Last week, I asked about vehicles which managed to turn up the Suck Dial between generations. The overwhelming response to this question compared to the opposite question asked a week earlier (about generational improvements) showed me how you all love being negative and trashing cars.
Thus, about six weeks ago, the genesis for today’s question was put into print. At that time I asked about your favorite automotive success story. But today we’re going to be much, much more negative.
Tell me your favorite automotive flop.
General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant is bleeding vehicles and in danger of closing, but the city and its workers aren’t going down without a fight.
GM employees, their union, and local government representatives want a new mandate to produce vehicles beyond 2017, invoking images of Flint, Michigan in their battle with the automaker. The recent announcement of 700 new provincewide engineering jobs doesn’t cut it, they say.
To them, GM’s silence reeks of an exit strategy.
“Would it kill you to buy American?” mutters Walt Kowalski after watching his son drive off in a Toyota Land Cruiser at the beginning of the film Gran Torino.
The common refrain from past and present members of the U.S. auto industry has everything to do with the sector’s impact on the domestic economy. If you’re really concerned about your car’s “purity,” however, there’s an annual report that checks just how much domestic content went into every new vehicle sold on American soil.
This year, three controversial General Motors vehicles return to take the patriotic crown. But they’re still not fully American.
The diesel emissions scandal can’t be blamed for all of Volkswagen’s sales woes.
Today, the automaker announced first-quarter profits fell 86 percent compared to the same time last year, not surprising given its sidelined diesel models, the hit to its reputation, and a hastily cobbled together $18.2 billion scandal fund.
Worldwide sales of Volkswagen passenger cars fell 1.3 percent (year-over-year) this quarter, but the scandal doesn’t tell the whole story. That number would have been in positive territory if select countries weren’t grab-your-money-and-get-out economic disasters.
Nissan’s product pipeline has all the flow of a crusted-over faucet, and that’s not good for business.
That, automation is insidiously infiltrating cars all around you, Mercedes-Benz goes all in on AMG, Jaguar teases China with something special, and foreigners flee the Russian automotive landscape … after the break!
A wave of older vehicles is poised to flood Toyota dealer lots, but the automaker is confident it has just the plan to deal with it — pre-owned leasing.
Toyota is certain that adding a leasing option to its certified pre-owned inventory would boost CPO sales and clear lots in the face of a growing compliment of three-year-old product, Automotive News reports.
The plan has already been quietly rolled out in the U.S. Northeast, but a national strategy should be in place by the end of April, dependent on training in each dealer region. The option would allow a reduced commitment for buyers who don’t want to finance the full cost of a pre-owned vehicle.
Good times have clearly arrived, because Americans are flinging money at cars like it’s going out of style.
Leasing has never been more popular for American car buyers, reports the Detroit Free Press, and the size of their auto loans have also reached record territory.
One coupe flies, two coupes die.
By the time that Akio Toyoda was standing on that Detroit stage crowing about the triumph of the LC500, the nails were already being hammered into Scion’s coffin. The Scion tC, perhaps the best combination of practicality, style, and durability available for under twenty-five grand in the United States, will be taken out back and unceremoniously shot. The FR-S … your guess is as good as mine, but I’d be surprised if Toyota brought it over as the Celica, no matter how personally gratified I would be by such a move.
The story of Toyota’s American sub-marques could not be more different. Lexus has gone from strength to strength, effortlessly assuming a position as the thinking man’s luxury car with the LS460 while also flooding the market with Camry-platform high-profit product. Scion, on the other hand, has struggled from its first day with customer perception, dealer-satisfaction issues, and schizophrenic product planning.
Yet it’s easy to show that Lexus has been just as poorly managed as Scion; take a look at the Lexus lineup over the past 27 years and tell me that you can’t spot quite a few duffers and misfires. So why is the Official Toyota Brand of McMansion Owners soaring while the Official Toyota Brand of Dubstep Aficionados crashes? The answer, naturally, is: Barack Obama.
Break out the champagne and 7-liter engines. Have one on us, alright?
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are reporting that despite a mild increase in crude, oil is hovering around $40 a barrel and it’s expected to further dip in coming months to a six-year low on a global glut of oil.
The national average for a gallon of gas could drop to as low as $2, Green Car Reports says, which would be the cheapest its been since January, and could approach historical lows from 2008.
Automakers PSA (Peugeot and Citröen) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are most at risk if Greece’s economy fails and the country backs out of the Euro, according to a report by Automotive News.
Analysts say the two automakers have the largest share of southern European markets — including Italy, Spain and Portugal — where the economic impact of a Greek failure could hit the hardest.
Although the automakers have a large share of those markets, its a relatively small portion of their overall sales, the report states.
Speaking at an unrelated Fiat 500 reveal last week, Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari is worth about $11 billion and he expects the prancing horse’s IPO to garner about $1.1 billion went it goes up for sale in October.
“There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said, according to Bloomberg News. “There is also a scarcity value as we are just selling a 10 percent stake.”
Marchionne’s estimate is roughly double what brokers said the Maranello-based manufacturer could be worth almost a year ago.
Done Duratec’d Out? (photo courtesy: Supaman)
TTAC Commentator Supaman writes:
Haven’t visited TTAC in a while but I’m back! My Mazda 6 has now crossed the 101k mileage marker and all your nuggets of wisdom have helped keep this classic functional and beautiful. However, there’s another problem rearing its head that has plagued even the Mazda forums I’ve visited for a resolution.
It involves the car’s driveability at anything below 3000 rpm. Doesn’t matter whether the engine is just warming up or at operational temperature, the car will hesitate (sometimes violently) in a stuttering/bucking fashion when accelerating from a stop through the gears until I crest that magic 3000 mark on the tach. Out on the highway, passing in top gear is almost impossible because of the engine’s hesitation if revs fall below that number, requiring a downshift to 4th to keep them up. At first I thought my manual skills were to question but then I never started experiencing this issue until around the 87,000 mile mark. It has since gotten worse. Sometimes the bucking is enough to trigger the CEL but then it always goes away after a while.
Browsing the forums I’ve tried everything from cleaning the MAF sensor, fuel injector cleaner, throttle body cleaning as well as replacing the O2 sensor. I’ve narrowed it down to either spark plugs (some forum members replaced theirs but the problem came back hours later), the coils or possibly a vacuum leak. One post I read indicated a potential cylinder misfire. Even Mazda dealers were confounded.
Chrysler has been on a steady upswing since the dark days of bankruptcy. Throughout its merger with Fiat, each model has been updated or completely replaced. Jeep has been the shining star of the core brands, selling every Grand Cherokee and Wrangler they can make. Even the controversially styled Cherokee has been fairly well receieved. The next vehicle in the Jeep lineup will be the small Renegade, designed to attract “a new wave of youthful and adventurous customers around the world to the brand.” We concur.
Making a “cheap” car is a tried and true formula for most auto makers. Making a car with a low sticker and a solid value proposition is tough. Not only do you have to keep the starting price low, but you have to worry about fuel economy, maintenance, insurance and everything that goes into an ownership experience. Reviewing cars that focus heavily on value is even trickier. Indeed a number of buff-book journalists were offended by the Versa Sedan’s plastics, lack of features and small engine. My response was simple: what do you expect of the cheapest car in America? Trouble is, the Versa Note isn’t the cheapest hatchback in America, so this review is about that elusive quality: value.
Should you find yourself renting a Chevrolet Spark in Acapulco in the near future, beware: it won’t have the same safety features — as in none at all — as the Spark exported to your local dealership. In fact, unless a car or truck screwed together in Mexico is bound for the United States or Europe, only the bare minimum, if any, in safety features will be available to customers in Latin America shopping for base models.
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