Latest auto news, reviews, editorials, and podcasts

By on June 30, 2020

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly cracking the whip again, spurring his company’s workforce into a frenzy of car-building as the end of the second quarter looms.

After posting a surprising first-quarter profit in early April, Tesla warned that the full weight of the coronavirus pandemic — and related lockdowns and sales implosion — would land on its balance sheet in Q2. To keep investor enthusiasm alive, the push is on to make those numbers as rosy as possible. Read More >

By on June 30, 2020

Rolls Royce Cullinan

We’ve covered how mainstream automakers rose to the coronavirus challenge ad nauseum, but what about companies whose customers dream of rich mahogany and yachting off Cannes all night?

Well, just like a Silicon Valley tech mogul, Rolls-Royce spent these past few months reflecting, peering deep within its soul, all to learn how to become a better friend to its clients. Apparently, “post-opulence” is now a thing. Read More >

By on June 30, 2020

ford

If you’re in the market for a midsize pickup and possess an irresistible urge to tackle the worst terrain you can find, chances are the most rugged variants of Chevy’s Colorado and Toyota’s Tacoma top your list of maybes. Ford would like a word.

The Ranger didn’t enter the segment with the brawniest hardware in tow, but the passage of time has a way of correcting mistakes (if you want to look at it that way). On Tuesday, the Blue Oval debuted a trio of packages designed to deliver more off-road capability — and even power. Raptor Lite? Read More >

By on June 30, 2020

Ford

Like the server who came to your table that one time, Ford’s 2021 F-150 boasts many appealing attributes — so many, in fact, it may have you thinking about ditching your current ride for a new one.

Evolutionary on the outside and innovative within, the next-gen pickup offers owners ample space for both sleeping and work. It’s the latter feature we’re discussing today, as it seems Ford had a simple solution to its table problem all along. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

ford

On the same day that it encouraged fans to follow it on Instagram for sexy Bronco teasing, Ford Motor Company announced it will pull advertising from all social media platforms for a period of 30 days.

As you read here roughly nine minutes ago, Ford’s move comes after Honda did exactly the same. The automakers, among a number of other companies, aim to pressure big social media companies to root out and erase or ban hate speech — which can be a very nebulous term, depending on who’s using it. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

nissan

I’m your man, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida told shareholders at an annual meeting Monday, promising to take a pay cut while firming up the fiscal foundations of an automaker that was floundering even before the pandemic hit.

Nissan rolled out a very different kind of four-year plan in late May. Cost-cutting and consolidation is the name of the game going forward, but shareholders often want more assurance than a blueprint can provide. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

American Honda has joined a cadre of sizable brands opting to pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram in order to “stand with with people united against hate and racism.” It’s part of a broader campaign, called #StopHateforProfit, in which activists push brands to boycott social media giants until they enact stricter regulations about what constitutes actionable language that should be censored/penalized.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen numerous companies adopt the increasingly popular campaign, yet the reasons for doing so seem as varied as their individual terms and conditions. Multinational consumer goods company Unilever said it will scrap all social media advertising for the remainder of 2020 in the United States. While most attribute this primarily to hate-speech concerns, the company also noted that the contentious political climate on those platforms (including Twitter) having become undesirable for its own advertising purposes. Coca-Cola is similarly pausing social media spending for a few weeks, it’s made it clear that it’s not joining the official boycott, despite claims to the contrary in the news.

While Honda’s involvement in the movement is a little easier to follow, there are still a few twist and turns. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

Well, that’s it, then. Is the traditional auto show dead? The tombstone has yet to be erected, but Monday’s cancellation of the 2021 Geneva International Motor Show, coming on the heels of so many cancellations in 2020, certainly makes it feel as if, somewhere, an epitaph’s being chiseled on a monument.

The planned 2020 Geneva event was the first international trade show cancelled this year (at the 11th hour, it should be noted) as the coronavirus spread north from a Northern Italy hot spot, heralding a slew of cancellations to follow. New York, a month later, then Detroit in June. China and Germany.

And now Geneva again. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

Having already pulverized the dead horse of waning auto sales into a fine paste, we’ll now turn our focus on how it’s impacting employment among automotive retailers — squashing another pony.

Much of the information up until this point has been anecdotal and conditional to the North American response to COVID-19. Furloughs were rampant as the pandemic progressed and new safety rules seemed poised to cripple sales moving forward. There was an obvious general plight confronting automotive retailers, but we couldn’t nail down what that meant in terms of job losses.

We still don’t, frankly. But it is starting to become obvious that there isn’t much reason to be exceptionally optimistic. AutoNation recently announced that around half of the 7,000 workers it furloughed in April won’t be coming back. Despite some retailers claiming not to need such drastic cuts, plenty are following AutoNation’s model. With fewer customers and sweeping restrictions on how showrooms can be operated, there’s little reason for there to be all hands on deck. But just how many will be forced to abandon ship this year?  Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

Rare Rides previously examined a rare Grand Prix. It was from a Pepsi contest and separated from the coupe you see here by only three years. Today we consider the end of an era for Grand Prix, with the very special 2+2.

Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

General Motors Renaissance Center

The coronavirus pandemic and waves of protests may have captured much of the nation’s attention, but holdovers from the Before Times remain. Among them, General Motors’s racketeering lawsuit against rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Remember that?

GM claims FCA, with the help of corrupt UAW officials, hammered out mutually beneficial labor deals that gave the Italian-American automaker an unfair edge over its competition. After appealing a judge’s ruling last week, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, will now be able to attend a court-ordered meeting with FCA CEO Mike Manley with legal representation in tow.

Oh, to be a fly on that wall. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

Image: Ford

Your mileage will vary, automakers. As consumer confidence increases to some degree — a phenomenon partially dependent on what the novel coronavirus is doing in various regions — auto sales are expected to follow.

Forecasters now claim U.S. auto sales will see a marked uptick in June that pales next to the jump seen in May. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

Image: GM

Compared to the clattery, soot-spewing 350 diesel that helped sink General Motors’ reputation in the 1980s, the 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six introduced in the automaker’s full-size pickups late last year is a refined affair. It’s also making something of a reputation for itself, drawing buyers to the company’s truck-only brand who might otherwise have looked elsewhere in the industry for a pickup.

GMC now says it’s targeting a surprising take rate for the Flint-built engine. Read More >

By on June 29, 2020

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven after the Mitsubishi Overlords began selling vehicles under their own badging in North America in the early 1980s, Chrysler continued selling those very same vehicles with Dodge, Plymouth, Eagle, and Chrysler emblems. One of these machines didn’t stay on sale for long, but captured the hearts of a devoted American following: the Dodge Raider, twin to the Mitsubishi Montero (aka Pajero).

Here’s one that acquired some mean-looking modifications before meeting its demise in Colorado Springs. Read More >

By on June 27, 2020

Always eager to slash delivery costs — especially if the government opts to stop subsidizing the company via the U.S. Postal Service — Amazon has been getting chummy with EV startups. It’s also begun exploring new business opportunities in regard to food delivery and ride hailing, resulting in sizable investments into both sectors.

On Friday, Amazon announced it will acquire California-based Zoox to help it further those goals. Coming off a staffing reduction of about 10 percent to contend with the pandemic, the company is currently focused on delivering an symmetrical, self-driving, zero-emissions vehicle that can compete on the currently nonexistent robo-taxi market. While the world’s 13th largest company (by revenue) seems like it would make good use of the property to advance its autonomous delivery program, corporate messaging seems to indicate Amazon is more interested in Zoox’s expertise in people moving.  Read More >

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