By on October 17, 2017

british-leyland-mini

While some of Europe saw modest auto sale gains through the first nine months of 2017, the region has mirrored North America’s decline in deliveries since the end of the summer. The United States saw eight consecutive months of declining sales this year, with a positive bump in September and better than expected volume in Canada.

Europe, meanwhile, saw the inverse. Passenger car registrations fell 2 percent year-over-year to roughly 1.43 million deliveries in September, despite August seeing a 5.6-percent improvement. Overall, 2017 has the makings of a unsatisfactory sales year for both regions. But Europe seemed to be doing alright before the U.K. suddenly stopped buying cars.

British registrations took a massive nosedive after Brexit. By September, it represented a monthly decline of 9.3 percent, compared to Germany’s 3.3 percent slide. Even though the rest of the continent saw a gain in sales, having Europe’s two largest markets lagging guaranteed the net loss.  (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

suzuki alto works rs-r

Anyone with an interest in odd cars probably has at least a passing fascination with Japanese kei cars. As a member of that small subset of enthusiasts, I have a long-held fantasy that involves owning a Suzuki Alto Works, Daihatsu Mira Turbo, Honda Today, or Honda Acty. But the closest North America ever got was the i-MiEV, which Mitsubishi stretched a few inches to comply with U.S. crash ratings — nullifying its official status as a kei.

Sure, most kei cars are utter garbage from a driving perspective, but their utilitarian quirkiness and microscopic road-presence are difficult to replicate on anything other than a moped. They’re also stupidly affordable, which is one of the reasons they’ve persisted in Japan.

However, that’s beginning to change now that their home country has begun taxing them into extinction. The miniature breed, brought to life specifically so budget-minded motorists can have a vehicle and always find parking, lost roughly 25 percent of its yearly volume since Japan targeted them in 2014 — resulting in a sudden annual deficit of nearly 550,000 pint-sized vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2017

mercedes gts

While local climate plays a role, prefered automotive paint schemes largely come down to personal feelings and dealer inventory. There is also the matter of what colors are trending within the industry and, according to a recent consumer survey tabulation from iSeeCars.com, gender.

The automotive data research company compiled survey results from over 700,000 consumers and close to 30 million used car sales between 2015 and 2016 to find gender biases for specific colors. For the most part, color preferences are irrelevant. But there are a few standout shades that one group seems to prefer over the other. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2017

autonomous testing tesla

Autonomous vehicles are about as polarizing a subject as you could possibly bring up around a group of car enthusiasts. Plenty of gearheads get hot under the collar at the mere concept of a self-driving car. Meanwhile, automotive tech fetishists cannot wait to plant their — I’m assuming — khaki Chinos into the seat of an autonomous vehicle and enjoy a coffee without the hindrance of having to actually drive the thing to their destination.

I’ve previously discussed how autonomous cabs will become unparalleled filth-boxes, destined for salacious behavior. Because without driver oversight, why not sneeze into your hand and wipe it on the seat back? Now, surveys are beginning to indicate privately owned computer-controlled cars will be subject to similar activities — with some drivers suggesting they’ll have no qualms about having sex, drinking booze, or binge eating behind the wheel.

That’s the future we’re being promised, but a lot of autonomous features have already made it into modern production cars. Word is, they’re starting to make us terrible drivers. It’s enough to worry automakers to a point where they’re considering implementing an array of systems to more actively encourage driver involvement on a platform that’s designed to do the opposite.

Get ready to drive your self-driving car.  (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2017

1978 buick rega turbo v6 engine

If you’re the type of automotive enthusiast who covets cylinder volume above all else, this probably hasn’t been your decade. However, if you’re of the boosted breed, things couldn’t be better. Forced induction engines are bigger than ever, not in size (again, sorry displacement fans) but in factory application.

The numbers of turbocharged vehicles sold in the U.S. rose for a sixth consecutive year in 2017, now accounting for 27.6 percent of new cars and light truck models built through March 2017. For the sake of reference, the 2011 model year only saw 10.7 percent, while previous years loitered between 4.5 and 6.6 percent annually. This makes turbocharging less of a trend and more of a revolution.  (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2017

Kangaroo sign Australia, Image: bluedeviation/Flickr

Australia’s Queensland Cabinet announced it would be constructing one of the longest electric highways in the world this week. The expanse of roadway already exists on the country’s eastern seaboard, but the $3 million plan intends to add an 18-station network between Gold Coast and Cairns. While EV owners might not want to hazard into the outback just yet, coastal drivers will have some peace of mind traveling between Australia’s major towns.

The fast-charging network plans to provide free power for at least a year in what the environment minister, Steven Miles, explained was a bid to increase the number of electric cars on Queensland roads.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2017

2.0 turbo engine Buick, Image: General Motors

Rising emissions regulations are forcing many automakers to adopt forced induction across the board. While some, like Mazda and Honda, have been milking naturally aspirated engines for all their worth, even they have turned to turbochargers to do some of the heavy lifting. General Motors has more than doubled North American sales of vehicles with turbo motors — going from roughly 288,000 units in 2011 to 712,000 in 2016, 23 percent of its total volume.

GM’s powertrain lineup has changed dramatically. A decade ago, only a handful of its models came with a turbo option, while just under half of today’s fleet uses some form of forced induction. The trend is set to continue for the 2018 model year, boosting the carmaker’s share of turbocharged offerings above the 50 percent mark. (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2017

5th Gen Honda Civic TEAL, Public Domain

We took it for granted at the time, but automakers provided us with a cornucopia of lavish colors in the mid-1990s. While dark greens were the most popular hue of the day, there was no shortage of teal, deep red, beige, gold, dark blue, metallic purple, and burnt orange cruising down the boulevard, tempting us like a mobile bag of Wild Berry Skittles.

Then, in 2001, every single car in North America was legally required to be painted silver. It seemed like a neat idea to everyone at the time but, as reality set in, society soon realized its grievous error. Ashamed at our inability to choose correctly, society then decided to abandon color entirely. White returned to take its bland place at the top of the heap in 2006 and has stayed there ever since. Globally, white accounted for 38 percent of all cars manufactured in 2016. America’s current penchant for wild colors like black, silver, and gray lessens its continental death grip to a more-modest 25 percent.

The global obsession with grayscale is supposed to change, however, as blue seems poised for a comeback.  (Read More…)

By on June 9, 2017

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

There was a time when seat belts were considered unnecessary, reserved as an optional extra for motorists who ventured out onto roadways in a state of white-knuckle fear. What pathetic bags of flesh, many thought, wrapping themselves in a polyester harness because they can’t handle themselves on the road — thinking it will save them from the reckoning of sheet metal and glass.

We know better now. Seat belts are proven life savers and advanced restraint systems are compulsory for both automakers and occupants. That will likely be the path of automatic emergency braking takes as well. Nissan announced Thursday it would make auto braking systems standard on a large portion of 2018 models sold in the United States. Toyota is doing the same. But the technology is not yet ubiquitous, nor has it acquired universal public approval. Many worry it could be too invasive or provide a false sense of invincibility, so it could be a while before AEB becomes expected equipment on all new models.  (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2017

2018 Lexus LS F-SPORT

With crossovers on the rise, and more car-like than ever, Toyota’a global branding chief Tokuo Fukuichi knows that Lexus sedans need to offer more to customers or prepare to join the Tyrannosaurus rex in extinction. Lexus has shifted to become SUV-inclusive, but sedans still comprise a large portion of its lineup.

Lexus’ strategy is to improve the driving dynamics on its sedans to a level that crossovers cannot match, using the lower center of gravity to their advantage. It also wants to make its more traditional cars more appealing to a broader and less-stodgy consumer base. Assuming the plan works, Toyota’s premium brand won’t need to engage in any automotive genocide, eliminating sedans altogether. However, like any automaker, Lexus is still likely to transform its lineup to appease on-trend demands — which could include a station wagon.  (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2017

mazda cx-5

Mazda’s North American Operations has named Dino Bernacchi as its chief marketing officer, a position created specifically to aid the automaker in establishing itself as a premium brand.

The manufacturer has taken steps to ditch its economical heritage for nearly a year as it pushes upmarket. Model redesigns have followed a cohesive, sleek trend while the company zeroes in on a future “premium, pricey model” to secure its new identity.

Until then, image is everything for Mazda. The brand doesn’t seem interested in swapping over to a luxury-focused lineup or changing its production philosophy. While Mazda had what was arguably the most aesthetically appealing booth at the New York auto show (even if Porsche and Volvo had the better snacks), most of its vehicles still start below $25,000.  (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

IAA trade show

Frankfurt is the real deal when it comes to trade events. Germany’s International Motor Show is the oldest and, frequently, the largest exhibition of new vehicles and automotive engineering on the planet. However, some important automakers are deciding not to bother with it this year.

The event’s organizer, Germany’s VDA industry association, has confirmed that several automakers have cancelled on the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in September 2017. While there will still be over 50 individual brands from Europe, Asia, and the United States, a few of the heavier hitters are following the trend of taking their marketing money off the floor and rerouting it back into digital advertising.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

2016 BMw X1 white

Europe always seemed like a safe haven for the sort of car lover who turns up their nose over North America’s obsession with the sport utility vehicle. That’s now changing, as European demand for SUVs and crossovers continued to grow in 2016. While it may have a penchance for slightly smaller models, the EU saw disproportionately high sales of compact crossovers last year.

In total, SUV sales accounted for 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016 — up from 21 percent the previous year. That doesn’t quite equal the United States’ fervent addiction but, if the European Union keeps this pace, it’ll be less than a decade before it closes the gap.  (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2016

dealership

Have you ever wondered why the model year and actual calendar year of production vehicles rarely coincide? Do you ever notice American-made cars have a tendency to come out almost comically early? Have you ever wondered why?

The answer is as uniquely American as the question itself, revolving around agriculture, consumer culture, and television.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • TheDoctorIsOut: I would agree with this. Having cross shopped the XT5 and the Lincoln MKC, the MKC looked and felt...
  • dukeisduke: I don’t like run-flat tires. For one thing, they harder, because of the stiffer sidewalls needed in...
  • xtoyota: Fix a flat will not work in cold weather…..
  • PrincipalDan: This almost feels like the purpose of the pure electric version is for the Koreans to prove they can...
  • Lou_BC: @Conslaw – my dad has ruined a few tires and wheels driving until he found a safe spot to pull over to...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States