Archive for the ‘Car Industry News’ Category

Scion Comes Roaring Back

October 6th, 2015

2015 Scion iA

Toyota handed Scion a pre-wrapped, easy-to-hit home run when it decided the hotly hyped new GT-86 sports car would wear a Scion badge.

That car became the Scion FR-S and was supposed to light the brand on fire. The lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car was the answer to Scion’s woes and a kickstart to Toyota’s return to excitement.

Except it didn’t really turn out that way. The FR-S has sold well, but it remains a niche car that has never reached overwhelming popularity with the masses.

Last month, Scion finally caught fire and roared back on the scene of relevancy. Did FR-S sales finally hit redline?

Nope. The credit goes to a subcompact sedan and a new 4-door hatch.

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Now’s the Best Time to Buy… a Volkswagen?

October 5th, 2015

VW logo diesel emissions

All automakers in September saw their average transaction price increase.

Well, all but one.

Volkswagen is the only major automaker to see its average transaction price drop in the month of September. This could be just the beginning of the fallout of its diesel scandal, but it could also mean good deals for savvy shoppers.

There’s no question that Volkswagen is now in a full-blown crisis situation. In fact, one prominent VW exec illustrated just how bad things are by saying he thinks his company could pay the ultimate price:

Volkswagen AG’s designated Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch warned managers that the diesel-emissions scandal could pose “an existence-threatening crisis for the company.”

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Tesla Model X Breaks Open the Electric SUV Market

October 1st, 2015

Tesla Model X EV SUV photoThis week, while the world was finally given an in-depth look at the Tesla Model X, I spent time driving the Kia Soul EV. It got me thinking the electric SUV might be the segment that saves the electric vehicle market in the United States.

Why’s that? Because electric SUVs allow Americans to be practical, drive a big vehicle, and feel themselves green enough to deserve praise (at least their own).

Sure, you may have seen the gull-wing doors of the Model X, which Tesla calls “falcon doors,” and thought, “Wow!” But this vehicle is going to be known for so much more than its looks. Consider the fact that it’s going to have enough room in the rear to hold a sheet of plywood. It also has front cargo space where a traditional gas engine would go.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Electric Vehicles, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs

The Biggest Factor in Automotive Safety

September 30th, 2015

Safety First sign

Can you remember a time when there has been more bad press for car companies?

The unintended acceleration debacles with Audi in 1986 and Toyota in 2009 were precursors to the multitude of problems that have reared their ugly heads this year. The General Motors ignition switch recall, Chrysler’s defiance of the NHTSA, and now, Volkswagen’s diesel issue all call into question the safety (and honesty) of the world’s automakers.

Yes, bad things can happen when building cars. Parts can be defective, engineering can be faulty, and tests can be cheated.

But let’s not forget the biggest factor in automotive safety:


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When Should We Declare Fossil Fuels Dead?

September 29th, 2015

Tesla Supercharger

Kimbal Musk is the brother of Elon, the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. He serves on the board of Tesla and is an advocate for finding new ways of powering, and feeding, our world.

My wife and I had the opportunity this weekend to meet with Kimbal in Las Vegas along with Bill Nye, the famous science guy.

Both were adamant that the time has come to change the world and move away from fossil fuels. I’ve been slow to get on board with that idea, but I finally think that they are correct. Automakers and consumers are starting to realize it, too.

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To Keep or Sell a Volkswagen TDI?

September 28th, 2015
The Jetta TDI: It sure looks green, doesn't it?

The Jetta TDI: It sure looks green, doesn’t it?

The implications of the Volkswagen diesel scandal are, without a doubt, enormous.

There’s a lot of talk about what it means for the company’s brand and the future of its diesel program, not to mention questions about the validity of diesel in general.

But what about the people who own Volkswagen diesel vehicles? What will this do to their brand loyalty and perhaps more importantly, how will it affect the resale value of their vehicles?

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The 10 Cleanest Gas-Powered Cars

September 25th, 2015

2008 Dodge Ram Pickup 3500

If you’ve turned on your TV, logged onto the Internet, or picked up a newspaper in the past week, chances are you’re at least generally aware of what’s currently happening with Volkswagen. But if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a summary: Volkswagen made an amazingly efficient, clean diesel engine…that ended up not being so clean. By using a defeat device, VW’s 2.0-liter diesel engine was able to pass the EPA’s emissions tests while actually polluting at a rate of up to 40 times the tested numbers. The audacity of the transgression is shocking enough, but now that the investigation has begun to expand beyond VW’s 2.0-liter TDI 4-cylinder, the entire future of diesel-powered cars may be in question.

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Alternatives to Volkswagen Diesels Worth Considering

September 24th, 2015

2015 Jetta TDI 4218So, as most people know, the automotive world has been shaken by the announcement that Volkswagen has massively cheated on emissions testing for 11 million of its diesel-engine vehicles across the globe—482,000 in the United States. That scandal will effectively kill the market for Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars for months, if not years, to come.

What should you do, though, if you had your heart set on a diesel-engine car? It’s time to consider alternatives to the affected 2.0-liter turbodiesel models. Let’s look at the models included in the emissions scandal and suggest another good option. One important thing to point out, though, is that you can find all of these VW models with gasoline engines that were not subject to the illegal tampering. However, their fuel economy will be much lower.

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BMW, Toyota Join Forces to Take on Audi

September 24th, 2015

Lexus LFA

Now might be a good time to go after Audi.

With the appalling news coming from the VW/Audi camp over the last week, competitors will probably line up to take shots at the automaker while it’s down. Assuming, of course, those competing automakers didn’t also create a way to fool the EPA and pawn dirty diesels off as clean.

To get our attention off the great diesel scandal, let’s turn for a moment to a story about good old-fashioned hybrid technology and a couple of Audi competitors.

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This Automaker Does Fuel Efficiency Right

September 23rd, 2015


According to the United States government, the average fuel economy for new cars and trucks needs to be at least 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year. That’s more than double the current average of 25.4 mpg.

That deadline is still 10 years away, but in vehicle-development terms it might as well be tomorrow. That’s why we’re seeing the explosion of hybrids, electric vehicles, turbochargers, and *ahem* diesels in this country.

One company has taken a more subtle approach and devoted itself to getting impressive efficiency from the humble 4-cylinder combustion engine.

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