By on January 28, 2018

Nissan’s 370Z is just shy of its tenth birthday and has really begun to show its age. While it remains a relative bargain if you’re seeking an imported rear-drive sports car, it loses that advantage if you’re willing to consider its domestic rivals. It’s a solid performance package by most metrics. But it’s capable in the same way a retired olympic athlete might be. It’ll still destroy your chubby neighbor in a foot race but not his teenage son, who just happens to be captain of his high school track team.

The company needs a replacement. However, back in October, Nissan’s chief planning officer Philippe Klein was extremely noncommittal when it came to naming the 370Z’s successor. “It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people [have for] this vehicle,” Klein said at the Tokyo Motor Show. “This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult.”

So that’s it. The Z is dead. Case closed… or is it? Apparently, Nissan hasn’t given up on the Z after all.  (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2018

Image: Hot Takes 1/26/2018

(TTAC Hot Takes are video roundup posts which will occur whenever we can get Michael Accardi into hair and makeup. These posts are a mandate of our VerticalScope overlords, who are fascinated with the new video medium of YouTube. Watch our other videos here.)

This week, Michael summarizes all the best news bits from January 17th through the 24th, and we highlight some Premium Selects from the B&B comments section.

(Read More…)

By on January 22, 2018

GAC GS8

Chinese car brand Guangzhou Automobile Group’s showing at the North American International Auto Show made it pretty clear that the manufacturer wants to get into the U.S. market. But, with its earlier deadlines to do so having gone unmet, there is skepticism that it won’t happen by 2019. Is it really possible?

Well, sure, anything is possible. But GAC has a laundry list of obstacles to overcome if it wants to sell cars to Americans in earnest and the clock is ticking. For starters, politicians are starting to get a little testy when it comes to Chinese trade policies, and GAC now finds itself as a focal point on the issue. More importantly, the brand needs a clear-cut path to victory — and we’ve yet to hear one.  (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2018

Image: Hot Takes NAIAS 2018(TTAC Hot Takes are video roundup posts which will occur whenever we can get Michael Accardi into hair and makeup. These posts are a mandate of our VerticalScope overlords, who are fascinated with the new video medium of YouTube. Watch our other videos here.)

TTAC had a fully alert crew in the snowy Canadian province of Detroit earlier this week for this year’s North American International Auto Show. The only person willing to put on a purple tie was Michael Accardi, so we filmed him checking out the show’s (rather limited) highlights.

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2018

GAC NAIAS 2018

At this very moment, Chinese-based automaker GAC has a massive booth in the very center of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company has expressed its intent to start importing its vehicles into the United States in 2019. However, 536 miles away (by car), Washington is bemoaning Chinese trade practices — a topic which might be extremely relevant for Guangzhou Automobile Group in the coming years.

On Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and President Donald Trump separately criticized China’s trade policy. For automobiles, this translates into Chinese-built cars incurring a maximum 2.5 percent import tariff upon entering the United States, while U.S.-built cars sent East are hit with an average 25 percent tax.  (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2018

Nissan Xmotion concept

For a long time I thought a concept vehicle’s purpose was to showcase new ideas as the automaker bends over backward to bring them to fruition. However, after becoming an automotive journalist, I learned that a great many exist only to take up floor space at various trade shows. Nissan’s Xmotion Concept may be one of these — a model seemingly created in response to an executive’s request to bring something novel to the North American International Auto Show.

Outfitted with seven touchscreens, the Xmotion (pronounced “Cross Motion”) is a mishmash of advanced tech and “traditional Japanese architectural wood joinery technique” called kanawa tsugi. Basically, it’s an autonomous six-passenger SUV entirely dependent upon touch controls with a wooden beam running down its middle. I’m sure Nissan presumed the opposite pairing of old and new would achieve some kind of synergy, like sweet and sour chicken, but the balance wasn’t met and we ended up with a cat food jello mold(Read More…)

By on January 15, 2018

2019 Kia Forte

Today at the North American International Auto Show, Kia Motors bestowed the all-new 2019 Forte upon the world. Granted, it’ll mainly be in the hands those entering the workforce for the first time, but those budget-minded youngsters will be please to learn that the third-generation Forte boasts improved fuel economy and features.

It’s not all touchscreens and gas savings, however. It doesn’t look like the new model has had to make many sacrifices, but Kia is launching the base Forte with a CVT instead of the six-speed automatic the current generation uses. That has us a little uneasy, though Kia  promises it won’t be an abysmal substitute and that the rest of the improvements should help deliver a vehicle that represents a net gain in refinement. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2018

2019 KIa Forte mockup

Kia revealed a few design renderings of the 2019 Kia Forte ahead of its debut at the fast-approaching North American International Auto Show. While highly reminiscent of the second generation of the Korean compact, the third-gen model offers a sexed-up profile and more sophisticated looks.

The headlights taper upward, set into creased bodywork, while large air inlets evoke a sense of sportiness. Kia says that’s intentional; it wanted the new Forte to borrow some of the spirit of the Stinger fastback sedan. For the most part, it seems to have done that gracefully.  (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2017

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
This week, Acura teased the prototype of its third-generation RDX ahead of its world debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Claiming its to be the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade,” the brand believes it will usher in a “new era” for the company.

While the shadowy images hint at more aggressive and angular styling, the RDX needs more than a pretty face to compete in an increasingly crowded segment. It seems as if every luxury automaker fields a midsize crossover these days, though often at higher price points than the RDX. However, Acura isn’t going to bunt here and hope a freshened model boosts this years’ weaker sales. It’s bringing an entirely new platform that’s exclusive to the brand.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

chevy 350

In case you’ve just exited a 60-year coma or immigrated to this country without any prior knowledge of it, Americans have a fondness for pickup trucks. So do automotive manufacturers. Last month, the average selling price for full-size pickups was $47,393. For General Motors, that translates to about $11,000 in profit for each truck sold — but the ceiling is even higher. Two years ago, Ford was rumored to be making $13,000 on each F-Series sold and its domestic competitors weren’t far behind.

Meanwhile, the average haul for an SUV or crossover isn’t likely to surpass $2,000 on its very best days and car profitability is typically even lower (unless you’re Porsche). That’s why “Truck Month” seems to take place five times a year. It’s also why domestic manufactures are going to ensure pickups “dominate” the 2018 North American International Auto Show. Of course, was there ever a year when Detroit’s automotive trade show wasn’t at least partially overrun with trucks?  (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

Car Battery

Earlier this week, Samsung’s SDI battery subsidiary announced a new cell designed for use in electric vehicles that will supposedly improve maximum range and possess a cutting-edge quick charge capacity.

Exhibited for the first time at the North American International Auto Show, the battery comes hot on the heels of Tesla and Panasonic’s own ultra-dense “2170 Cell” planned for use on the Model 3.

While Samsung didn’t elaborate on a specific testing platform, it claims the new battery should permit a range of 372 miles on a single charge, with an 80 percent restoration after a 20 minutes quick charge. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2017

Nissan Vmotion 2.0

Nissan debuted the Vmotion 2.0 concept car Monday at the North American International Auto Show. While not the only Japanese company to introduce a new styling language for its midsize sedan this week, Nissan may have done the most commendable job.

However, the automaker is being very careful to not accidentally call the concept an Altima, despite the two having nearly identical dimensions. Instead, the company wants the Vmotion 2.0 to herald the new design direction for all of its sedans. Especially important is the dramatic V-shaped front end. While Nissan has already implemented the shape on models ranging from the Maxima to the Rogue, it wants to use the bodywork to unify the brand — similar to Pontiac’s split grille of yesteryear, or BMW’s twin kidneys.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Audi Q8 Concept Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Jeff Wilson/The Truth About Cars

As if to further the global agenda to kill off all sedans in favor of yet more SUVs, two of Audi’s three reveals at this year’s NAIAS were crossovers (the third was the new S5 Cabrio).

By 2015, the mid-size Q5 represented a quarter of Audi’s annual sales. It only stands to reason the Ingolstadt company has high hopes in its pursuit of another record year ahead. While not a volume leader, the pricier, high performance SQ5 nevertheless helps line the coffers at Audi.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

NACTOY Winners 2017

The Chevrolet Bolt was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show today. Journalists also saw fit to bestow the honor of Truck of the Year to Honda’s Ridgeline, while the Chrysler Pacifica — which is a minivan — was crowned as 2017’s best “Utility Vehicle.”

The trifecta was recognized this morning in the Cobo Center’s atrium in front of a crowd of automotive journalists and industry executives, launching the next two days of press previews at the North American International Auto Show. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Mark Stevenson's Former 1995 Ford Bronco, Image: © 2011 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

We knew it would happen, but now it’s official.

Ford, in two very short paragraphs bookended by more spilled corporate ink over mobility and futurethink, has given me a reason to save my nickels and dimes for 2020.

The Bronco, like the Terminator, will be back.

(Oh, and the Ranger is coming back too.)

(Read More…)

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