Tag: Trends

By on October 11, 2019

bmw

For years now, we’ve watched as the average car/crossover grille has expanded faster than that aunt you got divorced in her 20s and never settled down (the same can be said for a man; don’t send us letters.)

Now, as vehicle grilles — once declared nearly extinct in the Taurus/Sable/Intrepid/Crown Vic era ⁠— reach their zenith, the mind turns to an obvious question: What comes next? You’ve watched on these pages as Toyota and Lexus attempted to swallow galaxies with their gaping front openings. Now, BMW is eager to swallow what’s left. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

There’s little doubt that BMW’s design language, at least since the dawn of the 21st century, reflects the prevailing culture of the day. In the 2000s, the brand’s Chris Bangle-penned cars hosted all the eye glitter and booty action a viewer could handle, perfect for an era in which My Humps became an unlikely top hit.

Fast-forward a decade, and the designs of Bangle’s protege, Adrian van Hooydonk, are a perfect representation of today’s social media-led outrage culture. Big, gaping mouths screaming into a void filled with other, equally prominent mouths. We’re in the age of the big mouth, drowning in the polarization that rises in its wake, but van Hooydonk has no intention of reeling in Bimmer’s ever-expanding grilles anytime soon. (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2019

Tesla’s Model 3 became the best-selling car in the Netherlands last month, edging out the Volkswagen Polo. If you’re wondering how an electric automobile that goes for the domestic equivalent of $47,300 in Europe outsold VW’s $18,650 hatchback, take a look at the United States. Ford’s F-Series is always at the top of the charts here and, while it can be had for under $30,000, most have sticker prices nearly identical to the aforementioned Model 3.

Tesla also has the advantage of the Netherlands’ eagerness to adopt EVs, which has resulted in some heavy incentivizing. Honestly, if this author could bring himself to be surrounded by the Dutch on a daily basis, he’d be tempted by the parking perks alone.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2019

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass - Image: Jeep

While North American conversations about the auto industry usually center around the public’s swing away from cars, Europe’s doing all sorts of of swinging these days. There’s a battle raging between cars and light trucks, sure, but also between propulsion types.

Once dominated by diesel, Europeans are shedding oil burners in favor of cars powered by gasoline and electricity. What’s hot these days? Not cars, but crossovers sure are. Jeep deserves recognition for its market share gains. And EVs? Buyers picked up 47 percent more of those last year. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2018

This week, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a statement urging people to stop jumping out of moving vehicles in order to dance. That’s the kind of folksy wisdom we appreciate from the government, but we were curious as to what spurred it.

Apparently, youths everywhere are engaging in a social media challenge where they film themselves dancing to Drake’s new song “In My Feelings” next to their automobile. Hoping to seek some clarity as to why this is happening, we hunted down the music video for the track. This revealed two important things: Drake’s portrayal of a love-fueled killing machine is totally implausible, and the song is not nearly good enough to warrant such behavior.

The new cultural phenomenon is highly reminiscent of — and no less idiotic than — “Ghost Riding,” which peaked in popularity roughly a decade ago. The only appreciable difference is that the present-day participants actually seem to be taking slightly less risk and aren’t actually required to exit a moving vehicle. Some just just decided to keep the car in motion for the hell of it.  (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2017

new flyer xcelsior-charge bus

Despite a surplus of cities seeking ways to reduce air pollution, electric buses haven’t taken off in the United States as expected. While analysts still anticipate a sudden surge in electrification in the years to come, present-day transit authorities have continued opting for dirty diesels as the primary method of moving urbanites around town.

The primary hurdles are infrastructure and cost. Whereas subway tunnels come with equipped with a third-rail ready to deliver the voltage necessary for mass transit, above-ground applications abandoned wire networks the second the trolley fell out of fashion. Electric buses don’t need either, but they do require reliable charging infrastructure and a larger-than-average initial investment.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2017

2014 Volkswagen T-Roc Concept - Image: Volkswagen“I don’t know why we are late.”
– Frank Welsch, head of development for Volkswagen, ahead of T-Roc launch

It’s been less than one week since TTAC’s B&B had its collective say on the subject of Volkswagen’s SUV delays. But in an interview with Autocar, Volkswagen’s head of development, Frank Welsch, certainly isn’t denying the problem.

“I don’t know why we are late,” Welsch says, speaking not only of utility vehicles such as the T-Roc, but Euro-MPVs as well. “With the Touran we were late, the Sharan we were late. I cannot explain why, here we are.”

“I’m happy to have this car now.”

As if stepping out of a rehab program for automakers addicted to ignoring obvious trends, Volkswagen has finally completed the first step: recognizing the problem. The T-Roc will be unveiled this afternoon, August 23, 2017, years after the Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Subaru Crosstrek, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-3 took control of the subcompact crossover segment. (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2016

dealership

With Amazon teaming up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to sell cars online in Europe and companies like Lynk & Co wanting to destroy the dealer model, it’s had to know exactly what the future of car buying will look like. Retailers are equally confused, so the National Automobile Dealers Association hired a consultant to study the future of U.S. dealerships.

The study’s findings hinted at leaner times and the dark cloud of an autonomous transportation network looming in the distance.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2016

2014-jaguar-xfr-s-sportbrake-20

Jaguar’s design chief just broke the hearts of that tiny, tiny group of enthusiasts who were holding out for a new Jaguar wagon.

Ian Callum threw an ice cold pot of tea onto speculation that the British automaker would offer a wagon version of one of its new sedans, telling a group of auto journos in London that they were done with estate cars, Automotive News Europe has reported.

The reason for this has a lot to do with why Callum and the journalists were in the same room. The event concerned the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, the automaker’s first crossover SUV. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2014
quilt aston

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

To paraphrase Ian Fleming, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is already a fad. Car designers (or their bosses) are among the most faddish people on the planet, it seems sometimes. Don’t believe me? The new GMC Canyon midsize pickup truck has Altezza tail lights. One of the most widely proliferated fads in interior design has been the use of so-called French stitching, the use of contrasting colored running stitches along seams on leather upholstery. As someone who does machine embroidery on leather for a living, I know why it’s become popular. It looks good. The stitching slightly quilts the leather and gives it a three dimensional texture, a luxury touch. However, is it still a luxury touch when the latest Toyota Corolla has contrasting French “stitching” molded into the dashboard plastic? (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2013

Honda FCX Clarity

Remember this piece from the Honda Summer 2008 Hydrogen Collection? It was supposed to point the way to future of green fuel technology before the Tesla brought plug-in sex appeal down the ramp with their Roadster and, later on, the S, as well as the trend of compliance EVs from Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Kia.

But with sales of plug-in hybrids advancing far slower than originally expected regulators are taking another look at alternative ZEV powertrains.

(Read More…)

By on January 13, 2012

2011 was a fascinating year to follow auto sales. With the overall market up over 10%, and hot new products hitting showrooms, there was definitely room to grow… and yet everyone seems to have an excuse for why growth wasn’t stronger. Japanese automakers, the biggest losers of 2011, had a strong of natural disasters to blame the bad year on. Detroit showed strong volume gains in terms of percentage growth, and earned respect in growing segments where they were previously weak, but couldn’t match the expectations of its perennially over-optimistic boosters. The Korean manufacturers showed strong market share growth but lack of capacity prevented them from bounding into the top tier of the US sales game. In fact, only the European luxury manufacturers could point to 2011’s sales performance with unalloyed satisfaction, as they grew some 29.5% as a group, from an already-strong volume position. So, given these mixed results, what was the lesson of 2011?

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2011

Automotive News Europe [sub] spotted a new trend in Tokyo: Daredevil CEOs:

“On Nov. 27, Toyota boss Akio Toyoda wowed a crowd of spectators in Japan by racing through a lineup of Lexus LFA supercars in the new Toyota 86 sporty coupe. One day later, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito hopped on a Honda MotoGP racing motorcycle and blasted around the company’s Twin Ring Motegi racetrack.” (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2011

The US car market contracted by 23 percent between the 2006 and 2010 model-years according to WardsAuto data [via the Detroit News], but over the same period the total number of hatchbacks sold per year has increased some 63%, from 291,853 to 475,048. That’s right hatchback fans, after decades of underachievement in the US market, your favorite bodystyle is back in a big way.

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2010

The best-selling nameplates in America may still be pickup trucks, but for the first time in nearly a decade, cars and car-based crossovers are outselling the body-on-frame competition. The shift occurred in the second half of 2007, as gas prices built to their Summer 2008 peak, and despite more reasonable energy prices, consumers do not appear to be going back to large trucks and SUVs en masse. And, as Automotive News [sub] reports, the downsizing of America’s buying tastes is doing more than just putting a fork in the SUV fad.

(Read More…)

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