As Cadillac introduces the all-new 2015 Escalade body-on-frame SUV, the luxury marque is considering extending the Escalade brand to include a large crossover that would slot in between the full size ‘Slade and the midsize SRX CUV. “I think there’s a lot of equity in Escalade,” Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of global Cadillac, said at the NYC reveal of the revamped SUV, “I’d like to explore the notion of other vehicles that would carry that brand name.” (Read More…)
No sooner did Bentley confirm that they will indeed be producing a premium priced crossover, then Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes announced that they will join the other British ultra luxury marque in offering a utility vehicle, likely to cost even more than the Bentley, which is expected to start at about $250,000.
With Jaguar, Infiiniti and other manufacturers eyeing the booming segment of entry level luxury crossovers, Bentley is creating a new segment at the other end of the luxury spectrum. Bentley has greenlit for production a $250,000 premium crossover utility vehicle that will be based on a Volkswagen Group platform shared with the next generation Audi Q7 and a proposed CUV from Lamborghini, shown as the Urus concept. VW Group has been fairly adept at slicing their luxury wurst carefully so that its premium brands don’t directly compete with each other, so the Lamborghini CUV is likely to slot in below the Bentley in price. The new Bentely CUV, expected by some to wear the name Falcon, will likely go on sale in 2016. Though roughly based on the EXP 9 F concept, Bentley says that there will be significant changes in the production version. The EXP 9 F, pictured above, was widely criticized for its styling.
While the Automotive News story on the new Bentley CUV says, “In the future, new and redesigned Bentley vehicles will share platforms and engines with other Volkswagen Group brands,” that’s not a new situation since the Bentley Continental models already share a platform with the Audi A8 and the VW Phaeton. Bentley currently uses brand specific engines but they are all VW Group designs built in a VW Group factory.
If you want to know why Jaguar and Lexus are introducing compact crossover concepts at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week, all you have to do is check the sales data. Crossover sales are soaring, particularly compacts. Last month, Toyota’s RAV4 was up 50% year to year, and the CR-V at Honda had its best sales month yet. Car sales in general are good in the United States right now, with overall August sales up 17%, but sales of smaller crossovers have doubled that and then some at 36%. Crossovers have gained market share for 10 straight months and now take just over a quarter of the total market, on a pace to sell about 4 million units this year. Overall crossover sales are up about 2% from last year, with compacts making most of that difference. As recently as 2007, crossovers only made up 15% of U.S. light vehicle sales. Pickup trucks are usually seen as America’s favorite vehicles, but in August crossovers outsold pickups by almost a 2 to 1 margin. (Read More…)
MINI is the most unlikely successful new brand in America. Why? Because the brand’s “tiny transportation” ethos is at odds with America’s “bigger is better” mantra. Of course, these contradictory philosophies explain why the modern MINI is nowhere near as mini as Minis used to be. Still with me? Hang on to your hats because the German owners of the iconic British brand have decided American domination hinges on making the biggest MINI yet. Enter the MINI Countryman. Or as I like to call it, the MINI Maxi.
Ahead of the Geneva Auto Show, we have our first look at the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, which is known here as the Buick Encore. The Euro twins get a stop-start system across the board, and two extra engine options. A naturally aspirated 1.6L gasoline engine making 113 horsepower, or a 1.7L diesel making 128 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Looks better dressed down, no?