Tag: 3WTP

By on November 16, 2011

Throughout its history, Cadillac has fed the press some glorious concept cars dripping with opulence, snazzy features and WTF styling. This works when production cars live up to the concept’s hype, but a history of histrionics is less helpful when you’re launching a car that somehow defies hype  altogether [Ed: see AutoWeek’s headline: “Cadillac aims its flagship XTS at imports and traditional buyers”].  Don’t get it wrong, the XTS is not intended as a true flagship for the brand (GM’s release calls it “the newest addition to the lineup” and “the most technologically advanced production car in the brand’s history”), but at the launch at the LA Auto Show the XTS’s FWD proportions, slab sides and generally predictable exterior dominated the first impressions. Put simply, the midsized sedan exudes none of the presence that makes the CTS-V coupe exciting, possibly due to the fact that it has what may be Cadillac’s shortest hood ever. No wonder GM CEO Dan Akerson warned us that the XTS “wouldn’t blow the doors off” the competition.

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By on November 16, 2011

Fiat’s 500 may be flopping early in the game, but then, what do you expect from a car with barely 100 horsepower? Though I’m sure the Cinquecento is better with a stick shift, my brief time in an autobox version left me feeling that Fiat’s italophile morsel could use considerably more brio. Well, consider the problem solved, as the 160 HP Abarth version has finally been shown in US-market spec, and sales should start sometime early next year. And based on European reactions to the Abarth, it should be a little firecracker. So, enthusiasm solved… now Fiat just needs to do something about its high prices, uninspiring fuel economy and wretched marketing. Then everything will be just fine… although I still wouldn’t hold my breath for 50k units per year.

 

By on November 16, 2011

Ford’s outgoing Escape is neither the newest, nor the nicest compact crossover on the market, but man does it sell well. How something so relatively old and uncompetitive maintained such strong volume in the market has long been a bit of a mystery, but my theory is that the Escape offered two basic attributes that the market desires: low price and SUV looks (without SUV efficiency). And by combining Escape with Europe’s Kuga to create one global compact crossover, Ford has been forced away from those two basic attributes: Escape likely won’t be cheap with its turbocharged engines and upscale interior (though pricing hasn’t been released), and it definitely doesn’t look like an old-school SUV anymore. Will a new approach to the compact crossover segment pay off for Ford, or is this Escape too “global,” or too similar to other “cute utes” to succeed in the US market? Is this the point at which the “One Ford” ethos crashes against the rocks of America’s appreciation for boxy, rugged utilities?

 

By on November 13, 2011

Take Buick’s LaCrosse, load it up with a fancier interior materials, wheels and trim, and what do you get? No, not a Cadillac XTS. The XTS, you see, is a fancier Buick LaCrosse for a different kind of buyer. The XTS is for people who might want a fancier LaCrosse, but with some “red blooded luxury” flair. This LaCrosse “GL” concept is for those who want a fancier LaCrosse which retains Buick’s “inviting luxury” vibe. See the difference?  GM’s decision to keep Buick in its brand portfolio has worked out fairly well thus far, bracketing the luxury market with very different brand images and products… thus far. But with Cadillac dipping into Buick territory with its midsized XTS, now does not seem to be the time for Buick to move upwards by showing an ultra-luxury version of its midsized LaCrosse. Luckily this LaCrosse GL is just a concept, but it should remind The General that a two-brand approach to the luxury market has to be especially careful: swallow too much of the “different brands for different buyers” Kool-Aid and overlap becomes unavoidable. Appealing though it may be, this LaCrosse GL sounds a warning…

 

By on November 12, 2011

Mitsubishi didn’t exactly light the world on fire when it released its Global Small concept (left) at this year’s Geneva Auto Show… but now that concept has become reality (right), it’s even more clear that Mitsu’s mojo has been lost in the unglamorous world of basic transportation for emerging markets. It’s not clear if the Thai-built Colt/Mirage will make it to the brand’s US lineup, but if it does i certainly won’t help turn around Mitsubishi’s dowdy image here. The only way to make this car any more mundane  would be to debadge it completely. Slightly less prosaic but still quite underwhelming: the Grand Cherokee-meets-Range Rover Evoque update to the Outlander, shown in the plug-in hybrid concept PX-MIEV II. Though none of Mitsu’s new designs are actively offensive, their dullness speaks to some serious creative malaise… especially in contrast to the vibrantly creative Japanese designs that are headed to the Tokyo Auto Show. Perhaps we’ve solved the mystery of Mitsubishi’s disappearing US sales staff?

 

By on November 11, 2011

Have you heard? The New Look Of Lincoln is coming, and everyone’s talking… about how much Lincoln has to prove. And after seeing these teasers, the topic will likely remain how much Lincoln has to prove. We’d probably better bite our tongues until the LA Auto Show, when the 2013 MKS and MKT actually take the stage; “teaser” photos can only convey so much. But given the wider “Lincoln situation,” it’s hard to imagine either of these new cars being able to fundamentally change perceptions of the brand. The Look Of Lincoln needs a clean-sheet reboot that I’m just not seeing here…

By on November 11, 2011

TTAC readers have suffered through my weird crush on Kia’s Picanto/Morning-based “Tam” for months now, patiently indulging my fascination with a car that’s so niche it won’t even be sold in Europe. But with Kia showing off these production images of what will be known as the Kia Ray, it seems that a lot of what I found so beguiling about this A-segment MPV will make it to production. What we’re looking at is a tiny A-segment micro-van, with the Picanto/Morning‘s 1.0 three-banger or 1.25 liter four. And, as we suspected based on early prototype shots, the car has three standard doors and one mini-slider on the passenger side, confirming that this funky little cube is half Kia Soul, half Hyundai Veloster. At a little over $11k, the Ray will also be a relatively cheap Kia, which is why it’s focused on Asian markets like Korea and China… but it’s probably too small to ever make it to the US or Europe. Scion is probably breathing a small sigh of relief…

By on November 10, 2011

This mule of Ford’s new global midsized car may be well-camouflaged, but it’s not hard to imagine something not unlike the new EVOS concept lurking underneath all that bulk. Think narrow, slit-like headights, a version of the Hyundai-esque hexagonal grille that we’ve seen on the updated Taurus SHO, a high beltline and a fastback-ish C-pillar, and you’re probably getting close. Which leaves the final mystery: what in the foxtrot will those alloys look like? Try not to lose too much sleep over that one…

By on November 9, 2011

 

 

Jalopnik says it managed to snag this image of the production Cadillac XTS from the Cadillac website earlier today before anyone at GM’s luxury brand realized it had been inadvertently posted. The funny thing is, this could just as easily be an image of the XTS Platinum Concept, which first introduced us to the idea of a Epsilon II-based DTS/STS replacement… this purported production model looks exactly like the concept. Then again, it also looks exactly like you’d imagine a rebodied-for-Cadillac Buick LaCrosse would look… which is basically what this is. And since we know what the XTS’s interior will look like, this ends a lot of the suspense about the first all-new Caddy since the SRX. Well, except for the “how it drives” and “how it sells” parts…

 

By on November 9, 2011

Between Suzuki’s decision to show off its latest Tokyo Auto Show concepts and Scion’s possible collaboration with Daihatsu, now seems like a good time to show you Toyota’s kei car partner’s latest trinkets. From the fuel cell-powered, Tokyo-apartment-on-wheels, the FC Sho-Case (above), to the sweet little turbo-two-pot roadster, the D-X, Daihatsu’s got every kind of future vehicle you might possibly want… as long as it’s small and strange. They’re even taking on BMW’s see-through “i” brand, with the Pico, a semi-transparent plug-in. Because your car could always be a little smaller, weirder and more Japanese…

 

By on November 9, 2011

The Tokyo Auto Show is coming, which means it’s time for Japan’s automakers to roll out their weirdest, quirkiest, most Japanese designs. An electric city car apparently inspired by a CD player? Check. A 1,600 lb, super-efficient compact? Actually, the Regina Concept (above) almost looks more French than Japanese to my eyes. Finally, the Swift EV Hybrid rounds out Suzuki’s Tokyo-bound lineup. What does it all say about Suzuki’s future? One theory is that here may be an electrified Swift on the market at some point. Another holds that in the future, humans will be replaced by compact discs.

To be perfectly honest, as with so many Japanese cultural artifacts and phenomena, I’m completely baffled. Luckily our East-West relations expert Bertel Schmitt will be on hand at the Tokyo Auto Show to help us figure it all out.

 

 

 

 

By on November 8, 2011

The last time we posted a photo of the forthcoming Genesis Coupe facelift, we soon found that Hyundai Motor America staff were quietly informing other blogs that it was a photoshopped fake. I inserted a warning into the post, cursed myself for having been had, and moved on. So, how do I know these pictures are real? Probably because they come from the URL blog.hyundai.com (the leaked (non-press) shots are from Gencoupe.com, and don’t look as though they could possibly be faked). It turns out that Hyundai is showing off the new coupe to either drift fans or ice skating aficionados (Google Translate is hilariously unhelpful with Korean) this Saturday at something called the Chonnam National Yeongam F1 Speed ​​Festival. Hyundai will “officially” show the car to the American market a week later at the LA Auto Show… at the earliest. More likely, Hyundai will continue to pretend that this car doesn’t exist until January, at the Detroit show. And they’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling internets!

[H/T: Our man in Korea, Walter Foreman]

 

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