A Difference in Color or Colour?

Car color preferences differ by nation or regions of the world, as we found in comparing our previous post on Axalta’s study, and BASF’s Color Report 2020, issued in the UK.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The $13,000 Sporty Car Question of 1988

In the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

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Rare Rides: Are You O-kei With This 1996 Suzuki Alto Works?

Back in May of 2017, we showcased our first Suzuki(s) in a mixed Crapwagon Collection not often seen in the wild. Suzuki was our discussion once more when we featured a kei trucklet called the Mighty Boy.

Now we talk Suzuki once again, with a Works version of the Alto.

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BMW Can't Make Crossovers Fast Enough

Speaking to Automotive News, BMW of North American CEO Ludwig Willisch said the company expects that nearly half of their 2016 sales will be of crossovers for 2016 — and it’ll only go up from there.

“In the first nine months (of 2015), across the board, we had too few X1, X3 and X5s,” he said.

For this year, BMW expects that 40 percent of its sales will be crossovers, up from 34 percent last year.

“In a couple of years when we have the X7, it will be even higher,” he added. BMW’s crossover lineup consists of the X1, X3, X4, X5, X6 and soon-to-arrive X2 and X7. Are there any numbers BMW can invent between 1 and 8?

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Suzuki Wanted to Sell Re-badged Jetta Hybrid in the US

In a detailed report on the failed alliance between Suzuki and Volkswagen, Automotive News reports that the Japanese automaker wanted to re-badge and sell Volkswagen Jetta Hybrids in the U.S. before the company eventually decided to close up its local sales arm.

The report, which came out on Monday, is a play-by-play of what happened from the time Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki and Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn first shook hands in 2009, to when Suzuki announced it was cutting its losses, up to today as the automakers struggle over VW’s 19.9-percent ownership of the Japanese automaker.

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Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations

Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

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The Truth About "America's" Small Car Comeback

With new compact and subcompact models from Ford and GM enjoying respectable sales, the mainstream media has been indulging in some “feel-good” headlines, like the New York Times’s Detroit’s Rebound Is Built on Smaller Cars, or CBS’s more equivocal Can small cars rebound U.S. auto industry? It’s an understandable instinct, as the media has long battered Detroit’s inability to build competitive compact and subcompact cars, and in the post-bailout atmosphere of redemption, these headlines definitely help reassure Americans about the value of their “investment.” Unfortunately (if unsurprisingly), however, these pieces gloss over the full truth of the situation. Yes, Ford and GM are enjoying improved sales success with small cars. The “U.S. auto industry,” on the other hand, isn’t actually getting all that much out of the situation, beyond some fluffily positive press. Here’s why:

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BMW 5 Series Sells Out In All Markets

BMW, it turns out, can sell out more than just the odd “frozen grey” special-edition M3. According to BusinessWeek, BMW’s sales boss has confirmed that the new 5 Series is sold out, and that customers will have to wait between three and four months for orders to be processed.

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Fiat Five Year Plan: Alfa-Romeo Lives, Coming To America.

The last ten years have not been kind to Fiat’s Alfa-Romeo brand, as 2009 sales levels fell to about half their 2000 volumes. Having put Alfa on “strategic review” and stuffed it into a “brand channel” with Maserati and Abarth, CEO Sergio Marchionne has had a change of heart, and is now “determined” to build the brand into a “full-line premium carmaker.” According to Automotive News [sub]’s coverage of Fiat’s five year plan presentation, that means committing to a US presence targeting 85,000 annual sales by 2014. For a sense of scale, the Alfa brand sold a grand total of 103,000 units globally last year. And Alfa is going to have to kick ass around the world to meet Sergio’s goals. By the time Marchionne expects American Alfisti to buy 85k units each year, he wants the brand’s global sales to have increased nearly five-fold to half a million units. Ambitious doesn’t even begin to describe it…

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Industry Survey: US Not Out Of The Overcapacity Woods Yet

With the world starting to gain stability economically and economists talking about “bull markets” you’d be forgiven for thinking we can start to be optimistic and why not? Ford are flying high, GM (prodded by the government) are adding third shifts and Chrysler’s sales “only” dropped 3.7% in December. Well, don’t be too sure. CNN Money reports that a survey conducted by KPMG of 200 auto and supplier executive showed that 88% of them believe there is still too much capacity in North American plants. In fact, the survey showed that the executives believe that overcapacity is a bigger problem today than a year ago and when you look at the figures, it’s a bit of a no brainer.

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Toyota Restarts Plant Contruction As Currency Worries Outweigh Falling Demand
Asiaone Motoring reports that Toyota are now pushing forward on their constructions of plants in the United States and China which had previously been put o…
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Sergio Marchionne Defends Chrysler Profit Plans

In a lengthy, wide-ranging interview with Automotive News [sub], Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne got an awkward question from AN’s Luca Ciferri.

Your five-year plan forecasts that Chrysler’s operating margin will peak at 7 to 7.7 percent of revenues in 2014. In November 2006, you predicted that Fiat Group Automobiles’ operating margin would peak at 4.5 to 5.3 percent in 2010. How could Chrysler’s post-global recession peak profitability be 50 percent higher than Fiat Group’s pre-global recession assumptions?

Well, Sergio?

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  • Jho65697139 That's going to take a lot of buffing.
  • Corey Lewis No need for unique qualifications to care for this thing, it's just a Corolla with a different body on it.
  • Jeff S How's you Fiat doing?
  • Syke Had the exact same car, only difference is that the trim was the JDM bB rather than the American xB. Enjoyed the car immensely, originally bought it because it was excellent for transporting my then-invalid wife and her wheelchair around. Best thing about it? I also owned a Porsche 924S at the same time. I could go from the Porsche to the Scion and not feel disappointed by the difference in the way they drove.
  • Tassos I have never driven this loser, but I was driven for 4 hours in the smaller XA. I had to go from Ann Arbor to CInncinatti to buy my second E320 Bluetec, and a post-doc of mine offered to take me in his pitiful XA. Luck had it that the April 2017 day we drove down there was windy, and the tiny, very lightweight, sorry excuse of a vehicle frequently felt like the wind would take it and smash it . Those of you who have a clue, will easily imagine how different was my experience on the way back, driving the 4,000 lb E320 sleek sedan.