It’s a bad news day if you’re a lover of traditional passenger cars, but surely you’ve grown used to this thing by now. As automakers, especially domestic ones, cast a critical eye on their lineups, many models without rear liftgates will inevitably fall victim to the quest for greater profit. We brought you a report of the Chevrolet Sonic’s impending demise earlier today, but now it’s time to turn from GM to Ford. The same report, drawing on sources with knowledge of the company’s product plans, says the storied Taurus nameplate is not long for this world. Imagine dropping this bombshell on someone in the late 1980s. Nowadays, you’d likely be greeted with, “They still make the Taurus?” The Wall Street Journal cites sources claiming Fiesta production will cease for American consumers this year. That’s no shock, as this continent didn’t get the next-generation Fiesta that debuted in Europe in late 2016. The Fiesta was a … [Read more...] about Ford Taurus to Follow Fiesta Out the Door: Report
Uh oh. We’re talkin’ size today. That’s right, a topic tailor-made for awkwardness, embarrassment, even shame — something best not spoken of in polite company. Just amongst your close friends and, perhaps, a doctor… whose brother is a salesman.The fact of the matter is, sometimes we don’t fit in the cars we love. Or, we can’t cram our gangly or girthy frames into a less desirable car with several redeeming qualities, thus cancelling it from our mental list of automotive “maybes.”It’s happy times for those whose height or weight deviates from the norm. Vehicles in all segments are growing like Western nations’ deficits, stretching in wheelbase and expanding in interior room, providing us all with far more comfortable cabin than the vehicles of yesteryear. Remember the Ford Contour? Midsize, my ass.These days, it’s hard finding a steering wheel that doesn’t adjust for reach or rake. Adjustable pedals, when you … [Read more...] about QOTD: Too Big For Your Car’s Britches?
Yesterday, Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 in a snazzy new Chevy. For this race season, GM has selected the Camaro ZL1 nameplate to represent the brand in NASCAR.Of course, it’s been ages since any stock car bore more than a passing resemblance to its showroom counterpart. After all, rear-drive V8 Toyota Camry sedans are in notably short supply at my local dealer. The scourge of stage racing and a dwindling fan base are topics best left to another day.This brings us to our QOTD for today – does a manufacturer’s investment into racing have any bearing on your buying decisions?The production Camaro ZL1 is a superb beast, cranking 650 horses out of its supercharged V8. Two-door, rear-drive, and with a trunkload of bad-ass, it cuts the proper figure for NASCAR in this author’s opinion. I may have been excited last year upon learning Chevy was bringing the Camaro name to Cup-level NASCAR, only to weep upon viewing the number selected for its blue flanks. … [Read more...] about QOTD: Win on Sunday, Sell on What Day?
Daimler will be present at this week’s General Police Equipment Exhibition & Conference to showcase its new law enforcement units. While Mercedes-Benz patrol vehicles are fairly common in the fatherland, Daimler may be seeking to broaden appeal within Europe and beyond. Don’t expect a sudden rush of imported squad cars for North America, however.The only possible exception would be the Sprinter van. The NYPD currently fields a large number of E-Series vans as “Paddy wagons” but has started replacing them with the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The city also uses Smart ForTwos as parking enforcement. Likewise, the LAPD has also expressed an interest in adopting the Sprinter as a transport vehicle but chose the BMW i3 as its small unit intended primarily for virtue signaling. The Smart brand will be present at the police exhibition. However Daimler’s fourth-generation lineup consists entirely of zero-emission versions of the ForTwo, … [Read more...] about Mercedes-Benz to Preview New Police Vehicles in Germany, Promises They’ll Be ‘Electrifying’
We have a particular fondness for the unintrusive, non-gimmicky column shifter here at TTAC. They’re satisfying to shift, pleasingly retro, and free up space between the front seats for any number of things, including a seat. Column shifters also keep your eyes pointed straight ahead, instead of having them wandering around the console or bottom of the center stack, searching for that newfangled dial shifter or push-button array.Sadly, the column shifters in more than 228,000 Ram trucks are an invitation to danger. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced a recall of so-equipped models in the hopes of preventing rollaway accidents.While FCA says while there’s no known accidents or injuries associated with the issue, the vehicles do pose a risk to occupants and bystanders.“An FCA US investigation discovered the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) may overheat on certain vehicles equipped with steering column gear-shifters. This condition has been linked to … [Read more...] about Trusty Column Shifter Can’t Be Trusted in These Recalled Rams
U.S. light vehicle sales sunk slightly in 2017 after years of increases, and this year’s not looking any different. In Russia, however, it’s the opposite situation. After making like the Germans at Stalingrad for the past three years, the Russian car market is now advancing like a T-34 tank — and it has the country’s most famous car brand to thank for it.Leading the pack is none other than Lada, a company known for cranking out archaic, seemingly indestructible Iron Curtain cars for decades with only minimal changes. That was then, though, and this is now. Spurred by a rebounding economy, sales of new Lada models helped Renault-owned parent company Avtovaz drastically cut its losses in 2017.Lada’s top brass can give credit to a very Western product strategy.At the end of 2017 Lada had the country’s top market share, with 19.5 percent of all car and light commercial vehicles sales sold. That’s an increase of 1 percent. The brand’s … [Read more...] about Lada: Financial Learnings of Avtovaz for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Russia
At the instant noodle end of the Toyota showroom, cars come in three flavors: Good, Better, and Mildly Spicy (L, LE, SE). Within these trims, few options are offered, unlike domestic truck manufacturers who very nearly allow their customers to order their rigs a la carte. Of course, there’s a lot more profit in trucks, so they’re worth the trouble.The littlest Toyota, which definitely wins an award for Most Entertaining Windshield Wiper, is now packed to the gunwales compared to the cheap seats hawked by the manufacturer in past years.In the ‘90s, many people stepping into a base Toyota expecting a junior Lexus were rudely awakened by crank windows, the lack of a passenger side mirror, and trunk caulking apparently applied with a shoe. All that has changed, because these days the Yaris (née Echo, née Tercel) is equipped with features once reserved for the snazziest machinery.For their $15,635, base Yaris shoppers will find air conditioning, a tilt wheel with … [Read more...] about Ace of Base: 2018 Toyota Yaris 3-Door L
For a number of reasons, you’ll find more than a few weather and storm-related accounts populating my Twitter feed. The power and beauty of Mother Nature, if that’s a correct term in this day and age, amazes and frightens us all, and such accounts provide just the sort of non-political diversion one needs to stay sane in 2018. To remind us of our inconsequential status in the Grand Scheme of Things. Violent storms, blizzards, and gorgeous sunsets know no partisan hackery.Last night, a perfectly creepy photo of an ominous, rotating wall cloud popped up in my feed, dark against the fading daylight, menacing. You could imagine the gathering winds buffeting that dirt road and surrounding fields, rippling the plants like storm-tossed waves. Through this image, just like with so many others, you could sense the photographer’s excitement and apprehension as the cloud threatens to spawn the most terrifying of weather phenomenon: a tornado.Naturally, I complimented the … [Read more...] about QOTD: What’s Your Pick for a Vehicle You’ll Need to Depend On?
Until now, every time a rolling wall of steel pulled up alongside you at a stoplight, blocking out nearly half of your peripheral vision, the culprit was almost always behind the wheel of a Detroit Three truck — one hoisted aloft by an aftermarket lift kit. Such kits allow pickups to mount the curb outside the 7-Eleven without endangering their fragile underbellies, while affording drivers a bird’s-eye view of surrounding environs (just not the vehicles immediately adjacent.)Given the popularity of the Ford F-Series, General Motors’ Silverado and Sierra, and Ram’s brawny lineup, suspension lifts are generally the domain of American models. Well, Nissan wants to change this perception. In its bid to make the Titan and Titan XD pickups “one of the guys,” the Japanese automaker will offer a hands-off, bolt-on factory lift kit, ideally paired with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 for the purposes of rolling coal.**Neither Nissan nor TTAC endorses this … [Read more...] about Eager to Belong, Nissan Gives Titan and Titan XD Owners a Lift
Nissan has long-standing tradition in North America of being a bargain brand. While the automaker fields plenty of affordable options with a base MSRP undercutting that of its rivals, it has also leaned on aggressive incentivizing and heavy fleet sales. This helped Nissan chase volume in the U.S., but CEO Hiroto Saikawa is no longer convinced it’s a winning strategy.He’s tasking Denis Le Vot, Nissan’s new North American boss, to improve profitability and brand value after the company’s operating profit dipped 50 percent in the region in the last quarter of 2017.It’s a tall order for Le Vot, who has only had a little over one month to settle into being the regional chairman for the brand, and Saikawa is only giving him another two to figure out how to pull it off. However, he’s hinting at a strategy that eases off dealers, offers fewer market incentives, and ditches a reliance on fleet sales. “We have to first … [Read more...] about Nissan’s New Strategy: Build Brand Value, Not Fleet Sales or Incentives