Have you've been watching car prices lately? They seem to go up every month. Forget everything you've been reading about sales incentives, bargain leases or low-cost financing. They just mask the fact that automakers are quietly bumping up MSRP's every chance they get.
Back when I was a UAW member many moons ago, earning my college tuition by busting my ass in the factories, the union was an incredibly powerful labor organization. With nearly 1.3 million members, it had enormous political clout in Washington, D.C. And thanks to a monopoly on automotive labor, it could bring the entire American auto industry to a grinding halt by merely snapping its fingers. But then the world changed.
Just a couple of years ago American-made corn ethanol was vilified in the media. It was blamed for soaring food prices, and for causing food riots in Mexico. The UN even accused the U.S. of depriving the world of food.
Some of the most famous cars in the history of the auto industry were some of the cheapest ones. The Ford Model T, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Citroen 2CV and the BMC Mini were so successful mainly because they were so affordable.
General Motors can be pretty ham-handed when it tries to manipulate public opinion. The latest gaffe involves the company's newest advertising campaign, bragging to the public that it paid off its $8 billion in government loans. Listening to those ads you might be misled into believing that GM had paid off everything. But it never mentioned the other $42 billion that taxpayers poured into the company.
Gearheads the world over have always talked in terms of horsepower. The bigger the number, the better we like it. The type of engine and its output are always one of the first statistics covered in any test drive or car review, because we want to know!
No one wants to touch it. Not Toyota, not NHTSA, not any politician. But the issue has to be raised. Driver error is most likely at the root of these sudden unintended acceleration incidents.
You've already seen the ABC News piece about a college professor rigging up a Toyota Avalon so he could induce a short circuit that would cause unintended acceleration. It's a frightening demonstration. And as detailed yesterday, it's also bad journalism.
With all the attention being lavished on electric cars, you'd think the salvation of the planet is nigh at hand. But don't be duped by all the EV hype. It's going to take decades before they catch on – if ever.
Even though General Motors surprised everyone when it announced it will repay its government loans by next June, a lot of people are still unhappy. What about the other $50 billion we poured into the company, they demand to know?
When oil prices shot over $100 a barrel a year ago, I was inundated with press releases from inventors claiming they had an engine that would solve the energy crisis. In most cases, I simply deleted each release and went on with my work. You see, I've seen this all before.
Raising taxes on gasoline is political suicide in the United States. Any politician foolish enough to propose raising the gas tax would be hounded out of office, or never elected in the first place. We, the American people, will see to that.
One of the more intriguing tidbits that dribbled out of Chrysler's grueling 8-hour press conference on Wednesday is that the company is considering getting back into the heavy truck business. They're not talking about heavy duty pick-ups, they're talking about 18-wheelers.
A few weeks ago Rio de Janeiro landed the 2016 Olympics largely thanks to the fact that Brazil is climbing up the rank of nations. It has grown to become the 10th largest economy in the world and a key reason has to do with the country's energy policy.
On this week's Autoline After Hours, John McElroy, Peter "Autoextremist" DeLorenzo and BusinessWeek's David Welch are joined by Erich Merkle, President of Autoconomy, to discuss the week that was in the world of automobiles. We suspect a large part of the discussion will center on the imminent demise of Saturn after Penske pulled out of its deal with General Motors to take over the ailing brand and its considerable dealer network. Damon Lavrinc
In the early 1980s General Motors launched a top-secret program to figure out how it could build a small car to successfully compete against the Japanese automakers. It was called the S-car program and the results of this study shocked top management at GM.
What's in a name? Does it really matter what you call a car, or will a car sell well as long as it's well designed?
In a shocking development Toyota faces a lawsuit filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to ban the import of all hybrids to the American market. Toyota is being sued by Paice LLC for patent infringement on its hybrid system.
In this week's episode of Autoline After Hours, John McElroy, Peter "The Autoextremist" DeLorenzo, and David Welch of BusinessWeek are joined by the dean of automotive journalism, David E. Davis, Jr., for an unusually candid discussion about the issues and events affecting today's auto industry.