Category: Editorials

By on December 3, 2020

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation, better known as NHK, reported that the island nation is considering banning new internal combustion engine cars by the mid-2030s this week. While we will continue to maintain that such an effort seems unrealistic when confronting the current realities of the market, Japan’s alleged plan offers a bit more leeway than proposals pitched in parts of Europe and North America. Nippon also finds itself in a better position in the preferred mixed approach of allowing mixed powertrains, which would allow the industry to continue production gasoline-driven hybrids.

For starters, the Asian country has a fairly comprehensive hydrogen fueling network thanks to its small size. It’s also in a position that would make nationwide EV charging more feasible than regions with plenty of wide-open spaces. But automakers aren’t making a peep on the issue, preferring to leave it up to regulators and the market.

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By on December 3, 2020

While every other developed nation has been struggling unsuccessfully to catch up, Japan remains ground zero for adorable robots and Honda is continuing the trend with its new traffic-safety gizmo. Intended to advise young children on how to proceed through intersections, the product is really more like blind-spot-monitoring for kids than a full-on robotic entity. But it seems a useful useful addition to the pedestrian-heavy country where youngsters are substantially more likely to be struck by automobiles than here in North America.

Titled “Ropot” by its creators, the device rides on a backpack or shoulder strap and uses its GPS capabilities to remind kids to stop and look at intersections. It also allows parents to track the whereabouts of their offspring. However, since Ropot is targeted for children who are just starting to venture places on their own, a little parental spying may be warranted. All the adults have to do is make sure they take that first trip to school together so Honda’s wide-eyed helper can learn the route.

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By on December 3, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride comes to us courtesy of commenter Bumpy ii, who linked this imported JDM Mazda on the Thunderbird Rare Ride posted a few weeks ago.

Let’s check out a compact five-door liftback with a very small V6.

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By on December 3, 2020

 

off-road retailer

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, has released its Fall 2020 State of the Industry report, which denotes the health of the automotive aftermarket despite the disruption caused by COVID-19. This report provides companies with the information needed to make good business decisions, not to put a positive spin on a time of uncertainty.

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By on December 2, 2020

Ford Super Duty sales increased by 7.5 percent in November, while the F-series sold 713,325 trucks, 195,000 more than Chevrolet and GMC combined to capture the title of America’s best-selling pickup for the 44th straight year.

Meanwhile, the Ford Transit, America’s best-selling van, sold 9,917 units, 13.9 percent over last year, and a 70-percent increase in commercial sales for the month. Outselling its nearest competitor by 41 percent, Ford now holds a 31-percent share of the full-size van market.

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By on December 2, 2020

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

If you feel like you’ve had your fill of news relating to electric cars, you’re not alone. Sadly, that’s just about all the industry is willing to let out of the bag right now. Whether you’re trying to pump staffers for information using sweet talk or waggling a crowbar in front of their face, they don’t have much else to discuss ahead of the holidays.

But that doesn’t mean there can’t be good news. Hyundai Motor Group, one of the few manufacturers that (mostly) hasn’t left us clenching our teeth when announcing decisions, has announced it’s building an all-new, electric platform that won’t have a laughably pathetic range. Unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) promises sports-car levels of acceleration, outstanding flexibility, and production models boasting ranges in excess of 300 miles.

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By on December 2, 2020

Volvo Cars’ chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson, believes a ban on gasoline-driven vehicles would be a more effective way to force groups to go electric than continuing to offer subsidies on battery-powered automobiles. The announcement comes as part of the Financial Times’ “Future of the Car Summit,” where Samuelsson will proclaim the internal combustion engine “a technology of the past.”

In related news, Volvo Cars is also in negotiations to merge with China’s Geely Automotive and has renewed its commitment toward becoming an electric-only brand by 2030. The latter issue will also be brought up during Wednesday’s Car Summit, with the CEO praising the United Kingdom’s promise to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars that same year.

What miraculously convenient timing.

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By on December 2, 2020

Do you ever get the feeling that everything even remotely fun and interesting is being thrown on the pyre of progress so we can collectively live safer, duller lives? Case in point, Volkswagen is dismantling its racing operations so the 169 people it employed can be reincorporated. Responsible for the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R racer that showcased some of the performance advantages of EVs to attentive audiences around the globe, the team will now be responsible for building ID models intended for mass consumption.

While we’re sure spreading their engineering prowess around will benefit VW’s core brand, it’s unfortunate that it came at the expense of the brand’s motorsport activities — modest as they might have been in 2020.

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By on December 2, 2020

After teasing, promises, and COVID-related delays, the Infiniti QX55 debuted a few weeks ago, as Infiniti eagerly drew direct comparisons between their new “classy” successor and the departed FX35/45. You might remember that shapely SUV headed to its demise in 2017 after it was left to rot for a few years, then renamed QX70. Infiniti chose to ignore its final QX70 name in the press materials and call it FX instead, which says something about their branding strategy, doesn’t it?

Today I’m here to tell you this “new car” is a perfect example of exactly what’s wrong at Infiniti, and the changes needed years ago, not sometime in the future.

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By on December 2, 2020

There were precisely two generations of the Nissan Pulsar sold on North American shores, and we’ve covered the latter previously in an absolutely excellent NX Sportbak from 1988. Today’s Rare Ride is a final-year 1986 example of the first generation Pulsar, which wasn’t quite as versatile as its replacement in 1987.

This one’s as clean as they come.

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By on December 2, 2020

Zero to sixty in 3.8 seconds, or 0.3 seconds faster than the outgoing version, the 2021 Jaguar F-PACE SVR is also said to be 2 mph faster, with a top speed of 178 mph. The real question is where outside of Iredell County, North Carolina, scene of NASCAR racer Kyle Busch’s infamous 2011 speeding ticket (128 mph in a 45 mph zone), could you get anywhere near those limits?

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By on December 1, 2020

While electric automobiles have numerous advantages over internal combustion vehicles, we’ve often wondered when their disadvantages would be offset to a point that would make sense to have them become the dominant mode of transportation. While there are multiple issues that have to be addressed, one of the largest involves finding a way to source the kind of energy needed for the world to recharge them on a regular basis.

An EV-dominated society likely means elevated energy prices and peak demand hours that could easily overtax national energy grids. Renewable energy sources may also prove insufficient in providing the kind of power necessary — potentially requiring countries to double down on plants reliant on coal, oil, and natural gas if nuclear facilities are not approved. Counter-productive takes like that are often downplayed, however, so industrial giants can continue proclaiming the technology as largely trouble-free.

But what happens when EV royalty starts making similar claims about our collective energy needs?

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By on December 1, 2020

Ford has hired Suzy Deering as global chief marketing officer to help execute its plan to unlock customer and company value. Deering will join Ford as head of Global Marketing on January 4, 2021, from worldwide and North America CMO at eBay for five-plus years.

Deering will succeed Joy Falotico as Ford CMO.  The company previously announced that Falotico, who has been managing both marketing and the Lincoln brand for the past three years, will be dedicated solely to her role as president of the Lincoln Motor Company, Ford’s strategically important and growing luxury vehicle brand.

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By on December 1, 2020

This isn’t the first time Rare Rides has featured a car from long-deceased automaker Glas. That honor goes to this luxurious 2600 V8 coupe from 1967. But while the 2600 was the most expensive car Glas made, today’s 1304 is one of the least expensive.

Let’s check out a compact wagon built just as Glas was being consumed by BMW.

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By on November 30, 2020

 

Millennials. Image: Fractal Pictures/Shutterstock.com

Forget all you’ve heard about Millennials (24-39 years old) and their disdain for automobiles. COVID-19 has changed that, as 31 percent of those without a car intend to buy one in the next six months, and 45 percent of them are Millennials.

EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, strategy, and consulting services, and a member of Ernst & Young Global Limited, issued their 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, surveying over 3,300 consumers across nine countries. Thirty-one percent of the respondents who don’t own a car plan to buy one in the next six months, while 20 percent that already own a car say they would be open to buying another vehicle. Both groups said that one of their principal reasons to purchase is the pandemic.

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Recent Comments

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