Mazda redesigns
Mazda3 sedan and
hatchback for 2014




USED CARS

Information for buyers and sellers

Highlights: 2013 National Remarketing Conference (12/17)
Highlights: 2013 National Remarketing Conference - final report (12/26)
Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day One, 11/30)
Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day Two, 12/2)
Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day One, 12/4)
Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day Two, 12/6)
Highlights: 2013 Re3 Conference (12/10)
Used Car Week scores record attendance (11/19)

Depreciation rules the used-car marketplace (11/2)
Auto-dealer ads need attention (11/2)
Acquisition strategy is key to dealer success (10/24)
Does digital "chatting" really sell more cars?(10/10)
Kontos: Wholesale prices rise, then fall, in August-September (10/9)
”Gen Y” really doesn’t care as much about cars(9/28)
Experian reports on Q2 financing: 30-day delinquencies drop significantly (9/25)
Every used car has a story to tell (9/10)
Carfax aims for consumer confidence in buying process (9/3)
Experian reports on 2013 auto financing (8/30)
Kontos reports further used-car price softening in July (8/27)
Used cars travel by rail
CarMark offers residual-based iinancing

Adversarial dealer/customer relationship ... it's so 20th century
Clunkers & Creampuffs: used car history (part I)

Tirekicking Today attended Used Car Week in San Diego, November 11-15, and has posted full reports on each conference.


Available Soon: 2014 Used Car Buying Guide (e-book and printed book) by James M. Flammang




Green Scene

See our Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide at autoMedia.com. An updated, greatly expanded Hybrid/Electric/Diesel Buying Guide is scheduled for publication in book form, early in 2014.

Highlights: Green Fleet Conference
• Test Drives: 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Energi ...2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid ... 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ... 2013 Lexus LS 600h L ... 2013 Infiniti M35h Hybrid ... 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid ... 2013 Lexus ES 300h Hybrid ... 2012-13 Volkswagen Passat TDI ... 2011 Lexus CT 200h ... 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid ... 2011 Chevrolet Volt
Quick Electric Drives: Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Mini E
Preview Drive: 2011 Nissan Leaf electric
Green Car Tour (diesel)
Preview Drive: 2011 Honda CR-Z Hybrid coupe
Preview Drive: 2011 smart fortwo electric drive (EV)
Fuel-efficiency takes many forms
• 2010 Hybrid Reviews: Ford Fusion Hybrid ... Honda Insight ... Toyota Prius ... Lexus HS 250h


News Headlines
in the auto world

• GM CEO Mary Barra faces intense Congressional questioning, focusing on decade-long delay in dealing with ignition-switch risk in Chevrolet Cobalt and related cars (4/7)
• Scrutiny of GM's long delay in dealing with Chevrolet Cobalt ignition-switch issue intensifies; some observers suggest information holdback could constitute fraud in 2009 bankruptcy proceeding and government bailout (3/25)
• New York Auto Show set to open April 18 (3/25)
• U.S. Justice Department and Congress investigating GM's ignition-switch recall (3/12)
• Harris Survey: 88 percent of respondents would worry about riding in a "driverless" car (2/3)



Preview: 2014 New York Auto Show
Chevrolet to launch new Trax compact crossover ... 2015 Mini Countryman to debut ... Nissan to reveal major redesign of Murano crossover wagon ... Acura will display new tLX performance-luxury sedan ... Kia set to show new midsize multi-purpose vehicle ... BMW will bring new X4 sports-activity coupe and M4 convertible ... Land Rover to show Discovery Vision Concept ... Volkswagen plans to unveil new Golf Sportwagen, along with 2015 Jetta sedan ... and much more. Show opens to public on April 18


Highlights: 2013 Geneva (Switzerland) Auto Show
130 global and European premieres ... Volkswagen unveils Golf GTI with 220-hp turbo ... Chevrolet reveals 2014 Stingray Corvette convertible ... Rolls-Royce debuts Wraith performance coupe ... Porsche launches 475-hp 911 GT3 ... Mitsubishi brings GR-HEV diesel pickup concept ... Kia displays hybrid Provo concept ... Subaru’s Viziv diesel crossover concept features scissors-style doors; so does Volkswagen XL1 hybrid ... Volvo safety system can detect bicyclist and apply brakes.



Tirekicking Today editor Jim Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as autoMedia.com, New Car Test Drive, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power, cars.com, and the Chicago Tribune. Flammang is a member of the Freelancers Union, as well as the International Motor Press Association and Midwest Automotive Media Association (past president). The author of more than two dozen books, mostly on auto history, also has contributed extensively to Consumer Guide publications and to such trade publications as Ward's Dealer Business.



Toil & Trouble

Tirekicking Today has been developing a new section on work, labor, and consumer concerns. Toil & Trouble builds upon the uncommon views in Work Hurts, one of our Books in Progress. In addition to notable news items related to work and labor, this section will feature critical essays and editorials.

Labor Headlines:
• Labor Notes conference opens near Chicago on April 4, for busy 3-day weekend; Tirekicking Today will cover full session (4/4)
• U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan unleashes Republican budget, stressing tax cuts for the wealth and vast cuts in services (4/3)
• Volkswagen workers in Tennessee vote against United Auto Workers as their bargaining representative (2/14)
• President Obama signs bill,\\ setting minimum wage for federal contract workers at $10.10 (2/12)
• House Speaker John Boehner allows vote on "clean" debt-ceiling bill, as favored by Democrats and President Obama; bill passes, 221 to 201 (2/12)
• Volkswagen factory workers in Tennessee ready to vote on joining United Auto Workers Union ... if approved, VW would be first auto plant in the American south to be unionized (2/11)
• Chicago workers protesting action of Whole Foods, which fired woman who needed to stay home during winter storm to care for "special needs" child (2/10)

"Occupy" movement
hasn't disappeared




Own Nothing, Owe Nothing: yes, it can be done
10 Ways to Keep Occupy Movement Alive
Surprise! Some of us like to pay taxes
Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise
Overview: All too often, Toil Is Trouble
Where do workers stand now, financially?
Needed Now: Jobs, Not Careers
New Ways To Look at Work
Solidarity Forever? Are unions still needed?
Quit calling us consumers!
Let's break the chain of consumer debt
Prioritize! Living with Less and Liking It

Coming Soon:
• Lineup! CEOs need to justify gargantuan incomes
• Job Search shouldn't be a career in itself
• Traditional worklives no longer work
• No more bosses
• UAW: Culprit or victim?

Previous Labor Stories



“You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.”
Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johansson, in episode 4 of the HBO series Girls, created and written by Lena Dunham



"No man is good enough to be another man's master."
George Bernard Shaw,
in Major Barbara



"He that has to obey the will of another is a slave."
Samuel Fielding (1886)


True Travel

During 2013, Tirekicking Today is adding more Travel stories. Geared toward travelers on a budget, who prefer a suitcase to a backpack, our articles look at such issues as picking sensible hotels and the easiest ways to book trips. We'll emphasize blending into the community rather than spending time among folks from back home.

Special Report: Riding around Paris in a charming Citroen 2CV
El Cortez Hotel Gives Taste of Old Las Vegas
Low-Budget Lodging in Mexico
Today's TSA: Smile and Punishment at the security lane
• Historic Hotels Don't Have to Break Your Budget
What's Wrong With High-end Hotels?
• Even expert travelers can make mistakes
• Online Booking Saves Time, Money, Stress
• Is Mexican Travel Finished?
• Looking Back: Train Travel in Mexico
• Cheap Hotels: Horror or Delight?

City Views:
Special Report: Daily life in Clichy, France
Carnival in Veracruz, Mexico ... plus unique Carnival fiesta of indigenous Mayans
Mexico City hasn't lost its charms
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
2011 San Cristobal update
• Tokyo; Barcelona; Palma (Mallorca); Paris; Bruges, Belgium; Luxembourg City; Puebla, Mexico

UPDATED: April 15, 2014

Tirekicking Today: Focusing on Used Cars and Books

Although Tirekicking Today has emphasized new cars since its inception in 1993, editor Jim Flammang has been covering the used car market as a journalist since 1985. In August, we launched a Used Car section (at right), providing valuable information to both consumers and those in the used-car business. To augment our coverage, we attended the annual Used Car Week in San Diego, in mid-November. Our new 2014 Used Car Buyers' Guide is scheduled for publication in April.

Tirekicking Today also continues to move into other directions. In addition to expanding our sections on work/labor and True Travel, we’re developing Essays and Commentaries. Subjects will reach far beyond automobiles, including politics, law, immigration, consumer concerns–and especially, the Absurdities that surround us. Mr. Maurice Knows It All ..., the first of Flammang's Books In Progress, is being prepared for publication by TK Press in April 2014, initially as an e-book.


Books in Progress (outlines and excerpts)

Editor Jim Flammang, the author of more than two dozen books (including six for children), is at work on several more. Each title views its subject from an oblique and lighthearted–yet serious–perspective. Outlines and excerpts may be seen by clicking on each title.
Mr. Maurice knows it all ... and tells you so: Observations on society and major issues of the day from a stuffed pig who just happens to know everything. In 78 single-topic chapters, Mr. Maurice unleashes his acerbic and delightfully wise opinions about everything from work to sex, movies to politics, TV to ambition. Scheduled for publication in April by TK Press, initially as an e-book.
Incompetent: Coming up short in a world of achievement. Whether it's sports, business, personal relationships, the arts, or any other area of life, some of us score a flat zero in the skills and talents department. Manuscript with 35 chapters is scheduled for publication by TK Press in early spring 2014.
Absurdities: Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought is a comprehensive collection of stinging essays that gaze with disbelief at various aspects of modern life. Manuscript with 74 chapters is about 80% complete.
Work Hurts: Reflections on a wasted life questions the conventional wisdom on work and careers. For untold millions, including many with "good" jobs, each day's toil delivers no joy and little reward. The 34-chapter manuscript (with four sidebars) is about 75% complete.
Hotel Life, subtitled "Living small in an age of large," assesses the satisfactions of simpler living and minimal consumption, while chronicling the joys (and drawbacks) of residing in low-end accommodations.
Steering Toward Oblivion is a caustically critical but humorous observation of the car culture and auto business. Note: Outline is being updated to reflect current conditions.
Scaredy-Cat: Surviving a lifetime of unwarranted fear and fright. A personal look backward, focusing on lessons learned about debilitating fear and anxiety, including ways to cope and survive.

Automotive titles also are in the works, including:
Hybrid/Electric/Diesel Buying Guide (updating and expanding upon our prior online guide).
Used-Car Buyers' Guide (also an update/expansion of previous online guide), scheduled for publication in April 2014, initially as an e-book.
Car-Buyers Guide for those who don't really care much about cars.

Publishers Invited: Outlines and excerpts for the above books now are available online.
Mr. Maurice.... is finished and will be published initially as an e-book, in April. For further information, contact us at JF@tirekick.com.

Untied Knots - Fiction by Flammang (coming soon): short stories, plus essays on a variety of topics.


O Canada, How Could You?

Humiliation and disrespect at the Immigration counter

by James M. Flammang

Looking for a trip that turns abruptly into a nightmare–right at the airport, upon arrival? Then, look no further than Canada, our alleged “neighbor” to the north.

Perhaps you, too, can be subjected to a barrage of vile, hostile, intimidating queries that pry brutally and abusively into your private affairs and personal history. Rather than receive a welcoming gesture, I was humiliated, insulted, demeaned, and degraded, in disgraceful ways that I’d never even imagined in my many years as an international traveler. All in the name of “protecting” the Canadian economy from the possibility, however remote, that an arriving visitor might be thinking of toil rather than tourism. Click here for the complete essay on arriving in Canada

For additional essays by James M. Flammang, click here.


Please click here for our Special Report on daily life in Clichy, France, during our two-month stay early in 2012


Please check our numerous vehicle reviews and features at autoMedia.com, including the Used Car and Hybrid/Electric Buying Guides, plus regular contributions to their Auto News Blog.

Tirekicking Today editor Jim Flammang has contributed regular commentary to the Auto News Blog at autoMedia.com

New: Auto History: When Rationing Came
See our Used Car Buying Guide at autoMedia.com
See our Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide at autoMedia.com



Online since 1995, Tirekicking Today has presented a fresh and distinctive approach to the automotive world, including: Preview Drives of selected coming-soon models; Test Drives of current vehicles; feature stories of interest to car buyers and owners; plus commentary with a distinct and tangy twist. Now, in 2013, much of the auto business somehow remains in subtle crisis mode–despite rising sales. Media outlets such as Tirekicking Today have been affected adversely. Automakers host fewer new-model media programs. Invitation lists to those that occur–especially from GM, Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota–have shrunk sharply, and continue to decline. Availability of test vehicles has diminished. Growing numbers of bloggers and pseudo-journalists vie for attention alongside those, like ourselves, who have covered the auto business for many years.

As a result, Tirekicking Today isn't just about cars anymore. Although our coverage of new cars will continue, timely reviews of certain automakers' vehicles are increasingly impossible to provide. Therefore, we expect to publish more editorials and feature stories, and fewer reviews. Turning aside from cars, Tirekicking Today is expanding coverage of consumer concerns, work/labor issues, and travel (See Toil & Trouble and True Travel, in box at right).


Look for additional 2012-13 vehicle reviews by Jim Flammang at autoMedia.com\
   • 2014 Kia Soul
   • 2014 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback
   • 2014 Nissan Versa Note hatchback
   • 2014 Kia Cadenza
   • 2013 Nissan Sentra
   • 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
   • 2013 Volkswagen Beetle convertible
   • 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
   • 2012 Honda Civic
   • 2012 Acura TL
   • 2012 Fiat 500 microcar
   • 2011 Nissan Quest
   • 2011 Acura TSX wagon
   • 2011 Nissan Leaf electric
   • 2011 Kia Optima
   • 2011 Volvo S60
   • 2011 Nissan Juke
   • 2011 Honda Odyssey
   • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
   • 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
   • 2011 Scion tC sport coupe
   • 2011 Ford Fiesta
   • 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
   • 2011 Honda CR-Z Hybrid
   • 2011 smart fortwo EV
   • 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
   • 2011 Kia Sorento
   • • All Preview Drives (including 2010 and older)

   • 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Energi plug-in
   • 2014 Hyundai Equus
   • 2014 Toyota Corolla
   • 2014 Kia Forte
   • 2014 Subaru Forester
   • 2014 Mazda CX-5
   • 2014 Mazda6 sedan
   • 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
   • 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
   • 2013 Lexus LS 600h L
   • 2013 BMW X1 sport-activity vehicle
   • 2013 Lexus LS 460
   • 2013 Infiniti M35h hybrid
   • 2013 Fiat 500e (electric)
   • 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
   • 2013 Toyota Avalon
   • 2013 Buick Encore
   • 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
   • 2013 Ford Mustang
   • 2013 Toyota Yaris
   • 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
   • 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
   • 2013 Ford Explorer Sport
   • 2013 Chrysler Town & Country minivan
   • 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo
   • 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
   • 2013 Honda Accord sedan with LaneWatch
   • 2013 Lexus ES 300h Hybrid
   • 2013 Scion FR-S
   • 2013 Acura ILX
   • 2013 Mazda CX-5
   • 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550
   • 2013 Dodge Dart
   • 2012-13 Volkswagen Passat TDI
   • 2012 Range Rover Evoque
   • 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350
   • 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio (updated 9/17/11)
   • 2012 Honda Civic
   • 2012 Ford Focus
   • 2012 Mazda5
   • 2011 Lexus CT 200h (with 2013 F-Sport update)
   • 2011 Scion xB
   • 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
   • 2011 Ford F-150 pickup
   • 2011 Dodge Durango
   • 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
   • 2011 Chrysler 200
   • 2011 Ford Explorer
   • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
   • 2011 Cadillac CTS-V wagon
   • 2011 Jaguar XJ
   • 2011 Hyundai Equus
   • 2011 Subaru Tribeca
   • Electric Drives: Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Mini E
   • 2011 Mazda2
   • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
 • • All Vehicle Reviews (including 2010 and older)


   • Special Drive: 2013 Rolls-Royce Ghost extended-wheelbase (5/27)
   • Experian outlines auto sales trends (4/7)
   • What's New for the 2013 and 2014 model years (4/6)
   • Honda Accord leads list of most stolen and recovered vehicles (3/21)
   • Experian reveals latest auto financing trends (3/13)
   • Highlights: Green Fleet Conference (2/13)
   • Auto History: When Rationing Came
   • Highlights: 2012 Geneva Auto Show
   • Preview: 2012 Geneva Auto Show
   • What's New for the 2012 model year (updated 9/17)
   • Highlights: 2011 New York Auto Show
   • Highlights: 2011 Chicago Auto Show
   • Highlights: 2011 Automotive News World Congress (Detroit)
   • Highlights: 2011 North American International Auto Show (Detroit)
   • Auto workers protest at Detroit's auto show
   • Highlights from 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show
   • What's New for the 2011 model year
   • Green Car Tour (diesel)
   • All Feature Articles

   • Drivers willing to dismiss privacy (3/12)
   • Young British drivers have attitude problems ... "radical" insurer claims to have the answer (3/12)

   • Who do car-shoppers trust for information?
   • Idiots Rule: Social media shouldn't dictate product plans
   • Are auto ads changing tune?
   • Where are the "Detroit 3" headed now?
   • Red Light Cameras can snare safe drivers
   • Archive for All Editorials



    • New automotive (and non-automotive) Editorials and Essays are being developed and will be posted soon.
Meanwhile, please go to autoMedia.com to see editor Jim Flammang's series of blog posts - mainly commentary on a broad variety of auto-related issues - at Auto News Blog. Topics have ranged from automaker market share, red-light cameras and safety recalls, to EV charging stations, alternative powertrains and romance in the car.


Highlights: 2013 (November) Used Car Week
   • Highlights: 2013 National Remarketing Conference (12/17)
   • Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day One, 11/30)
   • Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day Two, 12/2)
   • Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day One, 12/4)
   • Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day Two, 12/6)
   • Highlights: 2013 Re3 Conference (12/10)
   • Used Car Week scores record attendance (11/19)

Highlights: November 2010 used car conferences
   • 2010 CPO (certified pre-owned) Forum
   • 2010 National Remarketing Conference

Highlights: 2009 National Remarketing Conference
Market Trends ... CPO ... Valuations ... Used Car Trends ... POADA



   • Survey: Nearly half of commuters text behind the wheel (9/3)
   • Numbers Count in Used Car Search
   • KBB Explains Consumer Surveys
Please watch for helpful new Consumer Advice in fall 2013.

Isn't it finally time to think seriously about reducing oil use - and to take action? As gasoline prices remain below $4 per gallon, interest in fuel-efficient vehicles appears to be waning.



Coming Soon:
• Feature story: Cars and traffic in Paris
• Preview Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf and GTI (including new electric)
• Test Drives: Lexus GX, Volkswagen Eos, Lexus IS 350
• Special Drive: Aston-Martin Vantage S convertible



The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin


Automotive Literature
for Sale:

Large stock of books, magazines, photos, press kits, memorabilia, and more. Mostly from 1985-2010, but some items date back as far as the 1920s. Just let us know what you need, via e-mail to: JF@tirekick.com.

All editorials, reviews and articles are available for reprinting.
Editors are invited to contact us for rates and full details.

TIREKICKING TODAY began in 1993 as a monthly print publication. Created by widely-known automotive writer/editor James M. Flammang and associate editor Marianne E. Flammang, it went on the Internet in 1995. TIREKICKING TODAY gives consumers, enthusiasts, and industry leaders an abundant supply of valuable automotive information. New-vehicle reviews, editorial commentary, and feature articles are added regularly.

©All contents copyright 1997-2013 by Tirekicking Today.
Material may not be reused in any way without express permission from Tirekicking Today.
For information on reprinting and syndication rights,
please contact us at JF@tirekick.com.
If you would like a response to a question or comment, please provide your e-mail address.