Mazda fans wanted more power, and that wish will soon be granted. As we learned via dealership codes last month, the 2021 Mazda 3 will give buyers the option of boosting their car’s output via a new turbocharged engine.
As this month is all about vehicle debuts, there isn’t long to wait before the newly potent 3 gets its own public unveiling. And thanks to a Mexican ad, the model’s power levels are already no longer a mystery.
June auto sales in the hard-hit U.S. new vehicle market were nowhere near normal for this time of the year, down an estimated 25 percent below levels seen last June. An improvement from May, yes, but far from a return to normal.
Unless, of course, you’re Mazda.
The pandemic-era trend we detailed not long ago continued in June for the scrappy little automaker, with an unlikely product proving unusually popular and a much newer product doing exactly what its creators intended.
Nations like Germany might treat internal combustion engines like a shirtless man lighting up a Marlboro in a neonatal intensive care unit, but some countries still feel that they have a place in the automotive landscape. Italy even plans to put public dollars behind their purchase.
When economies and industries are suffering, governments can sometimes do the unthinkable.
In what might be the most blindingly obvious statement ever to be made in this august publication, the second quarter of 2020 was an absolute disaster for vehicle sales. Under the withering gaze of a global pandemic, the nation’s car dealers were awash in red ink — and the bitter tears of various dealer principals.
Demand and supply have cratered, producing a bewildering simultaneous mix of good deals in some segments as stores try to keep the lights on while shortages of a few key models hold the pricing line on others. Pile on the vanishing rental market you have an automotive industry the likes of which few have ever seen.
Everyone’s doing it, and now it seems Subaru has joined the maddening crowd of sales reporting conformity.
Not long ago, Subaru, like most every other automaker, reported its sales totals on a monthly basis. And why wouldn’t it? The previous decade saw the brand’s popularity expand massively in the U.S., with volume up not on an annual basis, but on a monthly, year-over-year basis. It pulled off the latter feat 93 consecutive times.
Alas, times change.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly cracking the whip again, spurring his company’s workforce into a frenzy of car-building as the end of the second quarter looms.
After posting a surprising first-quarter profit in early April, Tesla warned that the full weight of the coronavirus pandemic — and related lockdowns and sales implosion — would land on its balance sheet in Q2. To keep investor enthusiasm alive, the push is on to make those numbers as rosy as possible.
Your mileage will vary, automakers. As consumer confidence increases to some degree — a phenomenon partially dependent on what the novel coronavirus is doing in various regions — auto sales are expected to follow.
Forecasters now claim U.S. auto sales will see a marked uptick in June that pales next to the jump seen in May.
Compared to the clattery, soot-spewing 350 diesel that helped sink General Motors’ reputation in the 1980s, the 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six introduced in the automaker’s full-size pickups late last year is a refined affair. It’s also making something of a reputation for itself, drawing buyers to the company’s truck-only brand who might otherwise have looked elsewhere in the industry for a pickup.
GMC now says it’s targeting a surprising take rate for the Flint-built engine.
After a streak of 11 consecutive years of U.S. sales growth for Subaru, a period in which the brand doubled its market share to 4.1 percent, “We’ll start a new streak next year,” the brand’s U.S. CEO Tom Doll says of 2020.
At any other point in history, the declines reported by Subaru over the last few months would be calamitous. Yet Subaru’s year-over-year losses in 2020, a year torn to shreds by COVID-19, have not been as severe as anticipated. Moreover, bright spots have been more numerous than expected.
The company, as a result, is now planning for 2020 to end as the brand’s sixth-best on record.
Fielding a full range of passenger cars is soooo yesterday, man. Almost no one does it anymore. Certainly, no American automaker, anyway.
Across the pond, Jaguar finds itself at a fork in the road. The sedan market is drying up, and along with it, sales of its compact XE and midsize XF models. The XJ is going electric, so that’s a decision already made.
But what to do at the bottom end of the market?
Once upon a time, crew cab pickups were for logging crews in the Pacific Northwest, not families. That’s obviously changed. Whereas the typical pickup configuration was a regular cab, long-bed setup (efficient!), times change, and with it the take rates of various truck configurations.
In the eventful 2020 model year, it seems the buying public has never had less use for once-common body styles. It’s four doors, or get lost.
What a year 2020’s turned out to be! Sure, there’s stuff happening in the background, but look at all the minivan news. Chrysler’s coming out with an all-wheel-drive Pacifica, Toyota’s turning the Sienna into a dedicated hybrid, and Kia — well, Kia’s not giving up.
As the least popular minivan in a shrinking segment, Kia’s Sedona will not fade from the U.S. market. Not when there’s a fourth-generation model about to debut in Kia’s South Korean home base.
The trans-Pacific flow of automobiles between the U.S. and Japan has always been a lopsided thing, with an infinitely greater number of cars heading east than west. Lately, thanks to a spiky virus, that flow has tapered off.
Just how fewer Japanese vehicles made a boat trip in May is cause for concern for their country of origin.
U.S. auto sales were already heading into a long-predicted cooling-off period when that spiky little virus arrived, throwing economies into disarray. As a result of the coronavirus’ impact on world markets, including that of the U.S., a return to the kinds of volume the industry enjoyed over the past few years won’t take place overnight.
According to a new Bank of America study, good times won’t really return until the middle of the decade — and even then, not to levels seen last year.
The Jeep Wagoneer looms. So does its ultra-lux sibling, the Grand Wagoneer. A seemingly obvious product that Fiat Chrysler didn’t get around to developing until late last decade, the full-size, Ram 1500-based SUV should reach buyers in 2021.
Will they line up for a chance to take home a vehicle bearing this heritage-steeped nameplate? Probably. America hasn’t lost its penchant for large vehicles, and if you think a shattered economy will push buyers into something else, think again.
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- Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
- Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
- SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
- Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
- Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?