was staring at an archaic diagnostic system on a 1992 Volvo 940 wagon. It was located underneath the hood, inside a plastic cover, with six little holes for each one of the six digits, along with a cheap plastic wand.

What came out was morse code. Three little reds, stop. One little red, stop. Two little reds, stop. Code 312. Time to visit the brickboard, where the code could be translated to about fifteen different potential issues.

21 model years later, and we’re still not quite there yet.

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Review: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350

We’re all familiar with the Mercedes-Benz GLK, from its new-for-2010-looks-like-2002 exterior to its “they want how much for this?” interior. But the fourth model year is MCE time. Mid-cycle, has Stuttgart enhanced its compact crossover enough that previous rejecters should reconsider it?

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Toyota Corona Sedan

Since my first car was a Corona and I’ve had quite a bumper crop of Corona Junkyard Finds this year (including this ’79 LE sedan, this ’70 sedan, and this ’70 coupe, the last of the 2012 Junkyard Find Series might as well be this ’68 sedan.

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Monday Mileage Champion: The Year In Review

It’s time to make a confession to the good folks at TTAC.

The mileage game is rigged.

How so? Well, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles that reach the 300k+ mark at an auction I attend will usually belong in one of four categories.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Toyota Corolla Now #3 In The World!

After giving you my monthly World Roundup for November a few days ago, I will now rewind back one month (detailed data by model worldwide takes some time to compile…) to offer you an estimate of the Top 150 best-selling models in the world in October…

Had enough of the world and you just want to know which cars sell best in your own backyard? Easy. You can visit 171 countries and territories in my blog in the comfort of your own lounge. Just like that.

Back to our the world…

If in September the Ford Focus had started to benefit from the Japanese drama in China to pass the Toyota Corolla and historically grab the worldwide pole position, in October things are getting worse for Toyota…
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Review: 2013 Ford Escape Titanium Take Two (Video)

Like their products or not, Ford has been on a roll. It all started when the blue oval financed their metamorphosis by mortgaging everything that wasn’t nailed down a year before the bankocalypse. Next came a wave of new products like the Astonesque Fusion, Prius fighting C-MAX and the Euro-derived Fiesta and Focus. Ford’s recovery plan hinges on unifying their worldwide lineup rather than making unique vehicles for every market. Ford calls this plan “One Ford,” while I call it “Ford’s Euro love affair.” The latest warrior in the Euro invasion is none other than the Ford Kuga, you’ll know it as the new Escape. It would appear Ford’s timing couldn’t be better since they just lost the small-SUV sales crown to Honda. Can the European soft-roader take back the crown? Or has Ford gone too far by ditching the boxy Escape for world-wide homogeny?

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Toyota To Close The Year 80,000 Units Shy Of 10 Million

Last May I said that Toyota will end the year as the world’s largest automaker with around 10 million units produced. When I did that, some people gave me a look usually reserved for people who sadly lost it. Even the good folks at Toyota did not want to comment, at least not in my face.

Toyota will end the year with 9.92 million units produced, up 26 percent on 2011.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: World Roundup November 2012: When Hyundai Cracked Brazil

Hoping that you are all having a very Happy Holiday Season, my present to you guys today is the 9th installment of our much anticipated monthly rendezvous: the World Roundup.

If last month the focus was on China, Austria and Japan, in November all spotlights are on Brazil…

You can check out previous World Roundups here for March 2012 (“Has the Hybrid era started for good?”), April 2012 (“Big change coming from India”), May 2012 (“GM and Toyota Etios make headlines”), June 2012 (“Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Focus shine”), July 2012 (“Geely CK writes history in Ukraine“), August 2012 (“The Subaru XV topples a legend in Switzerland”), September 2012 (“Ford Focus strong in China”) and October 2012 (“One Japanese in the Chinese Top 50”).

Had enough of the world and you just want to know which cars sell best in your own backyard? Easy. You can visit 171 countries and territories in my blog in the comfort of your own lounge. Just like that.

Back to our Roundup…

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TTAC's Editors Pick Their Best And Worst Cars Of The Year

Although the TWATs are still going strong, it’s nice to take a break every now and then and appreciate the cars that manage to excel in an era of homogenous designs and an overarching emphasis on efficiency and profitability. An informal poll of TTAC editors revealed a wide range of opinions on what the most enjoyable drive of 2012 was. And since some didn’t submit their nominations on time, you, the readers, can leave your own suggestions below.

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Brazil in 2012: Fiat Celebrates Early For Fear That VW Will up! Them

Video o.k. for network TV in Brazil, but NSFW in certain jurisdictions. Do not click if naked derrieres offend you.

The numbers for the first eleven months of the year have been consolidated. The first fortnight of December has been basically more of the same. It’s now quasi-official: Fiat is the biggest pig in the sty for the eleventh time in a row. They already have an ad out celebrating the fact. Last year the Italians waited until January to commemorate. This year they had no such compunctions.

Curious is the theme they chose to celebrate their victory. Don’t think a green-eyed spermatozoon, masturbation and bodily functions would be GM’s choice to celebrate their market dominance in stodgy America. Oh, those racy Italians!

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Piston Slap: Modern Sleeper, Future Classic?
TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:

Hey Sajeev,

While watching the Mecum auto auctions recently, a beautiful Plymouth GTX came thru on the auction block. It got me thinking about the rash of brand-icide we’ve seen these past ten or so years. As they pass, others come in.

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TTAC Declares (Knock On Wood) Toyota World's Largest Automaker 2012

We have been saying it since May, but it took Bloomberg (along with the rest of the copypasting media) until a few days ago to realize that GM’s reign as the World’s Largest Automaker is coming to an end. GM regained the title in 2011 from a tsunami-ravaged Toyota. Toyota has been bouncing back strongly ever since. Toyota’s worldwide production is up 30 percent for the year, while GM was seen treading water when they last published global numbers in October.

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American Irony: This Facebook Page Will Destroy Your Faith In Humanity

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time: in the wake of a national event that has a lot of people looking for a legislative solution, start a Facebook page which ostensibly calls for the banning of another controversial piece of machinery. As Generalfeldmarschall von Moltke once wrote, however, no plan survives the first contact with the enemy.

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Suzuki Death Watch 15: Kizashi Bests Camry In A Bittersweet Final Victory

Kizashi Beats Camry! No, it’s not a reprise of Dewey Beats Truman, but the Suzuki Kizashi landed a parting shot against mid-size kingpin the Toyota Camry, soundly beating it in the latest round of IIHS crash testing.

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What Happened To GM's Hybrid Pickups?

One of the most conspicuous absences from GM’s full-size truck reveal was the lack of any hybrid variants. The highly-touted but slow selling hybrid full-size trucks and SUVs were never intended to be the darlings of America’s truck space, but they played an important behind the scenes role for the company.

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Kill Or Be Killed: Automakers Can Be Forced To Use Deadly Refrigerant

If you are an automaker, and you know that something can blow up and poison your customers, then you are in deep trouble if you put that stuff in your cars. In Germany, you are in in deep Scheiss if you don’t. Daimler may have to pay high fines if it continues using an old refrigerant in 2013, instead of the new HFO-1234yf, of which Daimler says it can fry and kill you. If Daimler continues to resist, it may lose the European type certification for the A and B Class. Which could kill the company.

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Ka-Ching: Toyota Pays NHTSA $17.36 Million

Toyota has agreed to make a payment of $17.35 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is “to settle claims related to the timeliness of its June 2012 recall to address the potential for accelerator pedal entrapment caused by unsecured or incompatible driver’s side floor mat in the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, without admitting to any violation of its obligations under the U.S. Safety Act.,” as a Toyota statement says.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Dodge Ram 50

There was a time, when American truck shoppers were willing to tolerate the shame of driving small pickups, when the members of the Detroit Big Three couldn’t/wouldn’t build their own and thus sold rebadged Japanese trucks. GM had the Isuzu-built Chevy LUV, Ford had the Mazda-built Ford Courier, and Chrysler had various flavors of the Mitsubishi Forte aka Mighty Max. In 1982, you could get your Forte as a Mighty Max, a Plymouth Arrow, or a Dodge Ram 50. Though you could buy the Ram 50 until 1986, examples of this truck are very rare these days. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver yard last week.

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Sayonara, LFA

LFA Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi says good-bye

As intimated last week, Toyota’s production of its LFA supercar is coming to an end. On Friday, LFA #500 left the assembly line at the secretive LFA Works in Toyota’s Motomachi plant. After a week of testing, the car will be delivered to its undisclosed owner.

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Next Gen F150 Will Ditch Caveman Marketing

While GM is pushing its “evolutionary” styled new pickups with tried and true marketing, touting brawn and toughness, Ford will go with a less macho approach. It will push fuel economy for its next-generation F-150 pickups. For that, marketing has to be preceded by engineering. Ford will make its trucks shed between 700 and 750 pounds of weight for a 15 to 20 percent better fuel economy, says a report by Reuters.

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Review: 2013 Ford Fusion SE 1.6L Ecoboost (Video)

The 2013 Fusion is a critical car for Ford. Despite the rise of the Koreans, an Americanized Passat, refreshed GM and Chrysler products and a dip in Fusion sales between the 2012 and the all-new 2013 model, the Ford is still the fourth-best-selling mid-size sedan in America. Michael was invited to a regional Ford event in September where he revealed his opinions, but what most readers seem to recall is Derek’s proclamation that the 2013 Fusion is a “ gamechanger.” To answer the question once and for all, Ford tosses us the keys to the volume-selling SE model with Ford’s recall-beleaguered 1.6L Ecoboost engine for a week.

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What Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger: Volkswagen Survives Nicely, Thank You

Volkswagen shows yet again that you are not automatically doomed just because you are a Europe-based carmaker. Its global group sales are up 10.4 percent to 8.29 million units from January to November, after a 11.7 percent rise in November.

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Survey Says: Detroit Can't Shake The Drinking Habit - Blame The Enablers!

Demand for fuel-efficient vehicles remains strong, and the fleet of newly bought cars is taking to the streets getting a better mileage on average than a year before. The cars sold by Hyundai/Kia are most miserly with their fuel, with Volkswagen close behind. Automobiles from Detroit on the other hand stay thirsty. This is the result of TrueCar’s TrueMPG survey.

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Meet The New GM Trucks, Same As The Old Trucks

GM revealed its new full-size pickups today, with a combination of “evolutionary” styling and while offering a more traditional pickup, devoid of the fancy turbocharged V6 engines and air suspensions offered in its rivals.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corona Luxury Edition

As I always mention every time I write about the Toyota Corona, my very first car was a 50-buck ’69 Corona sedan, and so I always notice them. You don’t see many Coronas these days, though I’ve managed to find this ’70 coupe, this ’70 sedan, and this ’79 sedan in wrecking yards during the last year. All three of those cars were in Northern California, but today’s Junkyard Find awaits The Crusher’s jaws in Colorado.

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BMW And Boeing In Carbon Fiber Alliance

BMW and Boeing will share know-how about making carbon fiber. BMW says it signed a collaboration agreement “to participate in joint research for carbon fiber recycling as well as share manufacturing knowledge and explore automation opportunities.”

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  • 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.