Toyota And Nissan Trucks To Detroit, Mercedes Heading To Atlanta? The Week In Reverse

December 20, 2014
Beware, Chevy, Ford, GMC, and Ram truck fans: Both Nissan and Toyotahave chosen the heart of the domestic auto industry—Detroit—for the world debut of completely new pickups. The two models, to be introduced at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) next month, are the 2016 Nissan Titan and 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Teasers show the Tacoma will get a tougher its design, and the automaker notes that the model “will be ready to once again set the benchmark for midsize pickup performance.” The Tacoma got its last full redesign in 2004. As for the Nissan Titan, the long-awaited second-generation model could carve out a bigger piece of the market, if it's done right. For the first time, the Titan will offer an available diesel engine--a 5.0-liter turbodiesel V-8, that will produce more than 300 horsepower and approximately 550 pound-feet of torque. Follow our Detroit show coverage of both reveals in January.

Meanwhile, a new study finds that opting for the fuel-efficient diesel version of some cars or trucks could save you a lot of money. Or not at all. Vincentric, a company that specializes in assessing total cost of ownership, just made those calculations, and found that diesels as a whole cost more over the long run (considering five years of ownership and 15,000 miles of driving per year) than the market-equivalent gasoline versions of the same model. The firm found just eleven models for which the cost of ownership was lower compared to the gasoline counterpart. They include the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class; the BMW 3-Series; the BMW X5; the Mercedes-Benz E-Class; and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.

Toyota is recalling more than 5,000 Camry and Avalon vehicles from the 2014 model year. According to a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), the recall stems from a problem with the cars' suspension -- specifically, the left-side front suspension lower arm -- which could increase the risk of an accident. Should the arm separate from that joint, it could make the vehicle harder to control, increasing the risk of a collision. All told, the recall affects roughly 5,650 vehicles registered in the U.S. Toyota says that it will begin mailing recall notices to owners in mid-December (i.e. now). After receiving that notice, owners can take their vehicles to a Toyota dealer, who will replace the left side lower arm at no charge.

This week in technology, Jaguar Land Rover is testing something called "360 Virtual Urban Windscreen." Essentially, it's a souped-up head-up display that wraps the display around the vehicle's pillars. That allows the driver to see pedestrians and other vehicles approaching from the left and right. Taking a cue from video games, Jaguar is also testing warning markers that appear on the head-up display, highlighting pedestrians, vehicles, and other obstacles. And when using navigation to reach a particular destination, a fuzzy "ghost car" would be projected onto the car's head-up display, which the driver would then follow. That could make finding Point B -- and a parking spot -- much easier. According to Jaguar Land Rover, the goal is to reduce accidents and make driving safer and simpler, especially in crowded urban areas.

And finally this week, the auto industry's march south could be picking up more steam. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Mercedes is looking to pack up its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey and head south to Atlanta, Georgia.The move wouldn't be surprising. Atlanta could be a good match for Mercedes-Benz because the company already has a large manufacturing facility a few hours away in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Atlanta would be attractive to the 800+ white-collar workers Mercedes-Benz would need to employ at its new HQ, offering cosmopolitan amenities like cultural events and an international airport, as well as a lower cost of living than New Jersey. And Atlanta has a growing pool of auto industry employees for Mercedes to pilfer, thanks in part to Porsche, which is headquartered there. Mercedes-Benz hasn't issued any comment, but sources suggest a decision is coming within weeks. North Carolina is also said to be in the running, while other reports have also added Savannah and Jacksonville to the list.
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