Wednesday, May 30, 2018

There's really not much news in Nissan's 2019 370Z pricing announcement, but let's just enjoy the cool car pictures anyway.

2019 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition. Photo: Nissan Online Newsroom.

2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster. Photo: Nissan Online Newsroom.
It's hard not to feel sorry for PR guys and gals sometimes, when you see them in those awkward moments when they have to put together a press release in a situation when there really isn't all that much to say.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Washington Post says truck driving is an $80,000/year job, then says it's a $42,000/year job.

Washington Post article screenshot.
Screenshot by Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster of a Washington Post article,
published online on May 28.
The Washington Post seemed just a little confused in an article they published yesterday about a serious shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. But maybe it was a simple matter of disconnect between reporter and headline writer.

Monday, May 28, 2018

BMW launches wireless plug-in hybrid charging for German market, with other regions soon to follow.

Photo: BMW Group PressClub Global.
The BMW Group announced today that a touchless charging station is now available as a lease option in Germany for the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid. According to BMW, the launch in Germany will be followed by offerings in the UK, the US, Japan and China.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

13 vintage and modern GM race cars now on display at GM Renaissance Center in Detroit

1967 Camaro Indy 500 pace car.
1967 Camaro Indy 500 pace car. Photo: GM Corporate Newsroom.
An exhibition honoring GM's motorsports heritage opened to the public last week at GM World, a space providing visitors with a year-round car show experience at the GM Renaissance Center.

Friday, May 25, 2018

BREAKING: More recall woes at Fiat Chrysler—this time it's 4.8 million vehicles for cruise control software issue.

FCA US LLC is recalling an estimated 4.8 million U.S.-market vehicles to upgrade software in their Powertrain Control Modules. The upgrade addresses an unlikely sequence of events that would compromise cruise-control functionality.

Volkswagen builds a stunning new electric race car to tackle Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak
Photo: Volkswagen U.S. Media Site
No, you haven't seen a Volkswagen like this before. And, yes—it's glorious. A stunning vehicle like this can do much to transform the image that comes into the mind of the skeptical car enthusiast on hearing the phrase "electric car." This one certainly isn't built for the stereotypical tree-hugging, latte-sipping environmentally-correct eco-car owner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quote of the week: Ford EcoSport brand marketing manager says Generation Z consumers view their cars as an extension of their phones.

Ford EcoSport
Ford EcoSport. Photo: Ford Media Center.
If feeling over-targeted by marketers is a pain-point for Millennials, just wait and see what could be in store for the next generation in line: Generation Z, a cohort that includes many who have not yet even reached the tender age of 18.

Now, as the Millennial-marketing juggernaut continues apace, Ford Motor Company showed a card or two in their demographic Texas Hold 'Em hand yesterday with a news release positioning Generation Z as the ideal consumer for the subcompact SUV segment, which the automaker exemplifies with their Ford EcoSport model.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Are used tires worth the risk? Trade group, legislators urge standards during National Tire Safety Week

US Tire Manufacturers Association #KnowYourRoll awareness banner
Photo: Bridgestone Americas Newsroom.
Used tires? Been there done that. Let's face it: new tires are expensive, and for someone who's feeling a budget pinch, used tires can look like an appealing alternative. But it's important to know what you're doing and to know what danger signs to look for because, unfortunately, not every used tire on the market has been adequately vetted for safety.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Announces Student Design Contest Winners

Fiat Chrysler Drive for Design Winner
First Place design by Eduard Cret.

Fiat Chrysler Drive for Design Winner
Second Place Design by Emily Bryson.

Fiat Chrysler Drive for Design Winner
Third Place Design by Jinho So.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) named three high school students last Friday as winners of the 2018 Drive For Design contest, a competition sponsored by the automaker's U.S. Product Design Office.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

RECALL ALERT: Fiat Chrysler issues recall for fuel-supply tube on certain 2018 Jeep Cherokees

FCA US LLC is voluntarily recalling an estimated 48,990 SUVs in the U.S. to inspect and replace, as needed, a fuel-supply line.

A Company investigation discovered a batch of fuel-supply tubes may have connectors that were incorrectly fitted. If so, they may leak, creating a potential fire risk.

"So a Camry, a Prius, and a Corvette drive onto a racetrack—" Why are you laughing? This isn't a joke.

The Toyota Engineering Motorsports team
Photo: Toyota USA Newsroom.
Seriously. The above headline is not a setup for some kind of corny car-guy punchline. It's for real. And let me preface this by saying that I'm not a Toyota basher at all. In fact, I own a Toyota.

That said, I do share a certain level of the sensibility of many in the automotive press—among them Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker of Everyday Driver, for instance—that the Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius can be looked at as archetypes of the "appliance on wheels" concept.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Will Africa be the automotive industry's next boom market? One former GM executive thinks so.

According to the U.N., more than half of the world's population growth of 2.4 billion projected by 2050 will come from Africa, where the population is expected to double and where the workforce will soon be the world's largest.

Can the automotive industry find new opportunities by serving this expanding market?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Mini Cooper cop car? Yes, it really is a thing.

Mini John Cooper Works police car.
Photo: BMW Group media website.
Somehow, it's hard to imagine this working in the United States. Picture, for example, a big ol' diesel-smoking Ford F-250 Super Duty speeding along some highway in a semi-rural area. Then picture a vehicle that, relatively speaking, might as well be a go-cart with blue lights on top trying to pull it over. It doesn't quite seem to fit, does it?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2019 Mercedes AMG GT S Roadster: Coming soon to a reserved parking space in a medical complex near you.

2019 Mercedes AMG GT S Roadster
Photo: Mercedes-Benz Media Newsroom USA
Doctors, top executives, and others with an optimal mix of disposable income, affection for sports cars, and maybe a note of mid-life crisis just for good measure, now have an exciting new option: the new 2019 Mercedes AMG GT S roadster, announced by Mercedes this week—and it is certainly a head-turner.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spotting cool older cars: First-generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo

First-Generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Photo: Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster
What it Is: First-generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1970-1972).
When Spotted: May 9, 2018.
Where Spotted: Somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Why It's Awesome: From a general perspective, the first-generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo is obviously a great looking car. But you've got to drive or ride in one of these to truly appreciate them. Like a lot just about all full-size GMs of the era, the Monte Carlo's ride was silky smooth. But compared to other GM models of the era like the Impala, these were built to deliver tighter handling, and their grip on the road felt rock solid—especially for a big car that was basically a two-door land yacht. As for this one specifically, it's great because it looks essentially like a well-preserved survivor. It may have had a repaint at some point, but it doesn't look like a recent one. It looks much more original than restored, although it does have aftermarket wheels and tires that are fatter than stock. But a survivor from this generation in this kind of condition is not a common site on the street these days.
Where You Could Buy One: There's a teal 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo advertised now on Autotrader, for sale in Michigan. Asking price: $15,995.

Spotted any cool older cars lately? Submit your original photos and details to We'll consider your entry for future publication in this recurring feature, "Spotting Cool Older Cars."

Monday, May 14, 2018

BMW Group set to debut new 8 Series coupe at Le Mans

BMW 8 Series Coupe
Photo: BMW media website.
The highways may be awash with crossovers, but luxury sports coupes are alive and well at the BMW Group, with the debut of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe set for Le Mans on June 15, the eve of the 2018 edition of the legendary 24-hour long-distance race.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Next Cop to Pull You Over Might be Driving a Dodge Durango

Dodge Durango and Dodge Charger police vehicles
Photo: Fiat-Chrysler media website.
It's well known that fleet sales are an important emphasis for Fiat Chrysler's Dodge lineup. This is one of the reasons why Dodge is staying the course with a large sedan like the Dodge Charger, even in the midst of discontinuations of full size sedans like the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fiat Chrysler Reveals Another 2109 Teaser: This Time, It's the Dodge Charger Grille

Compares the grilles of 2018 and 2019 Dodge Charger models.
Left: today's 2019 Dodge Charger grille teaser. Right: 2018 Dodge Charger grille.
Photos: Fiat Chrysler media website.
After teasing the market last week with a glimpse of a dual-snorkel hood for the 2019 SRT Challenger Hellcat, Fiat Chrysler released another sneak peak today. This time, it was a tantalizing flash of another automotive orifice: the passenger side of a new grille for the 2019 Dodge Charger performance submodels.

Got an Extra Couple-Hundred Euros in Your Pocket? Why Not Hail a Jaguar Race Taxi at Green Hell?

Jaguar "race taxi" cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife auto racing track.
Photo: Jaguar media website.
If an extra €199 is burning a hole in your pocket and you'll be in the vicinity of Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, why not take a thrill ride in a Jaguar Race Taxi on what is reputed to be the world's most demanding track—the Nürburgring Nordschleife, known affectionately in the motorsports world as Green Hell?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Demand for Older Cars is Highest in these U.S. Cities

Vintage Plymouth Valiant
Photo: Fiat Chrysler media website.
According to a study by LendingTree, the American city with boasting rights for being the place where buyers look for the oldest used cars is Portland, Oregon.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Is the Fiesta Active Launch in Europe Another Puzzle Piece to Clarify Ford's Future Vision for Passenger Cars?

Ford Fiesta Active crossover
Photo: Ford media website.
Last month, Ford Motor Company announced the discontinuation of all passenger cars in the U.S. market except for the Mustang and Focus, with only the Focus Active—more of a crossover than a car—to remain.

But in Europe, where passenger cars remain more popular than they are in the U.S., it's a different story. And one part of that story is that the Ford Fiesta, one of the models discontinued (for now, at least, since car models have a way of eventually making a comeback), lives on.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Mazda’s Messaging for the CX-3 Makes the Target Market Pretty Clear

Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover
Photo: Mazda media website.
Excuse me, but what exactly is the point of a “subcompact crossover?”

Surely, the very existence of an unfathomable abomination like the Nissan Juke suggests that there is a market for this class of vehicle, but why?

First, let’s take a look at what first led down this automotive rabbit trail.

New Toyota Research Facility to Test Automated Driving Scenarios 'Too Dangerous for Public Roads'

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) new closed-course test facility,
Photo: Toyota media website.
Toyota revealed Thursday that one of the automaker's research and development divisions, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), is building a new, closed-course testing site to support the development of automated vehicle technology. The facility, to be built on an approximately 60-acre tract at the Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake, will have the purpose of testing driving scenarios that are "too dangerous to perform on public roads," according to Toyota.

Meanwhile, as Sedans Dwindle, Midsize and Compact SUVs Thrive at GM

GMC Acadia
Photo: GM media website.
As GM takes most of its eggs out of the large-sedan market, the automaker meanwhile announced this week that they are boosting SUV production after experiencing their strongest first quarter sales ever for two GMC models—the midsize GMC Acadia and the compact GMC Terrain.

Toyota Aims to Boost Performance Cred of the Camry—Yes, You Read That Right

Toyota Camry rally car
Photo: Toyota media website.
In the midst of high-profile recent announcements of GM and Ford phasing out storied sedan models like Impala and Taurus, Toyota is focusing on boosting the performance cred of what has, historically, been denigrated by auto enthusiasts as perhaps the most infamous example of an unexciting grocery-getter by entering three Toyota Camrys in a challenging 3,657 mile rally.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Don't Look Now, But the Hellcat is Getting a Dual-Snorkel Hood

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT dual snorkel hood teaser
Photo: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. media website.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles just released a couple of semi-obscured teaser press photos of the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT. And, yes—it looks like they're on a mission to make the Hellcat look even more badass.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Is the Fiat 500 the New Volkswagen Bug? Let's Think Small for a Moment

Fiat 500
Photo: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles media website.
Could an automotive writer lose his car-guy card for a headline like that?

Some enthusiasts might think so, but consider this: the Fiat 500 Abarth Edition, which, with the turbocharged and twin-intercooled 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, provides 160 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque (manual transmission) and 157 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque (automatic transmission), earned a spot on the U.S. News & World Report 2018 "fastest small cars for the money" list this year.