The Truth About Cars » brian driggs The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +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 » brian driggs Ur-Turn: Mitsubishi’s Biggest Fan Discusses The Renault-Nissan Deal Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:00:25 +0000 6thGalantVR-4

Today’s edition of Ur-Turn comes from Brian Driggs, a long-time TTAC reader, Mitsubishi fan and published of Gearbox Magazine, a digital enthusiast publication that we highly recommend.

As a North American Mitsubishi enthusiast, I often find the dismissive comments about the brand disappointing. While the US might be the second largest market on the planet (second to China, I suspect), it’s far from being the only market. I believe Mitsubishi is diversified enough they can afford to be more proactive with regard to automotive trends. News of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership only supports that belief.

Mitsubishi doesn’t necessarily have to move a lot of units in the US market. While everyone else is focused on converting existing models into hybrids, I see Mitsubishi looking beyond, to the next generation of electric vehicles and infrastructure. They don’t have to change up their message every month because everyone still thinks their $40,000 “EV” is really a hybrid. They’re just quietly evolving into a fun-to-drive electric brand for the masses; laggards in one respect, early adopters in another.

Back to the new partnership. By now, everyone is familiar with the details; Renault-Nissan gets access to more EV technology and Mitsubishi gets a “new” model to likely replace the now soundly stale, North American Galant. All three will collaborate on a couple new models in the not-too-distant future, which should be nice.

Still, the comments run the full, incredulous gamut, from “I can’t believe Mitsubishi is still in business,” to “Mitsubishi is still doing sub-prime auto lending?” Yeah. That’s right. They are still in business and they are still doing sub-prime lending. This new partnership isn’t meant to reinvent their brand in America. It’s meant to keep costs down while they continue developing the vehicles they know the world is going to demand as fuel prices continue to rise (and corporate welfare hopefully ends) in coming years.

So who are the EV experts these days? Tesla comes to mind; Bold, innovative, exotic. Nissan’s up there with the Leaf. And then there’s Mitsubishi. What’s that? You’ve never seen an iMiEV on your way to work? That’s okay. They just took second and third place at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb this year, giving “Monster” Tajima a good run for his money in the rain. They also build electric trains, industrial lasers, consumer electronics, and dabble in nuclear power generation. I’d say they know what they’re doing.

The global auto industry is so inbred these days, it’s foolish to single out any one player as somehow being destined to fail – especially based on it’s perceived performance in the American market. Globally, Mitsubishi is doing just fine, and I’d offer their ability to weather the economic downturn whilst remaining focused on the product lineup they want to sell speaks to the quality of their brand.

Not to say I consider anyone here a fool for taking a comfortable seat on the Sycophant Express – we all do it. I’m quick to point out the only reason GM is remotely profitable today isn’t because they’re making better cars, but because they’re still enjoying limited competition in the truck market and because, for some strange reason, they’re huge in China. That’s my personal hangup.

We’re all bound to have different opinions, but our shared interest in the auto industry, in all its interwoven complexity, is a solid foundation upon which we can build greater understanding of the world around us. I’ll be honest with you, barring announcement the Mitsubishi Triton will be built in the States, or that this merger will mean I can get finally get a turbo-diesel, 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive, ASX4 (unlikely, as that’s a partnership with Peugeot and Citroën), news of this merger hardly moves my pulse. It does, however, show me Mitsubishi is still doing better than many had thought and remains focused on the long game and, in that respect, pleases me.


Brian Driggs is Editor-in-Chief of Gearbox Magazine

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A Look At The Homebrew Toyota RAV4 EVs Already Out There Thu, 10 May 2012 15:52:27 +0000

Despite Toyota’s announcement of a new generation of RAV4 EV, mostly for CARB compliance, it seems that RAV4 EV production has never really stopped – at least not on a one-off basis.

Brian Driggs of Gearbox Magazine went looking through EVAlbum’s catalog of enthusiast-created RAV4 EV conversions. Some of them look identical to a standard RAV4, while others are more intricate. Witness the RAV4 EV, that appears to be a Toyota original. The big difference is that this photo, apparently dated in 2001, shows the RAV4 EV towing a trailer. Within the trailer is a Kawasaki 500cc parallel-twin motorcycle engine that powers an A/C generator. Range extender anyone? Yes, it’s a little crude, but also somewhat ingenious.

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