Category: Product Planning

By on July 25, 2016

2017 ford fusion sport

Ford just ran through its 2017 product lineup, shouting, “You get upgraded Sync 3, and you get upgraded Sync 3…!”

Today, the automaker announced that a new version of its Sync 3 infotainment system will be available on every 2017 Ford product. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning your phone never had it so good. Read More >

By on July 25, 2016

2016_passat_5383

Volkswagen is toying with the idea of creating a hot, performance-oriented Passat variant that grabs people’s souls, assaults their eyes and won’t let go of their imagination. It shouldn’t bother.

According to Motor Authority, the automaker wants to wring more sales out of its increasingly overlooked midsizer by appealing to the enthusiast set. Even with visual cues and a power boost, it’s extremely unlikely that Golf fanboys will move their lust (and cash) to the Passat camp.

If Volkswagen wants to halt falling sales, it needs to change the foundation and house, not just paint the window trim. Read More >

By on July 25, 2016

Volkswagen Chattanooga CrossBlue

SUV sales are exploding in the United States. It doesn’t just seem as though the quality, origins, price, power, credibility, and style of a utility vehicle matter not one whit — it really doesn’t.

Critically panned and antiquated SUVs such as the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot are selling better than ever. The original Audi Q5, on sale since 2009, is on track for its seventh consecutive year of growth. Sports car builder Porsche now produces 60 percent of its U.S. sales with the Macan and Cayenne. The Buick Encore, a questionable Chevrolet Sonic-based subcompact crossover, is easily Buick’s best-selling model. Sales of the Ford Explorer are on track to rise to a 12-year high.

Easy peasy. Build it and they will come. Too small? No problem. Too big? Not an issue. Too ugly? More power to you. Impractical? Ignore the U in SUV; it won’t hold you back.

It’s therefore a great time for Volkswagen to finally release an SUV in the heart of the market.

Read More >

By on July 25, 2016

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

Forget head-scratching model names like Tiguan and Touareg. For its new midsize crossover, Volkswagen scrapped its naming-by-German-committee tradition and turned the process over to its American division.

When the new models goes on sale next year, expect a rugged, easy-to-pronounce name designed solely for the U.S. market, Automotive News reports. That name could be “Teramont.” Read More >

By on July 23, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-5, Image: Mazda

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal gave oil burners a bad name, but Mazda isn’t ditching its plans for a diesel roll-out in North America.

The automaker has an internal timeline for a stateside launch of Skyactiv diesels that will meet stringent U.S. pollution regulations, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Sick of trying to motivate your Mazda MX-5 Miata’s prodigious tonnage? Thinking of giving that porker away to a friend? Help is on the way.

The next generation of automotive journalism’s favorite ride will shed weight, thanks to the use of carbon fiber, Autocar reports. That could mean smaller engines for all markets. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

Seventh-Generation Toyota Hilux

Toyota SUVs and pickups are popular with insurgents in overseas conflict zones, so why shouldn’t the U.S. military kick the tires on some?

The U.S. Special Operations Command just placed an order for up to 556 vehicles outfitted for “unconventional warfare” use, most of them Toyota Land Cruisers, Military Aerospace reports. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

Isuzu D-Max

Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.

After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.

(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)

Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.

Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

2015-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-003-sm

Two years of owner complaints and embarrassing media coverage forced Chevrolet to do something about the Corvette Z06’s overheating problems.

The automaker plans to dial down the engine temperature of 2017 models by installing a new hood with larger vents and a modified supercharger cover, hopefully ending the overheating warnings that plagued Z06 models that ventured onto the track. Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

BMW pickup

If you’ve ever though the backseat and trunk in your 3 Series would be a perfect place to put a long, flat cargo space for hauling dirtbikes, start planning a move to Australia.

According to Motoring, the German automaker is considering fielding a pickup variant Down Under — a move once thought impossible, but now looks much more likely, thanks to Bimmer’s rival. Read More >

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