Hindsight is 2020: A Tough Year for Car Sales

To say the American auto industry faced challenges in 2020 is on par with saying the Pontiac Aztek was only a little bit ahead of its time. Or that Carlos Ghosn is only slightly irritated at some of his former Nissan colleagues.

Predictions of how each company (and the market as a whole) would fare in the face of everything 2020 had to offer came and went and were revised and them were revised again. Finally, after what can only be described as a ‘tactical delay’ by a couple of big-name manufacturers in releasing their data, we have a full and complete picture.

Perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t as dire as some of us feared.

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Ford Chosen by Unifor as Canadian Bargaining Target

Unifor has selected the Ford Motor Company as its target for collective bargaining. Once negotiations conclude, the union will be using the terms established with the automaker to lay the groundwork for pattern deals with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

While the talks have not yet begun, we already know Unifor wants to cement production commitments in Oakville, Ontario, where Ford is rumored to be ending Edge assembly. It would also like to secure deals for FCA plants in Brampton and Windsor. Naturally, the union will also be demanding wage increases — though this is sometimes the most contentious issue. Contract talks from 2016 became stuck in the mud over higher pay until Ford insisted employees remain subject to a 10-year wage grow-in that union members had been split on. It’s unclear if that will remain the case in 2020 but we genuinely haven’t had high hopes for the Union pulling out anything that resembles a major victory.

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Goodyear Caught in Political Crossfire, Nationwide Boycott

Goodyear found itself in a hornet’s nest this week, following a leaked diversity training slideshow that included a ban on Make America Great Again (MAGA) attire and sentiments. Incoming Goodyear employees at its plant in Topeka, Kansas, were allegedly warned about inappropriate political displays.

While “Black Lives Matter” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride” were considered acceptable, “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “MAGA Attire” and “Political Affiliated Slogans or Material” were listed in the unacceptable section.

The leak quickly garnered ire from President Trump as it circulated around the internet, who used social media to effectively support the preexisting campaign to boycott the company’s tires — adding that he would make sure Goodyear rubber is removed from the presidential limousine, posthaste. As you might have expected, this kicked up a media storm that brought more attention to the boycott Goodyear never wanted, while also placing it the center of a political fracas.

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QOTD: Living Beyond One's Reasonable Years?

A new trim level here, a revised bumper there, general fiddling. Sometimes, there’s just no way around it — a manufacturer’s vehicular offering is overdue for replacement. Today we want to discuss the models on sale in The Current Year that have lived past their reasonable shelf life.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: $60,000 Luxury Sedans in 2020

Say you’re an auto shopper of wealth and taste who has around $60,000 to spend. Now, let’s assume the usual options from Japan and Germany are not for you. Would you turn to America or Sweden to fill your luxury needs?

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Ace of Base: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110

This is the most predictable Ace of Base appearance since the C8 Corvette earlier this summer. With a stout off-road presence and a dose of retro style, the Land Rover Defender was shown in production form yesterday in Frankfurt.

A trio of trims will be available in America when it goes on sale, to be joined later by similarly equipped Defenders in two-door 90 next year and a long-wheelbase 130 sometime down the road. This base model, simply called the 110, starts under fifty grand.

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2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel First Drive - Third Time Lucky

It will surprise exactly no one to learn that a diesel engine option needs some sort of killer app in order to command the cash. Whether it’s power, towing capacity, or fuel economy matters not so long as it has some sort of advantage over its gasoline-powered brethren. Unfortunately for Ram’s EcoDiesel, the old engines were scarce on all three.

Being first to market is sometimes fraught with peril, but also has its advantages. Ram learned this in a number of different ways with its first couple of forays into the half-ton diesel game. Now that Ford and GM also have compression-powered arrows in their quivers, Ram is back with a third kick at the EcoDiesel jerry can.

This time around, it’s more than just a curious sideshow. This time around, it’s the first Ram EcoDiesel with a pulse.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan Versa S

Our weekly sojourn into the nation’s vehicular bargain bin sometime takes a turn towards the extreme (you know we’ll be featuring the 2020 Corvette soon enough) but, every now and then, your author comes to his senses and remembers what this post is supposed to be all about.

It’s supposed to be about cheap cars like the one you see before you, of course. For the new model year, Nissan has re-upped on its smallest sedan at a time when other manufacturers are running away from such machinery en masse. A base model still exists of course, so let’s find out what this brand is offering those who choose to sit in the cheap seats.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Chevy Impala LT

Large sedans have been and always will be a favourite around these parts. For those who are new to the audience, simply search for the ‘ Panther Love’ tag to see what I’m on about. I’m still recovering from my Lincoln Stockholm Syndrome, by the way.

This full-sized Chevy has so far been resistant to the Ace of Base award, given that it was offered with a miserable 2.5L EcoTec as its base engine. Now, with the model seemingly about to be broomed, the four banger is gone for the 2020 model year, leaving the venerable 3.6L V6 as the entry-level mill.

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Paint It Black: 2020 Lincoln Navigator Has New Monochromatic Colors, Safety Tech

Until the refresh of the Cadillac Escalade arrives, you want the Lincoln Navigator if you need a premium American battle tank. It’s a Raptor-powered beast of a cruiser, and Lincoln is keeping it fresh for the 2020 model year by offering a new appearance package and more standard tech.

Starting with the visuals, there is now a Monochromatic Appearance Package for the Navigator. If you don’t like chrome, and this author doesn’t, then this is a box you’ll want to check. Yes, there’s still some chrome, it is a Navigator after all. But the Monochromatic Package on the Reserve series offers three different colors to “showcase the bold lines” of the Navigator.

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Train Carrying New Jeep Gladiator and GMC Sierra Pickups Derails Causing Carnage

If you were waiting for a special-order new GMC Sierra or Jeep Gladiator to show up at a West Coast dealership, you might have to wait a little longer. Unfortunately there was a train derailment in Lincoln County, Nevada, yesterday, and some of the victims were brand-new pickups.

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2020 Audi S8 Adds Power and Handling, Retains Reserved Teutonic Looks

The Audi S8 has always been the Q-ship of choice for those who wanted a luxurious sports sedan that flew under the radar of untrained eyes. For the 2020 model year, Audi increases the output to 563 horsepower, but retains the understated nature of the cosmetic upgrades.

Though the pictures shown are of the European short-wheelbase S8, only the long-wheelbase version will be arriving on U.S. shores. Sent to the Quattro all-wheel drive system through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, the twin-turbo V8 engine is supplemented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The combined power of 563 hp and 590 ft-lbs is an increase of 103 hp and 103 ft-lbs over the standard A8’s twin-turbo V8.

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2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe Officially Revealed

While we got an early peek of the new 8 Series Gran Coupe via some leaked photos, the full lineup has now been revealed by BMW. The entry level 8 Series will be in the form of the rear-wheel drive 840i. With the 340 hp turbo inline-6, the cost of entry begins at $84,990, plus $995 destination. Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive will start at $109,895.

On many cars, the design of the rear seems like an afterthought — or possibly a feature designed by a separate team from the front. Either way, it’s rare that a rear end is the most striking part of a car’s design. Here, though, BMW has crafted such complexity and visual strength, that I find myself continuing to stare at the rear ¾ view.

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Lexus Adds More Off-Road Capability and More Ugly to 2020 GX 460

Just because the Lexus GX 460 rarely goes off-road, doesn’t mean it can’t. Despite the fact that most GXs prowl suburban malls, Lexus is still working to bolster its boulder-bashing bonafides.

The 2020 Lexus GX 460 will be available with an Off-Road Package with Multi-Terrain Select. Available on the top-level Luxury Grade model, this package should help with all that off-roading that Lexus owners are apparently known to do. This system combines surface-selectable traction- and stability-control modes with the Panoramic View and Multi-Terrain Monitors, all but negating the need for a spotter when doing some hardcore rock crawling.

Lexus is taking existing developed systems and technologies and incorporating them into the GX platform.

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Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan 370Z Base

Betcha forgot about this one. That’s okay – most people have. Thanks to Nissan’s glacier-like design cycle, the 2020 Z isn’t significantly different than when it first appeared in the late Jurassic period for the 2009 model year.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of our attention in this series, though, especially since it is one of the few remaining cars in today’s market that still offers a manual transmission, let alone two doors and a fast roofline. In fact, that steep chop aft of the windshield puts your author in mind of Godzilla, which is not bad company to keep.

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  • Art Vandelay Report: TTAC Dead in 2022
  • Art Vandelay I bet more Ferraris get driven than people comment on this site post-update lol
  • Jim Holmgren Absolutely love my TR8. It's a thoroughly modern car by Triumph standards. Comfortable to drive and ride in. AC and power steering - plus power brakes. The Rover V8 is the perfect engine for the car. It pulls strong without being ridiculous and it makes "a proper noise". In convertible form, I see nothing controversial about the styling for the 1980s.
  • CaddyDaddy Most TR8s have a pair of side-draft Stromberg carbs. HUH? I do believe those are SU or British made Skinners Union Carbs. May want to fix the article before some British Car loyalist has a heart attack in his garage while reading the article in the Midlands.
  • Arthur Dailey The only TR-8 that I knew was a 'project' car that sat in the same driveway for many, many years. Did however have a friend with a TR-7. Can confirm that the instrument panel, interior materials such as fabric/upholstery, ergonomics and in particular the seats were superior to my Corvette of the same vintage. However in the first week that my friend had his TR-7 while pulling out of a shopping centre, his driver's side door 'fell off' the car. Quality control was to put it mildly, primarily just a 'rumour' at B.L. during that period.