TTAC’s fascination with all things Chinese mandates that we get our hands on the first Chinese car to be sold on North American shores, lest we betray our mandate. That first example happened to come from Honda – and the Made In China Fit you see here might be the one vehicle most true to the company’s roots.
Tag: japanese car
Deciding what to do with a 662 hp muscle car was hard enough. Deciding what to do with the last pristine nearly new RX-7 in the country is even harder — because you can’t do anything with it, really. You certainly can’t street park it. I left it in an open lot the first night, only to discover that someone had put out their cigarette on the decklid. That was it. I ended up paying prices that would make a Manhattanite blush just so I could leave it in a covered multi-story garage visible from the bedroom window of my condo. Night after night I would stare at the slippery yellow shape under the glow of the cheap halogen lights, like a father staring at his premature baby in the neo-natal unit, checking and re-checking despite the near zero probability of anything bad actually happening.
The Suzuki Grand Vitara was the second worst-selling small SUV in America last month, with 419 sold. The only competitor that fared worse was the now-dead Mazda Tribute, which sold 1 unit (ostensibly a remainder car).
Ah, the Mazda RX-8. Given that it shares many underpinnings with the NC Miata, has a high-reving, silky smooth powerplant, 4 doors and a useable backseat, it should be a shoo-in for my next car, right? Not at all.
Google looks to be stepping their whip game up with the addition of a lexus RX450h. Joining the fleet of Prii is the luxury crossover, which Wired Magazine’s Damon Lavrinc discovered thanks to a tipster. According to Wired, Google claims that
“In the course of our work, we experiment with testing our algorithms on various vehicles to help us improve our technology,”
Which is a fancy way of saying “we got a Lexus for R&D reasons”. Lavrinc notes that the new car was spotted just days after California passed a bill mandating regulations for autonomous vehicle testing. If someone could explain to us why the Lexus has no license plates, that would be a start.
The Infiniti JX marks the fourth SUV or crossover for the brand, slotting between the FX sporty crossover and the gargantuan QX56. According to Infiniti, the brand had nothing to stem the flow of customers who were dabbling outside the brand when it came time for a three-row luxury crossover. Instead of letting their clients go off and get an Acura MDX or Audi Q7, Infiniti took the underpinnings of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and co-opted them for a luxury vehicle.
In a very small way, my family was involved in bringing the Honda CR-V to North America. As Honda hemmed and hawed about bringing their first in-house SUV to the continent, they quietly shipped over a few right-hand drive examples in late 1995 for employees to evaluate. As a car guy with two kids, my father, who was Honda’s in-house attorney at the time, was a perfect candidate, and got the bright blue CR-V for a few days. Festooned with chrome accents, graffiti-like graphics, a JDM fender mirror and brush bars, the right-hand drive CR-V got lots of attention. The CR-V finally came to North America two years later, without all the awful acoutrements that Japanese versions had in spades.
North America won’t get a “tuner special” Scion FR-S like the Japanese Toyota 86 will. Such a policy apparently contradicts Scion’s policy of offering one trim level, and the American FR-S will apparently come pretty well equipped. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see it later.
Now, this isn’t something I picked out of my nose. This is Suzuki’s new A-segment concept, a car that weighs a mere 1600 lbs.
Rotating alone on a turntable: the Subaru BRZ. Looks good, if you ask me. Unfortunately we couldn’t touch the dashboard for all of you dash-touchers out there… more shots after the jump.
“You know,” Mark Templin of Lexus told the press, “the first time I saw this car, I was speechless.” I know I have that quote correct, because it was in the copy of the speech handed out after the press event.
Speeches about speechlessness aside, however, this is the new styling direction of Lexus. That much is obvious from the pinched grille. What else can we learn about it?
Yes, the usual suspects are crying foul about the Nissan Pathfinder moving back to a unibody crossover style platform. Who cares? I would love to see some data on the number of Pathfinder users taking their cars off-road, on anything more rugged than a gravel driveway.
Like the Infiniti JX, the Pathfinder will have three rows of seats, but Nissan did not announce powertrain details. Knowing Nissan, it will probably have some kind of VQ V6 and a CVT gearbox with an all-wheel drive setup. People taking their kids to and from soccer and ballet probably couldn’t care less.
Bucking the wisdom of nearly every automotive journalist alive, Canadians opted for the much-maligned 2012 Honda Civic in 2012. 55,090 Civics were purchased by Canadians, making it the best selling passenger car for the 14th straight year.
According to our most recent data from Automotive News, as well as Honda Canada itself (with Automotive News tracking sales through November, 2011), the top 10 vehicles were all compacts, with the exception of the Toyota Camry. As of this writing, the Hyundai Elantra finished in second place, despite leading briefly earlier in the year. The prospect of a revised Civic for the 2013 model year wasn’t enough to put a damper on sales – or maybe people just weren’t interested.