Biden Administration Meets With Auto Execs, Including Elon Musk

The Biden administration held another meeting with automotive executives about how to ensure electric vehicles go mainstream. But this time it included Elon Musk, who runs the most successful EV brand in the entire world.

After taking criticism for shunning the Tesla CEO in earlier meetings, senior officials held an event on Wednesday where he and other industry leaders could contribute as to how the United States should handle a national charging infrastructure and spur adoption rates. Despite Musk having often expressed a dissenting opinion in regard to President Biden’s strategy, the White House said that the meeting was productive and resulted in a “broad consensus that charging stations and vehicles need to be interoperable and provide a seamless user experience, no matter what car you drive or where you charge your EV.”

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Unfair? Toyota Launches Ad Campaign Opposing EV Tax Credit Scheme

Toyota Motor North America has already voiced its opposition to the proposed EV tax credit scheme tied to the the Democrats’ latest spending bill. This week, it has decided to expand its message by purchasing advertisements in national publications.

Starting Tuesday, Toyota will be launching an ad campaign intended to help bring Americans toward its side of the fence. While the automaker isn’t intrinsically offended by the government-backed incentivizing of electric vehicles, it has taken umbrage with the Biden administration’s insistence that consumers be issued an additional $4,500 incentive for purchasing union-made products. Though the reasoning should be obvious, since the company doesn’t have any unionized facilities in the U.S., the automaker is seeing growing support as the related legislation is stalled on Capitol Hill.

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Honda Ditching Formula 1, Sticking With IndyCar

Honda has decided to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season to allegedly focus on electric and fuel-cell development. The company has said F1 hybrid combustion engines didn’t mesh with its plan of realizing “carbon neutrality by 2050” and has opted to leave Red Bull and AlphaTauri in a difficult spot moving forward. They’ll both need to find a replacement engine supplier before the 2022 season while Honda decides where it might make a better environmental impact — settling on IndyCar.

Less than a full weekend after vowing to abandon F1, Honda doubled down on Indy by agreeing to a multi-year extension to continue supplying motors until at least 2023. In fact, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is actively working on a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid unit, aimed at roughly 900 horsepower, for the sport’s next generation of cars. While we’re pleased to see any manufacturer maintaining its commitment to motorsports, the decision seems at odds with Honda’s plan to pull out of Formula 1 — which has likewise acknowledged a desire to become carbon neutral. Like Indy, F1 is also planning on using hybrid combustion engines for the foreseeable future.

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QOTD: Overspending Overtures?

It happens to the best of us. Entranced by bigger tires or more horsepower or louder sound, we gearheads are susceptible to bouts of fiduciary myopia. Plugging a stereo system worth two grand into a knackered old Cavalier? Sure! Paying handsomely for a lift kit even though the old Silverado has rust holes like swiss cheese? Let’s go!

We’re all prone to the odd bit of automotive profligacy. Mine, perhaps surprisingly, involves a Ford Escort and some subwoofers.

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Former Banker Wants Wealthy Individuals to Share Racing Cars Via New App

The former digital chief of Credit Suisse, Marco Abele, intends to introduce an app allowing wealthy individuals to share ownership of experiential assets — things like vineyards, works of art, and even fine automobiles.

Abele calls the digital service a “blockchain-based investment platform,” which is just a bullshit businessman buzzword way to say there will be a transaction ledger. By keeping things transparent, the group’s owners can ensure nobody gets financially burned when someone drives a shared $300,000 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo into a barricade.

At any rate, it sounds like communism for rich people.

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Subcompact Crossovers Are Depreciating Faster Than Any Other Segment

Remember how Beanie Babies were a national phenomenon in the mid-1990s? The country couldn’t seem to get enough of the little darlings and many ended up going for astronomical prices. But, like most stupid trends, their popularity was short lived. It wasn’t long before the once-collectible toys held the same value as a used pair of underwear.

Subcompact crossovers may be suffering a similar fate. With the CUV craze in full tilt, automakers have been capitalizing by providing budget-minded shoppers with small and affordable variants. However, the group currently faces the heaviest depreciation of any automotive segment.

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If You're Wondering Why Automakers Can't Stop Talking About Mobility, Wonder No More

“Mobility” is easily the most overused term in today’s automotive vernacular. Despite being incredibly nonspecific, executives can’t help but make it the bookend of most speeches involving long-term goals and production stratagems. But why?

The term itself pertains more to the industry itself than the specific products it’s developing. While “mobility” can be applied to any conveyance with a technological bent, the word also represents a company’s ability to move into other areas of business. And that’s what gets the investors and market analysts tugging at their collective collar, damp across the brow, so red hot they can’t help but raise the stock valuation of any company that seems poised to make a big move.

Tesla’s entry as novel manufacturer with a unique product was enough to send its share price through the roof, and established automakers took notice. Despite Mark Fields’ best attempt to rebrand Ford as a tech company, he couldn’t bottle that same lightning and paid the ultimate price — getting fired. However, General Motors may be succeeding where Ford initially failed. The proof of the pudding is how high its share prices continue to climb.

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Wells Fargo to Refund $80 Million of Unnecessary Car Insurance It Forced Onto Customers

Wells Fargo says it will reimburse roughly $80 million to customers erroneously charged for auto collateral protection insurance policies. Customers will be remediated after roughly 800,000 customers were essentially forced to purchase unnecessary auto insurance, despite many of them already having active policies.

The banking and financial services firm reviewed policies started between 2012 and 2017 and identified approximately 570,000 customers who could have been negatively impacted. It plans to issue refunds and other payments as compensation, especially to those who defaulted on their auto loans as a result of being overcharged.

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Here's How Much Money You'll Receive for Your Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-Liter TDI

With the settlement now filed with the courts between Volkswagen, regulators, and other plaintiffs in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, the United States District Court Northern District of California has published the exact figures for buy backs and settlement figures.

Click the jump to find out how much money you’ll receive for your affected Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter equipped TDI.

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Volkswagen Spends Its Money On The Wrong Things

There has been a lot of coverage recently devoted to that scandal where Volkswagen revealed that its vehicles have been polluting like a chemical company that dumps out its waste in poor neighborhoods late at night.

But this scandal seems to have taken our eye off the Volkswagen ball. I say this because the whole “cheating on diesel” thing is not Volkswagen’s only issue. It is merely one of a myriad of problems that has launched the brand into the mediocre, also-ran position where they find themselves in America today. And right now, I’m here to remind you of the largest of these problems: that they spend their money on absolutely the wrong things.

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Money Isn't Everything: What an $8,500 Porsche 996 Really Costs

About two months ago, I purchased my fourth new-to-me car in as many years — and I still had two of the previous three. Of those three, one was purchased for adventure (a 1977 Porsche 911S that I drove cross-country and back nine days after purchasing it), one because of nostalgia (a Honda S2000, I bought one new and missed it), and the third due to reputation (an Acura NSX, I had never even driven one before buying this one online). Those reasons must be the foundation for some sort of automotive cardinal sins list.

However, I bought the fourth one because it represented such a good value. It was a 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera with about 146,000 miles. It hadn’t had the IMS bearing replaced, but I figured that with such high mileage it probably wouldn’t have an issue. Is this foreshadowing? The seller was a friend who had owned it for about two years but had purchased a mid-eighties 911 Targa recently and didn’t want the ’99 as a daily driver any longer.

Painted a pretty medium blue, the 996 was equipped with a beige interior and GT3 wheels. It drove well and — except for mediocre clearcoat and worn leather, a ‘check engine’ light that appeared intermittently, and a blown speaker — it was a solid performer. I certainly didn’t need the Porsche (nor did I have the space), but at $8,500, how could I go wrong?

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No Fixed Abode: Fruit Flies Of The Marketplace

I don’t know what you’re doing with your weekend, but I’m spending mine driving a Prius from the Midwest to the East Coast. Next week I’ll tell you all about my experience with the car, but I’ll say this: it hasn’t been what I expected. Not that my opinion on the subject matters to Toyota; I’m not a customer for a Prius or a hybrid of any type and I am unlikely to become one until the last car that can beat a Prius around a racetrack enters the loving jaws of the Crusher.

Existing hybrid owners, on the other hand, are near and dear to Toyota’s heart. Unfortunately, that affection is being returned in smaller and smaller doses.

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Piston Slap: The Butterfly Effect
Earl writes:

Hi Sajeev, here’s a question for you and the best and brightest here. ”How might your life have been different had you bought a particular car?”

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Lotus Owes Suppliers Nearly $37 Million

A report in The Independent revealed that Lotus owes supplies nearly $37 million and has even asked for tax payment deferments to help manage its cash flow.

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Fiat Waits For Government Money. Serbia Says It Will Pay Next Year

The U.S. government may have to wait a little more until it sees the money it has sunk into GM. The reverse is true in Serbia. There, Fiat has to wait a little longer for the money owed by the Serbian government.

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  • Bd2 Jaguar's problem was chasing the Germans into the mid size and then entry-level/compact segments for volume, and cheapening their interiors while at it.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Aja8888 I expected that issue with my F150 starting at 52,000mi. luckily I had an extended warranty and it saved me almost $8,000. No more Fords for me, only Toyota.
  • Lou_BC I saw a news article on this got a different read on it. Ford wants to increase production of HD trucks AND develop hybrid and EV variants of the SuperDuty. They aren't scaling back EV production. Just building more HD's and EV variants of HD's .
  • Lou_BC Backing up accidents are one of the most common causes of low speed accidents. You'd think sensors and cameras would help.
  • Jpolicke Jaguar started making cars that were dead ringers for Kia Optimas, but less reliable. They now look like everything and nothing; certainly nothing to aspire to.