The Truth About Cars » Marketing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:12:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Marketing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/marketing/ Toyota Marketing Mirai With $8K Hydrogen Credit Despite Expiration http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989970 Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened. Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would […]

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2016-toyota-mirai-6-1

Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened.

Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would fall to $49,500. Other state and local credits would drop the price further, as well; California customers would pay just $44,500 for their FCVs, for example.

The problem, per the automaker’s energy and regulatory affairs director Robert Wimmer, is predicting where the tax process would go:

The two challenges we have now are that both houses of Congress are Republican and also that there has been talk for a while about comprehensive tax reform. If that moves forward, then extenders would probably be put on the back burner as comprehensive tax reform is discussed.

Even if the credit was reinstated, it may only last as long as year or two instead of the three years Toyota wants for the first-gen Mirai. The automaker has been lobbying Congress to act, though Wimmer could not say to what extent.

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Kia Lowers K900 Pricing With New Premium Trim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/kia-lowers-k900-pricing-new-premium-trim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/kia-lowers-k900-pricing-new-premium-trim/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989946 Shopping around for a Korean premium sedan with rear-wheel drive and V8 power, but not looking to spend much? Kia just might have what you need. Motor Authority reports the brand recently dropped the price on its K900 sedan with the help of a new Premium trim that deletes niceties like LED headlights, chrome and […]

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2015 Kia K900

Shopping around for a Korean premium sedan with rear-wheel drive and V8 power, but not looking to spend much? Kia just might have what you need.

Motor Authority reports the brand recently dropped the price on its K900 sedan with the help of a new Premium trim that deletes niceties like LED headlights, chrome and Nappa leather. The price of admission, as a result, begins at $55,400. To get those back, consumers would have to upgrade to the Luxury trim, which begins at $59,500; the previous sole K900 model had an MSRP of $60,400.

No matter if your K900 is loaded or barely stripped, the sedan still has its 5-liter, 420-horsepower V8, and still costs less than similar machines from Lexus or Mercedes. That said, Kia may need all the help it can get to move its flagship out of the showroom, having sold just 1,330 units in 2014 in comparison to the brand’s other premium and near-premium models, the David Bowie-enhanced Cadenza (9,267), and the Jaguar XF-esque Optima (159,020).

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Volkswagen Moving Ahead With New Phaeton Despite Itself http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-moving-ahead-new-phaeton-despite/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-moving-ahead-new-phaeton-despite/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989922 Despite cost-cutting measures meant to save the automaker €5 billion annually by 2017, Volkswagen is moving ahead with a new Phaeton by 2018 at the latest. Reuters reports the revamp of the €76,000 ($86,000 USD) executive car would cost up to €650 million ($733 million) according to Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, flying in the […]

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phaetons

Despite cost-cutting measures meant to save the automaker €5 billion annually by 2017, Volkswagen is moving ahead with a new Phaeton by 2018 at the latest.

Reuters reports the revamp of the €76,000 ($86,000 USD) executive car would cost up to €650 million ($733 million) according to Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, flying in the face of a pledge by VW to cut production costs and non-profitable models in order to save €5 billion ($5.6 billion) annually by 2017. He adds that the Phaeton — the €1 billion ($1.13 billion) pet project of Chairman Ferdinand Piech that has lost €28,000 ($32,000) per unit sold between 2002 and 2012 alone — is “the most irrational project” as far as budgeting goes, yet lives on because Piech and CEO Martin Winterkorn “cannot let go of their fondness for luxury products.”

Additionally, the Phaeton would not only have a hard time doing battle against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series as far as sales go (85,000 units annually for the S and 64,000 for the 7 compared to an estimated 11,900 for the new model between 2017 and 2020), but it would also struggle against its own stablemate, the Audi A8. U.S. sales are another likely challenge, as well, considering the automaker’s own struggles in understanding the U.S. market.

Nonetheless, VW is preparing the second-gen Phaeton for its showroom debut between 2017 and 2018, with a PHEV version coming down the pipe, as well.

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General Motors Discussing Jeep Wrangler Challenger For GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989898 Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too. The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has […]

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2015 GMC Sierra

Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too.

The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has been “kicked around real hard” according to one insider. The automaker’s growing interest comes as 150,000 units of the iconic vehicle left for the Rubicon or college in 2014, some of them going for as much as $50,000 fresh out of Ohio. The Wrangler also boasts one of the highest resale values around, second only to the Toyota Tacoma in 2015 per Kelley Blue Book.

As for what a GMC Wrangler would look like, GM said its Jeep would take cues from Hummer’s orphaned offerings; Hummer joined Pontiac, Saturn and Saab in the afterlife back in 2009 during the dark days of the Great Recession. The new model — still in the discussion phase without a name or a green light — would also help GMC capitalize on the brand’s own success, with sales rising 11 percent on the backs of the Sierra and Yukon in 2014 to 501,853.

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Aldred: 2018 Opel Adam Could Become A Buick http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aldred-2018-opel-adam-become-buick/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989026 Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI. According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being […]

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Opel_Adam_1.4_Glam_–_Frontansicht,_15._Januar_2014,_Düsseldorf

Buick may want to slap its badge on the face of the Opel Adam, but it will be a while before it has the opportunity to take on Fiat and MINI.

According to Automotive News, Buick/GMC U.S. vice president Duncan Aldred believes the Adam “would make a great Buick,” despite the city car not being engineered with the U.S. domestic market in mind. Bringing the Adam up to snuff for American consumers would be “cost-prohibitive” at present, he adds, though the next-gen Adam would be tailored for the market.

The next such opportunity for a Buick Adam would come as early as 2018, which Aldred believes would be another opportunity to change consumer expectations of a brand once associated with senior citizens going to Denny’s for the early-bird special. In the meantime, another Opel — the Cascada — is in the process of Americanization, and should hit U.S. showrooms early next year.

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De Nysschen: Small Cadillac CUV Due In Four Years’ Time http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988490 Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen. Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see […]

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Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen.

Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see eight vehicles introduced between now and the end of the decade.

Also coming in 2019: diesel-power for both cars and crossovers/SUVs. De Nysschen said he wants to start pushing for market share in Europe during the 2020s, explaining that “if you want to play in Europe, you better have some diesels.” Said diesels would also be sold in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, he expects sales to remain flat for 2015, linked to the lack of new product beyond the upcoming CT6 flagship until late into 2017. De Nysschen adds that the strengthening U.S. dollar would leave a dent in his brand and those of his U.S.-based competitors, while Asian and European automakers use the currency challenge to cut prices on their respective offerings.

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Volvo Considers Expanding Cross Country Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-considers-expanding-cross-country-range/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987770 The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range. Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional […]

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The V40, V60 and upcoming S60 Cross Country models won’t be alone for too long, as Volvo plans to expand the Cross Country range.

Autocar reports Volvo’s vice president of product strategy Lex Kerssemakers was taken aback by the interest in the S60 Cross Country that recently bowed in Detroit, noting the potential for additional models to gain a few inches in lift, but without the need to enter XC territory:

The XC models are clearly for people who want an SUV; Cross Country models offer some of the benefits and looks, without the same capability or price. So long as Cross Country models have some capability — all-wheel drive, hill descent control — then they are giving customers what they want, and that is enough for them to be considered authentic.

Kerssemakers also noted that when production of the S60 Cross Country begins in the next few months, it will have been eight months since the high-riding sedan was conceived. He cites the automaker’s size and independence as factors in bringing the model to market as quickly as it did.

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Cadillac Gaining 700 Boutiques To Augment Flagship Stores http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillac-gaining-700-boutiques-augment-flagship-stores/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillac-gaining-700-boutiques-augment-flagship-stores/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987730 Want to go boutiquing for your next Cadillac? Brand CEO Johan de Nysschen has plans to make that a reality. At present, Cadillac has over 900 dealerships in the United States, 200 of which are flagships. De Nysschen’s plan would be to complement the flagship dealers with 700 smaller boutiques that would feature “exclusive Cadillac […]

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Cadillac Model Dealership Interior

Want to go boutiquing for your next Cadillac? Brand CEO Johan de Nysschen has plans to make that a reality.

At present, Cadillac has over 900 dealerships in the United States, 200 of which are flagships. De Nysschen’s plan would be to complement the flagship dealers with 700 smaller boutiques that would feature “exclusive Cadillac consumer touch points, highly trained sales and service staff and luxury amenities.”

Additionally, showroom visitors would be able to pick their new CT or XT from a virtual display, including the possibility for holograms a la Tupac and Liberace to help see what the real thing would look like in a given configuration.

De Nysschen says that all dealerships present and future, as well as those who sell Volts, Regals and Yukon XLs alongside ELRs, “should strive to create a premium showroom atmosphere and the sophisticated brand experience that luxury consumers expect.” There are no plans to reduce the number of current dealerships.

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Lyft Replacing Iconic ‘Stache Plush With Upscale Revision http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lyft-replacing-iconic-stache-plush-upscale-revision/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lyft-replacing-iconic-stache-plush-upscale-revision/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987010 No longer will Lyft drivers have to worry about their fuzzy pink mustache plushies becoming gross after a day in the rain, thanks to a new upscale display. Wired reports the transportation network company is switching to a “glowstache” that is attached to a driver’s dashboard with magnets, emitting a soft pink glow at night. […]

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Lyft Lightstache

No longer will Lyft drivers have to worry about their fuzzy pink mustache plushies becoming gross after a day in the rain, thanks to a new upscale display.

Wired reports the transportation network company is switching to a “glowstache” that is attached to a driver’s dashboard with magnets, emitting a soft pink glow at night. President John Zimmer says the move is meant to help his company look more mature while still maintaining its friendly, decidedly non-Uber appearance.

The “glowstache” came about after Lyft and design studio Ammunition — famous for their work with Beats By Dre — threw together a number of concepts, from hood ornaments and laser-light window decals, to simply doing away with the ‘stache altogether. The end result is meant to invoke the traditional roof-mounted taxi light, but for the TNC era.

Lyft drivers will receive their new ‘staches this month.

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Hyundai, Kia $360M US Justice Department Settlement Approved In District Court http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986762 The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, […]

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2013 Hyundai Accent

The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, asking the court set aside a minimum of $25 million for their states’ respective electric vehicle programs. The court sided with the Justice Department in its ruling, warning that such a request would threaten the original settlement agreement with more complex and lengthy negotiations.

The agreement includes $100 million in civil penalties, $50 million for independent auditing of the Korean duo’s offerings, and a forfeiture of $210 million in greenhouse emission credits. It also ends the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into the overstated figures, and affects 600,000 Hyundai and 300,000 Kia models made between 2011 and 2013.

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Toyota Increasing Crossover, SUV Production To Meet US Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-increasing-crossover-suv-production-meet-us-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-increasing-crossover-suv-production-meet-us-demand/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985474 With U.S. demand for its crossovers and SUVs expected to increase in 2015, Toyota is responding in kind by increasing production at home and in Canada. Bloomberg reports the production increase will prove challenging to president Akio Toyoda’s strategy of squeezing more vehicles — such as the RAV4, RX and NX — from the plants […]

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2014 Toyota RAV4 Exterior, Picture Courtesy pf Alex L Dykes

With U.S. demand for its crossovers and SUVs expected to increase in 2015, Toyota is responding in kind by increasing production at home and in Canada.

Bloomberg reports the production increase will prove challenging to president Akio Toyoda’s strategy of squeezing more vehicles — such as the RAV4, RX and NX — from the plants already in place before considering new construction after March 2016.

Further, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz says the automaker plans to add smaller crossovers and SUVs to help it gain more overall market share in the U.S. against competitors like Volkswagen, maintaining its position on the top of the global sales podium in so doing.

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Lower Fuel Prices Mean More Savings On Green Vehicle Purchases http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985106 Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV. Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is […]

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2014-kia-optima-hybrid-front-three-quarters-02

Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV.

Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is the Ford Focus Electric, which is leaving the lot with 16 percent off of its $29,995 MSRP. The market average for the EV comes out to $25,168.

Taking silver and bronze on the podium are the Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 with regular cab and standard bed, and the Toyota Venza XLE, coming with an average of around 11 percent savings off MSRP. Both vehicles are the only ones in the top five that aren’t green vehicles, though the 1500 can be had in EcoDiesel and EcoDiesel HFE trims.

Rounding out the quintet are the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Prius Two, both saving their fans around 10 percent off MSRP for a total of $29,411 and $22,498, respectively.

President John Krafcik said that with automakers “heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories,” as well as the majority of consumers becoming more focused on the fuel pump over fuel economy, now is the time to buy a hybrid or EV. He added that “when the pendulum swings the other way,” such vehicles would become more attractive, with pricing to match.

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Tesla Share Price Plummets After Musk’s NAIAS 2015 Visit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984225 Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s. Business Insider adds […]

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Elon Musk

Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s.

Business Insider adds that another bombshell dropped at the start of his presentation likely helped to take the wind out of the sails: sales of the automaker’s Model S in China were down in Q4 2014. Musk put the blame on perception among Chinese consumers regarding the charging infrastructure for Tesla’s sole model, explaining that not only had the issue been handled, but that the Supercharger network was expanding; the rate of said expansion, however, is slower than that of Europe or the United States.

Further into the presentation, Musk proclaimed that Tesla would sell “a few million” vehicles by 2025 by going for volume over being a niche luxury player, likely built on the back of the upcoming Model 3. Meanwhile, the Model X due sometime this year is already sold out for the entire year despite the company’s best efforts to manage demand, such as steering would-be X owners into the driver’s seat of the S.

Finally, Musk urged the majors in the audience to continue their investments into electrification, stating that they all need to do more to change the public’s perceptions on EVs and hybrids.

Since the plunge, Tesla shares have recovered some of their lost value, closing $191.87/share Thursday afternoon.

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Manley: Jeep Wrangler Truck Perfect For Brand, Business Case Not There http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-jeep-wrangler-truck-perfect-brand-business-case-not/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983761 The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch. According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every […]

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Jeep Wrangler Eliminator

The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch.

According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every international market” would take a Wrangler pickup, and that the idea “fits the portfolio exactly,” the business case for the truck still isn’t there.

Part of that case involves Ram: a Wrangler truck would do gangbusters on the showroom floor — the Wrangler made up 25.3 percent of the record 692,248 Jeep products sold in 2014 — but at the expense of the designated truck brand, an issue that has persisted for some time.

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In The End, There Can Be Only One http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/end-can-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/end-can-one/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 07:50:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983969 At the end of the General Motors press conference that opened the Detroit show this year, when the hilariously maladjusted and intermittently inoperational mega-watt sound system blurted its last distorted dubstep doooooooooosh, and the Bolt concept had conclusively proven its ability to drive a hundred feet on a smooth surface without requiring another bailout or […]

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At the end of the General Motors press conference that opened the Detroit show this year, when the hilariously maladjusted and intermittently inoperational mega-watt sound system blurted its last distorted dubstep doooooooooosh, and the Bolt concept had conclusively proven its ability to drive a hundred feet on a smooth surface without requiring another bailout or a money shot from a fire extinguisher, all eyes were on Mary Barra, and my main man Rodney was no exception to this rule. However, my friend, a Billy Dee Williams lookalike and a two-decade dealership industry veteran who was thoroughly enjoying his first NAIAS as a member of The Press As A Whole, wasn’t interested in what Ms. Barra had to say. Far from it.

“Brah, I hate to say it,” Rodney smirked in a manner intended to convey a true sentiment that was diametrically opposed to the stated one, “but I’m in a bit of a phase of my life right now where I’m all about that ass, son! And she’s got it all! You just know that I could rub that the right way. I want to wake up next to a woman with that much power!” Then, after a refractory period of reflection where he almost certainly did not consider the weapons-grade offensiveness of what he had just said, “But what was up with those two shitty cars? Can you imagine having to sell them for a living? Who are they trying to sell to?”

A few hours later, Rodney and I exited Joe Louis arena, still kind of vibrating from the thrill of seeing that Liquid Blue Ford GT rotating on the stand between a teen-dream Shelby GT350R and the twin-turbo, anti-lag-equipped second-generation Raptor. The enthusiasm in his voice took me right back to the first day we saw a ’96 Mystic Cobra on the transporter outside our three-car suburban showroom. “Quiet is kept, man, it’s the Raptor that really does it for me. But I know your dumb ass wants to drive that Shelby around Mid-Ohio a couple hundred times. You can do that, I’m going to roll that Raptor down High Street and wax some tail with it. But…” and here he paused to make sure he had my full attention, “THAT FORD GT!!!! YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING! OH MY GOD!”

Rodney wasn’t alone in perceiving that the GM and Ford press conferences stood on the two sides of what has to be considered an ideological canyon of Clark Griswoldian proportions. You couldn’t ask for two more different NAIAS presentations. The surroundings: GM, on the show floor with periodic interruptions from the creaky old Detroit People Mover. Ford, in Joe Louis Arena with a double-depth 3-D effect widescreen opening presentation that, oddly enough, flashed up the words “Digital Olfaction” at one point. The tone of the presentations: Ms. Barra stumbling through a paean to battery power in almost apologetic fashion, a stark and depressing contrast to the self-assured, old-school Detroit-titan star appeal of William Clay Ford and the short-hair-don’t-care Mark Fields. Most importantly, the products on offer.

Even if you aren’t one of the self-appointed “industry analysts” without so much as a single new-car purchase experience or self-performed oil change to his credit, it’s easy to understand that only one of these two visions for future product in the North American automotive market can possibly be correct. For a moment, let’s set aside the Asperger’s objections of “BUT CHEVY JUST RELEASED THE Z06 AND FORD HAS A FOCUS EV!” in order to focus on what these two press conferences revealed about the priorities and beliefs of the corporations that held them.

As Derek noted, the Bolt has nothing to do with Tesla and everything to do with the Nissan Leaf, which has racked up an admirable performance-to-hype ratio during its few short years on the market. It’s a good idea, I suppose. Yet once again GM is pathetically late to the game. The Bolt is best understood as the HHR to the Leaf’s PT Cruiser, or perhaps the chunky current Camaro to Ford’s S197 Mustang. Why, exactly, is an automaker with resources up to and including the full faith and credit of the United States Government always so late to the party? If that new Hyundai El Camino proves to be the sales sensation of 2017, you can depend on the fact that GM won’t have its own El Camino ready until 2021, despite the fact that they made them for something like forty years and are still making them in Australia.

As for the second-generation Volt, the presentation for that one was astoundingly po’-mouthed. The passive-voiced assertion given by the suit du jour prior to the inevitable dubstep subwoofer reveal that “some of you (the assembled, wholly apathetic media) even called it (the ugly-assed first-gen Volt) a moonshot” made me physically cringe. Imagine if RUN-DMC had operated that way.

Some of you said I might even be the king of rock
It was suggested that there might not be anyone higher
Arguably, I mean potentially, to burn my kingdom
It’s possible that you might eventually have a need for some sort of fire
Um, #TechnologyAndStuff

When the most effective marketing you’ve had in years is a gaffe from a man suffering an obesity-induced myocardial event while awarding a $30,000 truck to a millionaire who doesn’t want it, you have problems. It hurts me to write that. I grew up seeing the Mark Of Excellence on my father’s Buick seatbelt latches and thinking that General Motors could probably do no wrong. When we went from a ’75 Granada to a ’77 LeSabre it was like moving out of a double-wide trailer into the Robie House. Please, GM, do something great that isn’t a Corvette or track-focused Cadillac. Please. For the nine-year-old in me who wants to buy a great Buick.

Ford, on the other hand… It was like watching a young Mike Tyson leave his feet to triple-drill some no-name mook into a second-round knockout. The product these people are showing, and the confidence with which it’s shown! I think they said the Raptor was five hundred pounds lighter. Admittedly, that’s like Carnie Wilson skipping dinner a couple of times, relatively speaking, but who else in this business would have done an aluminum truck? Who else would have risked everything like that? You want to see a “moonshot”? It’s not making a battery-powered CruzePrius with a Kardashiass, it’s putting your life savings on the space on the roulette table marked “THE FIRST EVER ALUMINUM FULL-SIZED TRUCK” then letting the wheel spin.

And watching it drop into your slot.

Then building a 600-horsepower Daytona Prototype for the street.

How can you score NAIAS as anything but Ford 1, GM 0? Well, there’s just one little catch, and GM knows all about it. Get in the Wayback Machine with me and let’s travel back to 1980 or so. The General was riding high on the success of the B-body and they had the world on a string. They saw fuel prices going through the roof again and they decided to attack the problem head-on. Meanwhile, Ford was too broke to do anything besides redraw Foxes to look vaguely like Panthers.

Had fuel prices soared the way we all thought they were going to, those 1985 front-drivers from GM would have conquered the world. They weren’t great cars, and only the Park Avenue variant was even a good car by anyone’s standards, but they were aimed unflinchingly at a future where fuel would be eye-wateringly pricey.

Except it didn’t turn out that way, did it? Reagan scared the OPEC nations and we filled up our Town Cars and Crown Vics at $1.25 a gallon and the 1985 Fleetwood rusted in place on dealer lots and that was the beginning of the end for the Sloan Plan.
What’s old is new again, my friends. If fuel soars, the Bolt won’t have to be brilliant to sell. It will merely need to be available. And the new-gen Voltec platform will find itself under a pantheon of body shapes, most of them CUV-esque, before you can say “Plymouth Horizon Miser”. The Shelby GT350R and Raptor will become hideously, offensively irrelevant and all the armchair quarterbacks will say they saw it coming. They’ll all talk about GM’s daring commitment to efficiency and blah blah blah the Chevy Sonic was awesome and mid-sized trucks are the only trucks that sell and so on.

The future’s uncertain and the end is always near. To Rodney, Ford’s product was magic and GM’s was junk. But it might not turn out that way. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t tell you what the man next to Rodney said in response to the question, “Who are they trying to sell?”

“Ford’s customers are out in the streets,” the man smiled. “The General has one customer, and he lives in a white mansion.”

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:05:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982401 Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line. According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s […]

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Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line.

According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s annual production. No word thus far on how many will leave Marysville per year.

Right now, the NSX is undergoing final validation prior to production, but Acura announced that the exotic’s twin-turbo hybrid V6 system is expected to deliver at least 550 horsepower. As far as price of admission goes, nothing firm has been confirmed, though one insider says the brand is shooting for a target of $150,000.

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NAIAS 2015: BMW May Introduce AWD to M Division, No M Supercar In Future http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-bmw-may-introduce-awd-m-division-no-m-supercar-future/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-bmw-may-introduce-awd-m-division-no-m-supercar-future/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 21:50:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982377 With Mercedes-AMG models delivering their power to the road through all four wheels, BMW is considering doing the same for most of its M division. However, if anyone was hoping the Bavarians would also bring back the M1, you can breathe now. AutoGuide reports BMW has no plans to add an AWD system to the […]

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With Mercedes-AMG models delivering their power to the road through all four wheels, BMW is considering doing the same for most of its M division. However, if anyone was hoping the Bavarians would also bring back the M1, you can breathe now.

AutoGuide reports BMW has no plans to add an AWD system to the M3 and M4, since the additional weight of such a system would offset any gains the engineers made to shed weight on the two models.

However, for M models above the two, such as the M5 or M6, M Division product management chief Carsten Pries says if his division sees “further increases in terms of horsepower in segments above the M3 and M4,” AWD could be a possibility.

As far as an M1 or i8-based M8 goes, though, he says such a proposition is “very exciting” and “lucrative,” such an effort wouldn’t make sense on either a technical or commercial level. Instead, the focus is on bringing in more profit with models like the M135i, and those from the M Sport range:

[Cars like these] clearly give us an indication of how much demand there is to go up from a top model BMW model into the exclusive products of BMW M. Customers say ‘I want even more of this very emotional experience,’ and they ideally end up with an M Sport and then an M core model.

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NAIAS 2015: 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE Adds Aero For High Fuel Efficiency http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-ram-1500-ecodiesel-hfe-adds-aero-high-fuel-efficiency/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-ram-1500-ecodiesel-hfe-adds-aero-high-fuel-efficiency/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:45:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982081 Ram isn’t satisfied with wanting Baja Valley, as the brand sets its sights on Green Valley with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE leading the charge. Joining the original 1500 EcoDiesel in the lush foothills below Truck Mountain, the HFE improves the former with extensive use of aero throughout. The result is an EPA-certified 29 mpg […]

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2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

Ram isn’t satisfied with wanting Baja Valley, as the brand sets its sights on Green Valley with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE leading the charge.

Joining the original 1500 EcoDiesel in the lush foothills below Truck Mountain, the HFE improves the former with extensive use of aero throughout. The result is an EPA-certified 29 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg in the city, and a combined rating of 24 mpg, besting the nearest competitor by 12 percent in the fuel economy game.

The HFE is based on the 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab, boasts a 6-ft, 4-in bed, and rides upon 20-inch wheels. The truck can also be had with the Ram Express’ body-colored face for a more sporty appearance over the standard EcoDiesel. Other exclusives include wheel-to-wheel side steps, a tri-fold tonneau cover, and an HFE badge showing off how awesome it is at saving diesel fuel; considering the fuel’s current price per gallon, that might mean something.

The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE is expected to arrive in showrooms late in Q1 2015.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Toyota Tacoma Going Pro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-toyota-tacoma-going-pro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-toyota-tacoma-going-pro/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:15:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982025 Turns out Toyota had one more trick up its sleeve for the 2016 Tacoma, planning to add a TRD Pro model alongside the rest of the family. According to AutoGuide, Toyota Motor Sales VP of Marketing Jack Hollis confirmed the plans with our sister publication during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The current Tacoma TRD […]

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2016_Toyota_Tacoma_TRD_OffRoad_014

Turns out Toyota had one more trick up its sleeve for the 2016 Tacoma, planning to add a TRD Pro model alongside the rest of the family.

According to AutoGuide, Toyota Motor Sales VP of Marketing Jack Hollis confirmed the plans with our sister publication during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The current Tacoma TRD Pro uses Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, TRD exhaust, and an assortment of cosmetic upgrades to make its presence in Baja Valley felt by all. Whether the 2016 Tacoma TRD Pro will be more hardy remains a mystery for now.

That said, the new TRD Pro model won’t be available just yet. Hollis says to expect it in 2016 at the earliest.

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NAIAS 2015: Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-santa-cruz-crossover-truck-concept-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-santa-cruz-crossover-truck-concept-unveiled/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979273 Hyundai is aiming hard for the Millennial market with their trucklet, the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept. Power for this proposed four-door five-passenger “urban adventure” concept comes from a 2-liter turbodiesel producing 190 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque, and a fuel efficiency figure north of 30 mpg. The Santa Cruz’s HTRAC AWD system puts the […]

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Hyundai is aiming hard for the Millennial market with their trucklet, the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept.

Power for this proposed four-door five-passenger “urban adventure” concept comes from a 2-liter turbodiesel producing 190 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque, and a fuel efficiency figure north of 30 mpg. The Santa Cruz’s HTRAC AWD system puts the power to the ground, though the transmission used to direct said power wasn’t mentioned.

Other features include: expandable bed; integrated tonneau cover; Brembo brake calipers; LED fog lamps; lens-free honeycomb headlamp projectors; tie-down cleats on the roof, wheel arches and bed rails; and a footprint comparable to a small crossover.

Hyundai states that the concept isn’t aimed at traditional truck buyers, instead choosing to pursue crossover and sedan buyers looking for a vehicle that’s truck-like, but better suited to city life. No word on whether or not the automaker will make the Santa Cruz a reality, however.

Hyundai-Santa-Cruz-Concept-1 Hyundai-Santa-Cruz-Concept-12 Hyundai-Santa-Cruz-Concept-11 Hyundai-Santa-Cruz-Concept-8 Hyundai-Santa-Cruz-Concept-14 Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

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NAIAS 2015: The Return Of The Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-return-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-return-ford-gt/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978057 We thought this wouldn’t happen, but here it is: The Ford GT has returned. The new GT will begin production late in 2016, and will be sold in select markets around the world in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ford’s destruction of Ferrari at Le Mans with the GT40. Power for the GT is […]

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We thought this wouldn’t happen, but here it is: The Ford GT has returned.

The new GT will begin production late in 2016, and will be sold in select markets around the world in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ford’s destruction of Ferrari at Le Mans with the GT40.

Power for the GT is derived from a mid-mounted next-gen twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 producing upwards of 600 horsepower, which is sent to the back via a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.

Surrounding the engine and transaxle is bodywork composed of carbon fiber with front and rear aluminum subframes. The body itself is heavily optimized for aero and downforce, and features an active rear spoiler that follows both speed and what the driver desires.

Other features include: adjustable ride height; 20-inch wheels mounted in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires with a composition made specifically for the GT; upward swinging doors; and Ford’s new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

2017-Ford-GT-9 2017-Ford-GT-16 2017-Ford-GT-18 2017-Ford-GT-4 All-NewFordGT_01_HR All-NewFordGT_02_HR All-NewFordGT_13_HR All-NewFordGT_04_HR All-NewFordGT_03_HR All-NewFordGT_06_HR All-NewFordGT_11_HR All-NewFordGT_10_HR All-NewFordGT_09_HR

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Cadillac’s New Brand Identity To Grace Oscars’ Red Carpet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillacs-new-brand-identity-grace-oscars-red-carpet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/cadillacs-new-brand-identity-grace-oscars-red-carpet/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974377 Want a selfie with Melody Lee at this year’s Oscars? While that may or may not happen due to a number of factors, Cadillac will grace the B&B’s viewing parties with its presence. Forbes reports the premium brand will walk the red carpet in an all-new advertising campaign gown, showing off both its revamped brand […]

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Jennifer Lawrence at the 2014 Oscars

Want a selfie with Melody Lee at this year’s Oscars? While that may or may not happen due to a number of factors, Cadillac will grace the B&B’s viewing parties with its presence.

Forbes reports the premium brand will walk the red carpet in an all-new advertising campaign gown, showing off both its revamped brand positioning and new tagline during the telecast of the annual awards ceremony February 22, followed by the debut of the CT6 at the 2015 New York Auto Show in April.

Cadillac’s goal with the campaign, per CMO Uwe Ellinghaus, is to “disrupt” how everyone views the brand, hopefully doing a better job than the time Kimmy K tried to break the Internet with her backside. Parent company General Motors became the exclusive automobile advertiser in 2014 after Hyundai stepped away, with both Chevrolet and Cadillac airing spots during the pre-show and main event.

As for New York, the brand will debut a new auto-show display design at the show, with the aim of differentiating itself from other premium, more Teutonic marquees. Ellinghaus explains the motive:

As an American brand, Cadillac can be bolder, more expressive and use more of a human touch, because we are not German. We need to get to one “look-and-see” the world over.

Meanwhile, Cadillac’s presence at next week’s 2015 Detroit Auto Show will be more subdued, focusing upon the 640-horsepower, 200-mph 2016 CTS-V premium performance sedan.

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Dodge Unveils 1-of-1 Program For New Viper Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974282 Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you. New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot […]

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2015 Dodge Viper

Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you.

New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot more for the $94,995 base price with the brand’s 1-of-1 customization program, which is set to open in February. Owners who place their order with their dealer will have the following to consider:

  • 24,000 hand-painted custom stripes
  • 8,000 hand-painted exterior colors
  • 16 interior trims
  • 10 wheel options
  • Six aero packages
  • A wide array of standalone choices

With every possible option under the sun, over 25 million unique build combinations can be had from the program, which also includes a concierge service throughout the build, a new mobile-friendly website to track the build process, personalized plaque and instrument panel with “the customer’s chosen name to commemorate their design,” and a complementary 1:18 scale replica to confirm color selection.

The program also allows Dodge and SRT to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Viper is assembled. Brand president Tim Kuniskis explains:

Because every Viper is hand crafted with such an extreme level of detail, we have the unique opportunity to make each one even more special by giving buyers the opportunity to customize each vehicle to their exact specifications. Now, Viper owners will be able to say their Viper is truly one of a kind.

Delivery options include rapid transport in an enclosed carrier, or, for those wanting to visit Detroit, picking up their new Viper at Conner Avenue following a tour of the facilities.

Production of the first 1-of-1 Vipers will begin in Q2 2015.

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Callum: No ‘Visual Connection Between Lincoln And Ford’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/callum-no-visual-connection-lincoln-ford/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/callum-no-visual-connection-lincoln-ford/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973594 For the longest time, there wasn’t much difference between Lincoln and Ford in the design game, consumers hardly seeing much difference between an MKZ and a Fusion despite the former’s premium price. Ford global design boss Moray Callum is drawing a line in the sand as far as that is concerned. In an interview with […]

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Lincoln MKC

For the longest time, there wasn’t much difference between Lincoln and Ford in the design game, consumers hardly seeing much difference between an MKZ and a Fusion despite the former’s premium price. Ford global design boss Moray Callum is drawing a line in the sand as far as that is concerned.

In an interview with Automotive News Callum said that as far as design goes, he didn’t think there should be “a visual connection between Lincoln and Ford.” The decision to have a design studio separate from Ford is part of this goal, citing the cross-pollination among competitors Lexus and Infiniti with their respective parent brands, Toyota and Nissan.

Within Lincoln, the differentiation is beginning to take hold. Callum explained that the MKC and MKZ share no common sheet metal, proportion or stance with its cousins, the Ford Escape and Fusion. That said, the differentiation is not something he has to enforce, nor does he feel a need to do so, proclaiming that it’s a decision both brands are consciously making.

As for Ford’s own premium concerns, Callum states that though the Blue Oval isn’t pretending “to be a premium brand,” he didn’t see any harm in bringing a premium feel to the portfolio, adding that “the premium brands don’t have a monopoly on great design.”

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Owner-Built Engine Program For Corvette Z06 Returns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/owner-built-engine-program-corvette-z06-returns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/owner-built-engine-program-corvette-z06-returns/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973569 Buying a new Corvette Z06 soon? Would you like to build its engine? Chevrolet has a plan to make that happen, if you got the cash and the time. Beginning in March, new Z06 owners will have the opportunity to participate in Chevrolet’s resumed Engine Build Experience. The $5,000 option — code PBC, for Bowling […]

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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06

Buying a new Corvette Z06 soon? Would you like to build its engine? Chevrolet has a plan to make that happen, if you got the cash and the time.

Beginning in March, new Z06 owners will have the opportunity to participate in Chevrolet’s resumed Engine Build Experience. The $5,000 option — code PBC, for Bowling Green Assembly’s Performance Build Center, where the build will occur — allows owners to spend an entire day building the Z06’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 under supervision by a PBC engine assembly tech. A personalized plaque on the engine and photographs of the day complete the package.

That said, the engine won’t necessarily be placed in the owner’s Z06 right away. Corvette product manager Harlan Charles says the owner-built engines will take its place in line with the rest of the engines, flowing into “the scheduling process for vehicle assembly, which depends on a number of logistical variables.”

Those who don’t mind the wait and want to spend more time in Bowling Green, Ky. can also check-off option R8C, which allows owners to pick up their completed Z06 at the National Corvette Museum across the street from Bowling Green Assembly.

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