By on February 14, 2020

Unlike the 1956 Packard Predictor concept, which foretold nothing but GRIM DEATH for the once-proud marque, Hyundai’s Prophecy is living in happier times. The Korean automaker is on the upswing again, thanks to an influx of crossovers, but the brand’s future shares an uncertainty with other automakers. Namely: will anyone buy their electric cars?

Bound for next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the Prophecy hints at the shape of electric Hyundais to come. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2020

A lofty, high-performance electric vehicle currently headed down the Kia product pipeline is, like all EVs, something of a gamble. For the mainstream Korean automaker, it’s also a departure.

Heralded by last year’s striking Imagine concept, the upcoming coupe-like crossover will clearly be a way for Kia designers to make a name for themselves — and, Kia hopes, a way for big-bucks buyers to get more for their money. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2020

Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse Cabriolet; A 217; 2018 - Image: Mercedes-Benz

As cost-cutting born partly of stricter environmental mandates take hold across the industry, low-volume specialty cars and less-popular body styles are getting a rethink. Model lines are being consolidated or dropped, leaving the consumer with less choice than before.

At Mercedes-Benz, which currently fields a dizzying array of vehicles spanning the gamut (minus the pickup segment), the future holds less selection for the consumer who likes to go his or her own way. Bound for the chopping block are the stately S-Class coupe and convertible, and two four-doors also look to be on the way out.

We’ve arrived at a Sophie’s Choice moment. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

If a report in Car and Driver is correct, Porsche’s Leipzig assembly plant will soon be home to two overlapping eras — internal combustion, and what comes next. The site, upgraded in the previous decade, handles production of the Macan, which Porsche claims will don an all-electric powertrain for its next generation.

Not so fast, say company insiders. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

Dave Pericak, former head of Ford Performance and now responsible for the brand’s icon models, told CNET on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show that evolving environmental regulations have forced the automaker to reassess how it views performance.

“A lot of countries are changing regulations so quickly, and so much, they’re almost forcing the performance products out,” he said.

“Our job is going to be two-fold,” Pericak continued. “One is to figure out how to continue to make performance that will exist in some of these regulated countries, even our own, and how do you do it so it’s a global offering?”

It’s a good question. Environmental regulations have indeed forced automakers to downsize displacement and re-familiarize themselves with turbocharging. Electrification is an option growing in popularity too, with many global automakers tossing battery packs into vehicles of all sizes at no small cost to themselves.  (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

2003 Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T, Image: Chrysler

File this tidbit under the “no shit” banner. Fiat Chrysler has been without a mainstream midsize pickup since the beginning of the previous decade, and the automaker’s dealer council is sick of waiting.

A our own Tim Cain told you recently, 2019 brought the public’s growing desire for midsize pickups into stark clarity. The segment’s hot and, with the addition of the Ford Ranger, growing. FCA dealers want a slice of that action. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV in Denver junkyard, front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Nearly two years ago we asked whether the resurgent Lincoln brand should just give up on passenger cars in favor of an all-SUV lineup. Back then, things were heading in the wrong direction for the two remaining Lincoln cars, the Fusion-based MKZ and the equally Fusion-reliant Continental. Fast-forward a couple of calendars and the situation has almost reached its inevitable conclusion.

The MKZ will bow out before the end of the year, and 2021 spells the end for the Continental’s brief return to the full-size luxury car segment. In this regard Lincoln is acting like Buick, though GM’s semi-premium marque stands to reach car-free status first. Can you envision a time when Lincoln finds it worthwhile to introduce a new passenger car? (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

Canoo

Developing a new vehicle platform in-house is an expensive affair, making the cost of producing an electric vehicle from the ground up a heavy weight to place on an automaker’s balance sheet. Margins for such vehicles are currently slim, if not nonexistent. No wonder everyone’s trying to free up cash.

And yet, because the world has decided EVs are the future, automakers can’t be without them. Ford recently partnered with Michigan startup Rivian to source a platform for an upcoming Lincoln crossover, and now Hyundai has followed suit.

Hyundai and Canoo. Best buddies. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

Though it plays second fiddle to more popular hot hatches from Honda and Volkswagen, Hyundai’s Elantra GT is not without a generous list of attributes. Space, inoffensive styling, and value play a large role here, even if the N Line variant (formerly Sport) can’t match the output of its boosted rivals.

For the coming model year, Hyundai aims to ensure the Elantra GT attracts more eyeballs. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The road to America is often a long one, and the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder that finally set up shop in the Mazda CX-5 last year took a Donner Party-like detour after leaving Japan.

The Skyactiv-D engine was over half a decade late in arriving on these shores, and when it finally did — cleared by the EPA after certain modifications — journalists were underwhelmed by its power and economy. Now, it’s the midsize Mazda 6’s turn to try ditching gasoline. Will anyone be in line to greet it? (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

nissan

Nissan sales tanked in 2019, following the previous year’s lead, but the brand’s Titan pickup line performance was worse than a grade school talent audition. Changes to the Titan and Titan XD for 2020 aren’t likely to move the needle in a substantive way.

Which makes word of a potential off-road bruiser of a Titan all the more interesting. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

The answer, mouthed silently by many of our readers, is surely, “No, absolutely not.”

And yet the door is not closed on the prospect of a wagon variant of the Volkswagen Arteon ⁠— a high-end liftback sedan that landed with a barely audible thump in North America last year. Comments made at the Chicago Auto Show reveal this as a possibility, and spy photos that cropped up today make that possibility even more appealing.

What isn’t yet known is whether the pool of potential buyers could fit into a Volkswagen Arteon. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

Mercedes-Benz sold a record 2,385,400 passenger vehicles around the globe in 2019, topping the previous year’s tally by some 3,400 units, and subsequently brought in more money while doing it. Revenue rose 3 percent, the automaker said in its end-of-year earnings report, but that intake didn’t translate into more profit.

Far from it.

As the automaker embarks on a cost-cutting campaign aimed at freeing up cash for electric vehicle development, among other things, the German manufacturer announced its net profit dropped to $2.95 billion from $8.29 billion in 2018. As a result, shareholders can expect a paltry dividend payout. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

Image: VW

No one wants to fail, and certainly no one wants to be handed a steep bill for their failure. With that in mind, Volkswagen is leaning towards the smaller of the two potential pickups it’s foisted upon American auto show goers in recent years.

That means you’re far less likely to see a Tanoak at your local dealer, and much more likely to see a Tarok taking its place. Or, equally as likely, you’ll see nothing at all. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2020

Internationally wanted fugitive and former automotive executive Carlos Ghosn has reportedly teamed up with Michael Ovitz, founder of Creative Artists Agency and ex-president of Walt Disney, to handle the movie or miniseries that’s definitely going to be made about his flight from Japan.

Ghosn could probably use the money, as he’s accustomed to the finer things in life. He forfeited $15 million in bail money when he skipped town, plus whatever it costs to hire an elite team of mercenaries to smuggle you halfway around the world.  (Read More…)

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