By on April 3, 2020

mazda

While buying a new car has recently fallen in popularity in the Western world, taking a backseat to things like experimenting with rice in the kitchen, watching your neighbor’s dog through a sealed window, and repairing that antique pencil sharpener you bought 8 years ago, the business of selling cars continues.

In Japan, where social distancing measures (and the coronavirus itself) have thus far proven not as severe as in the U.S., there’s a lineup of special editions incoming from Mazda. U.S. customers, however, will have to wait in their homes for updates. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

gm

Sometimes, if you find yourself lagging behind the pack and eagerly wish for a quick way to catapult yourself ahead, it makes sense to piggyback on someone else’s work. And in the realm of electric vehicles — brow-furrowingly pricey and time-consuming to develop as they are — automakers are coming to the conclusion that perhaps someone else should do the heavy lifting.

Subaru has Toyota, Ford has Rivian (and Volkswagen), and Honda now has General Motors. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

Despite the grand proclamations from various mass-market automakers about the imminent arrival of an all-electric future, not everyone’s so eager to hop on board. Many OEMs have proven hesitant to pump too many dollars into EV development. Further up the societal ladder, luxury automakers, especially those from Germany, have no choice but to pad their lineups with EU-pleasing electrics, but the ultra-lux crowd is a different story.

Rapid movement in trendy new directions is typically not a defining feature of this rarified class.

Bentley, a marque that conjures up images of leather and wood as much as it does large displacements and prodigious thirst, isn’t immune to the eco-conscious (and regulatory) pressure heaped upon automakers these days. It does plan to field an EV, but it won’t happen for a while. And when that model does arrive, it may tread a very different path than the Germans. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

There’s no question that Toyota wishes posters of its cars were found on the bedroom walls of more teenage boys, and, to its credit, it’s made headway on that goal. Supra, anyone? Then there’s the TRD Camry and Avalon, which might raise eyebrows if found in said posters.

That said, the injection of sport into the brand’s once staid lineup seems poised to target the lower end of things. We’ve seen the overseas GR Yaris, an exciting hot hatch not bound for these shores, but Toyota’s focus now seems to be turning to higher-volume small cars. This is where things could get interesting for North America. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Imagine the exasperation among the six or so people who would have bought this thing after hearing that the slinky wagon version of the Volkswagen Arteon won’t make it stateside. Imagine!

Yes, it appears that the vehicle previewed in a mess of alluring spy shots is not en route to the United States in a fleet of USAF C-17s, part of an all-out effort to get desirable product to the most receptive market as quickly as possible. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

News arose yesterday that General Motors’ and Ford Motor Company’s battle plans rely heavily on SUV and pickup sales, rather than electric vehicles. Details of the corporate strategies, first shared by Reuters, soon circulated through the media, with many outlets upset that the pair seem to have oversold the role electrification will play in their respective lineups through 2026. One wonders how they could possibly be this surprised.

Using data issued to parts suppliers from the two automakers, AutoForecast Solutions predicted North American production of SUV models from GM and Ford will outpace the assembly of traditional cars by more than eight to one in 2026. Roughly 93 percent of those models are expected to be dependent upon gasoline. Meanwhile, Reuters compared the manufacturers’ strategy against Tesla — a company that only exists for the explicit purpose of selling EVs and has never assembled a gas-powered automobile — as if all manufacturers are equal in scope and cater to the same type of customers.  (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2020

2020_Tacoma_TRD_Off_Road_01_50A9E609C6722DED1EB517DDEAC1D10E71825716

Here’s a change of pace: something to look forward to! In this instance, it’s a bevy of Toyota products poised to spring forth after this virus thing shuffles beneath the banner of “bad memory.”

The brand that’s shown no shortage of initiative in recent years plans to continue its new product flow, this time focusing more on trucks than cars. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2020

When you think about V6 engines, you’re probably reminded of mainstream family vehicles and manufacturers trying to find a way to package six cylinders in the most efficient manner. Inline sixes are great, but their length makes them difficult to install in the bulk of a manufacturer’s lineup. By splitting the cylinder count into two banks, the V6 avoids this problem — which is why you’ve seen it in everything from minivans to supercars over the last few decades.

Even Aston Martin has decided to tap the configuration for its next generation of vehicles. Developed in-house and intended for hybridization, the automaker promises its new V6 will not only live up to expectations but surpass them by outperforming the mightiest V12 in its stable. That 5.2-liter motor currently belongs to the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and makes 715 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

A brace of road-oriented electric crossovers will join the upcoming XJ at Jaguar Land Rover’s historic Castle Bromwich assembly plant, Autocar reports. The UK plant, formerly home to wartime aircraft production, will pivot to EVs with the help of a $1.2 billion investment.

With Jag pulling the bulk of its volume from crossovers, the addition of a larger crossover is a no-brainer; meanwhile, Land Rover’s shadowy Road Rover is said to be a go — minus the name itself. That leaves the slow-selling XE and XF sedans as the big question marks in the brand’s future lineup. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2020

2017 Bentley Bentayga:

Bentley Motors’ initial attempt at an SUV did wonders for its volume. While its status as an automaker catering exclusively to the rich keeps annual production totals exceptionally low, the Bentayga now accounts for almost half of its total output. After the model’s introduction in 2016, the Bentley’s annual deliveries shot up 33 percent in Europe.

That wasn’t a coincidence.

Ever since Porsche’s massive success with the Cayenne (introduced in 2002, if you can believe it), super-premium marques have been hunting for a way to make expensive crossovers work equally well for them. If you’re seeking supportive evidence, look no further than the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Aston Martin DBX, or Ferrari Purosangue. Bentley’s Bentayga also qualifies, though the company has a slight lead over the field, giving it the opportunity continue capitalizing on the segment by introducing another model — just like Porsche did with the Macan.  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Ghibli S Gran Lusso MY2018

Maserati has mulled plans to totally revamp the brand since 2018. In September of last year, the company decided it was finally ready to make its move, boldly announcing that it had entered into “a phase of intense and vital change, with a series of activities to totally revamp the product range and re-launch the Maserati brand.” Those improvements wouldn’t show up in earnest until 2020.

The gist of the plan involves widespread electrification aimed at improving overall performance, plenty of new product coming down the chute, and the promise that all future Maseratis will be manufactured in Italy. That’s right, the country that looks like a shoe and has given us automotive gems like the Pagani Zonda, Alfa Romeo MiTo, and legendary Fiat Multipla. Alright, so maybe the vow of continued Italian production is a double-edged sword, but the brand does seem legitimately interested in righting the ship. Italy conjures up visions of spirited driving and gorgeous roads, and it’s not like Maserati can disassociate itself from the country — that’s part of its identity and appeal.

The marque will have to delay its plans, however. These days, Italy is synonymous with viral outbreaks, not vistas, forcing the brand to postpone its big re-launch.  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

It was hardly much of a secret, but BMW’s development of a fully electric 7 Series sedan is now officially confirmed. In comments made Wednesday at a financial press conference in Germany, BMW boss Oliver Zipse ushered the long-rumored sedan into the realm of reality.

The coronavirus pandemic may have Europe in a near-lockdown, but brighter days lie ahead. Eventually. And when it reaches that point, Bimmer will have to contend not just with zealous regulators, but slinky rivals, as well. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

Domestic automakers are enamored with the full-sized pickup segment because it’s a reliable way of securing hundreds of thousands of sales in North America on an annual basis. Here, Ford’s F-Series reigns supreme. That might not always be the case, however, especially with younger buyers opting to purchase their pickups at competing brands.

Last month, Edmunds released a study claiming Ram is leading the charge with buyers under 35 — saying the brand had won over “the most coveted section of the market.”  (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

Volkswagen Group’s transition toward electric vehicles has been no secret. Since getting busted with software designed to defeat emissions testing five years ago, the manufacturer has trumpeted the merits of electrification at every opportunity. Still, some continue to wonder how an EV-dominant world will work, expressing concerns that peak charging hours could stress national energy grids past the breaking point.

One proposed solution is to use the connectivity available in modern cars to take power from the grid only when surplus energy is available, while feeding electricity back into it during peak draw hours. Michael Jost, VW’s head of product strategy, said this was something the automaker has been working on.  (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2020

2016 Dodge Durango Grille and Badge, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Model names usually remain the property of their original owner. The trademark gets renewed again and again, long after the vehicle bearing the name shuffles into retirement, lest it fall into someone else’s hands.

In this case, three automakers have placed the name somewhere on a vehicle.

That name is Hornet, and recent U.S., Canadian, and Mexican trademark applications show that Fiat Chrysler — and especially the Dodge brand — wants to keep it secure. But why? (Read More…)

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