New Volkswagen NA Boss Quits Before Taking Position

Chairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tapped to lead a new North American Volkswagen region, will be leaving the Volkswagen Group, it was announced Wednesday.

Vahland will not be taking the N.A. role which would have given him the responsibility of overseeing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets.

“Differing views on the organisation of the new Group region have led to this decision,” Škoda said in a release on Wednesday, though the automaker was careful to point out that “this decision is expressly not related to current events on the issue of diesel engines.”

A replacement for Vahland in North America has not yet been announced.

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What Does a Chinese Buick Verano GS Mean For North America?

As Opel begins its retail roll out of the new Astra across Europe, some enterprising spy shooters have found the Opel’s Chinese-market twin wearing Buick tri-shields and Verano GS badging.

And holy shit, this is about to get very, very confusing.

According to Autohome, the Verano GS — marketed as Buick Weilang GS in China — is expected to be revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show with GM’s 169 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The same engine will be used in North America in the new Malibu, albeit with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Now before you get too excited about those GS badges, it may not mean what you think it means, at least in this case.

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Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020

In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.

Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.

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Volkswagen Won't Cut Prices to Chase Market Share in U.S.

Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part I

This was my first vacation in, like, ever. And it was supposed to be a break from cars. No driving, wrenching, writing, photographing! Stop looking at that Ford Versailles, don’t take a photo of that Renault, because car design is no vacation in such a beautiful place…right?

And then “my” Ford Ranger found me in Leblon. Oh, for the love of why did I walk down this street I can’t believe that stupid truck followed me from…

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Piston Slap: American Rust Vs. Japanese Rust?

Stefan writes:

Sajeev, I recently had a conversation with my cousin in Wisconsin. He claimed that cars assembled in North America are more rust prone than cars assembled in Japan or other oriental countries. Apparently his observation was based on several cars in our extended family: An elderly Dodge Durango and a not-so-elderly Honda Odyssey with the traditional clapped-out transmission.

I have never seen any statistics to support these ideas and really don’t recall reading suchlike statements in the TTAC in the past. That older American cars rust more than newer Japanese, and vice versa, seems natural and I recall seeing many old Japanese cars with severe corrosion damage, but what is the truth in this matter? Over to you and the B & B!

Stefan (’97 Fat Panther without a speck of rust)

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Daimler Expanding Sprinter Production To North America

When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America.

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market

Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

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Kia Eyeing Diesels For U.S. Market

Kia is apparently looking at expanding into the niche diesel market in the United States – but not just yet.

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BMW To Announce Second North American Factory Before Summer Break

Still mulling over where to build a second North American factory, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer stated his company would have an answer before the automaker goes on summer break.

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Alfa 4C Arrives In 86 North American Showrooms, Brings 342 Pounds Of Luggage
Honda, Nissan, Toyota Set Production Record Against Weakening Yen

As the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all set production records in their North American plants in 2013, according to Automotive News.

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Supply Chain Bottleneck Due In Five Years According to Study

Bottlenecks are bad things to experience. Around 70,000 years ago, the Toba supervolcano eruption reduced humanity to anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs — thus creating a genetic bottleneck — alongside a global cooling event concurrent with the Last Glacial Period.

For automakers in the United States and their North American supply chain, their Toba event is coming.

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Hamster Heart, Electric Soul

If you’re into EVs but find the Tesla Model S too expensive, and the Leaf too jelly bean, then Kia would like to offer you something with a bit of soul. An electric Soul, that is.

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Piston Slap: When RON Met PON…Mon!!!

Brian writes:

Hola! First off, love the site, long time listener, first time caller. I recently had the amazing opportunity to act as chauffeur for my good Chilean friend Diego’s road trip through Patagonia. He had access to a little four banger 1998 Daihatsu Feroza (Rocky in the US) but did not know how to drive. So I gladly I wrestled this thing around Southern South America in a circuit of just over 3000 Kilometers that took us south on Chile’s famous Carretera Austral (dirt roads cutting through the Andes) and back north through Argentina’s Route 40 (very similar to route 66 in the US).

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  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Maybe those union dues will help soften the landing. Employment there used to be 4000 people, and the plant has been at risk for 15 years. Stellantis did recently say that it would be trimming dead wood so it could rebuild the company. The Cherokee is finished, but I bet the plant reopens with a smaller workforce once Stellantis figures out what to do with it.
  • Zipper69 The Bronco is a soft option and has the style that the Jeep lacks. The actual ability of the respective vehicles is irrelevant, they "compete" on image alone. The Bronco is new and trendy and production can't keep pace with demand
  • MaintenanceCosts Will the Bronco have a four-motor configuration a la Rivian? That seems to me like the right approach for an EV off-roader. Enables lots of neat tricks.