Stellantis to Cut Jobs at Jeep Plant in Illinois

Blaming the global shortage of semiconductors and related supply chain challenges, Stellantis has announced another round of cuts at one of its factories. According to a report in the Detroit News, about 400 workers have been informed of an ‘employee reduction’ that will take effect early next calendar year.

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Toyota Pauses Production at 9 Plants Following Weekend Earthquake

Japan was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake over the weekend. The Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures were hit the hardest, offering a physical reminder of the 9.0 magnitude quake that devastated the region in 2011. Scientists have claimed that Saturday’s tremor was actually an aftershock from the horror show that occurred a decade earlier.

While still a large systemic event, authorities aren’t reporting widespread injuries or even damages. However, many citizens were left without power and numerous industrial facilities were idled for inspection. This includes automakers, with Toyota making an announcement that it will be stalling nine factories for several days this week. Though only some of that time is needed for safety assessments. The automaker is fretting over a batch of suppliers that were impacted by the quake and is anticipating a parts shortage.

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Piston Slap: Goodwill Repair, Goodwill Replace Again? (PART II)

Caroline Writes:

Good day Sajeev:

I was blessed to find your information on line. I am experiencing the exact issues mentioned on your site regarding my 2013 Volvo S60. Do you have any advice regarding the best way to handle this matter? Here are the details:

November 2015, I purchased a used 2013 Volvo S60 with 33,000 miles from a Volvo dealer. The car worked fine, within the last year (2018) the synthetic oil started burning out within 60-90 days. Synthetic oil changes are supposed to last for 7k miles. (my oil changes didn’t last for 1,000 mi). I have taken my car for servicing at the Volvo dealer. I searched the web and found my issue is a common issue with Volvo: Piston, Oil leaking, engine problems. There has not been a recall.

Dealer states they will cover parts, but I must pay $2900 for service hours. Why should I suffer penalty of $2900 for an international issue with the make and model of Volvo?

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Amped in Alabama: Mercedes Breaks Ground for Battery Plant

Last year, Mercedes-Benz committed to a Tuscaloosa treat in the form of a billion-dollar upgrade to its existing Deep South facility. Details have surfaced on how that cheddar will be spent, including the construction of a new battery factory for the company’s future EV endeavors.

Mercedes has been entrenched into Alabama for about 20 years now, making SUVs and crossovers that are both sold here and exported to other markets. With this investment in electrification, there’s every chance they’ll be in the area for another two decades.

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Ford Channels Its Inner Tony Stark, Deploys Exoskeleton

It might not allow Ford line workers to lift 100 tons like Iron Man, but new tech being trialed at Ford might prevent serious injury on the job.

Called EksoVest, the wearable technology elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It’s the latest example of advanced technology showing up on assembly lines to reduce the physical toll on employees.

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Piston Slap: Goodwill Repair, Goodwill Replace Again?

Ed Writes:

Sajeev,

I bought a 2012 Volvo S60 originally, but there was an ongoing issue the dealer could not fix. Amazingly, it offered to replace the car with a 2013 model after about 10 months of trying to fix the issue (at no cost to me). So, kudos to the dealership — I obviously feel like they did me a solid.

Fast forward to today and my 2013 S60 now has 60,000 on the odometer. During the last oil change cycle, I got a “low oil” warning pop up for the first time around 55,000 miles. I pulled over and the car was almost bone dry. I put in a couple of quarts and called the dealership. Since it was close to the oil change time, they asked that I just bring it in for a quick look and oil change. I did so, and now, just 3,500 miles after that dealership visit, I noticed my oil level has gone from the top of the “normal” range on the dipstick to the bottom. At this rate, my oil level will return to bone dry again in the next 1,000-2,000 miles.

On the Volvo forums there are a number 2012 models with oil burning issues and it looks like the dealers are all over the place when dealing with this issue, especially with cars that are out of warranty (in terms of goodwill assistance). So, do I press my luck and see what the dealership will do to help here or just trade it in for another car and keep quiet about the issue, considering their past goodwill towards me?

From what I read, it seems like the first step is a ring replacement ($3k) and if that doesn’t work, an engine replacement ($$$). Any thoughts?

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Here Are All the Vehicles German Auto Brands Sell and Build In the United States
“The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S.
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump

Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.

At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.

But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with [s]no[/s] limited commentary.

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Piston Slap: Cancelling Chrysler's Noise Cancellation?

Craig writes:

Hey Sanjeev, (*facepalm* –SM)

I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, and I’m bit of a music buff. One of the first things I dispensed with was the factory Harman Kardon speakers. I replaced the sub with a JL stealth box. Now I have a pretty big problem with the factory stereo and its the automatic noise cancellation.

When the transmission is in normal D mode and or eco mode is on, it uses the factory stereo to cancel out the drone of the engine. Unfortunately, the noise cancellation is calibrated for the weaksauce factory sub. Now it sounds like one of those bass CDs from the ’90s as I hold speed or decelerate. I’ve asked the dealer how to get rid of this thing, to which they said “you can’t.”

I’m not so convinced.

Any ideas?

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Piston Slap: Extraneous Engineering Fallacy, Factory Performance Models

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m anticipating that my 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon, with 210,000 miles on the clock, will need replacing soon. I’m lucky in that my wagon is a five-speed manual with the 2.2 EJ motor, so it has been fairly bullet proof. I’ve been looking around at affordable commuter five-door hatchbacks (Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, etc) to replace the Legacy as the replacement needs to be able to fit multiple kids and sports gear, as well as be my daily driver (~45 miles roundtrip work commute).

Here is my question: I would like something a little sporty as more than half of my commute is on fun, twisty, back roads.

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Nevada Insuring Itself Against Faraday Future's Murky Present

Nevada, home to Tesla’s “Gigafactory,” is taking a different tack with its other soon-to-maybe-be electric vehicle producer, Faraday Future. To make sure its $215 million package of tax incentives and abatements actually creates a factory that will employ Nevadans, the state has levied a number of conditions on Faraday, which includes putting up millions of dollars to develop the future 18,000-acre Apex Industrial Park site the company will call home.

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TTAC News Roundup: Merry Boozy Christmas; Subaru Can't Make 'em Fast Enough; Nevada's Playing With House Money

You’ve made some bad decisions at the holiday office Christmas party. We’ve all done it. Don’t compound it by using a (probably inaccurate) free breathalyzer that you picked up at a Honda dealer instead of a cab ride.

That, and Subaru is turning production up to “11,” Hyundai was hit hard in China and Nevada’s rolling the dice on electric cars … after the break.

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Piston Slap: The Parts Vs. Production Fallacy

Mike writes:

Sajeev,

I have a 2009 Nissan Xterra 4WD with 69,000 miles on the clock. It has been very well maintained and caused me no problems whatsoever. Hell, I’m still running on the original brakes and my service people tell me there’s no need for a brake job yet! I’ve been very happy with this truck. But, Nissan discontinued the Xterra in August 2015 and I’m wondering if I should sell mine now (because factory-only parts will become harder and harder to get) or keep it.

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Marchionne Undecided on Toledo Wrangler Plant's Future

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ top executive says he’s still not sure if Jeep’s Toledo plant will build the next-generation Wrangler, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.

In a move that may or may not be union-negotiations related, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said he expects to make a decision on where to build the new Wrangler by the end of the summer — or about the time negotiations wrap up.

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Piston Slap: A Tale of Mastercrafted, Aftermarket Dubs

Jimmy writes:

I hope this new year finds you well. Back in 2007 I bought a new Hyundai Santa Fe. Nothing special, no ABS or four wheel drive. But it did have 20”s on it with low profile 12 inch wide tires. Later that year I had the chance to drive it in the snow. First time ever. Was not a good time.

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Daimler, Nissan To Co-Operate On Mexican Factory

Daimler and Nissan have agreed to a joint-venture that will see front-drive Infiniti and Mercedes models built at a Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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  • Oberkanone Does $63,350 include $1,500 mandatory optional Onstar?
  • Kendahl $1,500 is a good reason to turn OnStar into OffStar. I guess that means writing off Buick, Cadillac and GMC. The more garbage manufacturers stuff into otherwise very good vehicles, the less likely I am to trade in my 15-year-old Infiniti G37S. It's mechanically sound at 70k miles.
  • Kcflyer Great looking rigs. Too bad there in such short supply.
  • Jkross22 I'm such a sucker for retro. I don't like SUVs or trucks, but F did a good job picking colors and the cloth interior is brilliant. The old logo and as JMII said, the badging is key for this working the way it does. Damn, marketing had some good ideas. Very surprising.
  • JMII I'm not the off roader type but these look good, especially the old school script badging.