The Truth About Cars » crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 » crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com American-Spec Honda HR-V Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/american-spec-honda-hr-v-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/american-spec-honda-hr-v-revealed/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934570 As we learned last week, Honda’s first SUV wasn’t a Honda at all. Caught flat-footed by the SUV boom, Honda took some desperate measures to get bring something to market that had an “H” on the grille. While the CR-V came out at exactly the right time, Honda waited nearly a decade after the Passport’s […]

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As we learned last week, Honda’s first SUV wasn’t a Honda at all. Caught flat-footed by the SUV boom, Honda took some desperate measures to get bring something to market that had an “H” on the grille.

While the CR-V came out at exactly the right time, Honda waited nearly a decade after the Passport’s launch to come up with a large SUV. This time, they’re a little quicker in responding to the next wave of the SUV boom – the subcompact crossover.

The HR-V, already revealed as the “Vezel” in world markets, will go head to head with the Nissan Juke and Chevrolet Trax. Next month will bring the HR-V’s debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, along with details on powertrain, equipment levels and maybe even pricing. Given the success of the CR-V and Pilot, it’s safe to assume that this will be a huge hit for Honda.

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The Narcissism Of Small Differences, Part 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/narcissism-small-differences-part-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/narcissism-small-differences-part-2/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:42:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928161 Following our discussion on the difference between a CUV, a wagon and a hatchback, (and the ever blurring line between them), we got a note from AutoGuide.com‘s Mike Schlee, via our Facebook page. According to Schlee, even the GLA lineup is split amongst the designations. Schlee, who was at the GLA launch, claims that The […]

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Following our discussion on the difference between a CUV, a wagon and a hatchback, (and the ever blurring line between them), we got a note from AutoGuide.com‘s Mike Schlee, via our Facebook page. According to Schlee, even the GLA lineup is split amongst the designations.

Schlee, who was at the GLA launch, claims that

The GLA 45 AMG is actually classified as a car (hatchback) due to it’s lowered height and lower sitting bumpers. Mercedes was not allowed to classify it official as a ‘truck’ in the USA.

But the taller GLA 250 is classified as a ‘truck’ and is allowed to have crossover things like rear and side tinted windows.

So, there you have it. I never knew that the ubiquitous “privacy glass” was a”truck” only item, but that can easily be solved with a $200 trip to the tint shop.

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Question Of The Day: The Narcissism Of Small Differences http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/question-day-narcissism-small-differences/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/question-day-narcissism-small-differences/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927562   “When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” – Jack Nicholson, The Departed […]

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“When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” – Jack Nicholson, The Departed

So why is the Mercedes-Benz GLA a crossover, and a Porsche Macan is a crossover, but something like a Mazda3 Sport is a hatchback?

Well, two reasons

  1. CAFE
  2. Calling something a crossover makes it sell. Calling it a wagon or a hatchback does the opposite.

This, of course, is the opposite of what happens in the strange, insular world of automotive enthusiasm. There is a reflexive hatred of anything CUV, even when the CUV in question, like the Mazda CX-5, drives better than some passenger cars. Or witness the gnashing of teeth that accompanied the Audi Allroad’s rise and the death of the Audi A4 Avant. Both vehicles drive like lifeless appliances for those who think a Toyota Venza is beneath their station in life. But the Allroad attracted the scorn of countless forum posters, even though the two cars are basically the same, minus some cladding and a raised ride height that has zero effect on handling dynamics.

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As tempting as it is to rail against the ill-informed knee-jerk disdain for crossovers, I’ll bring it back to the original question. What is the tangible difference between the GLA “crossover” and the Mazda3 Sport “hatchback”? Why does one raise the ire of enthusiasts merely by virtue of its classification (a discrete criticism on its own, rather than being lumped in with the idea of a front-drive, entry level Benz) while an identical car is lauded with Hossanas for carrying to hatchback/pseudo-wagon torch.

Over to you, B&B.

Photo Credit: Alex Nunez/Road & Track

*For the record, I think the base GLA is a cheap, nasty looking thing designed to fleece the terminally self-conscious out of their $299 each month. I’d take the Mazda3 all day, every day. But the 345 horsepower GLA45 AMG? Well, that’s another story.

**As far as the CUV hatred phenomenon goes:  You might think they are the worst attributes of an SUV and a car combined in one, but millions of Americans couldn’t care less, and have very rational reasons for buying them, nor are they in the grip of some false consciousness and in need of a vanguard to liberate their minds from the shackles of automotive marketing. Get over it, or start buying new station wagons in meaningful numbers again.

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Paris 2014: Renault Espace Crosses Over http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-renault-espace-crosses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-renault-espace-crosses/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:58:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=924985 The latest victim (or beneficiary, depending on how you look at it) of the crossover craze currently captivating Europe is the Renault Espace, which has transformed from Europe’s first minivan to yet another two-box CUV. With 1.2 million versions of the Espace sold, Renault has a ton of equity in the nameplate. While Renault’s Dacia […]

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The latest victim (or beneficiary, depending on how you look at it) of the crossover craze currently captivating Europe is the Renault Espace, which has transformed from Europe’s first minivan to yet another two-box CUV.

With 1.2 million versions of the Espace sold, Renault has a ton of equity in the nameplate. While Renault’s Dacia brand and the subcompact Captur crossover have been huge hits for Renault, their large car business – including the now 11-year old Espace – has been lagging. Renault is hoping that the Espace will act as a de facto flagship for the brand, while also keeping current customers in the fold (a three-row version will remain on offer).

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The First Minivan Becomes The Next Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/first-minivan-becomes-next-crossover/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:12:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922249 On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end. The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that […]

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On October 3rd, 1984, American Motors announced that the Renault Espace would be imported to North America as an AMC product. 30 years later, the Escpace’s minivan heritage will come to an end.

The Espace is to Europeans what the Chrysler minivans are to us – the first example of a modern, mass-produced minivan that set the standard for the entire segment. A front-drive, neatly packaged three-row people mover that proved to be far more modern than the Fiat Multipla or Volkswagen vans.

At this week’s Paris Auto Show, the Espace will be revealed, after undergoing a radical transformation. No longer a minivan, the Espace is now being marketed as a crossover. No more sliding doors or the distinctly French two-box profile that was a trademark of the Espace. The new version is a bling-bling pseudo-CUV with shades of CR-V in the D-pillar.

For Renault minivan customers, the Scenic will still be available. But the Espace, like the wildly successful Captur, is an attempt to give consumers more of what they want – in this case, crossovers – but with the people carrying abilities of the minivan (or MPV) body style.

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2015 Honda CR-V: Will it Hang On To Compact SUV Sales Crown? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-will-hang-compact-suv-sales-crown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-will-hang-compact-suv-sales-crown/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:28:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921713 The Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales champion for 7 of the past 10 years. But with competition in the segment heating up, Honda is hoping that their mid-cycle refresh will keep the CR-V attractive to buyers in the fastest-growing segment in the new car market. Styling tweaks aside, the CR-V gains a […]

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The Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales champion for 7 of the past 10 years. But with competition in the segment heating up, Honda is hoping that their mid-cycle refresh will keep the CR-V attractive to buyers in the fastest-growing segment in the new car market.

Styling tweaks aside, the CR-V gains a new direct-injection 2.4L engine. Horsepower is unchanged, but torque is up 11 percent to 181 lb-ft, while a CVT replaces the venerable 5-speed automatic gearbox. The interior has also undergone a restyling that adds a more modern look and what appear to be better materials.

As of September 1st, the CR-V led the Ford Escape by just under 10,000 units in year-to-date sales. The new mid-cycle changes should help put a bit more distance between the two vehicles, but the CR-V must also contend with new entrants like the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester, which are vying for market share in a segment ripe with conquest sales.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Lincoln MKC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-lincoln-mkc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-lincoln-mkc/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:38:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917954 You all know the story by now. Journalist gets Lincoln. Lincoln has some obvious flaws. Journalist says some over the top (but accurate) things about Lincoln. Lincoln gets mad, pulls access. TTAC’s commenters step in to save the day. But the story isn’t over. In the 12 months since, Lincoln has been hard at work […]

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You all know the story by now. Journalist gets Lincoln. Lincoln has some obvious flaws. Journalist says some over the top (but accurate) things about Lincoln. Lincoln gets mad, pulls access. TTAC’s commenters step in to save the day. But the story isn’t over.

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In the 12 months since, Lincoln has been hard at work at their most critical launch since the MKZ. Other vehicles in their portfolio might be more important from a brand standpoint, but this is the four-wheeled ATM, the high-margin version of the Ford Escape that will lead a Lincoln renaissance among a crossover-crazed consumer set both in the United States and the all-important Chinese market.

The Fusion may have been a game changer in what we expect from mid-size sedan styling, but the MKZ didn’t move things forward in terms of value proposition. At the very least, the MKC offers some appreciable advantages over the regular Escape.

For starters, the interior is much nicer than either the rental-spec Escape I drove, or the higher grade Titanium versions I’ve seen while helping friends and family members shop for a new crossover. I still don’t like the push button gear shifter – it feels unnatural, and I instinctively reach for a gear shifter the same way that I find myself pressing on a phantom clutch pedal when I get in an automatic transmission vehicle.

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Everything else, from the response of the MyFord Touch system, to the fit and finish of the interior materials, to the paint work and the panel gaps, seemed to be far beyond what I last experienced with a Lincoln product. I invite readers to take a look at the MKC on dealer lots and let me know if they see anything unsavory. I plan on doing so in the near future.

Although the Ford 6-speed automatic has never been one of my favorite transmissions in the industry, the new 2.3L Ecoboost engine is a peach. Throttle response is crisp, lag is minimal and the power delivery is linear and strong through the rev range. Given that this engine needs to move 4,000 pounds of crossover, it should be more than enough to motivate the 2015 Mustang Ecoboost. Hit the “S” button, and the throttle mapping, shift points and the active dampers all heighten their responses. It’s a bit much for what is ostensibly a plush luxury SUV, but it adds to the MKC’s already impressive dynamics. Then again, the Escape is one of the better handling CUVs, and starting with strong bones always helps.

That also comes with downsides. Like the Escape, the MKC’s rear seats aren’t the most comfortable or the roomiest. Fuel economy, never a strong point with the Ecoboost engines, was rather poor, returning about 15 mpg in town and 23 mpg on the highway. As I’ve said before, there’s plenty of boost with Ford’s newest engines, but a dearth of “Eco”.

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Unfortunately, my time with the MKC was cut short, since Ford of Canada apparently needed the MKC back early for a charity event. I hope they weren’t afraid that a certain writer had gotten their hands on a Lincoln and was about to take it out behind the woodshed. The MKC may not be the best luxury crossover in its class, but it’s undoubtedly competitive – and that’s more than can be said for other products in its lineup. Not to mention, an encouraging sign for the future of the brand.

Ford of Canada provided the fuel, insurance and vehicle for the purposes of this review.

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Volkswagen’s American Phaeton Will Start At $70k, Will Surely Fail Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagens-american-phaeton-will-start-70k/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:15:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916994 Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000. According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make […]

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Hot on the heels of Volkswagen’s apparent plans for a Chinese-market luxury sedan, Automotive News is reporting that Volkswagen’s next-generation Phaeton, destined for the American market once again, will start at $70,000.

According to AN, the next Phaeton will include a plug-in hybrid, as well as a V8 TDI engine. A W12 is also expected to make a return, though this will likely not be sold in the United States.

Despite sorely needing a larger crossover and a refresh for key products like the Jetta, Volkswagen is persisting with their dream of selling a high-end sedan in the United States, at a price point that is encroaching on their premium marques like Audi and Porsche. The Phaeton, for all its engineering excellence, was a massive flop in the United States. 

On the other hand, the product VW most sorely needs in America, is conspicuously absent from their lineup, and VW has only just settled on where it will be produced, after a round of serious horse trading and internecine squabbling. The Phaeton, according to AN, has apparently been completed already, but VW seems content to continue the current car’s production run, owing to its popularity in China.

This, dear readers, is a great example of how the company continually seems to misunderstand the American market. Rather than get to work on plugging the biggest hole in its lineup, the company persists on a fool’s errand masquerading as a vanity project.

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Editorial: Cadillac Reversing Course On Crossovers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-cadillac-reversing-course-crossovers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-cadillac-reversing-course-crossovers/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:54:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916490 This summer, we heard news that Cadillac was scrapping plans for a three-row crossover set to slot between the SRX and the Escalade. But according to new Cadillac head Johann De Nysschen, that vehicle might be back on the table, along with a slate of new products designed to raise the stature of Cadillac in […]

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This summer, we heard news that Cadillac was scrapping plans for a three-row crossover set to slot between the SRX and the Escalade. But according to new Cadillac head Johann De Nysschen, that vehicle might be back on the table, along with a slate of new products designed to raise the stature of Cadillac in the minds of a new generation of buyers.

In an interview with Automobile Magazine, De Nysschen outlined his vision for Cadillac over the next 10 to 15 years. Among the products De Nysschen talked about were two large sedans above the upcoming RWD flagship, a successor to the ELR plug-in hybrid, more performance variants and crucially, more crossovers.

Yes, I can hear the groans now, but even De Nysschen recognizes the need for more crossovers as a part of Cadillac’s lineup, stating

We only have two sport/utilities. It’s a sad day when the Germans have more crossovers than we. There’s clearly some room for us to do something between SRX and Escalade; I think there’s an opportunity even to do something sub-SRX.

 

De Nysschen clearly knows which way the wind is blowing. Cadillac wants to expand in the all important Chinese market, not to mention Western Europe and North America. A larger crossover and a sub-SRX model (ala the BMW X1, Audi Q3 or Mercedes-Benz GLA) is also a great way to bring in Millennial buyers, who De Nysschen expects to account for 50 percent of premium car purchases by the end of the decade. A larger crossover slotting between the SRX and Escalade is a no brainer, especially given the easily accessible Lambda architecture used by the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Such a vehicle will be a veritable ATM for Cadillac, and it’s shocking that the program was canned in the first place.

Like it or not, these two products alone will mean more for Cadillac than any number of rear-drive, V8 powered models. The automotive market is inexorably moving towards crossovers as the bodystyle of choice for global automotive consumers. But as we stated before, his grand plans are all contingent on GM getting out of his way and letting him do things his way: slowly, gradually, with a deliberate, focused effort on building Cadillac up into the brand that it needs to be.

 

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2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:23:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916346 Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox. While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that […]

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Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox.

While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that the CVT will be part of the CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh. It’s unlikely that consumers will notice the changeover, despite the howls of protest from certain corners of the enthusiast community. And the CR-V is unlikely to lose its dominant spot on the top of the crossover sales charts.

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Fiat’s Renegade Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fiats-renegade-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fiats-renegade-revealed/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:29:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913362   What you’re looking at is the Fiat 500X, the sister car to the Jeep Renegade and the most important Fiat-brand product in memory. This leaked shot of the new subcompact Fiat SUV shows what Fiat’s third North American vehicle will look like. Expect it to use the FCA 1.4L MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder engine, along […]

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What you’re looking at is the Fiat 500X, the sister car to the Jeep Renegade and the most important Fiat-brand product in memory.

This leaked shot of the new subcompact Fiat SUV shows what Fiat’s third North American vehicle will look like. Expect it to use the FCA 1.4L MultiAir Turbo 4-cylinder engine, along with front or all-wheel drive (though it won’t be as rugged as the Renegade Trailhawk’s off-road oriented AWD).

Why is the 500X so crucial for Fiat? Simple. The Fiat brand is struggling globally – its push into the American market has been less than successful, and it has little traction outside of South America. Fiat recently idled its Serbian factory (which produces the 500L) due to weak demand, and American dealers are crying out for new product. The small crossover market is the one global bright spot in the automotive industry and this is Fiat’s chance to capture some market share in the segment. The Renegade might be a little too bold, brash or “American” for some consumers both at home and abroad. This is FCA’s chance to give them an alternative.

 

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Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:38:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903322 News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it […]

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News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it spells another blow for the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant.

The Equinox (and its GMC Terrain twin) is primarily built at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Currently overflow production is handled by Oshawa and Spring Hill. For the next generation, Ingersoll and Ramos Arizpe were in direct competition for the new crossovers, with Ingersoll eventually winning out.

The Theta crossovers (as the Equinox and Terrain are known internally) have been a big success for GM, necessitating the overflow production at two sites. But with the move to Mexico, it’s merely another bad sign for Oshawa, which has had a succession of product moving away from the plant, and absolutely nothing in the way of investment announcements or product commitments.

At this rate, Oshawa’s closing in 2016 (when GM’s bailout-related obligations to the Canadian government expire) is almost a certainty.

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Buick Envision Spied On The Eve Of Its Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/buick-envision-spied-eve-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/buick-envision-spied-eve-debut/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:18:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901778 Right before its debut at the Chengdu Auto Show, the Buick Envision was spied outside an exhibit hall as it prepares to make its debut in China, a crucial market that is hungry for both crossovers and Buick brand vehicles. Although the Envision is almost certain to make its way to North America, GM has […]

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Right before its debut at the Chengdu Auto Show, the Buick Envision was spied outside an exhibit hall as it prepares to make its debut in China, a crucial market that is hungry for both crossovers and Buick brand vehicles.

Although the Envision is almost certain to make its way to North America, GM has made no formal announcement of its arrival. Reports indicate that a Q2 2015 launch is likely, with the GM 2.5L 4-cylinder joining alongside the corporate 2.0T engine powering the Chinese version.

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Look What We’re Missing: Suzuki Shows Off New Vitara http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/look-missing-suzuki-shows-new-vitara/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/look-missing-suzuki-shows-new-vitara/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:03:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901730   Suzuki may no longer be with us, but they’re readying the next generation Vitara for sale in world markets. With the new Vitara, Suzuki appears to be moving away from the off-road ready Vitara that was so popular with its North American fanbase. The new Vitara looks to be positioned as a Nissan Qashqai-fighter. […]

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Suzuki may no longer be with us, but they’re readying the next generation Vitara for sale in world markets.

With the new Vitara, Suzuki appears to be moving away from the off-road ready Vitara that was so popular with its North American fanbase. The new Vitara looks to be positioned as a Nissan Qashqai-fighter. A smart move from a commercial standpoint (since that’s where the market is going), but no doubt a blow to the Suzuki faithful.

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How The UAW Could End Up Representing Volkswagen Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uaw-end-representing-volkswagen-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/uaw-end-representing-volkswagen-workers/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:57:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894162 Despite losing a vote on organizing workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, the UAW could end up representing Volkswagen workers through its newly formed Local 42, with the end goal being the establishment of a works council at Chattanooga. Local 42 was formed by the UAW as a voluntary union that workers could join. Representation […]

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Despite losing a vote on organizing workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, the UAW could end up representing Volkswagen workers through its newly formed Local 42, with the end goal being the establishment of a works council at Chattanooga.

Local 42 was formed by the UAW as a voluntary union that workers could join. Representation for the workers would only come from a majority of them joining Local 42.

Now, Reuters is reporting that the UAW appears to be close to hitting the majority threshold needed for representing workers at Chattanooga, though the UAW wouldn’t give specific numbers. Also unclear was whether the UAW would be recognized as the exclusive bargaining unit for Chattanooga workers.

UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel told Reuters that the two entities “have a consensus” on whether the UAW could exclusively represent workers, but a little reported development is likely to ensure that this goes through. Bernd Osterloh, VW’s global works council chief, was appointed to VW of America’s board of directors just over one month ago. Osterloh has been a major player in increasing cooperation between the UAW and IG Metall, Germany’s largest labor union, and has been fond of meddling in affairs at Chattanooga.

The establishment of a works council was previously held as a condition of VW’s supervisory board – which includes labor leaders and representation – approving the upcoming three-row crossover for production at Chattanooga. And for a works council to happen, workers need union representation. Who better to fill that role than the UAW?

 

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Analysis: China, USA Competing For Allocation As Luxury Crossover Sales Race Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:15:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889153 Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory. Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting […]

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Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory.

Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting allocation. While the United States was expected to be the biggest market or the NX, China would also be competing for volume. The fact that the NX could be sold at a much steeper sticker price in China meant more profit for Lexus, and a stronger case for allocating more units to that market.

Now, AN is reporting on a similar situation for the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The outlet reports that Mercedes CEO Steve Cannon said

“…the United States is competing for vehicle allocation with China, where demand is equally strong. The United States is Mercedes’ largest market, but China is likely to become No. 1 next year…”

While the GLA and its twin, the CLA, are built exclusively in Hungary, and the Lexus NX is built exclusively in Japan, the Audi Q3 is built in three factories, including one in China, while the BMW X1 is also built in multiple factories worldwide, with its own Chinese assembly location. Both the Q3 and GLA will have North American production in the near future, with factories in Mexico, but neither Daimler nor Volkswagen have completed building those plants.

The lack of diversity in assembly locations could lead to a bottleneck in supply for both the GLA and the NX. For dealers in the United States, this means a hot product that has little room for negotiation thanks to outsized demand and little supply. But you can be sure that the American sales and marketing arms of Mercedes and Lexus will be clamoring for every single unit they can get.

 

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This Is Not The Hyundai Crossover You Are Looking For http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:30:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889065 Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products. Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled. The ix25, shown above at […]

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Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products.

Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled.

The ix25, shown above at Carnewschina, is probably not it. Hyundai has shown a concept of the ix25 before, but this version will reportedly be for the Chinese market only. Built in China and based on the Kia Soul platform (look hard and the resemblance is obvious), the ix25 is designed to compete with the Ford Ecosport and other B-segment crossovers.

Offering the ix25 and the North American Juke-fighter would probably result in overcrowding in Hyundai showrooms, not to mention, fierce competition for finite marketing dollars. But it’s a nice looking vehicle that would be a solid competitor to the Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax, if nothing else.

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CAFE Case Study: Lexus NX Gets Different Fascia To Qualify As “Light Truck” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cafe-case-study-lexus-nx-gets-different-fascia-to-qualify-as-light-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cafe-case-study-lexus-nx-gets-different-fascia-to-qualify-as-light-truck/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:43:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882282 Although we’ve covered CAFE and its effects on the new car market before, the launch of the Lexus NX provides us with an interesting example of just how far auto makers will go to have their offerings classified as “light trucks” under the U.S. regulatory scheme which incentivizes manufacturers to offer these sorts of vehicles […]

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Although we’ve covered CAFE and its effects on the new car market before, the launch of the Lexus NX provides us with an interesting example of just how far auto makers will go to have their offerings classified as “light trucks” under the U.S. regulatory scheme which incentivizes manufacturers to offer these sorts of vehicles beyond mere market forces.

To recap quickly, CAFE splits vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) under 8,500 lbs into two categories: cars and light trucks. Each vehicle has a “footprint” formula based on the vehicle size, with fuel economy targets it must meet. These are added up to a “fleet average” for each manufacturer, and there are a whole host of byzantine rules regarding “credits” for different technologies, like start-stop systems, hybrids and EVs that can be applied. They key concept here is that two vehicles can be the same “footprint”, but the “light truck” has to meet a fuel economy standard that is less stringent than the “car” standard. This (along with market forces) has been one reason why crossovers have become such a prominent segment in the American auto market.

As the crew at Top Gear Philippines discovered, the Lexus NX doesn’t just meet the standard of being a “light truck” by virtue of its approach angle. The solution is a different fascia  for North American markets, such as the one shown above. Compare that to the one below, which has a “fuller”, square-jawed appearance.

The change in fascia isn’t the most onerous hurdle to overcome, but it does illustrate the fickle nature of the regulations, and how far auto makers will go to meet them – and exploit the various loopholes contained within.

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Will Hyundai’s New Crossover Spell The Veloster’s End? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/will-hyundais-new-crossover-spell-velosters-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/will-hyundais-new-crossover-spell-velosters-end/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:44:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881162 In an interview with Edmunds, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski spoke of a new vehicle that “would be a vehicle that would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time younger buyers…Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling.” Doesn’t Hyundai already have something like that? The Veloster, […]

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In an interview with Edmunds, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski spoke of a new vehicle that

“would be a vehicle that would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time younger buyers…Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling.”

Doesn’t Hyundai already have something like that?

The Veloster, launched in 2012, was intended to be the vehicle that attracted a younger crowd, with funky styling, a focus on fuel economy and neat tech features. Sales of the Veloster have been modest, with Hyundai moving about 30,000 units annually.

The bigger issue at hand is whether Hyundai wants to have two vehicles targeting Gen Y remaining in the lineup, and if 30,000 units is enough to sustain the Veloster’s lifespan into the next-generation. For one thing, the coupe market is shrinking, whereas the crossover market is only growing. A new, Gen Y oriented crossover is also a product that could easily be sold globally, whereas a pseudo-coupe like the Veloster is very much a niche product.

If I were a betting man, I’d look for the Veloster to die come 2016, and be replaced by this new, youth-oriented small CUV. The finite marketing dollars that are at Hyundai’s disposal would arguably be better spent on the CUV, rather than trying to market both cars and have their volumes split in half. One is playing in a growing segment. Soon, the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and others will join what is now the most popular segment in America. The fortunes of the coupe market are much less promising.

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Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875425 With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market. Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable […]

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With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market.

Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable segments for OEMs. Take some normal car underpinnings, add a bit of cladding, a higher ride height and a two-box body and all of a sudden, you can charge a hefty premium over what you’d normally have to sell a sedan for. And what better way to lower your CAFE rating than to sell a ton of “light trucks” that get the kind of fuel economy that you’d normally find in a compact or mid-size car? These little trucklets/wagonlets are going to float the ability of the German brands to keep making AMG, M and RS cars by keeping things kosher with the Feds. Remember that when you bemoan the lack of wagons on sale today.

Audi’s Q3 starts at $33,325, versus $29,900 for an A3, though the Q3, unlike the A3, does come standard with AWD .  The Q3 is front-drive, but it does have a 2.0T engine, unlike the A3’s 1.8T mill. A Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $32,225 for a front-drive model versus $29,900 for a front-drive CLA. The one wildcard is the BMW X1, which is both rear-wheel drive and $30,900, making it the cheapest BMW in the entire model range.

I’m going to put my money on the Q3 taking the crown, just because Audi is very much the brand of the moment. This segment is a fickle, fashion-driven one, and products live and die by how cool they are. The Audi A3 quickly toppled the Mercedes-Benz CLA from the small sedan sales charts, and this won’t be any different.

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2016 Buick Envision Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-buick-envision-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-buick-envision-revealed/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:31:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871634   Buick took the wraps of the front end of their new mid-sized crossover, dubbed the Envision – or Ang Ke Wei, in China. Powered by the corporate 2.0L turbo-four making 256 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, the engine will feature a 6-speed automatic transmission, stop-start and all-wheel drive. The Envision is likely based on the […]

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Buick took the wraps of the front end of their new mid-sized crossover, dubbed the Envision – or Ang Ke Wei, in China.

Powered by the corporate 2.0L turbo-four making 256 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, the engine will feature a 6-speed automatic transmission, stop-start and all-wheel drive. The Envision is likely based on the Theta platform that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

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Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chart-of-the-day-crossovers-are-king/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chart-of-the-day-crossovers-are-king/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867074   This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style. While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable […]

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This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style.

While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable fact of our automotive landscape, both in America and around the world.

Now you see why Nissan isn’t so crazy to forgo the new IDx in favor of the Juke. Sure, nobody will ever cross-shop the two cars, but one plays in a space that is constantly growing, while the other competes in a market that has a future that’s slightly worse than the U.S. Postal Service. If you were an auto executive with a few billion to spend on a new car that must turn a profit (so, no fantasy brown wagon projects), the choice would be easy.

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Volkswagen Confirms New SUV Will Be Built In Chattanooga http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/volkswagen-confirms-new-suv-will-be-built-in-chattanooga/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/volkswagen-confirms-new-suv-will-be-built-in-chattanooga/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:43:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865897 Volkswagen will invest $900-million and add 2,000 jobs as part of a decision to build their long-awaited mid-size crossover in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The plant, which already builds the Passat, has been the site of a number of disputes, pitting the UAW and organized labor against an equally passionate opposition that includes the state level government […]

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Volkswagen will invest $900-million and add 2,000 jobs as part of a decision to build their long-awaited mid-size crossover in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The plant, which already builds the Passat, has been the site of a number of disputes, pitting the UAW and organized labor against an equally passionate opposition that includes the state level government and other anti-UAW entities.

The new crossover, considered a vital part of VW’s success, will be based on VW’s MQB platform, and be produced in 2016.

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Buick Gets Another Crossover – What Took So Long? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-gets-another-crossover-what-took-so-long/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buick-gets-another-crossover-what-took-so-long/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:10:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856833   Buick will launch a new mid-size crossover, dubbed “Envision” in China first, then presumably in other markets. All we can say is “hurry up”. Given the sales strength of the Enclave and Encore, it’s amazing that Buick isn’t busting their hump to get this thing on sale tomorrow. Then again, China is Buick’s most […]

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All-new high-end midsize SUV, the Buick Envision, will make its

 

Buick will launch a new mid-size crossover, dubbed “Envision” in China first, then presumably in other markets. All we can say is “hurry up”.

Given the sales strength of the Enclave and Encore, it’s amazing that Buick isn’t busting their hump to get this thing on sale tomorrow. Then again, China is Buick’s most important market, and their thirst for CUVs seems nearly impossible to satiate. No word on what platform this new CUV will ride on, but the Theta chassis that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain is a good bet.

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Slow Roll-Out For The Lincoln MKC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/slow-roll-out-for-the-lincoln-mkc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/slow-roll-out-for-the-lincoln-mkc/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:53:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855961 Over the past week, two separate readers have emailed regarding the Lincoln MKC. “How can the most important Lincoln in years be hitting dealer lots,” asks one reader “and yet there’s zero marketing behind it?” The most obvious answer seems to be a lack of supply. Automotive News shows just 300 units nationwide (or 12 […]

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Over the past week, two separate readers have emailed regarding the Lincoln MKC. “How can the most important Lincoln in years be hitting dealer lots,” asks one reader “and yet there’s zero marketing behind it?”

The most obvious answer seems to be a lack of supply. Automotive News shows just 300 units nationwide (or 12 days of supply) for the MKC. Industry sources I talked to suggest that Lincoln doesn’t want a marketing push that will get consumers excited for the car, only to have them show up at a dealer and find exactly zero units on hand to look at.

The other alternative theory being floated is that a last minute part change has led to unexpected delays – but our generally trustworthy sources have given no indication that this is the case.

Edit: From our colleagues at Autoblog comes this story. It seems that Lincoln is looking to avoid the same mistakes they made with the MKZ, where early advertising and a delayed roll-out led to less than desirable results. 

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