The Truth About Cars » 2012 paris motor show The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 » 2012 paris motor show 2012 Paris Motor Show: Suzuki S-Cross Concept Embraces Crossover Trend And Ignores History (w/ video) Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:27:10 +0000

While not mentioned explicitly, this is Suzuki’s SX4 replacement – the Dodge Caliber S-Cross Concept – which is all but ready for dealer showrooms for 2013.

Suzuki seems to be taking a page out of Chrysler’s handbook from the mid-2000s: throw out a relatively smart, simple, small car and replace it with something that’s between C-segment runabout and SUV. We all know how successful that decision was.

While all other auto manufacturers are wasting their efforts on making smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles for the future, Suzuki is force-feeding hamburgers to the SX4 replacement and butching it up for crossover duty. After all, those millennial will need the extra ride height to clear curbs in front of the knock-off Starbuck’s.

The new S-Cross, confirmed for Europe (where the Suzuki portfolio has more models than one can count with one hand), was shown to the masses for the first time this week at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. A video clip featuring the S-Cross opens with some dubstep style beats ruined by some musical compositions pulled from any number of Sega Saturn video game titles. The mix-mash of environmental imagery makes you wonder if a Suzuki marketing professional spent the weekend watching Tron, Mad Max, and Lord of the Rings in a single sitting. But, we’re talking about the S-Cross, right.

The “concept”, painted in the same green hue which graced the 2005 Mercedes-Benz Bionic “Boxfish” design study (maybe the concept vehicle department went to the recyclers for their paint), is a jacked up C-segment crossover with available 20 inch dubs and updated four-wheel-drive system derived from other models in the stable. It represents the first vehicle in an aggressive push by Suzuki to release a new vehicle every year in Europe – because sales there are red hot! – but has not yet been confirmed for North America. While there has been no official word on what will propel the S-Cross, don’t expect a fancy hybrid or turbo setup, as you can probably bet Suzuki will be keeping costs in check.

Click here to view the embedded video.


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Mercedes CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake – How To Take Advantage Of Economies Of Scale: Paris 2012 Live Shots Fri, 28 Sep 2012 15:05:08 +0000

Economies of scale are the driving force behind everything happening in the industry right now; it’s why Alfa and Mazda are collaborating on an MX-5 and why Volkswagen is building nearly everything on one platform. Does that lead to increased homogeneity on the product side? Absolutely. But it also makes cars like the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake possible. Mercedes has all the components needed to make this car, and it barely costs them anything to produce it. The halo effect alone makes it worthwhile. Cadillac needed to sell just 5 CTS-V wagons to break even on the car, and it’s likely no different for Mercedes. Look for a brown one to show up in press fleets at some point.

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McLaren P1 – Thumbs Up Or Down?: Paris 2012 Live Shots Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:20:07 +0000


As amazing as the specs may be, I’m not sold on the design of the McLaren P1. It may be functional, but it can’t stand up to the elegant minimalism of the F1 and looks far too busy. Let us know what you think.


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Volkswagen GTI MK 7 – Best In Show So Far?: Paris 2012 Live Shots Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:06:33 +0000  

Yesterday’s coverage was fairly snarky, for the simple reason that none of the product was particularly compelling or exciting. But I love the look of the new VW GTI, especially in this blue hue. In my senior year of high school, my father bought a 2006 Jetta 2.0T with the DSG gearbox; it might be one of the all-time great sleepers, with just enough power to be fun in the city, but not enough to get you in serious trouble. Even on mundane all-season tires, it was one of the better FWD platforms I’ve ever driven. I can’t imagine how much fun the new GTI will be with more power and 200 fewer lbs.

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Editorial: Out Of Ideas: Audi Crosslane Is Another Steppenwolf, But That Probably Won’t Matter Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:07:41 +0000
You’ve seen the Baldwin brothers. Canadians are very acquainted with the Sutter hockey dynasty. At their best, any of the nine Jackson siblings could almost pass for any of the other eight.

Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, I don’t know for sure. People I’ve never met – which is a large group of people – have an uncanny ability to identify me as a Cain. For all I know, my grandfather sold them a horse in the 60s. Perhaps my father taught them high school economics in the 70s. My uncle possibly sold them a Dodge Aries in the 80s. Maybe my brother ordered their parts at the Suzuki dealership in the 90s. Certain genes flow more fervently. Thus, I’m identifiable.

The Baldwins, Sutters, Jacksons, and a family you’ve never heard of in Atlantic Canada know how the Audi Crosslane Coupe Concept feels. Eleven years ago in Paris, Audi displayed the Steppenwolf. The Crosslane appears to be the same vehicle, details aside. It’s almost as though Audi designers went on vacation this summer. At the last second, Audi executives realized they had nothing new to show in Paris. One guy was brought back from a staycation in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with the temptation of time-and-a-half to rework the Steppenwolf. Eleven years later.

I didn’t attend art school. My formal car design education includes reading Tony Lewin’s How To Design Cars Like A Pro and, for a while, reading Robert Cumberford’s piece in Automobile and Stephen Bayley’s column in CarI do study car sales, however, and I know that the Steppenwolf’s descendants, the Q7 and Q5, have been major players for Audi. 33,906 Q models were sold in the U.S. last year.

Think back to the pre-Q era: the U.S. new vehicle market shrunk 24.8% from calendar year 2005 to calendar year 2011, yet Audi USA sales were 41.5% higher in 2011 than in 2005. That growth wasn’t powered by preexisting Audis, however. Excluding the Q5 and the Q7, Audi USA posted a 2011 increase of 0.7% compared with 2005. Models which were on sale in 2005 and still on sale in 2011 actually slid 16.8%. That’s something, of course, as the overall industry’s decline was much worse.

Nevertheless, the reason you see more new Audis on the road now than in 2005 is because there are more Audis to be sold. Audi’s best-seller, the A4, suffered a 28% decline between 2005 and 2011, a drop that’s worse than what the overall market endured. Audi sold 34,495 more vehicles in 2011 than in 2005. Audi’s core models didn’t make that happen. In order to fuel the volume expansion, Audi brought to market the A5, A7, R8, Q5, and Q7. Collectively, those five models found 56,706 buyers last year.

Would importing the Q3 to North America be a mistake? BMW has found plenty of Canadian success with the X1. We don’t need a Crosslane-inspired Q2, but then again, we don’t need 333-horsepower S5 Cabriolets, either. Audi wants to sell more cars. If greater market share in the 3-Series/C-Class segment can’t be won, conquering or creating a new crossover niche isn’t the worst idea coming out of a product planner’s brainstorming session.

Sadly, if the Crosslane Coupe Concept does become a production Q2, it will look just like every other Audi. Unfortunately, Audi’s successful design team, the one which brought us the wildly unique first-generation TT and then totally distinguished the R8 from the Gallardo, is looking back eleven years rather than coming up with new ideas. I grew up in Audis. My father exchanged his four times when the odometer rang up 100,000 kilometres. Yet while I’ll urge luxury car buyers to consider an Audi when they’d otherwise make the default E-Class or RX350 choice, I’m personally losing interest

Audi is most certainly not the only automaker designing cars this way. You’re not the only one routinely asking yourself, “Which BMW is that?”, or, “Is that really a new Aston Martin model?” The Crosslane’s lack of originality just happen to make it the latest egregious example of a disappointing trend.

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“Boy, I Really Want A Front-Drive BMW”, Said Nobody: Paris 2012 Live Shots Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:03:21 +0000

I’m not one who identifies as a “wrong-wheel drive” Nazi like most people with zero performance driving experience online car enthusiasts are, but to me, this is not a BMW. I’m sure it will be a great car, with a very cool three-cylinder powertrain and a nice interior. It would probably make a lot of sense for someone like myself, given that it’s a plug-in car. But to me, this is BMW. Not a hybrid city car.

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Lexus Debuts Mystery Coupe Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:39:48 +0000

Lexus debuted a gorgeous mystery coupe, dubbed the LF-CC, and took all the fun out of it by making it a hybrid. I’ll take an Audi S5, thanks. Does anyone see a hint of Scion FR-S in the rear view of this car?

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Never Mind The McLaren: Why The Dacia Sandero Is The Star Of The Paris Motor Show Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:30:45 +0000

The Paris Auto Show is about to kick off tomorrow, and some of the product set to debut has me cursing myself for not maxing out my Visa on a flight and a room at the lovely hotel that’s walking distance from the Porte de Versailles, where the pretty girl with crooked teeth sits patiently at the front desk. And how could I forget the wizened gran-mere hovering over the table at breakfast, replenishing your plate with cheeses and baked goods that one could never hope to find at Publix?

Alas, I am not part of the A-List club that gets driven from the Georges V to the Expo Hall in an S-Class, and so rather than sucking down a Gauloises or getting a glimpse of Carla Bruni (I was blessed with such a privilege in 2010) I’m stuck in North America, having to use my brain rather than just repeating back what my PR minders told me over a glass of Cotes-de-Rhone

The same people who are attending the show on the Sponsored Content plan will no doubt be running beautifully shot feature articles on the Jaguar F-Type, the McLaren whateveritscalled and the new Range Rover. I wish I was there to see them all, but I’d probably give them a once over at the show and then wait another 6 months for them to crop up in Forest Hill Village on a Sunday morning.

What I’m really interested in is the low end flotsam that we won’t ever get.Car makers can be put in one of three categories nowadays; low-cost, volume and premium. In Europe, volume car makers are getting pulverized by the godawful economic conditions on the continent. If you’ve read TTAC for longer than a week, you have seen at least one story about this. It’s arguably been the overarching narrative of 2012, and nobody is getting hit harder than European car makers. Peugeot Citroen is closing plants in France, Ford is hemorrhaging money, Opel is shrugging off the hand of the grim reaper.

Premium cars, buoyed by markets outside of Europe, are doing better, but even Mercedes-Benz is predicting falling profits and cutting costs to the tune of 1 billion euro in 2012. The shining star in Europe is the low-cost car, and to me, the Dacia Sandero is the most compelling car at the Paris Auto Show. Aside from its 15 minutes of fame on Top Gear, the Sandero’s story is so complex and politically loaded that even if the car was an irredeemable piece of garbage, it would still be fascinating.

Dacia was bought by Renault in 1999, and in 2004, the Logan was launched as a low-cost world car. Since then, roughly 1.8 million units have been sold, as buyers in emerging markets flocked to the Renault-engineered car that sold at Lada pricepoints. Later on, Dacia has launched the Lodgy minivan and Duster SUV, which have been critical and marketplace successes, with sales up 16 percent this year in an absolutely dreadful European market. In fact, Dacia has been so successful, that they’ve even been accused of cannibalizing sales of their big brother, Renault.

As if that weren’t pouring salt into the wounds of an ailing domestic car industry, Dacia products are now being built in the former colony of Morocco, where workers are paid 13 percent of what a French Renault worker makes.The Moroccan plant is said to be capable of exporting 85 percent of ts 400,000 unit annual capacity, and most of those will end up in Europe. In a country where immigrants from the Maghreb still struggle with their role in French society, this is, to put it mildly, a controversial issue.

Trade unionists and newspaper columnists have cried foul about the low wages and the outsourcing of jobs that have led to the erosion of the French middle class lifestyle. The outsourcing of low-cost vehcle production has led to the demise of good jobs – but the very people who hold them are unwilling or unable to buy a new mainstream car as it is. They want the low-cost Dacia, the one that could never be sold so cheap as long as they are built by workers making 1,800 euro a month and taking 5 weeks paid vacation. The whole situation is an interesting allegory for the decline of the state-subsidized “la belle vie” that has been enjoyed in Post-WWII France.

All that for one little hatchback that is slow, boring looking and will sell for under $10,000. Isn’t that more interesting than an 800 horsepower McLaren? I think so.


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Porsche Unveils 911 With “4S” Badge On The Rear: Paris 2012 Live Shots Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:18:32 +0000

Hey, remember when Porsche made an effort to make the C4s visually distinctive? Yeah, neither do we. But the new one has stop-start and is good for the polar ice caps. Anyways, if you squint really hard you can see the big visual change on the 2013 911 Carrera 4S. The “4S” badge on the decklid.

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Porsche Rips Off Taillights From 1993 RX-7 For Panamera Sport Turismo: Paris 2012 Live Shots Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:05:38 +0000

Jack thinks Porsche may have ripped off the Ford Taurus X with their new Panamera Sport Turismo concept. I say the taillights are a rip-off of the 1993 Mazda RX-7.

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Audi S3 Pushes Front-Drive Performance To SRT4 Caliber Territory: Paris 2012 Live Shots Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:59:12 +0000

The Audi S3 promises 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from its 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Err, wait a second. That’s not the hot hatch you are looking for. The real pictures are below. You can tell it’s the real thing because of the LED headlights. That’s what makes it premium, dontchaknow?

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MQB-Based Volkswagen Golf In The Flesh: Paris 2012 Live Shots Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:50:07 +0000

Fresh out of Weight Watchers, the next-generation Volkswagen Golf was apparently greeted by smoke-bomb wielding Greenpeace protesters. Wouldn’t something other than a fuel-efficient compact hatch be a better target for one’s environmental anguish?

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