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…)
Mitsubishi is stalling the much-needed redesigns of its Outlander SUV and Outlander Sport compact crossover as engineers explore ways of sharing components with Nissan.
This means that, until the Outlander Sport gets its proposed downsizing, Mitsubishi could have two vehicles sharing a segment and potential customers when the 2018 Eclipse Cross hits dealerships. Both Outlanders were expected to assume a new form to better distance themselves from the Eclipse Cross compact crossover and each other. While they don’t look much alike, the Cross’ dimensions are only an inch-and-a-half away from the Sport.
It may make good financial sense to appropriate Nissan parts and platforms, but Mitsubishi would be shooting itself in the foot by having two models in the same segment — even if it were only for a year or two. Considering how important crossovers and SUVs are for the North American market, there is little benefit in bringing in the flashy new Eclipse Cross just to rob sales from another model. (Read More…)
You’ll have a choice of Tiguans after the newly enlarged 2018 model goes on sale. As it desperately seeks ways of diversifying its utility vehicle lineup in the U.S., Volkswagen will have the old compact crossover soldier alongside its updated, three-row successor.
The company has listed SUVs as the central pillar of its new American product strategy, but coming up with new models isn’t easy for a car-centric company that’s low on cash. Satisfying the public’s seemingly insatiable demand for mobile cargo space requires a solid plan, and VW thinks it has one. (Read More…)
Not content with just offering Chinese buyers the Lincoln Continental, Ford Motor Company plans to take a page from General Motors’ playbook and offer the expansive market its own home-built SUV.
The automaker intends to partner with China’s Changan Automobile Group to build Lincolns in the city of Chongqing, starting in late 2019, Ford claims. The two companies reportedly began talks early last year. (Read More…)
We knew that Jeep’s redesigned small crossover was going to be sized up, priced up, and niced up in order to avoid cannibalizing the Renegade. What we didn’t know was that Jeep would dump it into the KL Cherokee’s lap like a scalding cup of coffee. At $22,090, the base 2017 Compass is only a stone’s throw away from the larger model’s pre-destination price of $23,695 MSRP.
Worse still is that Fiat Chrysler’s inability to update or enhance the Jeep Cherokee in any meaningful way has helped sales implode in recent months. The KL was Jeep’s top selling model in 2015, with 220,260 units sold in the United States, but it took a sales hit of almost 30,000 vehicles the following year and saw a noticeably weaker beginning for 2017. (Read More…)
Call it a case of thinking out loud, or perhaps the spark that could propel a company in a new and potentially disastrous direction.
Either way, Land Rover and Range Rover’s design chief, Gerry McGovern, is pretty open-minded about a future where a British automaker famous for making utility vehicles — and only utility vehicles — spawns a car-like model or two. And by open-minded, we mean in a first-year university kind of way. (Read More…)
Land Rover has confirmed Velar as the name of Range Rover’s new luxury crossover, positioned to rival Porsche’s Macan.
While Velar sounds hand-picked to hang in the air and mimic the vowel placement of the Macan, Land Rover has used it before. According to the company, the name is derived from the original Range Rover prototypes from 1969, dubbed Velar as a way to disguise or veil them. Although why any vehicle before the Defender would need a secret working title is rather baffling when the company called almost every product it made before 1983 either “Range Rover” or “Land Rover” — sometimes tacking on a generational identifier, like “Series III.”
Still, any tieback you can make to your heritage is a win when it comes to marketing. Velar also fits Range Rover’s premium image and borderline sensual naming strategy that started with the Evoque. These are names that would work just as well being whispered by a model in a perfume advertisement; they just so happen to also be the names of two British sport utility vehicles. (Read More…)
Sport utility and crossover vehicles have gradually become hotter than the surface of the sun as the public has come to treat sedans with the sort of disdain usually reserved for an old high school flame. It was decent while it lasted, but now you don’t even really want to acknowledge that it was ever a part of your life.
Sales have reflected this and automakers have hurried to supply an eager market with utility vehicles. While some did not quite meet demand, and have suffered for it, others are seeing rising incentives to meet the growing inventory surplus — giving us our first indications that interest in SUVs and crossovers has its limits. (Read More…)
In the dark days of the recession, as General Motors was frantically attempting to save itself from the abyss, many thought it odd that the automaker’s GMC division was saved while a storied brand like Pontiac met its executioner. As for Saturn and Hummer, well, let’s just say far fewer tears were spilled over those deaths.
Clearly, GM saw long-term profitability in its carless brand — a prediction that has since panned out. From a low point in 2009, GMC sales doubled to 558,697 units by 2015. However, it isn’t the number of vehicles sold that’s the sweet spot for the automaker — it’s the number of GMCs sold in top-end Denali trim.
At GM’s utility brand, luxury versions of non-luxury vehicles are proving increasingly popular. (Read More…)
Today, Mitsubishi announced that its next model will be called the Eclipse Cross, acknowledging the defunct sport compact beloved by enthusiasts and teenage girls alike while simultaneously spitting on its memory. “Cross is short for crossover,” Mitsubishi helpfully explained in its announcement, as if anyone would have had trouble piecing that puzzle together.
“Eclipse is a word used to describe an astronomical event,” the Japanese automaker continued. “Marrying stylish coupe lines with the freedom of movement the SUV genre gives, the Eclipse Cross’ beautiful, dynamic form serves to bring about the same sense of excitement and inspiration as the diamond ring seen immediately before and after a total solar eclipse does.”
That’s sounds a lot better than saying it looks a lot like a Honda CR-V with a dash of Outlander. (Read More…)
Few vehicles offer the snob appeal and image enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but seriously wealthy Benz buyers interested in comfort are going to hire a private driver and purchase something with a Maybach badge. Of course, that limits them to a tarted-up S-Class, or so it was before the introduction of the G650 Landaulet — which is, quite possibly, the dumbest vehicle currently entering production.
While the Landaulet’s forward-most occupants are treated to the nice but relatively unchanged interior from the G-Class, the rear is an extravaganza of luxury to be enjoyed in or out of the elements. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, it is a convertible. Unlike the Cabrio, however, the only person to benefit from the folding top is the multi-millionaire riding in the back. (Read More…)
December is typically a peak month for automotive sales, especially among premium brands. With more holiday-themed ads than the majority of its competition, Lexus always sees the year’s final month of sales as its best. However, it did so well last December that January saw a 26 percent drop in sales due to an exhausted supply of sport utility vehicles.
With the narrowest of exceptions for the LX, last December turned out to be the best month in the history of all of Lexus’ SUVs. The bad news is that most of those sales came at the expense of the automaker’s sedans, which saw comparatively low sales. At around 41,000 units, December 2016 wasn’t all that much different from 2015. However, cars made up a significantly smaller piece of that pie. (Read More…)
It’s hard to go a day without overhearing people on the street whispering excitedly about the scandalous Toyota Sequoia. Okay, that statement is completely false, and no doubt part of the reason why Toyota saw fit to add an off-road-minded sport trim to its lightly refreshed full-size SUV for 2018.
Ah, hell, why not add it to the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup, as well? (Read More…)
By the year 2020, you’ll probably forget all about words like “Focus” and “Fusion.”
That’s because Ford, to capitalize on the relentless juggernaut that is the utility vehicle market, plans to add five crossovers or SUVs on the market in three years. Lincoln will see another non-car join its ranks, too.
That’ll bring the Ford brand’s utility lineup up to 12 vehicles, and Lincoln’s to four. The identity of four of the vehicles is well known, but we now have a better grasp of what to expect from the remainder. (Read More…)
If you want to scare your larger-than-average family by surprising them with a round of impromptu autocross through the mall parking lot, you’ll have to limit the size of your brood or risk looking daft while hustling a Toyota Senna around the storefront of a California Pizza Kitchen. However, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is prepared to accommodate you and your family on those days where you just can’t help but drive like a lunatic.
Ideally, you would let them out before putting the pedal down, but the Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 can easily move around an extra few hundred pounds of human flesh without breaking much of a sweat. If you decide not to heed my advice of driving defensively with your kindred in the vehicle, Dodge is offering every new owner a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At least then you’ll be more familiar with the beastly three-row SUV at the limit. (Read More…)