FCA. Editor-In-Chief's Note: To be fair to the Sergio Shit Show, FCA didn't invent the concept of fudging sales numbers to make things look better, they're just the latest to get caught (allegedly). A civil racketeering suit is making noise in the media right now, and it remains to be seen what will happen. The suit, filed in Chicago by two stores in the Napleton Automotive Group, alleges that FCA offered the dealers large sums of cash (as much as $20,000.00 at one point) to report that unsold vehicles were, in fact, sold. FCA, of course, was shocked, shocked that such an allegation would merit any notice at all, completely ridiculing the possibility and dismissing the dealers involved as being ineffectual and underperforming. But, of course, there's a reason for which there may be fire generating that smoke. Several, actually. FCA is obsessed with inflating its reputation, boasting of its sales numbers at every turn. Why? Because Sergio and his FCA overlords want the stock price to go up (it tanked on the news of the suit). And, they want to project a desirability to potential suitors - FCA has no advanced technical partnership here in the U.S. and none on the horizon, and it's a real issue - and if Sergio can't make something happen in the next 18 to 24 months, the doomsday scenario for Sergio and his espresso-swilling minions is that they will have to sell off the assets of FCA piecemeal. At the very least this is a PR disaster of notable impact, but if it steamrolls into something more, the Sergio Shit Show is going to get even uglier. -PMD
Editor-In-Chief's Note: This week Cadillac PR minions and marketers are hard at work in Los Angeles "spinning" the new CT6 to a group of auto journalists and assorted hangers-on. It's all a very civilized and upscale drill to be sure, with multiple handlers making sure that everyone is well catered to. But the biggest issue surrounding the car - and one issue that is sure not to be addressed - is that Cadillac marketers are going to be spending half their marketing budget trying to explain what "CT6" actually means to a consumer public that has had it up to "there" with the naming hieroglyphics that these manufacturers regularly engage in. Here's a simple test: Ask the average consumer what a Cadillac "CT6" is and then ask them what a Lincoln Continental is. The answer will speak volumes. But hey, I'm sure Cadillac will continue their latest run of employing tragically insipid voiceover talent (the female voice over for Cadillac of late is so bad that the spots are starting to rival the Buick spots on the "cringe" meter) and make us all sick of whatever it is they've come up with overnight so, not to worry. -PMD
Editor-In-Chief's Note: John Lippert and Jeff Plungis, writing in BloombergBusiness, paint a dire portrait of Fiat Chrysler's looming challenges over meeting emissions requirements and fuel-economy targets. In a story entitled, "Another European Automaker Has U.S. Emissions Problems of its Own" Lippert and Plungis point out that Fiat Chrysler was last in the EPA ranking for the fourth straight year, and that the company also needed credits to meet fuel-economy targets... and the clock is ticking. Read it here. The clock is ticking for a host of other reasons, too, as I've stated repeatedly over the last year. -PMD
Faster and more efficient than its predecessor, the 2017 R8 is the most powerful Audi production model ever. The new R8 starts with the same naturally-aspirated V10 engine found in the R8 LMS racecar, a completely new application of quattro® all-wheel drive, and a more functional yet technologically advanced cabin, according to Audi PR minions. With an updated seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch transmission - which can shift gears in 120 ms - the V10 model has 540HP and 398 lb-ft of torque and reaches 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with top track speed of 199 mph. The R8 V10 plus has 610HP and 413 lb-ft of torque, and goes zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top track speed of 205 mph. Weighing approximately 77 pounds less than the R8 V10, the V10 plus features standard Audi carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber rear diffuser, front lip spoiler, exterior mirror housings and fixed rear wing spoiler, and for the first time ever in the US, racing shell seats. The Audi R8 V10 is $162,900, and the R8 V10 plus is $189,900. Prices do not include the $1250 destination charge.
Editor-In-Chief's Note: From the "Great Advertising" File, it doesn't get much better than the Honda spot called "Paper." Watch it here. -PMD
Check out the latest episode of The High-Octane Truth on AutoextremistTV below. -WG