By on January 11, 2021

Image: NAIAS

The 2021 Detroit Auto Show has been canceled.

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By on January 7, 2021

Like a lot of people, I’ve been driving less on average since the pandemic began. This presents a problem when part of your job requires testing cars.

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By on January 5, 2021

 

Late last year we reported that thanks to the coronavirus and its impact on suppliers, Ford Bronco production would be delayed, saying “customers will receive a delivery window in May 2021. First customer deliveries will now begin in summer 2021 instead of spring 2021.”

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By on December 31, 2020

cabin air fliters

Cabin air filters in your car have been around for awhile, but recently companies promoting their ability to filter out the coronavirus have appeared. Is this even remotely possible?

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By on December 24, 2020

The hellfire of a year that 2020 has been is almost over, and while 2021 likely won’t be a picnic — especially at first, as we wait for the pandemic to abate as vaccines are rolled out — I don’t think too many people are going to miss this year.

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By on December 4, 2020

The automotive world’s most anticipated product is now delayed again. No, not the All-New Ford EcoSport. In a communication to dealerships, Ford confirmed that the 2021 Ford Bronco would be delayed until Summer 2021. The rollout change was forced by COVID-19 challenges that some of Ford’s suppliers are facing. In a communication sent to dealers that a tipster provided to TTAC, Ford also provided an update on some Bronco options.

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By on October 5, 2020

North America has changed immensely under the pandemic. The government tested what it could get away with under the premise of health-and-safety-related lockdowns; countless small businesses have gone belly up while larger entities seem to be thriving. Meanwhile, we’ve been informed that nature is returning to urban environments as humanity forced itself to stay indoors. Waters cleared, the air was purified, and animals ventured deeper into our territories while we sheltered in place. It was if Homo Sapiens had finally been demolished, providing Mother Earth a prime opportunity to patch herself up.

For a time, there was even a period where you could enjoy open, nearly enforcement-free roadways. Some cities, including mine, saw traffic declines in excess of 40 percent during the opening weeks of the virus response. While this ended when New York City brought in those temporary (and wildly unpopular) quarantine checkpoints at major crossings and attempted to open up for commerce, it still seems like far fewer individuals are driving overall.

That’s because there are. People just don’t need to venture out of their homes as much in 2020 and it is not just the lockdowns contributing to this change. Ordering items online has played a major factor, as does the increased reliance on at-home entertainment. In fact, a new study has suggested Americans may never drive as much as they did just a decade ago. This seems especially likely with so many companies encouraging office-based employees to continue working from home indefinitely, flushing millions of daily commutes down the proverbial toilet.

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By on September 24, 2020

2020 Hyundai Palisade - Image: Hyundai

Gauging economic health during the latter stages of 2020 is proving remarkably challenging. On the one hand, there’s grievous unemployment caused by COVID-19 shutdowns; on the other hand, bicycle sales are booming and backyard pool installations skyrocketed. Contrast the fact that the Dow Jones isn’t far from its six-month high with a 32 percent U.S. GDP loss in Q2.

The same sort of diametrically opposed outcomes are visible in the U.S. auto industry, as well. Only a handful of automakers still report monthly sales figures – Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo – yet within those brands there were remarkably different results coming out as we exit the summer. We wanted to find the vehicles that destroyed reasonable recovery rates in August with significant year-over-year improvements. But we didn’t expect them all to originate from the same two automakers.

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By on September 21, 2020

Whiter at NAIAS. Credit: NAIAS

The North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit Auto Show, is moving. Again.

It never even had a chance to take place in summer, due to COVID. Now, it will be moving to September.

That’s right – assuming the pandemic is under control enough to allow for large gatherings by then, the NAIAS will take place just over one year from now, starting on September 28, 2021. The show will conclude on October 9.

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By on September 4, 2020

vw

It’s not so much a program as it is a trend. In Spain, which is currently enduring a second blow from a very resilient coronavirus, people are shunning public transit like their life depends on it. It very well could.

What to do? Simple — search classifieds and backyard sheds for any old heap that’s still roadworthy and drive the hell out of it. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

2017 Jaguar lineup

Amid ongoing trade show cancellations that now stretch into the next calendar year, the L.A. Auto Show remains stubbornly fixed, apparently still a go for this November.

No one believes this will come to pass. Not with the current coronavirus situation, not with winter (and a feared second wave) approaching, and not without the appearance of a vaccine or some sort of breakthrough therapeutic drug. So it’s not surprising to hear that organizers might punt the event to late spring. (Read More…)

By on September 1, 2020

It hasn’t been a normal year, and all the plans you and I and even Subaru had for 2020 have more or less fallen flat. This year will not see the Japanese automaker grow its volume over 2019 levels. Targets set in the Before Times will not be met.

So why worry? Celebrate what you got.

That’s what Subaru did after tabulating its August sales tally, noting that the figure — representing a year-over-year loss of 17 percent — was actually its best showing so far this year. And once again, Subaru brass north of the border didn’t have to pretend. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2020

PhotoStock10/Shutterstock.com. Track

The news lately seems to be all doom and gloom. The jokes and memes about 2020 continue to fly around the Interwebs. And much of the usual entertainment distractions available to us are on hiatus or heavily restricted, due to the pandemic.

All this makes me want to take a drive to clear my head sometimes. And while testing new cars for a living gives me an excuse to do just that, I think I need more than a relaxed freeway cruise or a blast down a back road to really relieve the stress.

I need to get my ass to the track.

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By on August 26, 2020

General Motors and Ford Motor Company are about to conclude their prolonged stint of ventilator production. In case you were unaware, these businesses typically manufacturer automobiles (cars, for the layperson) and have allocated a portion of their factory space to build medical equipment that was assumed to be useful during the pandemic. However, the United States now has more ventilators than it knows what to do with, and most of them seem like they won’t be required — so it’s mission accomplished, unless COVID-19 suddenly becomes a much more vicious illness.

Either way, GM and Ford both plan to re-prioritize vehicle production. The Blue Oval moved core staff off ventilator lines and back to their normal places of assembly months ago. Some of the remaining temporary workers hired to assist with the medical equipment are said to have an opportunity building the new Ford Bronco. Meanwhile, GM says it wants to move ventilator production to a facility in Kokomo, Indiana, next month, where it will hand operations over to Ventec Life Systems as it regains the union employs allocated for the project. Temporary hires will be absorbed by Ventec. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

AutoNation’s collision parts division is scheduled to be eliminated by the end of 2020, freeing up some cash after the two-year endeavor proved less than profitable.

Former CEO Cheryl Miller had made it clear that one of her main goals for the company was to ramp up services in an attempt to enhance revenue and diversify the business. But this tactic has proven perilous for the automotive industry at large, often offsetting opportunities to make money with sizable financial risks.

Mobility is probably the best example of this, as its broad enough to encompass everything from self-driving vehicles to subscription models and relies on the market maturing into something that will presumably see returns on investment years down the line. However, AutoNation’s diversification was far more traditional. It seemed like a sure thing, since the collision parts business was forecast to grow over the next five years. In fact, despite being the the largest automotive retailer in the United States, the company actually owes 46 percent of its gross profit to parts and service. Selling cars (both new and used) only accounts for 24 percent — with the rest coming from finance and insurance. (Read More…)

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