Available Now: Tirekicking Used Car Buyer's Guide (e-book or printed book) by James M. Flammang
After nearly two decades online, Tirekicking Today is preparing to change course ... please stay tuned in November for details.
Allegations against Volkswagen of installing fraudulent emissions software expand to include European models ... anticipated fines and costs will reach billions of dollars (11/6)
in the auto world
Nevada professor travels 1,500 miles in autonomous (self-driving) car: Nogales, Arizona to Mexico City (10/21)
FCA (Fiat Chrysler) admits under-reporting deaths and injuries stemming from recalled vehicles (9/30)
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns, in midst of scandal stemming from falsified emissions of diesel engines (9/23)
Audi to launch A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid this fall (9/22)
Volkswagen debuts redesigned 2016 Passat, in midst of recall crisis ... company CEO under fire in response to global criticism over falsified diesel emissions (9/22)
11 million vehicles, worldwide, are affected by Volkswagen's altered software for diesel engines ... CEO apologizes, and company is setting aside nearly $7.4 billion to cover costs and penalties (9/22)
EPA orders Volkswagen to recall half a million diesel-engine vehicles, charging software was rigged to skirt clean-air rules (9/18)
Toyota debuts dramatically redesigned Prius hybrid, as 2016 model (9/10)
Highlights: New York Auto Show (April 3-12, 2015)
Lincoln revives Continental nameplate on concept sedan ... Kia to unveil 2016 Optima ... Jaguar will show 2016 XF ... Volkswagen plans to show four Beetle special editions plus AWD Golf Sportwagen Alltrack ... Mitsubishi to reveal 2016 Outlander ... 2015 smart fortwo makes U.S. debut ... GMC will unveil 2016 Terrain ... Acura bringing 2016 RDXand ILX to New York, plus NSX supercar
Honda announces 2016 HR-V SLF “Selfie” Edition with 10 cameras for taking personal photos (Oops! “Selfie” announcement is made the day before April Fool’s Day.
Volkwagen launches its first electric car: the 2015 e-Golf.
Information for buyers and sellers
Highlights: 2013 National Remarketing Conference
Highlights: 2013 National Remarketing Conference - final report
Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day One)
Highlights: 2013 CPO Forum (Day Two)
Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day One)
Highlights: 2013 Subprime Forum (Day Two)
Highlights: 2013 Re3 Conference
Used Car Week scores record attendance
Depreciation rules the used-car marketplace
Auto-dealer ads need attention
Acquisition strategy is key to dealer success
Does digital "chatting" really sell more cars?
Kontos: Wholesale prices rise, then fall, in August-September
”Gen Y” really doesn’t care as much about cars
Experian reports on Q2 financing: 30-day delinquencies drop significantly
Every used car has a story to tell
Carfax aims for consumer confidence in buying process
Experian reports on 2013 auto financing
Kontos reports further used-car price softening in July
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)
Building upon the Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide that we produced for autoMedia.com in 2011, an updated, greatly expanded versions (including Diesels) is scheduled for publication in book form, early in 2016.
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
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, CarsDirect, 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. TK Press, established in 2014 as a division of Tirekicking Today, has already published two books by Flammang: Mr. Maurice Knows It All ... and tells you so and the Tirekicking Used Car Buyer's Guide.
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.
"Fight for $15" group calls for national Strike day on Tuesday, November 10 ... multi-city protest to focus on fast-food workers (11/6)
Many auto workers leaning toward rejection of pact with FCA (Fiat Chrysler), which would includes two-tier wage structure (9/30)
"Fight for $15" officially endorsed ... will raise minimum wage of all fast-food workers in New York state (9/10)
New York endorses $15 minimum wage, to be phased in (7/23)
"Fight for $15" campaign for minimum-wage hike targets New York in June (6/11)
2,000 protesters march at McDonald's headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois, seeking $15 wage ... Service Employees International Union plans to target New York next, following up on Governor's favorable stance on higher minimum wage (5/21)
Los Angeles votes for $15 minimum wage, phased in over several years (5/21)
Department of Labor reports that during recession, there were 6.8 job-seekers for every opening; now, it's 1.7 per opening ... an estimated 5 million job openings now said to exist (5/17)
Highlights: 2014 Labor Notes Conference (April 2014)
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
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)
During 2015-16, Tirekicking Today plans to add 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?
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
San Cristobal update
UPDATED: November 6, 2015
Third book from TK Press coming this fall
... and it's Incompetent
TK Press, the book-publishing division of Tirekicking Today established in 2014, now has two titles on sale:
Mr. Maurice Knows it All ... and tells you so. Available as an e-book at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. A print version also is available at Amazon. In 78 concise chapters, the stuffed pig known as Mr. Maurice–who just happens to know everything–unleashes a torrent of acerbic, humorous, delightfully wise words on subjects ranging from work to movies, from money to citizenship, from status to guilt.
Note: Mr. Maurice ... will be re-launched in early fall, by a different distributor.
Tirekicking Used Car Buyer's Guide covers everything from picking the best vehicle type, to the best ways to research a potential purchase, to taking an informative test drive, to details on financing, insurance, negotiation, and much more. Average valuations, test-drive reports, and specifications of selected 2007-13 models also are included. Available at Amazon as an e-book, or a 308-page printed volume.
The third book from TK Press, Incompetent: Coming up short in a world of achievement, will be published this autumn. Absurdities, our fourth title, will follow in early winter.
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. Last year, we launched a Used Car section, providing valuable information to both consumers and those in the used-car business.
Because access to new vehicles for test drives has diminished lately, we will be publishing fewer reviews. However, Tirekicking Today continues to move into new directions. In addition to expanding our sections on work/labor and consumer issues, we’re developing Essays and Commentaries. Subjects will reach well beyond automobiles, including politics, law, immigration, consumer concerns–and especially, the Absurdities that surround us. That's the title of another of our upcoming books.
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.
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. Scheduled for publication by TK Press in fall of 2015.
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. The 86 chapters are arranged in sections, including Work, Money, Identity, Communication/Technology, Consumption, Politics and Law, Pastimes, Sex, and Transportation. Scheduled for publication in fall of 2015.
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 scheduled for completion late in 2015.
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.
Fraidy-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.
Untied Knots - Fiction by Flammang: two groups of short stories, each with a tangy twist. One group is travel-based; the other focuses on stay-at-home folks. Scheduled for publication in late 2015.
Also in the works for future publication:
Hybrid/Electric/Diesel Buying Guide (updating and expanding upon our prior online guide).
Car-Buyers Guide for those who don't really care much about cars.
Steering Toward Oblivion is a caustically critical but humorous observation of the car culture and auto business. Note: Outline will be updated to reflect current conditions.
For further information, contact us at JF@tirekick.com.
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
Auto History: When Rationing Came
See our earlier 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).
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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.
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
Numbers Count in Used Car Search
KBB Explains Consumer Surveys
Please watch for helpful new Consumer Advice.
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.
Feature story: Cars and traffic in Paris
Special Drive: Ford Transit
Test Drives: 2015 Ford Mustang, Jeep Compass, Chrysler 300, Lincoln Navigator
The Dunning-Kruger effect:
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
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. Includes collection of Automotive News magazines dating back to 1989, available for pickup from Illinois office. Please let us know what you need, via e-mail to: JF@tirekick.com.