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Posts By: Matt Posky
Sport utility and crossover vehicles have gradually become hotter than the surface of the sun as the public has come to treat sedans with the sort of disdain usually reserved for an old high school flame. It was decent while it lasted, but now you don’t even really want to acknowledge that it was ever a part of your life.
Sales have reflected this and automakers have hurried to supply an eager market with utility vehicles. While some did not quite meet demand, and have suffered for it, others are seeing rising incentives to meet the growing inventory surplus — giving us our first indications that interest in SUVs and crossovers has its limits. (Read More…)
There has been so much nonsense surrounding the 2018 Honda Civic Type R that it was becoming difficult to separate fact from the fiction. Speculation on the car’s engine and transmission was endless. There were rumors that it could be as large as 3.5 liters or a substantially smaller mill mated to a continuously variable transmission. However, it turned out the most expected configuration was the correct one — Occam’s razor, and all that.
Although, after so much conflicting information, when and where the 2.0 liter turbo VTEC and its manual transmission would show up seemed uncertain. The Type R was supposed to come to North America in the middle of this year, something 36 year olds have been begging for since they were 16, but Honda hadn’t said anything concrete and that deadline is fast approaching without anyone even having laid eyes on the production model.
Then, late last week, Honda Europe slipped in a small mention that the Civic Type R would debut in Geneva alongside the Clarity Fuel Cell and the NeuV electric concept while confirming the summer production and immediate export for North America. (Read More…)
Originally slated for first-ogling at March’s Geneva Motor Show, Pagani shared its new Huayra Roadster with the world a month early, which keeps in with the Italian supercar tradition of if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
As with the hardtop, the Huayra ‘vert uses a carbotanium monocoque but comes with a removable glass targa top and some performance improvements made on the molto speciale Huayra BC. That means the roadster keeps the coupe’s seven-speed sequential gearbox and the 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 from AMG, but receives a bump in output to 754 horsepower and 738 ft-lb of torque. (Read More…)
It would appear that the Smart money is literally on electric cars. Daimler says it plans to stop selling combustion-engined Smart models in North America entirely. If you live in the United States or Canada and want a goofy gas-powered mini car, you’d better buy one now.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler has issued a letter to dealers explaining that the sale of Smart cars with gasoline engines will stop when the 2017 model year ends this fall. (Read More…)
Today, Mitsubishi announced that its next model will be called the Eclipse Cross, acknowledging the defunct sport compact beloved by enthusiasts and teenage girls alike while simultaneously spitting on its memory. “Cross is short for crossover,” Mitsubishi helpfully explained in its announcement, as if anyone would have had trouble piecing that puzzle together.
“Eclipse is a word used to describe an astronomical event,” the Japanese automaker continued. “Marrying stylish coupe lines with the freedom of movement the SUV genre gives, the Eclipse Cross’ beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does.”
That’s sounds a lot better than saying it looks a lot like a Honda CR-V with a dash of Outlander. (Read More…)
Few vehicles offer the snob appeal and image enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but seriously wealthy Benz buyers interested in comfort are going to hire a private driver and purchase something with a Maybach badge. Of course, that limits them to a tarted-up S-Class, or so it was before the introduction of the G650 Landaulet — which is, quite possibly, the dumbest vehicle currently entering production.
While the Landaulet’s forward-most occupants are treated to the nice but relatively unchanged interior from the G-Class, the rear is an extravaganza of luxury to be enjoyed in or out of the elements. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, it is a convertible. Unlike the Cabrio, however, the only person to benefit from the folding top is the multi-millionaire riding in the back. (Read More…)
December is typically a peak month for automotive sales, especially among premium brands. With more holiday-themed ads than the majority of its competition, Lexus always sees the year’s final month of sales as its best. However, it did so well last December that January saw a 26 percent drop in sales due to an exhausted supply of sport utility vehicles.
With the narrowest of exceptions for the LX, last December turned out to be the best month in the history of all of Lexus’ SUVs. The bad news is that most of those sales came at the expense of the automaker’s sedans, which saw comparatively low sales. At around 41,000 units, December 2016 wasn’t all that much different from 2015. However, cars made up a significantly smaller piece of that pie. (Read More…)
At least 20 Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealers in California have filed protests against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after the manufacturer altered franchise agreements last December. Dealers objected to the changes, claiming it placed the struggling brands at a further disadvantage.
While the grievances vary between dealers, the protests revolve around a few key issues. FCA’s obligation to provide vehicles to the franchisees, the legal standard dealers must meet to sell those units, alterations to the definition of parts or accessories and how that might enable third-party distributors, and the constantly changing language surrounding dealer responsibilities were all common themes among the filed complaints. (Read More…)
While Ford is currently the domestic automaker making the biggest push into in mobility services — which seem to entail practically anything outside of traditional manufacturing and distribution — it isn’t the only company preparing itself for an era of declining vehicle ownership. FCA has partnered with Waymo to develop a fleet of self-driving Pacificas and General Motors has a personal mobility brand, called Maven, that acts as a car-sharing service.
While it isn’t quite so technologically advanced as autonomous vehicles or automotive A.I., Maven provides additional revenue immediately and furnishes GM with a unique opportunity to cope with some of the ownership problems of tomorrow. Car-sharing is good way for GM to profit from people who don’t own cars, but it’s also a clever method of getting young urban drivers to spend money on becoming more familiar with their product — especially on the coasts where import brands tend to outsell their domestic counterparts. (Read More…)
A Houston man says his Lexus went missing after the local auto repair shop, which he entrusted to fix his car, closed without notice. Returning to the mechanic to make a prearranged twice-monthly payment, he noticed an eviction notice and a completely empty parking lot.
“I’m thinking this guy has stolen my car,” said Randy Exom of the mechanic after being unable to find his automobile. (Read More…)
Ford Motor Company intends to invest $1 billion into tech startup Argo AI over the next five years, giving the Blue Oval a majority stake in the company as it continues to reach for the goal of producing a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.
The Pittsburgh-based Argo will help the Detroit automaker develop a “virtual driver system” for its proposed commercial ride-sharing fleets before moving on to retail vehicles. Ford even went so far as to suggest that the software it develops with Argo could be licensed to other companies.
While still officially an automaker, the Blue Oval really is going all in on its new identity as a mobility company and it isn’t afraid to remind everyone of all of the important work it feels that it is doing. (Read More…)
Alfa Romeo has bragged that it will have nine new cars on the market by 2021 ever since brand boss and arm-day workout expert Reid Bigland announced a plan to “absolutely to go toe to toe with the Germans.”
A big part of that plan included a Giulia Sport Wagon to compete with the Deutsche estate cars. Apparently, this was a big fat lie and Bigland should meet me in the parking lot after school because Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO for Europe, Africa and Middle East, now says the model is off the table.
“We have decided not to make a Giulia Sport Wagon,” Altavilla explained to journalists in Europe. “Do we really need it if the SUV Stelvio handles so well? Probably not. With our fine tuning, Stelvio can interest all those people who might have been interested [in the wagon].” (Read More…)
Chevrolet is introducing a new Redline trim for most of its current models. Actually, I should say it’s reintroducing the trim because Red Line — styled as two words — was pre-bankruptcy General Motors’ designation for Saturn’s signature performance models.
Unlike the Saturn models, the Chevy Redlines don’t offer appear to offer any dynamic advantages and are simply mid-level trimmed vehicles with special wheels and paint. That’s sort annoying when GM has decided to name the cars after the maximum safe speed of an engine. I cannot believe I’m saying this but it kind of makes me nostalgic for the sporty Saturns. (Read More…)
Some employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have been moving ahead with efforts to unionize. Fronting that campaign is Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the plant for the last four years. He and other disgruntled Tesla employees have reached out to the United Automobile Workers, claiming they work long hours for low pay under unsafe conditions as the company pursues aggressive production deadlines.
While Tesla’s CEO has responded with his own claim that Moran was paid by the UAW to join his company and proselytize for a union, the organization promptly refuted that suggestion by accusing Tesla of spreading dreaded “fake news.” (Read More…)
The Ford Focus Electric is one of the most unloved models in North America right now, and its lonely existence translates into big savings for thrifty shoppers willing to make do with a less-capable EV. Ford cut $6,000 from the car’s price in 2015, and sales continued to fall despite a $4,000 price reduction the year before. You can also lease one right now for little more than a smile and a handshake.
Electric cars remain a difficult sell, especially considering there is always something better right around the corner, but leasing them is exceptionally popular — comprising roughly three-quarters of the EV market. It makes sense when lease-rate comparisons typically work out to EVs being more affordable than a similarly priced internal combustion vehicle. (Read More…)