Auto News for Oct. 21

 

2016 Buick Cascada convertible makes its world debut at a special event Sunday, January 11, 2015 on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The globally developed Cascada offers room for four adults. It will be the first Buick convertible offered in the United States in 25 years. The Buick Cascads goes on sale in early 2016. (Photo by John F. Martin for Buick)

Buick was the only Detroit brand to finish in the list of top 10 most reliable cars compiled by Consumer Reports.  The Cascada is pictured.

Tesla received a worse-than-average predicted reliability score due to problems with the drivetrain, power equipment, charging equipment, center console, body and sunroof squeaks, etc. CR received about 1,400 responses from Model S owners about the problems and it is no longer recommending the brand.

At GM aside from Buick, Cadillac dropped seven places to near the bottom plagued by its CUE infotainment system, Other GM brands, Chevy and GMC, finished in the bottom third of the overall rankings.

Chrysler and Dodge minivans gained an “average” reliability score for the first time in many years, yet all of FCA’s brands finished at or near the bottom again.

Ford remains in the lower half of the rankings but showed significant gains, with most of its cars scoring average or better. The F-150 and Expedition SUV were bright spots scoring above average their first year. The Mustang has issues with its body hardware, drive shaft, and stability/traction control systems. Yet overall, 13 Fords scored average or better than average in reliability.

2016_Lexus_RC_200t_001_F_SPORT_53E4047B4B66581F7980F63D0F8BE231A8C1E307_low

Lexus topped the reliability list for all seven of its vehicle lines. The RC coupe is pictured. Lexus was followed by Toyota, Audi, Mazda, Subaru, Kia, Buick, Honda, Hyundai, and Mini, a bit of a surprise for a brand that has not had high scores in past reports.

On the other end of the reliability list were Infiniti, Cadillac, Ram, Jeep, and in last place, Fiat.

A troubling trend cropped up in new transmissions, such as CVT’s, dual-clutch gear boxes, or ones with eight or nine speeds. CR said they may require repair and replacement because of rough shifting or slipping CVT belts.

Acura dropped seven places in the ratings due to problems with in-car electronics and transmissions for its new RLX and TLX models.

Full details will be available in the new issue of CR scheduled to hit newsstands Nov. 1.

Elsewhere:

GM shares were trading higher in pre-market action this morning after it topped analyst’s earnings estimates in the third quarter. The General said it took in a record $3.1 billion in adjusted earnings while earnings per share came in at $1.50, easily topping the $1.19 that the experts were forecasting. GM was boosted by the strong car and truck market here in North America, and only a small slowdown in China. “We expect our earnings to accelerate in the next several years, with double-digit earnings per share growth,” said Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and CFO. And CEO Mary Barra called GM “a vastly different company today than just five years ago.”

You may not be able to afford a Ferrari but starting today you can buy a share in one. Ferrari goes public today on the New York Stock Exchange at $52 a share. Parent Fiat Chrysler will use the proceeds to help fund its $60 billion five year plan to boost sales.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded its investigation into braking problems with almost 253,000 Ford F-150 pickups from model years 2011-12.  An electric brake vacuum assist pump in trucks with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine could fail. The problem has been linked to at least seven crashes and one injury, the NHTSA said.

Remember American Motors? Its former headquarters in Detroit has just been sold for $600 at a tax foreclosure auction. The Detroit News said the name of the winning bidder has not been disclosed and he or she will have to pay a tax bill of $160,631 on the 1.4 million square foot Plymouth Road building. Yup, AMC was headquartered on Plymouth Road!

Volkswagen’s head of quality control has been suspended according to Germany’s Bild newspaper. Frank Tuch becomes the fifth high ranking official to be put on leave over the diesel engine scandal.

Honda’s plant in Alliston, Ontario has started production of the 10th generation Civic that will go on sale here in the states in November. It is Honda’s best selling model globally and this latest model is all new from the wheels up. (They are still round!)

Flux

Since this is “Back to the Future Day” you might want a Flux Capacitor, the core component in Dr. Emmett Brown’s time traveling machine. Ford teases that it is offering one for its Fiesta and Focus models for a limited time with the caveat that it is “for recreational use only. Interfering in major historical events is illegal and could have unintended consequences for all humanity.” It is when you get to the price tag of $1.21 million that Ford reminds us that “Legal wants you to know we actually don’t sell a car that can time travel… sorry” and “this upgrade is not actually available.” But it is all good fun, and after all, it is looking less likely the Cubs will win the World Series as the movie predicted.

 

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