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Archive for the ‘Car Industry News’ Category

The Great Minivan Mystery

March 26th, 2015

Dodge Grand Caravan

There wasn’t a lot of outrage when Dodge decided that the Grand Caravan needed to go. There was a little bit of curiosity and maybe some shock from certain family-oriented car buyers, but no one threw much of a fuss about the news.

The death of the Grand Caravan signals the end of an era and echoes a changing attitude about family transportation. Minivans are becoming a smaller niche market as car-based crossovers and SUVs secure their places in the driveways of America’s suburbs.

Few people cried over the loss of the Grand Caravan because Chrysler would still sell its identical twin, the Chrysler Town & Country. For all intents and purposes, the Grand Caravan was dead.

So why then, out of nowhere, did spy photographers capture images of what appears to be a new Grand Caravan, cloaked in heavy camo, testing in the American Southwest?

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This New Cadillac Could Change the Luxury Game

March 25th, 2015
Could the new Cadillac CT6 look like this?

Could the new Cadillac CT6 look like this?

Cadillac has spent the better part of its existence in catch-up mode, breathing in the exhaust of Mercedes-Benz and wiping BMW’s tire smoke out of its eyes.

Cadillac doesn’t set the bar for luxury cars; it strives to attain the level set by other carmakers. It wasn’t always that way, of course. There was a time when Cadillac was, well, the Cadillac of luxury cars.

Those days are long gone, and the Cadillac of today plays second fiddle to BMW, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and more. Its cars are reactions to competing cars, not proactive and innovative products that inspire the industry.

That could all change with the introduction of one car: the CT6.

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Will Driving Become Illegal?

March 24th, 2015

Tesla Model S Autonomous

The mile markers fly by, one every 100 seconds or so. Adrenaline rushes through your body as quickly as the wind passes through your hair.

You know you’re breaking the law, but you want to see how long you can get away with it. The rumble of the gas-fueled engine growls under the hood, and you can feel the sound in your chest as you push the accelerator pedal a little deeper into the floor.

No, the car isn’t stolen, and you’re not a suspect escaping from a grisly crime.

You’re just driving.

And driving is illegal.

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Here Comes the Rebirth of Scion

March 23rd, 2015

Scion iM concept

Scion is dead.

Long live Scion.

Toyota’s experiment of creating a lower priced car for young people has seen limited success. The biggest impact it’s had on the auto industry so far is starting the whole box-car craze.

If not for the Scion xB, the world may have never gotten to know the Nissan Cube or the Kia Soul, for which we are eternally grateful, right?

Scion sales in recent years have been anemic, and its model lineup has failed to generate anything more than mediocre reviews. With the exception of the FR-S, Scion has been near flatline. The options?

Give up on the brand, or give it another shot of adrenaline.

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The Two Tiers of Luxury: Which Do You Prefer?

March 19th, 2015
"Tier 2" does not mean "inferior."

“Tier 2″ does not mean “inferior.”

Is a Lincoln as good as a Lexus?

Can an Acura take down an Audi?

Will an Infiniti be as good as a BMW?

There are two groups of cars in the luxury world: the ones that command respect and the ones that desperately want it. Automotive News breaks these down a little more formally, calling them the “Tier 1″ group and the “Tier 2″ group.

Tier 1 includes BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. Tier 2 includes Lincoln, Acura, Cadillac, and Audi.

If I were making the rules, I’d put Audi up in Tier 1, because it has decidedly outsold the others in Tier 2 and has, in my humble opinion, eclipsed the quality level of BMW.

The Tier 1 group continues to establish its dominance, while the Tier 2 group struggles to maintain relevance. Are cars from Tier 2 worth considering?

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Next to Go: Toyota Venza, Honda Crosstour, or Ford Edge?

March 18th, 2015

2013-toyota-venza

Yesterday came the surprising news that the Volkswagen Beetle could be axed in favor of something new.

Less surprising is the recent announcement that the Toyota Venza will go extinct within a couple of months.

The Venza, which I like to call a cross between a Camry and an AMC Eagle, was supposed to be a huge hit. It was supposed to drive off dealer lots in droves and be exactly what Americans wanted; a large 4-door, cavernous cross between a wagon and a sedan.

It turns out Americans would rather just have the sedan.

Could the Venza’s exit be a precursor of what to expect from Ford and Honda?

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Could Volkswagen Kill the Beetle?

March 17th, 2015

VW_Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle has a long history in the United States, and an even longer past in the rest of the world.

It’s a history that begins in the 1930s and includes Adolf Hitler, Ferdinand Porsche, and an entire country of people who flocked to purchase the new and inexpensive car built for the German autobahn.

Originally called the Volkswagen Type 1, the Beetle was manufactured from 1938 until 2003 and thrived in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s. More than 21 million cars were made before worldwide production ended in 2003.

A modern version of the VW Beetle still zips around U.S. roads, but its days may be numbered.

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GM Cuts 100,000-Mile Warranty in Favor of More Technology

March 16th, 2015

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Would you rather have a long warranty on your car or have a car that features more technology?

General Motors says it knows your answer to that question and is reducing the length of its warranty in favor of building cars with higher levels of connectivity.

GM started offering a 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty in 2007 as a way to keep up with the likes of Hyundai and Kia and to help build a better perception of its cars.

The only problem is that customers didn’t notice.

Rather than building a marketing campaign around the long warranty, GM has decided to reduce it and use the cost savings on things it believes its customers truly care about.

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Ready for the Comeback of the Land Rover Defender?

March 11th, 2015

Land Rover's trio of Defender limited editions

We were just showering the Jeep Wrangler with some love and touting its prowess for being one of the best go-anywhere vehicles money can buy.

Well, reasonable money, anyway.

Yesterday came news that another legendary rig would invade the shores of the United States and give the Wrangler some serious opposition. Could this new challenger make the aging Jeep look like a Tonka toy lost in a sand dune?

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Classic & Vintage Cars, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

Volkswagen Tiguan: The Next Honda CR-V?

March 10th, 2015

 

2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

Who’s buying the Volkswagen Tiguan? That’s the first question.

Second, who’s buying so many of them that Volkswagen needs to invest a billion dollars in upgrades to the plant that will make the next version?

The 2017 Tiguan will be built in a plant capable of cranking out 500 of the crossovers per day. Sales figures for the past year in North America tend to average about 2,000 vehicles per month.

That’s a bit of a disconnect, don’t you think?

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