With average fuel prices creeping back up, you’ve undoubtedly seen a slew of articles trying to explain why. The trend seems to be to just blame it on warm weather.
Over the past week, countless media outlets published stories about how oil refineries have had to scale back production targets to contend with exceedingly high temperatures. But is this really the keystone issue for why you’re once again contending with undesirable fuel prices?
On Wednesday, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares suggested that Tesla’s profitability was on the decline due to the automaker having to confront some of the issues of a legacy manufacturer.
"They are entering my world, the world of tight pricing, cost competitiveness, and the operational issues that a big company like ours may face," Tavares told the press during a presentation of Stellantis’ half-year financial report.
Since everyone loves a little industrial drama, the statement became national news. But is Tesla really on the decline because it’s finally on the level of other multinational automakers or is Tavares just coping?
Over the weekend, your author was wandering through a massive parking lot in mixed company and was asked why modern vehicles are so much larger than their predecessors. It’s a frequent question and one that requires an answer that seems counterintuitive on its face.
While consumer preferences have trended toward larger automobiles of late, it’s actually the United States’ regulatory landscape that has been steering us toward gargantuan vehicles. Safety standards have required the implementation of systems that often won’t fit into older/smaller designs and loopholes in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have resulted in manufacturers sizing up models to exploit regulatory blind spots.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) is reportedly prepared to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its proposal to significantly reduce vehicle emissions through the 2032 model year is wildly unrealistic. The lobbying group believes that the government’s proposed targets are “neither reasonable nor achievable in the timeframe provided."
An internal memo was released on Wednesday, stating that the regulations introduced by the U.S. government earlier this year were so stringent that they were "a de facto battery-electric vehicle mandate.”
On June 16th Amazon Prime released the latest episode of The Grand Tour, “Eurocrash.” With a runtime longer than every previous episode of the show (1 hour 47 minutes), “Eurocrash” sends the presenters to central Europe for a long road trip. This particular installment is a bit different than past voyages though: The connecting thread between the presenters, journey, cars, and the episode’s events goes missing.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has advised automakers not to comply with a Massachusetts vehicle telematics rule designed to ensure customers have control over what happens with their private data. It’s the regulators' assertion that companies are obligated to enforce federal standards while suggesting that the state law poses safety concerns.
Interestingly, that’s the exact same claim the automotive lobby was making when the Massachusetts law was up first for debate and leaves one wondering who exactly the NHTSA is advocating for.
If you’re someone who follows automotive trends, you’ve undoubtedly noticed just how much effort is going into infotainment screens and features associated with connectivity. This is because auto manufacturers believe leveraging consumer data in a manner similar to tech companies (e.g. Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet) will yield oodles of cash. However, this is also why we’ve started seeing businesses dumping things like Apple CarPlay from their vehicles and some of us have a sneaking suspicion this practice will continue.
For better or worse, a lot of people in this business on all sides (journalist, analyst, PR, pundit) tend to use any given auto show's press conference schedule, along with the type of debuts that occur/news that is made, as a metric for the health of the industry.
One of the most infuriating things about this job is watching the media scratch its head about why roadway fatalities keep going up when the answer is as plain as the touchscreens on their dashboards. Modern vehicle interfaces are much more cumbersome than their predecessors and yet we’ve seen years' worth of coverage offering all the insight or a shrug. While there are certainly other reasons crashes have spiked (e.g. drug and alcohol abuse), the alluring tablet located next to your steering wheel has been the elephant in the room nobody was talking about — not with the seriousness that is deserved.
But things could be changing.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra met with Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, (D-WA) and fellow Democratic Commerce Committee member Gary Peters in Washington D.C. on Thursday to help lobby for favorable legislation pertaining to self-driving cars. Though it sounds like they were already on board with whatever GM wanted, as they’ve already started repeating familiar rhetoric designed to encourage legislators to tweak Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
The meetings coincide with Barra's press events discussing how the automaker would like to implement artificial intelligence (including the infamous ChatGPT) into future products.
Motor 1's John Neff recently wrote a screed defending the proliferation of screens in cars, and as he anticipated in his concluding paragraph, his take went over about as well as a stinky release of flatulence during high tea with the royal family.
Automotive enthusiasts and journalists, as well as consumers, pushed back hard, at least from what I saw on the socials.
Picture it. Last Tuesday, late afternoon. Checking the used convertible listings like I’d been doing for some time, it seemed the right car would never materialize. But on that particular afternoon, I happened to check Facebook Marketplace, a terrible place to search listings which I generally avoided. The default 249-mile search radius showed me a particular convertible I hadn’t seen listed before. Turned out it was the one.
Would you believe it’s been a year and a half since we last discussed used convertibles? Much has changed during the interim: The economy, the used-car market, and life in general. While some of you were fairly convinced I’d purchase a car “on the rebound” after I’d dumped the quality control nightmare that was the Golf SportWagen in July of 2021, you were wrong. Let’s catch up a bit.
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- Dukeisduke That instrument cluster is lame, like something out of an S-10 pickup.And why is the Purple Pantsuit Guy video still up? Is that some kind of punishment?
- SCE to AUX "The MSRP for a 1992 Camaro RS coupe with 5.0, 5-speed and T-Top roof was $13,339 (about $29,655 after inflation)."That's a remarkable price, even for a base model. But even then people knew these weren't very good cars.However, kudos to this one for going the distance.
- Oberkanone Install immobilizer for all affected Hyundai Kia. At no cost. Offer loyalty incentive $1000 toward new Hyundai Kia to all affected owners. Apologize.Road to redemption begins here. I believe Kong Fuzi would advise failure to fix the vehicles will result in greater damage to Hyundai and Kia.
- KOKing Huh, I figured by end of production the TBI 305s were all gone. It just seems like by then every one had that 'TUNED PORT INJECTION' badge on the rear bumper.
- Mike Beranek If they really want your car, they'll just drag it up onto a rollback and drive away. In about 15 seconds.