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Mark Phelan: Detroit auto show hits and misses

Automotive / Automotive News /

From affordable small SUVs to all manner of family sedan, sporty and luxury cars, the soon-to-conclude 2017 North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit embodies the variety of vehicles on sale.

There's plenty of technology, too. Ford has a just-for-fun driving simulator that reproduces the thrills of driving its GT supercar...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 provides luxury, lacks performance

Automotive / Automotive News /

As the snow falls and the temperature plummets, access to a vehicle with drive going to all four wheels is a privilege that can't be overstated. While SUVs and crossovers are typically the vehicles associated with four-wheel drive, what if you want the utility of 4WD with the style and luxury of a sports coupe? Mercedes-Benz may have the answer ...Read more

Trabissimo! Soviet-era car has special meaning to SoCal man

Automotive / Automotive News /

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- It's been said that beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone. The late and clearly not lamented communist-era East German Trabant was not only ugly but plug-ugly.

To say it looks like a clown car insults all the other clown cars.

Time magazine wrote of the Trabant, "This is the car that gave communism a bad name."

But...Read more

The best worst cars ever

Automotive / Automotive News /

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Which are the worst cars ever produced? There have been lot of horribly designed vehicles, but does that make a car bad? The terrible Trabant usually makes the "worst car" list. But Southern Californian Josef Czikmantory and his family escaped communism by driving a Trabant across the Hungarian border. To him, it's a ...Read more

GM, after pressure from Trump, pledges $1B US investment

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- A week after President-elect Donald Trump criticized its production of cars in Mexico, General Motors on Tuesday pledged to invest $1 billion at several plants in the U.S.

The automaker also said it plans to bring thousands of information technology jobs back to the U.S. from overseas. The moves will create 7,000 new manufacturing ...Read more

Under the Hood: The basics on replacing your brakes

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I recently took my car in for an oil change and was told I'll soon need to replace the brakes. I purchased this car new -- it's my first -- and I'm not sure what to expect. What are the things I should look out for to ensure I get the best job possible and am not taken advantage of?

--Marissa I.

A: No problem, Marissa!

Front brakes ...Read more

Auto review: '17 Ridgeline is not your typical pickup

Automotive / Automotive News /

Honda is a world champion in the sedan and SUV segments, but the Japanese giant has never been a truck contender.

The company pulled its only truck, the slow-selling Ridgeline, from the market in 2014. Now it has brought the perky pickup back to America as a 2017 model.

It's a winner, but it's a little weird. For better or worse -- and mostly ...Read more

Larry Printz: A look at presidential wheels

Automotive / Automotive News /

Once Donald Trump takes the oath of office, he'll ride to the White House in a new custom-built Cadillac limousine known as The Beast.

Built on a General Motors truck chassis and heavily armored, its specifications and construction have been managed by a small government group that has run the program for years. Aside from styling, the ...Read more

EPA: Fiat Chrysler failed to disclose emissions software

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of cheating on its diesel emissions software to get better fuel economy for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup and other vehicles, charges that CEO Sergio Marchionne quickly and forcefully disputed.

The EPA said it has notified FCA that it sold the ...Read more

Under the Hood: Teenage truck having trouble with freezing Canadian winters

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: I've been having an ongoing problem with my 2001 Ford F-150. When the temperature's above freezing, the truck runs fine. Below 32 degrees, though, the truck runs poorly and misses.

I've taken it to a Ford dealership and three other shops, and none have been able to find the problem. I have changed all four oxygen sensors, the throttle ...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Genesis G90 flagship sedan carves out a spot for modest luxury

Automotive / Automotive News /

Thick, wet snow shrouded visibility and parallel ruts formed in the white stuff, serving as lanes. Traffic slowed to 20 mph, except for trucks and our Genesis G90 full-size sedan. We had full confidence at double the speed, and the heavy car stayed planted even while sloshing through rutted lane changes onto the off-ramp. We braked to a stop ...Read more

GM sees 2017 profit rising, boosts stock buyback by $5B

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- General Motors told analysts Tuesday it expects earnings to rise 8-9 percent in 2017 and that it will buy back an additional $5 billion worth of its own shares.

The automaker apparently sees clear sailing ahead in North America, even after Americans bought a record number of new vehicles in 2016, breaking 2015's record. Interest ...Read more

Polaris says it's the end of the line for Victory Motorcycle brand

Automotive / Automotive News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Polaris Industries will exit the Victory Motorcycle brand it started from scratch 18 years ago, company officials announced Monday, citing a mix of competitive pressures and lack of market share.

The announcement will not affect Polaris's fast growing Indian Motorcycle brand or other divisions, officials said.

Polaris CEO Scott ...Read more

Ford's Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup truck are coming back

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- A blast from the past: Ford is bringing back the Bronco and the Ranger.

The Bronco is a truck-style 4x4 sport utility vehicle that was discontinued 20 years ago. It's best known as the vehicle O.J. Simpson drove in an infamous 1994 police chase after he failed to appear for arrest in connection with the slayings of his ex-wife ...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Audi Q7: The pleasures of the pricier people mover

Automotive / Automotive News /

The German occupation of my Los Angeles neighborhood began with the SUVs.

Driveways once filled with Honda Accords, Toyota Camrys and vintage Volvo station wagons began to sprout BMW X3s and X5s and Audi Q3s and Q5s.

Though I myself had been part of an earlier wave of gentrification, when I moved into the area in the 1980s, I was ...Read more

Prepare to pay more at the pump

Automotive / Automotive News /

MILWAUKEE -- A new U.S. president, global politics, a jaw-jabbering oil cartel, the largest initial public offering of stock ever and unanswered questions about U.S. crude oil production in 2017 are all contributing to a combustible forecast for gasoline prices this year.

About the only thing that market watchers seem certain of is that we'll ...Read more

Mark Phelan: The 14 most interesting vehicles going on sale this year

Automotive / Automotive News /

SUVs rule; cars drool.

That's the story in the auto industry these days and it's not likely to change in the year ahead. Sales of traditional cars are down, while consumers can't get enough SUVs. High seating, good sightlines, all-wheel drive, and looks that conjure images of rugged, capable off-roaders have made vehicles like the Honda HR-V, ...Read more

Tesla begins churning out battery cells at Nevada Gigafactory

Automotive / Automotive News /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Batteries are crucial to the future of Tesla, best known as a car company but currently transforming itself into an ambitious alternative energy provider.

On Wednesday, the company and its partner, Panasonic, announced the start of mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at Tesla's giant Nevada battery factory dubbed the ...Read more

US automakers sell record 17.55M vehicles in 2016

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- For the second straight year, automakers sold a record number of new cars and trucks in the U.S., capping off a seven-year run of consecutive industry sales gains. However, concerns about incentives and bloated car inventory are growing.

With a strong final month of the year, buttressed by big sales and marketing campaigns, ...Read more

Alternative-fuel school buses carry Michigan-based Roush into new territory

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT -- Tucked away in an industrial part of suburban Detroit is Roush CleanTech, a division of Roush Enterprises that has been making propane buses, vans and heavy duty pickups since 2010.

Today, vehicles with engines retrofitted by Roush to run on propane deliver water for Nestle Waters North America in medium-duty trucks and carry ...Read more