Category: Product Planning

By on August 12, 2019

While public interest in crossovers has encouraged Nissan to rejigger its global offerings, the automaker has refused to abandon small sedans. It’s something we’ve seen across the board with Japanese automakers. As the crossover craze hit full swing, both Toyota and Honda said that abandoning entry-level automobiles might mean leaving first-time buyers behind. Despite crossovers bringing in more customers and money, small sedans and hatchbacks have a tendency to reel in new, young customers. Japanese brands sees the prospect of gaining life-long patrons as an advantage, especially as other automakers (*ahem, the Detroit Three*) shift away from such vehicles.

Nissan’s situation is more complicated. It can’t ignore its bottom line after last months’s dismal financial report, and rumors abound that it will soon begin to pair down its lineup. However, that will not involve culling its small-car offerings.  Read More >

By on July 31, 2019

The news of Nissan’s recent financial trouble brought attention right where it needs to be: on lackluster product. In our most recent reporting regarding Nissan’s sales woes, I was asked in the comments whether I had any ideas for improvement. Well that got me thinking (and worked up), and it turns out I do have ideas, and they fall into three major categories.

Read More >

By on July 22, 2019

With Oliver Zipse confirmed as BMW’s new chief executive, practically everyone theorized on how he was going to shake up the strategy established under former-CEO Harald Krüger — which revolved around gradually introducing more EVs via a highly flexible architecture. While we were disinclined to agree, a swath of industry experts and media outlets claimed this was a terrible blueprint for the brand and expected Zipse to come up with something different.

However, he looks to be offering more of the same. That begs the question as to why Krüger actually left the company and taints the validity of suggestions that his product strategy was internally viewed as a failureRead More >

By on July 22, 2019

Mini might not make sense as a automotive company anymore, at least not in the United States. Consumer tastes have shifted away from small cars and practically everyone is interested in crossovers these days. While this issue has been less pronounced in Europe, where the Mini has enjoyed an uptick in sales, the brand has been struggling in North America. U.S. volumes are comparatively low and have been on the decline since 2015. It’s not a total disaster, but annual deliveries have been wallowing south of 50,000 units for a couple of years now. Nobody can pretend there isn’t a problem.

The fix, according to parent company BMW Group, is to fill up Mini’s product portfolio with crossover vehicles while also giving the little Hardtop a bit of love.  Read More >

By on July 15, 2019

Earlier in the month, Lexus brought a convertible LC to the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. While the car came clad in silvery camouflage and was officially referred to as a “prototype,” we didn’t take it all that seriously. Drop-top cars haven’t been in vogue for quite some time and — if we’re being honest — the LC hasn’t been super popular either.

A lot of that has to do with the coupe boasting an entry point of nearly six-figures. Sleek and sexy, the LC makes a wonderful grand tourer for those seeking something a bit more plush than a Porsche 911 and are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance for said luxury. However most people with the means to pick between the two will still select the more-expensive, and hardcore, German.

For holdover convertible enthusiasts, there wasn’t even a choice to be made. Porsche was offering an open-air experience while Toyota’s luxury arm was not — and had not since 2015. But that’s about to change, because Lexus has confirmed that the LC convertible will eventually enter production.  Read More >

By on July 11, 2019

Fiat Chrysler will invest $788 million to build a production line for the new 500 electric, according to the company’s European CFO Pietro Gorlier. An extension of automaker’s plan to to dump 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) into Italy, the deal makes good on earlier promises that the automaker would establish a dedicated small battery-electric vehicle platform.  Read More >

By on July 8, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems.  Read More >

By on July 2, 2019

Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand is set to launch a new global electric vehicle architecture in 2021. Both a sedan and SUV are said to be in the works, positioning the Korean models to go head-to-head with Tesla Motors. These would be the first electric vehicles created under the Genesis moniker and are just a part of their growing commitment to developing alternative-propulsion vehicles. Read More >

By on June 25, 2019

A report surfaced today from Muscle Cars and Trucks, suggesting that the Camaro will not live on to see a seventh generation. Having been sold continuously for the last 10 years, the iconic pony car is not planned to transition to the new A2XX platform. Current product plans forecast production to 2023, but nothing further.

The current sixth-generation Camaro is built on the Alpha platform that was utilized by the outgoing ATC and CTS. The new CT4 and CT5 models are built on an updated version of that platform, dubbed A2XX. While all 3 models will be built alongside each other at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant, the Camaro is not slated to receive a redesign to transition onto the newer chassis. Read More >

By on June 21, 2019

With Jaguar’s XJ sedan on its way out, the company is actively working on a replacement using its new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). Like many modern platforms, MLA can be be adapted for use in electric, plug-in hybrid, and mild-hybrid applications… and the automotive firm no doubt plans to squeeze every dime it can out of that built-in versatility.

Following the debut of a large premium sedan that’s supposed to replace the XJ sometime next year, MLA will see action at Land Rover — underpinning the new Ranger Rover in 2021. Eventually the automaker intends to use MLA as the basis for most future models, hopefully reducing development and manufacturing costs after posting a $4.6 billion loss earlier this year.  Read More >

By on June 21, 2019

A Mazda inline-six cylinder engine developed for a rear wheel-drive-based platform has been industry knowledge since news broke in May. But new reporting from Best Car in Japan confirm that Toyota/Lexus and Mazda will share that rear wheel-drive platform and inline-six engine.

Mazda’s inline-six engine development will include Skyativ-X (gasoline) and Skyativ-D (diesel) variants, mounted longitudinally. Additionally, a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system and all-wheel-drive variants will be offered. The question is what this has to do with Toyota. Read More >

By on June 17, 2019

Demand for Hummer vehicles peaked in 2006 before being obliterated by the financial crisis and a spike in domestic fuel prices. Considering the brand’s most eco-conscious model (the H3) averaged somewhere around 14 mpg in the city, the nameplate probably survived longer than it should have. It took on defunct-status in 2010.

Having failed to sell off the brand, General Motors is still sitting on the property and rumors are stirring that it might be making a comeback… as an electric luxury marque.

Despite sounding like the mad ravings of drug-addled lunatic, GM has its reasons for considering bringing Hummer back to life. Jeep sales took off like cat with its tail on fire after the recession, with annual domestic volumes going from 231,701 units in 2009 to a whopping 973,227 in 2018. It’s doubtful that GM missed that or forgot that it had access to an easily identifiable brand with similar ties to the military and off-road adventure. Read More >

By on May 29, 2019

Lately, we’ve featured a succession of posts relating to automotive style in the Nineties here at Question of the Day. We started out discussing the best of the best from America, Europe, and Asia. Then, last week, we moved on to the Worst Ever awards from America. Many of you said I was nuts for disliking the refreshed Lincoln Mark VIII. While I still don’t like the VIII post-’96, I’ll agree the Buick Skylark for 1992 would’ve been a better selection. There, happy?

Let’s see if I can get my European selection to be a bit more agreeable to all you connoisseurs of things Nineties.

Read More >

By on April 25, 2019

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) plans to make a major announcement on Monday regarding its North Plant in Cambridge, Ontario. These days, such news automatically drums up concerns of layoffs and factory closures. However, Toyota’s announcement sounds as though it will be relatively positive in nature, focusing on production changes.

While the corporate release gave no additional details as to what the announcement might entail, Toyota said the message will “will serve to further reaffirm Toyota’s commitment to manufacturing in Canada.” Read More >

By on April 24, 2019

They used to be commonplace, but the last decade or so has seen this automotive phenomenon fade from memory. Today we talk special branded editions, and how it’s time for them to make a comeback.

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