Buick was one of the major sponsors of the United States Olympic Team for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles— you know, the Games that got boycotted by the Evil Empire as payback for our boycott of the 1980 event— and the centerpiece of that sponsorship came in the form of a very special car: the 1984 Buick Century Olympia. We last saw one of these rare machines back in 2014, and now the Junkyard Find series returns with another, found in the San Francisco Bay Area a couple of months back.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 ultra-fast charging crossover utility vehicle was revealed yesterday, highlighting its Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
Ioniq 5’s 300-mile range, and 10-to-80 percent ultra-fast charging in 18 minutes showcases E-GMP technology.
The 2022 Acura MDX SUV’s Top Safety Pick (TSP) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety runs counter to all the racing around done in Acura’s commercials. The MDX is the automaker’s third vehicle to receive the IIHS’s highest safety rating, along with the RDX and TLX.
A stock 2021 Bronco Badlands finished third in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally, driven by two Ford engineers. The podium finish came in the Pre-Runner Truck class.
Bronco engineer manager Jamie Groves and Seth Goslawski, another Bronco engineer, drove the majority of the 1,141 mile race across the Baja peninsula. Brad Lovell, a Bronco advisory panel member and prior NORRA winner, helped navigate and drove one stage during the five-day event.
BMW art cars debuted today, using artificial intelligence (AI) software to generate new works of art. In conjunction with Frieze New York, the fair takes place in Manhattan from May 5 – 9, 2021.
Frieze New York has works of art from over 60 galleries, mainly located in New York. A viewing room with over 160 exhibitors runs through May 14, bringing together galleries worldwide, and audiences who can’t travel.
Hyundai rolled out the 2022 Kona N yesterday at its N Day, a digital showcase for the N brand. The latest N brand inclusion, Hyundai’s N and N Line will grow to 18 models through 2022. Hyundai expresses its ambition for the brand with the tagline ‘Never just drive’.
The Vantas VX SUV will go on sale in the U.S. in late 2022. HAAH Automotive Holdings and Sicar announced yesterday that they will import Vantas and T-Go vehicles. This is a prelude to HAAH and Shanghai Sicar Automotive Technology manufacturing vehicles stateside. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed their U.S. manufacturing startup.
Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone colossus, has announced they are building their own branded electric vehicles (EVs), just like Apple, Huawei, Sony, and Foxconn.
If you’re prepared to lose money, starting a car company is easy. Just ask Tesla. Xiaomi has plenty, enough to sink $10 billion into the venture over the next 10 years.
The Jeep Gladiator Top Dog concept vehicle is headed to Moab for the first time. First built in 2020, it sat in limbo for events to open up again, and the 55th Annual Easter Jeep Safari was the opportunity Jeep had been waiting for.
Due to COVID-19, the host group, Red Rock 4-Wheelers, had Easter Jeep Safari canceled, only to have the Grand County Commission in February approve a revision to the group’s special permit, and their event permit. Part of their compliance required cancellation of the vendor portion of the show, although the group has announced they will do a virtual live-streamed giveaway, to be held Friday, April 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time on their Facebook page.
Blend a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a 1968 Jeepster Commando and what do you get? A throwback that epitomizes why you build concept vehicles. I have to imagine it was as much fun for the designers, as it was the fabricators and the PR team that gets to display them this week at Easter Jeep Safari.
Designworks, BMW’s California design studio, has announced their first collaboration with Sea Ray, the storied boat builder, on their new Sundancer 370 Outboard. Released to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Sundancer series, it’s a swoopy-looking departure for the iconic maritime manufacturer.
Vroom, an emerging e-commerce player in buying and selling used cars, has announced the acquisition of CarStory, itself another used car platform. CarStory’s AI-powered analytics and digital services are what attracted Vroom, through the purchase of Vast Holdings, Inc., CarStory’s parent company.
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.
The automaker says it isn’t in the cards, but an analyst at Morgan Stanley says he’s hearing investor support for the idea. After all, what better way to signal your company’s shift towards forward-thinking electric and autonomous mobility than a fancy rebranding?
General … Mobility?
Not to be outdone by Ford Motor Company’s Bay Area bikeshare program, General Motors has unveiled two new, two-wheeled vehicles that are sure to get any Camaro ZL1 owner’s pulse racing. We’ve poked fun at the Blue Oval’s non-car efforts of late, but entering the pedal-powered field is serious stuff for companies — stagnating new vehicles sales calls for a myriad of alternative revenue solutions. Just wait till Fiat Chrysler launches a RAMbike.
At least with GM’s latest mobility effort, a motor comes attached. What isn’t attached, however, is a brand name. GM needs help with that.
Yesterday, TTAC covered news of the launch of a second-generation K900 model in the United States at the upcoming New York International Auto Show and Mobility Conference. Upon considering the K900 and its potential for success, some questions arose about the three different badges on offer from the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate, and what we might do with them.
Where does Hyundai go from here?
Buick had best hope every consumer knows exactly what the tri-shield badge stands for, as the automaker will soon dispense with “Buick” lettering on all of its models.
The dropping of the brand nameplate on Buick vehicles, first confirmed by GM Authority, began with the refreshed-for-2019 Envision crossover. A fluke born of Chinese manufacture? Nope — Buick is going away, in name only.
Launched last fall on the new-for-2018 Enclave crossover and extended to the LaCrosse large sedan, Buick now is making noises that the Avenir sub-brand will extend across the lineup, potentially landing on every model it sells.
That didn’t take long. Less than three months ago, we reported Buick brand boss Duncan Aldred said, in reference to Avenir, “We’re not going to force it,” while speaking at a media event near Detroit. It must be tempting to do so, however, when the brand looks across the showroom to see Denali trucks helping push the GMC brand to a record average transaction price north of $55,000.
Mini has revealed an ultra-streamlined logo that will begin appearing on the brand’s cars by March of 2018. Abandoning the three-dimensional model as the automaker’s official mark, the new crest isn’t any more exciting but does looks a bit more contemporary.
The new emblem actually made its debut on the Mini EV Concept in late summer. At the time, it wasn’t clear what the purpose of the new logo was. For all we knew it could have been a way of differentiating electrified models from the company’s main lineup, or simply be a way to further streamline the battery-driven concept. Instead, it’s to be the replacement for the old logo and will crop up in all the automotive locales one would expect: the hood, tailgate, steering wheel, and key fob.
The tens of readers who follow my bleatings here on TTAC (Hi, Dad!) may recall my fondness for the Lincoln brand. Having spent my own hard-earned Canadian dollars on two of them, plus encouraging other family members to do the same, I would be lying if I said I’m not rooting for the brand to once again plant its feet firmly in the minds of its target demographic.
For me, the disarmament campaign started when Lincoln began abandoning real names in favor of an alphanumeric (minus the numeric) naming scheme. Turns out, after reading a revealing Automotive News interview with Lincoln’s marketing chief, I’m not the only one who disliked it.
Nothing stirs up enthusiasts and cynics quite like the potential launch of a new brand in the United States. Over the past several years, we’ve reported on the motions being made by established European players eager for a thin wedge of the country’s huge car-buying pie — players like PSA group, which is now in the early days of a decade-long return to the U.S. marketplace.
Less exciting, especially considering the level of zeal expressed for quirky French cars, is the rumored emergence of the Skoda brand on this side of the Atlantic. Once a lesser player in the Volkswagen Group fold, the Czech automaker is enjoying huge sales increases. There’s a diverse lineup of vehicles, including a seemingly made-for-America SUV, the Kodiaq. The brand even filed trademark applications for model names.
So, should we expect a go-ahead decision in the months ahead, like the brand’s leadership hinted at last year? Nope. Skoda has better things to do.
Polestar said goodbye to Volvo Cars over the internet this week. While we like what Polestar does, the social media posting is a slightly sanctimonious. The brand will undoubtedly continue to use Volvo cars as a base for all of its upcoming builds and persist under the same corporate umbrella. It would be a bit like AMG wishing Mercedes-Benz a fond farewell in 2005 and then continuing to use its vehicles.
They’re technically separate entities but both AMG and Polestar exist as a result of the core brand and operate under the watchful eye of a much larger company — Daimler for AMG and Geely for Polestar. The only difference is that the Swedish performance arm is, like Volvo, focusing on electrification for added power while the Germans continue with rip-roaring internal combustion powerplants without even a hint of EV adoption.
Just kidding. Mercedes-AMG’s director of vehicle development, Drummond Jacoy, already confirmed the brand has to “reinvent” itself when it comes to electric cars, promising mild-hybrid applications last Janurary.
In Hyundai’s mind, consumers now know the brand builds reliable cars. Quality cars. Attractive cars. “But now we have the knowledge to add sportiness to that image,” says Klaus Köster, Hyundai’s European director for high performance vehicle development.
The Hyundai i30 N, essentially a high-performance version of the Hyundai Elantra GT that Americans will soon be able to purchase in less powerful iterations, is instantly becoming the foundation for a Hyundai brand that wants to be taken more seriously for its athleticism.
Just as the i30 N spent much of its development time at Hyundai’s six-year-old technical center beside Germany’s iconic Nürburgring circuit, now every Hyundai will be assessed at the Nürburgring.
The Santa Fe’s ‘Ring time probably won’t be published.
It’s been an interesting few years at Ford Motor Company, especially for the automaker’s prestige marque. Ever since Ford decided that reviving the listless Lincoln brand with a life-giving cash infusion was the right way forward, watching the division reconcile its unsavory near-past and mouth-watering distant past with its present and future has become a source of amusement.
Not to say that Lincoln’s executives and PR teams are stumbling like Gerald Ford. Far from it. However, sometimes a statement causes a “whoa, hold on a minute” moment that’s too big to ignore.
“Pshhh, it’s not that fast. Your car is faster,” the young man wearing the Alpha Gamma Delta shirt said to his blonde companion. We were in the parking lot of a stadium in Orange County, under the shade of a white tent with a Cadillac logo, beside a sign reading: “ACCELERATION.” It was unclear which Cadillac he was disparaging, as both the ATS-V and CTS-V were available for full-throttle rips. He may have been trying to goad his girlfriend into driving, but the trash talk indicated this was no press junket.
Welcome to the Southern California edition of Cadillac’s Truth + Dare summer tour across America.
Two weeks earlier, I was wondering how the hell I was targeted on Twitter by a Cadillac ad with an invitation to a ride-and-drive event. For financial reasons, “automotive journalist” doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Cadillac customer. My BMW Z3 recently celebrated its 20th birthday. But they weren’t asking for my tax returns and I’m fascinated by the Cadillac brand, so this seemed like an opportunity to see how they present themselves to the public. All I had to do was drive from Los Angeles to Anaheim on a Friday at 2:00 p.m.
Think of it as a green brand known for producing some very blue cars. Polestar, Volvo’s performance wing, will be spun off into an electrified automaker under a new plan from the Swedish car manufacturer.
Expected to do battle with the likes of Tesla and BMW’s i sub-brand, future Polestars — like their gasoline-powered predecessors — will stake out space in the performance arena, only this time in a different niche.
Amid stagnating U.S. sales, a crash-dive in China, and a product lineup not optimally suited for growth, Hyundai is furiously crafting a salvation plan.
In North America and other utility-loving countries, the strategy is clear: more crossovers and a significant product shakeup. The little Kona is already on the way, though perhaps not as quickly as Hyundai had hoped.
China, however, presents a serious problem for the automaker. What was supposed to be a growth market for the company has now turned into the opposite. Hyundai’s share of the market has shrunk to 5 percent from last year’s 8.1 percent, which was down from years past. In March alone, after news of South Korea’s installation of a U.S.-supplied anti-missile defense system, Hyundai and Kia sales dropped 52 percent.
Determined to make the Chinese fall back into love, the automaker has a plan brewing.
Cadillac’s controversial 2015 move from its Detroit birthplace to the glittering spires of Manhattan is already showing signs of working, says the brand’s stern and methodical president.
By packing their bags and heading to Soho, Cadillac’s braintrust hoped the brand’s swanky new digs would rub off, distancing it from the likes of GMC and Chevrolet and helping to pull in discerning new customers. So far, Cadillac is — just not in its home country.
General Motors’ luxury division isn’t content with brewing coffee and showing off fashionable new threads at its new SoHo space — it also wants you to drive its cars.
Book by Cadillac, a monthly subscription lease service that launched one month ago, aims to get more people in the metal to the tune of $1,500 a month — and 24/7 Wall St. is already calling it a “major flop.”
According to the self-described “financial news and opinion” website, “[Uwe] Ellinghaus [Cadillac’s chief marketing officer] in particular has to be humiliated,” as there aren’t enough subscriptions available to supply the demand.
Say what now?
As it prepares to return to the World Rally Championship after a 17-year absence, Toyota and its Gazoo racing division just revealed a piece of brain candy for hot hatch lovers.
Making sky-high horsepower from its diminutive four-cylinder, the Toyota Yaris WRC hits the pavement — and dirt and snow — in Monte Carlo next month, but the vehicle itself could spell a less buttoned-down future for the brand.
Don’t you hate it when you’ve bragged to your friends for months about the brawny V8 engine in your Ram 1500, only to check the oil one day and discover it’s a V6?
That’s the joke Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accidentally played after a badging mix-up at the assembly plant. Also in the news this week is a Canadian town that tortures drunk drivers with godawful Nickelback tunes, as well as an Australian suspect who stopped for gas a number of times during a high-speed police pursuit.
Fearing a backlash from die-hard Ram loyalists, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives seem hesitant to move the next-generation 1500 pickup away from the styling that’s made it a bright sales light in the FCA portfolio.
Still, as much as they’d like to avoid it, many say the time has come to drop Ram’s most signature design element — the crosshair grille.
When word of Lynk & Co first trickled out, the yet-to-be-revealed global car brand sounded exactly like a garden variety mobility company. Oh, there’ll be ride-sharing and apps and all that, we thought.
Then the brand revealed that an actual real, physical vehicle is on the way. Developed from Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, the model will debut on October 20. And while we have some teaser images, the company — a subsidiary of Chinese Volvo parent company Geely — remains maddeningly vague about what its future.
After posting sales gains that most automakers would sell their souls for, Jeep’s skyrocketing climb hit the upper limits of the atmosphere in September, with sales dropping by 3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
Maybe the Jeep brand isn’t bigger than Jesus. With the new vehicle market cooling off and two of its oldest — but still strong-selling — models being pared down to one, Jeep needs to branch out to keep the momentum going.
It has products up its sleeve — a Wrangler pickup and $140,000 luxo-ute to name a couple — and has factories planned for developing nations everywhere, but Jeep could reap a sales reward if it stopped screwing up in one obvious but overlooked market.
Forget Chevrolet’s cringe-inducing launch of the first-generation Spark — this could be the biggest hipster Millennial marketing/branding effort to date.
Naturally, it’s for an affordable car brand, but with a difference: this brand is completely new and its products have yet to be revealed. Lynk & Co, a new subsidiary of Volvo parent company Geely, launches on October 20, Reuters reports, and it’s clear it wants to be every free-spirited young adult’s first car.
Apparently, the 2017 Ram 1500 Lone Star Silver Edition was such a hit at the State Fair of Texas, visitors stole the badge off of both trucks.
Located in a lower corner of the truck’s chrome mesh grille, the badge lets everyone know that this isn’t just any other Ram model. Texas-sized amounts of polished metal and chrome are other giveaways.
Unfortunately for Ram representatives at the fair, those badges walked away as milled aluminum bling, possibly bound for a hat, vest or belt.
The Jeep brand can seemingly do no wrong, at least on its balance sheet, but are consumers ready to shell out six figures for a top-flight SUV with a seven-slot grille?
A figure of Greek mythology with very strong back muscles will find his name plastered on Volkswagen’s upcoming three-row crossover.
According to Automobilwoche, German affiliate of Automotive News, Volkswagen has decided to name their high-hopes, Chattanooga-built model the Atlas.
Interbrand released its annual list of the world’s top 100 brands, a ranking that now contains an independent automaker.
While Toyota climbs one spot to the No. 5 position (the highest of all automakers), Tesla has muscled its way onto the field, slotting at No. 100. Volkswagen continues the brand value descent it began last year, falling from No. 35 to No. 40 and posting a value decline of 9 percent.
There’s grim news for GM, as none of its brands made the list this year.
On the surface, it seems creepy and/or pathetic, but it could be a healthy new revenue stream for Toyota.
The automaker plans to begin offering a small, talking robot to Japanese customers this winter — a strategic product for an aging population with a low birthrate, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Kirobo Mini is designed to replace family members you don’t have, which might explain why it will criticize your driving habits.
Cue the yacht rock.
Aston Martin’s latest offering isn’t a curvaceous, high-performance car. Nor is it an SUV. It’s a boat, and a nice one at that — but it’s also a gamble. The British automaker wants to squeeze money out of previously untapped markets, starting with the boaty set.
After this, the sky’s the limit.
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- MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
- MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
- Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
- AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
- Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.