One of the bigger stories of 2013 has so far managed to escape the news cycle. I’m not exactly sure why Nissan’s announcement of significant reductions on the MSRP of new cars hasn’t gotten more coverage, but I’m also not 100 percent sure of Nissan’s motives either.
Tesla is changing course with its lease/financing plan, with CEO Elon Musk tacitly admitting that Tesla got it wrong the first time around.
The volume of car loans is near pre-carmageddon levels, but a federal probe of business practices threatens to “slow the booming car-loan industry,” the Wall Street Journal writes.
According to the report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued subpoenas to U.S. auto lenders over the sale of extended warranties and other financial products.Meanwhile, the Justice Department is looking into auto dealerships that make their own loans to customers with poor credit and charge higher rates. Read More >
Fans of the C7 Covette may be interested to read this breakdown of the extra 90 lbs that the C7 Corvette has put on. For someone such as myself who is used to the OEMs brushing off weight gain or other uncomfortable facts with eye-roll inducing PR pap, the ‘Vette team deserves credit for this itemized breakdown of every component that added to the weight of the C7.
GM’s pickup truck changeover has received all the attention of TTAC’s commentariat, but GM knows it needs more than new trucks to make up for decades of deteriorating market share. All hopes are on a wave of new showroom offerings. “Seventy percent of the automaker’s U.S. portfolio will be refreshed between the start of 2012 and the end of 2013, and 89 percent will be refreshed by 2016,” writes the Detroit News. Read More >
It’s a headline you might have seen in the past couple days: “Tesla Model S outsells Nissan Leaf (or Chevrolet Volt, you pick)”. To the layman, the story is that this amazing car from an amazing American upstart company is outselling lowly Chevys and Nissans to become America’s favorite EV. The angrier among us may wonder how a car that costs twice that of a Leaf or a Volt can outsell them both. TTAC just wants to know how any media outlet can make this comparison in the first place.
I used to work for Porsche. You already know this because I mention it in most of my stories, hopeful that you will go tell your friends “TTAC has a guy who used to work for Porsche!” to which they will reply: “Used to? Road & Track has fifty people who still do.”
Just kidding. The cars get good reviews because they’re damn good. I know this because when I worked at Porsche I had several 911 company cars, and the ones I didn’t crash drove tremendously. This sentiment was not echoed by my rear seat passengers, who often said things like: “This is really cramped!” or “You want to give this up to be a blogger?”
When I worked there, I had two main questions on my mind at all times. Traditionally popular in the morning, the first one was: “Can I get away with a two-hour lunch today?” But when I got back from lunch around 2:30, the rest of the day was spent pondering the second one: “What the hell competes with the 911?”
Now that Chevrolet has revised their EPA mileage estimate for the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, from 42 mpg to 46 mpg, we need to revise our own estimates.
I do a lot of traveling (to such exotic places as Kershaw, South Carolina and South Haven, Michigan) in my travels with the 24 Hours of LeMons, which means I have plenty of dead time in airports to contemplate puzzling car ads. The Economist is the best possible magazine to have on hand when you get hit by a six-hour weather delay at George Bush International, because of its incredible bang-for-buck density. It’s clear that marketing flacks take the Economist‘s word for it when they talk about readership demographics, because the split between self-proclaimed readership (powerful and influential globe-trotting executives) and actual readership (geeked-out history/politics junkies with unkempt beards and Dead Kennedys T-shirts) makes for some entertaining car advertisements. Here’s one for the ’13 Lincoln MKZ, which attempts to woo the 72-year-old owner of a 6-store dry-cleaning chain into feeling that the purchase of an MKZ will transform him into a focus-group-perfect 42-year-old entrepreneur. Let’s take a closer look at what Lincoln’s marketers picture as the idealized MKZ buyer. Read More >
With 2013 heralding the final year for the Lamborghini Gallardo, the supercar firm is also gearing up to produce its last manual transmission car ever.
Road & Track talked to Lamborgihni North America COO Michael Lock who said that paddle shift Gallardos outsell stick shifts by a 9:1 ratio. According to Lock
“We are in an era when customers demand technology and products that adapt to them,”
Translated from marketing gobbldeygook, that means that Gallardo owners are unable to steer with one hand and simultaneously change gears while digitally stimulating their catamite in the passenger seat, so the automated gearbox is here to stay. As part of the three-pedal’s funeral, Lamborghni will offer a stripped-down, rear-drive Gallardo without “frills”. This would be exciting news had Lamborghini not done this before.
But repeat movies are understandable. There are only some many minor variations that can be sold as special editions. At this point, the Gallardo has been on the market for 9 years, a geological age in the context of the supercar market. Lock is seemingly proud of this fact, telling R&T
“It is the oldest supercar still standing, like a boxing champion,” crowed Lock. “It is defying the normal supercar product cycle. Can you imagine if Ferrari were still trying to sell the 360 Modena,”
Somewhere in the darkest recesses of my mind, I can. And I wish they still did. Particularly the 360 Challenge Stradale with its Lexan windows and obnoxiously loud V8 that still sounds like a proper Ferrari. Oh hell, bring back the 355 as well. They are so much nicer than the technically superior but aesthetically overwrought 458 as well as the F430, which will one day be considered a symbol of the excess and vulgarity of the pre-GFC era.
California consumers interested in a Fiat 500e will be getting a sweetheart deal from Fiat; a $199 lease for 36 months with a $999 down payment.
A quarter of a century ago, Ari Vanaten attacked Pikes Peak in the legendary Peugeot 405 T16, and the resulting footage of the attempt led to the renowned documentary “Climb Dance”. For 2013, Peugeot will be back at Pikes Peak with the appropriately named 208 T16. Piloting the 208 T16 will be WRC ace Sebastian Loeb, which should make the 208 T16 a formidable contender on that basis alone.
So-called “range anxiety” is the biggest — perhaps the only — issue being discussed in the electric-vehicle debate nowadays. Whether it’s a Leaf crapping out at the sixty-mile mark or a Tesla Model S driving in circles around a parking lot to drain the battery for theatrical purposes, electric cars and range potential are linked in the minds of most potential buyers by a true Gordian knot.
If the people at Phinergy are correct, that knot can be sliced by a sword constructed from charged aluminum plates — and the resulting rewards would be spectacular, to say the least.