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By on August 16, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom

In 1978, two years before I appeared on this earth, my parents traded their two-year old Chevy Nova for a brand-new K5 Blazer at Riverview Chev-Olds in Grand Falls, Newfoundland. They were headed to jobs on the Great Northern Peninsula and, with sound reasoning, figured a four-wheel-drive rig would be a good idea. They were right.

My parents went on to keep that blue-and-white Blazer for 13 years, so I have many good memories of it stored away in the back of my rapidly balding head. Learning of the new-for-2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom yesterday, I became unreasonably excited for two different reasons: 1) it reminded me of the old Blazer, and 2) I had found my Ace of Base for today.

Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

bmw z4 concept, Image: BMW

BMW just dropped a photo of the upcoming Z4 Concept. Expected to be unveiled at Pebble Beach this Thursday, someone with access to the company’s social media account apparently couldn’t wait that long. While the photo they’ve chosen obscures a good bit of the vehicle, there’s enough to accurately identify it as BMW’s upcoming roadster.

Codenamed G29, the next-generation Z4 will be built on a sports-car chassis co-designed with Toyota. Mechanically, it is a sister to the returning Toyota Supra, leaving everyone interested even more ravenous for detailed specs. However, as this is a concept, it’s unlikely BMW is going to give anyone a full rundown during Monterey’s Car Week. We’re hoping the company lets something slip.  Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

While automotive trade shows are likely to persist as a way of showing off major manufacturers’ freshest fleets, they’re losing relevance. Automakers continue to option smaller, less trade-focused events, while the big shows are giving ground to the likes of CES. The most recent example involves nine brands that have decided to forego next month’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Nissan, Infiniti, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, DS, and Volvo, have all decided not to attend the IAA for 2017. Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, claims automakers feel it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending the colossal fees associated with taking part in a major auto show when they measure that investment against the perceived effect on sales.

“I would question what the translation rate is between attendance on public days to transactions,” he said. “I bet most customers now are happier to do research online.” Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

merkel

After a lot of back and forth on citywide diesel bans and loads of corporate scandal, the German automotive industry has taken a public beating. However, with a few politicians still left in its corner, it’s managed to avoid some of Europe’s anti-combustion wrath. Proposed diesel bans haven’t yet come into effect, but there remains a strong contingent to force change with Chancellor Angela Merkel suddenly taking a greener stance as an election looms.

There’s no shortage of controversy surrounding Europe’s automotive industry, and much of it surrounds environmental issues. The public solution is to move away from fossil fuels and promote electric vehicles through regulatory action within the next few decades — an idea Merkel now openly supports.

“I don’t want to name an exact year,” she said in a recent interview with SUPERillu. But she also believes Britain and France’s plans to phase out internal-combustion cars by 2040 is “the right approach.” Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Honda Accord Touring - Image: HondaThe Honda Accord is by no means a younger sibling, operating as the senior member of American Honda’s fleet.

More specifically, the 2018 Honda Accord will never be viewed as the little brother in the American Honda family, not with these substantial dimensions and MSRPs that reach deep into the $30Ks.

But the 10th-generation Accord is still a Honda. Just a Honda. Merely a Honda. Only a Honda. And while you might expect Honda to enjoy technological hand-me-downs from the automaker’s upmarket Acura brand, that’s not the way it works. Not when it comes to the Accord.

As a result, we’ll wait and see which hand-me-ups appear on the next all-new Acura, the third-generation 2019 Acura RDX. Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler, Image: Reddit

Someone at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Toledo, Ohio, assembly complex might be in trouble. That’s assuming management pins down the person who whipped out a phone while a next-generation Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sat exposed on the plant floor. (We’re assuming it’s Toledo, for obvious reasons.)

A photograph posted to Reddit this morning, clearly shot in a hasty manner as workers line both sides of the vehicle, shows part of the 2018 Wrangler — a.k.a. the JL/JLU Wrangler. It’s a vehicle at the center of an expensive redesign and lightweighting process, and it’s also one of the most heavily leaked vehicles in years.

So, what does this picture show us? Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - Image: ChevroletGeneral Motors announced today the September 2017 arrival of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom, priced from $44,995, including destination fees. That represents a $3,750 price cut for what will now become the base Tahoe, down from the 2018 Tahoe LS’s $48,745 MSRP.

GM says the 2018 Tahoe Custom is a response both to “strong consumer demand for Tahoe,” and to the “full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Therefore, there’ll be no cooled seats here. No adaptive cruise. No head-up display.

No third row of seating. Gasp. Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2017 Buick Envision Preferred AWD - Image: © Timothy CainGeneral Motors apparently believes you’ll pay a genuinely lofty price for the 2017 Buick Envision precisely because it’s a Buick.

A basic 2017 Buick Envision, upgraded with Preferred trim in order to select the $1,850 all-wheel drive system, costs $38,645. That’s correct: the least costly AWD Envision is priced from $38,645. General Motors will sell you a larger, V6-engined, AWD GMC Acadia for only $445 more.

But that’s a GMC. A generic, garden variety, menial GMC. The Envision seeks to mercilessly trample on the Acadia’s blue collar status.

Who would want a spacious GMC when you could own a Buick; a smaller, less powerful, China-made Buick with cloth seats, no sunroof, blank switches at the front of the center console, and no advanced safety gear? Evidently, the person who’s willing to pay a premium for the Buick tri-shield badge. You know, the buyer who places a value on supposed Buick prestige over and above any accompanying equipment that may (or may not) accompany this alleged luxury SUV. Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

friedman

It’s the stuff of which public relations nightmares are made.

For the past couple of years Dodge has sponsored Motor Trend‘s “Roadkill” show, which can be thought of as a generic white-label take on Fast N’ Loud. It’s worth noting that Dodge did several promotions with Rawlings before parting ways with him and settling for the Roadkill team; the brand appears to believe that its heartland audience is best reached through flamboyant/quasi-authentic/redneck-chic YouTube personalities. What that says about FCA’s view of its customers is an exercise best left to the reader.

This past weekend, Dodge and Roadkill teamed for “Roadkill Nights on Woodward,” a staged car show and street-drag event in Detroit. There’s been no small amount of interest in this among the company’s owner base and from what I can see the event was a rip-roaring success, chock-full of Vipers and Demons and whatnot. Whenever an automaker spends this much money on any public relations exercise, there is always a tremendous amount of data deep-diving done immediately afterwards to demonstrate ROI of the expenditure via social media visibility, buff-book coverage, and mainstream mentions. Given the big turnout both online and in real life, I’m sure Dodge and its marketing partners were looking forward to the Monday meeting where they could pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

As it turns out, this weekend was an absolute barn burner of Dodge-branded media exposure. Unfortunately, the Dodge in question wasn’t a Demon lifting its front wheels on Woodward. Instead, it was a V6-powered 2010 Challenger that was driven into a crowd of anti-white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, causing one fatality and multiple injuries.

The odd coincidence of a “Roadkill”-themed promotion with a Challenger-caused hit-and-run fatality in Charlottesville has pundits on both sides of America’s culture war salivating — and with this unforeseen notoriety comes an unusual, and nearly unprecedented, demand.

Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2016 Toyota Avalon - Image: ToyotaU.S. sales of full-size, volume-brand sedans fell 17 percent in the first seven months of 2017, a sharp drop following noteworthy declines in each of the last three years. Despite the growth the market has seen since the auto industry’s collapse in 2009, big sedans have lost 37 percent of their U.S. sales volume over the last four years.

Compared with 2013, that’s 18,000 fewer sales for the segment every month. Even compared with 2016, that’s 6,500 fewer sales every month.

In what was historically a fleet-dependent corner of the passenger-car market, many automakers’ reduced emphasis on sales to daily rental companies plays a major role. Numerous players in the segment also attempted to move upmarket, further away from the midsize cars that now offer the requisite interior volume. It hasn’t turned out so well for some. Remember the Mitsubishi Diamante and Mercury Montego? We’ll soon forget the discontinued Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus is likely not long for this market, either.

Yet in a market that’s lost 17 percent of its sales this year, the Toyota Avalon has shed 28 percent of its year-to-date volume, a loss of 7,475 sales. With an all-new 2018 Camry set to generate more than its fair share of Toyota sedan sales, does the Avalon even deserve a place in Toyota’s 2018 lineup?

Indeed it does, as Toyota will launch the fifth-generation, TNGA-based Avalon in 2018. “We’re committed to Avalon,” says Toyota North America’s executive vice president for sales, Bob Carter. Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

2017 Subaru Outback - Image: Subaru According to Cars.com, there are roughly 17,000 copies of the 2017 Subaru Outback on dealer lots across the United States.

That’s slightly more than one month’s supply for the Outback, a high-riding crossover of a wagon that has lately attracted an average of 15,600 U.S. sales per month.

But with a modest facelift and underskin refresh due for the 2018 model year — there are already 6,000 Outbacks in stock at Subaru dealers — Subaru needs these 2017 Outbacks to disappear before full availability of MY2018 Outbacks kills demand for the outgoing model.

So Subaru is doing what Subaru doesn’t do. You can get a deal on a 2017 Subaru Outback. Read More >

By on August 15, 2017

FCA China flag

As you’re probably aware, this week began with rumblings that several Chinese automakers, some of them state-owned, are taking an interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Not entirely surprising, as we all know FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s spent the past year or so positioning his company for a potential takeover. Slashing debt, consolidating its operations, all to look pretty for that potential mate.

Sure, General Motors and Volkswagen rebuffed the company’s awkward advances, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea for a company with an urge to merge. However, with cash-flush Chinese manufacturers, buyouts are more likely than partnerships.

If it comes to pass, it might not be a bad thing for the volatile American automaker. China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., owner of Volvo Cars, did great things for the Swedish brand, overcoming its financial issues while affording the automaker a hands-off approach. Is Volvo making great cars again? Is it on solid footing?

All signs point to “yes.” Read More >

By on August 14, 2017

Waymo Google Self-Driving Car

Autonomous vehicles are being billed as a safer alternative to human-controlled transportation and, assuming the hardware functions as intended, that’s likely to be the case. But eventually a self-driving car is going to smack into a pedestrian and no company wants to hold the honor of being first.

Google’s autonomous vehicle arm, Waymo, is working on a solution to mitigate the liabilities associated with such an incident by patenting a softer car. Read More >

By on August 14, 2017

2018 Hyundai Kona - Image: Hyundai

Getting a new or redesigned model off the drawing board and into showrooms isn’t like designing and posting a meme on Facebook. It’s time consuming, and automakers run the risk of being left behind as rivals cash in on the latest hot bodystyle or styling trend.

Hyundai knows this, having underestimated the buying public’s affection for anything with a high ride height and rear liftgate. The Korean automaker made a bundle on its well-fleshed-out car lineup following the recession, but the seismic shift towards SUVs and crossovers left it scrambling to bolster its three-vehicle utility lineup. The result? Stagnant sales.

This won’t happen under a new plan, the company’s senior vice president of design claims. Hyundai’s hitting the product throttle. Read More >

By on August 14, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey Touring – Image: © Timothy CainIn the 2016 calendar year, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s 41st-best-selling vehicle.

In the first half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.

Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.

Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be. Read More >

Recent Comments

  • IHateCars: Pretty sure that they were still called Blazers then, not Tahoes. But yes, good looking rigs.
  • Matthew Guy: No, you’re exactly right, man. They were great looking trucks, too. http://consumerguide.com/wp...
  • Syke: Acura exists for the same reason as Cadillac, Lincoln, Infiniti and Genesis. The rest of the industry...
  • NormSV650: No, I don’t think will either. It should be interesting to see how it does in the first 90-days in...
  • ash78: I’ll basically repeat what I said yesterday — that people with $45k+ shopping for this type of...

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