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Mark Phelan: New Accord, Camry struggle for relevance as sedan sales plummet

Automotive / Automotive News /

Honda unveiled its all-new 2018 Accord sedan in midtown Detroit earlier this month, perfectly timed to challenge the new 2018 Toyota Camry for supremacy in midsize sedan sales.

If that excites you about as much as a pair of 1970s arena-rock bands announcing their eighth farewell tour, congratulations: You're not a baby boomer.

For a generation...Read more

Under the Hood: How to perform voltage drop testing

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: The left taillight on my pickup is somewhat dimmer than the one on the right side. It's not bad enough to go through the trouble and expense of having fixed it. But it bugs me. Any chance you have some tips about making this go away? I changed the bulb a few months ago, and that didn't help.

-- Eric J.

A: Your question presents a great ...Read more

Motormouth: Burning smell is most likely from oil leak

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: My 1999 Honda Civic, Kermit, is spinning on to 123,000 miles and still going strong. When I pull into my garage, I pick up a very light scent of something burning. I'm thinking maybe it's my catalytic converter? I've never replaced it.

-- B.Z., Chicago

A: We seriously doubt that the converter would be the problem. A good mechanic can ...Read more

Auto review: The devil drives the 2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Automotive / Automotive News /

Most people who saw the red convertible with the big wheels said, "Nice car." But when I fired up the Jaguar F-Type SVR and the engine snapped, crackled and popped, their expressions changed. Some were surprised, all were impressed, a few were afraid.

SVR is the fastest and most powerful series production Jaguar. It sounds and feels like it is ...Read more

Auto review: 2017 Mazda CX-5: Boring is beautiful

Automotive / Automotive News /

Please don't hate me for saying so, but the Mazda CX-5 is one of the dullest cars on the road.

In terms of styling, performance and technology, it's just ... plain. No fireworks. No fanfare. No drama.

No one is going to slide up to you at a red light and say, "Hey, man, is that the new CX-5?" No one is going to stop you in the parking lot at ...Read more

Automakers turn to this Southern California director to put you in the driver's seat

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Tim Damon grew up photographing Detroit muscle cars. His video work earned him awards and Super Bowl airtime.

Then came the call to help promote a high-end sports sedan that sounded like someone forgot the engine.

In the resulting short film about the Tesla Model S, called "Lightdrive," music swells, lights play along the car's ...Read more

Used car 'time bomb' complicates auto industry transformation, new report says

Automotive / Automotive News /

The historic transformation of the automobile industry will generate billions to trillions of dollars for companies and investors. But for traditional automakers, the road ahead will be bumpy, risky and expensive.

That's the assessment of consulting firm AlixPartners, which released an extensive report this month that uses market research and ...Read more

Honda sports up its sedan line with the 2018 Accord

Automotive / Automotive News /

LOS ANGELES -- Hoping to attract a younger buyer to its sensible but staid Accord, and persuade car shoppers to consider a sedan over an SUV, Honda has given its bestselling mid-sized car a sporty, sexy makeover.

Unwrapped at twin events held in Detroit and the Los Angeles area earlier this month, the new vehicle looks and acts more like a ...Read more

Twin Cities man says he's to blame, not Tesla autopilot, for crash into marsh

Automotive / Automotive News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Twin Cities man whose Tesla rolled over into a central Minnesota marsh said Monday that he errantly believed his luxury electric car's autopilot feature was engaged when the vehicle suddenly accelerated before the crash landing.

David L. Clark, 58, said he was driving Saturday evening before sunset on a country road when the ...Read more

Battery-sensor problem forces Honda to recall 2.1 million Accords

Automotive / Automotive News /

Honda is recalling about 2.1 million Accord cars worldwide, including 1.15 million in the United States, because the battery sensors can potentially short out and cause a fire.

The recall covers vehicles from the 2013-16 model years with 12-volt battery sensors.

The sensors may not be sealed enough against moisture, which in time can let in ...Read more

Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.3 million vehicles

Automotive / Automotive News /

DETROIT--Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued two recalls affecting more than 1.3 million vehicles worldwide.

One case involves older-model crossovers and can lead to "inadvertent deployment of the driver-side front air bag." The company says it is aware of five potentially related minor accidents, but no injuries.

The recall affects 770,853 ...Read more

Mark Phelan: New SUVs, not cars, key to future of US automaking

Automotive / Automotive News /

If you're worried about U.S. manufacturing jobs, pay no attention to Ford's recent decision to move production of the Focus compact car to China.

Building Focuses in suburban Detroit, as Ford does today, is not good career planning, whether you're a union assembly worker or the newly named Ford president of global operations, Joe Hinrichs.

...Read more

Under the Hood: Leaking sunroof just the start of Acadia's problems

Automotive / Automotive News /

Q: Brad, each corner of my 2008 Acadia's sunroof has a very small drain hole. When these get clogged, water leaks into the interior of the vehicle. One time, water filled up the battery compartment, located under the floorboard on the passenger side, and shorted out the battery. I haven't seen any recalls on this but I am afraid to leave the ...Read more

How Nvidia's 'brains' are dominating the self-driving race

Automotive / Automotive News /

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As Google, Uber and Tesla fight for control of the self-driving car market, another company better known for its gaming chips than its wheels is positioned to cash-in on the transportation revolution.

Nvidia has quietly become one of the top suppliers of the "brains" that control self-driving cars -- the super computers ...Read more

Cars are full of tech that gets outdated fast — so people are leasing, not buying

Automotive / Automotive News /

Buy a smartphone, use it for a couple of years, then ditch it for something new and improved.

It's a life cycle that has become the norm for cellphones. Now, that same short-term relationship is applying to what traditionally has been a long-term commitment: cars.

Instead of buying a vehicle, more Americans are shifting to leasing, which ...Read more

Auto review: Ducati adds Desert Sled to its winning Scrambler lineup

Automotive / Automotive News /

Ducati introduced its Scrambler line of affordable, entry-level motorcycles in late 2014, marketing them as lifestyle vehicles and hoping to attract new riders to the otherwise pricey line of fine Italian machines.

It worked. Ducati sales rose sharply in the U.S. and Europe. During a visit to the Bologna, Italy, factory in July, I was told that...Read more

Volvo electrification plans: Are the days combustion engines numbered?

Automotive / Automotive News /

When people think of Volvo, they tend to think of safety. For decades, that's how the once-Swedish company advertised its cars.

Now under Chinese ownership, Volvo Cars aims to set itself apart as an aggressive early mover in the electrification of the automobile.

Last week, the company said that all new models starting in 2019 will be equipped...Read more

Mark Phelan: Volvo goes all-electric? Not so much

Automotive / Automotive News /

Volvo won the press conference this week, but there's both more and less than meets the eye to the self-congratulatory headline the automaker wrote for itself: "Volvo Cars to go all electric."

That's true in the sense that a prehistoric fish might have gazed at the shore and declared its species was going all-land based. Yes, but when?

One ...Read more

Tesla fails to fix potential for head injury, Model S crash test shows

Automotive / Automotive News /

In Tesla's Model S, a crash could still smack the driver's head against the steering wheel despite the electric car company's effort to fix the problem, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The crash-test results compounded Tesla Inc.'s bad week. On Monday, the Elon Musk-led automaker said it was running into production ...Read more

Mobile mechanics diagnose and fix cars at owners' homes

Automotive / Automotive News /

CHICAGO -- When Peter Champlin, an auto mechanic for nearly 15 years, popped the hood on a 2003 Jeep Liberty, he fixed a leak with a new clamp on the lower radiator hose and installed a new ignition coil. The bill was $189.33.

Routine stuff for an experienced mechanic like Champlin, who is certified by the National Institute for Automotive ...Read more

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