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Archive for the ‘Car Industry News’ Category

Ford Bronco and Ranger Poised for Comeback

August 31st, 2015

2015 Ford Ranger

Either call me clairvoyant or a bumbling blogger with a predisposition for choosing unlikely topics that come true.

Just 10 days ago I wrote about the 50th birthday of the Ford Bronco and the likelihood that we’d ever see a new version of the old brute roll off assembly lines.

Then over the weekend I saw this headline in my inbox:

Ford Said to Weigh Return of Bronco, Ranger Output to U.S.

What!? This wasn’t a headline from one of those click-factory websites designed to fool readers into spreading an unfounded rumor. This was a headline from Bloomberg, an organization that knows a thing or two about the auto industry.

It’s a good time to be a Ford fan.

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Investing In Cars Could Save Your Life

August 28th, 2015

1966 Griffith 400

You wouldn’t think a former school teacher could have owned so many rare and exceptional cars in his life.

Gary, though, is different.

I met Gary, a 72-year-old retiree, at his home on Priest Lake in Coolin, Idaho. My family went to escape the Washington wildfires and rented his home on the beach. As we sat near the water and discussed life, we discovered a common love: cars.

Gary, it turns out, also dabbled in the buying real estate during his teaching career and amassed a small fortune that he used to invest in cars. One investment turned out to be a silly mistake, but the others ended up saving his life.

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Transmissions: With So Many Numbers, How Do You Choose?

August 27th, 2015

1956 Dodge push button automatic transmissionOnce upon a time automotive transmissions were simple things. Three-on-the-tree was a popular manual transmission mounted on the steering wheel through the early ‘70s. Automatic transmissions hit their stride in the ‘50s and have become ubiquitous to the point that they can be found in more than 90 percent of vehicles in America.

That helps explain, in part, why manufacturers offer such a variety of automatic transmissions. Also driving their development has been a need for greater fuel economy as automakers struggle to hit a corporate average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Currently, there are 6-speed, 7-speed, 8-speed, 9-speed, manual and continuously variable transmissions on the market. How do you choose? Let’s look at the offerings to give you some perspective.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, General Chat, New Cars

Chevrolet Missed the Mark With This New Ad

August 27th, 2015

Chevrolet Silverado bear commercial

Dear Chevrolet,

I’m embarrassed for you. I watched your new advertisement for the Silverado, and I can only shake my head and wonder what you were thinking.

It’s a great truck. It’s a beautiful truck. It’s a truck that has powered the American legacy for many decades.

But it’s also a dying truck.

Not to say the Silverado will lose the sales race to Ford and Ram and be discontinued. It won’t. But the Silverado, in its current form, won’t last much longer. You and I both know its days are numbered.

So why did you make that ad? The collective truck-buying market cringes for you.

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Here Comes the Revolution of Nissan’s Z Car

August 26th, 2015

1970_nissan_240z

When I was nothing but a gleam in my father’s eye, he raced his 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7, with the 390 cubic-inch Ford V8, against anything that was up for the challenge.

Dad raced Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chargers, and virtually all other muscle cars that were around in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He didn’t win all of those impromptu races, but he had fun and knew exactly what to expect when challenged by one of the familiar American cars.

Then something strange happened. A small Japanese car wanted to race. Dad revved his engine, and the two cars bolted ahead.

Dad lost.

The challenger was a 1970 Datsun 240Z, a car that went on to become a Nissan and dominate the hearts of sports car lovers everywhere.

Now a new Z could take over the streets and challenge unsuspecting cars everywhere. Only this time the targets will be the likes of the CR-V and RAV4.

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Your Next Buick: Made in China?

August 25th, 2015

2015 Buick Envision

The gleaming new Buick sits in your driveway. It’s a proud statement of your success and a beautiful example of American design and ingenuity of engineering. It’s a Buick like never before and leaves the stigma of Buick as an “old man’s car” far in the past.

This is the Buick of the future. It’s sleek and shapely. It’s desirable and impressive. It’s fresh and invigorating.

This is the Buick for young families and emerging professionals.

This is the Buick Envision. It’s most likely coming to the United States.

And it’s made in China.

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Which to Choose: Alfa Romeo 4C Spider or Mazda MX-5 Miata?

August 20th, 2015

Alfa Romeo 4C SpiderTwo great open-air, 2-seat roadsters have hit the marketplace recently: the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Both are spirited, lightweight, and fun to drive. The question is, which do you choose?

Performance
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider (see our Alfa Romeo 4C Overview) is equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that produces 237 hp at 6,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. The Mazda Miata MX-5 (read our Overview) comes equipped with a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with 155 hp at 6,000 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Review, Car Shopping, General Chat, New Cars

Honda Won’t Let it Go: New Ridgeline Coming Next Year

August 19th, 2015

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Remember the movie “Rudy,” about the young man who desperately wanted to play football for Notre Dame but lacked the resources to make it happen?

The Honda Ridgeline is the Rudy of trucks.

Honda has wanted to play in the midsize truck market since the Ridgeline was introduced in 2005. The truck, however, never sold enough to be labeled a success. Still, the little Ridgeline hung on, clinging to hope and barely selling enough to keep going.

It probably should’ve been discontinued years ago. Instead, after a brief hiatus, the Ridgeline is poised for a 2016 revival.

With 2016 models from other automakers making a splash and revitalizing the midsize market, maybe things are primed for the next Ridgeline to finally grow up and compete.

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Make Room for More Suburbans

August 17th, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Suburban

There could be 60,000 extra General Motors SUVs on American roads next year.

I want to say more, but first you should sit and let that marinate for a few seconds.

Sixty thousand additional Suburbans, Tahoes, Escalades, and more will choke our highways and suck down mad amounts of fuel, easily negating any environmental gains created by alternative-fuel cars.

This isn’t a tirade against fuel-thirsty SUVs—I happen to own one of the least efficient vehicles built in the last decade (a 2008 Audi Q7), which I need for family purposes. I’m just saying that 60,000 Suburbans is about 50 percent of the 119,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. in 2014. And those are just the *extra* SUVs GM plans to build.

Why is the American carmaker increasing production so much, and what does it mean?

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Once You Go Electric…

August 13th, 2015

zero_miles_to_empty

We’ve all heard the horror stories of electric-car owners getting stranded after venturing too far from home.

Sometimes they simply misjudge how much power they have, and sometimes the gauge on the car provides inaccurate information.

Whatever the reason, many new owners of electric cars have found themselves on the side of the road with a car that’s as useful to drive as a cantaloupe.

The car club AAA even got into mobile charging to help stranded motorists and provide some peace of mind for EV owners.

Our post on that topic said,

AAA’s new mobile charging trucks will be able to provide 15 minutes of charge, which should give EVs 3 to 15 miles of range, which, in all honesty, will probably just leave motorists stranded 3 to 15 miles farther down the road.

Now that electric cars have been on the market for a few years, has anything changed?

According to 9 out of 10 drivers, the answer is “Yes.”

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