Kia launches new
sedan for 2014
See our Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide at autoMedia.com
Highlights: Green Fleet Conference
Test Drives: 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
Coda, maker of electric car, files for bankruptcy (Automotive News: 5/1/13)
in the auto world
Japanese automakers to recall 3.4 million vehicles worldwide, due to airbag problem (4/11)
California buyers of electric Fiat 500 will get free conventional rental car for 12 days per year (4/1)
Redesigned Cadillac CTS: longer, lower, more powerful (3/27)
Ford apologizes for tasteless ads in India that show people bound and gagged in cargo area of vehicle (Automotive News, 3/25)
2,500 owners of 2013 V-6 Dodge Challengers warned to stop driving, because of fire risk (3/17)
Hyundai to sell ix35 fuel-cell vehicle in U.S. (3/13)
Infiniti to produce hybrid version of 2014 QX60 premium crossover (3/10)
Highlights: 2013 New York Auto Show
Mercedes-Benz hosts world debut of B-Class Electric Drive and CLA 45 AMG coupe ... Rolls-Royce unveils fastback Wraith–most powerful model ever (624 hp, 590 pound-feet), with Satellite Aided Transmission that “reads” road ahead ... Kia debuts 2014 Soul: roomier and related to Track’ster concept; plus “refreshed” Optima sedan and turbo Forte Koup ... Hyundai shows 2014 Genesis ... Toyota reveals redesigned third-generation Highlander, seating up to 8 ... Aston Martin Rapide S debuts ... Jaguar hosts global debut of XJR sedan and “track-ready” XKR-S GT coupe ... Next Range Rover Sports unveiled, with supercharged V-6 or V-8 ... Third-generation 2014 Acura MDX adds more affordable 2WD version ... Midsize Jeep Cherokee debuts, ready to replace Liberty and reviving old model name ... Nissan launches 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid, promising 26 mpg ... Infiniti unveils QX60 Hybrid SUV and new Q50 sports sedan ... GM brings reworked Cadillac CTS ... Dodge focuses on 2014 Durango ... Volkswagen shows 2015 Golf ... 2014 Scion tC sport coupe revealed ... New 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage expected to get 44-mpg highway estimate.
Highlights–2013 Geneva (Switzerland) Auto Show
130 global and European premieres at show ... 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 ... Volkswagen XL1 hybrid also has scissors-type doors ... Volvo introduces safety system that can detect bicyclist in car's path and apply brakes automatically.
Highlights–2013 Chicago Auto Show:
Kia unveils reworked Forte five-door, plus pair of concepts: Cross GT crossover and Superman Optima Hybrid ... Toyota debuts 2014 Tundra pickup ... Chevrolet launches Clean Turbo Diesel Cruze ... Volkswagen brings 2014 Beetle GSR and R-Line convertible, plus GTI Wolfsburg and Driver's Editions ... Nissan debuts Juke Nismo and GT-R Track Pack ... 2014 Ram Commercial Pro Master full-size van debuts ... Ford reveals Fiesta ST Race Car ... Continental Automotive exhibits Driver Focus concept to deal with distraction.
2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit:
Reworked 2014 Corvette revives old Stingray name ... Cadillac launches ELR electric ... 2014 Jeep Compass and Grand Cherokee on display ... Maserati unveils next-generation Quattroporte sedan ... Lincoln debuts MKC crossover concept ... Honda reveals “Urban SUV” concept ... Hyundai unveils HCD-14 Genesis concept ... Acura exhibits MDX prototype ... Volkswagen displays CrossBlue crossover concept ... Mini reveals John Cooper Works Paceman ... BMW shows M6 Gran Coupe ... Shelby version of Ford Focus ST revealed.
Tirekicking Today editor Jim Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as autoMedia.com 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 contributes to Consumer Guide publications and 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.
Is Here To Stay
Own Nothing, Owe Nothing: yes, it can be done
10 Ways to Keep Occupy Movement Alive
Ford CEO's total annual compensation falls below $21 million, down from $29.5 million in 2011 (3/15)
Progressive House members to introduce one-sentence bill: "Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013." ... 300,000 petitions in favor are presented to House Speaker John Boehner (3/14)
President Obama pushes for $9/hour minimum wage; Fair Minimum Wage Act seeks $10.10 ... current minimum is $7.25 (below poverty line for a family of four) (3/13)
Total payroll employment grows by 236,000 in February 2013; unemployment edges down to 7.7 percent (3/10)
Average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers (seasonally adjusted): $677.35 (3/10)
Impact of "sequester" action expected to hit low-income Americans the hardest, as harsh spending cuts begin (3/9)
Michigan to become a "right-to-work" state, prompting angry protests from union supporters (12/13)
Fast-food workers go on strike in New York, in late November (12/3)
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
Full report from 2012 Labor Notes Conference
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)
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?
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
U.S. cities: New York. San Francisco, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas
UPDATED: May 20, 2013
Tirekicking Today: Making Progress in Paris
Early in 2012, editor Jim Flammang spent two months in Clichy (just above the Paris city limits), working on book projects. Because that period went so well, finishing one book and making good progress on others, he returned to France this year, residing in St. Denis during March-April.
After 17 years of concentrating on cars, Tirekicking Today is moving into new directions. In addition to expanding our sections on work/labor and True Travel, we’re developing a series of Essays and Commentaries. Subjects reach far beyond automobiles, including politics, law, immigration, consumer concerns–and especially, the Absurdities that surround us.
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 a similarly uncommon 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.
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.
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 about 70% complete.
Work Hurts 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.
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 will be updated early in 2013.
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 online guide).
Used-Car Buyers' Guide (also an update/expansion of previous online guide).
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 available for publication. For further information, contact us at JF@tirekick.com.
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
Auto History: When Rationing Came
See our Used Car Buying Guide at autoMedia.com
See our Hybrid/Electric Buying Guide at autoMedia.com
Essay Excerpt: Popularity Takes Precedence
Whether a web site or a blog has 10 readers or 10 million, it seems to be incomplete these days unless there’s a box on the side that contains Popularity ratings.
In publications of the past, assignments were issued, journalists covered events and wrote about them, editors decided how best to present them–and that was that. Popularity? As long as what was published had been deemed important by professionals who devoted their lives to making such decisions, and as long as the result was as accurate as possible, their job was done.
Who cared whether a given story was “popular?” That was for 13-year-olds, not professional journalists.
Besides, what does it mean when a reader responds that he “likes” a certain story, and “dislikes” another one. Are they well-written and poorly written, respectively. Objective rather than subjective? Compelling rather than dull? Or are they really saying they “like” story one because they agree with it, whereas story two gets a thumbs-down because they disagree....
Click for complete Popularity essay ... See more Excerpts
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. 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 Jim Flammang's 2012-13 reviews at autoMedia.com: BMW 335i sedan, Mazda3, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Veloster, Mitsubishi i electric, Kia Rio, Volkswagen Beetle, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Nissan Versa, Audi A7, Hyundai Accent and Genesis R-Spec, Ford Mustang Boss 302
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 Mazda6 sedan
2013 Buick Encore
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
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 Jeep Grand Cherokee
All Vehicle Reviews (including 2010 and older)
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 Editorials 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 range from automaker market share, red-light cameras and safety recalls, to EV charging stations, alternative powertrains and romance in the car.
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
Coverage of notable Industry News will resume early in 2013.
Numbers Count in Used Car Search
KBB Explains Consumer Surveys
Please watch for helpful new Consumer Advice, starting early in 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.
Feature story: Cars and traffic in Paris
Preview Drive: 2014 Nissan Versa Note; 2013 Chevrolet Spark
Test Drives: 2014 Mazda CX-5; 2013 Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Toyota Yaris
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. Just let us know what you need, via e-mail to: JF@tirekick.com.